Illinois Debate Coaches Association Novice JV State Championshi
2023 — Skokie, IL/US
Junior Varsity Policy Paradigm ListAll Paradigms: Show Hide
DONT RUN ENACT EXCLUDES courts in front of me. It’s wrong and absurd. What would a topic excluding the Supreme Court look like on criminal justice topic. The resolution says USFG. Supreme Court part of USFG.
put me on the Email chain. Silvermdc1@gmail.com
IN MOST ROunds I’m not reading every card on the doc because it’s a communicative activity. I’ve learned that often some peoples explanation of their evidence doesn’t line up with what the text says. In a situation where I’m on a panel where the other judges are reading the cards I too will as well.
while you’re speaking I prefer you turn your camera on. Understand if you don’t have bandwidth to support it.
I evaluate disease based/ pandemic based impacts much more seriously now due to ongoing effects of COVID 19. I still believe that debate is a game, educational one however I want to fully acknowledge the serious situation of where we are in our country with policing. I’m sure we can have debates while being tactful and understanding for some folks the issue can be personal.
I'll shake your hand if it's like your last round of high school debate and I so happen to judge it. It's weird to me when a kid tries to shake my hand after a round though. I did it when I was debating and didn't realize how odd it was. Oops.
It's likely that I'll laugh some don't take it personally I laugh all the time and I'm not making fun of you. I'm a human being and have lots of beliefs and feelings about debate but I'm persuadable. I don't flow Cross X obviously but sometimes questions and or answers end up impacting my perception of the round.
Arguments that I like hearing
I love the politics disadvantage, I like strategic counterplans. relevant case arguments, specfic d/as to plans.
Non-traditional AFFs or teams.
I'll listen to K affs or teams that don't affirm the resolution. Honestly though it's not my cup of tea. Over the years debate has been changing and I guess I've changed in some ways with it.
NEW Counterplans in the 2NC I'm not cool with unless the 2AC reads an add on.
I evaluate how well you answered your opponents arguments, ETHOs, persuasiveness, Humor, STRATEGIC DECISIONS. There are times when one team is clearly more dominant or one student is a superior speaker. That's GREAT!! I'm not going to reward you with speaker points for walloping a weaker team. You're not going to be penalized either but it's clear when you have a challenge and when you just get an easy draw in round.
IF I HAVE NEVER MET YOU BEFORE DON'T EMAIL ME ASKING FOR EVIDENCE FROM ROUNDS I JUDGED
ARGUMENTs I'd rather not hear.
Arguments I find offensive and refuse to flow
If we're talking about paradigm I view debate as a game. It's an educational game but a game still. I think most rules are debateable. I think speech times are consistent and not a breakable rule, ad-hominem attacks are not acceptable.
Even if your're not friends with your debate partner treat them respect and please no bickering with them.
I'd prefer if people do an e-mail stream instead of flashing or other methods of sharing evidence.
I'll listen to your criticism. Few things. I think there needs to be a coherent link story with the affirmative, words or scholarship the affirtmative said in cross-x. Your K will not be a viable strategy in front of me without a link story. It's a very tough hill to win a K in front of me without an Alternative. Debaters have done it before but it's been less than 5 times.
- Explain and analyze what the alternative does.
- Who does it
How does a world compare post alternative to pre-alternative?
- Should interpt various words in the resolution
- Have clear brightline about why your view of debate is best for education
Address proper forums for critical arguments people make
- Have voting issues that explain why your vision of debate is desirable.
- I prioritize role of the ballot issues.
- I'll entertain it I guess, I'm probaly not the most recceptive though. Explain how you want me to fairly evaluate these concerns. Also consider what type of ground you're leaving your opponent without making them go for reprehensible args like: Patriarchy Good or racism good.
- Need to have a solvency advocate
- A text
Can be topical in my mind
- Net benefit or D/A to prefer CP to aff
Needs to be some breathing room between Counterplan and plan. PICS are fine however I don't think it's legit to jack someone elses aff and making a minute difference there isn't lit for.
A reason the permutation can't work besides theory arguments.
DON'T JUST READ THEORY BLOCKS AGAINST Each other. Respond in a line by line fashion to opponents theory args. Dropped arguments are conceded arguments obviously. In a close debate don't assume because you have a blippy quick theory argument it's neccessarily going to win you a debate in front of me if you didn't invest much time in it.
1. Engage with opponents evidence and arguments.
2. Make contextual differences.
3. Humor is fine but don't try to be funny if you're not.
4. Clarity is preferred over speed. Not telling you to go slow but if I can't coherently understand what you're saying we have a problem. Like if you're unclear or slurr a bunch of words while you're spreading.
5. HAVE FUN! Getting trophies and winning tournaments is cool but I'm more concerned what kind of person you're in the process of becoming. Winning isn't everything.
Don't trivialize T. Burden is on the affirmative to prove they are topical. I'll listen to reasonablity or competing Interpretations framework. I don't believe in one more than other and can be persuaded either way. Standards by which to evaluate and voting issues are nice things to have in addition to an Interpretation.
Arguments I like on T that I find have been lost to the wayside.
Reasons to prefer source of dictionary, information about changing language norms and meaning, the usage of the word in soceity currently.
Grammar analysis pertaining to the resolution.
Framers Intent/ Resolution planning arguments
Voting issues you think someone who thinks debate is an educational game would like to hear.
Link Story that is specific to AFFIRMATIVE.
Impacts that would make a worse world than aff.
Author qualifications matter to me, Sources of your evidence matter to me. How well you're able to explain your claims matter to me. Evidentiary comparison to your opponents authors are saying.
General stylistics things
Some kind of labelling for arguments like numbers or letters before the tags is preferrable. If you have questions feel free to e-mail me. email@example.com
Debated Maine East H.S. 2009 -2012, Coach/Judge 2012 -
Debate is an educational game where everything in debate is debatable i.e. should I prefer tech over truth, do I need a plan text. Be nice to each other, try your best and have fun. Prefer debates were debaters are challenged to think in new ways. Do not be deterred from going for any argument because of what you read here. I’m open to listening to and voting for any argument even debates about what debate should be i.e. k of debate. Just because I stated that I will listen to / vote on / prefer something does not mean that it is an automatic win. If I do not understand something I will not vote on it.
Has been said in many different ways by many different individuals: debating / coaching for a school without many resources and understanding the experiences of similar schools competing against schools who are well resourced, I tend to be sympathetic to arguments based on inequities in policy debate. I will default to a policy maker but am open to other ways of deciding the ballot. I will go off the flow and will try not to intervene, however I might default to my opinions below (which are not concrete).
I will vote for the least complex way to sign the ballot. Explaining your arguments / ideas and keeping the debate organized by road mapping, sign posting, and line by line are key and will help your speaker points. Other things that are key and help to explain / frame the debate are: overviews with impact clac, turns case/da arguments, framing of arguments and the debate, impacting out arguments, and in-depth analysis of arguments. Likewise, overall analysis and framing of evidence / arguments / warrants / qualifications / the round, is key. “Even if” statements will help with speaker points and to frame an argument. Do not assume that I know an argument, author, or specific terms. Analytics, defensive arguments (even without your own evidence) are able to reduce any argument/evidence to zero risk or close to it. If I do not understand a part of the argument or it is not explained/major gaps in your logic I will be less likely to vote on it, even if it is dropped. Explain to me why you should win the round and what this means for both you and your opponent’s arguments. Speed is ok but need to clear. Do not sacrifice clarity for speed. Emailing speeches does not count as prep time as long as it is reasonable and send it all in one doc. Have cites available after the round. I will vote down teams/dock speaker points for rudeness, racist, sexism, unethical, offensive and unacceptable arguments / behavior.
Look at / debate / answer the actual warrants (or lack thereof) in the cards not what the card is tagged as. Comparing evidence / qualifications with explanations as to whose is better helps me to evaluate an argument (even just reading evidence and pointing out its inconsistency is great (will help your speaker points)) and is something that I find is missing in a lot of debates. If their evidence is bad point it out. I will read evidence if call for or if I believe there is an issue with it.
Cross x – Tag Team is fine if both teams are ok with it. Overtaking your partner’s cross-x might result in lower speaker points. Be sure to carry cross-x into the rest of the debate. If you indicted a piece of evidence or proved that an argument does not work, say so in your speech.
Theory – Just like any other argument dropping theory is not an auto-win. If a part of the theory is not explained well enough or the other team points out that it is not explained or missing, I will be less inclined to vote for it. Will vote on all types of theory, but need to explain the theory, in-round abuse (why what they did was bad), voters, fairness, education, impacts and why I should either reject the argument or the other team. Do not just re-read your blocks. The more specific the theory is to the argument / abuse / voters / round, the better.
Topicality – Overviews help. Tend to lean affirmative (Neg has the burden) unless there is a clear: violation / definition, bright line between topical and untopical, impacts for allowing the affirmative and others like it to be topical and in-round / potential (prefer in-round) abuse. Will default to competing interpretations. Explanation on all parts of the flow are key i.e. definition, bright line, topical version of the affirmative, case lists, reasons to reject the team (in-round and potential abuse), standards, ground, limits, voters, fairness, education, and impacts. Reasonability, clash / lit checks, race to bottom, etc. are able to reduce the chance of voting on topically. Will vote on aspec / other spec arguments however, need to show abuse in-round.
Speaker points – My range is 27.8- 28.5, this does not mean that I will not go above a 28.5. The road to better speaker points is in this philosophy i.e. know your arguments, be clear, do line by line, point out inconsistency in arguments and evidence, extend / explain / compare warrants and or qualifications (or lack thereof), road map, sign post, impact clac, frame the debate and the other things that are listed in the various sections.
Plan text / Counterplan text – Should be written down. Check how they are written. Will vote on plan flaws and counterplans that change the plan text with a net benefit.
Affirmative – Two things are key: good overviews with impact clac and in-depth case analysis.
Counterplan – Use overviews. Make sure that there is a clear net benefit and/or solvency deficit.
Disads/advantages – Good overviews with turns case /da along with impact analysis/clac where opponent’s impacts/arguments are considered. Disad links should be clear and specific to the case. All types of turns (link, impact and straight) are also a good idea.
K–Explain. Have a general idea on the basic k, not a k hack, but will vote on them (including k of debate arguments / debates about what debate should be). The k needs to be specifically explained not just in terms of what the idea of the k is, but what is the framework, link (the more specific and clearer the better), impact and alterative (not only what the alterative does but how its solves the k and plan’s impact (i.e. root cause) and what does the world of the alterative looks like). A good overview of the k and framework helps a lot. The affirmative should always question the alterative.
K affirmatives and framework - Will vote on k affirmative and k of debate arguments / debates about what debate should be. Needs to be a clear role of the ballot and clear reason why your version of debate is better. Totally fine with looking at images, listening to music, narratives, stories and other things. Debates are more interesting when: the neg does not just read framework / k but engages with the affirmative and the affirmative k the negative positions through the lens of the affirmative. Framework and disads to framework have to be explained, show how your interpretation of debate solve or root causes the other side’s impacts, impacted out fairness and education, have analysis to show which style of debate is the best and show why the affirmative or argument should be or not be in debate.
Coach, Solorio, 2012 - present
TLDR: Better for CP / DA / impact turn debates
I'll do my best to evaluate arguments as made. When the way I make sense of a debate differs from the way debaters make sense of a debate, here seem to be some common sources of the disparity:
1) I'm pretty ingrained in the offense defense model. This means that even if the NB is dumb, if the aff cannot generate a solvency deficit against the CP, and the aff has no offense against the DA, I am highly likely to vote negative.
Some notes: a) I do not think a solvency deficit needs to be carded; b) more difficult, but I could envision voting on analytic offense against a DA, c) I'm willing to vote on zero risk of the DA, but we'd both benefit from you taking a moment to explain why the offense-defense model is inapplicable in the debate at hand
2) I still think I have a relatively high bar for voting negative on topicality; however, I've tried to begin evaluating this debate more from an offense-defense perspective. In my mind, this means that if the affirmative does not meet the negative's interpretation, and does not have its own counterinterpretation, it is essentially arguing that any affirmative is topical and is conceding a 100% link to the limits disadvantage. I'm highly likely to vote negative in such a debate.
General argument notes:
3) I'm probably more sympathetic to cheaty process counterplans than most.
4) While I may complain, I do vote on the standard canon of negative kritiks. Things like cap, security, standard topic kritiks, etc. are fine. Extra explanation (examples, stories, analogies, etc.) is always appreciated, all the more so the further from my comfort zone you venture.
5) FW vs K Affs: I lean negative. However, I judge few of these debates. Both teams would benefit from accepting that I know very little here, slowing down, speaking clearly, and over-explaining (depth, not repetition) things you assume most judges know.
6) I judge because:
a) I still really enjoy debate.
b) Judging is an opportunity to continue to develop my understanding of debate.
c) I am covering my students' judge commitment so that they too can benefit from this activity.
7) Quick reference
Read no cards-------X----------------------------Read all the cards
Conditionality good--X----------------------------Conditionality bad
States CP good----X------------------------------States CP bad
Politics DA is a thing-----X------------------------Politics DA not a thing
UQ matters most----------------------X----------Link matters most
Presumption---------------------------------X-----Never votes on presumption
Longer ev--------X---------------------------------More ev
CX about impacts----------------------------X----CX about links and solvency
- I debated for Niles West in high school and West Georgia in college.
- BA in Philosophy.
- Currently coaching at Niles West.
Top level things:
- If you engage in offensive acts (think racism, sexism, homophobia, etc.), you will lose automatically and will be awarded whatever the minimum speaker points offered at that particular tournament is.
- If you make it so that the tags in your document maps are not navigable by taking the "tag" format off of them, I will actively dock your speaker points.
- Quality of argument means a lot to me. I am willing to hold my nose and vote for bad arguments if they're better debated but my threshold for answering those bad arguments is pretty low.
- I’m extremely hesitant to vote on arguments about things that have happened outside of a debate or in previous debates. I can only be sure of what has happened in this particular debate and anything else is non-falsifiable.
- Absolutely no ties and the first team that asks for one will lose my ballot.
- Soliciting any outside assistance during a round will lose my ballot.
- Lack of clarity. Clarity > speed 100% of the time.
- The 1AC not being sent out by the time the debate is supposed to start.
- Email-sending related failures.
- Dead time.
- Stealing prep.
- Answering arguments in an order other than the one presented by the other team.
- Asserting things are dropped when they aren't.
- Asking the other team to send you a marked doc when they marked 1-3 cards.
- Marking almost every card in the doc.
- Disappearing after the round.
- Quoting my paradigm in your speeches.
- If you are caught clipping you will receive a loss and the lowest possible points.
- If you make an ethics challenge in a debate in front of me, you must stake the debate on it. If you make that challenge and are incorrect or cannot prove your claim, you will lose and be granted the lowest possible points. If you are proven to have committed an ethics violation, you will lose and be granted the lowest possible points.
- If you use sexually explicit language or engage in sexually explicit performances in high school debates, you should strike me.
