Seattle University High School Speech and Debate Tournament
2023 — NSDA Campus, WA/US
Congress Judges Paradigm ListAll Paradigms: Show Hide
If I am your judge, please put me on your email chain: firstname.lastname@example.org
I prefer Aff to be topical. I prefer a traditional Value/Criterion debate. I like clear signposting, that opponents refer to when refuting each other. I also require evidence to uphold your warrants and link to your personal analysis. All affirmatives should have some kind of standard that they try to win, value/criterion. The negative is not necessarily tied to the same obligation. The affirmative generally has the obligation to state a case construction that generally affirms the truth of the resolution, and the negative can take whatever route they want to show how the affirmative is not doing that sufficiently.
When I see a traditional debate that clashes on fundamental issues involving framework, impacts, and what either side thinks, really matters in my weighing of the round, it makes deciding on who was the better debater during the round an easier process. I like debate that gets to the substantive heart of whatever the issue is. There are very few arguments I would actually consider a priori. My favorite debates are the kind where one side clearly wins standards, whichever one they decide to go for, and has a compelling round story. Voters are crucial in rebuttals, and a clear link story, with warrants and weighted impacts, are the best route for my ballot.
I will listen to a Kritik but you must link it to the debate in the room, related to the resolution in some way, for me to more likely to vote for it. I am biased toward topicality.
I hold theory to higher bar. I will most likely vote reasonability instead of competing interpretations. However, if I am given a clearly phrased justification for why I should accept a competing interpretation and it is insufficiently contested, there is a better chance that I will vote for a competing interpretation. You will need to emphasize this by slowing down, if you are spreading, slow down, speak a little louder, or tell me “this is paramount, flow this”.
Reasonability. I believe that theory is intervention and my threshold for voting on theory is high. I prefer engagement and clash with your opponent. If I feel like negative has spoken too quickly for an Affirmative to adequately respond during the round, or a Neg runs 2+ independent disadvantages that are likely impossible for a "think tank" to answer in a 4 minute 1AR, and the Affirmative runs abuse theory, and gives direct examples from Neg, I'll probably vote Affirmative. Common sense counts. You do not need a card to tell me that the Enola Gay was the plane that dropped the nuclear bomb on Hiroshima.
I default Affirmative framework for establishing ground, I default Kritiks if there are clear pre-fiat/post-fiat justifications for a K debate instead of on-case debate. I do not flow cross examination. If there are any concessions in CX, you need to point them out in your next speech, for me to weigh them.
Sitting or standing, whatever you are comfortable with. I'm fine with flex prep. I think debaters should be respectful and polite. Cross examination concessions are binding, if your opponent calls them out in their next speech.
If I do not understand what you are saying, don’t expect to receive anything higher than a 28. You will lose speaker points if your actions are disrespectful to either myself or to your opponent. I believe in decorum and will vote you down if you are rude or condescending toward your opponent. I do not flow “super spreading”. I need to understand what you are saying, so that I can flow it. I will say “slow” and “clear” once. If there is no discernable change, I will not bother to repeat myself. If you respond, slow down, then speed up again, I will say “slow” and/or “clear” again. For my ballot, clarity over quantity. Word economy over quantity. I reward debaters who try to focus on persuasive styles of speaking over debaters who speak at the same tone, pitch, cadence, the entire debate.
If something is factually untrue, and your opponent points it out, do not expect to win it as an argument.
Please give me articulate voters at the end of the NR and 2AR.
I disclose if it is the tournament norm.
If you are unclear about my paradigm, please ask before the round begins.
Public Forum Paradigm
RESPECT and DECORUM
1. Show respect to your opponent. No shouting down. Just a "thank you" to stop their answer. When finished with answer, ask your opponent "Do you have a question?" Please ask direct questions. Also, advocate for yourself, do not let your opponent "walk all over you in Crossfire".
2. Do not be sexist/racist/transphobic/homophobic/etc.... in round. Respect all humans.
I expect PF to be a contention level debate. There may be a weighing mechanism like "cost-benefit analysis" that will help show why your side has won the debate on magnitude. (Some call this a framework)
I really like signposting of all of your contentions. I really like short taglines for your contentions. If you have long contentions, I really like them broken down into segments, A, B, C, etc. I really appreciate you signposting your direct refutations of your opponents contentions.
I like direct clash.
All evidence used in your constructed cases should be readily available to your opponent, upon request. If you slow down the debate looking for evidence that is in your constructed case, that will weigh against you when I am deciding my ballot.
I do not give automatic losses for dropped contentions or not extending every argument. I let the debaters decide the important contentions by what they decide to debate.
In your summary speech, please let me know specifically why your opponents are loosing the debate.
In your final focus speech, please let me know specifically why you are winning the debate.
HI. I am a high school English teacher and a Speech and Debate Coach/Teacher.
I have equal experience in PF, LD, and Parli debates. Below are some general points regarding my judging philosophy (general for all debates)
I put equal value on delivery/performance as I do on case content/structure (win on delivery + win on flow).
Evidence RQ: If you need your opponent to show you a piece of evidence by all means ask for it, but don’t be abusive. Ask for what you really need and ask for it all at once. Make sure you can send evidence in 1 minute if you are asked for it. I don’t need to be on the chain/email.
Speed is fine with me but I generally hate spreading. I can hear you and follow but if the information is important enough to say, it’s important enough to get on my flow, and I just can’t flow that fast nor should I have to. Why is my flow important? (“If I must answer that, I will leave and I will not come back again!”). In general: this is a debate not a contest to see who can get the most words in. Spread at your own risk.
Kritiks: Make me engaged and interested in how you approach the round. I am not a stickler for or against anything at all. I want to see solid debates with clear argumentation and evidence. No K’s attacking the “safety of debate”: won’t buy it. If you feel the opponent is abusive or using trigger words, that shouldn’t be the “case” - that is something you stop debate for and tell the judge, your coach, tournament staff, etc.
