Barkley Forum for High Schools
2023 — Atlanta, GA/US
Lincoln-Douglas Paradigm ListAll Paradigms: Show Hide
Parent judge with experience judging humorous interpretation, impromptu, original oratory, public forum and Lincoln Douglas. I am ok with fast speakers, as long as you are clear and articulate in your argument.
I value confidence, respect for your opponent, and a clear speaking voice.
I volunteer to judge these events because I respect and value the time and dedication each student puts into their arguments.
Good Luck and have fun!
Last edited for ’23-24. This paradigm tries to be expansive as possible a) to avoid a slew of questions pre-round (it’ll happen anyway bc people have stopped reading these) and b) because most judges really aren’t transparent at all and I do have real preferences.
Email chains for lay rounds? No thanks, just flow. And make real arguments, regardless of form or content.
About: Did 4 years of LD at a high school you’ve never heard of, ended up learning circuit debate independently, currently a senior/master's student at UGA (studying what is basically just K lit) and not doing college CX but still actively judging and coaching LD—this means I'm reasonably familiar with the rez.
- Pronouns: they/she (basically anything that isn’t masculine)
- I listen to girl in red (iykyk)
- I don’t shake hands, pls don’t try and shake my hand after the round (thanks for your understanding)
Speaks (Numbers n Stuff):
- Go as fast as you want, just be clear, and slow down on interp texts, advocacy texts, and standards plz
- I won’t listen to arguments asking for extra speaks, I also tend to not disclose speaks
- I want to be on the chain, no need to ask: email@example.com
- I typically try to average ~28.5 relative to the pool, they’re always based off efficiency/strategy rather than the ableist method of evaluating “speaking ability”
Prefs Cheat Sheet:
K, Policy: 1
Theory and Tricks: 4
Trad: Your call (I would place myself around a 2 for these kinds of rounds)
*I prefer genuine ACs/NCs to tricks—a “Korsgaard AC” is best read as Korsgaard and not 3 min of goobledygook
TL;DR: engage, clash, and read substantive arguments that are well-thought out and you should be fine
Here are the most common things people look for, people have stopped reading paradigms:
- Paradigms are largely unhelpful bc they're all iterations of "fine with anything" and "do what you do best" - point blank, I do best with Ks and policy, understand philosophy which means I have a higher threshold for it (debate is so far removed from real philosophical deliberation that it hurts sometimes), and do not prefer tricks/friv theory - in general, I'm fine for arguments that are pedagogically responsible (warranted and have real value), bad for arguments that are frivolous
- A lot of my RFDs involve in-round explanation of some degree (in both directions)—well-warranted and explained arguments tend to fare better than meaningless walls of buzzwords and claims, and since debate is a communicative activity, I need to be able to understand and articulate your arguments
- Method and framing evidence has been atrocious as of late—it's underhighlighted and doesn't warrant what's in the tag—if I can't piece together what you're trying to say with the highlighted portion alone, I'm not going to fill in the rest for you—blitz through this at your own risk
- I will always disclose the decision (but not speaks) at the end of the round (if the tournament won’t let me, I will do it anyway if you email me afterwards) – all good judges disclose their decisions. It sometimes takes me a moment to type stuff up if the round was close. I will always try to give the “right” decision since I care a lot about giving quality feedback + results, but similarly, don’t aggressively postround me.
- Misgendering, general misconduct (like being racist or sexist) is a reason for me to damage your speaks at best, if you continue to do it, try to impact turn it, and/or willfully ignore it, neither one of us will like the end result
- Discourse violations are better read as kritiks than theory but I will vote on both (I tend to be slightly annoyed by the team/debater that used harmful discourse to begin with, so no need to worry about how you go about this)
- To add to the above: pls let me know if you have any accommodations that need to be met before the round (slower spreading than normal, preferred pronouns, etc.) to make the round as safe and inclusive as possible, debate is for everyone—I care a lot about student well-being and any accessibility concerns should be relayed in a manner you feel comfortable with (getting my attention or emailing me, whatever you need to do)
- Weighing is good. please do it. thx in advance <3
- Good K debates are the best types of rounds, but bad K debates are frustratingly difficult to resolve (i.e., pre-scripted 2NRs loaded with buzz terms that don’t frame anything for my ballot)—know your lit base (theory of power, topic links…the whole shebang), make it meaningful
- I have noticed a major uptick in criticisms of settler colonialism following the “open borders” topic from J/F 2023—if you’re going to read it, a) read the full text from which you cut evidence and actually read Tuck and Yang first (not just the abstract) and know what the 6 moves to innocence are, read la paperson 2017 (it does not conclude ‘state reform good’), b) have the historical knowledge to actually go for these arguments, c) perf-cons are incredibly damning in these rounds, d) center Indigenous scholarship in the round or read another position
- Fav lit bases are queer and feminist lit but if you don’t know these lit bases, they can also make me v sad
- I'm a material kinda person, which means I like to see material examples of theory in power in motion—always willing to vote on high theory arguments, but it is a near necessity that there be a connection to the material world
- Do impact analysis/weighing bc these debates can otherwise become messy, also do lots of link and alt work and don’t just talk past the Aff—lack of engagement and poor alt work are two ways to a good old-fashioned L
- Non-T Affs are always great but be ready for generic responses (and just make sure the Aff does ‘something’…I don’t really care what that ‘something’ is though)
- T-FW should engage with the Aff and explain what it means to affirm (“must defend only a policy” is a terrible argument and does not explain what it means to affirm), DAs to models of debate are underrated—tailor it to the Aff (ngl, I don't really take a definitive stance on what T-FW should look like, just make it good)
- Aff FW v. K: a) just bc you win that you weigh case, doesn’t mean you’ll win the round, b) state engagement good needs to be contextualized to the specific criticism, otherwise you should just debate at the link level—also, most state engagement good cards are really underhighlighted/underwarranted c) extinction outweighs is often a link but I’ll go either way on this one, d) only makes sense in policy v. K rounds tbh
- K v. K – always welcome but can be very difficult to evaluate without effort on your behalf
- Don’t be lazy—explain the perm (beyond ‘double-bind’ bc that means nothing) and explain the alt
- I do think that debaters should be held accountable for their discourse in-round—I prefer only going for discourse links when the link is egregious (like calling an immigrant an 'illegal alien'), and also think that word PIKs can be policing (basically: tread carefully, do this when it's necessary)
- Performances: can really matter in terms of how the Aff frames its engagement w/ debate + the world, but if it’s a 5-10 second “land acknowledgment” that takes place in your constructive and never gets brought up again, then idrc—performances have as much meaning as you articulate them to have, and can be as simple as playing background music to as complex as layering personal anecdotes/poetry in the round—you do you, I’m here for it
- Sure, did this for a while and it’s probably the most common type of round I judge, fine with however you carry out policy rounds though I much prefer topic-specific ptx positions and impact turns to generics like “x is the actor, extinction”
- Weighing = necessity (and beyond just “magnitude” if there are two competing extinction scenarios), I really like “even if”/relativistic claims to be made in these rounds (it’s never absolute…trust me) and doing evidence comparison/weighing is super helpful
- Case debate is great debate - contest the scenarios, solvency, and other details too beyond just impact D
- “Judge kick” seems rather goofy
- If you can read CP texts and plan texts at conversational speed, that’d be fantastic
- The 1AC probably needs to at least mention Util/SV (even if it’s just a one-liner), the 1NC should exploit Affs that don’t
- Extinction is overused in debate (won’t hack against it but like…do we need to be mentioning extinction on “standardized tests?”)
- I like tests of competition more than theory debates (plan v. CP perm debates are underrated), but if you go with theory, pls weigh against 1NC procedurals
- Less a fan of limits/fairness for the sake of limits—overlimiting is a thing, I prefer topic lit implications and warrants (and similarly this constrains semantics impacts)
- Losing influence in the meta, I did study philosophy for some of college and still actively keep up with philosophy,I prefer real-world style philosophical argumentation to shenanigans based on my experiences in actual philosophical inquiry
- I prefer sensical ACs/NCs to nonsense, not a fan of tricks disguised as philosophy, generally quick to understand what you're reading but many debaters do a very poor job of in-round explanation (just keep that in mind)
- FW justifications need real warrants - a lot of them like "performativity" are like really circular and never explain why the FW is actually true
- A lot of phil contentions don't actually align with their framing - Kantian philosophy, for example, would not conclude "taxation is impermissible under the criterion"
- Don’t quote things like source Kant (Korsgaard is cooler anyway)
- TJFs—mixed feelings, most of them aren’t fantastic arguments but I’m fine voting on them
- I heavily dislike AFC/ACC (debate is about clash lol), not fond of Truth Testing ROBs in place of FW debates
Traditional LD (Trad)
- I would consider myself a reasonably competent judge; I can evaluate whatever you’re doing just fine—traditional rounds are easier to evaluate if you weigh, give clash, and give voters at the end, but are more difficult to resolve in the absence of crystallization in latter speeches
- Please don't read arguments like "we must follow what is in the constitution and only what is in the constitution" as "this is ethical" - consider that you're reading an argument weaponized against queer people in front of an openly queer judge
- Counterplans are a good thing for debate, but many counterplans read in lay debates do not make sense
- Please say the name of the card BEFORE you start reading off the actual card—this makes it so much easier for me to flow (i.e., “Jones 20: blah blah”)
- I’m not a parent judge who cares about “speaking well” or “the values debate” – you should debate impacts instead of framework if the two don’t clash with each other
- Words in the rez =/= abstract principles of good
- The Aff must provide solvency to some extent (implied solvency doesn’t exist)
- “Where’s the statistic for x” is only a legitimate argument when dealing with utilitarian impacts
- I view the rez as a fluid idea—I don’t hack against any given arguments (except obv problematic ones), which includes “circuit arguments” (also, as a heads up: if your opponent is reading a kritik, you should probably not call it “[a] theory” or say “they didn’t have a value/VC” – these two things will tank your speaks)
- Full disclosure here - my ability to eval these rounds is entirely dependent on execution - if you actually do weighing (between standards, paradigm issue warrants, etc.), we're fine, if the opponent concedes something, make that the center of attention, if these things don't happen, brace for impact
- Overall: good for policy-type theory (condo, warranted spec theory like aspec, CP theory, etc.), bad for friv theory, won’t vote on out-of-round violations (beyond disclosure, which similarly needs a clear violation or I won’t vote on it) or theory where there is no in-round abuse
- Won’t evaluate arguments about your opponent’s appearance or other ad hom-type theory (please don’t), similarly have a very high threshold when theory is deployed to shut out hard convos, it’s bad for debate
- People need to SLOWWW DOWN when reading the interp text (conversational speed would be amazing)
- Reading more than 2 shells in-round (on either side) will usually lead me to question your strategic decisions
- I don’t apply defaults in theory rounds—read paradigm issues pls and thx
- Reasonability is always an option (please?) – similarly, I think it’s actually quite strategic to read reasonability as a paradigm issue for accessibility-type theory (must not misgender opponent, accessibility formatting, etc.)
- The RVI: have voted for one before, not an impossible battle, just not an easy one
- I have judged several debates in which there is a “misdisclosure” violation and it devolves to “they said-they said” – please: a) collapse to something else most of the time, b) explain at like 60-70% speed “I asked for x before the debate, they said they would provide it, and then y happened” – basically, make the violation super clear to me, and c) take screenshots that are definitive evidence - this isn't to say "never go for it," it's more so to say "go for it if you think an outsider (me) will get it"
- Disclosure has made debate better, but reading disclosure theory is an attempt to mandate equality when we should be focusing on issues of equity
- You don’t have to disclose performances
- I will not vote on disclosure at locals (as aforementioned at the top), if you think it should be enforced, we can have a conversation about it, but let's be honest: you just want a cheap tech ballot
- Learning about disclosure norms is a topic for out-of-round discussion but not one I ever feel comfortable adjudicating (i.e., rounds where disclosure theory is deployed when one team doesn’t know how to use the wiki)
- Genuine philosophical paradoxes (like stuff out of Socratic dialogues), innovative arguments, and creativity are okay—anything else is probably a non-starter for me, especially if it’s an argument that can be dismantled via any coherent thought (the key distinction is how much explanation is put into the argument…much like other styles in debate)
- I understand ethical paradoxes within the time constraints of a debate round much better than logical formulae/dense logic equations—blitzing through a paragraph of “if p then q” will leave my head spinning and a mess on my flow
- I seriously dislike the way Truth Testing gets deployed in debate, especially if you use it against Ks or K Affs (it’s violent) – I do think that identity tricks are a valid response to violent practices, although you can (and should?) also go for it as a link
Misc/Defaults for LD
- FW Defaults: Comparative Worlds, Epistemic Confidence
- Permissibility and presumption both negate at face value, unlikely to vote on permissibility affirming (given ‘ought’ in the rez), presumption flips Aff if the Neg reads an advocacy, but I seldom vote on either one
- Don’t care if you sit or stand
- If I am on a panel with two lay/parent judges, I apologize to everyone else in the room in advance
Sequoyah HS, Perry HS, Ivy Bridge Academy, Dean Rusk MS
I am a head coach at Newark Science and have coached there for years. I teach LD during the summer at the Global Debate Symposium. I formerly taught LD at University of North Texas and I previously taught at Stanford's Summer Debate Institute.
The Affirmative must present an inherent problem with the way things are right now. Their advocacy must reasonably solve that problem. The advantages of doing the advocacy must outweigh the disadvantages of following the advocacy. You don't have to have a USFG plan, but you must advocate for something.
This paradigm is for both policy and LD debate. I'm also fine with LD structured with a general framing and arguments that link back to that framing. Though in LD, resolutions are now generally structured so that the Affirmative advocates for something that is different from the status quo.
Be clear. Be very clear. If you are spreading politics or something that is easy to understand, then just be clear. I can understand very clear debaters at high speeds when what they are saying is easy to understand. Start off slower so I get used to your voice and I'll be fine.
Do not spread dense philosophy. When going quickly with philosophy, super clear tags are especially important. If I have a hard time understanding it at conversational speeds I will not understand it at high speeds. (Don't spread Kant or Foucault.)
Slow down for analytics. If you are comparing or making analytical arguments that I need to understand, slow down for it.
I want to hear the warrants in the evidence. Be clear when reading evidence. I don't read cards after the round if I don't understand them during the round.
Please don't run more than 5 off in policy or LD. And if you choose 5 off, make them good and necessary. I don't like frivolous arguments. I prefer deep to wide when it comes to Neg strategies.
Make it make sense. I'll vote on it if it is reasonable. Please tell me how it functions and how I should evaluate it. The most important thing about theory for me is to make it make sense. I am not into frivolous theory. If you like running frivolous theory, I am not the best judge for you.
Don't take it out of context. I do ask for cites. Cites should be readily available. Don't cut evidence in an unclear or sloppy manner. Cut evidence ethically. If I read evidence and its been misrepresented, it is highly likely that team will lose.
For LD, please not more than 3 offs. Time constraints make LD rounds with more than three offs incomprehensible to me. Policy has twice as much time and three more speeches to develop arguments. I like debates that advance ideas. The interaction of both side's evidence and arguments should lead to a coherent story.
30 I learned something from the experience. I really enjoyed the thoughtful debate. I was moved. I give out 30's. It's not an impossible standard. I just consider it an extremely high, but achievable, standard of excellence. I haven't given out at least two years.
For policy Debate (And LD, because I judge them the same way).
Same as for LD. Make sense. Big picture is important. I can't understand spreading dense philosophy. Don't assume I am already familiar with what you are saying. Explain things to me. Starting in 2013 our LDers have been highly influenced by the growing similarity between policy and LD. We tested the similarity of the activities in 2014 - 2015 by having two of our LDers be the first two students in the history of the Tournament of Champions to qualify in policy and LD in the same year. They did this by only attending three policy tournaments (The Old Scranton Tournament and Emory) on the Oceans topic running Reparations and USFG funding of The Association of Black Scuba Divers.
We are also in the process of building our policy program. Our teams tend to debate the resolution with non-util impacts or engages in methods debates. Don't assume that I am familiar with the specifics of a lit base. Please break things down to me. I need to hear and understand warrants. Make it simple for me. The more simple the story, the more likely that I'll understand it.
I won't outright reject anything unless it is blatantly racist, sexist, homophobic.
Important: Don't curse in front of me. If the curse is an essential part of the textual evidence, I am more lenient. But that would be the exception.
I competed in Lincoln-Douglas for three years in high school, and Public Forum for one. I've been coaching and judging LD and PF since then.
I don't want to be on the email chain/speech drop/whatever. Debate is a speaking activity, not an essay writing contest. I will judge what you say, not what's written in your case.
I prefer a slower debate, I think it allows for a more involved, persuasive and all-around better style of speaking and debating. It is your burden to make sure that your speech is clear and understandable and the faster you want to speak, the more clearly you must speak. If I miss an argument, then you didn't make it.
No. There is designated CX time for a reason. You can ask for evidence during prep, but not clarification.
LARP - Don't. Discussion of policy implications is necessary for some topics, but if your case is 15 seconds of "util is truetil" and 5:45 of a hyperspecific plan with a chain of 5 vague links ending in two different extinction impacts, I'm not going to be a fan. Your links are bad, your impacts won't happen, and you're wasting my time. Please debate the topic rather than making up your own (unless you warrant why you can do that, in which case, see pre-fiat kritiks). If there is no action in the resolution, you can't run a plan. If there is no actor, don't aspec. If you want to debate policy, do policy debate.
Role of the Ballot: A role of the ballot argument will only influence how I vote on pre-fiat, not post-fiat argumentation. It is not, therefore, a replacement for a framework, unless your entire case is pre-fiat, in which case see "pre-fiat kritiks". A role of the ballot must have a warrant. "The role of the ballot is fighting oppression" is a statement not an argument. You will need to explain why that is the role of the ballot and why it is preferable to "better debater". Please make the warrant specific to debate. "The role of the ballot is fighting oppression because oppression is bad" doesn't tell me why it is specifically the role of this ballot to fight oppression. I have a low threshold for voting against roles of the ballot with no warrants. I will default to a "better debater" role of the ballot.
Theory: Please reserve theory for genuinely abusive arguments or positions which leave one side no ground. I am willing to vote on RVIs if they are made, but I will not vote on theory unless it is specifically impacted to "Vote against my opponent for this violation". I will always use a reasonability standard. Running theory is asking me as the judge in intervene in the round, and I will only do so if I deem it appropriate.
Pre-fiat Kritiks: I am very slow to pull the trigger on most pre-fiat Ks. I generally consider them attempts to exclude the aff from the round or else shut down discourse by focusing the debate on issues of identity or discourse rather than ideas, especially because most pre-fiat Ks are performative but not performed. Ensure you have a role of the ballot which warrants why my vote will have any impact on the world. I do like alts to be a little more fleshed out than "reject the affirmative", and have a low threshold for voting for no solvency arguments against undeveloped alts.
Post-fiat Kritiks: Run anything you want. I do like alts to be a little more fleshed out than "reject the resolution", and have a low threshold for voting for no solvency arguments against undeveloped alts.
Topicality: Fine. Just make sure you specify what the impact of topicality on the round is.
Politics Disadvantages: Please don't. If you absolutely must, you need to prove A: The resolution will occur now. B: The affirmative must defend a specific implementation of the topic. C:The affirmative must defend a specific actor for the topic. Without those three interps, I will not vote on a politics DA.
Narratives: Fine, as long as you preface with a framework which explains why and how narratives impact the round.
Conditionality: I'm permissive but skeptical of conditional argumentation. A conditional argument cannot be kicked if there are turns on it, and I will not vote on contradictory arguments, even if they are conditional. So don't run a cap K and an econ disad. You can't kick out of discourse impacts. Performance is important here.
Word PICs: I don't like word PICs. I'll vote on them if they aren't effectively responded to, but I don't like them. I believe that they drastically decrease clash and cut affirmative ground by taking away unique affirmative offense.
Presumption - I do not presume neg. I'm willing to vote on presumption if the aff or neg gives me arguments for why aff or neg should be presumed, but neither side has presumption inherently. Both aff and neg need offense - in the absence of offense, I revert to possibility of offense.
Pessimistic Ks - Generally not a fan. I find it difficult to understand why they should motivate me to vote for one side over another, even if the argument is true.
Ideal Theory - If you want to run an argument about "ideal theory" (eg Curry 14) please understand what ideal theory is in the context of philosophy. It has nothing to do with theory in debate terms, nor is it just a philosophy which is idealistic. If you do not specify I will assume that you mean that ideal theory is full-compliance theory.
Disclosure - I will not vote on disclosure arguments.
I will dock half a speaker point if you use Moen 16 or Goodin 95 in your framework. They are wildly overused, and most cuts don't say what people claim they do.
Since I've gotten some questions about this..
I judge on a 5 point scale, from 25-30.
25 is a terrible round, with massive flaws in speeches, huge amounts of time left unused, blatantly offensive things said or other glaring rhetorical issues.
26 is a bad round. The debater had consistent issues with clarity, time management, or fluency which make understanding or believing the case more difficult.
27.5 is average. Speaker made no large, consistent mistakes, but nevertheless had persistent smaller errors in fluency, clarity or other areas of rhetoric.
28.5 is above average. Speaker made very few mistakes, which largely weren't consistent or repeated. Speaker was compelling, used rhetorical devices well.
30 is perfect. No breaks in fluency, no issues with clarity regardless of speed, very strong use of rhetorical devices and strategies.
Argumentation does not impact how I give speaker points. You could have an innovative, well-developed case with strong evidence that is totally unresponded to, but still get a 26 if your speaking is bad.
While I do not take points off for speed, I do take points off for a lack of fluency or clarity, which speed often creates.
If there are any aspects of the debate I look to before all others, they would be framework and impact analysis. Not doing one or the other or both makes it much harder for me to vote for you, either because I don't know how to evaluate the impacts in the round or because I don't know how to compare them.
Public Forum Paradigm
I default to an "on balance" metric for evaluating and comparing impacts. I will not consider unwarranted frameworks, especially if they are simply one or two lines asserting the framework without even attempting to justify it.
I will evaluate topicality arguments, though only with the impact "ignore the argument", never "drop the team".
Yes, I understand theory. No, I don't want to hear theory in a PF round. No, I will not vote on a theory argument.
No. Neither the pro nor the con has fiat.
No. Kritiks only function under a truth-testing interpretation of the con burden, I only use comparative worlds in Public Forum.
The pro and the con have an equal and opposite burden of proof. Because of limited time and largely non-technical nature of Public Forum, I consider myself more empowered to intervene against arguments I perceive as unfair or contrary to the rules or spirit of Public Forum debate than I might be while judging LD or Policy.
About Me: Hi! I'm a parent judge who's judged a number of LD tournaments over the past 2 years. I was not a debater in school but I'm a (former) litigator whose instinct is to view LD as analogous to some of the hardest fought cases I argued in court.
Framework/Standards Debate: Set a standard for the round that makes sense in terms of the activity. If you are debating LD, I want to hear about the resolution.
Case Structure: Contentions should be carefully crafted, contain warrants and impacts, and link back to the standards to provide a well-researched, well-reasoned case position. I will be listening for case positions that are supported by research and evidence.
I strongly prefer argument-focused rounds over technicality- or definition-focused rounds. I won't be able to follow the intricacies of a technicality-focused round, so it will not help you anyway.
I will flow anything that I can of what you run, and evaluate based on my flow. I am not familiar with the K or with theory. If you're running either I expect you to slow down on taglines, provide clear links and impacts (and a well defined alternative for the K). If I can't understand it, I can't evaluate it.
If running abstract Ks, complex theory with few links, or blippy philosophy with no clear in round and out of round applications, I am not the judge for you. I'm looking for something better developed and more understandable.
Speed: I take detailed notes throughout a round (don't worry; I'm a fast typer). Speaking too quickly -- especially spreading! -- likely just means I will miss a key point. Please speak slowly enough to ensure I catch every contention, piece of evidence, and rebuttal.
Time: Feel free to time yourself, but I will also track time. When time finishes, I will let you finish a word or phrase, but then I will cut you off.
RFD and Speaker Points: My decision will be in favor of, and I will award the most speaker points to, the debater who best provides analytically sound arguments that tie directly to the resolution, effectively rebuts their opponent's arguments, establishes points in a logical, cogent manner, speaks clearly and confidently, holds my attention, particularly through (appropriate) humor and/or interesting but not convoluted or overly technical language, and maintains standards for decorum.
My name is Pia Benadikar and I am a parent judge who has judged a small number of tournaments in past years.
Please speak slowly and clearly. I will try to evaluate the arguments as fairly as possible.
Good luck to you all!
I am a first year volunteer judge and I did not participate in debate during high school or college. I do not understand spreading or progressive arguments.
I prefer a debate that includes a persuasive style of speaking and debating. I will pick a winner based on who best communicates the most logical arguments. Therefore, your speech must be clear and understandable, and your argument should be based on logic and factual evidence.
Please send cases to Christina.firstname.lastname@example.org
My name is Chris Brown. I'm a second year judge. I have had the opportunity to judge PF, Congress and LD rounds.
I strive to listen to the arguments of both sides. My expectation is for debaters to provide arguments with appropriate evidence. I also expect debaters to be smooth in their delivery, without pauses, ums or other sounds that interrupt their delivery. Being able to respond to your opponent in a cogent manner is very important.
I do not like spreading. If you are going to go as fast as possible, I require having a copy of your case. Otherwise, it's difficult for me to keep up and if I'm judging, you want to make things as easy for your judge as possible
In LD - the clashing of sides is really important. Although the opening speeches are important, the cross and returning speeches are a big part of how you do in LD. Listening to your opponent and being able to respond effectively is the name of the game.
I'm judging based what is presented by both sides - as much as I may disagree with a particular viewpoint, if the other side can't counter it, I have to go with what is presented.
It is an honor to be able to do this and I will strive to be the best judge I can be for myself and the debate community.
My e-mail is email@example.com
I enjoy debates that are focused around the actual topic at hand. I appreciate learning something new or encountering a different and interesting way to think about a topic. Novelty is nice but arguments should be genuine and substantive. I believe in quality: I prefer fewer, compelling and carefully reasoned arguments to numerous, flashy, specious arguments. I prefer attending to contentions, warrants, and impacts, rather than values and criterions (though they are naturally an important part of LD).
I respect intelligence, passion, maturity, and decency. The topic you are debating involves public issues of real consequence. So let's focus substantive engagement over gamesmanship.
I care about evidence, by which I mean credible evidence. Just because somebody published their claims or research somewhere doesn’t mean that their claims or research are substantive. Use strong evidence and put it to good use.
I strongly dislike spreading and I’m skeptical of k. Please do not offer a nuclear war impact (unless it really happens to be a credible, immediate concern).
Some background about myself: I have a Ph.D. in American history, with a focus on contemporary political economy. I teach US History and US Government at Jackson-Reed High School, in Washington, DC, where I also advise the Speech and Debate Team.
My email is firstname.lastname@example.org.
I have coached LD at Strake Jesuit in Houston, Tx since 2009. I judge a lot and do a decent amount of topic research. Mostly on the national/toc circuit but also locally. Feel free to ask questions before the round. Add me to email chains. Jchriscastillo@gmail.com.
I don't have a preference for how you debate or which arguments you choose to read. The best debaters will 1. Focus on argument explanation over argument quantity. 2. Provide clear judge instruction.
I do not flow off the doc.
- I rarely read evidence after debates.
- Evidence should be highlighted so it's grammatically coherent and makes a complete argument.
- Smart analytics can beat bad evidence
- Compare and talk about evidence, don't just read more cards
- I default to competing interps, no rvi's and drop the debater on shells read against advocacies/entire positions and drop the argument against all other types.
- I'm ok with using theory as a strategic tool but the sillier the shell the lower the threshold I have for responsiveness.
- Please weigh and slow down for interps and short analytic arguments.
Non-T/Planless affs: I'm good with these. I'm most compelled by affirmatives that 1. Can explain what the role of the neg is 2. Explain why the ballot is key.
Delivery: You can go as fast as you want but be clear and slow down for advocacy texts, interps, taglines and author names. Don't blitz through 1 sentence analytics and expect me to get everything down. I will say "clear" and "slow".
Speaks: Speaks are a reflection of your strategy, argument quality, efficiency, how well you use cx, and clarity. I do not disclose speaks.
Things not to do: 1. Don't make arguments that are racist/sexist/homophobic (this is a good general life rule too). 2. I won't vote on arguments I don't understand or arguments that are blatantly false. 3. Don't be mean to less experienced debaters. 4. Don't steal prep. 5. I will not vote on "evaluate after X speech" arguments.
Coach at Heights High School (TX)
Separately conflicted with: Archbishop Mitty SM, Carnegie Vanguard KF, Cypress Ranch KH, Woodlands SP
Set up the email chain before the round starts and add me. I would strongly prefer email over NSDA Classroom fileshare, and please title the chain as so: "Tournament Year + Name - Round # - _____ vs. _____ (Judge)"
If I'm judging you in Policy: email@example.com
If I'm judging you in LD: firstname.lastname@example.org
I debated for Timothy Christian School in New Jersey for four years. I graduated from Rice University, am currently a teacher at Heights and predominately coach policy: my program competes through the Houston Urban Debate League and the Texas Forensic Association.
- Policy: 1
- T/Theory: 1-2
- Phil: 2
- Kritik (identity): 2
- Kritik (pomo): 3
- Tricks: Strike; I can and will cap your speaks at a 27 and if I'm on a panel I will be looking for a way to vote against you.
- Absent tricks or arguments that are morally objectionable, do what you are best at rather than over-adapting to my paradigm.
- Tech > Truth
- I will try to be tab and dislike intervening so please weigh arguments and compare evidence. It is in your advantage to write my ballot for me by explaining which layers come first and why you win those layers.
- I won't vote on anything that's not on my flow. I also won't vote on any arguments that I can't explain back to your opponent in the oral.
- It is unlikely that I will vote on a blip in the 2NR/2AR, even if it is conceded. If you want an argument to be instrumental to my ballot, you should commit to it. Split 2NR/2ARs are generally bad.
- I presume neg; in the absence of offense in either direction, I am compelled by the Change Disad to the plan. However, presumption flips if the 2NR goes for a counter-advocacy that is a greater change from the status quo than the aff. It is unlikely, however, that I will try to justify a ballot in this way; I almost always err towards voting on risk of offense rather than presumption in the absence of presumption arguments made by debaters.
- If you want to ask your opponent what was or was not read, you need to take prep or CX time for it.
- I'm colorblind so speech docs that are highlighted in light blue/gray are difficult for me to read; yellow would be ideal because it's easiest for me to see. Also, if you're re-highlighting your opponent's evidence and the two colors are in the same area of the color wheel, I probably won't be able to differentiate between them. Don't read a shell on your opponent if they don't follow these instructions though - it's not that serious.
- You don't get to insert rehighlighting; if you want me to evaluate it, you have to read it.
- Signpost please. I prefer debaters to be explicit about where to flow things and I appreciate pen time.
- Not fond of embedded clash; it's a recipe for judge intervention. I'll flow overviews and you should read them when you're extending a position, but long (0:30+) overviews that trade-off against substantive line-by-line work increase the probability that I'll either forget about an argument or misunderstand its implication.
- Given that I predominately coach policy debate, I am probably most comfortable adjudicating these rounds, but this is your space so you should make the arguments that you want to make in the style that you prefer.
- You should have be cutting updates and the more specific the counterplan and the links on the disad the happier I'll be. The size/probability of the impact is a function of the strength/specificity of the link.
- Terminal defense is possible and more common than people seem to think.
- I think impact turns (dedev, cap good/bad, heg good/bad, wipeout, etc.) are underutilized and can make for interesting strategies.
- If a conditional advocacy makes it into the 2NR and you want me to kick it, you have to tell me. Also, I will not judge kick unless the negative wins an argument for why I should, and it will not be difficult for the affirmative to convince me otherwise.
- I default to competing interpretations. I'll evaluate shells via reasonability if you ask me to but I'd prefer an explicit brightline for determining what constitutes a reasonable vs. unreasonable practice rather than drawing upon my intuitions for debate. If you just ask me to intuitively evaluate the shell without an explanation of what that constitutes, my aversion to intervention will likely lead me to gut check to competing interpretations.
- I default to no RVIs (and that you need to win a counterinterp to win with an RVI).
- You need to give me an impact/ballot story when you read a procedural, and the blippier/less-developed the argument is, the higher my threshold is for fleshing this out. Labeling something an "independent voter" or "is a voting issue" is rarely sufficient. These arguments generally implicate into an unjustified, background framework and don't magically operate at a higher layer absent an explicit warrant explaining why. You still have to answer these arguments if your opponent reads them - it's just that my threshold for voting for underdeveloped independent voters is higher.
- Because I am not a particularly good flower, theory rounds in my experience are challenging to follow because of the quantity of blippy analytical arguments. Please slow down for these debates, clearly label the shell, and number the arguments or I will likely miss something.
- Disclosure is good. However, I do coach both sides of this debate. Read it if you'd like, just don't be mean about it and be prepared to defend your performance if your opponent is clever.
- "If you read theory against someone who is obviously a novice or a traditional debater who doesn't know how to answer it, I will not evaluate it under competing interps."
- I will not evaluate the debate after any speech that is not the 2AR.
- I have a solid conceptual understanding of kritks, given that I teach the structure and introductory literature to novices every year, but don't presume that I'll recognize the vocabulary from your specific literature base. I am not especially well-read in kritikal literature. It is in your best interests to keep your speeches well-structured so they are easy to follow.
- Pretty good for policy v k debates. Less good for k v k debates.
- I especially appreciate kritikal debates which are heavy on case-specific link analysis paired with a comprehensive explanation of the alternative. Good K debates typically include quotes from lines in your opponent's evidence/advocacy with an explanation of why those are additional links.
- I don't judge a terribly large number of clash debates, but I've also coached both non-T performative and pure policy teams and so do not have strong ideological leanings here. I have voted for both framework and k affs.
- I believe that impacts are relevant insofar as they implicate to a framework, preferably one which is syllogistically warranted. My typical decision calculus, then, goes through the steps of a. determining which layer is the highest/most significant, b. identifying the framework through which offense is funneled through on that layer, and c. adjudicating the pieces of legitimate offense to that framework.
- You should assume if you're reading a philosophically dense position that I do not have a deep familiarity with your topic literature; as such, you should probably moderate your speed and over-explain rather than under.
- Especially if your framework is complex or obscure, a brief summary of how it functions (i.e. how it sifts between legitimate and illegitimate offense) would be helpful.
- Default epistemic confidence.
- Speed is generally fine, so long as its clear. I'd place my threshold for speed at a 8.5 out of 10 where a 10 is the fastest debater on the circuit, although that varies (+/- 1) depending on the type of argument being read.
- Slow down for and enunciate short analytics, taglines, and card authors; it would be especially helpful if you say "and" or "next" as you switch from one card to the next. I am not a particularly good flower so take that into account if you're reading a lot of analytical arguments. If you're reading at top-speed through a dump of blippy uncarded arguments I'll almost certainly miss some. I won't backflow for you, so spread through blips on different flows without pausing at your own risk.
- If you push me after the RFD with "but how did you evaluate THIS random analytic embedded in my 10-point dump?" I have no problem telling you that I a. forgot about it, b. missed it, or c. didn't have enough of an implication flowed/understood to draw lines to other flows for you.
- I'll yell "clear" or "slow" once but that means I already missed something. Honestly though, it's not uncommon for me to be so preoccupied with trying to keep up that I forget to call clear or slow.
- A 28.5 or above means I think you're good enough to clear. I generally won't give below a 27; lower means I think you did something offensive, although depending on my general level of annoyance, it's possible I'll go under if the round is so bad it makes me want to go home.
- I award speaks based on quality of argumentation and strategic decision-making.
- I won't disclose speaks so don't bother asking.
- I give out approximately one 30 a season, so it's probably not going to be you. If you're looking for a speaks fairy, pref someone else. Here are a few ways to get high speaks in front of me, however:
- I routinely make mental predictions during prep time about what the optimal 2NR/2AR is. Give a different version of the speech than my prediction and convince me that my original projection was strategically inferior. Or, seamlessly execute on my prediction.
- Read a case-specific CP/Disad/PIC that I haven't seen before.
- Teach me something new that doesn't make me want to go home.
- Be kind to an opponent that you are more experienced then.
- If you have a speech impediment, please feel free to tell me. I debated with a lisp and am very sympathetic to debaters who have challenges with clarity. In this context, I will do my best to avoid awarding speaks on the basis of clarity.
- As a teacher and coach, I am committed to the value of debate as an educational activity. Please don't be rude, particularly if you're clearly better than your opponent. I won't hack against you if you go 5-off against someone you're substantively better than, but I don't have any objections to tanking your speaks if you intentionally exclude your opponent in this way.
Won't vote on 30 speaks theory
Say you want to play the speaks games
Then I will put into random number generator
3/4 chance of 30 speaks 1/4 chance of 25 speaks
I want to be on the email chain: email@example.com
Update: I coach mostly the K now - I read Policy and K in college
I was fairly flexible as a debater and ideologically flexible.
Arguments I like: Stock util aff, Spec affs, kant affs, Cap K, all phil, anything else ask b4 round
Arguments I don't like: soft-left aff, spikes, racism good, deleuze
I AM NOT VERY GOOD AT FLOWING I have severe dysgraphia and adhd - SEND ANALYTICS AND SLOW DOWN ON IMPORTANT ARGUMENTS. I will flow off the doc and backflow cuz its not your fault but regardless proceed with caution.
+.5 speaks if you send analytics
HOW you go about articulating your arguments is way more important than WHAT you chose to read. I could care less what you go for as long as it's explained and implicated well.
· WARRANT TO WARRANT COMPARISON WINS ROUNDS. If their DA says X and your link turn says Y, explain to me why I should prefer your link turn. Make clash explicit and do the work on the flow for yourself. Otherwise, be prepared to receive a decision with which you’re unhappy
· I’m willing to vote on anything, as long as it has a claim, warrant, and an impact. Just explain the argument to me and why it should be in my RFD. This means you need to be doing clear layering and weighing
· Tech > Truth
· Please pop tags and author names
· Your extensions need to have warrants—even in the 1AR/2AR. That being said, all it needs to be is an overview of the advantage—just tell me what the aff does, what it solves, and how it does so. The more a warrant in your aff is contested, the more thorough your extension of that part of the aff should be.
· This should go without saying, but….you need to win uniqueness for a link turn to be offense
If you want judge kick be explicit
- Please don't read the I don't like the can't say slur shell - replace with other truism if you want to go for no NR i meet.
· prob a bad judge for this - suck at flow
· Defaults (theory): drop the arg, competing interps, no RVIs. DTD on T is the default. These are all very soft defaults—PLEASE present actual paradigm issues
· If you blitz through blips I won’t catch everything, so slow down where it counts.
· The more you number/label, the easier it is to flow you
· PLEASE do weighing between theory standards. Tell me why ground outweighs limits or whatever other arguments are in play
· Please do clear framework weighing. Tell me why one framework justification matters more than another and so forth...if both sides have “my framework precludes”-type claims, tell me why yours matters more than your opponent’s!
· Phil can be very hard to flow—make it easy for me. Flashing analytic dumps would be cool, but if you don't want to do that, then please make sure you're being clear and are delineating one arg from the next
· I don't really like debate phil - I find it very unintuitive so overexplain
· I’ll probably have a basic understanding of whatever K you read, but I will not vote for you unless YOU explain your theory to me.
· Prefer tech, tricks and lbl to long overviews
· The most important thing for you to do is to explain the interaction between the K and the aff. Explain why it outweighs/turns the case/why the perm fails/why the K is a prior question
Impact turning K is good infront of me but I will not vote on ressentiment good - anything else goes
Vs K affs
T-framework 50-50 but good for any framework 2nr. Good for straight up framework to tactics/middleground
Cap K good - its what I mostly went for
Presumption/case turns also good
Impact turns good
KvK debates are probably won on the perm vs link debate - I think these debates become easier to resolve when affs/negs make an explicit framework argument about how I should evaluate this
Am convinced that humanism good is true
*Updated for TOC 2023*
I DON'T WANT TO SHAKE YOUR HAND PLEASE DON'T ASK
Now that that friendly introduction is over:
I'll disclose speaks if you ask.
Background: I debated LD for four years for Brophy College Preparatory in Arizona. Graduated in 2016. Current LD coach for Brophy College Preparatory.
TOC Update: I haven’t updated my paradigm in a few years and while my attitude towards debate hasn’t fundamentally changed the activity and norms within it have very much changed so I felt a need to write an update. At its core, I do believe this activity is still aboutspeakingand so I do still value debaters being able to articulate and deliver. Yes I will still vote tech but I have very little patience for debaters who refuse to adapt and articulate. My preference is to not be reading your rebuttal off a document, if it isn’t on my flow I can’t vote for it. All that said—my advice to you is to go just below your max speed with me. I believe every judge embellishes their flowing ability to a degree and while I’m not awful at flowing I am certainly not as good as I used to be and I also have no competitive incentive like you do to be perfect on the flow. I will do my best but I am certainly going to be a cut under most judges that were former TOC competitors. I am simply in a spot in where debate is no longer my whole life (just a large part of it) and I have not been able to keep up with everything. Will do my best but if you are expecting a robot judge you will be disappointed.
Crash Course version:
-Go for whatever you want, I like all forms of argumentation
-Have fun, debate is an evolving activity and I'm all for hearing creative well-warranted arguments
-The round belongs to the debaters, do what you want within reason
-Tech > truth, extend your warrants, do impact analysis, weigh
-I default to competing interps but will go for reasonability if you tell me to
-For Ks please be prepared to explain your obscure lit to me, don't assume I'll know it because I promise you I won't. It will benefit you if you give an overview simplifying the K.
-If you run a theory shell that's fine but I don't really like it when a shell is read as a strictly strategic decision, it feels dirty. I'll probably still vote for you if you win the shell unless it's against a novice or someone who clearly had no idea how to respond to it.
-Default to epistemic confidence
-Good with speed
-Don't like tricks
-Don't be rude, the key to this activity is accessibility so please don't be rude to any debaters who are still learning the norms. This activity is supposed to be enjoyable for everyone
For the LARP/Policy Debater:
-You don't necessarily have to read a framework if you read a plan but if your opponent reads a framework I'm more likely to default to it unless you do a good job with the framework debate in the 1AR.
-If you run a framework it can be either philosophically or theoretically justified, I like hearing philosophy framing but that is just a personal preference
-Utilize your underview, I'm guessing you're reading it for a reason so don't waste your time not extending it.
-Running multiple counterplans is okay, prefer that you provide solvency
-Make sure your counterplan does not link yourself back into your DA, please
For the K Debater:
-Please label each section of your K (link/framing/impact/alt) it makes it more clear to me how the argument is supposed to function
-If you aren't running a typically organized K then please just explain the argument properly as to how I should evaluate it
-If your ROTB is pre-fiat you still need to respond to post-fiat framing to completely win framework debate
-Feel free to ask more questions before the round
For the traditional debater/everyone else
-Crash course version should cover everything. I have more below for the people who really want to read it but you can always ask more questions beforehand
I like debates which are good. Debaters who are witty, personable, and I daresay good speakers usually score higher on speaker points with me. I'll vote on any argument (So long as it isn't blatantly offensive or reprehensible in some way). I'm a big believer that the round should belong to the debaters, so do with the debate space what you wish.
I like framework debate a lot. This is what I did as a debater and I believe that it makes the round very streamlined. I always like hearing new and cool philosophies and seeing how they apply, so run whatever you want but please be prepared to explain them properly.
Please slow down on impacts and pause between tags and authors!! Yeah, I know everyone has the case right in front of them nowadays but I still want you slowing down and pausing between your authors and tags. Finally, for both of our sakes, please IMPACT to a weighing mechanism. I have seen too many rounds lacking impact analysis and weighing. It's possible it will lead to a decision you don't like if you don't impact well. I don't particularly care what weighing mechanism you impact to so long as you warrant to me that it's the more important one.
Run whatever shells you would like but nothing frivolous, please. I wouldn't recommend reading theory as strictly a strategic play in front of me but I will still evaluate it and vote on it if you prove there is actual abuse in round. I default to competing interps but will go with whatever you tell me. In general, I think you should layer theory as the most important issue in the round if you read it, otherwise what was the point in reading it?
Shells I will likely not vote on:
-Dress Code theory
-Font size theory
-This list will grow with time
I don't like them. Don't run them. They make for bad debate.
I myself was never a K debater but I've now found myself really enjoying hearing them as an argument. I'd appreciate if you could label your K or section it off. I wasn't a K debater so I don't automatically know when the framing begins or when the impacts are etc. The biggest problem I usually see with Ks is that I don't understand the framing of the argument or how to use it as a weighing mechanism, so please help me so I can understand your argument as best as I can. I have dropped Ks because I just didn't understand the argument, err on the side of me not knowing if it is a complex/unconventional K.
I don't time flashing/making docs during the round but I expect it to take no longer than 30 seconds. Try to have a speech doc ready to go before each round. I'm good with flex prep. I don't care if you sit or stand. I'll hop on your email chain. Don't be rude, that should go without saying. Lastly, and I mean this seriously, please have fun with it. I really prefer voting for debaters who look like they're having a good time debating.
If you have any questions feel free to ask before the round or contact me via email
Please add me on the email chain: firstname.lastname@example.org
Hi a lot of you already know me but I'm Amanda, FSU grad. Bachelor in Intersectional Women's Studies and Media/Comm. I competed in LD for four years (Im sure you can find my records somewhere idk, I've judged enough to be qualified anyway), I also competed as a varsity policy team for UMW my freshman year of college pre-covid. I worked at TDC over the summer and I privately coach some kiddos so I've been active in the activity. I also am the co-founder of the Latine and Hispanic Debate Foundation, follow us on ig @landhdebatefoundation
Im most comfortable with Identity K's, K v T-fwk, Method debates <3, LARP, and some phil.
