[eDebate] Richard Tews Updated Judging Philosophy -- Major Changes

Richard TEWS rtews
Sat Mar 24 22:46:52 CDT 2007

Please read the following before the NDT.  I have changed my philosophy
to more accuratly reflect my opinions.  Hopefully this will help to
clear up any misconceptions.  

Over the last few years I have figured out that my preferences have
changed considerably and that I am a little less open minded than I
previously thought.  Despite what you may think about me I would really
rather hear a disad and case turn debate than any other debate.  That
being said I do judge a lot of kritik rounds and am perfectly
comfortable adjudicating them however they are not my favorite.  There
is more about that below.  Whatever the argument you choose it is
imperative that you do IMPACT ANALYSIS at the end; there is nothing that
grates on my nerves more than having to compare impacts for myself after
the round.  I think that my favorite round would be one that involves a
large involved case debate, with lots of analysis and actual arguments
instead of just piles of cards.  

I think that you should have a plan text when you are affirmative,
regardless of how you justify it and just reading the whole resolution
is not sufficient as a plan text unless you will defend the actual
implementation of all four overrules.  I think all affirmatives should
have to defend the implementation of the plan text.  The only thing this
does is make the link easier for disads and K?s on the neg.  I think
most framework arguments are bullshit.  Usually these debates boil down
to one of two things 1) we should get to weigh our impacts or 2) you
should be excluded for making us think about something we don?t want
too.  Both of these arguments are stupid at this point in time you
should be able to defend against a kritik and you can always weigh your
impact you just have to deal with the other teams timeframe arguments
i.e. our K comes first.  However both of these arguments are rendered
moot if the affirmative does not have a plan text or refuses to defend
the implementation of the plan.  I do vote for framework argument but it
is usually because one team doesn?t answer something or take the
argument too seriously and does not make the type of arguments that I
just made above.  

I am not very good at theory debates. Typically in theory debates I am
left on my own to decipher the blippy arguments that one team or both
read off a bloc at top speed.  This means that I often don?t write down
very fast ?blippy?/not explained arguments.  This means that I often
have trouble understanding theory args that are no more than two or
three words, and done at top speed.  The problem with all of this is
that I never really went for theory much as a debater and so I am often
not able to infer what you mean.  This is not to say that I won?t vote
on theory, especially if dropped.  It means that if you want to go for
theory you need to buckle down early and give me some concrete
explanation and examples.  Also slowing down so that I can write more
than a word or two would be exceptionally helpful.  Usually in a theory
debate I vote for the side that I understand the most from earliest in
the debate, e.g. just because the 2AR is clear it doesn?t mean you win
if I can?t understand the 2AC.     

 I would describe my flowing as average, probably about middle fast.  
If you are going too fast/incomprehensibly I will simply stop writing
and if you correct the mistake I will start writing again.  Most people
don?t catch on to this last part. If I am looking at the speaker during
the round instead of writing I probably do not understand what is being
said.  I FLOW WARRANTS (as many as possible) so if I stop writing you
need to slow down or get clearer.  I don?t prompt very often even if you
are unclear I just don?t write, so for god?s sake have your partner
watch to make sure I am writing.  If I do prompt and you think you are
clear then try slowing down that might help.  I want to flow as much as
possible and I want to judge off my flow instead of my memory but if I
don?t get something then that is a problem for both of us.    

This is a section I have struggled with a lot over the last few years
(especially b/c of the nature of my current team at Weber).  DO NOT run
a kritik in front of me just for the hell of it because you think I like
them a lot or because you think you heard that I have a reputation for
them.  The truth of the matter is that they are not my ideal argument
form.  I don?t read the literature very much (other than the stuff my
teams run) and I don?t think about post-modernity if I can help it.  IF
you are going to run a K is front of me the ?big stick? is probably the
best.  At the end of the round I need an impact that I can wrap my brain
around.  Whether you like it or not a nuclear war is easier for me to
understand than no value to life.  And you need to weigh your impacts
against those of the other team. I pretty much adjudicate K debates like
I do disads, did you prove a link and does the impact outweigh.  Unless
given some sort of other calculus I view kritik perms as no link
arguments, though I am open to people advocating them in front of me,
you just have to make and explain the argument as for why you can
advocate the perm.  Look the truth of the matter is that I don?t
understand a lot of the kritiks that are being run e.g. Nietzsche or
Lacanian Zizek args.  You CAN win these arguments in front of me but I
need a lot of analysis from you that interprets/?dumbs? down the cards
for me because if left to my own devises I could misinterpret your
evidence.  Using a lot of big words and literature specific jargon will
be detrimental to you.  The team that makes the argument the simplest
will both usually win and be rewarded with speaker points.  

