Barkley Forum for High Schools
2023 — Atlanta, GA/US
Congressional Debate Paradigm ListAll Paradigms: Show Hide
For Congressional Debate, my primary focus is on logical arguments that are well-constructed with quality evidence to support your claims. I appreciate rhetoric and impacts, but I will discount scores if these replace analysis and evidence. Refutations are essential to a strong score but require more than just a claim – give me the analysis and back it up with evidence.
I highly respect constitutional arguments and discount for affirmations of an unconstitutional bill.
It is essential to me that competitors remain in the role of a congressperson, showing respect to the chamber and following proper parliamentary procedure. I encourage everyone to remember to address their colleagues with the proper honorarium (Representative/Senator) at all times, and to avoid using Mr./Ms. personal titles as they both assume gender identity and may be considered dismissive at times.
I respect competitors who are active in the chamber and strongly disagree with the trend of some competitors to press for a base-2 model. Finally, while our U.S. congresspeople may lack persuasive speaking skills, I highly value presentation skills in congressional debate.
As a parliamentarian, I value a presiding officer who is, of course, familiar with both Roberts Rules and the rules set forth by the tournament. However, I do not mind if the PO asks questions to confirm procedures or tournament preferences. The PO should always strive to run a fast and fair chamber to allow everyone opportunities to speak. I prefer to remain as quiet as possible giving the PO the control of the chamber. I will intervene only if the PO makes an incorrect ruling that will impact the results of the session, makes an error in precedence/recency (though I will certainly give the chamber a chance to catch this first), or to insure fairness to everyone in the chamber. I encourage the PO to take charge of the chamber, to rule motions dilatory when appropriate, and to remind the congresspeople of proper procedures when needed. However, I do believe these corrections can be done with respect and kindness.
Though I strive to allow the chamber to function without my input, I will step in if I suspect there is bullying in play, or if I sense discrimination within the chamber, either intentional or unintentional.
I flow pretty intensively, but I prefer to vote off of voting issues (a larger analysis of multiple points) than just one card.
I'm open and appreciate well articulated philosophical positions (Ks included), and I'll listen to anything but obscene worldviews such as evolutionary justifications for racism and what not.
I can vote off of theory, but no one has fun when the violations are frivolous. As such, I'm very persuaded to make theory an RVI to deter bad theory. If you plan on running a shell, go all in and articulate every section with logical justifications. The violation should be very specific, and the standard or standards should be fleshed out. At the end fo the day, it's a value debate like everything else in LD, so you are unlikely to persuade anyone by just shouting one liners.
Having done events outside of LD, I appreciate great presentations skills. They mostly affect speaker points, not the outcome of the round. I will give a 30 to a strong presenter. This means that even though I'm fine with speaking quickly, clarity is really important.
Lastly on the subject of speed, I really encourage both debaters to weigh arguments as opposed to trying to out-spread each other. Deep thoughtful analysis of core issues is more important than underscoring concessions. To that end, framework debate plays a huge role in the round.
I will evaluate you off of evidence, logic, and fluency. It is important to me that you do not repeat arguments that other debaters have made in the round. If your speech and arguments cannot withstand reasonable questions (including context of the round,) this will impact you negatively. If your argument is not relevant to the text of the bill or you do not provide impacts, you will be penalized. I’ll reward you in ranks for active participation with high-quality questions.
Don’t be offensive or abrasive.
After winning NSDA Nationals in World Schools in 2019, I competed for USA Debate for the 2019-2020 season.
If you have questions about my paradigm or comments I've given you in round, please email me at email@example.com.
There are a few things in World Schools that are easy to miss, but in my opinion can alter the course of a round, drastically.
- Paint a very, very clear picture of exactly what your opp or prop world looks like. Most good debaters do this, but take it a step further. I want solid grounding for each of these characterizations. Even this basic visualization of your world requires warranting.
- This is similar to the first, but very crucial: TELL ME— WHAT IS THE ALTERNATIVE TO YOUR SIDE? Why is it so much worse?
- We underutilize incentive analyses in rounds. If you disagree about what a particular actor is going to do, or how an actor will respond, tell me why this person is going to take the particular action. It can be because there are different pressures on certain sides, etc.
- In constructive, feel free to set up some sort of “even if” structure. Though it might not be present in every round, you’ve likely been told to answer the best version of your opponents argument. The best teams always make an effort to do this. Good constructives can prepare for this with scenario argumentation. This might look like… “in order to make up for some deficit, a politician will likely respond in 2-3 ways.” Make sure you’re talking about the incentives of the actors, and note that sometimes the warranting is similar for the two scenarios.
- Interact with each other. Engage. That is what debate, especially WS, is about.
I am primarily a tabula rasa judge, adjudicating arguments as presented in the round. Theoretical arguments are fine as long as they contain the necessary standards and voting issue components. I am not a huge fan of the kritik in PF and tend to reside in that camp that believes such discussions violate the legitimacy of tournament competitions; that being said, I will entertain the argument as well as theoretical counter arguments that speak to its legitimacy, but be forewarned that shifting the discussion to another topic and away from the tournament-listed resolution presents serious questions in my mind as to the respect owed to teams that have done the resolutional research deemed appropriate by the NSDA.
I am adept at flowing but cannot keep up with exceptionally fast-paced speaking and see this practice as minimizing the value of authentic communication. I will do my best but may not render everything on the flow to its fullest potential. Please remember that debate is both an exercise in argumentation as well as a communication enterprise. Recognizing the rationale behind the creation of public forum debate by the NSDA underscores this statement. As a result, I am an advocate for debate as an event that involves the cogent, persuasive communication of ideas. Debaters who can balance argumentation with persuasive appeal will earn high marks from me. Signposting, numbering of arguments, crystallization, and synthesis of important issues are critical practices toward winning my ballot, as are diction, clarity, and succinct argumentation. The rationale that supports an argument or a clear link chain will factor into my decision making paradigm.
RFD is usually based on a weighing calculus - I will look at a priori arguments first before considering other relevant voters in the round. On a side note: I am not fond of debaters engaging with me as I explain a decision; that being said, I am happy to entertain further discussion via email, should a situation warrant. Also, Standing for speeches is my preference.
firstname.lastname@example.org for the chain
*Please show up to the round pre-flowed and ready to go. If you get to the room before me or are second flight, flip and get the email chain started so we don't delay the rounds.*
Currently the head coach at Southlake Carroll. The majority of my experience is in Public Forum but I’ve spent time either competing or judging every event.
You would probably classify me as a flay judge. The easiest way to win my ballot is through comparative weighing. Explain why your links are clearer and stronger and how your impacts are more important than those of your opponents.
Speed is fine but if I miss something that is crucial to your case because you can’t speak fast and clearly at the same time then that’ll be your fault. If you really want to avoid this issue then I would send a speech doc if you plan on going more than 225 wpm.
I do not flow cross so if anything important was said mention it in a speech.
I would classify myself as tech over truth but let’s not get too crazy.
Typical speaks are between 27-30. I don’t give many 30s but it’s not impossible to get a 30 from me.
I would much rather you sacrifice your speed for clarity. If you can’t get to everything that you need to say then it would probably be best to prioritize your impacts and do a great job weighing.
Any comments that are intended (or unintended in certain circumstances) to be discriminatory in any form will immediately result in the lowest possible speaker points.
I’m probably not evaluating your K or theory argument at a non-bid tournament. If you’re feeling brave then you can go for it but unless the literature is solid and it is very well run, I’m going to feel like you’re trying to strat out of the debate by utilizing a style that is not yet a norm and your opponents likely did not plan for. If we're at a bid tournament or state, go for it.
Don’t just extend card names and dates without at least briefly reminding me what that card said. Occasionally I write down the content of the card but not the author so if you just extend an author it won’t do you any good.
I have a super high threshold for IVIs. If there's some sort of debate based abuse run a proper shell.
LD Specific (This is not my primary event so I would make sure I check this)
Cheatsheet (1 is most comfortable, 5 is lowest)
Topical Ks: 2
Non-Topical Ks: 4
I’ll understand your LARP arguments. I’ll be able to follow your spreading. I can evaluate most K’s but am most comfortable with topical K’s. I will understand your theory arguments but typically don't go for RVIs. I would over-explain if you don’t fall into those categories and adjust if possible.