Favorite things I've read/ judged: Borderlands, any Anzaldúa position, Crenshaw, Latine IdPol, Intersectional Fem, Set Col, Black Fem, Queer Pess, and NonT K Affs v T-fwk/Cap.
Least favorite thing: having to judge a round where someone is crying, please don't make someone in round cry. I've literally had a round where the aff and neg debaters were crying in front of me and it hurts my heart.
Alright here are some people I paradigmatically agree with: Deena Mcnamara, Charles Karcher, Delon Fuller, Joey Tarnowski, Elijah Pitt, Lily Guizat, and Isaac Chao.
Standing conflicts: Clear Lake MK, Clear Lake RM, Heights CT, Heritage Independent WT
QUICK hack sheet:
LARP : 2
Tricks: 5 ( i strongly urge you to not read these in front of me, definitely am tired of being the subject of a discord chat after someone loses a round because they didn't read my paradigm)
Traditional-I am perfectly alright with traditional debate. I loved it as a freshman and sophomore. Highly recommend preffing me for a lay judge. I value debaters making strats accessible for all debaters. Make sure that you are weighing and using that short 1AR/2AR to crystalize and extend your arguments. Nothing is ever implied, please use well-warranted args. I have so much respect for strong traditional debaters on the circuit but I will hold you to the same standards as I hold progressive kiddos.
LARP-I'm fine with LARP debate. Policy-making is cool, do whatever you want. Plan texts need a solvency advocate, idc what ur coach says. CP's are cool, make sure there is some sort of net benefit and also if you don't answer the perm I'll be very sad. DA's are fun as long as there is a clear link to the aff, also for the love of god weigh. Your UQ needs to be from like two days ago PLEASE, enough of UQ from five years ago.
K's- K's are groovy. I think non-t k affs are cool, just need clear explanation why that is good for debate. Don't like when it creates assumptions about your opponents identity because that just creates hostile rounds (that I have definitely had and they are not fun). Intersectional Fem Lit was my jam, everyone can read fem (it's not a framework that is meant to exclude people from reading it, love a good fem debate :))
Phil-I love good phil debates, I'm comfortable with standard Util v Kant and more abstract framework debates. I think if you go this route you need to win why your paradigm is ethically relevant, and then be able to win offense/defense underneath that framing mech. Love Derrida, Hooks, and anything that has a little philosophical spice.
Theory-I used to say theory debate was okay as I started to judge it more. I lied. Don't make this round a headache for me to adjudicate. I dislike when 5 shells are read with stat skew standards then is followed by a six page card dump on the aff flow.MAKE THIS EASY FOR ME.I think I need clear extensions of warrants if the debate winds down to theory v (insert anything) or theory v theory debates. By now I've realized that most kids sigh when they get me as a judge and they predominantly read theory, as long as you don't make it messy then I'll be fine lol. This is just a question of adapting, if you can't do that then work on it.
Tricks-This is probably my weakest place in regards to judging but that doesn't mean I won't try. If you want to pref me and read tricks then just make sure they are clear and there is an explanation somewhere in the round about how it functions in the round and I'll try my best to judge accordingly.I hate debates that are just sloppy tricks debate, if this applies to you then dont pref me at all like please don't pref me if you just want to meme around.
Performance-I have a pretty decent ability to judge a performance debate and I think they are pretty dope. However, I don't think that debaters need to degrade their opponent during a round to "get the point across" especially because I think that ruins the integrity of the round itself. If you are going to engage in an in-round performance, please extend it in rebuttals or else I fail to understand how it is important to the aff/neg.
Things to note about my judging preferences:
1. Please use proper pronouns when referring to your opponent-they are not an object, they are a person so don't say "it says". Also just be a nice person, it's not that hard to adapt strategies for opponents that may or may not have the same experiences as you (I will evaluate the round as such and even if you win, I will indeed tank your speaks for being hella exclusionary) :)
2. I STRONGLY hate 1AC disclo. It is the one thing that will absolutely send me into a spiral if I hear that round one. The 1NC is a reactive strat, for the love of god don't complain. Seriously, the only thing we cared about when I debated was past 2NR's so can we just please learn how to actually debate. xoxoxo your friendly 5 year out.
3. I don't understand why y'all think you need to be mean or give off 'debatebro' energy when debating critical args. I have no problem calling you on your BS. Im actually so disappointed that I've had to judge and hear about debates becoming so aggressive it becomes functionally irresolvable.
4. If you are from a prep group or big school, stg please read diverse args and don't docbot the same rebuttal in front of me. If I'm hearing extensions of args that have ink on them w/ no additional rebuttal I will bang my head against a table. Just think for two seconds and make some no-link args rather then spending extra time on an arg that doesn't apply to the position.
add to chain/speech drop:
TLDR: I will vote on anything.
Policy and K debates are my favorite, but reading what you want and giving a good speech is much more likely to get higher speaks than trying to tailor what you read to what you think my ideological preferences are.
Tech > truth, but truth determines the extent tech matters. A blatantly false claim like "the sky is red" requires more warranting than a commonly accepted claim ie "the sky is blue". Unwarranted arguments in the constructive that receive warrants later on justify "new" responses to those warrants. This doesn't mean I won't vote on tricks or theory, but the ability to say "X is conceded" relies on "X" having a full Claim/Warrant/Impact - the absence of crucial elements of an argument such as warrants will mean that adding them in later speeches will justify new responses.
My students have told me I'm too conservative with speaks, so I offer 2 challenges -- doing either and WINNING will be rewarded with at least a 29.6:
As the neg: 0 off impact turns.
As the aff: 3 minute 1ar with no theory [remind me after because I forget to time speeches]
--- Qualified authors & solid warrants in your ev are important. Evidence comparison and weighing are also important. In the absence of evidence comparison and weighing, I may make a decision that upsets you. That is fundamentally your fault.
--- In the absence of paradigm issues on my flow, I'm going to evaluate theory as no RVIs, reasonability, drop the argument (unless its incoherent, such as condo bad). For example, if a 1AR tells me "PICs are a voter cuz they steal the aff", I am going to be very convinced by a 2NR that says this is unwarranted and drop the arg. These defaults can be changed through warranted, extended arguments.
--- Most Ks that people get away with in LD have horrible warranting in the 1NC. Blowing up blippy Ks with elaborate turns case analysis, framework arguments, thesis explanations, etc that is not present in the 1NC obviously merits 2AR responses that I will give full credence to.
--- I will not judge kick a counterplan or alt unless I am told to.
--- I default to presumption affirms when the 2NR extends an alt/counterplan, as there is a new world that has been introduced that is a greater shift from the status quo than the plan. But please don't make me vote on presumption.
University of Illinois - Urbana Champaign '25
Debated LD in high school for 3 years and coached for 1 year, 10 career bids, cleared at TOC in 2020 and 2021
I've competed in Policy and PF as well - the below paradigm should be flexible enough across all debate divisions
Doc sharing is good for evidence ethics and accessibility, spreading or no spreading.
I prefer using Speech Drop for docs, its easier.
Some quick notes and preferences:
1) I'll call clear/slow 3 times, so do be clear.
2) I like fast and efficient debates, so feel free to uplayer and spit out blippy analytics but make sure they're warranted arguments
3) Tech> Truth. Crazy args are fine, but the threshold for answers get lower. Higher level debates should always incorporate some level of truth behind arguments.
4) Non negotiable: speech times/rules, prep can be CX but CX can't be prep, compiling a doc is prep but flashing/emailing isn't, there's no "clarification time" before CX, clipping and ev ethics.
5) I'll disclose speaks. I think its a good norm to follow.
6) Don't let the type of debater you are facing affect your arguments. Exposure to different forms of argumentation on both sides is what spreads education within debate, regardless of experience; I wouldn’t have joined circuit LD if I hadn’t faced different progressive arguments at locals. Only condition is that you should be nice and reasonable: spread but send docs, be nice in cx, and your speaks will be boosted. Be sketchy and tricky just to get an easy ballot, and I'll nuke your speaks.
7) "If you are clearly better than your opponent and it is obvious that you are winning the round, please, dear lord, do not use all of your speech time just because you have the time- win the round and sit down so we can have a discussion and make it more educational than just you repeating conceded arguments for 13 minutes." ~ Stephen Scopa
8) I disclosed with good practices - open source with round reports and first/last 3. If your wiki is a model of what I believe to be good disclosure norms, show/tell me before the round and I'll bump up speaks.
9) Arguments and their truth level start at 0 and work their way up based on effective warranting. Conceded claims don't mean I automatically vote for them if they were originally unwarranted.
Note: Just because certain things are ranked low, DOESNT mean I won't vote off it, nor does it mean I don't enjoy it. I pride myself on trying to be as flex as possible, so feel free to run virtually anything. 1 = Most familiar/Best at judging this. 4 = Least Familiar/Worst at judging this
Kritiks - 2
Theory - 1
I'm serious with these pref ranks - I'm comfortable with judging any form of argumentation
Defaults: Judge Kick, ev > analytics
Be smart and do link analysis
Politics and process args are fine, higher bar for explanation tho
Zero risk is a thing
Explain cards - these debates are won with good analysis AND evidence
Ev comparison is key - don't make me spend 20 minutes reading through all the cards
1ARs - read theory vs CPs, low bar for case extensions if its simple
2NRs - answer theory vs CPs, please structure the collapse
Don't forget to kick out of things
Defaults: F/E are voters, drop the debater, competing interps, rvis
Standard weighing is dead - plz do it
Paragraph theory is fine
Be clear on standards so I at least have the standard name flowed
Terminal D on a shell is a thing even under competing interps, there has to be offense isolated at the end of the round.
Send interps/counter interps plz
Combo shells are cool, reasonability is persuasive versus them
Dont be a doc bot the entire time
Link analysis contextualized to the aff is cool, it isn't enough to win your theory of power
Framework (weigh/cant weigh case) determines the result most of the time - win it
Buzzwords don't mean anything - just because the 1ar didn't explicitly say the words "Role of the ballot" doesnt mean there isn't defense on the kritik's theory of power
These Affs should have isolated a problem and proposed a method or model
Personal narratives hold little weight to me since the ballot isn't a referendum on one's identity
Reading a K aff isn't an excuse to not be technical, same for the 2NR on T
Fairness/Clash/Research is cool, do weighing if going for T
No preference in a K aff v. framework debate - I've been on both sides
Nuanced framework interps and warrants are cool (sabotage, passive voice, etc.)
Defaults: epistemic confidence, comparative worlds
I'm cool with anything - the denser the phil the more explanation required
I think this type of debate still requires some level of interaction with actual offense
Spec phil affs are cool and I wish I saw more
Defaults: presumption negates unless the neg defends an advocacy, permissibility affirms
If it's gonna be a tricks round, delineate all arguments and dont be sketch in cx
Rebuttal extensions have to point me to what I am extending on the flow
Slow down on blips - flowability is key
Otherwise, I'll vote on anything explained.
I was a trad lad for a year, so you can have a traditional round, though I'd prefer otherwise.
Substance > V/VC debate
Frameworks are so arbitrary in lay debate, half the time theres no distinction between 2
I vote off the flow, ethos/pathos boosts speaks but won't just get you the ballot. Contrary to most beliefs, even traditional debate is based off of some level of technicality.
I think speaker points are based off of arguments made, and the strategies taken to attempt to win the round. As long as I understood you throughout the round, and you made sound strategic decisions in the round based off my paradigm, you'll get high speaks.
My college career started back in the 90s when CEDA still had 2 resolutions a year. I have coached in CEDA, NFA, NPDA, IPDA, and a little public forum. I am now coaching mainly in NFA LD.
First, you should not assume that I know anything. This includes your shorthand, theory, or K literature. If you do, given our age differences, you might be shocked at the conclusions I'm going to come to.
Second, if you don't offer an alternative framework I will be net benefits and prefer big impacts.
Third, I presume the aff is topical unless the negative proves otherwise. I don't necessarily need proven abuse either. What I need is a clean story from the final negative explaining why they win and why I'm voting there. T is a voter, and I'm not going to vote on a reverse voter (vote against a debater) unless it is dropped or the carded evidence is really good. I am more willing to ignore topicality and look elsewhere than I am to vote the negative down on it. In rare instances, a negative can win without going all in on it, but that is very, very unlikely.
Fourth, I tend to give the affirmative risk of solvency and the negative, a risk of their DA.
Fifth, I'm probably going to need some offense/risk of offense somewhere on the flow to vote for you.
Sixth, if your K links are non-unique (apply to the status quo as well), you are only going to win if you win your alternative.
Seventh, on conditionality (LD specific)- I will probably vote conditionality bad if you have more than one conditional position.
Eighth, I will vote on them, but I'm not a fan of tricks. Tricks are usually a good indication that you know that you have done something pretty shady but if the opponent let's you get away with it, I'll vote for it.
In closing, I think that pretty accurately describes who I am but just remember I try to vote on the flow, but I tend to only look at the parts of the flow the debaters tell me too. Good luck!
My ballot will be determined by my flow. Technical concessions are taken as truth.
Some random things that may be helpful:
---you can insert re-highlightings, re-cuttings of things not present in the original card should be read.
---please locally record speeches/turn on your camera for online debates.
---line by line is helpful for the purposes of my flow but I will attempt to write down as much of your rant as possible.
---I am generally a fan of creative and interesting strategies.
---"I have a lower bar for a warrant than most. I am unlikely to reject an argument solely on the basis of ‘being a cheap shot’ or lacking ‘data.’ Unwarranted arguments are easily answered by new contextualization, cross applications, or equally unwarranted arguments. If your opponent’s argument is missing academic support or sufficient explanation, then you should say that. I’m strict about new arguments and will protect earlier speeches judiciously. However, you have to actually identify and flag a new argument. The only exception to this is the 2AR, since it is impossible for the neg to do so." - Rafael Pierry
I am an assistant coach for Immaculate Heart High School. I debated for Immaculate Heart for four years. I am now a 4th year philosophy student at UC Berkeley.
Most important stuff:
I try my best to not let my argument preferences influence my decision in a debate; I have no problem voting for arguments that I disagree with. That said, I will only vote on arguments — that is, claims with warrants — and I have no problem not voting for an "argument" because it is not properly warranted.
I will not vote on arguments that I don't understand or didn't have flowed. I do not flow from the doc; I think the increasing tendency of judges to do this is abetting the issue of students being literally incomprehensible. I will occasionally say clear, but I think the onus is on you to be comprehensible.
You must send to your opponent whatever evidence you plan to read before you begin your speech; you do not need to send analytics. If you mark cards during a speech — that is, if you begin reading a card but do not finish reading that card — then you must indicate where in the card you stopped, and you should send a marked doc immediately after your speech. You do not need to send a document excluding cards that were not at all read.
If you want to ask your opponent what was read/not read, or what arguments were made on a certain page, you of course may, but you must do it in CX or prep. There is no flow clarification time slot in a debate!
The upshot of the last few comments is that I think flowing is a very important skill, and we should endorse practices that cultivate that skill.
You will auto-lose the debate if you clip cards. Prep ends once the speech doc has been sent. If you want to advance an evidence ethics violation, you must stake the debate on it.
Be respectful to your opponent. This is a community.
Above all, I like clash-heavy debates between well-researched positions.
My favorite negative strategies include impact turns, counterplans, and NCs. My favorite affirmative strategies are plans with “big-stick” or “soft-left” advantages.
I don't really like "tricks" of any genre because I think overwhelmingly they simply lack warrants.
I don't like strategies that depend entirely on framework or framing arguments to exclude your opponent's offense. You should always answer the case even if you are reading a framework/impact framing argument that explains why I should prioritize your offense over your opponent's.
As I said, I will never not vote on an argument simply because I disagree with it. I will, however, ignore arguments that are not warranted, and I think certain claims are very difficult, if not impossible, to provide a warrant for.
Here are some examples of claims that I think are very difficult to provide a warrant for:
It would be better if debates lacked a point of stasis.
The outcome of a given debate is capable of changing people's minds/preferences.
It would be better if the negative could not read advocacies conditionally.
I should win the debate solely because I, in fact, did not do anything that was unfair or uneducational.
There is a time skew between the aff and neg in a debate.
A 100% risk of extinction does not matter under my non-utilitarian/non-consequentialist framework.
My 1ar theory argument should come procedurally prior to the negative's topicality argument.
There is something paradoxical about our understanding of space/time, so you should vote for me.
Here are some claims that I will never vote on, whether you try to warrant them or not:
That which is morally repugnant
This debate should be about the moral character of my opponent
X is a voting issue simply because I labeled it as such.
I am the Director of Debate at Immaculate Heart High School.
1. I will vote on nearly any argument that is well explained and compared to the arguments your opponent has made.
2. Accusing your opponent of an evidence ethics or clipping violation requires you to stake the debate on said allegation. If such an allegation is made, I will stop the debate, determine who I think is in the wrong, and vote against that person and give them the lowest speaker points allowed by the tournament.
3. I won’t vote on arguments that I don’t understand or that I don’t have flowed. I have been involved in circuit LD for almost ten years now and consider myself very good at flowing, so if I missed an argument it is likely because you were incomprehensible.
4. I am a strong proponent of disclosure, and I consider failing to disclose/incorrect disclosure a voting issue, though I am growing weary of nit-picky disclosure arguments that I don’t think are being read in good faith.
5. For online debate, please keep a local recording of your speech so that you can continue your speech and share it with your opponent and me in the event of a disconnect.
6. Weighing arguments are not new even if introduced in the final rebuttal speech. The Affirmative should not be expected to weigh their advantage against five DAs before the Negative has collapsed.
7. You need to use CX to ask which cards were read and which were skipped.
Some thoughts of mine:
1. I dislike arguments about individual debaters' personal identities. Though I have voted for these arguments plenty of times, I think I would vote against them the majority of the time in an evenly matched debate.
2. I am increasingly disinterested in voting for topicality arguments about bare plurals or theory arguments suggesting that either debater should take a stance on some random thing. No topic is infinitely large and voting for these arguments discourages topic research. I do however enjoy substantive topicality debates about meaningful interpretive disagreements regarding terms of art used in the resolution.
3. “Jurisdiction” and “resolvability” standards for theory arguments make little sense to me. Unless you can point out a debate from 2013 that is still in progress because somebody read a case that lacked an explicit weighing mechanism, I will have a very low threshold for responses to these arguments.
4. I dislike critiques that rely exclusively on framework arguments to make the Aff irrelevant. The critique alternative is one of the debate arguments I'm most skeptical of. I think it is best understood as a “counter-idea” that avoids the problematic assumptions identified by the link arguments, but this also means that “alt solves” the case arguments are misguided because the alternative is not something that the Negative typically claims is fiated. If the Negative does claim that the alternative is fiated, then I think they should lose to perm do both shields the link. With that said, I still vote on critiques plenty and will evaluate these debates as per your instructions.
5. Despite what you may have heard, I enjoy philosophy arguments quite a bit and have grown nostalgic for them as LD increasingly becomes indistinct from policy. What I dislike is when debaters try to fashion non-normative philosophy arguments about epistemology, metaphysics, or aesthetics into NCs that purport to justify a prescriptive standard. I find philosophy heavy strategies that concede the entirety of the opposing side’s contention or advantage to be unpersuasive.
6. “Negate” is not a word that has been used in any resolution to date so frameworks that rely on a definition of this word will have close to no impact on my assessment of the debate.
Barkley Forum Update (not debate related): I'm a student at Emory right now (chemistry and premed). If you have any questions about Emory in general I'd be happy to answer them for you! Feel free to ask me stuff before or after the round (but please not during lmao).
Other Barkley Forum Update (this one's actually debate related):I haven't judged an LD round in almost a year now (I judged some policy over the summer) and I don't coach anyone so it's been a minute. Please slow down a little bit to probably 80% of your max speed instead of full circuit spreading because I don't want to miss anything y'all are saying. Also I am not as well versed in a lot of the acronyms anymore in circuit debate (particularly tricks) so please take the time to say the full names of things. I will still be able to evaluate the rounds properly just as well as I have been but my vocabulary isn't the same anymore so please explain all the terms you need to (you know what they are).
Here's my full paradigm so plz read
My email is email@example.com. If you ask me for my email I'm gonna assume you didn't read my paradigm.
I did national circuit LD in high school and I primarily ran policy stuff, theory, t, and tricks (I'm prob best for judging these arguments). You can prob put me as a 1 for these on your pref sheets.
I'm down with judging phil and k debate too but I'm not familiar with a lot of the lit (especially pomo k's) so if you're running that please overexplain. You can prob put me as a 2 or 3 for these based on how confusing your lit is but you should probably put me as a 5 if you're running exclusively pomo.
This should go without saying but don't be offensive. You should also try to avoid being a jerk in general because this is supposed to be an enjoyable activity.
Tricks debate is cool but there's some things I'll interfere on there. First, you don't get to change speech times and I evaluate all five speeches. Don't bring in stuff from outside of the round (except disclosure stuff I guess but I'll get to that more in a second). That'll be met with an L and minimum speaks. Everything in this paragraph is non-negotiable.
I'll vote on disclosure theory but I really don't like it at all especially if it's run against someone with substantially less resources than the person running it. Don't expect your speaks to look good if you go for disclosure theory against a stock position.
A claim, warrant, and impact for EVERY argument you want me to evaluate at the end of the round each have to be extended in EVERY speech as well.
Debate should be a safe space for everyone involved. If you're reading something that could be potentially triggering or sensitive for someone please ask everyone involved in the round if they are ok with the material being read.
I'm not a fan of really long paradigms (this one's already pushing it) so I'm not gonna write out every single nitpicky thing for all your RVI warrants and framework weighing and all that other stuff. So PLEASE ask me for specifics in round. I'm looking forward to judging your debate. Good luck and have fun!
Updated November 2023
Dr. Brice Ezell – Debate Coach, The Lovett School
Do add me to the chain -- my email is firstname.lastname@example.org
I competed in Lincoln-Douglas debate in California and nationally for my four years in high school, and another four years in the WUDC format at George Fox University. My PhD, though in English, centered on philosophy, so I’m comfortable and familiar with much of the critical/theoretical literature used in theory-heavy LD cases. At Lovett, I coach LD and PF, though I mostly judge the former. (For Public Forum debaters: scroll to the second-to-last section of this paradigm for PF stuff, though note that a lot of my thinking in the bulk of the paradigm applies to PF as well.)
TL;DR Summary of Everything in this Paradigm: In general, I will vote on whatever is most successfully warranted, weighed, and impacted in the round. Arguments can have all sorts of impacts: to the fairness of the debating activity, to the possibility of nuclear war, to violating a universal ethical principle, etc. However you impact your arguments, you also need to sell me on some kind of standard by which I am to evaluate the in-round impacts. This doesn’t mean you have to use the old-school value/criterion structure, but rather that you as part of your weighing need to tell me the yardstick by which to measure all the in-round impacts. Absent any clear standard from the debaters I will default to a post-AC utility calculus (meaning: I assume the AFF happens, and then I weigh the impacts claimed in the round by both sides) – though, hopefully, my judging doesn’t get to that point.
Speed?: Yes, I’m fine with it. I will admit that, having been out of debate for awhile during my doctorate, my ear is less tuned to it than it used to be, but now that I’m getting back into the swing of things I’m getting comfortable with it once again. My main request, though, is that you slow down and are very clear when reading your contention taglines and names/dates of your cards.
Performance Cases: As it happens, my PhD specialty was in drama/theatre, so in a very real sense performance cases are, in theory, a perfect intersection of my interests. With that said, I definitely hold performance cases to a higher standard than most lines of argumentation one could take in an LD round, even the more out-there Ks. This is a category where I like to be surprised -- hell, that's part of the value of performance cases in general -- but the main thing I would stress is that a performance case should be delivered from a position of genuine and substantial critique, not merely the novelty of the performance itself. I remember back in my debating days that when people would talk about performance cases, it was almost like the critical-intellectual equivalent of shock jockery: "Oh, they'll never see this coming!" And sure, there is a surprise-based strategic value to performance argumentation, but considering the causes to which performances cases are so often put in service -- e.g. feminism, Queer rights, combating anti-Blackness, etc -- taking a performance strategy that feels solely motivated by how "surprising" it, to me, feels like a disservice to how important those causes are. So, put simply: if you want to run a performance case in front of me, you better deliver it like you're living the truth of what you're saying, not simply that you're picking something because of how avant-garde it is. A performance case should feel like a unique approach to persuasion, not an evasion of it for the sake of leaving your opponent befuddled.
What Do I Not Like? (Really: What Arguments am I Skeptical Of?)
Like any judge I’m not bias-free, but I do try to keep myself as open as possible to learning new things from the debaters I judge, so I don’t really feel comfortable drawing a hard line excluding classes of arguments. That said, in the spirit of honesty, I’ll list some categories of argument for which I have a higher degree of skepticism:
*RVIs: Have never voted on one. Doesn’t mean I couldn’t vote on one, but in general I find the ones I have heard thin on face, and I tend to buy the “you don’t vote AFF based on the mere fact of their fairness” response.
*Disclosure theory arguments: This take may be a product of my debate experience, back when disclosure was less common and/or rarely practiced: I have yet to be sold on the claim that not disclosing cases withholds debate to such a pernicious degree that I’m meant to vote against the non-disclosing debater. Doesn’t mean that a particularly persuasive debater couldn’t sell me otherwise, but I think of all the theory arguments out there, disclosure’s the one where I have the highest threshold.
*"Util because pleasure/pain are inherent" (AKA: "Moen 16: doesn't say what you think it does"): I am not anti-util – it’d be pretty hard to be in competitive debating, where utility is such a natural (and good!) weighing mechanism. But I will say I find most presentations of util by LD debaters very unsophisticated. Util comes in many shapes and sizes, and in running a util framework you should specify the type of util to which one is committing themselves, and explain why said framework makes sense for your case/the topic. (E.g. act util or rule util; specifying if your calculus is “maximizing pleasure/minimizing pain” or “greatest good for the greatest number” – these are all different things, and come with different commitments). I find the prevalence of the pleasure/pain binary in framework cards very odd; if you’re arguing, say, that China should maximize its environmental policy, “pleasure” and “pain” are weird metrics to use. Long and short of it: if you naturally default to a utilitarian-style calculus in your case writing, that’s fine, but put some actual work into it. I’ve heard so many shallow util frameworks to the point that now I’m somewhat numb to them.
*"Death good": An unusual number of debaters have asked me about this line of reasoning lately. I suppose I could vote for this argument, but just know that different kinds of arguments have different sorts of evidentiary burdens baked into them. Meaning: while I am open to most arguments one could make in a round, I do not have to treat “actually, death good” as equally plausible a line of reasoning as, “We should pass single-payer healthcare so that we can increase the number of insured people.” “Death good” or “actually we’re in the matrix” are bolder arguments to make, and bolder arguments require more robust proofs. That doesn’t mean I dislike these arguments; far from it, I really enjoy it when debaters take big swings, especially in out-rounds. But just know that ambitious cases require a higher degree of intellectual sophistication to run, meaning you can’t just cut the “death good” case the way you would, say, a stock plan-based case.
*Time skew arguments:In contrast to my generally "I'll vote on whatever's warranted" stance, here's maybe one place I'll be curmudgeonly: time skew arguments (e.g. "1AR's only four minutes!" "As the NEG I only speak twice!") are incredibly corny, and I can basically imagine no case where I'd vote on one. To be fair to the people who have run this in front of me, most of the time this is just an additional piece of warranting under a theory arg, so it's not as if this line of thinking is replete in most cases I'm hearing now. But this kind of complaint, to me, is pretty whiny. Debate, like any game, has rules and regulations, and the trade-off in LD's pretty basic: AFF gets more speeches, but NEG's speeches are longer. Given how many people continue to participate in this activity, I find it pretty dubious to say that the speech times are so unfair as to be a theoretical warrant in-round, especially given spreading.
*Presumption:In keeping with time skew, since that's so often used in this line of argument: I do not have a default presumption standard. I'm willing to hear arguments about presumption, but I'm of the belief that these are unnecessarily defensive arguments to include in constructive speeches, as they signal to me, "Judge, if this round is a total mess, and you can't possibly adjudicate what you have on the flow, vote AFF/NEG for x, y, and z reasons." Rhetorically, this does not instill much confidence in what you're doing with the constructive. Where I could see presumption making more sense is in refutation, if clash between arguments has reached a point of total murkiness. With that said, though, I'd rather there be big, clearly defined clash rather than pre-fiat discussions of the positionality of the AFF and NEG in an LD round.
Evidence/A Brief “Old Man Yells at Cloud” Rant on Case Writing
My general policy is that unless I know a card that's being used and it sounds off in the round, or if the evidence is cut in such a way as to be unclear, I won't comb through all the evidence when making my RFD, barring a dispute in-round about a piece of evidence's validity or cutting. Put shortly, unless you give me reasons to doubt your handling of your evidence, I will honor the arguments in-round as presented. I ask to be added to the chain just so that I have a record in case of such an aforementioned dispute.
There has long been a trend in debate of treating a cut card as automatic "evidence" for something. The important thing to remember is that the cards are not your case; your case should be making its own argument(s), for which the cards are support. I would hope that in constructing cases that debaters are taking as much time on their contention taglines, framework warrants, and overall structure as they are cutting their evidence. Thin case-writing (that is, little time on contention/subpoint tags and overall argument structure) has been a problem for as long as I’ve been in debate, but it does seem to have gotten worse. The framework, contentions, plan texts, etc – meaning, all the stuff that the debater themselves creates – should shine, as that’s where the debater’s personality can most come through. The cards just demonstrate how well you do (or don’t) make the argument that you yourself are writing.
*I prefer immediate post-round disclosure of result if possible. If for some reason it isn't depending on tournament rules (thankfully these instances seem rare now), know you can find me after the round to ask about an RFD, but if you wish to do so, make sure you find me ASAP, as I'll be less detailed if I'm several rounds removed from your debate. Should you want an oral RFD post-round in the event where I can't give one immediately, find your opponent from the round so I can speak to you both at the same time.
*I'm cool with flex prep.
*I am not a fan of the strategy wherein a debater takes a stray line from an AC or NC card and tries to blow it up in the rebuttals if it isn't directly refuted by the opposing speaker. Even if I can technically flow it as a drop, I'm generally of the belief that if you're going to make a big deal out of a specific argument/detail, you need to flag it as such in your constructive. I like clash between clearly presented, bold arguments; I'm less inclined to trickery for trickery's sake, even if you're technically extending arguments fairly.
*Don't just say "my opponent dropped this argument, so extend it"; impact all arguments, even drops. I do not immediately think to myself, "By gum, they've given up the debate!" the moment I hear that an argument has been dropped.
*Cross-x is binding. Use it well.
*Nothing is more boring than a debate that collapses into the most generic version of the "utilitarianism/consequentialism vs. deontology/principles" discussion. Avoid these, please. If a framework debate gets into this territory naturally, try to make a case for why your specific version of util or deontology holds up best, rather than relitigate the broad debate that we all know and hate.
*I am not terribly persuaded by arguments that feel so stock/generic that you have no investment in them. Even conventional T shells should be presented like they are specially applicable to the debate that's happening in the room.
*The only things that will make me drop you outright are things like: egregious card-cutting which leads to misrepresentation/distortion of sources (having competed myself, I know what some will try to get away with) and morally outrageous arguments like "genocide/racism/sexism/homophobia good." Even though debate is about clash, it is an activity that must include all, so I view any arguments that aim to exclude people from the activity as a massive problem.
What About Public Forum? I am generally of the belief that PF should be insulated from the "circuit-ification" that's endemic to the other major debating formats. A PF round really should be viewable by all, including the mythical "average person on the street." This isn't because I'm a "PF originalist," or am against spread/circuit debate -- far from it. Rather, I just think the strictures of the form (four minute speeches max, topics that change every month) make "circuit PF" a kind of contradiction in terms. PF should be about a clearly defined and persuasively delivered clash on a current events topic. Though PF doesn't have the value framework of LD, your weighing mechanism for my decision in the round -- these are often called "voters" or "voting issues" -- should still be clear by the time you get to the Final Focus speeches.
And to reiterate something I said above, but in a PF-specific fashion: the crossfires, especially the grand crossfires, should be the most electric part of the round. Please don't turn cross-x into a back-and-forth of basic fact-finding questions: really get into the debate there!
Note on Speaks: Unless a specific tournament specifies a house preference for its speaker point allocations, here's how I award speaks:
30: You changed my mind about what's possible in the activity of debating, or did something truly revelatory with the topic. Your speaking style exhibits a sophistication that would get an attention of a full theatre.
29-29.5: You're a top-tier speaker and thinker, one I'd expect to be in late elims at the tournament. You are thinking about the topic at a very high level.
28-28.5: You gave a speech that put considerably more thought into the topic than the stock cases I'm likely to hear on any given topic. Your speaking style shows confidence and elegance.
27-27.5: This is what I call the "perfect average." You did good work in presenting and constructing your case, even if the presentation wasn't particularly flashy.
26-26.5: You generally presented a coherent case, but with not much sophistication either in delivery or in quality of argumentation.
25-25.5: Your case and/or delivery were unclear, and your arguments poorly warranted.
Under 25: You did something profoundly offensive.
Things that Help or Harm Speaks
Things that Help Speaks
*Confidence! Especially in CX. Using CX to put your opponent on the defensive is a must.
*Knowing your case. You should be able to state the warrants/theses of your cards as if they were your own words.
*Eye contact. Doesn't need to be constant, of course, but it should feel like you're addressing a person, not a computer screen.
*Writing a case where your words principally, not your sources, do the talking.
*Tasteful use of humor that rhetorically enhances your argument.
*Coming up with angles on the topic that are unique and genuinely thoughtful (meaning: not novel for novelty's sake).
*Similarly: a really well-written and detailed "stock" case can be just as impressive depending on how it's wielded.
*Rebuttal that shows that you have done topic research outside of just your immediate casework.
Things that Harm Speaks
*Using cross-x solely for fact-finding (e.g. "What was your contention 1 again?")
*In rebuttal, saying "I have a card" or "my card says so" when your opponent challenges the claim being made in a card. (Meaning: the fact that you have a card is not automatically proof of the card's rightness.)
*Running a case that feels like it is narrowing the debate to the point of unfairness, rather than trying to do something interesting or innovative with the topic.
*Rudeness/condescension, especially if it is unearned.
*Contention taglines that are barely developed, no matter how good the cards below them are.
*Running an argument that it feels like you haven't put any thought behind. (Classic example: the NEG running T just because you can. If you kick out of it under the lightest pressure [or none at all] in the 1NR, I will probably roll my eyes.)
*While I am not opposed to speed, if you spread for the purpose of a bunch of thin argumentation, I'm going to be less inclined to give high speaks. To put it simply: justify your speed.
*Unironically saying "market solves" with no elaboration or evidence.
Cal Fullerton Update ‘23:
I haven’t judged circuit level rounds since Emory ‘23 so you’ll need to start slow, especially given that this tournament is online. I don’t know the topic and I’m not working with any students this year so if there are new debate customs that have come up in the past 6 months, i’ll be uninformed on them.
If I end up judging PF, keep some things in mind… I flow the round like almost all tech judges, a dropped argument that is extended is a TRUE argument and has 100% strength of link. Idk PF lingo, time your opponents and yourself, i absolutely will not be flowing crossfire and will only be listening to ensure there isn’t an ethical violation of some sort by either team. The best strategy would be to just treat this as a policy round, K debate, theory, framework, phil are heavily encouraged(if executed properly).
I don’t give oral rfd’s anymore (something about being overly critical) written RFD’s will be posted and i’m always accessible via email.
Speed/Clarity:You can go as fast as possible in the constructive speeches or any speech that you have written out. But i need you to slow down a ton for analytics or any non scripted lbl. My hearing is absolutely shot on my left side and spotty in general.
That is to say, if you have frontlined every possible 1ar and 2nr… send the doc
Tricks - 1
LARP - 1
Theory/T - 2
K - 4
Phil - 5
High theory falls between K and Phil. I really just don’t know the lit on most Pomo stuff and it’s harder to follow than Hobbes or Kant.
Some new stuff:
Defending implementation of the resolution is the same as reading the resolution as a plan. Defending the general principle of the resolution is saying you like LD because it isn't policy and you want to have a phil debate (what is ideal theory). Regardless, either side cannot get the unique benefits of the other. Policymaking offense for implementation, and then auto o/w or delinking from DA and 1NC substance. Good NC util debaters can get around the latter ;)
My threshold for no neg fiat is super high
if paradigm issues in the 2nr and 2ar don’t have something clearly float to the top, i default to substance work
i default to:
- condo good
- pics good
- tricks good
- rvis necessary
- reasonability good
- warrants necessary
- cx checks
- flex prep good
- stealing prep bad
- dropped argument with small impact > argument with clash with big impact
Weighing/Paradigm Issues: My voting record indicates that I vote neg about 60% of the time, while I think that this could be due to a potential time/strat skew when it comes to 1AR burden (bad debaters lose on aff more because they suck at the 1AR), I think that it is more often than not an issue with affirmative debaters failing to really cement paradigm issues in the 1AC and 1AR. I default to the following chain when evaluating meta framing issues: accessibility > fairness > education. RoB and RoJ end up flowing the same as fw method in phil cases, both end up netting offense via appropriate execution of advocacy, keep this in mind when weighing these (applies for policy-making ACs too).
Arguments are true until proven false. From a point of procedure, the AC has 100% validity until it is refuted. The existence of clash makes for a good debate, however, arguments are won with good analysis of clash (this can be called weighing). For substantive debate, my threshold for analytical arguments to o/w warranted args is extremely high.
Trix: Self-explanatory, if you drop 5] No 2NR responses, paradigm issues, or weighing – and don’t preclude the offensive function of trix, then you lose. For example, 1NC reads the point above, the 1AR has a couple options, A) Respond to each point, B) Up-layer tricks via accessibility shell or trix bad indicts. Obviously, there are variants of these, calling for reasonability and demanding warrants for claims is an underrated response, but generally speaking, you have to directly refute the claim or present an arg that addresses a prior issue (trix functionally bad). I will pull the trigger on any point, no matter how ridiculous it is, if you fail to properly respond in the 1AR or 1NR. Trix make life easier for judges even though they are an objectively less educational form of debate.
This came up recently in a local round I judged, having trix in the body of a card is fine for me and I will vote off of it. Obviously trix theory up-layers this and debaters who don't want to run trix theory who have me as a judge (nat circuit) will know to ask in CX for hidden trix. I think that on local circuit or in more traditional/lay rounds, this is a pretty poor strategy for an auto-ballot. It would be much more interesting for someone to read dense phil or literally any K against an underprepared opponent because at least they have a chance to respond if they're smart enough to come up with intuitive responses (in this hypothetical, they would more than likely drop the ROTB or something important and it would still be an auto-ballot from a tech perspective).
Additionally, threshold for individual responses to trix can be set up in CX. Asking about what warrants are, what they mean for the round, and whatnot can set up an A2 trix that either says "no" or "false" to every pointed response.
T/Theory: I default to RVIs necessary***, LD times are different than Policy, the topics are different, the rules are different. The majority of shells that are read in LD are ctrl-v onto a new speech doc from policy backfiles, this means that a lot of the RVI bad warrants are specific to Policy and y’all have just changed the numbers in the time skew args. Strategically speaking, in front of me, if you are running a whole res affirmative and someone reads a shell demanding you spec/run a plan, then the 1AR should hedge the entire round on T and an RVI, otherwise you’re spread too thin and can’t even begin to catch up given how broken the 2NR is. I default to CX checks. Violations must have evidence (disclosure, out of round violations), if you’re called out on not having proof, then I can’t vote for the shell (if your opponent doesn’t bring this up, I assume the violation is true).
Public Forum: Now that PF is attempting to imitate Policy/LD, I don’t really see the educational pull of the activity. If for some reason I end up judging you in a PF round, keep a few things in mind: 1. Assume I do not know any of your lingo, unspoken or spoken rules, or how the speeches are allocated.2. I am a hardcore tech LD judge, I don’t care about the validity of arguments or their reps unless I’m told to care, arguments are true until proven false, dropped arguments automatically hold more weight over arguments with clash… even if the impacts don’t o/w. You can read K’s, plans, counterplans, theory, T, or trix, I’m also receptive to heavy phil/ framework cases.
Alabama Locals ONLY:
Stealing time has become a problem on local circuit. When the timer goes off, that is time. When I say time, if you keep talking, -0.50 speaks per instance. Stealing prep is a little different, the doc needs to be "sent" within 15 sec of you calling for prep time to be done. After that, I will say "running prep" and start the clock back up. After the doc is sent, hands off the keyboard... wait for us to get it. If you violate these things and are out of prep time, I will say "over prep", opening you up to a clear violation on a stealing prep shell. The AC needs to be sent at least 5 min before the round, get to the room on time, start on time, finish on time.
I will only disclose if both debaters agree that they wish to hear the RFD. I will be recording all of my RFD's through the voice memos app on my phone, do not talk during the RFD, all questions MUST be given via email after the round.
No disclosure shells for AL tournaments, yall are both small schools - unless you have proof ur opponent is in a pay to win prep group OR is paying a private coach ;)
For the email chain and any contact you need - email@example.com
I flow debater's speech performances and not docs, but may read evidence after speeches.
I graduated from Liberty University in the spring of 2011 after debating for 5 years. Before that I debated 1 year of LD in high school. Since then I worked as a debate coach for Timothy Christian High School in New Jersey for 6 years, traveling nationally on both the high school and college circuit. Currently I am the Director of speech and debate at Poly Prep in Brooklyn.
I view debate as a forum to critically test and challenge approaches to change the world for the better. I prefer in depth debate with developed material that you look like you have a grasp of. I will always work hard to evaluate correctly and with little intervention, especially if you are putting in hard work debating.
Learning debate from within the Liberty tradition I began by running conventional policy arguments with a proclivity to go for whatever K was in the round. However, during my final 3 years my partner and I did not defend the resolution and our 1nc looked very similar to our 1ac. Personally, I’m a believer and coach for advocating liberatory and conscious debate practices. However, there will certainly be a gap at times between my personal preferences and practices and what I vote on. I’m not going to judge from a biased perspective against policy arguments, and although tabula rasa is impossible I will try to evaluate the arguments presented with limited interference.
Ultimately, do not let any of this sway you from debating how you prefer. Doing what you think you are the best educator on will probably be your greatest option. If any of this is unclear or you have questions that I have not address below please feel free to ask me before a round. Have fun, debate confidently, and be genuine.
Last updated 1/10/2020
PAPERLESS and prep time (LD and Policy specific):
Prep time ends approximately when the speech doc is saved and you remove the jump drive / hit send of the email. An overall goal (for both paperless and traditional teams) is to be prepared to begin your speech when you say end prep.
Speaking mostly to HIGH SCHOOL students:
Everyone involved in the round should be able to have access to any read piece of evidence once it has been presented. This means that if you are reading off of a computer you are responsible for providing your opponents with either a jump of what you are going to read or a physical copy before you start your speech. We shouldn’t be unreasonably fearful of people ‘stealing’ ‘our’ evidence, as source information should always be provided, and also because it’s certainly not really ‘ours’. You may, however, respectfully require your opponents to delete anything you provided them with during the round.
SPEAKING STYLES and speaker points:
I’m certainly open to (for lack of a better word) alternative and non-traditional approaches to your speech time. Passion, ethos, and emphasis are things that are usually underutilized by most speaking styles and debaters, and should be present in both constructives and rebuttals. After all, debate is at its core a communication activity. Cross-ex is a great time to exhibit this as well as advance your arguments. I may call clear once if it is an issue, however it is your responsibility to be an effective communicator during your speech. Being a jerk, unnecessarily rude, offensive, stealing prep, and not being helpful to the other team during cx or prep time are all things that will negatively effect your speaker points outside of the quality and delivery of your arguments.
HIGH SCHOOL LD SPECIFIC:
Yes, I am fine with speed, but that does not give you an excuse to be unclear. I may call clear once if it is an issue, however it is your responsibility to be an effective communicator during your speech.
I have experience to evaluate theory, but certainly prefer substantive theory (T, condo, NIBs, are all examples) as opposed to frivolous theory. You should probably slow down when reading your shells if you want me to be able to write down the nuances of your argument. Due to my background in college policy there may be a few preconceptions that I have that you should be aware of. Theory is not automatically an RVI, and I probably take a little more convincing on the flow than most judges in this area. You need to explain to me why a violation has resulted in abuse that warrants either voting down the other team or rejecting a specific argument. Simply claiming one to be true is not enough work here. When answering theory, showing how the abuse can be solved by rejecting a particular argument can make the violation go away.
Conceded and dropped arguments are considered true on my flow, unless they are morally repugnant or blatantly false. An example of the latter is even if your opponent drops a theory shell, if the team clearly does not link to the violation your accusation does not make that true. Conceded arguments must still be extended, warranted, and argued, but you should focus more on their implications.
Please read the paperless / prep time and the speaking style / speaker points sections of my philosophy located above.
PUBLIC FORUM SPECIFIC:
A quick overview statement: It seem that circuit PF is going through a growing period where it is solidifying some norms and practices. As a result of this, I will typically default to the understanding of the debaters in the round. I am also open to different interpretations as long as they are defended.
Concerning defense in summary: As indicated above, this is something that I am going to let the debaters determine / debate for themselves. However, if at any point the defense has been front-lined / responded to (either in 2nd rebuttal or 1st summary), then these arguments need to be answered and the defense needs to be extended for it to be available in final focus.
The rest of my philosophy is not specific towards ld or policy, high school or college, and it may do you benefit to read it as well, especially if some of your arguments tend to look like policy arguments.