- Yes, I’m fine with tag-team cx. But dominating your partner’s cx will result in lower points for both of you.
- Questions like "what cards did you read?" are cross-x questions, and I will run the timer accordingly.
- If you fail to ask the status of the off, I will be less inclined to vote for condo.
- If the 1NC responds that "every DA is a NB to every CP" when asked about net benefits in the 1NC even if it makes no sense, I think the 1AR gets a lot of leeway to explain a 2AC "links to the net benefit argument" on any CP as it relates to the DAs.
Inserting evidence or rehighlightings into the debate:
- I won't evaluate it unless you actually read the parts that you are inserting into the debate. If it's like a chart or a map or something like that, that's fine, I don't expect you to literally read that, but if you're rehighlighting some of the other team's evidence, you need to actually read the rehighlighting.
- I’m fine with plan or planless affirmatives. However, I believe all affirmatives should advocate for/defend something. What that something entails is up for debate, but I’m hesitant to vote for affirmatives that defend absolutely nothing.
- I default to competing interpretations unless told otherwise.
- The most important thing for me in T debates is an in-depth explanation of the types of affs your interp would include/exclude and the impact that the inclusion/exclusion would have on debate.
- 5 second ASPEC shells/the like have become nonstarters for me. If I reasonably think the other team could have missed the argument because I didn't think it was a clear argument, I think they probably get new answers. If you drop it twice, that's on you.
- For me counterplans are more about competition than theory. While I tend to lean more neg on questions of CP theory, I lean aff on a lot of questions of competition, especially in the cases of CPs that compete on the certainty of the plan, normal means cps, and agent cps.
- If you're reading a DA that isn't just a case turn, it should go on its own sheet. Failure to do so is super annoying because people end up extending/answering arguments on flows in different orders.
- The more specific the link the better. Even if your cards aren’t that specific, applying your evidence to the specifics of the affirmative through nuanced analysis is always preferable to a generic link extension.
- ‘You link you lose’ strategies are not my favorite. I’m willing to vote on them if the other team fails to respond properly, but I’m very sympathetic to aff arguments about it being a bad model for debate.
- I find many framework debates end up being two ships passing in the night. Line by line answers to the other team's framework standards goes a long way in helping win framework in front of me.
- Almost all theory arguments are reasons to reject the argument, condo is usually the only exception.
- Conditionality is often good. It can be not. I have found myself to be increasingly aff leaning on extreme conditionality (think many plank cps where all of the planks are conditional + 4-5 more conditional options).
- Tell me what my role is on the theory debate - am I determining in-round abuse or am I setting a precedent for the community?
- I find impacts about debatability, clash, and iterative testing to be very persuasive.
- I am not really persuaded by fairness impacts, but will vote on it if mishandled.
- I am not really persuaded by impacts about skills/the ability for debate to change the world if we read plans - I think these are not very strategic and easily impact turned by the aff.
- I am pretty sympathetic to negative presumption arguments because I often think the aff has not forwarded an explanation for what the aff does to resolve the impacts they've described.
- I don't think debate is role-playing.
- The impact turn strategy can get my ballot, but I would prefer the aff explain what debate would look like under their model. This can be done through a counter-interpretation or other various means.
- If the aff drops SSD or the TVA and the 2NR extends it, I will most likely vote neg.
Rebecca Chan (she/they)
- I am good with tag team cross-x as long as both teams are.
- I vote on anything; this includes procedurals and theory.
- Tech > Truth
- Have fun!
I've been debating since 2015, so I have a pretty good understanding of both policy and kritikal debate. I've been both a big policy and K debater. That being said, I'm not picky and I will vote on it if you win it, but I do prefer K debates. After so many years of policy debate, I believe there are boring and always come down Russia or China nuc war.
I love Ks and K-affs. If you want to weaponize your identity, do it. That is my favorite thing, and no, I don't think it's unfair for the neg to debate against identity k's or truisms (if you can win that argument in the debate, I will still vote on it). Neg should stop complaining and just prep. I am familiar with most K lit, but that doesn't mean I will do the work for you on the flow if you don't know high theory. A good Cap K is a good Cap K, but I think you can get crazier.
Policy off case is fine... I guess.
Out of all possible policy options, I like DA/CP combos and T the best. I don't like consult CP's or multiplank CP's, but if it's done well I will still vote on it.
The biggest thing is to HAVE FUN! I love fun debates, so don't be rude. I will tank your speaks and speak to tab or your coach if you are rude, racist, sexist, homophobic, etc. I am also not above literally stopping the round or writing a ballot for the other team regardless of who is winning what. If you are a racist, I am not the judge for you and you should educate yourself and stop. As a judge, I firmly believe my biggest responsibility is to make debate a safe space and help y'all become better debaters.
If you address me as "your honor," I'll give you +0.1 speaks.
**If you want a more detailed paradigm, see my partner's paradigm (Julia Kulinowski). She is much pickier them I am, but I agree with most of her opinions.**
Last updated: 4/19/23
Run whatever types of arguments you want, but if there's no clash I will get bored and I suspect neither team will gain much from the experience. If you want me to prefer your evidence you have to give me reasons why.
If you're making extensions, don't just restate the tagline - tell me how it relates to the round.
I have experience in LD and policy.
Thank you for considering me for your debate adjudication needs! Judging is one of my favorite things & I aspire to be the judge I wanted when I debated, namely one who was flexible and would judge the debate based on arguments made by debaters. To do that, I seek to be familiar with all debate arguments and literature bases such that my own ignorance will not be a barrier to judging the arguments you want to go for. This is an ongoing process and aspiration for me rather than an end point, but in general I would say you should probably pref me.
Sometimes I even have snacks.
- I have absolutely zero poker face and will make a lot of non verbals. Please do not interpret these as concrete/100% definitive opinions of mine but rather as an expression of my initial attempts to place your argument within the particular context of the other arguments advanced in a debate.
- All arguments are evaluated within their particular context - Especially on the negative, as a debater in high school and college I went for and won a lot of debates on arguments which would be described, in a vacuum, as 'bad.' Sometimes, all you have to say is a turd and your rebuttal speeches will largely be what some of my judges described as 'turd-shinning.' This means (unless something extreme is happening which is unethical or triggering my mandatory reporter status as a public school employee) I generally prefer to let the arguments advanced in the debate dictate my view of what is and what isn't a 'good' argument.
- I am not a 'k' or 'policy' judge. I just like debate.
<*My Debate History*>
I am a 2a. This means, if left to my own devices and not instructed not to look for this, the thing that I will implicitly try to do is identify a way to leave stuff better than we found it.
- I debated at H-F HS, in Illinois, for my first two years of debate where I was coached by creeps.
- My junior & senior year in HS I transfered to Glenbrook South where I was coached most by Tara Tate (now retired from debate), Calum Matheson (now at Pitt), & Ravi Shankar (former NU debater).
My partner and I largely went for agenda politics da & process cps or impact turns. We were a bit k curious, but mostly read what would be described as 'policy' arguments.
- I debated in college for 4 years at Gonzaga where I was coached by Glen Frappier (still DoF at GU), Steve Pointer (now [mostly] retired from debate), Jeff Buntin (current DoD at NU), Iz-ak Dunn (currently at ASU), & Charles Olney (now [mostly] retired from debate).
My partner and I largely went for what is now be described as 'soft left' arguments on the affirmative and impact turns and unusual counterplans when we were negative.
- After graduating, I coached at Northwestern University for a year. My assignments were largely 2ac answers & stuff related to translating high theory arguments made by other teams into things our less k debaters could understand.
- I then moved to Lexington, Kentucky and coached at the University of Kentucky for two years. My assignments were largely aff & all things 2a & answering k stuff on the negative.
- I then coached/did comm graduate work at Wake Forest for two years.
- I then took a break from debate and worked as a paralegal at a law firm which was focused on civil lawsuits against police, prisons, whistleblower protections as well as doing FOIA requests for Buzzfeed.
- I then came back to debate, did some logistics for UK, then Mrs. Corrigan got the GBS job & the rest is history!
Pronouns are she/her
email chains: firstname.lastname@example.org
questions etc: email@example.com. If you are a student from another school emailing me please copy an adult coach on the email (just a good safety norm.)
Director of Debate at GBS since 2019, and assistant coach at GBS for a year before that. Prior to that I had taken a few years off of debate but coached at Notre Dame, University of North Texas, University of Nevada Las Vegas, and USC. I only mention this because I've coached debate in a variety of geographical locations with a variety of different argument perspectives. I hope this information helps avoid you "pigeon-holling" me into a Glenbrooks cyborg or whatever the community perception is. If you do this anyway, you'll find yourself either pleasantly or unpleasantly surprised at the end of the debate.
Fave debate arguments (not saying you should make these, just giving you a sense of me as a judge:) Politics DAs, more politics DAs, a heavy heavy heavy case investment, aff specific Ks. I also love a good competition debate and anything econ related.
Note: I have a hard time voting on things that the other team says are dropped if they are not dropped. This is probably due to me being in my 30s and therefore having debated both paperless and on paper, but nevertheless, it is a thing. Just be carefull with this.
I definitely kind of took a dip in my interest/ability to judge high-level debates during the online years. No hate on online debate - it just really really really was not for me. Now that we're back in person at least some of the time I feel way more ready/in the right head space to judge some throwdowns.
Favorite args in order of favoriteness (not so you make these args - just trying to give you a sense of me as a judge)
- Politics DA
- Well-executed case debate that features internal link and solvency presses in addition to impact D
- Kritiks with SPECIFICITY TO THE AFF (either in analysis or initial evidence)
- Wonky debates about competition
- Literally anything except for Baudrillard or psychoanalysis
*I am not a great judge for condo - my teams go for it, I know I know, but it does not come from me. I'll vote on it - I just have a high threshold.
*My teams do everything - some are hard right policy teams and some are ... not that. I tend to think that debaters debate best when they find their own brand of debate and let their personalities shine through.
*Style: Don’t be a jerk for the sake of it, but you shouldn’t feel pressure to be sugary sweet if you’re not - expectations of civility, politeness, etc tend to fall on noncis dudes and BIPOC disproportionately. Therefore a little attitude is fine with me. It’s a competition.
*I've deleted most of my philosophy because I found this year that the rounds where I was most confused about what on Earth teams were doing were the ones were people were trying to over-adapt. Please don't do this. I find I'm much better at adapting to teams than teams are at adapting to me (no offense.) Here are just the absolute most important things.
*Won't judge kick for you automatically. You can make the arg that I should judge kick for you; it just won't be my predisposition to do so automatically.
*Clarity is very important to me. So is pen time.
*I often end up flowing straight down as an inevitable consequence of sloppy line by line.
*Zero risk is a thing. Love me some smart defensive arguments against silly arguments.
*I tend to decide quickly and give my best rfds when that’s the case. Don’t be offended - it doesn’t mean it wasn’t a good debate.
*If you're making new args late in the debate you're likely to have to justify them to me. That doesn't mean don't do it, it just means defend your actions.
* No touching.
*Clipping = zero points and a hot L. Clarity to the point of non-comprehension that causes a clipping challenge constitutes clipping.
Refutation, refutation, refutation!
Picky about evidence quality
Glenbrook South '22
Put me on the email chain - firstname.lastname@example.org
I'll keep it brief:
Fine with anything, but more used to CPs/DAs
I'll try my best to not intervene - evidence explanation goes a long way
Impact out your arguments, regardless of whether or not they were conceded
I have minimal knowledge on this topic. This should further incentivize you to really explain your arguments. This also means you should minimize using complicated topic acronyms
Yes, email chain. email@example.com
Debater--The University of Michigan '91-'95
Head Coach--Oak Park and River Forest HS '15-'20
Assistant Coach--New Trier Township High School '20-
--Old School Policy.
--Like the K on the Neg. Harder sell on the Aff.
--Quality of Evidence Counts. Massive disparities warrant intervention on my part.
--Not great with theory debates.
--I value Research and Strategic Thinking (both in round and prep) as paramount when evaluating procedural impacts.
--Utter disdain for trolly Theory args, Death Good, Wipeout and Spark. Respect the game, win classy.
Advantage vs Disadvantage
More often than not, I tend to gravitate towards the team that wins probability. The more coherent and plausible the internal link chain is, the better.
I can and will vote against an argument if cards are poor exclusive of counter evidence being read.
Not a big fan of Pre-Fiat DA's: Spending, Must Pass Legislation, Riders, etc. I will err Aff on theory unless the Neg has some really good evidence as to why not.
I love nuanced defense and case turns. Conversely, I love link and impact turns. Please run lots of them.
I am largely okay with a fair amount of condo. i.e. 4-5 not a big deal for me. I will become sympathetic to Aff Theory ONLY if the Neg starts kicking straight turned arguments. On the other hand, if you go for Condo Bad and can't answer Strat Skew Inevitable, Idea Testing Good and Hard Debate is Good Debate then don't go for Condo Bad. I have voted Aff on Conditionality Theory, but rarely.
1. I have grown weary of vague plan writing. To that end, I tend think that the Neg need only win that the CP is functionally competitive. The Plan is about advocacy and cannot be a moving target.
2. Perm do the CP? Intrinsic Perms? I am flexible to Neg if they have a solvency advocate or the Aff is new. Otherwise, I lean Aff.
PIC’s and Agent CP’s are part of our game. I err Neg on theory. Ditto 50 State Fiat.
No object Fiat, please. Or International Fiat on a Domestic Topic.
International Fiat is a gray area for me. The Neg needs a good Interp that excludes abusive versions.
Solvency advocates and New Affs make me lean Neg on theory.
I will judge kick automatically unless given a decent reason why not in the 1AR.
If you lean on K Affs, just do yourself a favor and put me low or strike me. I am not unsympathetic to your argument per se, I just vote on Framework 60-70% of the time and it rarely has anything to do with your Aff.
That said, if you can effectively impact turn Framework, beat back a TVA and Switch Side Debate, you can get my ballot.
Topic relevance is important.
If your goal is to make blanket statements about why certain people are good or bad or should be excluded from valuable discussions then I am not your judge. We are all flawed.
I do not like “debate is bad” arguments. I don't think that being a "small school" is a reason why I should vote for you.
Kritiks vs Policy Affs
Truth be told, I vote Neg on Kritiks vs Policy Affs A LOT.
I am prone to voting Aff on Perms, so be advised College Debaters. I have no take on "philosophical competition" but it does seem like a thing.
I am not up on the Lit AT ALL, so the polysyllabic word stews you so love to concoct are going to make my ears bleed.
I like reading cards after the debate and find myself understanding nuance better when I can. If you don’t then you leave me with only the bad handwriting on my flow to decipher what you said an hour later and that’s not good for anybody.
When I usually vote Neg its because the Aff has not done a sufficient job in engaging with core elements of the K, such as Ontology, Root Cause Claims, etc.
I am not a great evaluator of Framework debates and will usually err for the team that accesses Education Impacts the best.
