The Dr Barbara Lowe Charger Challenge
2022 — Oxford, MS/US
Debate Judges Paradigm ListAll Paradigms: Show Hide
In my day job I am a teacher of teachers (specifically teachers of mathematics), where my self-stated goal is to lead people to love others through teaching. I enjoy a good discussion but cannot tolerate a lack of respect during the sharing of ideas/perspectives. I will be leaning on the intent for the speech/debate/event and how participants are being instructed to speak and/or interact and the ideas that are presented and I will evaluate according to the stated indicators for that particular event. For debate events, I am looking for logical arguments that are presented in accessible language during (and not outside) of the time allotted for the speeches/conversation. For speech events, I am looking for accessible language and/or understandable talk.
Some experience has shown me that when I am asked to give overly elaborate time indicators (every minute of a ten minute timing period) I am somewhat distracted in making sure I am giving those signals then paying attention to the performance, which is tough especially for the beginning of a performance when context and orientation are being established. I would suggest timing signals that start with under 5 minutes remaining in a speech event...just my opinion to put the best light on the performance.
I am a Senior Debater who has competed primarily in PF and Congress, however I did dabble in Poetry, Prose, Extemp, and Impromptu. If you're wondering about my experience: I've won a state championship in PF in 2021 (and in 2022 was the runner up), State Congress runner-up 2021, competed at NCFL and NSDA in PF, advanced to round 8 of extemp debate at NSDA (top 60), and have won tournaments in various events here and there. My main focus in the round is that you are able to speak clearly and make yourself heard.
General Debate Notes:
Please do not go more than 15 seconds overtime, it is unfair to your opponents especially in the novice setting where you are creating more arguments to rebut which is already hard enough. Once you hit the end of your allotted time I will hold up my timer to indicate that I am no longer listening to what you are saying. If necessary I will read cards after the round if there is any argument about the contents of a card. You must absolutely repeat your arguments, this is something that is very important across all debate events. Finally, be cordial and respectful, do not attack anyone's character or personal judgement of morality.
I will judge primarily off of argumentation and the carrying of arguments throughout the round. If a argument is not furthered into Rebuttal and Summary, I will forget about it and drop it, so make sure to keep repeating your own arguments despite how repetitive it might sound. Also, remember that cross is a great time to work on outweighing your opponents case, not just tearing it down. I am able to handle some speed, however if you are going too fast for me to understand you then I will not be able to vote for your side. Remember this is supposed to be fun, so just relax and speak clearly. I vote almost entirely off of summary and final focus, so make sure that these are very good and concise so that you can make your entire point across. Finally, and most importantly I firmly believe in TECH>TRUTH meaning that I will take anything said in round as fact unless it is thoroughly rebutted by the other side, this is a common mistake made in debate rounds where people just assume the judge understands what is actually fact, however it is not my job to fact check every card introduced.
In Congress I judge primarily off of participation in the round, so make sure that you are asking plenty of questions. Additionally I don't want to hear re-hash when watching your debate, so please don't repeat arguments that another congressperson has made. You might feel silly with all of this decorum, however you really do look professional to all those watching, so try and stay 'in character.'
I believe that your job is to keep me entertained throughout your performance, if you fail to do that; you fail to win my ballot.
If you are able to keep me entranced throughout your presentation you will get 50 speaks, and will go on to win high rankings.
I am not an LD debater, however I will try to see the round through the lenses of the presented value/criterion so make sure that those are punctual. If I forget your value/criterion I will default to your opponent's, so be sure that you are consistently reminding me how to value the round. For negation speakers, if your definitions are similar to your opponents, just accept them; if your value/criterion are similar, then just show me how you win under your opponent's. Doing that will demonstrate skill as a debater to adapt, which is something that I value extremely high in a round.
If there are any questions regarding a round, ballot, or this paradigm please email me firstname.lastname@example.org
My name is Stephanie Berry and I teach freshmen and transfer students at the University of Mississippi.
I will not flow anything that I cannot understand, so speak coherently and do not spread.
I do tend to enjoy framework heavy arguments, as I was a philosophy major in college. With that being said, I will vote off of more than framework. Giving me clear voters and being crystal clear as to why you win that issue is the best way to win my ballot.
Strong speaking skills (not speaking monotone, hand gestures, eye contact, etc.) are heavily appreciated and make it more engaging and easier for me to understand your argument.
My judging style is pretty straightforward, so come prepared and have fun!
How Should Debaters approach Constructive Speeches?
Arguments may be grouped in order to address all of them. A few well-developed arguments prove more persuasive than a larger quantity of arguments.
How Should Debaters approach Rebuttal Speeches?
Rebuttals should extend arguments individually which debaters advanced in constructive speeches.
How Should Debaters approach Evidence?
Make sure to include citation.
How would Oral Prompting affect your decision?
Keep oral prompting to a minimum.
How should debaters use values, criteria and arguments to support a value position?
I value the analysis. Use examples or states or qualified opinions and then give me your analysis of the evidence...why does your evidence matter...how does it fit.
What arguments (such as philosophical, theoretical or empirical) do you prefer to support a value position?
No preference so long as analysis occurs. I like to see students debate the resolution, not debate debate. Debate the resolution instead of trying to be cute or clever.
What other preferences do you have as a judge?
