13th Annual Alief Hastings Speech and Debate Tournament
2023 — Houston, TX/US
WSD Paradigm ListAll Paradigms: Show Hide
Worlds School's Debate
This is the event I am most comfortable with, as I competed in this event for 4 years and spend a considerable amount of time judging/coaching WSD.
I will vote for the team that best proved their argument was true (whether this is in terms of proving a practical impact or establishing/fulfilling a principled argument) and weighs why the argument means that they deserve to win the round.
It is not enough to prove to me that your world is "good" or that your opponents world is "bad", you must prove to me that your world is comparatively preferable to your opponents.
I very much prioritize content over style, as far as style goes all that matters is that you're speaking at a reasonable rate, your speech is easy to follow, and that you are not just reading off the paper but rather genuinely giving a speech.
I have judged PF/LD a decent amount this year, and will vote for the team with the least mitigated link chain and most strongly weighed impact, just debate good
If you ever have any questions or would like further feedback, you can reach out to me at email@example.com
If you get me as your judge in any event outside of these three, I am so sorry
Would prefer not spreading, but if you do then please send me a document.
Intros are one of the most important parts of a speech. Make sure to explain your topic well and draw me into your piece and connect it with your story/piece. Be influential.
Movements and gestures need to appear natural, smooth, and flow naturally with speech.
When you are performing the emotions needs to genuine rather that it makes be believe and I'm in the story or it comes to life. Draw me into your world.
Do not SPREAD, so what that means is if you are gasping for breaths you are going to fast or if it turns into one long run on sentences then that doesn't do it for me. I do not need you to read all of your "cards" or evidence but rather snippets of it and the importance/impact of your evidence.
Make it clear to me, essentially writing the ballot for me will get you the win. Thus that means you are connecting the points for me rather than me having to guess what the purpose or point is.
Congress: Do not repeat the same points over, especially if we have been three rounds of speakers in. Would prefer some clash and evidence to back up your points and reasons.
Extemp: A roadmap would be good along with three points. I like to have two pieces of evidence per each point with a variety of sources. I would like to have an intro and your conclusion to link back to your intro. If you can weave your intro throughout your entire speech that would be better.
I have judged congress for over two decades, even before it became a National standardized qualifying event and have advocated for it all that time because I believe it to be the best overall, well-rounded event that we offer in forensic competition.
It encompasses the benefits of acting because you are playing a role as a representative and the more you understand the motivation of your position, the greater the performance. It is one of the purest of speaking events, because a great representative is a great orator, in life and in your chamber. The writing and interpretation of legislation is at the core of the event and illustrating your deep understanding of that legislation is paramount in your performance. Lastly, but most importantly, it is a debate event, where civil clash is necessary.
All that being said, to understand how I view the event holistically, there are specific standards I prefer.
I do believe that in a three to four minute speech the speaker should get our attention in a creative way and give us a clear call for action and preview of their arguments, coming back to that AGD at the end, time permitting. Preparing us for what you are about to argue is important. There is no actual grace, so 3:08 is abusing the time of the next speaker. I prefer fewer, well developed arguments, than many blipped ones. Sources are important and both the quantity and quality of such sources, Q2, are vital. Representatives do not just rely on periodicals, but government reports, experts in the field, think-tanks, etc. These considerations are important, not just the number of sources. Consideration and knowledge of how our government actually works and the type of legislation at hand is also vital. We are debating issues present in the real world, so take that into consideration and consider what are the real-world implications to your constituents? Know and use parliamentary procedure to benefit the progress of debate; do not abuse it.
PO's are a vital part to any chamber and I look for a strong understanding of parliamentary procedure and efficiency and fairness are of utmost importance. If you have not read "Robert's Rules." it behooves you to do so, then be aware of all NSDA guidelines in adapting them. A good PO should run an efficient chamber and be pro-active in enforcing a fair chamber. Any perception of recognizing speakers unfairly will be penalized. Make sure you are clear with your procedures from the start and follow them consistently.
Overall, consider the above standards in your performance and you will do well. Remember, you are not just speaking for yourself; you are truly representing your school, your state, and your nation. We need good role models.
Policy Debate CX Paradigm:
I have judge policy for almost three decades and prefer traditional policy making focused debates with well weighed impacts.
That being said, I can handle speed, but clarity and articulation are key. I will not say clear, so if I put down my pen and you don't adjust, it is on you. If I don't flow it, it's not on the flow; I will not just read your files. This is an oral exercise in debate, so if it's important, make sure I get it.
My teams also have had great success with progressive arguments and K's, so I'm fine with it if you really know the literature and have clear links. I don't like K's, so make sure the story, links, and alternative are clear. All types of arguments are fine, as long as you know how to run them and they are relevant to your debate. I don't vote on T often, but it must be ran and answered correctly, not "they aren't topical, or "yeah, we are topical", and there should be clear in-round abuse.