Because it theoretically serves an external function that affects other rounds, I do give the Aff a fair amount of leeway when the arguments start to wander into a gray area. The requirement for Offense on the part of the Affirmative is something on which I place little value. Put another way, the Aff need only prove that they are within the predictable confines of research and present a plan that offers enough ground on which to run generic arguments. The Negative must prove that the Affirmative skews research burdens to a point in which the topic is unlimited to a point beyond 20-30 possible cases and/or renders the heart of the topic moot.
Plan Text in a Vacuum is a silly defense. In very few instances have I found it defensible. If you choose to defend it, you had better be ready to defend the solvency implications.
Limits and Fairness are not in and of themselves an impact. Take it to the next level.
Why I vote Aff a lot:
--Bad/Incoherent link mechanics on DA’s
--Perm do the CP
--CP Solvency Deficits
--Framework/Scholarship is defensible
--T can be won defensively
Why I vote Neg a lot:
--Condo is lame
--Weakness of aff internal links/solvency
--Offense that turns the case
--You actually had a strategy
PUBLIC FORUM SUPPLEMENT:
I judge about 1 PF Round for every 50 Policy Rounds so bear with me here.
I have NOT judged the PF national circuit pretty much ever. The good news is that I am not biased against or unwilling to vote on any particular style. Chances are I have heard some version of your meta level of argumentation and know how it interacts with the round. The bad news is if you want to complain about a style of debate in which you are unfamiliar, you had better convince me why with, you know, impacts and stuff. Do not try and cite an unspoken rule about debate in your part of the country.
Because of my background in Policy, I tend to look at things from a cost benefit perspective. Even though the Pro is not advocating a Plan and the Con is not reading Disadvantages, to me the round comes down to whether the Pro has a greater possible benefit than the potential implications it might cause. Both sides should frame the round in terms impact calculus and or feasibility. Impacts need to be tangible.
Evidence quality is very important.
I will vote on what is on the flow (yes, I flow) and keep my personal opinions of arguments in check as much as possible. I may mock you for it, but I won’t vote against you for it. No paraphrasing. Quote the author, date and the exact words. Quals are even better but you don’t have to read them unless pressed. Have the website handy. Research is critical.
Speed? Meh. You cannot possibly go fast enough for me to not be able to follow you. However, that does not mean I want to hear you go fast. You can be quick and very persuasive. You don't need to spread.
Defense is nice but is not enough. You must create offense in order to win. There is no “presumption” on the Con.
While I am not a fan of formal “Kritik” arguments in PF, I do think that Philosophical Debates have a place. Using your Framework as a reason to defend your scholarship is a wise move. Racism and Sexism will not be tolerated. You can attack your opponents scholarship.
I reward debaters who think outside the box.
I do not reward debaters who cry foul when hearing an argument that falls outside traditional parameters of PF Debate. Again, I am not a fan of the Kritik, but if its abusive, tell me why instead of just saying “not fair.”
Statistics are nice, to a point. But I feel that judges/debaters overvalue them. Often the best impacts involve higher values that cannot be quantified. A good example would be something like Structural Violence.
While Truth outweighs, technical concessions on key arguments can and will be evaluated. Dropping offense means the argument gets 100% weight.
The goal of the Con is to disprove the value of the Resolution. If the Pro cannot defend the whole resolution (agent, totality, etc.) then the Con gets some leeway.
I care about substance and not style. It never fails that I give 1-2 low point wins at a tournament. Just because your tie is nice and you sound pretty, doesn’t mean you win. I vote on argument quality and technical debating. The rest is for lay judging.
Relax. Have fun.
I debated at Blue Valley Southwest High School for 4 years and am currently debating at KU
I am heavily persuaded by arguments about why the affirmative should read a topical plan. One of the main reasons for this is that I am persuaded by a lot of framing arguments which nullify aff offense (TVOA, argument testing, etc). The best way to deal with these things is to more directly impact turn common impacts like procedural fairness. Affirmative teams would also be well served to offer a competing interpretation of debate, designed to mitigate the negative impacts.
Fairness is the most persuasive impact to framework.
I'm not great for the K. In most instances this is because I believe the alternative solves the links to the aff or can't solve it's own impacts. This can be resolved by narrowing the scope of the K or strengthening the link explanation (too often negative teams do not explain the links in the context of the permutation). The simpler solution to this is a robust framework press.
I really enjoy good T debates. Fairness is the best (and maybe the only) impact. Education is very easily turned by fairness. Evidence quality is important, but only in so far as it improves the predictability/reduces the arbitrariness of the interpretation.
CPs are fun. I generally think that the negative doing non-plan action with the USfg is justified. Everything else is up for debate, but well developed aff arguments are dangerous on other questions.
I generally think conditionality is good. I think the best example of my hesitation with conditionality is multi-plank counter plans which combine later in the debate to become something else entirely.
If in cross x you say the status quo is always an option I will kick the counter plan if no further argumentation is made (you can also obviously just say conditional and clarify that judge kick is an option). If you say conditional and then tell me to kick in the 2NR and there is a 2AR press on the question I will be very uncomfortable and try to resolve the debate some other way. To resolve this, the 2AC should make an argument about judge kick.
Questions comments and concerns can be directed to firstname.lastname@example.org
Don't send me comments
Updated 2023 Pre-Northwestern College Season Opener
Assistant Policy Debate Coach at UT-Dallas and Greenhill
Debated at C.E. Byrd HS in Shreveport, Louisiana (class of ’14). Debated in college policy for Baylor University (2014-2016) and the University of Iowa (2017-2019)
Have coached: Caddo Magnet HS, Hendrickson HS, Little Rock Central HS, Glenbrook South HS, University of Iowa, James Madison University
Email chain should be set up/sent before start time. Sam.email@example.com
Please be respectful of one another. We are all sacrificing our weekends to be here and learn, you can be passionate about your arguments without being mean, rude, condescending, hostile, etc. I’d almost always prefer you convince me that your opponent’s arguments are bad, not that they’re bad people. Chances are, none of us know each other well enough to make that determination.
Please prioritize clarity over speed. This is non negotiable. Everything else you can take with a grain of salt and ultimately do what you are best at, but me being able to understand you comes before anything else.
Debate is hard. People make it harder by making it more complicated than it needs to be. I like debaters who take complex ideas and bring them down to the level of simplicity and common sense. Debate is very niche, and so I think a lot of the time people assume that everyone thinks about things the same way or has the same experience with these ideas. That’s not the case.
Judge instruction, impact framing, comparison of evidence, authors, warrants, etc. or “the art of spin” is the most important thing for telling me how I should decide a debate. Making strategic decisions, explaining the implications of those decisions, and winning that whatever position you’re going for outweighs your opponent’s offense.
One of the things that makes debate truly unique is the research that is required, and so I think it makes sense to reward teams who are clearly going above and beyond in the research they’re producing. Good cards won’t win you the debate, but they certainly help “break ties” on the flow and give off the perception that a team is deep in the literature on their argument. But good evidence is always secondary to what a debater does with it.
I care about cross-x A LOT. It’s the one time in a debate round that debaters are exchanging arguments and ideas back and forth rather than monologuing. USE ALL OF YOUR CX TIME. Ask a diversity of questions, not just the same thing over and over.
Organization is also really important to me. Debaters that do effective line by line, clearly label arguments and author names and use things like subpoints and numbering of arguments to keep an organized record on the flow, and use those subpoints and labels consistently throughout the debate to reference arguments make my life easier and increase your chances of winning.
High School Specific Thoughts
I work full time in college debate and as a result am less familiar with the ins-and-outs of the high school topic. I have a basic understanding of the topic but don’t know every acronym, agency, process cp, or T argument related to fiscal redistribution. Take that into consideration.
If you’re interested in doing policy debate in college, feel free to talk to me about debating at UT-Dallas! I am a full-time assistant coach there. We have scholarships, multiple coaches, and a really fun team culture.
CLARITY OVER SPEED APPLIES DOUBLE TO HIGH SCHOOL
Set up the email chain as soon as you get to the room and do disclosure. If you’re aff, ask for the neg team’s emails and copy and paste mine from the top of my paradigm. Let’s get started on time!
Please keep track of your own prep, cx, and speech time.
Don’t flow off the speech doc, it’s the easiest way to miss something and it’s super obvious. Don’t waste cross-x time asking what the did and didn’t read! Flowing is so important.
I don’t care what “style” of aff you read, I just care that it is consistently explained and executed throughout the debate, and that you win offense for why your aff is better than the status quo or the neg’s position. The aff should tell a story, and I should have an idea of exactly what the aff does after the 1AC and 1AC cx.
I like most judges enjoy 2ACs that make strategic choices, smart groupings and cross applications, and effectively and efficiently use the 1AC to beat neg positions in addition to reading new cards.
2ACs and ESPECIALLY 1ARs are getting away with murder in terms of not actually extending the aff.
Pretty aff leaning on a lot of CP theory questions (Process especially, 50 states, agent CPs. With the exception of PICs), but usually think they’re a reason to reject the argument. You can win it’s a reason to reject the team, but my bar for winning the 2ac was irrevocably skewed by the existence of a single 1NC position is pretty high. I don’t really lean one way or the other on condo (ideologically at least, I have no clue what my judge record is in condo debates).
Neg Thoughts - General
I like negative strategies that are well-researched specific responses to the aff. I think case debating is super important and underutilized. Nothing is more persuasive than a negative team who seems to know more about the 1AC than the Aff team does.
I think if I were debating right now I’d prefer going for disad/case in the 2NR rather than going for a CP/DA. I think substance is more fun than theory and a lot of CP debates boil down to competition and theory debates, for what ultimately gets you defense to the aff (in most cases)
The 1NR should be the best speech in the debate, you have so much prep.
The 2NR should make strategic decisions, collapse down, and anticipate 2ar framing and pivots. The block is about proliferating options, the 2NR is about making decisions and closing doors.
Like I said above, prefer aff-specific CPs to generics. Counterplans that only compete on immediacy and certainty and net benefits that don’t say the aff is bad are not my favorite. I definitely prefer Process CP + Politics to Process CP + internal net benefit, because the politics DA disproves the desirability of the plan.
Because of the above thoughts, I am more aff leaning on CP theory in a lot of instances, with the exception of PICs. I think PICs that disprove/reject part of the aff are probably good, and that predicting the seemingly infinite different processes the plan could be done through is a lot harder than predicting the neg saying part of the aff is bad. To me it’s pretty easy for the neg to win that they do not have to prove the entire aff is bad, but like everything else, it’s a debate. You can’t get beat on PICs bad and just expect me to ignore it. I think most aff theory args are a reason to reject the CP
This is not a hot take and applies to any argument, but some helpful things you could do when doing for a CP: Judge instruction, being organized and clearly labeling things.
People say sufficiency framing without doing the work to explain why the risk of the net benefit actually outweighs the risk of the solvency deficit. You have to do some type of risk calculus to set up what is sufficient and how I should evaluate it.
I have no feelings one way or another about judge kick. Win that it’s good or win that it’s bad. To me the 2NR should probably know whether or not the CP is worth extending, but I guess if you want me to figure it out I will. In other words, I’m not theoretically opposed to judge kick, but a lot of the time in practice it becomes an excuse for the 2NR to not make strategic decisions, and I don’t like that.
Counterplans vs K affs are underutilized. Creatively applying CPs in a substantive way to solve or impact turn K affs can be super strategic. Using a CP as an example of a TVA is great but I often see people stop there in terms of making CPs matter in critical debates.
Comparison is important and not just at the impact level. Telling me what warrants to prioritize on the uniqueness and link debate, rehighlighting evidence, doing organized labeling and line by line, etc. Don’t just extend the different parts of the DA, do comparative work and framing on each part to tell me to tell me why you’re winning it and what matters most in terms of what I evaluate.
Like I said in the neg general section, I usually prefer an aff/topic specific DA to politics, but those concerns can be easily alleviated with good link debating on the politics DA. Your link being specific to the aff/resolution is usually important especially for link uniqueness reasons. I typically like elections more than agenda politics just as a research preference.
Get in the weeds early in these debates and read a lot of cards. Don’t be afraid to read cards late in the debate either. Teams that get out-carded in these debates early have a tough time getting back in the game.
Recency, specificity, and evidence quality really matter for most every argument, but these debates especially. It’s pretty obvious when one team has updates and the other is reading a backfile
These debates get unorganized in a hurry. Labeling, line by line, using subpoints/numbers, and making clear cross applications are super important
I really like T debates vs policy affs. I think creative arguments like extra T and effects T are underutilized or at least often underexplained and that there are affs getting away with fiating a lot of extra-resolutional/non-resolutional things.
Typically default to competing interps, and I’ll be totally transparent here: reasonability is kind of an uphill battle for me. When people go for reasonability with an interp, I almost always understand reasonability as a standard for why the aff’s interp is good. If you’re arguing your interpretation is better because it’s more reasonable, how is that not also an appeal to competing interpretations? And in the other scenario, if you’re going for reasonability with a we meet argument, I feel like a lot of the time it just begs the question of the violation and it’s easy for the neg to frame it as a yes/no question, not something that you can kind of/reasonably meet. Ultimately superior debating supersedes everything. If you win reasonability, you win reasonability. But you are probably better off just winning the we meet or going for a counter-interp
Impact comparison on standards is super important. I don’t have any strong preferences in terms of how I evaluate limits vs precision, aff ground vs neg ground, etc. Those are things you have to win and do the work of framing for me.
For the neg: Case lists, examples of ground lost under the aff’s interp, examples of why the debates under your model over the course of the year, topical versions of the aff, etc. will all help me understand in practice why your interp is better for the year of debate on the topic rather than just in theory.
For the aff: A well-explained we meet and/or counter interpretation, a case list of things you allow and things you don’t, and explanation of what ground the neg gets access to under your interp beyond quickly listing arguments and saying functional limits check, explain the warrant for why your interp preserves that ground and why those debates are good to have. N
Not super persuaded by “we meet – plan text in a vacuum” without much additional explanation. If the aff reads a plan text but then reframes/clarifies what that means in cross-x, in 1ac solvency evidence, or in the 2ac responding to neg positions, I think it’s easy for the neg to win those things outweigh plan text in a vacuum.
I judge a lot of these debates, and I’m fine with that. I think debating about debate is useful.
Fairness can be and impact or an internal link, just depends on how it’s debated. For it to be an external impact, it needs to not be circular/self-referential, which I think it often is in terms of how teams execute it. “Debate is a game, so it needs to be fair, because games need to be fair, and without fairness we can’t debate” is a circular argument that lacks an impact. To me, the argument becomes more offensive the more teams emphasize the time commitment we all put into debate and why maintaining fairness is important for honoring that time commitment, or explaining why it’s important for participation.
If either side is claiming participation as an impact, you have gotta explain how voting for you/your model would solve it. I think that’s hard to do but I’ve seen it done effectively both with fairness and with K affs doing for access/participation outweighs. The impact is obviously very big, but the internal link is often sketchy and not flushed out, in addition to largely being untrue because things like budget cuts have a lot more to do with who can participate than any particular team reading any particular argument.
