Adam Testerman -- Texas Tech University
My background as a competitor involved a couple years reading primarily policy strategies and a couple years reading primarily old-white-man criticisms (Baudrillard, Marx, Lacan, etc). As a coach, my teams have dipped their toes into nearly every kind of argument. I love it all, when it is done well. I can hate it all, when it ain't.
I feel comfortable judging any Ã¢??genreÃ¢?Â of argument and have no real argument preference beyond the desire to see clash.
I coached for three years at Lewis & Clark College; this is my fourth year as Director of Forensics at TTU.
Parliamentary debate is the most fun and the most educational when a variety of argumentative styles, people, knowledge bases, and strategies are given room to thrive. I feel lucky to have judged a vast array of different arguments in my judging career. One of my main goals as a judge is to allow teams to run the arguments they feel are most compelling in front of me. IÃ¢??ve picked up teams reading structural indictments of debate about as many times as IÃ¢??ve picked up teams reading policy affirmatives and defending incrementalism.
It is my goal to involve myself in the debate round as little as possible. I have no preference for any particular kind of argument and generally feel that almost every debate issue can be resolved in the round. I will vote for arguments with warrants. I will try my best to synthesize your arguments, but I also believe that to be a central skill of effective debaters.
Parli debates should be slower than policy debates. Your theoretical top speed is too fast for parli, in my opinion (we don't flash documents, and we don't have enough predictable CX time to clarify key issues). I don't think I've been unable to keep up with even the fastest parli debaters the past several years, however, when in doubt... slow down just a bit.
I will vote for arguments I think are stupid 10 out of 10 times if they are won in the round.
I rely on my flow to decide the round. I attempt to flow performances and I do my best to write down what youÃ¢??re saying as close to verbatim as my fingers allow me. If there is an expectation that I not decide the round based on the way I understand argument interaction on my flow, that should be stated explicitly and it would be a good idea to tell me how I am intended to evaluate the debate round.
Emphasize explanation earlyÃ¢?Â¦ donÃ¢??t let your argument make sense for the first time in the LOR or PMR etc.
All constructive speeches should take a question if asked, and itÃ¢??s strategic to ask questions (unless there is flex, then I'm agnostic on this question).
Theory interpretations and advocacy statements should be read slowly and read twice.
Points of Order should be called, but I will also do my best to protect new argumentsÃ¢?Â¦ donÃ¢??t be excessive with them though [IÃ¢??ll be vague about what that means, but be an adult]
RVIÃ¢??s have never been good arguments, read them at your own risk.
I cut my teeth on procedural arguments in college, and I am still a huge fan. To vote on a procedural, I need an interpretation explaining how the debate should be evaluated, a violation detailing specifically why the other team does not fit within that interpretation, standards that explain why the interpretation is good, and a voter that outlines why I should vote on the argument. PLEASE read your interpretation/definition slowly and probably repeat it. It is good to have an interpretation that makes some sense.
DAs and Advs. require uniqueness arguments that explain why the situation the affirmative causes is not happening in the status quo. Defensive arguments are useful, but they often serve to make offensive arguments more impactful or serve as risk mitigation, as opposed to terminal takeouts.
I ran politics in a majority of my negative rounds and I coach my teams to read the position as well. So, I will totally vote on politics every time it is won. That being said, IÃ¢??m finding the position to be one my least favorite and least compelling these days. The obscene nature of congress make the position even more laughable than it was in the past [and itÃ¢??s always been sketchy at best, without cards (and with?)]. Read the DA if youÃ¢??re a politics team, but there are almost always better arguments out there.
Critique debates can be fun to watch, but only when the position is clear at the thesis level. If your shell argues that the K is a prior question or something like that, spend some meaningful time explaining why thatÃ¢??s the case instead of Ã¢??shadowÃ¢?Â extending an argument from the shell. I am familiar with a lot of the literature, but you should argue the position as if I am not. Critiques are totally dope, but only because they have the potential to advance compelling argumentsÃ¢?Â¦ not because they are obtuse.
Framework debates (on the top of critique... i.e.: epistemology comes first) are a waste of time a vast majority of the time. I do not understand why teams spend any substantive amount of time on framework. The question of whether the affirmative methodology/epistemology/whatever vague term you want to use, is good or bad should be determined in the links and impacts of the criticism. I see almost no world where framework matters independent of the rest of the shell. SoÃ¢?Â¦ the only K framework questions that tend to make sense to me are arguments about why it is a prior question. It makes sense that if the critique wins that the affirmative impacts are threat constructions that IÃ¢??m not going to weigh the affirmative impacts against the position. ThatÃ¢??s not a framework debate though, thatÃ¢??s a question determined by winning the thesis of the position.
Critical affirmatives can be cool, but they also put me in a weird position as a judge sometimes. If your affirmative is positioned to critique DAs, then I still want to see specific applications of those arguments to the DAs. I need to see how the DA demonstrates your argument to be true in some specific way. By that I mean, if the negative outright wins a DA, I would need to see why that would mean the affirmative shouldnÃ¢??t lose early, often, and specifically. The same is true of any set/genre of negative positions.