FRAMEWORK (when run by the neg):
I think that negatives have the ability to and should engage with affirmatives that don’t defend a normative implementation of a plan. Even if the aff doesn’t defend the resolution there are still many substantive things that they will defend that provide ample ground. Although this ground might not be as predictable as your interpretation on FW calls for, it is still predictable enough to meet the threshold that you should be prepared for it.
Having said that, I think I’m one of those few sick individuals that will actually enjoy listening to framework debates as long as they are well developed on both sides. Granted, I will most likely be a harder sell than most, but I don’t think this should dissuade you from going for it if you think it is your best option. You will need to make inroads to the aff’s arguments by articulating ways traditional debate solves for their impacts. If you lose the impact turn to politics you will not win FW debates. You need to make arguments to the effect of traditional policy debate being key to a better form of politics and articulate net benefits to your interpretation from this. I think that the type of education we foster in debate far outweighs the preservation of the game in the strictest sense. That is to say that fairness claims alone are not the way to persuade me on FW. You should instead use claims of fairness to hedge against the impacts from the aff.
However, the main substance of FW debates (for both sides) should be about the competing benefits to the type of education and scholarship different traditions lead to.
For affirmatives concerning framework strategies, your greatest offense will be specific to your particular argument. I will be more easily persuaded if your aff is connected to the topic. I don’t appreciate aff’s that are written that hide their purpose or are exclusively constructed to impact turn FW. While I prefer some kind of relationship to the topic, I don’t think it is necessary. However, you do lose the ability to make an important strategic argument that other plan-less aff’s should employ, which is that your aff is important to topic education. More developed, this argument should be that your aff is necessary to topic education and that without it the debate ground that is left leads to bad forms of scholarship. That is to say that you aff is essentially topical. This argument is both inherently offensive and also provides the ability to make defensive claims against the neg’s offense.
This is the type of debate that I am most familiar with and have the largest literature base with (I was a philosophy major). However, messy and poor K debates are probably the worst. The key to winning this kind of debate is making the general link and alternative cards as specific as possible to the aff. I am not saying that the key is reading the most specific evidence (although this would be nice, however most of our authors here don’t write in the context of every affirmative), but that you need to find ways to apply the generic concepts to the specifics of the aff. Without this it is easier to be persuaded by the perm.
Teams are responsible for the discourse and performances in which then engage in given the context of the world we are situated in as well as the argument style the team engages in.
Aff’s have a wide range of arguments they can deploy, and are probably best sticking with the ones they are most comfortable with while doing a good job showing how they relate to the critique.
Concerning the perm, it is usually not enough work to simply show how the two different advocacies could work together. At this point it becomes easy to vote on the alternative as a purer form of advocacy without the risk of links. Aff’s should articulate net benefits to the perm to hedge against residual links and different DA’s to the perm itself. Case should be one of these net benefits, but aff’s need to watch out for indicts to foundational assumptions (concerning methodology, epistemology, ontology etc.) behind your impact claims.
Concerning framework: when was the last time a relatively moderate judge decided that the neg shouldn’t be able to run their K? The answer is probably a long time ago. The majority of these debates are compromised in the 1ar by allowing the K given that the aff gets to weigh their impacts after a lot of wasted time by both teams. I can hardly think of a situation where I would be persuaded to only evaluate the plan verses the status quo or a competitive policy option that excluded the alternative. However, I can envision certain ways that this debate goes down that convinces me to discount the impacts of the aff. In general, however, most of debate is illusory (somewhat unfortunately) and these framework questions are about what type of education is more important. If you chose to run framework with you aff you should keep these things in mind concerning your interpretation for debate.
PERFORMANCE or project verses a similar style:
These debates are some of the most important and essential ones for our community, particularly as more and more teams are participating in this form of advocacy. We need to debate and judge in light of this fact. These are also some of the most difficult debates to have. There are several reasons for this, one of the most poignant being the personal nature of these debates combined with the close relationships that most people amongst this insular community have with one another. We need to realize the value in these opportunities and the importance of preserving the pureness of our goals for the debate community. That might mean in some situations that conceding and having a conversation might be the best use of a particular debate space, and in others debating between different competing methodologies is a correct rout to go. In either case we need to realize and cherish common goals. In light of this it isn’t a bad thing to agree with large portions of your opponent’s speeches or even advocacy. Instead of reproducing the gaming paradigm of traditional debate, where competition is valued over advocacy and winning over ethics, we should instead choose to celebrate the areas of alignment we find. Conceding every round where this happens, however, is not a good idea either. This would send a message to the debate community that debate dies under this framework. That doesn’t mean there isn’t a possible time and place for it though.
When both teams largely agree on certain foundational framework questions efficacious debate can still happen. While making distinctions between advocacies and methodologies is essential for this kind of a debate, you should probably not manipulate and create links that are artificial. Distinctions that are made out of an in depth knowledge of the issues are far more beneficial and consistent. Traditional debate might look at these kinds of rounds as two ships passing in the night, but I think there can be a different metaphor – one where the teams are two ships starting at the recognition that the resolution and the debate community is flawed and that the round can be decided upon which team provides a better methodology and performance to get their ship further in the direction of what we should be as a community and culturally aware individuals.
I am undecided as to whether the aff should be allowed a perm and this should probably be debated out. However, I think that the aff should always have the ability to point out when a negative advocacy is the same as theirs.
THEORY / T:
Any bias I have towards theory will probably result in placing a burden on the team that reads the violation to prove that it should result in a voting issue. However, I don’t like shady stuff done only to be obnoxiously strategic. Don’t do it.
One thing that I definitely do not like is when teams read multiple conditional strategies that contradict each other. This will usually call into question the solvency of the critique if the aff takes advantage of this.
I don’t think that I have a bias concerning reasonability or competing interpretations, but I will probably default to competing interpretations until the aff is shown to be reasonable and from there it is up for debate.
COUNTERPLANS / DA’s:
I am probably liberal concerning counter plan theory, and aside from the question over conditionality most other theory arguments are probably reasons to reject the cp. Aside from traditional theory answers, showing why a certain CP is justified given the specific aff is a good response.
PICS that are specific to the aff are great, however word pics should probably just be articulated as links to the K.
Uniqueness controls the link only if a particular side definitively wins it.
I generally evaluate from an offense / defense standpoint, but it doesn’t mean anything if the CP links less than the plan does to a DA if the CP still meets the threshold for triggering the link. In that world there isn’t greater offense to the CP.
Graduated from CK McClatchy High School in 2020. Currently debate for UC Berkeley. Conflicts: CK McClatchy, West Campus, Harker.
yes email chain please -- firstname.lastname@example.org
I flow straight down on my laptop.
These things suck. Everybody lies and says they are agnostic but in my experience nobody but maybe 10 people really mean it. I am not going to pretend like I don't have preferences and won't internally eye-roll and react negatively to certain arguments, but I will try my absolute hardest to stick to my flow (with the exception of the arguments clearly identified in this paradigm as non-starters).
That in mind, here is my general approach to judging and some preferences:
I was largely a k debater in high school but I am exclusively a policy debater in college. I feel comfortable judging both sides of the spectrum. Regardless of the issue at hand, evidence quality matters a lot to me, and I will read every card mentioned by name in the final rebuttals before making my decision.
I think I care more than other judges about judge instruction. Telling me how to read/understand cards, how to frame warrants, etc. will be taken very seriously when the debate comes to an end. Smart, strategic judge instruction and framing will quickly earn speaker points (addendum: this does not mean I want you to give a 5 minute overview to "frame out" their offense - under no circumstances should judge instruction come before line by line.)
Most of my paradigm is about k debate because I have far less feelings about policy rounds. That is not to say I am not a good judge for them. My favorite debates to judge are big, in-depth policy rounds that are vertically oriented and have lots of good evidence. That being said, I have far less instruction to offer you because those rounds are more straight-forward to evaluate. I will reward smart turns case arguments and clever analytics above a wall of cards in these debates.
Non-resolutional debate -
I generally think that debates are better, more interesting, and more educational when the aff defends a topical plan based on the resolution.
I have been in many of these debates, mostly on the aff and always impact turning some part of T. I think that raises my threshold for the aff a bit because I have first hand experience with how easy it can be to beat framework with args that suck. If you are going for an impact turn to T without a counter-interpretation, you should probably win offense against model v model debates. If you do have a counter-interpretation, tell me why your offense doesn't link to that model and it resolves some predictability/limits/whatever.
- I like impact turns a lot. I am a good judge for heg/cap good, and a bad judge for affs that don't want to defend anything. In my opinion, if you have taken a radically leftist position and forwarded a structural kritik but are unwilling to debate the most surface level right-wing propaganda, you are both bastardizing the literature and being cowards. As someone that genuinely subscribes to a lot of leftist political ideals, I find this sort of revolting. I will not be convinced that your indictment of settler colonialism/some other superstructure is conviently okay with whatever the neg has impact turned. Inversely, if you are a k team that is ready to throw down on these questions, I will consider you strong-willed, brave, and smart.
- Skills/clash solve the case with a big external, a TVA, and a robust presumption push on case is the quickest way to my heart.
- Procedural fairness is not a silver bullet for aff offense. If this is your impact, a vague sentence about not weighing the aff is not sufficient for me to zero all of their stuff, especially if they have impact turns to your model. I have never heard the sentence "procedural fairness is the only impact your ballot can remedy," nor do I know what it means, please don't say it at me.
- Similarly, presumption pushes against affs that are just built to impact turn T are very persuasive.
- I don't like offense that hinges on the subject position of your opponent or me as a judge. I also very strongly prefer not to be in charge of your mental health, livelihood, or identity. EDIT 11/21: have received questions about this and would like to clarify -- args about value to life, ressentiment, etc. are totally fine. I don't want be in charge of you as an individual -- meaning your role in the community, your mental health, or your sense of self.
Neg - I consider myself fairly sufficient in most kritik literature and have researched extensively, but that doesn't mean you shouldn't explain your theory. I don't think its fair of me to just fill in gaps for you (for example, deciding in my own head what it means if you "win the ontology debate.") The best way to win in front of me is to have a unique link that turns the case and beats the aff without framework.
Aff - Impact turn things. Weigh the aff against the alt for more than just fairness -- see my framework thoughts for the neg above. If you are going soft left against the k that is also fine, but sounding nice and in the direction of whatever your opponents say doesn't tell me why the alt doesn't solve the aff.
Usually these debates are pretty bad to judge because people just spread through their blocks and don't do line by line. I tend to be lenient with all neg shenanigans. I will totally kick positions for you if you tell me to, but please remind me to do so -- I have no theoretical qualms with judge kick, but I sometimes forget to do it unless you tell me to in the 2NR.
I largely think if cps compete, they are legit. I can sometimes be convinced otherwise, but if your theory argument is just "this counterplan is bad," I am going to be convinced by neg arbitrariness arguments (with the exception of ConCon -- I think there is a case to be made that we should just arbitrarily exclude that counterplan because it is so clearly bad for debate.)
All of that being said, I also think most cheat-ey cps don't compete! So if you're aff, you're not tanked -- you are just better off going for the perm than, say, theory.
Please do not go for condo in front of me. I have no idea why the neg thinking they can kick a counterplan or an alternative is a voting issue -- simply saying conditionality is bad is not sufficient for me to nuke the other team from the debate. I have never participated in or seen a debate between competent opponents in which even the most egregious abuses of conditionality effected the decision. If the neg drops it twice, I guess you have to go for it. I can think of very few circumstances where it is a good idea otherwise. Slightly more sympathetic for LD because of 1AR time pressures, but still will lean heavily neg and will cap speaks at 29 for the aff.
If my camera is not on, please assume I am not ready for you to begin speaking.
I would very much appreciate if you could record your speeches in case there are internet issues while you are talking.
I am not comfortable evaluating arguments about debaters being in the same room together, "the COVID procedural," or anything else that has to do with out of round conduct. If you make the debate about this, I will be angry with you and likely vote you down.
Even the clearest debaters tend to be tougher to flow in an online format. I understand that this comes with some strategic cost, but I will reward you with speaks if you go a little slower than usual and make sure to be extra clear.
If you do not ask for a marked document in your debate, I will add .1 to your speaker points. Unless your opponent legitimately marked cards, your speaker points will be capped at 29 if you ask for one. Flow better. Asking about what was and wasn't read is CX time. Every time you ask "did you read x" that's minus .1 speaker points.
EDIT 4/10/22: adding this after judging ~120 LD debates:
1. There seem to be issues with clarity plaguing this activity. To try and discourage this, I will do the following things: a.) I will never open your documents during the debate. I will read cards after if you tell me too. b.) I will say clear 5 times, after that, I'm not flowing c.) If, on the other hand, you are clear, I will give way too high of speaks. Some of the best teams in this activity sound great -- its clearly possible to win without being unflowable.
As my record indicates, I overwhelmingly vote neg in LD debates. Usually, this is because the 1AR runs out of time and drops something important, and I feel like my hands are tied on new 2AR args. That in mind -- 1ARs that set up big framing issues, start doing impact calc, and cut out superfluous arguments in favor of barebones substance will be rewarded with speaker points and usually the ballot. Aff teams, the entire activity seems to be stacked against you -- so debate accordingly, and don't waste time on useless stuff like condo.
I am gettable on Nebel/whole rez, but don't usually find it particularly persuasive. Seems counter-intuitive.
Please go easy on the theory -- I get that its a big part of the activity, but if your plan going into the debate is to go for a theory arg, you shouldn't pref me. I am usually going to vote neg.
I am not 100% familiar with all of the LD nomenclature so I may need a little explanation of things like "upward entailment test" and other LD-specific vocab
No RVI's ever under any circumstances
- Consider me dead inside -- moralizing and tugging on my heart strings will only earn you negative speaks - debate is not about individual feelings, and I will not consider yours when deciding your round.
- I strongly believe that you should be allowed to insert rehighlightings of evidence that has already been read in the debate if you think it goes the other way/want to add context to an argument. Please do not abuse this by inserting a million rehighlightings, but I will be hard to convince that it is not okay to do so in moderation (especially in the 1AR.)
- There is nothing more off-putting to me than debaters who take themselves too seriously. Please stop acting like this is anything other than a silly game we all want to win at.
- In that same vein, being rude does not make you cool or interesting. Snarky CX comments, saying mean stuff in speeches, etc. will make me dislike you and actively hope that you lose the debate. If I think you are too rude, I will say something after the round and take pleasure in giving you bad speaks. If it gets to the point where I am saying something to you, you should assume I bombed your speaks. If you are a team that can't make your arguments without being mean to other debaters, strike me.
Public Forum (copied from Greg Achten)
Pretty much everything in the above paradigm is applicable here but there are two key additions. First, I strongly oppose the practice of paraphrasing evidence. If I am your judge I would strongly suggest reading only direct quotations in your speeches. My above stated opposition to the insertion of brackets is also relevant here. Words should never be inserted into or deleted from evidence.
Second, there is far too much untimed evidence exchange happening in debates. I will want all teams to set up an email chain to exchange cases in their entirety to forego the lost time of asking for specific pieces of evidence. You can add me to the email chain as well and that way after the debate I will not need to ask for evidence. This is not negotiable if I'm your judge - you should not fear your opponents having your evidence. Under no circumstances will there be untimed exchange of evidence during the debate. Any exchange of evidence that is not part of the email chain will come out of the prep time of the team asking for the evidence. The only exception to this is if one team chooses not to participate in the email thread and the other team does then all time used for evidence exchanges will be taken from the prep time of the team who does NOT email their cases.
running list of arguments that are simply too bad to be evaluated:
new affs bad
no neg fiat
plan focus allows you to say the n word in debates
my opponent did something outside the round that they should lose for
Please do not ask me for high speaks -- you lose half a point every time you bring it up
I will only flow the person who's speech it is (edit: Feel less strongly about this during the 1AC/1NC)
email me if you have questions -- I kind of suck at responding to email sometimes but I will get around to answering your questions.
PLEASE COME ON TIME AND START THE ROUND ON TIME - we are all busy and don't want to wait 15 minutes for an email chain, speaks will directly reflect this preference, you will also get better speaks if you can end early or take less prep but please don't do so at the expense of speech quality
Mandatory things about debate so you know I'm somewhat qualified to judge
Debated for Lexington HS from 2018- 2022
Competed on nat circuit from 2019-2022, got 15 career bids, qualled to TOC junior + senior year, won a couple tournaments, deep elims of a handful of others (not that any of this actually affects how good judges are but I get why it's useful to know).
TLDR; run whatever you want, I'll evaluate it as best as I can, I wont refuse to evaluate anything and I will try my best to evaluate everything, below is mostly a list of familiarity with arguments and rants about debate
Trix - 2 (if you read actual warrants you are fine but I'm not gonna make the argument for you)
Phil - 2/3 (good if you want to actually debate, if you use it as an excuse to do trix debate but with less warranting I will be unhappy) please acc explain your phil some of it is dense
K- 2/3 (Becoming more comfortable but still have less experience)
I have run most arguments from Deleuze K, to skep NC's, friv theory, Policy, and also debated at several local tournaments. That being said I mostly read theory as my A strat, tricks occasionally when I could, and policy and phil in other rounds
Please add me to the email chain email@example.com
I will flow any speed, but I reserve the right to say clear or slow 3x, after that point if I don't catch something I consider it to be on you. I am generally not great at flowing, I am fine for most things, but if you are spreading at 500wpm and extempt 'evaluate the theory debate after the 1AR' or some other blippy 1 liner that you expect to win off of, if I didn't flow it then I will not vote off of it.
Statements do not have to be true, but they do have to have a warrant, the warrant does not have to be true, but it does have to exist. I will vote off blatantly false statements if there is an extended warrant and impact. Truth and tech trade off which each other, the more true you are the less tech you need to be and vice versa.
Attacks on other people are not arguments and thus don't belong in the space
I default no judge kick CP's
I am not voting on evidence ethics. Stop being scared of debating. Run it as a shell or get me to reject the arg, if you stake the round you will lose.
I will not evaluate 'give me 30 speaks', I will give you what you deserve. I will probably just drop your speaks for this
Call-out affs are not real arguments. I will not vote on call out affs, even if you can prove that the debater is bad in some way, it's not my job to evaluate if a debater is a bad person and I won't do it
I will time prep if I remember which I will try to, please don't steal prep, its not fair or allowed
if you post round, do it respectfully, ask questions, I mess up sometimes, if you get your coach to come and yell at me, I will just get up and leave
I won't read evidence unless you ask me to do so, and if you ask me to do so, please say what I am looking for i.e. 'their impact card has no evidence that global warming is reverse causal' is good but 'their evidence is bad' will not cause me to go back
I will sometimes close my eyes while I'm flowing, I'm not asleep, just helps me concentrate
Presumption goes to the side of least change (very easy to change), permissibillity negates (harder to change just bc most arguments as to why it affirms don't actually justify it)
Theory is CI, DTD, no RVI
All of these can be changed very very easily but just making some type of argument about it, please dont make me use these defaults
Go for it, have well researched positions that you can understand well, just please don't be boring. If it's the same generic Aff that 100 other people have on this topic, and there is nothing about yours that makes it unique, I will be sad. I will still pick you up even if it's not interesting but I will probably give you worse speaks as a result of my not being invested in the debate.
I don't understand why people don't make more analytical turns on case, just because it's a Policy debate doesn't mean that you need a card that takes 30 seconds to read when you can say the same thing without a card in 10.
CP's: go for it, I like all CP's
I think analytical CP's that intuitively solve for all of the Aff's offense are underused, solvency advocates are probably not needed to make a CP legitimate
I like cheaty memey CP's and they are underused as well e.g. space elevators
If you insert evidence, you should read it, if you are pulling specific lines I think its your burden to read it, if you want me to read their evidence, tell me what specific things to look for, I am not going to read every single line of the article before making my decision. I.e. 'read their evidence - it doesn't isolate Russian aggression as the IL to war, it says bear attacks cause war' is good whereas 'read their evidence it's bad' is not something I am going to do.
Condo is prolly good unless you use it in a way that is explicitly to take advantage of condo, solvency advocates probably aren't needed, Pics are pretty neutral, process + agent CPs r probably bad. (Change my mind through debate, these are very light defaults)
Go for it, I am familiar with the rough ideas of most K literature, but I will not use prior knowledge to evaluate your K
The further out of debate I get the more I enjoy these BUT you should know your lit, good K debate is teaching me about models of the world and explaining why and how violence occurs, if I leave the round feeling as though I have learned something your speaks will be accordingly boosted
I personally never read that many K's, but I have hit most of them, and now have experience teaching or being taught a majority, so feel pretty good evaluating them
HOWEVER, if you read some new K that is 99% incoherent, and your explanation of the K in the last speech is not sufficient for me to understand the K then I will not vote on it.
Please don't give a 4 minute 2NR overview to the K that does a bunch of implicit work everywhere, I would much prefer a brief overview then LBL, I am unlikely to give implicit clash on either side, but this will hurt you more if your work is OV heavy and relatively light on the LBL
I don't like death good, I will vote on it but I just don't find myself very convinced by it and I think ethically debaters probably shouldn't read it.
I would prefer if you have framing mechanism and that you weigh it against theory or the aff framing mechanism. However if your ROB is something that is basically just a trick, you know what this means, I don't understand how its good for debate. Your ROB should not be 'I auto win' because this would seem to rely on you winning debate bad or ontology to justify the ROB at which point you have already won.
If you are going to go for the alt as a floating PIK, indicate it in the 1NC please
I love it, I think it's very strategic, rhese are the most entertaining debates to judge a lot of the time
Friv theory is good, however the more frivolous the shell is the more frivolous of a response I will accept on the shell
Read unique shells that I haven't seen before or old shells with new standards and you will make me happy and probably get better speaks, it can be a frivolous shell, friv shells that are new are often hard to respond to which is good for you
I will vote off a RVI on pretty much any theory shell, even if it's just an I meet on theory as long as you justify it
Disclosure is probably good, disclosure theory is also probably good
If you read reasonability please give some sort of way for me to know what you think is reasonable 'good is good enough' is not sufficient to justify reasonability
That being said, theory debates with 5 shells and 2 RVI's floating around get messy quickly, weigh between aff theory and neg theory, fairness and education, theory and RVI's, etc.
Go for it but please read this whole section, don't just assume I want to sit through this. People are not reading this and getting bad speaks lol, debate tricks well or don't do it, don't be messy
I ran these positions and generally find them either interesting and entertaining or completely a waste of everyones time. At their best it causes tons of critical thinking, line by line arguments, and interesting weighing interactions. At its worst its two people grasping at complex positions reduced to 1 line blips which are both fully conceded and I have to intervene or flip a coin
Yes Tricks are stupid and usually bad arguments but that means it should be fairly easy to answer them and I don't get why people don't just answer them. IMO if you can't do lbl and so drop a trick that would be on you.
Don't say 'whats an a priori' in cx, I will drop your speaks, you know what it is
If you read tricks but you don't understand them then it's probably not strategic to just bombard them with tricks
If you cannot explain the paradoxes that you read, I will not rely on prior knowledge to evaluate them
If you read evaluate x after x speech I will wait until after the 2AR to see if I ought to evaluate after x speech and if you have won the argument at that point I will backtrack and evaluate the round as needed.
Like with all things- the blippier the trick is, the less you need to respond to it in order to disprove it
Tricks need warrants, otherwise you can just say 'no warrant' and move on
This 'no 2N I meets thing' lacks the warrant for an argument, you still need a violation for the theory shell and if you don't have it you will lose idrc if the 2N isn't allowed to make I meets. Also it seems like you could do this and read a very questionable shell that they probably don't violate which would possibly be a strategic way to read this argument.
If you read something without a warrant I will not vote on it, full stop.
The worst arguments I have ever seen in debate are probably trix, if you read these types of argument VERY REAL CHANCE YOUR SPEAKS ARE TANKED. I consider this fair warning to be harsh.
T vs. K affs
I lean for T in these debates due to my experiences as a debater and the side I was usually on, but I have nothing against K affs, have and would continue to vote for them
I think that when done well K affs can be strategic and good for the space, but that if you read a K aff and are unprepared for T that you will probably lose
If your K aff or Frwk block is just OV generic stuff from 2012, I will be very unhappy
Your T 2NR should respond to case, if you don't it's very likely that you will lose the case debate and then lose the framework debate
I start at a 28.5 and move from there, below 26 is reserved for fully offensive things. The speaks you receive are relative to the pool you are in, e.g. a 29.5 at a local is different than a 29.5 at TOC.
Speaks are a reflection of not only how good you are but how happy you make me, if I am happy then you will be happy with your speaks, if I am sad than you will not be happy. Resolving good debates that are close is very very different than judging bad debates that are messy and hopefully you can draw that distinction.
If you sit down early or take less prep I'll give you higher speaks :)
If you read something that excludes a novice or lay debater from engaging, and it is clear that you knew they could not engage and yet you still continue with this strategy, you will get a L 20. For example, if your opponent reads a case at a conversational speed and then you spread a skep and Baudrillard NC and it is clear they don't know what is happening during CX and their 1AR, then you will lose. I don't care if you are ahead on the flow, you should not have to read arguments they can't engage with in order to win. You should try to speak at a max roughly 50% faster than them. I will not drop you unless it is a case of blatant abuse, I will give you the benefit of the doubt. If you read a tech AC without realizing they can't engage, you should 1) help them understand in cx and 2) dont go for the tricky parts of the T
Debate what you feel comfortable with if you are a lay debater or novice, I think these debates are good and definitely an important part of learning to debate
Don't have justice vs. morality debates, they are the same thing and picking one over the other makes ultimately no difference
Update: Longhorn Classic - November 29th, 2023 will forever be remembered as a day of joy for all with justice in their hearts, as it marks the long-overdue death of one Henry Alfred Kissinger. In light of the kickoff to what I believe is the beginning of his well-deserved eternal punishment for his many, many crimes against humanity, I will be rewarding jokes about Kissinger being dead and/or how terrible of a person he was with bonus speaker points throughout the duration of the tournament. They do not even have to be particularly good, as the mere mention of his passing will be enough to elicit a chuckle from me.
tl;dr - "takes his job seriously, but not himself". policy in high school, K in college, enjoys judging both and is loyal to voting for neither. offense/defense, but risk calculus still matters. technical, but bad arguments are still bad. doesn't flow off the doc, so go as fast as you want but not faster than you can. die-hard 2N, very expressive, extremely grumpy. Wheaton's law is axiomatic. please be funny and show me you're having fun. please don't call me "judge", "Mr.", or "sir", pat or p.fox is fine. "Act like you've been here."
I. operating procedure
1. He/him/his - you should not misgender people.
2. firstname.lastname@example.org -
a. I strongly prefer email chains to anything else (SpeechDrop, etc). Please have the doc sent before start time. If the round starts at 2:00, that means I expect the 1AC email at latest 1:58, and the 1AC to begin at 2:00 on the dot, not for you to set up the chain at 2:02. At this point, every minute the chain is late after start time is -0.1 speaks for the 1A - things are kind of getting ridiculous. Obviously, if I'm late (I will work very hard not to be), this is not applicable, as that's on me, not you. You should avoid any risk of any of this by just setting up the email chain when you do disclosure at the pairing.
b. Format subject lines for email chains as "Tournament Round - Aff Entry vs Neg Entry" (e.g: "NDT 2019 Octos - Wake EF vs Bing AY"). Prep ends when the doc is sent. The amount of prep being stolen while "sending it now" is getting ludicrous. It is 2023, we have had several years of eDebate, we all grew up entirely in the era of paperless debate. You should know how to compile and send a speech document efficiently. If you are having difficulty, I suggest Verbatim drills. No, that is not a joke. This also means that I consider not sending cards until after the speech tantamount to stealing prep. This specific practice will be aggressively penalized with speaker points moving forward.
3. I flow on my laptop - this is good for you because if I need lots of space on something (i.e: overview, 2 min perm block), I can make it for you. This is bad for you because if you don't tell me to do so (i.e: "hey pat, make lots of room on pdcp"), I will be medium annoyed.
4. I will make minimal eye contact during any given debate. Don't worry about it.
5. I have hearing damage in my left ear, so ideally I am positioned to the right of whoever is speaking. I sometimes get sensory overload issues, so I may close my eyes/put my head down/stare off into the distance during speeches - I promise I'm not sleeping or zoned out, and even if not looking at my screen, I will definitely still be flowing.
1. Debate is a competitive activity centered around research and persuasion. I adjudicate the competitive aspect to enable progression of students in research and persuasion.
2. The safety of students is my utmost concern above the content of any debate. Crossing this line is the only way you can legitimately piss me off. Avoid it. Racism, transphobia, misogyny, etc. will not be tolerated under any circumstances, and I am more willing to act on this on my own accord than most judges you have had (i.e: I have submitted a ballot mid-1AR before due to egregious misconduct). You should not attempt to toe this line.
3. Two teams are the only entities taking part in the debate. I will decide the debate based on arguments made within speech times, and will submit a decision with one winner and loser.
4. For high school students, I do not want to see or perceive anything that isn't PG-13 - nothing suggestive, no drug use, no extended violence, and you get no more than one single "f*ck".
5. If you try and tell me anything is "binding" on my "jurisdiction" as a judge, you are incorrect. Furthermore, I will resent you telling me how to do my job. I will not evaluate the debate until after the 2AR ends. I also will not evaluate arguments beyond speech times, give you a 3NR, etc. Consider this and other things that literally break debate the exceptions to the below sections unless agreed upon explicitly by all parties.
1. Affiliations - policy debate: University of Houston, Dulles High School, Sidwell Friends School (current), Westside High School (former). LD debate: too much to list, all over the place. Lab leader: UTNIF (CX), TDI (LD). Debated: Kealing Middle School, Jack C Hays High School, University of Houston.
2. Yao-Yao: "I believe judging debates is a privilege, not a paycheck." You work hard to debate, so I will work hard to judge. That means I will not be half-flowing speeches while texting friends, I will not be checking Twitter or spacing out during CX, I will not "rep out", and I will not rush my decision to get back to my own team faster. The most important factor in my own growth as a debater and the most helpful info as a coach has always been well-thought judge feedback, and I think - especially during and post-eDebate - the attention span and work ethic of the average judge has massively declined. I refuse to contribute to what I find to be an alarming trend in many people shirking their responsibility to the community to adjudicate even "boring" or "low-level" debates to the best of their ability. I fundamentally believe no debate is any less or more important than any other, so expect me to judge NCX R1 as if it was TOC finals.
3. I was coached by J.D. Sanford and Aimun Khan in high school, and Richard Garner, James Allan, Rob Glass and Michael Wimsatt in college. My favorite judges were Scott Harris, Dustin Meyers-Levy, David Kilpatrick, and Devane Murphy. Colleagues, former students, and good friends of mine I overlap in my view of debate with include Luna Schultz, David Bernstein, Ali Abdulla, Brett Cryan, Eric Schwerdtfeger, Sean Wallace, E Cook, and Avery Wilson. If you were to treat me like a carbon copy of anyone on this list, it should be Ricky.
4. Speaking of the good Dr. Garner: "I try to evaluate the round via the concepts the debaters in the round deploy (immanent construction) and I try to check my personal beliefs at the door (impersonality). These principles structure all other positions herein."
a. “immanent construction” – I believe evaluative mechanisms should be established by the debaters, which extends to substantive (impact calculus, does the plan solve, etc), but also paradigmatic questions (what is the threshold for a sufficient “warrant”, does xyz argument count as “new”, offense/defense true/false, etc). This extends to both explicit (i.e: debated) and implicit (i.e: conceded) points of contestation. I think "non-interventionist" is a somewhat silly way to describe myself, because intervention is inevitable - there has never been a debate where a judge has employed zero unspoken evaluative mechanisms of their own. Everyone has a different view on what is "too new", what is "unpredictable cross-applications", what is "good evidence", every judge will subconsciously connect some dots more quickly than others because we all resolve implicit questions differently absent instruction due to prior knowledge and personal affinities, but if debaters instruct us to resolve those questions explicitly, it saves me the effort of doing my own evaluations, which means less work for me, which is indicative of better debating by you. Example: if the 1AR impact turns a disad internal link that was in the 1NC, I am inclined to disallow it if told to do so as I think that it's unacceptably new. However, if the 1AR says "you should allow this because the block read tons of new evidence and explanation of the internal link that was much larger in scope than the 1NC evidence indicated", then absent a 2NR answer, I'll allow it.
b. “impersonality” – I have a reputation as a coach for being extremely opinionated on certain issues. This reputation is broadly accurate, but impacts my decisions much less than people expect. I believe my job is to evaluate the debate as it is had, not as I think it should have been. As I get older, I find myself getting more dogmatic, but paradoxically, less invested in the content of debates, because I think that the most interesting part of debate is forced confrontation with intellectual diversity. I tended to spend more time as a debater in college thinking about K than policy strategies, but I did the inverse in high school, I coach an even mix of both, my voting record in clash debates has always been pretty even (probably policy leaning, actually), and these days I actually think I get more policy ballots than K ones. If I were to personally curate the rounds I had to judge (what a dream), it'd be about an even mix of policy affs vs the K, policy affs vs a disad and counterplan, and K affs vs Ks. This is because I do not believe it is my job to unnecessarily impose my views on style or content of argument as a coach or judge as long as the argument meets a consistent threshold of quality at the level of form (clear claim, sufficient warrant, complete implication), and I find all styles of debates capable of producing this. I try to be a good judge for any research-heavy strategy, and I think the best rounds are small debates over a stable controversy. I have coached all styles of debate at very high levels, and above everything else, I care that whatever you do, you defend it (and if it's indefensible, don't do it). I have voted on "killing all white people good", I have voted on heg good, I have voted on "Kant's humanist ethics solves all of racism", I have voted on death good, I have voted on the Tetlock counterplan. Each of these arguments is worse than the last, in my view, but I voted on all of them just the same. I will not be annoyed by you going for arguments "out of my wheelhouse", but I will be annoyed by you overadapting to the point of being bad.
5. I am not a blank slate, and I do not think that the above means I will not find some arguments more compelling than others for various reasons – if evenly and optimally debated, I would consider myself a much worse judge for theory arguments as reasons to drop the debater, "tricks", counterplans that fiat actors not used by the 1AC or lack germane net benefits, "clash", the "ballot PIK", the politics disad, condo bad, "RVIs", and “1% risk of extinction”, and I would consider myself a much better judge for skills impacts (and fairness), critical affirmatives that counterdefine words and go for reasonability, “uniqueness controls the link”, counterplanning in/out of offense and general “negative terrorism”, presumption against critical affs, framework arguments that “delete the plan”, and extra-topical plans. If left to my own devices, I generally tend to have a higher default threshold for a warrant than most judges, I am inclined to punish practices done in bad faith, and I value quality evidence highly. This is not an exhaustive list, and may indicate my inclinations to reward or penalize argument choice with speaker points. However, the key words are “even and optimal”. If any of these views kick in during my decision, the debating at play was either very lacking or absolutely perfect. If I were coaching someone to win in front of me, my principal advice would be to be as explicit about how I should piece the debate together as humanly possible, so as to minimize the impact of some of my very strong predispositions coming into play. If they wanted to debate in line with my own personal preferences to maximize their chances of winning, or were doing prefs and wanting to know what my default assumptions would be in the absence of instruction from the debaters, I would direct them here for an extremely long list of argumentative hot takes, paradigmatic defaults, abstract musings, and miscellaneous quirks.
IV. topic thoughts
1. Policy 2023-24 - fiscal redistribution
a. Taught at the UTNIF on this topic, led a lab, have done moderate amounts of card cutting this season, but I will likely be judging less policy this year than I have in years past – consider my topic knowledge high, but my debate meta knowledge medium. I can hang for debates over dense economic concepts, but worth slowing down and explaining because I won’t be as in the know on current trends and relevant debate shorthand.
b. I don’t hate this topic, and it seems so far that since we have an actual topic disad it has saved me from the hell of process counterplans like the last few seasons. So far, I have shown myself to be an extremely reliable single-issue voter, with the single issue being business confidence. The overlap between K and policy debates seems heavy in that basically all of the critical and normal literature requires a decently dense operating knowledge of economic concepts, which makes me like this topic. I think that for the econ debates most turns case/link arguments and most link turn/solvency arguments will be operating on different levels/mechanisms, and teams should contextualize why their offense matters more, e.g: if aff increases consumer spending but dumps tons of government spending to do so, how do these interact with overall purchasing power and business confidence? Which internal link outweighs? Be more specific than just saying “inflation” back and forth.
c. T - Taxes seems to be the only take people care much about - I probably lean aff. Can be persuaded neg, obviously, but think that both the neg literature is imprecise and it normatively makes being aff somewhat untenable on this topic.
2. LD NovDec '23 - fossil fuels
a. The idea that phase-out is competitive is insane. I went into the topic thinking this was 100% the neg strat, and quickly concluded I was wrong because I think this is the most one-sided any competition evidence and literature has been in years. If competitive, being aff would be impossible because there is not a real deficit in the literature since none of the literature assumes any distinction between the plan and the phase-out counterplan. I will obviously evaluate the debate as it’s had, but I think that if evenly debated with even adequate quality aff evidence I cannot see myself concluding negative on this question because a model of the topic where a core neg strat is the glorified delay counterplan is untenable.
b. Interpretations that indicate that “prohibit” meaning a total ban means affs can’t defend subsets of fuels or lands/waters misrepresent the way that words modify other words. An aff that completely ends coal extraction in Ohio meets this definition of “prohibit” because it doesn’t leave exceptions or remainders for what it prohibits. The only universe subsets is coherent is if you win that “fossil fuels” or “lands and waters” are generic terms that disallow specification, otherwise aff teams will almost always win on pointing out negative evidence defining “prohibit” does not justify the negative interpretation, because “prohibit” only directly modifies “extraction” in the topic. I understand this may be a hot take. The people who disagree with me on this are simply categorically and demonstrably wrong about how grammar and sentence structure works. As above, I will evaluate this debate as it’s had, but it’s a hard sell.
c. More debaters need to do a better job explaining what bubble markets are and what is actually driving the value inflation of commodities like coal or oil - this has been a frustratingly shallow part of several debates I judged at MinneApple on both sides. Ditto why “stranded assets” are a problem that prohibition can or can’t solve.
V. here are the other parts of my decision-making process you should know:
1. I judge a lot - I am a "young" judge (5th year out), but have judged more debates than many people who have been judging much longer. On average, I'm in for ~100 debates a season. This is because of three things:
a. I think judging is a skill, and it is valuable for the community to have a surplus. You can't give a good 2NR if you haven't given a speech in three months, and I can't give a good RFD if I haven't judged all season. Many judges don't think about judging as a skill you can refine, so they never get good at judging. I try to think about this a lot. I’m kind of obsessive about it.
b. I think judging is interesting, because I like debate. Knowing what the best teams are going for both helps my own debaters and keeps me awake - the way the activity (mostly) improves over time is the fun part. I read large amounts of academic literature and research from lots of disciplines in my free time and for school, so I enjoy seeing novel applications of new things on both sides of the argumentative spectrum.
c. I really, really, really love debate. Coaching is the only consistent job I have had since graduating high school, and I am at a tournament almost every weekend, so I am reasonably aware of community norms and have decent experience with the techne of judging. Just focus on executing, and don't be afraid to take risks.
2. Some judges admit they are not the best flows about here in their paradigms. I consider myself very good. I do think there are some judges who are smart enough to reconstruct the debate and render a good decision without flowing everything. I am not one of them, which is why I made a point to get good at flowing. If I am not flowing, you either are not flowable or not making an argument (e.g: repeating yourself, I am very confused, or I cannot understand the words coming from your mouth). I think debate is communicative, so my primary reference for the decision I make is what you tell me to do, not what your doc said or how good your cards are. If you want me to pay attention to those things, tell me to do it. This means regardless of content or style, I value debating which is organized and easy to follow - number arguments, give me "pen" time, slow down for emphasis, signpost. My ideal speech structure is minimal (zero) overview, with arguments answered in the order they were presented, and explaining the parts of your argument in the context of being responses to your opponents (i.e: putting the link debate on the permutation, extending the alt as an answer to the deficit). I am maybe actually open to adopting alternative models of evaluating debate beyond technical refutation (see: immanent construction), but I don't want to reject flowing outright without having a good idea what I should do instead.
3. Not particularly big on "respectability" or "decorum". If tournaments want me to enforce classroom rules, they are welcome to pay me classroom salary. This does not mean that you have a blank check to be mean or obnoxious - being needlessly unkind makes all of the debate less pleasant, and you should absolutely be wary of who you are relative to who you're debating. Some degree of good-faith is probably required to at least be assumed until proven otherwise for this to work. It also doesn't mean every other word should be a curse - I'm not an "f-bomb gets you a 25" guy, but it's just needlessly edgy and negatively persuasive to call everything "dogs**t" or "f****ng trash" instead of actually explaining why the arg is bad (high schoolers seem to have more of an issue with this these days, and I was guilty of this myself at one point). What it means is that I think taking debate seriously doesn't require taking yourself too seriously. Showing me you're having fun and want to be here is good (although being funny doesn't substitute for good debating), small talk and joking around is welcome (but not compulsory), swagger and personality makes you interesting to judge (but unearned arrogance makes you annoying), and being self-important doesn't add to the intellectual rigor of debate (it probably subtracts from it).
4. Every part of an argument (claim, warrant, implication) can be contested, but arguments should always be backed by evidence. Evidence =/= just cards - sometimes the best answer to a stupid disad or silly advantage requires zero cards at all (you obviously don't need a card for "the bill passed this morning", for example), and sometimes experience, performance, examples etc. are good evidence too. Are these necessarily better or worse than traditional academic production? Maybe, maybe not. I am inclined to think scholastic rigor and research is good, but it should be debated out (see: impartiality). Far too often, debaters emphasize what their evidence is/says and not how it comes to its conclusions. Debates about methodology and intent usually matter more than debates about who is "correct" in a vacuum, because those beg the question of how I should evaluate what is "correct" to begin with (see: immanent construction). This isn't just a thing that applies to K debates (although it does apply there very much) - I think lots of case and impact debating would benefit from more emphasis on statistical methodologies, datasets, etc beyond just "our card is newer gg no re".
5. "Tech vs truth" is a false dichotomy. I think DML's paradigm says this perfectly, tbh: "I will not vote for something if I cannot explain why it is a reason that one side or the other has done the better debating… not all technical concessions matter, and the reasons that some technical concessions matter might not be apparent to me. A dropped argument is true, but non-dropped arguments can also be true, and I need you to contextualize how to evaluate and compare those truths." Every argument is, in my mind, a point of agreement or disagreement between debaters, which means unanswered warrants of any sort, whether explicitly conceded for strategic reasons or dropped due to technical errors, are absolutely true, but how much their implications matter is still up for debate. If concessions, intentional or not, are agreements, when the debaters already agreed upon something, I don’t think you get to take that back. I think that debaters oftentimes have a problem with implications - my threshold for explaining/extending dropped warrants is low, but I often am confused why a conceded argument impacts my decision because a speech will just barely explain it, and I think it would be more interventionist to piece that together myself than simply shrug the argument off. The best way to check against this is to be thorough with judge instruction, minimize jargon and debate enthymemes, and try and explain arguments in as simple and cohesive language as possible - my favorite debaters to judge oftentimes have a debate vocabulary much closer to a layperson and do lots of "big picture" work, but couple it with good technical skills and strategic vision, i.e: both truth and tech.
6. The burden of proof precedes the burden of rejoinder. If the argument is not complete when introduced, I don't think the other team needs to answer it while it's still an incomplete argument, because there's nothing to refute. This means I am by default lenient with new answers to block or 1AR shifts, but still extremely judicious in policing the rebuttals (2AR in particular) for new arguments and implications. Example: I have given RFDs that say “the 2AR has X argument from the 1AR that the 2NR did not answer, but the actual warrant for why the argument was true did not exist until the 2AR, so I consider the argument in its winning form ‘new’ and am not very comfortable letting the 2AR sit on this”. You can adjust this threshold by tracing an argument's development and explaining why an argument's warrant was or was not sufficient earlier on, or why a particular implication is predictable if you feel sketchy about any of it (see: immanent construction). The earlier you do this, the better - I am more inclined to let the 2AR have new extrapolations if the 1AR told me why I should. You can avoid this problem altogether by being thorough with explanation throughout the debate, and making fewer robust arguments over many underdeveloped ones.
7. Theoretical/procedural questions ("is there a violation", "does perm do the counterplan sever", etc) are resolved as yes/no, with the burden of proof on the "yes" side (i.e: neg has to prove the counterplan could/should definitely never be the aff - there is no "risk of competition/violation"). Everything else is offense/defense. This is because I think debate makes little sense when framed as absolute correct/incorrect binaries and is more about relative risks of one argument vs another. Because of this, debate is best when debaters speak in relative risk rather than absolutes - I don't think there is very often "zero risk" or "100% risk". Very few cards support clean cut yes/no conclusions, and recognizing that makes you much more persuasive. Example: "No China war now, but plan guarantees it - outweighs because zero impact to prolif" requires absolute certainty to be true. "Likelihood of US-China escalation is low now even with tensions, but the plan is a massive shift towards aggression - it's higher risk than case because external factors check escalation from prolif, but their ev just assumes worst-case scenarios" leaves more leeway to be correct even if I have some doubts. Debaters are never winning anything as decisively as they think, and so the best way to account for this this is to take the most epistemically humble position possible when speaking - in close rebuttals, you should assume I currently think you are losing the debate, and convince me I am wrong. Even if I don't actually feel that way, you will debate much better for it. For LDers, this also means you should view me as very bad for truth testing. It's nothing personal, I will flow the argument, I just mentally struggle with grasping the conceptual framework of arguments as yes/no and not normative - it literally doesn't click in my brain and never has.