Flowing/note-taking: I flow on paper or in a spreadsheet depending on where I am. I have my own shorthand and do not flow during crossfire because I would rather see the ammunition come up in speeches. I may, however, update or add points if needed on my flow. Note that if you want me to flow it, it better come up again in the speeches.
Cross: I value high quality arguments and courtesy. There's nothing wrong with being aggressive but it's possible to be aggressive and polite at the same time. (In other words - don’t ask a question then speak over the opponent when they try to answer it. Don’t abuse the use of follow up questions...etc).
Weighing and voter issues: If you don't weigh and tell me what you ultimately want me to vote for and why by the final focus.... then I will choose based on the flow. I prefer you set the framework up and weigh on it telling me specifically wheat you want me to focus on. I see often that new or intermediate debaters forget to clash. Don't just tell me why your case wins!
Off time roadmaps: On time, off time, don't care, but yes, do provide a roadmap. Be brief and please signpost during your speech.
FINAL NOTE: Remember that just because we are online doesn’t mean everything has to change. I prefer cam on and good eye contact. Have fun and be polite to each other! Have a great debate!
I started judging in the end of 2022. While I am a very new judge, I am a seasoned debater and have competed extensively in Congress (2018 - 2022) and Impromptu (2019 - 2022). I competed in state 2 times (qualified 3 times but Covid).
I'm copying most of what my former coach sees. I appreciate flow. Clarity with moderate pacing is preferred.
"It may be the best argument you've given in your life, but if I don't get it on my flow, it doesn't matter"
-- Tiffany Wilhelm
As a former congressperson, I am quite particular about congress.
- Refer back: If multiple people have already spoken, refer back, tell me why their argument is amazing or bad.
- New info!:Present something new. If I hear the same argument, and especially without anything added or not referred back to the previous persons that stated your point. I will probably mark down.
- Crystalization speeches:Love them. When debate is wrapping up please do them.
- BE RESPECTFUL TO EACH OTHER: If I sense rudeness to your fellow congress people, Ill be not happy.
- Humor is acceptable and appreciated. I know how long congress can get and a fun example or two will only add in my eyes.
Coach, Gig Harbor HS, Gig Harbor WA
Coached LD: 21 years
Coached CX: 17: years
Competed in LD: 4 years
Competed in NPDA: 2 years
Rounds judged 2016-17, LD: 10, CX: 1, PF 1
LD Paradigm: I have been competing in, judging and coaching Lincoln Douglas debate for over twenty years. I have seen a lot of changes, some good, some not so good. This is what you should know.
I will evaluate the round based on the framework provided by the debaters. The affirmative needs to establish a framework (usually a value and criterion) and then show why, based on the framework, the resolution is true. The negative should either show why the resolution is not true under that framework or provide a competing framework which negates. My stock paradigm is what most people now call truth testing: the aff's burden is to prove the resolution true and the negatives is to prove it false. I will default to this absent another paradigm being established in the round. If both debaters agree that I should evaluate as a policymaker, I am able to do that and will. If you both put me in some other mode, that is reasonable as well. If there is an argument, however, between truth testing and another way of looking at the round the higher burden of proof will be on the debater attempting the shift away from truth testing.
As far as specific arguments go.
1. I find topicality arguments generally do not apply in Lincoln Douglas debate. If the affirmative is not dealing with the resolution, then they are not meeting their burden to prove the resolution true. This is the issue, not artificial education or abuse standards. I have voted on T in the past, but I think there are more logical ways to approach these arguments if the aff is affirming the entire resolution. In a round where the affirmative runs a plan, T becomes more relevant.
2. I find the vast majority of theory arguments to be very poorly run bastardizations of policy theory that do not really apply to LD. I especially hate AFC, and must/must not run plans, or arguments of this nature.
3. I have a strong, strong, bias against debaters using theory shells as their main offensive weapon in rounds when the other debater is running stock, predictable cases. I am open to theory arguments against abusive positions, but I want you to debate the resolution, not how we should debate.
4. You need to keep sight of the big picture. Impact individual arguments back to framework.
Finally, I am a flow judge. I will vote on the arguments. That said, I prefer to see debaters keep speeds reasonable, especially in the constructives. You don’t have to be conversational, but I want to be able to make out individual words and get what you are saying. It is especially important to slow down a little bit when reading lists of framework or theory arguments that are not followed by cards. I will tell you if you are unclear. Please adjust your speed accordingly. I will not keep repeating myself and will eventually just stop flowing.
I have not judged very much CX lately, but I still do coach it and judge it occasionally. I used to consider myself a policy maker, but I am probably open enough to critical arguments that this is not completely accurate anymore. At the same time, I am not Tab. I don't think any judge truly is. I do enter the room with some knowledge of the world and I have a bias toward arguments that are true and backed by logic.
1. I will evaluate the round by comparing impacts unless you convince me to do otherwise.
2. I am very open to K's that provide real alternatives and but much less likely to vote on a K that provides no real alt.
3. If you make post-modern K arguments at warp speed and don't explain them to me, do not expect me to do the work for you.
4. I tend to vote on abuse stories on T more than competing interpretations.
5. I really hate theory debates. Please try to avoid them unless the other team leaves you no choice.
6. The way to win my ballot is to employ a logical, coherent strategy and provide solid comparison of your position to your opponents.
I am able to flow fairly quickly, but I don't judge enough to keep up with the fastest teams. If I tell you to be clear or slow down please listen.
I am a parent and a lawyer by training. I have made and heard many arguments over time, although not in the area of school debates.
•Speed: Do not speak too fast. It is more important to present your contentions and evidence clearly and concisely. •Organization: Clarity and structure are important to me. Roadmaps are helpful.
•Final focus: Please, no surprises.
Respect your judge. Respect your partner. Respect your opponent.
Avoid name-calling (EX: saying your opponent or an argument is stupid). That’s rude and also lazy debating.
Avoid yelling matches in crossfire.
Let your opponent finish their argument when possible without interrupting.