Performance/Non-Topical Affirmatives/Alternative Approaches to Debate
I tend to not have super strong feelings in favor or in opposition to Ã¢??performanceÃ¢?Â style arguments. Several of the teams I have coached have run non-traditional arguments and I have seen those be incredibly beneficial for the debaters and have a positive effect on education garnered from their rounds. I have also seen people really struggle with performance-style arguments on an interpersonal level, in both advocating their positions and responding to others doing so. I defer to the debaters to wade through the various issues related to alternative approaches to debate.
I will vote for framework as answer to these arguments if the other team Ã¢??winsÃ¢?Â the position. However, I also think most non-topical affirmatives are written with 5 minutes of impact turns to framework. Affirmatives must explicitly extend those kinds of arguments to answer framework (don't assume I understand how that's happening just by you extending the affirmative) and teams going for framework should not assume the "a priori" nature of theory means I reject the aff out-of-hand.
I tend to think arguments about the collapse of debate due to alternative approaches to debate, are frequently poorly warranted. Which doesn't mean those warrants don't exist... I just need them to be made explicitly. Debate can look like many things, and still be interesting/educational/productive, in my mind. However, I also believe compelling arguments about "topical versions of the affirmative" can be very compelling. If there is a way to read your criticism as a nuanced way to affirm the resolution, you've probably landed close to my ideal version of critically framed affirmatives. Affirmatives seeking to indict structural conditions of debate can also be very compelling, too. I hope to put my personal desires for a particular model/instantiation of debate to the side in any particular round I'm judging.
In general, the CP/DA debate is probably what I feel most comfortable judging accurately and I think CPs that solve the affirmative are very strategic. There are probably enough arguments on both sides to justify different interpretations of how permutation or CP theory in general should go down, that I donÃ¢??t have strong opinions about many CP related issues.
I tend to think objections to conditionality are rooted in some very valid arguments, however I find myself concluding conditionality is probably more good than bad in my mind. That only means the conditionality debate is totally fair game and I probably have voted conditionality bad as many times as I have voted it is good.
Cheater CPs are cool with me, so feel free to deploy delay, conditions, consult, whatever. I tend to think the theory arguments read in answer to those positions are more persuasive than the answers when argued perfectly, but that in no way makes me more predisposed to reject any kind of CP strategy.
Alyson Escalante -- Concordia University Irvine
Amanda Ozaki-Laughon -- Concordia University Irvine
Andrea Brown -- Saint Mary's College
This philosophy is for NRR 2020. I will go back to my other philosophy for other tournaments. Unless something goes really wrong (check out the speed section and the will vote you down for section), I will keep all speaker points in the 28-30 range and norm it at 29. I rewrote my whole philosophy so there's no tldr right now.
I'll vote on whatever but I think there's a lot of sucky Ks out there. I tired of any cap K that thinks raising/changing consciousness is enough.Ã?Â I'm not here for Lacan or Lacan derived arguments (looking at you Edelman and Wilderson) unless your alt/advocacy pulls from outside that lit. Also, I think Hegel is terrible. If your ableism K doesn't address race, it's not very good. If you run nihilism or pessimism in front of me, I might vote for you but I'm going to hate it. Same with wipe-out.
People or theory that I'm a little familiar with and like: Eve Tuck, Tiffany Lethabo King, Spinoza, Gilles Deleuze (although I'm finding Jodi Byrd's argument persuasive, so maybe not focus on the rhizomatic/lines of flights parts but there's still a lot of cool Deleuze left.) Christina Sharpe, some of Sylvia Winters, some community-written disability theory (spoon theory is a good example of this). Ã?Â There's more but that's probably enough for you to get sense of the direction I go in. Note: just because I say I know and like them doesn't mean I know your relationship to the above folks so don't take shortcuts and assume I'll understand or follow.
There's a lot of really good K arguments out there that I'm less familiar but would love to learn more about so run whatever you want. Even if it's not my cup of tea, I'll vote for it.
I'm cool with straight up but please frame it within antiblackness and/or colonization and/or capitalism or some other structuring event. Tell me the story of how investor confidence is connected to legacies/continuations of extracting resources or pushing out labor or whatever. If you're going to run it, own what you're advocating for and move on. If you're if ideologically opposed to the structure/event framing, that's cool, I've got issues with it too, just frame your arguments within the context of a larger history. If you don't, I won't vote you down necessarily, but you'll be at the low end of my speaker point range (28/28.1).
Speed and decision making:
I'm fine with speed and speed Ks. I will tank your speaks below the 28 threshold if you don't slow down for a team that calls slow. In the MO/LOR/PMR you need go at least one step slower than your top speed and pick the arguments that matter. Stop extending everything. I start my round analysis with the team that has the conceptually clearer rebuttal, see if I think they've won the arguments they claim they have, and then go through the other team's rebuttal. If you don't funnel your arguments through the role of the ballot, I might do that for you, and I've voted teams down for losing under their own role of the ballot.
