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Im glad to be judging you!

My name is Bob I debate NDT/CEDA for the University of Southern California, debated LD for
Loyola High School in Los Angeles and run the Premier Debate Institute ( and Let me know before the debate if theres something I dont cover below.
Nothings too radical, so Id just look at the sections that apply to your preferred style of debate.

Sum affiliations: Loyola (Loyola MH, Loyola BK, Loyola CK, Loyola MG, Loyola NR, Loyola JO,
Loyola AP, Loyola BS), Livingston JX, Eagle PG, Benjamin-Cardozo AB, Cypress Bay JS, Arbor
View AA, Cambridge PO, Cambridge OS, and Cambridge SS.

Conflicts for 2016-2017: Loyola High School, Cambridge Rindge & Latin School, Oakwood JW.

LD Judge Philosophy Bob Overing

Updated 10/10/15 All the stuff in blue highlighting

Paradigmatic Overview
I generally take a least intervention approach to judging debates. This means that, to the best of
my abilities, I will attempt to remain a disinterested observer. I will fairly evaluate all argument forms
and content (yes, this means your plans, Ks, theory, and the like are fine by me).

That said, there are some circumstances when a judge must use outside information to render a
comprehensible reason for decision. There are two types of intervention that may be necessary:
interpretive and evaluative1.

Interpretive Intervention
Interpretive intervention refers to a judges need to use background knowledge for
clarification. When a debaters rhetoric is vague or some explanation is needed but withheld, it is the
judges duty to make sense of the arguments. Filling in the gaps when philosophical rhetoric or
common acronyms are tossed about is a part of being a judge. This goes the other way too: When a
debater makes an argument without using the appropriate jargon, I wont hold it against him or her.

The way different judges reason enthymemetically is likely to be arbitrary. My unique

experience will inform how I judge your debate. I debated LD for four years on the national circuit for
Loyola High School in Los Angeles and debated policy for the University of Southern California. Ive
debated in about 500 rounds and judged about 500 (post-graduation). I also coach on the national
circuit. If I am judging you, it is likely that our understandings of terminology and practice are similar.
Nonetheless, below is a short checklist of some common items I find to be accepted assumptions about
LD debate:

- Each debater is attempting to win offense, that is, reasons he or she wins

following McGee (1998)

- The aff on my ballot attempts to win by proving the resolution given by the NFL
- The resolution is evaluated through a single framework or criteria
- Fairness is important
- Debates are comparative whether its about morality, domestic policy, or debate theory, a
debate is won by showing ones interpretation or advocacy is preferable

There are many more assumptions, especially given the breadth of terminology and loaded rhetoric
used as shorthand within debate. Often, the meanings of certain terms evolve over time, even year-to-
year (e.g. RVI). To minimize interpretive intervention, you should ask questions before the round
and explain your jargon to make sure were all on the same page.

I can be dissuaded from these baseline assumptions in the round through argument. However,
if a deviation from what I find to be a mutual understanding about the round occurs in a late rebuttal
speech, I will consider it unfair new argumentation and throw it out.

I can flow, though sometimes I will say, Clear! among other things, to help you make the
round more intelligible to me.

Evaluative Intervention
Evaluative intervention refers to a judges need to compare argument quality to come to a
conclusion. When there are two mutually exclusive claims in the debate, there must be some reason to
prefer one over another. Nevertheless, this comparative work is often left to the judge to decide. This
is where a lot of perceived judge bias comes into play. To minimize evaluative intervention, you
should make weighing arguments any time there are countervailing claims. This means comparing
frameworks, policy options, voting issues, etc. so that I dont have to.

In the event of un-weighed claims, I will use my own metric. Generally, I prefer those claims
that are
- backed by relevant evidence, expert opinion, and empirical support (I like to call cards)
- conceded by the opponent or comparatively less refuted
- supported with multiple warrants
- clear and concise

The comparison of these claims tends to be arbitrary as, for instance, each judge has a different idea of
what constitutes relevant evidence for a given argument. With that in mind, below is a list of

Regarding truth v. tech, Im pretty far on the tech side, but not all the way. You still have to meet the
standard for creating coherent arguments. This means, for example, a link from X to Y needs to be
conceivable/possible. However, I can know a claim to be false or even contradictory with the rest of a
strategy and still vote on it.