I don't care much about speed, but it is still public speaking discipline. Getting rid of all enunciation and punctuation just to cram in a few more words is NOT a way to make your case in the real world...so why would you purposefully make a speech that is ONLY effective in the world of other debaters?
Hello! I'm a freshman at Yale that competes on Yale debate in ADPA and BP formats. I also did four years of high school debate, PF and LD predominantly. If you want to contact me with questions or if there is an email chain, add me at email@example.com
tl;dr: be better than your opponent and don't run bad arguments and I'll give you the W.
General (for all debate events):
1 - I am generally ok with speed, but I do think an important part of this activity is effective communication. As long as there is clarity to your speech, I can deal with it to an extent. If you are intent on actually spreading for some reason, just let me know and give me a speech doc because past a certain point I will not understand you and thus not flow what you are saying.
2 - Make sure you give voters. Your last speech (regardless of event) needs to be a clear summarization on the key points of clash, and you need to tell me why you won them. I won't accept any new evidence or arguments in this speech. If you make my job easier as a judge with some key voting issues, that will be reflected in my evaluation.
3 - WEIGH WEIGH WEIGH! As early as possible! I value engagement more than rebuttals piling on top of each other endlessly. Additionally, it's incredibly annoying to hear "my opponent dropped subpoint c of contention 4 so I win the round." No you haven't. You need to do the weighing and show me how you are winning on the remaining arguments.
4 - I don't flow cross examination. I'll watch but if you want something on the flow and in the RFD make sure you bring it up in a speech. Also for every funny, clever one liner you say in cross (you must make me laugh) then I'll give you one extra speaker point as a treat.
5 - Don't go massively over time. If it's like one conclusion sentence that's like 5 seconds over that's probably fine, but past that I'm not considering anything you're saying in my decision.
6 - If you mis-cut or clip evidence, get ready for this fat L.
7 - Obviously, be respectful of your opponents and conduct yourself with a level of decorum. I won't tolerate bullying or ad-hom attacks in or out of the debate.
1 - Style: I only really competed on a lay circuit, so while I am familiar with progressive styles of argumentation (Theory, Ks, CPs, etc.), I don't have tons of experience running them myself. I don't think LD should be one person policy, so therefore I don't love most of these types of arguments, but I'll listen to them if you're at a TOC bid tournament or something since its like a community norm or whatever.
2- Framework: The framework debate is key. I love to hear some good clash on the value and criterion. Definitionally, LD is a moral debate, so values like "morality" strike me as uncreative. If I have another option, chances are I'm adopting a different value. Other than that, I'll listen to just about any framework that makes sense. This means your framework needs warrants, just like any other argument. Finally, framework is not a voting issue. It's a lens through which I evaluate voting issues. If you tell me that framework is a voting issue, I will say "womp womp" to you in my RFD.
3 - Case Arguments: When it comes to contentions, I guess I am mildly truth>tech. I'm not going to drop the argument if you are running some nuclear war or other extinction impact, but my threshold for responses will be just a little lower. Contentions that link really well back into the framework will be rewarded.
4 - LARP: If you're not at a TOC bid tournament this doesn't apply to you. Below are my opinions on a few specific types of arguments but beyond those just make sure whatever you run is accessible enough.
a - Theory: Theory is thrown around way to much in LD these days, and often not done great. So if you could not have a bad theory debate, that would be really cool. Don't run like three shells just for the sake of it, only do it to check legitimate abuse.
b - CPs: Counterplans are fine, just make sure to spell out the net benefit and how it is competitive. Just don't run a PIC. Those are low IQ. I don't care take the L. Also, "Perm do both" is never a real response to a CP. Explain yourself. Basically assume nothing, don't make blippy arguments, don't have a ridiculous advocacy, and you'll be fine.
c - Ks: Basically, make sure you explain your arguments well. I do like to learn things, so if you're able to make it interesting and not yell some obscure philosophy at me then you're likelihood of winning will go up.
d - idek what this is but I don't like it when people pull up with these random cards with just sentence fragments or words highlighted and then claim that they "spike" out the opponent's case like what is that? These are not real arguments.
There isn't really all that much PF-specific stuff, as most of it applies to all debate events, but there are a few things.
1 - Don't run prog arguments in PF.
2 - Make sure you extend more than "last name, year." When you reference evidence, refer to it so that I remember what it says and why it is relevant at that point in the debate.
3 - CHOOSE. In Summary and FF you will have to choose. Collapse the (probably) 2-3 voting issues for me well. Also if it's not in summary, don't try to pull it back up in FF.
4 - I don't have a big preference on how you call for cards, but if you do call for one, I will expect you to bring it up in some capacity. If you don't, I will assume the evidence is 100% legit.
Those are all of my major comments on how I judge. I am always happy to answer any questions before the round or via email. Have fun and see you in round!
Hey y’all! My name is Fikir Beyene (she/her) and this is my fourth year in speech and debate. I’ve competed in various events including PF, Congress, and Extemp. As a judge, my final decisions on every round come down to unique issues or moments of excellence, but here are some general things I take into consideration:
- I try my best to enter each round with an open mind, so even if one team’s argument may not be true or “correct,” if the other team doesn’t rebut it properly, I will weigh it as part of my decision
- Do not spread. A slightly quicker pace than your normal speaking speed is okay, but I value well-articulated arguments almost as much as I value strong argumentation.