I've been judging Congressional Debate at the TOC since 2011. I'm looking for no rehash & building upon the argumentation. I want to hear you demonstrate true comparative understanding of the advantages and disadvantages of the plan presented by the legislation. Don't simply praise or criticize the status quo as if the legislation before you doesn't exist.
Each LDer should have a value/value criterion that clarifies how their case should be interpreted.
I prefer to evaluate a round by selecting whose V/VC weighs most heavily under their case. Winning this is not in itself a reason for you to win. Tell me what arguments you're winning at the contention level, how they link, and how much they weigh in comparison to other arguments (yours and your opponent's) in the round.
Voting down the flow, if both sides prove framework and there’s not a lot of clash I would move on to the contention level and judge off the flow.
Don't. I can't deal with speed.
Paraphrasing is a horrible practice that I discourage. Additionally, I want to hear evidence dates (year of publication at a minimum) and sources (with author's credential if possible) cited in all evidence.
I believe it is the second team's duty to address both sides of the flow in the second team's rebuttal. A second team that neglects to both attack the opposing case and rebuild against the prior rebuttal will have a very difficult time winning my ballot as whichever arguments go unaddressed are essentially conceded.
The summaries should be treated as such - summarize the major arguments in the debate. I expect debaters to start to narrow the focus of the round at this point.
FOCUS is key. I would prefer 2 big arguments over 10 blippy ones that span the length of the flow. If you intend to make an argument in the FF, it should have been well explained, supported with analysis and/or evidence, and extended from its origin point in the debate all the way through the FF.
INTERP overall: I pay real close attention to the introduction of each piece, I look for the lens of analysis and the central thesis that will be advanced during the interpretation of literature. When the performance is happening, I'm checking to see if they have dug down deep enough into an understanding of their literature through that intro and have given me a way to contextualize the events that are happening during the performance
POI: I look for clean transitions and characterization (if doing multiple voices).
DI: I look for the small human elements that come from acting. Big and loud gestures are not always the way to convey the point, sometimes something smaller gets the point more powerfully.
HI: I look for clean character transitions, distinct voices, and strong energy in the movements. And of course the humor.
INFO: I'm looking for a well researched speech that has a strong message to deliver. Regardless of the genre of info you're presenting, I think that showing you've been exhaustive with your understanding is a good way to win my ballot. I'm not wow'd by flashy visuals that add little substance, and I'm put off by speeches that misrepresent intellectual concepts, even unintentionally. I like speeches that have a conclusion, and if the end of your speech is "and we still don't know" then I think you might want to reassess the overall direction you are taking.
FX/DX: When I'm evaluating an extemp speech, I'm continually thinking "did they answer the question? or did they answer something that sounded similar?" So keep that in your mind. Are you directly answering the question? When you present information that could be removed without affecting the overall quality of the speech, that is a sign that there wasn't enough research done by the speaker. What I vote on in terms of content are speeches that show a depth of understanding of the topic by evaluating the wider implications that a topic has for the area/region/politics/etc.
'Kyle' or 'Judge' (he/him)
Program Director & Head Coach at Palo Alto High School
President of the National Parliamentary Debate League (NPDL)
ex-LD, OO @ Morse High School
ex-APDA @ Yale University
Experienced judge from a traditional background. I'm receptive to many arguments, styles, strategies, etc., but I'm less familiar with the progressive edges of circuit debate (e.g. performance, AFF Ks). I spend most of my time nowadays doing administrative work, so I probably don't know all the latest cards/norms/trends etc. in your event. I'll try to adapt toward the median judge of whatever tournament/event/division I'm judging, so you probably don't need to adapt drastically for me.
- tech AND truth both matter; I think about the flow, not just record it
- better warranting & weighing wins almost all rounds in front of me
- jargon/speed are fine but often unnecessary, even counterproductive
- clarity is your responsibility; I won't vote for anything I don't understand
- kindness and respect are absolutes/non-negotiables
best at judging/comfortable with:
- traditional topical case debate
- soft-left policy arguments
- critically-framed DAs/lay Ks
fine at judging/okay with:
- necessitated theory/T
- analytic philosophy
- hyper-technical LARP
bad at judging/uncomfortable with:
- non-topical/no-link Ks
- performance AFFs
- frivolous theory
HOW I VOTE
I vote for whomever does better comparative weighing of well-warranted impacts about the main clash(es) of the round. Although technique generally determines truth, you're much better off making credible arguments. Since tournaments need judges to vote quickly and critique efficiently, I tend to vote for the side that was clearer to me.
I default to evaluating the topical case layer of the round first. If you want me to evaluate another layer first (e.g. theory, kritik), you need to prove why that layer should supersede – you don't automatically 'up-layer' the debate by making a non-traditional argument. In fact, the more 'progressive' the argument is, the greater your burden of proof is.
I am fairly new to debate so I am still learning some of the fundamentals of debate. I prefer debates that are reasonably slower pace with a bent towards flow policymaking.
I am a debate coach at Little Rock Central. Please put both on the email chain: email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org
You do you. Let it rip. Seriously. A judge does not exist without the debaters, and I view my role as a public servant necessary only to resolve arguments in a round to help empower young people to engage in meaningful discourse. I believe that it is important for me to be honest about the specific things I believe about common debate arguments, but also I find it more important to ensure I am prepared for debaters to persuade me away from those beliefs/biases. Specifically, I believe that my role is to listen, flow, and weigh the arguments offered in the round how I am persuaded to weigh them by each team. I will listen to and evaluate any argument. It is unacceptable to do anything that is: ableist, anti-feminist, anti-queer, racist, or violent.
I think debates have the lowest access to education when the judge must intervene. I can intervene as little as possible if you:
1) Weigh your impacts and your opponents' access to risk/impacts in the debate. One team probably is not most persuasive/ahead of the other team on every single argument. That needs to be viewed as a strength rather than a point of anxiety in the round. Do not be afraid to explain why you don't actually need to win certain arguments/impacts in lieu of "going for" the most persuasive arguments that resolve the most persuasive/riskiest impacts.
