Debate has always been and always will be an academic lab for the articulation of good argumentation. I have competed, judged and coached programs at the university level in IE, CEDA, NDT and Parli. As such I am not a novice to debate, but I am relatively new to some forms of theoretical arguments and especially the more recent lingo that surrounds them. I have been out of coaching for 14 years, but have been putting into practice the debate skills in the public forum against philosophers, theolgians, cultural critics, politicians, free thinkers, etc. So I have seen what debate does in the "real world." As such I am not yet convinced that some of the culture of debate doesn't force us into a box that is really pretty particular to our little world. I say that to say, I am not opposed to T or "Kritique" (which I guess is the hip postmodern spelling) or any other theoretical arguments but I can say I would much rather see clearly articulated and communicated arguments that are well constructed and well thought out. It is fair to say I have a much higher threshold for those types of arguments. Debate, I recognize, is also about strategy, but not at the expense of solid argumentation. Having coached CEDA and NDT and now Parli for the last couple of years, I can flow. Have to use my glasses to see what I wrote, which is different from the good ol' days, but ... I will say that the thing that has shocked me the most this year is the casual way in which language is thrown around. I fully don't expect it at this tournament, but there is no room in academic debate (even with the idea of free speech in mind) for foul language. It is unprofessional and rude. Might be considered cool for some, but it is not accepted in any of the professions for which we are training up this group to move onto in the future. Otherwise, I am excited to be back in the debate realm the last couple of years.
Chris Leland, Ph.D.
Asst. VP for Academic Affairs,
Professor of Communication & Director of Debate
Colorado Christian University
4 years Policy (HS) 4 years Parli (College) In my third year of coaching, familiar with LD, Public Forum, Worlds, etc, and high flow Parli. I love, love, love, pragmatic, policy discussion, but I also don't want to disenfranchise voices, so K's, Projects, other experimental positions are fine by me. I appreciate in round, articulated abuse for procedural arguments. For Ks/Projects, I'd like debate community implications but also recognize policy ontological impacts because of our epistemological views. Overall, SUPER open to answering questions pre-round, and discussing rounds in depth post round, via social media, etc.
Dayle Hardy-Short - Northern Arizona University
I have not judged NPDA parliamentary debate this year--I have judged BP and Lincoln-Douglas. So my flowing is a little rusty.
On speaker points, I look to such things as analysis, reasoning, evidence, organization, refutation, and delivery (delivery being only 1 of 6 considerations I made for speaker points). Thus, I virtually never give low-point wins because if a team "wins", then it has done something better than the other team (i.e., like had clearer organization or better arguments).
Generally, I am open to most positions and arguments. I expect the debaters to tell me what they think I should vote on, and why. I appreciate clash. I will not do the work for the team. I believe that the affirmative/government has the responsibility to affirm the resolution and the negative/opposition has the responsibility to oppose the resolution or the affirmative. Such affirmation and opposition can appear in different forms. I feel pretty comfortable in my understanding of whether or not something is a new argument in rebuttals, and I will not vote in favor of new arguments--just because someone extends an argument does not mean it's new, and just because someone uses a new term does not mean the argument is new (they may be reframing a previously-articulated argument based on additional responses from the other team).
I prefer debates in which debaters clearly explain why I should do what they think I should do. This includes explaining use of particular jargon and/or assumptions underlying it (for instance, if you say "condo bad", I may not necessarily understand in the heat of the debate that you're talking about conditionality versus something you live in; similarly I do not understand what “fism” is—you need to tell me). Do not assume that simply using a particular word means I will understand your argument (argument includes claim, explanation, and evidence of some kind). Please consider not only labeling the argument, but telling me what you mean by it.
I will listen as carefully as possible to what's going on in your debate (I will try to adapt to what YOU say and argue). Do your debate, make your arguments, and I will do my best to weigh them according to what happened in the debate. I am not arrogant enough to think that I get everything on the flow, nor am I arrogant enough to claim that I understand everything you say. But if you explain important arguments, most of the time I can understand them. At least I will try.
Topicality is a voting issue for me, and I listen to how teams set up the arguments; I consider it to be an a priori argument. I have an extremely wide latitude in terms of what affirmative can claim as topical within the scope of any given resolution. I don’t like T arguments that are ONLY about so-called abuse (indeed, I do not find them persuasive). I prefer that you focus on why the affirmative isn’t topical. Thus, I prefer in the round you explain why something is not topical (standards, alternative definitions, etc.), but you do not need to articulate abuse (which I define as "they're taking ground from us; they’ve ruined debate; or similar arguments”). I guess it does seem to me that if a case is truly non-topical, then it almost always follows that the position is unfair to the negative--as long as the negative came truly prepared to debate the topic. Thus, the negative does not need to belabor the point--say it and move on.
I will assume your counterplan is unconditional, and if you think it should be otherwise, please explain and justify that position. With an articulated counterplan, then my job becomes to weigh the best advocacy with regard to the resolution. Please provide me (and the other team) with an actual CP plan text, so I can consider arguments about it as they are made (I really do prefer a written plan text, or please repeat it 2-3 times so I get it written down correctly).