I prefer clash as an impact more because I feel like it gets to a bigger impact that is more at the heart of why debate is good and that it often causes the neg to interact with the aff more. Your warrants for why clash turns the aff should be aff specific – same with TVAs. Nothing hurts me worse than ultra-generic framework debating where the argument could apply to literally any K aff. The best way to win your model can account for the aff’s impacts is to use the language of the aff in your explanation of things like clash, Switch-Side, and the TVA.
Affs that have something to do with the topic and can link turn things like topic education and clash are more persuasive to me than affs that try to impact turn every single part of framework. You probably will need to win some defense, because so much of the neg side of framework is defense to the stuff you want to go for.
Having a counter-interpretation really helps me understand how to evaluate offense and defense in these debates. This does not necessarily require the 2AC to redefine words in the resolution, but rather to tell me what the aff’s vision of debate is, what the role is for the aff and neg, and why those debates are good. Even if you are going to impact turn everything, having a counter-interpretation or a model of debate helps me understand what the role of the aff, neg, and the overall role of debate are.
The more aff-specific the better. Links do not necessarily have to be to the plan (it would be nice if they were), but they should implicate the 1ac in specific ways whether it’s their rhetoric, impact scenarios, etc. 2NCs that quote and rehighlight aff evidence, read new cards, proliferate links, and give the 2nr options are good. If you are criticizing/kritiking the aff, you should quote as much of their evidence, indict as many of their authors, and apply your criticism to the aff as much as possible. The most common advice I give 2Ns going for the K is to quote the aff more
Making decisions in the 2NR is still important even when reading the K one-off. You cannot go for every link, framing argument, perm answer, etc. in the 2NR.
The best K 2NRs I’ve ever seen effectively use case to mitigate parts of the aff’s offense. If you give them 100% risk of the aff vs the K, it’s harder to win!
Kicking the alt/going just for links or case turns is not the move in front of me. There are almost always uniqueness problems and I end up usually just voting aff on a risk of case. Whether it’s an alternative or a framework argument, you gotta explain to me how voting neg solves your offense.
I have noticed that in a lot of K debates I find that both the aff and the neg over-invest in framework. I honestly don’t see a scenario where I don’t let the aff weigh the 1AC if they win that fiat is good. I also don’t see a scenario where I vote aff because Kritiks on the neg are unfair. If the neg is making links to the aff, the aff obviously gets to weigh their offense against those link arguments. I really think both sides in most cases would be better served spending time on the link/impact/alt rather than overinvesting time on the framework debate.
I don’t really understand a lot of the form/content distinction stuff people go for because I think that the way arguments about “form” are deployed in debate are usually not actually about the form of anything and almost exclusively refer to disagreements in content
Ethics challenges/Clipping/Out of Round Stuff:
In the case that anyone calls an ethics violation for any reason I reserve the right to defer/go to tab, and then beyond that I can only vote based on my interpretation of events. This used to really only apply to clipping, but I’ve been a part of a bunch of different types of ethics challenges over the years so I’ve decided to update this.
Clipping: Hot take, it’s obviously bad. If I have proof you clipped the round will end and you’ll lose. I don’t follow along in speech docs unless someone starts being unclear, so if your opponent is clipping it’s up to you to notice and get proof. I need a recording if I don’t catch it live, even if we are on a panel and another judge catches it. Without a recording or proof, I’m not pulling the trigger.
Be careful about recording people without their consent, especially minors. Multiple states require two-party consent to record, don’t get yourself in legal trouble over a debate round. On the other hand, if you don’t let me listen to a recording where you’re accused of clipping, I’m probably just going to vote against you for some other reason, I have to be honest.
I don’t vote on out of round stuff, especially stuff I wasn’t there for. For clarification, I suppose there could be exceptions to this and my opinions on it have gone back and forth. The top-level truth of the matter is that I as a debate coach do not have the jurisdiction, training, qualifications, or power to resolve interpersonal disputes by voting for someone or against someone in a debate. If you feel that someone in the round has jeopardized your safety, made you uncomfortable, or anything remotely similar, I will do everything in to advocate for you if I witness any of the following. If I am not a witness, I will make sure that the proper channels are used to address the complaint. But just like my role for my university, I am a mandatory reporter. I do not have the jurisdiction to decide those claims and I will be forced to take them to people above me at the tournament.
This is obviously distinct from criticizing something that someone has said or calling people out for being problematic. I’m saying if something so bad has happened that we have to stop the round, I have to go to the tournament and my bosses and look at my options. For your safety and mine I am required to think about how I’m protected, and my role and qualifications as a coach and educator as it relates to resolving officially lodged complaints of discrimination or harassment.
Tech over truth but asserting that an argument is dropped/conceded is not the same thing as extending a full argument
My debate background is in policy, so I have much more familiarity with policy/LARP and Kritikal debates than I do with phil.
That is not to say you cannot win on philosophy in front of me, but you should try to frame it in language that I will understand. So telling me why your impact outweighs and turns their offense, winning defense to their stuff, doing judge instruction and weighing to tell me what matters and what doesn't.
Clarity is more important than speed. Slow down a bit on counterplan texts, interps, etc. Spreading as fast as you can through theory shells or a million a priori's means there's probably a good chance that I am not going to get everything
A lot of arguments in LD stop at the level of a claim - you can be efficient but you can't just blippily extend claims without warrants and expect to win
Not a huge fan of frivolous theory. I think most theory debates end up being a reason to reject the argument not the team with the exception of condo. But like I said, tech over truth so you can win theory in front of me, it just needs to be well impacted for why it is a reason to drop the debater and why rejecting the argument/practice doesn't solve
UC Lab 12
Kenwood Academy coach 16-present
jharduvel [@] cps [dot] edu
I do my best to be a blank slate when judging. I am open to any argument as long as it is debated well. Please make sure that your analytics are clear and flowable. That being said, here are my views on various issues that may come up.
Performance Affs: I enjoy performance affs so long as you are able to provide a solid reason for your framework and specifically why either switch side debate is bad or why your position should not just be neg ground.
Topicality and Theory: I see topicality and theory as gateway issues and enjoy these debates so long as they include clash, comparative analysis, and impacts just like any other part of the debate. I will default to competing interpretations unless told otherwise and am persuaded by topical versions of the aff. I cannot emphasize enough that if you are going to go for topicality or theory, it needs to get ample time in your speeches or I will not have enough to vote on.
Kritiks: The K was probably my favorite argument to go for as a debater but that does not mean that I am predisposed to voting for the K or that I am not equally comfortable judging policy arguments. I prefer when debaters are specific on the link and alternative debates, and when they go for arguments like the K turns case or is a DA to case instead of vague impacts. I also believe that the K should have a stable alternative.
Counterplans: I particularly like aff-specific counterplans. Generic counterplans are fine but I am sympathetic to aff theory arguments against PICs, consult CPs, and process CPs. On the permutation debate, I tend to lean neg and assume risk of a link to the net benefit (unless I am told otherwise, of course).
Disadvantages: Nothing really noteworthy to add here. I like DA debates particularly when they are structured, well-impacted, clash-heavy, and explained in detail. Specific link stories are appreciated. I don't judge a lot of tech-y policy debates so you are going to have to have an effective overview in the last speeches.
Dropped Arguments: I will presume that any drop arguments are true if you make that claim. However, I will not vote for undeveloped arguments even if they are dropped. For example, if the neg drops "conditionality is a voter--kills fairness and education," you will need to expand on that significantly in later speeches for me to vote on it.
Speaker Points: I reward line-by-line, comparative impact calculus, clash, creative argumentation, explanation of warrants, and smart analytics. I will deduct speaker points for oppressive language or arguments, rudeness, being purposefully evasive in cross-ex, excessive interruptions of your partner, and ethical violations. Clipping cards or refusing to provide the other team with access to your cards are serious violations, and I will deduct speaker points accordingly whether the other team points these issues out or not.
Decisions: I would really rather decide the debate without reading evidence unless it is absolutely necessary (for example, comparing two definitions on T). I prefer that debaters engage in nuanced evidence comparison. In your final speeches, you should be explaining the big picture, isolating the key question(s) of the debate, and impacting your arguments. That makes my decision easier, makes me happier, and also makes me more likely to defer to your framing of the debate. I will provide as much feedback as I can about the debate as a whole, the individual speeches, and specific arguments that came up (or should have). I always welcome questions!
Whitney Young 23 → UIUC 27
My name is pronounced "you-li-ya" and please call me that instead of judge. Being called judge inflates my ego too much.
I've been debating since 2019 and have done a decent amount of judging. I mainly do CDL with a couple nats tournaments sprinkled in. For the past two years, I've been captain of the debate team at Whitney Young. I am going to UIUC and majoring in philosophy. I've gone to the Umich debate camp twice, so feel free to ask me about that or anything in general.
Yes, I want to be on the email chain. Please add both emails.
I like kritikal debates more than policy ones. If judges can say that they hate judging K-affs and rarely vote for them, I feel comfortable saying that I hate policy and find the debates boring and one note. Most of them are just an argumentative game of checkers that very rarely amounts to good education. "If the plan passes then extinction from Russia war!!" No. That won't happen and everyone knows that. But, somehow every single policy round ends up sounding like that quote. Read whatever you want in round, however, since you were forced to read my paradigm because you are good, little debaters, I decided to give my little rant.
Time yourselves. I forget to press start on my timer more often than I remember.
Debate is never that deep. Have fun. I hate having to be a round where everyone is taking this way too seriously because it is just so awkward. Go for that meme off case, make jokes, and enjoy yourself.
Please subject the email chain "Tournament - Round# - Aff Team v. Neg Team." I am tired of having a million chains labeled "Email Chain" making a mess in my inbox.
Tag team is fine. But if one partner keeps taking over cx, it will reflect poorly on your speaks.
You can spread in front of me, but I have bad hearing. If I missed your arguments, oops. A good way to make sure I get it down is to send analytics on the doc.
Fast spreading doesn't equal good speaker points. I look at other things like organization, strategy, how you interact with the other team way more than how you actually speak. Personally, I view speaks based on clarity and speed as pretty ableist. That being said, I try to keep my evaluation pretty consistent, but I don't have a solid basis for awarding point. I just go off the vibe.
I am technically tech > truth, but I'm not the best tech judge.
Ethos will take you very far in front of me. I think debate is a communicative activity and it is important be able to persuade the person you are in front of.
Since I wanna encourage flowing as much as possible, if you show me your flows after the round (even if they are really bad), you will get +0.1 speaks.
If you are mean, I will be less likely to vote for you because I hate rewarding rudeness. Sexism, racism, homophobia, etc. will not be tolerated. You will get voted down and get the lowest speaker points possible.
If you don't wanna read my whole paradigm, here is a synopsis of what I like and don't like.
Love: Case Turns, T, Kritiks, K-Affs, K v K, Theory
Hate: PTX DAs, RVI, CPs but specifically process CPs
Understand your aff. There is nothing more embarrassing than an aff that barely knows what the 1AC says.
Extend the whole story of the aff.
Case turns are funky little arguments that people should read more.
I HATE PTX DAs! Do not read them. I do not care. They are literally all the same, the evidence is all bad, there is no uniqueness, and the links are generic. There is no "good" PTX DAs. If you read one, I will vote for it, but I will throw tomatoes at you. Do you really wanna spread while dodging rotten tomatoes?
Other than that, DAs are arguments. I'll vote on them.
I love topicality.
I don't care if it is a core-files aff, it can still be untopical.
RVI IS STUPID, BRAINLESS, FOOLISH, VAPID, DUMB, LUDICROUS, NUTTY AND CUCKOO! I DON'T CARE IF YOUR WHOLE 2AC, 1AR, AND 2AR ARE ONLY ON RVI AND THE OTHER TEAM DROPS IT, I WILL NOT VOTE ON IT!!!!
Give me an example of a good counterplan. See how you couldn't. That's because counterplans are mid. There is nothing I dislike more than having to evaluate a counterplan debate.
If you read one, they have to solve the ENTIRE aff and have a good net benefit.
Forfeiting the round >>>>>>>>> process counterplans
You can try to convince me that process counterplans aren't cheating, but it won't work.
PIC are abusive, but it is up to the debaters to convince me. I won't just reject a PIC, I have to be told to do so.
However, if you have a funny counterplan........ I could be convinced.
Love, love, love kritiks. They are my favorite arguments in debate.
Explain your kritik as if I've never heard of *insert philosopher of your choosing.*
Please explain how the aff links! Generic links are pretty meh and I much prefer specific links to the aff. Rehighlighted 1AC cards for a language/discourse k links is chef's kiss.
Do you have some kritik in a meme arguments folder that you don't think could ever win a round? Run it in front of me. I can't promise you will win, but you will be high speaks for making me laugh.
I will vote on death good, HOWEVER, if you do the gross death good (you know which one I am talking about) I won't. But a debate about how we view death and how that affects policy-making/debate is very interesting.
I think identity arguments are valid and aren't cheating. Truism arguments are stupid. Always go for inround impacts.
Personal Favs: Security, Baudrillard, Techno-Orientalism, Bataille, Any nontraditional cap tbh
DO IT! DO IT! DO IT!
There is this tradition in debate that novices shouldn't read K-affs. I don't know why. You should read it. I will give you good feedback and enjoy it more than a policy round, even if you sucked.
K v K
DO IT! DO IT! DO IT!
The best debates and no one can change my mind.
Rules in debate are fake. I don't default to anything as a judge. If you don't read role of the judge and/or role of the ballot, I will flip a coin to decide who wins (I'm kidding....... or am I?).
My favorite framework is epistemology because I think it is true. I don't know why people default to policy-maker as the judge. Until I have access to the nuclear codes, I am just a person deciding who did the better debating.
Really impact out your framework. I need to know why your form of debate is the best.
Hard debate is good debate is literally the best framework argument and no one can change my mind.
I think I tend to lean aff on most framework args. It is very unpersuasive in front of me to say that all k-affs should be excluded from debate. I need clear articulation on why k-affs don't allow for clash, iterative testing, etc.
I'm one of the only judges who thinks they are kinda fun, especially if they are really dumb.
Don't spread theory blocks. If I don't write down one of your points, too bad so sad.
I don't have set in stone opinions on theory. If you have reasons for why debate should be done a certain way, persuade me.
Condo is the worst theory violation. It isn't your fault, but I've seen a million condo debate, so I don't care anymore.
I will vote on disclosure theory, but don't read it if they have a really nice, updated wiki.
HS Debate: 18-22 (4 years) -- Walter Payton WM
College Debate: 23 (1 year) -- Michigan MS
Judging record is more informative than judging opinions.
After about a year of judging, my biggest worry is that I overthink things. Hopefully overall this leads to better decisions, but I do worry about talking myself into a decision because I spend too long on it.
How I Decide Rounds
I go through parts of the debate in this order, and stop at one if it is sufficient for me to not need to go further.