2) Actively listen and use your time wisely. Debaters miss each other when distracted/not flowing or listening. This seems to make these teams more prone to missing/mishandling arguments by saying things like, "'x' disad, they dropped it. Extend ____ it means ____;" yet, in reality, the other team actually answered the argument through embedded clash in the overview or answered it in a way that is unorthodox but also still responsive/persuasive.
3) Compare evidence and continuously cite/extend your warrants in your explanations/refutation/overall argumentation. Responses in cross that cite an individual warrant or interrogate their opponents' warrants are good ethos builders and are just in general more persuasive, same in speeches.
Go for it. Your pathway to solving a significant harm that is inherent to the status quo with some advantageous, topical plan action is entirely up to you. There are persuasive arguments about why it is good to discuss hypothetical plan implementation. I do not have specific preferences about this, but I am specifically not persuaded when a 2a pivot undercovers/drops the framework debate in an attempt to weigh case/extend portions of case that aren't relevant unless the aff wins framework. I have not noticed any specific thresholds about neg strats against policy affs.
Go for it. Your pathway/relationship to the resolution is entirely up to you. I think it’s important for any kritikal affirmative (including embedded critiques of debate) to wins its method and theory of power, and be able to defend that the method and advocacy ameliorates some impactful harm. I think it’s important for kritkal affirmatives (when asked) to be able to articulate how the negative side could engage with them; explain the role of the negative in the debate as it comes up, and, if applicable, win framework or a methods debate. I don't track any specific preferences. Note: Almost all time that I am using to write arguments and coach students is to prepare for heg/policy debates; I understand if you prefer someone in the back of the room that spends a majority of their time either writing kritikal arguments or coaching kritikal debate.
This is all up to how it develops in round. I figure that this often starts as a question of what is good for debate through considerations of education, fairness, and/or how a method leads to an acquisition/development of portable skills. It doesn't have to start or end in any particular place. The internal link and impact are up to you. If the framework debate becomes a question of fairness, then it's up to you to tell me what kind of fairness I should prioritize and why your method does or does not access it/preserve it/improve it. I vote for and against framework, and I haven't tracked any specific preferences or noticed anything in framework debate that particularly persuades me.
Overall, I think that most neg strats benefit from quality over quantity. I find strategies that are specific to an aff are particularly persuasive (beyond just specific to the overall resolution, but also specific to the affirmative and specific cites/authors/ev). In general, I feel pretty middle of the road when it comes to thresholds. I value organization and utilization of turns, weighing impacts, and answering arguments effectively in overviews/l-b-l.
Other Specifics and Thresholds, Theory
• Perms: Be ready to explain how the perm works (more than repeating "it's perm do 'X'"). Why does the perm resolve the impacts? Why doesn't the perm link to a disad?
• T: Normal threshold if the topicality impacts are about the implications for future debates/in-round standards. High threshold for affs being too specific and being bad for debate because neg doesn't have case debate. If I am in your LD pool and you read Nebel, then you're giving me time to answer my texts, update a list of luxury items I one day hope to acquire, or simply anything to remind myself that your bare plurals argument isn't 'prolific.'
• Case Debate: I am particularly persuaded by effective case debate so far this year on the redistribution topic. Case debate seems underutilized from an "find an easy way to the ballot" perspective.
• Disclosure is generally good, and also it's ok to break a new aff as long as the aff is straight up in doing so. There are right and wrong ways to break new. Debates about this persuade me most when located in questions about education.
• Limited conditionality feels right, but really I am most interested in how these theory arguments develop in round and who wins them based on the fairness/education debate and tech.
• Please do not drop condo or some other well-extended/warranted theory argument on either side of the debate. Also, choosing not to engage and rely on the ethos of extending the aff is not a persuasive way to handle 2NRs all in on theory.
TOC Requested Update for Congress (April 2023)
Be your best self. My ranks reflect who I believe did the best debating in the round (and in all prelims when I parli).
The best debaters are the ones that offer a speech that is appropriately contextualized into the debate the body is having about a motion. For sponsors/first negs, this means the introduction of framing and appropriate impacts so that the aff/neg speakers can build/extend specific impact scenarios that outweigh the opposing side's impacts. Speeches 3-10 or 3-12 (depending on the round) should be focused on introducing/weighing impacts (based on where you are in the round and where your side is on impact weighing) and refutations (with use of framing) on a warrant/impact level. I value structured refutations like turns, disadvantages, presumption, PICs (amendments), no solvency/risk, etc. The final two speeches should crystallize the round by offering a clear picture as to why the aff/neg speakers have been most persuasive and why the motion should carry or fail.
The round should feel like a debate in that each speaker shall introduce, refute, and/or weigh the core of the affirmative and negative arguments to persuade all other speakers on how they should vote on a pending motion.
Other TOC Requested Congress Specifics/Randoms
Arguments are claim, warrant, impact/justification and data when necessary. Speeches with arguments lacking one or more of these will not ever be rewarded highly, no matter how eloquent the speech. It is always almost more persuasive to provide data to support a warrant.
Impacts should be specific and never implied.
Presiding officers should ensure as many speeches as possible. The best presiding officers are direct, succinct, courteous, organized, and transparent. Presiding officers shall always be considered for ranks, but ineffective presiding is the quickest way to a rank 9 (or lower).
More floor debaters are experimenting with parliamentary procedure. Love it, but debaters will be penalized for misapplications of the tournament's bylaws and whichever parliamentary guide is the back up.
Nothing is worse in floor debate than repetition, which is different than extending/weighing.
- Decorum should reflect effective communication. Effective communication in debate often includes an assertive tone, but read: folx should always treat each other with dignity and respect.
Woo Pig. I am not here to force you to capitulate a paradigm that you find in someway oppressive to what your coach is teaching you to do. I will drop you for clipping/cheating, and I do not reward (and will rank low in congress) bad/no arguments even if they sound as rhetorically smooth as Terry Rose and Gary Klaff singing "Oh, Arkansas."