I don't need proven abuse to vote on theory but in a close framework debate, I tend to lean towards justice over fairness. I'm usually a flow judge (offense over defense warrants over none) but if that's a bad way of evaluating your arguments, I'm happy to switch to something else just walk me through what you want me to do. I will keep flowing because if I don't, I will forget your arguments/performance/whatever. I've never voted for presumption and if you go for presumption, you're probably already losing. If you tell me to gut check my arguments, I will and my gut will tell me I'm hungry. If you tell me to use my intuition, I will but I will not confine my intuition to one argument so be prepared for those consequences. I fundamentally don't believe contradictions are a thing for the K perm so if you're neg, you need DA(s) to the perm not reasons why it won't work. I'm working on protecting in the rebuttals but only for very big things, if you think it's small but key, call the point of order. Frankly, I would prefer if you didn't trust me and just called it. At the end of a debate day, I am usually exhausted so my capacity to put my decision into words goes way down. If that's you, I'm sorry and you can catch me later and ask me to explain better if you want.
Will vote you down over:
I saw something in Lila Lavender's philosophy and really liked it so I'm adding a version of it. I reserve the right to vote you down for being overtly oppressive. This means if you say racist, misogynistic, homophobic, transphobic, ableist, Islamophobic, etc stuff, I reserve the right to vote you down. If you do any of those things directly to your competition, I definitely reserve the right to vote you down. However, there's a chance if a competitor does this in a way that outsiders might not realize is violent, nonverbally, or during crosstalk, I won't catch/process it happening during the round so if this is happening in-round, I prefer you pointing that out.
Benjamin Lange -- Concordia University Irvine
TL;DR: Do what you want, but I have a high threshold for theoretical defenses in favor of rejecting the topic (although I'm very in favor of creative ways to endorse the topic), and I tend to hold proximal impact framing/proximal solvency mechanisms to a pretty high standard as well.
While I'm open to arguments about debate being a "training ground" for personal advocacy and political change, I view debate itself as a game. This means that I view arguments very impersonally, and I care more for the strategic aspect of the game than the emotional or truth-based appeals. Those things are obviously still important, but that just means I will very likely vote for arguments that are "winning" even if I don't necessarily like them (just because of how I understand the utility of debate). For impact weighing, I probably default to magnitude>probability>timeframe unless told otherwise, so do in-depth impact comparison that includes weighing of the different metrics. I tend to hold proximal impact framing and solvency mechanisms to a pretty high standard, and while I'm down to vote on proximity you should just keep in mind that I think of all of these arguments as pieces to a game, so I'm not more persuaded by proximal impacts than magnitude-based impacts absent a clear reason.
I'm fine if you want to reject the topic on the Aff, but I'll be very sympathetic to the Neg's theoretical objection to that. You can win the theory debate, but I'll have a pretty high threshold for your theory answers so just be aware of that. Impact turning theory out of the aff is fine as well, but I've found that if the Neg team wins that you shouldn't get to leverage the Aff against theory if truth-testing the aff is impossible, I'll usually evaluate the theory prior to the PMCs reasons that fairness and education are bad or impossible to access. I'm pretty indifferent about conditionality also, but will vote on theory saying it shouldn't be allowed if you win that sheet.
Also on theory, this has only mattered a couple of times, but if I'm not given a paradigm by either team I have a tendency to default to reasonability instead of competing interpretations. This is largely because (absent being told otherwise/as a default) I tend to evaluate theory as a check against abuse (i.e., should I penalize a team for doing something unfair), rather than evaluating it as the endorsement of the "ideal model" of debate, which tends to make a difference regarding how I evaluate the impact framing on the theory, but this has only ever mattered when neither team makes any of the arguments that would give me a cohesive story on theory and I'm left pretty much evaluating a non-functional/unclear interp with no voters.
I love policy debate, but I was also super into reading Ks and I dig janky stuff from obscure philosophical sources. In my opinion, I'm able to understand and follow pretty much whatever you want to throw at your opponent. On the flip-side though, that also means that you probably won't get very far with super ambiguous solvency. You need to have some kind of solvency that is (at the very least) a clearly explained mechanism that is preferably drawn from the literature that the K is based on. As a Neg, I think your best bet is to read a diverse strategy, but if you have a baller K that you want to go all in on then go for it.
If you have any other questions, feel free to ask me in person! Good luck :)
Casandra Malcolm -- Mercer University
Chris Miles -- Saint Mary's CollegeÃ???Ã??Ã?Â Ã???Ã??Ã?Â Mid-season change for NPDA/NPTE I am really annoyed by the amount of theory arguments that I have been judging. I will be massively increasing my threshold on these arguments and will generally default to reasonability for most arguments besides topicality. I will also probably cap your speaker points at like 27.
David Worth -- Rice University
David Worth – Rice
D.O.F., Rice University
Parli Judging Philosophy
Note: If you read nothing else in this, read the last paragraph.
I’ll judge based on given criteria/framework. I can think in more than one way. This means that the mechanisms for deciding the round are up for debate as far as I’m concerned. My decision is based mostly on how the debaters argue I should decide the round but I will intervene if the round demands it. There are many cases where this might be necessary: If asked to use my ballot politically for example, or if both sides fail to give me a clear mechanism for voting, or if I know something to factually incorrect (if someone is lying). In these cases, I try to stay out of the decision as much as I can but I don’t believe in the idea that any living person is really a blank slate or a sort of argument calculator.
