La Salle Forum Invitational
2022 — Wyndmoor, PA/US
LD Paradigm ListAll Paradigms: Show Hide
This is my first judging event.
I am an experienced parent judge (3+ years) and most familiar with traditional debate but if it is within the rules I will do my best to judge it fairly. I am interested in hearing what debaters have to say so please be mindful of your speed. If one debater’s argument goes unchallenged then I will assume it is valid. You'll get dropped and the appropriate tournament officials will be notified if you say anything racist, homophobic, sexist, ableist, etc. Good luck and have fun!
I am Jonathan Behrens, a congressional debater. I value an insightful and polite debate, and especially appreciate knowledge and use of rhetoric. I cannot wait to hear your points!
UPDATED 2/21/20: I do not judge as often as I may once have. At most local events, I find myself on the operations side of a tournament.
That should not terrify you – I am a career public servant, who happens to coach debate because I appreciate everything that it taught me as a student. You should assume that I approach debate rounds this way: what is the best decision I can make given the information presented to me?
It may sound old-fashioned, but I do not wish to be on any email chains. I have sadly witnessed teams answering entire disadvantages not read by their opponents simply because they were included in said distribution. Not to be outdone, I have read ballots where judges voted on evidence that nobody read. I pledge to keep the best flow I can. If I need to see a piece of evidence, and the particular league or tournament's rules allow for that, I will call for it.
If you are short on time reading this, my paradigm can be expressed in six (6) words: do your thing and be nice. If you are really short on time, we can go with four (4): old guy, still flows.
1. Speed is fine, but clarity is necessary. I cannot vote on what I do not have typed/written down. I try hard to listen to the text of the evidence presented;
2. Open cross-examination is acceptable, but if it is clear than one member of the team is not able to participate at the same level, speaker points will suffer;
3. My preference is tabula rasa; in the absence of any alternative framework, I look first to any potential violation(s) of stock issues and then default to a policymaking perspective.
1. I do not mind an LD round that gets on down the flow;
2. My preference is tabula rasa; in the absence of any alternative framework, I will default to a whole resolution lens looking first to the value/value criterion debate.
1. Nothing earth-shattering here. I am less speed tolerant in public forum and I will simply apply the ballot criteria to whatever speech event is at hand.
Regardless of event, we enter the debate knowing the resolution and some basic rules of the road (e.g., speech times, likely printed on the ballot). By tabula rasa I mean that the debaters establish the framework for evaluating debates. You should do what you do best and do it well. Arguments should have three parts – a claim, a warrant, and some sort of greater implication regardless of your style.
I still believe that good decisions should flow like water. Great rebuttals frame debates and clash wins rounds. My ballots will provide a succinct RFD, possibly pointing out either strengths or opportunities for improvement as we progress through the speeches. 3AR/3NR oral critiques nauseate me: what I say out loud (if disclosure is permitted) will almost certainly match what I am placing on your ballot. Your coach should see comments too. You did not go to the dentist; my RFD is never going to read “oral.”
Finally, be respectful of your partners, opponents, and judges. I have zero tolerance for poor behavior in debate rounds.
As a social studies teacher, I weigh multiple facets when making my decisions. Above all I would say I value arguments which are not rooted in an underlying affirmation of bigotry and white supremacy all too evident in our society. Along with this I value genuine interaction between arguments. Lincoln Douglas, in my opinion, should never be two people talking through each other without addressing the claims made by the opposing side. Ultimately my golden rule is that these topics do not exist in a vacuum. There are real people affected by the topics we discuss and we must avoid trivializing or otherwise minimizing the weight of our topics simply due to their theoretical nature!
I did LD and Extemp at La Salle College High School 2014-2018. I have coached/judged with La Salle since 2018, judging at local, regional and national tournaments and championships.
LARP/Policy judging is where I'm best, but I never mind a traditional, theory, or K round (K affs cool too). I've judged performance rounds, and I think they're great, but if you want good feedback don't pref me high. I'm ok with speed but for online debate, cap it at like 80% of top speed. Weigh your impacts. Don't be rude. Debate is a game, but not a game worth making your opponent having a breakdown. If you have any specific questions, plz ask before round.
I don't care if you sit or stand.
Flex prep is cool.
These are the best debates and LDers ought to be prioritizing these cases. I will always enjoy a policy debate. Make your plans and counterplans as specific or unusual as you like.
I'm more than capable of judging a theory debate, but I'm not as caught up in the style/terminology as I used to be. If your underview is half of your aff and it's full of a ton of blippy one liners, and you intend to run it every round, don't pref me high. I think UVs are necessary to check abusive theory moves by the neg, but I'm not a fan when it's the main tool the aff will be using to win. Also not a fan of blippy shells/tricks/etc. If you're going for T or something else, actually do it for real. Generally, if you only like to debate theory, pref me mid/low (but if you get me as a judge, that doesn't mean I won't hear theory/it's a bad strat).
I didn't run Ks much as a debater, but I'll gladly vote for them. Make the link clear. Make sure there is an alt. It's more difficult for me to buy a link of ommission and will be more sympathetic to args against. I'm not always very familiar with specific authors/lit, but generally I understand the arguments themselves.
I think performance cases are really interesting to judge, but if you're going to run performance I'm probably not your judge. I've voted for them in the past but I won't be able to give you as good feedback as more circuit-y judges on what you can do better.
If you're a traditional debater, don't worry about all of what you just read. I mean, consider it, but it doesn't mean I will loathe a traditional round. I enjoy slow, heavy framework rounds when that's what the debaters have settled on.
But if you're going to debate framework, debate framework. If you just say, "well, the aff doesn't uphold quality of life, so it's a bad framework," that doesn't count!
Things I'm not particularly inclined towards:
From least worst to most worst:
- saying that fairness isn't a voter
- "util justifies slavery" or similar args
- "no RVIs"
- Nebel T, or any "bare plurals" nonsense. If you want to debate whole res, say you want to debate whole res and stop hiding behind the name Nebel or other dumb theory args.
- "no permissibility"
- disclosure theory (if you read this, as long as your opponent so much as breathes a semblance of a response to it, high likelihood I'm not gonna evaluate it)
- "1AR Theory bad" or "the aff doesn't get 1AR theory"
- nihilism/death good
- "This is LD, and X isn't allowed in LD"
- I will not consider "Climate Change not real/climate impacts overblown." CC is real and existential. We're done with that nonsense. It's not 2003 anymore.
