Barkley Forum for High Schools
2023 — Atlanta, GA/US
Public Forum Paradigm ListAll Paradigms: Show Hide
I debated in PF for 4 years (2016-2020) in MN, I'm now an assistant coach for Blake. Please put me on the email chain before round and send full speech docs + cut cards before case and rebuttal: email@example.com and firstname.lastname@example.org
Evidence ethics and exchanges in PF are terrible, please don’t make it worse. Start an email chain before rounds and make exchanges as fast as possible. Sending speech docs to everyone before you read case and rebuttal (including your evidence) makes exchanges faster and lets you check back for your opponent's evidence. I find myself evaluating evidence a lot more now, so please make sure you're reading cut cards.
I tend to vote on the path of least resistance, meaning I’ll vote for clean turns over messy case args. I'm kind of a lazy judge that way, but the less I have to think about where to vote the better. But if a turn/disad isn’t implicated or doesn’t have a link, I’m not gonna buy it. Most teams don't actually impact out or weigh their turns, so doing that is an easy way to win my ballot.
You need to frontline in second rebuttal. Turns/new offense is a must, but the more you cover the better.
Everything you want to go for has to be in summary and FF. This includes offense and defense--defense is not sticky for 1st summary. If you don't extend your links and impacts in summary/FF I can't vote for you.
I’m generally good with speed, but I value quality over quantity.
Please signpost, for both of our sakes. Clear signposting makes it easier to understand your arguments and easier to vote for you. Line by line is preferred, but whatever you do, just tell me where to write it down.
The more weighing you do the better. Weigh every piece of offense you want to win for best results.
The more you collapse in the second half of the round, the easier it is for me to vote for you.
Speaker points are kinda dumb, but I usually average 28. Good strat + jokes will boost your speaks, being offensive/rude + slow to find evidence will drop them.
I'm fine with theory if there's real abuse. I won't vote on frivolous theory and I'll be really annoyed judging a round on the hyper-specifics of a debate norm (ie, open-source v. full-text disclosure). Good is good enough. Generally, I think that paraphrasing is bad and disclosure is good, but I'll evaluate whatever args you read in front of me. That being said, I really do not want to judge theory debates, so please avoid running them.
I don't mind K debate theoretically, but I have a really high threshold for what K debate should be in PF. I have some experience running and judging Ks, but I'm not very familiar with the current lit + hyperspecific terminology. I'm also really opposed to the current trend of Ks in PF. If your alt doesn't actually do anything with my ballot you don't have any offense that I can vote for you on. If you want to read a K in front of me, you need to go at 75% of your max speed. Far too often teams read a bunch of blippy arguments and forget to actually warrant them. Going slower and walking me through the warranting will be the way to win my ballot--this includes responses to the K as well.
Feel free to email me with any questions you have about the round!
Hello! My name is Helen, and I'm a college sophomore at Emory University. I've been debating since I was a high school freshman, and I love it greatly. Here is some advice to increase your chances of winning:
-Please, no spreading. I can't understand what you're saying; I can't judge you, so please speak clearly and at a reasonable pace.
-Address all your opponent's points. If anything is dropped, I take that into great consideration during the round.
-Impacts are very important to me. If you prove to me that your side has the most important impacts, you will likely win the round. Clash is also important.
And most importantly, make sure to relax! I know debating can be stressful, but this is an activity that should bring out the best in you. The more you relax, the more you're likely to do better. Don't be afraid to be passionate because I love when you are. Good Luck!
I have coached debate since 1971, beginning at Manchester (now Manchester Essex) from 1971-2005, and now at Waring School since 2005. I have coached national champions in both policy debate and public forum debate, so I can flow a debate. I am a "tabula rasa" judge, meaning that I believe that the debaters (and not my personal opinions or delivery preferences) will determine what issues and arguments should win the debate. I grew up in Kansas and debated for Topeka West High School (1962-65), where all judges were citizens of the host community. All of our debate was conducted in front of "citizen judges." That's what I believe is most important in PFD. The event was designed so that it would be persuasive to an intelligent and attentive member of the "public." For that reason, I feel that the delivery, argumentation, and ethos of the debaters should be directly accessible to such an audience. I do agree that dropped arguments are conceded in the debate and that NEW arguments in the final speeches should be ignored. I love it when debaters are directly responsive to the arguments of the other side, letting me know on a point by point basis where they are on the flow. I also honor those debaters who show courtesy to their opponents, who have a sense of humor, and who tell the truth about what they have said. I expect that all evidence will be ethically researched and presented in the debate. I will penalize (with points) any debaters who are sarcastic, demeaning of opponents, or biased in terms of race, religion, sexual orientation, or social class. I will always be happy to talk with you about any decision I make as well as to show you my flow and explain how I assessed the debate. I will do this AFTER I have submitted my ballot. In recent years, I have been spending more of my time in tab rooms than judging, but I truly enjoy the time I can spend in the back of the room. In these trying times, you debaters are our hope for the future, naming FACT-BASED arguments about important issues.
Tim Averill (email@example.com) 978-578-0540
Hey all! I have around 5 years of debate experience in PF & LD.
Anything goes. Be nice to your opponents, we're all here to debate not to get harassed.
If you're reading extremely esoteric Ks, I can probably follow along but explain your arguments and send me your speech docs if you're going super fast. I'm acclimated with traditional K lit, so it shouldn't be a problem if its something normal. Just defend your model of debate.
I'm not particularly keen on theory debate unless actually serious violations occur, but will vote off it. Don't run frivolous theory like shoe theory, its annoying. Unless you're absolutely convinced you can make me laugh with it, then go for it.
Extensions are so important, if you don't extend your link chain in the necessary speeches it'll make it really hard for me to vote for you.
Don't do any of the -isms. I'll intervene if this happens.
And most importantly have fun while debating!
For email chains: firstname.lastname@example.org
I was a Policy debater at Samford / GTA at Wake Forest, now an assistant coach at Mountain Brook. I’ve increasingly moved into judging PF and LD, which I enjoy the most when they don’t imitate Policy.
I’m open to most arguments in each event - feel free to read your theory, critiques, counterplans, etc., as long as they’re clearly developed and impacted. Debate is up to the debaters; I'm not here to impose my preferences on the round.
• Speed is fine as long as you’re clear. Pay attention to nonverbals; you’ll know if I can’t understand you.
• Bad arguments still need answers, but dropped args are not auto-winners – you still need to extend warrants and explain why they matter.
• If prep time isn’t running, all activity by all debaters should stop.
• Debate should be fun - be nice to each other. Don’t be rude or talk over your partner.
• I’m pretty strongly opposed to paraphrasing evidence - I’d prefer that debaters directly read their cards, which should be readily available for opponents to see. That said, I won’t just go rogue and vote on it - it’s still up to debaters to give convincing reasons why that’s either a voting issue or a reason to reject the paraphrased evidence. Like everything else, it’s up for debate.
• Please exchange your speech docs, either through an email chain or flash drive. Efficiency matters, and I’d rather not sit through endless prep timeouts for viewing cards.
• Extend warrants, not just taglines. It’s better to collapse down to 1-2 well-developed arguments than to breeze through 10 blippy ones.
• Anything in the Final Focus should be in the Summary – stay focused on your key args.
• Too few teams debate about evidence/qualifications – that’s a good way to boost speaks and set your sources apart.
• I think LD is too often a rush to imitate Policy, which results in some messy debates. Don’t change your style because of my background – if you’re not comfortable (or well-practiced) spreading 5 off-case args, then that’s not advisable.
• If your value criterion takes 2+ minutes to read, please link the substance of your case back to it. This seems to be the most under-developed part of most LD rounds.
• Theory is fine when clearly explained and consistently extended, but I’m not a fan of debaters throwing out a ton of quick voters in search of a cheap shot. Things like RVIs are tough enough to win in the first place, so you should be prepared to commit sufficient time if you want theory to be an option.
[Quick note: I've been out of practice in judging Policy for a bit, so don't take for granted my knowledge of topic jargon or ability to catch every arg at top-speed - I've definitely become a curmudgeon about clarity.]
• I generally think limited condo (2 positions) is okay, but I've become a bit wary on multiple contradictory positions.
• Theory means reject the arg most of the time (besides condo).
• I often find “Perm- do the CP” persuasive against consult, process, or certainty-based CPs. I don’t love CPs that result in the entire aff, but I’ll vote on them if I have to.
• Neg- tell me how I should evaluate the CP and disad. Think judge kick is true? Say it. It’s probably much better for you if I’m not left to decide this on my own.
• K affs that are at least somewhat linked to the resolutional controversy will fare the best in front of me. That doesn't mean that you always need a plan text, but it does mean that I most enjoy affirmatives that defend something in the direction of the topic.
• For Ks in general: the more specific, the better - nuanced link debates will go much farther than 100 different ways to say "state bad".
• Framework args on the aff are usually just reasons to let the aff weigh their impacts.
• Caselists, plz.
• No preference toward reasonability or competing interps - just go in depth instead of repeating phrases like "race to the bottom" and moving on.
I strongly believe in narrowing the debate in the summary speeches. I really want you to determine where you are winning the debate and explain that firmly to me. In short: I want you to go for something. I really like big impacts, but its's important to me that you flush out your impacts with strong internal links. Don't just tell me A leads to C without giving me the process of how you got there. Also don't assume i know every minute detail in your case. Explain and extend and make sure that you EMPHASIZE what you really want me to hear. Slow down and be clear. Give me voters (in summary and final focus).
Speed is fine as long as you are clear. I work very hard to flow the debate in as much detail as possible. However, if I can't understand you I can't flow you.
Please put me on the email chain: email@example.com
I did public forum at Eastside Prep in Seattle, WA from 2015-2019. I am very much a traditionalist. Public forum is not slower policy. Your goal is to convince me. I will not look favorably on policy-type arguments in public forum including Spreading, Plans, Counter Plans, Kritik's, Topicality, or Theory arguments.
In general, though Public Forum should be a paradigm free debate event.
Numbering your argument and debating/explaining the links are great ways to increase your speaks and win in front of me.
I debate at Emory University (2019-2023) in Atlanta, GA.
I am more familiar with policy arguments than critiques. If you go for a critique, please make sure you clearly state your alternative in terms that a simpleton like me can understand.
Quality over quantity of arguments.
I tend to read evidence at the end of the debate; please make it good evidence.
Numbering your arguments is a good way to improve your speaks in front of me.
Links should be about the plan (whether you have evidence to defend them or not).
I do not consider myself a good judge for topicality debates versus policy Affs.
Be respectful of your teammate and competitors.
I've competed in PF, Informative and Impromptu. I've ghosted in Congress rounds and am familiar with most types of speech and debate. As a judge, I like signposting and good arguments with heavy evidence support. I'd prefer that you don't spread; I shouldn't have trouble trying to flow your round. In PF rounds, specifically, I'm looking for clear signposting, heavily supported arguments, clear impact emphasis attached to your arguments, and scope. Tell me why you should win the round. Consider me a lay judge.
For IVIs and K’s: I, 9.5 times out of 10, will ignore them for the vote. Again, consider me a lay judge.
Hey I'm Aarin. I'm a former worlds debater with limited experience in PF and Congress
Some general notes:
- I will be evaluating the round based upon which world is comparatively better
- Neither side has to solve for every issue, but you need to tell me why your world is better
- Make sure you are clear on the characterization of your world (i.e. what does your world look like, what policies are implemented, how does this affect the common individual, etc.). This will make it easier for me to evaluate why your side is winning
- Please stray away from definition debates- make sure your framework is not abusive and unrealistic.
- resolve model debates by being comparative and giving me actual argumentation rather than just repeating "tHeIr mOdEl iS aBuSiVe" over and over
- Be abundantly clear about the link chains in your arguments. You cannot jump from a claim to an impact without warrants and links that connect both. It makes your argument stronger and gives me a reason to buy into your arguments.
- Don't forget to weight. You need to do more than just say the impacts of your argument. You need to tell me why your impacts are more important than your opponents in order for me to vote for you. Particularly important in later speeches.
- Signpost and give me a roadmap. The easier you make judging this round for me, the better it is for you.
- WSD is a global debate, so make sure to have examples across the world to back up your argumentation. Don't cherry-pick from one country or become us-centric.
- WSD is partly argumentative and partly performative. That being said, it's important that you deliver your arguments in a persuasive way. Don't spread and talk at a conversational rate and be respectful
- Ask and take POIs! I expect to see 2 taken per speech. But don't spam them or ask rambling ones that just eat up your opponents time.
- I generally prefer voting for practical over principled arguments unless you do a very good job weighing. If you want me to vote on the principle you have to weigh unless there's no other offense to vote off. If I'm given 2 competing arguments and no weighing then I default practical > principal.
- I'm definitely biased towards speeches that do a good job of giving me a big picture comparative as well as winning the line by line, but I'd much rather you debate in the style you're most comfortable with
- Green Bay Packers rhetoric = marginal bump in speaks
I'll explain my RFD after the round and give you individual feedback if you request it, if you want to ask me any questions or want more in depth feedback feel free to email me firstname.lastname@example.org
- Watch your speed. Keep it not too much faster than a normal conversational speed
- I'm not at all familiar with progressive argumentation, so probably don't run it
- Signpost and give me a roadmap. The easier you make judging this round for me, the better it is for you.
- Please weigh
- To be safe, consider me as slightly better than a lay judge
- Rhetoric for rebuttal and cases is required
- Keep your own time
- I require you to send all cards + rhetoric for case & rebuttal, email@example.com
- I have very very little experience with LD. As such, it's probably safest to consider me a lay judge. Don't run progressive args, keep speed at conversational levels, and keep speeches simple and cleanly signposted. The easier you make it for me to evaluate the round, the better it is for you.
I have 4 years of experience judging PF, both in-person and online. I'm not quite a tech judge, but am getting closer. For PF debates:
- Clearly lay out your contentions and subpoints upfront, and refer back to them during the round when you're providing additional evidence or warrants. Extend in your final speeches.
- I don't need an off-time roadmap, but feel free to provide one if you think it's helpful. Your speech should be organized well enough that I can tell when you're talking about your case or your opponent's, without an upfront roadmap to guide me there.
- I don't flow crossfire unless something new jumps out that I'm looking for later. In the next speeches, be sure to extend anything from crossfire that you want me to consider. Otherwise, you've made the decision that it's not important for me to hear or consider.
- Weigh, or at least tell me what the impacts are of your argument. Without that, I'm left without much of a "why" upon which to judge the round.
- That said, impacts should be reasonable and realistic. If nuclear war and 7 billion deaths really are a likely impact of your argument, that's fine. But I might give equal weight to an argument that would lead to 100K deaths from a conventional war that is more likely to happen in your future-state or the status quo. Or one that would increase the deficit by 5%, if that's more likely to be the outcome. And I definitely won't give much weight to a nuclear war impact from something like organic farming, or Medicare for All -- again, be realistic.
- If you want to run theory, go for it, but remember you're trying to convince me (not a professor or college debater) that your argument is better than your opponent's. Most theory cases don't do a lot for me, so you have a higher bar to clear if you're going to go that route.
- This goes without saying, but be polite and respectful to each other, and have fun. Even if it gets testy during the round, please congratulate each other at the end and shake hands (or fist-bump). I know the competitive aspect of this is real and can get intense, but remember why you're here.
Ley judge. Keep spreading to a minimum, avoid IVI's, theory, etc. If I can't understand your argument, you won't get my ballot.
Clearly explain link chains and which impacts you are collapsing on.
Weigh clearly, help me see the impact your side presents.
Be respectful to your opponents, and enjoy the Debate.
Hi! I have no previous experience with debate, and I do not know all the rules that go along with it. I do believe that it is important to respond to the entirety of the other person's argument while also maintaining respect among competitors!
Hello! Please do not go too fast and prioritize clarity. I value argument and style equally. Approach each round as an opportunity to learn and with respect for your opponents. Also, remember to extend your points properly, otherwise they won't be flowed. Finally, please weigh so I can see the comparative between the impacts presented in the round. Good luck!
Include me on the email chain: firstname.lastname@example.org
Hi, I’m Andrew, I am a freshman at Emory
I have limited debate experience (I competed in Parli in high school) so treat me mostly as a parent judge
Please do not spread, but I would like to be on the email chain regardless @email@example.com
Focus on developing arguments, clearly distinguishing between your offense and your opponents and above all else WEIGH so that I can resolve the round
I would appreciate it if you stayed away from theory or high theory K’s but I will try my best to resolve it, you just might not be happy with my decision
Parent judge. Please speak clearly. Don't spread.
Like well-developed arguments with good logical reasoning. Cross fire must be civil. Respect each other and enjoy the debate.
Summary and final focus are key. Arguments need to be extended effectively. Prioritize, weight and crystalize. No need to add a new argument in the final focus.
Hello my name is Sal. I am a parent judge,
I work as an electrical engineer at Intel, and like to read a lot about current events and stay informed with the news. I have judged a lot over the past year, so I am pretty familiar at this point with the format of PF.
Stuff to note:
Content > Pretty Rhetoric
Obviously don't go to fast since I'm a parent
Don't be rude or get too aggressive in the round, make sure to respect your opponents.
Crossfire is important to me.
My English is my 2nd language so please try to talk in simple words.
I will try my best to make a good fair decision and not just sit there and not pay attention. I know it may be frustrating to have a parent judge instead of a professional judge, so I really will try my best to give you all the respect you deserve.
Please add me to the email chain firstname.lastname@example.org
I am a debate coach with experience judging at national tournaments at the novice and varsity levels. I prefer arguments to be well structured, articulated clearly (please no spreading but I can understand a considerably faster than conversational pace) and supported by convincing evidence. Please slow down on the tags so I can accurately flow. I don't mind listening to a unique or interesting argument but somehow you MUST link it back to the resolution if you are going to get my ballot.
Plans: All good, just make it relatable to the topic
Counter-plans: All good.
Theory: If there is significant violation or abuse in a round that warrants running theory, I will vote on it but generally not a fan of debating about debate.
Ks: Willing to listen to a good K as long there is a really strong and convincing link back. Not a fan of generic links or links of omission as an excuse to run the K you want to run.
DA: I'm fine with them, we are all good here
T: I think aff has an obligation to be somewhat topical and neg has the right to question whether aff is in fact being topical. That being said, while I generally will not vote on a straight RVI, running T for the sole purpose of creating a time suck for aff and then kicking it in the NR is not a strat that is going to sit well with me.
Conditional Arguments: Anything more than 2 conditional arguments is abusive and puts aff in an impossible situation in the 1AR. I will vote off “Condo bad” in these situations.
Disclosure: Seems like it gets run a lot for no purpose other than trying to get a cheap win. However, If the affirmative is reading a case that is so unique, such as a specific plan text, that the negative would have difficulty engaging with then disclosure is the fair thing to do.
Feel free to ask me if clarification is needed
email: email@example.com & firstname.lastname@example.org (please add both to the email chain)
also please title the email chain in a way that includes the round #, flight # (if applicable), both team codes, sides, and speaking order
- PF Coach for Lakeville South & Lakeville North in Minnesota, 2019-Present
- Speech Coach for Lakeville South in Minnesota, 2022-Present
- Instructor for Potomac Debate, 2021-Present
- University of Minnesota NPDA, 2019-2022
- Lakeville South High School (PF with a bit of speech and Congress), 2015-2019
Updated for November/December 2023:
Generally, I will vote for anything if there is a warrant, an impact, and solid comparative weighing, and as long as your evidence isn't horribly cut/fake. Every argument you want on my ballot needs to be in summary and final focus, and I will walk you through exactly how I made my decision after the round is over. I’ve noticed that while I can/will keep up with speed and evaluate technical debates, my favorite rounds are usually those that slow down a bit and go into detail about a couple of important issues. Well warranted arguments with clear impact scenarios extended using a strategic collapse are a lot better than blippy extensions. The best rounds in my opinion are the ones where summary extends one big issue with comparative weighing and whatever defense/offense on the opponent’s case is necessary.
if you're speed reading this before round, prioritize the general & evidence issues sections (and the kritiks & theory sections if that's a thing you plan to do)
- I am generally happy to judge the debate you want to have.
- The only time you need a content warning is when the content in your case is objectively triggering and graphic. I think the way PF is moving toward requiring opt-out forms for things like “mentions of the war on drugs” or "feminism" is super unnecessary and trivializes the other issues that actually do require content warnings while silencing voices that are trying to discuss important issues.
- I will drop you with a 20 (or lowest speaks allowed by the tournament) for bigotry or being blatantly rude to your opponents. There’s no excuse for this. This applies to you no matter how “good at technical debate” you are.
- Speed is fine as long as you explain your arguments instead of just rattling off claims. For online rounds, slow down more than you would in person. Please do not sacrifice clarity for speed.
- Silliness and cowardice are voting issues.
- Evidence ethics in PF are atrocious. Cut cards is the only way to present evidence in my opinion. At the very least, read direct quotes.
- Evidence exchanges take way too long. Send full speech docs in the email chain before the speech begins. I want everyone sending everything in this email chain so that everyone can check the quality of evidence, and so that you don’t waste time requesting individual cards.
- Your cases should be sent to the email chain in the form of a Word Doc/PDF/uneditable document with all the evidence you read in the debate.
- It shouldn’t take you more than 30 seconds to locate a card, and if it takes more than 2 minutes, I’ll strike it from the flow and start dropping your speaker points.
- The only evidence that counts in the round is evidence you cite in your speech using the author’s last name and date. You cannot read an analytic in a speech then provide evidence for it later.
- Evidence comparison is super underutilized - I'd love to hear more of it.
- My threshold for voting on arguments that rely on paraphrased/power-tagged evidence is very high. I will always prefer to vote for teams with well cut, quality evidence.
- I don't know what this "sending rhetoric without the cards" nonsense is - the only reason you need to exchange evidence is to check the evidence. Your "rhetoric" should be exactly what's in the evidence anyway, but if it's not, I have no idea what the point is of sending the paraphrased "rhetoric" without the cards. Just send full docs with cut cards.
- Frontline in second rebuttal. Dropped arguments in second rebuttal are conceded in the round. You should cover everything on the argument(s) you plan on going for, including defense.
- Defense isn't sticky. Anything you want to matter in the round needs to be in summary and final focus.
- Collapse in summary. It is not a strategy to go for tons of blippy arguments hoping something will stick just to blow up one or two of those things in final focus. The purpose of the summary is to pick out the most important issues, and you must collapse to do that well.
- Weigh as soon as possible. Comparative weighing is essential for preventing judge intervention, and meta-weighing is cool too. I want to vote for teams that write my ballot for me in final focus, so try to do that the best you can.
- Speech organization is key. I literally want you to say what argument I should vote on and why.
- The way I give speaker points fluctuates depending on the division and the difficulty of the tournament, but I average about a 28 and rarely go below a 27 or above a 29. If you get a 30, it means you debated probably the best I saw that tournament if not for the past couple tournaments. I give speaker points based on strategic decisions rather than presentation.
I’ve judged a lot of terrible theory debates, and I do not want to judge more theory debates. But if you decide to ignore that and do it anyway, please at least read this:
- Frivolous theory is bad.
- I probably should tell you that I believe disclosure is good and paraphrasing is bad, but I will listen to answers to these shells and evaluate the round to the best of my ability. My threshold for paraphrasing good is VERY high.
- Even if you don’t know the "technical" way to answer theory, do your best to respond. I don't really care if you use theory jargon - just do your best.
- "Theory is bad" or "theory doesn't belong in PF" are not arguments I'm very sympathetic to.
- A counter interpretation is not an RVI. RVIs are a completely separate (and bad) part of the debate.
- I will say that despite all the above preferences/thoughts on theory, I really dislike when teams read things like disclosure as an easy path to ballot to basically gotcha teams that have probably never heard of disclosure before. I honestly think it's the laziest strategy to use in those rounds, and your speaker points will probably reflect that.
I have a high threshold for critical arguments in PF because I just don’t think the speech times are long enough for them to be good, but there are a few things that will make me feel better about voting on these arguments.
- I am not super well versed on most K lit, and most of the reading I have done has been very casual, so I would probably err on the side of over-explaining your arguments.
- When extending the K, don't just reread the entire thing.
- Any argument is going to be more compelling if you write it yourself. Probably don't just take something from the policy wiki without recutting any of the evidence or actually taking the time to fully understand the arguments.
- I think theory is the most boring way to answer a kritik. I'll always prefer for teams to engage with the kritik on some level.
- I hate long evidence exchanges. I already ranted about this at the top of my paradigm because it is by far my biggest pet peeve, but here’s another reminder that it should not take you more than 30 seconds to send a piece of evidence. There’s also no reason to not just send full speech docs to prevent these evidence exchanges, so just do that.
- I don’t flow anything over time, and I’ll be annoyed and potentially drop speaker points if your speeches go more than 5 or so seconds over.
- Pre-flow before you get to the room. The round start time is the time the round starts – if you don’t have your pre-flow done by then, I do not care, and the debate will proceed without it.
- The phrase "small schools" is maybe my least favorite phrase commonly used in debate. I have judged so many debates where teams get stuck arguing about whether they're a small school, and it never has a point.
- The sentence "we'll weigh if time allows" - no you won't. You will weigh if you save yourself time to do it, because if you don't, you will probably lose.
- If you're going to ask clarification questions about the arguments made in speech, you need to either use cross or prep time for that.
I competed in Congress a few times in high school, and I've judged/coached it a little since then. I dislike judging it because no one is really using it for its fullest potential, and almost every Congress round I've ever seen is just a bunch of constructive speeches in a row. But here are a few things that will make me happy in a Congress round:
- I'll rank you higher if you add something to the debate. I love rebuttal speeches, crystallization speeches, etc. You will not rank well if you are the fourth/fifth/sixth etc. speaker on a bill and still reading new substantive arguments without contextualizing anything else that has already happened. It's obviously fine to read new evidence/data, but that should only happen if it's for the purpose of refuting something that's been said by another speaker or answering an attack the opposition made against your side.
- I care much more about the content and strategy of your speeches than I do about your delivery.
- If you don't have a way to advance the debate beyond a new constructive speech that doesn't synthesize anything, I'd rather just move on to a new bill. It is much less important to me that you speak on every bill than it is that when you do speak you alter the debate on that bill.
If you have additional questions, ask before or after the round or you can email me at email@example.com.
Head debate coach at Strake Jesuit
I've coached for a long time and have watched/advised every type of debater. I have a workable knowledge on many progressive arguments, but my preference is traditional, topical debate. Persuasion and speaking skill matter to me. Because I don't judge much, it is important to speak clearly and to articulate the things that you want me to pay close attention to. If you go too fast and don't follow this advice you will lose me. I will not vote off of something that I didn't understand. You need to make my path to your ballot clear. I like certain types of theory arguments and will vote off of them if there is a demonstrated abuse (topicality, disclosure, etc.). My firm belief is that you should debate the topic assigned. I also am a big fan of disclosure. I think that it levels the playing field for all involved. Drops matter. Impacting is important. Giving clear reasons why you are winning offense is the easiest way to pick up my ballot.
I am a federal attorney who has practiced law for nearly 20 years. My practice is at the intersection of administrative law, consumer protection, and emerging technologies.
While my work involves debating public policy issues, I do not have high school or college debate experience. Accordingly, you should consider me a lay judge. I strongly dislike “spreading.” I find competitors who speak/read fast are monotonous and unpersuasive. There is zero value in cramming arguments into a timed speech only to come across as unintelligent and robotic.
I used to debate public forum for the Lovett School in Atlanta, GA. Did the whole state and national circuit thing. I graduated undergrad at the University of South Carolina and law school from Georgia State. Let's begin...
Order: PF, LD, Speech
FOR PF (and some LD):
Crossfire: Crossfire is the most important part of a PF round. I don't know why other judges don't flow it. I will say that other judges not flowing harms the activity itself and harms you. For some reason, PF culture has evolved to where debaters don’t need to pay attention to the crossfire. The point is to allow impromptu questioning to gain concessions and provoke logical holes. Instead, I typically get a "can you restate/explain your argument" question which I deduct speaker points for. It’s one of the many skills you should learn from participating in this activity. It's my favorite part and I love a feisty crossfire. It's what makes debate, well debate. I find concessions in crossfire binding to the rest of the round even if it is not referenced by any side. Imagine debating on a public stage where someone makes a big oopsy. Do you think people listening will forget about a major concession? This means that should there be any uncertainty in my mind about an argument from a crossfire Q&A, you better believe you should address it ASAP. Therefore, be on your toes.
Evidence Exchange: I do not run prep time for evidence exchange and reading. The reason is because I have seen way too many kids ask for a card, become afraid of using valuable prep to scan evidence that has way too much information on it, then not use it because they really did not get to read it. I would rather we all stop, understand and appreciate the evidence, and have valuable discourse on it than stick with antiquated rules. This is a privilege which means that while the opponent is reading the evidence, no one can do any work during that time. If I see you writing something down during an evidence exchange, I will penalize the offending team. This rule does not apply to break rounds.
Evidence: I also have no reservations on calling for a piece of evidence that I think is being abused. In fact, I will pretty much always call for evidence at this point. I have seen a lot of teams create these "perfect cases" by chain linking evidence together. When I call for them, I quickly realize the evidence is not talking about the point that is being made. They are cut for the purpose of misleading. Usually when I hear "that's why X finds blah blah blah", or I do not hear dates, my instincts tell me something is going on. I have and will report teams for evidence misuse. I will give you terrible speaker points and mention in my comments to your coaches what is going on (although sometimes they themselves are complicit). Be ready to give me the full article/document/etc not the cut blurb in your case. If you cannot provide it, I consider that evidence misuse. I do however make exceptions for paywalls.
