TOC Digital Speech and Debate Series 1
2022 — NSDA Campus, US
Policy (Varsity) Paradigm ListAll Paradigms: Show Hide
Chattahoochee HS '21
University Of Kentucky '25
Add me to the chain: firstname.lastname@example.org
I will pretty much vote on anything and lack many ideological predispositions with a few exceptions. I try to be as least interventionist as possible so please do judge instruction that explains to me why you have won the debate & the implications of the arguments you are going for.
Send a card doc after the debate has ended. I'll read the cards you think are important, but I tend to think the quality of evidence comes secondary to who did the better debating.
I know very little about the topic and have judged only a few debates so take that as you will.
I prefer to judge substantive debates over trivial theory arguments. Anything that isn't conditionality is a reason to reject the argument not the team. Conditionality is probably good but I can easily be convinced otherwise. I will not vote on blimpy theory arguments that aren't developed or articulated out earlier in the debate.
Non-resolutional theory is a non-starter.
Judge kick is my default.
Huge fan of them, I love me some solvency offense & AFF specific counterplans.
Probably my favorite debates to judge. If you're going for it, there needs to be substantial case defense otherwise what are you doing. It becomes relatively easy for me to vote on 'try or die' because the other team drops an impact even if the DA is big. Turns case & impact comparison is a must in these debates.
I like to think I'm fine for the Kritik. I'm not great for it not because I think they're silly but because I'm not too well into the lit (not a fan of high theory). It is probably going to be hard for you to convince me that the AFF shouldn't get to weigh the consequences of the plan. The best kritiks are ones with links specific to the plan & a clear alternative that solves the case. Otherwise, it becomes easy to vote AFF on framework or the alt is vague, does nothing and case outweighs.
Again, I know nothing about this topic so please refrain from staking the debate on topicality unless you think the AFF is egregiously un-topical.
I would prefer you read & defend a topical plan. That said, I have somehow found myself voting for the AFF more frequently because NEG teams fumble going for framework.
I am a huge fan of limits & clash. I find AFF teams that go for their counter-interp as defense to limits are entirely unpersuasive. I think if you have me in the back of these debates, AFF's should impact turn fairness & clash and tell me why their impact outweighs.
- tech > truth
- Don't sacrifice clarity for speed
- Bigotry will not be tolerated
Econ HS topic
I'll reward high speaks to anyone who correctly goes for the interest rates DA
UMKC \ DEBATE - Kansas City
I have been in debate in one form or another my entire adult life. I was a four-year debater and coach for Missouri State in the first half of the 2000’s. For the last decade, I have been the program director of the Urban Debate League in Kansas City (DKC). I tell you this as a way to say debate is part and parcel of who I am as a person. However, given that I spend most of my days doing administrative work I will not be knowledgeable on this year’s topic and may not be 100% up on new trends in college debate. With that said I have listed some of my likes and dislikes below. Please take note:
I like people who have fun doing the activity.
I like all forms of argumentation. I was a policy wonk in my day but have coached and enjoy alternative strategies. Do what you love to do and we will be ok!
I like it when debaters clearly articulate what it is that wins them the debate.
I like originality.
Well-executed humor is always appreciated.
I hate unclear debates. Quick blippy arguments will likely be disregarded or missed entirely on my flow.
My threshold for voting on T & theory is relatively high. I have certainly done it but as always, the abuse story must be compelling.
Spewing through theory is silly if you want me to vote on theory please explain it slowly.
I really dislike people who go faster than they should. I keep an ok flow but I don’t get everything.
I dislike debaters who are indignant or rude after a loss, I will be as fair as I can and make the best decision I can. If you think I made a mistake I respect that and will gladly chat with you about that.
Lastly, in a clash of civilization debate I tend to evaluate based on what is best for education in the round and then debate at large. But as always round specifics matter most.
If you have more questions please ask!
I attended and debated for Rutgers University-Newark (c/o 2021). I’ve ran both policy and K affs.
Influences In Debate
David Asafu – Adjae (he actually got me interested in college policy, but don’t tell him this), and of course, the debate coaching staff @ RU-N: Willie Johnson, Carlos Astacio, Devane Murphy, Christopher Kozak and Elijah Smith.
Yes, I wish to be on the email chain!
COLLEGE POLICY: I skimmed through the topic paper and ADA/ Wake will be my first time judging this season. Do with this information what you wish.
GENERAL: If you are spreading and it’s not clear, I will yell clear. If I have to do that too many times in a round, it sucks to be you buddy because I will just stop flowing and evaluate the debate based on what I can remember. Zoom through your cards, but when doing analytics and line by line, take it back a bit. After all, I can only evaluate what I catch on my flow. UPDATE FOR ONLINE DEBATES: GO ABOUT 70% OF YOUR NORMAL SPEED. IF YOU ARE NOT CLEAR EVEN AT 70%, DON'T SPREAD.
In general, I like K’s (particularly those surrounding Afro-Pess and Queer Theory). However, I like to see them executed in at least a decent manner. Therefore, if you know these are not your forte, do not read them just because I am judging. One recent pet peeve of mine is people just asserting links without having them contextualized to the aff and well explained. Please don't be that person. You will see me looking at both you and my flow with a confused face trying to figure out what's happening. Additionally, do not tell me that perms cannot happen in a method v. method debate without a warrant.
I live for performance debates.
I like to be entertained, and I like to laugh. Hence, if you can do either, it will be reflected in your speaker points. However, if you can’t do this, fear not. You obviously will get the running average provided you do the work for the running average. While I am a flow centric judge, be it known that debate is just as much about delivery as it is about content.
The bare minimum for a link chain for a DA is insufficient 99% of the time for me. I need a story with a good scenario for how the link causes the impact. Describe to me how everything happens. Please extrapolate! Give your arguments depth! It would behoove you to employ some impact calculus and comparison here.
Save the friv theory, bring on those spicy framework and T debates. Please be well structured on the flow if you are going this route. Additionally, be warned, fairness is not a voter 98% of the times in my book. It is an internal link to something. Note however, though I am all for T and framework debates, I also like to see aff engagement. Obviously these are all on a case by case basis. T USFG is not spicy. I will vote on it, but it is not spicy.
For CPs, if they're abusive, they are. As long as they are competitive and have net benefits, we're good.
On theory, at a certain point in the debate, I get tired of hearing you read your coach's coach's block extensions. Could we please replace that with some impact weighing?
Do not assume I know anything when judging you. I am literally in the room to take notes and tell who I think is the winner based on who gives the better articulation as to why their option is better. Therefore, if you assume I know something, and I don’t … kinda sucks to be you buddy.
I’m all for new things! Debating is all about contesting competing ideas and strategies.
I feel as though it should be needless to say, but: do not run any bigoted arguments. However, I’m well aware that I can’t stop you. Just please be prepared to pick up a zero in your speaking points, and depending on how egregious your bigotry is, I just might drop you. Literally!
Another thing: please do not run anthropocentrism in front of me. It’s something I hated as a debater, and it is definitely something I hate as a judge. Should you choose to be risky, please be prepared for the consequences. (Update: voted on it once - purely a flow decision)
For My LD'ers
It is often times difficult to evaluate between esoteric philosophies. I often find that people don't do enough work to establish any metric of evaluation for these kinds of debates. Consequently, I am weary for pulling the trigger for one side as opposed to the other. If you think you can, then by all means, read it!
Yale Update: Tricks are for kids.You might be one, but I am not.
I'm gonna have to pass on the RVIs too. I've never seen a more annoying line of argumentation.
In general, give me judge instructions.
On average, tech > truth --- however, I throw this principle out when people start doing or saying bigoted things.
Top Level: I debated for St. Mark's from 2019-2022. I am a current student at Georgetown.
Tech/Truth, but that doesn't mean abandon all truth--I'll listen to each "if they drop x then we win the debate" argument and be as fair as possible, but I will try my very best to give the benefit of the doubt to well thought out arguments rather than silly shots for the ballot.
I really value impact analysis, you should draw the impacts of the debate out and tell me what I should value more.
My fav debate on the topic so far has been on the NATO good-bad debate. I'll love it if you do good case debating, and reward you with high speaks. Prioritize case in the block, it goes a long way.
K's: I am probably not the best judge to pref if you are a high-theory K team. With regards to security, set col, and cap k, I know my way around, so you should be fine. If you run a K-aff, I do buy into T-USFG a little more, but I can be swayed, as with anything ig.
DA: Impact framing is important. I do not want to judge intervene on whether great power war is more important than nuclear terrorism.
I will lean towards 1% chance of the DA. You have to have a very solid, airtight plan if you want to win 0% risk (i.e. DA already happened/impact is impossible)
CP: Counterplans rarely solve 100% of case, but too often AFFs let it happen. Compare solvency deficit impacts with the DA, do not leave that work up to me please. Please EXPLAIN sufficiency framing, don't just say it otherwise I will assume any argument in the 2AR for why CP doesn't solve disproves sufficiency framing.
T: Resolutional debating is hard and confusing, but I will reward teams that do it really well with good speaks. Love watching good T debates, but make sure to have solid understanding of your interps and how they relate to the topic vision.
Closing thoughts: I am pretty open to most arguments. Debate better than the other team and you will win.
Email Chain: email@example.com
I debate for Missouri State.
1---I will flow the debate and come to a decision off of the flow. I will read evidence if there are questions that I have about the flow. Please send a doc after the 2XR of the cards you extended in the speech.
2---I find that I am much better for policy arguments than K arguments. If you’re going to read a K, I prefer kritiks of epistemology over ontology.
3---I am super tech over truth. The thoughts you read below are just my personal thoughts on debate that if you use to make strategic decisions, it will be best for all of us in the round.
4---Anything that is racist, sexist, ableist, transphobic, etc. will result in an auto-loss with the least amount of speaks that I can give you.
1---DA turns case should be the start of every speech in which the da is extended.
2---Link specificity matters a great deal to me. This isn’t to say that I’m not fine with generic links, but that I really do value aff-specific research.
3---Turn the impact not the link. Everyone will enjoy that debate a great deal more.
4---I have a soft spot for politics disads.
5---I generally start at the bottom (uniqueness) and work to the top (the impact) when deciding.
6---I’m not a fan of the DA isn’t intrinsic, or a logical policymaker would do both. The latter doesn’t make sense if the neg doesn’t read a counterplan that’s like “pass x bill.” The former just doesn’t make sense to me.
1---I will not judge kick the cp. If you lose the perm then you probably lost the debate.
2---I think the ideal 2NR with a cp + external net benefit is ideally 2:30 cp and 3:30 disad.
3---Sufficiency framing is my default. Tell me not to do that if you don’t want me to.
4---Condo is good. 4 is max. 5 if the aff is new.
5---I think that counterplans like states, consult, delay, etc. lose to perm do the counterplan.
6---I enjoy well written advantage counterplans.
T vs Policy:
1---I’m not great for T against blatantly topical affs (I think that we meet - plan text in a vacuum is more than enough in this instance). Just beat them on a disad.
2---I am good for well researched T arguments that are tailored to specific affs.
3---I value voting for the interpretation that fosters the best debates possible. This isn’t to say that I won’t vote for reasonability; you need to win the technical level of things.
4---I think the most persuasive impacts are Ground > Limits > Clash.
T vs K Affs:
1---The aff should defend a plan text.
2---If you don’t defend a plan text, please read as much offense as you can in the debate. The best offense will be offense that operates independent of the counter-interp. I generally find myself thinking that impact turns are more persuasive than reasonability pushes.
3---That being said, a lot of the stuff that I said on T vs Policy about competing interps applies here.
4---Clash > limits. We debate so that we can have intricate arguments over government action.
5---A TVA that is from the author the aff is reading will be really good for you.
6---“We would lose to the perm” is not an answer to the TVA.
7---Fairness is an impact.
K vs Policy:
1---Please do not read an overview that’s longer than 30 seconds. Put the extraneous parts of it onto the line by line.
2---I think the aff should be weighed. Either beat them on your framework or win under your opponents.
3---Links specific to the aff are very important to me.
4---Explain how the alt solves the aff. So many K teams will spend 2 minutes on an overview, 6 minutes on a link, and 1 minute of calling their opponent a racist. Do line by line, be clear and concise in the overview, and just be a better debater than your opponent.
5---I agree with James Taylor: “STOP BEING PETTY: You might think your arguments are the center of the universe, but c'mon. There is a really good chance I just don't care about your rando K or think it is generally irrelevant to the world outside of debates. Too many debaters overstate the importance of their claims, fake being deeply offended for purposes of hyping up a link argument, think their type of education is the only acceptable form, deny/ignore the validity of debates about scholarship, or assume that debate is separate from the 'real world'. Advocating a policy is not the same as role playing as the gov't. If you are role playing you are doing it wrong.”
K vs K:
1---I enjoy these debates quite a bit. I find myself thinking about solvency the most when judging these.
2---I do value link specificity quite a bit. If you’re reading Bataille against an anti-blackness aff, I’d appreciate it if you read stuff about how the specific field of anti-blackness seals off the possibility of expenditure.
3---The perm debate will probably get muddled. Do your best to have it not be.
4---Impact comparison goes a long way. If you can explain why your impact outweighs/turns the case you’ll be doing very well.
5---I have a soft spot for Nietzsche.
1---I don’t know what speaker points are like at the high school level. Asking or demanding a 30 = auto 27. Assume this scale:
29.5-30: You spoke perfectly and made the right strategic decisions.
29.0-29.4: You spoke almost perfectly and made some strategic decisions that were probably fine but there was definitely a better way to go.
28.5-28.9: Decent on most fronts. Minor clarity issues were present.
28.0-28.4: Not super clear but I got every 5th word or so.
27.5-27.9: You were not clear at all.
27.4 and below: you did something so egregious that the round got stopped early.
2---I appreciate humor in rounds. I don’t like listening to debate robots meander through blocks that there coaches wrote for them.
3---I think that disclosure is good and that you should do it. I’ll give you a bump in speaks if you open source all your cards and pre-typed analytics. Just tell me that you did it or that you’re in the process of doing it. I probably won’t give as much of a bump if it makes it a low point win because it messes with tabulation and could potentially ruin the winning team’s chance of breaking.
4---I appreciate well formatted docs with blue/green highlighting. I use dark mode in word and will not be able to read yellow highlighting.
5---I flow on computer. I would still appreciate some amount of time to switch between screens.
6---Some people that have been tremendous influences to me are: Eric Morris, Parker Hopkins, and Nathan Rothenbaum.
7---I encourage you to think of debate as a game of chess. It's all about capitalizing on your opponents mistakes. Good prep puts your opponents into a position where they are likely to make mistakes.
Above all, please be respectful to your opponents and me. I take judging very seriously and will be annoyed if you decide not be. Kindness costs nothing.
Glenbrook North '21
Please add firstname.lastname@example.org to the email chain, and please give the email chain a relevant name (e.g. "Round 1 Viking Rumble: GBN XX [AFF] v. GBN YY [NEG])
Qualifications: Debated at Glenbrook North for four years as a 2A and mostly read extinction impacts. Champion and 4th speaker at the Cross River Classic Invitational, qualified to the TOC, etc.
Novices -- don't adapt to me. I'll adapt to you. Please be respectful, especially during cross-ex. There is no need to be overly rude, defensive, demeaning, etc. Everyone's learning.
My ideal debate to judge is one where teams go substantially slower, engage with and collapse to truthful arguments, and make bold strategic decisions. I would much rather judge a debate where the NEG reads four developed offcase positions than one where the NEG reads eight or more scattered offcase with no clear strategic vision. However, I do understand the strategic necessity of reading large amounts of offcase, so feel free to do whatever you please.
I largely agree with this section of Anthony Miklovis's paradigm: You do you. I'll do my best to not be ideological. Below are my predispositions that I'll usually err towards when debated equally. None of these are absolute truths and can be easily reversed through technical debating. BUT, my familiarity with certain arguments might affect my ability to adjudicate claims in round, so do be mindful of that when I say "you do you."
I'd like it if debaters gave me easy outs rather than forcing me to dive deeply into contested issues
Sending analytics is good for clash
Please speak slower and clearer, and watch my facial reactions to your arguments, as I tend to be rather expressive
Please respect your opponents
Rounds judged on the water topic: 46
'21-'22 lowest speaks: 27.5
'21-'22 highest speaks: 29.6
'21-'22 average speaks: 28.7
I encourage you to read kritiks that function as disadvantages (e.g. Neolib/Cap K)
I find that the aff should get to weigh in the plan in almost all circumstances
It will be very difficult to convince me to vote for high theory or post-modernism
I do not find most ontology claims persuasive
Perf con makes sense versus epistemology claims
Generally not the judge for you
The aff should be related to and in the direction of the topic
Fairness is an impact, but I find clash and education-based arguments to be more persuasive
Counterinterps are usually self serving, so I would rather you impact turn T
NEG teams should impact turn (cap good, heg good, etc.)
Please do not go for a K vs a planless aff unless you can explain it extremely well
I would rather you not go for topicality in front of me, but I understand if it's the only option you have versus an abusive affirmative
Precision > everything. I think most interpretation evidence is atrocious and aff teams should exploit that more
I have never seen an affirmative team reasonably explain reasonability, but that does not mean that it is a bad argument
I'll judge kick if the 2NR makes the argument. Sufficiency framing seems to be a waste of breath because I will always evaluate if the counterplan solves enough of the case.
Process counterplans are probably illegit (oftentimes dependent on literature), but I would rather affirmatives go for a solvency deficit and net benefit takeout than a tricky permutation or theoretical objection
Intuitive analytical advantage counterplans are strategic. Advantage counterplans + impact turns seem to be underutilized strategies that are killer.
Counterplans that are probably bad: international fiat, object fiat, delay fiat, 'going through legal deficits' fiat
If you want to go for theory, make more specific theory arguments to filter NEG offense
The preferred 2NR. When I debated, I read politics, rider, case-specific, etc. Neg ground is atrocious, so I understand and would absolutely enjoy if you decide to go for politics. I think that turns case is usually the deciding factor in disad debates. Please do multiple levels of turns case (e.g. link turns internal link, link turns impact, AND impact turns internal link, etc.)
I think no risk is possible but difficult if the NEG executes correctly
Most disad internal links make little sense, so smart analytics can always lower disad risk
The 1AR seems to get away with a lot of murder here
I don't think neg teams explain why conditionality is good well.
I have yet to see a team go for ASPEC, but I think it's a competent strategy given all the agent abuse affs seem to do these days. Same with vagueness, I guess.
"Troll" arguments are interesting thought experiments, but I'm unlikely to vote on them
Debaters should time themselves during the round. I'll try to keep track of time, but I'm not perfect.
I want to judge impact turn debates (dedev, please)
Read a plan-x-----------------------------------Do whatever
Read no cards----------------x-------------------Read all the cards
Conditionality good-------------------x----------Conditionality bad
PIC's good---x-----------------------------------PIC's bad
States CP good-----x-----------------------------States CP bad
Go for T-----------------------------------x------Don't go for T
Politics DA is a thing-x-------------------------------Politics DA not a thing
Always VTL-x--------------------------------------Sometimes NVTL
UQ matters most--------------------x-------------Link matters most
Not our Baudrillard------------------------------x- Yes your Baudrillard
Clarity-x--------------------------------------------Srsly who doesn't like clarity
Presumption------x--------------------------------Never votes on presumption
Resting grumpy face--x---------------------------Grumpy face is your fault
Longer ev--------------------x--------------------More ev
"Insert this rehighlighting"----------------------x-I only read what you read
Fiat solves circumvention-----x---------------------LOL trump messes w/ ur aff
2017 speaker points-------x------------------------2007 speaker points
CX about impacts---------------------x-----------CX about links and solvency
Fiat double bind------------------------------------------x-literally any other arg
Affiliations - Present:
Currently coaching for CSU Fullerton, but I do some very light mercenary coaching for high school LD.
- Everyone should slow down. Debate would be better. Does this mean you might have to read less in the 1NC? YES!Does this mean that 2As might have to make less/better answers? YES!Does this mean you need to slow down on prewritten extensions and analytics? YES!I want to fully grasp EVERYTHING in the debate and not just get the gist of things.If you do not want to adapt to this, then you have prefs and strikes. I suggest you use them accordingly ...
- Debaters that flow and give speeches from their flows, as opposed to their prewritten speech docs, are the gold standard.
- Great debaters use the full spectrum of human emotion to persuade judges. Anger, sadness, humor, fear, hope, love, and all the other things we feel, connect us to the arguments we're making. If your debates only have one emotion (or none), then it will probably be pretty boring.
- +.5 or -.5 speaker points if you say "Combination" instead of "Permutation" depending on how I feel at the time.
- If you believe that Wake GL won the 2023 NDT, then you should just strike me now.
Top Level Stuffs:
1. Speech docs: I want to be included on any email chains; however, I will be flowing based on what I hear from year speech and not following along with the speech doc. I will use my flow to determine the decision, which can be different from speech docs, especially if you aren't clear and give me enough pen time. Also, I never was the best flow as a debater and I still am not as a judge!
2. All of you are smarter than me. I'll work hard to be a good judge, but I won't promise I will get everything that is happening in the round. Your job will be to explain very complex concepts to a very simple mind.
3. I'm an only-parent of two young children. Always a chance that something happens where I have to take a few minutes of judge prep. I'll work hard to minimize these instances, but cannot promise they will not happen.
4. The "ideal" number of off-case positions in a round for me when I am in the back of the room is anywhere from 0-5. You can absolutely read more, but I get angrier as the number of counterplans in the 1NC rises. I think 1-2 counterplans in a 1NC is reasonable. I prefer 1NCs without throwaway positions but still have a lot of block/2NR optionality. Basically, I am a fan of clash and vertical spread.
If you still think it's good to have me in the back of the room after you know this, then continue reading and see if you still feel that way when you're done.
Topicality: It is up to the debaters to determine how I evaluate topicality. I tend to default to reasonability. Slow down a tick on T or you will make me sad. I cannot keep up with you reading your 2NC/1NR blocks at full speed.
Counterplans: The more specific the better, but I’m game for whatever. Consult CPs are fine. Delay is fine. Conditioning is cool tooI. PICs are the bees knees. However, I am open to theory arguments that any of these should not be allowed. I do not like counterplans with a lot of planks that the negative can jettison at will. Such counterplans will leave me sympathetic to affirmative theory arguments.
Counterplan Theory: Sketchy counterplans should lose to theory. However, theory violations should be well developed and it is up to the affirmative to prove why I should reject the team and not the argument. It's no secret that I am not the quickest flow, so slow down for me on theory debates.
Theory: I almost always think that education > fairness, but ... I think negatives are getting away with too much. People can run multiple contradictory counterplans/advocacies all they want in front of me and I will not automatically vote them down for it. However; I am sympathetic to well articulated theory arguments as to why it is a bad educational practice, as well as sympathetic to affirmatives that use negative shenanigans to justify affirmative shenanigans. Play dirty pool at your own risk in front of me…aff or neg. I do not like cheap shot theory. I try to not vote for cheap shot theory arguments, even if they are dropped. However, I will use cheap shot theory arguments as a way out of difficult rounds in which both teams were making my job painful. I try not to let cheap shots determine the outcome of rounds that are well debated on both sides. I reward good smart debate. No New AFFs is not a good arg in front of me. Pref Sheet Disclosure is not a good arg in front of me.
**** If you're reading this as an LDer: I am a very bad judge for Tricks debate. Very bad ...
Disads: The more specific the better. I prefer 1 or 2 good uniqueness cards to 10 bad uniqueness cards. I prefer 1 or 2 good warrants to 10 bad uniqueness cards. Disads are great and are a fundamental part of policy or critical strategies. Yayy DAs!
Criticisms: The more specific the better. You probably know more about your specific criticism than I do. However, debate is not about who knows the most about a topic; it is about how much you can teach me within the time limits of the round. If I cannot explain your position back to you at the end of the debate, then I cannot vote for it. I believe that AFFs get perms, even critical AFFs. I believe that Ks can win based on winning 100% defense, so, yes ... you can kick the ALT and go for presumption in front of me.
Framework: Sure. You can go that route, but please slow down. I prefer substance to theory, meaning that I almost always believe education > fairness. I don't find the procedural fairness stuff that persuasive. Institutions good and training is a much better route with me in the back. TVAs are persuasive to me. So, will I vote on framework? If it is based on why you have a better educational model, then absolutely! If it is based on procedural fairness, then I might still vote on it, but it's an uphill battle.
Performance/Nontraditional/Critical AFFs: I’m cool with it. I don't find your argument persuasive that these AFFs shouldn't get perms. If I can't explain your AFF back to you then it will be really hard for me to vote for you. I have no problem voting NEG on presumption if I don't know what you do or if the NEG has a compelling argument that you do nothing.
Case: I wish more people debated it more. I honestly think that a well developed case attack (offense and a heck of a lot of good defense) with a disad or a critique are much more effective than multiple disads/critiques/counterplans. Case debate is good and underrated.
I’m open to any kind of argument you have as long as it is intelligent, arguably true, and not problematic.
One thing that everyone should know is that I naturally give a lot of nonverbal (sometimes verbal) feedback, even in the middle of rounds. If I think your argument is really smart then you will probably see me smiling and nodding. If I think your argument is not smart or just wrong, my face will look contorted and I will be shaking it in a different direction. If this happens…do not freak out. Use it to your advantage that you know which arguments I like and do not like. Other times, I look unhappy because I am in pain or very hungry (my health ain't the best), so this might throw you off ... sorry! Debate tournaments are hard on all of us. I'm not going to pretend like I'm a machine for longer than two hours while I judge your round.
I will also intervene in cross x if I think that a team is being particularly evasive on a point that needs to be clarified to conduct a good clean debate. I do not believe that the gold standard for judging is to avoid intervention at all costs. I believe intervention is almost always inevitable ... I'm just one of the few people who are willing to say that out loud.
Additionally, I usually make fairly quick decisions. I don't scour through evidence and meticulously line up my flows all the way until the decision deadline. Sometimes I will do that if it is warranted to decide the round. However, for me, it doesn't usually require that. I believe that debate is a communication activity and I judge rounds based on what is communicated to me. I use my flows to confirm or deny my suspicions of why I think someone is winning/losing at the conclusion of the debate. Typically, I am making my mind up about who is winning the round and in which ways they might lose it after every speech. This usually creates a checklist of what each team would need to do to win/lose. While listening to 2NRs/2ARs, I go through my checklist & flows to see which ones get marked off. Sometimes this is an easy process. Sometimes it takes me a lot longer to check those boxes ...
I KNOW that you all work VERY HARD for each and every round. I take that very seriously. But, me deciding rounds quickly is not dismissive of you or your work. Instead, my "thoughtful snapshots" of rounds are meant to give some sort of fidelity to the round I witnessed instead of recreating it post hoc. Some people go to concerts and record songs to remember the experience later. I don't. That's not out of disrespect to the artists or their art, rather, it's my own version of honoring their efforts by trying to honor the moment. Some of y'all think that is some BS justification for me to do "less work" after a round, and that's fine, you're entitled to that opinion, as well as where you place me on your strike sheets.
Finally, I am unabashedly human. I am open to the whims of fatigue, hunger, emotions and an overwhelming desire to do what I think is right, no matter how inconsistent and possibly misguided at the time. I try desperately to live my life in a way where I can look in a mirror and be okay with myself (not always successfully). I do the same thing when I am a judge (again, not always successfully). This is just a fair warning to any of you that will be inevitably upset if my decision seems to vary from this judging philosophy. I'm not a robot and sometimes my opinions about my role and this activity changes while judging a round. The truth is that y'all are good at what y'all do, and sometimes you make me change my mind about things. These are the facts of having me in the back of the room, and these facts, no matter how fact-y they might be, are facts that y'all have to deal with :-)
Debate is fun…at least it should be. If it's not, you're doing it wrong!
Any pronouns, they/she listed - it's complicated, referring to me using feminine descriptors is fine, though any are accepted. I have no strong feelings about my gender.
***Apparently to search my paradigm, you need to type "Sophia Dal" instead of "Sophia Dal Pra" - just a heads up***
Background: Wooster HS '20, Kentucky ex-pat, Now debate at West Georgia, Class of '25
Conflicts: Wooster High School, Reagan High School, Baton Rouge Magnet High School, Canyon Crest Academy, Chatahoochee High School.
Put me on the email chain - email@example.com
10/14/23 - My personal style of debate has become a lot more critical. I coach policy teams pretty much exclusively, but I'm way more familiar with the engagement between lit bases in K v. K debates. As always, I love organized, technical debates, but I have no strong preclusions whether I'm in the back of a policy throwdown or a method debate.
2/22/23 - Some things in debate that others may view as non-negotiables (i.e. flowing, speech-times, etc.) are things I lean towards as being so, but I can be persuaded by framing arguments that these are things I should disregard.
I think that debate is amazing and unique because of the diversity of positions and stances that we can take, from typical substance debate to debates about the rules to debates about debate. I think that debate is a competition at its foundation and that the educational benefits we gain are shaped from its research benefits. I also think that debate as an activity or as an institution is not shielded from critique.
Feel free to ask me about anything below or any thoughts you have in the pre-round!
My RFDs - are scripted as best I can to organize my thoughts. I have pretty bad ADHD and I tend to have a lot of external thoughts about arguments in any given debate, so I do this to stay organized. It's also how I verify that my decision can be delivered in a sensical manner. My decision on any given debate is usually made at a relatively normal pace, but writing out the decision, (and sometime a separate decision for the other team/over another argument in close debates) usually takes me to d-time in elim debates. I will sometimes read them to myself aloud as well for good measure. I would want my judges to care about the decisions in my debates, so this is my way of returning the favor.
General Argument Preferences - I prefer well-crafted strategies over all else. I do have a soft spot for specificity, but I understand when that is not an option because of new affs, team resources, or miscellaneous reasons. Linearly, the more thought you have put into the strategy, the more I will probably like it.
I have found that I am increasingly annoyed by debates that do not have a substantial portion of them dedicated to answering the aff in some way. This does not have to be with a specific strategy; it can be with making the most with what you have. This can be through generic impact defense, deconstructing a poorly-constructed aff, citing 1AC lines when explaining how the K links, creative counterplanning, etc. Policy debate is plan-focused, and your strategy should be to address it, not to empty your box in the least appealing way possible.
This does not mean that I have apprehensions about the amount of offcase that you read. I think that thought can go into a 12-off strategy as much as a no off/only case turns strategy.