1. The flow.
This aspect is all tech, no truth. As far as I can tell, I am easily among the most tech-oriented debaters/judges in debate right now. I imagine I'd pull the trigger on a small technical concession much more readily than many other judges. Similarly, I think there are probably far more low point wins than are actually given out. The flow is where my analysis will end for almost all crushes and many debates that are semi-close but not that that close. I have switched to flowing on computer because back-to-back analytics were unflowable for me on paper. I still have no qualms voting you down on an argument I didn't flow in a speech because you were spreading through blocks even if it truly had been there, but hopefully flowing on computer will make this less of an issue.
Mixture of tech and truth (truer args have better ev, but better card cutters/researchers will put out better ev). I get to this level of analysis in two circumstances: either a) I'm told to read cards or evidence quality is centered in the debate or b) despite not being told to read ev, the flow is too close to vote on alone. This is where most good, close debates will end.
3. Minor Intervention
Tech guided by truth. If I still can't comfortably decide a round based on ev and flow, I'll do things like give more weight to evidence quality despite not being told to by the debaters, look for potential cross-apps, or try to find something like that to decide a round without having to fully insert my opinion. This is where most bad debates without enough judge instruction will end.
4. Major Intervention
All truth. This is where bad debates with no clash and no judge instruction will end.
I hope to use the above steps consistently irregardless of what args are in front of me, and I think judges who are ideologically predisposed for or against a certain argument or style are annoying. I hope these biases won't affect my decisions, but the way someone has debated/coached will inevitably affect their judging in some way, so following is a list of biases based on how I've debated:
1. Policy bias. I'm almost certainly better for the K than you think (especially Ks on the NEG), and certainly better for it than my debating record would suggest; cross-apply all the tech first stuff here -- more than happy to vote on some small conceded disad to a NEG framework model if competently extended. This bias is mainly limited to thinking about these debates differently from how primarily K debaters would since I've almost always been on the policy side of policy v K debates.
2. 2N bias. This is small and to be honest could help the AFF more than it helps the NEG because I'm somewhat lenient for 1ARs in terms of if I count an extension to be an argument. I think structural AFF side bias (first and last speech) is probably true in theory but tech determines if I think that's true when judging. Overall I don't expect this to affect my judging very much. Probably one of the most 50/50 judges on condo. Default to judge kick.
3. "Small School" bias. For the most part I think people complaining about being from a "small school" would be better off spending the time they spend talking about it cutting cards, and if you do that you'll be just as competitive as your peer from a big school. However, the one area where I think there is truly a difference in schools is that I think a sizeable majority of judges are likely to (obviously subconsciously) factor school's/team's rep into their decision in close debates. I hate this and have a bit of a chip on my shoulder because of it. If debate rounds could be judged blindly I'd be all for it. I obviously won't hack for "small schools" or against "big schools," but when I was doing prefs late in my career I frequently wondered if a judge who would be good for me in most debates might be bad for me in those few key debates where I was hitting a team with more rep. I am not one of those judges.
4. Good argument bias. This is maybe too obvious to warrant saying. I'll vote on tricks and dropped ASPEC or whatever (all the flow first stuff applies for annoying args as well) but obviously in a close debate find it easier to vote for an argument with good ev, deep defenses, well-explained warrants, etc., and will likely award higher speaks in those kinds of debates.
Stuff I Frequently Wondered About Judges
-- What framework impact? --
I almost always went for fairness and consider it the most strategic, however I know I was considerably worse going for non-fairness impacts when I tried to adapt to judges, so I would just do whatever you like best.
-- Can I go for the K/K AFF? --
-- How many condo? --
Don't care. If you lose condo you'll lose and if you win condo you'll win, the amount you read probably won't end up mattering past a good 2A contextualizing their interp to the round.
-- Do advantage counterplans need solvency advocates? --
-- 1NC construction/do they care about a ton of off? --
Don't care. Do whatever.
-- Insert rehighlightings? --
-- Plan text in a vacuum? --
-- Is going for theory hopeless? --
-- If they drop condo or aspec or it's a crush etc do I have to fill the whole 2NR/2AR? --
Mean speaks is 28.5, standard deviation is .4, so two-thirds of debaters will be from 28.1-28.9, 95% will be from 27.7 to 29.3, and essentially all will be from 27.3 to 29.7.
I'm open to any argument and try to enter the debate as neutral and open as possible. I want to hear clash and a good demonstration of understanding from the AFF and NEG (if you're reading a card you should understand and be able to explain it - especially in rebuttal speeches. basically "why is this argument or evidence important". I find I give slightly more leniency to the negative in terms of understanding especially for novice debaters, but, Affs you chose the case so you should know and understand your own cards and plan.
I'm always looking for good impact calc and a good solid explanation of why your team wins over the other. "they dropped x-y&z" often isn't good enough for me- why were those arguments essential for them to win and without them they have now in your interpretation lost the round.
I'm okay with spreading as long as I can understand what you're saying. If I can't confidently flow it then I wont and it wont be part of my decision. For novice debaters it is often helpful to slow down for the tags. sign posting and a clear roadmap are also essential to a well organized debate.
K- I enjoy K debates as long as the NEG really understands their advocacy and their alt. If you can't explain it you likely can't defend it well.
performance aff- bring it on!! I love something different but you need to do it well.
DA- cool. this is the bread and butter of debate - make sure to really provide those links and make a strong case.
CP- also cool. nothing big to note here.
Timeliness- I'm kind of old school and if it is taking you FOREVER to send over your cards I will take prep time.
please run your own timer if you want to know how long you have left- i'm flowing I'm not looking at the timer to give you an indication of your remaining time. (I'm running the timer, just not watching it to give you a 5-3-1 countdown... sorry i'm not great at multitasking).
racism, bigotry, homo/transphobia, antisemitism, or hatred towards a group is never acceptable and I will give the win to the other team almost automatically.
Be respectful and assume best intent from your opponents.
Misc procedural things:
1. He/him/his; "DML">"Dustin">>>"judge">>>>>>>>>>"Mr. Meyers-Levy"
2. Debated at Edina HS in Minnesota from 2008-2012, at the University of Michigan from 2012-2017, and currently coach at Michigan and Glenbrook North
3. Please add me to the email chain: dustml[at]umich[dot]edu. College debaters only: please also add debatedocs[at]umich[dot]edu (note that this is not the same as the community debatedocs listerv).
4. Nothing here set in stone debate is up to the debaters go for what you want to blah blah blah argument is a claim and a warrant don't clip cards
5. Speaks usually range from 28.5-29.5. Below 28.5 and there are some notable deficiencies, above 29.5 you're going above and beyond to wow me. I don't really try to compare different debaters across different rounds to give points; I assign them based on a round-by-round basis. I wish I could give ties more often and will do so if the tournament allows. I gave a 30 one time a decade ago because I lost a bet. I doubt it'll ever happen again.
6. If you're breaking something new, you'll send it out before your speech, not after the speech ends or as it's read or whatever. If you don't want to comply with that, your points are capped at 27. If you're so worried that giving the neg team 9 extra minutes to look at your new aff will tip the odds against you, it's probably not good enough to win anyway.
7. I feel like my decision times get shorter and shorter by the tournament. I highly encourage you to think about whether you really need to spend time making the other team send a copy of every card they marked and read or didn't read after their speech.
8. Each person gives one constructive and one rebuttal. The first person who speaks is the only person I flow (I can make an exception for performances in 1ACs/1NCs). I don’t flow prompting until and unless the assigned speaker says the words that their partner is prompting. If you need some part of this clarified, I’m probably not the judge for you.
9. If you would enthusiastically describe your strategy as "memes" or "trolling," you should strike me.
When making my decisions, I seek to answer four questions:
1. At what scale should I evaluate impacts, or how do I determine which impact outweighs the others?
2. What is necessary to address those impacts?
3. At what point have those impacts been sufficiently addressed?
4. How certain am I about either side’s answers to the previous three questions?
I don’t expect debaters to answer these questions explicitly or in order, but I do find myself voting for debaters who use that phrasing and these concepts (necessity, sufficiency, certainty, etc) as part of their judge instruction a disproportionate amount. I try to start every RFD with a sentence-ish-long summary of my decision (e.g. "I voted affirmative because I am certain that their impacts are likely without the plan and unlikely with it, which outweighs an uncertain risk of the impacts to the DA even if I am certain about the link"); you may benefit from setting up a sentence or two along those lines for me.
Intervention on my part is inevitable, but I’d like to minimize it if possible. The way I try to do so is by making an effort to quote or paraphrase the 1AR, 2NR, and 2AR in my RFD as much as possible. This means I find myself often voting for teams who a) minimize the amount of debate jargon they use, b) explicitly instruct me what I need in order to be certain that an argument is true, and c) don’t repeat themselves or reread parts of earlier speeches. (The notable exception to c) is quoting your evidence—I appreciate teams who tell me what to look for in their cards, as I’d rather not read evidence if I don’t have to.)
I flow on my computer and I flow straight down. I appreciate debaters who debate in a way that makes that easy to do (clean line-by-line, numbering/subpointing, etc). I’ll make as much room as you want me to for an overview, but I won’t flow it on a separate sheet unless you say pretty please. If it’s not obvious to me at that point why it’s on a separate sheet, you’ll probably lose points.
Consider going a little bit slower. I think debate is easier when you slow down. I like when debaters do it; it makes it easier to flow everything you say. I prefer voting on arguments that I am certain about, and it is much easier to be certain about an argument when I know that I have written down everything that you’ve said.
Presumption always goes negative because the affirmative always has the burden of proof.
I am "truth over tech." I will not vote for something if I cannot explain why it is a reason that one side or the other has done the better debating, even if it is technically conceded by the other team. Obviously, this is not to say that technical concessions do not matter--they're probably the most important part of my decisionmaking process! However, not all technical concessions matter, and the reasons that some technical concessions matter might not be apparent to me. A dropped argument is true, but non-dropped arguments can also be true, and I need you to contextualize how to evaluate and compare those truths.
I appreciate well-thought-out perms with a brief summary of its function/net beneficiality in the 2AC. I get frustrated by teams who shotgun the same four perms on every page, especially when those perms are essentially the same argument (e.g. “perm do both” and “perm do the plan and non-mutually exclusive parts of the alt”) or when the perm is obviously nonsensical (e.g. “perm do the counterplan” against an advantage counterplan that doesn’t try to fiat the aff or against a uniqueness counterplan that bans the plan).
I’d prefer that you read rehighlightings and not insert them, unless you’re rehighlighting a couple words. You will lose speaker points for inserting a bunch of rehighlightings, and I’ll happily ignore them if instructed to by the other team.
I prefer to judge engagement over avoidance. I would rather you beat your opponent at their best than trick them into dropping something. If your plan for victory involves hiding ASPEC in a T shell, or deleting your conditionality block from the 2AC in hopes that they miss it, I will not be happy.
1. Debate is indisputably a game to some degree or another, and it can be other things besides that. I like when teams split the difference and account for debate’s inevitably competitive features rather than asserting it is only one thing or another.
2. I think I am better for K affs than I have been in the past. I am not worse for framework, but I am worse for the amount of work that people seem to do when preparing to go for framework. I am getting really bored by neg teams who recycle blocks without updating them in the context of the round and don’t make an effort to talk about the aff. I think the neg needs to say more than just “the aff’s method is better with a well-prepared opponent” or “non-competitive venues solve the aff’s offense” to meaningfully mitigate the aff's offense. If you are going for framework in front of me, you may want to replace those kinds of quotes in your blocks with specific explanations that reference what the aff says in speeches and cards.
3. I prefer clash impacts to fairness impacts. I vote negative often when aff teams lack explanation for why someone should say "no" to the aff. I find that fairness strategies suffer when the aff pushes on the ballot’s ability to “solve” them; I would rather use my ballot to encourage the aff to argue differently rather than to punish them retroactively. I think fairness-centric framework strategies are vulnerable to aff teams impact turning the neg’s interpretation (conversely, I think counter-interpretation strategies are weak against fairness impacts).
4. I don't think I've ever voted on "if the 1AC couldn't be tested you should presume everything they've said is false"/"don't weigh the aff because we couldn't answer it," and I don't think I ever will.
5. I think non-framework strategies live and die at the level of competition and solvency. When aff teams invest time in unpacking permutations and solvency deficits, and the neg doesn’t advance a theory of competition beyond “no perms in a method debate” (whatever that means), I usually vote aff. When the aff undercovers the perm and/or the alt, I have a high threshold for new explanation and usually think that the 2NR should be the non-framework strategy.
6. I do not care whether or not fiat has a resolutional basis.
Ks on the neg/being aff vs the K:
I am getting really bored by "stat check" affs that respond to every K by brute-forcing a heg or econ impact and reading the same "extinction outweighs, util, consequentialism, nuke war hurts marginalized people too" blocks/cards every debate. That's not to say that these affs are non-viable in front of me, but it is to say that I've often seen teams reading these big-stick affs in ways that seem designed to avoid engaging the substance of the K. If this is your strategy, you should talk about the alternative more, and have a defense of fiat that is not just theoretical.
I care most about link uniqueness and alt solvency. When I vote aff, it's because a) the aff gets access to their impacts, b) those impacts outweigh/turn the K, c) the K links are largely non-unique, and/or d) the neg doesn't have a well-developed alt push. Neg teams that push back on these issues--by a) having well-developed and unique links and impacts with substantive impact calculus in the block and 2NR, including unique turns case args (not just that the plan doesn't solve, but that it actually makes the aff's own impacts more likely), b) having a vision for what the world of the alt looks like that's defensible and ostensibly solves their impacts even if the aff wins a risk of theirs (case defense that's congruent with the K helps), and/or c) has a heavy push on framework that tells me what the alt does/doesn't need to solve--have a higher chance of getting my ballot. Some more specific notes:
1. Upfront, I'm not a huge fan of "post-/non-/more-than/humanism"-style Ks. I find myself more persuaded by most defenses/critical rehabilitations of humanism than I do by critiques of humanism that attempt to reject the category altogether. You can try your best to change my mind, but it may be an uphill battle; this applies far more to high theory/postmodern Ks of humanism (which, full disclosure, I would really rather not hear) than it does to structuralist/identity-based Ks of humanism, though I find myself more persuaded by "new humanist" style arguments a la Fanon, Wynter, etc than full-on rejections of humanism.
2. There's a new trend of Ks about debt, debt imperialism, etc. I may not be the best judge for these arguments, simply because of my difficulty with understanding economics on its own terms, let alone in the context of a K. It's not for lack of trying to understand or familiarize myself, I just have tremendous difficulty understanding even basic economic concepts at a fundamental level, and this is seriously amplified when those concepts are being analyzed by relatively complex critical theory. This isn't to say these arguments are unwinnable in front of me (I've voted for them this year and in past years), but you may want to consider something else and/or investing a really large amount of time in explaining the fundamentals of your arguments to me.