I am new to judging Congress. I do expect thoughtful, clear and succinct speeches. Be respectful of everyone in Chamber ... that includes managing your time and being prepared. I appreciate it when competitors demonstrate that they have been listening to their peers and incorporate recognition (including refutation) of others' arguments into their own.
I am a senior executive with quite a bit of presentation and persuasion experience. I will listen carefully and judge your arguments based on delivery, content, structure, and recent/relevant research, not on whether or not I agree with your position. I value positive, non confrontational or condescending attitudes from competitors, both in delivery of speeches and CX.
I do not expect that your speeches are memorized. I don't even have a problem with a direct read from notes. That said, translate written documents for oral delivery - the genres have nuanced, but important differences. Either way, you should fully understand the issue at hand and demonstrate that you have practiced your content and delivery.
I am a lay judge - make sense and I vote for you :).
Be kind and have a great debate.
Try not to spread because I won't be able to flow. If you don't see me flowing, you're probably going too fast.
In all types of debate, keep in mind: QUANTITY IS NOT QUALITY. Don't try to win by simply overwhelming your opponent(s) with arguments. Gish gallops will not work with me, so don't try them.
I am an old-school LD judge. I want to see a clear values clash and hear some philosophy, not just a long list of cards. Cases that are not grounded in ethical theory will have a harder time winning me over. Kritik cases are fine so long as they are not abusive -- that is, so long as they leave the opposition some ground from which to argue. A kritik of the resolution is fine, but generic kritiks that could be run against any case / resolution are not.Also, any out-of-round kritiks just aren't going to work with me. These almost always revolve around claims that I have no way to verify, or debaters essentially making up rules that they they then accuse their opponents of breaking.
I am STRONGLY opposed to spreading in LD. I believe that it is the bane of the event. Certainly it is an excuse to toss out a lot of abusive one-way hash arguments. Anything much faster than a typical conversational pace is likely to cause me to stop flowing your case. Make your point with QUALITY, not quantity.
Please do NOT offer to send me your case. If I cannot follow your case AS YOU PRESENT IT IN THE ROUND, you are NOT communicating it clearly enough.
Tech cases are unlikely to impress me. Win with strong arguments, not technicalities.
Semantic arguments are fine, but keep them on point; don't descend into trivialities.
In Public Forum, I am similarly NOT a fan of "progressive" debate. This is PUBLIC forum, so make arguments that could impress any reasonably well-informed and attentive audience, not just judges who know all of technical debate language. Make reasonable claims which clearly support your side of the resolution, support them with significant and relevant evidence, and weigh impacts. Tell me why your impacts outweigh your opponents', tell me why your evidence is superior to theirs, tell me why your claims lead to me voting for your side of the resolution.
I am the Director of Interp and Oratory/Assistant Director of Forensics at Seven Lakes High School in Katy, Texas. I did speech in high school in Texas, and I am also a thespian -- I have a BFA in acting and I was a theatre director prior to specializing in Speech and Debate.
Conflicts: Seven Lakes (TX), Wimberley (TX)
First and foremost, I am a theatre person and a speech coach by training and by trade.
Congress (As of 4/10/2023)
Don't speed through your speeches, speed matters to me. Style matters to me as well, I am looking for structured arguments with clean rhetoric that comes in a polished package. Introduce new arguments. In questioning, I look for fully answering questions while also furthering your argument. I notice posture and gestures -- and they do matter to me. Evidence should be relevant and (for the most part) recent. Evidence is pretty important to me, and outweighs clean delivery if used properly. A clean analysis will rank you up on my ballot as well. Don't yell at each other. Overall, be respectful of one another. If I don't see respect for your fellow competitors, it can be reflected on my ballot. Don't rehash arguments. An extra speech with something I have already heard that round is likely to bump you down when I go to rank. As far as PO's go, I typically start them at 4 or 5, and they will go up or down depending on how clean the round runs. A clean PO in a room full of really good speakers will likely be ranked lower on my ballot. As far as delivery goes...as it says above, I am a speech coach. Your volume, rate, diction, etc are important. Make sure you are staying engaged and talking to the chamber, not at the chamber -- I want to be able to tell that you care about what you are speaking on.
Interp (As of 3/09/2022):
I am looking for honest connection to character and to text. Blocking should be motivated by the text and make sense for the character. I look for using vocal variety to add to the text and really paint a picture. I want you to really connect and tell the story. I also look for an overall arc of the story, clear beat changes, and clear emotion. I also look for clean diction and an appropriate rate of speech. Additionally, environment should be clear and blocking should be clean. In single events, I want to see the connection to your “other” (who are you sharing this with in the context of the story). In partner events, I want to see you really connect to each other. If you play more than one character, I am looking for clear and clean differences between the characters. Overall, tell your story. Connect to character, and share that with the audience.
Public Speaking (As of 3/09/2022):
Delivery is very important to me. Be careful of overusing gestures, make sure they have a purpose and enhance what you say. I want to see you connected to sharing your speech, not simply reciting something you memorized. While I do tend to notice style before content, it is important that your content is accurate and adequately supported. The content of the speech and the way it flows is important. I also look at diction and rate of delivery. In info, I do like fun interactive visuals—but they need to enhance your speech, not be there just to fill space. Overall, I want you to be excited about your speech and to have fun delivering it.
PF (As of 1/21/22):
I try to flow pretty carefully, but please make sure you reiterate important points as they become useful to your argument.
Speed is okay, as long as I can understand you.
- Articulation matters to me. I would rather you speak a little slower and not get caught up in what you are saying.
I really look for you to answer each other’s attacks on cases, not just repeat what you have already told me if it doesn't address the opposing case.
Giving me a clear road map and sticking to it always helps.
If a team is misrepresenting evidence, make it clear to me and tell me how they are doing so.
Overall, I want you to tell me why you are right AND why they are wrong. Make sure you are backing up your claims with evidence and statistics.
Obey prep time in order to give both sides a fair chance. Respect is key for the debate.
Clarity and explanation are helpful. Jargon and complexity doesn’t matter if the ideas don’t add up. I highly encourage you to flow and extend evidence from previous debates, in order to weigh which of these ideas win, lose, and how they outweigh.
I will rarely consider new cards from a side if the topic was dropped in a previous speech, as it is unfair to debate to introduce new evidence so late. Remember, silence is compliance. I recommend that the constructive speech should be where you construct and introduce evidence, while the rebuttals are mainly reserved for extending and argumentation.
I weigh heavily on impact calculus, although line by line allows me to see which arguments are discredited. Towards the end of debate, please mention why your points matter, and how it wins the debate.
I am alright with participants cutting cards mid-round, and I encourage complex debates that giveboth sides a fighting chance, so I highly favor advancement of the debate.
I am a debate coach with 20 years experience, and have coached all speech and debate events.
In round, I reward strong research/evidence, solid understanding of the topic, and advancing the debate by bringing points and clash together. Use evidence accurately and truthfully. Different speeches (authorship, refutation, weighing, etc.) have different purposes, and accomplishing the purpose of each speech is more important that battling in a waiting game, always trying to get the last speech. Every argument and claim should be effectively supported with warrant and data from evidence. Questioning should be won by smart questions and answers: CX should not be a shouting match or full of interruption.
Presiding officers should maximize time given to speakers and questioners, and minimize PO narration as much as possible through direct communication and strong word economy. POs should keep things fast, professional, fair, and within the rules. The debate session should maximize debate time allotted.
For questions, my email is email@example.com.
I am a traditional judge. I judge what's on the flow. Truth and tech both matter. Use evidence accurately and truthfully. Framework and Value/criterion/standard are very important. I'd rather hear arguments grounded in real world data in the literature on the topic, but also am open to philosophy arguments. I am not a fan of theory that would end up substituting for debating the actual topic. Please don't spread. It's rarely necessary. If opponents or I call for evidence, please provide it right away- there shouldn't be delays related to evidence searching. Don't call for evidence too often or without good reason. Please be cooperative, civil, and professional in CX when you are questioned.
For email chains/questions, my email is firstname.lastname@example.org.
