This older philosophy has three sections: (1) five quick things for 2020, (2) short, pre-round version, and (3) long version. You can use the navigation pane on the left to hover over various sections.
Five quick things to start 2020
1. Thank you.
I am so grateful to everyone whose investment makes this unusual season possible, and in particular to debaters. I am honored to judge. I'll be patient and flexible with all the new challenges, both in adapting to a new environment and to a tricky topic.
2. I love judging every kind of debate.
Policy/policy, K/K, whatever! I know folks think that's a cliche, but to me it's the core of how I have approached coaching and judging from day one. If you put time and effort into your craft I will give you my open-minded, undivided attention and will try my hardest to give you great feedback despite the argument style, record, or division I'm judging. I'm not 100% and never will be, but I've always tried to give it 100% and always will.
3. For online debate, please slow down 5-10%, go one at a time in CX, and really focus on clarity.
Between camp and pre-season, I've judged 30-ish online debates. I'm confident that the stand-out performers (29+ speaker points) can do all those things, as difficult as they are to accomplish.
4. I'm curious to see what the allies topic looks like in practice.
My initial thought is to be a bit sympathetic to the aff given limited options, but as the way-overextended coach of a small crew I could see myself being compelled by T against particularly expansive approaches to the topic.
5. 2020 isn't like many other years and I'd encourage you to tease that out and speak with conviction.
Should some norms shift in online debate? Is 2020 a year when we need heightened political engagement before a pivotal November, when growing activism highlights the failure of traditional politics, or...? I'd love to hear from students re: questions like these. I have my own thoughts about debate adapting to its new environs, but the competitors are navigating a new form of debate in real-time and it seems they have important perspective re: how it should go down.
Stuff I know and don't know:
Expert in nothing, familiar with most. Have debated, coached, and judged most everything and really enjoy most all of it.
K or policy?
Why not both? I think the community's rough divide is occasionally principled but, more often, it is just sound and fury. I love great K debates and I love great policy debates. I'm more experienced at sorting policy/policy than K/K, but I'm equally interested in judging whatever.
What I will vote on:
I have a lower quality filter than most. I'm not really proud or ashamed of that, it's just a fact. I lean much more heavily tech than truth. I often vote on things I don't agree with and sometimes on ones I don't feel great about. Winning in front of me is like good Southern cooking: cook up something spicy and delicious, and I'll probably avoid deeper questioning about what the ingredients are or how you cooked it up. I have very little ability to assess things from events outside the debate.
Which evidence I read:
I skim 60-90% of cards as they are read, but I rarely read them in any meaningful depth. I skim to check context, confirm tags, or stay engaged. I usually only read ev which I'm directed to read and which is cited by name, but I can easily be directed to be more ev-oriented. Just tell me what to do.
What the aff should defend and what I prefer on the neg:
The Aff should defend something controversial and debatable in relationship to the topic and establish a role for the Neg. The Neg should dig in on the 1ac. A 1nc with extra case often leads to extra points and Ws. I prefer fewer, better cards and a smaller number of good links etc. I also prefer a block going deep on 1-2 2NR options instead of 3-4.
What the neg can get away with:
You can probably get away with more in terms of CP theory, K alt evolution, etc. in front of me than most. My tech-leaning ways tend to make me a good judge for bold 2Ns of any kind. I'm not heavily policy or K biased, but the data suggests I'm at a bit friendlier to the neg lifetime. I'm about the tech, and the aff too often just drops stuff without fighting back enough late in an attempt to recover. Speaking of...
What the aff can get away with:
You can also probably get away with a more 'evolving' 1AR in front of me than most. I do punish big 2AC errors, but I also can be easily persuaded to allow some new-ish 1AR angles (i.e. "they did x, y, and z new things, we get this new 1AR thing.") I feel for the neg, but I also really admire great 1ARs that change the game after a bad 2AC.
If I were coaching a team that was neg to go for framework:
I'd probably tell them to: a) Dig in and calculate an impact. I sometimes hear a big 2NC explanation that doesn't make it into the 2NR. Figure out what the 2NR impact calculus on your biggest impact sounds like. b) I often find that the neg is doing better at winning/calculating a procedural impact (fairness, ground, etc.) than a pedagogical one (skills, deliberation, etc.) That being said, do what you do, just impact it deeply. This can't be an after-thought: if you win this, you probably win the debate, and vice versa. c) Put some genuine effort into nailing down the 1AC's thesis claim/core goal and explaining why the interpretation you have forwarded can do something positive for achieving that. You don't need to win that a TVA, reading it on the neg, and/or anything else does the aff as well as the aff, but having some effective defense can go a long way.
If I were coaching a team that was aff vs. framework:
I'd say to: a) Define some role for the neg and have a "debate key" claim. You don't have to give them the 1NC, but why is debate about the 1AC (and not just the act of having read it) a good thing and what do those debates look like? There should be some reason the 1NC speaking for 8-9 minutes is good. I used to be somewhat dismissive of "other stuff outside of debate solves," but I find myself voting on it more because the aff sometimes misses answering this. b) Lean more on impact turns/core aff offense than counter-interpretations. I find that neg teams are usually weakest on refuting core aff thesis points while being much stronger on procedural issues. I wouldn't abandon defense, but I would perhaps frame it more as how your counter-interp can create a stable role for the neg, desirable neg ground, more ethically grounded debates, etc. than leaning in on "we're right that 'resolved' is mental analysis."