8. The best final rebuttals do the absolute bare minimum - if there are not fewer arguments in the 2N/AR than the 2A/NC on a particular page, we’ve lost the plot. Debate is a game of trade-offs, which means choice is the foundation of game strategy, because final speeches that choose the exact smallest number of arguments they need to win maximize the relative time they can spend explaining and impacting each argument. Example: I hear 2N/ARs say things like “we don’t need to win [xyz] to win, but I’ll do it anyways” - why? You’ve just actively told me this has nothing to do with you win-condition, so flowing this is now a waste of time. Either spend the time on things that matter or make this argument matter too. Example 2: The best 2ARs I judge usually begin with something like “there are only 3 arguments that matter for this debate: X, because… Y, because… and Z, because… - we’re going to win all three”. This reflects good strategic vision, because the best strategies make the fewest number of largest disagreements possible central to the debate and construct evaluative mechanisms based on the resolution of those disagreements (see: immanent construction). If the best 2AR is perm do the counterplan, don't bother extending the advantage or a deficit - just spend more time on competition or sit down early. This should be read in conjunction with 5. as meaning I value debaters taking the "easy" ballot when it involves a dropped argument, but only if the argument has been properly warranted, implicated, and weighed. This also means I don't care if you use all your time - condensing down to a single silver bullet and winning it in less time than what is maximally allowed demonstrates excellent strategy and might be rewarded with speaks (this being said, sitting down early and losing will get you abhorrent speaks - as in all things in debate, risk vs reward).
9. Many judges give atrocious RFDs. I try not to. I'm definitely long-winded at times, but being thorough and going through every moving part of the debate is better than a 2 sentence non-decision that hand-waves details. I ask myself what would be most confusing about losing if I was the 2A/2N, and try to answer that question in advance. I will probably not mention every single argument from the final speeches in my RFD - this is not because I didn’t flow or evaluate them, but because it’s very rare that every argument the 2N/AR goes for matters as much as debaters think they do. If you have questions, ask! I think judges who shy away from being “post-rounded” are oftentimes very bad at justifying their decisions. Debate is a thing you are passionate about, which means I respect your right to get worked up about a loss, but I am entirely uninterested in being your punching bag - disagreement is productive, but picking a fight over losing the bubble much less so. I will always let the debater who lost ask questions first, unless there's an elim for the winner to get to. I tend to give very direct decisions and my feedback oftentimes affects as very grumpy. This should not be read too much into - unless I explicitly say "this debate was bad and made me annoyed because XYZ", you should assume the grumpiness is less related to you and more me being dead inside. I tend to decide debates extremely fast, partially because I dislike overthinking decisions as it leads to intervention, and partially because I am usually making calculations about necessary win conditions in real-time as the debate happens - you can both accelerate this process further and sway it in your favor by framing the last speeches in the terms outlined in this paradigm.
1. If I want a card doc, I'll ask, usually for the relevant cards by name. Otherwise, assume I'm good.
2. COVID things: I am vaccinated and boosted, and I take COVID tests before traveling to any given tournament. "Post-pandemic" is an empty signifier. If anyone else in the room is wearing a mask, I will also be wearing a mask. If the tournament has a mask mandate, I will follow it. If anyone asks me to put on a mask, I will. I will hold all of you to the same standards. If you do not have a mask, I will have extra. If you refuse to abide by these very simple and reasonable standards, I will give you an L25. This is not negotiable conduct.
3. I'm comically expressive. It's not on purpose, and I've tried to stop it with no luck - I just have a truly terrible poker face. I shake my head and scowl at nonsense, I grin and nod when I think you're doing the right thing, I shrug when I am lukewarm on an argument, I cock my head and raise my eyebrows if I am confused, and I chuckle if you make reference to any of these reactions in the speech (which I am fine with).
4. I like music and will listen to it during prep time. I enjoy most music - I almost went to school for jazz composition, and regularly listen to hip hop, punk, blues, and metal, as well as lots in between. Any high school debater can suggest a song for me to listen to during prep, and if I like it, I will bump everyone's speaks by 0.1 - there's no penalty if I decide I dislike it.
5. I am inclined to evaluate arguments based on the warrants and implications more than the tag/"claim". If the 2AC says "perm, do both - the counterplan is included in normal means for a way the aff could be implemented, which means it's not inherently a logical opportunity cost to the aff" and warrants accordingly, I will evaluate this argument the same way I would as perm do the counterplan, because that's obviously what it is, and if I can pick up on that, the block should too. That means if the block just answers this argument by saying "do both links to the net benefit", I will be wholly unsympathetic when the 1AR explains why this doesn't apply - I am more inclined to punish debaters who can't flow and comprehend arguments properly than debaters who slightly misuse enthymemes. I put this here because this has mattered in a debate before, but I don't expect it to impact my evaluation of high level debates, more of a learning debater/JV kind of thing. However, if this encourages you to label the econ disad page as "next off, elections" and read your normal 1NC shell, we can laugh when the 2A reads "plan wins swing voters". This is only a default, albeit a very strong one, but could conceivably be reversed with proper debating (see: immanent construction).
6. CX - I consider it a speech. This means I flow it (albeit not as closely as I would a constructive/rebuttal), I think debaters should be held to the things they say in it, and it impacts both my evaluation of the debate and the allocation of speaker points. This also means that, just like constructive and rebuttal speeches, I think one debater from each team should be the primary speaker in each CX - some interjections, elaborations, or clarifications are obviously fine, and even excessive tag teaming will obviously not be disallowed, but it may impact speaks and perception negatively.
7. Flowing is good - stolen from Jake Lee: "You have the doc in front and all you have to do is listen. If I can flow without looking at the doc, you can too!" I am increasingly appalled by the standard of flowing among high school debaters, and questions such as "did you read X card/arg in the doc" are for CX. If you ask this and you haven't started a timer for it yet, I will start one for you. If you ask "can you send a doc without all the cards you didn't read", the other team does not have to do that, because that is not what a marked doc is. As I said, I do not flow off the doc, absent tech issues. If debate is communicative, I think there should be some natural punishment for an inability to communicate. Pop tags, slow down for emphasis, do not go faster than your own clarity threshold allows, etc. Also, if you answer arguments that were not read, but were in the doc, you are getting a 27.5.
8. Ethics challenges/cheating - I have a high bar for voting on it. I do not think power-tagging evidence, cutting an article that concludes the other way later on, etc. are voting issues - you should simply say "this card is bad/concludes neg" as an argument. If you are making the accusation that your opponent has fabricated, miscut, or improperly cited evidence, I will evaluate it with the presumption of good-faith error by the accused. I do not think skipping portions of tags or analytics counts as clipping. Those things are not evidence, so I do not know why they require being held to the standard of evidence ethics. If you are accusing the other team of clipping the highlighted text of evidence, you need a recording to prove it - I will never notice this myself because I will not have docs open during speeches, and I think that if the debate comes down to this debaters have a right to some proof. I will also apply the same standard of good-faith error. This means barring something particularly egregious as to reasonably suggest the criminal negligence if not malicious intent, I will probably err towards not punishing debaters, as I think anything else incentivizes cheap shot wins on dead links in citations, leaving out the last word of a paragraph that was OCR'd badly, or skipping two words in a card on accident. If you read any of these things as a theory argument, I will not flow it, and I will ask after the speech if you are staking the debate on it - if not, I will happily inform your opponent they do not need to answer it. I am open to being asked if I consider certain accusations to meet the threshold of ending the debate on it - my answers will not be negotiable, but they will be honest. I am also willing (I would actually encourage it) to entertain debaters negotiating proportional responses to violations outside of me ending the debate, as I think my role as educator ideally precedes my role as a referee - I'd much rather we all agree to scratch a card that can't be accessed online anymore or that was accidentally clipped than just not have a debate. Otherwise, the party found to be at fault (either the guilty or an incorrect accuser) will receive a loss and the lowest speaks allowed. The other party will get a win and a 28.5/6. All of this goes out the window if the tabroom tells me to do a different thing than what I've outlined above, as their authority obviously supersedes mine.
9. Speaks - they're largely arbitrary, and start at 28.4 for a team I'd expect to go 3-3. I try and keep it relative to the pool - a 30 at TFA State is easier to get than a 30 at GBX (although I don't give out many 30s). Below 28 and I think you are legitimately in the wrong division i.e: go mess around in JV for a bit, below 27.5 and you have done something bad in a moral sense. I tend to reward quality evidence and good argument choice, well-organized speeches, smart and gutsy strategic choices, and debating with character. I tend to penalize unnecessary meanness, bad arguments and cards, and sloppy debating. Not a big believer in low-point wins - if the 2NR makes a dumb decision, but the 2AR doesn't capitalize on it, the 2AR is probably dumber for fumbling a bag. I will not "disclose speaks".
10. When debating a novice/substantially less experienced debater, taking advantage of their inexperience (speeding through a ton of off knowing they can't keep up, going for cheaty counterplans or Ks knowing they won't get it, being obtuse in CX, etc) will be aggressively penalized with low speaks. Like, your cap is a 28. By contrast, giving them the dignity of a full debate without being a dick (slowing down, being extra nice in CX, making the debate smaller, etc) will be generously rewarded. Like, your floor for speaks is a 29. We aren't nice enough to novices and people from smaller, less circuit-y programs, but they are much more important to the long-term health of the activity than any of us.
Good luck, thanks for letting me judge, and see you in round!
First, and most importantly, I am a Black man. I competed in policy for three years in high school at Parkview Arts/Science Magnet High School; I did an additional year at the University of Kentucky. I am now on the coaching staff at Little Rock Central High School. I have a bachelor's and a master's in Communication Studies and a master's in Secondary Education. I said that not to sound pompous but so that you will understand that my lack of exposure to an argument will not preclude me from evaluating it; I know how to analyze argumentation. I have represented Arkansas at the Debate Topic Selection for the past few years (I authored the Middle East paper in 2018 and the Criminal Justice paper in 2019) and that has altered how I view both the topic process and debates, in a good way. I think this makes me a more informed, balanced judge. Summer '22 I chaired the Wording Committee for NFHS Policy Debate Topic Selection; do with this information what you want.
I find that many teams are rude and obnoxious in round and don’t see the need to treat their opponents with dignity. I find this mode of thinking offensive and disrespectful to the activity as a whole
I consider myself an open slate person but that doesn’t mean that you can pull the most obscure argument from your backfiles and run it in front of me. Debate is an intellectual game. Because of this I find it offensive when debaters run arguments just run them.
I don’t mind speed and consider myself an exceptional flower. That being said, I think that it helps us judges when debaters slow down on important things like plan/CP texts, perms, theory arguments, and anything else that will require me to get what you said verbatim. I flow on a computer so I need typing time. Your speed will always outpace my ability to type; please be conscious of this.
Intentionally saying anything remotely racist, ableist, transphobic, etc will get you an auto loss in front of me. If that means you need to strike me then do us both a favor and strike me. That being said, I’m sure most people would prefer to win straight up and not because a person was rhetorically problematic, in round.
Update for Online Debate
Asking "is anyone not ready" before an online speech an excise in futility; if someone's computer is glitching they have no way of telling you they aren’t ready. Wait for verbal/nonverbal confirmation that all individuals are ready before beginning your speech, please. If my camera is off, I am not ready for your speech. Online debate makes speed a problem for all of us. Anything above 75% of your top speed ensures I will miss something; govern yourselves accordingly.
Please make sure I can see your face/mouth when you are speaking if at all possible. I would really prefer that you kept your camera on. I understand how invasive of an ask this is. If you CANNOT for reasons (tech, personal reasons, etc.) I am completely ok with going on with the camera off. Debate is inherently an exclusive activity, if the camera on is a problem I would rather not even broach the issue.
I would strongly suggest recording your own speeches in case someone's internet cuts out. When this issue arises, a local recording is a life saver. Do not record other people's speeches without their consent; that is a quick way to earn a one-way trip to L town sponsored by my ballot.
Lastly, if the round is scheduled to start at 2, don’t show up to the room asking for my email at 1:58. Be in the room by tech time (it’s there for a reason) so that you can take care of everything in preparation for the round. 2 o’clock start time means the 1ac is being read at 2, not the email chain being set up at 2. Timeliness, or lack thereof, is one of my BIGGEST pet peeves. Too often debaters are too cavalier with time. Two things to keep in mind: 1) it shortens my decision time and 2) it’s a quick way to short yourself on speaks (I’m real get-off-my-lawn about this).
My previous paradigm had a thorough explanation of how I evaluate most arguments. For the sake of prefs and pre round prep I have decided to amend it. When I debated, I was mostly a T/CP/DA debater. That being said, I am open to just about any form of argumentation you want to make. If it is a high theory argument don’t take for granted that I understand most of the terminology your author(s) use.
I will prioritize my ballot around what the 2NR/2AR highlights as the key issues in the debate. I try to start with the last two speeches and work my way back through the debate evaluating the arguments that the debaters are making. I don’t have to personally agree with an argument to vote for it.
Yes I coach primarily K teams but I have voted for T/framework quite often; win the argument and you have won my ballot. Too often debaters read a lot of blocks and don’t do enough engaging in these kinds of debates. The “Role of the Ballot” needs to be explicit and there needs to be a discussion of how your ROB is accessible by both teams. If you want to skirt the issue of accessibility then you need to articulate why the impact(s) of the aff outweigh whatever arguments the neg is going for.
I am less and less persuaded by fairness arguments; I think fairness is more of an internal link to a more concrete impact (e.g., truth testing, argument refinement). Affs should be able to articulate what the role of the negative is under their model. If the aff is in the direction of the topic, I tend to give them some leeway in responding to a lot of the neg claims. Central to convincing me to vote for a non-resolutionally based affirmative is their ability to describe to me what the role of the negative would be under their model of debate. The aff should spend time on impact turning framework while simultaneously using their aff to short circuit some of the impact claims advanced by the neg.
When aff teams lose my ballot in these debates it’s often because they neglect to articulate why the claims they make in the 1ac implicate/inform the neg’s interp and impacts here. A lot of times they go for a poorly explained, barely extended impact turn without doing the necessary work of using the aff to implicate the neg’s standards.
When neg teams lose my ballot in these debates it’s often because they don’t engage the aff. Often times, I find myself having a low bar for presumption when the aff is poorly explained (both in speeches and CX) yet neg teams rarely use this to their advantage. A good framework-centered 2NR versus most k affs involves some type of engagement on case (solvency deficit, presumption, case turn, etc.) and your framework claims; I think too often the neg gives the aff full risk of their aff and solvency which gives them more weight on impact turns than they should have. If you don’t answer the aff AT ALL in the 2NR I will have a hard time voting for you; 2AR’s would be smart to point this out and leverage this on the impact debate.
If you want toread a kritik of debate,I have no problems with that. While, in a vacuum, I think debate is an intrinsic good, we too often forget we exist in a bubble. We must be introspective (as an activity) about the part(s) we like and the part(s) we don't like; if that starts with this prelim round or elim debate then so be it. As structured, debate is super exclusionary if we don't allow internal criticism, we risk extinction in such a fragile world.
If you don't read a "plan" then all the neg has to do is win a link to the resolution. For instance, if you read an aff that's 6 minutes of “whole rez” but you don't defend a specific action then the neg just needs to win a link based on the resolution OR your impact scenario(s). If you don't like it then write better affs that FORCE the neg to get more creative on the link debate.
If theory is your go-to strategy, on either side, please strike me. I am sick and tired debaters refusing to engage substance and only read frivolous theory arguments you barely understand. If you spend your time in the 1AR going for theory don’t you dare fix your lips to go for substance over theory and expect my ballot in the 2AR. LD, in its current state, is violent, racist, and upholds white supremacy; if you disagree do us both a favor and strike me (see above). Always expecting people to open source disclose is what is driving a lot of non-white people from the activity. I spend most of my time judging policy so an LD round that mimics a policy debate is what I would prefer to hear.
I’m sick of debaters not flowing then thinking they can ask what was read “before” CX starts. Once you start asking questions, THAT IS CX TIME. I have gotten to the point that I WILL DOCK YOUR SPEAKS if you do this; I keep an exceptional flow and you should as well. If you go over time, I will stop you and your opponent will not be required to answer questions. You are eating into decision time but not only that it shows a blatant lack of respect for the "rules" of activity. If this happens and you go for some kind of "fairness good" claim I'm not voting for it; enjoy your Hot L (shoutout to Chris Randall and Shunta Jordan). Lastly, most of these philosophers y’all love quoting were violently racist to minorities. If you want me (a black man) to pick you up while you defend a racist you be better be very compelling and leave no room for misunderstandings.
I came into this activity as a fierce competitor, at this juncture in my life I’m in it solely for the education of the debaters involved; I am less concerned with who I am judging and more concerned with the content of what I debate. I am an educator and a lover of learning things; what I say is how I view debate and not a roadmap to my ballot. Don’t manipulate what you are best at to fit into my paradigm of viewing debate. Do what you do best and I will do what I do best in evaluating the debate.
Debated for Nashua HS South and DebateDrills, graduated 2022 (fyo). Did policy my freshman year and LD the subsequent 3 years. 2x bid to the TOC my senior year. I ran primarily policy arguments when I debated.
Warning: I have been out of debate for a while. I haven't touched debate since I graduated, and I went to 2 tournaments total my senior year. I know nothing about this topic. I also forget a lot of the specific jargon specific to LD so you're gonna have to explain that to me if you're going for some esoteric Nebel standard.
Put me on the email chain: email@example.com
Pleaaaase slow down. If you're unclear or blippy it's gonna make it really hard for me to judge. Honestly you should probably go at 60% speed, 70% max. If I miss something it's only gonna hurt you! I will say clear and slow to try and help you gauge this, but try and be a little aware.
Important: Do NOT be mean in cross. You should know what this means. I will tank your speaks with 0 hesitation.
The following are things I haven't thought about in a while but probably still agree with:
Debate is probably a game
Arguments start at 0% truth, not 100%
If the 2NR is just T, the 2AR does not need to extend case (why does this happen in LD? why do judges want you to extend case? mindboggling)
Default Comparative Worlds >>>>> Truth Testing
Default fairness and education are voters
Yes I am okay with open cross
If a question was asked before cross ended you can still answer it
My thoughts on disclosure? It's good, it's very good. You should be disclosing with best practices. Does it warrant reading a theory shell on? Depends on what kind. I'll be much more lenient for novices (and this obviously doesn't apply if you're reading from the novice policy packet)
+0.1 speaks if you say "the jig is up" in your last speech
I enjoy these debates the most! I love thorough policy debates. Weighing saves rounds, as does specific evidence comparison. Love IR debates, politics can be pretty funny
I seriously haven't thought about debate for a while so I think I'm average at best when evaluating these debates. I did go for theory a few times as a debater though, so I should be able to adjudicate a standard condo good/bad debate fairly well. I think condo 1 is very most likely good though. For frivolous theory, check the tricks section.
I'm okay with Nebel but I swear there is a winnable 2AR vs it every time. Standard T debates are fine
Act like I don't know your lit (which will probably be likely). Make sure I understand the thesis of your K, or else I can't vote on it.
Floating PIKs are probably bad.
I have very very little tolerance for bad K debate. If you can't explain your literature to a 5 year old (me), then don't run Ks in front of me. Long, incoherent overviews that just sound like you're reading the tags of your cards again are not gonna cut it. If this is in novice/JV, this doubly applies: don't run a K just because you think your opponents won't know how to answer it.
K affs (without a plan)
Defend something. I will negate on presumption if I don't know what your offense is.
I'm probably better at resolving T-FW debates than K v K ones. I like fairness as an impact (probably more than education or research or something similar in these debates). These were some of my favorite debates to watch when executed well.
I don't like phil, sorry! I really like util...I'm gonna lean probably pretty hard towards it. Run phil at your own risk...
No. I won't flow them. If you run them in front of me (???) and are sketchy about it in cross, L and really low speaks, like 26 or below.
I'm gonna be honest with you I don't know what a value/value criterion even is, so...
Signpost please, it'll make my life (and yours!) so much easier!
The evidence standards in this event are very poor...I would be happy if there's an email chain. Please weigh.
Welcome to Nationals
This is my first year as a judge, so I’m looking forward to judging at the National level for the first time. Please know that I am always listening, but I do look at my computer a lot during the round. I want to make sure I am giving fresh feedback, and I want to be sure that I am following the rules of your individual event if I haven’t judged your event before. In worst case scenarios, I can just go with my gut
1) I am completely opposed to “k” or KS” or any of the practice of progressive debate. If you try to change the topic, or move the topic to another item, I will drop you and give you zero speaker points. I cannot express how serious I am about this issue.
2) I do not disclose - ever. Please do not ask
3) Do not spread. If I can’t keep up with what you are saying, I will drop you. You will also lose all speaker points for this infraction too
4) Never bring me anything about shell theory, or anything related to debating about the value of your event, or the importance of debate as a whole. You’ve made it this far using your event. I don’t buy that you’ve suddenly decided that the event that has gotten you this far is somehow thoroughly flawed.
Please speak so that I can hear you. Enunciate and show your passion for your topic and event.
In terms of my philosophy, I feel that it is important to study all parts of the spectrum of political ideology to connect with all potential debaters. I consider both far left and far right theory. I just finished The Courage to be Free by Florida governor DeSantis, and I will be starting Good and Mad: The Revolutionary Power of Women's Anger by Traister next.
Finally, be respectful and try to have fun. Nobody is being given a college scholarship today. Perspective is important. I have three more degrees than you do. Don’t come into your round with me thinking that you’re going to show that you’re smarter than me.
grossly overqualified parent judge
Current affiliations: Director of PF at NSD-Texas, Taylor HS
Prior: LC Anderson (2018-23), John B. Connally HS (2015-18), TDC,UTNIF LD
Quick guide to prefs
Share ALL new evidence with me and your opponents before the speech during which it is read. Strike me if this is a problem. A paraphrased narrative with no cards in the doc does not count. This is an accommodation I need and a norm that makes debate better. I have needed copies of case since I was a high school debater. Even with me complaining about this, it often doesn't seem to make a difference. The maximum amount of speaks you can get if you don't share your constructive with me is 28.4 and that's if you are perfect.
Tech > truth unless it's bigoted or something
Unconventional arguments: fine, must be coherent and developed (K, spec advocacies, etc)
Framing/weighing mechanism: love impact framing that makes sense; at the very least do meta-weighing. "Cost-benefit analysis" is not a real framework. Must be read in constructive or top of rebuttal
Evidence sharing/disclosure: absolutely necessary but i won't ever vote for a disclosure shell that would out queer debaters. I will err toward reasonability on disclosure if there is contact info on the wiki and/or the case is freely shared a reasonable time before round.
Theory: I am gooder than most at evaluating theory but don't read it if you don't know how. Evidence ethics is very very very very very important
Speed: Fine. Share speech docs
Problematic PF bro/clout culture: ew no
Weighing: wins the majority of PF debates, especially link weighing
Default: offense/defense if there's no framing comparison or reason to prefer one method of weighing
Flow: yes, i flow
Sticky defense: no
LARP/topicality/MEXICAN STUFF: 1+
1-off ap, setcol, cap/1nc non-friv theory: 1-2
kant without tricks: 1-2
deleuze/softleft/psycho/non-pess black studies: 2
most other k/nt aff: 3
rawls/non-kant phil/heavy fw: 3-4
queer pess/tricks: probably strike although I'm coming around on spikes a little bit
disability pess/nonblack afropess: strike if you don't want to lose
TLDR: Share speech docs. Don't be argumentatively or personally abusive. Debate is a game, but winning is not the only objective. Line by line debate is important. No new case extensions in 2AR or final focus. I will intervene against bigotry and disregard for others' physical and mental wellness. I don't disclose speaks, sorry :). I promise I'm trying my best to be nice. LD and policy-specific stuff at the bottom of this doc. I love Star Wars. I will listen to SPARK, warming good, and most impact turns but I generally believe that physical death is not good. Pronouns he/him/his.
Speaks range: usually between 27 and 29.8. 28.5 is average/adequate. I usually only give 30s to good novices or people who go out of their way to make the space better. If you are a man and are sexist in the space I will hack your speaks.
Note on ableism: It is upsetting for me personally to hear positions advocating unipolar pessimism, hopelessness, or the radical rejection of potential futures or social engagement/productivity by the disabled or especially the neurodivergent subject.DO NOT read disability pessimism/abjection or pandering arguments about autism to get me to vote for you. You will lose automatically, sorry
Post-rounding: I can't handle it. This includes post-rounding in email after rounds. I am autistic and it is psychologically and behaviorally triggering for me. I'll take the blame that I can't handle it, just please don't.
Afropessimism: I will vote you down regardless of any arguments made in the round if you or your partner aren't Black and you read afropess. Watch me I'll do it
I have the lowest threshold you can possibly imagine for a well-structured theory argument based on the refusal to share evidence not just with me but with your opponents.
Personal abuse, harassment, or competitive dishonesty of any kind is strictly unacceptable. Blatantly oppressive/bigoted speech or behavior will make me consider voting against a debater whether or not the issue is raised by their opponent. If a debater asks you to respect and use preferred pronouns/names, I will expect you to do so. If your argument contains graphic depictions of racial, sexual, or otherwise marginalizing violence, please notify your opponent. Also see mental health stuff below, which is personally tough to hear sometimes. You do not need to throw trigger warnings onto every argument under the sun, it can be trivializing to the lived experience of the people you're talking about. Blatant evidence ethics violations such as clipping are an auto-voter. Try not to yell, please; my misophonia (an inconvenient characteristic shared by a lot of autistic people) makes unexpected volume changes difficult.
Our community and the individual people in it are deeply important to me. Please do your part to make debate safe and welcoming for competitors, judges, coaches, family members, and friends. I am moody and can be a total jerk sometimes, and I'm not so completely naive to think everything is fluffy bunnies and we'll all be best friends forever after every round, but I really do believe this activity can be a place where we lift each other up, learn from our experiences, and become better people. If you're reading this, I care about you. I hope your participation in debate reflects both self-care and care for others.
Mental and emotional well-being are at a crisis point in society, and particularly within our activity. We have all lost friends and colleagues to burnout, breakdown, and at worst, self-harm. If you are debating in front of me, and contribute to societal stigmas surrounding mental health or belittle/bully your opponent in any way that is related to their emotional state or personal struggles with mental wellness, you will lose with minimum speaks. I can't make that any more clear. If you are presenting arguments related to suicide, depression, panic, or self-harm, you must give a content warning for me. I am not flexible on this and will absolutely use my ballot to enforce this expectation.
PF: Speed is fine. Framing is great (actually, to the extent that any weighing mechanism counts as framework, I desire and enthusiastically encourage it). Framing should be read in constructive or at the TOP of rebuttal. Nontraditional PF arguments (K, theory, spec advocacies) are fine if they're warranted. Warrants in evidence matter so much to me.
PF Theory: I agree with the thesis behind disclosure theory, though I am less likely to vote on it at a local or buy an abuse story if the offending case is straightforward/common. Disclosure needs to be read in constructive. Don't read theory against novices. I will have a low threshold for paraphrasing theory if the violation is about the constructive and/or if the evidence isn't shared before the speech. Don't be afraid to make something a paragraph shell or independent voter (rather than a structured shell) so long as the voter is implicated.
I will always prefer evidence that is properly cut and warranted in the evidence rather than in a tag or paraphrase of it, especially offense and uniqueness evidence. I have an extremely LOW tolerance for miscut or mischaracterized evidence and am just *waiting* for some hero to make it an independent voter.. So nice, I’ll say it twice: Evidence ethics arguments have a very low threshold.
DO NOT PERPETUATE THE TOXIC, PRIVILEGED MALE PF ARCHETYPE. You know *exactly* what I’m talking about, or should. Call that stuff out, and your speaks will automatically go up. If you make the PF space unwelcoming to women or gender minorities, expect L25 and don’t expect me to feel bad about it.
I absolutely expect frontlining in second rebuttal, and will consider conceded turns true. I will not vote on new arguments or arguments not gone for in summary in final focus. No sticky defense.
"It's not allowed in PF" is not by itself a warranted argument.
Crossfire: If you want me to use something from crossfire in my RFD, it needs to be in subsequent speeches. I am not flowing crossfire; I am listening but probably also playing 2048 or looking at animal pictures. I don't really care if you skip Grand, but I won't let you use that practice as an excuse to frontload your prep use then award yourselves extra prep time.
Speed: Most rates of delivery are usually fine, though I love clarity and I am getting older. If you are not clear, I will say "clear." Slow down on tags and analytics for my sake and for your opponent's sake, especially if you don’t include your analytics in the doc. For online debates, the more arguments that are in the doc the better. I will listen to well-developed theoretical or critical indictments of spreading, but it will take some convincing.
Kritik: I have a basic understanding of much of the literature. Explain very clearly why I should vote and why your opponent should lose. For me, "strength of link" is not an argument applicable to most kritik rounds - I ask whether there is a risk of link (on both sides). Your arguments need to be coherent and well-reasoned. "Don't weigh the case" is not a warranted argument by itself - I tend to believe in methodological pluralism and need to be convinced that the K method should be prioritized. A link is *not* enough for a ballot. Just because I like watching policy-oriented rounds doesn't mean I don't understand the kritik or will hack against them. If you link to your own criticism, you are very unlikely to win. I believe the K is more convincing with both an alternative and a ballot implication (like most, I find the distinction between ROB and ROJ somewhat confusing).Please be mindful and kind about reading complicated stuff against novices. It is violent and pushes kids out of debate.
Theory/T: Fine, including 1AR theory. Just like with any other winning argument, I tend to look for some sort of offense in order to vote on either side. I don't default to drop the debater or argument. My abuse threshold on friv shells is much higher. I will not ever vote for a shell that polices debaters' appearance, including their clothes, footwear, hair, presentation, or anything else you can think of (unless their appearance is itself violent). I'll have a fairly high threshold on a strict "you don't meet" T argument against an extremely common aff and am more likely than not to hold the line on allowing US/big-ticket affs in most Nebel debates. One more thing - all voters and standards should be warranted. I get annoyed by "T is a voter because fairness and education" without a reason why those two things make T a voter. I don't care if it's obvious. Don't abuse theory against inexperienced debaters. A particularly egregious example would be to read shells in the 1AC, kick them, and read multiple new shells in the 1AR. Underviews and common spikes are fine. Please, I strongly prefer no tricks or excessive a prioris.A little addendum to that is that I do like truth testing as an argument, but not to justify skep or whatever dopey paradox makes everything false
Frameworks: Fine with traditional (stock or V/C), policy, phil, K, performance, but see my pref guide above for what I am most comfortable evaluating. While I don't think you have to have your own framework per se, I find it pretty curious when a debater reads one and then just abandons it in favor of traditional util weighing absent a distinct strategic reason to do so. I think TJF debates are interesting, but I seldom meet frameworks that *can't* be theoretically justified. Not sure if there's a bright line other than "you need to read the justifications in your constructive," and I'm not sure how good that argument is. I will vote on permissibility/presumption, on which I often lean aff in LD/policy.
LARP: My personal favorite and most comfortable debate to evaluate. Plans, counterplans, PICs, disads, solvency dumps, case turns, etc. Argue it well and it's fine. I don't think making something a floating PIK necessarily gets rid of competition problems; it has to be reasoned well. I'm very skeptical of severance perms and will have to be convinced - my threshold for voting on severance bad is very low. Impact turns are underutilized, but don't think that means I want you to be bigoted or fascist. Cap/heg good are fine. I'm very skeptical of warming good but will vote for it. To the extent that anyone prefs me, and no one should ever pref me under any circumstances, LARPers ought to consider preffing me highly.
Condo: Be really, really careful before you kick a K, especially if it is identity-related - I think reps matter. I am more likely to entertain condo bad if there are multiple conditional advocacies. More likely to vote on condo bad in LD than policy because of time/strat skew. One conditional counterplan advocacy in LD or 2 in policy is generally ok to me and I need a clear abuse story - I almost never vote for condo bad if it's 1 conditional counterplan.
Flashing/Email/Disclosure: I will vote for disclosure theory, but have a higher threshold for punishing or making an example of novices or non-circuit debaters who don't know or use the wiki. Reading disclosure at locals is silly. Lying during disclosure will get you dropped with 25 speaks; I don't care if it's part of the method of your advocacy. If you're super experienced, please consider not being terrible about disclosure to novice or small-school debaters who simply don't know any better. Educate them so that they'll be in a position to teach good practices in future rounds. My personal perspective on disclosure is informed by my background as a lawyer - I liken disclosure to the discovery process, and think debate is a lot better when we are informed. I won't vote on disclosure theory against a queer debater for whom disclosure would potentially out them. One caveat to prior disclosure is that I do conform to "breaking new" norms, though I listen to theory about it. In my opinion, the best form of disclosure is open-source speech docs combined with the wiki drop-down list. Please include me on email chains. Even if you don't typically share docs, please share me on speech docs - I can get lost trying to listen to even everyday conversation if I'm not able to follow along with written words. Seriously, I have cognitive stuff, please send me a speech doc.
I do not care how you are dressed so long as your appearance itself is not violent to other people.
Flex prep/open CX: Fine in any event including PF. More clarity is good.
Performative issues: If you're a white person debating critical race stuff, or a man advocating feminism against a woman/non-man, or a cis/het person talking queer issues, etc., be sensitive, empathetic, and mindful. Also, I tend to notice performative contradiction and will vote on it if asked to. For example, running a language K and using the language you're critiquing (outside of argument setup/tags) is a really bad idea.
I do NOT default to util in the case of competing frameworks. If the framing debate is absolutely impossible to evaluate (sadly, it happens), I will try to figure out who won by weighing offense and defense under both mechanisms.
I tend to think plan flaw arguments are silly, especially if they're punctuation or capitalization-related. I have a very high threshold to vote on plan flaw. It has to be *actually* confusing or abusive, not fake confusing. I do like interp flaw arguments as defensive theory responses in the 1ar
I won't ever hack against trad debaters, but I am what you’d call a “technical” judge and if a debater concedes something terminal to the ballot, it’s probably game over. If you’re a traditional debater and the field is largely circuit debaters, your best bet to win in front of me is probably to go hard on the framework debate and either straight-turn or creatively group your opponent’s arguments.
Warrant all arguments in both constructives and rebuttals. An extended argument means nothing to me if it isn't explained. “They conceded it” is not a warranted argument.
New for 2022: I'm older than most judges and I don't judge policy regularly anymore; I need you to slow down just a tick (300 wpm is fine if clear). I generally don't get lost in circuit LD rounds; think of that as your likely standard.
I was a policy debater and consultant at the beginning of my career. Most of this doc is LD and PF-specific, because those are the pools to which I'll generally be assigned. Most of what is above applies to my policy paradigm. I am most comfortable evaluating topical affirmatives and their implications, but I am a very flexible judge and critical/plan-less affs are fine. That said, just like in LD I like a good T debate and I will happily vote for TFW if it's well-argued and won. One minor thing is different from my LD paradigm: I conform a little bit more to policy norms in terms of granting RVIs less often in policy rounds, but that's about it. Obviously, framework debate (meaning overarching framing mechanisms, not T-Framework) is not usually as important in policy, but I'm totally down with it if that's how you debate. I guess a lot of policy debaters still default to util, so be careful if the other side isn't doing that but I guess it's fine if everyone does it. Excessive prompting/feeding during speeches may affect speaks, and I get that it's a thing sometimes, but I don't believe it's particularly educational and I expect whomever is giving the speech to articulate the argument. I am not flowing the words of the feeder, just the speaker. While I'm fairly friendly to condo advocacies in LD, I'm even more friendly to them in policy because of norms and speech times. I'll vote for condo bad, but it needs to be won convincingly - I'll likely err neg if it's 1 or 2 counterplans. Much more likely to vote for condo bad if one of the advocacies is a K that links to the counterplan(s).
Everyone: please ask questions if I can clarify anything. If you get aggressive after the round, expect the same from me and expect me to disengage with little to no warning. My wellness isn't worth your ego trip. I encourage pre-round questions. I might suggest you look over my paradigm, but it doesn't mean you shouldn't ask questions.
Finally, I find Cheetos really annoying in classrooms, especially when people are using keyboards. It's the dust. Don't test my Cheeto tolerance. I'm not joking, anything that has the dust sets me off. Cheetos, Takis, all that stuff. I get that it's delicious, but keep it the hell out of the academy.
EXPERIENCE: I'm the head coach at Harrison High School in New York; I was an assistant coach at Lexington from 1998-2004 (I debated there from 1994-1998), at Sacred Heart from 2004-2008, and at Scarsdale from 2007-2008. I'm not presently affiliated with these programs or their students. I am also the Curriculum Director for NSD's Philadelphia LD institute.
Please just call me Hertzig.
Please include me on the email chain: firstname.lastname@example.org
QUICK NOTE: I would really like it if we could collectively try to be more accommodating in this activity. If your opponent has specific formatting requests, please try to meet those (but also, please don't use this as an opportunity to read frivolous theory if someone forgets to do a tiny part of what you asked). I know that I hear a lot of complaints about "Harrison formatting." Please know that I request that my own debaters format in a particular way because I have difficulty reading typical circuit formatting when I'm trying to edit cards. You don't need to change the formatting of your own docs if I'm judging you - I'm just including this to make people aware that my formatting preferences are an accessibility issue. Let's try to respect one another's needs and make this a more inclusive space. :)
CLARITY in both delivery and substance is the most important thing for me. If you're clearer than your opponent, I'll probably vote for you.
Ks (not high theory ones) & performance - 1 (just explain why you're non-T if you are)
Trad debate - 1
T, LARP, or phil - 2-3 (don't love wild extinction scenarios or incomprehensible phil)
High theory Ks - 4
Theory - 4 (see below)
Tricks - strike
*I will never vote on "evaluate the round after ____ [X speech]" (unless it's to vote against the person who read it; you aren't telling me to vote for you, just to evaluate the round at that point!).
If, after the round, I don't feel that I can articulate what you wanted me to vote for, I'm probably not going to vote for it.
I will say "slow" and/or "clear," but if I have to call out those words more than twice in a speech, your speaks are going to suffer. I'm fine with debaters slowing or clearing their opponents if necessary.
I don't view theory the way I view other arguments on the flow. I will usually not vote for theory that's clearly unnecessary/frivolous, even if you're winning the line-by-line on it. I will vote for theory that is actually justified (as in, you can show that you couldn't have engaged without it).
I need to hear the claim, warrant, and impact in an extension. Don't just extend names and claims.
For in-person debate: I would prefer that you stand when speaking if you're physically able to (but if you aren't/have a reason you don't want to, I won't hold it against you).
Link to a standard, burden, or clear role of the ballot. Signpost. Give me voting issues or a decision calculus of some kind. WEIGH. And be nice.
To research more stuff about life career coaching then visit Life coach.
Email: email@example.com (please put me on the chain)
Background: I debated policy in high school at St Vincent de Paul High School in California, went to the University of Michigan and didn't debate there. I did a little bit of coaching/judging policy throughout college, and now I'm a coach at The Harker School.
TLDR for prefs: If you want to have a technically executed K debate, I'm your girl. I love a good framework debate. Classic substantive topic-based policy debate is great too. If you rely on theory tricks or are big on phil, I'm probably ~not~ your girl. Above all, be respectful and kind.
Lincoln Douglas: I judge Lincoln Douglas now. I coached at an LD camp (SJDI) a few years ago, but still be gentle with the quirks of the activity please. Some thoughts:
- If you want to persuade me on theory arguments, you're going to have to actually debate and explain the theory arguments. I'm not the best judge to go for conditionality in front of. This isn't to say I won't vote for theory arguments, because I will - just note that I have a low tolerance for bad theory arguments and theory debates that arent warranted and fleshed out. Any LD-specific theory arguments (tricks, etc) please take extra time on (or avoid).
- I love a good K debate, but note that my K background is in policy debate (gender, queer theory, high theory, identity stuff, cap, colonialism, etc etc) and I'm less familiar with LD phil stuff so you'll need to be clear/slow and really write my ballot for me.
RVIs - I will not flow them. Not gonna happen for you. Goodnight moon, game over, no.
Debate is a game. I will vote for literally anything* if you argue it well, frame the debate, and have good evidence supporting it. Techy line-by-line is the way to go always but especially in front of me. If someone drops an argument, don't just say they dropped the argument and move on. Explain how the dropped argument impacts the debate and why I should vote for you with it in mind. The same is true of critical moments in cross-ex. Framing in the last two speeches is incredibly important - write my ballot for me.
PLEASE slow down on taglines, analytics, theory arguments. If you are not clear I will let you know. If you don't adjust when I tell you you're not clear, speaker points will start to go down.
*Literally anything still has its limits. I will vote for "death good" type arguments, impact turns of critical arguments (heg good, war good), and really any silly argument that you win but I will NOT vote for any argument that defends racism, sexism, homophobia, or any other form of oppression, or for personal attacks on your opponents' character.
Ks: This is my wheelhouse (any and all). Note that this does not mean it will be easier for you to win a debate just because you read a K - because of my background in this type of debate I will hold you to a higher performance threshold. For the love of god please do line-by-line.
K affs: When I debated, I consistently read a K aff without a plan text. I also consistently went for framework/topicality against other planless K affs. My knowledge is strong on both sides of this debate, so if you're going to do it, do it well.
DAs/CPs: Not sure if I have anything special to say here. Make sure you do deep impact analysis and case turn work. I err neg on condo + counterplan theory most of the time.
T: Make sure your definitions aren't from silly sources. You have to do internal link and impact debate for topicality too. Topical version of the aff is huge.
Theory: As said above, this is probably my achilles heel in terms of debate knowledge. If you're going to go all in on theory arguments, go slow and explain things.
I'm new to this, but thus far my policy and LD experience has served me well! A few important things:
1) If I am your judge you must have an email chain or google doc. Calling for cards is a waste of time -- send your speech docs before your speeches WITH YOUR EVIDENCE IN THE DOCUMENT! If you do not do this, I will be taking the time it takes you to find the evidence and send it to your opponent out of your prep time.I cannot emphasize this enough.
2) I don't want your "off time road map" to be a list of the arguments you're going to answer. Just tell me which flow goes where - a simple "our case, then their case" works fine.
3) CLASH IS KEY - in the final speeches I NEED some sort of impact and link comparison or else I end up having to intervene more than I like to. Draw lines through the entire debate - your speeches are not islands. Connect them.
I have done both PF and LD debate throughout high school, but my expertise falls in LD judging. Here are some ground rules that I expect to be followed during the round:
1. Speak clearly, do not overly speed. I can keep up well with fast talking arguments, but please be cognizant of how this will affect your speaking style and the round as a whole, as that will play a role in my decision.
2. I can flow well, but still appreciate sign posting/outlining your arguments so I can understand what's happening in the debate.
3. Show respect to both me and your opponent.
4. I personally do not have experience with progressive LD debate, so I will prefer a clearer traditional debate. However, I am open to all types of cases.
Above all, make sure to have a good time!
Yes, email chain: sohailjouyaATgmailDOTcom
- Probably not the best judge for the "Give us a 30!" approach unless it becomes an argument/point of contestation in the round. Chances are I'll just default to whatever I'd typically give. To me, these kind of things aren't arguments, but judge instructions that are external to making a decision regarding the debate occurring.
- I appreciate adaptation to my preferences but don’t do anything that would make you uncomfortable. Never feel obligated to compete in a manner that inhibits your ability to be effective. My promise to you will be that I will keep an open mind and assess whatever you chose. In short: do you.
- Truth > Tech, but RELAX: All this means is that I recognize that debate is not merely a game, but rather a competition that models the world in which we live. This doesn’t mean I believe judges should intervene on the basis of argumentative preference - what it does mean is that embedded clash band the “nexus question” of the round is of more importance than blippy technical oversights between certain sheets of paper - especially in K v K debates.
Don't fret: a dropped argument is still a concession. I likely have a higher threshold for the development of arguments that are more intrinsically dubious and lack warrants.
- As a former coach of a UDL school where many of my debaters make arguments centred on their identity, diversity is a genuine concern. It may play a factor in how I evaluate a round, particularly in debates regarding what’s “best” for the community/activity.
Do you and I’ll do my best to evaluate it but I’m not a tabula rasa and the dogma of debate has me to believe the following. I have put a lot of time and thought into this while attempting to be parsimonious - if you are serious about winning my ballot a careful read would prove to serve you well:
- All speech acts are performances, consequently, debaters should defend their performances including the advocacy, evidence, arguments/positions, interpretations, and representations of said speech acts.
- One of the most annoying questions a judged can be asked: “Are you cool with speed?”
In short: yes. But smart and slow always beats fast and dumb.
I have absolutely no preference on rate of delivery, though I will say it might be smart to slow down a bit on really long tags, advocacy texts, your totally sweet theory/double-bind argument or on overviews that have really nuanced descriptions of the round. My belief is that speed is typically good for debate but please remember that spreading’s true measure is contingent on the number of arguments that are required to be answered by the other team not your WPM.
- Pathos: I used to never really think this mattered at all. To a large degree, it still doesn’t considering I’m unabashedly very flowcentric but I tend to give high speaker points to debaters who performatively express mastery knowledge of the subjects discussed, ability to exercise round vision, assertiveness, and that swank.
- Holistic Approaches: the 2AR/2NR should be largely concerned with two things:
1) provide framing of the round so I can make an evaluation of impacts and the like
2) descriptively instruct me on how to make my decision
Overviews have the potential for great explanatory power, use that time and tactic wisely.
While I put form first, I am of the maxim that “form follows function” – I contend that the reverse would merely produce an aesthetic, a poor formula for argument testing in an intellectually rigorous and competitive activity. In summation: you need to make an argument and defend it.