I judge what's on the flow. Truth and tech both matter. Use evidence accurately and truthfully. Framework and warrants and data are very important to me. Every argument should be clear, warranted, and supported with data/examples/evidence. Keep cross ex civil and polite, and an equal sharing of speaking time. I prefer to hear grouping and strong weighing in summary and final focus, so definitely collapse the debate to a few key issues instead of covering a ton of different thoughts in a line by line style. If opponents or I call for evidence, please provide it right away- there shouldn't be delays related to evidence searching. Don't call for evidence too often or without good reason. I strongly prefer arguments grounded in the literature of the topic, with data and real world examples, over efforts to avoid debating the topic, such as disclosure theory or other theory. Public Forum debate was created to develop skills related to communicating with the general public, and that intent should be embraced by PF debaters. No need to spread in PF at all.
For email chains/questions, my email is email@example.com.
I am a traditional extemp judge. I like clear and straightforward organization. I reward strong research/evidence, solid understanding of the topic, and strong well supported argument. Use evidence accurately and truthfully. Every argument, idea, claim, should be effectively supported with warrant and data from evidence. Ideas and evidence should come together smoothly and well to answer the overall question. Body paragraphs don't need an agd- if they have agds, they should enhance the body paragraph and link perfectly to it without muddling the flow of the speech and without taking tangents. Cross examination should be won by smart questions and answers.
For questions, my email is firstname.lastname@example.org.
Served as a parliamentarian last season at Cavalier, Emory, Harvard, TOCs, and NCFLs. Served as a parliamentarian or judge at Yale, Blue Key, and Glenbrooks this season.
My rankings as a parliamentarian tend to be pretty spot-on for the top three to five students in my prelim chambers before varying a little bit going down from there, as they should.
Try not to overthink where I rank you. I would say to focus on the feedback; I've been a part of the Congressional Debate community as a competitor, judge, and coach for over a decade now, so I certainly have some thoughts on how I think you can improve.
We are all aware that teammates share prep, students are using AI, and some unscrupulous coaches prep their students out. That is why I have found that I actually judge more heavily off of delivery in prelims. I'm always listening to your arguments and taking note of strong and weak ones, but I'm not exactly flowing the round like it's PF; I'm just trying to give each of you a paragraph of feedback for each speech. Here is a non-exhaustive list of things I will try to evaluate over the course of nine or so hours as your parliamentarian:
☐ Good arguments & avoid rehash
☐ Full (with the date) citations & high-quality sources
☐ Signposting your arguments/clear taglines
☐ Ability to refute
☐ Ability to crystalize
☐ Strong analysis
☐ Strong questioning
☐ Strong introductions
☐ Strong conclusions (that relate to your intro and last for longer than 5 seconds)
☐ Rhetoric & humor
☐ Appeals to pathos
☐ Effective hand gestures
☐ Eye contact (especially during your introduction)
☐ Passion, not aggression
☐ Vocal variation (tone & volume & speed)
☐ Fluency of speech
☐ Walking on points
☐ Conversational pace
☐ Ends on time/time management (this is a BIG pet peeve of mine; try to end at 3:00 please)
☐ Leadership/influence in the chamber
☐ In-round strategy (overcoming bad pre-set recency, getting a third speech in without losing the respect of your peers)
☐ Use of a legal pad or non-technological equivalent (this is part of the role-play)
☐ Maintaining the role-play (if you are a senator, that means you're pretending to be at least 30 years old)
I'll be honest, I only occasionally judge elimination rounds because I am usually conflicted out of all of them except for at the largest tournaments (think Harvard or NSDA House quarters). However, I do watch them all the time as a spectator.
What I am really looking for in semis (or quarters) are students who have not only mastered the fundamentals, but also find a way to stand out in a room where everyone is pretty decent at speaking.
Specifically, the key things I am really looking for when I judge an elimination round are:
☐ Outstanding intros & conclusions
☐ Clear signposting & structure
☐ Authentic rhetoric & pathos
☐ Advanced argumentation & synthesis
☐ Conversational pace & stellar eye contact
☐ Strong time management throughout a speech (3:00 is the target; if both of your speeches are 3:10, that looks comparatively weak)
A note on presiding:
If you're going to be a presiding officer while competing in Congressional Debate, be a great one. Above all, time your fellow competitors accurately. If you mistime or misgavel your colleagues, I consider that to be a critical failure. Pay attention to your timer and if you make a mistake, be honest about it and come clean. I also don't like it when POs lie about speech times (saying a speech that is 3:13 is 3:10).
POs should demonstrate authority and leadership through problem-solving, managing the chamber when conflict and confusion arises.
I keep a close eye to see if a PO appears to have read the tournament-specific rules.
I highly value word economy. The more you speak as a PO, the more time you are wasting.
Dockets and agendas are not the same thing. The words are not interchangeable.
If no one wants to preside and you are genuinely taking one for the team, I will obviously recognize that and try to help you out if I'm your parli.
Remember why we are all here: Speech and Debate is an educational activity. This is about you becoming the best, most capable version of yourself (and using those talents to make the world a better place). Five years from now, the confidence, talent, and knowledge you cultivate through this activity will be useful to you, every single day. The plaques and trophies will either still be on display at your old school or sitting in a box at home somewhere, out of sight and out of mind.
My pronouns are they/them/theirs. Please do not call me ma’am. I know it's a southern respect thing but it's icky to me. If you need a title for me, I unironically like being called judge (unless you say it 400 times in your summary speech, that's too much), Judge Contreras is fine, just Contreras works too. My students call me Coach, and that's also fine. Teens, please don't call me El (that's one southernism I stand by!)
Head Coach and social studies teacher at L.C. Anderson High School in Austin, TX since 2022.
San Marcos High School- I competed all four years in high school, I did extemp, congress, and UIL Policy.
I will not rank a triggering performance first. I just won’t do that. There’s no need for you to vividly reenact violence and suffering at 8 a.m. on a Saturday morning (or like, ever). Triggering performances without trigger warnings will have their rank reflect the performance. Use your talent to tell a story, not to exploit pain. Also, normalize giving content and trigger warnings before your performance!! Give people a chance to take care of themselves. If I'm judging your round and another competitor triggers you, you are welcome to quietly get up and walk out during their performance. I will not dock or punish you for this, your mental health is the most important. Please take care of yourself and each other!! I'm in a "you should do a different piece" mindset on this issue and if you can't reenact that narrative without exploiting suffering, something is wrong.
Debate comments (PF, LD, CX, World Schools)
I will evaluate anything as long as it's warranted and extended. I won't make arguments for you, tell me why and how you're winning. I'll vote tech over truth unless the truth overwhelms the tech. Sticky defense is so fake, extend your arguments if you want to win them. Unextended = dropped. Proper extensions, tag and cite, claim, warrant, impact!!
Both partners need to participate in grand cross. PF is a partner event! No, you can't skip grand cross. I'm listening to cross and waiting to hear the questions from cross brought into round.
Please do a www.speechdrop.net room, it is a fantastic site, and I will definitely pop in and read cards and cases if you have the speechdrop room set up. Always send case, always send speech docs. I am #notsponsored, just a fan! My email is down below.
Spell out all the abbreviations you use in round. Don’t assume I know what you’re talking about. People know what the UN is, the EU, etc, people may not know BRI, any random trade agreement, etc.
speed: You don't have to go at a conversational pace but nobody should be full-on-spreading in PF. When you're off the doc, you have to go slower. I try not to flow off the doc but I will use it as support if you're faster than I can follow. Slow down on taglines, analytics, authors- basically anything you think is vital to my decision.
PF-specific comments (WIP):
- I'll vote on anything but getting me to vote on framework in a PF round is an uphill battle, especially if it's not fully developed. saying "we have a framework" is not sufficient to win on framework
- Arctic topic- I'm open to topicality debates. Again, as long as they're well-run!
- extensions are not just saying "Extend my contention 2", you must extend the card tag/cite and the claim, warrant, and impact!
- speaker points- these national tournaments keep giving me a rubric to use and I'm trying to apply that to all the realms I judge in. Points start at 28 and I adjust from there. I'm a swiftie so each speech with a Taylor Swift reference earns you + 0.1 speaks
- I don't judge LD often, not as comfortable with LD speeds but I'll use the doc
- I will evaluate k's, as long as they're well-developed and defended
- I know this event is generally more technical but again, don't assume I know what you're talking about!! spell out all your abbreviations, provide definitions (especially if you're reading a K), do your best to make the round and the space more accessible!