Evidence - Evidence comparison is a great way to get me to like you. Recency isn't everything when it comes to ev comparison. Give me author indicts, prodicts, think-tank biases, etc. The best skill that debaters take from debate is the ability to critically process large amounts of information, and it is becoming increasingly apparent that the analysis of the evidences' sources is important to that processing in our day-to-day lives. If you would be embarassed to read the qualifications of an author aloud during a debate, don't include that piece of evidence and find a better one.
Another point of contestation that should make its way into more debates is the way that authors make their arguments, or the way that debaters have highlighted these claims. Is the author making this claim based on one case study or based on a peer-reviewed, time-series cross sectional statistical analysis? Does the card itself not provide any warrants? Is the highlighting of the edvidence not able to lend itself to a claim and a warrant, or even a complete sentence? Point these issues out during your debating.
I believe the highlighting of your evidence should be coherent enough to read as a public speech, and not phrased like Rupi Kaur's new poetry anthology.
You can "insert the re-highlighting" if you need to discuss the quality of your opponents evidence. I think that having debaters re-read bad evidence means that there is a disincentive to do this type of evidence comparison because of the time it takes out of a speech.
I love evidence-based debates and will want a card doc at the end of the debate. My evaluation of these card docs will be in a way in which I feel I have done the least amount of intervention. To me, this means that cards/arguments that are referenced heavily by the debaters in the final rebuttals, even if they aren't by name, will be read and I'll adjust my thoughts on them accordingly. I will assign the meaning to the evidence that the debaters give it, so, for example, if the 1NC has a highlighted link argument within a card on the kritik, and the 2NR doesn't go for that link argument but goes for another claim in the card, I will not evaluate the extraneous link argument as meaning anything. The evidence you read does not give your argument more weight than you gave it. If you read stellar evidence but can't interpret it for me or move your analysis beyond tagline extensions, then I will not rely on the fact that that card is better than your opponent's.
CX is binding, but that doesn't mean you can read evidence in CX or finish cards in CX. There is a reason that CX is denoted as separate from speech time, and I still hold folks to the threshold of bringing those arguments into speeches, which means that you will just be wasting a lot of time.
Even if someone else cut the evidence you are reading, you are responsible for any issues of academic integrity that arise when you read that evidence, even if you weren't aware of the issue beforehand.
This is not to say I will not vote for teams that don't read evidence. I vote for teams that win debates.
Flowing - I only flow what I catch you saying. Please try to recognize communication break-downs and adjust. I will be following along in the speech document as you read, but I want to be able to understand you.
One of the biggest negative impacts of online debate along with a drop in participation is the increasing card-doc-ification of debates. I am not a fan. Make arguments, do line-by-line, know what evidence they read, FLOW THE DEBATE YOURSELF!
ADAPTATION: I have an auditory processing disorder that makes it especially difficult to flow unclear, online speeches. I can flow top speeds and follow along, but you do not understand how big of a difference clarity makes.
I have recently been attempting to learn how to type with more than my pointer fingers, and am a good flow on my computer but still, please don't let that be a substitute for your own communication.
When flowing debates, I will attempt to line up arguments next to each other, and I would appreciate it if line-by-line is clear as to facilitate this. If I can't do this, I will flow straight down and match arguments and their responses together at a later point, though, this may extend my already egregious use of time post-debate to deliberate.
Absent a defense of splitting up speaking times, the partner that is supposed to be speaking in that speech based on their speaker position is the one I will flow. I will not flow arguments that are being fed to another debater by their partner.
Tech and Truth - I am a "tech" judge. The arguments from the debate that make it on my flow and their implications will be compared based on the connections and the argument resolution that debaters have made.
Above all, when technically evaluating arguments, I value the way that debaters have characterized specific arguments rather than relying solely on evidence to make those comparisons or connecting the dots for them. Cross-applications still need explanation as to how they apply to the new argument. Debates are won and lost through small link distinctions, and especially in buzzword-heavy theory debates, this nuance is lost and leaves me in no way ready to vote on them without explanation.
I have a low threshold for "out-teching" stupid arguments. Stupid arguments can have just as stupid responses. However, if an argument is factually incorrect or incomplete, I'll disregard it. This includes, but is not limited to, voting issues without warranted standards and anything that I can easily google.
(Former) Argument Non-Starters
While rewriting my paradigm, I critically thought about my previous argument inhibitions and realized that they were just based on what I thought were accepted community norms, left over from when I created my paradigm when I was first introduced to national circuit debate. That was stupid of me, and I think that I should be able to defend to myself why I completely exclude an argument from evaluation. Other than, obviously, arguments that are on-face violent, I am fair game for any position.
My previous nonstarters that are now on the table include
- Death Good
- "No perms in a method debate"
There are two arguments that are difficult for me as a judge:
1. A very pessimistically-read "Debate Bad" argument. Without a way to resolve the offense, I am left wondering why this doesn't link to every debater participating in the debate.
2. This is more of a brand of argument than a specific argument, but any personal arguments that I cannot verify within the current debate. This includes previous debates against this team or incidents between the teams. Debate competition is not the best accountability method for interpersonal violence, you should take these issues to tab, coaches, or relevant authorities to resolve it, not me.
All of my dispositions can be overcame through outdebating the other team. There is always the chance that you could be the debater who makes me enjoy judging issues that I once disliked.
If your strategy involve humiliating the other debaters in the round you should strike me. I am fine with passion about arguments and the way that people communicate them, I do not want harm to come in personal attacks against debaters and their unique positionality in debate.
Online Debate - PLEASE BE MORE CLEAR. I cannot stress this enough. In some of the rounds I have judged, I was very close to losing the argumentation to mumbling or a lack of clarity of speech. Start off slower please. I can flow at fast speeds, but high schooler's laptops are usually not the best, so please be as clear as possible.
The timer stops for medical issues and tech issues.
Lay Debate/Non-Circuit Styles - I debated on a semi-lay circuit for my high-school career, so if your debate style is more stock issues, traditional, or slow, go for it! I will not penalize you for sticking with a local style that you have no control over, just know that I am still a "flow" judge. I'm not a lay judge or blind to circuit norms by any means, I just think that it is not a team's fault where they begin debating, and will not penalize a different style that does not match progressive debate norms.
Speaker Points - are based on skill, respectfulness to the judge and your opponents, clarity, roadmapping, and how you execute your strategy. I do not give you higher speaks based on you telling me to. If you ask for speaker points, I will give you the tournament minimum.
Procedural issues always come before substance.
I like T debates. I especially enjoy T debates where a substantial amount of evidence is read, epecially evidence about caselists and interpretations with intent to define and exclude. Please explain to me your visions of the topic and why that should frame my decision. Impacting out these debates is important. T is always a voting issue. Some things that I think you should focus on:
1. What is the distinction between the interpretation and the counter-interpretation? I find that debaters oftentimes lose the forest for the trees and dive into the violation debates without solidifying what makes each team's views of what should be included in the topic distinct. A great way to do this for me is with caselists, from both teams, prodicting their interpretations and indicting the opposing interpretation.
2. In what way does the aff violate the interpretation? This seems like a basic portion of T debate, but I see so many high school shells being whitled down so much so that the violation doesn't make it in. If the violation is poorly written or non-existent, point that out to me. I have judged way too many T debates where the violation hinges on an assertion from the negative that the aff is not a thing, when they probably are that thing. I give affirmatives the benefit of the doubt when explaining intriciacies of their plan. This is an area where neg T evidence can really help.
I default to rejecting the argument on theory except for conditionality. If you want me to reject the team on anything else, impact out why. I think that you shouldn't rely heavily on blocks in these debates, or at least make those blocks responsive. Impacts to theory should be clear and articulate; the less buzzwords, the better. The offense of your interpretation or your counter-interpretation should be intrinsic to the interpretation/counter-interpretation.
My leanings on conditionality are that it's good, but I'm not opposed to pulling the trigger on condo bad by any means. I think going for conditionality when mishandled by the negative is perfectly viable and more aff teams should do it. I don't necessarily have a lower limit if you want to pull the trigger. As long as your standards are intrinsic to your interpretation, I'm fine with it. I find that the general practice of conditionality can be argued against and potential-abuse based arguments that come along with it are pretty compelling in these debates.
Please do more of this, as per my rant above. I seriously love a good case debate. Have good 1NC answers to the advantages and good explanations and clash on the aff, and we'll have a good day. I think that advantages can be beaten by zero risk arguments. I will vote on presumption if the aff has a ridiculous, completely misconstrued scenario with 0% risk of any of it being a thing.
I think that I can vote negative on presumption if a CP has no net benefit but the neg team proves that presumption lies with them.
I prefer framing pages that are specific to the aff. Debate tends to be extremely reductive of ethics and moral philosophy. Conflating consequentialism and utilitarianism, conflating deontology and structural violence, etc. Pointing out discrepancies in a team's framing and the way they view arguments in the debate is very convincing to me, i.e. a team advocating deontology making a consequential claim, etc.
I love impact turn debates. Please be nuanced with the uniqueness question - I need a very good unsustainability argument to weigh against their impact, otherwise I will still give their impact risk.
Please read a full shell in the 1NC. The link is the most important part of the DA, please explain it well. I think the Aff team can beat a DA with zero risk arguments. Please have a reason why it turns the advantages.
Neg must prove competition and that the CP is net-beneficial to the aff. I think process CPs are fine, more so if they are topic-relevant. CP and Perm texts should be specific. "Do Both" or others mean nothing unless the aff explains how the perm functions.
Multi-plank CPs should be broken down for me; please explain how each plank functions and solves the advantages. If planks can be kicked, and the CP is egregiously long, then each plank functions as a conditional advocacy
I think that judge kick needs to be flagged in the debate. This can be through saying "judge kick" explicitly or "The status quo is always a logical option", which I take as meaning "judge kick + conditional".
CPs - Novice and JV Debate: Please y'all, you need a net benefit to your CP. I will not vote on a CP that "just solves better". This has happened in almost all of the JV/Novice debates I have judged this year. Please be a stand-out and don't do this.
---Kritiks on the Negative---
Disclaimer: Though the common theme of this section is that you should explain your thing, this is because I am a perfectionist when it comes to how literature is represented, not because I think teams that read kritiks need to break down their stuff more than policy teams. I recognize that teams that read "policy" style arguments get away with the most blippy characterizations of their arguments too often, and this is a practice that I would like to stop in any style of debate I judge. Both teams will be held to the same standard of explanation of any argument. I despise 5-word theory arguments, framework standards, etc. All arguments have to have a claim and a warrant. Explain the link and the impact of the K in the context of the advocacy you are criticizing.
High theory is fine and welcomed, as long as you show you know what you are talking about.
I need a lot of alternative explanation. What is it and how is it distinct from the aff? Does it capture the aff? Why is it mutually exclusive to the aff? Most importantly, how doe the alternative resolve the links to the K? I think a very convincing way the aff can beat the alt is a defense of your method and DAs to the way the alternative explains the case, if at all. Alts should have a consistent text throughout the debate.
I think Ks should have an alternative or something external that resolves the offense (framework, CP with the K as a net benefit, etc.) I don't like evaluating linear DAs based on K impacts and links if the status quo does not resolve the offense.
In K v. K debates, I need the debaters to explain to me the distinction between the methods. What impacts do each of the methods access? What does the perm look like OR Why does the perm ruin the alt? How does the aff's method resolve the K's links?
Debaters should decide for me whether there are perms in a method debate, but I tend to lean neg on this question. See below.
---Framework/T-USFG v. K Affs---
After the first semester on the water topic, I maintain an exactly 50/50 voting record for for or against framework.
I think that the way that most people evaluate fairness impacts writ large is based on personal preconceptions and biases about what it good. I want to make mine as clear as possible here, while also emphasizing that any framework impact to me is fair game. However, the most convincing genre of impacts for me in framework debates are clash, argument refinement, and iterative testing in relation to how they affect advocacy skills.
I like affs that have creative counter-interpretations that include your method and creative impact turns. If you articulate to me why the aff should be included in the topic better than the neg does, you win. This is best done for me through an indict of the neg's interpretation and the research it creates, not by reading a linear DA against debate norms as a whole.
My only caveat is that I believe that there should be limits on the topic of debate, and I think that the aff will always have a more expansive view of the topic (unless only the aff is topical/some explanations I have yet to find convincing). However, placing at least some defined limits on the aff's interpretation mitigates the offense the neg gets and puts me in a good spot to weigh your impacts against however-better limits the neg's interpretation provides.
I don't think that the reading of framework constitutes violence. Arguments that are loose metaphorizations of debate norms to real-world violence are difficult to win in front of me, and I would be keen to vote on arguments from the negative that that metaphorization is bad. However, more nuanced versions of the "policing/exlusion" DA that involve connections to the aff's lit base and academia as a whole and have an impact that is focused more around your research and education are more convincing.
---K Affs (General/K v. K)---
I'm fine with K affs as long as you have both (A) some sort of advocacy statement and (B) a reason why you shouldn't defend this year's topic. This seems intuitive, but in some K debates I have judged, the affirmative is focused more on the community as a whole rather than
I'm not a great judge for K affs that don't have a robust method defense in the 1AC. I think there is a common trend for these types of affs to defend as little as possible in the 1AC and then shift their explanations to defend whatever suits their fancy in the 2AC and beyond after the neg lays down their core offense.
Because of this, I feel as if, in direct opposition to my previous opinions, I am leaning neg on "no perms in a method debate". It is easy for me to buy that the ability for the aff to permute the K incentivizes writing affirmatives with vague theses to eliminate competition, which hurts kritikal clash, education, advocacy, etc. I think that the negative can do a better job convincing me of this when they read literature-specific offense. Aff, you should have a hearty defense of your method. A specific perm text or hearty explanation, coupled with answers to "no perms" should be enough for you to argue and win that "this perm is good and we should get it". Cards for perms are especially helpful when deciding whether you get a perm or not.
Reflected in the the update above, I find myself spending more and more time reading K literature in my free time. I am familiar with the basics of many areas and their key authors, and I have done some assistant coaching for teams that primarily read kritkal positions, but am not an expert on the latest stuff. Therefore, while I would love to judge more of these debates, I understand that I may not be the best for you in terms of pre-existing knowledge.
Performance - Fine with it as long as it's educationally appropriate.
Judging LD is something I don't commonly do, but you can translate a lot of the above here.
ATTN: My standard for what is a complete argument is high for current norms in LD. Claim, Warrant, Implication. Make less arguments and use that time to make better quality arguments.
I am best for policy debates, quality T/Theory debates, and Policy v. K debates.
I am fine for K v. K debates, and my reading and debate style has put me in way more of these than in the past.
I am less ok for dense phil. I need a lot of explanation and impacting.
I am not good for frivolous theory or tricks.
Behavior - Being rude/obnoxious gets speaks taken away.
Please be humble and considerate if you win and patient if you lose. As long as I'm in the room, no comments should be made about the skill of your opponents or their knowledge on certain subjects. Post-rounding is welcomed until it crosses the line from picking my brain to being angry at me for not seeing that you are so obviously right. If you have a habit of post-rounding aggressively, break it. I have PTSD and will not spare a second going to tab if you react in a way that may trigger an anxiety attack.
I will intervene and stop a round if I think that there is violence, physical or verbal, that endangers those participating in that round. Those who perpetuate the violence will receive an instant loss, 0 speaks, and coaches will be contacted. I will fight tab to give you 0 speaks or have you ejected.
Evidence Ethics Violations - Clipping, Paraphrasing without reading the evidence, and cutting evidence out of context is what I define as academic dishonesty. Academic dishonesty mean an instant loss and I will award you the lowest amount of speaks that the tournament allows.
I understand the novelty of the activity for novices, but I hold JV and Varsity debaters to the standard of being able to properly read a card.
To quote Ryan McFarland, “Clipping is cheating no matter the intent."
---email title should include the tournament, round, and teams.
---this is the only section that really matters.
---I will vote on what is said and evaluate arguments based on how they are articulated. That means while I have preferences, they can all be overridden by judge instruction and technical debating.
---I flow straight down. I will probably not look at a speech doc during a speech (excluding the 1AC / 1NC). If your strategy relies on putting all your analytics in a doc, spreading through everything incomprehensibly, and expecting me to read along as if I can understand you, I am not your judge. If I miss what you said, that is on you. I think I am pretty good at flowing. Debate is a communicative activity. Things to do to increase clarity: separate analytics with carded arguments, use numbers, differentiate using tone, and don't clump perms. The latter is especially bad when its 5 different intrinsic perms rattled off with no separation.
---I care a lot about research and strategy.
---read all the cards.
---default to sending a card doc. Evidence should be formatted neatly, using verbatim, and organized coherently. This is true of both the card doc as well as every speech that features evidence.
---too much dead time will mean lower speaks.
---I have no interest in adjudicating anything that did not happen during the debate I am judging. See below for more details.
---I am dedicating a section to attempt to unpack my decision-making process. My favorite judges are rarely those who have ideological preferences with me, but rather those whom I understand how they make decisions, which gives me a guide for how to approach a round.
---“tech” > “truth.” This means I care a lot about technical concessions. This is true not only of the argument itself but the way it is characterized and the manner in which I am instructed to evaluate it. However, there are two caveats to this rule. First, the less true an argument is, the less of an answer it requires. This does not mean it cannot be left unaddressed. Second, the argument must comprise a full argument at the time of the concession.
---the default is that I will attempt to intervene as little as possible. When I do intervene, it is because there is a particular component of a debate that I need to resolve, but neither team has done a good job of resolving it.
---judge instruction is very important. I don’t pretend to be the most knowledgeable person about many things and won’t say that I am perfect. That means I am prone to errors, misjudgments, and mistakes. I would struggle to identify anyone who is the “optimal” judge at all times. That, in conjunction with a lack of strong opinions on “procedural” questions in debates (including cross-applications, “newness” allowed, etc.), means I am readily malleable by the debate in front of me. Debaters should attempt to rig this malleability to their favor in front of me. Which impacts matter, how should I understand an argument, how new is an argument, what is a prior question, can debaters insert re-cuts, etc., are all up for debate and I will largely accept whatever the debaters say as guiding my decision.
---I mulled over this a while and realized I should introduce another layer to my explanation of judge instruction. While I find myself knowing the order of questions I should resolve after a round, I rarely feel strongly about it. I could be convinced by a final rebuttal that points in a particular direction or map of how I should go about deciding.
---evidence matters a lot to me. My favorite part of the activity is reading and processing evidence. This can be either highly qualified, well-warranted positions or contrived, strategically processed ones. Regardless, the debating and comparison of evidence are very important to me. I will not, however, read the evidence for the sake of it. I will read evidence to verify arguments made by debaters and it will influence the margins of how I fall on a particular issue. As I said above, even this process of how I read evidence can be altered by the quality of debating.
---vagueness < explanation / clarity (?). There is an increasing trend among teams to not specify anything in plan texts, CP texts, alternatives, cross-x, etc. It is actually reaching a point where it is mind-boggling that in this persuasive speech activity, we are racing towards being more amorphous and, as a result, less persuasive. This isn’t to say I want people going for a vagueness procedural or I want texts to specify to the nth degree. This is to say that debaters should reign in some tendencies to reach for vagaries when they can simply be clear and defend what they say. Simply put, more details and explanations are always better for me. I will struggle to vote on something I cannot explain, obviously.
---"new argument." What is the bright line and why do I care? Asserting something is new is not an argument. The only speech I will protect judiciously is the 2NR and that is only because there is no ability to refute the 2AR. This does not mean I think the AFF cannot stretch what is "new." In fact, in the vast majority of cases, the AFF has a compelling case for "newness." For example: if the 2AC says "Recession inevitable because x and y," the 1NR responds by reading specific evidence indicting x and y and flags this as being the case, I am less likely to give the 1AR a new card that says "recession inevitable because z." On the other hand, if the NEG's response is "x and y are wrong but also generally there will be no recession," I can be compelled the 1AR gets warrant z. None of this is set in stone as this is merely to say this is a gray area that should be debated out.
---none of this is to be disingenuous and say I have no ideological predispositions. However, it is to say the only impact of those dispositions is I am more receptive to certain arguments.
---topic thoughts: I have a decent understanding of the economy, but I do not have much knowledge of most topic mechanisms unless it's the job guarantee (due to judging a lot of these debates). T arguments do not seem that great on this topic. There seems to be a lot of process garbage despite most AFFs doing controversial things. The last thought is the Econ DA. That's it.
---planless AFFs: specificity is preferable to vagueness, debate is a game could be more but it certainly is that, AFF offense should hopefully be intrinsic to the process of debate, and K v. K debates are an interesting research passion of mine.
---DA: K of impacts is better than "probability first" and politics DA is good. Repeat, I am always here for the Econ DA.
---CP: sufficiency framing is intuitive, judge kick good, condo good, most theory should be perm justifications, and am generally pretty NEG on most theoretical arguments. I tend to not think about CP competition that often so make of that what you will.
---K: it should either be a DA or framing the AFF out of the debate, specificity is good, framework interps should be mutually exclusive or don't really matter, I don't care fiat isn't real.
---T: yes competing interps unless ridiculous, predictable limits are good, more cards are good, definitions of words are good, and internal link debating is good.
---evidence ethics or anything else in a similar vein should typically be debated. That's what I prefer but if there is a clear violation consistent with tournament policy, the onus is on the debaters to clearly direct me to stop the round and address it (for details look here).
---"Being racist, sexist, violent, etc. in a way that is immediately and obviously hazardous to someone in the debate = L and 0. My role as educator > my role as any form of disciplinarian, so I will err on the side of letting stuff play out - i.e. if someone uses gendered language and that gets brought up I will probably let the round happen and correct any ignorance after the fact. This ends when it begins to threaten the safety of round participants. Where that line is entirely up to me." – Truf.
T-I have no artificial threshold on topicality. I will vote on abuse. Typically, cross x checks back on T.
Ks-framwork is paramount and the alternative. Please do not run "Vote Neg" as the sole alternative. There
should be more thought on the alt.
Speed. I have a high school and college policy background. I coached CEDA from 93-00 and coach NPDA, parli style
Counterplans--PICS are fine. Agent CPS are fine. In the end, I am tabula rasa and will default to impact calc to resolve plan debate
Das--uniqueness is key. Internal links are important. Please watch double turning yourself in the 2AC. I do not like performative contradictions and will vote against them
Performance/Project-I am progressive and liberal here. Run it and defend it. If you are on the other side, debate it straight up. A counter-performance is a legit strategy.
Have fun. I dislike rude debaters. I will vote on language abuse if a team calls it (ex: sexist, racist, etc lang)
Yes, email chain. firstname.lastname@example.org
Debater--The University of Michigan '91-'95
Head Coach--Oak Park and River Forest HS '15-'20
Assistant Coach--New Trier Township High School '20-
--Old School Policy.
--Like the K on the Neg. Harder sell on the Aff.
--Quality of Evidence Counts. Massive disparities warrant intervention on my part.
--Not great with theory debates.
--I value Research and Strategic Thinking (both in round and prep) as paramount when evaluating procedural impacts.
--Utter disdain for trolly Theory args, Death Good, Wipeout and Spark. Respect the game, win classy.
Advantage vs Disadvantage
More often than not, I tend to gravitate towards the team that wins probability. The more coherent and plausible the internal link chain is, the better.
Zero risk is a thing.
I can and will vote against an argument if cards are poor exclusive of counter evidence being read.
Not a big fan of Pre-Fiat DA's: Spending, Must Pass Legislation, Riders, etc. I will err Aff on theory unless the Neg has some really good evidence as to why not.
I love nuanced defense and case turns. Conversely, I love link and impact turns. Please run lots of them.
I am largely okay with a fair amount of condo. i.e. 4-5 not a big deal for me. I will become sympathetic to Aff Theory ONLY if the Neg starts kicking straight turned arguments. On the other hand, if you go for Condo Bad and can't answer Strat Skew Inevitable, Idea Testing Good and Hard Debate is Good Debate then don't go for Condo Bad. I have voted Aff on Conditionality Theory, but rarely.
**That said, the Inequality Topic has made me add an addendum to my aforementioned grievance about being on my lawn: running blatantly contradictory arguments about Capitalism, Unions, Growth, etc. are egregious performance contradictions that I will no longer ignore under the auspices of conditionality. Its not that I am changing my tune on condo per se, its that this promotes bad neg strats that are usually a result of high school students not thinking about things they should be before reading the 1NC. Its pretty easy to win in-round abuse when a Neg is defending Unions Good and Bad at the same time. I encourage you to try.
1. I have grown weary of vague plan writing. To that end, I tend think that the Neg need only win that the CP is functionally competitive. The Plan is about advocacy and cannot be a moving target.
2. Perm do the CP? Intrinsic Perms? I am flexible to Neg if they have a solvency advocate or the Aff is new. Otherwise, I lean Aff.
PIC’s and Agent CP’s are part of our game. I err Neg on theory. Ditto 50 State Fiat.
No object Fiat, please. Or International Fiat on a Domestic Topic.
Otherwise, International Fiat is a gray area for me. The Neg needs a good Interp that excludes abusive versions. Its winnable.
Solvency advocates and New Affs make me lean Neg on theory.
I will judge kick automatically unless given a decent reason why not in the 1AR.
If you lean on K Affs, just do yourself a favor and put me low or strike me. I am not unsympathetic to your argument per se, I just vote on Framework 60-70% of the time and it rarely has anything to do with your Aff.
That said, if you can effectively impact turn Framework, beat back a TVA and Switch Side Debate, you can get my ballot.
Topic relevance is important.
If your goal is to make blanket statements about why certain people are good or bad or should be excluded from valuable discussions then I am not your judge. We are all flawed.
I do not like “debate is bad” arguments. I don't think that being a "small school" is a reason why I should vote for you.
Kritiks vs Policy Affs
Truth be told, I vote Neg on Kritiks vs Policy Affs A LOT.
I am prone to voting Aff on Perms, so be advised College Debaters. I have no take on "philosophical competition" but it does seem like a thing.
I am not up on the Lit AT ALL, so the polysyllabic word stews you so love to concoct are going to make my ears bleed.
I like reading cards after the debate and find myself understanding nuance better when I can. If you don’t then you leave me with only the bad handwriting on my flow to decipher what you said an hour later and that’s not good for anybody.
When I usually vote Neg its because the Aff has not done a sufficient job in engaging with core elements of the K, such as Ontology, Root Cause Claims, etc.
I am not a great evaluator of Framework debates and will usually err for the team that accesses Education Impacts the best.
Because it theoretically serves an external function that affects other rounds, I do give the Aff a fair amount of leeway when the arguments start to wander into a gray area. The requirement for Offense on the part of the Affirmative is something on which I place little value. Put another way, the Aff need only prove that they are within the predictable confines of research and present a plan that offers enough ground on which to run generic arguments. The Negative must prove that the Affirmative skews research burdens to a point in which the topic is unlimited to a point beyond 20-30 possible cases and/or renders the heart of the topic moot.
Plan Text in a Vacuum is a silly defense. In very few instances have I found it defensible. If you choose to defend it, you had better be ready to defend the solvency implications.
Limits and Fairness are not in and of themselves an impact. Take it to the next level.
Why I vote Aff a lot:
--Bad/Incoherent link mechanics on DA’s
--Perm do the CP
--CP Solvency Deficits
--Framework/Scholarship is defensible
--T can be won defensively
Why I vote Neg a lot:
--Condo is lame
--Weakness of aff internal links/solvency
--Offense that turns the case
--You actually had a strategy
PUBLIC FORUM SUPPLEMENT:
I judge about 1 PF Round for every 50 Policy Rounds so bear with me here.
I have NOT judged the PF national circuit pretty much ever. The good news is that I am not biased against or unwilling to vote on any particular style. Chances are I have heard some version of your meta level of argumentation and know how it interacts with the round. The bad news is if you want to complain about a style of debate in which you are unfamiliar, you had better convince me why with, you know, impacts and stuff. Do not try and cite an unspoken rule about debate in your part of the country.
Because of my background in Policy, I tend to look at things from a cost benefit perspective. Even though the Pro is not advocating a Plan and the Con is not reading Disadvantages, to me the round comes down to whether the Pro has a greater possible benefit than the potential implications it might cause. Both sides should frame the round in terms impact calculus and or feasibility. Impacts need to be tangible.
Evidence quality is very important.
I will vote on what is on the flow (yes, I flow) and keep my personal opinions of arguments in check as much as possible. I may mock you for it, but I won’t vote against you for it. No paraphrasing. Quote the author, date and the exact words. Quals are even better but you don’t have to read them unless pressed. Have the website handy. Research is critical.
Speed? Meh. You cannot possibly go fast enough for me to not be able to follow you. However, that does not mean I want to hear you go fast. You can be quick and very persuasive. You don't need to spread.
Defense is nice but is not enough. You must create offense in order to win. There is no “presumption” on the Con.
While I am not a fan of formal “Kritik” arguments in PF, I do think that Philosophical Debates have a place. Using your Framework as a reason to defend your scholarship is a wise move. Racism and Sexism will not be tolerated. You can attack your opponents scholarship.
I reward debaters who think outside the box.
I do not reward debaters who cry foul when hearing an argument that falls outside traditional parameters of PF Debate. Again, I am not a fan of the Kritik, but if its abusive, tell me why instead of just saying “not fair.”
Statistics are nice, to a point. But I feel that judges/debaters overvalue them. Often the best impacts involve higher values that cannot be quantified. A good example would be something like Structural Violence.
While Truth outweighs, technical concessions on key arguments can and will be evaluated. Dropping offense means the argument gets 100% weight.
The goal of the Con is to disprove the value of the Resolution. If the Pro cannot defend the whole resolution (agent, totality, etc.) then the Con gets some leeway.
I care about substance and not style. It never fails that I give 1-2 low point wins at a tournament. Just because your tie is nice and you sound pretty, doesn’t mean you win. I vote on argument quality and technical debating. The rest is for lay judging.
Relax. Have fun.
I would love to be included on the email chain please email@example.com
Countless rounds on previous years topics. I have helped research and cut many arguments for the inequality topic and have judged practice rounds but this will be the first tournament I judge economic inequality this year.
4 years hs circuit policy/ 4 years college policy / lots of coaching and some breaks in between
He/Him Don't care to be called judge a whole lot. Please feel free to call me Bobby. I prefer cameras on especially during speech time.