Hello! I'm Peri (she/her) and I debated for Mount Vernon HS in Washington doing LD for 3 years in high school. I have my Bachelors in International Studies focused on Peace and Conflict Resolution in the Middle East and North Africa. Now, I'm enrolled in grad school at American University for a master's in International Relations (meaning I know more about the Middle East than the average person) Here is my email if you need it... email@example.com
A huge pet peeve of mine is 3...2..1 and my time starts on my first word. I wont start your timer until you start speaking. I promise.
Substance > Style
Don't rehash, bring up new points prevalent to the debate. I love to see refutation particularly after the first two speeches. Please, lets move on if we are just going to say the same thing over and over.
Every time you speak in a session, it gives me more reasons to rank you at the end of the round. Fight to give those speeches and use questions! Don't let any of that direct questioning time go to waste!!!
A huge pet peeve of mine is 3...2..1 and my time starts on my first word. I wont start your timer until you start speaking. I promise.
I did traditional LD in high school. I am a traditional LD judge. You can run some arguments but disguise them as more traditional and focus on that style to keep me a happy judge. Take that into account. Don't spread I won't understand. Explain your arguments clearly and you'll be fine. No Meta-Ethics
A huge pet peeve of mine is 3...2..1 and my time starts on my first word. I wont start your timer until you start speaking. I promise.
I'm judging more and more pufo these days. I like clear, well organized constructives. Don't just read everything one note. I appreciate that public forum is supposed to be different than LD and Policy. Keep it that way.
Random framework arguments about the intent of the topic aren't going to work for me. If things change in the status quo, you need to be prepared to discuss them.
Put me on the email chain firstname.lastname@example.org
four years in high school at Hutchinson High School (KS)
two years in college at The University of North Texas
Currently debating at Emporia Sate University (Stingers Down!)
Assistant coach for Lawrence High School (KS) for two years
Current assistant coach for Emporia High School (KS)
This happens more often than anyone wants to admit: If anyone in the room has made an offensive comment of a severe degree I will automatically vote against you. If an argument is not made in the debate about the comment, I will still vote against you if I subjectively decide it warrants that response. Your speaks will suffer regardless. I will only stop the debate if I am asked to by a debater, if I am I will.
Other than that, have fun and be nice to each other. You should do what you do, I'll adapt to you. I am comfortable with most everything. With that being said, I wish people did a better job of starting off slower, give me a sec to adjust to your voice by starting off at like 85% speed or so.. Especially if you're starting off with a theory or T argument.
An argument is a claim and a warrant. You need to win an argument AND a reason why that argument means I should vote for you. Don't just throw a bunch of cards at me, it makes me sad. I think the most important speeches are the rebuttals, write my ballot for me.. I like to be lazy, tell me what I'm voting on and why. I don't like reading evidence after a debate, I won't unless I have to or am told to.
I tend to be swayed by well-explained turns case arguments. Tell me how different flows and arguments interact with each other. I wish more people read impact turns.
Making choices is good.. I wont judge kick an alt or CP unless I am told to.
Kritiks: I am most likely to vote for a K with a specific link and a well explained alternative (Do not assume I understand your alternative) and how it solves the aff/affs impacts. Furthermore, I think impact framing arguments are also very important and needs to be clearly extrapolated because I will use that to frame the rest of the debate.
Planless Aff’s: You do you, I have less experience with this style of affirmative. Yes, I will vote on impact turns to T.
I find that it is best to judge on what's being said and understood rather than the largest amount of evidence presented. I want to see competitors use their voice to convince me of their position rather than sprout out tons of pieces of evidence. I want ethos, pathos and logos in your arguments. That being said, I need to hear the arguments so rate of speech is key for me, especially in cross examination.
- Canned speeches ( Unless 1st affirmative) are going to be ranked lower; Meaning that debating and involving other competitors' points will be seen as a high-ranking speech; Don't read off a prewritten speech
- Questioning; Don't deflect questions given; No expository questions
- Confidence is key!
My name is Robin Monteith and I am the coach for The Overlake School in Remond, Wa. I am a parent coach and was introduced to speech and debate through being a parent judge. This is my 6th year judging at speech and debate competitions. All years, I judged PF, LD, Congress, and many speech categories. I have no policy experience. I became a coach in the 2019-2020 school, and coach students in many speech categories, PF, LD, and Congress. My educational background is in psychology and social work.
I am looking for students to convince me that the side they are arguing on is right. I like statistics, but am also looking for the big picture, but with enough specifics to understand the big picture. It will help if you give a clear and highly organized case. Make sure that you don't talk so fast that you lose your enunciation. Also, remember that I am trying to write and process what you are saying so if you are talking really fast some of your arguments may be missed. While the point of debate is to take apart your opponents case, I do not like it when teams get too aggressive or cross the line into being rude. I value both argument and style in that I think your style can help get your argument across or not get it across well. Don't do theory or Kritiks. I am not a flow judge, but do take extensive notes. You need to extend arguments in your summary and final focus and I will disregard any new arguments presented in final focus as this is unfair to your opponents. In summary I like for you to summarize the debate for me. Both your side and your opponents. In final focus I want to hear voters. Why do you think you won the debate. What evidence did you present that outweighs your opponents evidence, etc.
Preferred email: email@example.com
This is my second time judging World Schools at Nationals.
My World Schools team took second in state this year (full disclosure-- I'm from Washington and we do not have a strong World Schools presence in my state).
I love the uniquenesses of World Schools.
I value good public speaking. Speak like you're trying to actually persuade me. I do not like spreading.
I value going into depth on a few points. Explain your reasoning. Don't just get up and read a bunch of cards. Remember, you don't have to win every point. This is not a flow debate. You need to decide what the key issues are and then go into depth on those issues.
Don't play funny with the definitions. The World Schools norms are you should interpret the resolution as an average, intelligent person on the street would interpret it.
Don't forget to state the impacts of your arguments.
Hi my name is Calvin Pittser . He/She/They
My background: I competed for three years in Congress and 1 year in Impromptu, I have a decent understanding about public forum and lincoln douglas but I’ve not competed in those styles.