I prefer debates that are related to the topic.
I will not vote for an argument that I don’t understand. If I can’t figure it out from what you’ve said in the round, I can’t vote on it.
I will admit that I am tired of debates that are mostly logic puzzles. I am tired of moving symbols around on paper. Alts and plan texts that are empty phrases don’t do it for me anymore. The novelty of postmodern critique that verges on--or actually takes the leap into--nihilism has worn off. I don’t think there’s much value anymore in affirming what we all know: That things can be deconstructed and that they contain contradictory concepts. It is time for us to move beyond this recognition into something else. Debate can be a game with meaning.
Warrants: I will not vote for assertions that don’t at least have some warrant behind them. You can’t say “algae blooms,” and assume I will fill in the internals and the subsequent impacts for you. You don’t get to just say that some counter-intuitive thing will happen. You need a reason that that lovely regionally based sustainable market will just magically appear after the conveniently bloodless collapse of capitalism. I’m not saying I won’t vote for that. I’m just saying you have to make an argument for why it would happen. NOTE: I need a good warrant for an "Independent Voting Issue" that isn't an implication of a longer argument, procedural, or somehow otherwise developed. Just throwing something in as a “voter” will not get the ballot. I reserve the right to gut-check these. If there is not warrant or if the warrant makes no sense to me, I won't vote on it.
Defense can win, too. That doesn’t mean that a weaker offensive argument with risk can’t outweigh defense, it simply means that just saying, “oh that’s just defense,” won’t make the argument go away for me. Debate is not football. There’s no presumption in the NFL, so that analogy is wrong.
You need to deal with all the line-by-line stuff but should not fail to frame things (do the big picture work) for me as well. It’s pretty rare that I vote on one response but it’s equally rare that I will vote on the most general level of the ideas. In a bind, I will vote for what’s easier to believe and/or more intuitive.
Speed is fine as long as you are clear. There are days when I need you to slow down a tad. I have battled carpal/cubital tunnel off and on for a few years and sometimes my hand just does not work quite as well. I’ll tell you if you need to clear up and/or slow down, but not more than a couple of times. After that, it’s on you.
Please slow down for the alt texts, plans, advocacies, etc., and give me a copy too. If I don’t have it, I can’t vote for it.
Strong Viewpoints: I haven’t yet found "the" issue that I can’t try to see all sides of.
Points of Order: Call them—but judiciously. I’ll probably know whether the argument is new and not calling them does not change their status as new. Also, if you’re clearly winning bigtime don’t call a ridiculous number of them. Just let the other team get out of the round with some dignity. If you don’t, your speaker points will suffer. It’ll be obvious when I think you are calling too many.
If the round is obviously lopsided and you are obliterating the other team then be nice. I will lower your speaker points if you aren’t respectful or if you simply pile it on for the heck of it. If it’s egregious enough, you might even lose the debate.
You don’t need to repeat yourself just to fill time. If you’re finished, then sit down and get us all to lunch, the end of the day, or the next round early.
Theory: I’m not going to weigh in on the great theoretical controversies of the day. Those are up to you to demonstrate in the round. T can be more than one thing depending on the round. I’m not going to tell you what to do. Debate is always in flux. Actually, I’ve learned or at least been encouraged to think differently about theory issues from debaters in rounds far more often than from anyone else. If I had pontificated about The Truth As I Knew It before those rounds, the debaters would have simply argued what I said I liked and I wouldn’t have learned, so it’s in my interest as well as yours for me not to hand you a sushi menu with the items I’d like to see checked off. PICS, Framework, Competing Interp, in-round abuse, etc. are all interpretable in the debate. I will say that I probably most naturally think in terms of competing interpretations, but, again, I can think in more than one way.
My “Debate Background:” I did CEDA/NDT in college. I coached policy for years, and also coached parli from the days of metaphor all the way into the NPTE/NPDA modern era. I have also coached NFA-LD.
Finally, I ask that you consider that everyone in the room has sacrificed something to be there. A lot of resources, time, and effort went in to bringing us all there. Be sure to show some respect for that. I am serious about this and it has come to occupy a significant portion of my thinking about debate these days. In fact, I think it’s time for the in-round bullying to stop. I see too many rounds where one team’s strategy is simply to intimidate the other team. I find it strange that an activity that talks so much about the violence of language often does so in such a needlessly aggressive and violent manner. In some rounds every interaction is barbed. Flex/CX is often just needlessly aggressive and sometimes even useless (when, for example, someone simply refuses to answer questions or just keeps purposely avoiding the question when it’s obvious that they understand the question, opting instead for aggression sometimes verging on ad hominem). I see too many other rounds where everyone is just awful to each other, including the judges afterward. You can be intense and competitive without this. We are now a smaller circuit. It’s strange that we would choose to spend so much time together yet be so horrible to each other.
Fiker Tesfaye -- Texas Tech University
Please, I beg, read the things I write here.