Make sure there is direct clash and not just random generic arguments with weak links and no direct weighing. I love those debating actually debating case, so don't ignore it.
Probability and meaningful impacts are a must.
Be civil and debate well and every round will be fulfilling.
Background: I debated at Memorial High School in Houston for 3 years, graduating in 2018. I mainly competed in extemp in high school, and I qualified for TFA State in FX and the TOC in Extemp and Informative. I also qualified for Nationals in World Schools debate twice and reached the quarterfinals of World Schools in 2018. My main debate events were Public Forum and Congress which I did on and off for the most part. I graduated from Harvard in 2022 with a degree in History, and I currently work as a Legal Assistant for a LGBTQ rights nonprofit. You probably won't see me judging too many tourneys this year, but in case you do...
WSD: Remember that WSD is not LD or PF, and I will not be "voting on the flow" the way that LD and PF judges do. I will generally try to stick to the 68-72 range for each speaker, although I've found myself going under that range more often than I've gone over. Of course, this means that you might not like my decision at the end of the day. To lessen the odds of that happening, here are some tips to maximize the chances of winning my ballot:
- For content: "The House" is understood to be the whole world unless specified otherwise. Therefore, your content score will not go above 28 unless you bring solid international examples to the table. Generally, the more empirical and the less hypothetical evidence you bring to the table, the better you'll tend to do.
- For style: I would say the easiest way to improve style points on my ballot is with speeches that have personality. Obviously, this will differ from speaker to speaker, but I have rewarded speakers who depart somewhat from the "clean speech without fluency errors" kind of model and bring humor, personal connections to the topic, anecdotes, etc. to the table.
- For strategy: Teams that are consistent down the bench, especially teams that have a consistent team line, will tend to do better in strategy. I also evaluate POIs here; generally, teams should take 2 POIs, usually at the transition between points that were elaborated on during the roadmap.
LD and PF debate: For PF, I want to see a clear claim/warrant/impact structure with clear weighing at the end of the day; I've frequently found myself wanting some brief framing analysis or meta-weighing throughout the round as well. I am not receptive to theory or kritikal arguments in PF.
For LD, I am open to hearing all kinds of arguments (I do not consider myself a traditional LD judge), but I simply ask that you explain your arguments well. If I cannot explain your argument in the RFD on the ballot, I will not vote for that argument. For Ks, make sure that the link is specific to the case and that the alt makes sense. I will warn you that I have heard many bad Ks in my life, and while I have voted for Ks in the past, that doesn't mean I automatically like every K that I hear. In addition, it's really no fun for anyone to hear rounds where the AFF has never heard of the K, and their only response is "the NEG doesn't have a value and a criterion so we should win." So try to remain respectful of your opponents as well.
For both forms of debate, I really appreciate good meta-weighing (especially on evidence quality and strength of link), and the more that the final speeches can give me clear voters and/or write my RFD for me, the better the round will turn out for you.
Congress: I would say that I prefer content over presentation. When evaluating content, I look to the type of speech being given (constructive, rebuttal, and crystallization) and my expectations for each type of speech... Unfortunately, I have found that there are many constructive speeches given later and later in the chamber, and many so-called rebuttal or crystallization speeches that neither rebut nor crystallize. Please, please, please remember that this is congressional DEBATE and not congressional soapbox. I love clash and I hate repetitious arguments.
Relatedly, I really detest when chambers need to take in-house recesses at the beginning of items because nobody is prepared to debate. I believe that I have somewhat contributed to this problem by stating that I prefer well elucidated speeches over speeches that were extemped in the chamber. To be fair, I don't want to hear these speeches for the sake of giving a speech, but I am now of the belief that I should reward the representatives who are actually prepared to debate in my rankings. So do with that what you will.
Public Speaking: In extemp, make sure you answer the question in a well structured manner. Sources are also important to me; I read both foreign and domestic news on a regular basis, and BSing a speech is not the way to win my ballot. (For the record: I have checked sources that sounded fishy, and I have tanked speakers who have egregiously misrepresented sources. Misremembered the date or the publication for a source? Fine, I've done that before, and I'll give you the benefit of the doubt! Told me that Boko Haram has attacked Egypt or that a New York Times editorial praised El Salvador's Bitcoin experiment when, in fact, it panned it? Not OK!)
For all events, I enjoy humor; for the two platform events, I also like to hear a personal connection to the topic throughout the speech, as well as unique takes on common topics. Please elucidate the stakes for your speech so we know why it's important that we listen to you for 10 minutes about a given topic.