- If you are blatantly disrespectful or discriminatory to your opponents, I will drop you.
- Please make sure to signpost to make your speech easy to follow.
- I will flow until you go more than 10 seconds over time (in debate). If I hold my fist up and you keep talking (beyond finishing your statement), I will not take any of the extra evidence/arguments presented during that time into account.
- In interp events and declamation, I will most highly rank those who display a mastery of the piece (very little to no pauses to recall information), include well-incorporated transitions and movements, and perform with unforced emotion.
- In impromptu, I’m looking for logical argumentation, cohesive speeches, and an engaging, effective delivery.
- In extemp, I will most highly rank those who cite multiple, strong pieces of evidence, present well-developed arguments, and effectively infuse humor and anecdotes into their speeches.
If you have any questions about your ballots or any of the events, feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Good luck!
I have experience in LD, PF, and congress.
Make sure you have a rebuttal to each of your opponent's arguments.
Be clear and try to signpost.
Practice decorum and be nice to each other.
I won't flow if I can't understand understand you, but reasonable speed is okay.
I will flow every moment of the debate and make my final decision on whose arguments still stand and have the largest scale and most practical impacts.
Make sure your speech flows, and speak clearly and confidently.
I have been coaching debate, speech, interp, and congress since 2011. I am pretty open to most types of debate, but I have some specific requirements for the individual debates and overall.
Flow: I am generally a flow judge unless the event dictates otherwise. For PF, LD, and CX I will decide my win based on my flow.
Speed: I am fine with speed. That being said, I do expect to understand your SPEECH while you are giving it. If your speed causes you to slur words, not be understandable, or go too fast to make the round enjoyable, I will take off speaker points.
Courtesy: I expect a level of courtesy from all debaters at all times. If you ask a question, let your opponent answer. I also expect those answering questions to not waste time and actually answer with that in mind. Any form of discrimination WILL NOT BE TOLERATED in argumentation or in remarks to one another. I will give you the loss and report you to tab if you make sexist, racist, transphobic, homophobic, ableist, or any other sort of discriminatory remarks. Additionally, I expect you to treat your opponents with respect. Calling them "liars" or implying or saying they are a worse debater than you is not a way to get on my good side.
Abusive Debate: I am a pretty intelligent lady, so I expect you to not tell me what is on the ballot and follow what is on the ballot in the round. Focus on the debate, not reading to me what the ballot says. I can entertain some theory debate, but if you spend the whole round on that and not debating the topic at hand (or actively K'ing it in a way that is effective), you've lost me. Calling your opponent abusive without providing substantial support won't win you anything in my book, but remember, you should be able to win on the merits of the debate itself.
Weighing: I appreciate active weighing of impacts in rounds; however, I do not immediately jump to a nuclear war impact or extinction impact without CLEAR LINKS that the resolution will make that happen. We live in a world where those things are possible by just walking outside, so I need to see the WHY of these arguments specific to the debate itself.
Tech/Truth: I will be honest- I am more of a "truth" person. I believe in discussing real-world issues in the round. However, I appreciate tech arguments as long as they actually fit within the confines of the debate.
Evidence: Clipping or misconstruing evidence will earn you the loss.
Public Forum: I expect good speaking in public forum and accessibility to what you are saying. Public Forum needs to be as much about analysis and rhetoric as it is about evidence. Do not run plans in Public Forum.
Lincoln-Douglas: I do expect some framework debate, and I do not think LD is a one-person policy round. There needs to be active engagement with the opposing side. I am not a HUGE fan of plans/counterplans in LD, but K’s are fine.
Policy: I am pretty much down for anything, but I expect you to engage with the opposing side. I am likely to vote on T, especially if a plan or counterplan is abusive. All that said, CX should still be organized and involve good speaking skills.
Big Questions and World Schools- I expect this to be a respectful debate that resembles a conversation about the topic rather than an attack on your opponent.
Spread only if the speed you use also allows for enough enunciation that I can understand. I can keep up, but only if I can comprehend.
I believe in traditional debate. In LD, everything is about the V/VC construct and should apply to it. I don't really care about definition debate unless it is absolutely vital. Observations don't really matter to me unless both sides agree to them.
In, PF I try to take the position of a typical citizen judge and base "my knowledge" only on what you tell me in the round and not what I already know. Civility is still important in cross-examination so it is important to remember that with me.
In Policy, I am least familiar, so I base everything on my flow and which side has the most arguments standing by the end of the debate. Also, and I know it may be unusual, but I do care if the plan actually makes sense because I can't vote for it if it doesn't.
I don't listen to parenthetical documentation as a source. What does that mean anyway???
Hey y'all! My name is Ria and I'm a college student with 3 years of speech & debate experience. I've competed in LD, PF, Congress, Big Questions, Impromptu, Extemporaneous Speaking, and Poetry.
In general, please make sure that you are speaking clearly and not spreading. If I can't understand you, you will fail to win my ballot. Additionally, please make sure that you are being respectful to your opponent!