I'm Fiker (pronounced like snicker). She/her/hers. I debated a bit in high school which is mostly unimportant, and then did four years (2015-2019) at Texas Tech University. I (and my partner) won the NRR and I won all 3 national top speaker awards in 2019. Now I judge and coach for TTU. So it goes.
I generally think debate is a game, but a useful and important one. It may not be "fiat" but it does influence the real world by how we exist inside of it. Let's not forget we're human beings. Read what you want, I certainly did. Speed isn't usually an issue but if we're blazing, let me know so I can use paper and not my laptop.
Things to keep in mind: I like to do as little work as possible when it comes to making decisions on the flow. Impact calculus is essential. however many warrants you have, double it. Don't be terrible. Don't be bigots. Condo is good, but don't test the limits. I don't really get presumption. Thought experiments aren't real. Jokes are fun. 9/10 the MG theory is not worth it.
Affs: Read them. K affs are fine (I'm a big fan) just make sure the things you say make sense and do something. Read case against them. Be clear.
DA/CP: Also read these. They need to be complete and fleshed out. Warrants are your best friend. CPs should come with written texts, imo. I would say I have a slightly higher than average threshold for CP theory.
Theory: I like this and my threshold is pretty equal if run well, but I needneedneed good structure. Interpretations are key, please slow down and repeat them. Now, I don't need several sheets of theory, MG theory, overly high-level theory, and certainly not MO and later theory. Keep it at home. Have voters. Defend them.
Ks: I love them, but I don't vote on nothing. Framework needs to be strong or it needs to not bog down the real parts of the argument. Links need to link..... please......Alt needs to make sense, repeat them twice for me, and if they're long, I'd like to be told in flex or given a copy. Even if I know your literature, I am not debating. Please do that work for me in round. Identity arguments are fine, do as you please just don't be offensive or overly satirical about real violence.
Have a debate. Live your life. Yee, and dare I say it, haw.
Its Black History Month. Adjust preferences accordingly.
Grant Tovmasian -- Rio Hondo Community College
The most important criteria for me is fairness. I will avoid interceding on any one's behalf up to a point. Please remember that although I approach the round as impartial as I can, that does not negate the truth, I still am aware which country I live in and who is the president and killing puppies is wrong (also kicking them, and just violence in general, I frown upon)
I expect all debaters to remain cordial and professional throughout the round. The decorum is important so as not to isolate or offend any student. Debate albeit adversarial in nature should be based on arguments and not a personal attack and as such, each student should perceive this as a safe place to express ideas and arguments. I prefer good on case argumentation over near useless procedural that are simply run in order to avoid on case thorough analysis. As such I am a believer that presentation and sound argumentation is critical towards establishing one's position. DA vs Advantages. CP vs Plan are all sound strategies and I hope students will use them.Ã? Ã? If you are running a CP please make sure to explain its status, especially if you are to claim dispositional (EXPLAIN) If permutation can happen in the real world it can happen in a debate round. Please call Points of Order and 95% of the time I will respond with (point well taken, point not well taken) That aside, I am open to any line of argumentation as long as it is complete. Example: I will not do your work for you, no link no argument, no impact no argument, no warrant NO ARGUMENT PERIOD.
I firmly believe that speed kills, as such the first team that uses it as an offensive or defensive tactic will get a loss in that round. Critics, i.e. K are to be run only when one or the other side believes that it is more important than whatever else is happening and is directly connected to either the actions of the other team or resolution in it of itself. As such, they should be willing to commit to it wholeheartedly and most important at the top of everything. For example, if you truly believe that the other team is promoting cultural genocide, seriously do not speak to me about agricultural benefits or disadvantages of the plan first, because then I think you cheapen both the critique and your whole line of argumentation.
I want to hear fun, constructive and polite debates.
Jaz Buckley -- Mercer Universityn/a
Jonathan Veal -- Point Loma Nazarene University
I have been coaching college parli since 2016 and competed in the activity previously.
Case debate/Policy: I really enjoy case debate. I am particularly persuaded by positions that interact with the uniqueness of the topic. DAâ??s that are bottom heavy or generic can work but are vulnerable to MG non-unique and link arguments.
Theory: I default to competing interpretations. I tend to hold MG theory to a relatively high threshold due to lack of backside rebuttals, but see it as a check against particularly abusive neg strategies. I will go either way on condo depending on the argumentation in the round, but I tend to vote aff on delay/consult theory and when the neg reads multiple advocacies.
Critical Debate: Love it. Aff Kâ??s need to either interact with the topic or present strong reasons for not doing so. I really like to see topic oriented-debate if possible. Accessibility is key, so I will not fill in the blanks on K authors even if I am familiar with them. Explain your Thesis/Solvency in a way that can be understood by the other team. Links of omission/generic links tend to be iffy for me. Show clear links.
Speed: I will listen to speed procedurals if the other team does not respond to clears and the team reading the position is clearly losing access to participating in the round. Speed is both strategic and lacks a bright line, but that is not an excuse to push people out of debate.
Feel free to ask me any questions before the round.
Some side notes
- Be cool to your opponents. Seriously, I consider this important enough to influence my decision in extreme instances.
- Provide a plan/CP/interp/perm text if asked. Perms with clear texts are preferred.