This message is specifically for competitors in debate events; I value respect in the round. Please don’t be rude in front of me. It doesn’t make me laugh, it reminds me of uncomfortable/unpleasant rounds where my competitors were rude to me or my partner. That has no business in a debate space, please don’t bring that energy into a round. This goes double for people in privileged positions who make women and gender/racial minorities uncomfortable or unsafe in the debate space. Not only will I chew you out and tank your speaks, but I will also let your coach know about the harmful practices. it's on all of us to make the debate space inclusive and equitable.
TLDR- be nice, be kind, and be self-aware.
I did congressional debate all four years I competed in high school, I really enjoyed it and love watching a good Congress round. I have a lot of respect for a strong PO and usually reward that with a higher ranking.
Clash, clash, clash! Put the debate into congressional debate.
There's a line between sassy and rude. Tread it carefully.
something that I genuinely appreciate in every event is a trigger warning before potentially triggering performances and speeches. controversially, I care about all of your experiences in a round and would like to give everyone an opportunity to opt out. If you’re a spectator or a competitor in a speech room, you deserve the opportunity to step out. If you’re competing in a debate round, you have every right to ask your competitors to read a version of their case that excludes the triggering material. As a judge, I reserve the right to step out/turn off my camera for a moment before you give your performance.
In a debate round, I’d appreciate that triggering material cut out. I don’t think intense/graphic depictions of human suffering add much to your overall case anyway, I’d rather you extend cards in that time or frontline or do anything besides exploit human suffering.
If I correct your pronunciation of a word in my ballot, it’s genuinely to educate you. It’s hard to know how to pronounce a word you’ve never heard aloud, just read (looking at you, Reuters!)
I have a degree in history, with a focus on Latin American history. Keep that in mind when discussing issues focused on Latin America. Feel free to ask me for a reading list to better understand conflicts, revolutions, and government suppression (including US intervention) in Guatemala, Argentina, Honduras, El Salvador, and more.
If you are spectating an event and are fully texting in front of me or attempting to talk to/distract a competitor, I’m going to ask you to leave. I will not warn you once, I have a zero-tolerance policy for disrespecting competitors or interfering with competition in that way.
Lynne Coyne, Myers Park HS, NC. 20+ years experience across formats
At the NCFL 2023 I will be judging policy debate for the first time in a decade. Here is the warning: I know the generic world of policy, but not the acronyms, kritiks, etc., of this topic. You need to slow down to make sure I am with you. As in all forms of debate, choice of arguments in later speeches and why they mean you win not only the argument, but the round, is important.
I have coached debate, and been a classroom teacher, for a long time. I feel that when done well, with agreed upon “rules of engagement”, there is not a better activity to provide a training ground for young people.
Debate rounds, and subsequently debate tournaments, are extensions of the classroom. While we all learn from each other, my role is parallel to that of an instructor. I will evaluate your performance. I see my role as to set a fair, but stringent, set of expectations for the students I am judging. At times, this means advancing expectations that I feel are best for the students and, at times, the broader community as well. I see myself as a critic of argument , or in old school policy lingo, a hypothesis tester. The resolution is what I vote for or against, rather than just your case or counterplan, unless given a compelling reason otherwise.
Below please find a few thoughts as to how I evaluate debates.
1. Speed is not a problem. In most of the debates I judge, clarity IS the problem not the speed of spoken word itself. I reserve the right to yell “clear” once or twice…after that, the burden is on the debater. I will show displeasure… you will not be pleased with your points. Style and substance are fundamentally inseparable but I recognize that low point wins are often a needed option, particularly in team events. The debater adapts to the audience to transmit the message-not the opposite. I believe I take a decent flow of the debate.
2. I generally dislike theory debates littered with jargon (exception is a good policy T debate that has communication implications and standards—if you’ve known me long enough this will still make you shake your head perhaps). Just spewing without reasons why an interpretation is superior for the round and the activity is meaningless. Disads run off the magical power of fiat are rarely legitimate since fiat is just an intellectual construct. I believe all resolutions are funadamentally questions of WHO should do WHAT--arguments about the best actor are thus legitimate. I am not a person who enjoys random bad theory debates andugly tech debates.
3. Evidence is important. In my opinion debates/comparisons about the qualifications of authors on competing issues (particularly empirical ones), in addition to a comparison of competing warrants in the evidence, is important. Do you this and not only will your points improve, I am likely to prefer your argument if the comparison is done well. All students should have full cites for materials.
4. I am not a “blank state”. I also feel my role as a judge is to serve a dual function of rendering a decision, in addition to serving a role as educator as well. I try not to intervene on personal preferences that are ideological, but I believe words do matter. Arguments that are racist, sexist, homophobic etc will not be tolerated. If I see behaviors or practices that create a bad, unfair, or hostile environment for the extension of the classroom that is the debate round, I will intervene.
The ballot acts as a teaching tool NOT a punishment.
5. Answer questions in cross-examination. Cross-ex is binding. I do listen carefully to cross – ex. Enter the content of CX into speeches to translate admissions into arguments. Do not all speak at once in PF and do allow your partner to engage equally in grand cross fire.
6. Debating with a laptop is a choice, if you are reading from a computer I have three expectations that are nonnegotiable:
A) You must jump the documents read to the opposition in a timely manner (before your speech or at worse IMMEDIATELY after your speech) to allow them to prepare or set up an email chain.
B) If your opponent does not have a laptop you need to have a viewing computer OR surrender your computer to them to allow them to prepare. The oppositions need to prep outweighs your need to prep/preflow in that moment in time.
C) My expectation is that the documents that are shared are done in a format that is the same as read by the debater that initially read the material. In other words, I will not tolerate some of the shenanigan’s that seem to exist, including but not limited to, using a non standard word processing program, all caps, no formatting etc..
7. Weighing and embedded clash are a necessary component of debate. Good debaters extend their arguments. GREAT debaters do that in addition to explaining the nexus point of clash between their arguments and that of the opposition and WHY I should prefer their argument. A dropped argument will rarely alone equal a ballot in isolation.
8. An argument makes a claim, has reasoning, and presents a way to weigh the implications (impacts). I feel it takes more than a sentence (or in many of the rounds I judge a sentence fragment), to make an argument. If the argument was not clear originally, I will allow the opponent to make new arguments. If an argument is just a claim, it will carry very little impact.
Choose. No matter the speech or the argument.
Please ask me specific questions if you have one before the debate.
CONGRESS PARADIGM IS BELOW THIS PF Paradigm
ALMOST EVERY ROUND I HAVE JUDGED IN THE LAST 8 YEARS WOULD HAVE BENEFITTED FROM 50% FEWER ARGUMENTS, AND 100% MORE ANALYSIS OF THOSE 50% FEWER ARGUMENTS. A Narrative, a Story carries so much more persuasively through a round than the summary speaker saying "we are going for Contention 2".
I am NOT a fan of speed, nor speed/spread. Please don't make me think I'm in a Policy Round!
I don't need "Off-time roadmaps", I just want to know where you are starting.
Claim/warrant/evidence/impact is NOT a debate cliche; It is an Argumentative necessity! A label and a blip card is not a developed argument!
Unless NUCLEAR WINTER OR NUCLEAR EXTINCTION HAS ALREADY OCCURED, DON'T BOTHER TO IMPACT OUT TO IT.
SAVE K'S FOR POLICY ROUNDS; RUN THEORY AT YOUR OWN RISK- I start from ma place that it is fake and abusive in PF and you are just trying for a cheap win against an unprepared team. I come to judge debates about the topic of the moment.
YOU MIGHT be able to convince me of your sincerity if you can show me that you run it in every round and are President of the local "Advocacy for that Cause" Club.
Don't just tell me that you win an argument, show me WHY you win it and what significance that has in the round.
Please NARROW the debate and WEIGH arguments in Summary and Final Focus. If you want the argument in Final Focus, be sure it was in the summary.
There is a difference between "passionate advocacy" and anger. Audio tape some of your rounds and decide if you are doing one or the other when someone says you are "aggressive".