Basic Paradigm for all styles: I am most likely not activly researching the deep arguments of your topic. I am happy to hear deep arguments about fine details and complex arguments, but before you do so please keep in mind that I don’t understand all the same topical jargon or complexities that you do. So if your intent is to include that, please explain jargon at least the first time you use it or for complex arguments take it a little slow don’t jump straight into it. I am a tabula rasa (Blank Slate) judge meaning that in round I am going to eliminate any opinion I already have of your topic. I want to be convinced by what I see in round. I will be flowing rounds but I don’t flow Cross, that said a good cross shows me alot about your case and how well you know your arguments. For any event of debate or speech, any kind of homophobic, transphobic, sexist, mysoginystic, racist, classist, etc. arguments, insults, etc. will immediatly put you in a bad spot on my ballot. This is an activity where we should all be welcome and safe. For arugments like Ks, Counterplans, DAs etc. I am happy to hear them, but again I am not heavily researching your topic, and my background is primarily congress, so if you run those arguments, go slow and pay attention to see if I’m complelty lost. If I can’t understand for speed, or complexity, or for any other reason I cannot understnad your argument, I can’t flow. And if I don’t have it flowed, I can’t vote on it. As for speed, on a 1-10 scale 1 being a causal conversation and 10 being a policy debater letting loose, I can handle about a 4-6 depending on how good of a speaker you are. But if you can’t handle speed without sacrificing clarity, then I would advise you to speak slower.
Congress: For congress, I like to see argumentation. I want to see you argue your side of a debate and I want you to specifically clash with other speakers. I don’t like seeing rehash, if someone has made your point and you say it again with different words, then its rehash. I also appreciate eye contact, if you can deliver your speech without reading off a page it will elevate your speech greatly. All the above points about respect apply. Finally in Congress I appreciate decorum and the respect that comes in congress rounds. It is totally fine to be firm especially as a presiding officer, or to have aggressive/passionate refutations, but at all times you should be treating each other as respected colleuges, and be careful to attack arguments and not opponents.
Please make sure that if you speak multiple times you demonstrate different skills in your speeches, IE if you give 3 speeches all on the first neg or first aff this is okay, or if you exclusivly have late round speeches I am happy to hear them, but you'll score better if you have speech diversity. This also applies to the arguments within your speech. IE, please don't say the same argument about differnet orgnaizations each time.- "the oversight group listed in section 3 is managed poorly and thus we cannot put faith in them" This argument is alright to have in a speech, especially as a backup to other points, but please don't make a main argument about it in 5 speeches.
If you are debating a resolution, please avoid the "resolutions don't do anything" argument unless you have compelling reason why it CAN'T be a res. I want debate on the topic itself and not on whether resolutions work.
Good luck everyone.
Sorry for being really extra about Congress. I just want to make it clear what I think of each speech
I judge a lot of Congress. Congress to me is half speech and half debate. The best congress students have a mix of both qualities. I find myself in prelim rounds and local tournaments frequently rewarding better speakers because there is a greater talent disparity in those rounds, and kids who are phenomenal speakers break. However, you likely are only reading this if you are a student who takes Congress seriously and expects to get into break rounds. Here’s the thing, once you are in Congress break rounds, everyone is a good speaker and the gap between 1 and 12 is really often negligible to me. Therefore, if you expect to make it into the top 6 and move on, you have to give the appropriate speech at the appropriate time. Here is how I classify different speeches. Each one is judged differently
Judged to a higher evidence standard since you are literally setting the table for the entire round
Needs exceptional structure and argumentation. This should read like a debate case in PF/LD. No claim should go unwarranted, no argument should lack a variety of strong evidence, the impacts should be clear and heavily emphasized
Speech is generally easier since it is prepared in advance, so this speech needs to be very well written
Same standards as the 1st Aff/Authorship/Sponsorship
Difference, you must directly refute what the previous speaker stated. You do not need to refute everything necessarily (although better speakers will), but you should definitely pick out whatever was the key point of their case and directly refute.
2nd Aff/2nd Neg-7th Aff/7th Neg (roughly, this depends on chamber size)
Speeches need to address what is happening in the chamber. A good rule of thumb is to always address the claims of the speaker who went right before you plus the key issues of the round up to that point. If you are not making the debate unique by refuting previous speakers and extending previous speakers from your side, you will have a tough time being ranked top 6
Unique arguments are great and you should draw attention to them. However you are not going to win the debate with a rando argument at the very end with limited impacts. Unique arguments are not a replacement for refutation and extension of previous speakers
Closing Affs and Negs (like the last 4 speeches or so)
Crystalize/Weigh voting issues. At the end of a cycle of debate, it needs to be like a final focus in PF or a 2AR in LD. Isolate the key issues of the round and explain why your side is winning. Speeches that do not weigh this late in the cycle do not add anything to the debate and are judged as unnecessary.
General Congress Speaking Tips
Remember to always use decorum and professionalism
Be consistent in the language you use (don’t flip between bill and legislation randomly)
Important. At the end of the day, you are acting. You are a legislator, not a high school student. You are a legislator whose personal worth is attached to either the passage or failure of this bill because of how it affects the United States citizens. You delivery and disposition should be that of someone who is desperate to see its passage or failure. Show me this is important to you
Role of Cross Examination
I am not paying attention to how many questions you guys ask. I am only really paying attention to the person’s answers. Cross ex should be a time you try to get the opponent to make concessions or show the judges they don’t really know what they are talking about. Be aggressive, but be respectful
Ask lots of questions though. I may not be noting it down, but if you ask a lot of questions, I’ll remember that and it can be used to break ranking ties
Evaluating the PO
If the PO does the following, I am going to rank them top 3 no matter what
Maintains excellent professionalism and decorum
Showcases strong knowledge of parliamentary procedure
Maintains control of the chamber
Makes no mistakes with recency or frequency
One more thing to point out. Running an effective chamber also involves encouraging motions in order to continue facilitating legitimate debate. If there are 3 negs in a row with no Aff, and the debate has been done to death - you should be actively asking for motions and reminding the chamber about how we frown on one sided debate and can move on
One final note about Equity
It is important to be fair to everyone in the chamber. However, this is a competition. You are trying to destroy your opponents and proceed in the tournament. You have no obligation as competitors to ensure all speakers get to speak the same number of times. Now I will admit, other judges may frown on this - so it is risky behavior. I am just letting you know that I will not take points away because you force a motion to call the previous question and end debate when the debate is clearly over and keep someone from speaking.