Tech over truth, generally.
If you're reading something with big impacts like nuke war, econ collapse, etc., please actually have a card that says it's going to happen. Don't assume that when a card says "there will be dire consequences" or something like that means "nuke war." Powertagging's not cool.
Minus .25 speaks every time I hear "I/we don't take stance on that." You're in Debate. Take a stance.
If you clearly outmatch your opponent, be reasonable/nice.
Oh, also, if you say anything clearly racist/homophobic/sexist/etc., I will likely vote you down on the spot and give 0 speaks. That doesn't have any place in the educational space of speech and debate. Outside of being xenophobic, hateful, or spouting hate speech, say whatever you want, I guess.
Because apparently I judge PF, too.
1) I don't understand some of the jargon, but I understand most/all the concepts.
2) Framing arguments should be allowed.
3) Most of my judging philosophy from above still applies. Please signpost, clearly say your authors/year, and do good weighing.
I believe my LD philosophy applies. If there's something specific you're wondering about, just reach out. Haven't judged a whole lot of policy so might've missed a part of the paradigm.
If you have any further questions, feel free to reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Coach since 2014
For the most part,you'll be looking at this paradigm because I'll be your LD judge. cross-apply these comments to PF as applicable and to policy if/when I get recruited to judge policy.
Speed and Decorum:
Send me your case. This should go without saying, but let me know that you've actually sent me your case. I won't look for your case unless you tell me to look. Speechdrop.net or tabroom share is probably best rather than email.
I don't care if you sit/stand. Really, I don't. Just generally try to remain in the room. I won't be shaking hands.
Please time your speeches and prep time. I may not keep accurate time of this since my attention is to the content of your speeches. Flex prep is fine if all debaters in the round agree.
I do not prefer theory. I'm usually left feeling that most debaters let it overcomplicate their arguments or worse. Some may even allow it to further make debate inaccessible (especially to those who are likely already crowded out of this forum in some other way). Please don't run it unless there you see literally NO OTHER WAY to respond to your opponent's arguments. Even then, I may not evaluate it the way you want or expect. If you planning to run dense or tricky theory, you should find a different judge.
You have an absolute obligation to articulate your arguments. Even if I’m familiar with the literature or whatever that you might be referencing I *try* to avoid filling in any gaps.
Signposting = GOOD! Flipping back and forth from AFF flow to NEG flow then back to AFF Flow to NEG Flow....BAD.... VERY, VERY, VERY BAD!
Tricks = no. Thanks.
I will not vote for arguments that are ableist, racist, sexist, homophobic, transphobic, Islamophobic, anti-Semitic, etc. This should go without saying, but for the sake of anyone who needs to see it in writing, there you go.
Above all, strive to make sense. I do not prefer any “style” of debate or any particular kind of argument over another. Regardless of what you run, if your case relies on me to connect the dots for you or if it is a literal mess of crappily cut and equally crappily organized evidence sans warrants, you will probably be sad at the end of the round.
Willing to judge all speech, congress, parli/world schools, PF, and LD. I also love serving as a parliamentarian in Congress. I strongly prefer Speech, Congress, and impromptu-style debate events over all other events. PF is sometimes fun; LD is fine if you need me. I would not consider myself qualified to judge policy, but I am willing to give it a shot in a time of complete desperation. I love tabbing and always prefer it over judging, so feel free to pull me if needed.
I’m an assistant coach/judge/person from Dallastown Area High School in PA. I graduated from college in May 2021 and now work full time, but I try to stay involved with Forensics as much as I can! I competed in several different events in High School, but as an alum I’ve continued to learn a lot more about everything Forensics has to offer, so when I travel with the team, I judge where I’m needed. That said, here’s what to expect from a round with me:
VIRTUAL TOURNAMENT NOTES:
Note that I have two very sweet but disruptive cats-- if this might become distracting to you, please let me know and I will keep my camera off. The same applies if you have wifi/other issues that make video chats difficult-- if it will be a bandwidth/connectivity issue, let me know if you'd like me to keep my camera off.
OVERALL TOURNAMENT NOTES:
SPREADING-- I’m still working on keeping up with this. Admittedly, I have a hard time catching important arguments when debaters spread. However, I’m okay with you spreading as long as you email your case to me right before the round begins. [email@example.com]. Please also do the same for your opponent. That said, please try to slow down during your rebuttal speeches (or anything else that isn’t pre-written) so that I can catch everything that needs to be on the flow. This especially applies for any sort of Theory/Ks/Plans/etc. I also ask that you slow down for any major parts of your case (Contentions, Value, VC, subpoints) so that I can get the tagline/topic down.
CASES— It’s only fair to warn you that I don’t have a lot of exposure to Theory, Ks, Plans, etc. However, what I've seen of Ks, I like. I'm open to disruption and anything that feels less like a round I've seen before. So I'm open to seeing more and learning more. Just let me know before the round begins that you plan to run one so that there’s no question of what’s going on. Articulate very clearly why your strategy is important + why I should vote for it rather than your opponent’s case-- and explain what the role of my ballot should be as a judge. What hypothetically happens when I vote for you? Also, don’t assume I already know about all theories that you’ll introduce into the debate. Even just a brief, simple explanation would be great so that I know we’re on the same page.
DISCLOSURE— I tend to take a few minutes after the round has concluded to make my decision. I like to look over my notes and my flow to ensure that I’m being fair in my decision and providing you with good comments. Therefore, I don’t like to give my verbal critiques or RFD immediately after the round. I’d rather you leave the room until I’m done with my ballots and then find me later. After I’ve turned in my ballots, I’d be more than happy to talk to you about the round as long as it does not go against tournament rules and as long as I am not actively engaged in another activity that would be difficult to multitask with— i.e., helping one of my students with an emergency, napping, etc. You can also feel free to email me at [firstname.lastname@example.org]
IMPROMPTU SPEAKING-- In Congress, I STRONGLY prefer a crappy impromptu speech on an under-debated side over a perfect prepared speech that rehashes the last several speeches we just listened to. In other words-- please don't make me listen to more than 2 speeches on the same side in a row. I'll have MASSIVE respect for anyone who switches sides at the last minute for the purposes of keeping debate interesting. I've ranked students up for this before, and I'll do it again. Impromptu speaking is a lifelong skill....get that experience!