NSDA evidence rules require authors' last name and THE DATE (minimum) so you must AT LEAST do that if you want me to accept the evidence as "legally presented". If one team notes that the other has not supplied dates, it will then become an actual issue in the round. Speaker points are at stake.
In close rounds I want to be persuaded and I may just LISTEN to both Final Focus speeches, checking off things that are extended on my flow.
I am NOT impressed by smugness, smiling sympathetically at the "stupidity" of your opponent's argument, vigorous head shaking in support of your partner's argument or opposition to your opponents'. Speaker points are DEFINITELY in play here!
1: The first thing I am looking for in every speech is ORGANIZATION AND CLARITY. 2. The second thing I am looking for is CLASH; references to other speakers & their arguments
3. The third thing I am looking for is ADVOCACY, supported by EVIDENCE
IMPORTANT NOTE: THIS IS A SPEAKING EVENT, NOT A READING EVENT! I WILL NOT GIVE EVEN A "BRILLIANT" SPEECH A "6" IF IT IS READ OFF A PREPARED SHEET/TUCKED INTO THE PAD OR WRITTEN ON THE PAD ITSELF; AND, FOR CERTAIN IF IT IS READ OFF OF A COMPUTER OR TABLET.
I value a good story and humor, but Clarity and Clash are most important.
Questioning and answering factors into overall placement in the Session.
Yes, I will evaluate and include the PO, but it is NOT an automatic advancement to the next level; that has gotten a bit silly.
I competed in Congressional debate for four years. I don't think it would be very productive for me to tell you how to do Congressional debate because you probably know how to speak clearly, signpost, and refute. I place a lot of value on clear warrants, impacts, and weighing. I’ve judged PF and LD for years - I flow, and I don’t mind speed. Please do not spread or run theory on me.
I studied Public Policy and Economics at UNC-Chapel Hill. During my studies, I published a chapter exploring the intersection of politics and Islam in France, and an article detailing how the video game Old School RuneScape critically supports the economy of Venezuela.
I have seen every Liam Neeson action movie and have studied this topic very deeply. In 4,000 words, I have laid out the case that all of these movies, from The Commuter and Non-Stop to Unknown and the glorious Taken trilogy, exist in the same cinematic universe in which Liam plays one character. A tragic but brave life it is.
I now work in the tobacco industry.
Do your best. Good luck.
Heyoo and Howdy, Its Jomi,
I have been Competing, Coaching, and Judging for going on 8 years now and I'm 21 so that says a lot about my wild amount of commitment I have towards this activity.
Mainly competed and coached extemp and congress so that is where my best critiques would come from since those are the events that I know the most about, however, I am proficient in knowing PF and LD since I have judged tons of elimination rounds for those events and have friends in the events so they teach me the game.
I would say no matter the event it always comes down to three solid principles for me
Logic without evidence
Quality of evidence
Speaking and execution of rhetoric
Logic without evidence meaning how solid on a logic understands deductive or inductive reasoning is the argument, to the point that at the least from a basic philosophical level can I consider that argument valid but not being true because that would require evidence.
Quality of evidence is what sets an argument to being a good argument because if your evidence is timely, relevant, and flows within the speech or case then that sets you apart from the round. Good evidence balances arguments, Bad Evidence breaks arguments
Speaking and execution of Rhetoric meaning simply how well are you conveying your speech and case in your delivery, even in Policy debate, if you want the judge to hear something import and round defining then you slow down and say it with conviction. How well do your voice and your inflections convey your narrative especially on the impact analysis which to me is the most important parts of arguments especially;y on a human level is to be important
Most of all, be respectful and courteous to your judges and especially to your opponents because if you are rude, condescending, sexist, racist, you know the deal if it's bad and I catch it, expect the worst result from me and expect for me to back it up. So just be a respectful person and we will be all good.
6-year debate parent. Argumentation heavy.
Do NOT bring up victims of police brutality just for your intros or as an additional piece of evidence you immediately move on from. people's lives should not be used as a piece of 'gotcha' evidence or a card to win a judge. if you are ignoring people's humanity to win a round you are not doing this activity correctly.
40% presentation, 60% content. There MUST be refutation in every speech after the authorship. your job as the author/sponsor is to explain how the mechanisms of your legislation work, not just give the first aff speech-explain what your legislation does and how it solves the problems in the status quo. If you speak twice on the same bill I will drop you. If you refer to male presenting competitors as 'representative/senator' and female presenting competitors as 'Ms.' I will drop you. If you are aggressive in direct cross I will want to drop you. Please give me clear impacts and ask questions often. I also coach extemp, so I don't want to see you just reading a prewritten speech off your legal pad. I love good POs and I will rank you high for it!
I'm not going to time you. I'm not going to flow cross. As long as you're not an LD or Policy debater turned PF debater, I'll be fine with your speed (as long as your constructive is under 900 words you're probably fine). I need impacts and clear taglines. Organization is a huge thing for me. It is not my job to weigh the round for you, so you need to be doing impact calculus and giving me key voters all the way through. SIGNPOST. If you are rude in cross I will give you low speaks and I will want to drop you. If you run a K I will drop you. Also I do not flow the authors of your cards are so if you refer to cards by the author only I am not going to be able to find it on my ballot-give me a source name, a key word or phrase, something.
2023-24 will constitute my 31st year judging intercollegiate debate.
General comments about my judging:
1) When forced to choose, evidence-based argumentation informed by an understanding of current events is preferred to eloquent prose devoid of substance.
2) Argumentation that directly engages opponents' positions, especially strategic choices that clearly acknowledge and account for the strengths of an opponents' claims while exploiting their weaknesses is considered the highest form of debate.
3) In terms of delivery style, confidence is not measured by volume, aptitude is not proven by aggressiveness, and eye contact is always appreciated.
4) Competitors who know how to employ "Even If" statements ("Even if my opponent is correct about ______, they still lose the debate because ________") are more successful than those who assume, and speak as if, they have won all the arguments.
5) I flow, or at least try to. I don't give up on that exercise because debaters share a speech document.
Specific thoughts about judging the 2023-24 CEDA-NDT resolution:
- Debating nuclear weapons is a relative waste of our collective intellect, and an unfortunate reminder at the shallow and superficial manner by which our community chooses what topic we will spend an entire year researching, learning about, and engaging in a contestation of contrasting perspectives. US nuclear weapons policy is neither the most salient policy issue, nor even the most pressing foreign policy issue. Sadly, our community is too narrow-minded and scared to use our powers of debate to focus our energy on other areas of public policy that would be much better for college-aged scholars to delve into.
- My thoughts expressed above do not mean I automatically support Affirmative teams who strategically choose to talk about some other topic, regardless of how passionately they feel about it. Debate is still debate, and if you can't explain how your decision to affirm something beyond the reasonably-expected "topical ground" is both educational AND fairly debatable, then in my opinion you're not any better than the folks who are stuck in the time loop of debating NFU.
- Especially at the start of the year, don't assume we know the acronyms and specialized vocabulary you're using. My responsibility as a judge is to give the teams my full attention and effort as an adjudicator during the round - I am not required to show up to the debate already having expert-level familiarity with whatever literature base the debaters have been immersed for the last few months - whether that be nuclear weapons policy or any other body of literature.
Over the last six years, I have become heavily involved in debate outside of the US, having taught both teachers and students, high school and university level, in Africa, east Asia, and the Caribbean. One consequence of my international experience is that a lot of the ontological claims debaters in the US make about the activity (e.g., "Debate is ______" or "Debate must ________" or "________ (people) can only debate like _________" ) ring very hollow to me and reflect a naive ethnocentrism about which too many folks in the US are oblivious.
I have experience judging LD at the College and High School level and Public Forum at the High School level, but would be no means say I am an expert. These are some things to keep in mind with me.
Assume that I know nothing. This includes shorthand, theory, or K literature. Even if I do know something, I will pretend I don't to avoid intervening in the round.
Speed Kills (your ability to win the round). I want to be able to flow everything. To this end, I will say “clear” two times and then I am able to flow what I can flow: if I miss something because you’re speeding then it won’t be considered. I do not want to look at cards unless you or your opponent have a tiff about what they actually say.