3. I also don't really get all these new Ks about quantum physics in IR and stuff. Again, it's me, not you. I was an English major; every time I try to read these articles I get a headache. I'm interested, I promise, and if you can explain it to me I'll be very appreciative! But for transparency's sake, I think it's highly unlikely that you'll be able to both explain the argument to me in a way that I can comprehend AND invest the time necessary to win the debate in your 36 collective minutes of speaking time.
4. I'm quite interested in emerging genres of critical legal theory. I think I would be a good judge for Ks that defend concrete changes to jurisprudence and are willing to debate out the implications of that.
5. I think that others should not suffer, that biological death is bad, and that contingent agreement on truth is possible and a better basis for action than nothing. If your K disagrees with any of these fundamental premises, I am a bad judge for it.
6. I don't get Ks of linear time. I get Ks of whitewashing, progress narratives, etc. I get the argument that historical events influence the present, and that events in the present can reshape our understanding of the past. I get that some causes have complex effects that aren't immediately recognizable to us and may not be recognizable on any human scale. I just don't get how any of those things are mutually exclusive with, and indeed how they don't also rely on, some understanding of linear time/causality. I think this is because I have a very particular understanding of what "linear time" means/refers to, which is to say that it's hard for me to disassociate that phrase with the basic concept of cause/effect and the progression of time in a measurable, linear fashion. This isn't as firm of a belief as #5; I can certainly imagine one of these args clicking with me eventually. This is just to say that the burden of explanation is much higher and you would likely be better served going for more plan-specific link arguments or maybe just using different terminology/including a brief explanation as to why you're not disagreeing with the basic premise that causes have effects, even if those effects aren't immediately apparent. If you are disagreeing with that premise, you should probably strike me, as it will require far longer than two hours for me to comprehend your argument, let alone agree with it.
7. "Philosophical competition" is not a winner in front of me. I don't know what it means and no one has ever explained it to me in a coherent way.
1. 95% of my work in college is K-focused, and the other 5% is mostly spot updates. I have done very little policy-focused research in the preseason.
For high school, I led a lab this summer, but didn't retain a ton of topic info and have done exclusively K-focused work since the camp ended. I probably know less than you do about economics.
2. “Link controls uniqueness”/“uniqueness controls the link” arguments will get you far with me. I often find myself wishing that one side or the other had made that argument, because my RFDs often include some variant of it regardless.
3. Apparently T against policy affs is no longer in style. Fortunately, I have a terrible sense of style. In general, I think I'm better for the neg for T than (I guess) a lot of judges; reading through some judge philosophies I find a lot of people who say they don't like judging T or don't think T debates are good, and I strongly disagree with that claim. I'm a 2N at heart, so when it comes down to brass tacks I really don't care about many T impacts/standards except for neg ground (though I can obviously be persuaded otherwise). I care far more about the debates that an interpretation facilitates than I do about the interpretation's source in the abstract--do explanation as to why source quality/predictability influences the quality of debates under the relevant interpretation.
4. I think judge kick makes intuitive sense, but I won't do it unless I'm told to. That said, I also think I have a lower threshold for what constitutes the neg "telling me to" than most. There are some phrases that signify to me that I can default to the status quo by my own choosing; these include, but aren't necessarily limited to, "the status quo is always a logical policy option" and/or "counter-interp: the neg gets X conditional options and the status quo."
5. Here are some aff theory arguments that I could be persuaded on pretty easily given a substantive time investment:
--Counterplans should have a solvency advocate ideally matching the specificity of the aff's, but at least with a normative claim about what should happen.
--Multi-actor fiat bad--you can fiat different parts of the USFG do things, and international fiat is defensible, but fiating the federal government and the states, or the US and other countries, is a no-no. (Fiating all fifty states is debatably acceptable, but fiating some permutation of states seems iffy to me.)
--No negative fiat, but not the meme--counterplans should take a positive action, and shouldn't fiat a negative action. It's the distinction between "the USFG should not start a war against Russia" and "the USFG should ban initiation of war against Russia."
--Test case fiat? Having osmosed a rudimentary bit of constitutional law via friends and family in law school, it seems like debate's conception of how the Supreme Court works is... suspect. Not really sure what the implications of that are for the aff or the neg, but I'm pretty sure that most court CPs/mechanisms would get actual lawyers disbarred.
--“…large advantage counterplans with multiple planks, all of which can be kicked, are fairly difficult to defend. Negative teams can fiat as many policies as it takes to solve whatever problems the aff has sought to tackle. It is unreasonable to the point of stupidity to expect the aff to contrive solvency deficits: the plan would literally have to be the only idea in the history of thought capable of solving a given problem. Every additional proposal introduced in the 1nc (in order to increase the chance of solving) can only be discouraged through the potential cost of a disad being read against it. In the old days, this is why counterplan files were hundreds of pages long and had answers to a wide variety of disads. But if you can kick the plank, what incentive does the aff have to even bother researching if the CP is a good idea? If they read a 2AC add-on, the neg gets as many no-risk 2NC counterplans to add to the fray as well (of course, they can also add unrelated 2nc counterplans for fun and profit). If you think you can defend the merit of that strategy vs. a "1 condo cp / 1 condo k" interp, your creative acumen may be too advanced for interscholastic debate; consider more challenging puzzles in emerging fields, as they urgently need your input.” -Kevin "Kevin 'Paul Blart Mall Cop' James" James Hirn
Please put me on the email chain: firstname.lastname@example.org.
I'm currently an assistant debate coach for Niles North High School. I was the Head Debate Coach at Niles West High School for twelve years and an assistant debate coach at West for one year. I also work at the University of Michigan summer debate camps. I competed in policy debate at the high school level for six years at New Trier. #gotrevs (always already a preclusion...don't worry).
Master of Education in English-Language Learning & Special Education National Louis University (Expected Winter 2024)
Master of Arts in School Leadership Concordia University-Chicago
Master of Arts in Education Wake Forest University
Juris Doctor Illinois Institute of Technology-Chicago Kent College of Law
Bachelor of Arts University of California, Santa Barbara
I will vote on any type of debate argument so long as the team extends it throughout the entire round and explains why it is a voter. Thus, I will pull the trigger on theory, agent specification, and other arguments many judges are unwilling to vote on. Even though I am considered a “politics/counter plan” debater, I will vote on kritiks, but I am told I evaluate kritik debates in a “politics/counter plan” manner (I guess this is not exactly true anymore...and I tend to judge clash debates). I try not to intervene in rounds, and all I ask is that debaters respect each other throughout the competition.
The tournament and those judging you are not at your leisure. Please do your best to start the round promptly at the posted time on the pairing and when I'm ready to go (sometimes I do run a few minutes late to a round, not going to lie). Please do your best to: use prep ethically, attach speech documents quickly, ask to use bathroom at appropriate times (e.g. ideally not right before your or your partner's speech), and contribute to moving the debate along and help keep time. I will give grace to younger debaters on this issue, but varsity debaters should know how to do this effectively. This is an element of how I award speaker points. I'm a huge fan of efficient policy debate rounds. Thanks!
In my opinion, you cannot waive CX and bank it for prep time. Otherwise, the whole concept of cross examination in policy debate is undermined. I will not allow this unless the tournament rules explicitly tell me to do so.
If you use a poem, song, etc. in the 1AC, you should definitely talk about it after the 1AC. Especially against framework. Otherwise, what is the point? Your performative method should make sense as a praxis throughout the debate.
Do not post round me. I will lower your speaker points if you or one of your coaches acts disrespectful towards me or the opponents after the round. I have no problem answering any questions about the debate but it will be done in a respectful manner to all stakeholders in the room. If you have any issues with this, please don't pref me. I have seen, heard and experienced way too much disrespectful behavior by a few individuals in the debate community recently where, unfortunately, I feel compelled to include this in my paradigm.
Glenbrook North- he/him
If you are visibly sick, I reserve the right to forfeit you and leave.
1. Flow and respond to what the other team says
2. You almost certainly are going too fast for how clear you are.
3. Kritiks: Probably a bad idea in front of me.
4. Non topical affs: You definitely want to strike me.
5. "Can you send a marked copy" is a reasonable pre-cx request. "Marked copy" means any cards they started reading but didn't finish should be marked. "Marked copy" doesn't mean the team sends a version of the doc that omits cards they skipped entirely.
6. Everything needs to be in one speech doc. Getting everything together in one speech doc is prep.
7. No inserting anything into the debate besides like charts or graphics (things that can't be read aloud). You don't need to re-read the plan and counterplan text, and you can say perm specific planks, but if you are reading a more complicated perm than that, you should read the text. The litmus test is "insert the perm text."
8. Don't swear.
9. I generally flow cross-x but won't guarantee I'll pay attention to questions after cross-x time is up. I also don't think the other team has to indefinitely answer substantive questions once cx time is over.
10. Vague plans are a double-edged sword.
I debated at Blue Valley North High School in Overland Park, Kansas from 1998-2002 and at Northwestern for two years. I have not been involved in policy debate for some time, but I did coach collegiate parliamentary debate in 2010 and 2011. Though I’ve been out for some time, I remain familiar with the activity. I was primarily a policy debater, but am versed in critical issues. Despite those tendencies, I understand my role as judge to be primarily dictated by the debaters. You will all tell me how I’m supposed to evaluate the round and I will do my best to decide based on the framework presented.
My email is email@example.com.
Gbs ‘16 Michigan ‘20
Please add firstname.lastname@example.org
I debated at GBS for four years and at Michigan for two. I’ve coached high school intermittently since 2016.
You can expect that I’ll understand the concepts and implications of your arguments but not that I have any exposure to communal consensus around the validity of any given topic strategy. This is most important if you decide to go for topicality.
My most important preferences by far are that you limit your overviews to 30 seconds or less, do rigorous line by line in every speech after the 1nc, and avoid spreading long pre-written blocks. My decision will be better and your points will be (significantly) better if you are able to do these things.
You should read a plan. This isn’t out of malice, I just find framework debates extremely boring to judge and I almost always vote neg. I’m pretty good for the k if you’re neg, though.
I don’t have any hot takes about policy strategies. If it’s well prepared and/or I can tell you’re adapting strategically during the round, I will want to vote for you. I have a soft spot in my heart for ridiculous impact turns and rider das.
melanie rudolph (she/her)
glenbrook south '21 (debated on education, immigration, arms sales, and criminal justice reform)
northwestern university '25
**water topic update** - while I have extensive experience in policy debate, I have no topic knowledge. please keep this in mind when you debate in front of me.
top level - do whatever you want. i've gone for essentially every type of argument so please don't adjust your strategy for me just understand that certain arguments might need a little more explanation for me.
counterplans - these debates are probably the ones that i feel that most comfortable adjudicating. more aff leaning on questions of counterplan theory than others but i of course will try to not let this influence my decision. i won't judge kick the counterplan unless the 2nr explicitly flags it.
topicality - i think t is an often underutilized argument in debate. that being said, arbitrary interpretations are bad for debate. teams going for t on the neg should explain the core generics and their vision for the topic.
framework/planless affs - probably the type of debate that i feel the least comfortable in the back. i have always gone for framework against k affs but would love to hear your creative strategies. i like clash style impacts but will definitely listen to fairness impacts.
disads - nothing really special to say here...the more specific the link/link characterization the better
kritiks - neg teams that let the aff weigh their impacts to some extent but have reasons why that is bad will do very well in front of me. as always, specific link work is infinitely better than rereading the same boring generic block every debate.
impact turns - quite possibly the most underutilized argument in debate. spark? ___ war good? if you are prepared to go for it, by all means read it to your heart's desire.
Email Chain - email@example.com
If you have questions feel free to email or ask me after the round!
Not read up on the topic this year, so be sure to explain your arguments in depth.
Very policy but will do my best to adjudicate the round based on the arguments presented in the speeches.
Not the best at evaluating critical affirmatives, but explain to me why I should vote for you.
DA - Have a link to the aff, if generic contextualize it well enough for me to vote on it. Extend all parts of the DA, uniqueness, impact(s), internal link(s), and link(s). Tell me why it outweighs the impacts on case.
CP - Explain why the counterplan solves the affirmative. Affirmative should extend perms, and negative should answer them if dropped by either side tell me why to either reject or prefer the affirmative.
K - Not the best with these, but give me a clear coherent explanation of why it links to the affirmative, (if you go for the alternative explain why it solves the affirmative impacts), and why your impacts outweigh.
T - Topicality is a voter! Extend standards, limits, and impacts. Tell me why the affirmative is not topical and why it's worse being negative. Please don't read blocks in the 2NR and try to do some line-by-line.
Explain and extend your arguments, I can't do all the work for you.
Respect your partner and your opponents.
Tag team cross-ex is cool, just don't take over!
Clarity is really important, I'll say clear a few times and if it doesn't improve I'll have to dock speaks.
Time your speeches! I'll also time them but it's good practice for future rounds.
Subject the email chain - Tournament Name Round # - Aff Team AFF vs Neg Team NEG
Debated at Maine East (2016-2020, TOC Circuit) and the University of Pittsburgh (2020-2023, NDT Qual)
Will boost speaker points if brought (vegetarian) food/snacks
Career wise, my arguments of preference were more critical (Afropessimism, Settler Colonialism, Capitalism, and the likes). I enjoy judging clash debates, policy vs critical. Traditional policy debaters should take note of my lack of experience in policy v policy debates and rank me lower on their judging preferences.
The one thing you should know if you want my ballot is this: If you say something, defend it. I mean this in the fullest sense: Do not disavow arguments that you or your partner make in binding speeches and cross-examination periods, but rather defend them passionately and holistically. If you endorse any strategy, you should not just acknowledge but maintain its implications in all relevant realms of the debate. The quickest way to lose in front of me is to be apprehensive about your own claims.
When in doubt, referring the judging philosophies of the following folks will do you well: Micah Weese, Daryl Burch, Reed Van Schenck, Calum Matheson, Alex Holguin, & Alex Reznik
Everything below this line is a proclivity of mine that can be negotiated through debate:
I think that debate is a game with pedagogical and political implications. As such, I see my role as a judge as primarily to determine who won the debate but also to facilitate the debaters' learning. Everything can be an impact if you find a way to weigh it against other impacts, this includes procedural fairness. When my ballot is decided on the impact debate, I tend to vote for whoever better explains the material consequence of their impact. Use examples. Examples can help to elucidate (the lack of) solvency, establish link stories, make comparative arguments, and so many more useful things. They are also helpful for establishing your expertise on the topic. All thing said, at the end of the day I will adapt to your argument style.
I dislike judges who exclude debaters because of what they decide to read in a debate round, I will NOT do that as long as you don't say anything racist, sexist, etc.
Speaker points are arbitrary. I tend to give higher speaker points to debaters who show a thorough understanding of the arguments they present. I am especially impressed by debaters who efficiently collapse in the final rebuttals.
Public Forum Debate
The faster you end the debate, the higher your speaks.
I am a flow-centric judge on the condition your arguments are backed with evidence and are logical. My background is in policy debate, but regardless of style, and especially important in PF, I think it's necessary to craft a broad story that connects what the issue is, what your solution is, and why you think you should win the debate.