Sitting or standing for speech and cross-ex is fine with me. Whatever makes you comfortable.
Sometimes it’s necessary for me to eat during rounds-- I try very hard to avoid it, but if I have no choice but to eat during your round, I’ll do so in a way that is minimally disruptive. Virtual tournament note-- if I do eat during your (virtual) round, I will likely turn my camera off, or you can feel free to request that I do so.
I’m young, so not a lot of people immediately realize that I’m a judge and not a competitor who hasn’t advanced. Just as a general rule, act respectfully out of round too. I hear things, and I pick up on falseness very easily. More than anything, be nice and fair to your opponent before, during, and after the round; or I guarantee I’ll lose a lot of respect for you.
Along those lines— I’m your judge. I know I’m young, I’m still learning, and I may not know as much about your event as you do, but I’m still your judge. Please be respectful of the fact that I’m not perfect; I’m human. I do my best to be a fair judge and give every competitor their best experience possible, but that said, not every call I make will make everyone happy. At the end of the day, even if I miss something or am more enthralled by one argument over another, remember that it’s your responsibility as the debater to convince all kinds of judges. It’s not my fault if you lose, and I promise that I took my decision in your round very seriously.
1-- Aggression. I know, this is a competitive activity. It’s literally formal arguing. But there’s a difference between smart and impactful debating and straight-up aggression. I understand that there’s a certain amount of aggressiveness required to be an effective debater, but there’s a line. Therefore, any excessive aggression will not be tolerated in my rounds. I know you’re here to win, but you’re also here to learn, and it’s hard to learn or have any sort of effective discourse when your opponent, judge, or audience is uncomfortable. I don’t care how good of a debater you are, if you are unnecessarily aggressive, I will vote you down.
2-- Racism, sexism, transphobia, homophobia, ableism, hate of ANY KIND will not be tolerated. Again, there is no reason to make your opponent, judge, or audience uncomfortable or unsafe in what is supposed to be a safe, educational environment. Leave the hate at home...or better yet, re-evaluate it.
3-- Remember that your audience can be anyone, and sometimes members of your round may be part of the very communities you are insulting or judging. When it comes to talking about issues that impact minorities, don't speak for them. Use your platform to elevate the voices of those who are directly impacted by the topic at hand. You don't decide what's best for a group that you're not a member of!
4-- (Mainly for Congress, but elsewhere if it applies:) If I hear anything resembling COERCION in my Congress chamber, I will rank you lower or not at all. Do NOT pressure other competitors to "let" you PO or "let" you speak before them. Let recency and the rules fall where they may. This is a competition, I get it, but be fair and be mature. In all events, fairness is the supreme goal of each round.
ABOVE ALL, I am a true believer in the power of Forensics as an activity. It changed my life, and it has the ability to do a lot of good. Therefore, the integrity of each round and the experience of each participant is very important to me. Not everyone will leave with a trophy, but everyone has the opportunity to leave with valuable life experience, great ideas, and unique friendships.
TL;DR, I’m cool with whatever you want to do in round as long as it doesn’t jeopardize those components of Forensics competition.
Hello! I am a sophomore at Temple University majoring in Political Science and Criminal Justice. I graduated from La Salle College High School in 2021; there I competed in many events but my main two were LD Debate and Extemp.
I was mainly a traditional debater in high school, but I'm okay with progressive/spreading as long as you send me your case before.
I'm a big fan of voters in later speeches so I can best weigh the round.
Respect your opponent(s) and good luck!
I've judged a lot of NLD lately but most of this holds true for VLD.
Long story short, make sure you're debating LD, not 1-on-1 policy. Don't drop your framework; it's what makes LD so special. You need a criterion; it's your measuring stick. Tell me exactly why you win under one of the frameworks; it doesn't necessarily have to be yours. I very frequently hear a familiar laundry list in rebuttals: "I win on scope, I win on magnitude, I win framework debate...". Asserting it doesn't make it true; explain your reasoning.
There is a lot of overlap between "students who want to spread" and "students whom I can't understand since they are stumbling over every other word" -- I'm around a traditional 8/circuit 4 on speed. If I can't understand you, I can't flow you. Debate should be open to everyone, not just schools with full-time prep teams.
I am a former LD assistant coach and judge with experience in LD, Parli, and BQ. Clash is critical-- don't talk past each other. If your opponent has the most ludicrous case ever known to humankind but you don't attack it, they're probably winning. Open to progressive arguments for sure but you need clash. Fairly familiar with philosophy. Respect your opponent in and after the round.
I'm from Wisconsin (Go Cheesemakers!) where I did humorous and oratory since my school didn't have a debate program. I went to Penn and did parli debate. Recently returned from South Dakota to Philadelphia.
Debate Experience: Debated for three years in high school, coached four years in college.
General: I'm pretty tab. The debaters should choose whatever arguments they're most comfortable with/is most strategic for the round. 2NR/AR decisions should be made based on the flow, not what you think I want to hear. Comfortable with speed; go as fast as you'd like while still being clear.
Aff: Again, pretty comfortable with anything. I wasn't a performative debater in high school, but I'll vote on a k aff. See below for more on how I evaluate k affs vs. framework. Make sure that the advocacy statement is clear, especially for more nuanced high theory Ks.
Neg: The best thing you can do in front of me is have a substantive internal link debate with proper impact calculus. I'm not very persuaded by teams that skip to extinction scenarios without actually debating the logic chain that leads there. Good internal link take-outs, case debate, and framing arguments are key. I'll vote on theory on either side (perm theory, condo/multicondo, t, etc.) if you run in properly and can defend your interps.
Topicality: You should be doing as much impact calc on T as you are on a DA. I'm more than happy to vote on procedural issues; this is a game, and debating the rules of the game is as legitimate as the substance. That being said, just throwing out words like fairness and education won't do that much for you. T is an argument that needs substantial time in the block to become a viable 2NR strategy. Don't go for T and five other args - it's not something you can win with 45 seconds at the stop of the block/2NR.
Dis-ads: Again, internal link chains and impact calc. Make sure to kick out properly.
Counterplans: Make sure to be clear on CP solvency mechanisms. Don't just yell 50 states CP and expect that I understand how that would work given the specific aff advocacy. Clearly lay out the net benefit to the CP (internal or external). Again, impact calc is important. Tell me how the risk of a solvency deficit compares to the risk of the DA link, and why that should matter to my decision.