Additionally, I think that spreading should be a tool to allow for deeper and more specific arguments as opposed to allowing for more short, blippy responses. If you're speeding through a response and that response was only a sentence or two to begin with, it probably doesn't register as that important to me.
Tech over truth except in extreme cases. Tell me what to vote on, tell me what to care about. Clearly weigh your impacts against your opponents do not assume I prefer one over the other without you giving me a reason to prefer.
I care about dropped arguments- you need to extend and that means more than just saying “extend.” Functionally reiterate your arguments or at least summaries of them.
CX- I often will flow this, but it will not factor into my decisions unless you bring it up in your speech. Don’t shoot yourself in the foot, DO use this time to clarify, NOT make new arguments.
I hate hate hate people being hyperbolic or lying about what their opponent said or did: Ex. “they dropped this point” when they clearly did not. Just know if you do it I will be inclined toward your opponent. If YOU misheard or misunderstood your opponent’s argument I get that, but pretending they didn’t respond to something they did is as good as dropping the arg.
-The most important things to me are delivery and content.
-If two people are very close on both these aspects content will be more important than delivery.
-I pay attention to questioning, but it is more of a tie breaker for me. If you ask a particularly good question I will note it and you will be ranked higher than someone with the same scores on speeches and no notes about questioning.
-Very important to my ranking of speeches is whether you are moving the round forward or introducing new ideas.
-I prefer evidence usage, though in some analytic cases it is not strictly needed.
-I very much like interaction with the other speeches that have gone (rebutting directly or adding more to a previous argument).
-Taking risks with content or delivery in ways which push the boundaries of the norms will certainly earn some bonus points in my head.
-I think that decorum is important- pay attention to what others are saying, don't engage in personal attacks or generally be rude.
I expect to see and hear a clear, succinct presentation of your work. I have a teaching background in healthcare and listen and judge clinical presentations. I appreciate positive, non-confrontational attitude from participants. Please try to avoid talking over each other.
Thanks, and good luck.
Lay Parent Judge - kindly speak slowly. Looking forward to hearing your debates!
Joyce Korir She/They
For questions: email@example.com
Current affiliation: Emory University & Atlanta Urban Debate League
Conflicts: Atlanta Urban Debate League, Cross Keys High School
Debate Experience: 5 years (2 years with AUDL, 3 on GFCA/Nationals)
Rounds judge in 2021-2022: 10+ rounds at AUDL tournaments
Debate whatever arguments you feel the most confident about AND can explain. When I debated in High School I was a K debater (specifically Warren, and a K-aff on Black genealogy on the immigration topic). I like to hear Kritiks but I just need more information and sufficient line pulling, strong overviews, and line by line.
I am familiar with the NATO topic to the extent of AUDL's evidence. Take your time to explain nuances that you may not have had to do in previous tournaments.
Tag teaming for cross-ex is ok as long as it isn't overbearing, I'm not strict on stopping prep to send emails, but try your best to send out speeches before you end prep.
Hey everyone, My name is Anish Kristipati and I'm a freshman in college. I competed in Congressional debate throughout all four years of high school on both the local and national circuits as well as in online and in-person debates (This includes NSDA Nats and even Emory :)). So here's some of the things I think are essential for a Congressional debater (in no particular order):
- Good Rhetoric - At the end of the day your goal is to create a convincing argument and that means having a speech that is both engaging and informative. Your speech should be balanced with great analysis and moving rhetoric. This also means that you shouldn't make your speech all rhetoric, give it substance. A good speech should be well received by all judges (not just lay or just tech).
- Knowledge of the Round - Keep arguments new and fresh and understand your position in the round. We all hate hearing the same arguments over and over so try to find nuance and refer to previous speakers. In addition, try to realize when its time for a constructives vs. when its time for other speeches. I highly value clash and refutation but please make sure you're adding something new/progressing the debate as opposed to just refuting/clashing with previous speakers.
- Questioning-In addition,I highly value round presence and good questions. Rather than racing to make motions I value participation of substance. By good questions, I mean questions that analyze holes in logic or further the understanding of topics /themes commonly brought up in round. Questioning can get pretty heated at times, so remain respectful and allow people to ask and answer questions.
- Content - I talked about this a little bit in (2) but I will be looking for strong argumentation that's backed by good (and new) evidence,if a piece of evidence has already been debunked or a claim you have has been debunked search for a new claim or find stronger evidence. Please make sure you have a rock-solid line of reasoning as well.
Overall, that's a pretty short list of what I'm going to be looking for in round and what I will be judging on. I look forward to seeing you all in round! If you have questions or would like any personalized feedback feel free to reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org
School Affiliation: Adlai E. Stevenson High School
First year Emory student.
In high school, I had two years of Congress and two years of PF.
I'll throw out some buzzwords:
Warrant, avoid rehashing, refute, impact, signpost, be polite, flexibility is appreciated.
I am the assistant debate coach at Taylor High School and was the Mayde Creek Coach for many years in Houston, TX. Although I have coached and judged on the National Circuit, it is not something I regularly do or particularly enjoy. I was a policy debater in high school and college, but that was along time ago. My experience is primarily congress and LD. In the past several years I have been running tab rooms in the Houston area. That said, here are a few things you may want to know:
I am fairly flexible in Congress. I like smart, creative speeches. I rate a good passionate persuasive speech over a speech with tons of evidence. Use logos, pathos, and ethos. Clash is good. I think it is good to act like a member of Congress, but not in an over the top way. Questions and answers are very important to me and make the difference in rank. Ask smart questions that advance the debate. Standing up to just ask a dumb question to “participate “ hurts you. I don’t like pointless parliamentary games (who does?). I like a P.O. who is fair and efficient. The P.O. almost always makes my ballot unless they make several big mistakes and or are unfair. (Not calling on a competitor, playing favorites etc.) . If you think your P.O is not being fair, call them on it politely. Be polite and civil, there is a line between attacking arguments and attacking competitors. Stay on the right side of it.
LD & Policy
Civility: I believe we have a real problem in our activity with the lack of civility (and occasional lack of basic human decency). I believe it is discouraging people from participating. Do not make personal attacks or references. Be polite in CX. Forget anything you have ever learned about "perceptual dominance." This is no longer just a loss of speaker points. I will drop you on rudeness alone, regardless of the flow.
Speed: I used to say you could go 6-7 on a 10 point scale... don't. Make it a 3-4 or I will miss that critical analytical warrant you are trying to extend through ink. I am warning you this is not just a stylistic preference. I work tab a lot more than I judge rounds, and do not have the ear that I had when I was judging fast rounds all the time. Run the short version of your cases in front of me. This is particularly true of non-stock, critical positions or multiple short points.
Evidence: I think the way we cut and paraphrase cards is problematic. This is closely related to speed. I would prefer to be able to follow the round and analyze a card without having to read it after it is emailed to me (or call for it after the round). That said, if you feel you have to go fast for strategic reasons, then include me on the chain. I will ignore your spreading and read your case. However, be aware if I have to read your case/evidence, I will. I will read the entire card, not just the highlighted portion. If I think the parts left out or put in 4 point font change the meaning of the argument, or do not support your tag, I will disregard your evidence, regardless of what the opponent says in round. So either go slow or have good, solid evidence.
Theory: I will vote on theory where there is clear abuse. I prefer reasonability as opposed to competing interpretations. Running theory against a stock case for purely competitive advantage annoys me. Argue the case. I don't need a comprehensive theory shell and counter interpretations, and I do not want to see frivolous violations. See my assumptions below.
Assumptions: I believe that debate should be fair and definitions and framework should be interpreted so that both sides have ground and it is possible for either side to win. Morality exists, Justice is not indeterminate, Genocide is bad. I prefer a slower debate focusing on the standard, with well constructed arguments with clash on both sides of the flow. Fewer better arguments are better than lots of bad ones. I am biased towards true arguments. Three sentences of postmodern gibberish cut out of context is not persuasive. Finally, I think the affirmative should be trying to prove the entire resolution true and the negative proves it is not true. (a normative evaluation). You would need to justify your parametric with a warrant other than "so I can win."