Please make sure that you have arguments that can be logically followed by me. It should be able to link to something sensible. For LD, whoever wins the value-criterion debate will determine how I vote. Contentions must be well-linked to your framework. For PF, I will vote based on argumentation of framework and impacts. Typically, I do not flow cross. Also, please do not bring up new arguments during your final speech. For Congress, I will rank you based on your participation in the session.
Your overall goal as a speaker is to keep me engaged. I won't rank you well if I felt bored or easily distracted during your speech. Your speech should be memorized; don't rely on your binder. As long as you have a cohesive, well-delivered speech, you'll be ranked high.
If you have any questions, feel free to contact me at email@example.com. Have fun!
If you're reading this for Public Forum: I'm a member of the public. Also, I teach Latin, so I'm familiar with the word "forum." I don't really think that you should be looking at paradigms for PF, and I kind of object to the idea that they'd be required for PF judges. I've coached PF for the last decade, although I wouldn't say I'm a specialist in it or anything like that. I dabbled in it when I was in high school. I'd prefer that you approach me like you would approach any other moderately-informed member of the public. I'm not looking for you to adapt to me in PF. See below for some more thoughts, however.
If you're reading this for Policy: I didn't compete in Policy, but I've been coaching debate for 10 years with a fair amount of focus on Policy at least 8 of those years. That said, the circuit I coach in is fairly limited in terms of competition (like 5-10 teams at most tournaments). I'm willing to listen to anything and willing to vote on anything, but I have very little experience with critical stuff or anything non-traditional, so I'll listen, I'll be interested, and I'll try to follow, but it may be harder to get my vote with a kritik or anything else outside the realm of typical stock issues. See below for more general thoughts.
If you're reading this for LD: I didn't compete in it. I've coached it off and on, although I've spent a lot more time on PF and Policy. I'm going to lean pretty traditional for LD, just given my limited background and the circuit my students compete in. That doesn't mean I won't vote on plans or kritiks, but you're going to have to convince me. My default mode approaching LD is that I should be focusing on a value and criterion debate supported by some straightforward contentions, and I'm going to need a little help doing the mental jump into plans or kritiks. I'd certainly rather hear a framework debate about the values presented in the round than a framework debate about whether or not LD should allow plans, but I'll reluctantly follow along with whatever.
For everyone, if you're going to run something unexpected (i.e. something a little squirrely or a blatantly non-topical or niche argument) or a kritik that I haven't heard before (well, any kritik, really), put in the work to explain it to me. I like learning stuff, otherwise I wouldn't spend my weekends doing this. What I don't like is being yelled and spread at about a philosophical premise I've never heard of before. Dumb it down for me a bit, take it a little slower, and I'll gladly come along for the lesson.
I don't like to be confused - give me clear voting issues. If I am confused, I'll probably default to impacts / policy-maker or a simple morality question of what the right thing is to do. Speed is okay, and I'll try to follow, but speed with ridiculous breathing is obnoxious. Speed without any change in delivery for tag lines is hard to follow and hard to flow. And again, speed with an argument I'm not expecting and trying to learn is counterproductive. You can say "it's on the wiki" to your opponent all you want, but I don't feel any obligation as a judge to go read your case. Do the communicative work and teach me.
Some pet peeves (certainly not voting issues, but a paradigm is here for me to air all my complaints, right?)
- pointless off-time road maps, particularly in PF and LD. The only reason you'd need to give me this is if you're going in an unexpected order
- "my opponent made a key mistake" - don't critique your opponent's performance for me. Convince me on the actual issues we're debating.
- standing/sitting around while opponents "look for" evidence, saying that you'll start your prep time once they give you the evidence - have evidence ready to go, and if your opponent doesn't have it ready to go, ask them to give it to you ASAP, while you go ahead with prep time or your speech - if they are unable to produce the evidence, go after them in your next speech for that - DON'T hold up a round "waiting for evidence"
At the top, I would greatly prefer if you sent me case docs so I could follow along during round and easily reference arguments and specific cards at my leisure. Sending firstname.lastname@example.org early as you can before round it would be optimal. Outside of that, do include me in the email chain if one is made.
Throughout High School I competed primarily in PF on the national circuit. I went to NSDA twice in PF, was a State Champion in the event, and competed in multiple nat circuit tournaments.
Despite this, I don't really like theory and arguments of this nature very much. If you explain it well enough and make me interested I might vote on theory, but don't hold out too much hope. You stand a much better chance of winning if you stick to relevant on case arguments.
I have a pretty high tolerance for speed, but you need to make sure you're clear if you're going to speak at a quicker pace.
I also want to see frontlining occur in the right speeches. (this primarily means 2nd team rebuttal addressing the 1st team rebuttal and not waiting until summary to frontline) If you fail to address an argument at the right time and your opponent says you don't bring up a response, I'm gonna drop whatever argument was attacked without a second thought.
Most importantly, be civil when you debate. Don't try to harass your opponent, intentionally talk over them, or flex that you're some debate genius. Winning one debate round in high school isn't so big a deal where trying to fight the opponent in round. Debate is about discourse before anything else, so act in a way that best suits delivering knowledge.
For LD and Policy, most of the same things apply. Remember to be coherent with clear arguments.
My judging paradigm is very simple. I believe the purpose of debate is to teach competitors to think critically and communicate effectively. To that end, I think spreading should be avoided when possible, but I am fine with some speed.