I do not like "That is what X card is saying". Why do I care about specifically a last name like "Smith 'XX". I have no idea who that is or why I should listen to him. Your argument is not valid because someone said it is. Dig deeper into the warrants behind the cards themselves. Many people are missing the "why" in the debate. When asked why, most people states "because Smith 'XX says so". That is wrong.
Non-uniqueness: Teams that claim non-uniqueness need to prove why there is also mutual exclusivity. I hear way to many teams say "this is non-unique drop it" and then move on. After recent events, I have now decided to add the extra burden of proof here to prevent teams from using this argument as a catch-all. This means proving that the alternative approach or stance prevents, solves, or addresses the issue in a manner exclusive to that of your opponent. Without this, a non-unique argument can become merely defensive and not necessarily a reason to prefer one side over the other. If Team Pro argues that implementing a certain policy would boost economic growth, and Team Con counters that economic growth is already happening and thus Pro's argument is non-unique, this alone doesn't refute the merits of Pro's proposal. However, if Con can also demonstrate that their approach uniquely achieves growth or that Pro's approach is mutually exclusive with other essential goals, then they've strengthened their position.
Solvency: I am now leaning heavily towards getting rid of the solvency requirement in most cases. Simply stating that an action is not immediately feasible is not be a reason to dismiss an argument. Rather, opponents must demonstrate that the lack of solvency leads to substantial harms or entirely contradicts the principle behind the proposal. So stating that I need to drop an argument because of solvency will no longer work in most matters.
Public Forum: I debated and judge public forum (most of the time). PF to me is a persuasive debate meaning how can I use certain pieces of evidence to convince the general public that my side is the correct side. It’s also a way to create public discourse in an open atmosphere. That means I’m not gonna flow a 4-minute speech past 800 words because, in all likelihood, you’re speaking faster than what an average person can understand to retain your argument. Remember, the skills PF teaches is primarily public speaking to the average public. This is not Lincoln Douglas and it certainly is not policy. I will ask at the beginning how many words your case is.
Jargon that annoys me: weighing, dropped, flow, extend, card, impact, tech, truth etc. This is an accessibility issue.Teams who typically cannot do so have attended way too many debate camps that do not prioritize accessibility. For example, a jury will laugh at me if I say "please drop the argument the prosecutor is making and instead extend my exhibit A across your flow".
I am a very different judge than what you will see in local and national circuits.Whether you decide or not to change your strategy to me or keep it for every other judge out there makes zero difference to me. I am terse, strict, and very shrewd (which means I know all the little tricks). I will always disclose and will give heavy feedback in round and also in tabroom.
I DO NOT CARE ABOUT FRONTLINING. DO IT HOW YOU WANT. JUDGES THAT INSIST ON STRUCTURING THE SPEECHES FOR YOU ARE BAD JUDGES
DO NOT ASK IF EVERYONE IS READY THEN GIVE AN OFF TIME ROADMAP. ALSO, NO OFFTIME ROADMAPS
DO NOT START CROSS AND THEN WASTE TIME BY ASKING IF YOU HAVE THE FIRST QUESTION. IF YOU GO FIRST, YOU GET FIRST QUESTION. THOSE ARE THE RULES.
SECOND SPEAKERS DO NOT GET A PASS FROM GRAND CROSS JUST BECAUSE YOU HAVE ANOTHER SPEECH. I DEDUCT HEAVILY IF A TEAMMATE STAYS SILENT DURING GCF
PLEASE DO YOUR PREFLOWS BEFORE THE ROUND. I DO NOT WANT TO SIT THERE FOR 5 MINUTES WHILE YOU FLOW OUT YOUR CASE
DO NOT QUOTE THE RULES OF PUBLIC FORUM TO ME. I HAVE BEEN DOING THIS A VERY VERY LONG TIME.
I do time you but I'll let you go over about 10 seconds before I cut you off. Please do not time each other. It comes off as standoff and rude every time.
I am a strict traditionalist. VC is also paramount. When two different VCs are present please give me a way to solve which ones I should use. Many times, people agree to each other's VCs because they are the same, but there are differences. For example, a util C may mean different things. A government doing the most for its citizens v general good for all are both util Cs but vastly different in how they will be used in the round. Solvency is not important to me when using a morality framework. However, it does help when teams are tied and one can solve better than the other. Please provide a mechanism to compare casualties.
I love seeing more philosophy. Keep in mind that not everyone will be as well versed as you are. Just because you shout out a name does not mean I know who he/she is or why they are the authority on the subject. Instead, I get a weird hybrid of policy and PF. I do expect you to go down the flow in order not to jump around. If you need to address a specific piece of evidence please do so alongside rebuttals on the contention level.
DO NOT RUN ANY WEIRD STUFF. Strike me if you need. I don't like policy debate. In fact, I hate the activity. I had a brother who did policy at Westminster which is a very good policy school. He is a horrible debater today despite winning national tournaments. No K's, no theory shells, no irritants. Global extinction, nuke war, etc fall under that category unless you have a clear roadmap as to why the argument is not extremely hypothetical. No, I will not follow your 7 card link chain as to why giving out red cards at soccer games leads to the breakdown of civil order (Yes, I once ran this and won). I don't know what they are. I will not flow it.
I always thought Speech was inferior to debate. It was not until I graduated that I realized how far my Speech peers were ahead of me in speaking to people. I have learned Speech judging under some of the best coaches on the circuit. I will never give you any facial expression indicating what I think of your speech. This is to make it harder for you. Trust in your skills and the speeches you are giving. I typically take no/sparing notes during your speech and will pause the next speaker to finish my thoughts. I want the focus to be on you. Therefore, do not become discouraged if you do not see me write anything down.
Hand motions and whatever Angela Merkel does with her hands are annoying. I find them to be exaggerated, leading me to believe the hand motions are practice alongside the speech. A natural speaker will use their hands sparingly and with emphasis. Waving your hands around all the time takes away the emphasis you are trying to convey where you really need it.
Be natural. The best speakers are. Don't try and over practice or force it. If you mess up or forget, I have no issue with you taking even a long pause or saying "excuse me let me back up". I, in fact, do not deduct points for this and encourage it. Sure it is awkward. But it is better that skipping over or messing up the rest of the speech.
Speak slow and clear. Be respectful to your opponents.
If you are sick, don't come near me please, or at least wear a mask.
Pet Peeve: Poorly extended arguments. Please extend your arguments well. There is a sweet spot between brevity and depth that you should try to hit, but don't extend your case in 5 seconds please. This is a hill I will die on, and so will my ballot.
TLDR: I'm a typical flow judge. I value quality of argumentation over quantity. Please collapse, extend warrants and impacts, frontline, and weigh your arguments. I'm fairly tech (see my notes at the bottom and make your own assessment).
Background: Was a mediocre PF debater for 4 years in Minnesota at both traditional and nat circuit tournaments. Coached and judged since 2020. I'm also an Econ/Poli Sci major so I have a pretty solid BS meter.
Basic Judging Philosophy I vote off of what is warranted, I prefer what is weighed. Give me reasons to prefer your warranting over their warrants and do weighing that COMPARES your impact to their impact by telling me why yours is more important and WHY. Don't just say a buzzwords like "scope" or "de-link" and move on.
After the round: I will give you an oral RFD if possible once I submit my ballot, and feel free to question/post-round me because it makes me a better judge. I will also call for cards (see evidence section).
- I can handle around 250 words per minute BUT only if you SLOW DOWN ON TAGLINES. Send a speech doc if you are above 225 wpm or have bad clarity.
- Reading fast is not an excuse to be blippy. Speed should allow you to have better warranting and more depth, not less. Speed + 6 contention cases are not the move
- Just because you CAN read fast with me, doesn't mean you SHOULD. Read at whatever pace you debate best at, don't try and rush just because I'm techy.
- You may paraphrase, BUT I expect you to send a cut card with a citation. DO NOT send me a full PDF and tell me what to control+F. I doc speaks for bad behavior in this department.
- After the round I will call for some key cards from case/rebuttal, even if they weren't relevant to my decision. This is my way of checking power tagging/bad cuts. If a card sounds too good to be true, I will call it. Even if the card isn't relevant to the round, I will drop your speaks if it is miscut.
- Number your responses so it's easy for me to flow.
- Collapse in 2nd rebuttal (it's strategic in winning my ballot). you MUST frontline offense in 2nd rebuttal, and I strongly strongly strongly prefer you frontline every arg you are going for fully.
- Disads are fine in rebuttal. If a DA is read in second rebuttal, I'm more lenient on frontlines/responses in 1st summary. Try and link-in if you read a DA.
Summary & Final Focus
- I have a VERY high threshold for case extensions (lots of warrants plz). Don't underextend or you will probably lose.
- I prefer defense to be in summary (defense isn't sticky). I will maybe evaluate defense that is extended from 1st rebuttal to 1st Final Focus ONLY IF it is cold dropped, but there is a low chance I will evaluate 2nd rebuttal to Final Focus defense. I will never evaluate defense that isn't extended in Final Focus. Your best chance of winning defense is to extend it in both summary and final focus.
- Offense needs to be in both summary and FF.
- If you don't collapse, frontline, and weigh in summary, you probably won't win my ballot.
- I will vote on theory, but I prefer it to be read in the first speech possible (ie, don't read a shell in 2nd rebuttal if it can be read in 2nd constructive). Disclosure, paraphrasing, content warning, misgendering theory, etc. are all fair game.
- Very pro-content warning shells, but ONLY when they aren't friv (i.e., I think reading one on a poverty impact is too much, but reading like a gendered violence content warning shell is definitely not friv). However, I'm non-interventionist so I'll vote on anything, just be aware of my personal beliefs. I do believe that content warnings aren't a race to the bottom and that there is some reasonable threshold for me to buy them.
- If you use theory to exclude your opponents and you have structural advantages in the debate community I will you drop the shell faster than you can read your interp. But, if it's two rich private schools bashing each other over the head with theory, go ahead.
- Don't extend your shell in rebuttal (you shouldn't extend case in rebuttal either).
- I've voted on Ks several times before, but I'm not well-versed in the lit so slow down on tags and key warrants.
- You need to at least have minimalist extensions of the link, impacts, and all other important parts of your arg (framing/ROB) in summary AND Final. Don't try and read the whole thing verbatim please.
- Prog weighing is cool-- I like well-warranted metaweighing, link weighing, and SV/Extinction framing.
- Saying the words "strength/clarity of link/impact" is not weighing :(
- If both teams want to skip cross/grand cross and use it as flex prep, I'm cool with that. Negotiate that yourselves though.
- Read content warnings on graphic args, though I'm more open to no content warnings non-graphic but potentially triggering args like human trafficking (will evaluate CW theory though). Google forms are ideal, but give adequate time for opt-out no matter how you do it.
-Speaks are inherently biased towards privileged groups-- I will try and evaluate speaks strictly based on the quality of args given in your speech.
-There are 4 ways your speaks get dropped: 1) Arriving late to round, 2) Being slow to produce evidence or calling for excessive amounts of cards, 3) Stealing prep time, 4) Saying or doing anything that is excessively rude or problematic.
How tech am I? Here are some arguments and how I'd evaluate them.
- Climate change fake/good: While obviously untrue, I would vote on it as turn/defense. However, my threshold for frontlines would be low, so it isn't strategic.
- Election Args/[politician] bad: Would 100% vote on it-- run whatever so long as it isn't objectively offensive
- Racism/sexism/homophobia good: Nope.
- Economic Growth Bad (DeDev): Would 100% vote on this.
- Tricks: Nope.
- Impacts to animal/plants: I would love the chance to vote on this with a framework.
Blake '21, UChicago '25
Did PF on the nat circuit for 3 years and I am currently an Assistant Coach for Blake.
- Pls run paraphrasing theory: Paraphrasing is awful, evidence is VERY important to me and I am happy to use the ballot to punish bad ethics in round.
- Send speech docs, its better for everyone.
- Strike me if you don't read cut cards/if you paraphrase or don't think evidence is important, you will be happy that you did.
- I flow.
- All kinds of speed are fine, spreading too as long as you are not paraphrasing.
- 2nd rebuttal must frontline, defense isn't sticky, and if I'm something is going to be mentioned on my ballot, it must be in both back half speeches.
- Please weigh.
- I will let your opponents take prep for as long as it takes for you to send your doc or cards without it counting towards their 3 minutes, so send docs pls and send them fast.
- The following people have shaped how I view debate: Ale Perri (hi Ale), Christian Vasquez, Bryce Piotrowski, Darren Chang, and Shane Stafford.
firstname.lastname@example.org AND email@example.com -- Put BOTH on the email chain, and feel free to contact me after the round (on Facebook preferably, or email if you must) if you have questions or need anything from me. I am always happy to do what I can after the round to help you out.
- I will enforce speech times, prep time, etc with a timer and the ballot (if its like absolutely egregious, taking multiple minutes longer than you are allowed, etc)
- In most PF rounds, roadmaps aren't necessary, just tell me where you are starting and signpost. If there are 8 sheets, then yes, please give a roadmap.
- The Split: 2nd rebuttal must frontline; turns and defense.
- The Back Half: If I am going to vote on it, or if it is going to be apart of my RFD (all offense or defense in the round), it needs to be both in the summary and the final focus. None of this sticky defense nonsense. Weighing needs to start in summary, and final focus should be writing my ballot for me.
- Speed: I can handle all speeds in PF. More often than not, clarity matters more than WPM. I know debaters who speak super fast, and I can understand every word, and I know debaters who don't speak fast but are still super unclear, and vice versa. I will say clear if I cant follow. You can spread IF you are doing it like it is done in policy (spreading long cards, not a bunch of paraphrased garbage, slow down on tags/authors, sending out a speech doc is a must). IF you spread AND paraphrase, however, your chances of winning points of clash immediately plummet.
- Pls send speech docs with cut cards, I will probably ask for them so then I can read cards without having to call for a million different ones, and it shortens the amount of time taken for ev exchange by a million, so just pls send them.
- Weighing: You need to weigh on both the link and impact level, very often the team that weighs will pick up my ballot. I don't hate buzzwords as much as other PF judges, but I do need an explanation. Please start weighing as early as possible, in the rebuttals if you can. Early weighing helps you make strategic decisions and makes my life easier since weighing is what guides my ballot. I will always prefer weighing done earlier and dropped, over late weighing so weigh early and often. The evaluation of the round on my ballot starts and ends with weighing and it controls where I look to vote. I don't need a story or a super clear narrative, but write my ballot for me and make it easy. In line with this, I would highly encourage you to go for less and weigh more.
- Collapse: PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE collapse, preferably starting in second rebuttal. This makes all of our lives easier because you don't want to have to spam buzzwords blippily in response to some poorly extended argument, and I don't want to sift through a flow with tons of tags and zero warrants or weighing. Pick an argument to go for, and weigh that argument. That is the easiest way to pick up my ballot. Debate isn't a scoreboard, winning 3 arguments doesn't mean you get my ballot if your opponent only wins 1 argument.
- I cannot believe I have to make this a part of my paradigm, it should be exceedingly obvious, but no delinks or non-uniques on yourself (specifically that delinks the link you read in case or something which makes the opposite argument that you made initially) to get out of turn offense. It makes being first impossible and its just so stupid. I won't evaluate those arguments and your opponents are free to extend those turns. Obviously, you can concede your opponents defense, but you cant read it on yourself, new in second rebuttal.
- If the 1st constructive introduces framework, the 2nd constructive probably should respond to it (or at least make arguments as to why they can respond later). I don't know where i stand on this technically yet, but this is where i am leaning now, arguments can be made either way on this issue in round and i will evaluate them normally, but if the 1st constructive introduces framework and the 2nd constructive drops it, i think its ok for the first rebuttal to call it conceded unless otherwise argued.
- On advocacies/T: This is something that should be resolved in the round and I will eval the flow if this argument is made but my personal thoughts are as follows. Because the neg doesn't get a CP in PF, the aff's advocacy does not block the neg out of ground (basically neither side gets to control the others ground). The aff does the whole aff, the neg can garner DAs off of the aff's advocacy or any interpretation of what the aff could look like, not just what that aff was in that round. An example would be the neg could still read a Russia provocation negative on the NATO topic (Septober 2021) even if the aff does not read a troop deployment advocacy for their advantages. Alternatively, if the neg can get a CP then I suppose the aff can get an advocacy. Either way works - the point being that PF should consider some sort of method to adjudicate this in round.
- Be nice and respectful, but keep it light and casual if you can! Debate is fun, so lets treat it as such.
- I will be quick to drop debaters and arguments that are any -ism, and I won't listen to arguments like racism, sexism, death, patriarchy (etc) good. The space first and foremost needs to be safe to participate in.
- I don't care what you what you wear, where you sit, if you swear (sometimes a few F-bombs can make an exceedingly boring debate just a little less so!), if you do the flip or enter the room before im there, etc.
I like cut cards and quality evidence, I hate paraphrasing. Disclaimer: this is going to seem cranky, but I don't mind well-warranted analytics. I just hate paraphrasing. Ev is always better than an analytic, but if you introduce an arg as an analytic, I won't mind and will evaluate it as such. But if your opponents have evidence, you will likely lose that clash point. Here a few main points on evidence issues:
- Evidence is the backbone of the activity, otherwise it devolves into some really garbage nonsense (I do not value debate as a lying competition). As a result, debates about evidence are very easy ways to pick me up. Arguments about evidence preference are very good in front of me, and I will probably call for cards at the end of the round because most debate evidence is horrifically miscut or paraphrased. Evidence quality is very very important, and I have NO PROBLEM intervening against awful evidence especially in close rounds. Good evidence is important for education and quality of debate, so if you have bad evidence, I am happy to drop you for it to improve the activity and hopefully teach you a lesson. This applies to both if you cut cards or paraphrase, because cutting cards doesn't make you immune to lying about it, so generally cut good cards, and read good evidence.
- Paraphrasing: The single worst wide-spread practice in PF debate today is paraphrasing. Its just so obviously silly. Its bad for the quality of debate, its bad for all of its educational benefits, and its unfair. I hate it so so much. So please cut cards, its not difficult and it makes everyone's lives better. That said, I know that it happens regardless so here are a few things important for the in round if you do paraphrase:
a. PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE have a cut card or at least a paragraph, you absolutely need to be able to have this, its a rule now. Your opponents do not need to take prep to sort through your PDFs, and if you cant quickly produce the evidence and where you paraphrased it from, I'm crossing the argument off my flow. I have very little tolerance for long, paraphrased evidence exchanges where you claim to have correctly paraphrased 100 page PDFs and expect your opponents to be able to check against your bad evidence with the allotted prep time.
b. If you paraphrase, you MUST be reading full arguments. 40 authors in 1st rebuttal by spreading tag blips and paraphrasing authors to make it faster is not acceptable and your speaks will tank. Claim, warrant, ev is all required if I am going to vote on it or even flow it.
c. If you misrepresent a card while paraphrasing, not only is that bad in a vacuum, but I will give you the L25. If you realize its badly represented OR you cant find it when asked and you make the arg "just evaluate as an analytic" I will also give an L25 and be in a really bad mood. Its a terrible, terrible argument, so please dont make it. If you introduce the evidence, you have to be able to defend it.
d. Dont be mad at me if you get bad speaks. There is no longer world in which someone who paraphrases, even if they give the perfect speech gets above a 29 in front of me. I used to be more forgiving on this, but no longer.
- Evidence exchange: if the header "paraphrasing" meant you skipped over that part of my paradigm, I will reiterate something that is important regardless of how you introduce the evidence; if you cant produce a card upon being asked for it within a minute or two, at best you get lowest speaks I can give and probably the L too.
- Even if its not theory, arguments that I should prefer cut cards over paraphrased cards at the clash points are going to work in front of me. Please make those arguments, I think they are very true.
- Another thing im shocked i have to put in my paradigm, but you need to cite the author you are reading even if you paraphrase from them, for it to be counted as evidence and not an analytic. if you read something without citing an author, I will flow it as an analytic and if your opponents call for that piece of ev, and you hand it to them without citing it in the round, I am dropping you. Its plagiarism and extremely unethical. This is an educational activity, come on ppl.
DISLCAIMER: Deep in my bones, I believe that debate is good. It may presently be flawed, but I believe the activity has value can be transformative. Arguments that say debate is bad, and should be destroyed entirely (often times this is the conclusion of pess arguments, killjoy, the like) will be evaluated but my biases towards the activity being good WILL impact the decision. Doesn't mean they are unwinnable, but it is probably wildly unstrategic to run them.
I'm receptive to all args, including progressive ones in the debate space, but they have been getting REALLY low quality recently. I worry about the long term impact about some of these really bad versions on the activity. Please, think about the model you are advocating for, think about if its sincerely going to make the space better for the people growing up in it.
- While there are obvious upsides to progressive arguments, I don't appreciate frivolous theory (see below). This does include spikes and tricks, I don't like them, pls don't run them. If the theory is frivolous, and I reserve the right to determine that, I won't vote on it no matter the breakdown of the round.
- I won't vote for auto-30 speaker point arguments
- I probably default to competing interps unless told otherwise, but that doesn't really mean much if you read the rest of this paradigm. I am going to evaluate the flow, so if you read theory arguments that I won't intervene against, I am going to evaluate it normally.
- I generally think no-RVIs. The exception to this might be an RVI on IVIs.
- IVIs are really bad for debate. If they are a rules claim, make it a theory shell. Most of the time, they are vague whines that are spammed off in the span of 4 seconds without any explanation. This proliferation is nearly existential for the activity, and it needs to stop. If you feel like there has been a clear and obvious transgression (someone said something awful), then make the argument. Almost any other IVI should be theory or not be at all.
- I have no problem intervening against frivolous theory (i.e. shoe theory), so if you run theory in front of me, please believe that its actually educational for the activity. Even theory like social distancing or contact info are ones where its hard to win in front of me, and in some contexts I probably won't vote on it. Resolved theory and other nonsense will barely warrant getting flowed for me, I won't vote on them.
- Theory needs to be read in the speech following the violation. Out of round violations should be read in constructive.
- Paraphrasing is bad: I will vote on paraphrasing bad most of the time, as long as theres some offense on the shell. I personally think its good for the debate space and am very predisposed to voting for it. I will NEVER vote on paraphrasing good, I don't care how mad that may make you to hear, I just won't do it. If you introduce cut cards bad or paraphrasing good as a new off (like before a para bad shell) I will instantly drop you. That said, you can win enough defense on a paraphrasing shell to make it not a voter. Paraphrasing theory is the exception to the disclaimers outlined above, I think paraphrasing should be punished in round and am happy to vote on it.
- Disclosure is good: I am less excited to hear it because typically, disclosure rounds are really bad and messy. Open source is good too, I have come around on it, so you can basically run whatever disclosure interp you want. Run it if you think you can win it, but dont be fearful to hear it ran against you in front of me. Respond to it, and I will vote as I would a normal flow.
- Trigger warnings: This theory has been read a lot more recently, I will eval it like a normal shell, but for the record, I think trigger warnings in PF are usually bad, and usually run on arguments that dont need to be trigger warned which just suppresses voices and arguments in the activity. You can go for the theory, but my threshold for responses will be in accordance with that belief typically.
Kritiks/Arguments that people in PF are calling "Kritiks" even when they are not:
- I am all good with kritiks, although im not as experienced with them as I am with other args, but that isnt a reason not to run a K in front of me. I will be able to flow it and vote on it as long as you explain it well.
- Blake 2021 made me think about this a lot, and I think the activity is just going through growing pains that are necessary, but some of these debates were really bad. So please think through all of the arguments you read, so that you can articulate exactly what my ballot does or what specifically I am supposed to be doing. This means implicating responses or arguments onto the FW debate, or the ROTB.
- Also, no one thinks fiat is real (pre/post-fiat is just an inaccurate and irrelevant label), so lets be more specific about how we label arguments or discourse. Make comparisons as to why your discourse or type of education is more important than theirs, this is not done by slapping the label "pre-fiat" onto an argument because NO ONE THINKS ITS REAL. Just get past that label and explain why.
- You also need to do a pretty good amount of work explaining why or how discourse shapes reality, just asserting it does isn't much of a warrant and this debate is always underdeveloped in rounds I am in.
I will probably give around a 27-28 in most rounds. I guess I give lower speaks than most PF judges, so I’ll clarify. 27-28 is middling to me with various degrees within that. 26-27 is bad, not always for ethical reasons. Below a 26 is an ethical issue. If you get above a 29 from me you should be very happy bc I never give speaks that high almost ever.
I am a former high school debater, UF graduate, and current Assistant Coach for West Broward High. In high school, I competed mostly in PF, but also did Info and Congress. Experienced in judging local, national, and state tournaments. For any questions, feel free to ask before the round starts or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Not a fan of spreading, theory, K’s, etcetera. I judge a round based on strong evidence and the way you can execute the argument and oppose your opponent's case.
Do not assume I am up to date with a topic, define any important terms or information that you believe will be important in a round that your judge and opponent need to know.
Debate is a place for learning to foster and grow, no racism, misogyny, or ethnocentric views will award you any points towards winning the debate and will cost you the round.
I like clear-cut debate with an easy to understand framework that tells me how to analyze the round.
There is no clear formula for how this happens. I evaluate based off of how you make arguments, your speaking style, and your effort in round.
Belittling your opponent or trying to criticize anything aside from the information being debated in a round will not award you speaker points. I will stop listening to you. Professionalism and respect are two qualities that will take you further in life than arrogance and harshness. Choose kindness
Debate is a fun competitive research game. Ask questions if you have them.
You may send cases to me at email@example.com.
I am a parent lay judge; here are some guidelines for success:
1) Please do not speak excessively fast. It is not helpful information if I cannot understand you.
2) Just because I am a parent judge does not mean you can forget about warrants. If you want me to buy an argument, I need to know why it is valid on all levels of responses not just your case. Do not just make claims and expect me to buy them.
3) Be respectful to your opponents and judges; any form of inappropriate behavior will result in an automatic loss.
email me for questions/add me to the chain: firstname.lastname@example.org
Me: "Do you know why I'm such a laid-back judge?"
Me: "I go with the flow"
(creds to @Debate Memes on Facebook haha)
- yes I will vote off the flow
- warrant, extend your full link story and impact, and weigh and you're doing really well
- things you want me to vote on have to be in every speech after first rebuttal
- I want the round to be chill and educational and fun so please make that happen
i'm now old and grumpy and care a bit less about debate than i used to so please don't assume i have extensive topic knowledge
it's so cool that you're trying out this activity even though it's probably kind of scary. If you don't understand some of my preferences in the long version, the tl;dr should be fine. Just know that you're probably doing great and that you got this :)
feel free to ask me any questions before/after the round.
hi! I did 2 years of Public Forum at Lexington but I started out my debate career in policy which influences how I judge!
- i'm more tech than the average tech judge so please clash to avoid judge intervention, or at the very least weigh a lot on both link and impact levels :)
- in later speeches, please give quick narrative style overviews at the top of your own case then frontline/line by line (i still don't know what frontline means but just don't drop stuff) if u want me to vote on your contentions otherwise dropped defense will mitigate your impacts. this also means u should frontline in second rebuttal and extend defense in first summary.
- i will vote off most arguments including theory/k if they are debated well (my threshold for these being run well is pretty high lmao so try at your risk ig) and not used just to be exclusionary (check the bottom of my paradigm lol)
- do a lot of weighing/impact calc and logical analysis (not just for me, it is also strategic if you're lost/confused and I would know first hand oops)
- once again please weigh weigh weigh. really make the force of gravity a lot here (i'm sorry i'm a physics nerd)
- start collapsing in first summary because depth>breadth in terms of giving quality arguments in short PF speech times
- crossfire shouldn't be three minutes of extra debating please ask and answer questions in a non-aggressive and CIVIL manner or I will be frustrated, get a headache and probably dock speaks.
- if you want to take off a jacket or shoes in round feel free to do so because i almost never debate with shoes. this will not affect speaks or the result :)
- feel free to ask me questions about my decision if you're confused, I will not dock speaks and I feel like it usually helps you learn how you can improve in the future, and there is a non-zero probability I am wrong (but low probability)
- i am fine w speed if you do all of the following: prioritize clarity, make sure your opponents are ok too, slow down on tags, authors, and analytics, signpost clearly, offer speech docs if necessary
- lastly, debate is a game: this means that you should not be exclusionary, follow the rules or warrant why you shouldn't, and let me know if there is anything I can personally do to make the debate more accessible to you, and HAVE FUN!!!!!
- fist-bump instead of shaking hands haha
- I'll default to a slightly above a 28 if it's by 0.1 and 28.5 if it's by 0.5
- i am also happy to talk after round, show you my flows, and answer questions about either debate or life :)
LD (MSDL States 2022):
i am fairly confident in my ability to flow a debate and understand arguments that are clearly explained to me, however, I also understand there are certain thing specific to LD that I am not familiar with.
- focus on weighing your arguments against your components, basic frameworks (util, structural violence) I am familiar with and are good for providing that comparison
- not super used to nat circuit LD speed anymore, but a little speed is fine
-rest of the paradigm applies
I coach for the College Preparatory School. I debated for two years for Bethesda-Chevy Chase HS. In my senior year I won Glenbrooks, the Strake Round Robin, Blake, Durham, the Barkley Forum, Stanford, Harvard, the King Round Robin, and NDCAs.