Progressive stuff: I will not absolutely rule it out or vote against you, but you need to sell it and explain it. Why is a narrative useful and why should I vote for it? A K better link hard to the opponents case and be based on topical research not just a generic K that has been run on any topic/debater. If you can not explain the alternative or the function of the K in CX in a way that makes sense, I won't vote for it. I am not sure why you need a plan in LD, or why the affirmative links to a Disad. I am not sure how fiat is supposed to work in LD. I do not see why either side has to defend the status quo.
Conclusion: If you want to have a fun TOC style debate with tons of critical positions going really fast, preference a different judge. (Hey, I am not blaming you, some of my debaters loved that sort of thing cough-Jeremey / Valentina / Alec/ Claudia -cough, It is just that I don't).
Hi! I'm Aditi Mishra, a student at Emory University, studying philosophy, politics, and law/ethics/English!
I debated for all four years of high school (graduated 2020 from King High School) and went to countless tournaments in those years. Some of my notable achievements include: runner-up champion at Nova Titan Invitational, National Senate Finalist, and Florida Blue Key Finalist. I had the honor to break at almost every tournament I attended and am so excited to see how Congress is now!
In terms of my preferences, I enjoy sound logic, confident speaking, and personality!
Sound logic is by far the most important to me. Logical links between evidence, premise, and conclusion must flow for a cohesive argument. Well-established logical links will make your argumentation far more attractive to me; this involves how your logic is superior to that of the other side.
Confident speaking is always a pleasure to hear. I love eye contact as well as engagement with the other voices in round. I respect being able to interact with the opposing side of debate with clarity and respect. Emphasis on the second part; your confidence should not come at the cost of someone else's.
Personality is the cherry on top. If I can see some sort of who you are, whether that is your humor, your beliefs, your interests, that makes me even more engaged in the debate.
Of course, none of this should come at the expense of other people's feelings of comfort in the room. Reference to racist, sexist, or any othering language really will result in a drop from me. This also applies to general decorum, especially in questioning. Please do not be mean in an effort to make a point; there's enough hate in the world. No need to add to it.
high school = Kansas 2012-2016 (Policy and LD)
undergrad = Emporia State 2016-2020 (Policy)
grad = Kansas State 2020-2022 (Policy Coach)
DO NOT RECORD MY VOICE OR IMAGE AND DO NOT TAKE PICTURES OF ME WITHOUT MY WRITTEN CONSENT. It's ridiculous this has to be said.
edited for the youth
---- Yes, put me on the email chain. Squiddoesdebate@gmail.com
---- Do a sound check before you start your speech. Simply ask if we can all hear you. I will not dock speaks because of audio issues, however, we will do everything we can to fix the audio issue before we proceed.
------------------- SEND YOUR ANALYTICS - if you want me to flow every word, it would behove you to send me every word you have typed. I am not the only one who uses typed analytics. Don't exclude folks from being able to fully participate just because you don't want to share your analytics.
--- the first thirty seconds of the last rebuttal for each side should be what they expect my RFD should be. I like being lazy and I love it when you not only tell me how I need to vote, but also provide deep explanation and extensive warrants for why the debate has ended in such a way to where I have no other choice to vote that way.
----My decision is most influenced by the last two rebuttals than any other speech. I actively flow the entire debate, but the majority of my attention when considering my decision comes down to a flow-based comparison of the last rebuttals. If you plan to bounce from one page to the next in the 2NR/2AR, then please do cross-applications and choose one page to stay on. That will help both of us.
I think debate should be an activity to have discussions. Sometimes these discussions are fun, sometimes they aren't. Sometimes they are obvious and clear, sometimes they are not. Sometimes that's the point. Regardless, have a discussion and I will listen to it.
I don't like to read evidence after debates. That being said, I will if I have to. If you can make the argument without the evidence, feel free to do so. If I yell "clear", don't trip, just articulate.
--- If I call for evidence or otherwise find myself needing to read evidence, it probably means you did not do a good enough job of explaining the argument and rather relied on author extensions. Please avoid this.
Your speaks start at a 30. Wherever they go from there are up to you. Things that I will drop speaks for include clearly not explaining/engaging the arguments in the round (without a justification for doing so), not explaining or answering CX questions, not articulating more after I clear you. Things that will improve your speaks include being fast, being efficient with your words, being clear while reading evidence, demonstrating comprehensive knowledge of your args by being off your blocks or schooling someone in cross-x, etc. If I significantly hurt your speaks, I will let you know why. Otherwise, you start at 30 and I've only had to go below 26 a handful of times.
----- my range is roughly 28.7-29.5 if you are curious for open and higher for Novice because I love novice debate
Prep time, cross-x, in-between-speeches chats, I'll be listening. All that means- be attentive to what's happening beyond the speeches. If you are making arguments during these times, be sure to make application arguments in the speech times. That's not just a judge preference, it's often devastating.
I like kritikal/performative debate. I did traditional/policy-styled debate. I prefer the previous but won't rule out the latter.
---- ^^ this is less true as I judge more and more high school debate but it is still true for college debate.
slow down when reading the theory / analytics / interps
don't assume I know everything, I know nothing in the grand scheme of things
don't be rude unless you're sure of it
Ask me more if you want to know. Email me. I am down to chat more about my decisions in email if you are willing.
- theory is wild. i don't know as much about it as you think I do
- tell me how to evaluate things, especially in the later speeches because new things are read in every speech and its wild and new to me. tell me what to do.
- I love the k's that are in this activity, keep that up.
I have been judging for several years now. I don't disclose. I am okay with spreading as long as can understand your arguments. I will not give you the win if you are rude or disrespectful.
If you concede I will take it as your acceptance to defeat. My favorite parts of PF are the crossfires so bring it.
If judging LD I will give the win to the best candidate regardless of my personal opinions since LD is about who did the best job to convince me of their points.
When judging speech events I am critical of not just your tone, but your entire performance. Emotion, range and ability to make your feelings encapsulated me in your piece.
In Congress, delivery, ability to argue and defend your bill is crucial. I need not only to understand but see your rationale behind your points.
CONGRESS PARADIGM I am a parent judge who has been judging congress at a local, state, and national level for 2 years. I hope this paradigm tells you a bit more about what I'm looking for.
If you deliver a speech I already heard a different competitor give before, I will give you a lower rank. There is no good reason to copy your teammate's speeches, especially at prestigious bid tournaments. This goes for authorships/sponsorships, too.
PRESENTATION Congress is partially a speech event. Your presentation and delivery will factor into my judging. I love when people take more interesting, performative approaches that break up the monotony of a congress round. Please don't speak too quickly. I will hold it against you if you are reading too much from your pad and have poor eye contact. You should be familiar enough with the content of your speech to not be completely dependent on your pad. I have nothing against electronics. An iPad instead of a legal pad is perfectly fine as long as you don't let it hamper your performance.
CONTENT If you are making claims, make sure they are substantiated with evidence, especially if they are provocative or important new claims in the round. Round adaptation is extremely important. If you're just saying the same things as the previous five speakers before you, I have no reason to give you a good rank. Debaters have an obligation to engage with, build on, and refute what has been said by others in the round.
Always 1. link to the bill and 2. terminalize your impacts. Every speech needs to explain how passing this bill specifically causes a distinct harm or benefit. I don't have strict requirements for how you structure your speeches because I think that stifles innovation in this event, as long as it's a clear, understandable, effective speech.
RHETORIC I love an interesting rhetorical narrative. I think cookie cutter intros are boring. In the best case, each speech has an introduction relevant to the bill or even what has been previously said in the round. Rhetoric is not a substitute for substance. I've heard many brilliant rhetorical performances with very little content, and as much as I enjoy them, I can't rank them very high in the context of a congress round.
I always rank competent POs well. A congress round can't run without a PO, and I will never punish someone who knows what they're doing for stepping up to perform this vital function. Please don't PO if you don't know what you're doing. Yes, everyone has to PO for the first time at some point, but you should still be coming prepared and as someone who is already familiar with how congress works. POing should not be a cop-out for being underprepared.
Some notes for novices/people who are new to congress:
- Memorize parts of your speech
- If you're speaking later in the round, don't just deliver the speech you came prepared with - adapt!
- Be prepared to switch sides on a one-sided bill: you're doing the chamber and your judges a favor
- Be courteous: don't use parliamentary procedure as a tool to exclude or disadvantage others
- Enjoy yourself! Winning 1st place doesn't mean much if you didn't have fun
A debate is a search for the truth. That's why, along with voting, debating is at the heart of America's democratic process.