- The Affirmative ought to be responsive to the topic. This is a pinnacle of my paradigm that is quite broad and includes teams who seek to engage in resistance to the proximate structures that frame the topic. Conversely, this also implicates teams that prioritize social justice - debaters utilizing methodological strategies for best resistance ought to consider their relationship to the topic.
Policy-oriented teams may read that last sentence with glee and K folks may think this is strike-worthy…chill. I do not prescribe to the notion that to be topical is synonymous with being resolutional.
- The Negative’s ground is rooted in the performance of the Affirmative as well as anything based in the resolution. It’s that simple; engage the 1AC if at all possible.
- I view rounds in an offense/defense lens. Many colleagues are contesting the utility of this approach in certain kinds of debate and I’m ruminating about this (see: “Thoughts on Competition”) but I don’t believe this to be a “plan focus” theory and I default to the notion that my decisions require a forced choice between competing performances.
- I will vote on Framework. (*This means different things in different debate formats - I don't mean impact framing or LD-centric "value/value criterion" but rather a "You must read a plan" interpretation that's typically in response to K Affs)That means I will vote for the team running the position based on their interpretation, but it also means I’ll vote on offensive responses to the argument. Vindicating an alternative framework is a necessary skill and one that should be possessed by kritikal teams - justifying your form of knowledge production as beneficial in these settings matter.
Framework appeals effectively consist of a normative claim of how debate ought to function. The interpretation should be prescriptive; if you are not comfortable with what the world of debate would look like if your interpretation were universally applied, then you have a bad interpretation. The impact to your argument ought to be derived from your interpretation (yes, I’ve given RFDs where this needed to be said). Furthermore, a Topical Version of the Affirmative must specifically explain how the impacts of the 1AC can be achieved, it might be in your best interest to provide a text or point to a few cases that achieve that end. This is especially true if you want to go for external impacts that the 1AC can’t access – but all of this is contingent on a cogent explanation as to why order precedes/is the internal link to justice.
- I am pretty comfortable judging Clash of Civilization debates.
- Framework is the job of the debaters. Epistemology first? Ontology? Sure, but why? Where does performance come into play – should I prioritize a performative disad above the “substance” of a position? Over all of the sheets of paper in the round? These are questions debaters must grapple with and preferably the earlier in the round the better.
- "Framework is how we frame our work" >>>>> "FrAmEwOrK mAkEs ThE gAmE wOrK"
-Presumption can be an option. In my estimation, the 2NR may go for Counterplan/Kritik while also giving the judge the option of the status quo. Call it “hypo-testing” or whatever but I believe a rational decision-making paradigm doesn’t doom me to make a single decision between two advocacies, especially when the current status of things is preferable to both (the net-benefit for a CP/linear DA and impact for a K). I don't know if I really “judge kick” for you, instead, the 2NR should explain an “even if” route to victory via presumption to allow the 2AR to respond.
“But what about when presumption flips Affirmative?” This is a claim that I wish would be established prior to the 2NR, but I know that's not gonna happen. I've definitely voted in favour of plenty of 2ARs that haven't said that in the 1AR. The only times I can envision this is when the 2NR is going all-in on a CP.
- Role of the Ballots ought to invariably allow the 1AC/1NC to be contestable and provide substantial ground to each team. Many teams will make their ROBs self-serving at best, or at worse, tautological. That's because there's a large contingency of teams that think the ROB is an advocacy statement. They are not. Even more teams conflate a ROB with a Role of the Judge instruction and I'm just now making my peace with dealing with that reality.
If the ROB fails to equally distribute ground, they are merely impact framing. A good ROB can effectively answer a lot of framework gripes regarding the Affirmative’s pronouncement of an unfalsifiable truth claim.
- Analytics that are logically consistent, well warranted, and answer the heart of any argument are weighed in high-esteem. This is especially true if it’s responsive to any combinations of bad argument/evidence.
- My threshold for theory is not particularly high. It’s what you justify, not necessarily what you do. I typically default to competing interpretations, this can be complicated by a team that is able to articulate what reasonability means in the context of the round, otherwise I feel like it's interventionist of me to decode what “reasonable” represents. The same is true to a lesser extent with the impacts as well. Rattling off “fairness and education” as loaded concepts that I should just know has a low threshold if the other team can explain the significance of a different voter or a standard that controls the internal link into your impact (also, if you do this: prepared to get impact turned).
I think theory should be strategic and I very much enjoy a good theory debate. Copious amounts of topicality and specification arguments are not strategic, it is desperate.
- I like conditionality probably more so than other judges. As a young’n I got away with a lot of, probably, abusive Negative strategies that relied on conditionality to the maximum (think “multiple worlds and presumption in the 2NR”) mostly because many teams were never particularly good at explaining why this was a problem. If you’re able to do so, great – just don’t expect me to do much of that work for you. I don’t find it particularly difficult for a 2AR to make an objection about how that is bad for debate, thus be warned 2NRs - it's a downhill effort for a 2AR.
Furthermore, I tend to believe the 1NC has the right to test the 1AC from multiple positions.
Thus, Framework along with Cap K or some other kritik is not a functional double turn. The 1NC doesn’t need to be ideologically consistent. However, I have been persuaded in several method debates that there is a performative disadvantage that can be levied against speech acts that are incongruent and self-defeating.
- Probability is the most crucial component of impact calculus with disadvantages. Tradeoffs ought to have a high risk of happening and that question often controls the direction of uniqueness while also accessing the severity of the impact (magnitude).
- Counterplan debates can often get tricky, particularly if they’re PICs. Maybe I’m too simplistic here, but I don’t understand why Affirmatives don’t sit on their solvency deficit claims more. Compartmentalizing why portions of the Affirmative are key can win rounds against CPs. I think this is especially true because I view the Counterplan’s ability to solve the Affirmative to be an opportunity cost with its competitiveness. Take advantage of this “double bind.”
- Case arguments are incredibly underutilized and the dirty little secret here is that I kind of like them. I’m not particularly sentimental for the “good ol’ days” where case debate was the only real option for Negatives (mostly because I was never alive in that era), but I have to admit that debates centred on case are kind of cute and make my chest feel all fuzzy with a nostalgia that I never experienced– kind of like when a frat boy wears a "Reagan/Bush '84" shirt...
I know enough to know that kritiks are not monolithic. I am partial to topic-grounded kritiks and in all reality I find them to be part of a typical decision-making calculus. I tend to be more of a constructivist than a rationalist. Few things frustrate me more than teams who utilise a kritik/answer a kritik in a homogenizing fashion. Not every K requires the ballot as a tool, not every K looks to have an external impact either in the debate community or the world writ larger, not every K criticizes in the same fashion. I suggest teams find out what they are and stick to it, I also think teams should listen and be specifically responsive to the argument they hear rather than rely on a base notion of what the genre of argument implies. The best way to conceptualize these arguments is to think of “kritik” as a verb (to criticize) rather than a noun (a static demonstrative position).
It is no secret that I love many kritiks but deep in every K hack’s heart is a revered space that admires teams that cut through the noise and simply wave a big stick and impact turn things, unabashedly defending conventional thought. If you do this well there’s a good chance you can win my ballot. If pure agonism is not your preferred tactic, that’s fine but make sure your post-modern offense onto kritiks can be easily extrapolated into a 1AR in a fashion that makes sense.
In many ways, I believe there’s more tension between Identity and Post-Modernism teams than there are with either of them and Policy debaters. That being said, I think the Eurotrash K positions ought to proceed with caution against arguments centred on Identity – it may not be smart to contend that they ought to embrace their suffering or claim that they are responsible for a polemical construction of identity that replicates the violence they experience (don’t victim blame).
THOUGHTS ON COMPETITION
There’s a lot of talk about what is or isn’t competition and what competition ought to look like in specific types of debate – thus far I am not of the belief that different methods of debate require a different rubric for evaluation. While much discussion has been given to “Competition by Comparison” I very much subscribe to Competing Methodologies. What I’ve learned in having these conversations is that this convention means different things to different people and can change in different settings in front of different arguments. For me, I try to keep it consistent and compatible with an offense/defense heuristic: competing methodologies require an Affirmative focus where the Negative requires an independent reason to reject the Affirmative. In this sense, competition necessitates a link. This keeps artificial competition at bay via permutations, an affirmative right regardless of the presence of a plan text.
Permutations are merely tests of mutual exclusivity. They do not solve and they are not a shadowy third advocacy for me to evaluate. I naturally will view permutations more as a contestation of linkage – and thus, are terminal defense to a counterplan or kritik -- than a question of combining texts/advocacies into a solvency mechanism. If you characterize these as solvency mechanisms rather than a litmus test of exclusivity, you ought to anticipate offense to the permutation (and even theory objections to the permutation) to be weighed against your “net-benefits”. This is your warning to not be shocked if I'm extrapolating a much different theoretical understanding of a permutation if you go 5/6 minutes for it in the 2AR.
Even in method debates where a permutation contends both methods can work in tandem, there is no solvency – in these instances net-benefits function to shield you from links (the only true “net benefit” is the Affirmative). A possible exception to this scenario is “Perm do the Affirmative” where the 1AC subsumes the 1NC’s alternative; here there may be an offensive link turn to the K resulting in independent reasons to vote for the 1AC.
Sheryl Kaczmarek Lexington High School -- SherylKaz@gmail.com
I expect debaters to treat one another, their judges and any observers, with respect. If you plan to accuse your opponent(s) of being intellectually dishonest or of cheating, please be prepared to stake the round on that claim. Accusations of that sort are round ending claims for me, one way or the other. I believe debate is an oral and aural experience, which means that while I want to be included on the email chain, I will NOT be reading along with you, and I will not give you credit for arguments I cannot hear/understand, especially if you do not change your speaking after I shout clearer or louder, even in the virtual world. I take the flow very seriously and prior to the pandemic judged a lot, across the disciplines, but I still need ALL debaters to explain their arguments because I don't "know" the tiniest details for every topic in every event. I have not judged much during the pandemic so please start a little slower and work up to your top speed and please articulate. I am pretty open-minded about arguments, but I will NOT vote for arguments that are racist, sexist or in any other way biased against a group based on gender identity, religion or any other characteristic and I will NOT vote for suicide/self harm alternatives. None of those are things I can endorse as a long time high school teacher and decent human.
The Resolution -- I would prefer that debaters actually address the resolution, but I do vote for non-resolutional, non-topical or critical affirmatives fairly often. That is because it is up to the debaters in the round to resolve the issue of whether the affirmative ought to be endorsing the resolution, or not, and I will vote based on which side makes the better arguments on that question, in the context of the rest of the round.
Framework -- I often find that these debates get messy fast. Debaters make too many arguments and fail to answer the arguments of the opposition directly. I would prefer more clash, and fewer arguments overall. While I don't think framework arguments are as interesting as some other arguments in debate, I will vote for the team that best promotes their vision of debate, or look at the rest of the arguments in the round through that lens.
Links -- I would really like to know what the affirmative has done to cause the impacts referenced in a Disad, and I think there has to be something the affirmative does (or thinks) which triggers a Kritik. I don't care how big the impact/implication is if the affirmative does not cause it in the first place.
Solvency -- I expect actual solvency advocates for both plans and counterplans. If you are going to have multi-plank plans or counterplans, make sure you have solvency advocates for those combinations of actions, and even if you are advocating a single action, I still expect some source that suggests this action as a solution for the problems you have identified with the Status Quo, or with the Affirmative.
Evidence -- I expect your evidence to be highlighted consistent with the intent of your authors, and I expect your tags to make claims that you will prove with the parts you read from your evidence. Highlighting random words which would be incoherent if read slowly annoys me and pretending your cards include warrants for the claims you make (when they do not) is more than annoying. If your tag says "causes extinction," the text of of the part of the card you read needs to say extinction will be the result. Misrepresenting your evidence is a huge issue for me. More often then not, when I read cards after a round, it is because I fear misrepresentation.
New Arguments/Very Complicated Arguments -- Please do not expect me to do any work for you on arguments I do not understand. I judge based on the flow and if I do not understand what I have written down, or cannot make enough sense of it to write it down, I will not be able to vote for it. If you don't have the time to explain a complicated argument to me, and to link it to the opposition, you might want to try a different strategy.
Old/Traditional Arguments -- I have been judging long enough that I have a full range of experiences with inherency, case specific disads, theoretical arguments against politics disads and many other arguments from policy debate's past, and I also understand the stock issues and traditional policy-making. If you really want to confuse your opponents, and amuse me, you'll kick it old school as opposed to going post-modern.
The Resolution -- The thing that originally attracted me to LD was that debaters actually addressed the whole resolution. These days, that happens far less often in LD than it used to. I like hearing the resolution debated, but I also vote for non-resolutional, non-topical or critical affirmatives fairly often in LD. That is because I believe it is up to the debaters in the round to resolve the issue of whether the affirmative ought to be endorsing the resolution, or not, and I will vote based on which side makes the better arguments on that question.
Framework -- I think LDers are better at framework debates than policy debaters, as a general rule, but I have noticed a trend to lazy framework debates in LD in recent years. How often should debaters recycle Winter and Leighton, for example, before looking for something new? If you want to stake the round on the framework you can, or you can allow it to be the lens through which I will look at the rest of the arguments.
Policy Arguments in LD -- I understand all of the policy arguments that have migrated to LD quite well, and I remember when many of them were first developed in Policy. The biggest mistake LDers make with policy arguments -- Counterplans, Perm Theory, Topicality, Disads, Solvency, etc. -- is making the assumption that your particular interpretation of any of those arguments is the same as mine. Don't do that! If you don't explain something, I have no choice but to default to my understanding of that thing. For example, if you say, "Perm do Both," with no other words, I will interpret that to mean, "let's see if it is possible to do the Aff Plan and the Neg Counterplan at the same time, and if it is, the Counterplan goes away." If you mean something different, you need to tell me. That is true for all judges, but especially true for someone with over 40 years of policy experience. I try to keep what I think out of the round, but absent your thoughts, I have no choice but to use my own.
Evidence -- I expect your evidence to be highlighted consistent with the intent of your authors, and I expect your tags to make claims that you will prove with the parts you read from your evidence. Highlighting random words which would be incoherent if read slowly annoys me and pretending your cards include warrants for the claims you make (when they do not) is more than annoying. If your tag says "causes extinction," the text of of the part if the card you read really needs to say extinction will be the result. Misrepresenting your evidence is a huge issue for me. More often then not, when I read cards in a round, it is because I fear misrepresentation.
New Arguments/Very Complicated Arguments -- Please do not expect me to do any work for you on arguments I do not understand. I judge based on the flow and if I do not understand what I have written down, or cannot understand enough to write it down, I won't vote for it. If you don't think you have the time to explain some complicated philosophical position to me, and to link it to the opposition, you should try a different strategy.
Traditional Arguments -- I would still be pleased to listen to cases with a Value Premise and a Criterion. I probably prefer traditional arguments to new arguments that are not explained.
Theory -- Theory arguments are not magical, and theory arguments which are not fully explained, as they are being presented, are unlikely to be persuasive, particularly if presented in a paragraph, or three word blips, since there is no way of knowing which ones I won't hear or write down, and no one can write down all of the arguments when each only merits a tiny handful of words. I also don't like theory arguments that are crafted for one particular debate, or theory arguments that lack even a tangential link to debate or the current topic. If it is not an argument that can be used in multiple debates (like topicality, conditionality, etc) then it probably ought not be run in front of me. New 1AR theory is risky, because the NR typically has more than enough time to answer it. I dislike disclosure theory arguments because I can't know what was done or said before a round, and because I don't think I ought to be voting on things that happened before the AC begins. All of that being said, I will vote on theory, even new 1AR theory, or disclosure theory, if a debater WINS that argument, but it does not make me smile.
The Resolution -- PFers should debate the resolution. It would be best if the Final Focus on each side attempted to guide me to either endorse or reject the resolution.
Framework -- Frameworks are OK in PF, although not required, but given the time limits, please keep your framework simple and focused, should you use one.
Policy or LD Behaviors/Arguments in PF -- I personally believe each form of debate ought to be its own thing. I DO NOT want you to talk quickly in PF, just because I also judge LD and Policy, and I really don't want to see theory arguments, plans, counterplans or kritiks in PF. I will definitely flow, and will judge the debate based on the flow, but I want PF to be PF. That being said, I will not automatically vote against a team that brings Policy/LD arguments/stylistic approaches into PF. It is still a debate and the opposition needs to answer the arguments that are presented in order to win my ballot, even if they are arguments I don't want to see in PF.
Paraphrasing -- I have a HUGE problem with inaccurate paraphrasing. I expect debaters to be able to IMMEDIATELY access the text of the cards they have paraphrased -- there should be NO NEED for an off time search for the article, or for the exact place in the article where an argument was made. Making a claim based on a 150 page article is NOT paraphrasing -- that is summarizing (and is not allowed). If you can't instantly point to the place your evidence came from, I am virtually certain NOT to consider that evidence in my decision.
Evidence -- If you are using evidence, I expect your evidence to be highlighted consistent with the intent of your authors, and I expect your tags to make claims that you will prove with the parts you read from your evidence. Pretending your cards include warrants (when they do not) is unacceptable. If your tag says "causes extinction," the text of of the part you card you read MUST say extinction will happen. Misrepresenting your evidence is a huge issue for me. More often then not, when I read cards in a round, it is because I fear misrepresentation.
Theory -- This has begun to be a thing in PF in some places, especially with respect to disclosure theory, and I am not a fan. As previously noted, I want PF to be PF. While I do think that PFers can be too secretive (Policy and LD both started that way), I don't think PFers ought to be expending their very limited time in rounds talking about whether they ought to have disclosed their case to their opponents before the round. Like everything else I would prefer were not true, I can see myself voting on theory in PF because I do vote based on the flow, but I'd prefer you debate the case in front of you, instead of inventing new arguments you don't really have time to discuss.
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.
I am the coach of the Fort Lauderdale High School Speech and Debate team. My pronouns are he/him.
I competed in PF between 2009 and 2013 at Cooper City High School. I studied law/economics/history at Cornell University but did not debate there. To be honest, I didn’t really think much about debate after high school except when reminiscing with old friends -- until August of 2021 when fate delivered me to Fort Lauderdale and back into the world of Speech and Debate. Been judging and coaching like a madman since.
TL;DR consider me the most tech lay judge ever, or the most lay tech judge ever.
-No ad hominem attacks. If you can't be respectful of your opponents then debate is not for you. I shouldn't have to say this but if you're racist/homophobic/transphobic/misogynistic in round I will drop you.
-Don’t be smug, arrogant, rude, especially if you think you’re winning. Nobody likes a sore winner, and I definitely don’t give them good speaker points.
-Theory – Run at your own risk. I don’t read “high theory” so if you’re going to quote Lacan or Nietzsche or whoever, explain it to me like I’m a baby who doesn’t know anything. That said I’ve evaluated Ks that were explained to me in a “lay” way.
-Spreading is relative – but I prefer clarity over speed. I’m OK with fast “normal” speech, but if you’re speaking too fast for me to understand your arguments then I can’t evaluate your arguments and then you can’t win. If you are speaking too I will tap on the desk/table to signal to you to slow down. That said, I’ve only very rarely had the need to ask someone to do so.
-Disclosure – include me in the email chain/speechdrop for your case/evidence. ESPECIALLY if you spread/read fast. I find that I can judge much more effectively and accurately when I can follow along with your arguments on my computer while I flow.
My email for evidence chains: Arthur.firstname.lastname@example.org
-I flow everything and judge the round based on that. Extend all arguments, don’t bring in new arguments in final focus, and weigh your arguments. What are the real world impacts? Why does this matter? I need to know the answers to these questions.
-Cross – It’s always tragic to me when competitors make great points in cross and then don’t bring up those points at all in any of their speeches. If it’s not in a speech I can’t flow it.
-Falsifying evidence/lying in round will lead to an automatic loss. On a related note – I don’t like paraphrasing. if you do so you better have that card in hand ready to show me. I have dropped competitors more than once for “stretching” / “creatively interpreting” evidence.
-Tech>over truth, but if the arguments you are making are based on outright obvious falsehoods you will not win. 2+2=4, the sky is blue, earth rotates around the sun.
If you have any questions, feel free to ask before the round.
i have recently shortened this paradigm cuz it was getting really ranty - if you would like to see my thoughts on specific arguments, feel free to look at my rant doc
I’m Eva (they/them) - please just call me Eva in round instead of judge. I did traditional LD (Canfield ‘18) in HS and have coached since graduating. I primarily coach traditional debate, but when I bring kids onto the circuit they typically go for theory and K heavy strats
- Affiliations: Hawken, VBI
Email: email@example.com put me on the chain but speechdrop is better :) i think docs are a good practice even for lay debaters
Sidenote: I judge every weekend in the season, but Ohio doesn’t use Tabroom so it doesn’t show up :( I've probably judged an additional 500+ local rounds
TL;DR FOR PREFS i have come to the conclusion that i actually care very little what you read and hold a minimal amount of dogma re: what arguments should be read and how they should be read. i am good for whatever barring anything offensive, obviously. i have judged & voted for basically everything - if you have good strategy and good judge instruction, i will be happy to be in the back of your round whether you're reading the most stock larp stuff ever or tricky phil or friv theory or a non-t aff, etc. read the rant doc if you're interested in my specific thoughts on specific types of arguments. basically, do whatever you want, seriously
i believe debate is a game and it's not my job to tell you how to play it; i will be happiest when you are debating the way you enjoy the most and are best at
i consider myself a fairly flexible judge and try not to be biased toward any particular style. however, in very close clash rounds, i may lean towards arguments i find to be simpler/easier to vote for or that i understand better. to be open about my biases, i will say that i find myself voting for theory, phil, and tricks more than ks and all the above more than policy
- round safety is very important to me, and if there is a genuine safety concern that is preventing you from engaging in the round, i would prefer it be round ending as opposed to a shell - if you are feeling unsafe in a round, please feel free to email or FB message me and I will intervene in the way you request.
pls give me a heads up if you're gonna read explicit discussions of self harm or suicide. you can still read them in front of me but i would like a warning as early as possible - email or messenger is the fastest way to reach me during tournaments
- DO NOT try to SHAKE MY HAND. on this subject, i am a huge germaphobe - i will be wearing a mask probably until the end of time, don't worry i'm not sick, i just don't want to get sick. if there are covid precautions or anything like that you want us to take in the round, please vocalize this and we will make that happen (open windows, masking, etc.)
Crawford Leavoy, Director of Speech & Debate at Durham Academy - Durham, NC
Email Chain: firstname.lastname@example.org
I am a former LD debater from Vestavia Hills HS. I coached LD all through college and have been coaching since graduation. I have coached programs at New Orleans Jesuit (LA) and Christ Episcopal School (LA). I am currently teaching and coaching at Durham Academy in Durham, NC. I have been judging since I graduated high school (2003).
- Speed is relatively fine. I'll say clear, and look at you like I'm very lost. Send me a doc, and I'll feel better about all of this.
- Run whatever you want, but the burden is on you to explain how the argument works in the round. You still have to weigh and have a ballot story. Arguments for the sake of arguments without implications don't exist.
- Theory - proceed with caution; I have a high threshold, and gut-check a lot
- Spikes that try to become 2N or 2A extensions for triggering the ballot is a poor strategy in front of me
- I don't care where you sit, or if you sit or stand; I do care that you are respectful to me and your opponent.
- If you cannot explain it in a 45 minute round, how am I supposed to understand it enough to vote on it.
- My tolerance for just reading prep in a round that you didn't write, and you don't know how it works is really low. I get cranky easily and if it isn't shown with my ballot, it will be shown with my speaker points.
SOME THOUGHTS ON PF
- The world of warranting in PF is pretty horrific. You must read warrants. There should be tags. I should be able to flow them. They must be part of extensions. If there are no warrants, they aren't tagged or they aren't extended - then that isn't an argument anymore. It's a floating claim.
- You can paraphrase. You can read cards. If there is a concern about paraphrasing, then there is an entire evidence procedure that you can use to resolve it. But arguments that "paraphrasing is bad" seems a bit of a perf con when most of what you are reading in cut cards is...paraphrasing.
- Notes on disclosure: Sure. Disclosure can be good. It can also be bad. However, telling someone else that they should disclose means that your disclosure practices should bevery good. There is definitely a world where I am open to counter arguments about the cases you've deleted from the wiki, your terrible round reports, and your disclosure of first and last only.
- Everyone should be participating in round. Nothing makes me more concerned than the partner that just sits there and converts oxygen to carbon dioxide during prep and grand cross. You can avert that moment of mental crisis for me by being participatory.
- Tech or Truth? This is a false dichotomy. You can still be a technical debater, but lose because you are running arguments that are in no way true. You can still be reading true arguments that aren't executed well on the flow and still win. It's a question of implication and narrative. Is an argument not true? Tell me that. Want to overwhelm the flow? Signpost and actually do the work to link responses to arguments.
- Speaks? I'm a fundamental believer that this activity is about education, translatable skills, and public speaking. I'm fine with you doing what you do best and being you. However, I don't do well at tolerating attitude, disrespect, grandiosity, "swag," intimidation, general ridiculousness, games, etc. A thing I would tell my own debaters before walking into the room if I were judging them is: "Go. Do your job. Be nice about it. Win convincingly. " That's all you have to do.
- I'll give comments after every round, and if the tournament allows it, I'll disclose the decision. I don't disclose points.
- My expectation is that you keep your items out prior to the critique, and you take notes. Debaters who pack up, and refuse to use critiques as a learning experience of something they can grow from risk their speaker points. I'm happy to change points after a round based on a students willingness to listen, or unwillingness to take constructive feedback.
- Sure. Let's post round. Couple of things to remember 1) the decision is made, and 2) it won't/can't/shan't change. This activity is dead the moment we allow the 3AR/3NR or the Final Final Focus to occur. Let's talk. Let's understand. Let's educate. But let's not try to have a throwdown after round where we think a result is going to change.
I come from a Policy Debate background. You can spread...or not, but if I can't flow it, I can't know it.
I probably won't be impressed with arguments that attempt to circumvent discussion on the actual resolution, so you may be better served scrapping your K affs (or negs) or topicality negs (unless, of course, you are responding to a K aff with a topicality neg). If you choose to run one or more highly philosophical and/or theoretical argument(s) and proceed to read cards that say things like: "Having one’s experiences obscured and rendered unintelligible due to herme-neutical injustice is an infringement upon the epistemic agency...," or "Particularly the Cartesian dualism between the extended physical world and the nonphysical world of thought was seen as the definitive completion of the pre-Socratic turn from mythos to logos, when myth finally became synonymous with the subjective and the irrational. From this point onward, myths could neither serve as cosmological narratives of the universe, nor as valid allegories of nature, for they were now fully associated with the inner realm of subjective experience and not with the outer realm of the objective physical world," you should know that I will NOT understand them. I am a highly educated former debater, but I cannot possibly digest any of this in the few minutes of time I get to do so. I, unlike you, do not have the benefit of being able to think through these types of arguments in advance of the round. Frankly, even if I did, I am quite certain I still would not understand them standing alone let alone in the context of the debate. In fairness to you, you should know that.
I think that debate on matters unrelated to the resolution fundamentally stifle fairness for several reasons. In the first instance, they impede a competitor's ability to adequately prepare by creating a universe where one side dictates the narrative of the debate, or, alternatively, the debate consists of two people talking past each other. This strategy creates a world where there is absolutely no point in even having a resolution. The rules tell me that the competitors are to debate a particular resolution, and the debater tells me I can't until we first talk about ageism or ableism or the relative value of dogs over cats or whether french fries are proof of a higher being (they are). Secondly, they heavily favor schools and students with copious economic resources who have the privilege and luxury of being able to expand their preparation into this infinite universe of argument. Let's level the playing field a bit better (maybe we should debate that instead?).
On that note, I value responsiveness to your opponent's arguments, and I love a good common-sense position. However, if you are going to rely on factual/empirical arguments, please make sure they are supported by evidence. Most importantly, I do not tolerate unsportsmanlike conduct. I was a litigator for many years and stared down many an adversary, but I was always respectful, polite, and kind. Since I am judge and jury in this debate, I will not be impressed by the debater that yells louder or whose tone is more indignant. Rather, the debater that makes the more compelling arguments will win the round.
Other things: I don't love pics or piks. If you run one anyway (which is completely fine) do not extend disads that your pic/k would equally trigger AND the pic/k into your rebuttal. If you give me contradictory arguments, I won't know which to vote on, and they will likely cancel each other out in my decision calculus.
If I cannot hear or understand what you are reading during the allotted time you are given, I will not consider it in my analysis of the round. Sharing your constructive should not be an end-run around time limits by emboldening you to speak so incoherently that the content is indiscernible based on your belief that I can simply read the case on my own.
Also, a note about tech troubles. I think the best debater should win and not the one who had a better WiFi connection (unless, of course, they are one and the same). I understand that technology is not infallible, and I will NOT punish you if your connection is lost or you cut out. I believe that an important tenet of fairness and sportsmanship is the right to be heard. That means that I will show you grace and patience if you have tech troubles. I will ask you to repeat things and add time as necessary.
Good luck everyone!
Include me on the chain: email@example.com
I competed for Brentwood in LD on the circuit from 2017 to 2021, competing for Emory in policy, 25'. He/Him.
For nats, lay, pf:
Ignore everything below. Debate is a game of persuasion: a] i'm influenced by winning arguments, b] i'm influenced by influential speakers. Lay/pf debate is an exercise in accessibility, strategic choices, efficiency, and judge adaptation. Think of me as a debater roleplaying as a parent judge and you'll have a good time.
Damien update ---
I know nothing about the topic. It might behoove you to not throw never-ending acronyms at me. As I judge less and less LD and debate more and more policy, I am no longer in love with 6 minute explanations of 5 second theory args. I think affs should be in the direction of the topic at a minimal and cases and advocacies should be supported by the literature. That being said, having debated both, I don't think conditionality in policy works the same as it does in LD and am perceptive to warranted arguments against it.
For circuit LD/policy:
tl;dr / prefs: Debate is a very really highly educational game evaluated through whether or not I'm persuaded to vote for you. Debate how you want to debate, I think good argumentation is extremely persuasive. I think my primary obligation as a judge is to evaluate the round, but value the educational aspect of debate which has a strong likelihood of persuading my ballot.
I am likely bad for pomo and tricks and will vote for it only if there is a very compelling explanation in the rebuttals that tell me what it is I'm voting for exactly and why that means you win. I don't feel particularly comfortable voting for positions that I couldn't explain back to you.
At my core, I think debate is good. I think clash is the focal point of what makes the activity good. I'm not particularly compelled by arguments that say "debate is irreparably bad" because I don't know where to go from there. I would love to be told where to go from there.
are logical, good, and neg gets them. I think they should have solvency advocates and LD (arbitrarily and open to changing) at most gets two.
are yay -- if consequences matter and the consequence would be on balance negative then I would probably negate.
are intriguing. My favorite debates have been critical -- I think throwing buzz words at me without warrants doesn't make for a compelling position and warrants are good. Please don't not read them, but if you do read them I think that there's a moderate-to-high threshold on me being able to explain it back to the debaters for you to win on them.
I love a good 1ac -- I think if you are referencing your 1ac in your 1ar frequently then your 1ac was probably well thought out.
I don't think saying "extend the advantage" is enough -- an explanation of the story is the floor and the way the advantage implicates the round is the gold standard.
I like impact scenarios
I dislike blips and would probably only vote on it if it's the only option
I think in round violence against people in the room can be a compelling ballot - I think there's a sliding scale of when I'm obligated to intervene and I will gladly end it shamelessly and seemingly arbitrarily, especially for children.
Clipping and other evidence violations ends the round with an L + lowest speaks
I like pastries and coffee cough cough
Please don't read win 30 in front of me
**NSD: Don't bully novices - I will severely tank speaks and err against your arguments. If you can't win those debates without tricks and spikes then you don't deserve the ballot.
I did LD debate at LHS for four years. I qualified for the TOC twice and currently coach the Lexington Debate Team.
Speech docs are good for numerous reasons, especially evidence ethics, so send them.
If you have any questions about my paradigm please feel free to email or messenger me.
1) If you are unclear and as a result, I miss arguments it is your fault. I will yell clear when needed - if an argument was half a sentence and unclear in the 1AR/1NC assume it doesn't meet the litmus test for having a warrant... meaning I won't vote for a collapse on it.
2) I am not debating, so I don't have a right to tell you what you read. Please do and read what you like.
3) Truth over tech is wack - A complete argument (claim, warrant, impact) if dropped is automatically true.
4) I have a low threshold for 1AR and 2AR extensions for dropped arguments - just mention the tag or interp - but I need explanations for its implications and applications on the flow.
5) Debates a game
6) I do not vote on ad hominems
7) I will boost speaks if you sit down early or/and take no prep only if you can still win.
Theory - 1
Kritiks - 1
Phil - 2
Tricks - 3
Policy/LARP - 4
For specifics -
Tricks: I'm well versed - people give this style of debate a bad name by extending every dropped sentence and throwing crap at the wall with no weighing or implication - impact out a few well and explain why they justify a ballot.
Theory: No such thing as frivolous theory, reasonability is strategic if well justified, do standard weighing between multiple shells or I'll default substance. I'm not very well versed in grammar rules so err on the side of over-explanation. 1AR theory makes being aff so easy so read it lol. Yes, RVIs is a good argument.
Stock K's/Topical K's: Please err on the side of heavy LBL rather than reading a 5-minute overview with loads of embedded clash. I view the K as a philosophical argument so framing is important. Have a counter-interpretation to weigh the case and read case defense (extinction inevitable is smart) or else you'll lose. I'm open to VTL arguments, debate bad, ID pol tricks, K tricks (e.g. floating PIKs), and death good. K v K debates are fun as long as there is good impact calc, link analysis and examples.
Non T: I read a lot of these. I enjoy the "debate good-bad" debate. T Framework makes the game work though so have well developed impact turns.
Policy/LARP: Getting better at evaluating it.
Philosophy: I'm confident in evaluating this correctly. Please make framework interactions (hijacks are good). Don't shoehorn terrible offense just so you can read the Phil you want, you will probably lose. if you justify epistemic modesty, explain how I resolve the round correctly under it. I have a high threshold for winning extinction o/w against deontic theories - you probably won't win this if you lose util under epistemic confidence.
hi I’m a parent and speaking is really important to me in debate. Most often I vote for the debater that has the best vocal fluctuations. I prefer that debaters stand while they give speeches. I would also prefer if debaters could print out their cases and not use technology during the round.
regarding speaker points, I usually give speaks from about 24-27 and it is very hard to earn a 27 in front of me.
Harker '21 - debated for 7 years in LD and Policy
email chain - firstname.lastname@example.org
Policy args > Ks >> Phil / Tricks
Vast majority of args I read in my career - i feel very comfortable evaluating these debates, go for it. love to see creative and well-researched strategies, which will be reflected in speaks
impact turns are some of my favorite debates - co2 ag, dedev, etc are all on the table, and good execution will be rewarded with high points.
politics probably a thing, but also probably can lose to smart analytics especially if your cards are bad. that said i'm a sucker for a good politics disad
i lean very heavily towards judge kick -- probably a really hard uphill battle for the aff to persuade me against that.
i'd be very hard pressed to vote on zero risk.
good for more stock theory args (mostly CP theory) than frivolous theory -- i am more receptive to reasonability and arbitrariness args against spec, new affs bad, etc. good for regular disclosure but not niche args like "round reports", etc
i prefer paragraph theory on the offending page (eg condo on a CP) then as a "new off"
i lean neg on most counterplan theory except for international fiat.
i find competition arguments against cheating counterplans more persuasive than theory arguments
default drop the arg (unless it's condo), competing interps, no rvis
i'll flow by ear for these debates so slow down
have warrants for your arguments beyond "vote aff for deterrence" or similar stuff
better for these debates than you might think based on the arguments I read as a debater. I read through most literature bases during my time as a debater, and I feel comfortable evaluating these debates. 2nr link contextualization (e.g., drawing lines from 1ac/1ar evidence) factors heavily into my decision calculus.
Negs will do best by saliently dealing with the case -- either with robust link turns the case, alt solves the case, and unsustainability arguments, or with a *heavy* push on framework. the case page should make the 2nr. I find critiques of extinction impacts more persuasive than "structural violence outweighs". that said, i think most critiques have more compelling extinction impacts than a good deal of policy affs. i find aff ballots most persuasive when the negative underexplains the reasons behind their structural claims (especially regarding ontology arguments). equally debated, i think the aff generally gets access to the case, but specific framework evidence goes a long way for the negative (especially regarding epistemology claims). ROJ/ROB are silly/contrived mechanisms.
For the aff, I find 2ars on case outweighs or impact turns most compelling. impact turns are often underutilized. please explain perms -- "perm do both perm do the alt perm double bind" in one breath can be answered by a thumbs down from the neg. weighing is most important for me when judging this genre of debates.
between debaters of equal caliber, i think soft left affs would consistently lose to the critique. hard left/topical K affs (that assert a theory of power) seem extremely strategic to me *if* well-researched and germane to the topic.
line by line >>>> big overview
floating piks should be identified in the 1nc.
Prefer affs that are within the parameters of the resolution. better for k affs that have a spin on the topic rather than impact turning every element of limits/debate. if you're negating, i mostly prefer arguments about skills or clash over fairness on framework. K affs probably get perms. the 2nr should cover the case. I think K v K debates can be incredibly interesting (and what I normally went for in these debates), but specific link and alt work by the negative is crucial.
update: *not a good judge for nebel t - i very often vote affirmative in this debates*
probably lean towards competing interps. i'd prefer a substance debate to topicality but good T debates are enjoyable to watch and get good speaks.
i prefer topicality to be well developed in the 1nc, and I find many 2nrs to be almost completely new in explaining their standards. i dislike how prescripted these debates tend to be, especially with regards to nebel T -- I’ll lean against pre scripted nebel 2nrs and underdeveloped 1nc t arguments when pointed out by the aff.
i appreciate philosophical literature but find these debates to usually be exceedingly blippy or underwarranted -- not the judge for you if that's your style. i prefer ACs & NCs with evidence justifying the framework. slow down on dense or niche framework explanations. I did not read these arguments in high school but debated them a number of times.
just read a disad please
"underview" of more than a minute caps your speaks at a 27. please debate the topic.
presumption always flips neg, unless the 2nr includes an advocacy.
Other things --
fine with inserting rehighlightings
i will definitely read your evidence. i'll reward good ev with good speaks, and punish bad ev with bad speaks. evidence quality caps your truth claims, even if they're dropped -- please reference ev quality in your speeches in general (this shouldn't substitute for explanation though). good topic knowledge is also good for speaks
smart analytics can beat bad cards
"independent voters" are usually not independent voters -- i am unlikely to vote for args flagged as such without a theoretical justification for doing so
dropped arguments are still influenced by how true they are -- e.g., dropping no neg arguments is not an issue. i won't be too interventionist/this is more aimed at tricks but dont prioritize lots of terrible blippy offcase or arguments in favor of a smaller more substantive strategy
good humor/sarcasm is very good for speaks
Hey! I'm Ethan and I debated for West Broward in Florida for 4 years. I received 9 bids and broke at the TOC.
There are a couple of things that generally contextualize my views on debate and how you should probably debate in front of me.
I am Tech > Truth. Naturally, if your arguments are both technical and true, that makes you a better debater.
Public Forum Emory update - ngl, I want you to read theory in front of me if you understand it.
I won't evaluate
1] new 2nr arguments and/or implications that directly are used to answer something in the 1ac. Weighing is fine but I will not evaluate arguments that answer something from the 1ac. That means no GSP or skep turns case in the 2nr unless it was in the 1nc. Only exception is if new offense was read in the 1ar.
2] non-sequitur arguments or arguments where conclusions don't follow from premises.
3] won't evaluate speeches early INSIDE of the speech the argument was read in. Yes eval after 2n in 1nc, No eval after 2n in 2n.
4] oppression good in a vacuum. Off limits = racism good. Acceptable but hard to make a good argument = x violence does not happen to y group in z instance. Just be sensitive - pluralist dialogue is important but being mindful of others' feelings is also integral.
Theory: One of the things I feel most comfortable evaluating. Coming up with a smart combo shell or making cool strategic decisions are awesome and make judging a lot more fun. I'm perfectly fine with theory as a strategic tool so if this is what you like to do, I'm all for it. There's no such thing as frivolous theory.
Defaults - DTA, Reasonability, No RVIs. NSM vs IRA assumption depends on offense to the shell. These are paradigm issues, not voters. These are the defaults because this is what any paragraph argument on any flow would look like as long as an external impact (fairness, bindingness, scope, etc) is justified.
I don’t default voters (Fairness/Ed/Etc) - they’re impacts to arguments. I will assume there’s no impact to the standards if you don't read an external impact.
Don't read new paradigm issues for a 1nc shell in the 2n, it's new.
T: I view it as an endorsement > punishment model. It's a methods debate so winning the shell is prob enough to independently justify voting on it. These are just defaults if no one reads paradigm issues though. Obviously, I'll evaluate the shell under whatever metric you justify.
Policy: I never debated this way but I'll evaluate these debates the way you tell me to. The jargon is not exactly vernacular to me so I'd probably err on the side of explaining the implication of something for like 2 seconds if you think I wouldn't get it. Underrated strategy though against phil debaters and I do like it.
Tricks: Sure. I like warrants though. I'm also tired of analytic dumps where arguments are all over the place.
Ks: Better off preffing someone else. I'm a sucker for extinction o/w and frankly true arguments that say 1nc evidence has no warrants. If you cut good evidence though, that's solid. Bar for explanation is high and I don't listen to arguments that demean another debater's identity. Theory of power needs to be clear and 2n explanation needs to be found in the 1nc.
I debated from 2012-2016 on the regional and national level for Timothy Christian School. I competed mostly in LD but did do some PF late senior year for fun. That being said, I have not been very involved in debate for a while and thus am not fresh with high-level argumentation.
I will definitely be able to able to understand generic framework contention level debate.
WARNING: Again, I haven't been involved much with debate since graduating and norms/common arguments change. Therefore, if you decide to run T's, DA's, any kind of critical argument etc. make sure you are explaining yourself clearly and outlining what level of the debate comes first, second, etc. You may have do a little extra work explaining how I should view the round. That said I'll be a little lenient on extensions if you are spending that other time with some round overview/crystallization. Make sure again to do a good job of breaking down under what framework I am evaluating the round and where specifically I am voting.
Sorry if you disagree with my decision.
Please don't spread. I am cool with quicker than normal speaking, but I have not been involved in debate much really since graduating.
I am not going to vote for an argument I don't understand whether it be because of its complexity of said argument/lack of proper explanation or whether it be because it was read/said too fast for me to understand, so let that be a warning.
I would recommend not trying to do anything too "fancy" to avoid all of us being uncomfortable at the end of the round if I give my RFD. If you are used to a specific type of argument I am not saying you cannot run said argument, just understand where I am coming from and explain everything, specifically what I am voting off of very, very clearly.
I think PF breaks down more simply with a util/consequence based framework. If you disagree make the argument and if it makes sense and is extended ill buy it no problem. I do not think I'll have any issue with any type of argumentation so that should be good. Just make sure you are being clear where on the flow I am voting for you and please please please weigh so its not just both teams extending arguments across the flow with no clear/given relative impact.
Fast PF speed is totally ok for me
i coach some and work for victory briefs
former director at westlake & corona del sol
i'm cool with anything you read, and any speed you go, as long as you are clear, signpost well, and keep the round a safe and pleasant place for everyone :)
1- policy, T/theory, cap
2- tricks (non-phil), setcol
strike- phil, trad
policy: default judge kick. lean neg on cp theory claims, and prefer affs substantively engage. cool w cheaty cps. 3 word perms aren't arguments. i love well executed impact turn debates!
theory: no defaults, read whatever, just centralize paradigm issues when you can. always send interps and slow for anything you extemp. restarts are fine. nothing abt appearance or clothing, whack
tricks: cool w/ truth testing, skep, and 'normal' aprioris, but struggle with more phil-adjacent tricks, even like indexicals. in general, be more clear than you think you need to, delineate and identify independent reasons to vote, and err against a full-force nailbomb 1ac. otherwise im cool w voting off these.
K: i often judge and help write cap strategies, and am also reasonably comfortable w/ setcol, pess, and IR-centric arguments. otherwise, know i am not steeped in your literature so a lot of method debate jargon is lost on me. if you put work into resolving the lbl, are clear, and don't vaguely cross-apply the overview everywhere, i will be more than happy to vote for you.
phil: i'm not predisposed against it, i just have close to no experience writing or judging any of this style. this excludes simple fw arguments (kant, rawls, etc) and normal hijacks, but tricky or dense phil positions are tougher for me to evaluate.
trad: i do not have much exposure to traditional, value/value criterion style LD, and am significantly more comfortable with policy-style argumentation.
frontline in 2nd rebuttal, extend defense the speech after its answered, and be comparative when you're weighing or going for a fw argument.
come to rd ready to debate (pre-flowed, have docs ready if you're sending, etc)
everything from ld applies. relative to other policy judges, i probably have a higher tolerance for consult, intl fiat, process, etc counterplans and lean neg more on cp theory claims.
Hey, I’m Jack and I debated for St. Petersburg High School graduating in 2020.
2023 BF update:I haven’t judged for over a year and haven’t debated for two. This means I’m nowhere near up to date on new lingo/tricks, so err on the side of over explanation. Keep it 80% speed or less.
Update for Blake 21: Haven’t thought about debate in a year or so. That means you should definitely slow down to 75-80% speed and try not to extemp tricks Bc I’ll probably miss something. Also, I realized I’m even worse for performance K’s than I thought. If this is what you do best, I’d recommend you strike or at the very least pref me at the bottom of your list. While I think these arguments are really interesting and have their place in debate, I’m just not great at evaluating them.