Tech>truth. Weigh, give me good warranting, and speak as fast as you want. Defense is sticky; first FF may read some new weighing (NOT elaborate weighing… no overviews, prereq analysis, etc.). Extend your arguments with card names, warrants, links, and impacts in the back half. Weigh links and turns, defense, and pretty much everything else. Please read the evidence section of my paradigm and abide by those rules, they will be enforced.
DEBATE IS A GAME, PLAY TO WIN.
Tech>truth. I will vote for pretty much any argument as long as it's warranted well. have experience with traditional and progressive. I will vote on the flow.
How I Judge:
If my paradigm is unclear, my favorite judges were Will Sjostrom, Chad Meadows and Marcus Ellinas; anything PF-specific in their paradigms should give you a fairly good idea of how I hope to evaluate the round.
———PART I: SPEECHES———
This is essential; do it.
I might listen but I won't vote off or remember anything said here unless it's in a speech. Don't be rude. Feel free to skip GCX if everyone agrees—both teams get 1min of prep.
Read as much offense/DAs as you want, just please implicate them on the line-by-line and weigh them. Second rebuttal MUST frontline terminal defense and turns, probably some defense too, but blippy NLs from the first rebuttal don't all need to be answered here.
First summary only needs to extend turns but should also extend terminal defense if you have time. Defense is sticky, however, I’d prefer for the second summary to extend as much defense as possible. The only new turns or defense I’ll evaluate in summary are as responsive to new implications made by the other team.
First final can do new weighing but no new implications of turns, or anything else UNLESS responding to new implications or turns from the second summary. Second final cannot do new weighing or new implications. Final focus is a really good time to slow down, treat me like a flay judge in these speeches and my decision becomes a lot easier.
———PART II: TECHNICAL STUFF———
I default to util. If there's no offense I presume to the first speaking team. I will always disclose after the round. I can also disclose speaks if you ask.
I will not accept paraphrased evidence. I treat paraphrased cards as equal in link strength to analytics. (You can make a theory argument as to why I shouldn't). If there are two pieces of competing evidence that will determine the round and both teams want me to look at it... I will almost always err on the side of the non-paraphrased evidence. Whether or not you paraphrase, YOU MUST have cut cards, if you don't I will cap your speaks at 27 and you should strike me (27 speaks cap does not apply for MSPF, NPF or JVPF).
When evidence is called for, take less than 1 minutes to pull up the cards or it comes out of your prep.
If you misconstrue evidence—you know who you are—and I find out, I will either drop you or give you the lowest possible speaks, depending on the severity of the misconstruction (I am more than willing to assign an L20 or below). If you catch your opponents misconstruing evidence, call it an independent voting issue (IVI) and I will treat this as a pre-fiat round-ending argument if the evidence is sufficiently misconstrued.
Please label email chains adequately. Ex. "TOC R1F1 Email Chain Bethesda-Chevy Chase GT v. AandM Consolidated DS."
Whether or not the tournament is online I will require an email chain for every round, evidence exchange is faster and more efficient. If you are spreading or reading any progressive argument you must send a doc before you begin; otherwise, sending a doc will not be required.
Don't steal prep or I will steal your speaks. Feel free to take prep whenever, flex prep is fine too.
These are non-negotiable. I stop flowing after the time ends, and I reserve the right to scream "TIME" if you begin to go over. Cross ends at 3 minutes sharp, if you’re in the middle of a sentence, finish it quickly.
I can follow speed (300wpm+) but be clear, if I can't understand what you're saying that means I can't flow it. I'd like a speech doc if you're going to go over 275 words per minute. Speed is good in the first half and bad in the second half, collapse strategically; don't go for everything. If you spread (300+ wpm) paraphrased cards there is no way you get above 27 speaks. If I miss something in summary or final focus because you're going too fast and I drop you it's your fault; slow down, don't go for everything, and be efficient.
Clarity and strategy determine your speaks. I disclose speaks as well, just ask.
Postround as hard as you want, I think it's educational. Before you start make sure I've submitted your speaks.
I do not require trigger warnings. I will not reward including them, nor will I penalize the absence of them. This is informed by my personal views on trigger warnings (see J. Haidt and G. Lukianoff, The Coddling of the American Mind) This means that I will never opt out of an argument. I will not hack for trigger warning good theory; I am open to trigger warning bad arguments (though I will not hack for these either).
———PART III: PROGRESSIVE DEBATE———
I enjoy theory debate; I ran theory frequently. You do not need to ask your opponent if they are comfortable with theory; 'I don't know how to respond' is not a sufficient response. To quote my former partner, "don't put your kids in varsity if they cannot handle varsity arguments" (saying that is terminal defense against any 'idk how to respond' argument and will result in a 30 for whoever says it).
Theory/T - 1
LARP - 1
Kritik - 3
Tricks - 3
High Theory - 4
Non-T Kritik - 5 (Strike)
Performance - 5 (Strike)
Yes, I think paraphrasing is bad and disclosure is good. No, I will not hack for either of these shells.
I really like theory. I think frivolous theory is bad. I'll evaluate it, but I have a lower threshold for responses the more frivolous the shell. Poorly executed theory will result in low speaks. If you've never run theory before, and feel inclined to do so, I'm happy to give comments and help as much as I can.
I default to competing interps and no RVIs. I believe that winning no RVIs applies to the entire theory layer unless your warrants are specific to a shell, C/I, etc. Non-friv theory should be a zero risk issue to check abuse, I will still vote for RVIs if you win them.
Unless I am evaluating the theory debate on reasonability you must read a counterinterp... if you do not all of your responses are inherently defensive because your opponents are the only team providing me with a 'good' model of debate.
Theory should be read immediately after the violation. Eg. if you're speaking first disclosure must be in your constructive for me to evaluate it. However, I am willing to vote off of paraphrasing theory read after rebuttal if your interpretation is that people shouldn't paraphrase in rebuttal. You MUST need to extend your own shell in rebuttal if it was read in constructive; you must frontline your opponent's shell in the speech after it was read (unless there is a theoretical justification for not doing this).
I have run Ks a few times, however, I am not the best judge for these rounds. I'm more familiar with biopower, security, cap, and imperialism than anything else.
These are pretty stupid but go for them if you want to.
Framework, soft-left Ks, CPs, and DAs are fine.
If your opponent has no path to the ballot (conceded theory shell or them reading a counterinterp that they do not meet themselves) invoke a TKO and you win with 30 speaks (unless you have violated any previous clauses related to speaker points), if they did have a path to the ballot you lose with 21s.
Firstly, If both teams agree, give me a paradigm that you like better and I'll judge based on it (this includes not flowing/being a lay judge lol I am g-d tier mom judge and won't intervene)
Here is how you should read my paradigm: at the top of each section is the most important stuff. If you only have a few mins read that. reading below those parts will provide a more in-depth take into my judging philosophy.
Update for Online Tourneys
I rlly can't follow like REAL spreading but I can take 99% of PF speed. I'll clear u if i need it. also ask questions if u have them and I'll answer as honestly as possible!
Most important part of my paradigm:
If you make or buy me a chicken parm or mac and cheese, I will get you prep on a topic or coach you for a round or something. I rlly like chicken parm and mac and cheese....
My name is Sam and I debated PF at Wayland High School in Wayland, MA. Was a meh first speaker and got carried imo. Now I'm a member of the Barkley Forum at Emory University in Atlanta.
TLDR: Normal circuit tech judge who likes warrants and logic and needs you to collapse on args
Feel free to ask any questions about my paradigm before round or my RFD after round. (thx @Kate Selig for this idea: I'd rather you postround me than tell everyone I'm a bad judge )
Also, ask questions before the round starts! I might have thoughts on the topic you'll wanna hear. tbh also might not cuz I'm kinda dumb
u can go fast, but don't like SPREAD SPREAD plz plz. i will try to keep up and clear u if need be.
I can flow it but only if you articulate well enough. 300 wpm and up I need a speech doc. The faster you go the more work I have to do and I'm lazy. I will always flow ur speed, but chances are if you feel the need to go too fast, then your time allocation was bad/you made bad strategic decisions. Also like fr just cuz u can go fast doesn't mean u should. Speed kills
read whatever you want. i ran a cap k during medicare for all and loved it lol. I'd rather you not read random theory args just bc you want to win. if you're doing that, ASK YOUR OPPONENTS/DISCLOSE BEFORE ROUND. its rlly shitty if you don't. i can't emphasize it enough, reading theory on novices or people that don't understand what's going on = :(
If it's warranted and weighed I'll vote off of it.
the below is borrowed from Jason Luo's paradigm
d-d-d-d-disclosure theory - win the flow, win the round. i am very (like actually completely 50-50) tab ras about disclosure, i do not think it is good or bad, just that it exists.
p-p-p-p-paraphrase theory - win the flow, win the round. i am very slightly biased (55-45) for paraphrasing good but its not hard to win paraphrasing bad.
all other theory/k stuff: if it's warranted and weighed I'll vote off of it.
it doesn't matter
Its useless to me. If you want to use an answer your opponent gives in cross, then say it in a speech. Don't be rude. Hug your opponent for a 30.
If your partner roasts their opponent in cross (without being douchey) you are expected to stand up and yell "WORLD STAR!." If you do so and I find the roast amusing then you and your partner each get 30's. If you misjudge a roast and I think it's lame you get 26's for interrupting cross.
I default util.
Explain it well and how I'm supposed to evaluate offense under it. the more complex, the more explaining u need. Framework debates aren't my absolute favorite but hey, you do you!!
read ev if u want. don't miscut but i won't drop u for it.
I value all evidence equally unless you weigh it, which you should. You should ALWAYS tell me why I need to value your evidence more. also, evidence doesn't matter nearly as much as logical warranting. also like in general i won't call for cards unless ur like "sam call for this card" in speech. I think that calling for ev in any other circumstance is intervening.
strategy + speak pretty to get good speaks
You will get better speaks if: You make jokes. You give good speeches and make good strategic decisions. You aren't a dick. You make me laugh. I am extremely generous and tend to give out 29's routinely. I will give you a 30 if you are exceptional. *Send me a speech doc for an extra .3 speaks (email@example.com). Also extra .3 speaks for collapsing (if u do it correctly and it makes me happy) in 2nd rebutal. I guess I'm receptive to 30s theory but like it shouldn't be hard to get a 29.5 from me. I good example of really good strategy is what Jason Luo did in first final focus of TOC finals. also i will give speaks relative to the round and the level of competitors in the debate.
Here is an itemized list of my favorite speakers in no particular order:
- Rahul Shah (his voice is soothing and he's so damn cute)
- Claudia Leduc (gives summary without looking at the flow at all, hella impressive)
- Atharva Weling (sounds so persuasive)
collapse in 2nd rebuttal. at least frontline offense and stuff. anything not frontlined is conceded.
Summary + FF:
Collapse, extend full link chain, weigh
I like roadmaps. I don't need defense in first summary. Don't extend too much in Summary, thats my biggest pet peeve FOR JESUS' (or any g-d u may or may not believe in, but if u wanna win the round do this lol) SAKE: COLLAPSE. When extending the argument you're going for, please extend the uniqueness, link, and impact in both speeches. An incomplete/ghost extension would a) make me sad and b) possibly lose you the round.
Please impact out turns in summary (although its better if this is done in rebuttal) if you plan on going for them. It is 100% okay to just go for a dropped turn. Also, u can go either line by line or give voters/do what you usually do. Don't extend through ink lol. Defense isn't rlly sticky it (unless u make an arg that it is in speech) but I'm less inclined to vote for a team that doesn't frontline at all even if their opponents don't extend defense.
Please weigh, and give me good analysis. It makes my job 1000x easier.
Earlier you weigh, the better. Weighing is very helpful in rebuttal, but NEEDED for me to vote in Summary and FF. With the new 3 min summaries, I see no reason why you shouldn't be able to weigh in summary. No new weighing in 2nd FF, new weighing in 1st FF is unfavorable but if it's the only weighing in the round and they don't respond to it then like eh. If both teams win their weighing and cases and there is no meta weighing then I will vote for the team whose weighing was introduced earlier in the round (prereq/link ins weighing doesn't apply here bc if one case is a prereq to another then u vote for the prereq/link in). Does this favor the 1st speaking team? No, you can weigh (and do other fun things) in 2nd constructive. Unrelated but remember to weigh turns over contentions. If nobody weighs then i honestly won't know what to do. I thinks its probably interventionist to pick which argument is better if both teams win their args. jUsT mAk3 mY lyfE eAs1eR!!!
How I make my decision:
Weighing debate first.
I vote on the weighed args first but if nobody weighs then i be big sad, but I'll vote on cleanest/clearest path to the ballot. I thinks its probably interventionist to pick which argument is better if both teams win their args and the paths are both clear/clean. If there is no offense in the round then I flip a coin to decide who picks up cuz choosing any other way is interventionist, but feel free to make warranted arguments abt defaulting to one side or speaking order. I will always disclose after the round and give an RFD. also PS lmfao u need to win the link into the impact that u weighed.
I will reward you for taking risks like collapsing on only a turn. Please signpost and tell me where you are on the flow. I hate dumb analogies, chances are, even if you think you're funny, you're not. Don’t call me judge, that’s weird. If a tournament is side-locked, if both teams agree to flip a coin the normal way (winner of the toss decides speaking order or side (their choice), the other team decides the other), I'm fine with that. I think side-locking makes no sense and is very harmful to pf as an activity when certain topics skew neg.
for every link into tourism you read, +.5 speaks lol.
i will never ever ever make any comments abt what you're wearing or how you speak. if a judge ever does, that's pretty fucked up. i don't care if u show up in designer clothes or sweats. i enjoyed debating in sweats, it's comfy.
in outs, if i'm on a panel that's 2 other lays, u can tell me to judge it like a lay round and i will. (this means voting for the team that better establishes a narrative and is more convincing lol)
Do crazy shit fr fr:
tbh unpopular opinion but evidence is dumb, debate should be logical. obvi like use evidence if u want but warrants/analytics are perfecto. I genuinely think that debate would be better if it was just logical warranting, evidence is bad. (obviously evidence matters but: warrant + authors name vs. just warrant? meh p equal unless u give me good reasoning to prefer the evidence. unless the evidence is like a fact like "x has increased y 200%" is obviously better than a reason why x doesn't increase y)
If at any point you believe that you have won the round with no way for the opponents to win, you can call a TKO, if you are correct it will be an auto W with 30s, but if you are incorrect it is a loss with 25s.
Give a rebuttal in 2nd constructive (1st rebuttal will have to frontline if this happens) (if you read fast enough, you can still do case!) instant 30 if u do this cuz lol.
Above all, just have fun! Debate can get stressful so just try to breathe, chill and relax in round.
I WILL DISCLOSE AFTER EVERY ROUND NO EXCEPTIONS— HOLD ME TO THIS
A haiku describing my judging philosophy:
Weigh Warrants Logic
Collapse Analysis Links
WEIGH WEIGH COLLAPSE WEIGH
plz remind me of how many speaks you should win based all the crazy stuff in here lol i'll forget what i put here
If you're running an email chain, please add me: Andrewgollner@gmail.com
About me: I debated one year of PF and three years of policy at Sequoyah High, and I debated three year of college policy at the University of Georgia. I was a 2N that generally runs policy offcase positions but, especially earlier in my debate career, I ran many critical positions. I'll try to be expressive during the round so that you can discern how I am receiving your arguments.
Judge Preferences: On a personal level, please be kind to your opponents. I dislike it when a team is unnecessarily rude or unsportsmanlike. I am completely willing to discuss my decision about a round in between rounds, so please ask me if you want me to clarify my decision or would like advice. You can email me any questions you have.
I am primarily a policy judge. This means
- I am more comfortable with a faster pace. While I don't like the idea of spreading in PF and LD I can handle a faster pace.
2. I am decently technical. If an argument is dropped point it out, make sure I can draw a clean line through your speeches.
3. I am less used to theory backgrounds in your form of debate, slow down and explain these.
4. Ask me any specific questions you have.
I recognize that my role is to serve as a neutral arbiter without predispositions towards certain arguments, but as this goal is elusive the following are my gut reactions to positions. I strive to ensure that any position (within reason, obviously not obscene or offensive) is a possible path to victory in front of myself.
CP: I love a well written CP which is tailored to your opponent's solvency advocate and that can be clearly explained and is substantiated by credible evidence. If your CP is supported by 1AC solvency evidence, I will be very impressed. Generic CPs are fine, I've read a ton of them, but the more you can at least explain your CP in the context of the affirmative's advantages the more likely you are to solve for their impact scenarios.
DA: Make sure to give a quick overview of the story during the neg block to clarify the intricacies of your position. If, instead of vaguely tagline making a turns case arg like "climate turns econ, resource shortages", you either read and later extend a piece of evidence or spend 10 to 15 seconds analytically creating a story of how climate change exasperates resource shortages and causes mass migrations which strain nation's financial systems, then I will lend far more risk to the disadvantage turning the case. Obviously the same goes for Aff turns the DA. I will also weigh smart analytical arguments on the disad if the negative fails to contest it properly. I'm also very persuaded when teams contest the warrants of their opponents evidence or point out flaws within their opponents evidence, whether it's a hidden contradiction or an unqualified author.
T: I've rarely gone for topicality but I have become increasingly cognizant of incidents in which I likely should have. My gut reaction is that competing interpretations can be a race to the bottom, but I have personally seen many affirmatives which stray far enough from the topic to warrant a debate centered over the resolution in that instance.
K: I used to run Ks pretty frequently in high school but I run them far less frequently now. I'm likely not deep in your literature base so be sure to explain your position and your link story clearly.
FW: My gut feeling is that debate is a game and that it should be fair, but I have seen many rounds where the affirmative team has done an excellent job of comparing the pedagogy of both models and won that their model is key for X type of education or accessibility there of. However, I am persuaded that a TVA only needs to provide reasonable inroads to the affirmatives research without necessarily having to actually solve for all of the affirmative. I do find the response that negs would only read DAs and ignore/"outweigh" the case to be effective - try to add some nuance to this question of why negs would or wouldn't still need to grapple with the case.
Non-traditional Aff: I've always run affs with USFG plan texts, but that doesn't mean that these positions are non-starters. I will be much more receptive to your affirmative if it is intricately tied to the topic area, even if it does refuse to engage the resolution itself for whichever reasons you provide.
Theory: I generally think 2 condo is good, more than that and things start to get a bit iffy.
Most importantly, please be kind to your opponents and have a good time.
My name is Marisa Gomez. I am looking forward to meeting with you and hearing your arguments! My background is that I have been an attorney for over 20 years. As a formal litigator and regulatory attorney, I have heard and given arguments in a variety of contexts. I continue to analyze and structure arguments on a daily basis in my current job, and have been a judge for Public Forum competitions over the last few years.
Convincing arguments for me are those that are well structured and well presented. Well structured arguments are those that are easy to follow, do not assume too much knowledge, and connect the dots while anticipating and addressing reasonable arguments against that position. Evidence cited should support the position being argued. I am not listening to learn how smart you are but rather whether you are convincing and have valid and well-evidenced arguments. Quality over quantity rules my judging.
Well presented arguments are those where you neither speak too fast or too slow but at a reasonable rate of speed; too fast and I may miss your argument and too slow I may stop listening. You must also speak clearly, taking time to enunciate and at an appropriate decibel level for me to fully hear your argument. I prefer eye contact but will judge the teams based on the strength of their arguments and clarity of their presentation more than their eye contact or style.
I expect you to be respectful of everyone in the room including your opponents. No ad hominem attacks, offensive language, or prejudicial statements will be appreciated or rewarded. Do not cut off your opponents or talk over them. While I appreciate passion, aggression is not a successful tactic with me. Your arguments should also be respectful of those not in the room as reasonable people can disagree.
Now for the administrative details of how sessions with me will run. I will keep time for you. While I do not need off-time roadmaps, I will allow them provided they are short. If they run long, I will stop allowing their use. I strive to ensure fair and even treatment and time for both teams, but am happy to receive and consider feedback if anyone feels that is not occurring.
Best of luck to you in the competition! Whether you win or lose, you are learning important skills that will help you throughout your lives: learning how to make respectful and well thought out arguments and learning how to see both sides of an issue.
Let's start by saying this - I'm a wild card judge at times. There is no one thing that wins the round for me, and there's no one thing that loses it. I evaluate each debate on its own merit and set of circumstances. If you must know something that remotely looks like a paradigm/philosophy, though, here goes...
Although I am a coach, I still believe that public forum is an event intended for the layman. Throwing around fancy phraseology that shows me you've been to prestigious debate camps and have a diverse set of experiences on the national circuit doesn't impress me as much as you might like - it all boils down to effective argumentation and refutation. Framework/weighing mechanisms are extremely helpful. Otherwise, you've got a trigger-happy judge like me trying to determine standards upon which to evaluate the round, and you know as well as I do that people can be foolish doodyheads. Lead the horse to water, and it will drink on its own. Don't lead the horse to water, and it may gallop around everything but the water.
I'm getting off track. Not unlike a horse.
I can comprehend just fine in terms of speed, but don't spread because you think introducing eighteen different contentions will win you the round. It won't. "They dropped my really obscure point about the squirrel population and the environment - you're gonna flow that to us." No, I'm not. Just because an opponent doesn't address subpoint 3c of contention 2a doesn't mean they lose the round - that's tactics and strategy, and while it can assist you, it will very rarely be my RFD.
I do flow, but it will look like a deranged person's flow - I got thrown into debate by my own high school coach at the last second without any prep, so I made it up as I went along ("fake it 'til you make it," after all). Hopefully you won't notice it on Zoom.
Oh, and this whole notion of pre-flow? Yeah, that's definitely a thing - it's called prep time. If I, as the judge, am ready to go? You are ready to go as well. Do not ask me to wait on you beyond a minute or two - that won't start you off on the right foot.
Civil crossfires, please. This is where my pen drops the most; I interpret speaking over one another as rude and inconsiderate. I don't see that as much with virtual crossfires (#thanksalotcorona), but I thought I would mention it.
I can't do the pen twirly thing. I've tried, and I just don't have the coordination.
Hope that provides you some level of understanding of the claptrap that is my mind.
Please don't make me judge policy.
First, let me say that I'm truly impressed by the caliber of person who invites this kind of challenge in their lives. Already, you win in my book. I appreciate the opportunity to witness your talent. I am generally new to judging, but if I had to categorize myself, I would say I'm a "flay" judge. I have a background in law and philosophy. I value logical arguments that are supported with evidence. I will not judge based on my prior knowledge, but on the arguments and evidence that you provide. I expect civility as a baseline. Present a strong enough case that you win on merits, not bravado. I appreciate if you can be specific when weighing instead of only talking in generalities. Also, I cannot give you credit for that which I cannot understand, so do not forsake communication for content. In other words, be careful when spreading. If your opponent(s) and I can't understand your arguments because you don't articulate, then you don't get credit for them. Lastly, because I will be flowing, I will know whether you provide an honest representation during summary arguments. Good luck!
Hi, I'm Amir and I debated at Westborough for 4 years on the local and national circuit
my email is: firstname.lastname@example.org
Follow me on spotify
I judge flow but you should debate lay
I flow so I'll try to be as tech>truth as possible
If you do anything / read any argument that is sexist, racist, ableist, etc. , I won't hesitate to drop you with low speaks
Here's what'll win you my ballot, in no particular order:
1. Be nice, a toxic debate round isn't fun for anyone
2. I won't be listening too closely to cross and I won't vote off it, but if something big happens, bring it up in the next speech for me to consider it.
2a. Please don't just scream at each other in cross, keep it civil for all of our sakes
3. Try to respond to arguments made against your case in 2nd rebuttal. at a minimum, offensive responses like turns, disads, etc. should be responded to.
4. Weigh comparatively! Weighing is the easiest way to get my ballot, but you have to comparatively weigh, don't just state your impact again and say it outweighs on x,y,z, tell me why to prefer yours over your opponents
4a. Because weighing is so important, try doing it as early as possible, if you're in 1st rebuttal and run out of time, weigh! I'll probably give you higher speaks because it makes my job easier, and it's very smart.
5. Collapsing is probably one of the highest IQ things you can do in a round, condensing the round to 1-2 main arguments is extremely smart and makes the round 100x better
5a. Extend all parts of the case argument you're collapsing on (warrant, impact, etc.) but that doesn't mean re-read your case, try to summarize it to be more efficient
5b. You must respond to all responses made against the argument you're collapsing on.
6. Summary and FF should mirror each other, I won't evaluate arguments in FF that aren't in summary.
7. Build a narrative through the round, its super helpful for me
8. Final Focus should be all about writing my ballot for me, you do the work and i'll vote for you
9. Before your speech, give me a general overview of the structure, at a minimum tell me where you're going to start.
9a. Please signpost in your speeches, this is super important to me because if I don't know what you're responding to I will spend half of your speech messing with my flow and I will probably miss some of your responses.
Hi! I'm Mac Hays (he/him pronouns)! I did 4 years of PF at Durham Academy. I have spent 4 years coaching PF on the local and national circuit. I now debate APDA at Brown. Debate however is most fun for you without being exclusive.
* TLDR tabula rasa, warrant, signpost, extend, weigh, ballot directive language makes me happy, metaweighing ok, framing ok (I default "pure" util otherwise), theory ok, speed ok (don't be excessive), K ok, no tricks, be nice and reasonable and have fun, ask me questions about how I judge before round if you want more clarity on any specifics. Ideally you shouldn't run theory unless you're certain your opponents can engage.
* Nats probably isn’t the place for theory/Ks unless the violation is egregious and your opponents can clearly engage. Don’t run whack stuff for a free win
* Please send all evidence you read in the email chain (ideally before speeches)
* Every speech post constructive must answer all content in the speech before it. Implications: No new frontlines past 2nd rebuttal/1st summary (defense isn't sticky, but that doesn't mean that 1st summary must extend defense on contentions that 2nd rebuttal just didn't frontline), any new indicts must be read in the speech immediately after the evidence is introduced, etc. New responses to new implications = ok. New responses to old weighing = not ok.
* How I vote: I look for the strongest impact and then determine which team has the strongest link into it as a default. See my weighing section for more details. If you don't want me to do this, tell me why with warranting.
* Add me to the chain: email@example.com.
* The entirety of my paradigm can be considered "how I default in the absence of theoretical warrants" - that is, if you see debate differently than I do, then make arguments as to why that's how I should judge, and, if you win them, I'll go with it. (exceptions are -isms, safety violations, speech times and the like, reasonability specifics are in the doc below).
My paradigm got unreasonably long so I put it in a doc, read it if you want more clarity on specifics:
I am the parent judge who has previously judged PF. My expectations are as follows (PF specific):
Professional discourse that does not become overly aggressive or personal
Ability to share evidence when asked by opposing teams as I view an inability to do so as bringing said contention into question
Clear and concise points that are presented and refuted
I generally dislike teams arguing that the opponents aren't following all rules or teams that try to score points by claiming the others are being disingenuous. Argue your case and refute the other team's.
Delivery should be moderate as going to fast will make it too difficult to follow
I expect teams to respond to their opponents contentions and not simply ignore them
I do not rate technical arguments outside of the topic. I expect the debate to focus on the topic presented and will judge accordingly if teams chose to go that route (think arguing theory instead of the topic)
Since I judge a lot more Public Forum now than the other events, my paradigm now reflects more about that activity than the others. I've left some of the LD/Policy stuff in here because I end up judging that at some big tournaments for a round or two. If you have questions, please ask.
NONTRADITIONAL ARGUMENTS: These arguments are less prevalent in PF than they are in other forms. The comments made here still hold true to that philosophy. I'll get into kritiks below because I have some pretty strong feelings about those in both LD and PF. It's probably dealt with below, but you need to demonstrate why your project, poem, rap, music, etc. links to and is relevant to the topic. Theory for theory's sake is not appealing to me. In short, the resolution is there for a reason. Use it. It's better for education, you learn more, and finding relevancy for your particular project within a resolutional framework is a good thing.
THEORY ARGUMENTS IN PF: I was told that I wasn't clear in this part of the paradigm. I thought I was, but I will cede that maybe things are more subtle than they ought to be. Disclosure theory? Not a fan. First, I am old enough that I remember times when debaters went into rounds not knowing what the other team was running. Knowing what others are running can do more for education and being better prepared. Do I think people should put things on the case wiki? Sure. But, punishing some team who doesn't even know what you are talking about is coming from a position of privilege. How has not disclosing hurt the strategy that you would or could have used, or the strategy that you were "forced" to use? If you can demonstrate that abuse, I might consider the argument. Paraphrasing? See the comments on that below. See comments below specific to K arguments in PF.
THEORY: When one defines theory, it must be put into a context. The comments below are dated and speak more to the use of counterplans. If you are in LD, read this because I do think the way that counterplans are used in LD is not "correct." In PF, most of the topics are such that there are comparisons to be made. Policies should be discussed in general terms and not get into specifics that would require a counterplan.