Framework Debate
I enjoy a good, comparative framework debate. I previously wrote here that more impact-inclusive
standards are easier to justify. This remains true, but I wouldnt shy away from specific, nuanced
standards if I were you. Given what were seeing in the current national circuit meta-game, the
strategic benefits of good framework debate are increasing.

Framework as Topicality
I have yet to be presented with a compelling reason why frameworks derived from the wording of the
resolution should be defined by arguments external to a fair interpretation of that resolution. The
words felon, compulsory, abuse, and deliberate within a resolution are interpreted according to
whether or not a given definition sets fair limits on ground for the debate; so too should morally
permissible, ought, justified, value and justice be interpreted. I previously wrote that I normally grant
that theoretical advantages and disadvantages to ethical frameworks outweigh, but given the paucity of
good framework debate Im seeing in the national circuit, I dont want to discourage framework
debate. I still think there are good arguments for the parameters argument and theoretically-justified
frameworks, but I am more and more thinking that philosophy ground is a good standard.

What Counts as a Warrant for Ethics - Weighing

Im familiar with much of the dense analytic and continental philosophy read in round, but thats not
to say there arent gaps in knowledge (which is true of any judge). Though the onus is on the debater
reading such positions to explain them, when I deem my own lack of understanding of the terminology
or tradition to be interfering with the communication of the ideas, I may end up calling evidence for
further review. That said, instead of simply up-layering in an attempt to preclude opponents
argumentation, debaters should do direct comparison and employ weighing standards to their benefit.
Every framework appeals to some higher criteria for justification, whether it be a thorough
understanding of practical reason or a simple appeal to the equality of all humans. Just because one
debater says meta first doesnt mean they win the ethical debate, and most of the time, it just means
theyre rehashing dull framework justifications. Its better to do comparison within the context of the
given round. Perhaps I should prefer the ethical framework more specific to the topic at hand, more
applicable as a real world guide to action, or more fleshed out and thorough in its explanation, but I
would never know such a thing absent in-round comparison of philosophical arguments (For more
general comments about weighing, see Weighing).

Implications of Framework (Ethical Confidence)

I default to an ethically confident method for evaluating the debate under conditions of normative
uncertainty because it seems to be the most commonly used and applied by debaters and judges alike.
This means that if I have a higher credence in debater As ethical framework, Ill apply As framework
as a lens for viewing contention-level argumentation, regardless of my potentially high (but still lesser)

credence in debater Bs ethical framework. When A is won, it totally excludes all argumentation not
relevant to As evaluation.

I could be easily persuaded to evaluate the round from a more modest or conservative standpoint. This
line of argument would say that though debater B is losing the framework debate, the loss on that flow
is only marginal, whereas the contention-level debate under Bs framework would be more than
decisive in Bs favor. Analyzing the ethical risk in both sides, I find lesser reason to believe Bs
framework, but the magnitude of being mistaken in this regard is so great that I would ultimately
decide the debate in Bs favor. This view of applied philosophy would be difficult to employ, but I
find the common arguments in favor of it certainly persuasive.

I may also deviate from my default if I think that the cost of evaluating the framework debate would
be higher than the cost of the unpredictability of this deviation. Such a case might occur when the
framework debate is so close (e.g. one carded moral justification won on both sides but not compared,
and my default weighing standards provide no preference) that my confidence in framework A is
comparable to my confidence in framework B. If this happens, it would be more arbitrary to contrive a
preference for one framework than to vote on which debater provided the most aggregate offense.

This also applies to cases where the framework is conceded and the question is framed as what links
to X framework or what matters morally, abstracted from the framework debate. For instance, if one
debater has a DA with an extinction impact and neither side convincingly proves the impact does/does
not matter, Im likely to take the modest view.