I believe first that ya'll should have the debate ya'll want to have. I do not believe the round is about the judge rather the judge is there to evaluate who was more persuasive in the round everyone decided to have. I will reward your technical debate ability unless however your framework arguments are urging me to reject that ability in some way. I do believe though that over time people develop their own preferences, and it's unavoidable to not lean into those preferences unless educated as to why I shouldn't. So I will share some brief thoughts on debate and where I generally stand on a few things, keeping in mind that what I said first here is most important. I come from a Policy Debate oriented background so if I am judging you in a progressive LD or parli round you may want to keep this in mind. In LD I evaluate value criterion as an impact value for framing not an impact itself. However like I said I will evaluate the type of round you want to have just explain the judging framework you are putting me in.
I have developed some auditory issues in my left ear. You should not have to sacrifice speed because of this. I can hear just fine, but sometimes there is a little echo so I appreciate good sign posting and clear tags. And while speed is great, disorganization is not.
K debate - Over time I find that I tend to evaluate from a policy making standpoint. This doesn't mean you should strike me if you are a K debater. I have been helping cut and dive into more of these arguments as of late. Keep in mind I may not be immersed in the same literature though. This is going to make your Link wall extremely important and might warrant slowing down a touch. I'm not sure where we are at in 2023 on judge kicking the alt, however I would like this to present itself as an option in the debate rather than making my own decision. This is also reserved for a strong link story and DA's embedded into the links that will serve as a turn to the aff.
Theory - Win the tech and impact out. I see many doing the former but forgetting that second step. I would guess my history as a judge puts me closer in line with condo good, unless out of control. However everything is debatable.
T - You do you. Would love to see a high quality T debate at the HS level.
CP/DA - Lets do it.
Aff - Pretty straight forward if you are a policy aff or soft left. Updated this part on Kritikal affirmatives.... I like to think I am open to the debate arguments you want to run. The disclaimer on K affs is that I don't have any experience running them myself. I have seen many of these rounds and feel comfortable in my ability to evaluate these now, however remember that I am probably not deep into your literature so lots of judge instruction and clear distinction.
One of my more important preferences however would be courtesy. I believe everyone should be respectful toward one another and I highly value kindness. I will award speaker points based on how well you performed your speaker position role, but I will dock these points if I believe rudeness has gotten out of hand. Don't confuse that with passion, confidence, and competition because I love all three of those things. I think most of us know when it crosses a line.
Have a fun Debate!
Coach at New Trier (formerly at Oak Park River Forest)
Debater at the University of Kentucky
Add firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com to the chain.
If you are interested in debating in college and want to know more about Kentucky, please feel free to ask me via email or at tournaments. I also (most likely) have Kentucky Debate stickers on me at any given tournament, so if you want one, let me know.
How do I decide debates, and what do you need to know?
Tell me what to do---judge instruction is the only way that you can combat judge intervention. The best debaters don't force the judge to find their path to victory for them, they tell the judge why they win and the other team loses. I vastly prefer clear narratives woven from the start of the debate to the end over debates that feel like they started in the rebuttals. I do not like intervention, having to piece a debate together through a card doc, or any other task that requires me to think about the debate without looking directly at my flow. I will always make it explicit in my decision when I think I have intervened and justify why I thought it was necessary. The final rebuttal should clearly explain the implication of winning your most important arguments, particularly relative to the other team's arguments. Doing so will result in a faster and clearer decision as well as better speaker points.
I don't really care what you go for---make an argument and impact it out. The only caveat is that I am not sure how I would evaluate a debate over punishing an individual for behavior out-of-round. To be fully transparent, I do not think that those types of issues belong in individual debate rounds, so that bias may manifest itself if someone were to go for a call-out in front of me.
Complain about new arguments---this is the only surefire way to get me to notice them. When teams allege that a new argument was made in the 1AR/2NR, I am often persuaded. I have a high bar for the 1AR justifying new arguments, and I have an even higher bar for the 2NR. I particularly am not a fan of 2NR and 2AR cards. Teams often respond to each of those things as if they are completely normal, and I do not think that they should.
Ask questions---if you think I'm wrong about something, that is okay! I understand that judges can be frustratingly unclear and often seem like they watched a completely different debate from the one you participated in. I will explain my thinking to the best of my ability if you want me to. If you want feedback, I'd be happy to provide more of that too. I'm also glad to answer questions via email if you have them. Unless I go all the way to decision-time thinking about the debate, I write out pretty much everything I say in my initial ballot because I would ramble for too long otherwise, so I you will always have a written record of my ballot on your Tabroom account.
Going for theory is the worst choice you can make---I hate, hate, hate, hate, hate theory debates. I hate judging them. I hate being in them. I hate thinking about them. I hate the idea of them. Stop being a coward. Do not go for conditionality. I will vote for it if major technical concessions are made, but the bar for me is significantly higher than virtually every other judge because I do not want to waste my valuable weekends judging conditionality debates, and I want to reward hard work with my ballot rather than cheap shot theory wins.
Send a card doc if you want me to read cards---please be as liberal as you can in what cards you include. Make sure to include plan texts and counterplan texts. This is just so I don't have to dig through speeches. I probably won't read every card in the doc, but I will read the ones that the final rebuttals say are important.
Will I vote for/against framework?
Yes and yes---I'm agnostic towards both the "best impact" to framework and the "best" way to answer it. Framework is ultimately a strategy like any other argument, so if you are good at debating your side, I'm likely to evaluate the debate in a manner no different from any other round.
Don't forget that the burden of proof still exists---I find that teams will often repeat lines of argumentation that they assume to be true without explaining them. For neg teams, this is oftentimes asserting that fairness is an impact without any of the explanation required to prove such a claim, and for aff teams, this usually looks like asserting some structural problem with debate and/or the topic without explaining why that problem exists/why the aff solves it. This is where my bias comes in: because I am more familiar with the neg side of things, when underdeveloped, I am more likely to intervene for the negative simply by virtue of the fact that I have only been aff in these debates like 4 times roughly 6 years ago.
Internal links often matter more than impacts---what I mean by this is that teams seldom disagree with one another about whether debate has some value. The question that each team should try to answer in front of me is how we can maximize debate's value wherever it exists. A good portion of the final rebuttal needs to be dedicated to explaining why the model that you have forwarded does that better than the other team's can. This may just boil down to "do impact comparison," but I find that framework debates are more engaging to watch and easier to evaluate when teams explicitly focus on comparison as opposed to making large, structural claims and trying to get me to connect the dots for them.
What if the neg is going for a K against a policy aff?
Framework only sometimes matters---unless there is very good judge instruction, my brain does not tend to care very much about framework. My default is always to evaluate reps links equally to the aff advantages. A plan without justification has not met the burden of proof, so disproving all aff representations is like winning impact defense to every impact. It means a little bit of offense almost certainly outweighs the case. Inversely, if reps links do not disprove the entirety of the case, framework matters a lot more because it is the only thing other than a PIK to stop me from voting on aff outweighs. Beyond those caveats, I will probably just do what you tell me if framework becomes a big deal.
Vagueness favors the aff---I'm finding myself increasingly frustrated when teams going for the K have arguments that could serve as case defense that they then vaguely assert in the 2NR and don't apply them to the aff, particularly when these arguments are often well warranted in the block. This is all to say go for tricks, but do not assume that their mere existence is sufficient for me to vote neg absent explanation.
The aff should treat the alt like a counterplan---I have voted neg on the K an uncomfortable amount because the 2AC has dropped the alt or read that realism card from 2014 that doesn't really answer the K in any meaningful capacity. Remember that if the 1AR goes for extinction outweighs but drops that the alt solves the aff/an extinction impact, the aff will almost certainly lose the debate!
I don't care very much about "theories of the world"---theses debates are so stale and boring. Just say what the 1AC said was right or wrong. I don't understand why common ontology arguments intuitively take out/turn the case, especially absent a framework/impact framing argument.
Very good for the link turn---I would much prefer to judge link turn/perm debates than whatever you'd call buzzword-laden 2ARs about utilitarianism. The latter certainly have their place, but in 1-off debates where the aff reads their version of the 1AC with lots of pre-empts, I find that the negative is in a much worse place when the aff actually talks about the link in specific terms rather than gesturing at the world being complex and saying the case is true.
Do you like T?
Sure do---some of the best debates I've watched, judged, and have participated in involved T. Good T speeches earn very high speaker points. I don't really care what the T argument is as long as you explain it compellingly. I don't have a
Predictability matters vastly more than anything else---I think that the more precise or predictable an interpretation is, the less it matters how good its limits are on the topic in a vacuum. If a "bad" definition is more precise or predictable, limits are solely a reason we should've written the resolution better. This also means that I believe that precision is possible. Certain people in debate have convinced themselves that one definition cannot be more "precise" than another. Tell that to a lexicographer, and they will laugh in your face. This is what T debates should be all about. While I agree that "random court definition" is not a desirable model, there is always a debate to be had over the applicability over those "random court definitions," and the case facts, context of the definition, and outcome of the opinion certainly are relevant when reading the resolution. In past debates with insufficient impact calculus in the 2NR/2AR, I have intervened in favor of the team that more convincingly articulates predictability as an internal link because of this view.
The aff should go for reasonability---this is the obvious conclusion to my disdain for limits. Most neg impacts to T can be taken out easily enough that offense about substance crowd-out can outweigh them.
What about counterplans? Can I have a list of random counterplans related thoughts?
You sure can!
Judge kick is my default, I guess?---does this matter? No one goes for "links to the net benefit" these days and even fewer have full-throated defenses of permutations against anything but the slimiest of process junk. If those things are won, I guess I'll kick it for the neg unless told otherwise in every aff speech.
Not great in complex competition debates---just not something I think about a lot. I find myself voting neg a lot just because of technical concessions and a lack of 2AR judge instruction. The neg argument often seems more intuitive to me when I'm left to my own devices. Despite going for lots of process CPs as a college debater, I usually black out when writing the competition section of whatever CP I'm working on because my brain decides it does not want to have thoughts in those moments. This is all to say I am not intimately familiar with the inner workings of functionally and textually non-severance partially-but-sometimes-fully intrinsic permutations, and I require some hand-holding if this is your 2AR strategy.
Impacts matter---solvency deficits need them. "Delay" and "certainty" only matter if the aff has a short-term impact that requires certainty. If I can't explain what impact that is, the neg usually wins.
If theory is the strategy, proceed with caution---in truth, I'm a fine judge for most theory arguments. However, I have never seen a CP that was impossible for the aff to beat, and I really hate judging theory debates. Theory arguments often turn into "CPs that solve the aff are a voting issue." Avoid this where possible, and contextualize your argument to the particular type of CP instead of just asserting that the neg "stole the aff."
Send perm texts---just a procedural thing. Make sure they're in the card doc too. No perm text makes me learn overwhelmingly neg on theory.
What if I have the misfortune of needing to go for the status quo?
Take it as a blessing in disguise---I am probably better than average for believing the world is better now than it is post-plan. I'm generally a bad judge for structural uniqueness arguments given adequate link debating by the neg, and I am such a sucker for case defense that even weak DAs end up doing enough for me to win.
Impacts matter, and I can't believe I have to say that---The team that does better impact calculus usually wins. I find that I care more about terminal impacts than some other judges. I default to the assumption that extinction is categorically distinct from even 99% of the human race going away.
Evidence quality matters---this is in the DAs section of the paradigm because it is where it matters most. Far too often, teams read lots of bad cards that gesture at vague economic concepts for a few rebuttals, tell me to read the cards, and then don't look alarmed when I conclude that the cards sucked. Debates over bad evidence result in more intervention, particularly when that evidence is under-explained by the 2NR/2AR. This means that if you're going for the status quo with a DA that doesn't have the best evidence, you cannot afford to let your cards do the debating for you.
Thumpers are boring and cowardly---mostly applies to politics on this topic. "There are other bills in Congress" is not a link nor a uniqueness answer to the politics DA. You have to explain why your thumper implicates the DA or is not priced in by the neg reading a uniqueness card.
Be smart---I am not a particularly smart person but know one when I see one. Smart arguments as an alternative to getting lost in the cards will not only increase your chances of winning, but it will also boost your speaker points. Knowing stuff about the world is really cool.
How can I get better speaker points?
Be yourself---the worst form of overadapting is when serious people try to be funny or funny people try to be serious. I love debaters with personality and reward them with speaker points much more than I do anything else. Show me you want to be there, and you'll be fine.
Why is your paradigm so long?
I like reading long paradigms when I am bored. It generally shows that someone cares deeply about judging, and I aspire to put as much care into my judging as my favorite judges do. Plus, I judge enough debates to be guaranteed an audience of annoyed coaches and debaters, so I might as well take advantage of it.
Add me to the email chain: firstname.lastname@example.org
University of Kansas '25
Lawrence Free State '21
I'm a junior debating for KU, and a 2A who has read a mix of policy and K arguments.
Do what you do best. I will try my best to adapt and be unbiased. I care much more about argument quality than argument type.
Judge instruction is really important and will improve your speaks and odds of winning. The 2NR/2AR should put pieces together, use even if statements, simplify the debate, and do impact calc. Organized, easy to flow speeches that use direct clash will boost speaks and make the debate easier to be resolved.
I have done minimal topic research - explain acronyms, have specific link stories/solvency mechanisms, contextualize arguments to the 1AC.
Read re-highlightings or explain what it says if inserting it - I won't read it for you.
Tech > truth.
They're good. Assume I don't know your literature base and err on the side of over-explanation.
It is possible to win on presumption against K affs. Specific analysis and explanation of the advocacy/mechanism for the aff is important. Explain why you solve something or don't need to.
I don't care about the form the 1AC takes (performance, cards, etc.), but it should defend something and have some connection to the topic.
I appreciate innovative neg strats and creative PIKs.
Framework v K affs
Go for whatever impact you're most comfortable with.
Fairness can/can not be an impact depending on who is winning this argument, so explain and impact out fairness when going for it.
Explain what your model of the resolution/debate looks like, including topical affs and a progression of innovation for those affs throughout the season. You're probably winning an impact, so a giant impact overview is useless, but contextualizing and explaining it to the debate can write my ballot for you.
Neg: Answer case - don't concede the aff's theory of power or solvency mechanism and case offense. TVAs aren't necessary, but a good one can be terminal defense.
Aff: Get creative with your counter-interpretation to limit out of the negs impacts. Weigh the aff and its education - you read it for a reason. Reading a couple well-impacted out disads in the 2AC is better than reading a series of unexplained disads. Impact turn strategies should be coupled with defense.
Explain the theory of power in simple language, assuming I don't understand the literature and buzzwords. Err on the side of over-explanation in high theory debates.
Embedded clash > long overviews.
Links are DAs to the perm, but there needs to be an impact to this.
Links of omission aren't links. Link contextualization is important and can make a generic link persuasive - talk about the aff as much as possible - pull lines from the 1AC and CX. 1-2 impacted out links > multiple links.
Framework shapes how I should resolve clash debates, so explain why winning framework matters, and how you win the debate even if you lose framework.
Winning an alt isn't totally necessary, but it is helpful. Explain how the alt solves the links but the perm doesn't.
I'm good for technical, well-defended K tricks - link turns case, floating piks, PIPs, epist first, etc. These strategies should not be vague or underexplained by the end of the 2NR.
Aff: 2ACs should contextualize perms to the links. You need to answer their theory of power - defense to theirs and an alternative theory of power. Leverage your 1AC - impact turns, case outweighs, net benefit to the perm, etc.
2ACs should read multiple theory arguments, and don't be afraid to go for them.
Condo isn't necessarily good or bad, you don't need to win in round abuse but it helps.
Slow down and clash, don’t spread through blocks at top speed.
My topic knowledge is minimal, so I don't have a great understanding of what "core of the topic" actually is, and the interp debate is extra important.
Slow down in these debates and impact it out in the 2NR.
Case lists and examples of lost ground/functional limits are good.
I default to competing interpretations but think reasonability is fine. Either way, explain what it means for resolving the debate.
Specific links and explanations > topic links.
Couch turns case arguments into the internal link when possible.
Judge kick is probably bad and I won't do it unless instructed to.
Good analytics can beat a bad DA.
Currently a coach and PhD student at The University of Kansas.
Add me to the chain plz and thank you DerekHilligoss@gmail.com
for college add email@example.com as well
TL;DR do what you do and do it well. Don't let my preferences sway you away from doing what you want.
The biggest thing for me is that I value good impact framing/calc. If you aren't explaining why your impacts matter more then your opponents you are leaving it up for me or the other team to decide.
Framework: Go for whatever version of framework you like but I tend to think it should interact with the aff at some level. If you give the 2NC/2NR and make no reference to the aff you will find it harder to win my ballot.
Planless affs: The one note I wanna make outside of FW notes is that you have to be able to answer the "what do you do" question no matter how silly it may seem. If I don't know what the aff does after the 1AC/CX that's gonna put you in a rough spot. I don't think this means you have to do anything but you should have a good justification for why you don't have to.
Theory: condo (probably) to a certain extent is good and counterplans should (probably) have solvency advocates. I have no strong opinions just tell me how to feel.
*new strong opinion* going for condo is not a remedy for being a bad 2A---
Topicality: limits for the sake of limits probably bad?
Counterplans: cool? Do it
Disads: The only thing I wanna note here is highlight your cards better. I don't wanna have to read 30 crappy cards to get the story of the disad and it makes it easier for the aff to win with a few solid cards.
Kritiks: Specific links go a long way. This doesn't mean it has to be exactly about the plan but your application will do better than a generic "law bad" card. Applying your theory to the aff's advantages in a way that takes out solvency will make your lives so much easier.
For the aff FW I think a well developed FW argument about legal/pragmatic engagement will do more for you than fairness/limits impacts.
If you are unclear I'll yell clear twice before I stop flowing. I'll make it apparent I'm not flowing to let you know you need to adjust still.
If you clip you will lose.
"reinsert card here"- nope :) read it- this is a communication activity not a robot activity.
5 Minute Pre-Round
I am an open book. I have no real inclination towards or against certain types of arguments.
Most important things for debaters to know:
- I am a double major in chemistry and engineering. I don't have the luxury of doing a lot of topic research. That means for counterplan solvency and T violations, raise your threshold of explanation.
- If you are non-black, probably don't read Warren/Wilderson-styled pessimism in front of me.
- Debate is dying, so try and act nice so people want to stay in the activity.
- The block can be considered a new speech. I am inclined against everything but new planks. However, that shouldn't stop you from reading them if they "make sense."
- I tend to be pretty lenient on what counts as an extension of an argument.
I will start off the round with 28.5 for each of the speakers. I think that most teams have gotten very good at being fast and clear but lack some of the overarching speech structure which means that you can be fast and clear and still get poor speaker points due to being unflowable. That being said, I do prioritize clarity over speed- as every judge does.
Don’t be a bad person. I am one of those people who will vote somebody down on it.
1. Do not use violent, racist, homophobic, transphobic, aggressive, etc rhetoric. It's obvious but apparently, it needs to be repeated. I will vote you down if something goes on.
2. If you are going against a novice team, try and make debate a welcoming place for them.
More specific thoughts
T: I have a higher threshold for winning T is substance crowd-out. I am not the most knowledgeable on the literature base, so a lot of terms of art will be new to me. Most T debates can be won or lost on basic impact calc and comparisons.
Theory: Condo is contextual, not a hard rule. A-Z spec are bad arguments. K-ish styled theory arguments are definitely okay in front of me.
CP: No solvency advocate: go for it, but you are at a higher burden of explaining solvency.
K: I vibe with any style of K, because there is no "correct" style of K debate. I share some of the same KU school of thought that debating the alt is a lost art. However, that does not affect how I will evaluate the debate.
Aff v K: The biggest thing that aff teams lose are floating piks they didn't answer in the 2ac. Aff is your best source of offense against the K; I will reward creative application of the aff against the K.
K/Performance affs: I would love to see some level of explanation of solvency. I think understanding the mechanisms about how you solve (X impact) will both resolve a lot of neg offense and also give much-needed clarification.
FW: Go for it, FW can be innovative, and the debates are fun to watch. Fairness is an impact- if not a bit intangible. Answer the counter interp properly- K teams have gotten decent-ish at crafting unique and clever CI's.
Evidence: I will probably not look at evidence unless told to do so; however, I will look at T interp + violation cards. If you do tell me to look at cards, please be clear with judge instruction. There are a thousand different ways to interpret a card and just saying, "look x evidence," doesn't give me much context of how I should be reading their evidence or what I should be looking for.
For circuit tournaments: I expect teams to disclose promptly after pairings come out. Don't show up to the room 1 minute before the round starts and then finally disclose the aff (especially if it's not on the wiki). I consider this the same as not disclosing at all and thus am ok with your opponents running disclosure on you.
The brief rundown of whatever event I am judging this weekend is below, but here's the full breakdown of how I feel about various arguments as well as my paradigm for other events. I even used the google docs outline to save you time in finding what you need: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1KwX4hdsnKCzHLYa5dMR_0IoJAkq4SKgy-N-Yud6o8iY/edit?usp=sharing
I don't care what you call me as long as you don't call me broke (jk, I am a teacher so you can also call me that ig)
Email chain: Yes, I do want to be on the email chain (saves time): learnthenouns[at]the-google-owned-one.
Head coach at Lincoln East (10-ish years), 7 years of debating in high school (LD, Policy and Congress) and college (NFA-LD and NPDA/NPTE Parli)
Overview for all events
Debate is both educational and a game. I believe the education comes from ideas engaging with one another and students finding their voice. The "game" element functions as a test of your effectiveness in presenting and defending your personal beliefs and advocacies. Thus, I consider myself a games player as it is a necessary component of the educational experience.
A major exception: I will not listen to you promote any kind of advocacy that says oppression good or structural violence denial (ie claiming anti-white racism is real). They are an auto-ballot against you regardless of whether your opponent points it out or not.
I flow tags and internal warrants. I only flow author names if there’s nothing else to write down, so don't just rely on 'surname extensions' with zero warranting (ie 'extend smith 99, economy improves, moving on') to get you through the round. I am more interested in the content of your arguments than the names of the people that you are citing.
On that note, I want the speech doc so that I can check your evidence. I generally try to avoid flowing from the doc though, but I do make exceptions such as with some online rounds.
In-person: speed is fine in everything except congress. I watch NDT rounds for fun, so I can handle it. But I do expect clarity in all events. I will yell "clear" once or twice if you're mumbling, and after that I reduce speaks.
Online: if you are extremely fast, slow it down a little bit (but not a ton) when online, especially if you have a bad mic. The unfortunate reality is most people's set ups can't handle top policy speeds.
- Slow down a bit for your analytics and tags darn it.
In super-brief (or T/L as the cool kids call it):
See below for in-depth on different arguments
Great for: Ks; T; K affs in the direction of the topic; unique and well-warranted plan affs; soft left affs; framework; performance args; most things that deal with critical lit (especially love Deleuze tbh)
Ok for: blippy/big stick plan text affs; K affs with zero topic links; DAs with strong links; valid procedurals (ie vagueness, condo); basic CP debates; Baudrillard
I would rather not judge (but have definitely still voted for): CP debates that get heavily into CP theory; generic DAs with minimal links, frivolous theory (ie inherency procedural, arbitrary spec shells, etc); most speed ks (unless they are grounded in something like ableism); orientalist China bashing
Various things I especially appreciate: clash, debating and extending warrants, in-depth case debate, impacting T properly, an organized flow, prompt pre-round disclosure and open sourcing, creative arguments
Various things I especially dislike: rudeness, not kicking things properly, mumbling when speed reading, disorganized flows, debaters who show up late to rounds and then ask us to wait while they pre-flow, extending author names or tags instead of warrants and impacts
I am mostly down for whatever, but I prefer in-depth debate over blippy extensions. I am ultimately a games player though, so you do you.
I want teams to engage with each other's arguments (including T, framework, and case). Debating off scripted blocks for the whole round isn't really debating.
I flow internal warrants and tags more often than author names so don’t rely on me knowing what “extend Smith #3 in 2k12” means in the grand scheme of the debate and, similarly, don’t power tag or plan to mumble your way through cards because I’m listening and will call you on it.
I will evaluate things however they are framed in the round. That said, if there is no explicit framing, then I usually default to believing that real-world impacts are of more importance than imaginary impacts. Real-world impacts can come from policymaking cases and T as much as K debates. However, if you frame it otherwise and win that framing then I will evaluate the round accordingly.
Weighing your impacts and warranting your solvency throughout the whole round (not just the rebuttals) is a quick way to win my ballot. Otherwise, I vote off the flow/what I’m told to vote for.
Kritiks/K Affs/performance/ID tix/whatever:
I’m a good person to run your critical case in front of. I love K’s/critical/performance/id tix/new debate/most things nontraditional.
I'm familiar with a lot of the lit and ran a lot of these arguments myself.
I do not believe that the aff needs to act through the USFG to be topical and, in fact, engaging with the res in other ways (personal advocacy, genealogy, micropolitics, deconstruction etc) can be reasonably topical and often can provide better education and personal empowerment.
For clarity, as long as you are engaging with a general premise or an interpretation of the resolution then I believe the aff can claim reasonable topicality.
That being said, to be an effective advocate for these things in the real world, you have to be able to justify your method and forum, so framework/T are good neg strats and an important test of the aff.
I am increasingly persuaded by the argument that if you are going to be expressly nontopical on the aff (as in advocating for something with no relation to the topic and zero attempts to engage the resolution), then you need to be prepared with a reason for not discussing the res.
Trad/policy-maker/stock issues debate:
Most of the circuits I debated in have leaned much more traditional so I am extremely familiar with both how to win with and how to beat a topical aff strat.
My top varsity team the last few years have tended to run trad as much or maybe more than critical, but historically I've coached more K teams.
I'm totally down to judge a topical debate but you shouldn't assume that I already know the nuances of how a specific DA or CP works without a little explanation as our local circuit is K-heavy and I only recently started coaching more trad teams.
Framework and theory:
I love: debate about the forum, method, role of the judge/ballot, and impact calc. Making the other team justify their method is almost always a good thing.
I strongly dislike: generic fw, arbitrary spec shells, K's are cheating args, and most debate theory arguments that ask me to outright dismiss your opponent for some silly reason.
Real talk, almost none of us are going to be future policymakers (meaning alternative ways of engaging the topic are valuable), and wiki disclosure/pre-round prep checks most abuse.
In short, I want you to engage with your opponent's case, not be lazy by reading a shell that hasn't been updated since 2010.
Of course, as with most things though, I will vote for it if you justify it and win the flow (you might be sensing a theme here....).
I L-O-V-E a good T debate. Here are a few specifics to keep in mind:
By "good" I mean that the neg needs to have a full shell with a clear interp, violation, reasons to prefer/standards and voters.
Conversely, a good aff response to T would include a we meet, a counter definition, standards and reasons why not to vote on T.
Since T shells are almost totally analytic, I would also suggest slowing down a bit when reading the shell, especially the violations or we meets.
I usually consider T to be an a priori issue though I am open to the aff weighing real-world impacts against the voters (kritikal affs, in particular, are good for this though moral imperative arguments work well too).
Reasonability vs competing interps: absent any debate on the issue I tend to default to reasonability in a K round and competing-interps in a policy round. However, this is a 51/49 issue for me so I would encourage engaging in this debate.
There does not need to be demonstrated in-round abuse (unless you provide an argument as to why I should) for me to vote on T but it does help, especially if you're kicking arguments.
Aff RVI's on T are almost always silly. K's of T are ok though the aff should be prepared to resolve the issue of whether there is a topical version of the aff and why rejecting the argument and not the team does not solve the k.
One caveat: in a round where the aff openly admits to not trying to defend the resolution, I would urge a bit more caution with T, especially of USFG, as I find the turns the aff can generate off of that to be fairly persuasive. See the sections on K's and framework for what I consider to be a more strategic procedural in these situations.
This is mentioned above but applies here as well, please remember that I do not think an aff must roleplay as the USFG to be topical. Advocating for the resolution can (and should) take many forms. Most of us will never have a direct role in policymaking, but hopefully, most of us will take the opportunity to advocate our beliefs in other types of forums such as activism, academia, and community organizing. Thus, I do not buy that the only real topic-specific education comes from a USFG plan aff.
I like the idea of the CP debate but I'm honestly not well versed in it (I probably closed on a CP twice in 7 years of debate). My kids have been running them a lot more recently though so I am getting more competent at assessing them ????
Basically, I understand the fundamentals quite well but will admit to lacking some knowledge of the deeper theoretical and 'techy' aspects of the CP.
So feel free to run them but if you are going to get into super tech-heavy CP debate then be warned that you will need to explain things well or risk losing me.
Speed and delivery:
As mentioned above, fine in-person. Mostly fine online unless you are super fast. Also, I really want clarity when speaking even more than I care about speed.
Slow down for analytics and tags. Especially analytics on things like T, theory of framework. These are the most important things for me to get down, so be aware of your pacing when you get to these parts if you want me to flow them.
Pet peeve: speed=/=clear. "Speed" is for how fast you are going. "Clear" is for mumbling. I can handle pretty fast speeds, I can't handle a lack of clarity. I will usually give you one warning, two if I am feeling generous (or if you request it), and then will start docking speaks. I am also good with you going slow. Though since I can handle very fast speeds, I would suggest you give some impacted out reasons for going slow so as to avoid being spread out of the round.
Bio (not sure anyone reads these but whatever): I have competed in or coached almost everything and I am currently the head coach at Lincoln East. I’ve spent over half my life in this activity (16 years coaching, 7 years competing). My goal is to be the best judge possible for every debater. As such, please read my feedback as me being invested in your success. Also, if you have any questions at all I would rather you ask them than be confused, so using post-round questions as a chance to clarify your confusion is encouraged (just don't be a jerk please).
Nebraska only: new for Kaspar Cup,I expect you to share your evidence and cases with your opponents and me. It can be paper or digital, but all parties participating in the debate need to have access to the evidence read in rounds. This is because NSDA requires it, because it for promotes good evidence ethics in debate, and because hoarding evidence makes debate even more unfair for small programs who have fewer debaters and coaches. Not sure why we're still having this discussion in 2023.
To be clear, if you don't provide both sides with copies of your evidence and cases, then I will be open to your opponent making that an independent voting issue. I might just vote you down immediately if I feel it's especially egregious.Oh and I'll gut speaks for not sharing cases.
I am okay with judging anything in round. I firmly believe that debates should be left up to the debaters and what they want to run. If you want to read policy or a new kritik; I am good with anything y'all as debaters want to run. Do not read anything that is homophobic, racist, ableist, or sexiest in round. Debate should be a safe place for everyone. A little bit about me I was a 1A/2N my senior year. I recently graduated from Sac State with a major in Communications and Women's Studies. I am currently applying to Law school and will be attending a law school in fall of 2024. I am currently a policy coach for the Sacramento Urban Debate League, coaching at CKM and a couple of new schools SUDL has recently signed up for.