For LD/Policy Counterplan concepts: I consider myself to be a policy maker. The affirmative is making a proposal for change; the negative must demonstrate why the outcome of that adoption may be detrimental or disadvantageous. Counterplans are best when nontopical and competitive. Nontopical means that they are outside of the realm of the affirmative’s interpretation of the resolution (i.e. courts counterplans in response to congressional action are legitimate interpretations of n/t action). Competitive means there must be a net-benefit to the counterplan. Merely avoiding a disadvantage that the affirmative “gets” could be enough but that assumes of course that you also win the disadvantage. I’m not hip deep sometimes in the theory debate and get frustrated when teams choose to get bogged down in that quagmire. If you’re going to run the counterplan conditionally, then defend why it’s OK with some substance. If the affirmative wishes to claim abuse, prove it. What stopped you from adequately defending the case because the counterplan was “kicked” in the block or the 2NR? Don’t whine; defend the position. That being said, I'm not tied to the policy making framework. As you will see below, I will consider most arguments. Not a real big fan of performance, but if you think it's your best strategy, go for it.
TOPIC SPECIFIC ARGUMENTS: I’m not a big “T” hack. Part of the reason for that is that persons sometimes get hung up on the line by line of the argument rather than keeping the “big picture” in mind. Ripping through a violation in 15 seconds with “T is voting issue” tacked on at the bottom doesn’t seem to have much appeal from the beginning. I’m somewhat persuaded by not only what the plan text says but what the plan actually does. Plan text may be topical but if your evidence indicates harm area, solvency, etc. outside of the realm of the topic, I am sympathetic that the practice may be abusive to the negative.
KRITIKS/CRITIQUES: The comments about kritiks below are linked more to policy debate than LD or PF. However, at the risk of being ostracized by many, here is my take on kritiks in PF and maybe LD. They don't belong. Now, before you start making disparaging remarks about age, and I just don't get it, and other less than complimentary things, consider this. Most kritiks are based on some very complex and abstract concepts that require a great deal of explanation. The longest speech in PF is four minutes long. If you can explain such complex concepts in that time frame at a comprehensible speaking rate, then I do admire you. However, the vast majority of debaters don't even come close to accomplishing that task. There are ways you can do that, but look at the section on evidence below. In short, no objection to kritiks; just not in PF. LD comes pretty close to that as well. Hint: You want to argue this stuff, read and quote the actual author. Don't rely on some debate block file that has been handed down through several generations of debaters and the only way you know what the argument says is what someone has told you.
Here's the original of what was written: True confession time here—I was out of the activity when these arguments first came into vogue. I have, however, coached a number of teams who have run kritiks. I’d like to think that advocating a position actually means something. If the manner in which that position is presented is offensive for some reason, or has some implication that some of us aren’t grasping, then we have to examine the implications of that action. With that in mind, as I examine the kritik, I will most likely do so within the framework of the paradigm mentioned above. As a policymaker, I weigh the implications in and outside of the round, just like other arguments. If I accept the world of the kritik, what then? What happens to the affirmative harm and solvency areas? Why can’t I just “rethink” and still adopt the affirmative? Explain the kritik as well. Again, extending line by line responses does little for me unless you impact and weigh against other argumentation in the round. Why must I reject affirmative rhetoric, thoughts, actions, etc.? What is it going to do for me if I do so? If you are arguing framework, how does adopting the particular paradigm, mindset, value system, etc. affect the actions that we are going to choose to take? Yes, the kritik will have an impact on that and I think the team advocating it ought to be held accountable for those particular actions.
EVIDENCE: I like evidence. I hate paraphrasing. Paraphrasing has now become a way for debaters to put a bunch of barely explained arguments on the flow that then get blown up into voting issues later on. If you paraphrase something, you better have the evidence to back it up. I'm not talking about a huge PDF that the other team needs to search to find what you are quoting. The NSDA evidence rule says specifically that you need to provide the specific place in the source you are quoting for the paraphrasing you have used. Check the rule; that's what I and another board member wrote when we proposed that addition to the evidence rule. Quoting the rule back to me doesn't help your cause; I know what it says since I helped write most or all of it. If you like to paraphrase and then take fifteen minutes to find the actual evidence, you don't want me in the back of the room. I will give you a reasonable amount of time and if you don't produce it, I'll give you a choice. Drop the evidence or use your prep time to find it. If your time expires, and you still haven't found it, take your choice as to which evidence rule you have violated. In short, if you paraphrase, you better have the evidence to back it up.
Original text: I like to understand evidence the first time that it is read. Reading evidence in a blinding montone blur will most likely get me to yell “clear” at you. Reading evidence after the round is a check for me. I have found in the latter stages of my career that I am a visual learner and need to see the words on the page as well as hear them. It helps for me to digest what was said. Of course, if I couldn’t understand the evidence to begin with, it’s fairly disappointing for me. I may not ask for it if that is the case. I also like teams that do evidence comparisons. What does your evidence take into account that the other teams evidence does not? Weigh and make that claim and I will read the evidence to see if you indeed have made a good point. SPEECH DOCUMENTS: Given how those documents are currently being used, I will most likely want to be a part of any email exchange. However, I may not look at those electronic documents until the end of the debate to check my flow against what you claim has been read in the round. Debate is an oral activity; let's get back to that.
STYLE: As stated above, if you are not clear, I will tell you so. If I have to tell you more than once, I will give much less weight to the argument than you wish me to do so. I have also found in recent years that I don't hear nearly as well as in the past. You may still go fast, but crank it down just a little bit so that this grumpy old man can still understand the argument. Tag-team CX is okay as long as one partner does not dominate the discussion. I will let you know when that becomes the case. Profanity and rude behavior will not be tolerated. If you wish me to disclose and discuss the argument, you may challenge respectfully and politely. Attempts at making me look ridiculous (which at times is not difficult) to demonstrate your superior intelligence does little to persuade me that I was wrong. My response may very well be “If I’m so stupid, why did you choose to argue things this way?” I do enjoy humor and will laugh at appropriate attempts at it. If you have any other questions, please feel free to ask. Make them specific. Just a question which starts with "Do you have a paradigm?" will most likely be answered with a "yes" with little or no explanation beyond that. You should get the picture from that.
Greetings everyone! My name is Timothy Huth and I'm the director of forensics at The Bronx High School of Science in New York City. I am excited to judge your round! Considering you want to spend the majority of time prepping from when pairings are released and not reading my treatise on debate, I hope you find this paradigm "cheat sheet" helpful in your preparation.
2023 TOC Congress Update
Congratulations on qualifying to the 2023 TOC! It's a big accomplishment to be here in this room and all of you are to be commended on your dedication and success. My name is Timothy Huth and I'm the director at Bronx Science. I have judged congress a lot in the past, including two TOC final rounds, but I have found myself judging more PF and Policy in recent years. To help you prepare, here's what I would like to see in the round:
Early Speeches -- If you are the sponsor or early speaker, make sure that I know the key points that should be considered for the round. If you can set the parameters of the discourse of the debate, you will probably have a good chance of ranking high on my ballot.
Middle Speeches -- Refute, advance the debate, and avoid rehash, obviously. However, this doesn't mean you can't bring up a point another debater has already said, just extend it and warrant your point with new evidence or with a new perspective. I often find these speeches truly interesting and you can have a good chance of ranking high on my ballot.
Late speeches -- I think a good crystallization speech can be the best opportunity to give an amazing speech during the round. To me, a good crystal speech is one of the hardest speeches to give. This means that a student who can crystal effectively can often rank 1st or 2nd on my ballot. This is not always the case, of course, but it really is an impressive speech.
Better to speak early or late for your ballot? It really doesn't matter for me. Wherever you are selected to speak by the PO, do it well, and you will have a great chance of ranking on my ballot. One thing -- I think a student who can show diversity in their speaking ability is impressive. If you speak early on one bill, show me you can speak later on the next bill and the skill that requires.
What if I only get one speech? Will I have any chance to rank on your ballot? Sometimes during the course of a congress round, some students are not able to get a second speech or speak on every bill. I try my very best to evaluate the quality of a speech versus quantity. To me, there is nothing inherently better about speaking more or less in a round. However, when you get the chance to speak, question, or engage in the round, make the most of it. I have often ranked students with one speech over students who spoke twice, so don't get down. Sometimes knowing when not to speak is as strategic as knowing when to speak.
Questioning matters to me. Period. I am a big fan of engaging in the round by questioning. Respond to questions strongly after you speak and ask questions that elicit concessions from your fellow competitors. A student who gives great speeches but does not engage fully in questioning throughout the round stands little chance of ranking high on my ballot.
The best legislator should rank first. Congress is an event where the best legislator should rank first. This means that you have to do more than just speak well, or refute well, or crystal well, or question well. You have to engage in the "whole debate." To me, what this means is that you need to speak and question well, but also demonstrate your knowledge of the rules of order and parliamentary procedure. This is vital for the PO, but competitors who can also demonstrate this are positioning themselves to rank highly on my ballot.
Have fun! Remember, this activity is a transformative and life changing activity, but it's also fun! Enjoy the moment because you are at THE TOURNAMENT OF CHAMPIONS! It's awesome to be here and don't forget to show the joy of the moment. Good luck to everyone!
2023 - Policy Debate Update
I have judged many debates across all events except for policy debate. You should consider me a newer policy judge and debate accordingly. Here are some general thoughts to consider as you prepare for the round:
Add me to the email chain: My email is firstname.lastname@example.org.
Non-Topical Arguments: I am unlikely to understand Ks or non-topical arguments. I DO NOT have an issue with these arguments on principle, but I will not be able to evaluate the round to the level you would expect or prefer.
Topicality: I am not experienced with topicality policy debates. If you decide to run these arguments, I cannot promise that I will make a decision you will be satisfied with, but I will do my best.
Line-by-line: Please move methodically through the flow and tell me the order before begin your speech.
Judge Instruction: In each rebuttal speech, please tell me how to evaluate your arguments and why I should be voting for you. My goal is to intervene as little as possible.
Speed: Please slow down substantially on tags and analytics. You can probably spread the body of the card but you must slow down on the tags and analytics in order for me to understand your arguments. Do not clip cards. I will know if you do.
PF Paradigm - Please see the following for my Public Forum paradigm.
Add me to the email chain: My email is email@example.com.
General overview FOR PUBLIC FORUM
Experience: I've judged PF TOC finals-X------------------------------------------------- I've never judged
Tech over truth: Tech -------x------------------------------------------- Truth
Comfort with PF speed: Fast, like policy fast ---------x--------------------------------------- lay judge speed
Theory in PF: Receptive to theory ------x------------------------------ not receptive to theory
Some general PF thoughts from Crawford Leavoy, director of Durham Academy in North Carolina. I agree with the following very strongly:
- 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 be very 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.
Now, back to my thoughts. Here is the impact calculus that I try to use in the round:
Weigh: Comparative weighing x----------------------------------------------- Don't weigh
Probability: Highly probable weighing x----------------------------------------------- Not probable
Scope: Affecting a lot of people -----------x------------------------------------ No scope
Magnitude: Severity of impact -------------------------x----------------------- Not a severe impact
(One word about magnitude: I have a very low threshold for responses to high magnitude, low probability impacts. Probability weighing really matters for my ballot)
Defense in first summary? Depends if second rebuttal frontlines, if so, then yes, I would expect defense in first summary.
Offense? Any offense you want me to vote on should be in either case or rebuttal, then both summary and final focus.
Flow on paper or computer? I flow on paper, every time, to a fault. Take that for what you will. I can handle speed, but clarity is always more important than moving fast.
What matters most to get your ballot? Easy: comparative weighing. Plain and simple.
I think you do this by first collapsing in your later speeches. Boil it down to 2-3 main points. This allows for better comparative weighing. Tell me why your argument matters more than your opponents. The team that does this best will 99/100 times get my ballot. The earlier this starts to happen in your speeches, the better.
Overviews: Do it! I really like them. I think they provide a framework for why I should prefer your world over your opponent's world. Doing this with carded evidence is even better.
Signpost: It's very easy to get lost when competitors go wild through the flow. You must be very clear and systematic when you are moving through the flow. I firmly believe that if I miss something that you deem important, it's your fault, not mine. To help with this, tell me where you are on the flow. Say things like...
"Look to their second warrant on their first contention, we turn..."
Clearly state things like links, turns, extensions, basically everything! Tell me where you are on the flow.
Also, do not just extend tags, extend the ideas along with the tags. For example:
"Extend Michaels from the NYTimes that stated that a 1% increase in off shore drilling leads to a..."
Evidence: I like rigorous academic sources: academic journals and preeminent news sources (NYT, WashPo, etc.). You can paraphrase, but you should always tell me the source and year.
Theory in PF: I'm growing very receptive to it, but it really should be used to check back against abuse in round.
Pronouns: I prefer he/him/his and I kindly ask that you respect your opponents preferred gender pronoun.
Speed: Slow down, articulate/enunciate, and inflect - no monotone spreading, bizarre breathing patterns, or foot-stomping. 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 think this is an important check on ableism in rounds. This portion on speed is credited to Chetan Hertzig, head coach of Harrison High School (NY). I share very similar thoughts regarding speed and spreading.
Paradigm for Emory ‘23 (day 2)
Very tired, please be nice to me. Talk slow, no extinction impacts, don’t be exceptionally rude.
My email is firstname.lastname@example.org, mad respect if you set up an email chain before I show up.
Try to have some fun and don't take yourself too seriously.
Email chain/ questions: email@example.com
As a topshelf thing, I will probably vote for arguments I don't understand
arguments in order that i am comfy with them are
i can flow p much any spreading as long as its clear if i have a problem i will say something
I will vote on any argument as long as its not problematic, only if you sufficiently extend warrant, and implicate said argument.
Send docs even in person i expect docs from all of you
If you want the easy path to my ballot; weigh, implicate your defense/turns, tell me why you should win.
Smart analytics > bad evidence or paraphrased blips.
Debate is a game, as such I will normally be a tech>truth judge except in circumstances where I deem an argument to be offensive/inappropriate for the debate space.
I prefer a line by line. Second rebuttal should respond to turns/disads.
I wont do ghost extensions for you even if the argument is conceded, extend your arguments.
Arguments that I am comfortable with:
Theory, T, Plans, Counter Plans, Disads, Kritiks, most framework args that PFers can come up with.
I presume too much, tell me why I should presume for you if you think you aren't going to win your case, if you don't make any arguments as to why I should presume I will presume based on a coin flip, aff will be heads and neg will be tails.
I also think I will be starting to vote more on risk of offense, in this scenario.
i get bored so easy please make the round interesting.
debate is problematic in many ways. if there is anything I can do to make the round more accessible, please let me know beforehand
My name is WK (they/them).
I have 10 years of competitive and coaching experience. 3 years of mediocrity in novice/JV PF 2012-2015, and then as a senior in 2015-2016 I switched to Congress and got 1 bid (Penn), 2nd at NY States, and Semis at NCFLs. Did 2 years of APDA (American Parli) in college to minimal competitive success, but did attend 2018 WUDC (British Parli). I have coached pretty much all events since graduating HS in 2016, and have been a teacher since finishing undergrad in 2020. Currently, I teach debate full-time to grades 5-12. I am also pursuing an MA in political science.
I mostly judge PF and Congress these days, so extensive paradigms follow for those two events, respectively. If anything below, for either event, doesn't make sense, ask me before the round! We are all here to learn and grow together.
Equity: Read this article. After reading that article, you should feel compelled to be part of the solution and not part of the problem. Though at this point it should go without saying, I will make myself clear: I have a zero tolerance policy for racism, sexism, homophobia, transphobia, xenophobia, and all other forms of bigotry, prejudice, hatred, and intolerance. You are smart enough to find impacts for the most esoteric and outlandish of arguments, I am certain you are aware of the impact of your words and actions on other people. Simply put: respect each other. We are all here to learn and grow together.
Yes, please put me on the email chain (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Speed: speed is mostly fine but if I signal to slow down (either a hand wave or a verbal “clear”) then slow down. 2 signals and then I stop flowing. Share speech docs if you’re worried about how speedy you are (again, email@example.com).
Evidence: I know what cards are really garbage and/or dishonest since I am coaching every topic and judging most of the time (Example: Don't read O'Toole in the HSR topic, or Chinese state media about BRI). That said, I am as non-interventionist as possible. I am pretty straightforward and flow centric: if you say it, it’s on my flow, if you don’t say it, it doesn’t exist in the world of the debate. I will stop writing at the time limit of the speech, you will see me put my pen down and you should know to stop, in addition to the fact of your and, likely, your opponents' timers going off. Author or Publication and Date is sufficient in speeches (and is the bare minimum by NSDA rules), and just author and/or publication after the first mention (and year if the author/publication is a repeat). If your evidence sounds sus, I will make note of that, but won't drop you unless it's challenged. It will probably hurt your speaks, though. I expect honesty and integrity in rounds. Evidence ethics in PF is really really messy right now, so I'll appreciate well-cited cases (but cards are not the same as warrants. You should know that, but still).
Framework debate: Try your best to engage with the other side’s framework, as that to me is fundamental to any debate and I have decided many rounds on it: it frames the round for a reason. Don’t just say it because it’s traditional/you’re expected to and then not engage with it or believe in it. If both teams present framework, you have to tell me why to prefer yours; if you do and they don't extend it, and that can help me clarify voters later. If both sides read FW but then no one extends/interacts, I'm just not gonna consider it in my RFD. If you read framework, I better hear how your impacts specifically link to it; that should happen in case, but if you need to clean up your mess later that's possible. If you can win your case and link into your opponent's FW and then weigh, you've got a pretty good shot of picking up my ballot.
Rebuttals: Frontlining needs to happen in rebuttals. IMO Second Rebuttal is the hardest speech in a PF round, and so I need you to leave yourself time to frontline or else they're gonna kill you in Summary (or at least they should, and I probably won't look favorably upon lots of unresponded to ink on the flow coming out of Rebuttals). Any defense in rebuttal isn't sticky. I'm also a fan of concessions/self-kick-outs when done well, but use the extra time to start weighing early on top of dumping responses/frontlines on whatever you are covering. That said, you'll probably get higher speaks if you do all the things on all the points.
Summary: Any defense in rebuttal isn't sticky, extend it if you want me to adjudicate based on it. I like it when summaries give me a good notion of the voting issues in the round, ideally with a clear collapse on one or two key points of clash. If you can sufficiently tell me what the voting issues are and how you won them, you have a real strong chance of winning the round. In so doing, you should be weighing against your opponent’s voting issues/best case (see above) and extending frontlining if you can (hence why it has to happen). Suppose I have to figure out what the voting issues are and, in cases where teams present different voting issues, weigh each side's against the other's: in that case, I may have to intervene more in interpreting what the round was about rather than you defining what the round was about, which I don't want to do. Weigh for me, my intervening is bad. Comparative weighing, please. In both backhalf speeches, I want really good and clear analytics on top of techy structure and cards.
Final Focus: a reminder that defense isn't sticky so extend as much as you can when you need to. The Final Focus should then respond to anything new in summary (hopefully not too much) and then write my ballot for me based on the voters/collapses in Summary. I am going to ignore any new arguments in your Final Focus. You know what you should be doing in that speech: a solid crystallization of the round with deference to clearing up my ballot. Final Focuses have won rounds before, don't look at it like a throwaway.
Signposting/Flow: I can flow 250-300 WPM if you want me to, but for the love of all things holy, sign post, like slow down for the tag even. I write as much as I can hear and am adept at flowing, and I'll even look at the speech doc if you send it (and you probably should as a principle if you're speaking this quickly), but you should make my life as easy as possible so I can spend more time thinking about your arguments. Always make your judges' lives as easy as you can.
Speaker points: unless tab gives me a specific set of criteria to follow, I generally follow the traditional “30 means I think you’re the platonic ideal of the debater, 29 means you are one of the best debaters I have seen, etc…” In novice/JV rounds, this is a bit less true: I generally give speaks based on the round’s quality in the context of the level at which you’re competing. If you are an insolent jerk, I will drop your speaks no matter how good you are. Insolence runs the gamut from personal put-downs of your opponent(s) to outright bigotry. If I am ever allowed to do so again, I have no issue with low point wins. Sus-sounding evidence will also drop your speaks.
T/Theory/K/Prog: This is part of my paradigm that I rewrote at the start of the 2022 season (and have updated regularly since) after seeing some of the most egregious judging of my life at a regional tournament, where ostensible preferences for lay debate were used as an excuse for blatant judge intervention and dog whistling of problematic worldviews. Given this, I have recently become way more open to T/Theory/K/Prog than I was earlier in my debate career. Let me be specific: if you can run any T/theory/prog/Ks that sufficiently criticizes competitive debate as an institution (fem K, tournament K, team K, SV, etc.), I am more open to it than I am to other T/Theory/K/Prog (as long as you read/provide real warrants and not just pre-written docs you don't understand from camp/your expensive private coach). I do not like any T/Theory that is purposely run on debaters that don't know how to deal with it to try and pick up; I'll drop you with crappy speaks. Separately, I think paraphrasing is bad for debate (as it is practiced by many circuit teams) and am also very open to paraphrasing theory, but be specific when reading the violation: if you don't prove there was a violation (or worse, there isn't really one at all and the other side gets up and tells me that, as happened in a round I judged in 2023), then I can't vote for you on theory no matter how good of a shell you read. On a different note, if you read any theory that has anything to do with discourse, my threshold for voting against you drops a lot at the point at which your opponent says anything close to "running theory isn't good for discourse." These are the kinds of theory I am most open to/familiar with in either direction, though I can adjudicate other kinds decently enough. If you're not sure about what I might think about the theory you wanna run, feel free to ask me before the round. In short, as long as the theory/K is executed well, meaning you actually link in and your impacts are very very well warranted, you should be fine. Prog is not an excuse to be blippy.
If you have any questions that haven't been answered here, feel free to ask them before the start of the round.
Have fun, learn something, and respect one another. Good luck, and I look forward to your round!
A PRIORI: I WILL BUMP YOU UP AT LEAST ONE FULL RANK IF YOU DO NOT READ OFF OF A FULLY PRE-WRITTEN SPEECH
I am a bit old school insofar as I believe Congress is very much a hybrid between speech and debate events: of course I want the good arguments, but you should sound and act like a member of Congress. The performative element of the event matters very much to me. Be respectful of everyone in the room and be sure that your arguments are not predicated on the derogation or belittlement of others (see the last paragraph of this paradigm for more on respect and its impact on my judging).
Your speeches are obviously most important, assuming you're not POing. I'm looking for solid and logical warranting (cards are important but not a replacement for warranting, especially in a more rhetorically oriented event like Congress), unique impacts (especially to specific constituencies) and strong rhetoric. Your argumentation should leave no big gaps in the link chains, and should follow a clear structure. Arguments that are interdependent obviously need that linkage to be strong. Obviously, avoid rehash. Good extensions, meaning those that introduce meaningully new evidence/context or novel impacts, are some of my favorite speeches to hear. I also value a real strong crystal more than a lot of judges, so if you're good at it, do it.
I also give great weight to your legislative engagement. Ask questions, make motions, call points of order when appropriate. If you're good at this, I will remember it in your ranking. The same goes if you're not good at it. I have no bright-line for the right/wrong amount of this: engage appropriately and correctly and it will serve you well. Sitting there with your hands folded the entire session when you're not giving a speech will hurt you.
I highly value the role of the PO, which is to say that a great PO can and will get my 1. A great PO makes no procedural errors, provides coherent and correct explanations when wrongly challenged, runs a quick-moving and efficient chamber, and displays a command of decorum and proper etiquette. Short of greatness, any PO who falls anywhere on the spectrum of good to adequate will get a rank from me, commensurate with the quality of their performance. Like any other Congressperson, you will receive a detailed explanation for why you were ranked where you were based on your performance. While you may not get the 1 if you are perfect but also frequently turning to the Parli to confirm your decisions, I would rather you check in than get it wrong and be corrected; you'll still get ranked, but perhaps not as highly. The only way I do not rank a PO is if they make repeated, frequent mistakes in procedure: calling on the wrong speaker when recency is established, demonstrating a lack of procedural knowledge and/or lack of decorum, et cetera.
My standards are the same when I Parli as when i judge, the only difference being I will be comparing POs and speakers across the day, so POing one session does not guarantee a rank on my Parli sheet, since it is an evaluation of your performance across all sessions of the tournament. When I am Parli, I keep the tournament guidelines on me at all times, in case there are any regional/league-based disparities in our expectations of procedure/rules.
Above all else, everyone should respect one another. If you are an insolent jerk, I will not rank you no matter how good you are. Insolence runs the gamut from personal put-downs of your fellow Congressmembers to outright bigotry.Read this article. After reading that article, you should feel compelled to be part of the solution and not part of the problem. Though at this point it should go without saying, I will make myself clear: I have a zero tolerance policy for racism, sexism, homophobia, transphobia, xenophobia, and all other forms of bigotry, prejudice, hatred, and intolerance. You are smart enough to find impacts for the most esoteric and outlandish of arguments, I am certain you are aware of the impact of your words and actions on other people. Simply put: respect each other. We are all here to learn and grow together.
Have fun, learn something, and respect one another. Good luck, and I look forward to your round!
-Rounds should be topical
-You have to weigh it has to be comparative and I prefer specific warrants based on in-round argument vs general ideas on how two impacts interact in a vacuum
-I wont accept new weighing in first final unless no other weighing is done before and 2nd can respond but can't read their own weighing
-i cant flow very well so in the back half i would slow it down i cant vote for things i dont understand
-warrants and contextualization are more important in the back half than the front half that doesn't mean you can make up new warrants in the back half it just means dont forget if your argument doesnt make sense I wont vote for it because I dont know what Im voting for
-Ill give block 30s if I can so if you dont get a 30 its because of your behavior in the round so I would call on you to reflect a little on what may have happened in the round to warrant it
I'm a debate coach at Riverside HS in SC. I believe debate is an educational activity where the skills you learn should help you for the rest of your life. Delivery is important. Respect for your opponent is a must.
I don't think K's have a place in PF. This isn't policy. I also think theory has devolved from it's original purpose, and in most cases, has become a tool for teams to try to get a cheap win. If you think there was a serious evidence violation, do an official evidence challenge (check the NSDA rules if you don't know what this is) or call it out and tell me to read it if you're nervous about hinging an entire round on this one violation. If your opponent is being rude or malicious, I'll intervene.
While I flow everything and understand the lingo, treat me as a lay judge. Please do not spread. Please weigh.
Weighing is just a comparative analysis, so be sure to engage your opponents arguments when you weigh. If your weighing is all about your case, it tells me nothing about how it compares to your opponent's (so you didn't actually weigh anything). Also include why we should favor your weighing mechanism versus your opponent's if they differ.
I'm not a fan of extending anything through ink. If it's important enough for you to try to win off of it, you should be bringing it up well before FF.
Please sign post during your speeches.
When extending evidence, please also include the warranting behind the evidence. I’m human and don’t always catch everything about your evidence on my flow the first time around.
Please be quick about sharing evidence during rounds. It shouldn't take you more than a couple minutes to pull a card and send it (should be almost immediate if its from case).
Also I think crossfire is the most interesting part of most debate rounds. I'm definitely listening and may vote off of it if your weighing isn't comparative.
If you want clarification on anything on (or not on) my paradigm please don't be afraid to ask before the round.
Please include me in email chains and send speech docs to firstname.lastname@example.org
If there are 4 things to take from my paradigm, here they are:
1. Read what you want. Don't change your year-long strategies for what I may or may not like - assuming the argument is not outright offensive, I will evaluate it. My paradigm gives my preferences on each argument, but you should debate the way you are most comfortable with.
2. Don't lie about evidence. I've seen enough shitty evidence this year to feel comfortable intervening on egregiously bad evidence ethics. I won't call for evidence unless the round feel impossible to decide or I have been told to call for evidence, but if it is heavily misconstrued, you will lose.
3. Be respectful. This should be a safe space to read the arguments you enjoy. If someone if offensive or violent in any way, the round will be stopped and you will lose.
4. Extend, warrant, weigh. Applicable to whatever event you're in - easiest way to win any argument is to do these 3 things better than the other team and you'll win my ballot.
All arguments should be responded to in the next speech outside of 1st constructive. If is isn't, the argument is dropped.Theory, framing, ROBs are the exception to this as they have to be responded to in the next speech.
Every argument in final focus should be warranted, extended, and weighed in summary/FF to win you the round. Missing any one of these 3 components is likely to lose you the round. Frontlining in 2nd rebuttal is required. I don't get the whole "frontline offense but not defense" - collapse, frontline the argument, and move on. Defense isn't sticky - extend everything you want in the ballot in summary, including dropped defense.
K's/Theory:I have not interacted with debate in a while and forgot how to flow both of these. If you choose to run these arguments with me do not expect me to make the correct decision.
Debate is a game so have fun
- Tech>truth most times, but the crazier an argument gets, the lower my threshold for responses to that argument is. Feel free to run wacky arguments as long as they have good warranting though.
- If something happens in cross, please bring it up in the next speech.
- Weigh Weigh Weigh Weigh Weigh it's how I decide the round pls weigh. Weighing in first FF is okay, but it's better if done earlier (not in second FF though)
- I won't vote off of dropped defense if it is not extended
- No new arguments in FF. This applies to extensions. If there isn't a clean link and impact extension in summary, I won't evaluate it even if it is in FF.
- Second rebuttal must respond to turns otherwise they are dropped
- Defense should be in first summary as I think that 3 minutes is long enough to do so.
- Please collapse and extend case properly in summary and final focus. This means extending the uniqueness, link, and impact. I probably can't grant you any offense if you don't do this.
