Cleary, Conor P. cleary
Wed Nov 7 18:09:36 CST 2007

Conor Cleary
University of Oklahoma

Argue whatever you want. I am hard pressed to think of an argument that should not be allowed.  Do what you like to do. Don?t change your strategies and styles just because I?m judging. I think that is all you need to know about me and my approach to judging, but I offer the following for your edification.

A Few "Meta-Level" Observations

1. You must analyze and explain arguments in the debate, not just extend them. Even if someone drops an argument, you must extend it AND impact it sufficiently to win.

2. Specificity is very important. Generic strategies against specific AFFs are fighting an uphill battle. Whether it is the link to a Kritik or the impact comparison on a disad, detailed analysis and examples to support your arguments will beat broad generalizations every time.

3. Cross-Ex is either the best or worst part of the debate. More can be demonstrated in a 3 minute CX period than in an entire speech if done effectively. Good CXs will also earn better points. Nothing is more annoying, however, than hostile, shrill, and ultimately unhelpful, CXs.  I know the competitive drive is high, but please allow a general give-and-take. By all means, be assertive, sarcastic or witty if you want, but don?t shout over one another.

4. DO NOT SACRIFICE COMMUNICATION FOR SPEED! Clarity and inflection in your speeches will win you better points, and, I think, increase your chances of winning the debate.  If you are incomprehensible, I will not tell you to clear, although my displeasure will be evident. I will give the other team leeway in sections of the debate where you were unclear.

5. I think evidence quality is very important.  1 or 2 solid politics cards, for example, are better than 20 shitty ones. The number of cards you have on an issue is irrelevant to me.

On the Issues

Topicality: These did not used to be my favorite debates, but a semester of law school has given me a newfound appreciation for textual analysis. A really smart T violation is awesome to judge.  I tend to judge T debates just like I would judge a DA or a K.  I want to know the advantages and impacts to your interpretation and the DAs to the AFF?s.  I am sympathetic to reasonability arguments and if the T violation is contrived, I am likely to default AFF.

Theory: Again, not a favorite debate of mine. If it's dropped, I'll vote for it if properly extended and impacted, but I prefer a substantive debate over a theoretical one. Contrived, whiny, and un-nuanced theory arguments against Kritiks are almost universally unpersuasive. ?Reject the argument, not the team? expresses how I feel about theory. However, I'll certainly vote on theory if sufficiently impacted.

DA/CP: Contrary to popular belief, I enjoy these debates. But I am not a judge that automatically votes NEG "if there is .001% of a link." Most DAs are stupid and you don?t need a card to prove it. Persuasive, strong defensive and analytic arguments by the AFF can defeat a DA/CP if the link is generic or non-sensical.

Kritiks: I enjoy these debates, but nothing is worse than a bad kritik debate. Be prepared to explain your link argument in a succinct manner. Reps Ks are alright, but I prefer links tied to the plan and they should be more than "you use the state." Alternatives should be clear. If you're reading a language/reps K, an alternative framework should probably be offered or good impact work should be done to precede/outweigh the Affirmative. In general, Negatives win K debates because their alternative becomes something much more than it was in the 1NC. If the 2AC does not pin the negative down or call into question the solvency for the alternative, the K will win nearly every time.  The most important part of this debate is the Alt and the team that does the better job of comparing the Alt vis-?-vis the plan or permutation is probably going to win.

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