- Read trigger warnings if you are in doubt.
Joseph Evans -- El Camino CollegeAbout me:I have been involved in forensics for over 13 years including 7 years of coaching. I have debated in High School, College and I am now currently a full-time professor and Director of Debate at El Camino College. I view debate as a game of argument and impact prioritization. Thus, I believe that any method of debate is viable when used as a strategic ploy to win. I will try to list my views on the major themes within debate. Please feel free to ask me for clarification before the round!.
Framework/Role of the Ballot: I will evaluate and weigh the round through any framework that the Aff or Neg presents to me. I have no predisposition towards one specific FW because all frameworks can either be strategic or not depending on how it’s debated. In terms of evaluating competing FWs, I will only make my decision on how each are warranted and impacted out in round and will never insert my own beliefs. In terms of the ROB, I will weigh the ROB through the FW presented and if it’s not contested, this will frame how I evaluate the rest of the round. If no one tells me how to frame the round, I tend to fall back to evaluating the round through the lens of utilitarianism (net benefits). When impacting out why you win a policy debate, please frame your impacts through lenses like timeframe, magnitude, probability, reversibility.
TLDR: Framework is important! You win the framework if you provide me clear warranted arguments for your position, and impact out why your framework is best.
Theory: I will evaluate theoretical positions the same as others. The interpretation will frame how I evaluate the position. You must have a clear description of how the debate round should have been constructed. Additionally, I will evaluate the interp/counter-interp debate based on the standards/impacts presented. I don’t have any preference in regards reasonability vs. competing interps you must justify why I should frame theory through either. If a teams decides to kick out of the position, I usually don't hold it against them (unless there is conceded offense).
Counter Plans/Alts/Perms: I view counterplans or alternatives as a test of competition against the affirmative’s advocacy. I believe that counterplans/alts can compete based on impact prioritization, functional competition, or (sigh) textual competitiveness. I have no predisposition towards one type of competition. Teams must justify why I should vote on the competitiveness or lack of in the CP or Alt debate. In terms of the perm debate, perms also tests of the competitiveness of the counter advocacy. In order to win the perm debate you need to justify and impact out why it outweighs the CP or alt. I am also open to theoretical reasons why the CP/ALT or Perm should be rejected in the round.
Speed: Go as fast as you want but please be clear! I have judged NPTE/NPDA finals and/or semi-finals the last 3 of 4 years so I will be able to keep up. However, if you are unclear, I will give you non-verbals or yell “clear”. My priority is getting everything you say on my flow so sacrificing clarity for speed is not advisable. Additionally, I have voted on speed arguments a few times when teams use speed as a bullying or ableist technique. So be conscious of how you use speed within the round. If you can beat a team without going fast, it’s a win-win for both teams. You get the W and the other team has an educational/ teaching moment.
Kritical Arguments: I believe that any augment that is present is a viable way to win. Kritical arguments fall into that category. I am well versed in most critical arguments, but I am not by any means an expert on critical theory. Therefore, if you are running something new or obscure, don’t assume I understand the literature. Regardless of the K, I will listen how your frame, impact and weight the FW and Alt/Alt solvency. Additionally,
Joseph Laughon -- Concordia University Irvine
Judith Teruya -- Concordia University Irvine
Julia Taylor -- Concordia University Irvine
I have no formal background in debate, but I have a basic understanding of contemporary parliamentary norms as well as how to assess a round under a standard net benefits framework.
I ask that you slow your overall speed for me so that I can keep up. You donâ??t need to go at a conversational speed, but you should probably not go anywhere near your top speed.
My background is largely in critical theory and I would probably feel best assessing rounds that are centered around critical discussions, although if your authors are particularly obscure, I would appreciate an explanation of their central thesis at some point in your shell.
Due to a lack of formal debate background, I am somewhat behind in my comprehension of theory debate. If you go for theory, donâ??t assume that I understand what your standards mean just based on a tag line, explain how your standard actually works as an internal link to your impacts.
Maya Szafraniec -- Saint Mary's College
I debated for 8 years. In college, I debated parli for Saint Mary's, my partner and I dropped in octos of NPDA last year. My partner and I mostly read critical arguments. So I'm cool with Ks, and a well-written K will make me happy. Make sure you can explain how you link and how your alt solves. I also know my way around a straight up debate, so read whatever draws you. Make sure your Aff is inherent, and have a clear, consistent story through uniqueness, links, and impact. I'm also down to hear your CP/DA and think condo is probably good. I would be equally happy to vote on a theory or framework argument as long as you tell me how it wins the debate. I can handle speed, just slow down for your alt/plan and interps and don't use it to exclude people, that will make me fussy.
Overall: Read offence. Use more warrants. Do impact calc, the more work you do for me explaining how you win the better your chances are of winning. Be nice to each other.
Following the guidance of Lila Lavendar and Andrea Brown, I also reserve the right to vote teams down for being overtly oppressive (saying something racist, misogynist, homophobic, transphobic, ablist, Islamophobic, etc.), generally or directed to competitors.