So please call out people who just make things up.
* Intros that are directly about the topic always beat generic intros that could apply to any topic.
* Quotations always beat paraphrase.
* Fully-cited evidence I can hunt down always beats "The New York Times tells us that . . ." (Remember: NSDA-minimum is name or publication and year. That's an absurdly low standard that makes zero sense for the new-resolution-every-hour world of Congress. Many Congress debaters still fail to meet it.) The challenge posed by AI will make attention to sources even more important.
* An authorship without an expert solvency advocate--a credentialed source who advocates what's in Section 1 of the bill or the Resolved clause--is cursed. An authorship which has an expert solvency advocate is blessed. I hold cursed bills against their authors/sponsors and reward blessed authors/sponsors. It's considered rude to point out that the only people in the whole world who think the bill is a good idea happen to be the handful of AFF speakers, but that argument is an automatic winner for NEG. A great nation doesn't make policy based on a random hunch. If you can't quote an expert who says "We should spend X billion on Y program" (for instance) then your bill is cursed. I won't, of course, hold cursed first-AFFs against speakers, because someone has to kick off. TL;DR: Find your Section 1 in your research. Don't just wing it.
* Giving the right kind of speech (constructive, rebuttal, summative/"crystallization") at the right time always beats giving the kind of speech you're best at without thinking about what the debate needs. I think I can tell an "oops, thought I'd PO" crystal from one that groups and clinches the best arguments in the round.
* Rehash is a venial, not a mortal, sin. And if you're a novice, always give the speech. That said, giving a third- or fourth-in-a-row is an admission of under-preparation.
* The assumption that everyone is going to give two speeches in a round seems fair, but it has pernicious effects. It discourages folks from speaking early. That in turn results in several "please, someone give a speech" moments in the round. It also discourages people from prepping the full agenda. I have mixed feelings about people ruthlessly taking speeches whenever they can. It's not friendly, but neither is stonewalling until some novice buckles and agrees to kick off the debate, and it's hard to blame someone who grabs a speech opportunity that's just sitting there.
* POs start at 1 on my ballot and lose ranks from errors. They can also be displaced by truly excellent speakers. The PO starts at 1 because the PO is the only indispensable contestant in the round. Can't have a round without the PO. The more people there are who run for PO, the faster the winning PO loses ranks from errors, because you're claiming you're better than everyone else who wanted it.
* Congress is speech *and* debate, so be sure you're listening and responding (debate) and keeping me focused on what you're saying (speech). Congress is getting too fast and burdened with jargon. The ideal Congress speaker is perfectly intelligible to someone who wandered into the room. A conversational pace is a supreme sign of confidence, and if your arguments are also the ones the round needs, you get the one.
* Respect the role-play, which is the only thing that has kept Congress from joining the long list of last decade's big new debate event that will solve everything but which is now moribund because the college kids got hold of it.
* My feedback more often plays the doubting game than the believing game. For instance, I often suggest arguments I think would be better. I do this to help debaters, which helps Congress, which is something I love. Anyone who spends a perfectly good weekend trying to honestly hash out trade policy etc. is a hero, and I encourage everyone to be their best, which is why my feedback is more full of "grows" than "glows." But you're glowing just by playing.
Name: Jay Stubbs
School Affiliation: Bellaire High School
Number of Years Judging Public Forum: Since the event was introduced
Number of Years Competing in Public Forum: PF did not exist when I competed
Number of Years Judging Other Forensic Activities: 38 years
Number of Years Competing in Other Forensic Activities: High School and College
If you are a coach, what events do you coach? Public Forum, Congress, Extemp
What is your current occupation? Debate Coach
Please share your opinions or beliefs about how the following play into a debate round:
Speed of Delivery Clarity for understanding is most important
Format of Summary Speeches (line by line? big picture?) Line by line on most important issues along with big picture to guide the way the debaters want me to vote.
Role of the Final Focus Final resolution of key issues along with framing the decision for the judge.
Extension of Arguments into later speeches Essential for key arguments in the round.
Topicality Can be run if there are blatant violations…anything can be found to be non-topical via definition…that is a waste of time.
Plans This is a function of the wording of the resolution. Acceptable when the resolution suggests a specific action.
Kritiks Are not going to persuade me.
Flowing/note-taking Is a function of the clarity of debaters in the round. Clarity makes it much easier to keep all issues organized on the flow.
Do you value argument over style? Style over argument? Argument and style equally? Clarity is most important to me. Just because a debater makes an argument doesn’t mean that I understand it or know how to weigh it in relation to other arguments without intervention. Clarity brings meaning to important arguments…clarity explains how to weigh arguments against other issues. Providing clarity early in the round is essential when it comes to evaluating arguments as the evolve throughout the round. Waiting until the end of the round to provide clarity can be too late.
If a team plans to win the debate on an argument, in your opinion does that argument have to be extended in the rebuttal or summary speeches? Yes
If a team is second speaking, do you require that the team cover the opponents’ case as well as answers to its opponents’ rebuttal in the rebuttal speech? Yes
Do you vote for arguments that are first raised in the grand crossfire or final focus? No…new arguments should have been introduced earlier in the round. An extension of a key argument is a part of argument evolution.
I evaluate your arguments in a Congress session in relation to your effectiveness in delivering them. An effective Congressional Debater is one who is committed to making sure that the judge understands the arguments and information they are presenting. When a debater's commitment is limited to getting information into the debate they are assuming that I will gain the same understanding of the information that they have.
Introductions should be creative when possible. Generic intros are frowned upon greatly.
Good arguments should contain both evidence from qualified sources AND analysis.
Devoting time to the summary/conclusion is very important.
Ending speeches at 3:00 is very important. Speeches ending at 3:10 show a lack of discipline and preparation.
Questioning should be focused on exposing weaknesses in opponent's arguments. Questions that cause little to no damage are of marginal value. There should never be a time when the questioner and respondent are both talking at the same time for more than a brief moment.
Respondents should view questioning as an opportunity not an adversarial activity. Attitude and unnecessary aggression will be scored lower. "I don't know" is perfectly acceptable if there is no reasonable reason why you should know the answer. I would like to NEVER hear the answer "I am sure you could tell me." I can not tell you how much I really don't appreciate that response in a questioning period.
I debated in the late 90's. I believe in the Value Premise and Criterion. I think there should be clash. Rounds should be in a conversational speed. If I am yelling clear, I am missing an argument. I will stop flowing. I am not a blank slate judge nor will I drop someone for dropping an unreasonable argument. The last speeches are for providing voters and writing my ballot. If there is no connection back to the VP/ your position, I feel there is no ground for me to vote. I do not vote for Kritiks. I do believe a discussion with a debater about the round is ok. I think understanding points of view helps with communicating your cases in later rounds. I will not switch my decision.
I will be keeping it simple and will intend on looking in-depth in the rounds and to provide the information needed to explain why I gave a specific rank to each competitors.
Here's what I'm looking for:
Delivery: I wish to see you provide emotion and vocal variation in your speeches, after all these rounds can take up to 3 HOURS meaning as the round progresses it will be difficult to be heavily interested when someone is speaking in a monotone voice compared to someone who brings sadness, anger, and strength/impact to their speeches.
Fluency: I will be looking out for the competitors with the best fluency.
Interpret: This will be by far THE MOST IMPORTANT aspect I will be looking for. As a judge I inherently will not be researching the bills everyone is prepping for, so speakers who come up and provide an argument for a certain side of a bill on why their side is right without being confusing and overreaching and hard to catch up will get a big boost in how I rank. Essentially I wish to see speakers be clear and concise with their speeches because again, I will not have huge prior knowledge on the legislations at hand.
Legal Pad Dependence: Although it can be difficult to give speeches without a pad, I am looking for people who are not overtly dependent on their legal pad.
Uniqueness: If you make a common argument that is fine but if you go ahead and bring a whole new argument and make it unique and add new perspective, that will most definitely boost you in the ranks.
Late Round Speeches: As the round goes on and many arguments are used and it will obviously be difficult to make new argument that has not been overused. So for late round speeches I will not criticize you heavily if you cannot be special about it and instead focused more on refutation and delivery.