Note for Lex RR: Please go at like 80% of your normal constructive speed. The audio might be kinda shaky on messenger and I don’t wanna miss an arg bc of it, so just slow down and it’ll be better for all parties.
Top level: Debate is fundamentally a game. Thus, when you’re in front of me your best strategy is to go for whatever you’re most comfortable with and gives you the best chance to win (barring anything that makes the round unsafe). I also believe that the role of the judge isn’t to inject my ideological biases into the round but rather to adapt to the debaters’ in order to create the most objective decision. I really don’t care what you read and I have appreciation for every style in the activity, whether that’s performance, LARP, trix, or anything else in between. That being said, I do have some preferences, and I don’t know how they will affect me since I haven’t judged yet, so those are posted below.
All good here. Read this in a lot of rounds so this is probably what I'm the most comfortable evaluating. Don’t care how frivolous or wacky the shell is as long as you win it. And no, responses like “this shell is stupid” isn’t gonna cut it.
Also, flashing analytics would be much appreciated bc I'm not the best flower.
- Competing interps. I’ll vote on reasonability but I need a brightline to be able to evaluate it. To clarify, a brightline isn’t a defensive counter-interp but rather a threshold of offense you need to mitigate in order to beat back the shell. For example, if your opponent reads disclosure, an acceptable brightline would be something like “in-round abuse”, not “it’s ok if they didn’t ask pre-round”
- No RVI’s
- Truth testing > comp worlds
- Lexical priority to weigh shells first, then strength of link
- Metatheory > T > theory > K > substance
- I don’t default fairness and education as voters. If it goes unwarranted through the debate, the shell has no impact and I’ll vote off substance. Same with drop the debater/drop the argument
- Converse of the interp probably doesn’t make grammatical sense as a counter-interp but I’ll evaluate it as the opposite of the interp if your opponent doesn’t call you out. “I’ll defend the violation” probably makes more sense
- Presumption flows aff under TT, neg under CW (unless the neg goes for an advocacy in which case presumption flips); permissibility flows neg
These are all defaults and I really don’t wanna have to remember them to make decisions so just take a stance and we’ll be good.
Good here as well. Read this a lot I think I’ll be decent at evaluating these debates. These rounds can get hard to resolve, but it helps if the 2N/2A cleanly wins their syllogism and why it comes first. The strategy of extending independent justifications to hijack the NC/AC is cool too just make sure to weigh. I default confidence, but I’m willing to vote on modesty if won.
Yep, coming from Florida I understand these fairly well. I have more experience going for theory tricks than substantive tricks, but I’m down to vote for both if explained. The only exception to this is evaluate the debater after the AC/NC. This is because in order to evaluate the argument I need to hear it in the last speech, but that would mean evaluating after the first or second speech would require me evaluating all speeches.
Please at least separate the arguments into numbers and subpoints so I can get everything down.
I’m cool if you read these against K affs, but try being a little more sensitive than “oppression doesn’t exist lmao gotem”. I think the inclusion hijack under TT can be really strategic here.
If you read these against novices or trad debaters your speaks are capped at 26
Didn’t debate this a ton in high school, but it's what I've exclusively done in college so I’m confident I’ll be able to evaluate these debates. Might not know topic-specific acronyms all the time, but I’ll be fine for jf20 at least. I think layered util frameworks with extinction first, EM, TJFs, reject calc indicts etc. can be really strategic.
I’ll probably average around a 28.7, but I may inflate, who knows. I’m willing to disclose speaks if asked, if not then I’ll probably forget.
Add me to the chain: email@example.com
tldr: My name is Jonathan Meza and I believe that at the end of the day the debate space is yours and you should debate however you want this paradigm is just for you to get an insight on how I view debate. One thing is I won't allow any defense of offensive -isms, if you have to ask yourself "is this okay to run in front of them ?" the answer is probably no. I reserve the right to end the debate where I see fit, also don't call me judge I feel weird about it, feel free to call me Meza or Jonathan.
debate style tier list:
S Tier - Policy v k, Policy v Policy, Debates about Debate
A tier - K aff v Policy, K aff v Framework, Performance debate (either side)
B tier - K v K, Theory,
C tier - Phil
D tier - Trix
F tier - Meme/troll
about me: Assistant debate coach for Harvard Westlake (2022-). Debated policy since 2018 that is my main background even tho I almost only judge/coach LD now. Always reppin LAMDL. I don't like calling myself a "K debater" but I stopped reading plan affs since 2019 I still coach them tho and low key (policy v k > K v K). went 7 off with Qi bin my senior year of high school but not gonna lie 1-5 quality off case positions better than 7+ random shells.
inspirations: DSRB, LaToya,Travis, CSUF debate, Jared, Vontrez, Curtis, Diego, lamdl homies, Scott Philips.
theory: Theory page is the highest layer unless explained otherwise. Aff probably gets 1ar theory. Rvis are "real" arguments I guess. Warrant out reasonability. I am a good judge for theory, I am a bad judge for silly theory. Explain norm setting how it happens, why your norms create a net better model of debate. explain impacts, don't just be like "they didn't do XYZ voter for fairness because not doing XYZ is unfair." Why is it unfair, why does fairness matter I view theory a lot like framework, each theory shell is a model of debate you are defending why is not orientating towards your model a bad thing. Oh and if you go for theory, actually go for it do not just be like "they dropped xyz gg lol" and go on substance extend warrants and the story of abuse.
Topicality: The vibes are the same as above in the theory section. I think T is a good strategy, especially if the aff is blatantly not topical. If the aff seems topical, I will probably err aff on reasonability. Both sides should explain and compare interpretations and standards. Standards should be impacted out, basically explain why it's important that they aren't topical. The Aff needs a counter interpretation, without one I vote neg on T (unless it's kicked).
Larp: I appreciate creative internal link chains but prefer solid ones. Default util, I usually don't buy zero risk. For plan affirmative some of you are not reading a different affs against K teams and I think you should, it puts you in a good place to beat the K. as per disads specific disads are better than generics ones but poltics disads are lowkey broken if you can provide a good analysis of the scenario within the context of the affirmative. Uniqueness controls the link but I also believe that uniqueness can overwhelm the link. straight turning disads are a vibe especially when they read multiple offs.
K affirmatives: I appreciate affirmatives that are in the direction of the topic but feel free to do what you want with your 1ac speech, This does mean that their should be defense and/or offense on why you chose to engage in debate the way that you did. I think that at a minimum affirmatives must do something, "move from the status quo" (unless warranted for otherwise). Affirmatives must be written with purpose if you have music, pictures, poem, etc. in your 1ac use them as offense, what do they get you ? why are they there ? if not you are just opening yourself to a bunch of random piks. If you do have an audio performance I would appreciate captions/subtitles/transcript but it is at your discretion (won't frame my ballot unless warranted for otherwise). In Kvk debates I need clear judge instruction and link explanation perm debate I lean aff.
Framework: I lean framework in K aff v framework debates. These debate become about debate and models defend your models accordingly. I think that the aff in these debates always needs to have a role of the negative, because a lot of you K affs out their solve all of these things and its written really well but you say something most times that is non-controversal and that gets you in trouble which means its tough for you to win a fw debate when there is no role for the negative. In terms of like counter interp vs impact turn style of 2AC vs fw I dont really have a preference but i think you at some point need to have a decent counter interp to solve your impact turns to fw. If you go for the like w/m kind of business i think you can def win this but i think fw teams are prepared for this debate more than the impact turn debate. I think fairness is not an impact but you can go for it as one. Fairness is an internal link to bigger impacts to debate.
Kritiks: I am a big fan of one off K especially in a format such as LD that does not give you much time to explain things already reading other off case positions with the kritik is a disservice to yourself. I like seeing reps kritiks but you need to go hard on framing and explain why reps come first or else the match up becomes borderline unwinnable when policy teams can go for extinction outweighs reps in the late game speeches.
Generic links are fine but you need to contextualize in the NR/block. Lowkey in LD it is a waste of time to go for State links, the ontology debate is already making state bad claims and the affirmative is already ahead on a reason why their specific use of the state is good. Link contextualization is not just about explaining how the affirmatives use of the state is bad but how the underlining assumptions of the affirmative uniquely make the world worst this paired up with case take outs make for a real good NR Strategy.
speaker points: some judges have really weird standards of giving them out. if I you are clear enough for me to understand and show that you care you will get high speaks from me. I do reward strategic spins tho. I will do my best to be equitable with my speak distribution. at the end of the day im a speaker point fairy.
background: did LD for 4 years in highschool, qualified for nats my junior year, qualified for TOC my senior year, did policy at Emory University. I'm majoring in math and philosophy.
aff should set up email chain asap
speaks: go as fast as u want if speech docs are sent, points for being clear and slowing down on tag lines and passionate speaking
disclosure is good
TLDR: tech > truth, i am a flow judge
1 - Cap K, Phil
2 - all other ks
3 - policy, stock, theory, t, fw,
4/strike - trix
Noncircuit: generally noncircuit ld the debate will either come down to competing frameworks or weighing impacts. When you're operating under utilitarianism, make sure to do explicit weighing of your impacts through the some combination of magnitude, timeframe, probability, reversibility, and cyclicality. The key is to compare your impacts with your opponents, and articulate why yours matter more. For competing frameworks, it is important to combine your arguments about why your framework is good with equally potent arguments about why their's is bad. It is important to leverage your framework to frame the opponents impacts out by saying 'this impact doesn't matter under X ethical theory.' It is also important to win offense under an opponents framework, so that even if you're losing the framework debate, you still have offense under their's. The most important thing is to address every argument your opponent makes, and to leave no ambiguity as to why I should vote for you. Remember to speak clearly and to signpost throughout your speeches.
K: if you're gonna read a k u hv a good understanding of it. i am comfortable judging most ks including pomo and high phil, when i was in highschool i mainly ran cap k, baudrillard k, and sometimes i ran sec ks, foucault ks, setcol k, and some others im probably forgetting. if u can't explain ur k or its theory of power then i will not believe it. performance is dope if its interesting! k-affs need to do lots of work to beat t-fw. For k-affs, i generally prefer advocating for different forms of education/fairness/debate rather than saying that education/fairness/debate don't matter and/or are bad. u can say squo debate/fairness or education is bad, but should try to offer a better version that the aff solves.
Cap K: saying "their authors are capitalist" is not an argument, u need to justify why their evidence is flawed. most "cap good" arguments can be debunked w/o cards just w/ marxist analysis imo, but they still require response. vague alts are cringey, and explain why cap causes extinction. also ROTB/J is p important
Policy: any stock things is cool, cps is cool, more than one conditional advocacy in ld is probably unfair, do ur thing.
T: one or two t shells in the 1nc is fine, i will evaluate it based on the flow. no rvi on T.
Theory: friv theory is kindy cringe, and so is spamming lots of theory shells in the 1n. theory in the 1ar is good strat, if u think there is abuse in the round running theory is a good idea. aff can win RVI if it is dropped or undercovered.
FW: running fw against k-affs is usually necessary, and i will evaluate it fairly, but it is not enough on its own. neg has to disprove the affs theory of power and prove stuff like "debate is good" and "fairness matters" or "education matters" which i will be pretty charitable towards.
Phil: love phil debate and really miss doing it, i am a phil (and math) major so i should hv a decent understanding of most phil args, which means if ur defending util u should prolly allocate a good amount of time to the fw debate. in highschool i regularly ran Kant/korsgaard, contracts args, hobbes, etc. i am also comfy with p much any other philosophers, i.e. sartre, camus, foucault, Derrida etc. just display a good understanding of their theories and be able to explain them well. author indicts; lots of philosophers (especially french ones) are very problematic ppl, but nevertheless i dont think its enough to just say X philosopher is racist/sexist/transphobic, u should also try to tie their x-phobia to their theory so that i find the arg more convincing, but if other team drops it i will still vote on it.
trix r4 kids, wont be evaluating these until halloween
Put me on email chain firstname.lastname@example.org
I debated LD in the mid-80s and then policy in both high school and college and have judged at several tournaments in the last three years.
Nothing is off limits for me except trix and speed is OK with articulation; since I haven't been listening to spread for about 20 years (until 2-3 years ago) it is really nice if you slow down for tags and major arguments and then spread through the evidence; it is also better speaking form. The winning debater will make my job easy by writing my ballot. I may not be up to speed on all of the current terms and approaches, so please avoid the use of jargon and define terms. I can follow logic. Anything can be argued (i.e. theory) as long as it is clearly explained and there is proof that it should be argued. I like creativity, but the logic has to be solid.
The winning debater will make clear arguments, with clear links, consistent with the winning the framework. Rebuttal arguments should state an argument with clear proof; simply stating an argument does not prove it, unless its a well known fact like x person is president of x state.
Debaters who earn high speaker points will state a road map, follow the road map, use logic to prove arguments supported by evidence (not just refer to cards), use their speech time wisely, and treat their opponent and judge with respect. As mentioned above, slowing down a bit for tags and major arguments will improve both my flow and your speaker points.
Newark Science | Rutgers-Newark
Email chain: Ask me before the round. Different vibes, different emails ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
If it matters, I've done basically every debate style (LD/CX in high school. CX, BP, PF, LD, Civic, and Public in college). I don't care what you read as I've probably just about made every argument from policy action good to talking about grandmas. Throughout my career, I read trad args, Kant, Hartman, Bataille, Disclosure, Wilderson, Gumbs, Wipeout, Politics DA, T, framework, etc.
My only real rule is don't make the room an unsafe space. I've always loved the creativity that debate allows so I would implore you to be free and do what you want as well because I genuinely don't care. Debate's a different game than when I was in it and I'm just here to follow the vibes. Please remember I'm an adult viewing the game, not participating in it.
- Spreading is fine. Open CX is fine. Flex prep is fine.
- Having an impact is good. Doing impact weighing is great.
- Efficiency is good! Arguments being grouped is fun and shows me that you have a strategic vision of what is necessary to win and what arguments are connected, etc.
- Truth over tech until tech overwhelms truth (probably because you were inefficient).
- Don't be lazy. For example, even if case is conceded, the aff should still be in the 1/2AR (do not dedicate the whole time to it but remember to use the strategic pieces of your aff that you built).
- I am offering a shoulder to cry on or an ear to listen when debate forgets that they should be creating good people. Don't be afraid to find me or talk to me after a debate or whatever. I do wellness checks when I can (and I have/will hold up a round or 2 to do so).
Trix (or Tricks): Please don't play with me.
I am one of the most naturally neutral individuals I know. I will NOT favor a side because I SHOULD. I will favor a side because you convinced me to... hence the purpose of effective argumentation. Don't assume -- just explain.
Be understood. Be clear. If I don't flow it... IT NEVER HAPPENED. Remember this during warrants / impacts / extensions. I rarely call for cards, so if I need to hear it, make sure you set the scene for optimal results.
Debating about debate is fun and engaging -- if it makes sense. Silly theories are just silly, but go back to my section on presumption - I will favor a side because you convinced me to... hence the purpose of effective argumentation. If you convince me that the theory is valid, then it is for the round. I will not assume how it functions or the reasonability of it. Prove that it does or doesn't. A good K with clear explinations, links and impacts are refreshing to me. Neg must explain why aff can't perm the day away -- why is the alt superior? Aff, why is the perm better than the alt and case solo? This is where speed choices are important.
Here are a few questions you should ask yourself: Do you understand the card? Does it link to the argumentation presented? Is it topical to the context you're using it in? Do the warrants exist in the text? Is it qualified? Is it dated? ....is clipping truly worth it?
T's, DA's, CPs
Policy was my niche back in the day. That being said -- I'll buy it if its clear, all conditions are met, it makes sense, and if it actually does something / proves a point. I will follow the flow, and the flow alone. Keep it clean!
Finally... most importantly... tell me WHY I should be voting for you. Yes. I want voters. Explain why a drop is catastrophic. Tell me why case outweighs. You know what happens when you assume... don't assume that I'm rolling with you. Explain why I should be.
Spkr Point Breakdown
30 Likely to take the tournament
29.5 Contender to the crown
29 Excited to see how deep you go!
28.5 Highly likely to clear
28 Clearing is possible
27.5 On the bubble, keep pushing
27 Congrats on earning entry into the tournament!!
*email chain: - use file sharing software if available instead of email chain pls
Tabroom.com is mostly my fault. Therefore I'm out of the active coaching game, but occasionally will stick myself on a pref sheet as a free strike so I can judge in an emergency.
My history in the activity includes competing in parliamentary debate and extemp, coaching and judging a lot of extemp, PF, LD and some other IEs, policy and congress along the way. I've coached both champs and people who are lucky to win rounds, and respect both. I coached at Milton Academy, Newton South HS and Lexington HS in that order.
All: Racist, ableist, sexist, trans- or homophobic, or other directly exclusionary language and conduct is an auto-loss. Debate the debates, not the debater. I will apply my own standards/judgment, it's the only way I can enforce it.
Policy & LD: I'm not active but do regularly watch debates. I'm OK with your speed but not topic specific jargon. Be slower for tags and author names. If you're losing me I'll say clear a couple times, but eventually will give up flowing and you won't like what happens next. I won't lean on the docs to catch up and have zero shame in saying "I didn't get it so I didn't vote for it." If I don't understand it until the 2N/2AR I consider it new in the 2.
LD: I did a lot of LD in the late 90s until the mid 2000s, then mostly stopped, then started again at Lex and coached them for about eight years. So I'm comfy with both older-school framework debates and the LARP/policy arguments my kids mostly ran.
My threshold on theory tends to be high; dumb theory debates are part of why I stopped coaching LD. I wrote an article that people still card about how theory should be relegated to actual norm creation instead of tactical wins -- though if you card me as an attempt to flatter instead of actually understanding the point, I will probably be cross.
I also dislike debates about out of round conduct or issues. I can't judge based on anything that I did not see, such as disclosure theory, pre-round shenanigans, or "he said last debate that he'd do X and he didn't." I also will take a dim view towards post-rounding that crosses from questions into a 3AR/3NR and will adjust points to reflect that.
Don't tell me that the tab room won't let me do that. I can always do that.
K: I am sympathetic to K debate and its aims, and will frequently vote for it if it makes sense in the round, but Ks get no more gimme wins from me than any other argument. If it doesn't link or I don't get the impact or the alt sounds like we're supposed to stop all the world's troubles by singing campfire songs you'll probably lose.
I take a dim view on the type of K or identity debates that demand disclosure of identity from anyone in the room. I'm part of the LGBTQ spectrum, and when I was competing, I could not disclose that without risk to myself. I therefore flinch reflexively if you seem to demand to know anyone's place on various identity spectrums as the price of winning a debate. A place in debate should not be at the cost of their privacy.
That said, if you put your own identity in the round you therefore risk your identity being debated. Don't try to run a K and then call no tag-backs if someone tries to answer your stuff with your stuff.
Policy: I have less background in your activity than I do in LD. So I know the general outlines fine, as the events have converged, but I'm definitely going to need you to slow down just a titch especially if you're running the type of policy args that haven't crossed as much into LD, like T debates or specific theory/condo stuff. I'm very much not a fan of the politics debate and will have a very low threshold on no-link args, since I tend to believe politics almost never links anyway.
Also see the K section under LD.
PF: I mostly enjoy PF rounds and coached it as my only debate event for about 4 years at Newton South. I don't sneer at it like a lot of coaches from the LD/Policyverse might. However, there are a few things I really dislike that proliferate in PF.
1) Evidence shenanigans between speeches. Have your evidence ready for your opponent to read/review immediately. Your partner can create a doc while you speak, for crying out loud. If you fumble around with it and can't get your act together, you'll see your speaks dropping.
2) Evidence shenanigans during speeches. Look, PF speeches are short. I get it. But ultimately the decisions as to whether you're abusing evidence are mine to make and I will make them. Don't fabricate, make up, or infer things your evidence doesn't say because I will read and check anything that sounds suspicious to me, or your opponents call out. This includes PF Math™: taking numbers out of your ev and combining them in ways the author did not. I read a lot of news so the likelihood I know when you're making it up is rather high.
3) Good God most crossfires, especially the free-for-all at the end, make me want to stab my ears out. Here's where I import prejudices from LD and policy more than anything: cross is about setting up arguments and confirming things, not trying to corner and AHA! your opponents or sneaking in a third contention. Set up arguments, don't make them. If you try to extend something out of cross, that's not going to go well for you. If you are an obnoxious talking-show nitwit, that's REALLY not going to go well for you.
4) If you're playing the game of "Look How Circuit I Can Be Mr Policy/LD Judge!" and your opponent has zero idea of what's going on, I'm not impressed. Debate is engagement, and giving your opponent no chance to engage by design is pretty much an auto-loss in my book. That does not mean you should shy away from creative arguments. It means you must explain them so that everyone in the room can be expected to understand and engage with them as long as they're trying to.
Hi, I am Jacob Palmer (he/they). I do policy at Emory. I debated for and now coach at Durham. If you will be on the Emory debate team in the fall you should put me as a conflict.
Feel free to ask questions about my paradigm before the round. It's better to hop into the competition room early as opposed to email me since I might miss your question.
Add me to the chain: email@example.com. Sending docs is good. It lets both me and your opponent verify the quality of the evidence you are reading. Sending docs is not an excuse to be unclear. I won't backflow off the doc, and I will yell clear or slow if needed. Docs should be sent promptly at the round start time. If we reach the round start time and you are just starting to set up the email chain, I will be very sad. Even if I am judging on the local circuit, I would like a card doc since I like to look over evidence and just sending cards out from the beginning is easier than me trying to call for cards while the decision time ticks away. On a somewhat related note, although I do think disclosure is good, I'd rather not watch debates about this. This is especially true if your opponent does disclose in some fashion, even if it's not what you consider the best norm.
Debate how you want to debate. I find many of the ways that people classify themselves as debaters, such as a traditional or circuit, largely artificial distinctions. I don’t particularly care whether your arguments are properly formatted in line with whatever norms exist in various local, regional, or national circuits, such as if you read a standard or a value and a criterion. I do care that you make warranted arguments and tell me why they matter in the broader context of the debate. Smart arguments will win rounds.
I will evaluate any argument that has a warrant, clear implication, and isn't actively exclusionary. I am tech in that I will keep a rigorous flow and evaluate the debate solely off that flow, but I think the distinction between tech and truth in debate is largely silly. That means there are some limits to my tech-ness as a judge. I will always evaluate every speech in the debate. I will not evaluate arguments made after speech times end. I think arguments must be logically valid and their warranting should be sound. I think lazy warranting is antithetical to technical argumentation. Reading truer arguments will make your job and my job substantially easier. I won't vote on something not explained in round.
Lastly, be a good person. Debate often brings out the worst of our competitive habits, but that is not an excuse for being rude or disrespectful. Respect pronouns. Respect accessibility requests. Provide due content warnings.
TDLR: Don’t cheat. Be a good person. Make real arguments. Do those things, and I will adapt to you.
Since other people do this and I want to respect the people that helped me in my own debate journey, thank you to the all the people that have coached me or shaped who I am as a debater: Jackson DeConcini, Bennett Dombcik, Allison Harper, Brian Klarman, Ed Lee, Becca Steiner, Mikaela Malsin, Marshall Thompson, Christian Quiroz, Nick Smith, Devane Murphy, Brianna Aaron, and Andrew Garber. Special thanks to Crawford Leavoy for introducing me to this activity and teaching me most everything I know about debate.
Policy – Plans, CPs, and DAs are great! Advantages and DAs shouldn’t be more complicated than they need to be. Plan and counterplan texts should also be specific and have a solvency advocate. You don’t get to say “no link - that's not how we do the plan” unless the evidence says that’s how to do the plan. Spec is fine against vague positions but the sillier the shell the harder it will be to win an actual internal link to fairness or education. I'm generally fine with condo counterplans, but the more condo you read the more receptive I'll be to theory. To win the 2ar on condo the 1ar shell needs to be more than a sentence. Judge kick is fine, but I won't do it unless you tell me to. I lean negative on most competition issues, and I think I am better for process counterplans than most other LD judges. The 2nr is not a 2nc. If your 2nr strategy relies on reading lots of new impact modules or other new arguments, I am not the judge for you. To an extent, carded 2nr blocks are fine but all the evidence you should need to win the 2nr on most positions should just be in the 1nc. If you sandbag reading CP competition cards until the 2nr, for example, I will be sad.
T – I love a good T debate. Don't be blippy. Weigh between interps and show what Affs, Advantages, DAs, etc. are actually lost or gained. The worst T debates are an abstract competition over ethereal good like fairness. The best T debates forward a clear vision of what debates on the topic should look like and explains why the debates based on one interpretation of the topic are materially more fair or educational than others. On T I default to drop the debater, counter interps over reasonability, and no RVIs, but would strongly prefer that you debate these issues out, so I don't have to rely on my defaults. I think affirmatives should generally be predictably limited. I think functional limits can solve a lot of neg offense if correctly explained.
K – K debates are great, just know the literature and be ready to explain it. If I don't understand your argument, I won't be able to vote for it. These debates are also probably where I care the most about quality over quantity. Specificity matters - Not all Ks are the same and not all plans are the same. If your 1nc shell doesn’t vary based on the 1ac, or your 1ar blocks don’t change based on the kritik I will be sad. I generally think I should vote for whoever did the better debating, but y'all are free to hash out what that means. While I recognize debate is a game, I also recognize that it can be something more. Alternatives should be tangible, and you should have examples.
More often than not, it seems like I am judging clash debates nowadays. Whether you are the K debater or the Policy/Phil debater in these rounds, judge instruction is essential. The 2nr and 2ar should start with a clear explanation of what arguments need to be won to warrant an aff or neg ballot and why. The rest of the 2nr or 2ar should then just do whatever line-by-line is necessary to win said arguments. I find that in clash debates more than other debates, debaters often get lost in extending their own arguments without giving much round-specific contextualization of said extensions or reasons why the arguments extended are reasons they should win the debate. Whether you are going for an impact turn to the K or extending the K itself, you need to tell me what to do with the arguments you think you are winning and why those specific arguments are sufficient for my ballot.
Non-T/Planless Affs – All the stuff from the K section applies here. I am happy to judge these debates and have no issues with non-t affs. Solvency is important. From the 1ac there should be a very clear picture of how the affirmative resolves whatever harms you have identified. For negatives, T USFG is solid. I’ve read it. I’ve voted on it. Turn strategies (heg good, growth good, humanism good, etc.) are also good. For T, I find topical versions of the aff to be less important than most other judges. Maybe that’s just because I find TVAs to be largely underdeveloped or not actually based in any real set of literature. Regardless, I don’t think the negative needs the TVA to win, but it also won’t hurt to make one and extend it. Cap and other kritiks can also be pretty good if you understand what you’re doing. I no qualms evaluating a K v K or methods debate.
Phil – I love philosophical debates. I think phil debates benefit greatly from more thorough argumentation and significantly less tricks. Explain your syllogism, how to filter offense, and tell me what you're advocating for. If I don't know how impact calc functions under your framework, then I will have a very hard time evaluating the round. If your framework has a bunch of analytics, slow down and number them.
Theory – Theory should be used to check legitimate abuse within the debate. As with blatantly untrue DAs or Advantages, silly theory arguments will be winnable, but my threshold of what constitutes a sufficient response will be significantly lower. Slow down on the analytics and be sure to weigh. I think paragraph theory is fine, but you still need to read warrants. I think fairness and education are both important, and I haven’t really seen good debates on which matters more. Debates where you weigh internal links to fairness and/or education are generally much better. I think most cp theory or theoretical objections to other specific types of arguments are DTA and really don’t warrant an RVI, but you can always convince me otherwise.
Tricks – If this is really your thing, I will listen to your arguments and evaluate them in a way that I feel is fair, granted that may not be the way you feel is most fair. I have found many of the things LDers have historically called tricks to be neither logically valid nor sound. I have no issue with voting on arguments like skep or determinism or paradoxes, but they must have a sufficient level of warranting when they are first introduced. Every argument you make needs to be a complete argument with a warrant that I can flow. All arguments should also be tied to specific framing that tells me how to evaluate them within the larger context of the debate. Also, be upfront about your arguments. Being shady in cx just makes me mad and sacrifices valuable time that you could spend explaining your arguments.
Independent Voters - I’m not a big fan of independent voters. I think arguments should only generate offense through specific framing mechanisms. Somewhat tied into this I feel incredibly uncomfortable voting on people's character or using my ballot to make moral judgements about debaters. I also don’t want to hear arguments about events outside of the round I am judging. If something your opponent did truly makes you feel unsafe or unable to debate, then you should either contact me, your coach, tab, or the tournament equity office. We can always end the round and figure something out.
I have a foundation in Policy (Baylor Institute) and LD, with more experience in LD. Helped start the speech and debate program at Lafayette College in Easton, Pennsylvania. For context, that was 25 years ago.
- Tabula rasa. Tech>truth. I enjoy originality, but it is up to you to persuade that your argument should be a voter.
- I still strongly believe that the framework debate is integral in Lincoln-Douglas debate, and that every word of the resolution has meaning and is fair game for debate. That being said, I'm fine if framework is essentially punted by both sides, and will then go where the flow sheet takes me.
- I should be comfortable/familiar with most philosophical arguments in LD. There was much more of a focus on the same when I was debating, while now LARP/Policy seems the norm. I like to call it LDINO (LD in Name Only), but I digress. I do enjoy a vigorous debate on philosophy, but am good if it is merely utility.
- I used to say spreading was fine, but I have observed a clear deficit in debaters actually using persuasive skills, as well as critical analysis of the evidence presented in the case. I would prefer you consider me "lay" or "flay", if it will result in debating at a reasonable pace, favoring persuasion and analysis over quantity.
- Enjoy yourselves. This is supposed to be fun. Make it fun for me as well by not being obnoxious to each other in cross.
- I highly enjoy theory and K's when done well, but highly dislike them when not done properly and reasonably. Do not assume that I know the current customs of the debate world when making these arguments. I probably don't.
- In debate and life, the quality and reliability of your evidence matters. This is particularly true in this world of utility LD, and in PF/Policy. I prefer debaters that take the time to truly understand the evidence/studies that they are espousing, and avoid misuse and/or miscategorization of a the actual content of a study/article.
- The flow sheet means very little to me unless you effectively crystallize and weigh.
My general philosophy is tech/line by line focused- I try to intervene as little as possible in terms of rejecting arguments/interpreting evidence. As long as an argument has a claim/warrant I can explain to your opponent in the RFD I will vote for it. If only one side tries to resolve an issue I will defer to that argument even if it seems illogical/wrong to me- i.e. if you drop "warming outweighs-timeframe" and have no competing impact calc its GG even though that arg is terrible. 90% of the time I'm being postrounded it is because a debater wanted me to intervene in some way on their behalf either because that's the trend/what some people do or because they personally thought an argument was bad.
I am a good judge for you if/A bad judge for you if not
- You cut good cards and highlight them to make complete arguments in at least B- 7th grade English, which is approximately my level. Read uniqueness. If your disad is non unique, not putting a uniqueness card in the 1NC is not cute, its a waste of time. If your best answers to an IR K are Ravenhall 09 and Reiter 15 you are not meeting this criteria, ditto answering pessimism with "implicit bias is malleable".
- You debate evidence quality/qualifications and read evidence from academic sources rather than twitter/forum posts. If you are responding to a zany argument not discussed in academia, blog/forum away. If that is not the case I implore you to ask why these sources are the only ones you can find.
- You listen to what the other team is saying and give a speech that demonstrates that you did by answering all of their arguments correctly and in the order in which they were presented . Do not read a collection of non responsive blocks in random order. And then in follow up speeches you compare/resolve those arguments rather than repeating yourself.
- You make smart analytics against arguments with obvious weaknesses. Most 1NC disads and 1AC advantages in current debate are incoherent/missing several pieces. You do not have to respond to an incomplete argument, point out it is incomplete and move on. Once completed you get new answers to any part of it.
- You rely on knowing what you are talking about more than posturing/grandstanding.
- You understand your arguments/can explain things. In CX and speeches you should be able to explain words/concepts from your evidence correctly, and be able to apply them. If your link card says "the aff is not disarm" thats not a link, thats an observation
- You can cover/don't drop things. Grouping things is fine. Making a philosophical argument for why line by line debate is bad, and instead making your argument in the form of big picture conceptual analysis is fine. Randomly saying things in the wrong place, dropping 1/2 of what the other team said and then expecting me to figure out how to apply what you said there is not. I will not make "reject argument not team" for you.
I operate on a "3 strikes" rule: each side gets up to 3 nonsense arguments- a CP that is just a text, a bad disad or advantage, an unexplained perm etc. After that your points and credibility plummet precipitously. If I'm reading your card doc I will stop reading your evidence after 3 cards highlighted into nothing. If you include 3 "rehighlightings" of the other teams evidence that are obviously wrong I will ignore all your evidence/default to the other sides.
If debated by two teams of equal skill/preparation, the following arguments are IMO unwinnable but I vote for them more often than not because the above suggestions are ignored.
-please let us weigh our case or we said the word extinction so Ks don't matter
-the framework is: object of research, you link you lose, debate shapes subjectivity, ethics first without explaining what ethics are/mean
-War good, pollution good, renewables bad- it doesn't matter if these are in right wing heritage impact turn form or academic K form
-the neg needs more than 1cp and 1K for debate to be fair. Arguments like "hard debate is good debate... so make it hard for them" are so bad you should be able to figure it out/not say them
-PICS that do/result in the whole plan are legitimate. The negative can actually win without these, especially on a topic where there are 3 affs.
-counterplans that ban the plan as their only form of competition are legitimate, especially on a topic with only...
"RW," please and thank you
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org - Please add me to the email chain
(tl;dr)This is a game, a pass-time. For your sake and mine, please remember that.
(HS Policy 2023-4) I haven't judged this topic yet...
I don't care what you do, notwithstanding overt harm. I only wish for you to do whatever it is you do, well. You are an intellectual, so you will be held responsible for your performance and the scholarship you choose to forward. I'm a young judge/coach, yes, but I've been doing debate long enough to genuinely not be surprised by anything you could do in-round. This is not an invitation to shenanigans. Let's all be fr.
As for the rest of it, you can mark me as a 1-3 for pretty much all K & Theory debate. In these cases, my expectations are but that you convince me with 1) a command of your authors, and 2) technical prowess on the flow. These debates-- K v. K, performative debate, debates about debate-- most often have the potential to be super interesting but are most often not. Since I don't know that this can be helped entirely, my suggestion to you is to be clear and to make it make sense.
I'm pretty neutral; "If I didn't flow it, it didn't happen" is my default. It's also a cautionary note to speed. You can turn yourself blue reading through your blocks so long as you don't expect me to understand you. This is all to say, you should slow down to a conversational pace when you're saying something I should flow. Otherwise, we'll just be looking at each other.
I'm less of a policy hack, but please trust that I can keep up. In these cases, please note the above. I vote on clarity, reasonability, functionality, and solvency-- in that order. Tricks are cool (LD) but capitalizing off of disadvantage, like smoking, is not.
Speaks reflect the round and the pool.
Since most debaters don't care to change their styles given a judge's paradigm, or worse, don't even read the paradigms that take whole lifetimes for judges and coaches to refine, the above is all you get.
Debate for me first and foremost is an educational tool for the epistemological, social, and political growth of students. With that said, I believe to quote someone very close to me I believe that it is "educational malpractice" for adults and students connected to this activity to not read.
T/ and framework are the same thing for me I will listen AND CAN BE PERSUADED TO VOTE FOR IT I believe that affirmative teams should be at the very least tangentially connected to the topic and should be able to rigorously show that connection.
Also, very very important! Affirmatives have to do something to change the squo in the world in debate etc. If by the end of the debate the affirmative cannot demonstrate what it does and what the offense of the aff is T/Framework becomes even more persuasive. Framework with a TVA that actually gets to the impacts of the aff and leverages reasons why state actions can better resolve the issues highlighted in the affirmative is very winnable in front of me.
DA'S- Have a clear uniqueness story and flesh out the impact clearly
CP's- Must be clearly competitive with the aff and must have a clear solvency story, for the aff the permutation is your friend but you must be able to isolate a net-benefit
K- I am familiar with most of the k literature
CP'S, AND K'S- I am willing to listen and vote on all of these arguments feel free to run any of them do what you are good at
In the spirit of Shannon Sharpe on the sports show "Undisputed" and in the spirit of Director of Debate at both Stanford and Edgemont Brian Manuel theory of the TKO I want to say there are a few ways with me that can ensure that you get a hot dub (win), or a hot l (a loss).
First let me explain how to get a Hot L:
So first of all saying anything blatantly racist things ex. (none of these are exaggerations and have occurred in real life) "black people should go to jail, black death/racism has no impact, etc" anything like this will get you a HOT L
THE SAME IS TRUE FOR QUESTIONS RELATED TO GENDER, LGBTQ ISSUES ETC. ALSO WHITE PEOPLE AND WHITENESS IS NOT THE SAME THING
Next way to get a HOT L is if your argumentation dies early in the debate like during the cx following your first speech ex. I judged an LD debate this year where following the 1nc the cx from the affirmative went as follows " AFF: you have read just two off NEG: YES AFF: OK onto your Disad your own evidence seems to indicate multiple other polices that should have triggered your impact so your disad seems to then have zero uniqueness do you agree with this assessment? Neg: yes Aff: OK onto your cp ALL of the procedures that the cp would put into place are happening in the squo so your cp is the squo NEG RESPONDS: YES In a case like this or something similar this would seem to be a HOT L I have isolated an extreme case in order to illustrate what I mean
Last way to the HOT L is if you have no knowledge of a key concept to your argument let me give a few examples
I judged a debate where a team read an aff about food stamps and you have no idea what an EBT card this can equal a HOT L, in a debate about the intersection between Islamaphobia and Anti-Blackness not knowing who Louis Farrakhan is, etc etc
I believe this gives a good clear idea of who I am as judge happy debating
updated nov 2023 for gbx
I have been out of debate (washed/retired) for almost 2 years
1) start your speeches SLOW so i can actually hear them
2) if i dont catch/minunderstand anything because its unclear/makes no sense to me,its your fault
yes email chain : email@example.com
Debated in LD for 5 years
favorite argument I ever read: T/FW vs K aff
(Case/DA/CP) > T/Theory >> Phil/Tricks > K
99% of my debates have been here - take that as you will
logical argument > unexplained claims, i love some W logic
i also enjoy creative impact turns, examples i have gone for: co2 ag, renewables bad, heg, spark, decol bad->loose nukes
i have had some fun theory debates, some with arguments worth hearing, some not
defaults: NO RVIS, reasonability (debate it out tho)
will be a lot harder to convince me to vote on an rvi
thugs ts out
if it doesn't look like I understand what's going on its because I don't
lbl in the 2nr>>> the big overview
answer this question pls (or question its answer as aff): "lowkey what does the alt do?"
i have zero debate experience here - mostly avoided it all my life
fine with inserting rehighlightings
refer to arnav dani and muzzi khan's paradigm for debate arguments I agree with
I debated for SLC West High School for 4 Years, and am currently a Second Year at Emory University
Please add me to the email chain: firstname.lastname@example.org
Big Picture Stuff:
Be nice to one another, I really value respect in debates (especially CX)
Read whatever you are comfortable with, I will judge based on the contents of the round- I definitely have more experience with Policy arguments though, so do with that what you will
Tech>Truth but you need warrants
Don't read death good or anything that could be deemed offensive in front of me!
T: I enjoy T debates with substantive and applicable interps/deep lit bases- try not to read contrived interps- I normally default to competing interpretations but reasonability is cool too
CP: condo is probably good- aff teams should read lots of theory against cheaty CPs- I'm a good judge for CP/DA debates- I like CPs with funky mechanisms/processes as long as you can explain them clearly and have specific solvency evidence
DA: super fun, have specific link evidence and tell the story of the DA- I <3 turns case
K: not the best judge for Ks- I understand basic K lit such as Capitalism, Settler Colonialism, Security, etc, but reading any other K requires deep explanation and specific links to the aff and the aff's mechanism
Have fun! :)
Hello! My name is TJ Riggs and I'm a Junior Policy Debater at Samford University (Qualed to NDT 2022m 2023) and coach of the SpeakFirst debate team. I have been debating since sophomore year of high school at both the state and national level. I always try my best to avoid intervention and I will generally weigh tech over truth. That being said, I reserve the right to gut check egregiously false claims. I am a pretty active listener, so if you see me nodding my head then I am probably vibing with your args. If I look confused or unconvinced you'll probably see it on my face. I look forward to judging you!
INCLUDE ME ON THE EMAIL CHAIN: email@example.com
Below is a more comprehensive list of my judging preferences:
1 - LARP/Policy
2 - Trad
3 - K's
4 - Dense Phil
Strike - Tricks
Traditional (V/VC Framework): Traditional debate is where I got my start, and I always love hearing a solid traditional round. Framework is important, however I also heavily value the impact debate. Explicitly tell me why under your framework your impacts matter. Being able to tie your case together is essential.
Dense Phil: Eh, not really my favorite. I am generally unconvinced that intentions matter more than consequences in the face of extinction level scenarios. Not to say I won't vote on it but I probably should not be at the top of your pref sheet.
Tricks: Tricks are really stupid and bad for debate. I honestly don't even really care if your opponent just refuses to acknowledge them the whole round, I'm still probably not going to drop them for it. Go ahead and strike me :)
Adv/DA: Easy, clean debate. Please clearly announce when you are moving to the next advantage or disadvantage. If you are reading an advantage aff please read a plan, even if it’s “Plan: Do The Res”.
CP: Counterplans are always nice. Run them as you please, and I’m happy to listen. I don't love PIC's in LD but I will listen to them. 1 or 2 condo is probably ok, more than that starts to push it. 3+ contradictory options and it starts getting bad for you.
Theory/T: Theory and T are fine as long as it’s reasonably warranted. Topicality really has to be warranted or I’m not going to drop them for it. I think topic relevant definitions are important, I probably won't drop them because your dictionary.com definition of "the" meaning "all" probably won't convince me they aren't topical. Please make sure you are familiar with the format of Theory and T shells, don’t run them if you aren’t. I will listen to RVI arguments (LD not Policy). I will listen to Frivolous Theory because it is your time and you can do with it as you please but I won't give you the round over it, so its most likely a waste of your breath.
Kritiks: Topical Kritiks are fine. Non-topical Kritiks are not my favorite but if it is properly warranted i'll vote on it. Familiar with most standard K lit, anything fancy please explain well.
Preferences (Public Forum):
Email Chains: Up to debaters if they would like to chain.
Evidence Standard: Not a fan of paraphrasing. Let the experts who wrote your cards do the talking for you. I won't instantly drop you for paraphrasing ev, but I will read the evidence and am open to arguments from your opponent as to why paraphrasing is bad. Excessive exaggeration of what your evidence says will hurt your speaker points and possibly even your chance at the ballot.
Extending Arguments: Please argue the substance of your ev, not just the taglines. I am going to be much more inclined to buy your evidence if you thoughtfully explain why it specifically answers parts of the flow. Just saying "Extend Riggs 2021" is not sufficient. Carry your arguments through the flow, I should be able to draw a line from your constructive to your final focus and see the argument evolve throughout the round.
Speed: I'm cool with any speed. Spreading is fine, but please articulate. If I can not understand you I will say "clear". Please do not go faster than you are capable of, many arguments can be made just as well by slowing down and sticking to the point.
Speaker Points: Clarity is key for speaks. Please be respectful to your opponent, being rude will result in points being docked.
If you have any questions about my judging style, experience, or preferences, please feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Put me on the chain -- email@example.com
I did policy debate at Washburn Rural High School (2013-17) and the University of Southern California (2017-21). I also previously coached LD at the Marlborough School (2018-21).
Update as of 2022
I am no longer actively involved in debate. If I'm judging you, please assume its the first debate I've judged on the topic.
Your burden is to make it make sense -- I am pretty neutral on whatever "it" is. Choose a strategy (early) and write the ballot for me. The earlier you do it, the better.
Please go like 70% of your fastest speed if you're reading blocks in rebuttals. If you want it to show up in my decision, I need to be able to type it.
I'm more tech>truth in policy, but that may differ in other activities depending on the context (and framing of the debate). That said -- not a fan of args that only win if dropped. Don't just throw args at the wall to see what sticks. Thoughtful strategy and creative argumentation are the way to good speaks.
Cards dumps as substitution for deeper analysis is bad. Use evidence for warrants, not claims. If your highlighting is just a repeat of the tag, you might as well not have read the card.
I will not vote for moral blackmail -- this applies to “vote for me or else I have to quit” and similar. If you have a concern like this, talk to your opponent/coaches/me outside of the round, but please do not make my ballot the arbiter of that decision (!!!)
Always 1%----------------------------X----------0% Risk a Thing
Stone Faced------------------------X------------Reacts to your args
K vs Policy
Vote to affirm me------------------------------X Vote to affirm my argument
Link of omission-------------------------X-----Omit this argument
Not our Baudrillard----------------------------X Yes your Baudrillard
Ks don't have to link to the plan, the aff gets to be weighed. Again, consequences matter to me.
K Affs v Framework usually comes down to who wins what the purpose of debate is.
Nebel T---------------------------------X------------Pragmatic Interps
Short Policy Debate-X------------------------------Different Type of Debate
I refuse to vote for theory I subjectively believe to be frivolous regardless of the line by line, but speeches can alter my views on what is frivolous. Yes 1AR theory.
- Reading your blocks monotone at 100% speed
- "Do you disclose speaks"
- Bad/miscut/misrepresented evidence :(
- Tagging cards "extinction" and nothing else :(
- Asking for cards or combining speech docs and saying its not prep????