A priori Issues
I have no gripe with arguments that claim to come first and precede other layers of the flow.
However, I would most likely be persuaded to theoretical objections against a priori arguments that
are not equally accessible to both debaters. If the preceding argument is shown to have a framework in
and of itself for evaluation and real offense to it (that is, not simply an interpretation of the resolution
in need of reinterpretation), then the a priori argument would, for the most part, seem to be legitimate.
This is often not the case, and arguments that create a one-way path to the ballot are easily defeated by
claims of structural abuse.

Spike Arguments
I generally find spike-heavy strategies to be unpersuasive ways to mask skill deficiencies. That is,
arguments operating independently of the thesis of the affirmative should be few and far between.
When theyre necessary to define parameters or as a strategic tool for deterrence or some other benefit,
they should be direct and clearly demarcated alphabetically or numerically. Nonetheless, time would
be better spent discussing the concrete advantages and disadvantages of your side of the resolution.
Dont complain about being aff and then waste half your time. To clarify, this refers to theoretical
arguments. I have much less of an issue with substantive pre-empts to opponent frameworks or

I have never heard of a scenario in which defensively contesting a philosophical claim would logically
imply a strong reason to vote in a particular way. In general, contestation of an ethical framework
serves as a reason for me to have higher credence in an alternative ethical framework. If it doesnt do
this because its too broad a criticism, then the refutation is not unique any framework and is

I generally vote for the debater that gives me a higher credence in their advocacy. Skeptical and other
deflationary arguments more often than not give me no reason to prefer either side in the debate and
thus serve no function. You need to win some conception of offense or judge evaluation that enables
skepticism as offense for you.

Terminal Defense
I generally dont think defensive arguments give me any new reason to believe that the claim in
question is false; rather, they cast doubt on my original reason to believe that claim. With that in mind,
I would find it difficult to ignore an argument for which I have some evidence. There may be a
countervailing assertion that seeks to prove the opposite claim, in which case the two competing
claims would necessitate comparison. Defensive arguments in this context should be given as reasons
to prefer the alternative claim. Other than that, I dont see much strategic value in them nor an
implication for my ballot. Thats not to say that terminal defense doesnt exist. There are
circumstances when it may be applicable, such as when such as when an evaluative framework gives
one debater the burden of proving a claim 100% false or in a T or theory debate (See: I-Meet
Arguments). In these cases, the defensive argument must be obviously terminal or the debater
refuting needs to provide an additional warrant why their defensive argument totally defeats the
original claim, rather than simply mitigating it. (See: Presumption and Skepticism).

Kritik Debate
Im fine with all sorts of argumentation types and styles. As with most argumentation, the more
interesting, unique, and strategic, the better. An example of an interesting (albeit probably unfair)
kritik aff I saw on the September/October 2015 was a queer theory-based affirmative about homeless
trans-youth that had a very good three-tiered role of the ballot that explained how the judge should
vote and what constitutes offense. This aff was good because it was unique and structured. An
example of a boring kritik aff on the September/October 2015 topic is a generic oppression framework
with a specific trans-gender or abortion plan. These affs are bad because theyre uninventive and lead
to the same tired debates. There are many ways to debate that are creative and fair.


Kritiks often use different forms of evidence narrative, music, lived experience, personal experience,
testimony, interview, performance, etc. I assume these proofs validity until contested by the
opponent. With that in mind, debaters should always link arguments, regardless of their content, to an
evaluative framework. Given my tabula rasa approach, I also allow arguments against these types of
proof. Non-traditional forms of evidence such as visual aids, musical instruments, and other objects
should be made available to the opponent just like a card would be.

I am familiar with a lot of the kritik literature read in LD debates. I did college policy debate, and a lot
of the K arguments trickle down. If you want to ask about a specific kritik, please do so. I hope that
my familiarity with the arguments does not influence my evaluation, but it may (See Interpretive

Theory/Topicality v K
I think these debates are often boring because theyre hyperbolic and generic. Its unlikely that all Ks
outweigh all procedurals or vice versa, yet this is often how its argued. I default to a
modest/conservative evaluation when the K has clear pre-fiat impacts, but I can be easily swayed
otherwise if there are clear prerequisite or gateway arguments for fairness.