Kritikal Affs: I love identity politics affirmatives. They are one of my favorite things to judge and hear at tournaments. I ran an intersectional k aff my senior year. If you run an identity politics affirmative then I am a great judge for you. For high theory k affs I am willing to listen to them I am just not as well adapted in that literature as identity politics. But on the negative, I did run biopower.
Policy Affirmative: Well duh.... I am good at judging a hard-core policy round or a soft-left affirmative. Once again whatever the debaters want to do I am good with judging anything.
Framework: I feel like the question for framework that debaters are asking here is if I am more of a tech or truth kind of judge. I would say its important for debaters to give me judge instruction on how they want to me to judge the round. If you want me to prefer tech or truth you need to tell me that, and also tell me WHY I should prefer tech or truth. The rest of the debate SSD, TVAs etc need to be flushed out and not 100% blipy. But that's pretty much how I feel like with every argument on every flow.
CP/DA: If you want to read 9 off you can.
Theory: I will be honest; I am not the best at evaluating theory arguments. I know what they are, and you can run them in front of me. But if you go for them, judge instruction is a must, and explaining to me how voting for this theory shell works for the debate space etc.
I like being told what to vote for and why. I am lazy to my core. If I have to look at a speech doc at the end of the round I will default to what happened in the round, not on the doc.
On a side note, go follow the Sacramento Urban Debate League on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook. Also, I want to be in the email chain. My email is firstname.lastname@example.org thanks!
Director of Debate at The University of Michigan
General Judging Paradigm- I think debate is an educational game. Someone once told me
that there are three types of judges: big truth, middle truth, and little truth judges. I would
definitely fall into the latter category. I don’t think a two hour debate round is a search for
the truth, but rather a time period for debaters to persuade judges with the help of
evidence and analytical arguments. I have many personal biases and preferences, but I try
to compartmentalize them and allow the debate to be decided by the debaters. I abhor
judge intervention, but do realize it becomes inevitable when debaters fail to adequately
resolve the debate. I am a very technical and flow-oriented judge. I will not evaluate
arguments that were in the 2AR and 2AC, but not the 1AR. This is also true for
arguments that were in the 2NR and 1NC, but not in the negative block.
Counterplans/Theory- I would consider myself liberal on theory, especially regarding
plan-inclusive counterplans. Usually, the negative block will make ten arguments
theoretically defending their counterplan and the 1AR will only answer eight of them- the
2NR will extend the two arguments that were dropped, etc. and that’s usually good
enough for me. I have often voted on conditionality because the Aff. was technically
superior. If you’re Aff. and going for theory, make sure to answer each and every
negative argument. I am troubled by the recent emergence of theory and procedural
debates focusing on offense and defense. I don’t necessarily think the negative has to win
an offensive reason why their counterplan is theoretically legitimate- they just have to
win that their counterplan is legitimate. For the Aff., I believe that permutations must
include all of the plan and all or part of the counterplan. I think the do the counterplan
permutation is silly and don’t think it’s justified because the negative is conditional, etc. I
do realize this permutation wins rounds because it’s short and Neg. teams sometimes fail
to answer it. On the issue of presumption, a counterplan must provide a reason to reject
the Aff. Finally, I think it’s illegitimate when the Aff. refuses to commit to their agent for
the explicit purpose of ducking counterplans, especially when they read solvency
evidence that advocates a particular agent. This strategy relies on defending the theory of
textual competition, which I think is a bad way of determining whether counterplans
Topicality- When I debated, I commonly ran Affirmatives that were on the fringe of what
was considered topical. This was probably the reason I was not a great topicality judge
for the negative my first few years of judging college debate. Beginning this year, I have
noticed myself voting negative on topicality with greater frequency. In the abstract, I
would prefer a more limited topic as opposed to one where hundreds of cases could be
considered topical. That being said, I think topicality often seems like a strategy of
desperation for the negative, so if it’s not, make sure the violation is well developed in
the negative block. I resolve topicality debates in a very technical manner. Often it
seems like the best Affirmative answers are not made until the 2AR, which is probably
too late for me to consider them.
Kritiks- If I got to choose my ideal debate to judge, it would probably involve a politics
or other disadvantage and a case or counterplan debate. But, I do realize that debaters get
to run whatever arguments they want and strategy plays a large role in argument
selection. I have probably voted for a kritik about a half of dozen times this year. I never
ran kritiks when I debated and I do not read any philosophy in my free time. Kritik
rhetoric often involves long words, so please reduce your rate of speed slightly so I can
understand what you are saying. Kritiks as net-benefits to counterplans or alternatives
that have little or no solvency deficit are especially difficult for Affirmatives to handle.
Evidence Reading- I read a lot of evidence, unless I think the debate was so clear that it’s
not necessary. I won’t look at the un-underlined parts of cards- only what was read into
the round. I am pretty liberal about evidence and arguments in the 1AR. If a one card
argument in the 1NC gets extended and ten more pieces of evidence are read by the
negative block, the 1AR obviously gets to read cards. I think the quality of evidence is
important and feel that evidence that can only be found on the web is usually not credible
because it is not permanent nor subject to peer review. I wish there would be more time
spent in debates on the competing quality of evidence.
Cheap Shots/Voting Issues- These are usually bad arguments, but receive attention
because they are commonly dropped. For me to vote on these arguments, they must be
clearly articulated and have a competent warrant behind them. Just because the phrase
voting issue was made in the 1AR, not answered by the 2NR, and extended by the 2AR
doesn’t make it so. There has to be an articulated link/reason it’s a voting issue for it to
Pet Peeves- Inefficiency, being asked to flow overviews on separate pieces of paper, 2NRs that go for too much, etc.
Seasonal voting record:
Want to be on the email chain? - Yes, please send docs to: email@example.com
My paradigm, at its core, is to judge the debate according to the parameters set by the debaters in the room. I am willing to decide the round on any arguments the debaters mark as the voting issues (including T, theory, and other procedural arguments, traditional policy affs, planless affs, performance, etc.). You need to be clear, your evidence should be good, and your authors should generally agree with each other (on solvency, Ks, etc.). If you are running critical and/or performance arguments you should clearly articulate what the role of the judge/ballot is in the round.
I don't especially enjoy reading cards after the debate to try to piece together what should have been explained more clearly in the debate. If you think the round hinges on the text of a piece of evidence, spell it out in the rebuttals. Alternatively, if the debate is really good and evidence must be read, I'm perfectly happy to do so; I encourage you to provide me the context necessary to read for you.
Speed is great, just be clear. With online debating, I would encourage you, as good practice, to reduce your speed to 85% or so. Also, know that I flow on paper and need pen time--slow down on T, Theory, perms, CP texts, etc. If I ask you to be clear and you ignore me, I'm probably not going to be able to follow you on the flow. I keep pretty detailed flows (of course, not perfect), if it's not on my flow I'm not voting on it.
Overviews are a great rhetorical tool but if you speed through them I'm not sure how useful they are. Similarly, if they are 5 mins long, you are probably going to lose the LBL. Speaking of rhetorical tools, humor and personality are also a delightful addition to rounds, especially with everything being virtual. :-)
Needless hostility or defensiveness is intellectually--and just at a human level--crushing. Please don't. If you are racist, sexist, homophobic, transphobic, abelist, etc. please strike me--you will lose the debate.
Aaron Kim (He/They)
UChicago Lab '22
- Follow the flow
- Include judge instruction
- Little to no ideological biases
- Little to no topic knowledge
- I generally decide debates quickly---this is not a referendum on the quality of the debate
- You have to stake the round if you make an ethics violation
I have never judged PF before and will default to all of the policy preferences listed below.
K Affs / FW: I've read both a K aff and gone for T. Would say that I am more likely to vote on technical drops (Ballot PIKs and don't weigh the case) than most. Consolidate offense in the rebuttals and don't go for too much. I don't think I have any hot takes for the neg, I think fairness is generally an impact but obviously needs an explanation for why it is such.
T: Strongly tech over truth, will vote for any T interp or against any T interp given sufficient evidence comparison and impact calc.
K: I've read a lot of K's, from a slew of identity K's, post modernism, etc. The negative should commit to a 2NR that either is a fiat K or uses K tricks in order turn case and outweigh.
CP: Again, no hot takes, probably more likely to vote for Process CP's than most. Would err towards voting for PDCP than the "limited intrinsic perm." Affs should impact out each deficit and compare it to the net benefit, otherwise the RFD will start with "I don't think there was a deficit but didn't understand why the difference in solvency outweighed the net benefit." I don't judge kick unless told.
DA: Will vote aff on smart analytic IL take outs. Do not hang your hat on turns case = don't need to go to case.
NOTE FOR BERKELEY: IF YOU MEOW AT MY CAT AND SHE MEOWS BACK YOU GET A 30. IDK IF SHE WILL SHE DOES LIKE HALF THE TIME. UP TO YOU IF YOU WANNA TAKE THAT RISK
hey! i'm nate. put me on the email chain. firstname.lastname@example.org facebook.com/nate.nyg
he/him! will boost speaks +.1 for debaters who ask before round :)
i did ld at hunter and qualled to the toc my senior year. I was a 2n at wake forest for 2 years where my partner and i reached quarters of ceda. i did pf my freshman year, so i'm familiar, but don't assume i know every single thing about the activity and its conventions.
i'm willing to vote on anything and am purely tab with the caveat of intervening against oppressive argumentation. if you're reading theory or k's in pf, i'd vote on it, but please make an effort to make your arguments accessible to your opponents -- pf has not entirely adapted to new norms and if you don't try to adapt your arguments to pf and instead just assume your opponents will know your exact format and everything i'll be annoyed and speaks will suffer. bad theory and k debates are lame, frivolous theory in pf is probably the stupidest thing i can think of lol
oh also i'm judging policy now lol -- what i said above is still true -- was a 2n at wake, haven't debated in like a year, my partner and i quartered ceda reading black feminist lit on the aff and cap on the neg, that's a pretty good indicator i think of the types of arguments i enjoy voting on and judging the most. i'll judge a policy round if you want to have it obviously, i also have been coaching pf 2 years now so my ears are at least a little more attuned to util impacts than previously. in the same way that critical teams are expected to justify why they are moving away from the topic, i believe policy teams should be justifying why they are choosing to debate the topic in clash rounds -- this doesn't mean i'll hack for Ks -- it just means that the same standards apply because i view topicality/its reading as a speech act and i'm not sure why the fact that a speech act is also a procedural would mean i should disregard its implications or its context. that being said, my sophomore year my partner and I won R1 at the season opener reading disclosure, i'm willing to vote on whatever. if you're racist or talk down to women or misgender your opponent or do some other messed up stuff without both making good faith attempts to repair the potential for a safe debate and apologizing without reservation for said messed up act you will get an L20. one time my partner and i debated this guy who would only respectfully talk to me and refused to listen to her whatsoever, talking over her constantly. when we called him on it he said it was because of his adhd and then kept doing it (as a psych major i have never heard of adhd that only appears when you're talking to women!). please use that as an example of what NOT to do.
in the same way i try to hold policy teams to higher standards -- if you're reading a k -- i'm not just gonna hack. justify why the aff is necessary in debate, this round particularly, what my ballot does, make and justify spill up claims, have an awesome theory of power, make material arguments (the best thing i ever learned as a debater is how to read cap links that are 100% disads to the aff -- do that)
good luck have a great round hope it's fun feel free to ask me any questions i am happy to answer them
if you're curious -- my thoughts on debate right now are most influenced by asya taylor, darius white, jacob smith, and the wake coaches who read Ks when they debated (jgreen also)
for k teams -- i am in big support of high schoolers reading k's, i think it's super educational and definitely made me a lot of who i am now (ew. hate typing out that debate made me part of who i am, kinda gross), in support of that practice please feel free to after rounds ask me any random questions you have about lit or strategy, even if it's not related to the round you just had -- i'll do my best to give you some help! it's my understanding these tournaments are designed in part to increase debate access/let teams that might not otherwise get to too many nat circuit tournaments attend -- i coach a lot and have worked at ld camps the past few summers, i also understand wake has a very genius/expensive coaching staff and would be happy to redistribute some of what i've learned from debating here down because truthfully the coaches here are incredible and it should not just be a few debaters at random colleges getting their knowledge!!
My advice is to debate in the style you're most comfortable with, make what you think are your best arguments, and hope for the best. I judged quite a bit in the late '90s/early 2000's when I coached a team that competed nationally. I don't know much about anything anymore, but I'm used to fast debates and do my best to resolve arguments based on what's said in the round.
I am currently an assistant debate coach with both Montgomery Bell Academy and George Mason University. This is my 15th year in policy debate.
I use he/him pronouns.
Last updated: 10/11/2023
Please put me on the email chain & make me an ev doc at the end of the debate. NJL1994@gmail.com.
Set up and send out the 1AC 10 minutes before the debate begins. Please avoid downtime during debates. If you do both of these things without me needing to say anything (send out the 1AC 10 minutes early + avoid downtime) you'll get higher speaker points.
If I'm judging you online, please slow down a bit and emphasize clarity more than normal.
Top level things:
I think about debate in terms of risk (does the risk of the advantage being true outweigh the risk of the disad being true?). I am willing to vote on presumption, particularly when people say really ridiculous stuff.
I like nuance and for you to sound smart. If you sound like you've done research and you know what's going on, I'm likely to give you great points. Having nuances and explaining your distinctions is the easiest way to get my ballot.
Judge direction is a lost art. If you win the argument that you're advancing, why should it matter? What does this mean for the debate? What does it mean for your arguments or the other team's arguments? This is the number one easiest way to win my (and really anyone's) ballot in a debate. Direct your judges to think a certain way, because if you don't, your judges are likely to go rogue and decide things that make sense to them but not to you. So impact your arguments and tell me what to do with them. I think it's way more valuable to do that than include one more tiny argument.
Decorum is very important to me. If your strategy is to belittle, upset, talk down to, yell at, escalate, curse at, or otherwise be rude or mean to your opponents, then you can expect me to give you terrible speaker points. I also reserve the right to end the debate early if I find the behavior particularly atrocious or potentially threatening to anyone in the room. You certainly don't have to be best friends with your opponents, but I do expect a sense of cordiality when engaging your opponents and their arguments.
"The existence of speech time limits, the assumption that you will not interrupt an opponent's speech intentionally, and the fact that I (and not you) will be signing a ballot that decides a winner and loser is non-negotiable." (taken verbatim from Shree Awsare).
I am incredibly uncomfortable adjudicating things that did not occur in the debate I am watching. Please do not ask me to judge based on something that didn’t happen in the round. I am likely to ignore you.
High school debaters in particular: I have consistently noticed over the past few years of judging that I vote for the team whose arguments I understand. If I cannot connect the dots, I'm not going to vote for you. This goes equally for kritikal and policy debaters. Most of my decisions in high school debates come down to this, and I will tell you that your argument makes no sense in my RFD.
How I decide debates:
First: who solves what?-- does the aff solve its impacts, and (assuming it's in the 2NR) does the negative's competitive advocacy solve its own impacts and/or the aff? In framework debates, this means the first questions I resolve are "does the aff solve itself?" and "does the TVA solve the aff sufficiently?"
Second: Who’s impact is bigger? This is the most important question in the debate. Do impact calculus.
Third: Whatever you have told me matters. Because I have started with solvency & impact calculus questions, everything else is always filtered along those lines (including framework/role of the ballot/role of the judge).
Other misc things:
1. A dropped argument is a true argument but it needs to be a complete argument to begin with or I will likely allow people new answers. For example, this epidemic with high schoolers reading aspec on the bottom of T flows to hide it: if it’s so quick I didn’t catch it in the 1NC, the 1AR gets all the new args they want. Additionally, an argument is not just a claim and a warrant, but a claim, warrant, and reasoning. In other words, your warrant needs to be connected to your claim in order for it to be an argument.
2. I am very flowcentric. Do not ask me to not flow, because I won't listen. Please do line-by-line. If you don't, I'll be frustrated and less likely to buy new extrapolations of arguments. Your speaker points will definitely drop if you don't do line-by-line. I do not like overviews ("overviews are evil"-- one of my labbies; "flowing is good for your health" -- another one of my labbies).
3. Show me that you care. Show me that you know things, that you've done research on this topic, that you want to win, and that debate matters to you. I love this activity and if you also love it I want to know that.
4. Judge kicking makes sense to me but I frequently forget about it, so if you want me to judge kick something you should tell me so in the block/2NR.
5. Cards and highlighting: Teams should get to insert rehighlightings of the other team's cards, but obviously should have to read cards if they're new/haven't been introduced into the debate yet. Two offshoots of this-- 1. You should insert rehighlightings of other team's cards if they suck 2. You should read cards that don't suck.
I do not follow along with speech docs during debates.
Please highlight your ev so it reads as complete sentences. This does not mean that I need you to highlight complete sentences, but if you are brick highlighting, I want to be able to read highlighted portions of your ev as complete sentences—it flows better to me. IE don't skip the letter "a" or the words "in" or "the". Just a random pet peeve.
If you do not have a complete citation or at least a full paragraph from your evidence I will not evaluate what you've said as evidence. Cherrypicked quotes with no context are not evidence.
I tend to not read a lot of cards after the debate unless things are highly technical or I think the debaters aren’t explaining things well. That being said, I’ll likely read at least some cards. Please put together a card doc for me.
6. Debaters parroting their partners: I usually just flow what the partner said. That, obviously, only exists within reason (you don’t get to give a third speech in a debate, but you can interrupt your partner to say something and I will flow it).
7. New 2AR args are bad for debate. I consciously hold the line against them as much as I can. I as a 2N feel as if I got a few decisions where a judge voted aff on an arg that didn't exist until the 2AR and it's the most frustrating. You can expect me to try to trace lines between args in earlier & later speeches. However, if I think the argument they're making is the true argument or a logical extrapolation of something said in the 1AR, I'm more likely to buy it. 2As-- this means if you're gonna do some 2A magic and cheat, you should trick me into thinking that you're not cheating.
Disads: I’m better for the smart DAs than the silly ones, but I understand the value of bad DAs and will vote for them. I will likely reward you with higher speaker points if I think I understand your story really well and/or you have some cool/unique spin on it. I am fine with logical take outs to DAs that don’t require cards (especially if there’s some logic missing internally in the DA). Don’t just read new cards in the block or 1AR, explain your args (although also read new cards obviously).
I really do not understand how the economy works. I'm sorry. I've really tried to get it, but I just don't. You absolutely can go for econ DAs and/or econ case turns in front of me, but please be extra careful to explain (in lots of detail!) what you're arguing here.
Theory, CPs, and K Alternatives: I put these pieces together because my thoughts on these three args blend together.
Competition is determined off the plantext, not off cross-x, nor off the resolution. PICs & PIKs are only competitive if they PIC/PIK out of something in the plantext. I do not believe that you get to PIC/PIK out of a justification or non-plantext based word. The only way I will ever be convinced otherwise is if the aff allows you to do so.
Condo: It’s good. Stop going for this, you cowards. “They should get one less CP” is an arbitrary interp and makes no sense. The phrase "dispo solves" at the end of your bad 2AC condo block is not an argument and I will not be writing it down on my flow. I will vote on this if it's dropped, but I'm pretty persuaded by neg flex and education-style args.
"Performative Contradictions" is a term of art that has been bastardized to no end by debate. You're either saying the neg has double turned themselves or you're saying conditionality is bad; in my mind, perf con is not even worthy of being written on my flow.
Particular Theory: I’m better for this than most judges (and MUCH more persuaded by it than condo). States theory, international fiat, consult/condition, vague alts, utopian alts, etc—I have gone for all of these and actively coach my debaters to do the same. My predisposition is to reject the arg not the team, but I can be persuaded to reject the team on non-condo theory args (you should introduce the arg as reject the team in the 2AC if you want this to be an option).
Theory can be a reason you get to make a cheating perm.
Counterplans/alternatives that use aff evidence as solvency advocates are awesome.
If the CP/alt links less I think it makes sense that I prefer it, but make that arg yourself because I won’t make it for you.
Case: I love love love case debate. You should make logical extrapolations that take out the internal link chains and make me question how the advantage makes sense. The block should read more cards but feel free to make logical case take outs without cards. I don't think you should have to go for impact defense to beat advantages-- uniqueness and internal link take outs are almost always the easier place to attack advantages. I tend to prefer a well-developed take out to the death by a thousand cuts strategy.
Affs-- 2NR that don't do well-developed case debate are generally overwhelmed by your "try or die"/"case outweighs"/"1% chance of solvency" args.
Topicality: I'm getting better for this as a strategy lately than I used to be. I do still generally think that it's about the plantext, but can be persuaded that I should think of the plantext in the context of the 1AC. Topicality is only ever a voter, not a reverse voter. I’m not great for silly/arbitrary T interps (I am very persuaded by the arg that these interps are arbitrary).
Kritiks: I like Ks that care about people and things. I'm optimistic to a fault. I certainly believe that things are still terrible for billions of beings, but it's hard to convince me that everything in the world is so absolutely screwed.
Your long overview is actively bad for debate and you will not change my mind.
Make your K interact with the affirmative. I want your links to be about the result of the aff as opposed to just the reading of the aff. Fiat bad links are a waste of time. Your "state is always bad" links are slightly better, but also terrible. Don't just explain your theory of how power works, explain how the action of the aff is bad according to your theory of power.
I think that I am worse for structuralist style kritiks (and if you don't know what structuralism means, I would recommend doing some reading) I used to be for two reasons: 1) I feel more so that I want you to be responding to the action of the aff than I used to 2) I generally study poststructuralism and queer theory. I read a lot of Jacques Derrida and Judith Butler.
Grad school has taught me that theory is way more complex than I used to think it was. I will get annoyed if I know that you’re deploying the theory wrong. I'm not good for things like "death good," "meaning doesn't mean anything," or "language is meaningless" because I don't think those are questions even worth asking.
I have read some literature about antiblackness academically and have read a bit more from a debate standpoint. I would not call myself an expert by any means in this literature, but I do understand some of it better than I used to. I am still unwilling to fill in those blanks for you if you are lacking them (ex-- just saying the words "yes antiblackness ontological, natal alienation proves" is not an argument in my mind).
99.99% of the time I will entirely ignore your framework/role of the ballot args when you're going for the K against a topical aff. There's a high chance that I will just stare at you and not flow during your offensively long and generic 2NC framework block on your K. I am serious, I may not even waste the ink in my pen flowing this. I do not know how to decide debates unless I'm weighing the merits of the aff against the merits of the K. For example, if the aff is an object of study, then to evaluate that object of study I have to weigh the aff's consequences. You are better off just saying "yes the aff can weigh the plan, we'll just beat it" in front of me. This also means that the role of the ballot/judge is only ever to vote for whoever did the better debating in every round I judge.
“Perms are a negative argument” and “method v method debate means no perms” are both not arguments. Despite judging for however long I have, I still do not know what a "method v method debate" even is or why it's different than every other debate. I will not write these words on my flow.
I also generally do not find the "voting for us gives us more wins/sends us to elims" as a solvency mech persuasive or that "X thing done in the debate is policing/surveillance/violence" (other than actual/physical policing/surveillance/violence) to be persuasive.
Ultimately, I evaluate K debates just like I evaluate policy debates. Technical line by line is key. Explain your args well. Put the debate together. Don't ignore the other side.
2NRs on the K that include case debate (with some level of internal link/impact defense; not just your security K cards on case) are substantially more persuasive to me.
Framework debates: you should also read my section on Ks (right above this one) as well.
Framework is a strategy and it makes a lot of sense as a strategy. Just like every other strategy, you should try to tailor it to be as specific to the aff as you possibly can. For example, how does this particular aff make it impossible for you to debate? What does it mean for how debate looks writ-large? What's the valuable topic education we could have had from a topical discussion of this aff in particular? Same basic idea goes for when you’re answering generic aff args—the generic “state always bad” arg is pretty easily beaten by nuanced neg responses in front of me. The more specific you are, the more likely I am to vote for you on framework and the more likely I am to give you good speaks.
Stop reading huge overviews. They’re bad for debate. Your points will suffer. Do line by line. Be a good debater and stop being lazy. The amount of times I have written something like "do line by line" in this paradigm should really tell you something about how I think about debate.
I do not find truth testing/"ignore the aff's args because they're not T" very persuasive. I think it's circular & requires judge intervention.
I do, however, think that fairness/limits/ground is an impact and that it is the most important standard in a T debate.
T and/or framework is not genocide, nor is it ever rape, nor is it a microaggression, nor is it real literal violence against you or anyone else.
I’m a sucker for a good TVA. Teams seem to want to just laundry list potential TVAs and then say "idk, maybe these things let them discuss their theory". I believe that strategy is very easily beaten by a K team having some nuanced response. It makes way more sense to me if the TVA is set up almost like a CP-- it should solve a majority or all of the aff. If you set it up like that and then add the sufficiency framing/"flaws are neg ground" style args I'm WAY more likely to buy what you have to say (this goes along with the whole "I like nuance and specificity and you to sound like you're debating the merits of the aff" motif that I've had throughout my paradigm-- it applies to all debaters).
I oftentimes wonder how non-topical affs solve themselves. The negative should exploit this because I do feel comfortable voting neg on presumption. However, I won’t ever intervene to vote on presumption. That’s an argument that the debaters need to make.
Non-topical affs should have nuance & do line by line as well. Answer the neg’s args, frame the debate, and tell me why your aff in particular could not have been topical. You HAVE to have a defense of your model and not just say that framework is bad or else I will probably vote neg on presumption. The same basic idea applies here as it does everywhere else: the more generic you are, the more likely I am to vote against you.
Cross-ex: I am becoming increasingly bored and frustrated with watching how this tends to go down. Unless I am judging a novice debate, questions like "did you read X card" or "where did you mark Y card" are officially counting as parts of cross-x. I tend to start the timer for cross-ex pretty quickly after speeches end (obviously take a sec to get water if you need to) so pay attention to that. I'm really not much of a stickler about many things in debate, but given that people have started to take 2+ minutes to ask where cards were marked/which cards were read, I feel more justified counting that as cross-x time.
I pay attention & listen to CX but I do not flow it. Have a presence in CX & make an impact. I am listening.
Speaker points-- I do my best to moderate these based on the tournament I'm at and what division I'm in. That being said, I won’t lie—I am not a point fairy (seriously why do teams need a 28.9 to clear these days?).
I will grant extra speaker points to people who number their arguments and correctly/aptly follow the numbering that has been established in the debate.
Paraphrasing from Shree Awsare-- I will not give you a 30.
29.7-- Top speaker
29-29.5-- You really impressed me and I expect you to be deep in the tournament
28.9-- I think you deserve to clear
28.3-- Not terrible but not super impressive
I will award the lowest possible points for people who violate the basic human dignities that people should be afforded while debating (e.g., non-black people don't say the N word).
I've also been known to give 20s to people who don't make arguments. I will not be giving you a 30; nobody gives a perfect speech.
If you have any other questions, feel free to ask me before the debate begins, or send me an email. I also do seriously invite conversation about the debate after it occurs-- post-rounds are oftentimes the most valuable instantiation of feedback, the best way to get better at debate, and important for improving intellectually. I know that post-rounds sometimes get heated, and I think we all get defensive sometimes when we're being pressed on things we've said (or think we've said) so I will likely consciously try to take deep breaths and relax if I feel myself getting heated during these times. This also means that I may take a second to respond to your questions because I am thinking. I also might take slightly awkward pauses between words-- that's not because I don't think your question is important, I'm just trying to choose my words carefully so I can correctly convey my thoughts. I only post this here because I don't want anyone to feel like they're being attacked or anything for asking questions, and I apologize in advance if anything I say sounds like that.
Ethics Challenge Addendum:
I would strongly discourage ethics challenges in all but the most extreme instances. I don't want to adjudicate them, you don't want to be the team who makes the challenge, etc. If you notice something is wrong, please contact coaches and/or debaters and try to fix the problem rather than making it a challenge.
An ethics challenge is not a no-risk option for me. That is, when an ethics challenge is issued, the debate ends. I will clarify that the team issuing the challenge has issued one and then end the debate and adjudicate the challenge. I will either decide to vote for the team who issued the challenge or the team who the challenge was issued toward then and there. The debate will not continue for me under any circumstances.
An ethics challenge may be issued along one of three lines: either you have accused the other team of clipping cards, of misciting evidence, or of misrepresenting evidence. Nothing else will be considered an ethics challenge for me.
Clipping cards is defined as claiming to have read more or less of the evidence than one actually has. Please note that I do not follow along with evidence as the debate is occurring. Missing a single word/a few words is not enough. I will decide what constitutes enough of the card to be considered clipping.
Misciting evidence is understood as providing the incorrect author and/or date as well as missing the first author, source of publication, and date (at least the year). Please note that putting something like "the New York Times" instead of "Nate Silver" is acceptable for an authorship. Source of publication can be broad (article title, URL, book title). If the article is easily accessible, then it is acceptable. Again, I will determine what constitutes an incomplete or miscited citation if this becomes a relevant question.
I do not consider missing credentials to be unethical but I do consider those pieces of evidence to be incredibly weak.
Misrepresenting evidence is understood as inserting evidence which is missing lines or paragraphs within the parts of the initial article/book being read. So, for example, if you want to read the first and third paragraph from an article, you must leave the second paragraph in the evidence you read in the debate. This means that, for me, ellipses to indicate that parts of the card are missing or stating something like “pages 4-5 omitted” is unethical. Cards need to be full paragraphs.
Providing a single quote from a book or an article is not a card. As such, I will not consider it as you having introduced evidence and it is not unethical for me. However, not providing full paragraph pieces of evidence means your argument is substantially weaker for me (because, again, then you have not read evidence).
I will either decide to vote for the team who issued the challenge or the team who the challenge was issued toward. The debate will not continue for me under any circumstances. Please note that I will take this seriously; an ethics challenge is not something to be debated out in a round.
The speaker points I will give are as follows: 28.6 for the 2nd speaker of the team I vote for, 28.5 for the 1st speaker of the team I vote for, 28.4 for the 2nd speaker of the team I do not vote for, 28.3 for the 1st speaker of the team I do not vote for. My assumption in the event of an ethics violation is that you made an honest mistake and that you were not intentionally cheating. I do not understand ethics challenges to be the equivalent of academic dishonesty or worthy of any punishment besides my ballot being cast in that particular debate (I do not hold these challenges against you in future rounds nor do I believe that you should be in trouble with your debate coaches or schools).