The other major myth that I should talk about is performance and
identity politics.  I will be blunt here; if you run these types of
arguments you probably do not want me judging you.  The simple fact is
that I don?t get it.  I have judged a lot of these rounds (admittedly
not this year, so maybe this section is pointless but just in case) and
after 5 years I still don?t get it.  I am really just not a very
sympathetic year.  I know a lot of people that I consider friends that
run this type of argument and so I want to save you the hassle by
telling you to low pref me.  I am just not a big fan of debates about
debate.  Also I DO NOT vote on implicit arguments.  

The reasons that I vote for K?s most often is 1) one team drops
something major 2) that one team just doesn?t understand what the
argument is 3) one team runs framework and the other team doesn?t deal
with impact turns correctly.  Please use cross-ex to clarify b/c usually
I also am confused about the minutia of the position.  CX should be
about more than just the condition of the alternative, make sure you
understand the link and the implications of the impact in regards to
your claims.   

Truth is known I don?t read a lot of evidence.  I think that the burden
is (and should be) on the debaters to make arguments and let the
evidence be backing to the arguments.  I think that too often debaters
just read a lot of cards and hope that judges pick out an argument after
calling for all the cards.  You SHOULD explain warrants in your evidence
as thoroughly as possible and then I will call for the cards if I still
don?t understand.  I will also call for evidence if a card is contested
in a substantive way.  Meaning that one team makes an actually argument
about why a piece of evidence is suspect beyond just saying ?no
warrant?.  I try desperately to not reconstruct round so I don?t call
for a lot of evidence?usually I don?t call for any.  Don?t get me wrong,
I LOVE EVIDENCE.  I do as much research as my team will use and I enjoy
innovative strategies that center around topic specific research.  I
just think sometimes we get the role of the evidence a little twisted. 
Please cut good cards and use them.  But at the same time don?t be
afraid to step away from the blocs and show how smart you are by making
good analytical arguments.   

Thoughts about specific arguments: 

Casey:  I struggle with the issues of abortion a great deal.  I
generally think abortion sucks.  But at the same time I think that it is
a pivotal issue in women?s rights and that women should have as many
rights as any one else so it is a paradox.  I do think that the fetus is
a life and that it should be protected if possible.  This means that
nuanced arguments will be pivotal and counterplans are probably a good
idea.  If you say baby killing good you should have a damn good reason
for doing so.  For instance the Wake team that said life is suffering
and we should spare babies from suffering.  I thought that was an
innovative take on the issue, if not a little ludicrous.  I also think
that it is an abomination that most people will not impact turn
pro-choice cases just b/c of personal politics.  If you want to be
strategic and make the round more fun for me try case arguments.  Don?t
worry I won?t tell anyone that you said Roe was bad your secret is safe
with me.  

Marxism: I hear this argument a lot and I got tell you it is an up hill
battle.  I usually think that the permutation can solve most of the
offense.  But beside that I am NOT a Marxist.  I like owning stuff and I
like individualism.  So this will take quite a bit of explanation to

One last thing if you have questions about me please email me or come
find me at a tournament and I will be more than happy to answer all of
your questions about my judging.  Just keep in mind that sometimes
introspections is difficult so keep at you questioning until you get the
answer you need to make a good decision.  

Richard Tews
Assisitant Director of Forensics 
Department of Communications
Weber State University
Office PH: 801-626-6438
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