The caveat of clear pre-fiat impacts is very important an aff with a fiated plan that claims a role of
the ballot e.g. about oppression, patriarchy, queer violence probably does very little to change the
debate space or anything of the sort. I am skeptical of the claim that mere reading of the 1AC or
discussion of its impacts has a big impact, but as a tab judge, I have voted on these arguments many

Often, the better way to read K before theory arguments is in the context of a counter-interpretation or
a reasonability argument. Many of these are reasons why your K is good ground, so couch them in
those terms!

Theory Debate

I have no significant bias in evaluating different types of abuse claims: disclosure arguments,
conditionality, spikes-must-be-numbered, etc. I will be more reticent to vote on claims of substantive
abuse rather than structural abuse to fairness. For example, the argument that the negative had many
ways to win the round is not enough to prove structural abuse. For another example, the argument that
the negative made K links that are hard to answer is not enough to prove structural abuse.

An essential component of any theory debate is generating offense. Like any other component of the
debate, the debater with the biggest impact to established voters wins the theory debate.

These preferences/guidelines will apply to topicality debates as well. (see Topicality Paradigm)

Theory I Do and Dont Like
I thought this might be useful because for some reason, a lot of LDers are being taught to make poor
theory arguments and not taught to discern between good ones and bad ones. These two lists will make
a difference in how likely you are to win the theory debate (not because I intervene in any way but
because theyre simply better or worse theory arguments) and will influence speaker points.

Theory I Dont Like

- Theory in the AC speech

- Must not run plans, counterplans, kritiks, etc.
- Must take a stance on something, e.g. K vs. theory or RVIs/no-RVIs
- Nearly all specification arguments
- Must have a solvency advocate for fairly standard CPs
- Arguments about cross-examination
- Theory claiming abuse from stylistic or minor presentation issues that are obviously not
structural, e.g. where arguments are flowed, what order theyre in, etc.
- Most meta-theory arguments, e.g. about interpretations, number of theory arguments, RVIs,
theory paradigms etc., except when neg theory is simply labeled meta-theory to get out of
the asinine aff spike that all neg theory is counter-interpretive.

Theory I Do Like

- Must not read necessary-but-insufficient burdens

- Theory that crushes ridiculous aff spikes
- Theory that enforces good debate practices: must disclose, must flip for sides well before
an elim, must pass or flash evidence
- Many topicality arguments, especially clever T arguments that interact with the rest of
ones neg strategy, such as T to ensure a specific PIC
- Innovative, format-changing theory arguments
- Must not use excessive fiat

I dont care if your interpretation is positively worded, negatively worded, or an incomplete sentence.
Debaters can make arguments about interpretations, but I generally find them tedious. A good maxim
to avoid these refutations is the more specific the interpretation, the better.

I would prefer hearing multiple violations to a given interpretation. It makes the abuse claim stronger
and prevents a lot of frivolous debates about semantics on the interpretation-level.

I-Meet Arguments

I-meet arguments come in many different forms; some appeal to the spirit of the interpretation and
some to the letter. Arguments about which perspective is preferable should be made in round when
applicable. My default will probably differ based on the round context.

Additionally, I-meet arguments are defensive by their very nature. As always, terminal defense
arguments can be made by the debaters, but those defensive claims should be couched in terms of
terminal defense on the initial violation. Moreover, winning an I-meet as a sufficient response to
theory is much easier if the same debater argues for a reasonability paradigm or substantive vs.
structural distinction that would mitigate the abuse story.

I am much more persuaded by comparative standards than absolute ones. Yes, any violation will
minimize a debaters ground. However, what ground does it give in return? Pre-emptive standards that
explain what one debater loses relative to the ground given are superior.

I dont need debaters to rehash internal links to fairness if their theory standard is based in ground or
predictability or another straightforward standard. Standards like topic literature and real world
are less clear since they may check predictability and provide higher quality ground. In these cases,
specific internal links should be made.

I tend to think that violations proving structural abuse to fairness are voting issues; it can be strategic,
however, to read theory or extra-T arguments as reasons to exclude an argument.

I feel less strongly about theory arguments impacting to education.