Please note that what I have written here is designed for varsity debate only; that is, when judging novice and JV debates, I will be more lenient and talk through what's going on with the students and, depending on the situation, allow the debate to continue.
These are thoughts that are still evolving for me as I talk with more people. Please bear with me as I continue to think this out. (Also note that this caveat goes along well with the first statement in this section: I would prefer you not introduce an ethics violation unless it is a serious issue in that particular debate).
Please also note that these rules do not apply to my standards for threatening violence against another debater (physical or otherwise) or hurling slurs at your opponent. I will immediately end the round and give the lowest speaker points that Tab will allow me to in that situation.
I am a parent judge, please do not spread. I judge base on fluency, clarity of speech, logical reasoning, organization of thought and presentation. Please explain acronyms and have clear thought out arguments. Make strong links between impacts.
Please do not run Afropess, dedev, and other related arguments.
Be respectful to your opponents, the judges and your partner. Have fun.
Senior @ MoState
Yes email chain: email@example.com
This is by no means comprehensive, it's just a few highlights to look at when the pairings get blasted.
I did 4 years of CX at Raymore-Peculiar High School, and now do NDT-CEDA at Missouri State
2X NDT Qualifier
My preference is fast, technical policy throwdowns. But, don't let that sway you from doing what you prefer. Do you and I'll adjudicate it.
If you need to use the restroom or step out of the room you don't have to ask.
Disclaimer for HS Topic: I'm not as active in high school coaching as I was last season, I don't really research or think about the topic all that much so watch your use of jargon.
CPs & DAs
I'm a big fan of CP disad debate, most of my HS 2NRs were CP disad.
The way I evaluate a disad doesn't deviate from the norm. Have all four parts and do impact weighing.
Turns case args are very nice
I'm down with most counter plans, especially agent and process. However, "cheating" counterplans like delay will not jive with me so keep that in mind.
I default to judge kick
Competiting interps is better than reasonability
Plan text in a vacuum is cool for me
Deep in my heart, I think condo is good. But, I'm open for a good condo debate. Tbh I prefer affs that limit the neg to 1 or none as opposed to like 1 and dispo or infinite dispo.
Most theory args are reasons to reject the argument, not the team.
I think the topic is generally good and that debates about the topic are also good.
I'm not opposed to K debates, but my limited lit knowledge and liking for framework could make it an uphill battle for you.
I have voted for K affs before, FW is not an auto dub, debate well and you shall be rewarded.
Fairness on framework is a good impact imo.
TVAs are legit
"You link you lose" is nonsense. Teams can win by bitting the link and winning independent offense on the alt, so keep that in mind.
If you read death good, I'm auto-voting against you and giving you the lowest speaks possible.
LD & PFD
I don't have a lot of detailed thoughts for these types of debates. I think they are valuable for students but my judging is policy-focused; so just do what you do best and I will judge accordingly.
2nd year out. Spent most of my time in policy debates going for impact turns and process counterplans.
I will vote for anything. I care about tech enough to vote for dropped aspec. K affs, T usfg, excessive negative fiat, and conditionality (condo bad, read by the aff) are all winnable in front of me. If I was a hack who only voted for arguments I agreed with I would be an excellent judge for infinite condo and extra topical aff plans.
For Pittsburgh locals: I flow. I don't want to hear "voting issues". I'd like it if your final speeches are ordered "my case your case". Do weighing at the top of your speech and then stick to line by line for the rest.
clash of civilizations
Best for framework 2nrs that go for clash and I think switch side is magic and solves all but the most well thought out framework impact turns.
In practice I vote against fairness only framework 2nrs a lot on a small risk of some external impact to the K teams framework DA outweighing. If you think you can win basically terminal defense to all the K team's offense I'll vote for you but that seems like a very high bar.
Generic "no subject formation" blocks are fine but I think framework teams would often be better playing internal link defense to the specific predictions about subject formation the K team has made.
There is a difference between "no subject formation" (ballots don't influence what debaters believe in real life) and "no norm setting" (ballots don't influence what debaters say in round).
K teams - I think your framework offense is usually weakest to switch side and your framework counter interps are weakest to concerns about arbitrariness. If you have something smart to say to both of those arguments I'll be a good judge for you. In practice framework teams don't execute switch side very well so you can probably win even if you don't have something smart to say.
put me on the email chain firstname.lastname@example.org
Lincoln Park (CDL) 2016-2020
University of Kentucky 2020-present
don't call me "judge," lauren is fine.
preferrable to reduce speed by about 15%
analytics in the doc are appreciated and will result in a .2 speaker point bump
No experience on the current topic so don't overrely on acronyms or buzz words
Read whatever you want to read - i'll do my best to evaluate all arguments without bias. I have done all kinds of debate.
Tech > truth (mostly) - I have a lower threshold for silly arguments and think a smart analytic can beat a bad card.
T is good, theory is good, disads are good, counterplans are good, abusive counterplans are good, saying abusive counterplans are bad is good, Ks are good, K affs are good, framework is good. Everything that is not racist/sexist/ableist/and/or homophobic is probably good.
my voting record on framework is split 50/50.
im biased towards the aff on fairness - i have a hard time believing the aff makes debates procedurally unfair as long as there is a strong connection to the topic. that being said, i'll still vote for it even if i think it's a little silly. best aff strat --- nuanced counter interp that solves limits and ground or just straight impact turns. best neg strat --- tva + switch side.
K v K debates are cool and you should probably still make a framework argument about how to evaluate the round. i do not care if perms exist or not in a methods debate. convince me.
I AM A VERY BAD JUDGE FOR TRICKS --- READ AT YOUR OWN RISK
get your opponents emails and send your case to them before your speech. if you do not do this, i will make you take prep time for anything that exceeds cross time to send evidence back and forth to each other.
do line by line, respond to all arguments, and extend all parts of your arguments, split the block on the neg, and narrow down what you go for in the final speeches and you will be golden.
Sometimes I follow along, sometimes I don't. I tend to only read the evidence when the debate is close or convoluted. Other than that, I think the debating should be left to the debaters in the room, not authors or coaches who cut the cards.
If you read a great piece of evidence but can't explain the warrants and your opponent reads a mediocre piece of evidence and can, I'm more likely to side with your opponent.
Most points I give are in the 28.3-29 range.
Card clipping = -.5 for every offense
being overly rude or threatening = -1 for every offense
the phrase "cold conceded" = probably will lose like -.1
if you make a funny joke about Ariel Gabay or Anna Stockstill = +0.2 speaks
Affiliation- I am currently the policy debate coach at Perry High School. I debated at George Mason University from 2012-2016.
I use him/he pronouns
Please include me on the email chain: email@example.com
General notes- Honestly, do what you do best. I will evaluate any argument at the end of the round and will try to intervene as little as possible. I plea/beg/demand that you impact your arguments and give me warranted reasons to vote for you. Without impacting your arguments it will 1. Make me unhappy 2. Make the debate extremely difficult to judge.
Do not assume I know your argument.
I think debate should come down to who solves best and the impact.
DAs- There is nothing more I love than a good DA debate. Love a well deployed politics debate. If you read a DA make sure to explain the impact scenario(s) and why it turns the case. If you lose the uniqueness debate you will probably lose (uniqueness almost always controls direction of link). If you are Aff in front of my try to be sneaky! Things like having the 1ar straight turn the DA for the majority of the speech goes a long way for me. This will increase your speaker points.
Politics theory- really don’t like arguments like “vote no,” “fiat solves the link,” “intrinsicness”…but that doesn’t mean I wont vote on them. I find these arguments to be cheap shots but debate is a strategic game and if you are winning fiat solves the link I will probably vote for the winning argument.
Counterplans- I cool with most counterplans. Obviously, the more specific counterplan to the aff the happier I am. Counterplans that have internal net benefits are also better, I find them to be more strategic. CP + DA = perfect strat in front of me.
Kritiks- topic specific K’s are best; however, I love it when teams make a generic K specific to the aff. I am open to any kritik but you need to clearly explain the link, impact, and what the world of the alternative looks like. Both teams normally mishandle framework but I traditionally default to consequentialist policymaking paradigm…K DEBATERS DON’T MISREAD THIS. That is what I deault to when no framework is presented. I am open to hearing the framework debate (from both sides) and why each side doesn’t meet the others interp. Make sure to impact your framework arguments.
non topical affs -If you are going to read these in front of me the best thing to do is explain the importance of my ballot, and what voting for you does. Really enjoy clash of civs debates. I've read untopical aff's that dont defend a plan/resolution. totally down with this debate.
Topicality- I feel that T is a voting issue and comes before anything in the round, even theory. Make sure to explain why your interp is important and why the other teams interp is bad for debate. Teams need to spend more time on impact level of the debate.
Theory- I find them to be muddled and something that is only read so that the other team will drop it. I most likely will reject the argument and not the team. If the opponent concedes a theory argument you still need to explain the abuse, and reasons to reject the team.
ctrl + f "Planless Affs v. T", “Policy Aff v. T”, "Policy Aff v. CP/DA", "Policy Aff v. K", or "K v. K" for relevant sections
Currently Assistant Coach @ Alpharetta
Georgia '23 (https://comm.uga.edu/debate/recrutiment)
they/them. ask your opponents what pronouns they prefer before the round and stick to them. pls call me jack not judge
firstname.lastname@example.org - please have the 1ac sent by the round start time.
mc hammer reads philosophy, you should too
i am autistic, don't read into my facial expressions as a reliable predictor of the ballot. apologies in advance for any confusion
IF YOU READ GRAPHIC DESCRIPTIONS OF VIOLENCE, INCLUDE A TRIGGER WARNING AND HAVE A VERSION OF THE CARDS OMITTING THE GRAPHIC DETAILS READY IF SOMEONE INDICATES IT'S AN ISSUE. I DON'T WANT ANYONE TO HAVE TRAUMATIC FLASHBACKS BECAUSE YOU WERE TOO LAZY TO TYPE OUT A SENTENCE ON THE WIKI/AT THE TOP OF THE DOC.
*i have hearing difficulties, please either send the doc you're reading from or SLOW DOWN. i.e. you probably don't need to send your T-USfg 2NC analytics but make sure you're reading them at a speed that people that don't have the exact blocks you're looking at in front of them can still understand
**LD/PF - i only competed in policy and i'm unfortunately unfamiliar with the particular nuances of LD/PF debate so i am more likely to vote for substantive arguments than procedurals that rely on an understanding of LD/PF debate norms.
- you get two perms per arg. everything else gets filtered into either "perm do both" or "perm do the aff/K/CP" in my brain. new 1AR articulation of the perm warrants new 2NR responses.
- debate is too serious. i enjoy fun rounds, i greatly appreciate jokes. kindness is underrated - opponents are (most likely) not your enemy but rather fellow participants in an extracurricular activity who have decided to spend their weekend debating with you instead of doing literally anything else. please treat them that way.
- i am uncomfortable with being asked to adjudicate things that occurred outside of the round. (note: i consider the round to start when the pairing comes out, so disclosure theory etc. are still fair game i just have the same institutional (lack of) capability to handle things like Title IX violations as you). i take ethics violations very seriously. if you believe your opponents have behaved in a manner inconsistent with ethical participation in this activity, let me know and i'll contact tab instead of starting the round.
- racism, sexism, homophobia, transphobia, anything that makes the round unsafe is a quick way to earn an instant L and zero speaker points. i will not hesitate to intervene.
- speaker points: my range is generally high-27s to mid-29s. i would probably be considered a point fairy but occasionally it goes the opposite way so warning you in advance. making and executing strategic decisions in rebuttals is the best way to get higher speaks in front of me. i reward taking risks. while i try to hold the line on new args, most judges are inherently suckers for a lying 2A. contextualizing your arguments to the other side’s will earn you more points than just spreading through a K or CP explanation written by coaches four years ago devoid of context or specificity. i.e. "CP solves advantage 1 because [warrant], solves advantage 2 because [warrant]" as opposed to "CP solves entire topic because [warrant]" or "K solves our links and case because [warrant]" and not "THEY DROPPED THE ALT (they probably didn't if we're being honest), WE WIN BECAUSE I DON'T KNOW THAT'S JUST HOW DEBATE WORKS IG".
Scale based on my immediate reaction after the speeches:
30 - Perfect. I do not want anyone I coach to hit you in elim rounds because it's gg
29.9-29.5 - Woah. You're almost done! The summit is near and you'll be there with a few more practice speeches
29.4-29 - Yo that was fire. Y'all did your thing and executed well. Good job!
28.9-28.5 - Nice!
28.4-28 - Pretty Good
27.9-27.5 - Needs some work
<27.5 - If I've given you this, you know what you did.
- the roughly two hours that i am in the room are your time. if you want to post-round me, go for it (although once i submit the ballot there's nothing i can do to change the decision) but please be courteous regarding your opponents' desires and make sure any more immediate concerns they may have have been resolved before we get into it
- read whatever you want. although i personally lean in certain directions on common debate args, i try to check as many biases as possible at the door and base my decisions on the actual debating done. i want to limit judge intervention as much as possible so comparison and telling me how i should resolve the debate is very important. if i don't have judge instruction coming out of the 2XR, i intervene to resolve the round the best i can. condo is probably the arg you are least likely to win in front of me but i'll vote for it if it's mishandled
- the status quo is always a logical option unless you tell me it isn't
- 2xr should start with: "[Our arg] outweighs [their arg] because"
- dropped args are true, it's up to you to make that matter though
- rather than tell you what i think about specific issues, i think it may be more helpful to disclose how i come to decisions. in the absence of a clear dub for either team, i evaluate the flow. if i can't come to a decision based purely on my flow and memory of the round, i read the ev for each arg and decide whether the cards support the args that are being made as well as which team has better ev for each specific arg. if i still can't come to a decision based on reading cards, i'll reconstruct the debate and necessarily fill in gaps for both sides based on my understanding of the best version of each team's args. YOU DO NOT WANT THIS. there is a non-zero probability that your cards are not as good as you think and potentially a very large probability that filling in the gaps works out better for the other team. to avoid this, DO GOOD COMPARISON. compare ev quality, risk of impact scenarios, EVERYTHING. i understand how frustrating it is when you catch an L after a super close debate because it feels like the judge did slightly more work for the other side. i do not want this for you. you do not want this for you. work with me and you'll probably be much happier with the result. in the absence of judge instruction, i will intervene as necessary to resolve the round.
Planless Affs v. T
- planless affs typically beat T in front of me with nuanced impact turns or a C/I based on counter-definitions of words in the resolution with a DA. i am not a good judge for C/Is that aren’t based in definitions of words in the rez as i am typically persuaded by the 2NR argument that it’s arbitrary and self-serving (which is irrelevant/actually good if you go for the impact turn to T). i'm most persuaded by fairness and clash as impacts to T. TVAs are defense, i won't vote on that alone so make sure you have offense against the aff's model (even if it's just that the TVA is good and the aff's model precludes reading it). i believe that procedural fairness is a terminal impact although i can be persuaded that it’s only an i/l if you make the arg
- i will vote on presumption if the neg proves that the aff just results in the squo
- my favorite neg rounds in college were 2NC T/1NR Case. i also read planless affs my senior year and prepped against T so i think i'm pretty 50/50 in these debates if equally debated
Policy Aff v. CP/DA
- affs typically beat the CP/DA strategy in front of me by either winning a solvency deficit to the CP that outweighs the DA or proving that the CP is not competitive. I will vote on zero risk of the DA but only if there's offense against the CP.
- probably a better judge for theory than most against CPs. i default to believing that CPs must be textually and functionally competitive but can be convinced otherwise absent aff warranted argumentation
- note for soft-left/K affs with a plan - although i am convinced by framing that says we should prioritize structural violence or reject util/extinction logic, you're not going to win on that alone if the neg has a CP that resolves the aff's impacts especially if the neg is winning that i should view CP solvency through sufficiency framing
Policy Aff v. T
- i am a grammar nerd, args that are based on grammatically incorrect definitions are unlikely to win in front of me i.e. i can't vote for "United States" is an adjective because that's wrong
- models are important
- i tend to do the most intervention in these debates. absent a 2NR/2AR that completely writes my ballot, i find myself resolving the round by going through my flow and the docs and reconstructing the debate with the best version of both sides' arguments.
Policy Aff v. K
- 2AR should be either fwk + case outweighs/offense OR fwk + perm + no link/alt fails. if the negative wins framework but the affirmative wins that the aff is a good idea it likely means that the aff's knowledge production is good which often solves the link.
- specificity is the most important thing is these debates. well-warranted analytics contextualized to your argument as well as the other team's will get you further than shotgunning cards with no explanation.
- if your 1AR/2AR framework explanation is entirely "you link, you lose bad" but they're going for links that have uniqueness you are probably going to lose.
- the vast majority of my college debate rounds involved cap sustainability debates so i am very familiar with the args made and ev read by both sides. although i personally believe that the cap bad cards are better, i've always cut the cap good file and will vote happily for McAfee (despite my personal belief that the card is garbage) if the other side doesn't explain their offense adequately.
K v. K
- these are the rounds i judge the least (although i find them to be interesting and wish i got to judge more) so i don't have many predisposed biases aside from defaulting to allowing the aff to read perms until the neg convinces me they shouldn't get them.
- i (believe i) am familiar with most lit bases, although this might work against you. for example, i do not want to vote for you if you read ev by José Esteban Muñoz and then claim that he makes a blanket "utopia bad" arg because that's not at all what the author says
- if the neg wins the alt solves the aff, i vote neg.
- 2N - do not forget that the squo is a logical option. i.e. if you're winning that the aff doesn't solve and that there's risk of a link (for example, that the aff would cause backlash against [x] people), the squo is probably better than the aff regardless of whether or not you're winning alt solvency.
- condo is a yes-no question (i am unlikely to vote for "the negative gets [x] number of conditional advocacies", you should instead say "the negative gets NO conditional advocacies or dispositional advocacies etc"). default to weighing the aff against the alt/squo but can be convinced to disregard the theoretical implementation of either of those. probably not going to convince me that the neg should not get to read a K wholesale but that's more logical than some of the fw interps i've seen so...
- you probably should not read conflicting interps in the 1NC. 2AC to "T-read a plan" and "fiat bad" is really easy which negates any of the time skew benefits
- fiat - both sides get it until someone tells me they don't or wtv idk no neg fiat never really made sense to me but i'd vote on it if it's mishandled
authors whose work i found enjoyable or informative in no particular order: sylvia wynter, nietzsche, toni morrison, enriqué dussel, dahlma llanos-figueroa, judith butler, karl marx, gilles deleuze, felix guattari, jafari s. allen, josé esteban muñoz, reinaldo arenas, nina maria lozano, vine deloria jr., guy hocquenghem, desiree c. bailey, langston hughes, manuel zapata olivella, nicholas guillén, josé martí, colin dayan, kit heyam, ishmael reed, maggie nelson, viola f. cordova
helpful notes on a few of these authors: http://www.protevi.com/
Debate is a performance, Lover of presumption and clash.
Put me on the chain: email@example.com
Do what you do best and ill make my judgment based on how/what you do.
If theres an an accessibility issue with the speech, y'all should try to fix it first. I'm open to discussion but don't be horrible.
I'm currently doing my undergrad at NYU in performance studies & mathematics.
I have little topic knowledge and I will say a lot of acronyms will throw me off.
I hate writing paradigms. I got a whole thing about it. The rest is like asking what type of cheese is best at Subway (provolone b/c it's the easiest for the worker to separate), but know I'm game for anything.
Specific Types of Args
Topicality- show what your model of debate is and what the ballot means/looks like/should be. I'll bite on most T should you situate it in some educational framework
Framework- Clear, Articulated. Don't go at card-body speeds on theory. I'm a messy writer and got bad hearing in one ear extra time to flow on important args here would be a help. Default is stated in the first line of this paradigm
Counter Plans- Cp's are cool I don't buy Consult/Word PIC's easily: higher brightline here.
Personal Belief on condo and advocacies: don't let them conflict too much if you're reading like 7 I doubt it has good links but that's just me; default Condo Good.
Disadvantages- I like a good DA. Make it clear and show me what the impact scenario is. Creativity is good & I can buy a ptx DA on occasion
Not a huge fan of 8 off strats but take that as you will, strike me if you can.
Kritiks- Preferred realm of debate, I always went for the K
I have a good understanding of most contemporary lit bases [and a more in-depth understanding of (racial) cap, cybernetics, moten, & munoz, I'll try my best to keep up, but that also means I have a higher threshold on your explanation. Generics are okay but it'll make me more unlikely to vote for yall.
I'm open to most K's traditional & non-traditional, and performative, as well as any potential flow structures. As long as there's a reasonable (you decide what that means) connection to the space or act itself, and you can articulate, it should be workable.
Note for K teams & KvK debates - big on methods, big on understanding the meaning of the ballot
Speaks and Such
I'll try my best to remain consistent :)
By request I can send my flows afterwards too
Do what you do and ill try to move with you. Peace and love y'all <3
Former open debater at GMU from 2018-2022. I ran mostly queer theory, disability, and various forms of cap for the last couple years and am most familiar with those lit bases.
She/they pronouns. Put me on the email chain please, ceili1627 at gmail dot com. Feel free to email me after rounds with questions.
TL;DR: run whatever you want and I'll judge as best I can. I think my role as a judge is to be an educator/facilitator of idea exchanges regardless of whether those ideas are connected to anything from USFG action to interpretive dance performances. Keep in mind that even though debate is a game that you should have fun playing, it has real-world consequences for the real people who play it. As a great woman once said, "At the end of the debate, be sure to tell me why I should vote for you; if you don't, then you can't get big mad when I don't ... periodt" and I live by that <3
K Affs: I'm totally down with k affs but I prefer them to have at least a vague link to the topic. It's super easy for the narrative of k affs to get lost during the round so please keep the aff story alive!! In FW/T debates, make sure to explain what debate rounds look like under your counterinterp, and that plus solid impact turns is usually a fairly easy ballot from me.
FW/T: As the same great woman once said, "I have voted against framework, I have voted for framework, but at the end of the day I don't really want to be there when framework is read." Run a caselist. Reasonability isn’t really an argument and fairness definitely isn't an impact. I tend to default to competing interps unless given a good reason otherwise. The neg needs to really spell out why I should err towards them on limits. TVAs are pretty useful for mitigating offense against fw as long as they're explained and contextualized well. Please for the love of god contextualize all your fw blocks to the round & aff in question instead of just reading a transcript of fw blocks from an NDT outround half a decade ago. I'm not persuaded by args that debate doesn't shape subjectivity--if you come out of a round the exact same as you entered it (regardless of if your opinions/beliefs have changed) then you're probably playing the game wrong.
Theory: Trying to convince me to care about potential abuse is an uphill battle. Don’t spread through theory blocks please. For blippy args I generally err towards rejecting the arg but will (extremely) reluctantly vote on it if dropped.
DAs/Case: Impact calc and clear internal link chains are both super important for me to vote on a DA. I tend to think that links determine DA direction but can probably be persuaded that direction is determined by uniqueness. I really enjoy heavy case debates and am disappointed that's increasingly missing from a lot of rounds. Also I think re-highlighting your opponents' ev is a bold move that's cool and often persuasive when it's done right but is pretty cringe if done poorly.
Ks: I was mostly a k debater in college and I'm most familiar with lit bases for queer theory, cap, set col, and debility. Still, you need to clearly explain your theories of power and all that good stuff instead of throwing around a bunch of obscure terms expecting me to know what you’re talking about. Please please please don't read a k just because you think that's what I want to hear--it makes for a bad debate and a grumpy judge. I’d like to think my ballot actually means something so explain to me what it does and I'll be more likely to pull the trigger for you. I feel most comfortable voting on specific links to the aff though I prefer the debate to go beyond the level of you-link-you-lose. Please give me a clear and coherent framework under which I consider the aff vs the alt, but also I think too many policy affs use framework to avoid engaging with the k at all which is both frustrating to judge and not at all strategic.
CPs: 50 state fiat is definitely core neg ground at the high school level. I’m fine with the neg having 2 conditional worlds, 3 makes me lean aff, and the neg shouldn't ever need 4+ conditional worlds. I don't judge kick and I'm likely to entertain most if not all CPs as long as they have a clear net benefit and explanation of how they solve the aff. Super meta CP theory confuses and bores me.
General: Tech > truth (often but not always, e.g. I usually tend to evaluate the debate through tech > truth but can be fairly easily convinced otherwise), debate is a game that you should have fun playing, clarity > speed (especially for zoom debate), I reserve the right to tank speaks if you're being homophobic, transphobic, sexist, racist, ableist, excessively rude, or clipping cards. Please don't make me have to judge something that happened outside the round like authenticity checks or happenings from other tournaments/seasons. I usually have little HS topic knowledge but that doesn't necessarily mean you shouldn't pref me ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ it's good for the neg on T insofar as I don't have a predetermined view of what the topic should look like, but it's also good for the aff because I don’t have much knowledge on the nuances of what affirmatives look like under particular definitions. I'm pretty hit or miss on reading ev after rounds unless explicitly told to, and on that note please highlight your cards in as close to complete and coherent sentences as you can. Violent verb fragments aren't arguments.
I did 4 years of PF in high school so I'm quite familiar with this format. Extend your own args, don’t drop your opponents’ args. I vote on the flow and default to util for impact comparison unless you tell me to frame impacts differently. I’m most likely to vote for a PF team that nails impact calc in the rebuttals, does solid work extending offense, and uses effective warrant-level evidence comparison. My 3 biggest pet peeves with PF are (1) labeling literally everything as a voter, (2) saying "de-link,", and (3) using "frontline" as a verb.
I never debated this format, though I understand it, and I tend to judge it from a somewhat policy perspective. I'm cool with both traditional and progressive formats--do what you do best/enjoy most and I'll vote off the flow. What bugs me most is the introduction of some kind of framing lens at the beginning of the round (like value/value criteria or another kind of framework) that isn't extended or used throughout the rest of the debate.
If you use One Direction lyrics in your speechI will raise your speaks a max of 0.5. Do with that what you will.
yes, I want to be on the chain: firstname.lastname@example.org
I coach for LASA
Updates can be found at the bottom of the page
tl;dr: do what you do best. I’ll accommodate for you
almost none of the following paradigm is set in stone: these are mostly just my preferences. I can be convinced otherwise on most of these things, it just depends on how you spin it and frame it. I will always do my best to put my personal convictions and preferences aside for a debate because arguments ought to be what the debaters make of them. I tend to think that bad arguments ought to lose, regardless of what category or style they are. If there is something you’re still unclear on after reading this, feel free to ask questions.
firstly, the things that ARE set in stone: don’t clip. don’t steal prep. don't be mean to anyone. don’t say death good, racism good, sexism good, etc. I know most of you probably won’t, but I feel like it needs to be said. if your strategy relies on being sneaky (intentionally omitting things, relying on them messing up because you tricked them, etc.) do not pref me. there is a difference between being strategic and being sneaky.
a couple notes:
- I have a face when I’m focusing that looks as if I hate you or I am very confused. I don’t hate you, and I’m not confused. I promise its just my face. I’ll do my best to control it because I know it can be off-putting, but if it happens, its nothing you did.
- I don’t like small talk at all. Please don’t do it if we don’t know each other.
- being called "judge" feels weird. just call me kathryn (not katie, i know the email is misleading).
- I am very sensitive to the way that non-men and trans men are treated in debate, and this especially goes for non-men of color and queer people of color. I will never hesitate to call you out and contact your coach(es).
- I really appreciate when the 2AR/2NR give me a way to frame the debate and make it really easy to write my ballot. "Even if" statements are cool.
- When evaluating a debate, I always start with questions of solvency: what do I think the aff solves? What do I think the alternative/counterplan solves? I do this by analyzing how the debaters explain their solvency, how they answer solvency deficits, evaluating solvency advocates, etc. I then move to questions that were highly contested in the 2AR (if the aff presses the internal link of the disad, I evaluate that part of the debate. I'll do this for every part that was in the 2AR/2NR (so long as I can trace it back to earlier speeches, if I can't trace them back, I will not evaluate them)) until I conclude one way or the other for every issue. After that, I'll use your framing, impact calc/comparison, and what I've concluded from your explanation and evidence to assign risk of the aff/disad and that helps me decide. This process is subject to change because I'm sure my judging process will change as I get more experience.
- When in doubt, I default to data, empirics, logic. I look at the studies in your cards and weigh them pretty heavily, especially with politics. Charts, graphs, tables, all cool. I find that biases in evidence and methods by which your author comes to their conclusion are really necessary to account for and really relevant to what the card says and why.
- Your arguments need to be complete. Make sure your claims have warrants. Make sure your disads are complete shells.
- Mark your cards. Send a marked version. If you raise an ethics violation, you need to have proof. Accusations of clipping that turn out to be true get an immediate L and a 25 in speaks for the team that clipped. Accusations of clipping that turn out to be false get the same thing for the team that accused.
T-USFG/Framework (I put it at the top. You’re welcome.)
- When evaluating the 2NR/2AR I look first for impact comparison/what do I think the aff solves with their model vs. what do I think the negative solves with their model. This part is especially hard to adjudicate when both sides don’t do the comparison between the two models, so please do that for me.
- I tend to think that people ought to affirm topical action, however if you have a defense of your model I’m willing to hear it. You're much better off going for a couple of solid impact turns to framework rather than a terrible we meet argument and 6 disads that are all the same thing just tagged slightly differently. I don't even wanna hear your interp + our aff.
- I conclude aff in more debates that I’ve watched than I’d like to, usually because the negative spreads themselves too thin or doesn’t do enough impact comparison in the 2NR. I conclude neg in debates where I would have liked the aff to win for the very same reason. There ARE compelling aff arguments against framework, but the trouble usually comes from not responding to the tricky neg defense/tricky internal link turns/not doing impact comparison.
- I’m more persuaded by limits/fairness arguments than I am about education or ground. It’s also not hard for me to conclude that debate is a game and competitive merits matter. However, these are not reasons to skimp on explanation.
- I like switch side. I think do it on the negative resolves a lot more offense than teams think it does, especially when affirmative answers to T-USFG seem to be more about excluding their scholarship rather than affirming a topical plan.
- Teams should press the subjectivity debate more than they do – it implicates a lot of the answers that aff teams make. Not contesting the subjectivity level when a lot of the affirmative strategy depends on it is an easy way to lose.