- I presume the first speaking team if no offense is generated in the round
- Signpost, otherwise I'll be hella confused as to where you are on the flow
- Speak pretty, and be strategic and you'll get high speaks
- Moderate speed is ok, but if you start spreading I will drop your speaks
- Going new in the 2. Don't do this, I'll ignore it and tank your speaks
- This goes without saying but teams who are racist, sexist, homophobic, ableist, etc will receive a 25L
Evidence is overrated, I think that PF has become much more focused on the validity of evidence, and while this is important, warranted analytics beats unwarranted carded stats every single time.
I debated for 4 years at G. Holmes Braddock Senior High School. I did Public Forum all 4 years being part of both Braddock DL and Braddock GL with my highest achievement being a top 5 finish in the Florida State Tournament for 2022. I'm a pretty easygoing person, and this definitely reflects in how I choose to judge rounds, but I do have my preferences and I recommend you keep them in mind.
TL;DR = Be nice, no progressive arguments, implicate impacts, convince me as to why you won, don't get lost in the flow, Truth > Tech, make my decision for me
- First and Foremost, be nice to each other. Ultimately, debate is something we all do and engage in for fun, otherwise we wouldn't spend upwards of 10 hours a week prepping so we can spend our entire Saturday nerding out with other debaters. If you make the make the round unfun, as in, you're rude in cross, you keep eye-rolling, giving attitude, and screaming, then it will affect my decision and just as importantly, your speaks. You may win the round, but you'll win with a 20.
- Stay away from progressive argumentation. PF was made in order to stray away from Policy's hard barrier of entry, progressive argumentation, and K heavy style. I simply do not enjoy judging progressive argumentation, so please stick to the resolution.
- PLEASE implicate your impacts. Many debate teams nowadays will simply throw out " Climate Change will increase, Poverty will increase" etc.. However, if you do not tell me why I care about Climate Change or Poverty increasing, then I simply just will not vote on it. Tell me, as a judge, why I care. Even if you think it's obvious, as a judge I need to maintain a clean state of mind so I can make my decision. So PLEASE TELL ME!
- Don't get lost in the sauce. Ultimately, winning a debate round simply means that you have convinced the judge to vote in your favor. Another big mistake I see nowadays is many teams getting lost in their flows and delivering line by line speeches over and over and over. At the end of the round, a solid, well-delivered Final Focus where the speaker CONVINCES ME as to why his team has won the round is FAR better than simply stating "judge, we turned on their A contention, we struck down their B contention, and we pooped on their C contention". Convince me as a judge, don't keep your eyes on your flow and just run down the line of contentions either team gave.
- General Debate Stuff. Truth > Tech. Please extend arguments throughout the round if you want me to vote on them. If you want me to make my decision on something said in cross, please include it in a speech. Speed is fine but don't double breath like an auctioneer. If you want me to call for a card, mention it in a speech and I will. Time yourselves during your speeches. If you're kicking out of a contention, make it clear, but if they have offense on said contention, I will count it as offense for the opposing team.
- Make my decision for me. Finally, the last thing I want is for your team to make my decision for me. Like I said, I want the winning team to walk up there, and by the end of their speeches, I want to feel as If that team has made my decision for me. Do not leave the decision up to me by failing to weigh or make things clear by the end of the round. If it comes to that, I will have to make a decision based on my own preferences and that's the last thing anybody wants.
- I'm a volunteer and new to judging
- I've read over some information about this topic
- Please keep your pace and slow
- I appreciate step-by-step analysis to show your point
Debate should always be fun, educational, and safe - please ask questions before/after the round if anything is unclear. I'll always disclose and feel free to ask or say something if you disagree with my decision.
Everything needs to be warranted. Blips like "terror pre-reqs the economy" or "climate links into recession" with no warrant are very silly.
Summary is by far the most important speech in the round (especially first sum) - make sure you collapse, extend links warrants and impacts, frontline, and weigh. Any offense/terminal defense needs to be in summary and FF. Basically I should be able to listen to only summary and FF and make the correct decision.
I'll listen to cross but nothing on the flow
I think spreading, Ks, theory, and other prog args are overdone in PF and defeat the purpose of the event. I will evaluate them but I'm generally predisposed to not vote for them; I also never ran them as a debater so I'm not the most familiar at judging them. Running prog arguments against a team that clearly has zero exposure to them (i.e. newer debaters) is abusive.
Don't be mean, don't steal prep, don't misconstrue evidence, and don't say "this is the easiest ballot you'll ever sign". I generally give high speaks and will especially for strategic approaches like going for warranted turns, clever link-ins or pre-reqs, etc
(s/o to my old partner Avnika Dubey for letting me snatch her paradigm format)
TLDR: I vote off the flow to the best of my ability. I value quality of argumentation over quantity, please collapse, warrant, and weigh your arguments. With all that said, come in with your amount of experience, and I will evaluate you fairly. Debate is a weird game, and not everyone has the same access to the tools "normalized." Don't worry, do your best, and know we are all here to learn.
Background: I graduated from Duchesne Academy in 2020 and I was a first speaker in PF for three years. I debated on the local and national circuits and consider myself to evaluate rounds pretty technically.
Basic Judging Philosophy: I vote off of what is warranted, I prefer what is weighed. If you make a well-structured argument, then give me reasons to prefer your warranting over their warrants. Finally, do weighing that COMPARES your impact to their impact and tells me WHY yours is more important. Don't just say a buzzword like "scope" and move on. You should be writing my ballot for me in summary/final focus.
Here are some more specific notes
- Jargon and Speed: I can handle a fair amount of speed, just please don't spread. Also, it’s important to make sure you don't exclude your opponents from the round; spreading as a tactic to lose your opponents is really inconsiderate in my opinion. If everyone in the round is cool with jargon, I'm fine with it too.
- Evidence: Love it. Please note that I usually flow ideas, not card names, so feel free to extend your evidence but make sure you extend what the evidence says. Please make sure evidence is exchanged quickly- if it isn't, speaker points will be dropped. Citations are needed, and at a minimum must be an author and a date, but more information is always better. Feel free to go after poor-quality evidence in round, I love a good indict (always exciting).
- Topic Knowledge: I don't know much about this topic. I will do my best to inform myself on the basics before your round, but you should pretend I don't know anything. I can pick info up quick so explain it effectively and you'll be fine.
- Rebuttal: Pretty short here. I think 2nd rebuttal should defend case. Disads in first rebuttal are cool. Second rebuttal they are sketchy. Make sure you tell me where you are on the flow, and I reeeaaallly like numbering your responses to things, it makes flowing easier for everyone.
- Summary: I expect you to reiterate and defend your case with warrants AND extend responses on your opponent's case while still weighing. I don't care how you structure it so long as it is logical for me to follow and you signpost. First summary I will be a little more lenient towards, but you still need the previously mentioned things at a minimum. YOU HAVE TO COLLAPSE IN SUMMARY. Make a few, strong arguments and win them, and you will win my ballot. Weighing should be in second summary.
- Final Focus: Mirror the summary speech, collapse and warrant your few arguments even harder. Don't make new arguments or new weighing metrics, please. Warrant and weigh what you have to work with and you'll be fine.
- Crossfires: I won't be flowing them, I might listen in, but if you get an important concession, mention it in a speech! Debaters are bound to what they say in crossfire, so don't lie. Remember to be kind; I take note of that intensely!
Theory/Kritiks: I am not very well versed in T/K; I wouldn't do it in front of me tbh. Sorryyyy!
Decorum: Please be nice; it shouldn't be hard. I'm not flowing cross, and I frankly don't value it that highly, so please don't turn it into a screaming match - instead, try to get valuable/strategic info out of it. If you are rude, racist, sexist, homophobic, or take another obviously unacceptable action, I will 100% drop your speaks as low as I can and, depending on the infraction, it will affect my decision. So please, be kind. Debate is stressful, don't make it harder than it has to be.
Speaks: Honestly, the idea that public speaking skills should be valued excludes people from the debate space. I will give speaks solely off the quality of the argumentation you make in your speeches and your ability to signpost so it is easy for me to follow you on the flow. If you are one of those people who are "dominant in cross" and are rude to your opponents, I will drop your speaks (not joking). In short, the best debaters with the best structure will get good speaks, not the best speakers.
Include me in email chains: email@example.com
Updated February 2023
Caveat: This is my perception of what I think I do. Those who have had me in the back of the room may have different views.
The TL;DR version (applies to all forms of debate).
The resolution is pretty important. Advocate for or against it and you get a lot of leeway on method. Ignore it at your peril.
Default policymaker/CBA unless the resolution screams otherwise or you give me a well-reasoned argument for another approach.
“Roles of the ballot” or frameworks that are not reasonably accessible (doesn't have to be 50-50, but reasonable) to both sides in the debate run the risk of being summarily thrown out.
Share me to the speech doc (firstname.lastname@example.org) but I’m only flowing what you intelligibly say in the debate. If I didn’t flow it, you didn’t say it.
Fairness and reciprocity are a good starting point for evaluating theory/topicality, etc. Agnostic on tech v. truth debate. These are defaults and can be overcome.
Rudeness, rules-lawyering, clipping, falsifying evidence and other forms of chicanery all make me unhappy. Making me unhappy reduces your speaker points. If I’m unhappy enough, you might be catching an L.
The longer version (for all forms of debate)
The Resolution: Full disclosure – I have been a delegate to the NFHS Debate Topic Selection Meeting since 2011 (all years for Mississippi except 2022 when I voted on behalf of NCFL) and was on the Wording Committee from 2018-2020, the last of those years as chair. There’s a lot of work that goes into crafting resolutions and since you’re coming here by choice, it should be respected. Advocate for or against the resolution and I’ll give you a pretty wide degree of latitude on method. If you’re just going to ignore the resolution, the bar is pretty low for your opponent to clear to get the W (though I have seen teams bungle this).
File Sharing and Speed – Yes please, but understand I’m only flowing that which comes out of your mouth that I can understand – I don’t flow as fast in my mid-50s as I did even in my 40s. I only go to the speech doc if a) I lost concentration during the speech through no fault of your own, b) I need to read evidence because there is a dispute about what the evidence says, or c) I want to steal the evidence for a future round. If you bust out ten blips in fifteen seconds, half of them aren’t making the flow. Getting it on my flow is your job and I have no problem saying “you didn’t say that in a way that was flowable”.
Arguments: Arguments grounded in history, political science, and economics are the ones I understand the best – that can cut both ways. So while I understand K’s like Cap, CRT, and Intersectionality, I have a harder time with those that are based on some Continental European whose name ends with four vowels in a row who says that not adopting their method risks all value to life. Your job is to put me in a position to be able to make the other team understand why they lost, even if they disagree with the decision. If you don’t do the work, I’m not doing it for you. Regarding “framework” or “role of the ballot” arguments – if what you’re advocating isn’t at least reasonably accessible to both teams, I reserve the right to ignore it.
Deciding Rounds – I try to decide the round in the least interventionist way possible – I’ll leave it to others to hash out whether I succeed at that. I’m willing to work slightly harder to adjudicate the round than you do to advocate in the round (basically, if neither debater does the work and the round’s a mess, I’m going to look for the first thing I can embrace to get out of the round). If you ask me to read evidence, especially your evidence, you’ve given me a tacit invitation to intervene.
Point Scale – Because I judge on a few different circuits that each have different scales, saying X equals a 28.5 isn’t helpful. I use the scale I’m asked to use to the best of my ability.
Things that will cost you speaker points/the round:
Rudeness – Definitely will hurt your speaks. If it’s bad enough, I’ll look for a reason to vote you down or just decide I like to make rude people mad and give you the L just so I can see you get hacked off.
Gratuitous profanity – Saying “damn” or “hell” or “the plan will piss off X” in a frantic 1AR is no biggie. Six f-bombs in a forty second span is a different story.
Racist/sexist/homophobic language or behavior – If I’m sure about what I saw or heard and it’s bad enough, I’ll act on it unilaterally.
Falsifying evidence/clipping cards/deliberate misrepresentation of evidence – Again, if I’m sure about this and that it’s deliberate, I’ll act on my own.
Rules-lawyering – Debate has very few rules, so unless it’s written down somewhere, rules-lawyering is likely to only make me mad. An impacted theory objection might be a different story.
1. Way too much time on framework debates without applying the framework to the resolution question. I’m not doing this work for you.
2. The event is generally in an identity crisis, with some adhering to the Value Premise/Criterion model and others treating it like 1 on 1 policy, some with really shallow arguments. I’m fine with either, but starting the NC with five off and then collapsing to one in the NR is going to make me give 2AR a lot of leeway (maybe even new argument leeway) against extrapolations not specifically in the NC.
3. Too many NR’s and 2AR’s are focused on not losing and not on winning. Plant your flag somewhere, tell me why you’re winning those arguments and why they’re the key to the round.
Public Forum Specific Observations
1. Why we ever thought paraphrasing was a good idea is absolutely beyond me. In a debate that isn’t a mismatch, I’m generally going to prefer those who read actual evidence over those who say “my 100 page report says X” and then challenge the other team to prove them wrong in less than a handful of minutes of prep time. Make of that what you will.
2. I’ve never seen a Grand Crossfire that actually advanced a debate.
3. Another frustration I have with PF is that issues are rarely discussed to the depth needed to resolve them fully. This is more due to the structure of the round than debaters themselves. To that end, if you have some really wonky argument, it’s on you to develop your argument to where it’s a viable reason to vote. I will lose no sleep over saying to you “You lost because you didn’t do enough to make me understand your argument.”
4. Right now, PF doesn’t seem sure of what it wants to be – some of this is due to the variety of resolutions, but also what seems like the migration of ex-debaters and coaches into the judging pool at the expense of lay judges, which was supposed to be the idea behind PF to begin with.
5. As with LD, too many Final Focuses are focused on not losing instead of articulating a rationale for why a team is winning the debate.
I did debate in High School for 3 years. Sophomore - Senior year. I am currently a student at Auburn University studying Computer Engineering and Finance.
If you can explain an econ argument well if
Make sure you are polite to your opponents.
During Summary and Final Focus y’all should weigh impacts and try to make my decision as easy as possible. If I have made my decision after the round i will disclose (if allowed) but if it is a close round i might need more time to think.
Vibes > Tech > Truth.
If you're reading this before a PF round consider: skip to the bolded "this is a note for PF" which is about my views on evidence. Otherwise do what you want in round, go crazy. Read the rest of the paradigm if you have time, but it's mostly about LD/Policy.
1. I encourage you to ask me specific questions before the round. Asking me general questions (EG: "How would you describe your paradigm", etc.) before the round won't prompt me to give you very helpful answers. Just be specific with your questions and we'll be good, I'm happy to answer any questions I can. If you have questions that are going to determine or guide your strategy in round then ask them! But I'm not great at summarizing all my thoughts for you on the spot.
2. Most of the thoughts that follow are inspired by my experience judging and coaching LD, especially the Policy-lite model of LD that's become common at the college level. If you're concerned about how these thoughts translate to PF or to more traditional LD settings please ask about that in-round.
3. Tech over truth in nearly every regard, I want to see your arguments and responses to opponents'. Give me clear, evidenced links to support impact scenarios and narrativize them well. I will avoid judge intervention in almost all cases and to the extreme. That is to say, to put yourself in the best position to win I want to see you clearly defend and weigh your points because I will not weigh them for you. I will not automatically default to one position over another when given no reasons to prefer. From a strategic standpoint, it is in your best interest to give me a framework by which to evaluate your impacts even if that framework is localized to weighing your impact.
4. I'm always happy to answer questions and listen to concerns/criticisms of my decisions afterwards. I want to get better and so do you, why not help each other. However, I will not change my decision, even if you convince me I've made the wrong one.
5.THIS IS A NOTE FOR PF. If it takes you longer than 15 seconds to find a card that you claim to have, I will ask you if you want to run YOUR prep time to find it. If you say "yes" then carry on, but maybe consider familiarizing yourself with your evidence so you can find it quicker. If you say "no" then that evidence won't "exist" until you demonstrate that it's real (which could include reading it in the next speech, though that might be too late if your opponents speak between when you cite it and then). Obviously I will be understanding if there are technical difficulties (IE internet cutting out, computer crashing) which I have been made aware of.
Also, while we're on evidence in PF, sending just like, a link to a website isn't great. If your opponent doesn't interact with it I will probably take you at face value, but know that there is a chance (slight) that I will, unprompted, click your link and read the article and if it says something other than what you claimed then I will intervene to vote against you because of this. I won't do this with a cut card unless someone in the round makes it an issue. TL;DR: If you're sending just hyperlinks to articles make sure they say what you claim.
Speed: Sure. I can keep up as long as you are able to maintain clarity. I will call speed if you go too fast, and I encourage you to call speed on your opponent if they are going too fast for you. I will begin docking speaker points on the third time I have to call speed, and if your opponent calls a third time you should expect a good hit to your speaker points. This isn't necessarily a voting issue for me (unless your opponent makes it a voting issue). I definitely want to be on the speechdrop/email chain (though I prefer speechdrop). email@example.com.
AFF: I prefer topical AFFs. I am open to listening to an engaging K AFF (or if your opponent doesn't call T then I guess run whatever you want, obviously), but I would still prefer to listen to a topical AFF. I strongly prefer AFFs that include a plan text of some sort (even if it's a vague/open-ended plan text). I don't like the idea of "reserve the right to clarify" but I understand it's functionality given time constraints. Don't clarify in an utterly unreasonable way (my threshold is pretty high here).
T: Topicality is a stock issue, and as such I will vote on it if it's won. I don't particularly enjoy listening to T arguments, but who really does. I don't particularly love definitions (I.E. "substantial"), unless the original definitions are completely misrepresenting the words of the resolution/rule/etc. That being said, competing interpretations has been doing well in front of me recently so I would hardly call it unviable. Upholding your standards is pretty much the most important thing to do to win T in front of me. You can make your voter "NFA-LD rules" if you want, but there needs to be an articulated voter on T for me to vote on it. I default reasonability, but really I strongly prefer one or both debaters to give me a FW. I will evaluate T on whatever FW is given to me by the debaters. NOTE: My threshold for voting on T is lower than it was my first two years judging, if you happen to remember/have heard that I would not vote on Topicality.
Theory: Pretty much the same as my T paradigm. I'll listen to theoretical positions, just give me some clear standards if you want to win that position in front of me. I default drop the argument, but will vote on drop-the-debater if that argument is warranted out to me. Clear in-round abuse stories tied to theory arguments, especially those focused on research burden and unfair ground have been successful in front of me in the past, but I don't perceive myself as being uniquely drawn to them. I don't mind Neg debaters running Disclosure Theory against Affs, but unless the Neg runs a CP or an Alt I don't think Affs running Disclosure Theory against Negs is a viable strategy in front of me (NOTE: this is for LD, for PF aff's can run disclosure theory, it is viable in that realm). if the Neg DOES run a CP or Alt then suddenly Disclosure is a viable aff position.
Disclosure in PF is a fine theory position to run in front of me, but I will not vote for it on principle alone. I DO generally think disclosure is a good norm that should be adopted into PF, but that being said, you need to have clear standards, voters and weighing on a theory argument to win. My desire to not intervene in a round far outweighs my desire to punish teams for not disclosing. A role of the ballot framing is also a good strategy in any context if you're going for theory and if you're defending against a position like this then having a counter framework is also a good idea.
I will vote on conceded RVI's but the threshold for voting on an RVI that's been effectively defended against is probably fairly high. "Don't vote for an RVI" is not enough defense. Explain to me literally any reason to not vote for the RVI.
CP: I don't have a strong personal predilection to voting on conditionality one way or the other, but I conceptually dislike conditional CP's a lot- that being said, it's not a strong enough dislike for it to matter unless someone in round forces my hand. "Condo Bad" arguments are viable in front of me but by no means will they always win. Perms of the CP need to be actually explained to me. Just hearing "both" won't be a winning position in front of me. I will evaluate the plan vs. CP debate in pretty much the same way that I evaluate the SQ vs. plan debate unless one side offers a different FW. I am okay with the Neg going for CP and SQ in the NR, but I feel like the strategy is risky given that you have to split your time between both positions.
K: I love critical arguments and I'm a critical scholar professionally, but don't necessarily expect me to be read up on all of the literature (though I may surprise you). I'm okay with generic links to the AFF, but I definitely like to see good impact calculus if your argument is reliant on a generic link; I need one or the other to be strong for your K to have a chance in a round. I need to know why the impacts of the K outweigh or precede the impacts of the AFF. I prefer Alternatives that have some type of action, but am open to other types of Alts as well. I don't particularly love hearing alts that say we need to theoretically engage in some different type of discourse unless there's a clear plan for what "engaging in X discourse" looks like in the real world (which can include within the debate round at hand, but might have more). Particularly, I enjoy hearing alternatives that call for the debaters in the round to engage in discourse differently (I think this is the easiest type of Alt to defend). Even if the Alternative is to simply drop the AFF in-round, that is enough "real world" implementation of a theoretical Alt for me.
Clarification: K debate is not the absence of tech- you still need to demonstrate a link an impact even if those things take a different form or are about different things than they would be in a more traditional arg.
DA: Not much to say here. Give me a good DA story and if you are winning it by the end of the round then I'll probably vote on it. Definitely remember to do weighing between the DA and the AFF though because there's always a good chance that I won't vote on your DA if you can't prove it outweighs any unsuccessfully contested Advantages of the Aff. DA's with no weighing are only a little better than no DA at all.
Solvency: A terminal solvency deficit is usually enough of a reason for me to vote against the aff BUT I need this extended as a reason to vote. You can always say that it's try-or-die, tell me there's a risk of solvency and sure, I'll still grant you that begrudgingly (unless you've really lost the solvency debate). If you're getting offense somewhere else good for you, I'll still vote on that; so like, if your case falls but you have a turn on a CP or an RVI on T or something those are still paths to the ballot. This note is here because I've seen a few rounds where the aff just sort of says "they have at best a terminal no solvency argument" and like- that's enough for them. That's what neg needs at the minimum to win the round.
Parent judge based in Tennessee.
I cannot handle very fast talking, so please speak slowly and clearly.
I prefer well thought out arguments over just quick, short little responses.
Background: I am a second-year law student at NYU and help coach Delbarton (NJ). He/Him/His pronouns.
Email Chains: Teams should start an email chain immediately with the following email subject: Tournament Name - Rd # - School Team Code (side/order) v. School Team Code (side/order). Please add firstname.lastname@example.org to the email chain. Teams should send case evidence (and rhetoric if you paraphrase) by the end of constructive. I cannot accept locked Google Docs; please copy and paste all text into the email and send it in the email chain. It would be ideal to send all new evidence read in rebuttal, but up to debaters.
Evidence: Reading Cut card > Paraphrasing. Even if you paraphrase, I require cut cards. These are properly cut cards. No cut card = won't be evaluated in the round.
Main PF Paradigm:
- I look at the round through an offense/defense paradigm. Ultimately, offense wins debates and requires proper arg extensions, frontlining, and weighing. It will be hard to win with just terminal defense.
- Speech specifics: Second Rebuttal -- needs to frontline first rebuttal responses. Anything in Final Focus should be in Summary (weighing is a bit more flexible). Backhalf extensions, frontlining, and "backlining" matter.
- Please weigh. Make sure it's comparative weighing and uses either timeframe, magnitude, and/or probability. Strength of link, clarity of impact, and solvency are not weighing mechanisms.
- I'll evaluate (almost) anything. Expect that I'll have already done research on a topic, but I'll evaluate anything on my flow (tech over truth). I will interfere (and most likely vote you down) if you argue anything racist, sexist, homophobic, or fabricated (i.e., evidence issues).
- I will always allow accommodations for debaters. Just ask before the round.
- Ks - I'm okay with the most common K's PFers try to run (i.e. Fem/Fem IR, Capitalism, Securitization, Killjoy, etc.), but I am not familiar with high theory lit (i.e. Baudrillard, Bataille, Nietzsche). But please don't overcomplicate the backhalf.
- Theory - Debate is a game, so do what you have to do.*** Evidence of abuse is needed for theory (especially disclosure-related shells). I will (usually) default competing interps. I generally think disclosure is good, open source is not usually necessary (unless your wiki upload is just a block of text), and paraphrasing is bad, but won't intervene if you have good responses. Again, don't overcomplicate the round.
- Trigger warnings with opt-outs are necessary when there are graphic depictions in the arg, but are not when there are non-graphic depictions about oppression (general content warning before constructive would still be good). Still, use your best judgment here.
- ***Note -- if you read an excessive number of off positions that appear frivolous, I will be very receptive to reasonability and have a high threshold for your arguments. So it probably won't work to your advantage to read them in front of me. Regardless of beliefs on prog PF, these types of debate are, without a doubt, awful and annoying to judge. I'll still evaluate it, but run at your own risk.
Misc: Please pre flow before the round; I don't think crossfire clarifications are super important to my ballot, so if something significant happens, you should make it in ink and bring it up in the next speech; I'm okay if you speak fast (my ability to handle it is diminishing now though lol), but please give me a doc; speaker points usually range from 28-30.
Questions? Ask before the round.
hi I’m Arya (she/her), and I'm a sophomore at Emory. I did PF in Minnesota, and competed on the national & MN circuit for 4 years. if you have any questions before the round, please ask!
tldr: normal flow judge, collapse, extend (warrants not just taglines), weigh, have fun in round
- if you're gonna spread send a doc
- implicate your responses - tell me what they mean in the context of your round instead of card dumping
- signpost! I will not know where you are if you aren’t signposting and will probably miss stuff
- warranted analytic>unwarranted evidence
- don't spread against novices
- I'll presume whichever team reads a presumption warrant, and if neither does, I'll presume first
- you can postround just don‘t be rude about it
- read content warnings for sensitive topics with an option to opt out. form template here, feel free to make a copy and use this.
- don't be that one person that cuts everyone off and doesn't let people speak
- nothing from cross flowed unless you mention it in a speech
- don't read DAs or offensive overviews in 2nd rebuttal
summary and FF:
- defense is not sticky, extend it in both summary & FF if you want me to evaluate it
- weighing is the most important part in the back half of the round, please make a comparative. 3 second blips of buzzwords is not weighing.
- extend your argument fully–uniqueness link internal link impact–otherwise I can't vote off it
- please stop having theory debates where you're not engaging at the basic level, like reading a CI but not responding to no RVIs, it makes it really hard for you to win the round
- I don’t know K lit well so if you’re going to run one, explain the argument super clearly
- I am predisposed to thinking friv theory bad but I won't auto drop you just for reading it
- paraphrasing is fine, just do it ethically please (and don't paraphrase 12 paragraphs in one sentence)
- every card you read needs to be cut; if any evidence is called for, send the cut + the paraphrase that you read. if you don't have the cut card it's off my flow
- entirely based on strategic in round decisions, not speaking style, way you dress, etc.
- speaks go up if you start weighing in rebuttal
- speaks go down for bad extensions (a tagline is not an extension), misconstruing evidence, and hacking prep
- do not be any kind of -ist or I will intervene
overall, be nice in round and have fun :)
I am an Engineer with several tournaments experience at Varsity PF judging. I like a narrative approach where you lay out the framework of your case even if it comes down to a technical RFD. I rely heavily upon evidence-based arguments and impacts. Don't argue that 100's of millions will die by nuclear war if it is a non-unique argument or you have not even presented a good probability we are headed in that direction.
If you have not won me over by the start of Final Focus, you better layout all the reasons why I should vote for AFF or NEG. Lead me to a decision.
The narrative isn't the only thing I consider, but try to be cohesive... i.e. connect the dots.
A few notes:
- You will never lose the round for being a JERK in cross, but I will give you low speaker points. Rudeness or excessive sarcasm is not rewarded here. Equity in all forms is expected.
- Weigh! Weigh! Weigh! I'm not going to catch everything so I need you to give some sort of weighing mechanisms and have valid probabilities for your impacts.
- I can take speed but do not spread. I will say "clear" or "Speed" twice and then I stop flowing altogether.
- If you go slightly over time that's OK, but keep it under 10-secs.
- 2nd rebuttal must front line.
- Speak up a little, I can't hear well (no, I am not kidding). I will miss most of what you say if you speak to me from behind your laptop. Beware of over-sized lecterns if you need a stand for your laptop.
- Time yourselves, please. Don't steal prep time just because we are ONLINE.
PS: Don't get too comfortable entering the room. After the coin toss, I prefer PRO on my left. Yes, I realize this does not apply in an ONLINE environment.
Just send speech docs from case through rebuttal. We don't need to wait for it to come through but it speeds up ev exchange. If you are in a varsity division and don't have a speech doc, pls do better.
TL;DR clean extensions, weighed impacts, and warrant comparison are the easiest way to win my ballot.
I debated for 2 years in the UDL at Clara Barton and 4 years in PF at Blake (both in MN). Please don't mistake me for a policy judge, I was only a novice and didn't do any progressive argumentation. I have been judging for 5 years.
My judging style is tech but persuasion is still important. I prefer a team that goes deeper on key issues (in the 2nd half of the debate) rather than going for all offense on the flow. There can/ should be a lot on the flow in the 1st half of the debate but not narrowing it down in summ and FF is extremely unstrategic and trades off with time to weigh your arguments and compare warrants.
Use evidence, quote evidence, and we won't have a problem. Don't paraphrase and don't bracket. Bad evidence ethics increases the probability that I will intervene against you, especially in messy debates. I'll start your prep if you take longer than 2 minutes to find and send a card.
