La Salle Forum Invitational
2022 — Wyndmoor, PA/US
Policy Paradigm ListAll Paradigms: Show Hide
I prefer quality over quantity. Please do not spread too fast. Speak clearly and resolutely. I can flow at a medium pace if you are speaking so quickly that you’re gasping for air expect those cards, contentions, impacts to be dropped. Ask for my email to share evidence.
Email chain please! email@example.com
TL;DR: You do you and I'll judge accordingly. Run the arguments with which you are most comfortable.
Current affiliation: Pittsburgh Central Catholic
I debated for four years in high school, most of that time being a 1A/2N, and on these topics: China Relations, Education, Immigration, and Arms Sales.
Please SLOW DOWN. I have not debated competitively since high school and have become more numb to spreading. I cannot physically write down every argument that you make. I also try not to look at the speech doc. Try to go slower than you normally would. If you are zipping through your theory/T blocks, I will assume that you have not read this and I will be annoyed.
tl;dr - tech and speed good, but I'm not doing work for you. The resolution must be in the debate. Though I think like a debater, I do an "educator check" before I vote - if you advocate for something like death good, or read purely frivolous theory because you know your opponent cannot answer it and hope for an easy win, you are taking a hard L.
Email chain: havenforensics (at) gmail - but I'm not reading along. I tab more than I judge, but I'm involved in research. Last substance update: 9/18/22
Head Coach of Strath Haven HS since 2012. We do all events.
Previously coach at Park View HS 2009-11, assistant coach at Pennsbury HS 2002-06 (and beyond)
Competitor at Pennsbury HS 1998-2002, primarily Policy
I like a quick, technical debate (due to my Policy background) - if I was starting debate today, I would be a PFer. Major difference from what I used to do is that in PF drops are not death because of the weird way speeches match up. But you should warrant and impact your claims throughout the debate so I don't have to! Speed is good when it gets us depth, not as much if it gets us breadth.
1st Rebuttal should be line-by-line on their case; 2nd Rebuttal should frontline at least major offense, but 2nd Summary is too late for dumps of new arguments.
With 3 minutes, the Summary is probably also line-by-line, but perhaps not on every issue. Summary needs to ditch some issues so you can add depth, not just tag lines. If it isn't in Summary, it probably isn't getting flowed in Final Focus, unless it is a direct response to a new argument in 2nd Summary.
Final Focus should continue to narrow down the debate to tell me a story about why you win. Refer to specific spots on the flow, though LBL isn't strictly necessary (you just don't have time). I'll weigh what you say makes you win vs what they say makes them win - good idea to play some defense, but see above about drops.
With a Policy background, I will listen to framework, theory, and T arguments - though I will frown at all of those because I really want a solid case debate. I also have no problem intervening and rejecting arguments that are designed to exclude your opponents from the debate. I do not believe counterplans or kritiks have a place in PF.
You win a lot of points with me calling out shady evidence, and conversely by using good evidence. You lose a lot of points by being unable to produce the evidence you read quickly. If I call for a card, I expect it to be cut.
I don't care which side you sit on or when you stand, and I find the post-round judge handshake to be silly and unnecessary.
tl;dr: Look at me if you are traditional or policy. Strike me if you don't talk about the topic or only read abstract French philosophers or rely on going for blippy trash arguments that mostly work due to being undercovered.
My LD experience is mostly local or regional, though I coach circuit debaters. Thus, I'm comfortable with traditional, value-centered LD and util/policy/solvency LD. If you are going traditional, value clash obviously determines the round, but don't assume I know more than a shallow bit of philosophy.
I probably prefer policy debates, but not if you are trying to fit an entire college policy round into LD times - there just isn't time to develop 4 off in your 7 minute constructive, and I have to give the aff some leeway in rebuttals since there is no constructive to answer neg advocacies.
All things considered, I would rather you defend the whole resolution (even if you want to specify a particular method) rather than a tiny piece of it, but that's what T debates are for I guess (I like T debates). If we're doing plans, then we're also doing CPs, and I'm familiar with all your theory arguments as long as I can flow them.
If somehow you are a deep phil debater and I end up as the judge, you probably did prefs wrong, but I'll do my best to understand - know that I hate it when debaters take a philosophers work and chop it up into tiny bits that somehow mean I have to vote aff. There should be a real clear topical connection that you can explain to me, not because LD is to train future lawyers talking to regular people, but because I can't digest your entire philosopher in the tiny pieces you are feeding me.
If you are a tricks debater, um, don't. Arguments have warrants and a genuine basis in the resolution or choices made by your opponent.
In case it isn't clear from all the rest of the paradigm, I'm a hack for framework if one debater decides not to engage the resolution.