- T-USFG is not genocide, the Iraq war, or anything else you say it is. I'm unwilling to conclude that.
- I lean to competing interpretations, but reasonability is a lot more underrated than it ought to be.
- Predictable limits are your best shot at getting my ballot. I like caselist comparisons a lot, I wanna know what their model justifies and what yours justifies and compare them.
- Much like framework, I like fairness/clash type impacts here. I am unpersuaded by ground and education.
- I think that precision/intent to define/field context is more important that other people do. If your interpretation doesn’t actually define anything and instead you’ve cherry-picked your evidence to say what you want, I will likely be more lenient towards the other team.
- While I was not K-savvy in high school, I went to a school that was K-heavy so I am very familiar with a lot of the literature of antiblackness, settler colonialism, fem IR, security, and have had some exposure to Baudrillard (though not willingly, lol). I have my own conceptions of all of these things, but I will always default to the debaters’ explanation of it.
- The affirmative should get to weigh the aff against what the negative wins that the alternative solves by the end of the debate. I think that’s probably the most reasonable frame for both teams in terms of fairness, so any “weigh the aff” type arguments takes a lot less work for me to lean your way. On framework of the K, "you don't get K's" and "you dont get the aff" are both equally unpersuasive.
- I’m uncomfortable voting for K alts that I don’t know a whole lot about, as in the question “what does the alt do/look like” was never really clearly articulated. Please take extra time to do that. otherwise, you may not be all that happy with my RFD when I distort your alternative to be what it isn’t.
- Like all people, I like link specificity. It makes the aff’s job harder and my job easier. The more specific the better. I think in K debates its important to fuse the link and impact debate together so that each link is packaged with a particular impact. It’s more coherent that way. Consider only going for one or two very fleshed out links instead of like 6 really bad ones in the 2NR
- Tech > Truth. Spin is cool, but you have to have a reasonable evidence backing for it.
- Evidence comparison is important. If you don’t do enough of it, I will either default to your opponent’s characterization of it or come up with my own convictions that do not match to the way you think of your evidence. Either way, you will not like the result. This is not talking about author quals. You need to compare warrants.
- I am a huge fan of straight turn debates, particularly impact turns. Do with that what you will.
- More evidence isn’t always better. I think fewer pieces of good quality evidence are more valuable than more pieces of terrible evidence. You ought to apply your evidence and unpack all the warrants rather than reading a million new cards. Quality is so much better than quantity.
- Impact comparison is necessary. Do a good amount of it. No, this is not the same thing as impact calc. It's "even if they win their impact, here's why you prefer ours anyway"
- If your disad does not have uniqueness/link/whatever in the 1NC and you read that in the block, the 1AR gets new answers. You need to have a complete argument.
- Zero risk exists.
- Every time you say “see-pee” instead of “counterplan,” a kitten dies and I hate you a little more.
- I like counterplans that are textually and functionally competitive, but your counterplan by no means has to be. I mostly just think you should have a solvency advocate.
- Theory is fine, and I’ll let y’all decide which counterplans are cheating. I lean negative on most theory except for conditionality, on which I am a true neutral. I can obviously be convinced otherwise.
o On conditionality, I find qualitative interpretations much more convincing than quantitative ones. I don’t know why 4 is worse than 3 which is worse than 2 and so on.
o Judge kick is the logical extension of conditionality, so I’ll do it unless the aff contests it and y’all debate about it. Then I will decide whether to or not.
- I like process counterplans with nuanced internal net benefits, PICs, and techy debates of these type.
- Very underutilized! I love nuanced case debate so please do a lot of it. If youre not doing 2-3 minutes of case work, you’re doing it wrong. I think that you ought to give me judge direction when doing case debate, tell me what it means for the debate if you do win this argument.
- One thing that makes me sad is when you ask really good questions in CX about case and then they never make it into the 1NC. You can use analytics to rip apart a lot of the aff internal link chains -- any logical hole in the affirmative should have at least an analytic in the 1NC.
- Case turns are cool. Unpack the warrants.
- I reward good case debating because its not very often that people really do case debate in the block like they should, and when they do, its often done poorly.
- I reward clever strategies, organization, being funny, and clarity. Clarity > Speed always. I also reward open sourcing, so I’ll check if you do. If you open source, +.2 speaks for y’all both.
- I hate ASPEC. Viscerally. I really struggle to reconcile the idea that dropped arguments are true and just how much ASPEC sucks. I suppose I'll vote for it but only if in the doc and dropped. Otherwise, no chance. If it's dropped, but it wasn't in the doc, I don't care, I'm not voting for it. If you unironically do this and get mad at me when I vote aff, you are likely bad at debate and I will have no remorse voting against you.
- This is directed at everyone, but mostly cis men in debate: stop yelling. we are in a small room and no one else is talking while you're talking. there is no reason to shout. please stop.
- I cannot stress this enough: be. nice. I said it earlier, but I will say it again. I genuinely hate watching debates where y'all are mean to each other. I enjoy nice and polite debaters more than I enjoy good debaters, hopefully you’re both. I am unafraid to call you out if you are mean. I am unafraid to contact your coach if you are excessive.
- Respect your opponents. Respect their pronouns. Put a trigger warning on your stuff. Don't cut each other off. Generally, just be respectful.
- If you have further questions, I think about debate very similarly to Yao Yao Chen, Sruthi Ilangovan, and Brian Box. Andrew Xiang and Haaris Siddiqi are people who have influenced the way I approach debate and probably judge as well.
- TOC 2021 UPDATE - zoom can be glitchy and the quality of mics on computers tends to be rather bad, so its important that you slow down and be more clear than you think you need to be. additionally, do not delete analytics from your docs. i will be so much more lenient with your opponents if your "aff slaying argument" is a 3 second blip in the 1NC that sounds scratchy and unclear via zoom is dropped in the 2AC.
yes, i'd like a card doc of the cards you find relevant at the end of the debate. negs, during 2ar prep you should start compiling the card doc for the neg, just for time's sake. i don't want the limited time i have to decide to compromise the quality of my decision.
update (9/27/23): added detailed judging record for most accurate data. poached from David McDermott.
update (9/24/23): tried to make my paradigm as short as i could only to realize there is a lot to write, but most of my opinions are highly irrelevant and easily overcome with technical debating. i do not think "evenly debated" ever happens unless both teams decide to never respond to any of their opponent's arguments, and have only had to intervene in one debate where the warrant in a piece of evidence a debate was staked on was interpreted incorrectly by both teams.
1. joe, not judge. yes, email chain: email@example.com
email subject should include tournament, round, teams, and codes.
example: 2021 TOC - Round 4 - Mitty AP (Aff) vs Little Rock GR (Neg)
2. have seen a lot of unkind behavior while judging. i used to think being angry was cool, and it's fine to show emotion, but don't push it too far. not trying to police expression, but sometimes its either just cringy or directly making individuals uncomfortable.
3. speech times are non-negotiable. outside help is prohibited. each debater must give 1 constructive and 1 rebuttal, unless there's a maverick situation that has been pre-approved.
4. i check to see if you clip. it actually happens a lot, and i won't hesitate to vote you down. accidents happen, i get it. this doesn't mean you need to worry if you skipped one word out of your 3000 word 1AC without realizing, but i have voted down two teams who skipped a sentence, several words, or even paragraphs, in more than one card. you may have scrolled past without realizing, but repeated instances are misrepresentation of evidence and i will draw a line in the sand.
5. if a rehighlighting is longer than 3 lines, read it.
6. if i'm judging you:
a. [online] would prefer camera on just because online debate is soulless as is. won't ask or punish you for it though.
b. [in person] i will try to sit at least 10 feet away. don't move closer. don't shake my hand.
7. don't assume i know anything about "community consensus" or the topic.
1. little rock central '22, vanderbilt '26. human and organizational development major, minoring in data science and asian studies. i read a lot of philosophy, behavioral journals, cultural studies papers, international relations and economics articles for both debate and college. you can ask me questions about vandy if you want, although preferably after a decision has been made or through email.
2. read basically everything in high school as a 2A and 2N. did one tournament in college that was about the same.
some of my favorite arguments included:
aff: code-switching poetry in korean, wynter, soft left refugees, soko arms sales.
neg: the security K, the allied prolif DA, the onticide K, T-subs, a conditions CP, spark.
3. very data oriented. i think of debate as a time game. my flow is not the number of words you said, but the number of words i could write down. assuming argument quality is the same (it usually isn't), the side with more time spent on the core issues of the debate will win.
4. have voted for many pro-growthers and nationalists although i do not agree with them. wish more teams would say stuff about cards from brookings or cato or one of 10 gazillion other think tanks and more about evidence quality in general.
5. did the toc once. broke there. qualed twice. did about 10 tournaments a year all 4 years, mostly national circuit. aware of most trends in debate, and coach both policy and K teams, though I research more Ks and K answers than anything else.
6. if you don't feel like reading my paradigm, my thoughts on judging are essentially like both of Texas DK, Debnil Sur, Rafael Pierry, and David McDermott, although I am perhaps not as steeply neg biased.
1. i judge about 50% policy rounds, 40% policy v k rounds, and 10% k v k rounds. read what you're good at.
2. i will flow your speech. i will decide the debate based on said flow. you will not change my mind on this.
3. tech over truth, but arguments must have a claim, warrant, and implication. ok with trolly arguments. your fault if you lose the sky is green, but you do have to say why the sky being green matters. if an argument is bad, beat it.
example of an incomplete argument: condo is a voter for killing straight turns - dispo solves.
example of a complete argument: condo is a voter - kills straight turns by incentivizing least credible offense, which destroys aff research and depth. dispo solves because they can kick if perms or theory.
tech is most important but also entails that a debater uses concessions to illustrate the big picture so that the judge does not intervene on WHAT it entails.
this is the single most important part of my paradigm. way too often, debaters are dissatisfied with a decision, saying "they dropped this thing!" without ever explaining why it matters for the overall debate and instead leaving it to the judge's devices. implication debating of core concessions wins debates far more often than going for dozens of concessions and not explaining implications.
4. similarly, please do impact calculus. why does something matter more? old-school novice-style impact calculus debating is actually helpful for most debates.
5. i have very little strong preferences, but incorporating some of my small ones can help render a decision in your favor. as far as i can tell, my bias is very minimal, and i am open to being proved wrong.
6. i obviously will really hate you if you read something racist, sexist, transphobic, or otherwise, but if the other team doesn't call you out, i may be almost just as mad. if you said something that harms others (i.e. calling someone a slur, misgendering, etc) i will intervene, but if you say something that could be interpreted as such (i.e. drone strikes good, malthus, etc), i won't intervene. the closer you toe the line, the more likely i am to intervene. i will try my absolute hardest to let the debaters debate this out, but participant safety vastly outweighs the educational benefit of just letting personal attacks continue.
i can and will not make a judgment on a debater's behavior out of round because it lacks a verifiable warrant and is thus not a complete argument. i understand there are many objectionable people in debate who have done terrible things to others, but i unfortunately do not have the authority nor resources to conduct an investigation on them. if your opponent says something objectionable in the round and you want to make it a link argument or voting issue, feel free to do so, but i will evaluate it like any other argument.
7. given this, feel free to postround. i will most likely disagree with you, given that i rendered a decision the other way, but i feel like it's an important way for debaters to hold judges accountable for potentially questionable decisions and make them rethink certain parts of their decision. that being said, if you become hostile, i will similarly become hostile. there's a difference between respectfully questioning someone's evaluation and simply being mad because you disagree.
obligatory K section for prefs because no one cares about anything else nowadays
you can read whatever, with some caveats.
1. don't assume i know anything about your authors or what they are saying. explanation is imperative.
2. please be specific. reading a K is not an excuse for not having links. quotes are great, but need to actually prove the link.
3. Ks that are not "plan focus bad" are an uphill battle due to uniqueness issues, the perm double bind, and utopian fiat bad. they are not unwinnable, just usually have warrant problems. if you go for a root cause link without an alt or uniqueness or framework, you will probably lose. because of this, i am usually better for Ks that moot the plan with framework DAs than the "we fiat international revolution" K with "try or die turns aff impacts".
4. framework is not "usually a wash" and determines a lot of offense. i will not vote for a "middle ground" interp i constructed in my mind, although you are free to introduce a middle ground interp. if it doesn't matter, tell me why. if you don't tell me why "fiat racist" outweighs "procedure", or vice versa, you will lose. defense helps as a tiebreaker, but usually impact comparison matters more.
5. aff teams should read less state inevitable cards and more impact turns. solidify strategy by the 2AR and don't shotgun. don't have a preference for extinction/framework strategy over the perm/link turn strategy, but it makes less sense to go for the perm with an aff that talks about heg.
6. K v K: the link matters most for the perm, but impact comparison or turns case matters most overall. framework helps. explaining what the role of debate is helps me evaluate the alt vs the aff a lot better. the more absolutist position you take the better, although PIKs are fine if there's an actual impact to the link.
1. T v K affs:
a. explaining what the ballot does for the scope of impacts is most important for both teams:
affs often have big impacts but don't do a lot to solve them. doing risk calculus like you're debating "x-ism outweighs procedure" and doing solvency debating to show you solve some of the impact is most important.
negs often have small impacts that they can solve but lack impact comparison. limiting the scope of what debate/the aff can solve is most beneficial. good 2Ns ask the question: how would either the counter interp or the aff solve this in any capacity?
b. strategy wise, consistency is important.
affs would be better served choosing just a counter interp strategy or just an impact turn strategy. defense helps.
negs would be better served going for a small impact, solvency takeouts to DAs, and switch side.
c. TVAs are meh. if the aff says "free palestine now!" the neg has no obligation to say how this might be solved by a job guarantee. if you can, more power to you.
d. more persuaded by limits than ground for the neg. preparing for tons of affs usually means in depth debates are much harder, even if the neg could pull a K out of their backfiles.
e. i have coached teams to both answer and go for fairness and clash. i have not heard a debate involving topic education/lawyering since 2020, so it will be a bit unfamiliar.
f. fairness is not inherently "just an internal link" OR "an intrinsic good". teams must explain beyond two words why it is or isn't an impact. warrants please!
similarly, i'm not sure why aff teams are only answering fairness with either "just an internal link" or "structural unfairness". usually neg teams are good at just no linking both. aff DAs about how the neg has weaponized fairness are much more persuasive than answers 2Ns are all too ready for.
2. T vs plan affs:
a. i think some judges have an unreasonably high burden for T. that being said, you have to not spread your T blocks at an incomprehensible pace.
b. T evidence quality is on life support.
c. don't have a preference for limits or precision. just do comparison.
d. reasonability should be framed as offense. it doesn't make sense without a counter interp.
e. no idea why T has to be 5 minutes of the 2NR if substance is also bad for the aff (example: they dropped presumption).
1. solvency deficits need impacts. if you don't have any, find a better aff.
2. i do not share disdain for a general enemy known as "process junk". every counterplan has a process.
i am open to affirmative theory objections about why some processes do not meet the burden of rejoinder, but i am not biased for or against them.
1. i am fine with rider DAs, "a logical policymaker could do both", "winners win", or any silly disadvantage arguments you might like to make on either side as long as they are warranted.
2. bad DAs can be reduced to zero risk if well debated. same with bad advantages. this is not because i dislike disadvantages or cases, but because the strength of warrants are often made up.
3. affs don't straight turn enough.
1. case debating is a lost art.
the state of 2AC line by line is abysmal, resulting in incomprehensible sound bytes that do not resemble even half of an argument, making me want to abandon technical evaluation to scold every 2A for not saying full sentences. conversely, neg teams usually just spam cards instead of actually reading the affs terrible cards and pointing out how terrible they are.
if you don't do these things, your speaks will certainly improve.
2. i love impact turns. this includes death good, spark, wipeout, and pretty much anything else. would much rather judge a debate like this than a competition 2AR.
1. condo is the only (obvious) reason to reject the team. i could be convinced otherwise, but i haven't heard a warrant (yet) for why international fiat or the like made the entire 2AC undebatable.
2. much less biased for the neg than i used to be. i actually enjoy theory debates, but a lot of times, both sides just assert truisms about how debate works without explaining why or questioning the other sides warrants (example: why is aff or neg side bias actually true?)
pretty even on the few theory debates I've judged.
1. last year everyone was around 29, so i've started to start at 28.5 instead. i'll adjust based on tournament pool.
2. your speaks will go down if you yell or insult each other. conversely, speaks will go up with jokes and humor.
3. last year's median was around 28.7. if you reach below 27.3, you almost assuredly did an ethics violation. if you reach above 29.7, you are the best speaker i have ever seen.
4. reading better ev, doing line by line with warrants, and actually comparing impacts will make me less grumpy and correlate with higher speaks.
5. i will not give you a 30 just because your opponent technically conceded you should get one, since i am not bound to technical concessions even if your opponent is.
1. if i look confused, this just means i don't get it. if i nod, it just means i get what you mean, not necessarily that i think it's the best/winning argument.
2. if you say your evidence is great and its not, i will be annoyed.
3. emailing is not prep, but if you take obnoxiously long, i will tell you to start prep.
4. deleting analytics is definitely prep.
5. "tag team" cx is fine, but if one debater is taking every question, speaks will suffer.
Please include the following emails in email chains: firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com - sometimes my spsmail account is really slow in receiving emails. I honestly prefer speechdrop, but email is ok if that's your norm or what your coach prefers. My least favorite option is the file share.
I am the debate coach at Kickapoo High School in Missouri. I have been involved in policy debate since 1994 as a student and/ or coach. The 2022-23 topic marks my 27th. I have coached in very critical circuits (one round with a plan read by any team in an entire year), very community judge oriented circuits (that don't allow CPs or Ks), TOC qualifying circuit, ELL circuits, and combinations of all circuits. If you have questions, please email firstname.lastname@example.org
Update - 1/20 - a note about prepping your speech before you speak
My expectation is that you send out a doc BEFORE you speak that includes the evidence AND analytics that you intend to read in the speech if they are typed up. They should also be in the order that you are going to speak them. It is an accessibility issue. If you type them up in the round, that's one thing - but if they are your blocks (or your team blocks) they should be sent. This includes AT A MINIMUM the text of perms, the texts of counterplans, the text of interpretations of why you reject a team, etc. Also, if you choose to just randomly jump around in a document please know that it will dramatically impact your speaks. Nobody is as good at flowing in online debates as we are in person, having the doc and reading it in order helps improve the activity.
Important norms to keep tournaments running on time
Please show up to the room to establish email chains/ speechdrop, disclose the 1ac/ past 2nrs, do tech checks, etc. AS SOON AS POSSIBLE after pairings have been released (read at least 20 minutes prior assuming pairings come out 30 minutes prior to round). The 1ac should start when the pairing says unless there is a tournament related reason. Once you get to the room and do tech check, feel free to use the rest of the time to prep, etc. If it's an in person tournament, please show up when the pairings get released, set up an email chain or speechdrop, disclose the 1ac/ past 2nrs, and then go prep - just come back to the room before the round is supposed to start. If you can't get to the room for some reason, it is your responsibility to email me and the other team to let us know.
Please know that if you don't do this, it will negatively effect your speaker points by .5. Choosing to show up late makes tournaments run behind and gives unfair advantages to teams with multiple coaches (I have to be here to judge and coach my team - if you choose to be late, I assume it's because you're getting extra coaching which gives you an unfair advantage over teams whose coaches are judging).
Cliff's Notes Version (things to do in the 10 minutes before the round):
- As long as we are online, please make sure you are adding intentional breaks between arguments. These can be verbal or non-verbal but they are necessary to make sure flowing is happening from the oral arguments instead of just from the speech doc. As an example, clearly say the word "next" or "and" after each card/ subpoint/ etc. or slow down for the tags to where there is a noticeable difference between the card or warrants and the next tag. This is one of those things that the technology just isn't as good as being face-to-face, but it may make debate better down the line.
- Disclose on the wiki pre-round unless you are breaking a new case. I can be persuaded, relatively easily, that this is a voting issue (this is not about small details in the case, but overall picture). Once a case is broken, please put it up as soon as possible. If you read it at last tournament and haven't found time to put it up, that's a problem. Also, at a minimum, the negative should be posting their main off case positions. Before the round, the aff and neg should both know what the opponent is reading as a case and what positions they have gone for at the end of debates on the negative. Having coached at a small and economically disprivileged school most of my life, the arguments against disclosure literally make no sense to me.
- I like politics a lot more than Ks - My perfect generic 2NR is politics and an agent CP. The best way to win a K in front of me is to argue that it turns case and makes case impossible to solve.
- I don't like cheap shots - I think plan flaws are a reason to ask questions in the CX or pre-round. Make debate better.
- K Framework - I prefer to do policy making. However, you need to answer the project if they run it.
- Cheating CPs - I don't like backfile check type CPs (veto cheato) or "I wrote this for fun" CPs (consult Harry Potter/ Jesus). I do like topic agent CPs (like have China do the plan, have the private sector do the plan).
- Link vs Uniqueness - Uniqueness determines the direction of the link - if it is not gonna pass now, there is no way the link can make it pass less.
- Cross-ex is always open unless another judge objects.
- Be Nice and FLOW!
High School Policy Specifics:
- I know that the last couple of topics don't have core stable offense for the neg. This definitely makes the neg more intuitively persuasive to me on questions of topicality and on the threshold that I need for the negative to win some kind of a link. I don't like CPs that aren't tied to topic specific literature. This includes, but is not limited to, contrived fiat tricks designed to garner net-benefits. This includes NGA, ConCon, etc. It doesn't mean I won't vote for it, it just means my threshold for aff theory, etc. is really low. If you are choosing between a CP that I have listed above and a disad with a less than ideal link (not no link, just less than ideal), it would be more persuasive to me to read the disad.
Here is a crystalized version of this stolen from Will Katz but it explains what I think about contrived CPs - "I am over contrived process cp's. If you don't have aff/topic specific evidence for your cp, I probably won't care if the aff's perm is intrinsic. If you don't have evidence about the plan, why does the aff's perm only have to be about the plan?"
I am a high school coach who tends to be at TOC tournaments about 3/4 of the time and local tournaments (with community judges) the other 1/4. However, I do cut a lot of cards, coach at camps, and think about the topic a lot which means that I have a pretty good grip on the topic. This means I may not know the intricacies of how your particular argument may functions in the high school environment you are competing in right now.
High School LD Specifics:
My default is that I don't need a value and value crit. in order to vote for you. However, I can be persuaded that it is needed. If the affirmative reads a particular interpretation of the topic (i.e. they read a plan) then, absent theory arguments about why that's bad, that becomes the focus of the debate. If the affirmative does not read a plan then the negative can still read disadvantages and PICs against the entirety of the topic. I don't terribly love NRs and 2ARs that end with a series of voting issues. Most of the time you are better off using that time to explain why the impacts to your case outweigh your opponent's case as opposed to describing them as voting issues. If you are going to make an argument in the NC that there is a different framework for the debate than what the affirmative explains in the AC, you need to make sure you fully develop that position. Framework functions very differently in LD compared to policy so make sure your blocks are written out for that reason.
I'm not a big fan of a big theory pre-empt at the end of the 1ac. I think the aff case is the time when you should be making most of your offensive arguments and most of the time theory is set up to be defensive. This is particularly silly to me when the aff has more time in rebuttals than the neg does anyway.
NFA LD Specifics:
I am relatively new to this format of debate but I like it a lot. I think debate should be viewed through a policy framework in this style of debate, but I can be persuaded out of this belief. However, if your main strategy is to say that the rules of NFA are problematic or that you shouldn't have to weigh the case and the DA, then I think you fighting an uphill battle.
Also, given the limited number of speeches, I tend to err on the side of starting aff framework as early as possible (probably the AC). This is mostly to protect the aff since if it's not brought up until the 2ac/ 1ar it is possible for the NR to straight turn it and leave the 2ar in an unwinnable position.
In Depth Stuff:
I tend to prefer policy oriented discussions over kritikal debates but I will be happy to evaluate whatever you want to run. My favorite debates come down to a clash between specific arguments on the flow of the advantages and disadvantages. On theory you should number or slow down your tags so that I get the clash. I can flow your speed if it is clear, but if you want me to get the 19 reasons why conditionality is a bad practice you should slow down to a speed I can flow the blips. That said, I tend to prefer fast debate to slow debates that ultimately don't point to the resolution of the topic.
Read warrants in your evidence. Full sentences are how people speak. They have things like nouns, verbs, and prepositions. Please make sure that your evidence would make sense if you were reading it slowly.
If the round is close, I tend to read a decent amount of evidence after the round if there is a reason to do so. If you want me to call for a specific card please remind me in the 2nr/ 2ar.
Also please give reasons why your offense turns their offense besides "war causes x."
Disclosure theory note:
I have a VERY low threshold on this argument. Having schools disclose their arguments pre-round is important if the activity is going to grow / sustain itself. Having coached almost exclusively at small, underfunded, new, or international schools, I can say that disclosure (specifically disclosure on the wiki if you are a paperless debater) is a game changer. It allows small schools to compete and makes the activity more inclusive. There are three specific ways that this influences how ballots will be given from me:
1) I will err negative on the impact level of "disclosure theory" arguments in the debate. If you're reading an aff that was broken at a previous tournament or on a previous day and is not on the wiki (assuming you have access to a laptop and the tournament provides wifi), you will likely lose if this theory is read. There are two ways for the aff to "we meet" this in the 2ac - either disclose on the wiki ahead of time or post the full copy of the 1ac in the wiki as a part of your speech. Obviously, some grace will be extended when wifi isn't available or due to other extenuating circumstances. However, arguments like "it's just too much work," "I don't like disclosure," etc. won't get you a ballot.
2) The neg still needs to engage in the rest of the debate. Read other off case positions and use their "no link" argument as a reason that disclosure is important. Read case cards and when they say they don't apply or they aren't specific enough, use that as a reason for me to see in round problems. This is not a "cheap shot" win. You are not going to "out-tech" your opponent on disclosure theory. To me, this is a question of truth. Along that line, I probably won't vote on this argument in novice, especially if the aff is reading something that a varsity debater also reads.
3) If you realize your opponent's aff is not on the wiki, you should make every possible attempt before the round to ask them about the aff, see if they will put it on the wiki, etc. I understand that, sometimes, one teammate puts all the cases for a squad on the wiki and they may have just put it under a different name. To me, that's a sufficient example of transparency (at least the first time it happens). If the aff says it's a new aff, that means (to me) that the plan text and/ or advantages are different enough that a previous strategy cut against the aff would be irrelevant. This would mean that if you completely change the agent of the plan text or have them do a different action it is new; adding a word like "substantially" or "enforcement through normal means" is not. Likewise, adding a new "econ collapse causes war" card is not different enough; changing from a Russia advantage to a China, kritikal, climate change, etc. type of advantage is. Even if it is new, if you are still reading some of the same solvency cards, I think it is better to disclose your previous versions of the aff at a minimum.
4) At tournaments that don't have wifi, this should be handled by the affirmative handing over a copy of their plan text before the round.
5) If you or your opponent honestly comes from a circuit that does not use the wiki (e.g. some UDLs, some local circuits, etc.), I will likely give some leeway. However, a great use of post-round time while I am making a decision is to talk to the opponent about how to upload on the wiki. If the argument is in the round due to a lack of disclosure and the teams make honest efforts to get things on the wiki while I'm finishing up my decision, I'm likely to bump speaks for all 4 speakers by .2 or .5 depending on how the tournament speaks go.
Topicality- I believe the affirmative should affirm the topic and the negative should negate the plan. It is fairly difficult to convince me that this is not the appropriate paradigm for the affirmative to operate under. The best way to think about topicality in front of me is to think about it as drawing lines or a fence. What does debate look like for a season when the negative wins the topicality argument vs. what does it look like when the affirmative wins. Affirmatives that push the bounds of the topic tend to be run more as the season progresses so the negative should be thinking through what the affirmative justifies if their interpretation because the standard for the community. This also means that there is no real need to prove real or potential *problems in the debate.
If the affirmative wants to win reasonability then they should be articulating how I determine what is reasonable. Is it that they meet at least one of the standards of the neg's T shell? Is it that there is a qualified source with an intent to define that thinks they are reasonable? Is it that there is a key part of the topic literature that won't get talked about for the season unless they are a topical affirmative?
If you want me to vote on Topicality the 2nr (or NR in LD) should be that. Spending less than the entire 2nr on a theoretical issue and expecting me to vote on it is absurd. I would only vote neg in that world if the affirmative is also badly handling it.
Counterplans- I love counterplans. I typically believe the negative should be able to have conditional, non-contradicting advocacies but I can be persuaded as to why this is bad. Typically this will need to be proven through some type of specific in round problem besides time skew. I think that the permutations should be more than "perm: do both, perm: do the plan, perm: do the CP."
Kritiks- I am not as deep on some of this literature as you are. You should take the time in CX or a block overview to explain the story of the K. Performance style debate is interesting to me but you will have to explain your framework from the beginning. I probably tend to be more easily swayed by the framework arguments about clash compared to exclusion. I will tend to default to preferring traditional types of debate.
Politics- I like good politics debates better than probably any other argument. I like interesting stories about specific senators, specific demographics for elections d/as, etc. With this being said, I would rather see a fully developed debate about the issue. I tend to evaluate this debate as a debate about uniqueness. Teams that do the work tend to get rewarded.
My perfect debate- Without a doubt the perfect round is a 2nr that goes for a pic (or advantage cp with case neg) and a politics d/a as a net benefit.
*Questions of "abuse" - This is a soapbox issue for me. In a world of significant actual abuse (domestic abuse, child abuse, elder abuse, bullying, etc.), the use of the word to describe something as trivial as reading a topical counterplan, going over cross-x time by 3 seconds, or even not disclosing seems incredibly problematic. There are alternative words like problematic, anti-educational, etc. that can adequately describe what you perceive to be the issue with the argument. Part of this frustration is also due to the number of times I have heard debaters frustrate community judges by saying they were abused when the other team read an argument they didn't like. Please don't use this phrase. You can help make debate better.
Paperless and speaker point stuff-
I used to debate in a world where most people had their evidence on paper and the one thing that I believe has been lost through that is that people tend to look more at the speech doc than listening to the debate. I love paperless debate, just make sure that you are focusing on the speech itself and not relying exclusively on the document that the other team has sent you. Flowing well will often result in improved speaker points.
If you are using an online format to share evidence (e.g. speechdrop or an email chain), please include me in the loop. If you are using a flashdrive, I don't need to see it.