Kritiks: Just like the K aff stuff above, explain the K and do the same kind of impact calc you would do on a DA or FW flow. It should be clear to my how I'm evaluating the K. For example, is this a Cap K where I might be weighing the impacts of the aff vs. the neg world, or should I be evaluating speech acts before plan implementation? Usually a FW debate at the top of the flow is helpful. Clear link chains are preferred. I'm much more persuaded by Ks that have a specific link to plan functionality rather than topic-generic links. If the K is covering dense high theory (I'm thinking about some Baudrillard, a Hegel K, anything that mentions D&G), walk me through the background.
K affs: K affs are fine, but so is a good FW debate. If you're going to run a performative K, make sure to link the performance to voters. I'm generally not persuaded by a minute-long musical intro that never gets brought up again throughout the debate. Neg, if you're going to run a FW arg please set it up like you would a T debate. I need interps and clear voters. I know they're not running a topical plan. You need to defend your interpretation of debate, why your interp is best for the debate space (fairness, education, etc.), and how the knowledge or fairness that you gain from running topical affs compares against the education that they're bringing into the round.
Above all, please show respect to everyone in the room. The fastest way to lose speaker points with me is to be inconsiderate to your opponent. I'm more than comfortable with low point wins if I think you're not treating your opponent (or partner) with dignity.
tl;dr for the tl;dr—be clear and be nice :)
tl;dr—I prefer framework and definition debate, but I'll judge all styles and do my best not to be swayed by personal preferences. Any racist/sexist/transphobic/etc arguments won't fly with me. Speed is fine but clarity is essential, this is not just cadence but clear signposting and stuff like spelling out claim/warrant/impact. Be aggressive if you want but don't be mean. Please don't drop contentions and please please please don't attempt to bring contentions back from the dead. I don't want to see your case because I want to judge solely based on what exists in the debate itself. Overall I'm pretty lazy, so make my job as judge as easy as possible by being clear and clean in the debate. Above all, be nice, this should be fun.
Timing—This is probably one of the few things people care about so I'll put it at the top. I'll keep official time, you can time yourself. If you go over time just finish your sentence or thought quickly. I reserve the right to revoke this privilege and if you keep on speaking for a long time e.g. 30 seconds after your time has run out I'll stop flowing it.
Framework—This is the standard by which the round will be judged. If you concede a Value of preserving nature and a Value Criterion of maximizing the number of birds of paradise in the world, I will only judge arguments based on the number of birds of paradise they create/protect, regardless of any other impact. I realize this opens the door for contradictions to my earlier point about making bigoted arguments, and I will resolve that at my discretion. I'm a big fan of novel frameworks and don't believe any framework to be inherently less useful/valuable unless positing that framework causes harm outside of the debate, namely to competitors, judges, and spectators. Argue for your framework, assume you have won the framework debate, and explain why your contentions mean your side is preferred under that framework.
Definitions—Definitions have 2 main functions: to provide clarity and to strengthen your framework argument/develop covert arguments for your framework. Definitions to provide clarity are very important for resolutions that don't deal with common topic areas. They're also useful in showing me how you think of an issue. However, the other type of definition is the real reason anyone cares about giving definitions at all. Definitions quite literally define the terms under which the debate will take place. In this way they are prior to even framework and in my opinion provide the (hopefully only) link between the real world and the world of the debate. If you have done well in establishing definitions you have literally created the world in which the debate takes place and I can judge the debate based on the rules of that world. I understand not every debate will have such a robust world but the closer I am to only ever using my discretion to choose the definitions I prefer, the better. You may notice that this means my personal opinions/biases/etc come into play more with definitions than any other aspect of the debate. There's unfortunately not much I can do about this. I generally won't prefer definitions from more "prestigious" sources necessarily except in the case of particularly egregious example e.g. The Heritage Foundation. The extent to which I value the "spirit of the resolution" affects how I choose definitions depends on context; I'll judge novice LD at a local tourney far differently than a debate on a national circuit. I will attempt to choose definitions for the round based upon the best arguments given for those definitions. Failing that, I will defer to my personal bias/opinion. Failing that,I will defer to the "value" of the sources of the given definitions (you will note that a.) any argument critiquing the ways in which we evaluate the prestige of institutions from which these definitions originate will bring us back to my first criterion for evaluating definitions, and b.) this means that I will not inherently prefer more obvious/simple definitions, you just have to have a better argument for the stuff that's really out there.)
Bigoted arguments—This is really murky and hard to sort out within the context of debate as play. Any arguments directly stating that a given marginalized group is somehow lesser will cause you to be voted down. Arguments that lead to negative outcomes that disproportionately impact certain marginalized groups e.g. colonialism are a bit more complicated. However, note that I will be biased against these arguments to begin with, and my burden of proof for striking them down will be lower, whether I am consciously aware of that fact. All an opponent needs to do is establish these arguments lead to harm for marginalized groups and I'll be inclined to flow that to the opponent's side. In fact, a debater could get cute and say that a framework under which such arguments are good is in fact an invalid framework. I think that'd be pretty rad tbh. You may notice that this seems to contradict some of my earlier statements about debate being its own world and me judging solely based on framework, and yea it does to an extent; however, even though the debate exists within a separate world the border between that world and our own is porous, with ideas, assumptions, and attitudes being carried both ways. (This is essentially the concept of the magic circle as it exists in game studies, which I'm inclined to disagree with generally but I think its basic ideas have some level of applicability here.)
Speed, Clarity, Case Sharing—I've combined these all into one subtopic since they go together to make the same point. I'm fine with speed of basically any level, but this requires clarity of speech. The faster you speak, the clearer you will need to be and the more helpful signposting and drawing emphasis to your main points is going to be. I also do not want anyone sharing their cases with me. I don't care if competitors share cases with each other but I am purely interested in judging based on the world of the debate that both competitors create. Not only does this give me an opportunity to see arguments that the competitors may have not even said aloud, it removes a burden from the competitor to make themself understood. If sharing your case with me helps resolve an accessibility issue, however, please let me know in person or by messaging me and we can figure something out. I will always rule on the side of inclusion over competition.