Reverse Voting Issues

I have yet to hear a really good argument for RVIs, offensive counter-interpretations, or I-meets
used as voters. I define an RVI as a reason to vote for the responder on theory if they have offense, so
any deviation from that definition should be explained.

Theory Paradigm
I previously stood firmly against reasonability, but I am finding it more persuasive in light of
increasingly asinine theory arguments.

Reasonability claims are most viable if

1) couched in terms of reasons to prefer a counter-interpretation: e.g. allowing these types of

reasonable advocacies would expand the realm of argumentation to allow higher quality
ground for both sides and promote critical thinking or my advocacy is reasonable
(because) and therefore predictable. Gutting predictable advocacies is bad
2) defended in conjunction with a specific bright-line for allowable abuse.

Types of Abuse

I dont think the potential vs. actual abuse dichotomy makes much sense given that abusive strategies
that might potentially be abusive in the 1AR or 2NR are actual abuse and certainly can be voting
issues. Instead, I think concepts of in-round vs. out-of-round abuse make more sense. Out-of-round
abuse claims are those that argue that though there was no breach of fairness in this round, another
debater in another circumstance might take advantage of the rule proposed in this round in an unfair
way. These claims are probably harder to prove (but are more plausible in T debates where even if this
particle aff is fair, the definition it relies on may allow a set of unfair advocacies). (Note this is distinct
from arguing that a violation occurred out-of-round for instance on disclosure).

Late Rebuttal Theory

I allow new theory arguments in the 2AR. It would be arbitrary to restrict 2AR contestations of 2NR
practices to the substantive realm. However, an important role of the judge is to determine whether or
not arguments are new in the 2AR because theres no 3NR to contest them. 2AR introductions of
structures for evaluation/voting issues such as fairness seem to be new. A theory voter in the 2AR may
be valid; however, it must override my presumption that new arguments are unfair. To compel me to
vote on a late rebuttal theory shell, the debater must prove that the abuse of the shell outweighs the
abuse of reading a new argument. One possible line of argument might explain how the opposing
debater could have expected and pre-empted the theoretical objection, ensuring predictable in-round
strategy. Additionally, the violation should establish why the abuse stemmed uniquely from the 2NR
strategy, not the NC strategy (e.g., 2AR conditionality arguments dont work).

I used to see meta-theory as drop the argument by default. I now have no default. Often, meta-theory
arguments make better counter-interpretations to the initial shell or responses, but I realize they can be
strategic. Ive seen more silly meta-theory arguments recently, and these go in the list of Theory I
Dont Like.

Paradigm Theory
I consider most of these arguments to be woefully underdeveloped since they primarily involve
misunderstood buzzwords with grand implications to be elaborated upon later in the round if
necessary. This is problematic. Many of these concerns have been resolved by my own paradigm, but
some substantive issues have not. For example, you can make arguments about how debate should
embody some extrinsic analogy, e.g. we should pretend to be policymakers, scientists, philosophers,
etc. These arguments need theoretical justification and clear implications, whether they be to burdens
analysis, theory standards, or something else. Warning: I may have a different understanding of truth
testing than you do. See my recent articles on Premier.Today for more on this.

Responding to Theory
I find that a lot of bad theory arguments can be quickly dispatched of. Offense is essential. (see:
Overview, I-Meet Arguments, Reverse Voting Issues, and Paradigm)

Topicality Paradigm

I default to viewing the topicality question as a debate to find the most fair (and educational)
resolutional limits rather than the most correct definition. The above paradigmatic preferences
relating to theory apply to T as well. (Aside: Ive never understood the aims argument, so I would be
very surprised if some debater convinced me its correct.)

Contention-Level / Offense Debate

I will most likely find a way to determine who did the better debating before issues of presumption
become relevant. In this sense, both sides have a burden proof. I suppose that substantive
presumption arguments may be legitimate reasons to vote for someone (since they are offensive
arguments, not theoretical reasons to default to a given side), but I would have a hard time ignoring
even a marginal amount of offense to a marginally-valid or even implicit ethical framework.

Terminal Defense
I feel the same way about terminal defense here as I do on framework issues (see Terminal Defense
above). These leanings are applicable to every debate argument. However, they may have specific
implications within a theory debate (see I-Meet Arguments).