- Tabroom will not let me eliminate this stray bullet
Speed kills. Spread at your own risk.
In LD, you need to win the framework to win the debate
Case needs to tell a cohesive story. You should not include arguments that don’t function under your framework for the sake of just having extra offense
You have to weigh the debate. No weighing, no ballot
Respect your opponent. Ideally you should be stone faced when your opponent is speaking and never snicker or make any comment of any kind. I’ll drop you
Voting issues. Gotta have them. What are the key issues of the round in your view? How do I know what to vote off of if you don't tell me what matters?
- There is no 7, tabroom will not let me backspace
If you are competent and minimize mistakes, you automatically finish with 28.5 speaker points (29 if decimals are forbidden). To improve on that, there need to be zero mistakes, zero arguments that go unrefuted, clear weighing of impact analysis, etc. If you get lower than 28.5, it means you missed something somewhere. I’ll try to put it on the ballot. Overall, if you do your job, you are not finishing with less than 28.5. Going to be honest though, I can't tell you what a 30 is. You have the impress me in some way that I really can't quantify
Note: This is a paradigm for my local circuit. For nationals, i still judge similarly.
Background: I competed for a couple years with no particular accolades. I judge Congress a lot. If you see me as a judge in a debate event other than Congress, consider me a smart lay judge with little to no understanding of conventions of your event.
Frankly, Congress is not as complicated as other debate events. You only get three minutes, and there aren't a ton of different ways to argue compared to other debate events. That said, this is how I will judge you in Congress:
-Content matters a lot to me. Lots of judges say they don't like rehash, but I really mean it. If you are the 5th speaker you should probably reference what other speakers are saying. If you are the 15th speaker, please don't pretend your points are new. Flow the round, weigh the values of both sides and argue why the values of your side are the most important of the round. If you have evidence that suggests that your side should win a value that the other side has tried to claim, explain why your side should get that claim over the other, rather than just stating that you do and expecting that to be undisputed. If your speech would work as an authorship and you are not the author, you're not debating. You're giving a 3-minute oratory. If you don't understand how to do that, go watch any PF round and you'll probably see a higher amount of debating than I see in Congress.
-How good of a speaker you are will matter. I probably value your speaking ability less than most Congress judges in Washington, but it still will play a factor in how high you score and rank. Even though we are (supposedly) debating legislation, you're doing it in the form of a persuasive speech, and so all speech conventions apply here.
-Ask good questions. It's by far the easiest way to recognize who is paying attention and understands what's going on in the room. Any question that will be really obviously answered with either a yes or no answer is probably not contributing much to the debate. Ask lots of why questions, especially when speakers should be answering them in their speeches and failed to do so.
-Don't just read off a piece of paper. At least try to make eye contact. I understand why novices do this. I don't understand why open competitors do. It doesn't really feel like you're paying attention if your "contribution" to the round is reading a prepared statement. If speaking from bullet points makes you stutter or lose your train of thought a lot, practice your speeches until it doesn't. I would rather you be a little less polished but be more adaptive and open to your chamber, as long as I can still understand what you're arguing.
-Don't try to be too smart. I see lots of debaters try to be smarter than everyone with their "unique" points that have minimal impacts and/or don't make any sense at all. There's plenty of room for imagination in Congress, especially considering how interesting flaws in legislation can be, but run your point by someone smarter than you before you give it in round.
-Don't be a jerk. I'm a pretty informal judge because that's who I am as a person. I think there's value in making your participation in this event reflect who you are and what you believe. But don't be so loose that you insult people, make racist/sexist/ableist/homophobic/transphobic/any kind of hateful or derogatory comments. I do believe there is room for debate to be fun and also to not be insulting. Don't attack people, attack arguments.
Coach since 1996 - started team at Clover Park High School (3 years) (Coach at Puyallup High School since 2000)
Competed in high school and college - Policy, LD, platforms, and interp.
Charter Board member of The Women's Debate Institute
General - (scale of 1-10) 1=low, 10 high
Speed - 6ish -7 ish, if you are ridiculously clear
Topicality - 3 - I have little regard for T, if you are going for it, it better be your only card on the table and the violation should be crystal clear and beyond egregious.
Kritical Arguments - depends - I'm very interested in language kritiques, but generally speaking I have little tolerance for po-mo philosophy - I think the vast majority of these authors are read by debaters only in the context of debate, without knowledge or consideration for their overall work. This makes for lopsided and, frankly, ridiculous debates with debaters arguing so far outside of the rational context or the philosopher, as to make it clear as mud and a laughable interpretation of the original work. It's not that I am a super expert in philosophy, but rather a lit teacher and feel like there's something that goes against my teaching practice to buy into a shallow or faulty interpretation (all of those dreary hours of teacher torture working on close reading practices - sigh). Outside of that, I'm interested on a 7ish level.
Framework - 9 - I'm all in favor of depth v. breadth and to evaluate the framework of a round or the arguments, I believe, can create a really interesting level of comparison. What drives me crazy is, what appears to be, the assumption that framework is a done-deal. That there is only one way to view framework, is faulty and counter-intuitive. It is the job of both teams to advocate, not just their framework, but the logic behind their framework.
Theory - 8ish. While I'm generally fascinated, I can, very quickly be frustrated. I frequently feel that theory arguments are just "words on the page to debaters" - something that was bought on-line, a coach created for you, or one of the top teams at your school put together at camp. It quickly falls into the same category as po-mo K's for me.