Following the guidance of Chris Miles, bring me a Chai and you get block 30s
Patricia Hughes -- Rio Hondo Community College
When weighing a round, I look first at stock issues, then weigh the clash on the advantage vs disadvantage, using the judging criteria. I like clear analysis of the functionality of each position (plan/counter plan/advantage/disadvantage). Simply put, explain how your warrants lead to your impacts on the advantage/disadvantage. Also explain how your impacts happen, and what your impacts mean. Terminalize, but only use nuclear war or mass extinction if it is actually warranted. On plan/counter plan, explain each plank, how the plan functions (works), and how it is going to solve the issue at hand. Fiat is not clear analysis. Counter plans should have a clear explanation of mutual exclusivity. Permutations should have a new plan text with both plan and counter plan, with an explanation of how they work together. I also have a soft spot for clearly articulated significance arguments. Also, make sure to call out points of order.
Ã?Â Ã?Â Ã?Â Ã?Â Ã?Â Ã?Â Ã?Â Ã?Â Ã?Â Ã?Â Ã?Â When it comes to theory arguments, use them sparingly. Procedurals are useful tools when stock issues are not met by Aff. Call topicalities and trichotomies when the Aff is not upholding their prima facia burdens. Do not run procedurals as a time skew tactic, or as an argument used in every round. I take the rules of debate seriously. Abusing these arguments will not end well for you. When running a procedural, I am looking for clear articulation of the violation, standards, and impacted voters; as well as counter definitions. I do consider RVI arguments; however, they should include counter standards and voters.
I am not a fan of KÃ¢??s; however, this is your round. If you choose to run a K, make sure you are able to clearly explain the theory, the roll of the ballot/alt, and clearly define what ground the other team has within the round. If I find the K to be exclusionary of the other team, I will vote against it. There should also be a clear link to the K and the resolution. Also, make sure not to bite into your own K. I judge KÃ¢??s harshly due to their nature of calling precedence in a round. For KÃ¢??s that are completely off topic from the resolution, I will highly consider arguments of disclosure; however, you do still need to interact with the K to the best of your ability.Ã?Â
Ã?Â Ã?Â Ã?Â Ã?Â Ã?Â Ã?Â Ã?Â Ã?Â Ã?Â Ã?Â Ã?Â I have a moderate tolerance for speed; however, I am not a fan of it. I like clear and articulate arguments. I believe speed is a useless tool that is irrelevant to everyday life. Again, this is your round. Before the round begins, I will ask if both teams agree to spread. If there is not an agreement, I will drop the first team to spread. If there is an agreement, be forewarned, if I put my pen down, I can no longer understand your arguments. I pay close attention to calls of slow/clear/speed. If any of the above are called, and the teams it is called against does not slow or improve articulation, they will be dropped. Ã?Â
While I understand the beast of competition, there is no need to be rude. I will vote down a team if they are exceptionally rude or condescending. There is no need to belittle the other team; it does not prove your intelligence. Bullying is unacceptable and poor sportsmanlike.Ã?Â
Tom Kadie -- Parliamentary Debate at Berkeleyn/a
Trevor Greenan -- Parliamentary Debate at Berkeley
I came from a high school parli background, but most of my relevant experience is from the last 3 years with the Parli at Berkeley NPDA team. I competed on-and-off for 3 years, and now exclusively coach/run the program. As a debater I was probably most comfortable with the kritikal debate, but Iâ??ve had a good amount of exposure to most everything in my time coaching the team. A lot of my understanding of debate has come from working with the Cal Parli team, so I tend to err more flow-centric in my round evaluations; that being said, I really appreciate innovative/novel arguments, and did a good amount of performance-based debating as a competitor. Iâ??m generally open to just about any argument, as long as thereâ??s good clash.
I try to keep my evaluation of the round as flow-centric as possible. This means that Iâ??ll try to limit my involvement in the round as much as possible, and Iâ??ll pick up the worse argument if itâ??s won on the flow. That being said, I recognize that thereâ??s a certain degree of intervention thatâ??s inevitable in at least some portion of rounds, and in those cases my aim is to be able to find the least interventionist justification within the round for my decision. For me, this means prioritizing (roughly in this order): conceded arguments, arguments with warranted/substantive analysis, arguments with in-round weighing/framing, arguments with implicit clash/framing, and, worst case, the arguments I can better understand the interactions of.
In-round framing and explanation of arguments are pretty important for me. While I will vote for blippier/less developed arguments if theyâ??re won, I definitely have a higher threshold for winning arguments if I feel that they werenâ??t sufficiently understandable in first reading, and will be more open to new-ish responses in rebuttals as necessary. Also worth noting, I tend to have a lower threshold for accepting framing arguments in the PMR.
The LORâ??s a tricky speech. For complicated rounds, I enjoy it as a way to break down the layers of the debate and explain any win conditions for the negative. I donâ??t need arguments to be made in the LOR to vote on them, however, so I generally think preemption of the PMR is a safer bet. I prefer to not flow it on one sheet, but if you strongly prefer that format Iâ??d rather have you do that than throw off your speech for the sake of adapting.
I have no preferences on conditionality. Perfectly fine with however many conditional advocacies, but also more than happy to vote on condo bad if itâ??s read well.