As with the framework debate (see What Counts as a Warrant for Ethics Weighing), offensive
argumentation should also be couched in comparative terms. If not, having insufficient reason as a
judge to prefer your argumentation, I may have to default to my subjective preferences whether
conscious ones or otherwise (see Evaluative Intervention). Weighing doesnt even need to be
properly constructed with the correct debate jargon; it simply needs to be a reason, any reason, to
prefer your argument. I will maintain when judging that any comparative work is better than none, and
my default reasons to prefer will no longer apply.

Default Weighing Standards

I wont hesitate to do my own comparison if necessary, but I wont be happy about it. Usually the
following metrics are sufficient to resolve any debate that lacks proper comparison by the debaters: I
prefer conceded claims to contested ones, more reasons to believe a claim to fewer, claims backed by
relevant evidence to ones without, and more thoroughly explained and tight chains of logic to
nebulous ones (see Evaluative Intervention).

I rarely see it done though second layer weighing between standards of comparison can be strategic
and persuasive. That said, I default to a modest/conservative perspective for evaluating risk. Even if a
standard of probability is hugely more important than one of magnitude, magnitude is still valuable. I
am reluctant to acknowledge that one standard of comparison given in the round is absolutely trumped

by another and am much more compelled by a holistic impact calculus, taking into account multiple
standards of evaluation.

Late Rebuttal Weighing

I will prohibit new comparative analysis in the 2AR unless it is directly responsive to new 2NR
weighing. When there is no weighing between competing claims that necessitate comparison, I will
default to my own weighing standards (see Default Weighing Standards). In late rebuttals when
comparative analysis would be new, debaters can make the analysis anyway, but it would be better to
appeal to my default weighing standards explicitly for a more fair adjudication.


Neg Bias
Im slightly worried about how often I vote neg I think early on, my paradigm favored the neg
because it gave an advantage to theory initiators. Thats less the case now, and Im less and less happy
with theory Im seeing, so there needs to be another explanation. Here are a few:

a) It might just be that the neg win percentage is generally higher in high-level circuit debates,
and I judge more of those rounds than any other kind of round. This probably doesnt account
for all of neg skew, however.
b) In the 2014-15 season (and even more in the 2015-16 season!), Im seeing an uptick in the
number of kritiks I judge, which advantages the neg because they can avoid direct clash with
aff offense (and all that constructive time) by positing pre-fiat reasons to negate, e.g. with a
role of the ballot.
c) Maybe small sample size is the issue perhaps I just judge better debaters on the neg!

Pre-Round Practices
I think the arguments for disclosure are pretty good.

Coin Flips
I dont need to be there when flips or sides are decided. I will listen to in-round arguments about coin
flips. In the past, I dont think people have taken this very seriously, but I am completely serious when
I say that the practice of waiting to flip until the last minute before an elim debate is anti-educational.

Pre-Round Discussions
I have no stance on pre-round discussions or agreements. I may or may not listen if theyre held in
front of me. If they have in-round implications, they should be referenced and explained in-round.

In-Round Practices

I really dont want to hear you say in the 1AR the exact same thing you said in your AC. Unless the
warrant is in question (and for claritys sake you should discuss it), an extension of the claim should be

I can flow. I will yell clear to let you know my threshold for clarity.

Cross Examination
I will listen to (and often flow) CX. However, in case I dont catch something, you should always
reference the cross-x discussion and specific rhetoric used to best give me an idea of what occurred.

I dont think you should have to answer things about arguments that you didnt read. Theres nothing
unfair about not telling your opponent your 1AR/2NR strategy if it has nothing to do with what was

Since answering questions in prep is a norm, but not a rule in the same sense that time constraints are,
it would be in the best interest of the first responder to verify that the opponent will also answer
questions in prep (preferably this discussion would occur as the first use of prep starts).

Prep Time
I will allow both debaters to begin with less than the prescribed amount of prep time if both agree.