Dropping Contentions, Addressing arguments, etc.—I was tempted to put this in with the above subsection because this is all related to clarity but I think there is enough here to warrant a separate topic. Please don't drop contentions. I will not flow a dropped contention. If you drop a contention and attempt to revive it through divine intervention, necromancy, etc Istillwill not flow it. If your competitor drops a contention it is your responsibility to let me know, otherwise I will drop the argument entirely and it poofs out of existence. Note that you can drop contentions and still win the round and I am not inclined to give more inherent value to a dropped contention that flows through the round; however, an uncontested argument can have ripple effects through the debate. The conclusions of dropped arguments can have implications on other points still being argued. A quick explainer of what counts as dropping an argument to me: obviously, not addressing a contention at all in your speech counts as dropping it. Saying that you will get to the rest of your opponent's arguments in your next speech still counts as dropping them. Saying "cross apply my 1st contention to all my opponent's arguments" doesn't strictly count as dropping your opponent's arguments in my book but I do find it to be weaker than saying "cross apply my C1 to opponent's C1, cross apply my C1 to opponent's C2,..., cross apply my C1 to opponent's CN." All opponent has to do is find one part of their argument where cross applying your C1 doesn't work/make sense and suddenly you're in a world of hurt. To this point, please be clear about which arguments you are addressing at all times and address arguments individually whenever possible. Make sure your arguments tie back into framework. Claim, warrant, impact structure is a great way of doing that and I greatly appreciate it.
Meanness/Rudeness—This largely goes with everything said under the bigoted arguments section, but just generally don't be a jerk. Aggression is fine and almost expected and I quite like stuff like explaining to me why exactly you won, but there's a line between playing to win and being a jerk. Remember that your actions within a debate have real world consequences. If your opponent is much newer than you and is on the verge of tears, maybe dial it back a little bit. I know that acting above it all is a power move as a debater, but a) this will not work on me and b) I expect a certain level of respect and decorum toward everyone in the room. I'm not here to power trip, but if I'm at one of these tourneys I guarantee you I'm on no more than 4 hours of sleep and just want to be treated with the basic level of politeness you'd give to anyone else. This extends to everyone else as well. I've had some competitors do this thing where they say something along the lines of "you're much nicer/better/more understanding than other other judge, they were awful." Please don't badmouth judges. It doesn't make you look good and I don't care to be flattered at the expense of someone else. Just remember this is all for fun, people are sacrificing sleep, time, etc to be here, and how well you do won't matter in a few years. I cannot remember how well I did at any given tournament but I do remember the time a debater was really nasty toward one of my newer teammates.
PF—This paradigm is designed around LD although most of the concepts still apply to public forum. Main differences for public forum are that my own understanding of the issue/personal biases toward "common sense" are ever so slightly more impactful and I really would prefer you to sneak in framework telling me how to judge the round. Again, I'm lazy. Tell me how to evaluate arguments and tell me why you won.
I am a third year parent volunteer judge. Most of my experience is judging LD. I would appreciate a slower paced delivery. I will be looking for clear points that are maintained throughout the initial presentation, rebuttal and summary.
I prioritize the clarity and structure of the case. Be clear when defining terms that will be the basis for values, criteria and considerations. Particularly if using jargon, but even when using “lay terms”, if there is any ambiguity in how the term could be interpreted, be clear about the definition you will use. If you choose to use spreading, be aware that the speed of speech might make it more challenging for me to identify the key components of your case. Prioritize the Considerations that best support the connection from your Criterion to your Value - the quality of your case is not primarily based on its density or overly complex flow.
I have been judging and coaching Lincoln-Douglas debate for 5 years. Based on what I’ve learned and my interpretation of the unique aspects of Lincoln-Douglas debate, the following describes my judging paradigm.
Lincoln-Douglas DSebate debate is a clash of values. The value represents a means to a world “as it should be.” Thus, the debater that proves persuasively that their case would advance the world to a point that is closer to what it should be best will likely win the round. Here are some specific points that I believe are important to help persuade me:
- Analysis – The debater will clearly present a logical argument and also effectively refute the opponent’s case. A better case will also leave me with fewer unanswered questions about the case and the connections between its evidence and argument. A better case will also demonstrate clearly the debater's thoughtfulness in preparing a well-rounded case capable of sustaining itself in the face of a persistent inquisition about its evidence-based arguments and its ability to persuade me to believe that their case renders the world a better place than the alternative being presented in the round.
- Proof – There should be a sufficient quantity of high-quality evidence to support the case. More evidence is not always better. Connections between contentions and values should be explicit and clear.
- Organization - There should be a logical and orderly presentation throughout the round.
- Refutation/ Clash – The better debater will demonstrate the ability to critically analyze the opponent’s arguments and develop clear and logical responses with the effective use of evidence and examples.
- Delivery – The speech must be understandable, interesting, and persuasive. An LD debater should demonstrate effective oral communication skills including effective reading; clear and understandable delivery; persuasive vocal argumentation; presence; and eye contact. “Spreading” during rounds is discouraged for this reason – instead of overwhelming your opponent with speed that renders you unintelligible, a superior ability to identify and present the best arguments concisely is a much better representation of analytical acumen and the intent of LD debate.
The above criteria apply to progressive debaters as well. For any debaters who wish to advance a progressive case: please understand that I will likely find it difficult to understand and judge your progressive case as effectively as a more experienced judge. Do not interpret my difficulty in judging a progressive case on its merits as a sign of disrespect or disinterest. Conversely, I am typically quite fascinated by such cases. However, my interest in and respect for well-developed progressive cases does not render my ability to judge them reasonably or adequately any more likely. For any progressive cases, please note, therefore, that while I will do my best to judge your case, there is likely to be much of it that I struggle to integrate into my evaluation, try as I might.
Good luck to all competitors. I look forward to observing, critiquing, and judging your rounds.
Hi! I'm Matt. I did LD for 3 years as my main event but I also did PA Parliamentary and World Schools. I am familiar with PF, but I am admittedly bad at it. I have been the LD Coach at Pgh Central Catholic HS since 2021. I've judged 114 rounds of LD, PF, Parli, and congress over the past 3 years on both the Pittsburgh-circuit level as well as State and National level break rounds.
Upper St. Clair '20 / Pitt '24
TLDR: play nice, have fun, run whatever you want. I hate drops, think theory is usually unnecessary, want a strong framework debate, and won't buy impacts in LD that belong in PF/Policy.