I like evidence qualification comparisons and "if this, then that" statements when tied together with logical assumptions that can be made. Demonstrating ethos, confidence, and good command of your and your opponent's arguments is also very important in getting my ballot.
I will like listening to you more if you read smart, innovative arguments. Don't be rude, cocky, and/or overly aggressive especially if your debating and arguments can't back up that "talk." Not a good look.
Give an order before your speech
Nikola (Nik) Stamenkovic Diez
Northwestern University '24
John F. Kennedy HS '20
Email Chain (yes, add me): <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Currently debate for Northwestern. I debated policy for 4 years at Kennedy HS in the Chicago Debate League (Chicago Debates).
What's your model of debate? Are models important? Fairness isn't an impact in of itself. If you're strategy is one off T-USFG/FW, it shouldn't be in front of me. Impact calculus, argument comparison, and clash is central to these debates.
Specificity, a well-defined theory of power, and evidence comparison is important. Link work should be specific and contextualized to the aff. You don't have to win an alt in front of me. Write the ballot for me. Resist the K jargon. Long, obnoxious overviews are annoying, so don't do it.
Kritiks vs Policy Affs: Answering impact turns and defending against case outweighs arguments.
Kritiks vs K Affs: Make the link debate as specific and in-depth to the world of the affirmative. Work should also be done to explain why I should or shouldn't care if the alt solves the aff impact better along with substantial answers to DAs to your perms.
Counterplan competition is important. Counterplan competition can be garnered from cross-examination. Theory is great when debated well.
Properly explain each component of your DA and how it relates to the case. A good flushed out link story is necessary.
1ACs are more likely than not terrible, absolutely terrible. I strongly believe teams should be debating the case. Whether or not it becomes entirely relevant or not at the end of the debate, case debating should be happening to some extent.
- Do not make the debate space unsafe for anyone. Just show up, debate the arguments, learn, and make friends.
- Pronouns: The easiest way to avoid misgendering individuals is using preferred names. Misgendering someone in or out of a debate round makes it astronomically more difficult to compete and perform at one's best.
- Don't read death good.
Gonna steal this format from Buntin:
Read no cards---------------------------X--------Read all the cards
Conditionality good-------X-----------------------Conditionality bad
UQ matters most--------------------------X------Link matters most
Clarity-X--------------------------------------------Srsly who doesn't like clarity
Presumption-------------------------------X-------Never votes on presumption
Longer ev----X-------------------------------------More ev
"Insert rehighlighting"----------------------X-I only read what you read
CX about impacts-----------------------------X---CX about links and solvency
AT: -X------------------------------------------------------- A2:
AFF (acronym)-------------------------------------------X Aff (truncated word)
Put me on the email chain (WayneTang@aol.com). (my debaters made me do this, I generally don't read evidence in round)
Former HS debater in the stone ages (1980s) HS coach for over many years at Maine East (1992-2016) and now at Northside College Prep (2016 to present). I coach on the north shore of Chicago. I typically attend and judge around 15-18 tournaments a season and generally see a decent percentage of high level debates. However, I am not a professional teacher/debate coach, I am a patent attorney in my real (non-debate) life and thus do not learn anything about the topic (other than institutes are overpriced) over the summer. I like to think I make up for that by being a quick study and through coaching and judging past topics, knowing many recycled arguments.
DISADS AND ADVANTAGES
Intelligent story telling with good evidence and analysis is something I like to hear. I generally will vote for teams that have better comparative impact analysis (i.e. they take into account their opponents’ arguments in their analysis). It is a hard road, but I think it is possible to reduce risk to zero or close enough to it based on defensive arguments.
I vote on T relatively frequently over the years. I believe it is the negative burden to establish the plan is not topical. Case lists and arguments on what various interpretations would allow/not allow are very important. I have found that the limits/predictability/ground debate has been more persuasive to me, although I will consider other standards debates. Obviously, it is also important how such standards operate once a team convinces me of their standard. I will also look at why T should be voting issue. I will not automatically vote negative if there is no counter-interpretation extended, although usually this is a pretty deep hole for the aff. to dig out of. For example, if the aff. has no counter-interpretation but the neg interpretation is proven to be unworkable i.e. no cases are topical then I would probably vote aff. As with most issues, in depth analysis and explanation on a few arguments will outweigh many 3 word tag lines.
Case specific CPs are preferable that integrate well (i.e. do not flatly contradict) with other negative positions. Clever wording of CPs to solve the Aff and use Aff solvency sources are also something I give the neg. credit for. It is an uphill battle for the Aff on theory unless the CP/strategy centered around the CP does something really abusive. The aff has the burden of telling me how a permutation proves the CP non-competitive.
Not a fan, but I have voted on them numerous times (despite what many in the high school community may believe). I will never be better than mediocre at evaluating these arguments because unlike law, politics, history and trashy novels, I don’t read philosophy for entertainment nor have any interest in it. Further (sorry to my past assistants who have chosen this as their academic career), I consider most of the writers in this field to be sorely needing a dose of the real world (I was an engineer in undergrad, I guess I have been brainwashed in techno-strategic discourse/liking solutions that actually accomplish something). In order to win, the negative must establish a clear story about 1) what the K is; 2) how it links; 3) what the impact is at either the policy level or: 4) pre-fiat (to the extent it exists) outweighs policy arguments or other affirmative impacts. Don’t just assume I will vote to reject their evil discourse, advocacy, lack of ontology, support of biopolitics, etc. Without an explanation I will assume a K is a very bad non-unique Disad in the policy realm. As such it will probably receive very little weight if challenged by the aff. You must be able to distill long boring philosophical cards read at hyperspeed to an explanation that I can comprehend. I have no fear of saying I don’t understand what the heck you are saying and I will absolutely not vote for issues I don’t understand. (I don’t have to impress anyone with my intelligence or lack thereof and in any case am probably incapable of it) If you make me read said cards with no explanation, I will almost guarantee that I will not understand the five syllable (often foreign) philosophical words in the card and you will go down in flames. I do appreciate, if not require specific analysis on the link and impact to either the aff. plan, rhetoric, evidence or assumptions depending on what floats your boat. In other words, if you can make specific applications (in contrast to they use the state vote negative), or better yet, read specific critical evidence to the substance of the affirmative, I will be much more likely to vote for you.
PERFORMANCE BASED ARGUMENTS
Also not a fan, but I have voted on these arguments in the past. I am generally not highly preferred by teams that run such arguments, so I don't see enough of these types of debates to be an expert. However, for whatever reason, I get to judge some high level performance teams each year and have some background in such arguments from these rounds. I will try to evaluate the arguments in such rounds and will not hesitate to vote against framework if the team advocating non-traditional debate wins sufficient warrants why I should reject the policy/topic framework. However, if a team engages the non-traditional positions, the team advocating such positions need to answer any such arguments in order to win. In other words, I will evaluate these debates like I try to evaluate any other issues, I will see what arguments clash and evaluate that clash, rewarding a team that can frame issues, compare and explain impacts. I have spent 20 plus years coaching a relatively resource deprived school trying to compete against very well resourced debate schools, so I am not unsympathetic to arguments based on inequities in policy debates. On the other hand I have also spent 20 plus years involved in non-debate activities and am not entirely convinced that the strategies urged by non-traditional debates work. Take both points for whatever you think they are worth in such debates.
In varsity debate, I believe you have to minimally be able to clash with the other teams arguments, if you can’t do this, you won’t get over a 27.5. Anything between 28.8 and 29.2 means you are probably among the top 5% of debaters I have seen. I will check my points periodically against tournament averages and have adjusted upward in the past to stay within community norms. I think that if you are in the middle my points are pretty consistent. Unfortunately for those who are consistently in the top 5% of many tournaments, I have judged a lot of the best high school debaters over the years and it is difficult to impress me (e.g., above a 29). Michael Klinger, Stephen Weil, Ellis Allen, Matt Fisher and Stephanie Spies didn’t get 30s from me (and they were among my favorites of all time), so don’t feel bad if you don’t either.
I dislike evaluating theory debates but if you make me I will do it and complain a lot about it later. No real predispositions on theory other than I would prefer to avoid dealing with it.
Tag team is fine as long as you don’t start taking over cross-ex.
I do not count general tech screw ups as prep time and quite frankly am not really a fascist about this kind of thing as some other judges, just don’t abuse my leniency on this.
Speed is fine (this is of course a danger sign because no one would admit that they can’t handle speed). If you are going too fast or are unclear, I will let you know. Ignore such warnings at your own peril, like with Kritiks, I am singularly unafraid to admit I didn’t get an answer and therefore will not vote on it.
I will read evidence if it is challenged by a team. Otherwise, if you say a piece of evidence says X and the other team doesn’t say anything, I probably won’t call for it and assume it says X. However, in the unfortunate (but fairly frequent) occurrence where both teams just read cards, I will call for cards and use my arbitrary and capricious analytical skills to piece together what I, in my paranoid delusional (and probably medicated) state, perceive is going on.
I generally will vote on anything that is set forth on the round. Don’t be deterred from going for an argument because I am laughing at it, reading the newspaper, checking espn.com on my laptop, throwing something at you etc. Debate is a game and judges must often vote for arguments they find ludicrous, however, I can and will still make fun of the argument. I will, and have, voted on many arguments I think are squarely in the realm of lunacy i.e. [INSERT LETTER] spec, rights malthus, Sun-Ra, the quotations and acronyms counterplan (OK I didn’t vote on either, even I have my limits), scaler collapse (twice), world government etc. (the likelihood of winning such arguments, however, is a separate matter). I will not hesitate to vote against teams for socially unacceptable behavior i.e. evidence fabrication, racist or sexist slurs etc., thankfully I have had to do that less than double digits time in my 35+ years of judging.
When it comes to K versus policy, I prefer K debates. I went to graduate school for philosophy and have coached debate in CPS for 8 years, but was never a debater. As a result I am probably considerably less technical than other judges and just want to see good argumentation. I personally think this happens when we have a clear understanding of our epistemology.
I would much prefer to judge a round where there is a lot of clash on the flow and indicts on the other team's evidence than a round in which a team overwhelms the other team with lots of advantages or CPs. K debates can be equally bad for education when they involve half-understood ideas of So, if you're running a K or K Aff, please avoid relying solely on philosophical jargon. I think the best debaters are the ones who combine their technical of knowledge of debate with common sense and some semblance of rhetorical skill.
Counterplans are fine. If you run them be sure you can clearly articulate how the plan links to the net benefit. I think there are good reasons to consider theory arguments like condo and PICs bad.
I'm ok with speed, but I prefer debaters who slow down on analytics and theory arguments. Getting your arguments out in the 1AC/1NC should sound different from explaining why the perm fails or explaining why topicality should be a voter.
I think storytelling is important. I want you to be able to explain to me why you are winning the debate. I have two reasons for believing this: 1. I think this is an essential thinking and communication skill, 2. If you throw spaghetti at the wall and ask me to interpret it, I'm afraid that I won't interpret it correctly. Don't leave the round up to my interpretation; write my ballot for me.
I like a nice, tight DA with a carefully explained link story. Sometimes Ptix DAs get a little wild, but as long as you can sell the story, I'm willing to go along with it as a convention of debate, but would probably be sympathetic to an aff team that highlights the probability of the link chain or the quality of the evidence.
At heart I'm just a simple English teacher, so I will give extra speaker points for citing Shakespeare in any of your speeches. MUST FIT WITH THE CONTEXT OF WHAT YOU'RE SAYING! I've also been reading the philosopher, Byung-Chul Han find a way to bring his ideas into the round and you will get all the speaks.
No tag team please!
Name : Lauren Velazquez
Affiliated School: Niles North
I debated competitively in high school in the 1990s for Maine East. I participated on the national circuit where counterplans and theory were common.
Director of Debate at Niles North
I competed in the 90s, helped around for a few years, took a bit of a break, have been back for about 7 years. My teams compete on the national circuit, I help heavily with my teams’ strategies, and am a lab leader at a University of Michigan. In recent years I have helped coach teams that cleared at the TOC, won state titles and consistently debated in late elim rounds at national tournaments. TL/DR--I am familiar with national circuit debate but I do not closely follow college debate so do not assume that I am attuned to the arguments that are currently cutting edge/new.
What this means for you---I lean tech over truth when it comes to execution, but truth controls the direction of tech, and some debate meta-arguments matter a lot less to me.
I am not ideological towards most arguments, I believe debate structurally is a game, but there are benefits to debate outside of it being just a game, give it your best shot and I will try my best to adapt to you.
The only caveat is do not read any arguments that you think would be inappropriate for me to teach in my classroom, if you are worried it might be inappropriate, you should stop yourself right there.
DISADS AND ADVANTAGES
When deciding to vote on disadvantages and affirmative advantages, I look for a combination of good story telling and evidence analysis. Strong teams are teams that frame impact calculations for me in their rebuttals (e.g. how do I decide between preventing a war or promoting human rights?). I should hear from teams how their internal links work and how their evidence and analysis refute indictments from their opponents. Affirmatives should have offense against disads (and Negs have offense against case). It is rare, in my mind, for a solvency argument or "non unique" argument to do enough damage to make the case/disad go away completely, at best, relying only on defensive arguments will diminish impacts and risks, but t is up to the teams to conduct a risk analysis telling me how to weigh risk of one scenario versus another.
I will vote on topicality if it is given time (more than 15 seconds in the 2NR) in the debate and the negative team is able to articulate the value of topicality as a debate “rule” and demonstrate that the affirmative has violated a clear and reasonable framework set by the negative. If the affirmative offers a counter interpretation, I will need someone to explain to me why their standards and definitions are best. Providing cases that meet your framework is always a good idea. I find the limits debate to be the crux generally of why I would vote for or against T so if you are neg you 100% should be articulating the limits implications of your interpretation.
Over the years, I have heard and voted on Kritiks, but I do offer a few honest caveats:
*Please dont read "death good"/nihilism/psychoanalysis in front of me. I mean honestly I will consider it but I know I am biased and I HATE nihilism, psychoanalysis debates. I will try to listen with an open mind but I really don't think these arguments are good for the activity or good for pedagogy--they alienate younger debaters who are learning the game and I don't think that genuine discussions of metaphysics lend themselves to speed reading and "voting" on right/wrong. If you run these I will listen and work actively to be open minded but know you are making an uphill battle for yourself running these. If these are your bread and butter args you should pref me low.
I read newspapers daily so I feel confident in my knowledge around global events. I do not regularly read philosophy or theory papers, there is a chance that I am unfamiliar with your argument or the underlying paradigms. I do believe that Kritik evidence is inherently dense and should be read a tad slower and have accompanying argument overviews in negative block. Impact analysis is vital. What is the role of the ballot? How do I evaluate things like discourse against policy implications (DAs etc)
Also, I’m going to need you to go a tad slower if you are busting out a new kritik, as it does take time to process philosophical writings.