I like to see clear clash and persuasive argumentation. Assertiveness is good, rudeness is completely uncalled for and may cost a competitor the round if it is pervasive enough.
I do flow when I judge, so I only take things into consideration that are said in the actual debate.
Debate can often times get a little heated between each other so I will be looking for the team that is able to keep there calm for the entirety of debate. It won't necessarily win them the round, just being aggressive will lose you points.
Even if someone says something ridiculous in round, I will take it into decision unless it is refuted by the other side. (Tech>Truth)
I don't flow cross.
If possible talk at a conversational speed so Im fully able to understand everything that you are saying.
Speech varies on the event but hand motions, eye contact and confidence will go a long way.
As a judge, I begin the debate with no assumptions on what is proper to vote on. That means I am ok with generally fast speeches, along with counter-plans, disadvantages, and kritiks. When it comes to speaking fast, just me a roadmap before every speech about which arguments you are addressing. When addressing kritiks, I don't care what types of kritiks you use. I just will evaluate based on which team has argued what makes the kritik revelant and why does the kritik give ground to vote in the aff or neg. I prefer if debaters respond to arguments in the order they were presented. Don't overcomplicate points or key arguments. To keep overcomplication to a minimum, clear signposting is greatly appreciated. Regarding the substance of your argument, the most important is the warrants/evidence. The heavy impacts cannot occur if you can clearly argue what triggers them.
On T: I am pretty lenient when it comes to whether a plan/counterplan is topical or not. My standard for determining this is whether or not the plan fits in what I conceive as the "spirit of the resolution." Something may not be strictly topical as per the verbiage of the resolution, but is still topical as it fits the resolution's intended spirit as written. The only times I will flatly reject a plan on topicality is (1) if it is too large in scope, as to encompass the resolution rather than the other way around, or (2) it is so disconnected from the topic that it may as well be a non-sequitur. As an additional note, please don't waste time making a bunch of topicality arguments. It is often time-consuming.
-K's are most commonly a cheap trick, in my view--I know that they're used topic to topic and round to round with little change, as a means to minimize exhaustive prep and real engagement with the topic. The only exception I'll give is to specific instances of abolition/discourse K's, in which you argue (in good faith, I'll be able to tell) that the verbiage or framing of the resolution overly limits available/acceptable discourse. Regardless, don't anticipate a vote in a K's favor. You signed up for this tournament, you know what the topic is: debate it.
CP- just be topical if a counterplan isnt topical. I'm not going to rely on the CP for a vote.
Hi, I’m Neely! I use she/her pronouns. Please inform me of your preferred pronouns (if you’re comfortable) so I can address you properly. I competed in speech and debate for 4 years in a variety of events, primarily speech and debate events. I will not tolerate any kind of ad hominem arguments, hate speech, slurs, charged language, etc. Make sure your arguments are clear and understandable to all, and most importantly, enjoy yourselves!
Updated February 2023
Caveat: This is my perception of what I think I do. Those who have had me in the back of the room may have different views.
The TL;DR version (applies to all forms of debate).
The resolution is pretty important. Advocate for or against it and you get a lot of leeway on method. Ignore it at your peril.
Default policymaker/CBA unless the resolution screams otherwise or you give me a well-reasoned argument for another approach.
“Roles of the ballot” or frameworks that are not reasonably accessible (doesn't have to be 50-50, but reasonable) to both sides in the debate run the risk of being summarily thrown out.
Share me to the speech doc (email@example.com) but I’m only flowing what you intelligibly say in the debate. If I didn’t flow it, you didn’t say it.
Fairness and reciprocity are a good starting point for evaluating theory/topicality, etc. Agnostic on tech v. truth debate. These are defaults and can be overcome.
Rudeness, rules-lawyering, clipping, falsifying evidence and other forms of chicanery all make me unhappy. Making me unhappy reduces your speaker points. If I’m unhappy enough, you might be catching an L.
The longer version (for all forms of debate)
The Resolution: Full disclosure – I have been a delegate to the NFHS Debate Topic Selection Meeting since 2011 (all years for Mississippi except 2022 when I voted on behalf of NCFL) and was on the Wording Committee from 2018-2020, the last of those years as chair. There’s a lot of work that goes into crafting resolutions and since you’re coming here by choice, it should be respected. Advocate for or against the resolution and I’ll give you a pretty wide degree of latitude on method. If you’re just going to ignore the resolution, the bar is pretty low for your opponent to clear to get the W (though I have seen teams bungle this).
File Sharing and Speed – Yes please, but understand I’m only flowing that which comes out of your mouth that I can understand – I don’t flow as fast in my mid-50s as I did even in my 40s. I only go to the speech doc if a) I lost concentration during the speech through no fault of your own, b) I need to read evidence because there is a dispute about what the evidence says, or c) I want to steal the evidence for a future round. If you bust out ten blips in fifteen seconds, half of them aren’t making the flow. Getting it on my flow is your job and I have no problem saying “you didn’t say that in a way that was flowable”.
Arguments: Arguments grounded in history, political science, and economics are the ones I understand the best – that can cut both ways. So while I understand K’s like Cap, CRT, and Intersectionality, I have a harder time with those that are based on some Continental European whose name ends with four vowels in a row who says that not adopting their method risks all value to life. Your job is to put me in a position to be able to make the other team understand why they lost, even if they disagree with the decision. If you don’t do the work, I’m not doing it for you. Regarding “framework” or “role of the ballot” arguments – if what you’re advocating isn’t at least reasonably accessible to both teams, I reserve the right to ignore it.