NOTES ON DEBATE / CASES:
1. Framework. I understand dropping your frameworks when they are similar and debating them would just waste time. HOWEVER, framework is the heart of LD and what sets it apart from the other debates. Maintain that.
2. I like APPLICABLE philosophy.By all means run wild things like Anarchy, AfroPess, Buddhist ethics, whatever you can think of. Just give me convincing reason to care about you bringing it up. Creativity in the framework is only gonna help you if you use it to weigh your impacts and extend it through the round. As for progressive stuff, run a K / theory if you think it'll actually lead to a substantive debate (don't steamroll some poor novice).
3.Evidence Ethics. Use scholarly and reputable sources. Don't expect a singular dropped card to win you a round. That being said, try and directly rebut line-by-line as much as possible. I prefer line-by-line to thematic, overarching arguments. If your opponent calls for evidence, you've got one minute to produce it -- if you can't then we move into NSDA evidence rules. I don't need you guys to do email chains but I also don't mind them, so do what you want.
4. Extinction/unweighted Impacts. I do not buy extinction impacts. they are inherently unweighable: how will causing or preventing infinite deaths ever be comparable to issues of inequality, justice, and morality? those arguments, if you chose to make them, need to be so excruciatingly clear and logical. After all, LD is rarely talking about the extreme ends of slippery slopes, but the grey area between both sides.
NOTES ON SPEECHES / SPEAKING:
1. Speed. I prefer slower, traditional style debate. If you need need need to spread, I can make it work for you, but I'd prefer you avoided it.
2. Speak respectfully. Debate is a space to explore and test ideas. Respect that ability for your competitor as well. Police your speech a little and try and avoid tropes that are easily misconstrued toward offensiveness. Before you come to a tournament, genuinely consider what positions you advocating; even if you are running "main arguments" of the topic, consider how your rhetoric may be implicitly xenophobic, racist, sexist, etc. ((in 2023, I heard "migrants will bring disease and copious amounts of crime" more times than I can count)). If your opponent is being rude and offensive, handle it professionally and if it is a genuine cause of concern for you, let me know privately post round / let tab know.
3. Drops are the necessary evil of debate, but they do not decide my rounds. If your final speech consists entirely of drops, I'm 90% sure I will not pick you up; your arguments are all why your opponent is bad, not why their arguments are bad or yours are any better. I still respect drops because those are the rules, but please don't hinge my decision on that.
Have fun. not just as in "be happy when you win and remember its all learning Kiddos!!11!" I mean, crack some jokes, make me and your opponent smile! this isn't life or death it's 3 to 5 people sitting in a room way to early on a weekend. make this more bearable pleaseeeeee.
Last Update - March 17, 2023
Experience - Long time debate judge and coach. I have judged several policy, LD, and public forum rounds this year. This year I have judged mostly rounds below national circuit level competition. I have experience coaching high level students on the Washington State circuit in the 90s.
Policy/LD - I am familiar with Policy and LD debate.
Public Forum - I am not as familiar with Public Forum debate.
General Philosophy - I will try to flow and base my decision on the arguments made by the competitors. I encourage debaters to directly respond to the arguments made by their opponents, and I urge competitors to make arguments that have claims, warrants, and impacts. I prefer that debaters use evidence to support arguments. Reading evidence alone is not an argument.
Although I am receptive to all arguments, some claims have greater thresholds than others. It is still the debaters' responsibility to refute the arguments. I have voted for alternative frameworks and out of round impacts, but mostly because the other team didn't respond well to those claims.
Constructive speeches should be used to construct new arguments, and rebuttals should be used to respond/refute/extend previously made contentions. I am not receptive to new arguments made in the final speech, and need for the debaters to show how their arguments in second speeches have been developed from previously articulated positions. Dropped arguments are conceded arguments. But you can always do impact comparisons.
In order for me to evaluate an argument, I must be able to understand and flow it. Vocal clarity is very important, definition of terms and jargon is also important. Moderate Speed is generally ok IF (IF IF IF) you are speaking clearly. I will not interrupt you to say unclear, and will continue to try to flow. It is your responsibility to recognize that you are unclear. It is ok for a partner to politely indicate that a speaker is unclear.
It's your round, and you can present any arguments you want in any style you want. I will be more effective as a critic if you signpost, label your arguments, and follow the flow. If you want to kick out of the line-by-line, then I will struggle to follow you and will most likely have to intervene to make sense of the arguments. It is ok if you don't want to signpost or tell me where to flow arguments, you will just have to live with my decision as I tend to vote in favor of the team that does the best of helping me organize my flow.
Signposting means to tell me where to flow your arguments. For example "On the counterplan, their first permutation was this..., my argument is this...." The more you do this, the better I will be as a judge.
As a judge, I prefer for debates to stay on resolution/topic, does that mean I am more traditional, yes. The formats were formed for a reason and that should be followed. As for speed, can flow very well, however, if it sounds like you are choking and cannot breathe, well you just dropped those contentions, cards, points, or whatever you were trying to establish. In most things, quality outweighs quantity, like do you attend three, four, or five colleges at once, no, no you do not do that, you pick the one of the highest quality and focus on that, so in that vein, remember, this is not policy, but either PF or LD and looking for quality during the rounds.
Please respect each other and have a great debate.
I am an experienced LD judge and former coach. By all measure, I am a traditional judge. I want to see clearly outlined value structure and clash between opposing values. I expect you to link your impacts to your warrants. Crystalize your voters and remember; it is your responsibility to show the judge why you have won the round. I believe flow tech is vital. It is the responsibility of the debater to extend dropped arguments not the judges'. I have no issue with speed. I will vote on any argument as long it functions within the structure of Lincoln Douglas Debate. Also, never forget this is a public speaking event; if you are speaking you are standing.
I do not have strong ideological preferences on content or form. I am more familiar with critical debate than traditional policy arguments. I am probably best at judging clash debates, then K v. K, then Policy v. Policy.
I really like well-researched, creative affs/neg strats and will reward debater’s speaks for taking innovative, personal spins on traditional arguments.
Debate is fundamentally a persuasive activity, and if I do not understand an argument or its significance then I am unlikely to vote on it. Simplify, summarize, and prescribe your ideal RFD to me and I will gladly give it to you.
Be kind and respectful. I will reward your speaks if you are and punish them if you are not.