Update for TOC '19: it has been awhile since I've judged truly competitive, circuit Policy. I have let my young alumni judge an event dominated by young alumni. I will still enjoy a quality policy round, but my knowledge of contemporary tech is lacking. Note that I'm not going to backflow from your speech doc, and I'm flowing on paper, so you probably don't want to go your top speed.
1. The role of the ballot must be stable and predictable and lead to research-based clash. The aff must endorse a topical action by the government. For all of the flaws in the structure of debate and the debate community, this is the only way to have a productive debate. You cannot create a role of the ballot based on the thing you want to talk about if that thing is not part of the topic; you cannot create a role of the ballot where your opponent is forced to defend that racism is good or that racism does not exist; you cannot create a role of the ballot where the winner is determined by performance, not argumentation. And, to be fair to the aff, the neg cannot create a role of the ballot where aff loses because they talked about the topic and not about something else.
2. I am a policymaker at heart. I want to evaluate the cost/benefit of plan passage vs. status quo/CP/alt. Discourse certainly matters, but a) I'm biased on a framework question to using fiat or at least weighing the 1AC as an advocacy of a policy, and b) a discursive link had better be a real significant choice of the affirmative with real implications if that's all you are going for. "Using the word exploration is imperialist" isn't going to get very far with me. Links of omission are not links.
I can shift to other paradigms, however, I have never been able to get into abstract philosophy, especially at the speed of a policy round. I understand how critical arguments work and enjoy them when grounded in the topic/aff, and when the alternative would do something. Just as the plan must defend a change in the status quo, so must the alt - otherwise you've got a non-unique philosophical disad.
3. Fairness matters. I believe that the policymaking paradigm only makes sense in a world where each side has a fair chance at winning the debate, so I will happily look to procedural/T/theory arguments before resolving the substantive debate. I will not evaluate an RVI or that some moral/kritikal impact "outweighs" the T debate. I will listen to any other aff reason not to vote on T.
I like T and theory debates. The team that muddles those flows will incur my wrath in speaker points. Don't just read a block in response to a block, do some actual debating, OK? I definitely have a lower-than-average threshold to voting on a well-explained T argument since no one seems to like it anymore.
Notes for any event
1. Clash, then resolve it. Clash is important. Don't structurally avoid clash. But you also have to resolve the issues of clash. The last rebuttals should provide all interpretation for me and write my ballot, with me left simply to choose which side is more persuasive or carries the key point. I want to make fair, predictable, and non-interventionist decisions, which requires you to do all my thinking for me. I don't want to read your evidence (unless you ask me to), I don't want to think about how to apply it, I don't want to interpret your warrants - I want you to do all of those things! The debate should be over when the debate ends.
2. Warrants are good. "I have a card" is not a persuasive argument; nor is a tag-line extension. The more warrants you provide, the fewer guesses I have to make, and the fewer arguments I have to connect for you, the more predictable my decision will be. I want to know what your evidence says and why it matters in the round. You do not, for example, get a risk of a link simply by saying it is a link. Warrantless arguments aren't worth a whole lot. Defensive arguments are good, especially when connected to impact calculus. I don't reject shaky evidence out of hand - but defense can win rounds.
3. Speed. Speed for argument depth is good, speed for speed's sake is bad. I hate voting on the dropped #14 or watching the 1AR get outspread with 8 blippy disads. Clarity is important. My threshold is that you should slow down on tags and theory so I can write it down, and so long as I can hear English words in the body of the card, you should be fine. I will yell if I can't understand you. If you don't get clearer, the arguments I can't hear will get less weight at the end of the round, if they make it on the flow at all. I'm not anti-speed, but I'm not reading the speech doc, I'm just flowing and listening.
4. Finally, I think debate is supposed to be both fun and educational. I am an educator and a coach; I'm happy to be at the tournament. But I also value sleep and my family, so make sure what you do in round is worth all the time we are putting into being there. Imagine that I brought some new novice debaters and my superintendent to watch the round with me. If you are bashing debate or advocating for suicide or other things I wouldn't want 9th graders new to my program to hear, you aren't going to have a happy judge. Don't take yourselves too seriously, but don't waste my time.
I am more than happy to elaborate on this paradigm or answer any questions in round.
I am a new judge to this LD debate format.
I prefer debater not to use acronym that a typical person on the street does not know.
I prefer you speak at normal speed. Speaking too fast is useless because you goal is to pass your idea if you speak too fast, I will have trouble to understand you.
You want stress your key argument or resolution. This helps you to convince your listener. Do not speak like a computer with monotone.
La Salle College HS:
Policy Debater 2004-2007
Head Coach of Policy Debate, 2012-2016
Head Coach of Speech and Debate, 2016-2023.
As of September 2023, I am no longer actively involved in coaching, but will still judge from time to time.
I have judged debate (mostly policy, but also LD/PF) since 2008. I no longer judge with regularity and while I am fine with speed, etc. I am no longer a judge who does any topic research.