Embedded Clash
I will compare competing claims if the interaction between them is obvious, whether or not they are on
the same flow. That said, explicit responses and comparative analysis is always preferable. Embedded
clash in the NC speech is almost always obvious, and debaters have cross-x time to figure out the
functions of arguments if they are unclear. In the 1AR, embedded clash is needed to be efficient, but it
still must be obvious. Generally, this means I need to be aware of the interaction before the 2AR if its
going to be a major issue.

Ive only encountered debaters lying once or twice; its irrelevant in 99% of rounds. If a debater is
lying, arguments should be made about what the lie was and what should be done about it. I will not
intervene absent these arguments being made. Theres no reason my higher level of knowledge or
expertise should be used to discredit a debater or the arguments.

Visual Cues
I try not to be too reactive during the debate. Sometimes I cant help smiling or nodding or laughing or
something. Dont read too much into my mannerisms. It might not have to do with you at all.

Post-Round Practices
Calling for Evidence
I call cards a good bit. I like cards. I will call evidence if theres an unresolved dispute about it easily
resolved by calling it. Also, if Im asked to, I may consider it. I wont call a card thats uncontested

usually. I will use my reading of it when there is a debate about what it means, the strength of the
warrant therein, or when its strongly applied beyond what I interpreted in its initial reading.

Speaker Points
I assign speaks arbitrarily; that said, reading and adapting to this paradigm will probably help. I reward
debaters with higher speaks for good strategy, but also for taking risks and for making interesting,
unique arguments. Ill also try to give points relative to the difficulty of the field. You can see my
speak averages in my judging record excel spreadsheet.

Some things that negatively impact speaks:

- too many spikes. (I may dock your speaks by .1 for every spike after three. This generally
refers to pre-emptive theoretical arguments. On the framework or in solvency or whatever,
its okay to pre-empt substantive objections. I understand the utility of spikes; thats why
you get three. You can also have multiple justifications for the same spike, e.g. plans good
for a, b, and c reasons would only count as one.)
- too much theory (obviously this is contextual sometimes its more than appropriate to
read theory in response to a certain strategy, e.g. if the aff doesnt read a topical aff, and
you have no answers, you should read T. I also think its a good strategic tool. It becomes
excessive if there is little marginal strategic benefit gained from the last theory argument
made, such as when it trades off with depth of other outs like the case debate)
- generic, recycled arguments, especially on framework and kritiks
- poor use of prep time
- useless or boring CX questions
- dishonesty, deception
- large strategic blunders such as reading your own framework but dropping your opponents
- misunderstanding counterplans (this has become increasingly annoying)
Things that positively impact speaks:
- good disclosure, flashing practices
- good weighing and comparison
- unique, interesting arguments

Heres another kind of guideline:

29.6-30: You read interesting arguments about the topic that I had not previously heard in a debate
round or were a new take on an old argument. You executed your position(s) strategically. You gave
overviews and responded in depth on the line-by-line. You read arguments that align with my
evaluative biases or made me consider changing an evaluative bias by arguing the opposite (risky
strategy). You were efficient in your word choice and careful not to spend more time on an issue than
you needed to. You effectively utilized CX and prep time. You were respectful to your opponent and
engaged their arguments rather than attempting to deceive or avoid. A similar performance would
likely only be possible for 1-2% of the pool.

29-29.5: You were noticeably less successful at the above than you could have been.

28.3-28.9: You performed well, but you may have read extremely uninteresting arguments or executed
your arguments unstrategically. You probably forgot to give a rebuttal overview or did so poorly. You
dropped some arguments on the line-by-line that were relevant. You were likely inefficient in several
to many places and/or wasted CX and prep time. You might have been deceptive or avoided
argumentation rather than engaging it. A big way to do this is through excessive theory arguments that
have limited strategy value. A similar performance would be possible for 25-30% of the pool.

27.5-28.2: You had significant strategy, efficiency, or argument quality problems in this debate.

If you want to emulate the strategies and styles Ive enjoyed judging in the 2015-2016 season, you
should watch the following debaters: Clements FT, Greenhill VA, Harvard-Westlake NS, Hawken
NK, Interlake AL, Law Magnet DD, Mission San Jose SS, and Oakwood JW.