Just a me thing - not sure what else to label this, but I think that I should mention this. I struggle a lot with the multiple world's advocacy. I think that the negative team has the obligation to put together a cohesive strategy. I've had this explained to me, multiple times, it's not that I don't get it - I just disagree with it. So, if at some point this becomes part of your advocacy, know that you have a little extra work to do with me. It's easiest for my teams to explain my general philosophy, by simply saying that I am a teacher and I am involved with this activity bc of its educational value, not simply as a game. So go ahead and lump perf con in with the whole multiple worlds advocacy
Ok, so my general paradigm is 1.) play nice. I hate when: debater are rude to their own partner, me, the other team. Yes, it is a competition - but there's nothing less compelling than someone whose bravado has pushed passed their ability (or pushed over their partner). Swagger is one thing, obnoxiousness is another. Be aware of your language (sexist, racist, or homophobic language will not be tolerated. In my mind, this is not just as issue that will affect speaker points but potentially the round.) 2.) Debate is a flexible game; the rules are ever changing. The way that I debated is dramatically, different then the way that is debated today, versus the way that people will debate 20 years from now. I believe this requires me to be flexible in my paradigm/philosophy. However, I, also, believe that it is your game. I hate it when teams tell me over and over again what they believe that they are winning, but without any reference to their opponent’s positions or analysis as to why. Debate is more of a Venn diagram in my mind, than a "T-chart".
I don't actually believe that anyone is "tabula rasa". I believe that when a judge says that, they are indicating that they will try to listen to any argument and judge it solely on the merits of the round. However, I believe that we all come to rounds with pre-conceived notions in our heads - thus we are never "tabula rasa". I will try my best to be a blank slate, but I believe that the above philosophy should shed light on my pre-conceived notions. It is your job as debaters, and not mine, to weigh out the round and leave me with a comparison and a framework for evaluation.
I like debate and have been coaching and judging debate for 40 years. I competed in high school policy debate and college NDT and CEDA debate. For most of my career, I coached all events at Okoboji High School in Iowa. I worked for Summit Debate at NDF Boston in Public Forum for 15 years and judged numerous PF LD practice and tournament rounds. I have been the LD coach for Puyallup High School for the past four years. I'm working with the LD, Congress and PF at Puyallup.
The past six years, I've judge LD rounds from novice through circuit tournaments. I judge policy rarely, but I do enjoy it. Paradigms for each follow.
PF This is a debate that should be interesting for all Americans. It should not be overly fast or technical. I will take a detailed flow, and I don't mind terms like link and impact. Evidence should be read, and I expect refutation of important issues, especially the offense presented in the round. Follow the debate rules, and I should be good. The final focus should spend at least some time going over weighing. Be nice to each other, and Grand Cross should not be a yelling match. The summary speaker must extend any arguments to be used in Final Focus. I expect the second speaking team to engage in the arguments presented in the rebuttal. I do not like disclosure theory, and it would be difficult for me to vote for it.
LD - I have judged a lot of circuit rounds over the years but not as many over the past four years. Washington state has a slower speed preference than the national circuit, so I'm not as practiced at that type of speed. My age means I don't flow or hear as well as I use to, so make sure I'm flowing. I like speed, but at rare times I have difficult time keeping up. If this happens, I will let you know. I expect a standard/criterion debate in the round. If you do something else, you must explain to me why it is legitimate. If you run policy positions, you must develop them enough for me to understand them. I do not like micropol positions. I will not drop them on face. I don't mind theory, but again, it must be developed. Bad advocacy is bad debating. Lying in the round or during cx will be dealt with severely. CX is binding. I expect clean extensions of arguments, and will give weight to arguments dropped by debaters. I want to be a blank slate in the back of the room. Please tell me why I should vote for you. Finally, I will not vote for disclosure theory unless something weird happens.
Policy died in our circuit, and we were the only team still trying to do it. I haven't coached a policy team for a season since 2010; however, I've had teams go to tournaments in policy for fun and to try it. I've also judged policy debate at district tournaments to fulfill the clean judge rule.
Watch me for speed. I will try to keep up, but I'm old. It's a lack of hearing that may cause me to fall behind. I will yell "clear," and that probably means slow down. I'll do my best. I like all kinds of policy arguments, and I'm ok with kritiks. You may want to explain them to me a bit better because it may have been awhile since I heard the argument. Besides that, I'm a policy maker unless you tell me to be something else. Theory is ok, but it should be developed. Abuse must be proven in the round. Rebuttals should kick unimportant arguments and settle on a few to delineate. The final speeches should weigh the arguments.
- Content relevancy
- Audience engagement
- Time management
- Real life examples
- Meaningful messages beyond yourself, which may drive broader and bigger impact
- Use citation and evidence to support the points
- Content relevancy
- A clear topic.
- Persuasive evidence.
- Audience engagement.
- Time management.
- Real life examples.
- Meaningful messages beyond yourself, which may drive broader and bigger impact.
Debate is an interesting and important skill set to grow. I believe its a skill that will come in very handy in your adulthood regardless of the job you may take.
•Speed:I’m comfortable with faster than conversational speed and if you’re too fast, I’ll hold up my pen high to indicate that I’ve stopped flowing.
•Organization: Clarity and structure are important and it helps me to understand the rationale behind your arguments.
•Policy style arguments:I’m not a Policy judge. Make sure you explain your terms if you choose to go this route. I will not vote for arguments I don’t understand.
Respect your judge. Respect your partner. Respect your opponent.
Avoid name-calling (EX: saying your opponent or an argument is stupid). That’s rude and also lazy debating.
Avoid yelling matches in crossfire.
•Flexible: If you need time to recollect your thoughts in the beginning, I am ok with silence. I care about what happens once you start the speech/talk/arguments.
I'm primarily a flow judge. I value argumentation and weighing those arguments during crystalization in rebuttals. While I generally do not have an issue with speed, don't go there if you can't do it with clarity. It may be the best argument you've given in your life, but if I don't get it on my flow, it doesn't matter. I'm generally regarded as pretty expressive so look up every once in a while. Finally, I want you to write the ballot for me in the final rebuttals; give clear voting issues and tell me why you win each point.