General Debate Thoughts
Read no cards------------------X-----------------Read all cards
Condo good----X--------------------------Condo bad
States CP good-----------------------X-----------States CP bad
Politics DA is a thing------------X-----------------Politics DA not a thing
Always VTL-X--------------------------------------Sometimes NVTL
UQ matters most--------------------------X------Link matters most
Fairness is a thing----X---------------------------Fairness isn’t an impact
Try or die-------------------------------X----------No risk
Not our Baudrillard-------------------------------X Yes your Baudrillard
Clarity-X--------------------------------------------I’ll just read the docs
Presumption------X--------------------------------Never votes on presumption
Longer ev--------X---------------------------------More ev
"Insert this rehighlighting"----------------------X-I only read what you read
- You should do what you do best and do it well – A good judge will not force their preconceived notions on debaters, but you should argue effectively. An effective argument has three parts: a claim, a warrant, and some sort of greater implication regardless of your style. And I think I am a good judge in that I will allow the arguments to develop themselves, and take the responsibility of the judge being a educator seriously.
- My flow will determine every debate I judge. There's one exception to that, I will not vote on any argument that makes me uncomfortable. You should ask yourself, if my teachers/administrators were observing, would I make this same argument?
- Speed is fine, but clarity is important. Most debaters could slow down, get more arguments out, and increase judges comprehension.
- Tech>truth; however, when you have tech and truth on your side, it’s hard to lose.
- Less is more. A smaller 1NC strategy with a lot of emphasis on the case is almost always better than 7 off. An affirmative with two advantages with a solid wall of internal links is my ideal 1AC.
- Be respectful of your partners, opponents, and judges.
- I will generally write out my RFD's and will provide a copy of it in the online ballot. This shouldn't be a cause of concern if you think my RFD is taking a little longer than you think it should. As a coach, I think it is beneficial to see this from a judge - otherwise we are left to our students relatively biased version of events or what they believe they heard the judge say - so I like to provide that same respect for fellow coaches.
All policy debaters should be commended for their participation in a challenging event. Debaters should argue their cases in an environment of mutual respect.
I vote on a combination of stock issues and policy. I am open to nearly any argument, and believe debaters have a great deal of freedom in the line of arguments pursued. However, it would be best if debaters understood the theory behind their arguments and argued in a structured way. 1ACs, topicality arguments, inherency arguments, disadvantages, and even counterplans should have a structure or outline to follow. Debaters should work to engage their opponents, and a good start is to flow the opponents’ arguments and attempt to refute point-by-point, using signposting to guide all who are in the room. After the 1AC, really no argument should be completely prepared in advance, but should be in response to what is argued by your opponent.
Debate is a verbal contest. I do not read anything written or posted to a shared cloud. I will only judge the round based on things that are said and heard clearly. Speech at all times must be understandable. If you are making numerous, different arguments in a single speech, speed or spreading may be needed. But at all times, debaters should use signposting (a numerical outline) to help listeners follow along and flow. I have heard far too many rounds where the debaters in the room could not even agree on which arguments or evidence were read into the round because everyone was entirely too focused on written briefs that were emailed or shared via the cloud instead of listening to (and flowing) their opponents' speeches.
One of the very few rules of debate that all tournaments follow is that in cross examination debate, each speaker shall give one constructive speech, get cross examined once, ask CX questions once, and give a rebuttal speech. This means that cross examinations CAN NOT be open. Partners may not assist with cross examination, either in answering questions or in responding to them. Debaters should follow the established rules on this matter, and it is not for the debaters themselves to change these rules. I promise you will learn more if you engage in questioning without help from your partner.
As the judge, you should be watching me and addressing me as you talk, not your opponents. Your goal is to persuasively argue why I should vote for you and not your opponent. Watch my body language. If I am flowing, I am engaged. If not, you may have lost me or you may be pursuing a futile line of argumentation. I judge partly based on your ability to think on your feet. This means that your speech SHOULD NOT be entirely prepared in advance (with the exception of the 1AC), but should be based on engaging point-by-point with what was said by your opponent.
I am the timekeeper, and you do not need to tell me when your speech begins. I will start the time when you begin your speech.
Debated 4 years in high school, graduated 2016. Experience at several NCFL national tournaments. Been consistently judging every year since graduating, including national tournaments.
Experience in CX, LD, PFD, Parli, some speech events
Flow judge, love to see clash, framework debate, and legitimate voters in final speeches. Debaters should do warrant analysis and weighing.
I see speech and debate as a scholarship event. I will take evidence quality into account. Research papers are more credible than politicians or news sources that are notoriously biased.
Will listen to any argument. Competitors must validly prove abuse if present. Don't wait until the 2AR to make a spreading unfair argument. If you think you’re winning on T, feel free to go for T
Extensions should be carried through the round. Extensions do not mean new carded evidence.
Feel free to email me about questions regarding the RFD or for general advice