[eDebate] My Judging Philosophy

Christine Malumphy malumphy
Sun Mar 25 15:12:21 CDT 2007

I recently realized that I don't have a judging philosophy posted
anywhere.  I apologize for this ? I thought that I posted one last

So here's my take on most things:

Topicality ? While I don't have any predispositions on certain T
arguments, I do think that that competing interpretations is a kind of
shitty standard by which to evaluate the aff-case in some instances.
While I think there is a compelling argument for voting on potential
abuse, I don't think the aff should lose simply by virtue of not
reading a counter-interpretation.  With respect to this year's topic,
I haven't seen many debates where the neg went for T.  I used to think
that Harvard's ICCPR aff wasn't topical but there must be some reason
they keep winning those debates...

Framework arguments ? I usually think Ks are OK on the negative unless
the aff-case can demonstrate that the alternative is abusive in some
way other than "they didn't read a DA!"  For example, I think that if
the affcase shows that the negcase is particularly shifty or unclear
with the alternative, there might be a reason to vote against them ?
though usually that's a better solvency argument than theory argument.
  As an aesthetic aside, the generic framework block (which I perhaps
mistakenly associate with MSU...) which begins "the affirmative must
offer a topical blah blah..." sounds remarkably like nails on a
chalkboard to me.
 	With K affs, I think the best offense is good defense.  You should
probably defend your plan.  This doesn't mean that you shouldn't
attempt to rig the impact analysis such that your impacts are more
important than the DAs.  For example if you say "representations
inform policy and the security discourse on the DA is bad" this seems
a lot more legitimate to me than someone who simply reads a plan but
refuses to defend that it ought to happen.
	With respect to teams that would not simply be called "K" teams, but
engage in a more performative project, I think it is slightly more
likely that you can get away with not defending a plan in front of me.
 For example, there may be some structural inequality that justifies
eschewing fairness.  However, I have not seen a debate where I think
an aff team won this argument. I find it persuasive when the neg-case
says "you could do [insert performative project] and defend your

Kritiks generally ? I like kritiks.  I do tend to have a pretty high
threshold for explanation, though.  Maybe that's because I haven't
read as much of this stuff as I should have, but also because I feel
bad for teams that are making a legitimate attempt to understand what
the hell the alt is.  That being said, it frustrates me to no end when
strictly "policy" teams ACT like they have no idea what's going on and
refuse to listen to any explanation.  It gives me flashbacks to times
that I've tried to explain things to Iftimie...

Counterplans ? In spite of thinking that consult CPs and, this year,
distinguish CPs are evil, I sure seem to vote for them a lot.  I think
the neg is right on most other issues but have certainly voted on
conditionality bad, especially in cases where the neg has multiple
conditional options.

My inadequacies ? My flow isn't as good as I feel it should be.  I'm
not sure if that's because the debates I watch are unclear or because
I'm not competent.  Either way it behooves you to pay attention.  If
I'm having trouble I will look at you like a lost puppy.  My other
major inadequacy is I have trouble distinguishing mean people from
losers.  I like it when people who are mean lose (ironically perhaps)
and I sometimes can't filter that inclination out of my judging.  So
for goodness sake be NICE.

In addition to signaling when I can't understand or follow you, I also
am pretty animated during debates when I hear arguments I like or
dislike.  I won't interrupt you Dallas-style, but I often find myself
nodding or shaking my head.

I hope that's helpful!  If you have additional questions please feel
free to email me.

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