Please read advocacy/interp texts slowly/twice. Written texts are always nice.
I will do my best to protect against new arguments in the rebuttals, but itâ??s always better to call the POO just to be safe.
Iâ??m open to alternate/less-flow-centric methods of evaluating the round, but I have a very hard time understanding what these alternate methods can be. So, please just try to be as clear as possible if you ask me to evaluate the round in some distinct way.
- I evaluate shadow-extensions as new arguments. What this means for me is that any arguments that a team wants to win on/leverage in either the PMR or LOR must be extended in the MG/MO to be considered. I'll grant offense to and vote on positions that are blanket extended ("extend the impacts, the advantage is conceded", etc.), but if you want to cross-apply or otherwise leverage a specific argument against other arguments in the round, I do need an explicit extension of that argument.
I think the framework debate is often one of the most undeveloped parts of the K debate, and love seeing interesting/well-developed/tricksy frameworks. That being said, absent substantial argumentation either way, Iâ??ll usually defer to each side being able to leverage their advocacy/offence against the other.
I have a pretty high threshold for voting on presumption. I find it difficult to buy that either side has actually won terminal defense, absent a good amount of work in the round. That being said, I default to presumption flowing negative.
Prior question arguments in framework are fine/good, just make sure that thereâ??s sufficient explanation of these arguments and application to the rest of the round. Iâ??m not very likely to vote on a dropped prior question/independent voter argument if there isnâ??t interaction done with the rest of the arguments in the round.
I generally feel very comfortable evaluating the theory debate, and am more than happy to vote on procedurals/topicality/framework/etc. Iâ??m perfectly fine with frivolous theory. Please just make sure to provide a clear/stable interp text.
I default to competing interpretations and drop the team on theory, absent other arguments. Competing interpretations for me means that I evaluate the theory layer through a risk of offense model, and I will evaluate potential abuse. I donâ??t think this necessarily means the other team needs to provide a counter-interpretation, although I think it definitely makes adjudication easier to provide one.
I have a hard time evaluating reasonability without a brightline. I donâ??t know how I should interpret what makes an argument reasonable or not absent a specific explanation of what that should mean without being interventionist, and so absent a brightline Iâ??ll usually just end up evaluating through competing interpretations regardless.
I have a very high threshold on RVIs. If extremely well-developed and extremely mishandled by the other team I could imagine myself voting on one, but I would hope to never have to.
Uniqueness determines the direction of the link (absent explanation otherwise), so please make sure youâ??re reading uniqueness in the right direction.
I have a pretty high threshold for terminal defense, and will more often than not assume thereâ??s at least some risk of offense, so donâ??t rely on just reading defensive arguments.
Perfectly fine with generic advantages/disads, and Iâ??m generally a fan of the politics DA. That being said, the more you can contextualize your argument to the round the greater weight that I will give it. Specific and substantial case debates are great.
I default to fiat being durable.
Please give me specific texts.
Fine with cheater CPs, but also more than happy to vote on CP theory.
I default that perms are tests of competition and not advocacies.
I generally wonâ??t buy textual competition absent arguments in the round telling me why I should.
I really enjoy the K debate, and this was probably where I had the most fun as a debater. I have a pretty good understanding of most foundational critical literature, and I have a decent understanding of postmodern theory (particularly Foucauldian/Deleuzian/Derridean). That being said, please make the thesis-level of your criticism as clear as possible; I will do my best to not just vote for an argument I understand absent explanation in-round, and thereâ??s definitely a good amount of literature I wonâ??t know of.
Iâ??m perfectly happy to vote on kritikal affirmatives, but I will also gladly vote on framework. On that note, Iâ??m also happy to vote on impact turns to fairness/education, but will probably default to evaluating the fairness level first absent other argumentation.
Same with CPs, I default to perms being a test of competition and not an advocacy. Iâ??m also fine with severance perms, but am also open to theoretical arguments against them; just make them in-round, and be sure to provide a clear voter/impact.
I default to evaluating the link debate via strength of link, but please do the comparative analysis for me. Open to other evaluative methods, just be clear in-round.
I have a decent understanding of performance theory and am happy to vote on performance arguments, but I need a good explanation of how I should evaluate performative elements of the round in comparison to other arguments on the flow.
Regarding identity/narrative based arguments, I think they can be very important in debate, and theyâ??ve been very significant/valuable to people on the Cal Parli team who have run them in the past. That being said, I also understand that they can be difficult and oftentimes triggering for people in-round, and I have a very hard time resolving this. Iâ??ll usually defer to viewing debate as a competitive activity and will do my best to evaluate these arguments within the context of the framing arguments made in the round, so please just do your best to make the evaluative method for the round as clear as possible.
Vasile Stanescu -- Mercer University
Many judges say they are "tableauÂ rasa" (i.e. open to any way you want to debate); I am not sure if they are. I try to be. As long as it does not literally break the rules of the NPDA (or...the law?)--I'm open to it. You're in charge. I don't tell my debater how to debate --I'm certainly not goingÂ to tell you. Truly. Run whatever you want---however you want.