Deciding Rounds – I try to decide the round in the least interventionist way possible – I’ll leave it to others to hash out whether I succeed at that. I’m willing to work slightly harder to adjudicate the round than you do to advocate in the round (basically, if neither debater does the work and the round’s a mess, I’m going to look for the first thing I can embrace to get out of the round). If you ask me to read evidence, especially your evidence, you’ve given me a tacit invitation to intervene.
Point Scale – Because I judge on a few different circuits that each have different scales, saying X equals a 28.5 isn’t helpful. I use the scale I’m asked to use to the best of my ability.
Things that will cost you speaker points/the round:
Rudeness – Definitely will hurt your speaks. If it’s bad enough, I’ll look for a reason to vote you down or just decide I like to make rude people mad and give you the L just so I can see you get hacked off.
Gratuitous profanity – Saying “damn” or “hell” or “the plan will piss off X” in a frantic 1AR is no biggie. Six f-bombs in a forty second span is a different story.
Racist/sexist/homophobic language or behavior – If I’m sure about what I saw or heard and it’s bad enough, I’ll act on it unilaterally.
Falsifying evidence/clipping cards/deliberate misrepresentation of evidence – Again, if I’m sure about this and that it’s deliberate, I’ll act on my own.
Rules-lawyering – Debate has very few rules, so unless it’s written down somewhere, rules-lawyering is likely to only make me mad. An impacted theory objection might be a different story.
1. Way too much time on framework debates without applying the framework to the resolution question. I’m not doing this work for you.
2. The event is generally in an identity crisis, with some adhering to the Value Premise/Criterion model and others treating it like 1 on 1 policy, some with really shallow arguments. I’m fine with either, but starting the NC with five off and then collapsing to one in the NR is going to make me give 2AR a lot of leeway (maybe even new argument leeway) against extrapolations not specifically in the NC.
3. Too many NR’s and 2AR’s are focused on not losing and not on winning. Plant your flag somewhere, tell me why you’re winning those arguments and why they’re the key to the round.
Public Forum Specific Observations
1. Why we ever thought paraphrasing was a good idea is absolutely beyond me. In a debate that isn’t a mismatch, I’m generally going to prefer those who read actual evidence over those who say “my 100 page report says X” and then challenge the other team to prove them wrong in less than a handful of minutes of prep time. Make of that what you will.
2. I’ve never seen a Grand Crossfire that actually advanced a debate.
3. Another frustration I have with PF is that issues are rarely discussed to the depth needed to resolve them fully. This is more due to the structure of the round than debaters themselves. To that end, if you have some really wonky argument, it’s on you to develop your argument to where it’s a viable reason to vote. I will lose no sleep over saying to you “You lost because you didn’t do enough to make me understand your argument.”
4. Right now, PF doesn’t seem sure of what it wants to be – some of this is due to the variety of resolutions, but also what seems like the migration of ex-debaters and coaches into the judging pool at the expense of lay judges, which was supposed to be the idea behind PF to begin with.
5. As with LD, too many Final Focuses are focused on not losing instead of articulating a rationale for why a team is winning the debate.
Hey everyone! I am a senior who has been competing in Speech and Debate for the past three years. LD is my main event, but I also have experience with Congress, World Schools, PF, Original Oratory, Impromptu, Extemp, and Poetry. I will give you detailed feedback on what I think of your performance, and if you have any questions you can reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org!
I prioritize clear and persuasive communication in speeches. I value organized content, relevant evidence, and structured delivery. This includes clear articulation, appropriate volume, and engaging body language. Eye contact, vocal variety, and passion for the topic are key to audience engagement. Adherence to time limits is crucial. I provide constructive feedback to help speakers improve their skills.
Argument Quality: I prioritize the strength and quality of arguments. Focus on logical reasoning and solid evidence to support your case.
Clash and Refutation: Effective debating includes engagement with your opponents' arguments. Address key points from the opposing side and provide clear rebuttals.
Framework and Resolution: Show how your arguments uphold the debate's resolution or framework. Clearly establish the relevance of your case.
Delivery and Clarity: While content is crucial, effective communication is equally important. Maintain a clear and concise speaking style, making it easy for both judges and opponents to follow your points.
Cross-Examination: Use cross-examination to challenge your opponents' arguments and clarify your own. Effective questioning and answering can strengthen your case.
Fair Play: Respect your opponents and adhere to the rules and etiquette of the debate format. Maintain professionalism throughout the round.
Stennis can be stressful. It's easy to get in your head, so breathe and remember that your opponent is just as nervous as you are. Good luck to you all and I'll see you in round!
I understand that debate can become heated but try to focus on what counts.
Your arguments and rhetoric are what matter to me as a judge.
With that said I hope everyone can be as comfortable as possible while debating so feel free to ask if you need anything .
Everyone has their own unique experiences that help shape who they are.
Speak with confidence and clarity and own your speech.
The more comfortable you are with the topic/piece the better you will present.