- Asking what cards were read when no cards were marked
- Google docs :(
One Last Thing
If there is something/someone that you feel unsafe around, I am more than happy to assist you in finding the resources necessary to remedy the problem, but I ask they do not become a central component in the debate. That's not to say your concerns are not welcome or invalid, but I'd rather pursue a solution rather than give you a ballot and move on with my day.
My email is firstname.lastname@example.org
2023 NDT Champion
2023 CEDA Champion
I used to read plans and afropess. I used to do LD in high school.
The Black Chorus Sings
I'm a traditional parent judge. I focus on how you present and lay your framework and how strongly you do your research to support your contentions.
I'll time you guys, but I suggest you time yourselves and your opponents.
I like debaters who speak clearly and seem confident. I do not like to see arrogance. During Cross exams- respect your opponent- do not cut or be rude ( I will count it negetive) .
Have questions reach me at email@example.com
Law Magnet High School: 2012-2016
The University of Texas at Dallas: 2016-2019
Assistant debate coach at Coppell HS: 2018-now
firstname.lastname@example.org - I would like to be on the email chain :)
Case: You should read it. Lots of it. It's good, makes for good debates and is generally underutilized. Impact turns are best when they are debated correctly.
Topicality: I enjoy T debates. If you're looking for a judge willing to pull the trigger on T, I'm probably a good judge for you.
DAs: DAs are a core debate argument and I love judging DA(& CP) v. case debates. Specific DAs are always a plus, but obviously that's not always possible. I tend default to an offense/defense paradigm.
Counterplans: A well thought out specific counterplan are one of the strongest debate tools that you can use. I will vote on almost any cp if you can win that it is theoretically legitimate and that it has a net benefit.
Kritiks: I have a pretty good grasp of a lot of the more popular Kritiks, but that isn't an excuse for a lack of explanation when reading your argument. But be aware that if you are reading more PoMo/high-theory args, you might have to explain the arg a bit more.
K AFFs: I have no problem with teams running untopical affs but this doesn't mean that I wont pull the trigger on FW, you still have to win the affs model ow the negs model of debate.
Theory: I have no problem voting on theory if it is well warranted. I honestly believe affirmative teams let the negative get away with a ton of stuff, and shouldn't be afraid to not only run theory but to go for it and go for it hard.
*Note for online debates: I'm very forgetful and my keyboard is loud af, so if I forget to mute, remind me to mute myself if the keyboard noise is being bothersome.
(Scroll down for my PF paradigm)
Theory/T -> K -> Case
Drop the arg
I do LD. I've qualled to the toc and reached deep elims in a few tournaments.
Disclaimer: I haven't done anything debate-related for two years, so I will be rusty with getting back into it.
Framework: I enjoy framework debates. Although I am a progressive debater, I do understand and can vote off of framework if sufficient enough for me. Just remember to extend reasons as to why your framework should take precedence in this round. Also, don't confuse your case with the framework and cross-apply your case arguments to justify your framework. They are two very different layers of debate.
Kritiks: Kritiks are my favorite part of debate. If you are planning to run a K, please make sure you understand how to debate a K and know sufficiently about the K to debate it.
Theory: When there is real in-round abuse, I think theory is a good check to it. However, when you run theory just for the sake of winning, it's annoying. I will vote off frivolous theory and a priori arguments but with very great displeasure (expect a drop of speaker points). Disclosure is probably good.
Topicality: Topicality arguments are great.
P/CP: Case arguments that pertain to the topic are great. I like clever plans and counter-plans. PiCs are great as well. I'll take whatever you got but remember to extend.
Contentions: If you aren't a progressive debater, this may seem more familiar to you. I am completely fine with lay and traditional arguments, and don't let the previous stuff scare you into thinking that.
Extend: If you don't extend your case in the rebuttal speeches, I'm not going to flow it through the round.
Impact Calculus: I, as the judge, can't attach a value as to how I'm going to judge an argument if you don't tell me how to assign that value. Please remember to weigh your arguments and be explicit.
Add me to the email chain if you are spreading: email@example.com
Please don't spread if your opponents can't either; it's abusive and doesn't promote educational practices that way.
If you're going to be fast, don't read paraphrased evidence. I will not flow it.
Framework: Although I know that PF is more of a contention level debate, I have seen interesting frameworks being used, so I'm open to new and interesting frameworks that work on proving your point. I default to CBA if no framework is mentioned.
Contentions: You are free to use whatever arguments that you think may help you and if I think you won that, I'll vote for it.
Crossfire: I think crossfire is my favorite part of PF debate. Please keep it civil but don't be afraid to make some sassy comments or ask good questions.
Extend: If you don't extend your case in the summary speech, I'm not going to flow it through the round.
Impact Calculus: This is critical, especially in public forum. I, as the judge, can't attach a value as to how I'm going to judge an argument if you don't tell me how to assign that value. Please remember to weigh your arguments.
Defense: Defense is not "sticky." You need to cleanly extend the defense you want me to evaluate in the summary and ff if you want me to evaluate it.
Theory: I will evaluate theory just as how it is evaluated in LD and CX. You do not need to ask your opponent if you can run theory or not; that's silly.
Please don't shake my hand, thanks.
In my mind there are two serious reasons you might be reading my paradigm: either 1. you are determining prefs before a tournament or 2. you are determining how I will respond to your strategy before the round. I have organized my paradigm accordingly.
Listed below are the things I think are most important to point out about the way I judge, and the places where I might differ from the "consensus" of the debate community. If I do not bring up a certain issue, you should assume that I adopt the general "consensus view." If there is a particularly question that is important to you that I do not mention, you should absolutely feel free to email me before a tournament or even before a round. I will not write you an essay on what arguments to go for but I will answer straightforward yes or no questions like "is inserting a card ok if it was read in cx" (yes) or "when debated equally, do you think a textually legitimate but functionally illegitimate perm is valid if both teams agree a counterplan must be textually and functionally competitive" (also yes). If you are unsure whether your question is appropriate, ask anyway.
-I like smart arguments. I like line by line. I like spreading (while being clear) and reading lots of cards and comparing evidence.
-I put substantial effort into evaluating every debate I judge to the best of my ability. That being said, the following is a ranking from most to least of my average confidence in evaluating each type of debate: DA/CP/Case Turn v Policy Aff, T v Policy Aff, K v Policy Aff, T/FW/DA v K Aff, K v K Aff.
-Debate is a competitive research game with a winner and a loser. It is my job to determine who the winner and the loser are based on who does the better debating in the round. It is very difficult to convince me to vote for something outside of the round (however, a team responding to "out-of-round" arguments should still defend why these arguments exceed the ballot's purview).
-I have not judged many T-USFG/FW debates, so I am not sure how idiosyncratic my approach of them is compared to common community practices. However, all else being equal, I have yet to see a convincing argument for why the affirmative should not have to defend a topical plan.
For Pre- (and Post-) round
-Do not over-adapt. Do what you do, do it well, and you will get my ballot.
-I am easily impressed by debaters who demonstrate that they command an extensive but approachable understanding of American foreign policy, the internal politics of other countries, "critical" debates in academia, etc. I am easily depressed by debaters who's knowledge of these subject is superficial or who can not describe these things in a way that is easily digestible. The best way to prove to me your quality as a speaker is to debate an important area of study both in-depth and in a way that a non-expert could understand.
-Have perm texts (it's ok to insert them).
-I generally flow in-person debates on paper. If you think you are going too fast you are. If you think you are unclear you are. Please slow down when you are making a lot of non-carded arguments in constructives, especially on T/Theory/K OVs.
-Generally, after the debate ends, I will create a list of the questions I need to resolve to determine which side won. If the answers to any of these questions can clearly be determined based on my flow I will resolve them in the appropriate way. Finally, I will read the evidence presented by both teams on the more ambiguous questions on my list, and incorporate evidence, spin, and analytical arguments into evaluating them. Therefore, while good evidence is always important, evidence quality begins to matter a lot more to me if you have done less work with spin/analytics/etc, which is something you should keep in mind in how you approach your 2nr/2ar.
-Online: I highly encourage you to turn on your video if you are able to do so. Debate is a communicative activity and seeing you speak significantly helps me understand you on a psychological level.
-If the most precise reading of the resolution results in a bad topic, that's a gripe for the topic comity, not a justification for trying to re-define the topic (on either the aff or the neg). Is it possible to win my ballot on debatability? Yes. Does it require a lot of impact work? Also yes.
-Instead of focusing on only winning I should look at debatiability, predictability, or any of their component parts, consider how I will evaluate the round after it ends. Often times both teams have offered multiple lenses that modify one or more of these categories and how they interact. The teams that win T debates in front of me are usually the ones who come closest to identifying all the impacts and framing devices in the debate and explaining how they resolve.
-I love the politics DA. However, politics DAs require a story. The words "strong-arming moderates" in your uq ev + an "aff requires PC" card do not a story make. I will give good points for (decent) innovative politics strategies because I think they get at the heart of what makes debate fun and the ambiguities that fiat creates.
-There is a direct, positive, linear relationship between the amount of impact calc you do and how likely I am to vote for you. I know that's a cliché and I'm still including it here which should clue you in to how important this is. This also means that I am not a fan of framing contentions, and I only think they are useful in so far as you impact out and do impact calc with the applicable arguments on the appropriate DA or counterplan page. This is not to say I will throw out framing contentions; I will still try to adjudicate the debate as fairly as possible, just know that all else being equal I lean negative on theses issues and if you are running a framing contention you are better off convincing me the neg's impacts are securitized and bad then you are convincing me that DAs are fake.
-I default to counterplans needing to be functionally and textually competitive. However, the way the affirmative determines if the CP meets that burden is the permutation. Therefore, when debated equally, a textually legitimate but functionally illegitimate perm is valid.
-I am sympathetic to being time pressed in the 2AC and think the threshold for a sufficient explanation for a perm or solvency deficit in the 2AC is that I am able to reasonably predict the subsequent 1AR explanation. However, I am a lot less sympathetic to perms and solvency deficits (especially impacts to solvency deficits) that sound substantially different in the 2AR then they do in the 1AR (or that barely feature in the 1AR but feature prominently in the 2AR). While this is opposite to your strategic incentives, the earlier you explain your arguments the better for me as a judge, and perms or solvency deficits that are explained thoroughly in the 2AC require less time investment to explain in the 1AR, so there is a cost/benefit calculus you have to take on.
-In my mind, perms are a yes/no question. My default way to evaluate perms is to look at each one, see if it clearly establishes that the counterplan is not an opportunity cost the the plan, and depending on if the answer is yes or no discard the counterplan or move on to other arguments respectively. One implication of this is that I am generally unsympathetic to "any risk of a link to the net benefit" answers to the perm. Nevertheless, my stance on perms as a yes/no question is somewhat malleable if debaters make explicit arguments for why I should understand the perm in a different way.
-I view CPs through the lens of negation theory. The negative is, first and foremost, responsible for giving me a reason the aff is bad (not just a reason the aff is less good than it could be). That means all counterplans must have offensive net benefits. I will never vote for a counterplan whose net benefit is better aff solvency. Even if the counterplan solves the aff better, and is mutually exclusive with the aff, it has not provided a reason the aff is bad.
-By default neg leaning on theory. The two most important things to my ballot on a theory argument: 1. Win topic side bias AND/OR how this theory argument implicates this topic specifically AND explain the implications of this. 2. Do impact calc. These debates often get messy, so being simple and formulaic is to your benefit.
-If judge kick is not brought up in the debate, I will kick the CP for you if it has been clearly designated as conditional/dispositional. Otherwise, I will evaluate the arguments for/against judge kick presented in the debate. If the counterplan has not been clearly designated as conditional I will not kick it.
-If neither team forwards a "middle ground" fw interpretation, like "weigh the advantage but also weigh reps links," I will not intervene and make one for you. I will only decide between the fw interpretations forwarded by either side, but a team can make arguments that modifying its fw interpretation in later speeches to attempt to take the "middle of the road" and capture the other team's offense.
-I am uncomfortable adjudicating anything other than the debating that took place within the round I am assigned. If there is harassment within the round, I hold the appropriate course of action to be stopping the debate and going to tab, where I am happy to argue that the team doing the harassment should be expelled from the tournament and talk to the team's coaches about the debaters facing repercussions. If there is harassment outside the round, talk to me and/or send me an email and we can go to tab and/or try to determine an appropriate course of action.
-I think debate is no fun when everyone is up-tight and being a little fun and/or silly is a good thing. However, this should never come at the expense of debating well.
-I am probably a better judge for arguments like death good than the rest of this paradigm makes it seem.
-If you feel unsafe during a round for any reason, send me an email.
-I am still paying attention even I am staring off into the distance, especially if I am flowing on my computer.
-If you have committed SA don't pref me.
Jared Shirts (he/him)
Email Chain - Put me on the email chain. My email is firstname.lastname@example.org.
Background - I did four years of policy at Gunn High School as a 1A/2N. I ran primarily policy strategies on both the aff and the neg during my time in high school. I reached TOC quarterfinals in 2022.
Lay Debate Tourneys - I love lay debate. If this is a CFL League tourney or NSDA, I'm happy to judge as a parent judge. If there is a lay judge on the panel, adapt to them, not to me.
General Thoughts - Judge instruction is everything. Don't over-adapt to anything below, my preferences will always be overcome by effective debating. Just debate your strengths, and I'll try not to let my predispositions shape my view of your arguments.
T - A case list is necessary. I default to competing interpretations. Don't assume I know the topic intricacies.
DA - Like them. Impact calculus is critical.
CP - Don't speed through analytic blocks on competition debates - explanation is critical. I'll judge kick if you tell me to.
Theory - Slow down on theory debating. I lean aff on international and multi-actor fiat. I lean neg on every other theory violation, and heavily neg when against new affs. Numerical interpretations for # of condo are arbitrary - condo is either good or bad.
Case - Love case strategies. DA Case 2NRs are severely underutilized, and strategies that rely on case pushes in the 2NR will be rewarded with speaks. Presumption exists, although it relies on either exceptional case debating or severe technical concessions.
K's - I have at least a basic understanding of most K literature. Historical examples and in-depth explanations are very valuable. Not a fan of giant overviews.
K Affs - Go for it. I typically went for FW against K affs. Fairness can be an impact if explained well, but it's a debate to be had.
Framing - I ran soft left affs most of high school, so I'm receptive to framing pages. Framing pages based on risk analysis and serial policy failure are significantly more persuasive to me than "structural violence first always" framing.
Speaks - Average debate will be around 28.6. Above 28.8 means I think you deserve to break, below 28 means there is something that needs to be improved upon.
- Debate is an educational activity, and I feel completely comfortable ignoring arguments that add no value (or negative value) to the activity. Here is my brightline: if you would not feel comfortable extending an argument unless it were completely conceded, you should not read it.Arguments like evaluate the debate after X speech, Zeno's paradox, Meno's Paradox, etc. (at least the way they're read as one-liners) all fall into this category. You have been warned. On the other hand, I would certainly vote on other types of 'tricks' that are interesting and have good warrants (if your argument is carded from a philosophical journal, for instance, it is probably legitimate). If you can execute this kind of a strategy well, I will likely be impressed and reward your speaks.
- I strongly prefer the type of rounds where debaters extemp smart, intuitive arguments, and make high-level strategy decisions about what to do. On the other hand, if your strategy relies on reading mainly off the doc without any original thinking, I am not the judge for you and your speaks will almost certainly be capped. Essentially, your speaks are a function of how strategic your decisions were and how much original thinking you put into the round.
- Check out the Circuit Debater Library wiki for explanations on all of the most common LD arguments!
Hey, I'm Zach, and I debated for Scarsdale High School '21 in LD, where I broke at the TOC twice. I now coach LD at Scarsdale and attend Princeton '25, pursuing a major in computer science and minors in philosophy and mathematics.
I have the most experience judging theory and philosophical framework debates. I have less experience judging policy and K debates, although I will do my best to evaluate all rounds in a non-interventionist manner. I feel fine judging clash debates (e.g. policy v K) but you DO NOT want me in the back of the room if the round comes down to a technical policy debate.
- Arguments must have a claim, warrant, and impact. If I do not understand the warrant of an argument or do not believe it to justify the claim, I will not vote on it. I won't vote on extended arguments if I don't catch them in previous speeches.
- I will attempt to default to the assumptions made by debaters in the round. However, if this seems unclear, on theory, I will default to fairness, education, competing interps, no RVIs, and drop the debater, and on substance, truth testing with presumption and permissibility negating.
- I will not vote on out of round violations that, if contested, provide no clear way to resolve who is correct. That means I will not check the wiki or any other source external to the debate round, and in many cases, I will drop the violation in question if I feel there is no objective way to determine who is correct.
- I will follow the NSDA guide when evaluating evidence ethics concerns. If you want to stake the round on an issue, you may, but know that A. I strongly prefer you debate the concern in round, and B. If you stake the round, win, but I feel the violation is frivolous (e.g. ellipses, brackets that don't change the meaning of the card, etc.), your speaks will be capped.
- I will not vote on argument extensions that logically prevent the opponent from responding by being reliant upon the truth value of the original argument (e.g. extending no neg arguments by saying the neg's responses don't apply because they are neg arguments) because the original argument could only be true if the original argument could take out responses to itself, which is circular.
- Try to have some fun! Debate can become monotonous, and I'm sure everyone would benefit from having a more entertaining round (including your speaks).
elijahjdsmith AT gmail.com
My General Thoughts on Debate
Debate is what you make it. I have an extensive history in circuit policy/ld and college policy debate. I care about education more than fairness, good cards over the quantity of positions, and quality arguments over the number of arguments in a debate.
An argument has a claim, warrant, and impact in a single speech.
The role of the affirmative is to affirm and the role of the negative is to negate the affirmative in an intellectually rigorous manner. However, I would personally like to hear the affirmative say we should do something. I would prefer to hear about an actor outside of the folks reading the 1AC (Nonprofits, governments, the debate community as a whole, etc) do something but that is not a requirement. Most of it sounds good to me.
Please don’t say racist, sexist, ableist things or things that otherwise participate in -isms . Sometimes these are learning moments. Sometimes these are losing moments.
If there was an accessibility, disclosure, or other request made before the debate that you plan to bring up in the debate please inform me before the debate. I would like to evaluate the debate with this information ahead of time. More personal issues/things that someone did last year are difficult for me to understand as relevant to my ballot.
I decide debates by figuring out 1. framing issue 2. offense 3. good defense 4. if the evidence is as good as you say it is 5. deciding which world /side would result in a better outcome (whatever that means for the debate in front of me)
These thoughts are fairly general yet firmly how I think about debate.
My RFDs have been less "little c, little d mattered to my ballot" and "let's talk about the conceptual, big-picture things that both sides missed that will help you win the next debate". If you want the small line-by-line issues to matter as much you have to give them weight in your final speech. That requires time, investment in explanation, and comparative claims.
Tricks, silly arguments, etc. Please skip. I haven't read your ethics phil but I've voted on it when it makes sense. 4+ off is grounds for a condo debate. K links require longer than 15 seconds to explain.
If you already know what evidence you are going to read in the debate/speech you have to send a document via email chain or provide the evidence on a google document that is shared with your opponents before the debate. Those cards have to be provided before the speech begins.
You don’t get unlimited prep time to ask for cards before prep time is used. A PF debate can’t take as long as a policy debate. You have 30 seconds to request and there are then 30 seconds to provide the evidence. If you can’t provide it within 30 seconds your prep will run until you do.
The Final Focus should actually be focused. You have to implicate your argument against every other argument in the debate. You can’t do that if you go for 3 or 4 different arguments.
Hi, I'm Allyson Spurlock (people also call me Bunny)
I did policy debate for 4 years at CK McClatchy High School in Sacramento, CA where I qualified to the TOC three times and was a Quarterfinalist. I am currently a debater at Georgetown.
I will diligently flow the debate, read the relevant evidence flagged by the final rebuttals, and assign relative weight to arguments (which originate completely/clearly from the constructives) in accordance with depth of explanation, explicit response to refutations, and instruction in how I should evaluate them.
I have few non-obvious preferences or opinions (obviously, be a respectful and kind person, read qualified/well-cut + highlighted evidence, make smart strategic choices, etc).
I have thought a lot about both critical and policy arguments and honestly do not think you should pref me a certain way because of the kinds of arguments you make (HOW you make them is pretty much all I care about). Judge instruction is paramount; tell me how to read evidence, frame warrants, compare impacts, etc.
Evidence quality matters a lot to me, but your speeches need to do the work of extending/applying specific warrants. Condo is probably good, but many CPs I think can be won are theoretically illegitimate/easily go away with smart perms. Debating the risks of internal links of Advs and DAs is much more useful than reading generic impact defense.
Different approaches (on both sides) are all fine, as long as you answer the important questions. Does debate change our subjectivity? What is the role of negation and rejoinder? What does the ballot do? Fairness can be an impact but the 2NR still needs to do good impact calculus/comparison.
Policy Aff v K:
FW debates are often frustratingly unresolved; the final rebuttal should synthesize arguments and explain their implications. Because of this, it is often a cleaner ballot for the 2NR to have a unique link that turns the case and beats the aff without winning framework. 2ACs should spend more time on the alt; most are bad and it is very important to decisively win that the Neg cannot access your offense.
Would prefer not to judge debates about silly theory arguments, RVIs, T arguments written by coaches, or other tricks. Err on the side of extra explanation for LD-specific things.
+0.2 speaker points if you don't ask for a marked doc after the speech
Yes, put me on the chain: email@example.com
Please let me know if there are any accessibility requirements before the round so I can do my part.
Updated for 2023-24
I currently coach full-time for Michigan State University. Previously, I coached at Dartmouth for five years from 2018-2023. I debated at the University of Central Oklahoma for four years and graduated in 2018. I also used to coach at Harvard-Westlake, Kinkaid, and Heritage Hall.
The 2023-24 season is the first time in a long time where I am not actively coaching a high school team. If you see me entered in the judge pool at a high school tournament this year, it's primarily for recruiting purposes (Go Green!). I am not an expert in the 23-24 high school topic, so please take this into account when using acronyms or making niche references.
LD skip down to the bottom.
October 2023 Musings
I don't mean to sound like a curmudgeon, but what happened to flowing and line-by-line? Stop. flowing. off the doc. Flowing is fundamental and you need to actually do it. Please stop over-scripting your speeches. I promise you will sound so much better when you debate off the flow.
I could not agree more with Tracy McFarland here: 'Clash - it's good - which means you need to flow and not script your speeches. LBL with some clear references to where you're at = good. Line by line isn't answer the previous speech in order - it's about grounding the debate in the 2ac on off case, 1nc on case.'
In most of the college rounds I've judged so far this year, I have noticed that debaters are overly reliant on reading a wall of cards to substitute for actual debating. I don't know who hurt you, but you don't need to read 10 cards in the 1AR. Reading cards is easy and anyone can do it. I want to see you debate.
No judge will ever like all of the arguments you make, but I will always attempt to evaluate them fairly. I appreciate judges who are willing to listen to positions from every angle, so I try to be one of those judges. I have coached strictly policy teams, strictly K teams, and everything in between because I love all aspects of the game. I would be profoundly bored if I only judged certain teams or arguments. At most tournaments I find myself judging a little bit of everything: a round where the 1NC is 10 off and the letter 'K' is never mentioned, a round where the affirmative does not read a plan and the neg suggests they should, a round where the neg impact turns everything under the sun, a round where the affirmative offers a robust defense of hegemony vs a critique, etc. I enjoy judging a variety of teams with different approaches to the topic.
Debate should be fun and you should debate in the way that makes it valuable for you, not me.
My predispositions about debate are not so much ideological as much as they are systematic, i.e. I don't care which set of arguments you go for, but I believe every argument must have a claim, warrant, impact, and a distinct application.
If I had to choose another judge I mostly closely identify with, it would be John Cameron Turner but without the legal pads.
I don't mind being post-rounded or answering a lot of questions. I did plenty of post-rounding as a debater and I recognize it doesn't always stem from anger or disrespect. That being said, don't be a butthead. I appreciate passionate debaters who care about their arguments and I am always willing to meet you halfway in the RFD.
I am excited to judge your debate. Even if I look tired or grumpy, I promise I care a lot and will always work hard to evaluate your arguments fairly and help you improve.
What really matters to me
Evidence quality matters a lot to me, probably more than other judges. Stop reading cards that don't have a complete sentence and get off my lawn. I can't emphasize enough how much I care about evidence comparison. This includes author quals, context, recency, (re)highlighting, data/statistics, concrete examples, empirics, etc. You are better off taking a 'less is more' approach when debating in front of me. For example, I much rather see you read five, high quality uniqueness cards that have actual warrants highlighted than ten 'just okay' cards that sound like word salad.
This also applies to your overall strategies. For example, I am growing increasingly annoyed at teams who try to proliferate as many incomplete arguments as possible in the 1NC. If your strategy is to read 5 disads in the 1NC that are missing uniqueness or internal links, I will give the aff almost infinite leeway in the 1AR to answer your inevitable sandbagging. I would much rather see well-highlighted, complete positions than the poor excuse of neg arguments that I'm seeing lately. To be clear, I am totally down with 'big 1NCs' -- but I get a little annoyed when teams proliferate incomplete positions.
Case debate matters oh so much to me.Please, please debate the case, like a lot. It does not matter what kind of round it is -- I want to see detailed, in-depth case debate. A 2NC that is just case? Be still, my heart. Your speaker points will get a significant boost if you dedicate significant time to debating the case in the neg block. By "debating the case" I do not mean just reading a wall of cards and calling it a day -- that's not case debate, it's just reading.
I expect you to treat your partner and opponents with basic respect. This is non-negotiable. Some of y'all genuinely need to chill out. You can generate ethos without treating your opponents like your mortal enemy. Pettiness, sarcasm, and humor are all appreciated, but recognize there is a line and you shouldn't cross it. Punching down is cringe behavior. You should never, ever make any jokes about someone else's appearance or how they sound.
Impact framing and judge instruction will get you far. In nearly every RFD I give, I heavily emphasize judge instruction and often vote for the team who does superior judge instruction because I strive to be as non-interventionist as possible.
Cowardice is annoying. Stop running away from debate. Don't shy away from controversy just because you don't like linking to things. This also applies to shady disclosure practices. If you don't like defending your arguments, or explaining what your argument actually means, please consider joining the marching band. Be clear and direct.
Plan texts matter. Most plan texts nowadays are written in a way that avoids clash and specificity. Affirmative teams should know that I am not going to give you much leeway when it comes to recharacterizing what the plan text actually means. If the plan says virtually nothing because you're scared of linking to negative arguments, just know that I will hold you to the words in the plan and won't automatically grant the most generous interpretation. You do not get infinite spin here. Ideally, the affirmative will read a plan text that accurately reflects a specific solvency advocate.
I am not a fan of extreme or reductionist characterizations of different approaches to debate. For example, it will be difficult to persuade me that all policy arguments are evil, worthless, or violent. Critical teams should not go for 'policy debate=Karl Rove' because this is simply a bad, reductionist argument. On the flip side, it would be unpersuasive to argue that all critiques are stupid or meaningless.
I appreciate and reward teams who make an effort to adapt.Unlike many judges, I am always open to being persuaded and am willing to change my mind. I am rigid about certain things, but am movable on many issues. This usually just requires meeting me in the middle; if you adapt to me in some way, I will make a reciprocal effort.
Camera policy: I strongly prefer that we all keep our cameras on during the debate, but there are valid reasons for not having your camera on. I will never penalize you for turning your camera off, but if you can turn it on, let's try. I will always keep my camera on while judging.
Tech glitches: it is your responsibility to record your speeches as a failsafe. I encourage you to record your speeches on your phone/laptop in the event of a tech glitch. If a glitch happens, we will try to resolve it as quickly as possible, and I will follow the tournament's guidelines.
Slow down a bit in the era of e-sports debate. I'll reward you for it with points. No, you don't have to speak at a turtle's pace, but maybe we don't need to read 10-off?
I care more about solvency advocates than most judges. This does not mean I automatically vote against a counterplan without a solvency advocate. Rather, this is a 'heads up' for neg teams so they're aware that I am generally persuaded by affirmative arguments in this area. It would behoove neg teams to read a solvency advocate of some kind, even if it's just a recutting of affirmative evidence.
I will only judge kick if told to do so, assuming the aff hasn't made any theoretical objections.
I am not interested in judging or evaluating call-outs, or adjacent arguments of this variety. I care deeply about safety and inclusion in this activity and I will do everything I can to support you. But, I do not believe that a round should be staked on these issues and I am not comfortable giving any judge that kind of power.
Please do not waste your breath asking for a 30. I'm sorry, but it's not going to happen.
Generally speaking, profanity should be avoided. In most cases, it does not make your arguments or performance more persuasive. Excessive profanity is extremely annoying and may result in lower speaks. If you are in high school, I absolutely do not want to hear you swear in your speeches. I am an adult, and you are a teenager -- I know it feels like you're having a big ethos moment when you drop an F-bomb in the 2NC but I promise it is just awkward/cringe.
If you clip, you will lose the round and receive 0 speaker points. I will vote against you for clipping EVEN IF the other team does not call you on it. I know what clipping is and feel 100% comfortable calling it. Mark your cards and have a marked copy available.
If you cite or cut a card improperly, I evaluate these issues on a sliding scale. For example, a novice accidentally reading a card that doesn't have a complete citation is obviously different from a senior varsity debater cutting a card in the middle of a sentence or paragraph. Unethical evidence practices can be reasons to reject the team and/or a reason to reject the evidence itself, depending on the unique situation.
At the college level, I expect ya'll to handle these issues like adults. If you make an evidence ethics accusation, I am going to ask if you want to stop the round to proceed with the challenge.
Updated September 2023 to reflect a few changes.
Conflicts: Harvard-Westlake (assistant director of debate 2018-2022), and Strake Jesuit.
My background is in policy debate, but I am very fluent in LD. I do not actively coach LD beyond occasionally helping the Strake kids, though I am familiar with the RTH housing topic.
If you are asking questions about what was read or skipped in the speechdoc, that counts as CX time. If you are simply asking where a specific card was marked, that is okay and does not count as CX time. If you want your opponent to send out a speechdoc that includes only the things they read, that counts as your CX time or prep time -- it is your responsibility to flow.
You need to be on time. I cannot stress this enough. LDers consistently run late and it drives me bonkers. Your speaks will be impacted if you are excessively late without a reasonable excuse.
Q:I primarily read policy (or LARP) arguments, should I pref you?
Q: I read a bunch of tricks/meta-theory/a prioris/paradoxes, should I pref you?
A: No thank you.
Q: I read phil, should I pref you?
A: I'm not ideologically opposed to phil arguments like I am with tricks. I do not judge many phil debates because most of the time tricks are involved, but I don't have anything against philosophical positions. I would be happy to judge a good phil debate. You may need to do some policy translation so I understand exactly what you're saying.
Q: I really like Nebel T, should I pref you?
A: No, you shouldn't. He's a very nice and smart guy, but cutting evidence from debate blogs is such a meme. If you'd like to make a similar argument, just find non-Nebel articles and you'll be fine. This applies to most debate coach evidence read in LD. To be clear, you can read T:whole rez in front of me, just not Nebel blog cards.
Q: I like to make theory arguments like 'must spec status' or 'must include round reports for every debate' or 'new affs bad,' should I pref you?
A: Not if those arguments are your idea of a round-winning strategy. Can you throw them in the 1NC/1AR? Sure, that's fine. Will I be persuaded by new affs bad? No.
Q: Will you ever vote for an RVI?
A: Nope. Never. I don't flow them.
Q: Will you vote for any theory arguments?
A: Of course. I am good for more policy-oriented theory arguments like condo good/bad, PICs good/bad, process CPs good/bad, etc.
Q: Will you vote for Ks?
A: Of course. Love em.
Any other questions can be asked before the round or email me.
I have been speaking professionally in the corporate and academic spaces for 15 years, and I've taught rhetoric and argument for over a decade at both the university and high school level.
With that background, my focus is on actual debate of ideas through well-formed, well-delivered arguments. Rhetoric is the art of persuasion, and I expect to be persuaded, not bombarded with as much information as possible.
I do not want to hear spreading. I will drop you for attempting it, or simply attempting to speak as fast as possible. Having more arguments does not equate to having a better argument. You don't have to speak slowly--I can keep up--but there should be no speed talking.
Similarly, I have no patience for debating about debating. We participate in Speech and Debate because we believe people can arrive at consensus and solutions through expressing and debating ideas in the real world. We should, therefore, debate about the real issues. I will easily recognize and drop you for debate tricks or arguing the theory of debate/theory shells.
I want to hear clear warranting and impacting from evidence that establishes a logical progression, logic which avoids tautological traps, reductive debater math, and slippery slope/post hoc/complex cause fallacies (PFers, enough nuclear holocaust). I weigh on soundness of cause and effect, not the effects themselves.
I can judge off flow and of course expect weighing, but I'm much more focused on you proving your argument is stronger, not proving to me that your opponent didn't respond correctly, or why it is that I shouldn't choose their argument, so avoid focusing solely on the flow.
Feel free to run k and bring in critical theory, but please know that I have a PhD in critical theory, so if you run it you better be able to prove you know the theory itself and not just some reductive version of it. Proof that you're running a frame you don't understand will get you dropped.
Finally, I expect each competitor to treat their opponent with respect and decency. Any aggressive tactics or bullying (cutting off, talking over in cross, verbal reactions during opponent's speech, etc.) are frowned upon and can lose you the round.
Please, I beg, read the things I write here. I didn't write it for no reason.
I'm Fiker (pronounced like sticker). She/her/hers. I debated a bit in high school which is mostly unimportant, and then did four years (2015-2019) at Texas Tech University. I (and my partner) won the NRR and I won all 3 national top speaker awards in 2019. I judged and graduate-assistant coached for TTU in my masters (graduated 2021) and was acting Director for a year. I then spent a year as the Director of Debate at Grapevine High School. I now am the Associate Director of Debate at Mercer University. So it goes.
I generally think debate is a game, but a useful and important one. It may not be "fiat" but it does influence the real world by how we exist inside of it. Let's not forget we're human beings. Read what you want, I certainly did. However, I do not intend on imposing my own ideals onto debaters, so please have whatever round you want so long as we respect one another as humans. Speed isn't usually an issue but if we're blazing, let me know so I can use paper and not my laptop. 90% of debaters lose rounds in front of me because they have not read the specifics of my paradigm and how I tend to come down on questions of evaluation, so don’t let that be you, too. I don’t understand presumption most likely. Not something you want to stake your round.
Things to keep in mind: My favorite arguments are well warranted critical arguments that I can actually learn and grow from; also, Japan re-arm. I like to do as little work as possible when it comes to making decisions on the flow so please be incredibly explicit when making claims as I will not fill in arguments not being made in the round. Impact calculus is essential. However many warrants you have, double it. Condo is good, but don't test the decently sturdy limits. I don't really get presumption and may not be in your best interest to stake the round on it. Thought experiments aren't real. Jokes are fun. 9/10 the MG theory is not worth it. I will only evaluate what you tell me to. If I have not been given a way to evaluate arguments, everything becomes flow centric. This will not work out for you if things become a long chain of arguments as I will just default to whatever the most convincing and well-fleshed out argument is otherwise with no other weighing mechanism. Saying words is NOT the same thing as making an argument. I need to know either 1) what that means for the sake of the round/impact of the round, 2) how this helps me to evaluate/interpret other arguments or, 3) needs to be explicit enough to do all that in the nature of saying the argument. Cool you said it, but what am I supposed to do with it now?
Affs: Read them and be very well warranted within them. Pull from the aff throughout the debate as I feel this is one of the least utilized forms of offense in the round. K affs are fine (I'm a big fan) just make sure the things you say make sense and do something. I think because I have read a lot of Ks in my time that people think I will vote them up regardless, which is not true. I like offense and warrants and I like not doing work so whoever allows the most of that will be in the better spot regardless. Read case against the aff. Be clear and read texts twice.
DA/CP: Also read these. They need to be complete and fleshed out with good warrants and net benefits where they need to be. Warrant explicitness are your best friend. CPs should come with written texts, imo. I would say I have a slightly higher than average threshold for CP theory but that doesn't mean I won't evaluate it if it is read and defended well (just remember MG theory isn't always worth it if you can just win the substantive).
Theory: I like this and my threshold is pretty equal to substance if run well, but I needneedneed good structure. Interpretations are key, please slow down and repeat them. Now, I don't need several sheets of theory, MG theory, overly high-level theory, and certainly not MO and later theory. Keep it at home. Have voters. Defend them. Competing interpretations is based on the way that the interpretations are being upheld through the resolution of the standards but standards alone do not win without a competitive interpretation. Theory is one shot kill to say both please don’t go hard for the substantive as a backup just go for theory or don’t and don’t go for theory if there’s no proven abuse or if you’re not explaining the abuse in clear detail. In other words, what is the violation AND why is that violation bad?
Ks: I love them, but I don't vote on nothing. Framework needs to be strong or it needs to not bog down the real parts of the argument. Links need to link..... please (generics won't save you)......Alt needs to make sense, repeat them twice for me, and if they're long, I'd like to be told in flex or given a copy. Even if I know your literature, I am not debating. Please do the work for me in round. Identity arguments are fine, do as you please just don't be offensive or overly satirical about real violence. You must still win the actual debate and make the actual arguments for me to vote. This runs both ways, so anyone reading the K should do so if you want but if this is your winning strategy then make sure I know why and am not filling anything in for you where you believe I should be able to. “Use of the state” is a link of omission at best. Not offense alone. You need external reason and if your “use of the state specifically” is just repetition of all the things the state either has done or could do is not enough of a link to prove in the context of the round. How is the METHOD uniquely causing this issue?
Any other questions about my paradigm or my opinions/feelings about debate can be directed to me by email at firstname.lastname@example.org
Have your debate. Live your life. Yee, and dare I say it, haw.
Director of Debate – Greenhill School
Coach USA Debate Team
Owner Global Debate Symposium - https://www.gdsdebate.com/
Updated – April 2022
Please put me on the email chain – email@example.com
Contact me with questions.
Debate rounds, and subsequently debate tournaments, are extensions of the classroom. While we all learn from each other, my role is a critic of argument (if I had to pigeonhole myself with a paradigmatic label as a judge). I will evaluate your performance in as objective a method as possible. Unlike many adjudicators claim to be, I am not a blank slate. If I see behaviors or practices that create a bad, unfair, or hostile environment for the extension of the classroom that is the debate round, I will intervene. I WILL do my best to be an objective evaluator of your arguments but the idea that my social location is not a relevant consideration of how I view/decode (even hear) arguments is just not true (nor do it is true for anyone).
I have coached National and/or State Champions in Policy Debate, Lincoln Douglas Debate, and World Schools Debate (in addition to interpretation/speech events). I still actively coach and am involved in the strategy and argument creation of my students who compete for my school. Given demands on my time, I do not cut as many cards as I once did for Policy and Lincoln Douglas. That said, I am more than aware of the arguments and positions being run in both of these format’s week in and week out.
General thoughts on how I decide debates:
1 – Debate is a communication activity – I will flow what you say in speeches as opposed to flowing off of the speech documents (for the events that share documents). If I need to read cards to resolve an issue, I will do so but until ethos and pathos (re)gain status as equal partners with logos in the persuasion triangle, we will continue to have debates decided only on what is “in the speech doc.” Speech > speech doc.
2 – Be mindful of your “maximum rate of efficiency” – aka, you may be trying to go faster than you are capable of speaking in a comprehensible way. The rate of speed Is not a problem in many contemporary debates, the lack of clarity is an increasing concern. Unstructured paragraphs that are slurred together do not allow the pen time necessary to write things down in the detail you think they might. Style and substance are fundamentally inseparable. This does NOT mean you have to be slow; it does mean you need to be clear.
3 – Evidence is important - In my opinion debates/comparisons about the qualifications of authors on competing issues and warrants (particularly empirical ones), are important. Do you this and not only will your points improve, but I am also likely to prefer your argument if the comparisons are done well.
4 – Online Debating – We have had two years to figure this out. My camera will be on. I expect that your camera is on as well unless there is a technical issue that cannot/has not been resolved in our time online. If there is an equity/home issue that necessitates that your camera is off, I understand that and will defer to your desire to it be off if that is the case. A simple, “I would prefer for my camera to be off” will suffice to inform me of your request.
5 – Disclosure is good (on balance) – I feel that debaters/teams should disclose on the wiki. I have been an advocate of disclosure for decades. I am NOT interested in “got you” games regarding disclosure. If a team/school is against disclosure, defend that pedagogical practice in the debate. Either follow basic tenets of community norms related to disclosure (affirmative arguments, negative positions read, etc.) after they have been read in a debate. While I do think things like full source and/or round reports are good educational practices, I am not interested in hearing debates about those issues. ADA issues: If a student needs to have materials formatted in a matter to address issues of accessibility based on documented learning differences, that request should be made promptly to allow reformatting of that material. Preferably, adults from one school should contact the adult representatives of the other schools to deal with school-sanctioned accountability.
6 – Zero risk is a possibility – There is a possibility of zero risks of an advantage or a disadvantage.
7 – My role as a judge - I will do my best to judge the debate that occurred versus the debate that I wish had happened. I see too many judges making decisions based on evaluating and comparing evidence post the debate that was not done by the students.
8 – Debate the case – It is a forgotten art. Your points will increase, and it expands the options for you to win the debate in the final negative rebuttal.
9 – Good “judge instructions” will make my job easier – While I am happy to make my judgments and comparison between competing claims, I feel that students making those comparisons, laying out the order of operations, articulating “even/if” considerations, telling me how to weigh and then CHOOSING in the final rebuttals, will serve debaters well (and reduce frustrations on both our parts0.
10 – Cross-examination matters – Plan and ask solid questions. Good cross-examinations will be rewarded.
I enjoy policy debate and given my time in the activity I have judged, coached, and seen some amazing students over the years.
A few thoughts on how I view judging policy debate:
Topicality vs Conventional Affs:
Traditional concepts of competing interpretations can be mundane and sometimes result in silly debates. Limiting out one affirmative will not save/protect limits or negative ground. Likewise, reasonability in a vacuum without there being a metric on what that means and how it informs my interpretation vis a vis the resolution lacks nuance as well. Topicality debaters that can frame what the topic should look like based on the topic, and preferably evidence to support that why interpretation makes sense will be rewarded. The next step is saying why a more limiting (juxtaposed to most limiting) topic makes sense helps to frame the way I would think about that version of the topic. A case list of what would be topical under your interpretation would help as would a list of core negative arguments that are excluded if we accept the affirmative interpretation or model of debate.
Topicality/FW vs critical affirmatives:
First – The affirmative needs to do something (and be willing to defend what that is). The negative needs to win that performance is net bad/worse than an alternative (be it the status quo, a counterplan, or a K alternative).
Second – The negative should have access to ground, but they do not get to predetermine what that is. Just because your generic da or counterplan does not apply to the affirmative does not mean the affirmative cannot be tested. The deference for going for topicality/FW versus “k affs’ can be strategic and the best option. Many times, the reality is that many teams not researching to contest the foundational premises of the other side.
Conditionality is good but only in a limited sense. I do not think the negative gets unlimited options (even against a new affirmative). While the negative can have multiple counter plans, the affirmative will get leeway to creatively (re)explain permutations if the negative kicks (or attempts to add) planks to the counterplan(s), the 1ar will get some flexibility to respond to this negative move.
Counterplans and Disads:
Counterplans are your friend. Counterplans need a net benefit (reasons the affirmative is a bad/less than desirable idea. Knowing the difference between an advantage to the counterplan and a real net benefit seems to be a low bar. Process counterplans are harder to defend as competitive and I am sympathetic to affirmative permutations. I have a higher standard for many on permutations as I believe that in the 2AC “perm do the counterplan” and/or “perm do the alternative” do nothing to explain what that world looks like. If the affirmative takes another few moments to explain these arguments, that increases the pressure on the 2nr to be more precise to respond to these arguments.
Disadvantages that are specific to the advocacy of the affirmative will get you high points.
I have had students succeed at the highest levels of Lincoln Douglas Debate including multiple champions of NSDA, NDCA, the Tournament of Champions, as well as the Texas Forensic Association State Championships.
Theory is debated far too much in Lincoln – Douglas and is debated poorly. I am strongly opposed to that practice. My preference is NOT to hear a bad theory debate. I believe the negative does get some “flex;” it cannot be unlimited. The negative does not need to run more than four off case arguments
Words matter. Arguments that are racist, sexist, transphobic, homophobic, etc. will not be tolerated.
I am not a fan of random; multiple sentence fragments that claim to “spike” out of all of the other team’s arguments. At its foundation, the debate should be about argument ENGAGEMENT, not evasion.
I do not like skepticism as an argument. It would be in your best interest to not run it in front of me. While interesting in a philosophy class in college, training young advocates to feel that “morality doesn’t exist” etc. is educationally irresponsible.
I do not disclose speaker points. That seems silly to me.
Dropped arguments and the “auto-win” seem silly to me. Just because a debater drops a card does not mean you win the debate. Weighing and embedded clashes are a necessary component of the debate. Good debaters extend their arguments. GREAT debaters do that in addition to explaining the nexus point of the clash between their arguments and that of the opposition and WHY I should prefer their argument. Any argument that says the other side cannot answer your position is fast-tracking to an L (with burnt cheese and marinara on top).
It takes more than a sentence (or in many of the rounds I judge a sentence fragment), to make an argument. If the argument was not clear originally, I will allow the opponent to make new arguments.
Choose. No matter the speech or the argument.
Cross apply much of the policy section as well as the general musings on debate.
Have you chaired a WS round before? (required)
Yes. Countless times.
What does chairing a round involve? (required)
How would you describe World Schools Debate to someone else?