Responding to defense on what you're going for and turns is required in the 2nd rebuttal. Obviously respond to all offense in second rebuttal, new responses to offense in second summary will not carry any weight on my ballot. I am very reluctant to accept a lot of new evidence in the 2nd summary because it pushes the debate back too much. (Note: I still accept a warrant clarification or deepening of a warrant/ analysis because that is separate from brand new evidence.)
Defense needs to be in first summary. With 3 minutes, summaries don't have an excuse anymore to be mediocre. Bottom Line: If it is not in summary then it cannot be in final focus. If it is not in final focus then I will not vote on it.
In order to win, you gotta weigh. The earlier you start the weighing, the better. I don't like new mechanisms in 2nd FF (1st FF is still a bit sketch. I am fine with timeframe, magnitude, probability new in the 1st FF but prerequ should probably come sooner). The 2nd speaking summary has a big advantage so I don't accept that there is no time to weigh. It is fine if the summary speaker introduces quick weighing and the final focus elaborates on it in final focus (especially for 1st speaking team). If both teams are weighing, tell me which is the preferable weighing mechanism. Same for framework. Competing frameworks with no warrant for why to prefer either one becomes useless and I will pick the framework that is either cleanly extended or that I like better.
I vote on warrants and CLEAN extensions. A proper extension in the 2nd half of the round is the card name, the claim+ warrant of the card and the implication of the card. Anything short of this is a blippy extension, meaning I give it less weight during my evaluation of the flow. Name of the card is the least important part of the extension for me so don't get too caught up on that, it will just help me find the card on the flow.
I vote on the path of least resistance, if possible. That means that I am more inclined to vote on a dropped turn than messy case offense. But turns need to be implicated, I won't vote on a turn with no impact. Even if your opponent drops something, you still have to do a full extension (it can be quicker still but I don't accept blippy extensions).
You can speak fast, but I would like a warning. Also, the faster you speak, the less I will get on the flow. Just because I am a tech judge, does not mean I am able to type at godly speeds. Don't sacrifice persuasion, clarity, or argumentation for speed otherwise it will be counterproductive for the debate and (possibly) your speaker points. Sending a speech doc (before or after the speech) does not mean that you can be incomprehensible. I still need to be able to understand you verbally, I will not follow the speech doc during your speech.
I am still learning when it comes to judging/ evaluating theory and Ks. I am more familiar with ROB but still need a slower debate with clear warranting. I am more familiar with Ks than theory but never debated either so the concepts are taking me longer to internalize. You can run it in front of me but combining it with speed makes me even more confused. I understand a lot of basic ideas when it comes to theory argumentation but your warranting and extensions will have to be even more explicit for me to keep up. I am in favor of paraphrasing bad and disclosure good theory. I don't have many opinions on RVIs or CI vs reasonability so you should clearly extend warrants for those args.
IVIs are silly and avoid clash. If there is abuse, read theory. If there is a rule violation, stop the round.
Similarly, any sort of strategy that avoids clash is a non starter for me and I will give it less weight on my flow. An example of this is reading one random card in your contention that doesn't connect to anything, then it becomes an argument of its own in the back-half with 3 pieces of weighing.
Also, be nice to each other (but a little sass never hurt anyone). Still, be cognizant of how much leeway you have with sass based on power dynamics and the trajectory of the round/ tone of the room. Sass does not mean bullying.
Take flex prep to ask questions or do it during cross. Essentially, a timer must be running if someone is talking (this excludes quick and efficient ev exchange). You don't get to ask free questions because the other team was too fast or unclear.
If I pipe up to correct behavior during a round, you have annoyed me and are jeopardizing your speaker points. I have a poker face when I observe rounds but am less concerned about that when judging so you can probably read me if I am judging your round.
Sometimes messy rounds will come down to nitpicky things so here are some clarifications:
Warranted Cards > warranted analytics > unwarranted cards > unwarranted analytics
Qualified source and author > qualified source only> qualified author only > no qualified author or source
Link +impact extension > Link with no impact > impact with no link
Comparative weighing > weighing that is only about your impact > weighing that is about opponents impact only
I only have this list because some rounds have come down to each team doing one of these things so this list explains where/ how I intervene when I need to resolve a clash of arguments that were not resolved in the debate.
If the tournament and schedule allows, I like to disclose and have a discussion about the round after I submit my ballot. Ask me any questions before or after the round.
Hello, I am a new Parent Judge for PF who understands, but is definitely not an expert at Debate. Here are my preferences:
Impact is important to me. Clear and reasonable arguments with good support will bear more weight. I will judge on clarity and argument presentation.
Being a new judge, I might not understand the nuances of PF. Please do not present Theory or expect me to vote off a Shell during my early judging rounds.
Speed is good. I will interrupt only if I think you're going too fast. If I interrupt, please slow down a bit afterwards.
I'm a note taker so I might not be looking at the speakers but I am listening and writing as you speak.
I am a lay judge who prefers to see clear and persuasive arguments that convince me to vote for you.
Have more than one year experience in debate judge. As a senior leader in my current organization, I host and present several meetings globally. My goal is deliver right contents to the audience, demonstrate appropriate body language, keep the audience interested by not repeating the contents, have a constant eye contact, modulation of voice, using the right speed and pronunciations to deliver the contents effectively.
During the judging process, I take notes and compare the notes for providing points, my rationale and feedback. I look for passion from the students on the topics they debate. This will show their hard work and how involved in the topics.
I have done PF judge for several years as a parent judge. I don't have certain merits what would guarantee a win. Please prepare well, be yourself, try your best, and never give up.
It will be very helpful for me if you could provide signpost, compare evidence, weigh impact and scope. Summary and final focus is very important for decision making.
Enjoy the journey and have fun!
please add me to the email chain
New Paradigm 2/19/23
Top level thoughts
I have voted on pretty much everything. I prefer depth and clash to running from debate. Engaging will be rewarded.
Don’t be a jerk to your opponent or me. We are all giving up lots of free time to be here. I won't vote on oppressive arguments.
I think preparation is the cornerstone of the value this activity offers. You shouldn’t rely on theory to avoid reading.
I don't think it’s possible to be tab, but I try not to intervene. Arguments must have a warrant or they aren’t an argument. This applies to all debate styles. (Ex. "6-7-4-6-3" is not a full argument)
I shouldn’t have to have background on your argument to understand it. I have read and seen a lot, but that will be irrelevant to my decision. I won’t fill in gaps for you.
I think most debates are way closer and more subjective than people give them credit for.
Collapsing is a good idea generally.
I will not flow off the doc. That is cheating.
Don’t let my preferences determine your strategy. I’m here for you! Don't over adapt to me.
General thoughts on arguments
Ks: My favorite literature. I have a fair bit of experience with most lit bases commonly read and I really enjoy clash of civ and k v ks debates. I wish I saw more K v K debates. I dislike long overviews and super generic links. I think critical literature is great, but I think you should at least attempt to tie it to the topic if possible. Spec advantage links are great. I will vote on non-T affs and I will vote on T. Usually that ends on the TVA flow.
Policy Args: I have the most experience evaluating these arguments (I debated them for 8 years). I think comparing evidence and links is more important than generic impact weighing. Turns are OP, and I will vote on smart analytics. I only really read evidence if debaters don’t give me a good mechanism to avoid it. I tend to default to offense/defense paradigm, but I’m open to whatever framing you want to read.
Frameworks: I find phil frameworks interesting and fun. I wish these debates were a bit deeper and used actual phil warrants instead of just extending tricky drops. I think LD is a really great opportunity to get into normative ethics.
Theory – I find frivolous theory a bit annoying (despite what my pf teams might have you believe), but I flow these debates pretty thoroughly and evaluate them pretty objectively. I will accept intuitive responses even if they are light on proper terminology. (i.e not explicitly saying the word counter-interp)
Tricks – Lots of different tricks that I view differently. Things like determinism and skep are better than mis-defining words or 15 spikes. I find good apriories interesting. I have a fairly low bar for intuitive responses. I will probably not vote on “evaluate after x speech”. If I cant flow it I wont vote on it. Hiding one-line paradoxes in tiny text after cards is obviously a waste of everyone's time
2nd rebuttal should collapse and frontline
If it takes you longer than a min to produce evidence, it doesn't exist. I think you should just send all cards before you read them.
If I think you inappropriately paraphrased, I will ignore evidence. Read cards to avoid me thinking your paraphrasing is bad.
Use email chains. Send cases and cards before you start your speech. Stop wasting everyone's time with outdated norms
I did public forum for 3 years in high school, but it’s been a while since then - so consider me more of a “flay” judge (a little flow, a little lay). I can keep up with speed, but I'd prefer if you didn't spread - I think it's better to make a few great arguments than a lot of mediocre ones. In general, I'll believe any argument if it's well warranted. One exception: I don’t believe theory creates a constructive debate, and unless it’s very compelling I will much prefer to vote on topical arguments.
It's very important to me that you extend both the warrant and the impact of your main arguments in later speeches - it’s not enough to just say “extend this”, you need to make the argument. I don't think first summary has to extend defense unless you want to. Finally, if an argument is going to be in final focus, it has to be in summary, too; I generally won't consider new arguments in final focus. Please do explicit weighing in final focus, it makes my decision much easier.
If you have them, please use author qualifications the first time you cite a piece of evidence. If there's significant debate about a card in a round, I might call for it after the round. If you believe your opponents have misrepresented a piece of evidence in a round, please make it even easier for me and explicitly tell me to call for it.
If you have any other questions, feel free to ask me!
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 judged speech and debate events for the past 13 years. My son was in Congress.
Regardless of the event, I expect professionalism and preparation from all competitors. Showing up unprepared or engaging in unprofessional behavior wastes your time, my time, as well as that of the other competitors and your coaches.
Public Forum Debate & LD
Although I’ve judged PFD more than LD, I feel comfortable with both events. I appreciate assertiveness but actively dislike aggression. Clarity is extremely important. Don’t be cocky: instead, try to convey how deeply you’ve researched the topic. I always leave my personal opinions on the topic aside in order to be fair to all debaters.
I started off my judging career judging interp, even though lately I’ve been judging debate more. Regardless of the piece, you have to give your best when performing. Delivery must always be clear and interesting. Tech should be smooth and reflect the norms of the event itself (tech in DI is very different than tech in HI).
I vote off the flow. Please avoid debate jargon. Don't spread or talk too fast (200 wpm is the max where I can still catch everything you say). Be respectful in cross. I will not tolerate Ad Hominem attacks (attacks against your opponent and not their argument). I do not like theory arguments that are off topic and trying to be "clever" to win on technicalities. I will likely not vote on it, especially if you are abusing it.
LD: I have a background as a philosophy professor. Please make your value and value criterion clear and carry them throughout the round. Don't turn this into a 1 person policy round. I prefer more traditional LD arguments. If you are going to try to tell me that mass extinction is good, for example, it better have some hard evidence and strong logic backing it up.
PF: Make sure your arguments all make logical sense. I probably will not vote on Kritiks or weird theory. I prefer you have evidence to back up your claims but it is not always needed for logical arguments. Please present me with clear impacts and carry them throughout the round.
Feel free to ask me questions after round (if this is a tournament where judges disclose), but know that I have already submitted my ballot so please don't try to convince me why my decision was wrong.
Put me on the email chain: firstname.lastname@example.org
I strongly prefer hearing smart arguments over a large quantity of them.
Warrants always beat taglines. Warrants are severely lacking in PF. You must actually have and extend warrants if you want me to consider something an argument in the debate round. Just saying I have evidence that says otherwise is not an argument. I probably have a higher threshold for explanation than you think.
Impact calc can be the most important, but in the large majority of the decisions that I make it is not nearly as important as it should be since the weighing is not comparative. No new weighing in second final. Don't weigh just for the sake of weighing by throwing out some terms. Instead, make a real comparative analysis of why I should prefer your argument.
However, all of my rules and preferences are negotiable. Debate is up to the debaters. Go for whatever type of argument you want, but stick to what you do best. That includes theory and kritiks.
LES PHILLIPS NUEVA PF PARADIGM
I have judged all kinds of debate for decades, beginning with a long career as a circuit policy and LD coach. Speed is fine. I judge on the flow. Dropped arguments carry full weight. At various times I have voted (admittedly, in policy) for smoking tobacco good, Ayn Rand Is Our Savior, Scientology Good, dancing and drumming trumps topicality, and Reagan-leads-to-Communism-and-Communism-is-good. (I disliked all of these positions.)
If an argument is in final focus, it should be in summary; if it's in summary, it should be in rebuttal,. I am very stingy regarding new responses in final focus. Saying something for the first time in grand cross does not legitimize its presence in final focus.
NSDA standards demand dates out loud on all evidence. That is a good standard; you must do that. I am giving up on getting people to indicate qualifications out loud, but I am very concerned about evidence standards in PF (improving, but still not good). I will bristle and/or throw my pen if I hear "according to Princeton" as a citation. Know who your authors are; know what their articles say; know their warrants.
Please please terminalize impacts. Do this especially when you are talking about a nebulosity called "The Economy." Economic growth is not intrinsically good; it depends on where the growth goes and who is helped. Sometimes economic growth is very bad. "Increases tensions" is not a terminal impact; what happens after the tensions increase? When I consider which makes the world a better place, I will be looking for prevention of unnecessary death and/or disease, who lifts people out of poverty, who lessens the risk of war, who prevents gross human rights violations. I'm also receptive to well-developed framework arguments that may direct me to some different decision calculus.
Teams don't get to decide that they want to skip grand cross (or any other part of the round).
I am happy to vote on well warranted theory arguments (or well warranted responses) and am receptive to Kritikal arguments in PF.
LES PHILLIPS NUEVA PARLI PARADIGM
I have judged all kinds of debate for decades, beginning with a long career as a circuit policy and LD coach. I have judged parli less than other formats, but my parli judging includes several NPDA tournaments, including two NPDA national tournaments, and most recent NPDI tournaments. Speed is fine, as are all sorts of theoretical, Kritikal, and playfully counterintuitive arguments. I judge on the flow. Dropped arguments carry full weight. I do not default to competing interpretations, though if you win that standard I will go there. Redundant, blippy theory goo is irritating. I have a fairly high threshold for deciding that an argument is abusive. Once upon a time people though I was a topicality hack, and I am still more willing to pull the trigger on that argument than on other theoretical considerations. The texts of advocacies are binding; slow down for these, as necessary.
I was trained in formats where the judge can be counted on to ignore new arguments in late speeches, so I am sometimes annoyed by POOs, especially when they resemble psychological warfare.
Please please terminalize impacts. Do this especially when you are talking about The Economy. "Helps The Economy" is not an impact. Economic growth is not intrinsically good; it depends on where the growth goes and who is helped. Sometimes economic growth is very bad. "Increases tensions" is not a terminal impact; what happens after the tensions increase?
When I operate inside a world of fiat, I consider which makes the world a better place, I will be looking for prevention of unnecessary death and/or disease, who lifts people out of poverty, who lessens the risk of war, who prevents gross human rights violations. "Fiat is an illusion" is not exactly breaking news; you definitely don't have to debate in that world. I'm receptive to "the role of the ballot is intellectual endorsement of xxx" and other pre/not-fiat world considerations.
LES PHILLIPS NUEVA LD PARADIGM
For years I coached and judged fast circuit LD, but I have not judged LD since 2013, and I have not coached on the current topic at all. Top speed, even if you're clear, may challenge me; lack of clarity will be very unfortunate. I try to be a blank slate (like all judges, I will fail to meet this goal entirely). I like the K, though I get frustrated when I don't know what the alternative is (REJECT is an OK alternative, if that's what you want to do). I have a very high bar for rejecting a debater rather than an argument, and I do not default to competing interpretations; I would like to hear a clear abuse story. I am generally permissive in re counterplan competitiveness and perm legitimacy. RVIs are OK if the abuse is clear, but if you would do just as well to simply tell me why the opponent's argument is garbage, that would be appreciated.
he/him || yes email chain, look at logistics section below
I am the Director of Speech and Debate at Seven Lakes High School in Katy, Texas. I am also a Co-Director of Public Forum Boot Camp (PFBC) in Minnesota. If you do high school PF and you want to talk to me about camp, let me know.
I've been competing, judging, and coaching multiple formats of speech and debate since 2014.
Debate is a competitive research activity. The team that can most effectively synthesize their research into a coherent defense of their plan, method, or side of the resolution should win the debate. I would like you to be persuasive, entertaining, and strategic. Please read the short statement below and feel free to ask any clarifying questions before the debate.
The round should begin by the start time. Please get ready to debate before I arrive and get to round early.
If you plan on reading evidence, set up an email chain. Please add bryce [dot] piotrowski [at] gmail [dot] com. Additionally, please add email@example.com to the email chain if I am judging PF, firstname.lastname@example.org if I am judging LD, or email@example.com if I am judging Policy. The subject of the email chain should clearly state the tournament, round number and flight, and team codes + sides of each team.
You should ethically cut evidence, send speech documents to your opponents before or immediately after your speech, and disclose the case positions you read after rounds.
How I decide rounds/preferences:
I've judged or been a part of several thousand debates in various formats over the past decade. I have seen, gone for, and voted for lots of arguments. I want to be entertained, persuaded, and impressed by your strategic ability.
I flow, intently and carefully. I will stop flowing when my timer goes off. There is no grace period of any length.
I will decide the debate based on the arguments I've flowed (not read from a document). I have no strong preference on what those arguments are.
I will vote for the argument that has the strongest link to the most significant impact. What that means is up to the debaters.
I will vote for arguments that I truthfully believe are dumb - in that sense, sure, tech > truth. I will not vote for unwarranted arguments or arguments that I cannot explain in my RFD or did not flow.
Zero risk exists. Practically, I probably won't vote on defense or presumption, but I am theoretically willing to.
I can judge whatever. But, I want to judge a small but deep debate about the topic, with rigorous examination of the most recent topic literature. I want to hear warrants. I want to hear examples. I want to hear you compare warrants and examples.
I am a good judge for critical strategies that are well thought out, related to the topic, and strategically executed.
I am probably not the best judge for strategies that eschew any sort of analysis of the resolution. I'm more than happy to vote on strategies that reject the topic if there are good warrants for why we ought to do that and you win those warrants. But, if evenly debated, I probably think that relating your strategy to the topic is a good idea.
I am a terrible judge for strategies that rely on "discourse" as offense, strategies which primarily win by avoiding clash or debate, or asinine appeals to formal "logic", stupid definitions of words, or other 'tricks'. If your ideal RFD in my round is "I vote x because y is conceded and I have no choice but to vote x", I am a bad judge for you.
Is generally boring.
I'm fine voting for an argument that your opponent is legitimately misrepresenting evidence or otherwise egregiously cheating. I am also fine voting for arguments that deal with topical questions or questions posed by the resolution - e.g., spec, topicality - if supported by evidence and/or carded definitions which delineate each side's ground.
I'd rather not hear debates about "setting norms". Disclosure is generally good. Paraphrasing is generally bad. I am qualified to evaluate these debates. Most other theory positions seem to me solved by being reasonable. Initiating these discussions will probably get you low speaker points absent verifiably proven in-round abuse.
The more obvious it is that you are initiating theory to try to get an easy win or TKO, the lower your speaker points will be for initiating theory. I have no problem handing out (very) low point wins.
IVIs are objectively horrific. Saying something is an IVI does not automatically catapult it to the highest layer of the debate - if it did, every card or argument in every speech should be an "IVI".
If you feel legitimately unsafe or otherwise excluded from the round, please ask me to stop the debate and contact tab and your coach for guidance on how to proceed. Be aware that this may result in you receiving a loss of the round or a forfeit. Otherwise, please continue debating.
I will almost certainly not vote on any formulation of trigger warning/content warning theory, except in cases where the content is objectively and unnecessarily graphic or triggering.
I judge multiple formats of debate, so I will try to provide a baseline for each of events. You can always reach out with questions at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I think LD's continual move to a poor version of 1 on 1 policy debate is probably not for the best, but we are where we are. If you want a traditional V/C framework, great. If you want to have a plan, that's fine too. My background is policy debate, so it's not that I'm unable to evaluate these arguments, it is that I find that there are too many tricks, RVIs, and barely warranted theory arguments that debaters want me to vote for. I will not vote for those arguments unless they have a clearly articulated interpretation, violation, standards, and a voting issue.
Really, I love debate, but I don't like blippy, unwarranted, "crafty" arguments. If your strategy is dependent on tricks or badly formulated theory arguments, strike me. Also, I won't vote on disclosure theory. I find I won't be offended.
I do believe the affirmative should affirm the resolution, but when you are negative you can do whatever you want that negates in whatever way that means to you.
Most importantly, have fun, say smart things, and I'll do the best to evaluate the debate you present to me.
Most important note: If it doesn't appear in summary, it won't be evaluated in final focus.
2nd important note: I prefer FULLY cut cards over paraphrasing. I find that too many cases are a series of citations without warrants. I'm a great judge for you if you cut cards that have warrants. I'm a less than great judge for you if you think stringing together 10-15 word "cards" makes a fully developed argument. Also, tag lines are your friend. All of your evidence should have a tagline.
Having said that, I think the rate of speaking should be moderate to moderately fast. I'm not sure what you are accomplishing in PF with anything faster. If your opponent asks you to slow down, you should make reasonable accommodations to that request. You can look to me to see whether or not I think the team making the request is being ridiculous.
The pro should feel free to affirm the resolution in whatever way you'd like as long as you are actively talking about the resolution.
If you only have defense in the debate, it will be difficult to win my ballot. For example, on the Medicare for All topic, the negative has to prove that the affirmative makes the world worse in a world where it were to become law.
Other than that, be sure to start narrowing the debate in summary. I prefer more line by line until the Final Focus, but I understand that many people will start weighing in summary. That's fine, but your summary should NOT just be weighing.
POLICY: I'm fairly old school when it comes to this event. I think the affirmative should probably be an example of the actual resolution, although kritikal affs are welcome. I was more of a DA/CP debater, so take that for what it is worth. On the negative, feel free to do whatever you want because I think that's the freedom you get being negative. On specific arguments:
Topicality: I don't think you have to prove abuse to win. You can just prove that they aren't topical. Whoever wins the interpretation controls the direction of this debate.
CP: I think everything is conditional, but I can be persuaded otherwise. You can run multiple Cps if you'd like. Have fun.
K: I think if you are running on the aff that it should still be a discussion of the topic. On the neg, I think you should indicate and make as many links to the affirmative as possible and make those known in the most meaningful way possible.
Besides the affirmative being topical even when kritikal, I'm not quite the dinosaur I may appear. You should have fun and make arguments and I'll do my best to evaluate them.
I debated for West Broward High School for 4 years and was mostly active in the Public Forum national circuit my Sophomore and Junior years.
I have included my preferences below. If you have any additional questions, ask me before the round begins.
updated as of 1/28/23
-If you'd like, send cases to email@example.com before the round starts. If I call for a card, you can send it to that email as well.
- I will vote on almost any argument that is topical, properly warranted, and impacted. If an argument makes no sense to me, it's usually your fault and not mine. In the absence of an explicit framework, I default to util.
-Tech > Truth always. If the argument is ridiculous, I expect you to tell me why. Don't assume I know that an argument is BS, explain it.
- I am fine with moderate speed. Although I personally spoke pretty quick when I competed, I will misflow tag-lines and citations if they are rushed, and I prefer a more understandable debate. You also may run the risk of too much speed hurting your speaker points.
-If both teams fail to generate legitimate offense by the end of the round, I will vote on a risk of offense.
-My attention levels during crossfire are much lower than they are during your speeches. If something important comes up, mention it in your next speech.
- I will typically only vote on something if it is in both summary and final focus. If you read an impact card in your case and it is not in summary, I will not extend it for you, even if the other team does not address it. Of course, there are inevitably exceptions, e.g. defense in the first FF.
- No new evidence is permitted in second summary (it's fine in first summary). This is to encourage front-lining and to discourage reading new offense in second rebuttal. Additionally, new carded analysis in the second summary forces the final focus to make new responses and deviate away from its initial strategy. The only exception I will make is if you need to respond to evidence introduced in the first summary. New analytical responses are fine.
- First summary doesn't have to extend defense for it to be in final focus, but it is responsible for extending turns/any offense. This obviously does not apply if your defense is frontlined in second rebuttal. Second summary and both final focuses need to extend defense.
- I try to be visibly/audibly responsive, e.g. I will stop flowing and look up when I don't understand your argument and I'll probably nod if I like what you're saying.
- I will only ask to see evidence after the round in one of three scenarios. (1) I was told to call for a card in a speech (2) Both teams disagree over what the card says and it's never fully resolved (3) I'm curious and want to read it
- I usually won't keep track of your speech and prep time. It is your job to keep your opponents accountable. If there is any particular reason you cannot keep time, please let me know and I will try to accommodate.
- I will evaluate theory arguments and Kritiks if they are well warranted enough. I didn't compete in LD or Policy in high school, however I read theory and kritiks at the 2019 TOC (in PF lol). I mildly understand structuring but if you decide to make it a voter, please make sure the warrant is well explained in summary and final focus. As a disclaimer, if something doesn't make sense to me, I may not feel comfortable voting on it. This means you will probably have to over-explain advanced and complex arguments.
- I evaluate the debate on an offense/defense paradigm. This does not mean you can wave away your opponent's defensive responses by saying "a risk of offense always outweighs defense," because terminal and mitigatory defense are not the same thing. Terminal defense points out flaws in the logic of an argument while mitigatory defense accepts an argument as a logical possibility and attacks its probability or magnitude. I personally dislike 'risk of offense' type arguments because I think they encourage lazy debating, but I will happily vote on them if they are well executed. You must answer responses that indict the validity of your link chain if you want to access offense from an argument.
- I reserve the right to drop you for offensive/insensitive language and/or arguments, depending on its severity.
- If you plan to make arguments about sensitive issues such as su*cide, PTSD, or sexual assault, I would strongly advise issuing a trigger warning beforehand. If you don't know how to properly issue a content warning, ask me before the round. I believe debate should be a safe space, and the least we can all do is make sure everybody is prepared for the conversation.
- I expect all exchanges of evidence to take no longer than 2 minutes. If you delay the debate significantly while looking for a specific card, I may dock your speaker points for being disorganized and wasting time. If someone requests to see your evidence, you should hand it to them as soon as possible; don't say "I need my computer to prep."
- Wear whatever you want, I don't care.
- Be nice to each other.
If you have concerns, email me.
Shoutout to Max Wu, I finessed most of his paradigm in making this.
* Quality of argumentation
* I don't like people getting angry, personal, or condescending during debate
I want to be treated as a flay judge!
I debated in Pf at Nova high school for 5 years
-I don't believe in progressive debate. I hate theory and K's with a passion. Run a K or theory and I'll drop you :)
- I prefer weighing to start in rebuttal but obviously it doesn't have to be, just make sure it is in summary if you want it to be considered in final
- don't just weigh on the impact level, weighing on the link level matters more to me as impact weighing is kind of obvious for the most part
I-Not a huge fan of speed, especially if you're just reading off a document, you can go a little fast but if it's late at night, early morning or mid-afternoon try to avoid fast speaking
-warrants are more important than impacts, if I don't hear a warrant, I don't care at all if your impact is extended cleanly throughout the round. I prefer logic over an unwarranted piece of evidence. Having an authors name behind an argument doesn't mean anything to me
- I will vote off of logic over an unwarranted probably not credible author.
Also, don't be rude, stand up when speaking beside the grand cross, and have to try to have fun.
Please use this email for speech docs and whatever. firstname.lastname@example.org
OK here's the deal. I did policy debate for 4 years in high school and two semesters in college (once in 2007 and recently in 2016 in Policy Debate)
. Judged Tournaments up until probably 2008 and have not been judging since 2019. I also judged Lincoln Douglas Debate a few times at some of the national tournaments throughout california but it was not a debate I did in high school. For me my philosophy is simple, just explain what you are talking about clearly. That means if youre going to spread, be clear. If you are going to spread in front of me right now, do not go too fast as I have not judged in awhile so I may have hard time catching certain ideas so please slow down on your tags and cites.
Public Forum: please make sure Summary and final focus are consistent in messaging and voters. dropped voters in summary that are extended in final focus will probably not be evaluated. I can understand a bit of speed since I did policy but given this is public forum, I would rather you not spread. talking a bit fast is fine but not full on spreading.
I am not fond of the K but I will vote for it if explained properly. If I feel it was not, do not expect me to vote for it I will default to a different voting paradigm, most likely policy maker.
-IF you expect me to vote on Theory or topicality please do a good job of explaining everything clearly and slowly. a lot of times theory and topicality debates get muddled and I just wont look at it in the end. EDIT as of 1/28: I am not too fond of Theory and Topicality debates as they happen now. Many of you go too fast and are unclear which means I don't get your analysis or blippy warrants under standards or voting issues. Please slow the eff down for theory and T if you want me to vote on it.
I will vote for whatever paradigm you tell me to vote for if you clearly explain the implications, your standards and framework.
-I know you guys spread now like Policy debaters but please slow down as I will have a hard time following everything since its been awhile.