I am a sophomore studying finance at Wharton. I debated for Little Rock Central for four years, qualifying to the TOC my junior and senior years and reaching finals of NDCA my senior year. I read 75/25 K/Policy arguments in high school and almost exclusively critical identity-based affirmatives.
Aff teams should consolidate offense and leverage the method/1AC. Do not read six DAs in the 2AC on FW, refuse to distinguish any of them, then flag them in the 1AR as dropped. Neg teams should engage the case page - a 2NR that concedes case solvency or the aff's theory of power is hard to win. I am much more persuaded by a models-based FW approach focused on the quality of debates and the importance of rejoinder for the negative than arguments about procedural fairness (although I’ll still gladly vote for them if won).
The most valuable thing neg teams can do is good link debating. To me, framework is a filter that lowers the link quality threshold necessary for the neg to win. Even if you win “you link you lose”, the neg still has to prove a link, and the link should preferably be un-terrible.
Aff teams should debate framework in a way that says “lowering the link quality threshold necessary for the neg to win is BAD”. Maybe this is due to fairness reasons, but the more persuasive answer seems to be that good debate is good and lowering quality thresholds rarely improves the quality of debates.
99% of theory is a reason to reject the argument, not the team.
Agnostic about conditionality in theory, lean against the way it gets put into practice. 4+ condo is probably abusive and 2As should strongly question the claim that it's necessary for the negative to stay competitive.
I am fine with these, but am inexperienced in judging debates that come down to counterplan competition or perm theory. If you make this the focal point of the 2NR/2AR you will probably be more frustrated with the RFD than I am.
Like these debates, much more confident in my ability to make a good decision here.
Before the beginning of a round, if both teams agree to it, I will make a decision based on whichever team wins a best of 10 rock-paper-scissors match (first to 6). I will give each debater the highest possible speaks (29.7-30), with the losing team receiving the higher speaks. Each team will get 30 seconds of prep between each round, up to 8 minutes cumulatively.
hello! this is my fourth year in speech but i am well versed in all speech and debate formats. i know all the ncfl and nsda rules for all formats but feel free to advise me prior to the round start!
I debated 4 years at the University of Rochester (NY) and 2 years at Strath Haven High School (PA).
Add me to the email chain: email@example.com
As a debater and a coach, I lived pretty exclusively on the policy side of things. I think my judging history suggests I am an even worse judge for the critique and critical affirmatives than I thought I would be.
I haven't been particularly involved in debate since I graduated; I now work full-time outside of debate (I'm a geologist with the US Geological Survey in California) and that is even more true.
I evaluate the round probabilistically -- comparing the risk that each team accesses their impacts, regardless of whether it is a DA, K or T debate. Good defense is often as important as offense in my decisions, but there is very infrequently "zero risk".
I very rarely dealt with theory and (non-framework) topicality as a debater. I think there are very few situations where negatives would be better served by going for topicality instead of a DA/CP strategy in front of me, and vice versa few situations where you are better off going for theory/condo to answer that nasty counterplan instead of just making solvency deficits or putting offense against the net benefits.
Judge kick makes intuitive sense to me and I'm happy to do it for you, but you need to tell me to do it in the 2NR.
Evidence quality is very important to me. I like to read a lot of evidence as the debate is going on NOT because I like to needlessly intervene but because I think that it makes my decisions more informed. You should use this to your favor by (a) reading good evidence and (b) comparing evidence to impact how I view the evidence that has been read. This also means I am hesitant to vote on, for example, disad stories that are contrived and supported mainly by "spin." If you don't have a single card that describes all of your disad story, I'm probably not interested (though I have a bit of a soft spot for the old school PC-style Agenda DA).
This (hopefully) should only apply to high school debates, but I have a very low tolerance for non-substantive, "trolly" arguments in policy rounds---things like ASPEC, frivolous T arguments, one card or backfile critiques, or even very generic impact turns (e.g. spark). My threshold for affs answering these is incredibly low.
My background is in college and high school policy. I judge LD occasionally but am not familiar with the intricacies of circuit LD. If you read plans/DAs, I'll be a good judge for you. If you are a more traditional/old school LD debater, I'll be able to keep up. Otherwise, you probably don't want me judging your LD round.
I don't think I would ever vote on a theory argument in LD. Generic impact framing arguments (e.g. 'the util debate') don't matter much to me.
I'm not going to look at any analytics you email out. I'll only check the document to look at your evidence. If you are going so fast that I don't hear your analytic arguments with my own ears, then those args aren't going to be on my flow. Sorry. Speed is good, but you need to be comprehensible.
· Make it clear and easy for me to see why you won and you'll probably win.
With More Words:
I've judged and coached extensively across events but at this point spend more time on the tab side of tournaments than judging.
If you want the ballot, make clear, compelling, and warranted arguments for why you should win. If you don’t provide any framework, I will assume util = trutil. If there is an alternate framework I should be using, explain it, warrant it, contextualize it, extend it.
Generally Tech>Truth but I also appreciate rounds where I don’t hate myself for voting for you. That being said, I firmly believe that debate is an educational activity and that rounds should be accessible. I will not vote for arguments that are intentionally misrepresenting evidence or creating an environment that is hostile or harmful.
I am open to pretty much anything you want to read but, in the interest of full disclosure, I think that tricks set bad communication norms within debate.
Most of this is standard but I'll say it anyways: Don’t extend through ink and pretend they "didn't respond". In the back half of the debate, make sure your extensions are responsive to the arguments made, not just rereading your cards. If they say something in cross that it is important enough for me to evaluate, make sure you say it in a speech. Line by line is important but being able to step back and explain the narrative/ doing the comparative analysis makes it easier to vote for you.
Weighing is important and the earlier you set it up, the better. Quality over quantity when it comes to evidence-- particularly in later speeches in the round, I'd rather slightly fewer cards with more analysis about what the evidence uniquely means in this specific round. Also, for the love of all that is good and holy, give a roadmap before you start/sign post as you are going. I will be happier; you will be happier; the world will be a better place.
Speed is fine but clarity is essential. Even if I have a speech doc, you'd do best to slow down on tags and analytics. Your speaks will be a reflection of your strategic choices, overall decorum, and how clean your speeches are.