11/9/2022: Everything under this was written three years ago when I was only a year removed from debating. It's now been 4 years since I've debated. I've judged tournaments here and there since high school, but I am not as aware as I once was. That being said, this is all still true to how I like to see the debate run.
I participated in debate all 4 years of high school. I've competed locally and nationally, but I don't have much tech debate experience. I've competed in every debate event, but if you have me for LD or policy, keep the round very lay. Knowing that, there are a few important points.
EXTENDING: Don't misconstrue what has happened in the round when you extend. Be fair to what your opponent has rebutted, or it's just an annoying round to judge. Just go for the important points in final focus and summary and make sure the voters are the same in both speeches. Very rarely will it ever be a good idea to go for everything in summary/final focus. I'm not gonna laugh at you for dropping your first contention and going for your second if its a better move. I would much rather you extend only the important points of clash. Just drop the contention if you're only extending it in order to not drop it.
WEIGHING: Weigh everything in the round. Weigh your impacts but also weigh sources, credentials, links, etc. There's nothing more annoying than when two teams have conflicting evidence, and it turns into whoever can say they have the most sources. Weigh the context of the sources, the credentials of the author, the date it was published, or some other weighing mechanism. Sources are important and having multiple can bolster your argument, but don't turn the debate into who can read the most cards. QUALITY > QUANTITY
COURTESY: Be respectful of everyone in the round from your opponents to the judges and spectators. The debate can become aggressive, but you shouldn't be rude. IMPORTANT: In PF, don't ask a question you know your opponent doesn't have the answer to just to answer the question yourself. It's just taking away time in cross from your opponent and unproductive.
IMPACTS: I have no preference for what types of impacts you go for as far as econ, environment, equality, etc. I do prefer more realistic impacts, though. High impact, low probability impacts don't necessarily work well with me, but I'm going to judge the probability of an impact on the evidence you provide for it happening. Don't tell me nuclear war is going to commence on an econ topic unless you have some really credible evidence.
EVIDENCE: I know most teams just give an author name and date when you cite a card. If that's all you do, I won't hold it against you but I prefer some sort of qualifier for why you're citing this person. Telling me what university, institute, etc. they're from will definitely give your argument more credence on my ballot. A good citation would be "John Smith from Harvard in September 2018 wrote..." I will accept "Smith 2018" because I'm aware thats what you already have written, and I don't want you scrambling last minute. That said, I'm going to prefer evidence with some sort of qualifications for the author if two cards come in conflict.
EXTRAS: I appreciate good jokes and if you can make me laugh in the context of the round, speaks will probably get a bump. Lebron is definitely the GOAT over MJ, and MJ played against plumbers and grocery store baggers.
All of that said, I just want to see a good round whenever I judge. If it's a productive round and everyone is nice and fair, speaks are gonna be high for everyone.
I teach rhetorical analysis and argumentation; consequently, I carry that awareness with me in my judging. I do my best not to let prior knowledge impact my opinion of arguments.
In judging LD, I concentrate on the values and contentions; I am more excepting of far-reaching contentions as long as you can make the connections. Definitions aren't everything, but I like to know which ones you are using; subtle differences matter. My focus will be on the actual argument, the claims and rebuttals, and the crosses in the debate. I find "arguments" that rely on exhorting the rules of the process to be disingenuous.
In PF, I appreciate seeing a cohesiveness in the team. I focus on the structure of the argument, are adequate supports provided, and is everything rebutted. Again, I do my best not to let prior knowledge impact my decision. Unnecessary speaking over each other and attempting to drown each other out is uncivilized and irritating. It also works against following your argument.
In Policy, I am looking for a logical argument that should pass, and for the negation, I am comfortable with nearly all on-topic and off-topic measures. I do find continuous definition attacks to be pedantic. As for spread, not an issue. I have clear hearing and have taught English to non-native speakers, so enunciation is not really an issue.
Jude Sims-Barber, as featured on https://www.change.org/p/keep-the-public-in-public-forum?source_location=search
Hello debaters! I’m a university student studying philosophy and sociology, and was a debater throughout high school for three years. My main proficiency was with Lincoln-Douglas debate and Congressional debate but I am very familiar with Public Forum, Policy, and IDPA debate (and, to a lesser extent, British Parliament and World Schools Debate).
I use any and all pronouns and my email is email@example.com.
NOTE: I have minor hearing loss. My inner ear tissue is scarred and my speech perception is affected as a result. This is not an issue of volume, it is an issue of clarity and enunciation. As a result, I cannot understand spreading. It is simply out of my ear's reach. And before you ask, no, you don't magically have the perfectly understandable spreading cadence.
General Notes (please read):
Debate is educational first and foremost. Yes, it is competitive (a "game"), but you should always debate in good faith and not use cheap arguments or tricks just to win. Try to understand your opponent and their arguments, and try to make the debate reach a point of conclusion rather than simply making cheap dunks or disingenuous attacks. Communication relies on mutual trust and a desire to learn, not a desire to dominate or win.
Truth over tech. Techy truth is generally fine. I will not disclose. I don't have time to argue with high schoolers about why they lost.
While I understand the desire to make as many arguments as possible, the default should be using an ordinary, pedestrian speed to communicate well-researched ideas. Do not be disingenuous, either in the arguments you choose to run (knowing that they're designed or cut in a manner to disorient your opponent) or the way you explain/extend them.