If you are doing something that kritiks the overall debate round framework (like being an Aff who doesnt have a plan text), make sure you explain to me the purpose of your framework and why it is competitively fair and educationally valuable.
I am generally a fan of CPs as a neg strategy. I will vote for counterplans but I am open to theory arguments from the affirmative (PICs bad etc). Counterplans are most persuasive to me when the negative is able to clearly explain the net benifts and how (if at all) the counterplan captures affirmative solvency. For permutations to be convincing offense against CPs, Affs should explain how permutation works and what voting for perm means (does the DA go away, do I automatically vote against neg etc?)
Tag team is fine as long as you don’t start taking over cross-ex and dominating. You are part of a 2 person team for a reason.
Speed is ok as long as you are clear. If you have a ton of analytics in a row or are explaining a new/dense theory, you may want to slow down a little since processing time for flowing analytics or kritkits is a little slower than me just flowing the text of your evidence.
I listen to cross ex. I think teams come up with a lot of good arguments during this time. If you come up with an argument in cross ex-add it to the flow in your speech.
Debate Coach, New Trier High School, Illinois
Formerly, Head Coach, Princeton High School, Ohio
Glenbrook North Alum, Miami University of Ohio Alum
email = email@example.com
Overarching philosophy of debate/judging (scroll down for thoughts on arguments)
I used to judge a good amount. That has not been the case. I taught at Michigan this summer and probably judged about 15 debates there .
Debate is about having fun - you should read arguments that you enjoy regardless of my past debate background or what arguments my students may or may not read.
Debate is about communication, response, and oral argumentation - if it wasn't in the debate or if it was not clear to me in a debate, it's not a thing. All arguments should have some level of engagement with what the opposing team is saying or they are just floating statements. I try to judge all debates through a lens of, how will I explain to the losing team why they did not win and how can I explain how they could have won.
Debate should be a safe space - be respectful to your partner and opponents; if your "thought experiment" includes trivializing genocide, suicide, x identity, you should consider the impact that that argument might have on your opponents and anyone watching the debate. I understand that discomfort in engaging new areas of literature can be production but there is a line between that and making people feel uncomfortable talking about their own identity (literally referring to CX exchanges with this example). If this is egregious I will feel compelled to intervene.
Thoughts on specific arguments
Topicality - it's fine. Probably hard to win in front of me. What I would call a "low probability victory" because I think most debates fall down into infinitely regressive limits debates that are easily resolved - for me - with reasonable interpretations (that means the aff would have to extend a reasonable interpretation!). To be successful in front of me I think that debating topicality more like a DA (link explanation + impact) and then debating interpretations like a CP (what the debates under each interpretation would be like and why they are good).
Counterplans - they're good. Consult CP's are fine. Condition CP's are fine. Process CP's are mostly fine. Delay CP's are mostly fine. Advantage CP's are good. Agent CP's are good. International Actor CP's are fine. States CP's are good. 2NC CP's are questionable. Offsets CP's can be fine. Affs can be most successful in front of me by explaining what is different between the plan and counterplan and then explaining why that difference is impacted by a specific aff advantage / internal link scenario). Final thought is that the aff often forgets to point out that the billion plank advantage cp prolly links to politics.
Counterplan theory - conditionality is probably good because the alternatives create worse debates. I evaluate these debates technically, which often gives a slight advantage to the neg, and look for impact calculus that never materializes (which is also good for the neg). Also, most things just don't make sense as voting issues except conditionality. If you want to be successful with counterplan theory in front of me, see my notes about topicality. And be very clear about what you want me to do and why (reject the argument, stick them with it, they lose, etc).
Disadvantages - they're good. Politics DA's are good. Elections DA's are okay. Rider DA's are so-so. Tradeoff DA's are good. Economy DA's are good. Spending DA's are so-so. I think intrinsicness is interesting, turns case is a big deal, contextualizing size of DA vs size of case is helpful for all. Negs who make their DA's bigger in the block (impact wise) are often successful in front of me.
Kritiks - they're good. I believe my voting record skews neg because of most aff teams' inability to generate offense. Aff perm strategies are okay but should be contextualized with offense, solvency deficits, etc. I default to fiat meaning "imagine" so sure we arent going to start a world revolution but I could certainly imagine that or we could talk about if that's a good thought experience. I would myself a "B" for K literacy fluency.
T USFG/Framework - it's good. But ... I believe my voting record skews the other way. I've had the pleasure of many coaches angrily asking me about arguments that weren't in the debate. I view debate as a communication activity and I only consider the arguments presented in the debate. Coaches get upset when this emphasis on technical execution seems to "hurt" their framework team. I think the data bears out that I am winnable for either side. I will say that affs that don't read a plan AND are not in the same direction as the resolution OR don't read a plan AND are not related to the resolution have a low win rate in front of me. See notes about debating topicality in front of me.
Ethics - clipping is bad. Miscutting evidence is bad. Misrepresenting evidence is bad. Misdisclosing is bad. Are any of these things auto-losses in-front of? Probably not. Context matters. If one piece of evidence is miscut or misrepresented, it seems reasonable to just imagine that card wasn't read. If someone does want to stake the debate on one of these things that can be verified, I can be persuaded. If team A asserts that team B has clipped or miscut evidence, and stakes the debate on it, and is wrong, team A would lose. That's what it means to stake the debate on something.
Speaker points - I know I look 16 but I'm much older. So are my points. I'm trying to be better to represent changing norms but that's a thing. If you lose you're probably getting a 28 something if you were reasonable. If you weren't reasonable you're probably getting a high 27. If you win I try to think about if I would expect the team to break at the tournament. If so they're probably getting a 29. Then relative comparisons to other people in the debate kick in. Things that bump your points up: clarity, cx, respecting your opponent, judge instruction, evaluation and assessment based arguments at the end. Things that can bump your points down: being hard to understand/follow, being mean, not kicking arguments correctly, not attempting line by line, only reading cards, not answering / not letting your partner answer in cx, not disclosing to your opponent before I get there, tech incompetence, prep shenaningans.
Updated: 2022 TOC
I'm currently a head coach at New Trier Township High School outside of Chicago, IL.
Here are some insights into the way I tend to evaluate arguments. Obviously these are contingent upon the way that arguments are deployed in round. If you win that one of these notions should not be the standard for the debate, I will evaluate it in terms of your argumentation.
*I evaluate the round based on the flow. Technical line by line debating should be prioritized. That's not to say that I'm a "tech over truth" judge. I'm willing to listen to reasonable extrapolations, smart debating, and bringing in some context. However, I don't think I can interpret exactly how an argument in one place should be applied to another portion of the flow/debate unless the debater does that for me. To me, that injects my understanding of how I would spin one argument to answer another and I don't want to do that.
*Offense/Defense - I'm not sure if I'm getting older or if the quality of evidence is getting worse, but I find myself less persuaded by the idea that there's "always a risk" of any argument. Just because a debater says something does not mean it is true. It is up to the other team to prove that. However, if an argument is claimed to be supported by evidence and the cards do not say what the tags claim or the evidence is terrible, I'm willing to vote on no risk to a negative argument. Evidence needs to have warrants that support tags/claims.
*I prefer tags that are complete sentences. The proliferation of one word tags makes it difficult for me to understand the connection between arguments.
*Evidence should be highlighted to include warrants for claims. I am more likely to vote on a few cards that have high quality warrants and explained well than I am to vote on several cards that have been highlighted down to the point that an argument cannot be discerned in the evidence.
* Teams are getting away with some real scholarly shenanigans on evidence. I've seen cards that run 6-7 pages long and they are highlighted down to a few sentences. I think it is up to the debaters to exploit this, but I'm less and less impressed by the overall scholarship in the activity.
*Arguments require claims and warrants. A claim without warrant is unlikely to be persuasive.
* A note on plan texts: start defending things. I find that most plans are extraordinarily vague and meaningless. They are "resolutional phrase by X." There's no plan text basis for the fiat claims AFF teams are making. All of the sudden, that becomes some wild extrapolation on how the plan is implemented, what a Court decision would look like, that it is done through some random memo, etc. all in an effort to avoid offense. I've just grown a little tired of it. I'm not saying change your plan because of me, you need to do what you need to do to win the round, but the overall acceptance of plans that do not say anything of substance is trend a frown upon.
*Performance/Non-traditional Affirmative -
I can still be persuaded to vote for an AFF that doesn't defend the topic, but it's become much harder for me. I find myself being increasingly on the side of defending the resolution.
My old paradigm read as follows: I would prefer that the debate is connected to the resolution. My ultimate preference would be for the Affirmative to defend a topical plan action that attempts to resolve a problem with the status quo. I think that this provides an opportunity for students to create harms that are tied to traditional internal link chains or critical argumentation. Teams should feel free to read critical advantages, but I would prefer that they access them through a topical plan action. For example, reading an Affirmative that finds a specific example of where structural violence (based on racism, sexism, heteronormativity, classism, etc.) is being perpetuated and seeks to remedy that can easily win my ballot. Debaters could then argue that the way that we make decisions about what should or should not be done should prioritize their impacts over the negative's. This can facilitate kritiks of DA impacts, decision calculus arguments, obligations to reject certain forms of violence, etc.
Teams who choose not to defend a topical plan action should be very clear in explaining what their advocacy is. The negative should be able to isolate a stasis point in the 1AC so that clash can occur in the debate. This advocacy should be germane to the resolution.
I am not wedded traditional forms of evidence. I feel that teams can use non-traditional forms of evidence as warrants explaining why a particular action should be taken. An Affirmative that prefers to use personal narratives, music, etc. to explain a harm occurring in the status quo and then uses that evidence to justify a remedy would be more than welcome. I tend to have a problem with Affirmative's that stop short of answering the question, "what should we do?" How a team plans to access that is entirely up to them.
*Kritik debates - I like kritik debates provided they are relevant to the Affirmative. Kritiks that are divorced from the 1AC have a harder time winning my ballot. While I do not want to box in a negative's kritik options, examples of kritiks that I would feel no qualms voting for might include criticisms of international relations, economics, state action, harms representations, or power relations. I am less persuaded by criticisms that operate on the margins of the Affirmative's advocacy. I would prefer links based off of the Affirmative plan. Kritiks that I find myself voting against most often include Deleuze, Baudrillard, Bataille, etc.
*Theory - Generally theory is a reason to reject the argument not the team. The exception is conditionality. I find myself less persuaded by conditionality bad debates if there are 2 or less advocacies in the round. That is not to say I haven't voted for the AFF in those debates. I am willing to vote on theory if it is well explained and impacted, but that does not happen often, so I end up defaulting negative. Avoid blips and theory blocks read at an incomprehensible rate.
*CP's CP's that result in the plan (consult, recommendations, etc.) bore me. I would much rather hear an agent CP, PIC, Advantage CP, etc. than a CP that competes off of "certainty" or "immediacy."
*Case - I'd like to see more of it. This goes for negative teams debating against nontraditional Affirmatives as well. You should engage the case as much as possible.
*If your strategy is extinction good or death good, genocide good, racism good, patriarchy good, etc. please do all of us as favor and strike me. These arguments strike me as being inappropriate for student environments. For example, imagine a world where a debater's relative recently passed away and that student is confronted with "death good" for 8 minutes of the 1AC. Imagine a family who fled slaughter in another part of the world and came to the United States, only to listen to genocide good. These are things I wouldn't allow in my classroom and I would not permit them in a debate round either. Since I can't actually prevent people from reading them, my only recourse is to use my ballot.
As a debater: 4 years HS debate in Missouri, 4 years NDT-CEDA debate at the University of Georgia
Since then: coached at the University of Southern California (NDT-CEDA), coached at the University of Wyoming (NDT-CEDA), worked full-time at the Chicago UDL, coached at Solorio HS in the Chicago UDL
Now: Math teacher and debate coach at Von Steuben in the Chicago UDL, lab leader at the Michigan Classic Camp over the summer
College Email Chains: firstname.lastname@example.org
HS Email Chains, please use: email@example.com
1. Clarity > speed: Clarity helps everyone. Please slow down for online debate. You should not speak as fast as you did in person. Much like video is transmitted through frames rather than continuous like in real life, sound is transmitted through tiny segments. These segments are not engineered for spreading.
2. Neg positions: I find myself voting more often on the "top part" of any neg position. Explain how the plan causes the DA, how the CP solves the case (and how it works!), and how the K links to the aff and how the world of the alt functions. Similarly, I prefer CPs with solvency advocates (and without a single card they are probably unpredictable). I love when the K or DA turns the case and solves X impact. If you don't explain the link to the case and how you get to the impact, it doesn't matter if you're winning impact calculus.
3. K affs: Despite my tendency to read plans as a debater, if you win the warrants of why it needs to be part of debate/debate topic, then I'll vote on it. As a coach and judge, I read far more critical literature now than I did as a debater. My extensive voting history is on here. Do with that what you will.
4. Warrants: Don't highlight to a point where your card has no warrants. Extend warrants, not just tags. If you keep referring to a specific piece of evidence or say "read this card," I will hold you to what it says, good or bad. Hopefully it makes the claims you tell me it does.
1. Don't be rude in cross-x. If your opponent is not answering your questions well in cross-x either they are trying to be obnoxious or you are not asking good questions. Too often, it's the latter.
2. Questions about what your opponent read belong in cross-x or prep time. You should be flowing.
3. While we are waiting for speech docs to appear in our inboxes, I will often fill this time with random conversation for 3 reasons:
i. To prevent prep stealing,
ii. To get a baseline of everyone's speaking voice to appropriately assign speaker points and to appropriately yell "clear" (if you have a speech impediment, accent, or other reason for a lack of clarity to my ears, understanding your baseline helps me give fair speaker points),
iii. To make debate rounds less hostile.
High School LD Specific:
Values: I competed in a very traditional form of LD in high school (as well as nearly every speech and debate event that existed back then). I view values and value criterions similarly to framing arguments in policy debate. If you win how I should evaluate the debate and that you do the best job of winning under that interpretation, then I'll happily vote for you.
Ballot Writing: LD speeches are short, but doing a little bit of "ballot writing" (what you want me to say in my reason for decision) would go a long way.
Public Forum Specific:
I strongly believe that Public Forum should be a public forum. This is not the format for spreading or policy debate jargon. My policy background as a judge does not negate the purpose of public forum.
Contact Info- firstname.lastname@example.org
Glenbrook North, 18-23
Blue Valley Southwest, 10-18
–I did not work a camp this summer and thus have little familiarity with topic specific terminology, mechanisms, or the basic t arguments. Please take that into account.
-I spent the past 2-3 years working with students in congressional debate and novice policy.
-Don't assume I know as much as you do about how the economy works.
–Slow down, care about clarity, and have speech docs in a usable format that both teams can use. Manage your own prep and start the debate on time.
–I do my best to not interfere with your argument choice. I just don’t know anything about non-policy arguments. I err neg on the importance of being topical.
–I am not qualified to judge a debate based on things taking place outside of the round.
–On a scale of evidence versus in round performance, I slightly learn towards the performance.