Interp: Contestants should not try to change their pieces for my ballot, but here are a few things. For all events: Does the introduction adequately contextualize the piece, and does it lay out the societal critique the piece brings to the table? Does the cutting have a clear narrative arc? Does the teaser adequately tease the piece? For DI: Do you have a range of emotions (positive)? Do you yell as a substitute for other emotions (negative)? For HI: Is the piece funny? Does the piece add to a societal conversation about its topic, or is it just comedy? For POI: Does the program's narrative make sense? Are the characters adequately distinguished from each other, and do the transitions make sense?
Judged about twenty tournaments, about two thirds through tabroom. I have exposure in WSD, LD, PF and CX. I've also judged OI, Prose, HI, Domestic and Foreign Extemp.
Do not like spread, as it is too difficult to gleam the details and take notes on it. I feel that if I can't understand the words coming out of your mouth, and be able to jot a note down about it, then you did not say anything.
Speaker points are higher for those that speak clearly, provide well defined citations, use proper voice inflection and appropriate body movement for the event.
While I don't recommend running topicality or kritik, I'm willing to keep an open mind to it if you think you really have a case for it. I have only seen one topicality argument that had validity, but missed opportunity on a few others.
Been catching CX/Policy recently and seeing many Viva Voce violations. Partners, do not interupt/prompt your speaker when they have the floor. It will likely cost you my ballot. Also, even if open cross is agreed upon, the speaker should still respond to all questions after their speech. It provides better speech points for all speakers.
Background: I'm a parent who has watched World Schools Tournaments for the last three years, ranging from WSDC International Tournaments to local tournaments. I have no favorites or allegiances - so be rest assured I am as neutral; as they come. Growing up I have debated both at high school & college - so I love debate, and look forward to hearing every one of you !
Email Chain: Please add me to the email chain: Meera_iyer@yahoo.com
Judging Philosophy: I like a debate that is framed with both principle and practical arguments of the world stance you represent. Set up your clashes clearly and build your arguments through actively listening to your team members and the opposing team. Remember a debate is more than a fine speech and needs to build through weighing the arguments carefully, and building your overall storyline as the debate progresses.
Speaker Points: I give out speaker points based on a couple of things: clarity ,content and argument setup/build. By clarity I mean making your point clear through evidence, comparatives, and extensions, as well as speaking clearly & confidently. I also look for solid content that shows you have done your research and thoroughly examined all evidence to build your stance. Last, it is through comparatives & extensions that your world will contrast with the opposing world - so do not be shy about showing us your world stance to the fullest extent.
1. Remember to be respectful - by this I mean usage of any hateful language will count against you. Remember that by embracing debate -we a trying to build civil dialogue in this world and this is more important than winning !
2. Please do not feel the need to throw all the points you have in the time you have to speak - I'd rather you weigh the most important to you & build these out thoroughly, & clearly than have the kitchen sink thrown at me.
3. Last, I am usually taking notes as you speak - so please moderate your speed so I can absorb & assess clarity.
WS Specific Things
-I start speaks at a 70, and go up/down from there!
-Make sure you are asking and taking POIs. I think speakers should take 1 - 2 POIs per speech
I need content warnings for SA or self harm.
Hi I'm Tofunmi (she/her), I competed in several years of middle school and high school speech (DI, POI, INFO, OO,,,, the list goes on but I basically did everything). HOWEVER, I don't have that much debate experience so go easy on me. I have zero tolerance for rude competitors. Be sure to use people's preferred pronouns, and overall, be respectful. I will be docking points if I see rude behavior from competitors. Debate should be a safe space, so if you have any concerns, please contact me.
Boards aren't necessary in info, but unless you're not using boards because that is what works best for your piece, for example, the ASL piece at 2021 nationals, I prefer pieces with boards
Make sure your speech is well structured and easy to follow through
Make sure you have speed, tone, and pitch variety throughout your speech
I love subtlety of emotion in interp events (except HI ofc)
I like to see binder craft in POI
Not always the biggest fan of HI. Don't be gimmicky. Any racism/sexism/anything along the sorts automatically puts you at the bottom of the room.
In all, looking for plot and characters. Really put me in the world of your piece through blocking.
I like a good teaser with lots of energy.
I don't like acting in the introductions. That should be the real. Showcase your public speaking ability.
I don't really time unless other judges would prefer to, just do your best!
Signpost + avoid spreading super fast (you can still talk fast, but I'm going to vote off of clarity)
Have organized argumentation + explicit explanations. I'm fine with technical terms, but use them correctly (i.e use fiat or uniqueness correctly)
Have clear warrants (hows + the whys) and how it links to your claim
Whoever shows clear links to not only your claim, but your impacts and explicitly weighs those impacts will ultimately win my ballot.
I like a good AGD.
Restate topic verbatim.
Most important thing in extemp is directly answering the prompt.
Three main points preferred.
I like at least 2 sources per main point.
Do not get tangential.
Do not be stiff, but do not be too informal.
Strong organization (Intro, 3MPs, and a Conclusion that ties back to intro.)