I certainly am not opposed to permutations, but please have a text that you can show me and your opponents.
I am not opposed to critiques nor performance debate, but please be very very clear about why they should win and what criteria I should use to evaluate them and/or weigh them in the debate as a whole.
Abstract impacts should be clearly demonstrated and explained, and concrete impacts need to have similar weight.
A final note on speed and civility. I don't have particular problems with speed, but clarity is essential--clear speakers can speak very quickly and I will get the flow. I believe that debate is an important activity, both as an intellectual exercise and as a co-curricular activity in which we get to test classroom learning in a more pragmatic way (application and reductio ad absurdum), including communication skills and the extent to which arguments can go. The way we behave in rounds often becomes habit-forming. So show some respect for the activity, some respect for your opposition, and some respect for the judge. I'll try to keep up with you if you'll treat me like a human being. I will think through your arguments if you will give me arguments worth thinking through.
I consider myself to be fairly straightforward in my approach to debate. I think the best debates happen when teams actually engage the issues invoked by the resolution, rather than getting bogged down in pointless meta-theoretical exercises. I am open to a variety of perspectives, but will generally default to a policy-making paradigm that evaluates net benefits unless I am given a reason to do otherwise. If you want to run more creative positions (critical or otherwise) I’m okay with that as long as I am given a rationale that substantively articulates the importance or worth of those arguments. Basically, don’t play games with the round for the sake of playing games; warrant your positions and give me a clear way of evaluating the claims you are making.
I am okay with some speed, but generally don’t appreciate spreading (and, in all fairness, I probably won’t catch everything if you’re going crazy fast). I try to stick to the flow as much as possible, but if you arguments aren’t clearly labeled or are rushed, I’ll eventually give up trying to follow along. Tell me where to go on the flow and where I should be (cross)applying arguments if necessary.
Things I generally don’t like: unnecessary topicality (usually won't vote for this unless there is demonstrable abuse happening in round), convoluted theory arguments (of the debate variety; I dig philosophical arguments), time sucks, rudeness.
Your chances of winning my ballot will be greatly improved if you: clearly give me reasons why I should vote for you in rebuttals, weigh impacts, provide actual clash, win frameworks.
Miscellaneous: I’m usually pretty nice with speaker points (just don’t be a jerk). Points of order are fine (I won't consider new arguments in rebuttals, but you might be hearing things differently -- so feel free to call them), but don't go overboard with them -- if a team is making lots of new arguments, I won't flow them.
I believe debate can most effectively be thought of as a communication event; as such, ideas and arguments in a debate round become most accessible and finally, most persuasive, if stated clearly, utilizing a comprehensible rate of speed and without undue dependence on jargon. Clear signposting and effective organization throughout the debate enhances the clarity of argument. Consistent signposting creates a clean flow, with major arguments prominent in the mind of your judges. I tend to vote on the flow. I’m open to any strategy as long as it is explained well, organized clearly and makes sense. I use a tabula rasa approach as a judge, so don’t worry about what I may or may not believe in re whatever proposition is being debated, or what rhetorical strategies and/or debate conventions you choose to utilize. I enjoy a well-crafted and intellectually satisfying argument on any topic, from any viewpoint. Clash is the heart of debate, so keep on point. Please remember the value of transitions reinforcing the organization you’ve established throughout the round, and don’t forget to spend appropriate time on summary, most specifically in rebuttals. A strong rebuttal traces the evolution of the most important arguments used in the debate, showing how and why your version of the proposition should prevail. I do caution you against the use of offensive language or actual rudeness toward your opponents. NPDA debate should be an exercise not only in communication, but in the practice of good ethics in this formalized and rather ritualistic exchange of ideas. Wit and humor are appreciated, if you have the occasion to use such strategies.
I am primarily an individual events coach. I did not compete in, nor do I coach debate. I have taught and continue to teach argumentation courses and thus, I prefer slower delivery and well-developed arguments. Essentially, I am not well-versed in debate jargon so don't assume that I will have the exact understanding of your version of debate theory. That said, I can follow and assess any debate as long as the competitors explain themselves fully and weigh their arguments.
My background is primarily in individual events, both as a competitor and as a coach. My only debate experience was doing policy and public forum in high school, which was over ten years ago. I come from an extemp background so I will understand and appreciate well-developed and explained arguments, but I do not like spreading and am rusty on debate jargon. I will evaluate rounds based on the soundness and internal logic of arguments more than esoteric terminology and tactics.
I have been coaching since 2010. I competed for two years at the college level. I took a long break from forensics but returned when working on my second Master’s Degree in Communication. I am currently the DOF at Western Wyoming Community College.
I try to remain as tab as possible. It is your responsibility to dictate what the round will look like.
I put a lot of weight on the flow. I will not “do the work for you”.
CP’s, DA’s, K’s – sure! Strategy is key for me but all must be done well and show understanding through warranted argumentation.
Tell me what to do. This is your debate. Where should I look and how should I vote. Impact calk is a must.
T’s are there for a reason – if you need to use them – you MUST. Otherwise, they are a waste of my time.
Be civil – if you are rude, I stop listening.