I guess LD has become more like policy and the more like policy it sounds, the easier it is for me to follow. Except for the K and Theory, I am open for all other policy arguments. Theory and K debaters, look above ^^^^
UPDATE FOR LD at Golden Desert and Tournaments moving forward. I don't think many of you really want me as a judge for the current topic or any topic moving forward. My experience in LD as a coach is limited which means my topic knowledge is vague. That means if you are going to pref me as 1 or 2 or 3, I would recommend that you are able to break down your argumentation into the most basic vocabulary or understanding of the topic. If not, you will leave it up to me to interpret the information that you presented as I see fit (if you are warranting and contextualizing your points especially with Ks, we should be fine, if not, I won't call for the cards and I will go with what I understood). I try to go off of what you said and what is on your speech docs but ultimately if something is unclear, I will go with what makes the most sense to me. If you run policy arguments we should be fine (In the order of preference, policy making args including CPs, DAs, case turns and solvency take outs, Ks, Topicality/Theory <--these I don't like in LD or in Policy in general). Given this information please use this information to pref me. I would say DA/CP debaters should pref me 1 and 2. anyone else should pref me lower unless you have debated in front of me before and you feel I can handle your arguments. Again if its not CP/DA and case take outs you are preffing me higher at your own risk. Given many of you only have three more tournaments to get Bids (if that is your goal for GD, Stanford, Berkeley) then I would recommend you don't have me as your judge as I would not feel as qualified to judge LD as I would judging most policy rounds and Public forum rounds. Is this lame? kinda. But hey I am trying to be honest and not have someone hate me for a decision I made. if you have more questions before GD, please email me at email@example.com
For all debaters:
clarity: anunciate and make sure you are not going too fast I cannot understand
explain your evidence: I HATE pulling cards at the end of a round. If I have to, do not expect high speaker points. I will go off what was said in the debate so if you do not explain your evidence well, I will not consider it in the debate.
Something I have thought about since it seems that in Public Forum and even in other debates power tagging evidence has become an issue, I am inclined to give lower speaker points for someone who gives me evidence they claimed says one thing and it doesn't. If it is in out rounds, I may be inclined to vote against you as well. This is especially true in PF where the art of power tagging has taken on a life of its own and its pretty bad. I think something needs to get done about this and thus I want to make it very clear if you are in clear violation of this and you present me with evidence that does not say what it does, I am going to sit there and think hard about how I want to evaluate it. I may give you the win but on low points. Or I may drop you if it is in outrounds. I have thought long and hard about this and I am still unsure how I want to approach this but given how bad the situation is beginning to get with students just dumping cards and banking on people not asking questions, I think something needs to be done.
anything else feel free to ask me during the round. thanks.
hi hi im soph i debated w ransom everglades for 4 years on the nat circuit. now i am a sophomore at emory and coach:)
preflow before round cuz as soon as everyone is there im starting
pls add both emails to the email chain (I prefer email chains to docs) and send speech docs w/ cut cards
(i don't know why this is formatted weirdly tab just does it idk)
i will vote off the flow
tech > truth but don’t say anything ridiculous and this doesnt apply if it makes the round unsafe
start weighing in rebuttal if possible and keep it consistent
COMPARATIVE WEIGHING don’t just say “scope”
PLEASE WEIGH ANYTHING OFFENSIVE (THIS INCLUDES TURNS)
no new weighing in final, no offensive overviews starting at first summary but i dont rly like it in 2nd reb either
extend links, not just a tagline with an impact
saying “extend tariko ‘21” is also not a link extension
signpost, especially in rebuttal, if i don’t know where you are i can’t flow
SIGN MY BALLOT FOR ME. tell me what i’m voting for and why. also tell me why i’m not voting for your opponents
if there’s no offense i’ll presume for the side that lost the coin flip
- defense isnt sticky
you should have cut cards
if you want me to call for evidence, tell me to
- I'm down w ks and paraphrase theory (shoutout jdog) but technically i never actually RAN a K or initiated theory i just know how they work so take that as u will - that being said I coach 3 K teams and understand how they should be run but in like a watered down pf way so run whatever u want but send rhetoric
- with that being said- I have a very LOW threshold to feel bad if a team is in varsity and upset about hitting a varsity argument when there is a novice and/or JV division. if you are in varsity, be prepared to hit theory and potentially a K. simply saying "pf is for the public" and/or "I don't know how to answer this" probably wont win my ballot unless there is no nov division and you are clearly a nov. if that is the case-L25 for the team reading varsity stuff on novs, otherwise if you are volunteering to be in varsity nothing is off limits
- I'm not the best w tricks but I can try
- if you genuinely think I made a mistake you can postround but not aggressively pls <3
- im not gonna flow cross so just say it in a speech
- I don't hack for or against anyone so if you know me, that isn't going to influence my decision and I would be a waste of a strike
- the only caveat to the thing above is if you are known to be problematic to like an egregious point (i.e having a national news article referencing being publicly antisemitic or saying racist, homophobic, or sexist things) then strike me lol. i cant like separate the art from the artist or whatever. ill down u.
send speech docs even if you go slow and send all cut cards
i’m ok with speed as long as i can understand you, but i would still send the text to be safe
have fun, make jokes, but dont force it cuz thats weird
do not give speeches in crossfire, it’s so annoying
i start at a 28.5 ish (ill adjust based on how good the round is)
- I'm a college student who flies to tourneys so if you give me paper that will make me very happy and likely to boost your speaks it will also make my rfd better cuz I don't like laptop flows
-.5 speaks for “starting with an off time road map”
-1 speaks if you miscut/misconstrue/lie about evidence
+1 speaks if you make me laugh
please don’t call me judge im literally 18 (you can just not say judge but if you NEED to address me specifically just call me soph i guess)
you will get high speaks if you and your partner have good energy together (i wont dock you speaks if you dont cuz you have enough problems at that point)
i’ll give speaks based on strategy, how well i can understand you, and (if necessary) rhetoric
i’ll drop you w 25s if you say anything offensive
- at any camp/single pool tourney- if you read a k/theory on novs and it is obvious that they are novs prior to initiating i will drop you with 25s
Debate Experience: TOC Champion PF 2010, 4th at British Parli University National Championships 2014, Oxford Debate Union competitive debater 2015-2016 (won best floor speech), LGBTQIA+ Officer at the Oxford Debate Union.
NSDA PF Topic Committee Member: If you have any ideas, topic areas, or resolutions in mind for next season please send them to my email below.
Coaching Experience: Director of Debate at Fairmont Prep 2018-Current, Senior Instructor and PF Curriculum Director at the Institute for Speech and Debate, La Altamont Lane 2018 TOC, GW 2010-2015. British Parli coach and lecturer for universities including DU, Oxford, and others.
Education: Masters from Oxford University '16 - Dissertation on the history of the First Amendment. Religion and Philosophy BA at DU '14. Other research areas include Buddhism, comparative religion, conlaw, First Amendment law, free speech, freedom of expression, art law, media law, & legal history. AP Macroeconomics Teacher too so don't make econ args up.
2023 Winter Data Update: Importing my Tabroom data I've judged 651 rounds since 2014 with a 53% Pro and 47% Con vote balance. There may be a slight subconscious Aff bias it seems. My guess is that I may subconsciously give more weight to changing the status quo as that's the core motivator of debate but no statistically meaningful issues are present.
Website: I love reading non-fiction, especially features. Check out my free website Rusk Reads for good article recs.
I see this as an analogue to a lot of previous econ topics. Like UBI there might be a lot of link debates. If I have two competing economic warrants (moral hazard will happen because x and won't happen because y) I need to know why your warrant is more intuitive or true. By definition that's hard to do analytically so I think the best way to resolve economic debates is empirics. Compare studies, methodologies, sources. Break the clash on why your evidence is better. Remember post-dating works much better when you explain why their evidence is outdated vs just saying it's less recent.
I think it's silly that judges don't own up to having federal student loans. I voted basically 50/50 at Mineapple at the topic despite having them so no bias either way. I will never intervene but just know it hurts my soul when I hear "the SAVE plan isn't even live until next year" when I'm literally in the SAVE program right now lol. Y'all are cutting a lot of extinction cards and don't even know the basics of IDR, PSLF, and SAVE...
I consider myself tech>truth but constantly lament the poor state of evidence ethics, power tagging, clipping, and more. Further, I know stakes can be high in a bubble, bid, or important round but let's still come out of the debate feeling as if it was a positive experience. Life is too short for needless suffering. Please be kind, compassionate, and cordial.
What I want to see: I'm empathetic to major technical errors in my ballots. In a perfect world I vote for the team who does best on tech and secondarily on truth. I tend to resolve clash most easily when you give explicit reasons why either a) your evidence is comparatively better but also when you tell me why b) your warranting is comparatively better. Obviously doing both compounds your chances at winning my ballot. I have recently become more sensitive to poor extensions in the back half. Please have UQ where necessary, links, internal links, and impacts. Weighing introduced earlier the better. Weighing is your means to minimize intervention.
Weighing Unlike Things: I need to know how to weigh two comparatively unlike things. If you are weighing some economic impact against a non-economic impact like democracy how do I defer to one over the other? Scope, magnitude, probability etc. I strongly prefer impact debates on the probability/reasonability of impacts over their magnitude and scope. Obviously try to frame impacts using all available tools. I am very amicable to non-trad framing of impacts but you need to extend the warrants and evidence.
Weighing Like Things: Please have warrants and engage comparatively between yourself and your opponent. Obviously methodological and evidentiary comparison is nice too as I mentioned earlier. I love crossfires or speech time where we discuss the warrants behind our cards and why that's another reason to prefer your arg over your opponent.
Don't be a DocBot: I love that you're prepared and have enumerated overviews, blocks, and frontlines. I love heavy evidence and dense debates with a lot of moving parts. But if it sounds like you're just reading a doc without specific or explicit implications to your opponent's contentions you are not contributing anything meaningful to the round. Tell me why your responses interact. If they are reading an arg about the environment and just read an A2 Environment Non-Unique without explaining why your evidence or warranting is better then this debate will suffer.
I'm comfortable if you want to take the debate down kritical, theoretical, and/or pre-fiat based roads. I think framework debates be them pre or post fiat are awesome. Voted on many K's before too. Here be dragons. I will say though, over time I've become increasingly tired of opportunistic, poor quality, and unfleshed out theory in PF. But in the coup of the century, I have been converted to the position that disclosure theory and para theory is a viable path to the ballot if you win your interp. I do have questions I am ruminating on after the summer doxxing of judges and debaters whether certain interps of disc are viable and am interested to see how that can be explored in a theory round. I would highly discourage running trigger warning theory in front of me. See thoughts below on that. All variables being equal I would prefer post-fiat stock topic-specific rounds but in principle remain as tabula rasa as I can on disc and paraphrasing theory.
What needs to be frontlined in second rebuttal? Turns. Not defense unless you have time. If you want offense in the final focus then extend it through the summary.
Defense is not sticky between rebuttal and final focus. Aka if defense is not in summary you can't extend it in final focus. I've flipped on this recently. I've found the debate is hurt by the removal of the defense debate in summary and second final focus can extend whatever random defense it wants or whatever random frontlines to defense. This gives the second speaking teams a disproportionate advantage and makes the debate needlessly more messy.
I will pull cards on two conditions. First, if it becomes a key card in the round and the other team questions the validity of the cut, paraphrasing, or explanation of the card in the round. Second, if the other team never discusses the merits of their opponents card the only time I will ever intervene and call for that evidence is if a reasonable person would know it's facially a lie.
Calling for your opponent's cards. It should not take more than 1 minute to find case cards. Do preflows before the round. Smh y'all.
If you spread that's fine. Just be prepared to adjust if I need to clear or provide speech docs to your opponents to allow for accessibility and accommodation.
My favorite question in cx is: Why? For example, "No I get that's what your evidence says but why?"
Germs are scary. I don't like to shake hands. It's not you! It's me! [Before covid times this was prophetic].
I don't like to time because it slows my flow in fast rounds but please flag overtime responses in speechs and raise your phone. Don't interrupt or use loud timers.
Ramblings on Trigger Warning Theory
Let me explain why I am writing this. This isn't because I'm right and you're wrong. I'm not trying to convince you. Nor should you cite this formally in round to win said round. Rather, a lot of you care so much about debate and theory in particular gets pretty personal fairly quickly that I want to explain why my hesitancy isn't personal to you either. I am not opposing theory as someone who is opposed to change in Public Forum.
- First, I would highly discourage running trigger warning theory in front of me. My grad school research and longstanding work outside of debate has tracked how queer, civil rights advocates, religious minorities, and political dissidents have been extensively censored over time through structural means. The suppression and elimination of critical race theory and BLM from schools and universities is an extension of this. I have found it very difficult to be tabula rasa on this issue. TW/anonymous opt outs are welcome if you so wish to include them, that is your prerogative, but like I said the lack of one is not a debate I can be fair on. Let me be clear. I do not dismiss that "triggers" are real. I do not deny your lived experience on face nor claim all of you are, or even a a significant number of you, are acting in bad faith. This is always about balancing tests. My entire academic research for over 8 years was about how structural oppressors abuse these frameworks of "sin," "harm," "other," to squash dissidents, silence suffragettes, hose civil rights marchers, and imprison queer people because of the "present danger they presented in their conduct or speech." I also understand that some folks in the literature circles claim there is a double bind. You are opting out of trigger warning debates but you aren't letting me opt out of debates I don't want to have either. First, I will never not listen to or engage in this debate. My discouragement above is rooted in my deep fear that I will let you down because I can't be as fair as I would be on another issue. I tell students all the time tabula rasa is a myth. I still think that. It's a goal we strive for to minimize intervention because we will never eliminate it. Second, I welcome teams to still offer tw and will not penalize you for doing so. Third, discussions on SV, intersectionality, and civil rights are always about trade offs. Maybe times will change but historically more oppression, suppression, and suffering has come from the abuse of the your "speech does me harm" principle than it benefits good faith social justice champions who want to create a safe space and a better place. If you want to discuss this empirical question (because dang there are so many sources and this is an appeal to my authority) I would love to chat about it.
Next, let me explain some specific reasons why I am resistant to TW theory in debate using terms we use in the literature. There is a longstanding historical, philosophical, and queer/critical theory concern on gatekeeper shift. If we begin drawing more and more abstract lines in terms of what content causes enough or certain "harm" that power can and will be co-opted and abused by the equally more powerful. Imagine if you had control over what speech was permitted versus your polar opposite actor in values. Now imagine they, via structural means, could begin to control that power for themselves only. In the last 250 years of the US alone I can prove more instances than not where this gatekeeping power was abused by government and powerful actors alike. I am told since this has changed in the last twenty years with societal movements so should we. I don't think we have changed that significantly. Just this year MAUS, a comic about the Holocaust, was banned in a municipality in Jan 22. Toni Morrison was banned from more than a dozen school districts in 2021 alone. PEN, which is a free press and speech org, tracked more than 125 bills, policies, or resolutions alone this year that banned queer, black, feminist, material be them books, films, or even topics in classrooms, libraries, and universities. Even in some of the bills passed and proposed the language being used is under the guise of causing "discomfort." "Sexuality" and discussions of certain civil rights topics is stricken from lesson plans all together under these frameworks. These trends now and then are alarming.
I also understand this could be minimizing the trauma you relive when a specific topic or graphic description is read in round. I again do not deny your experience on face ever. I just cannot comfortably see that framework co-opted and abused to suppress the mechanisms or values of equality and equity. So are you, Gabe, saying because the other actors steal a tool and abuse that tool it shouldn't be used for our shared common goals? Yes, if the powerful abuse that tool and it does more harm to the arc of history as it bends towards justice than I am going to oppose it. This can be a Heckler's Veto, Assassin's Veto, Poisoning The Well, whatever you want to call it. Even in debate I have seen screenshots of actual men discussing how they would always pick the opt out because they don't want to "debate girls on women issues in front of a girl judge." This is of course likely an incredibly small group but I am tired of seeing queer, feminist, or critical race theory based arguments being punted because of common terms or non-graphic descriptions. Those debates can be so enriching to the community and their absence means we are structurally disadvantaged with real world consequences that I think outweigh the impacts usually levied against this arg. I will defend this line for the powerless and will do so until I die.
All of these above claims are neither syllogisms or encyclopedias of events. I am fallible and so are those arguments. Hence let us debate this but just know my thoughts.
Like in my disclaimer on the other theory shell none of these arguments are truisms just my inner and honest thoughts to help you make strategic decisions in the round.
This is my first time I’ve judged an event. Please keep your delivery slow and clear, otherwise I might have trouble keeping up with you. A consistent and clear narrative will help you.
A direct and comparative weighing of impacts in the final speeches is important.
My speaker points range from 25-30. Only speeches I deem to be highly offensive or abusive will be given less than 27.
Good with speed up to a point, if you go blazing and I miss it, I can't weigh it.
I need each team to tell me why they think they won the round, so I don't have to figure it out on my own.
I have no strict rules about what has to be said in summary, but I expect consistent argumentation. Something from the first four speeches should not just pop up in the final focus as a voter.
It is important that your evidence says what you say it says. If the debaters make a card(s) important to the round, I may call for evidence.
If competitors are doing an email chain for evidence; Sanchezfirstname.lastname@example.org
Competed in the Louisville, Kentucky Circuit in high school for three years. Graduated with a major in Political Science from the University of Louisville. I am an assistant coach of Trinity High School for the Speech & Debate team and have held that role for four years now. I say this to highlight that I have years of experience in this event and am familiar with many debate styles, philosophies, frameworks and am aware of changing trends in the debate world, that being said Debate is an educational tool and a time for students to practice analytical thinking and persuasive skills in a unique environment unlike school, so please do not spread at a rate that is so fast that it can never be repeated in a public environment, dont go so fast that the only way to flow is off a speech doc because I will ignore it. Evidence calling is a new thing with the advent of technology post-covid but do not make the evidence calling period so long that it delays the debate and ends up being wasted, call for cards that matter to the judge, not your team. Great debate, for me, is one where both sides are understanding of what the other person's case is stating and evaluating and clashing at that crucial point. There are a lot of debates where people run past each others points and do not actually attack the meat of what is being debated causing me to weigh two worlds that have very little to differentiate from. Competitors should be critical of evidence (yes please do stake the round on thats not what your evidence says, and I will read evidence of contention if I believe there is merit to it not claiming what it means, bad card cutting happens to everyone) and claims being made and any connection that they do not make for me as a judge I will not flow. Make my decision for me with your final speech.
hi! i did nat circuit pf at dougherty valley and am now a sophomore at usc
PREFLOW BEFORE THE ROUND
please let me know (email, messenger, before/in round) if there is anything i can do to make the round more accessible & safe for u
i've barely debated progressive arguments. if you think there's a huge abuse in the round & theory is necessary then go for it, i’ll try my best to evaluate it. same goes for Ks
read content warnings with an opt out if you're discussing anything sensitive i'll be very upset if you don't + i'd be very happy to hear trigger warning theory after. if ur not sure what constitutes a sensitive topic, totally ask me before the round
i'm cool with speed but i can't handle spreading - u cld send me a doc but i hate flowing off those & i probably won't be able to copy everything from it so just slow down
find ur cards in less than 2 mins or i'll drop ur speaks
you should frontline (at least what ur going for + turns) in second rebuttal
defense isn't sticky
signpost!! or else i'll miss stuff
i'll only call for evidence if you tell me to (pls make sure ur evidence is cut properly and says what u say it does)
make sure ur weighing is comparative. i think rebuttal is the best time to start weighing
i have no tolerance for overly aggressive or rude behavior in cross. if ur worried that u might be being mean, u probably are. i'll happily tank speaks/drop a team if they exhibit problematic behavior or are excessively rude
i presume first (plsss never make me presume)
i don't think i'm a very tech-y judge. i prefer slower debate with a good narrative & good clash over a fast debating dumping a bunch of arguments.
don't aggressively post-round (the ballot is literally already submitted) but pls ask any real questions u have about my decision & any questions in general, i'd love to help
debate is a game, have fun!! lmk if you have any questions :)
Assistant at the Nueva School and Park City. Former Head Coach at Park City (2019-2021).
I competed in PF and most speech events for four years. I've been coaching since 2018 - mostly PF, but also some LD, Policy, Congress, platform speech events, and limited prep speech events from time to time.
Please produce an email chain, with all debaters included, titled 'Tournament A Round B - Team C (aff) vs Team D (neg),' and add me to it:email@example.com.
Horrifyingly, I am now an old and tired. Please please just have a nice little case debate. I really don't want to judge theory debates even though you can win that they're necessary and relevant.
Despite my preference for a nice little case debate, I'm still open to almost any strategy to generate offense. That being said, it is ultimately up to you to explain it well enough that I'll be able to accurately describe it in my RFD. Do what you want and I'll do my best to evaluate it fairly.
Theoretically, I'm okay with speed; practically, it depends on your clarity and speaking habits. Being understood in a debate is a competitive advantage, just as extra words are.
Like any argument, weighing requires claims, which require warrants, which require evidence; I am open to any kind of evidence to support weighing arguments, but I do strongly prefer that they be evidence-based. Weighing is most strategic when it is comparative and specific to your opponents' offense.
In any round, quality judge instruction is very helpful. It is much easier to evaluate a debate where both teams make one or two well-explained, weighed, and implicated arguments in the final focus than one which is primarily composed of catastrophic and unqualified claims. Be explicit about what the implication of your argument is to the outcome of the debate.
Debate jargon is bad word economy. Topic jargon is risky if unexplained; my topic research varies month to month, and there is some minimum threshold of understanding that must be met for me to vote on an argument.
I'm a mediocre poker player. You'll know if I think something bad is happening. Follow the faces.
I am an old geezer about extensions.I expect you to explain every part of the argument -- Claim/Uniqueness/Link/Impact with warrants and data -- which must be won to generate offense. The extensions must be in both back-half speeches for me to vote on the argument.
Make the round a pleasant, safe, and respectful venue for an educational debate. I will never vote on an argument that depicts or promotes self-harm of any kind. I will be hesitant to vote on arguments I perceive as structurally violent. It's very rare I have to intervene on such bases. All else equal, I'd probably give slightly higher speaks to a debater who is funny in crossex than one who is overtly aggressive.
Flex prep is fine, but I am not aware of any "flow clarification" time suspension rule in debates.
I politely request that you strike me if you do not follow NSDA evidence rules, including that all cited evidence must have a cut card associated with it at a minimum.
I did 4 years of trad LD debate.
PF Paradigm: I am an experienced PF judge on the national circuit. I judge primarily on impacts. You need to give a clear link story backed up with logic and evidence. Framework is important. Weighing is very important. It is better to acknowledge that your opponent may be winning a certain argument and explain how the impacts you are winning outweigh than it is to ignore that argument made by your opponent. Don't extend through ink. If your opponent attacks your argument you need to respond to that attack and not just repeat your original argument. I don't mind rapid conversational speed - especially while reading evidence, but no spreading. I will keep a good flow and judge primarily off the flow, but let's keep PF as an event where persuasive speaking style, logic, evidence, and refutation are all important. Also let's keep PF distinct from national circuit LD and national circuit policy - let's avoid kritiks, disads, plans, counterplans and theory arguments.
LD Paradigm: I am an experienced LD judge. I do prefer traditional style LD. I am, however, OK with plans and counter-plans and I am OK with theory arguments concerning analysis of burdens. I am not a fan of Kritiks. I will try to be open to evaluate arguments presented in the round, but I do prefer that the debate be largely about the resolution instead of largely centered on theory. I am OK with fast conversational speed and I am OK with evidence being read a little faster than fast conversational as long as tag lines and analysis are not faster than fast conversational. I do believe that V / VC are required, but I don't believe that the V / VC are voting issues in and of themselves. That is, even if you convince me that your V / VC is superior (more important, better linked to the resolution) than your opponent's V / VC that is not enough for me to vote for you. You still need to prove that your case better upholds your V / VC than your opponent's case does. To win, you may do one of three things: (1) Prove that your V / VC is superior to your opponent's AND that your case better upholds that V / VC than your opponent's case does, OR (2) Accept your opponent's V / VC and prove that your case better upholds their V/VC than their case does. OR (3) Win an "even-if" combination of (1) and (2).
CX Paradigm: I am an experienced LD and PF judge (nationally and locally). I have judged policy debate at a number of tournaments over the years - including the final round of the NSDA national tournament in 2015. However, I am more experienced in PF and LD than I am in policy. I can handle speed significantly faster than the final round of NSDA nationals, but not at super-fast speed. (Evidence can be read fast if you slow down for tag lines and for analysis.) Topicality arguments are fine. I am not a fan of kirtiks or critical affs.
Jude Sims-Barber, as featured on https://www.change.org/p/keep-the-public-in-public-forum?source_location=search
Hello debaters! I’m a university student studying philosophy and sociology, and was a debater throughout high school for three years. My main proficiency was with Lincoln-Douglas debate and Congressional debate but I am very familiar with Public Forum, Policy, and IDPA debate (and, to a lesser extent, British Parliament and World Schools Debate).
I use any and all pronouns and my email is firstname.lastname@example.org.
NOTE: I have minor hearing loss. My inner ear tissue is scarred and my speech perception is affected as a result. This is not an issue of volume, it is an issue of clarity and enunciation. As a result, I cannot understand spreading. It is simply out of my ear's reach. And before you ask, no, you don't magically have the perfectly understandable spreading cadence.
General Notes (please read):
Debate is educational first and foremost. Yes, it is competitive (a "game"), but you should always debate in good faith and not use cheap arguments or tricks just to win. Try to understand your opponent and their arguments, and try to make the debate reach a point of conclusion rather than simply making cheap dunks or disingenuous attacks. Communication relies on mutual trust and a desire to learn, not a desire to dominate or win.
Truth over tech. Techy truth is generally fine. I will not disclose. I don't have time to argue with high schoolers about why they lost.
While I understand the desire to make as many arguments as possible, the default should be using an ordinary, pedestrian speed to communicate well-researched ideas. Do not be disingenuous, either in the arguments you choose to run (knowing that they're designed or cut in a manner to disorient your opponent) or the way you explain/extend them.
-Stay topical. You chose to come to this tournament, you paid the entry fee, you know the topic. It's different when academics decide to discuss the weaknesses of our discourse models or the symbolic violence inherent in... English syntax. You aren't an academic, you're a high schooler competing in a competitive tournament you voluntarily signed up for--debate what the resolution says.
Time limits exist as a statement of how long the statements you need to make should take. They are not an excuse to cram as much stuff into that time by spreading.
-Keep it traditional. The most engaging LD debates are those that speak in concrete terms about abstract ideas, using what we examine on a surface level (mere political issues) and revealing hidden moral assumptions or frameworks (theory).
-Is is not ought. Merely because something is the case in the real world says nothing about whether such a thing is morally justified. No, you don't have the solution to the is-ought gap.
-You must have a Value and Criterion. Lincoln Douglas is all about framing topics with an ethical framework. When we say that something is moral or immoral, we must do so with an ethical framework (i.e., consequentialism, deontology, etc.). A value of Morality is meaningless, as the purpose of LD is to normatively prescribe a special importance to a particular value or good (it tells me nothing as a judge if you value morality. You might as well say "it is good to do good things and bad to do bad things").
-Ethical theories are not values. You cannot 'value' utilitarianism--it is an ethical framework through which we quantify or evaluate that which we hold important. We can examine the utility of 'positive freedom' as a value, but we cannot simply value utilitarianism.
-Avoid criteria that are bulkily worded ("ensuring healthcare access" or something similar). Try to limit criteria to established philosophies, ideas, methods, or theories.
-I highly value philosophical consistency and a solid understanding of the philosophical ideas and ethical theories argued for. I know judge intervention is frowned upon, but if you misrepresent a philosophical position or idea, it will be hard for me to trust your proclaimed level of expertise on the topic. Simple mistakes are perfectly okay, as a lot of philosophy is rather impenetrable.
For Public Forum:
-PF is not policy. You used to be prohibited from citing evidence in PF until after Ted Turner sponsored it. PF is the lay debate in high school circuits. Keep it simple. To clarify, I do expect you to use evidence, but also your own proficiency for debate.
-If you know a piece of evidence is deeply flawed or even wrong, why run it on the chance that your opponent won't know how to respond? Does that not seem disingenuous to you?
-I'm primarily a flow judge, and I care deeply about clear statements of arguments and rebuttals. If you don't signpost, I'll likely miss it. Tech mainly bores me, so do try to make quality arguments--if you make bad arguments, then I won't prefer them solely because the opposing team couldn't mention the sixth drop of the fourth subpoint in a three minute speech. If the argument is bad, then it's bad--simple as. (By bad, I mean poorly explained, incoherent, frivolous, or cheap.) Drops are only a point in your favor insofar as the dropped argument is actually substantial to the overall debate.
-Focus on broader impacts. Remember that the burden of the CON is not to propose any comprehensive plan of action, merely demonstrate why the PRO is ineffective or harmful.
-Do not spend too much time on one specific point with one specific point of evidence. Give weight to what's important. Collapse by the end. The earlier, the better.
For Big Questions:
-Big questions is a descriptive debate, which means that you are debating on what is (descriptive) rather than what ought be the case (normative). What this means is that you are, on aff or neg, answering the big question at hand. What's more, big questions require big answers, and any reasonably big answer contains quite a lot of philosophy. Your case should include some measure of balance between raw theoretical material (philosophy, broadly) and hard science. Depending on the topic, you might lean more to one side (e.g., objective morality exists vs. humans are naturally self-interested).
-In my experience (for the few years BQ has been around), disputes over evidence in BQ shouldn't be boiled down to "well our sources disagree." Generally, a dispute around a big question is epistemological, about how we come to know things and how certain that knowledge really is. For example, saying that "humans are naturally protective of their young" is not really disagreeable on a factual basis, but whether that information is significant as to whether humans are self-interested is a matter of specific theoretical framing and definition.