I don't expect teams to have analytics on the speech document (but if you are asked by your opponent for equity or accessibility reasons to have them there, please do so). I do expect teams to have every card, in order, on the speech document. If you need to add an additional card (because you've been doing speed drills), that's fine - just do it at the end of the speech.
If you let me know that your wiki is up to date including this round (both aff and neg) and send me the link, I'll also bump speaker points by .2.
Masks stuff for in person (last updated 4/7/23)
COVID and other diseases are still real. If I'm feeling at all under the weather, I will wear a mask. I ask you to do the same. All other things being equal, you are free to debate with or without a mask. However, if you are asked to wear a mask by an opponent or judge who is also wearing a mask, and you choose not to, it is an auto-loss with the lowest speaker points that I am allowed to give. This is a safety issue.
Along those lines, with the experiences that many have gone through in the last year, please don't make arguments like "death good," "disease good," etc. While there may be cards on those things, they very violent for many people right now. Please help make debate a safe space for people who are coming out of a very difficult time.
This paradigm is sorted in descending order in terms of the importance of each component as I perceive them.
I debated at New Trier and currently study Computer Science and Statistics at Emory. I am immensely grateful for the communities I found debating with these two institutions, and I aspire for my view on debate to replicate many of the values of the coaches and debaters that have supported me.
I try not to let my beliefs influence me.
I won’t entertain arguments that are facially unethical, including death good. I’ll stop flowing.
I am a big believer in decorum and procedure. Please time yourselves. Please take a shower if needed. Please send everything in one doc before you stop prep. Please do not come to the debate in your pajamas. The mass migration to the bathroom post-2NC needs to stop, or at least diffuse a little bit. Please treat your opponents and I with respect, at least until you leave the room. Your content is formed by your form.
I am an expressive judge. My face betrays my emotions, no matter how hard I try.
I believe the status quo to be a somewhat stabilized form of debate for both K and policy teams. I do not consider topicality to be unreasonable or dangerous. I do not consider K AFFs to be the reason debate is dying. I am difficult to persuade that ballots shape personal subjectivities. I believe that K teams are better-equipped to win alternative, equally impactful forms of offense.
Topicality debates against planless AFFs should rely more on delineating boundaries between interpretations. I feel that most K AFFs produce vague, unclear imperatives (“AFFs must trouble the epistemology of the resolution”) as if they are defined parameters on the topic, and everyone assumes that this makes sense. This makes it difficult to understand AFF offense beyond “this AFF is very important.” I think about topicality through models, not AFFs.
Teams defending K AFFs should be very clear about a solvent mechanism or advocacy that redresses harms outlined. The risk that you win offense is, to an extent, predicated on this question.
I have been told by every university-level debater and coach around me that “conditionality bad” is facially nonsensical, but I can’t seem to remember why.
Counterplan theory debates need to devolve to issues that are more enriching than AFF and NEG ground. Unless someone is interested in doing better comparative work to prove some definitive topic bias, I couldn’t help but care less.
Debaters generally need need higher-quality evidence, particularly on topicality. I cannot believe some the things I have read in your card docs pass as evidence.
Debaters need to substantiate their arguments much more. Debaters will spurt out any wild conjecture that comes to mind in order to answer solvency deficits. Many of these are claims that one would need a Ph.D. to prove in any serious context. Spin is for comparing or connecting substantiated arguments, not for constructing them from thin air.
You can substantiate an argument with something other than a card. Good analytics beat bad disads. Mid analytics don’t beat mid disads.
Lastly, please keep the following, little catchphrases to yourselves. I never want to hear them ever again:
“Uniqueness determines the link/the link determines uniqueness”
“No perms in a method debate”
“Our impacts are linear”
Northside College Prep '16 - University of Kentucky '20
Please add me to the email chain: email@example.com
- Please keep track of your own prep
- Please be as quick with tech as possible - I will deduct from your prep time if this becomes unreasonable as I want to be respectful of the folks running the tournament
- No tag team CX - I really prefer to hear individual 1 v 1 CX clash and this helps me determine speaker points more easily
- Unless this is a reasonable ask, if you care about where a team marked their cards/what cards they did or did not read, then please be diligent about flowing that yourself - I have a very strong preference towards not sending out marked copies of speech docs when there were only one or two marked cards
I will always reward smart teams that can effectively and efficiently communicate their arguments to me. Engaging with your opponent, having a well-thought out strategy, and demonstrating that you’re doing consistent, hard work is what this activity is about. Please be respectful to both your partner and your opponents and give it your best!
I like them a lot. There is such a thing as zero risk of a disad and there can be no link. Do impact calculus, have a clear link to the affirmative. Quality evidence is appreciated, though it's not the only thing! Being able to communicate what your ev says and why your ev matters is key!
Conditionality is good.
I am okay for critical strategies. However, I didn’t debate these so make sure to explain your authors to me. Affirmatives that do little engagement with the critique alternative are likely to lose. Critiques that do little engagement with the affirmative itself are likely to lose. Explain your links in the context of the AFF and your AFF in the context of the alternative. The perm is not always the best strategy and that is okay.
I am willing to vote either way on framework. I should be able to tell that you know and understand what the affirmative is if you are reading it. Framework is best when it engages with the methodology of the AFF and questions the state’s role in activism. I like topic education arguments.
kentucky '26 debater
nato: absolutely zero niche topic knowledge, or on community consensus/the meta rn.
-You do you. For the most part, I think the burden is on me to adapt to you and not vice-versa.
-I'll say "clear" if I need to.
-I think debate is a game and generally should be fun. I'll award good speaks if it's obvious that you're passionate.
-Tech > Truth
-I'll only be voting on the knowledge I get from being in that round.
-I'm not gonna vote on things done outside of a round.
-In order for me to vote on an argument, I must be able to explain it back to you in a coherent manner. That means quick and blippy arguments have an uphill battle when I am resolving the round.
-everything below is just my own opinion to preface my thought process as to resolving a round. It isn't an inherent bias coming into the round, and I am willing to have my mind changed on anything written below.
-Also, I haven't updated the blurb below since the CJR topic. I don't particularly care to either. Again, just do you.
K affs- I'd like to see some engagement with the topic. While I am familiar with most lit bases, don't assume I know the creaks of your specific lit base. Good explanations go a long way, especially with high theory. In terms of framework debates, I think debate is a game that has a terminal impact on education. I am predispositioned to see and/or vote on a model of debate that maximizes clash and fruitful engagement, however this isn't a set in stone statement and could go both ways.
I generally dislike having to flow 20 different das on the T-FW flow that all functionally say the same thing.
Policy- I think there should be some good [actor] key warrants. If you run a soft left aff, I'll resolve the framing flow first (unless the neg goes for sufficiency framing), however I don't generally think spending a lot of time on framing is the most strategic use of your time.
T- I love a good T debate as much as the next person. I'm looking for good evidence quality and comparison. Generally, I'll vote for whichever side presents the better model of debate.
I love when 1NRs (or 2ncs) actually give a carded caselist that preempts or answers arguments on said caselist getting destroyed by states/agent counterplans.
CP- I need to explicitly hear judge kick arguments being made in order for me to do it / not do it.
Agent CP / PTX DA- I understand the need for these, given how wack the current state of the topic is. However, I'd still like to see some actual engagement with the aff. Whether that be turns case analysis or CP solves better.
K- I'm fine with anything, just as long as good explanations are being given. I generally prefer a K that turns the aff in someway and provides an alternative that solves both.
Theory- I love a good theory debate. I generally dislike blippy theory shells if it becomes relevant in the debate.
Hey all—I'm Kyla. A little background on me: I'm a class of 2020 high school graduate who did speech and debate all four years of high school. Over the years, my main events were first PF and later Parli, but I also have limited competing experience with CX, BQD, impromptu, radio, and US extemp. In college, I do a debate format called CARD, which is similar to CX.
I mostly strive to be tabula rasa, unless whatever you’re saying exceeds my reasonable doubt. In other words, I'll do my best not to let anything not said in the round influence my decision—however, I will also not vote on arguments that I know to be blatant misinformation (that the average American adult would know to be untrue), nor will I accept statements that are clearly bigoted. Still, it's your job as debaters to oppose these arguments when you encounter them and call them out for what they are, even if the misinformation/bigotry is not outward but more insidious, and I will make a note of it on your ballot if you don't.
Throughout the round, please signpost and be organized in your responses and extensions. I love a good, orderly line-by-line analysis, and I strongly dislike not knowing where to flow your arguments (I’m coaching/judging a debate tournament—there’s a 99% chance I’m going to be tired, so make your arguments easy to follow). In your last speech, be clear about why you've won. Voting becomes harder (and more biased) when you don't give me explicit, technical reasons why I should vote a certain way. Substantive voters, impact calc, or comparing worlds are a few good ways to do this. My personal preference is for impact calc.
A few notes especially for CX debaters but also for everyone: please don't assume that I have memorized every convention of your format. Instead, explain to me what arguments you're making and why they matter; don't just throw out a bunch of jargon and expect me to ascertain its full significance. I can handle speed, but if you’re going to go fast, clarity is non-negotiable. Please be accommodating if your opponents ask you to slow or clear.
Finally, be polite and gracious to your opponents and to me! People are taking a lot of time out of their days to make these tournaments happen. Let’s keep debate a positive and educational space.
email chains please i do not know what a "tabroom share" is and i will only learn against my will.
You should aim to be clear in front of me. Now double what you think is clear enough and that's about the range you need to be in.
"judge" or "Luna"
Do whatever. I'm an educator first. Maximize your chances of winning by arguing with my ballot not your opponent.
Final rebuttals are most likely to win if they start with: "Our argument is X. Their best argument is Y. Even if they win Y, we have still won the debate on X for Z reason."
Feel free to email or ask any questions.
Huge fan of wearing masks in in-person debates (+0.5). Our mild inconvenience can help save lives!
Average speaks are 28.5
Ev ethics (L25) is skipping more than 5 words in a card, misciting author or article title, cards cut missing atleast 1 sentence, or cards cut that don't start and end with the start and end of paragraphs in the article.
I have no strong argument pre-dispositions as long as they are combined with judge instruction (see above) and attempt to be smart arguments (my favorite troll arguments are the ones where you debate well and beat all the other good teams).
Blue Valley Northwest '19
Assistant Coach @ Dartmouth & Glenbrook North
Email chain: firstname.lastname@example.org
The bar is on the floor for responding to arguments not germane to the topic. Debating about the desirability of preaching the gospel in the 1AC, the likelihood that humanity will develop particle colliders that destroy the universe, or the costs and benefits of implementing the plan through a constitutional convention are a waste of our time. A good rule of thumb is to avoid introducing arguments that could have been read near identically on a previous topic.
I conduct risk calculus based on the likelihood of internal link chains, not simply the magnitude of the impacts. Relatedly, impacts other than "extinction" are relevant.
I do not use offense/defense to evaluate T and other procedurals. I dislike manufactured T interpretations that arbitrarily include or exclude a set of affs.
I view theory arguments similarly. The aff may have a case for states, international, private actor, and multi-actor, but not much else. If debated shallowly, I will judge kick at my own discretion.
Leland '22 Michigan '26
Judging should be all tech, no truth. The only thing that factors into my decision is what has been said by the debaters. That means 'I don't care what arguments you go for or how many off you read in the 1NC.'
K in high school, policy in college. Everything below are merely preferences that are overcome by good debating. Judging record is a better indicator of preferences than a paradigm so looking at that is usually more helpful.
You can insert rehighlightings as long as its implication is explained. Recuttings of parts of the article not originally present in the card should be read.
Aff v K
Links should be to the aff but what the 'aff' constitutes is up to the winning framework. I'm increasingly better for interpretations that are more exclusive (don't weigh the aff, no k's). That's why 'middle ground' frameworks rarely make sense---I'm either voting for the aff's interpretation or the neg's. However, teams can often win the debate under the other teams interpretation.
The alternative is usually nonsense and a good cx can essentially zero it. The inverse is the alternative does too much which affs should get better at answering by winning theoretical objections or the perm double bind.
Most of my 2NRs were IR, Cap, or Set Col. Never read high theory and don't understand it but if you explain it well, go for it.
Planless Affs v T
I only read planless affs in high school but also exclusively went for framework against them.
Fairness is an impact and often the easier one to win. Inversely, impact turns are good and often easier to win compared to a CI.
Defining the ballot is particularly important in these debates as they are decisive for the rest of the flow, ie. 'if the aff wins the ballot can't enforce models of nuanced clash but it remedies in-round violence,' I'm most likely voting aff even if the neg wins clash is important.
TVA/SSD are strategic but not always necessary.
Predictable limits are probably the 'gold-standard.' That being said limits outweigh everything is also perfectly viable.
Competing Interpretations seems more logical than reasonability.
PTIV is good.
Negs should have a caselist for what their model includes/excludes.
No preferences for what CPs you read. Multiplank advantage CPs are just as strategic as Sunsets and Courts.
Competition debates are good and oftentimes hard and I'll reward teams that do it well.
Defer to judgekick.
DA / Case
Read good internal links, do turns case. Link uniqueness is important.
Smart analytics often trump bad cards. Exploit impact cards that lack warrants.
Condo is usually the only reason to reject the team. Condo is generally good.
My name is Schylar and I just enetered my junior year of college at the University of Hawaii at Manoa. I debated all four years of high school at Timberline High School in Boise, Idaho. I did policy my freshman and sophomore year. My junior year and senior year I did PF. If you have any more questions, you should ask me before the debate. I will try my best to put everything on the ballot, but if you have more questions you can email me. My email is email@example.com. I am not familiar with any of the topics so try and explain them without missing the more niche parts of the debate! I worked at the Gonzaga Debate Institute 2023, so I am more framiliar with the policy topic than the others. Debate is supposed to be fun and educational so I am fine if you do pretty much anything you want. I have some specifics laid out for the different debate types so read those. In this paradigm I have sectioned it by debate type so go to yours :)
I am the most familiar with policy and its arguments. I am fine with any argumentation but you better know how to execute it. On topicality you need to go slower than regular to make sure I get all the standards and voters. On disads I am looking for clash. If the aff hasn't done enough coverage and I still think the impact of the disad is reasonable, I will vote neg. If the 2NR goes for a disad or two I still want to see sufficient extention of the case debate. Other than that I want strategic debating. For Ks, I am pretty fine with anything. I am the least framiliar with them, but still understand the debate. Framework on the K is really important to my voting so don't just wash over it or go through it really quick. Most times I flow FW on a different page so feel free to go off. I am fine with any speed but slow down on tag lines so I can flow them. Also I rarely flow author names so refer to the arguments by author name and what the argument is. You can tag team in CX but if one partner dominates both answering periods or questioning periods, I will give you both lower speaker points. Put me in the email chain... its at the top :)
I can judge PF fairly well and am pretty experienced in it. I went to nationals in PF in 2021 and 2022. I view PF as the debate type that any one can judge. That means that you should be very good at explaining and persuading the judge. Other than that I think you can do anything that you want. Basically run whatever arguments you want, just make sure I understand. I think that you should have some sort of framework because that helps me evaluate the round. Cross fire periods should be an equal amount of questions and answers. If someone dominates then I will lower both you and your partner's speaker points. During Grand Cross all four people should be able to speak during this and if not... I will lower your speaker points. Final focus is the most persuading to me if you touch on both your and your opponent's cases.
LD is very interesting to me. When it comes to arguments I am basically a TABS judge, although I still want the value/criterion debate. I vote on a few things when it comes to it. (1) If the other side proves that your case doesn't fit under your value or your criterion. (2) You should try to prove that your value and criterion are best for evaluating both sides. I am fine with any argument, including CPs on the neg. CX should be an equal amount of questions and answers. If you dominate the CX periods, you will get lower speaker points. In other words, let your opponent answer/ask questions.
Disclaimer #1: I am a mandatory reporter under Georgia law. If you disclose a real-world risk to your safety, or if I believe there is an imminent threat to your well-being, I will stop the debate and contact the Tabroom. Arguments that talk generally about how to engage systems of power in the debate space are more than okay and do not violate this.
Disclaimer #2: I am partially deaf in my left ear. While this has zero impact on my ability to flow in 99.9% of debates, exceptionally bad acoustics may force me to be closer than usual during speeches.
Speaker Points Update (November 2023): Moving forward, I will be following Regnier's speaker points distribution (see below). This should align my points with national trends and ensure I am not unfairly penalizing (or rewarding) debaters I am judging.
--- Fabulous (29.7 - 29.9) / Excellent (29.4-29.6)
--- Good (29.1 - 29.3) / Average (28.7 - 29)
--- Below Average (28.4 - 28.6) / Poor (28 - 28.3) / Very Poor (27.6 - 27.9)
--- Lincoln-Douglas: 3 Years (Local / National Circuit)
--- Policy Debate: 4 Years of College Policy Debate (Georgia State University)
-- 2015 NDT Qualifier
-- Coached By: Joe Bellon, Nick Sciullo, Erik Mathis
-- Argument Style: Kritik (Freshman / Sophomore Year) & Policy (Junior / Senior Year)
-- Caselist Link (I Was A 2N My Senior Year): https://opencaselist.com/ndtceda14/GeorgiaState/StNa/Neg
--- Lincoln-Douglas: 4 Years (Local / National Circuit)
--- Policy Debate
-- University of Georgia - Graduate Assistant (3 Years)
-- Atlanta Urban Debate League (3 Years)
-- The Galloway School - Head Coach (2 Years)
Preferences - General
Debate is a game; my strongest belief is that debaters should be able to play the game however they want to play it. I remain committed to Tabula Rasa judging, and have yet to see an argument (claim/ warrant) I would not pull the trigger on. The only exception to this is if I could not coherently explain to the other team the warrant for the argument I'm voting on. Unless told otherwise, I will flow the debate, and vote, based on the line-by-line, for whomever I thought won the debate.
What follows are my general thoughts about arguments, because for some reason that's what counts as a "judging paradigm" these days. Everything that follows WILL be overridden by arguments made in the debate.
Evidence is important, but not more than the in-round debating. Substantial deference will be given to in-debate spin. Bad evidence with spin will generally be given more weight than good evidence without.
No strong predispositions. Run theory if that's your thing, there's actual abuse, or it's the most strategic way out of the round. I have no default conception of how theory functions; it could be an issue of competing interpretations, an issue of reasonability, an RVI, or a tool of the patriarchy. Given my LD background, I likely have a much lower threshold for pulling the trigger than other judges. Defaults such as X is never a reason to reject the team, RVIs bad, and a general disregard of Spec arguments aren't hardwired into me like the majority of the judging pool.
If you're going for theory, easiest thing you can do to win my ballot is to slow down and give an overview that sets up a clear way for me to evaluate the line-by-line.
Read 'em. While I'm personally a big fan of process CPs/ PICs, I generally default to letting the literature determine CP competition/ legitimacy. If you have a kickass solvency advocate, then I will probably lean your way on most theoretical issues. On the other hand, as a former 2A, I sympathize with 2AC theory against CPs against which it is almost impossible to generate solvency deficits. 2ACs should not be afraid to bow up on CP theory in the 1AR.
Specific DAs/ links trump generic DAs/ links absent substantial Negative spin. Love DAs with odd impact scenarios/ nuanced link stories.
I functionally never read this as a debater, but my time coaching at UGA has brought me up to speed. Slow down/ clearly flag key points/ evidence distinctions in the 2NR/ 2AR.
Read it. Strategic tool that most 2Ns underutilize. Rarely hear a nuanced argument for reasonability; the T violation seems to prove the 1AC is unreasonable...
I do not personally agree with the majority of Kritiks. However, after years of graduate school and debate, I've read large amount of Kritikal literature, and, if you run the K well, I'm a good judge for you. Increasingly irritated with 2ACs that fail to engage the nuance of the K they're answering (Cede the Political/ Perm: Double-Bind isn't enough to get you through a competently extended K debate). Similarly irritated with 2NCs that debate the K like a politics DA. Finally, 2ACs are too afraid to bow up on the K, especially with Impact Turns. I often end up voting Negative on the Kritik because the 2AC got sucked down the rabbit hole and didn't remind there was real-world outside of the philosophical interpretation offered by the K.
I am generally unpersuaded by theoretical offense in a Policy AFF v. Kritik debate. You're better off reading this as policymaking good/ pragmatism offense to defend the method of the AFF versus the alternative. Generally skeptical of 2ACs that claim the K isn't within my jurisdiction/ is super unfair.
Often end up voting Negative because the Affirmative strategically mishandles the FW of the K. Generally skeptical of K FW's that make the plan/ the real-world disappear entirely.
Preferences - "Clash" Debates
Clash of Civilization Debates:
Enjoy these debates; I will probably judge alot of them. The worst thing you can do is overadapt. DEBATE HOWEVER YOU WANT TO DEBATE. My favorite debate that I ever watched was UMW versus Oklahoma, where UMW read a giant Hegemony advantage versus Oklahoma's 1-off Wilderson. I've been on both sides of the clash debate, and I respect both sides. I will just as easily vote on Framework as use my ballot to resist anti-blackness in debate.
Traditional ("Policy" Teams):
DO YOU. Traditional teams should not be afraid to double-down against K 1ACs,/ Big K 1NCs either via Framework or Impact Turns.
Framework (As "T"):
Never read this as a debater, but I've become more sympathetic to arguments about how the the resolution as a starting point is an important procedural constraint that can capture some of the pedagogical value of a Kritikal discussion. As a former 2N, I am sympathetic to limits arguments given the seemingly endless proliferation of K 1ACs with a dubious relationship to the topic. Explain how your interpretation is an opportunity cost of the 1ACs approach, and how you solve the 2ACs substantive offense (i.e. critical pedagogy/ our performance is important, etc.).
Non-Traditional ("Performance"/ "K" Teams):
As someone who spent a semester reading a narrative project about welcoming veterans into debate, I'm familiar with the way these arguments function, and I feel that they're an integral part of the game we call debate. However, that does not mean I will vote for you because you critiqued X-ism; what is your method, and how does it resolve the harms you have isolated? I am greatly frustrated by Kritik Teams that rely on obfuscation as a strategic tool---- even the Situationist International cared deeply about the political implications of their project.
The closer you are to the topic/ the clearer your Affirmative is in what it defends, the more I'm down with the Affirmative. While I generally think that alternative approaches to debate are important discussions to be had, if I can listen to the 1AC and have no idea what the Affirmative does, what it defends, or why it's a response to the Topic beyond nebulous claims of resisting X-ism, then you're in a bad spot. Explain how your Counter-Interp solves their theoretical offense, or why your permutation doesn't link to their limits/ ground standards.
Are important. I am generally confused by teams that claim to impact turn fairness/ education. Your arguments are better articulated as INL-turns (i.e. X-ism/ debate practice is structurally unfair). Debate at some level is a game, and you should explain how your version of the game allows for good discussion/ an equal playing field for all.
Misc. - Ethics Violations
After being forced to decide an elimination debate on a card-clipping accusation during the 2015 Barkley Forum (Emory), I felt it necessary to establish clarity/ forewarning for how I will proceed if this unfortunate circumstance happens again. While I would obviously prefer to decide the debate on actual substantive questions, this is the one issue where I will intervene. In the event of an ethics accusation, I will do the following:
1) Stop the debate. I will give the accusing team a chance to withdraw the accusation or proceed. If the accusation stands, I will decide the debate on the validity of the accusation.
2) Consult the Tabroom to determine any specific tournament policies/ procedures that apply to the situation and need to be followed.
3) Review available evidence to decide whether or not an ethics violation has taken place. In the event of a clipping accusation, a recording or video of the debate would be exceptionally helpful. I am a personal believer in a person being innocent until proven guilty. Unless there's definitive evidence proving otherwise, I will presume in favor of the accused debater.
4) Drop the Debater. If an ethics violation has taken place, I will drop the offending team, and award zero speaker points. If an ethics violation has not occurred, I will drop the team that originally made the accusation. The purpose of this is to prevent frivolous/ strategic accusations, given the very real-world, long-lasting impact such an accusation has on the team being accused.
5) Ethics Violations (Update): Credible, actual threats of violence against the actual people in the actual debate are unacceptable, as are acts of violence against others. I will drop you with zero speaker points if either of those occur. Litmus Test: There's a difference between wipeout/ global suicide alternatives (i.e. post-fiat arguments) and actually punching a debater in the face (i.e. real-world violence).
- please please format the email chain correctly -- tournament name -- round # -- name (aff) vs name (neg)
- do what you want, i genuinely don't care what you run and will listen to every argument within reason
- make my ballot for me -- don't make me have to debate the round for you because i won't -- tell me why i'm voting aff/neg and what i'm voting on
- cx is binding and i will flow it
- i enjoy watching methods debates but am probably a better judge for clash rounds
- the case debate is under-utilized in most debates
- i love impact turns (please nothing offensive though)
- condo is probably good - i can be persuaded otherwise but if it's less than 5 it will be an uphill battle
- i LOVE a good T debate
- "better team usually wins |---x---------------------| the rest of this" -- dave arnett
+0.1 speaks for roasting any current kentucky debaters
- have fun and if you have any questions, just ask!
coach for ivy bridge academy
- explain your arguments well -- i will never vote on an argument that i don't get a full explanation of
- crossfire is binding and i will flow it
- final focus should be writing my ballot for me -- tell me why i should vote pro/con and what arguments i'm voting for
- i have limited experience judging/coaching LD and will judge it like its a short policy round
- because i'm a policy debater, i'm probably better for k or larp rounds
- i'm not sure why teams think that perm double bind is sufficient enough to win a round on
- i do not like voting on egregious theory but i begrudgingly will - that being said if theory/tricks comprise your core strat i will not be pleased
- since LD rounds are pretty short, i prefer when you really commit to one strategy
Pronounced phonetically as DEB-nil. Not pronounced "judge", "Mister Sur", or "deb-NEIL".
Policy Coach at Lowell High School, San Francisco
Email: lowelldebatedocs [at] gmail.com for email chains. If you have my personal email, don't put it on the email chain. Sensible subject please.
Lay Debate: If we are in a primarily lay setting (really just at GGSA or CHSSA), I'll evaluate the debate as a lay judge unless both teams ask for a fast debate. Some degree of technical evaluation is inevitable, but please don't spread. In a split setting, please adapt to the most lay judge in your speed and explanation. I won't penalize you for making debate accessible.
Resolving Debates: Above all, tech substantially outweighs truth. The below are preferences, not rules, and will easily be overturned by good debating. But, since nobody's a blank slate, treat the below as heuristics I use in thinking about debate. Incorporating some can explain my decision and help render one in your favor.
I believe debate is a strategy game, in which debaters must communicate research to persuade judges. I'll almost certainly endorse better judge instruction over higher quality yet under-explained evidence. I flow on my laptop, but I only look at the speech doc when online. I will only read a card in deciding if that card was contested by both teams or I was told explicitly to and the evidence was actually explained in debate.
I take an above-average time to decide debates. My decision time has little relationship with the debate's closeness, and more with the time of day and my sleep deprivation. I usually start 5-10 minutes after the 2AR, so I can stretch my legs and let the debate marinate in my head. Debaters work hard, and I reciprocate that effort in making decisions. My decisions themselves are quite short. Most debates come down to 2-4 arguments, and I will identify those and explain my resolution. You're welcome to post-round. It can't change my decision, but I want to learn and improve as a judge and thinker too.
General Background: I work full-time in tech as a software engineer. In my spare time, I have coached policy debate at Lowell in San Francisco since 2018. I am involved in strategy and research and have coached both policy and K debaters to the TOC. I am, quite literally, a "framer", as a member of the national topic wording committee. Before that, I read policy arguments as a 2N at Bellarmine and did youth debate outreach (e.g., SVUDL) as a student at Stanford.
I've judged many excellent debates. Ideologically, I would say I'm 60/40 policy-leaning. I think my voting records don't reflect this, because K debaters tend to see the bigger picture in clash rounds.
Topic Background: I judge and coach regularly and am fully aware of national circuit trends. I'm less in the weeds as many other coaches. I don't cut as many cards as I did in the pandemic years, and I don't work at debate camp.
If you're reading the web3 UBI affirmative, I implemented one of the first CBDC pilots back in 2018/19. If you know what you're talking about, I'm the best possible judge. But if you don't, I'll be much more easily persuaded by the negative, especially on the case debate.
Voting Splits: As of the end of the water topic, I have judged 304 rounds of VCX at invitationals over 9 years. 75 of these were during college; 74 during immigration and arms sales at West Coast invitationals; and 155 on CJR and water, predominantly at octafinals bid tournaments.
Below are my voting splits across the (synthetic) policy-K divide, where the left team represents the affirmative, as best as I could classify debates. Paradigm text can be inaccurate self-psychoanalysis, so I hope the data helps.
I became an aff hack on water. Far too often, the 2AR was the first speech doing comparative analysis instead of reading blocks. I hope this changes as we return to in-person debate.
Policy v. Policy - 18-13: 58% aff over 31 rounds
Policy v. K - 20-18: 56% aff over 38 rounds
K v. Policy - 13-8: 62% aff over 21 rounds
K v. K - 1-1, 50% aff over 2 rounds
Policy v. Policy - 67-56: 55% for the aff over 123 rounds
Policy v. K - 47-52: 47% for the aff over 99 rounds
K v. Policy - 36-34: 51% for the aff over 70 rounds
K v. K - 4-4: 50% for the aff over 8 rounds
1. I'd prefer your camera on, but won't make a fuss.
2. Please check verbally and/or visually with all judges and debaters before starting your speech.
3. If my camera's off, I'm away, unless I told you otherwise.
Speaker Points: I flow on my computer, but I do not use the speech doc. I want every word said, even in card text and especially in your 2NC topicality blocks, to be clear. I will shout clear twice in a speech. After that, it's your problem.
Note that this assessment is done per-tournament: for calibration, I think a 29.3-29.4 at a finals bid is roughly equivalent to a 28.8-28.9 at an octos bid.
29.5+ — the top speaker at the tournament.
29.3-29.4 — one of the five or ten best speakers at the tournament.
29.1-29.2 — one of the twenty best speakers at the tournament.
28.9-29 — a 75th percentile speaker at the tournament; with a winning record, would barely clear on points.
28.7-28.8 — a 50th percentile speaker at the tournament; with a winning record, would not clear on points.
28.3-28.6 — a 25th percentile speaker at the tournament.
28-28.2 — a 10th percentile speaker at the tournament.