-Stay topical. You chose to come to this tournament, you paid the entry fee, you know the topic. It's different when academics decide to discuss the weaknesses of our discourse models or the symbolic violence inherent in... English syntax. You aren't an academic, you're a high schooler competing in a competitive tournament you voluntarily signed up for--debate what the resolution says.
Time limits exist as a statement of how long the statements you need to make should take. They are not an excuse to cram as much stuff into that time by spreading.
-Keep it traditional. The most engaging LD debates are those that speak in concrete terms about abstract ideas, using what we examine on a surface level (mere political issues) and revealing hidden moral assumptions or frameworks (theory).
-Is is not ought. Merely because something is the case in the real world says nothing about whether such a thing is morally justified. No, you don't have the solution to the is-ought gap.
-You must have a Value and Criterion. Lincoln Douglas is all about framing topics with an ethical framework. When we say that something is moral or immoral, we must do so with an ethical framework (i.e., consequentialism, deontology, etc.). A value of Morality is meaningless, as the purpose of LD is to normatively prescribe a special importance to a particular value or good (it tells me nothing as a judge if you value morality. You might as well say "it is good to do good things and bad to do bad things").
-Ethical theories are not values. You cannot 'value' utilitarianism--it is an ethical framework through which we quantify or evaluate that which we hold important. We can examine the utility of 'positive freedom' as a value, but we cannot simply value utilitarianism.
-Avoid criteria that are bulkily worded ("ensuring healthcare access" or something similar). Try to limit criteria to established philosophies, ideas, methods, or theories.
-I highly value philosophical consistency and a solid understanding of the philosophical ideas and ethical theories argued for. I know judge intervention is frowned upon, but if you misrepresent a philosophical position or idea, it will be hard for me to trust your proclaimed level of expertise on the topic. Simple mistakes are perfectly okay, as a lot of philosophy is rather impenetrable.
For Public Forum:
-PF is not policy. You used to be prohibited from citing evidence in PF until after Ted Turner sponsored it. PF is the lay debate in high school circuits. Keep it simple. To clarify, I do expect you to use evidence, but also your own proficiency for debate.
-If you know a piece of evidence is deeply flawed or even wrong, why run it on the chance that your opponent won't know how to respond? Does that not seem disingenuous to you?
-I'm primarily a flow judge, and I care deeply about clear statements of arguments and rebuttals. If you don't signpost, I'll likely miss it. Tech mainly bores me, so do try to make quality arguments--if you make bad arguments, then I won't prefer them solely because the opposing team couldn't mention the sixth drop of the fourth subpoint in a three minute speech. If the argument is bad, then it's bad--simple as. (By bad, I mean poorly explained, incoherent, frivolous, or cheap.) Drops are only a point in your favor insofar as the dropped argument is actually substantial to the overall debate.
-Focus on broader impacts. Remember that the burden of the CON is not to propose any comprehensive plan of action, merely demonstrate why the PRO is ineffective or harmful.
-Do not spend too much time on one specific point with one specific point of evidence. Give weight to what's important. Collapse by the end. The earlier, the better.
For Big Questions:
-Big questions is a descriptive debate, which means that you are debating on what is (descriptive) rather than what ought be the case (normative). What this means is that you are, on aff or neg, answering the big question at hand. What's more, big questions require big answers, and any reasonably big answer contains quite a lot of philosophy. Your case should include some measure of balance between raw theoretical material (philosophy, broadly) and hard science. Depending on the topic, you might lean more to one side (e.g., objective morality exists vs. humans are naturally self-interested).
-In my experience (for the few years BQ has been around), disputes over evidence in BQ shouldn't be boiled down to "well our sources disagree." Generally, a dispute around a big question is epistemological, about how we come to know things and how certain that knowledge really is. For example, saying that "humans are naturally protective of their young" is not really disagreeable on a factual basis, but whether that information is significant as to whether humans are self-interested is a matter of specific theoretical framing and definition.
-Don't spread. If you go too fast, I'll say 'clear' until you slow down. This has resulted in me saying clear within the entire 8 minutes of a speech, so please do slow down.
-Please do not force me to rely on an email chain to decide the round.
-On T: I am pretty lenient when it comes to whether a plan/counterplan is topical or not. My standard for determining this is whether or not the plan fits in what I conceive as the "spirit of the resolution." Something may not be strictly topical as per the verbiage of the resolution, but is still topical as it fits the resolution's intended spirit as written. The only times I will flatly reject a plan on topicality is (1) if it is too large in scope, as to encompass the resolution rather than the other way around, or (2) it is so disconnected from the topic that it may as well be a non-sequitur. As an additional note, please don't waste time making a bunch of topicality arguments. It is often time-consuming.
-K's are most commonly a cheap trick, in my view--I know that they're used topic to topic and round to round with little change, as a means to minimize exhaustive prep and real engagement with the topic. The only exception I'll give is to specific instances of abolition/discourse K's, in which you argue (in good faith, I'll be able to tell) that the verbiage or framing of the resolution overly limits available/acceptable discourse. Regardless, don't anticipate a vote in a K's favor. You signed up for this tournament, after all, and your decision to sidestep the topic reflects at least partially on your intellectual honesty.