-Don't spread. If you go too fast, I'll say 'clear' until you slow down. This has resulted in me saying clear within the entire 8 minutes of a speech, so please do slow down.
-Please do not force me to rely on an email chain to decide the round.
-On T: I am pretty lenient when it comes to whether a plan/counterplan is topical or not. My standard for determining this is whether or not the plan fits in what I conceive as the "spirit of the resolution." Something may not be strictly topical as per the verbiage of the resolution, but is still topical as it fits the resolution's intended spirit as written. The only times I will flatly reject a plan on topicality is (1) if it is too large in scope, as to encompass the resolution rather than the other way around, or (2) it is so disconnected from the topic that it may as well be a non-sequitur. As an additional note, please don't waste time making a bunch of topicality arguments. It is often time-consuming.
-K's are most commonly a cheap trick, in my view--I know that they're used topic to topic and round to round with little change, as a means to minimize exhaustive prep and real engagement with the topic. The only exception I'll give is to specific instances of abolition/discourse K's, in which you argue (in good faith, I'll be able to tell) that the verbiage or framing of the resolution overly limits available/acceptable discourse. Regardless, don't anticipate a vote in a K's favor. You signed up for this tournament, after all, and your decision to sidestep the topic reflects at least partially on your intellectual honesty.
Current Coach -- Marist School (2020-present)
Former Debater -- Marist School (2016-2020)
Current Student -- University of Georgia (2020-2024)
Please add email@example.com to the email chain
TL;DR: I am a tech judge and I will vote off my flow. Please do what you do best and enjoy the round
General important stuff:
1) Extend every part of the argument... uniqueness, link, internal link, and impact. A claim without a warrant is not an argument. If you do not extend your argument then I can not vote on it.
2) I cannot stress enough that fewer well developed arguments will always be better than blips with no argument development or good warrants. I've noticed teams that collapse and more thoroughly explain their arguments tend to win my ballot more often than not against a team that goes for too much.
3) Please weigh your arguments
4) My only real pet peeve is wasting time during or before a debate. Please be ready to start the debate on time and don't cause unnecessary delays during it. Preflowing should be done before the debate. When prep time ends you should be ready to start your speech right away. "Pulling up a doc" or something like that for 30 seconds is stealing prep and should be done before you end your prep time.
5) Second rebuttal must answer first rebuttal
More specific stuff:
I don’t care what type of argument you read as long as it is well explained, has warrants, and is weighed (case, k’s, theory... whatever are all fine). You do what you're best at!
You can go as fast or slow as you want. I won't have any issue flowing any speed you decide to go.
I believe paraphrasing is bad and disclosure is good. At this point in the activity reading cuts cards and disclosing has become a norm that most teams adhere to which I think makes my threshold for responses to the shell even higher than it has been in the past.
Any other theory arguments just need to be real violations that have real impacts. Frivolous theory is unpleasant to judge and will be tough to impossible to win in front of me.
I'd really prefer you read cut cards. Debate is an activity about high quality research not just writing a persuasive english paper. If you do paraphrase then you really need to have the cut cards ready at a minimum. A card is not cut if it does not have a complete and correct cite as well as the important/ cited parts of the card being emphasized. Evidence should be able to be sent when asked for in a timely manner. If it is not sent quickly it may be dropped from the debate.
Other important note:
Debate is first and foremost a safe and educational activity so we should do our best to keep it that way
Hi, I'm Angel [He/Him/His]. I’d like to be on the email chain [if there is one]. firstname.lastname@example.org
I competed all 4 years at Advanced Technologies Academy in Las Vegas. I am now a first-year debater at Emory University.
+ I can handle most arguments, but, if you are reading a complex K just explain it to me or I won’t be able to vote on it.
+ i wont vote on disclosure
Public Forum Paradigm
+ Assume I'm always ready.
+ Truth > Tech. I weigh on a framework of benefits and harms
+ Clearly warrant, cite, and explain evidence--no shallow appeals to common sense, please
+ If you don't extend your arguments, they will drop off my flow.
+ SIGNPOST. If you could signpost where you are in your rebuttal (E.g., "Starting with my case", "Moving onto my opponent's case", etc.), that would be great
+ Speak clearly. It helps for flowing and makes everyone's life easier
+ Please don't unnecessarily interrupt during cross-ex. I want to see even engagement across the board, but don't give shallow or overly long answers
Lincoln Douglas Paradigm
+ Unless I indicate otherwise, assume I'm always ready.
+ I competed in LD for 3/4 years, and this is the event I have the most love for.
+ My paradigm for PF carries over to LD, EXCEPT truth > tech. Instead of benefits and harms, however, I expect you to take a step back and focus on the moral admissibility (or the lack thereof, if you're on neg) of the resolution under your framework. Unless if the affirmative puts forward a plantext I'm less inclined to go for policy or post-fiat negs
+ Value/Value criterion debate all the way. Standards are fine as long as the presumptive value is morality. If you and your opponent have similar criterions, you should just cut to the chase and explain why your case works better under that framework
+ I already said my PF paradigm carries over, but please, I BEG you: clearly cite, warrant, and explain evidence in your speeches, and do not rely on appeals to common sense in your arguments.
+ Unless I indicate otherwise, assume I'm always ready.
+ Roleplaying GOOD. Refer to your opponents as Representatives/Senators. I'm not one of those judges, however, who ranks competitors if they "act like legislators" by helping set the docket or resolve procedural conflicts. Just don't speak out of order and don't attempt to step over the PO or Parli.
+ RHETORIC. I enjoy unique rhetoric and purposeful speaking, so please go beyond the forensic grain when delivering your speeches. If you REALLY want to rock my ballot, a strong hook or extended metaphor in your speech and altogether sturdy rhetoric will expedite your path to a higher rank. Hearing debate jargon in this event (e.g., "contention", "block", etc.) tends to break away from what seems best for congress, so best rely on standard words and phrases.
+ STRUCTURE. If you warrant your claims and support them with reliable evidence, and on top of that impact your arguments to a broader context, and do all of this without filler or awkward digressions that interrupt the focus of your speech, I will rank you. Plus I want to hear your speech provide at least two distinct contentions (I said no debate jargon but whatever im the judge) so that your arguments don't blend into one-another
+ CLASH ON REBUTTAL SPEECHES. After the second or third cycle of speeches I expect that you spend your time speaking off the cuff and refuting/crystalizing the speakers before you. If you're called up late to deliver a speech and decide to NOT adapt to the situation and instead read off a constructive speech, you will fall in ranks. Even if you're not the best extemporaneous speaker, it still shows that you're engaged with the debate and want to make an impression
+ INTERNALIZE YOUR IMPACTS. I listen to impacts above all else, and to that end I expect your arguments will always point directly to a basis in reality. If you can make the room understand what it's like to be part of the population this legislation impacts most, you're not just giving a good argument, you're giving a great speech
+ For the Presiding Officer (PO): I will always rank the PO unless if they do something contemptible that specifically urges that I do otherwise (e.g., flagrantly violating procedural rules, favoring some competitors over others, unwarranted or nasty remarks towards others, etc.). Besides that, if you go fast, make little to no mistakes, and treat your fellow competitors equally and impartially, I will guaranteed rank you in the top 3
General things for y'all
+ I prefer the competitors keep track of time, but I will keep time if that is either team's preference
+ It should go without saying that being rude is different from being competitive, strong, and fun. we aren't here to hurt each other and create hostility, but instead to progress all our education and have fun.
+ I'm still learning how to be a judge, and competing is far different from judging, so please go easy on me, and let's all get better together!
+ Ask questions before the round if there's something you want me to answer that I didn't cover here.
tldr: dont be mean and have fun
My primary coaching event is Congressional Debate. Don't freak out, I prefer the debate portion of the event as my high school background is in PF/LD.
For CD: I’ll always consider a balance of presentation, argumentation, and refutation. If you happen to drop the ball on one of those traits during a speech, it won’t ruin your rank on my ballot. I look for consistency across the board and most importantly: What is your speech doing for the debate?
For both PF/LD: As long as you're clear/do the work for me, I have no preference for/against what you run/do in the round. I'll vote off of what you give me. With that, I really stress the latter portion of that paradigm, "I'll vote off of what you give me". I refuse to intervene on the flow, so if you're not doing the work for me, I'm gonna end up voting on the tiniest, ickiest place that I should not be voting off of. Please don't make me do that. Respect the flow and its links.
PF specific: I love theory. I don't prefer theory in PF, but again I'll vote off of where the round ends up...it'd be cool if it didn't head in that direction as a good majority of the time you can still engage in/ win the debate without it.
I don't time roadmaps, take a breather and get yourself together.
Speed isn't an issue for me in either event.
Avoid flex prep.
I prefer googledocs to email for evidence sharing (email@example.com).
Hi! I am Selma Tabakovic (she/her pronouns) and I debated Public Forum in high school. I went to American University. Now I'm going to Brooklyn Law School. I coach PF for American Heritage.
Generally: Debate in a way that will make you feel most comfortable and confident within the round! I will be able to adapt to you and your style. My paradigm below is just some specifics about my preferences, but you should feel free to compete in your own style.
I definitely look at the flow to decide who wins the round, but if I think that something is not handled effectively on the flow (ex: really under-covered argumentation in response to major points in the round), I will likely vote on the truth of an argument.
What I like to see in the round:
Comparative weighing in FF is key! Tell me why an argument matters more than another. Comparing worlds to each other will make the round more wholistic. If I have to decide which argument matters more than another, it is technically intervening and I would prefer if I didn't have to do that.
If you want me to vote for an argument it has to be extended from Summary to FF. Please extend the warrants for your arguments from case that you want to go for. Please frontline in second rebuttal and collapse on the argument you want to win on!
I love hearing critical arguments in PF! Feel free to run any argument about imperialism/colonialism/etc within the PF topic. I think engaging with these types of arguments within a round makes debate more educational, impactful, and interesting.
What isn't necessary in the round:
Please do not give me an off-time roadmap unless you are running theory. I will be able to follow your train of thought if you sign post!
Please do not ask "I am first speaker, so can I have first question?" Please just assume that first speaker in the round has first question.
Please do not spread! I would prefer if the round is slower.
Please share me on the evidence exchanges -- firstname.lastname@example.org.
Evidence exchanges in the virtual space can be a little smoother. I think they are easier when a google doc is created. I would really appreciate it if you all could send each other speech docs to limit the amount of time for evidence exchanges. At the very least, I will follow NSDA rules and time you for 1 minute for each card you need to find and then use your prep time for the remainder of time it takes you to send the card. I do not like paraphrased evidence and would much rather prefer you read cut cards.
Hello, my name is Ninad Tambe.
Few things to keep in mind:
- I have basic topic knowledge but I would appreciate really clear arguments so that I know at the end of the round without a doubt who I should vote for.
- I can't understand speed, so if anybody goes too fast for me, I reserve the right to shout "CLEAR" or stop taking notes. If you see my pen go up or you see me stop writing, that should be a cue that you're going too fast for me and you've lost me.
- Please don't be rude or overly aggressive, especially in cross - I want to see reasonable and calm crossfires, not the two speakers shouting at each other.
- I appreciate humor, and if you can make me laugh (NOT at the expense of your opponents) I'll award extra speaks.
- If you cannot prove to me why the impact of your case is more important than the opponents', I will have to decide myself.
Good luck to everyone!
s/o Anthony Ovadje for the paradigm template :)
I did PF for four years at Marist School.
Weigh and warrant arguments.
Tech > Truth
Add me to the email chain: email@example.com
If you don't cut cards, strike me. I won't drop you if you paraphrase, but you must have cards available if called for and it will hurt your speaker points. I usually won't call for cards myself, but if your evidence is terribly misconstrued, I won't evaluate it and will tank your speaks.
2nd rebuttal must frontline defense and turns
Summary and FF must extend all parts of an argument if you want me to vote off of it
I'm fine with speed, but clarity is always more important
I have basically no experience with K lit, but I'm open to hearing K/soft left arguments. A lot more warranting and explanation needs to be done if you are running this argument in front of me.
I'll usually vote for paraphrasing and disclosure theory unless it's handled atrociously. If your opponents do something terrible in round, I'll also evaluate some sort of shell explaining why its unfair.
Have fun! Debate is really competitive and intense at times, but you will make rounds better for you, your opponents, and judges if you actually seem to be enjoying yourself.
If you have any questions you can ask me in round or just email me.
For WKU -
The last policy rounds I was in was around 2015 for context. I do err neg on most theory positions though agent counterplans do phase me. Other than that, the big division when it comes to other arguments I don't really have much of a stance on.
Affs at the end of the day I do believe need to show some semblance of change/beneficial action
Debate is good as a whole
Individual actions I don't think I have jurisdiction to act as judge over.
Who am I?
Assistant Director of Debate, The Blake School MN - 2014 to present
Co-Director, Public Forum Boot Camp(Check our website here) MN - 2021 to present
Assistant Debate Coach, Blaine High School - 2013 to 2014
This year marks my 14th in the activity, which is wild. I end up spending a lot of my time these days thinking not just about how arguments work, but also considering what I want the activity to look like. Personally, I believe that circuit Public Forum is in a transition period much the same that other events have experienced and the position that both judges and coaches play is more important than ever. That being said, I do think both groups need to remember that their years in high school are over now and that their role in the activity, both in and out of round, is as an educator first. If this is anyway controversial to you, I’d kindly ask you to re-examine why you are here.
Yes, this activity is a game, but your behavior and the way in which you participate in it have effects that will outlast your time in it. You should not only treat the people in this activity with the same levels of respect that you would want for yourself, but you should also consider the ways through which you’ve chosen in-round strategies, articulation of those strategies, and how the ways in which you conduct yourself out of round can be thought of as positive or negative. Just because something is easy and might result in competitive success does not make it right.
Prior to the round
Please add my personal email firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com to the chain. The second one is for organizational purposes and allows me to be able to conduct redos with students and talk about rounds after they happen.
The start time listed on ballots/schedules is when a round should begin, not that everyone should arrive there. I will do my best to arrive prior to that, and I assume competitors will too. Even if I am not there for it, you should feel free to complete the flip and send out an email chain.
The first speaking team should initiate the chain, with the subject line reading some version of “Tournament Name, Round Number - 1st Speaking Team(Aff or Neg) vs 2nd Speaking Team(Aff or neg)” I do not care what you wear(as long as it’s appropriate for school) or if you stand or sit. I have zero qualms about music being played, poetry being read, or non-typical arguments being made.
I will be personally timing rounds since plenty of varsity level debaters no longer know how clocks work. There is no grace period, there are no concluding thoughts. When the timer goes off, your speech or question/answer is over. Beyond that, there are a few things I will no longer budge on:
You must read from cut cards the first time evidence is introduced into a round. The experiment with paraphrasing in a debate event was an interesting one, but the activity has shown itself to be unable to self-police what is and what is not academically dishonest representations of evidence. Comparisons to the work researchers and professors do in their professional life I think is laughable. Some of the shoddy evidence work I’ve seen be passed off in this activity would have you fired in those contexts, whereas here it will probably get you in late elimination rounds.
The inability to produce a piece of evidence when asked for it will end the round immediately. Taking more than thirty seconds to produce the evidence is unacceptable as that shows me you didn’t read from it to begin with.
Arguments that are racist, sexist, transphobic, etc. will end the round immediately in an L and as few speaker points as Tab allows me to give out.
Questions about what was and wasn’t read in round that are not claims of clipping are signs of a skill issue and won’t hold up rounds. If you want to ask questions outside of cross, run your own prep. A team saying “cut card here” or whatever to mark the docs they’ve sent you is your sign to do so. If you feel personally slighted by the idea that you should flow better and waste less time in the round, please reconsider your approach to preparing for competitions that require you to do so.
Defense is not “sticky.” If you want something to count in the round, it needs to be included in your team’s prior speech. The idea that a first speaking team can go “Ah, hah! You forgot about our trap card” in the final focus after not extending it in summary is ridiculous and makes a joke out of the event.
These are not set in stone, and have changed over time. Running contrary to me on these positions isn’t a big issue and I can be persuaded in the context of the round.
Tech vs truth
To me, the activity has weirdly defined what “technical” debate is in a way that I believe undermines the value of the activity. Arguments being true if dropped is only as valid as the original construction of the argument. Am I opposed to big stick impacts? Absolutely not, I think they’re worth engaging in and worth making policy decisions around. But, for example, if you cannot answer questions regarding what is the motivation for conflict, who would originally engage in the escalation ladder, or how the decision to launch a nuclear weapon is conducted, your argument was not valid to begin with. Asking me to close my eyes and just check the box after essentially saying “yadda yadda, nuclear winter” is as ridiculous as doing the opposite after hearing “MAD checks” with no explanation.
Teams I think are being rewarded far too often for reading too many contentions in the constructive that are missing internal links. I am more than just sympathetic to the idea that calling this out amounts to terminal defense at this point. If they haven’t formed a coherent argument to begin with, teams shouldn’t be able to masquerade like they have one.
There isn’t a magical number of contentions that is either good or bad to determine whether this is an issue or not. The benefit of being a faster team is the ability to actually get more full arguments out in the round, but that isn’t an advantage if you’re essentially reading two sentences of a card and calling it good.
In PF debate only, I default to a position of reasonability. I think the theory debates in this activity, as they’ve been happening, are terribly uninteresting and are mostly binary choices.
Is disclosure good? Yes
Is paraphrasing bad? Yes
Distinctions beyond these I don’t think are particularly valuable. Going for cheapshots on specifics I think is an okay starting position for me to say this is a waste of time and not worth voting for. That being said, I feel like a lot of teams do mis-disclose in PF by just throwing up huge unedited blocks of texts in their open source section. Proper disclosure includes the tags that are in case and at least the first and last three words of a card that you’ve read. To say you open source disclose requires highlighting of the words you have actually read in round.
That being said, answers that amount to whining aren’t great. Teams that have PF theory read against them frequently respond in ways that mostly sound like they’re confused/aghast that someone would question their integrity as debaters and at the end of the day that’s not an argument. Teams should do more to articulate what specific calls to do x y or z actually do for the activity, rather than worrying about what they’re feeling. If your coach requires you to do policy “x” then they should give you reasons to defend policy “x.” If you’re consistently losing to arguments about what norms in the activity should look like, that’s a talk you should have with your coach/program advisor about accepting them or creating better answers.
These are hands down the worst thing that PF debate has come up with. If something in round arises to the issue of student safety, then I hope(and maybe this is misplaced) that a judge would intervene prior to a debater saying “do something.” If something is just a dumb argument, or a dumb way to have an argument be developed, then it’s either a theory issue or a competitor needs to get better at making an argument against it.
The idea that these one-off sentences somehow protect students or make the activity more aware of issues is insane. Most things I’ve heard called an IVI are misconstruing what a student has said, are a rules violation that need to be determined by tab, or are just an incomplete argument.
Overall, I’m sympathetic to these arguments made in any event, but I think that the PF version of them so far has left me underwhelmed. I am much better for things like cap, security, fem IR, afro-pess and the like than I am for anything coming from a pomo tradition/understanding. Survival strategies focused on identity issues that require voting one way or the other depending on a student’s identification/orientation I think are bad for debate as a competitive activity.
Kritiks should require some sort of link to either the resolution(since PF doesn’t have plans really), or something the aff has done argumentatively or with their rhetoric. The nonexistence of a link means a team has decided to rant for their speech time, and not included a reason why I should care.
Rejection alternatives are okay(Zizek and others were common when I was in debate for context) but teams reliant on “discourse” and other vague notions should probably strike me. If I do not know what voting for a team does, I am uncomfortable to do so and will actively seek out ways to avoid it.
I debated at Basis Chandler in high school and currently debate at Emory University.
Please add me on the email chain at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I have next to know knowledge of the high school topic. This means if there are topic specific terms, acronyms, etc. It would be helpful to have it defined/ read in context one time in the debate. Also, I am going to need a little more explanation on topicality.
I am not the best at speed especially when debating online. But, if you are clear and good at signposting, I shouldn't have a problem. While I will refer to the speech doc, I expect to not have to look at it to render my decision.
While I am familiar with some K lit, you are probably better of not running high theory in front of me. My default framework will be that the K gets links to what the aff said and did, and the aff gets to weigh the implementation of the plan. I can be swayed from this position. Also, large overviews with a million cross applications are not as flowable as you think.
In terms of traditional arguments, I debated smaller affs in high school so I am sympathetic to impact defense pushes on both the aff and the neg. I do not abide by try-or-die. The DA needs to actually have a chance to happen and the aff needs to solve for something.
Please don't steal prep time.
I have never debated public forum. Since my background is in Policy, I will be on the more progressive/ technical side. This means that I will vote almost exclusively based on the flow. Also, if you are able to clearly follow the flow and signpost well, your speaks will be significantly higher than if you are just rhetorically powerful. This does not mean you need to spread. A blippy argument will still lose to one that is well developed.
Hi, my name is Mercy, and I am a sophomore in college. I debated for six years, so I understand how debate operates and debate lingo. I have been judging for two years now, and my favorite arguments to vote on are critiques and identity politics. I mostly ran black arguments in high school pertaining to black women, and I understand the difficulties of debating your identity. So if you are a black woman who centers black women, I will give you a 30.
I will flow tricky arguments, confusing frameworks, and frivolous theory arguments, but if not explained thoroughly, I will not vote on it.
I lean more towards truth over tech, but I understand the importance of being technical in debate. If impacted out correctly, I will evaluate tech first.
I am very familiar with LD and policy, but I am new to judging public forum- however, I can still clearly follow and understand public forum round, don't be afraid to break a norm in a public forum if I am judging you- like reading a critique.
Lastly, don't say anything that actively makes the space exclusive for people. In other words, do not be anti-black and all of the other phobics- homophobic, xenophobic, fatphobic etc.
Have fun and respect one another. I also never have paper or a pen so please bring extra.
I've been debating and coaching teams across the country for a while. Currently coaching Dreyfoos AL (Palm Beach Independent) and Poly Prep.
I will make whichever decision requires the least amount of intervention. I don't like to do work for debaters but in 90% of rounds you leave me no other choice.
Here's how I make decisions
1) Weighing/Framework (Prereqs, then link-ins/short-circuits, then impact comparison i.e. magnitude etc.)
2) Cleanly extended argument across both speeches (summ+FF) that links to FW
3) No unanswered terminal defense extended in other team's second half speeches
I have a very high threshold for extensions, saying the phrase "extend our 1st contention/our impacts" will get you lower speaks and a scowl. You need to re-explain your argument from uniqueness to fiat to impact in order to properly "extend" something in my eyes. I need warrants. This also goes for turns too, don't extend turns without an impact.
Presumption flows neg. If you want me to default to the first speaking team you'll need to make an argument. In that case though you should probably just try to win some offense.
I like analytical arguments, not everything needs to be carded to be of value in a round. (Warrants )
Signpost pls. Roadmaps are a waste of time 98% of the time, I only need to know where you're starting.
I love me some good framework. Highly organized speeches are the key to high speaks in front of me. Voter summaries are fresh.
I love T and creative topicality interps. Messing around with definitions and grammar is one of my favorite things to do as a coach.
Try to get on the same page as your opponents as often as possible, agreements make my decision easier and make me respect you more as a debater (earning you higher speaks). Strategic concessions make me happy. The single best way to get good speaks in front of me is to implicate your opponent's rebuttal response(s) or crossfire answers against them in a speech.
Frontlining in second rebuttal is smart but not required. It’s probably a good idea if they read turns.
Reading tons of different weighing mechanisms is a waste of time because 10 seconds of meta-weighing or a link-in OHKOs. When teams fail to meta-weigh or interact arguments I have to intervene, and that makes me sad.
Don’t extend every single thing you read in case.
My email is email@example.com
I'm not gonna call for cards unless they're contested in the round and I believe that they're necessary for my RFD. I think that everyone else that does this is best case an interventionist judge, and worst case a blatant prep thief.
Skipping grand is cringe. Stop trying to act like you're above the time structure.
Don't say "x was over time, can we strike it?" right after your opponent's speech. I'll only evaluate/disregard ink if you say it was over time during your own speech time. Super annoying to have a mini argument about speech time in between speeches. Track each other’s prep.
Don't say TKO in front of me, no round is ever unwinnable.
Theory's fine, usually frivolous in PF. Love RVIs Genuinely believe disclosure is bad for the event and paraphrasing is good, but I certainly won't intervene against any shell you're winning.
I will vote for kritikal args :-)
Just because you're saying the words structural violence in case doesn't mean you're reading a K
Shoutouts to my boo thang, Shamshad Ali #thepartnership
Hey! I'm a second year at Emory University, and I did PF for four years in high school on the national and local NC circuit. I'm now a Policy debater on Emory's team. Debate is absolutely my favorite activity, and it makes me happy. Overall, I hope you enjoy the round/have fun.
Include me in the email chain! firstname.lastname@example.org
-Ks: I do not think I am very good for the K because most of the literature is unfamiliar to me. Feel free to strike me. However, I will vote for the K if it is well-explained and well argued. I really value a detailed/comprehensive explanation of the alt and why that is better than the plan. If I don't understand what your alt does, I prob won't vote for the K.
Taken from @Emilyn Hazelbrook's paradigm (which I largely agree with in it's entirety):
-K Affs: Your reason for not defending the resolution should be built into your 1ac. You should prioritize line by line over extensive overviews. Impact turns are more persuasive than counter-interp debating, and clash makes a bit more sense as an impact over fairness, although I will vote on either.
-Topicality: I default to competing interps. Make sure to explain what debates would look like under your interp and theirs in rebuttals and read case lists.
-Theory: Condo is good until you read 4+ advocacies. Everything but condo is a reason to reject the argument, and I can’t see myself voting on most procedurals unless they're egregiously mishandled. Please slow down on theory standards—you're only speaking as fast as I can flow.
-Counterplans: I lean neg on most questions of competition (minus consult cps). If you're aff, read solvency deficits specific to your aff’s mechanism and smart perms. I default to judge kick if the neg says the cp is conditional, but I also think that smart 2nrs won't spend 2 minutes extending a losing cp.
-Disadvantages: Actually compare the aff and disad impacts in rebuttals and read turns case arguments. I prefer topic-specific disads, but enjoy politics disads when debated with very specific links.
-Case: Debates where neg teams invest time into picking apart the 1ac are my favorite to judge. Impact turns, circumvention, and analytics pressing the internal links/aff mechanism are much better than generic impact defense.
-I will vote off the flow, but I have to buy your argument. For example, if you extend something all the way into final but it's not warranted/explained I won't vote off of it. Rather than "tech over truth" or "truth over tech", I'm more of a tech should equal truth (if that makes sense?).
-The flow is important to me but so is narrative. When determining speaks, I will look at how effectively you combined evidence with rhetoric.
-I can handle speed, but do not spread.
-Please frontline in second rebuttal!
-I will not flow disads in second rebuttal. Rebuttal is not the time to add in a third contention or argument, it is a time for defense.
-The same cards/arguments/weighing need to be extended in both summary and final focus. Please give me a clear weighing mechanism and explain it! It will make my job much easier.
-I find historical precedent extremely important and love when it's argued in round. I also love framework debates; I think good framework can be used really effectively (same thing as above though, I have to buy it).
-I love unique arguments!! However, I do not have much experience with theory, and I don't think PF is necessarily the place for it. I'm willing to hear it, but I can't promise you'll be happy with how I evaluate it.
-Please don't misinterpret evidence. I'm begging you. There are so many articles out there. Find a piece of evidence that says what you want it to say instead of misconstruing. Don't be surprised if I call for evidence at the end of a round, especially if it gets indicted.
-To extend evidence you don't necessarily have to extend the citation, just make sure the content of the card stays consistent.
-I hate when arguments get muddled. If you don't have a good response, then just try to outweigh: don't muddle.
-I don't mind if you skip grand cross because it's awkward if no one has any questions. I won't flow first and second cross, but I will consider it for speaks, etc.
-Be respectful. I have dealt with a lot of sexism during my time in debate, and if you are condescending in anyway I will dock your speaks. Any racist, homophobic, or sexist arguments and you will automatically lose.
-If you don't know someone's pronouns in round (they have not explicitly said them), it's probably best to default to they/them. I do appreciate when debaters post their pronouns before round in the chat.
-If you make me laugh or have clever contention/advantage names I'll give you an extra speaker point. Rounds can become very redundant, so try to make each one different and memorable!
-I will disclose and give an RFD if both teams want/the tournament allows.
-If your opponent didn't drop an argument, then don't say they dropped it. Also, don't extend through ink.
-Feel free to ask any questions after the round!
I prefer a clear, evidenced-based debate.
Don't let my experience fool you into thinking I like fast, jargony debates.
Use an email chain - include me (email@example.com) on it, and be honest about the evidence. Paraphrasing is one of my biggest pet peeves. (Post-rounding and making me wait for endless exchanges of evidence are the others).
I will leave my camera on, so you can see me. You can trust you have my full attention, and if connectivity issues affect any of the speeches, I'll audibly interrupt you and stop the timer till connections improve (within reason, of course).
If the timer is stopped, no one is prepping.
Avoid talking over each other online -it makes it impossible for your judges to hear either of you.
Don't be rude or condescending. You can be authoritative while also being polite.
Mountain Brook Schools Director of Speech and Debate 2013 - current
Mountain Brook High School debate coach 2012-2013
Thompson High School policy debater 1991-1995