K Affs and Framework:
1. I have coached all sides of this debate.
2. I will vote for the team whose impact comparison most clearly answers the debate's central question. This typically comes down to the affirmative making negative engagement more difficult versus the neg forcing problematic affirmative positions. You are best served developing 1-2 pieces of offense well, playing defense to the other team's, and telling a condensed story in the final rebuttals.
3. Anything can be an impact---do what you do best. My teams typically read a limits/fairness impact and a procedural clash impact. From Dhruv Sudesh: "I don't have a preference for hearing a skills or fairness argument, but I think the latter requires you to win a higher level of defense to aff arguments."
4. Each team should discuss what a year of debate looks like under their models in concrete terms. Arguments like "TVA", "switch-side debate", and "some neg ground exists" are just subsets of this discussion. It is easy to be hyperbolic and discuss the plethora of random affirmatives, but realistic examples are especially persuasive and important. What would your favorite policy demon (MBA, GBN, etc.) do without an agential constraint? How does critiquing specific policy reforms in a debate improve critical education? Why does negative policy ground not center the affirmative's substantive conversation?
5. As the negative, recognize if this is an impact turn debate or one of competing models early on (as in, during the 2AC). When the negative sees where the 2AR will go and adjusts accordingly, I have found that I am very good for the negative. But when they fail to understand the debate's strategic direction, I almost always vote affirmative. This especially happens when impact turning topicality---negatives do not seem to catch on yet.
6. I quite enjoy leveraging normative positions from 1AC cards for substantive disadvantages or impact turns. This requires careful link explanation by the negative but can be incredibly strategic. Critical affirmatives claim to access broad impacts based on shaky normative claims and the broad endorsement of a worldview, rather than a causal method; they should incur the strategic cost.
7. I am a better judge for presumption and case defense than most. It is often unclear to me how affirmatives solve their impacts or access their impact turns on topicality. The negative should leverage this more.
8. I occasionally judge K v K debates. I do not have especially developed opinions on these debates. Debate math often relies on causality, opportunity cost, and similar concepts rooted in policymaking analysis. These do not translate well to K v K debates, and the team that does the clearest link explanation and impact calculus typically wins. While the notion of "opportunity cost" to a method is still mostly nonsensical to me, I can be convinced either way on permutations' legitimacy.
1. I do not often coach K teams but have familiarity with basically all critical arguments.
2. Framework almost always decides this debate. While I have voted for many middle-ground frameworks, they make very little strategic sense to me. The affirmative saying that I should "weigh the links against the plan" provides no instruction regarding the central question: how does the judge actually compare the educational implications of the 1AC's representations to the consequences of plan implementation? As a result, I am much better for "hard-line" frameworks that exclude the case or the kritik.
3. I will decide the framework debate in favor of one side's interpretation. I will not resolve some arbitrary middle road that neither side presented.
4. If the kritik is causal to the plan, a well-executing affirmative should almost always win my ballot. The permutation double-bind, uniqueness presses on the link and impact, and a solvency deficit to the alternative will be more than sufficient for the affirmative. The neg will have to win significant turns case arguments, an external impact, and amazing case debating if framework is lost. At this point, you are better served going for a proper counterplan and disadvantage.
5. I will not evaluate non-falsifiable statements about events outside the current debate. Such an evaluation of minors grossly misuses the ballot. Strike me if this is a core part of your strategy.
1. This is about the plan text, not other parts of the 1AC. If you think the plan text is contrived to be topical, beat them on the PIC out of the topic and your topic DA of choice.
2. This is a question of which team's vision of the topic maximizes its benefits for debaters. I compare each team's interpretation of the topic through an offense/defense lens.
3. Reasonability is about the affirmative interpretation, not the affirmative case itself. In its most persuasive form, this means that the substance crowdout caused by topicality debates plus the affirmative's offense on topicality outweighs the offense claimed by the negative. This is an especially useful frame in debates that discuss topic education, precision, and similar arguments.
4. Any standards are fine. I used to be a precision stickler. This changed after attending topic meetings and realizing how arbitrarily wording is chosen.
5. From Anirudh Prabhu: "T is a negative burden which means it is the neg’s job to prove that a violation exists. In a T debate where the 2AR extends we meet, every RFD should start by stating clearly what word or phrase in the resolution the aff violated and why. If you don’t give me the language to do that in your 2NR, I will vote aff on we meet." Topicality 101---the violation is a negative burden. If there's some uncertainty, I almost certainly vote aff with a decent "we meet" explanation.
1. As with other arguments, I will resolve this fully technically. Unlike many judges, my argumentative preferences will not implicate how I vote. I will gladly vote on a dropped theory argument---if it was clearly extended as a reason to reject the team---with no regrets.
2. I'm generally in favor of limitless conditionality. But because I adjudicate these debates fully technically, I think I vote affirmative on "conditionality bad" more than most.
3. From Rafael Pierry: "most theoretical objections to CPs are better expressed through competition. ... Against these and similar interpretations, I find neg appeals to arbitrariness difficult to overcome." For me, this is especially true with counterplans that compete on certainty or immediacy. While I do not love the delay counterplan, I think it is much more easily beaten through competition arguments than theoretical ones.
4. If a counterplan has specific literature to the affirmative plan, I will be extremely receptive to its theoretical legitimacy and want to grant competition. But of course, the counterplan text must be written strategically, and the negative must still win competition.
1. I'm better for strategies that depend on process and competition than most. These represent one of my favorite aspects of debate---they combine theory and substance in fun and creative ways---and I've found that researching and strategizing against them generates huge educational benefits for debaters, certainly on par with more conventionally popular political process arguments like politics and case.
2. I have no disposition between "textual and functional competition" and "only functional competition". Textual alone is pretty bad. Positional competition is similarly tough, unless the affirmative grants it. Think about how a model of competition justifies certain permutations---drawing these connections intelligently helps resolve the theoretical portion of permutations.
3. Similarly, I am agnostic regarding limited intrinsicness, either functional or textual. While it helps check against the truly artificial CPs, it justifies bad practices that hurt the negative. It's certainly a debate that you should take on. That said, if everyone is just spreading blocks, I usually end up negative on the ink. Block to 2NR is easier to trace than 1AR to 2AR.
4. People need to think about deficits to counterplans. If you can't impact deficits to said counterplans, write better advantages. The negative almost definitely does not have evidence contextualizing their solvency mechanism to your internal links---explain why that matters!
5. Presumption goes to less change---debate what this means in round. Absent this instruction, if there is an advocacy in the 2NR and I do not judge kick it when deciding, I'm probably not voting on presumption.
6. Decide in-round if I should kick the CP. I'll likely kick it if left to my own devices. The affirmative should be better than the status quo. (To be honest, this has never mattered in a debate I've judged, and it amuses me that judge kick is such a common paradigm section.)
1. There is not always a risk. A small enough signal is overwhelmed by noise, and we cannot determine its sign or magnitude.
2. I do not think you need evidence to make an argument. Many bad advantages can be reduced to noise through smart analytics. Doing so will improve your speaker points. Better evidence will require your own.
3. Shorten overviews, and make sure turns case arguments actually implicate the aff's internal links.
4. Will vote on any and all theoretical arguments---intrinsicness, politics theory, etc. Again, arguments are arguments, debate them out.
1. Cheating means you will get the lowest possible points.
2. You need a recording to prove the other team is clipping. If I am judging and think you are clipping, I will record it and check the recording before I stop the debate. Any other method deprives you of proof.
3. If you mark a card, say where you’re marking it, actually mark it, and offer a marked copy before CX in constructives or the other's team prep time in a rebuttal. You do not need to remove cards you did not read in the marked copy, unless you skipped a truly ridiculous amount. This practice is inane and justifies debaters doc-flowing.
4. Emailing isn’t prep. If you take too long, I'll tell you I'm starting your prep again.
5. If there is a different alleged ethics violation, I will ask the team alleging the violation if they want to stop the debate. If so, I will ask the accused team to provide written defense; check the tournament's citation rules; and decide. I will then decide the debate based on that violation and the tournament policy---I will not restart the debate---this makes cite-checking a no-risk option as a negative strategy, which seems really bad.
IMPORTANT: I will only vote on an ethics violation about previously-read evidence (missing an author, missing a year, paragraph missing but no distortion, etc) if the team alleging the violation has evidence that they contacted the other team and told them about the issue. Clearly, you had the time to look up the article. As a community, we should assume good faith in citation, and let the other team know. And people should not be punished for cards they did not cut. But if they still are reading faulty evidence, even after being told, that's certainly academic malpractice.
Note that if the ethics violation is made as an argument during the debate and advanced in multiple speeches as a theoretical argument, you cannot just decide it is a separate ethics violation later in the debate. I will NOT vote on it, I will be very annoyed with you, and you will probably lose and get 27s if you are resorting to these tactics.
6. The closer a re-highlighting comes to being a new argument, the more likely you should be reading it instead of inserting. If you are point out blatant mis-highlighting in a card, typically in a defensive fashion on case, then insertion is fine. I will readily scratch excessive insertion with clear instruction.
1. I'll only evaluate highlighted warrants in evidence.
2. Dropped arguments should be flagged clearly. If you say that clearly answered arguments were dropped, you're hurting your own persuasion.
3. Please send cards in a Word doc. Body is fine if it's just 1-3 cards. I don't care if you send analytics, though it can help online.
4. Unless the final rebuttals are strictly theoretical, the negative should compile a card doc post 2NR and have it sent soon after the 2AR. The affirmative should start compiling their document promptly after the 2AR. Card docs should only include evidence referenced in the final rebuttals (and the 1NC shell, for the negative)---certainly NOT the entire 1AC.
5. As a judge, I can stop the debate at any point. The above should make it clear that I am very much an argumentative nihilist---in hundreds of debates, I have not come close to stopping one. So if I do, you really messed up, and you probably know it.
6. I am open to a Technical Knockout. This means that the debate is unwinnable for one team. If you think this is the case, say "TKO" (probably after your opponents' speech, not yours) and explain why it is unwinnable. If I agree, I will give you 30s and a W. If I disagree and think they can still win the debate, you'll get 25s and an L. Examples include: dropped T argument, dropped conditionality, double turn on the only relevant pieces of offense, dropped CP + DA without any theoretical out.
Be mindful of context: calling this against sophomores in presets looks worse than against an older team in a later prelim. But sometimes, debates are just slaughters, nobody is learning anything, and there will be nothing to judge. I am open to giving you some time back, and to adding a carrot to spice up debate.
7. Not about deciding debates, but a general offer to debate folk reading this. As someone who works in tech, I think it is a really enjoyable career path and quite similar to policy debate in many ways. If you would like to learn more about tech careers, please feel free to email me. As a high school student, it was very hard to learn about careers not done by my parents or their friends (part of why I'm in tech now!). I am happy to pass on what knowledge I have.
8. RIP Brian McBride. An icon of West Coast debate. In addition to all of his argumentative innovation, he created some truly beautiful music -- check out Stars of the Lid for a calming and introspective break from the craziness of this activity.
Above all, be kind to each other, and have fun!
Graduate Student - Johns Hopkins SAIS 2020-2022 (Haven't been in debate for the past two years, haven't judged virtually yet)
Debate Coach - Hebron High School 2015 - 2020
Sure, I'll be on the email chain: firstname.lastname@example.org
I'm extremely tired of framework v. K debates. I get why it happens but please...
If the teams aren't an actual clash of civilizations then please just let me have a K v. K round.
I don't mind what arguments are made in a round, there is almost no argument that I can see myself just not voting for. I will evaluate the arguments as they are ran, which means that explanation and analysis are more important than number. I have experience with policy, critical, theoretical, and stupid debate arguments and, as such, am willing to hear any of these. To win a round, all I think that can/needs to be done is for the team to explain their arguments, do the impact work, and be strategic (both in how their arguments interact and where the team's focus should be). A team that does this will have told me what to vote on and why (this should be the top of your 2NR/2AR).
A few notes:
1. Don't assume I know what your acronym means.
2. I'm fine with speed, I'll tell you if you are going too fast or are unclear.
3. Understanding your arguments is the key to a good debater. Don't run arguments you don't know. Misapplying an author annoys me. There is room for interpreting and using an author but there's a limit past which your evidence is no longer relevant.
4. Quality matters. Quantity is almost entirely irrelevant to good debate.
5. I don't care about the "community consensus." Your argument is acceptable and winnable based off of how effectively you utilize it.
6. Kritik probably should be spelled Critique except on flows where writing "K" is easier.
I am probably more willing to vote on topicality than most judges are now.
The best topicality debates and the ones I'm likely to vote on are those that have a depth of theoretical understanding. Nuances such as textual versus functional violations and how those specifically link to standards or the relationships between the various standards (limits key to ground or predictability outweighs) are key to a good topicality/theory debates that can devastate opponents.
I don't take "reasonability" to mean reasonably topical. I don't know what it means to be "reasonably" topical when there is a violation. "Reasonability" is a response to "Competing Interpretations," namely it is a framework for evaluating topicality and differing readings of the resolution. Thus, "Reasonability" is supposed to legitimize your reading of the resolution or your "Counter-Interpretation." Was the counter-interpretation a reasonable reading of the resolution? Does the counter-interpretation provide a reasonable expectation of debatability? If so, then under a "Reasonability" framework you will win your topicality violation. Only in this way does "Reasonability" solve the arguments against "Competing Interpretations" such as "Race to the Bottom" arguments.
If you wish to critique topicality, go ahead. However, explanation as to why this comes before the violation is required, do not assume it is a given. Also, a critique of topicality is a critique, as a result, it is not simply another analytical response that is used to counter a time-suck. If you want to critique topicality, then critique topicality. I will evaluate critiques of topicality as I would a critique, thus look below.
I evaluate theory similar to topicality. Having an interpretation of what is legitimate and justifying it via standards is better than just a 10 second spew of random claims to biases. I understand the utility of theory arguments as time-sucks, however, 10 seconds is probably not enough to leave that option open for later in the debate. Either way, I will initially evaluate theory arguments as a reason to reject arguments unless told to otherwise and provided a reason. Every theory argument can be made into offense except Aff/Neg Bias claims, doing so will show you take the argument seriously.
I evaluate disadvantages under an offense-defense framework. I interpret this to mean that defensive arguments primarily serve to effect the impact calculus rather than directly take-out the Disad. For example, no link claims can mitigate the probability of the 1AC triggering the DA's impacts meaning the case outweighs the DA.
I tend to err towards a risk of the DA rather than 100% defense takeouts so make sure you make impact calculus comparisons if you only have defense in the last speech that account for the mitigating defense arguments. However, "Fiat Solves the Link" and "Process" (i.e. congress links to a courts Aff) defense are obviously 100% takeouts.
I like debates involving very specific PICS and/or very unusual mechanisms. I don't think that a solvency deficit means that the counterplan is nullified, just that the 1AC's advantages are now risks of a DA to the CP so it would come down to impact calculus (see above). Permutations require more response than simply theory. If theory seems like your best/only way out on a permutation then don't make it a small argument (see above).
Critiques or Kritiks:
This is probably what I am most adept to judge because of my academic work. I prefer and am more experienced with "high theory" arguments than identity ones. I expect critique debates to focus on elucidation rather than the number of cards or arguments ran. Your understanding of the argument is essential to a critical debate. As such, I think critique debates that use less cards and focus more on elucidating the position are superior. I think that most critique literature is rich enough that any critique can find good enough evidence to merit not reading much more, if any, after the initial presentation and still be able to draw offense against the other team's responses. In short, card dumping on a critique is the opposite of efficient, smart, and strategic. Put another way, if you can explain a specific link story that ties back to the logic of your generic link evidence then you have a specific link.
I understand critiques as Foucault describes them, "a critique is not a matter of saying that things are not right as they are. It is a matter of pointing out on what kinds of assumptions, what kinds of familiar, unchallenged, unconsidered modes of thought the practices we accept rest.... Criticism is a matter of flushing out that thought and trying to change it: to show that things are not as self-evident as one believes, to see that what is accepted as self-evident will no longer be accepted as such." However, that is not to say critiques attempting to do something else are illegitimate. This is just how I will understand your argument until told differently.
You do not win a critique because of your sweet jargon. Know what you're talking about.
I'm not inherently against a project team. However, I am against teams that make the argument that their opponents are inherently racist/sexist/ableist/heteronormative, etc. the moment they walk into the room.
This is what I judge most it seems and I'm just bored of it now. I evaluate the theory parts of framework as I would a topicality or theory argument meaning that you should read what I wrote above. Some notes:
TVA's should at least be viable as strategies to access the education claims that would come from having the topical debate. (I need to believe that there may be some form of solvency mechanism.)
Fairness as a voter is something I may view differently than most K-oriented judges. I think of fairness as a sort of morality claim, you harmed my ability to participate because your crazy K stuff is unpredictable or whatever and that's exclusionary. That can be weighed against the morality claims about good education, ethical subject formation, debate bad, or whatever. However, it most often doesn't single-handedly outweigh as the K team probably has a bunch of impact cards for their education claims.
This may date me a bit but I do think there are jurisdictional arguments that can be made to combat this. This may be a bit more of how policy teams tend to think of fairness now anyway but I tend to consider them separate as this is more of a Role of the Judge/Ballot argument. I don't think it's inherently problematic to say that I, as a judge, have to ensure that a debate is legitimate or viable before I fulfill whatever Role of the Judge the K team says I must fulfill (after all I can vote on alt theory that many K teams don't even critique). However, your framework arguments need to connect to this procedural voting mechanism (i.e. ground arguments apply but advocacy skills probably aren't a procedural issue). K teams need to critique the idea of a procedure or a gatekeeper that comes before ethics.
I say all this because when teams get on the fairness debate, I am sometimes forced into making assumptions about the relationship between these arguments because teams don't explain their internal link connections well. For example, when you are talking about debatability, I'm probably thinking jurisdiction claims. Or when you're talking about advocacy skills I'm thinking of fairness as an internal link to education. If you don't want me to make these assumptions then fill-in-the-blanks for me and explain which arguments are internal links and which are impacts and why.
Please make sure that you clearly explain your interpretation or counter-interpretation and repeat it throughout the debate when necessary. I think that too often teams assume the judge is clear on the nuances that their interpretations provide and how they avoid some bit of offense or something and I'm sitting in the back wondering how you expect me to type out 10-15 words verbatim without paraphrasing when you have already moved onto another analytic.
Any questions, feel free to ask or email the address above.
Dowling Catholic 2020
University of Kentucky 2024
Do what you do best.
I care about responsiveness more than anything else. Don't just shotgun warrants/restate arguments, listen to what your opponent says, apply your warrants to what they are saying, and explain why your arguments subsume theirs.
Line by line is the most important part of debate for me.
I try to be more deterministic than probabilistic when evaluating arguments. Strong comparative analysis and argument resolution can turn 'risks' of things into decisive yes/no questions for one team.
Add me to the chain (email@example.com) however I try to look at speech docs as little as possible. I think the increasing card-docification of debate is an unhealthy trend. The value of cutting really good cards should be that you can explain and apply them advantageously and access a higher standard for ev comparison, as such, the purpose of me having access to the doc should be to verify if what you're saying your ev says is true in the event the other team disputes it, not to assess the quality of the cards in the abstract. This is also why slowing down and being clear helps since If I flow your arguments from hearing them first I feel less interventionist when granting you their weight.
Slow down for arguments that have a really dense concept-to-word ratio like T and theory.
I'm cool with inserting rehighlightings as long as you actually explain in depth what the rehighlighting says/why it matters rather than just exploiting it as a method to read cards faster - if this turns into a moral hazard for one team the other should call it out.
CP competition admittedly isn't my strong suit.
lesser stylistic things -
Pick your battles, especially in CX. Chances are, not every word that comes out of your opponents mouth is an F tier trash argument. I get that having conviction and passion is important, but sometimes knowing when to give certain opposing arguments a respectful level of credence can convey nuance and demonstrate to me that you're smart enough to be cognizant of the substantive difference between certain arguments in the round.
numbering arguments is always a plus.
I like when tags have the card's warrants in them.
PF - in all honesty I will probably judge this like a policy round, so most of the stuff above applies. if you're responsive and focus on developing less arguments more in depth and with more warrants you should be good.
LD - tricks suck. please don't pref me if this is your style.
My name is Marcus Williams and i'm a senior at the University of Kentucky.
My email is firstname.lastname@example.org . You can email me with any questions you have. If you do email chains you can also add me to it before the round.
I really enjoy debate and I think it should be a fun activity that everyone should be comfortable doing. With that being said, I am open to all arguments that teams make. I have NOT done any debating or research on this years high school/middle school topic, but that doesn't mean I am clueless to how things work. It just means you need more explanation.
Do impact and framing work. I prefer specificity when it comes to link arguments. Generic link arguments can get it done with nuance, but I am lenient to aff no link arguments if they press your very general evidence.
Topicality should be treated as a disad, meaning that you should do similar impact calc. Violations should be aff specific. T debates can be kinda confusing if you are just repeating your arguments without answering the other teams, so make sure to do comparative work.
Generic counterplans are fine. Ensure you isolate all 1AC internal links early on and how you resolve them in advance.
I am persuaded by a lot of aff theory arguments however, I find I vote neg a lot more in theory debates because of a lack of impact comparison and technical drops. going for one liner theory arguments are fine if their dropped, but they have to be clearly communicated and substantiated with an impact.
let em rip
Last Updated: March 11 2023
Spencer ("SkyCat") – never "judge" – he/him
Was the Assistant Coach at Edgemont
OES 2020 (3 years of HS Policy, 8 bids)
Yes email chain, please include an informational title – email@example.com
Important: I am currently on chemotherapy. This means I am very tired and will likely give short RFDs. I debated on the treaties topic 3 years ago for Harvard Debate and I read a NATO aff. I have been out of college and debate and college since to pursue cancer treatments.
1) Do what you do best, be smart and passionate, and you'll be fine.
2) Tech determines truth unless your argument is offensive or an insult to obvious reality. The content of my paradigm only states my predisposed beliefs, but you can convince me of anything if you debate well.
3) As a debater, I am most frustrated with RFDs that are removed from the reality of the round. Whether that be allowing new rebuttal answers, voting based on predetermined personal beliefs, or not flowing, I will try to correct against those things as much as possible as a judge.
4) Clarity over speed. I will stop flowing if I have to "slow" or "clear" you more than 3 times.
5) I am increasingly frustrated by teams that ask for massive flow clarifications. This includes: "Before cross begins, did you read X card?" and "Can you send out a version of the speech doc that excludes the cards you didn't read?" If you do this, then it is clear you aren't flowing, and I will dock your speaks. :(
On K's in general:
I do not hack for any argument. This means "big if true" claims such as people of color already live in a state of extinction that outweighs biological extinction, Blackness is ontological, subjectivity is shaped by debate, the aff causes queer genocide, etc., require substantive proof just like any other argument.
In terms of running a K on the neg, if you do not extend an alt, you need to explain to me what that means for the rest of the K. No big overviews please, just do line by line. Also, links of omission are silly.
On K affs:
These are my favorite affs to judge! I love judging good K affs, but I believe that the affirmative needs to have a sustainable interpretation of what the topic looks like to win. What that looks like is up to you, but I am not persuaded by interpretations of the topic that do not leave a role for the negative to adequately engage with the affirmative.
Topicality arguments are not prescriptively violent. I am more persuaded by affirmatives that respond to framework by introducing a more effective model for political or institutional engagement than affirmatives that argue all politics or institutions are irredeemable. Affirmatives that prescribe homogeneity based on one identifying factor for an otherwise diverse group of people will have difficulty convincing me.
Most out of my element in K v K debates. Explain your position thoroughly and have clear reasons why your theories of power are incompatible.
The quality of evidence matters when it comes to T. A good T card should have intent to define, intent to exclude, and compelling author qualifications. It isn't impossible to win without those three qualities in front of me, but the T argument is significantly more convincing with them. If your opponent's card is lacking, point out specifically what the piece of evidence needs to be persuasive.
Impact and caselist comparisons are essential to winning my ballot; I probably value them more than the average judge does. In T debates, argument interaction and clash are especially critical to prevent running circles around arguments.
Unpack and compare, do not rely on buzzwords. Your T blocks should be specific to the argument you're running. "Vote neg because our interp sets a limit on the topic" or "vote neg for limits and ground" are neither warranted nor complete arguments unless you explain why and how the topic established by the negative's interpretation is net better than the affirmative's for reasons of better education, deeper clashing debates, etc.
Rehighlightings must be read and not inserted unless they were read in CX.
Speech times are not flexible. I will not flow your partner if they interrupt during your speech unless they are speaking as part of a rehearsed 1AC/1NC.
I will not explicitly intervene in any debate round unless a debater makes it clear that they do not want the round to continue. I believe in the educational value of allowing a debate to happen. If there is clipping in a round, however, I will dock your speaks and email your coach(es) with the evidence/recording.
I will drop you if you misgender anyone.
Stolen from Zidao. <3
If you opensource everything, let me know before the RFD and I'll add .3 to your speaks.
29.5+: One of the top speakers of the tournament. Should be in deep elims.
29-29.5: Good debater that I expect to break and get a speaker award.
28.5-28.9: Competent debater with good grasp of fundamentals. Not at the level of clearing yet.
Good luck at the tournament and take care!
updated 10/14/23 before umich
what's up! my name is nick (he/him), i'm a coach for new trier and you should put me on the chain: firstname.lastname@example.org. in high school i competed regularly on the national circuit for new trier and qualed twice. now i'm a sophomore at cornell university's new york state school of industrial & labor relations, where i study union stuff (but don't debate).
i can evaluate debates on the level you would expect of a standard national circuit judge (in terms of speed, flowing, variety of arguments etc) -- i'll do my best to fairly evaluate almost* any argument you make, and the below is to give you a sense of my preexisting knowledge, aesthetic preferences, and implicit biases.
- do what you do best. i like fluent, passionate argumentation and usually went for args i agreed with when i was competing. you being fired up about your favorite aff, K, or tricky procedural whatever will definitely overwhelm any personal bias i may have against the argument.
- this is my first tournament on the topic-- sorry about that. you'll have to spell out acronyms for me at least once, and topic-specific T arguments, process counterplans, etc will require a bit more explanation than you might be used to.
- i've been told it's also worth noting on this topic that i'm not very good with neoclassical economics. you don't have to explain those args like i'm five, but you should explain them like i haven't ever been able to get better than a B in an econ class.
- i will default to judge kick if there isn't a 2AR argument against it because i think that's what most judges do, but can genuinely go either way on it if you have the debate, maybe lean 70/30 against allowing it.
- if you came here to see if i'm good for the K: i'm good for the K. we went near-exclusively for cap my senior year and i'm relatively in the lit, though that's not an excuse not to explain stuff. i always start on the framework page, think links should have impacts (but not like huge ones), philosophical competition is cool. generally a fan of alts about real-world alternative political action because i'm a real-life communist and spend a lot of my time doing real-world organizing.
- i am fairly neutral on framework v planless affs -- i have voted for and against it a good amount. when i've voted aff, the aff has often had a clear & stable (as in, consistent from 1AC-2AR) criticism of the resolution or the debate space, tapped into a coherent literature base where 1AC authors actually agree with one another, incorporated a performance or artistic element, and had an aff-specific ballot key warrant. when i've voted neg, the neg has often gone for offense pertaining to real-world skills and research quality, strictly delineated arguments about models of debate from questions of substance, engaged meaningfully with aff offense, and adopted a tone of "we want the best model for good debates" rather than "they broke the rules!" i've always been especially persuaded by arguments about participation in debate and competing strategies for increasing it (or reasons that we shouldn't increase it, if that's your bag).
- i generally prefer debates over substance -- theory and intrinsicness were always weak points for me as a competitor -- not necessarily a bias towards either side in those debates, but going for it makes it more likely i'll get something wrong
- condo is fine i guess, the counterinterp matters infinitely more than how many off were actually read in the round, my only hard-and-fast opinion is that you should slooooooow down when reading your theory blocks
one more non-debate-related note: i have put the skills i learned from policy debate to work as a union organizer, and truly believe that more debaters should find careers within the labor movement. if you are interested in building a more just world and putting your unique skills to work, shoot me an email! i would love to chat about how you can get involved in the incredible resurgence of the labor movement currently going down nationwide.
*Do not read Death Good or the other abhorrent arguments usually listed alongside it in front of me. If you're unsure if your argument is that, feel free to send me a question in the preround. If someone in the debate is made to feel personally unsafe due to arguments or conduct during the debate, I will not hesitate to intervene as I see fit, and will take seriously any safety-related requests of me from competitors (i.e., asking that I stop the round). Your safety and comfort is more important that anything that could happen in-round.
Hi everyone who is reading my paradigm,
My email is email@example.com for the email chains.
I’ve been coaching policy debate for six years at the Avery Coonley School in Downers Grove, IL (it's a middle school). I’ve also judged a few rounds of high school Public Forum. I kind of fell into the job as a debate coach- I didn’t have any debate experience in high school or college. I've taught Literacy for 16 years, and social studies for the last three.
That being said, please treat the debate room like a classroom in terms of behavior and decorum. If the way you are acting would not fly at your school, don't do it in front of me. Debate can get heated, the CX can get pointed, but outright rudeness, swearing, etc. will come with penalties.
In terns of judging-I always view debate through the lens of a solid analytical argument, just like I would in my classroom. I need a cohesive argument, solid support, analytics, and a breakdown of why your argument is superior to your opponents’ argument. An “A” debate should look like an “A” paper.
Two things I don’t like to hear are extremely fast talking and cards that don’t support their tags. It’s great that you got through a lot of evidence and tried to put a lot of things on the flow sheet, but if you are only reading a sentence or two from each card and it doesn’t add up, it’s not a real argument. I need depth. I need CLASH.
I am really against fast reading. If you words are jumbling together and I can't make it out, it's not going on my flow. If I can't make out what you are saying, I am going to give you a "clear." If it continues, I'll give you a second one. Beyond that, I will disregard it if I can't make it out.
The round is going to go to the group that clearly lays out their argument (love signposting) and advances their ideas clearly while pointing out the flaws in their opponents’ presentation.
I’ll take T’s and K attacks that are on topic and make a valid point, but don't try to shoehorn something in just because it's what you always do. If their case is barely hanging on to being topical, go for it. Can you make a legit critique with some SOLID links? Go for it. Just don't get too esoteric on me, and MAKE SURE THE LINK IS SOLID (yes, I said it again)!!! Blocks of jargon with no real tie to the case will not work.