Having evidence ethics is a thing. As a general rule, I prefer that your cards have both authors and dates. Paraphrasing makes me sad. Exchanges where you need to spend more than a minute pulling up a card make me rethink the choices in my life that led me to this round. Generally speaking, I think that judges calling for cards at the end of the round leads to judge intervention. This is a test of your rhetorical skills, not my ability to read and analyze what the author is saying. However, if there is a piece of evidence that is being contested that you want me to read and you ask me to in a speech, I will. Just be sure to contextualize what that piece of evidence means to the round.
A Final Note:
This is a debate round, not a divorce court and your participation in the round should match accordingly. If we are going to spend as many hours as we do at a tournament, we might as well not make it miserable.
I have been coaching and judging for 4 years. I am used to traditional debate in a small circuit. I am able to follow spread within reason, but am more concerned with the effort of your argument. I am not impressed by gimmicks or minutiae. I want to see a strong value in LD and good, logical, well-supported contentions in both LD and PF. I expect debaters to rebut contentions of their competitors and prove to me that they should win because their contentions hold.
Any cases built on any xenophobia will be disregarded and brought up in tab. I expect you to be respectful and understanding, especially during online debates.
I am in my second year of judging Lincoln-Douglas. I am a psychiatrist accustomed to listening. I will be able to understand and follow your presentation better if it is well organized, if you maintain good eye contact, and if you enunciate clearly with appropriate expression, especially if giving a rapid-fire line of reasoning. Quality vs. quantity is important. I can only judge by what I am able hear and understand well, so please speak clearly. I find convincing arguments supported by solid evidence persuasive. I respect and appreciate your dedication and hard work. Best wishes!
As a judge, either in PFD or LD , I am looking for a good respectful debate, and please note I am traditionalist - yes circuit competitors you hate seeing this. However, the structure and format is set for a reason.
Please make sure you use sound evidence and impacts should be clear, like in LD your Value should win out, please do not make this a policy round.
Thank you and have a great tournament.
My name's Sruthi, and I'm a senior at the University of Pennsylvania, studying cognitive science! I competed in Varsity LD for four years in high school, and I also did original oratory for that period of time as well. Admittedly, though, it's been a while since I've gotten into it, so I'll ask that you guys don't spread (talking fast normally is fine) and be as concise as possible, the latter of which is just a general point to use in all of your rounds (especially for LD, which tends to get abstract). I'll also note that I'm unfamiliar with the current debate topic, so try not to be too jargon-y.
Looking forward to seeing you guys in round!
My name is RJ Tischler, and I've been volunteering as a judge for speech & debate since 2016.
For debate: Clarity is key. Don't speak too fast. Weigh the impacts at the end of the round for me. Explicitly state what your voters are.
Prioritize clash. That is the purpose of a debate. I am not inclined to buy arguments that "the opponents didn't respond" to contentions that you neglected to revisit & therefore didn't result in clash. If your opponent truly doesn't respond to an important contention, be sure to point that out in rebuttal or crossfire. Don't wait until summary. (specific to PF)
If you'd like, feel free to send me your case to read along: email firstname.lastname@example.org
Simple Paradigm, I am a traditionalist when it comes to LD so I know, when judging on the circuit I will be blocked, but this is LD not policy.
So with that is mind, life is simple, right? Your value should simply win out and your VC better convince me that all those contentions and sub-points make sense, especially since your slowed down so I can hear you clearly. :-) Yes, I like smiley faces, life is fun, take a step back and enjoy it!
and remember, this is not policy!
debated in high school, 4 years of CX 3 years LD. i hated reading thru paradigms so i'm keeping this short :)
pls add me to the email chain: email@example.com
be nice, have fun!
1 - larp, stock Ks
2 - creative phil
3 - theory, T
4 - confusing CPs, Kant & Hobbes (smh), pomo Ks
5/S - tricks, friv theory
+0.2 for being paperless, debate doesn't deserve to waste that much paper
+0.2 for not spreading when you go against novice or traditional debaters, make the debate educational and not inaccessible
-0.2 if you read theory or tricks against novice or traditional debaters (other type of args are fine tho)
for ppl who just love reading paradigms (smh):
obv they don't exist so no need :)
I feel comfortable judging: Policy, Trad, T, neolib/cap, MM, Sec, set col, theory
I feel not comfortable judging: PoMo, pess, phil, most non-t affs,
I hate judging: trix, friv theory
also, I am no longer involved in argument formation or prepping debaters, I have very little background info on the current topic
you must send: interps / plan texts / standards (in a theory shell) / alt text / etc...
it would be nice for everyone if you sent: prewritten analytics / summary of standards (or the whole text) / overviews
I think it's also worth mentioning that I do not like disclosure arguments. I do not think the judge should have jurisdiction to vote on things that happen outside the round, as this is an infinite burden. Of course I can be persuaded otherwise
Bronx: I've started to realize that despite me indicating I'm not involved in prep, debaters continue to read 1ac arguments that require extensive background knowledge and research on contemporary global events, without explanation in the 1ac. I will no longer go on a wikipedia binge to attempt to understand the arguments you are making, I'll simply not evaluate them if the 1ac evidence is insufficient to explain the concept.
If you only have 30 seconds
Read no cards------------------X-----------------Read all the cards
Conditionality good--------------X----------------Conditionality 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
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
Judge kick good-------X----------------Judge kick bad
3 minutes of theory preempts-----------------------X-a short U/V seems fine
Hi, I'm Tyler, I debated for La Salle College in PA for 3 years and am a second year out. When I debated I was mostly a disclosure/T/Plan debater. I ran some Kritiks, like cap, neolib, and a brief stint in MM and security, but not much else. My favorite 1a was 1-2 advantages, plan, framing, short UV. My favorite 1n was t/theory, 2 da, 1-2 cp, case.
For online tournaments:
please don't go top speed. I haven't judged circuit tournaments recently, and I have a really difficult time understanding things over zoom. It's much easier if you start slower and work up to 200-250 (please nothing over that). I'll say clear 2-3 times but after that I'll flow what I can hear and won't look at the doc.
Debate the resolution, not something different that you find interesting.
If LD, your Value should win out and your VC should convince me that all those contentions and sub-points make sense.
If PFD, your contentions and impact should win out. Have good cards. I always appreciate a good roadmap.
Everything is more convincing when you SLOW DOWN so I can actually understand what you're saying. Words are important, but so is your delivery.
Most importantly... have fun!