World Schools is modeled after parliament having argumentation presented in a way that is conversational, yet argumentatively rigorous. Debates are balanced between motions that are prepared, while some are impromptu. Points of Information (POI’s) are a unique component of the format as speakers can be interrupted by their opponent by them asking a question or making a statement.
What process, if any, do you utilize to take notes in the debate? (required)
I keep a rigorous flow throughout the debate.
When evaluating the round, assuming both principle and practical arguments are advanced through the 3rd and Reply speeches, do you prefer one over the other? Explain.
These should be prioritized and compared by the students in the round. I do not have an ideological preference between principled or practical arguments.
The World Schools Debate format requires the judge to consider both Content and Style as 40% each of the speaker’s overall score, while Strategy is 20%. How do you evaluate a speaker’s strategy? (required)
Strategy (simply put) is how they utilize the content that has been introduced in the debate.
World Schools Debate is supposed to be delivered at a conversational pace. What category would you deduct points in if the speaker were going too fast?
World Schools Debate does not require evidence/cards to be read in the round. How do you evaluate competing claims if there is no evidence to read?
Students are required to use analysis, examples, and interrogate the claims of the other side then make comparative claims about the superiority of their position.
How do you resolve model quibbles?
Model quibbles are not fully developed arguments if they are only questions that are not fully developed or have an articulated impact.
How do you evaluate models vs. countermodels?
I utilize the approach of comparative worlds to evaluate competing methods for resolving mutual problems/harms. The proposition must defend its model as being comparatively advantageous over a given alternative posed by the opposition. While many feel in World Schools a countermodel must be mutually exclusive. While that certainly is one method of assessing if a countermodel truly ‘forces a choice,” a feel a better stand is that of net benefits. The question should be if it is desirable to do both the propositions model and the opposition countermodel at the same time. If it is possible to do both without any undesirable outcomes, the negative has failed to prove the desirability of their countermodel. The opposition should explain why doing both would be a bad idea. The proposition should advance an argument why doing both is better than adopting the countermodel alone.
1998-2003: Competed at Fargo South HS (ND)
2003-2004: Assistant Debate Coach, Hopkins High School (MN)
2004-2010: Director of Debate, Hopkins High School (MN)
2010-2012: Assistant Debate Coach, Harvard-Westlake Upper School (CA)
2012-Present: Debate Program Head, Marlborough School (CA)
General Preferences and Decision Calculus
I no longer handle top speed very well, so it would be better if you went at about 70% of your fastest.
I like substantive and interesting debate. I like to see good strategic choices as long as they do not undermine the substantive component of the debate. I strongly dislike the intentional use of bad arguments to secure a strategic advantage; for example making an incomplete argument just to get it on the flow. I tend to be most impressed by debaters who adopt strategies that are positional, advancing a coherent advocacy rather than a scatter-shot of disconnected arguments, and those debaters are rewarded with higher speaker points.
I view debate resolutions as normative. I default to the assumption that the Affirmative has a burden to advocate a topical change in the status quo, and that the Negative has a burden to defend either the status quo or a competitive counter-plan or kritik alternative. I will vote for the debater with the greatest net risk of offense. Offense is a reason to adopt your advocacy; defense is a reason to doubt your opponent's argument. I virtually never vote on presumption or permissibility, because there is virtually always a risk of offense.
Moral Skepticism is not normative (it does not recommend a course of action), and so I will not vote for an entirely skeptical position. Morally skeptical arguments may be relevant in determining the relative weight or significance of an offensive argument compared to other offense in the debate.
I am skeptical of impact exclusion. Debaters have a high bar to prove that I should categorically disregard an impact which an ordinary decision-maker would regard as relevant. I think that normative ethics are more helpfully and authentically deployed as a mode of argument comparison rather than argument exclusion. I will default to the assumption of a wide framework and epistemic modesty. I do not require a debater to provide or prove a comprehensive moral theory to regard impacts as relevant, though such theories may be a powerful form of impact comparison.
Arguments that deny the wrongness of atrocities like rape, genocide, and slavery, or that deny the badness of suffering or oppression more generally, are a steeply uphill climb in front of me. If a moral theory says that something we all agree is bad is not bad, that is evidence against the plausibility of the theory, not evidence that the bad thing is in fact good.
I default to evaluating theory as a matter of competing interpretations.
I am skeptical of RVIs in general and on topicality in particular.
I will apply a higher threshold to random theory interpretations that do not reflect existing community norms and am particularly unlikely to drop the debater on them. Because your opponent could always have been marginally more fair and because debating irrelevant theory questions is not a good model of debate, I am likely to intervene against theoretical arguments which I deem to be frivolous.
Tricks and Triggers
Your goal should be to win by advancing substantive arguments that would decisively persuade a reasonable decision-maker, rather than on surprises or contrived manipulations of debate conventions. I am unlikely to vote on tricks, triggers, or other hidden arguments, and will apply a low threshold for answering them. You will score more highly and earn more sympathy the more your arguments resemble genuine academic work product.
Counterplan Status, Judge Kick, and Floating PIKs
The affirmative has the obligation to ask about the status of a counterplan or kritik alternative in cross-examination. If they do not, the advocacy may be conditional in the NR.
I default to the view that the Negative has to pick an advocacy to go for in the NR. If you do not explicitly kick a conditional counterplan or kritik alternative, then that is your advocacy. If you lose a permutation read against that advocacy, you lose the debate. I will not kick the advocacy for you and default to the status quo unless you win an argument for judge kick in the debate.
I default to the presumption that floating PIKs must be articulated as such in the NC. If it is not apparent that the kritik alternative allows you to also enact the affirmative advocacy, then I will regard this argument as a change of advocacy in the NR and disregard it as a new argument.
To the extent possible I will resolve the debate as though I were a reasonable decision-maker considering only the arguments advanced by the debaters in making my decision. On any issues not adequately resolved in this way, I will make reasonable assumptions about the relative persuasiveness of the arguments presented.
The speed at which you choose to speak will not affect my evaluation of your arguments, save for if that speed impairs your clarity and I cannot understand the argument. I prefer debate at a faster than conversational pace, provided that it is used to develop arguments well and not as a tactic to prevent your opponent from engaging your arguments. There is some speed at which I have a hard time following arguments, but I don't know how to describe it, so I will say "clear," though I prefer not to because the threshold for adequate clarity is very difficult to identify in the middle of a speech and it is hard to apply a standard consistently. For reasons surpassing understanding, most debaters don't respond when I say clear, but I strongly recommend that you do so. Also, when I say clear it means that I didn't understand the last thing you said, so if you want that argument to be evaluated I suggest repeating it. A good benchmark is to feel like you are going at 90% of your top speed; I am likely a significantly better judge at that pace.
My threshold for sufficient extensions will vary based on the circumstances, e.g. if an argument has been conceded a somewhat shorter extension is generally appropriate.
It is primarily the responsibility of debaters to engage in meaningful evidence comparison and analysis and to red flag evidence ethics issues. However, I will review speech documents and evaluate detailed disputes about evidence raised in the debate. I prefer to be included on an email chain or pocket box that includes the speech documents. If I have a substantial suspicion of an ethics violation (i.e. you have badly misrepresented the author, edited the card so as to blatantly change it's meaning, etc.), I will evaluate the full text of the card (not just the portion that was read in the round) to determine whether it was cut in context, etc.
I use speaker points to evaluate your performance in relation to the rest of the field in a given round. At tournaments which have a more difficult pool of debaters, the same performance which may be above average on most weekends may well be average at that tournament. I am strongly disinclined to give debaters a score that they specifically ask for in the debate round, because I utilize points to evaluate debaters in relation to the rest of the field who do not have a voice in the round. I elect not to disclose speaker points, save where cases is doing so is necessary to explain the RFD. My range is approximately as follows:
30: Your performance in the round is likely to beat any debater in the field.
29: Your performance is substantially better than average - likely to beat most debaters in the field and competitive with students in the top tier.
28: Your performance is above average - likely to beat the majority of debaters in the field but unlikely to beat debaters in the top tier.
27.5: Your performance is approximately average - you are likely to have an equal number of wins and losses at the end of the tournament.
26: Your performance is below average - you are likely to beat the bottom 25% of competitors but unlikely to beat the average debater.
25: Your performance is substantially below average - you are competitive among the bottom 25% but likely to lose to other competitors
Below 25: I tend to reserve scores below 25 for penalizing debaters as explained below.
Rude or Unethical Actions
I will severely penalize debaters who are rude, offensive, or otherwise disrespectful during a round. I will severely penalize debaters who distort, miscut, misrepresent, or otherwise utilize evidence unethically.
A debater has clipped a card when she does not read portions of evidence that are highlighted or bolded in the speech document so as to indicate that they were read, and does not verbally mark the card during the speech. Clipping is an unethical practice because you have misrepresented which arguments you made to both your opponent and to me. If I determine that a debater has clipped cards, then that debater will lose.
To determine that clipping has occurred, the accusation needs to be verified by my own sensory observations to a high degree of certainty, a recording that verifies the clipping, or the debaters admission that s/he has clipped. If you believe that your opponent has clipped, you should raise your concern immediately after the speech in which it was read, and I will proceed to investigate. False accusations of clipping is a serious ethical violation as well. *If you accuse your opponent of clipping and that accusation is disconfirmed by the evidence, you will lose the debate.* You should only make this accusation if you are willing to stake the round on it.
I am happy to answer any questions on preferences or paradigm before the round. After the round I am happy to answer respectfully posed questions to clarify my reason for decision or offer advice on how to improve (subject to the time constraints of the tournament). Within the limits of reason, you may press points you don't understand or with which you disagree (though I will of course not change the ballot after a decision has been made). I am sympathetic to the fact that debaters are emotionally invested in the outcomes of debate rounds, but this does not justify haranguing judges or otherwise being rude. For that reason, failure to maintain the same level of respectfulness after the round that is generally expected during the round will result in severe penalization of speaker points.
My email is beccatraber (at) gmail (dot) com. I want to be on the email chain. I don't disclose speaks.
I am a debate coach and former teacher at Lake Highland Prep school. I help run NSD Flagship on site. I'm currently a law student at Texas.
Added Nov 19, 2022: Several recent rounds made me think I needed to make something clear. I probably won't find your arguments that funny--I am old, I've certainly seen it before. Please don't waste my time with meme rounds stuffed full with things like shoes theory or other outrageous offs. Particularly don't run things where the joke basically depends on it being funny to care about something related to social justice. I have no aversion to tricky or clever arguments, but I do strongly care about argument quality and if it's something that's been floating around since 2004, I've definitely seen it too many times to actually find it clever. Your speaks will suffer if you don't take this seriously.
I predominately coach k, phil, and theory debaters. I'm comfortable judging any given round. I regularly vote for every type of case/debater. If you want to know what my preferences are, the following is pretty accurate:
K - 1
Phil - 1
Theory - 2
Tricks - 3
Policy - 3** (see details below, in the circuit section)
(My debaters told me to add those numbers, but it bears repeating: I can and will judge whatever round you want me to have. This is just what makes me happiest to judge)
Traditional LD Paradigm:
(If you are reading this at a CFL, this is what you should focus on. You can read the circuit thing if you want, but this overrules it in a very non-circuit context.)
Overall, I want to judge the debate you want me to judge, so you do you. A few thoughts about what I think on things:
- Please don't go new in the second speeches, especially the 2AR. I will not evaluate new evidence or new framing that your opponent doesn't have a chance to answer.
- If an argument is dropped and unresponded to in the first chance it has to be responded to (eg, the NC doesn't respond to something in the AC), I consider it true. You can't respond to it directly, but you may frame the argument or weigh against it. You can contest the implications.
- I flow the whole round on my computer. That's how I make my decision. That's why I am typing the whole time.
- I would prefer if you time yourself--I am very out of the habit of time signals. Tell me if you want them.
- In general, I think the value/criterion is crucial for LD. You must normatively justify a criterion that is capable of serving as a measuring stick for what impacts matter in the round. This means that ideally for me, your criterion should be warranted in terms of why it is the right way to think about morality, not just defining it. This has the effect of me generally preferring criteria that are specific actions ("not treating people as a means to an end") than broad references to the intellectual history of the idea ("Kant's categorical imperative.") To generalize: criteria should have a verb.
- I am willing to exclude consequentialist impacts if the framework is won explaining why I should.
- Comparative impacting is very important to me. I want to know why your argument is good/true, but I want to know that in terms of why your opponent's argument is bad/false.
- Be extremely clear about what you think is aff ground and what is neg ground and why. I've judged a lot of CFL debates lately where there has been intense disagreement about what the aff could defend--be clear when that's happening and try to explain why your approach is more consistent with the literature. Part of that involves looking for definitions and sources in context: avoid using general dictionaries for technical terms.
- If you raise issues like the author qualifications or any general problem with the way that your opponent warrants something, I need an argument from you as to why that matters. For instance, don't just say "this evidence is older than my evidence," point out the intervening event that would make me think the date matters.
- I am fine with speed in theory, but it is very important to me that everyone is on the same page. If your opponent is not used to flowing full spreading, please don't. You may speak quickly, you may sit down, you may do whatever jargon you like--as long as you prioritize sharing the space and really think about explaining your arguments fully.
- I don't mind you reading progressive arguments, but it is very important to me that everyone understand them. What that means is that you are welcome to read a k or topicality, but you have a very high burden of articulating its meaning and function in the round. I'll vote on T, for instance, but I'm going to consciously abandon my assumptions about T being a voting issue. If you want me to vote on it, you must explain it in round, in a way that your opponent understands. The difference between me and a more traditional judge will mostly be that I won't be surprised or off-put by the argument, but you still have to justify it to me.
- I tend not to be allowed to disclose, but I will give oral feedback after the round. You don't have to stay for it, but I'm happy to answer any questions you have!
Circuit LD Paradigm:
Qualifications: I debated on the national circuit for the Kinkaid School, graduated 2008. It's a long time ago, but I finaled at the TOC and won several national tournaments. I've been coaching and teaching on the national circuit since. I am finishing my dissertation at Yale University in Political Theory. In Fall 2020, I started working as a full-time teacher at Lake Highland Prep in Florida. I've taught at more camps than I care to think about at present, including top labs at NSD and TDC.
K - 1
Phil - 1
Theory - 2
Tricks - 3
Policy - 3** (see details below)
Some general explanations of those numbers & specific preferences, roughly put into the categories:
I am well-read in a wide variety of critical literature. I'm familiar with the array of authors commonly read in debate.
I like k-affs, both topical and non-topical. I generally buy method links, method perms, advocacy links, advocacy perms, and so on. I can and do buy impact turns. That being said: I also regularly vote against ks, and am willing to hear arguments about acceptable and unacceptable k/link/perm/alt practices.
I think it is important to be able to articulate what the alt/advocacy looks like as a material practice, but I think that's possible and persuasive for even the most high theory and esoteric ks.
The critical literatures I've coached or read the authors myself include (but aren't limited to): ableism, a variety of anti-capitalisms/marxisms including Jodi Dean, anthropocentrism, a variety of anti-Blackness literatures, Baudrillard, semiocapitalism, ecology critiques, securitization/threat construction, nationalism critiques, a variety of queer theories, Heidegger, Deleuze, Laruelle, Lacan, Derrida, Foucault, Bataille, and others. I'm old and I read a lot. I'm comfortable in this space.
Ontological Pessimism: I am uncomfortable with debaters reading ontologically pessimistic positions about identity groups that they do not belong to. I won't auto-drop the debater reading it, but I am an easy get for an argument that they should lose by the opponent.
As a general thing, I would like to strongly remind you that these are positions about real people who are in the room with you, and you should be mindful of that when you deploy narratives of suffering as a way to win the round. And yes, this applies to "invisible" identities as well. If you're reading an ontologically pessimist position, especially if the thrust of the debate is about how things that are or are not consistent with that identity, and things that identity cannot or can do--I completely think it's fair game for your opponent to ask you if you identify in that way.
If you're not willing to answer the question, perhaps you shouldn't be running the case. I've sat through a lot of disability debates recently and I'm starting to get very frustrated with the way that people casually talk about disabled people, without any explicit accountability to disabled humans as people in the space and not just figures of Lacanian abjection. I will vote on it, but try not to be a jerk. This isn't just a debate argument.
If you read a slur or insult based on an identity that doesn't apply to you (race, gender, ability, class...anything), I am not voting for you. You lose. There's no debate argument that I'll listen to justifying it. Even if it is an example of a bad thing: I don't care. You lose. Cut around it. Changing letters around isn't redacting it if you still read it.
Policy FW/T-Must-Be-Topical: I regularly vote both that affs must be topical and that they don't have to be. I regularly coach in both directions. I think the question is very interesting and one of my favorite parts of debate--when done with specific interaction with the content of the aff. I particularly like non-standard T-FW and TVAs which aren't the classic "must defend the hypothetical implementation of a policy action."
Accessibility note for performances: If you don't flash the exact text of your speech, please do not play any additional sounds underneath your speaking. If there is sound underneath your speaking, please flash the exact text of what you are reading. I do not want to undermine the performance you want to engage in and whichever option you prefer is fine for me. It is fine to have part of your speech be on paper with music underneath and then turn the music off when you go off paper. I struggle to understand what is being said over noise and I'm uncomfortable being unable to know what is being said with precision.
I am well-read in a variety of philosophical literature, predominantly in the post-Kantian continental tradition and political theory. I also enjoy a well-constructed phil case. Some of my favorite debates are k v phil, also--I see them generally as dealing with the same questions and concerns.
For phil positions, I do think it is important that the debater be able to explain how the ethical conception and/or the conception of the subject manifests in lived human reality.
I am generally more persuaded by epistemic confidence than epistemic modesty, but I think the debate is usually malformed and strange--I would prefer if those debates deal with specific impact scenarios or specifics of the phil framework in question.
I prefer detailed and well-developed syllogisms as opposed to short and unrelated prefer-additionalys. A good "prefer-additionally" should more or less be a framework interaction/pre-empt.
In general, I've been in this activity a long time. The frameworks I've coached or read the authors myself include (but aren't limited to): Kant, Hegel, Marx, alienation, Levinas, Butler, Agonism, Spinoza, Agamben, Hobbes, contractualism/contractarianism, virtue ethics, testimony... I'm really solid on framework literatures.
I'm willing to listen to either reasonability or competing interpretations.
I don't assume either fairness or jurisdiction as axiomatic voting issues, so feel free to engage on that level of the theory debate.
I'm suspicious of precision/jurisdiction/semantics as the sole thing you extend out of a T-shell and am generally compelled by reasonability in the form of "if they don't have any pragmatics offense, as long as I demonstrate it is compliant with a legit way of interpreting the word, it doesn't have to be the best interpretation."
I do really enjoy a well-developed theory argument, just make sure you are holding to the same standards of warranting here that I demand anywhere. Internal links between the standards and the interpretation, and the standards and the voter, are both key.
I love a good counter interp that is more than defending the violation--those result in strategic and fun rounds.
I'm willing to buy semantic I-Meets.
I find AFC/ACC read in the 1AR annoying and unpersuasive, though I have voted for it.
I am willing to vote on RVIs. I don't generally think K-style impact turns are automatically answered by RVIs-bad type arguments, unless there is work done.
Disclosure: Is by now a pretty solid norm and I recognize that. I have voted many times on particular disclosure interps, but in my heart of hearts think the ways that most people handle disclosure competing interps tends to lead to regress.
I enjoy when debaters are substantive about what it means to prove the resolution true/false and explain how that interacts with the burdens of the round. I am more inclined to vote for substantive and developed tricks/triggers, and even if you're going for a short or "blippy" argument, you'd be well-served to do extensive interactions and cross-applications.
I want a ballot story and impact scenario, even with a permissibility trigger. (Even if the impact is that the resolution is tautologically true, I want that expressed straightforwardly and consistently).
I have a fairly high gut-check for dumb arguments, so I'm not your best bet if you want to be winning on the resolved a priori and things that are purely reliant on opponents dropping half-sentences from your case. But if you can robustly explain the theory of truth under which your a prior affirms/negates, you're probably okay.
Also: you know what an apriori is. Or you know what they mean. If you want to hedge your bets, answer in good faith -- for instance, instead of saying "what does that mean?" say "many of my arguments could, depending on what you read, end up implying that it is impossible to prove the resolution false/true. what specifically are you looking for?"
"Don't Evaluate After The 1ar": Feel free to run these arguments if you want, but know that my threshold is extremely high for "evaluate debate after [speech that is not the 2ar]." It is very difficult to persuade me to meaningfully do this. A better way to make this argument would be to tell me what sort of responses I shouldn't permit and why. For instance, new paradigm issues bad, cross-apps bad, no embedded clash, no new reasons for [specific argument] -- all fine and plausible. I just don't know what it means to actually stop evaluating later speeches. Paradigmatically, speech times are speech times and it makes no sense to me why I should obviate some of your opponent's time for any in-round reason. If you have a specific version of this argument you want to check with me, feel free to do so before round.
I have policy as a 3 only because I often find myself frustrated with how inane and unsubstantive a lot of long impact stories in LD are. If you have good, up to date evidence that compellingly tells a consequentialist result of a policy: I'm all in, I love that.
I really enjoy specific, well-researched and creative plans. I find a well-executed policy debate very impressive. Make sure you're able to articulate a specific and compelling causal story.
Make sure you know what all the words mean and that you can clearly explain the empirical and institutional structure of the DA/plan. As an example of the sort of thing that annoys me: a DA that depends on a Supreme Court case getting all the way through the appellate system in two weeks to trigger a politics impact before an election will make me roll my eyes.
There's also a disturbing trend of plans that are straight-up inherent--which I hate, that doesn't make any sense with a consequentialist/policymaking FW.
I am absolutely willing to buy zero risk claims, especially in regards to DAs/advantages with no apparent understanding of how the institutions they're talking about work.
I find the policy style affs where the advantages/inherency are all about why the actor doesn't want to do the action and will never do the action, and then the plan is the actor doing the thing they'd never do completely inane--that being said, they're common and I vote on them all the time.
I am generally compelled by the idea that a fiated plan needs an actor.
Assorted Other Preferences:
The following are other assorted preferences. Just know that everything I'm about to say is simply a preference and not a rule; given a warranted argument, I will shift off of just about any position that I already have or that your opponent gave me.
Speed: I have no problem with spreading -- all I ask is that you are still clear enough to follow. What this means is that you need to have vocal variation and emphasis on important parts of your case, like card names and key arguments.
Threshold for Extensions: If I am able to understand the argument and the function of it in the context of the individual speech, it is extended. I do appreciate explicit citation of card names, for flowing purposes.
CX: CX is really important to me, please use it. You have very little chance of fantastic speaker points without a really good cross-x. I would prefer if y'all don't use CX as prep, although I have no problems with questions being asked during prep time (Talk for at least three minutes: feel free to talk the rest of the time, too). If you are getting a concession you want to make absolutely sure that I write down, get eye-contact and repeat to me what you view the concession as.
Do not be unnecessarily mean. It is not very persuasive. It will drop your speaks. Be mindful of various power-dynamics at play in the room. Something I am particularly bothered by is the insistence that a marginalized debater does not understand their case, particularly when it is framed like: [male coach] wrote this for you, right [female debater]? Or isn't there a TVA, [Black debater], you could have used [white debater's] advocacy. Feel free to mention specific cases that are topical, best not to name drop. I can't think of an occasion when it is appropriate to explicitly challenge the authorship or understanding of a particular argument.
When debating someone significantly more traditional or less experienced: your speaks will benefit from explaining your arguments as straightforwardly as you can. I won't penalize you for the first speeches, but in whatever speech happens after the differences in experience level becomes clear, you should treat them almost as a pedagogical exercise. Win the round, but do so in a way where you aren't only trying to tell me why you win the round, but you're trying to make sure your opponent also understands what is happening.
Presumption: I don't default any particular way. I am willing to listen to presumption arguments which would then make me default, given the particular way the round shakes down, but my normal response to a round where no one meets their burden is to lower my standards until one person does meet their burden. Now, I hate doing this and it makes me grumpy, so expect lower speaker points in a situation where nobody meets their burden and nobody makes an argument about why I should presume any which way. This just points to the need to clearly outline my role and the role of my ballot, and be precise as to how you are meeting it.
Current Emory University (Barkley Forum) Policy debater, qualified to nats in BQ, South Florida debater
Please add me to the email chain: firstname.lastname@example.org
Speaker Point Scale:
< 25 = You said something incredibly offensive and I'm considering dropping you on face value.
25-25.5 = You definitely have room for improvement.
26-27.5 = You’re an alright speaker and might even break.
28-28.5 = You’re a great speaker and will probably break.
29-29.5 = You might be in contention for a speaker award with speeches that good.
30 = You impressed/entertained me in such a way that I had no choice but to give you the maximum amount of points.
T - Go full T in final speech
K - If I can't explain it back to you clearly, then I don't vote for it
DA - Standard
Director of Speech & Debate Isidore Newman School
Coach USA Debate
EMAIL: Add me to the chain:
Please slow down! It is much harder for me to hear online. Go at about 75% rather than 100% of your normal pace!!!
Relevant for Both Policy & LD:
This is my 20th year in debate. I debated in high school, and then went on to debate at the University of Louisville. In addition, I was the Director of Debate at both Fern Creek & Brown School in KY, a former graduate assistant for the University of Louisville, and the Director of Speech & Debate at LSU. I am also a doctoral candidate in Communication & Rhetorical studies.
I view my role as an educator and believe that it is my job to evaluate the debate in the best way I can and in the most educational way possible. Over the past several years have found myself moving more and more to the middle. So, my paradigm is pretty simple. I like smart arguments and believe that debates should tell a clear and succinct story of the ballot. Simply put: be concise, efficient, and intentional.
Here are a few things you should know coming into the round:
1. I will flow the debate. But PLEASE slow down on the tag lines and the authors. I don’t write as fast as I used to. I will yell clear ONE TIME. After that, I will put my pen down and stop flowing. So, don't be mad at the end of the debate if I missed some arguments because you were unclear. I make lots of facial expressions, so you can use that as a guide for if I understand you
2. I value effective storytelling. I want debates to tell me a clear story about how arguments interact with one another, and as such see debates holistically. Accordingly, dropped arguments are not enough for me to vote against a team. You should both impact your arguments out and tell me why it matters.
3. Do what you do best. While I do not believe that affirmatives have to be topical, I also find myself more invested in finding new and innovative ways to engage with the topic. Do with that what you will. I am both well versed and have coached students in a wide range of literature.
4. Know what you’re talking about. The quickest way to lose a debate in front of me is to read something because it sounds and looks “shiny.” I enjoy debates where students are well read/versed on the things they are reading, care about them, and can actually explain them. Jargon is not appealing to me. If it doesn’t make sense or if I don’t understand it at the end of the debate I will have a hard time evaluating it.
5. I will listen to Theory, FW, and T debates, but I do not believe that it is necessarily a substantive response to certain arguments. Prove actual in-round abuse, actual ground loss, actual education lost (that must necessarily trade off with other forms of education). Actual abuse is not because you don't understand the literature, know how to deal with the argument, or that you didn't have time to read it.
6. Be respectful of one another and to me. I am a teacher and educator first. I don’t particularly care for foul language, or behavior that would be inappropriate in the classroom.
7. Finally, make smart arguments and have fun. I promise I will do my best to evaluate the debate you give me.
If you have any other questions, just ask.
I debated for Walt Whitman for 5 years. I accumulated 10 career bids in LD and 1 in PF and qualified to the TOC in '19, '20 and '21. I currently attend the University of Chicago. I am most familiar with framework and theory positions. My pronouns are he/him.
Send docs to: email@example.com
Hard and fast
Speech times are absolute. Clipping is an auto-L. I will evaluate every speech. Arguments need warrants and implications in the speech they're read, or I won't evaluate them. I won't evaluate out of round arguments except for disclosure. The more unintuitive your argument is, the higher bar for explanation it has. I will drop you for evidence ethics violations if the round is stopped or if I notice it on my own.
I like strategies that contain fewer, well-developed positions. I dislike strategies that are designed to avoid clash, whether that is due to intentional obfuscation about the content of a position or due to spamming of many underdeveloped positions in the hope one is dropped. I tend to dislike theory and tricks debates but am willing to listen to them. I think 1NCs should rarely contain more than 3 off, and I think they should devote a substantial portion of the 1N to answering the case.
I strive to judge debates like Grant Brown, though I am less knowledgeable about many critical positions than he is.
I do not judge or think about debate very much now. This means that you should slow down in hyper technical debates and do more impact calc and overview work. If you do not do these things, I will still try my best but the odds you will be frustrated with my decision increase substantially.
Framework positions should be comprehensible in the speech in which they're introduced. I think many frameworks are consequentialist (and thus turned by extinction impacts) or are absolute nonsense or both. I've probably read some of your literature but that doesn't make explanation less important. I think I am best at judging framework debates and also enjoy them most.
I'm not good for any argument that you wouldn't feel comfortable going for if it was competently contested. I'm not great at flowing, and I don't flow off the doc. I'm happy to judge creative philosophical or logical positions as long as they're meant to be defended against meaningful contestation. I think triggering skep can be fun if done well. I have no problem refusing to vote on theory spikes/tricks because they lack a warrant and have done so on many occasions.
I'm good for reasonability (without a bright line), drop the argument, and the RVI (though probably not in conjunction). I'm bad for any theory argument concerning a debaters clothing or appearance. Paragraph theory is fine. I wish people would read less spec but I'm willing to vote on it. 1AR theory is usually strategic even if it makes me sad to judge.
I have noticed that I seem to be worse for frivolous theory positions than many people expect when they pref me. I have also noticed people seem to get the most annoyed with my decisions in theory debates. Do with that information what you will.
I have no ideological bias against policy debates, but I didn't have them particularly frequently and my debaters don't tend to read policy-style arguments. I'm pretty sympathetic to many policy pushes against other styles of debate. I won't judge kick unless I'm told to. I'm sympathetic to the aff in most CP competition debates. I like impact turns.
I'm good for Ks that are well-explained and implicated clearly. Good K debate is techy K debate. Being sketchy in the 1NC is bad and will make new 2NR spin less viable. I think T-Framework is probably true, but I won't hack for it. I'm bad for poorly developed independent voter arguments that become entire rebuttals.
I will pay up to 500 dogecoin for information leading to the arrest of Zara Chapple.
Did LD for 4 years in SoFlo, now do Policy for Emory.
Yes, put me on the chain: firstname.lastname@example.org
Most paradigms say the same thing, so here's the gist: Explain whatever your argument is well and tell me what to do with it. This looks like line by line, judge instruction, impact calc, etc. If this threshold is met for the K, or Topicality, or Theory, or literally anything, you're in a good spot. Only non-flexible things are death is bad, there are speech times, and I don't evaluate out-of-round occurrences. Besides that, if its a good argument I'll rock with it.
Tech over truth, but if two arguments are stacked up against each other and one is clearly far more true, I'm very easily leaning that way.
I'm fine with speed as long as you're CLEAR (if you spread incoherently and expect me to just flow from the doc, don't). Also don't max spread your card tags or analytics. If you think your clarity is in question, err on the side of slowing down especially in the Zoom debate era.
Speaks go up if you're organized, don't steal prep, know your case in cross, explain arguments in rebuttals well, have good final speech strategies.
Speaks go down if you're rude or condescending.
Don't be racist, sexist, homophobic, etc. Don't clip. Don't cheat.
Ask me any specific questions pre-round.
PLEASE have the chain set up pre-round and be ready to go when the round starts. I know it sounds grumpy, but this leaves me time to reflect on the round and offer better advice to debaters after the round.
For LD: Everything above applies - I enjoy 'larp' debates as well as K debates. I'm not the best for tricks/phil, but that's more so because debaters often speed through blippy analytics without really engaging and explaining - if you're gonna go for these types of arguments, DO THEM WELL and you'll be fine. Otherwise not the best idea.
Note: Made some edits to my paradigm since I'm a 3rd year out now...
Hi! I debated LD for Bronx Science (NY) for 4 years, qualled to TOC senior year. I'm studying Philosophy right now at Johns Hopkins.
Email chain: email@example.com
Pomo or High Theory Ks/Performance Ks/Phil: 1/2
IR/Security Ks: 6/STRIKE
- You can read whatever you want and I'll do my best to adapt. I would rather there be a good round than you trying to adapt by reading something you've never done before.
- I really, really, like phil or k substantive debate (does not have to be topical but one-off NC then AC top-down strats would make me happy). Will boost speaks for a good clash.
- Don't be mean in CX, especially if someone you're debating is clearly a novice/someone less experienced than you.
- I read a lot of pomo Ks my senior year, the ones I'm most familiar with are Deleuze, Lacan, Kristeva, Baudrillard, Warren, Nietzsche, Marx, Edelman, and Wilderson. I don't think this list matters though I'm sure there are many books/articles written by these authors I haven't read.
- I tend to err truth>tech in rep K situations where the card is miscut/misrepresented.
- I don't really understand IR or Security Ks... Please over-explain.
- Default Tech>>>>>>Truth unless you make arguments for otherwise.
- I'm more familiar with T than Theory, but I guess they are structurally similar.
- Case-specific standards are really cool.
- Familiar with a lot of philosophy, please explain things regardless.
- Slow down (please) on fully analytic phil cases. Examples are cool.
- I'm not amazing at flowing, especially blippy exempted 10 point underviews so if I miss something rip
- Technicality and flowing aside. I find induction/deduction/skep debates interesting if done properly.
- I'll try my best :(
1. Will yell 'clear' as many times as needed, and will probably not dock speaks but if I miss an arg it's on you. My face is pretty expressive, maybe explain more if I look confused...
2. Compiling doc is prep, sending is not, pls don't steal prep.
3. +.2 speaks if you show me your wiki BEFORE I submit the decision (osource, first 3 last 3 in the textbox, and round reports - you can attach a screenshot when sending out the speech doc)
4. Don't be racist, homophobic, sexist, etc... and don't plagiarize from people's wiki without giving credit
5. Not sure how judge kick works, be clear if that's something you are going for.
I will listen to most arguments. I have problems with most theory arguments in LD. Topicality is like the death penalty so I proceed with care. I understand policy arguments and kritiks. I flow most of the time. If you have questions about what I think about your arguments you should ask.
I believe debaters should be civil to each other. I would prefer that high school students not use foul language in debates.
I am ok with performance debates. I do believe the teams should engage the topic. If a team chooses not to engage the topic, then I will give the other team leeway to deal with the lack of engagement.
Reverse voting issues do not make sense in most instances.
I am ok with counterplans and disadvantages.
I will vote for the team that makes the most sense at the end of the debate.
Name: Lisa Willoughby
Current Affiliation: Midtown High School formerly Henry W. Grady High School
Conflicts: AUDL teams
Debate Experience: 1 year debating High School 1978-79, Coaching High School 1984-present
How many rounds have you judged in 2012-13: 50, 2013-2014: 45, 2015-2016: 25, 2016-17 15, 2017-2018: 30, 2018-19: 30, 2019-20:10, 2020-21: 40, 2021-2022: 35, 2022-2023:6
send evidence e-mail chain to firstname.lastname@example.org
I still view my self as a policy maker unless the debaters specify a different role for my ballot. I love impact comparison between disadvantages and advantages, what Rich Edwards used to call Desirability. I don’t mind the politics disad, but I am open to Kritiks of Politics.
I like Counterplans, especially case specific counterplans. I certainly think that some counterplans are arguably illegitimate; for example, I think that some international counterplans are utopian, and arguably claim advantages beyond the reciprocal scope of the affirmative, and are, therefore, unfair. I think that negatives should offer a solvency advocate for all aspects of their counterplan, and that multi-plank cps are problematic. I think that there are several reasons why consultation counterplans, and the States CP could be unfair. I will not vote unilaterally on any of these theoretical objections; the debaters need to demonstrate for me why a particular counterplan would be unfair.
I have a minor in Philosophy, and love good Kritik debate. Sadly, I have seen a lot of bad Kritik debate. I think that K debaters need to have a strong understanding of the K authors that they embrace. I really want to understand the alternative or the role of my ballot. I have no problem with a K Aff, but am certainly willing to vote on Framework/T against a case that does not have at least a clear advocacy statement that I can understand. I am persuadable on "AFF must be USFG."
I like Topicality, Theory and Framework arguments when they are merited. I want to see fair division of ground or discourse that allows both teams a chance to prepare and be ready to engage the arguments.
I prefer substance to theory; go for the theoretical objections when the abuse is real.
As for style, I love good line-by-line debate. I adore evidence comparison, and argument comparison. I am fairly comfortable with speed, but I like clarity. I have discovered that as I get older, I am very comfortable asking the students to "clear." I enjoy humor; I prefer entertaining cross-examinations to belligerent CX. Warrant your claims with evidence or reasoning.
Ultimately, I demand civility: any rhetoric, language, performance or interactions that demean, dehumanize or trivialize fellow debaters, their arguments or judges would be problematic, and I believe, a voting issue.
An occasional interruption of a partner’s speech or deferring to a more expert partner to answer a CX question is not a problem in my view. Generally only one debater at a time should be speaking. Interruptions of partner speeches or CX that makes one partner merely a ventriloquist for the other are extremely problematic.
Clipping cards is cheating. Quoting authors or evidence out of context, or distorting the original meaning of a text or narrative is both intellectually bankrupt and unfair.
There is no such thing as one ideal form or type of debate. I love the clash of ideas and argumentation. That said, I prefer discourse that is educational, and substantive. I want to walk away from a round, as I often do, feeling reassured that the policy makers, educators, and citizens of the future will seek to do a reasonable and ethical job of running the world.
For Lincoln Douglas debates:
I am "old school" and feel most comfortable in a Value/Criterion Framework, but it is your debate to frame. Because I judge policy frequently, I am comfortable with speed but generally find it is needless. Clarity is paramount. Because of the limited time, I find that I typically err AFF on theoretical objections much more than I would in a policy round.
I believe that any argument that an AFF wants to weigh in the 2AR needs to be in the 1AR. I will vote against new 2AR arguments.
I believe that NEG has an obligation to clash with the AFF. For this reason, a counterplan would only be justified in a round when the AFF argues for a plan; otherwise a counterplan is an argument for the AFF. The NEG must force a decision, and for that reason, I am not fond of what used to be called a 'balance neg.'
Mark Winokur (he/him/his)
For the email chain: email@example.com
INTRODUCTION AND GENERAL THOUGHTS
Hey there thank you for reading my paradigm! First off a brief blurb about me for some context -- I competed in LD for Midtown High School for four years from 2014- 2017 and graduated college in 2021. As a debater, I competed mostly on the traditional GA circuit but also attended camp and competed in several national tournaments. After taking a 6 year hiatus (more or less) from the debate community, I have more recently judged at two tournaments this year (Midtown High and Emory Barkley Forum).
Above all, I encourage you to defend the arguments that speak to you and in the style that suits your strengths. I assure you this approach will be the most rewarding to you as a debater, and will make a much stronger impression than appeasing to the arguments and debate styles you think I will like based on my perceived preferences. I am most impressed by debaters who give a glimpse into what fuels their fire- so defend the arguments you would stand behind outside of the round, that you have passion for beyond their instrumental value as a route to the ballot. Put away your Pessimism K if you're thinking about running it merely to evade the 1AC impacts, without having given that perspective serious consideration in your day-to-day life outside of the debate space.
Further, do not underestimate the human element that plays into the art of persuasion! Despite my endeavor to be a "tabula rasa" judge, by virtue of being human not a robot, it is inevitable that the presentation of your arguments- i.e. word choice, concision, organization of ideas, extent of filler words, and even stylistic elements such as eye contact, gestures, and inflections of tone -will exert some influence over my evaluation of the round, even if they do not surface as tangible factors guiding my decision on the flow. The more you enable me to feel the full force of the position you stand for, the more likely I will be to resolve the round in your favor, so use that to your advantage! By the same token, I am much more receptive to developing a cohesive, fleshed-out position to paint a compelling picture of the round, rather than going 6-off guns blazing while hiding behind underdeveloped arguments that lack internal consistency.
And finally, although debate is an inherently competitive activity, please be kind and compassionate toward your opponent. I value debaters who foster a collaborative environment by stimulating meaningful engagement of the topic- not debaters who deliberately confuse their opponent or bait them into conceding a hidden argument that supersedes everything else in the round.
PRESENTATION & PROCEDURAL ISSUES
-Keep your speed to 300 wpm tops. I would strongly advise against 100% spreading (350+ wpm). I would also recommend that your speed be inversely proportionate to the complexity of arguments you are making. Additionally, please do not spread if you cannot articulate clearly. I have a high threshold for clarity and will say clear if I cannot understand what you are saying.
-In any regard, I would prefer for you to email me your case and any other pre-written arguments on an email chain. If you are spreading, this is mandatory, and you must also share what you are reading to your opponent. I will not evaluate any arguments you spread if your opponent does not have access to them (including cards read in rebuttals).
-Sign posting is very important for me. I need to know where to write your arguments on the flow.
-I will let you time yourself on phone, however I can keep time if you would prefer.
-Flex prep is okay with me.
ROLE OF THE BALLOT
-In general, I prefer truth testing as the role of the ballot, but if you run a plan with a stable advocacy, then no need to argue comparative worlds- I will assume as much. Of course, you're always welcome to explicitly defend comparative worlds knowing that I may be relatively quick to pull the trigger on arguments in favor of truth testing, but this is not mandatory by any means.
-If your case does not lend itself to truth testing or comparative worlds (i.e. a K aff that does not defend the resolution) then you will need to explicitly defend a ROB, otherwise I'll just assume truth testing and exclude anything that doesn't link to that. In other words, the only ROBs I am willing to infer are truth testing and comparative worlds- if it's anything else you will need to clearly delineate your ROB so I know how to evaluate your offense.
-Love it! Did a lot of this in high school so I feel decently comfortable about this area of debate.
-I will default to epistemic confidence, unless I deem the framework debate to be either extremely close or a wash in which case I will switch to epistemic modesty (but epistemic confidence over modesty).
-I enjoy comparative interaction between frameworks. I'm not a fan of reading generic cards from backfiles or generic "x theory bad" arguments. I like analytic responses that engage with the logical reasoning behind the opponent's syllogism (i.e. exposing fallacies, disproving assumptions or showing that the framework's conclusion does not follow from the premises).
-This is another area of debate I really enjoy! Especially because Kritiks encourage debaters to challenge their assumptions, a valuable skill which enables us to re-evaluate our perspective in our everyday lives and engage with the world in new ways. However, I do not have a strong background in K philosophy so I recommend that you present your arguments in a way that would resonate with someone who is learning about the subject area for the first time. Don't throw a bunch of buzzwords around and expect I will understand what you are talking about (and even if I do I won't connect the dots for you if you can't clearly articulate the substance of the arguments on your own).
-The ROB in your K does not serve as a replacement for framework. You don't need to explicitly state "my standard is x" in your K but you need to provide some philosophical analysis that speaks to what impacts I should deem as relevant just like any other type of case. Reading a cap K arguing cap bad because it causes poverty without any theoretical backing to justify why that matters is impact justified and does not help me understand why I should reject the logic of capitalism.
-Kritikal affirmatives are fine. Just be clear to articulate the different layers of the case and what offense is pre-fiat/performative vs. post-fiat, whether you defend the resolution etc.
LARP DEBATE IN GENERAL
-I was not great at LARP debate in high school to begin with, and 6 years later I will struggle even more with resolving these types of rounds. Also, I'm generally not a fan of these cases because 1) I find that aggregative util/cost benefit frameworks tend to be poorly justified and 2) advantages/disads tend to be lacking in link threshold analysis. A good advantage or DA should show that we are at the tipping point such that the impact of A is sufficient to trigger B, which would move the needle to the tipping point such that the effect of B would bring about C, and so on throughout the chain leading up to the terminal impact. By contrast, amalgamating evidence to show A causes B, B causes C, C causes D, and D causes [really bad thing] doesn't persuade me that A will lead to [really bad thing]. I will certainly make my best effort to resolve these kinds of rounds without intervention, but will be quick to pull the trigger on arguments that poke holes at either the framework or link threshold analysis especially given my lack of propensity for this style of debate in the first place.
-Running a CP does not get you out of responding on the line by line against the AC. I find that when many debaters run a counterplan, they will simply respond to the AC by cross-applying their own case and saying that it solves better. While this may be true, it is preferable to make specific solvency takeouts to the aff and engage with their arguments directly to disprove their case.
-If you are arguing against a counterplan, don't just say "perm do both." Please show a clear net benefit to the perm. Demonstrating that the neg isn’t mutually exclusive is not sufficient as there may be a disadvantage to doing both.
-Stock DAs grounded directly in the topic literature are ok, I'm less of a fan of politics DAs and other types of DAs that are not relevant to the core issues of the resolution (i.e. the aff prevents a bill from being passed through Congress which causes extinction, etc.).
-I prefer impacts with higher probability over magnitude. I do not enjoy hearing DAs with long link chains where the probability of the terminal impact is minuscule.
-To vote on theory, I need to be convinced that there is an actual in-round abuse. Theory should not be used as a strategic tool; please reserve theory for arguments that you genuinely cannot engage with on substance.
-I am not great at resolving theory, so if you do find that you are forced to engage in a theory debate, then please present your arguments in the simplest way possible to help me understand how your opponent's strategy is problematic and why it is a voting issue. While I understand the basic structure of a theory shell, if you bombard me with blippy or highly technical arguments then I probably struggle to follow along.
-Consider striking me if this is your thing. This is probably the only style of debate I would say to avoid outright - I am not experienced at all in these kinds of arguments so I will be lost if you do this in front of me.
I am a traditional Lincoln-Douglas parent judge, preferring it over the circuit debate. Please do weighing and clear signposts. Please present arguments at reasonable speed. I evaluate all arguments extended through to rebuttals. I do not understand tricks, ks, non-topicals.