[eDebate] Steve Herro judging

Steve Herro stevekherro
Tue Sep 18 14:21:49 CDT 2007

  I am working with the GSU debate team this year.  Since I havent coached or judged since about 1999/2000, here is a tentative judging disclosure.  I will be in the pool at GSU, so I thought this might be helpful for those of you coming to Atlanta.
  I debated in high school and college and coached intercollegiate debate from 1990-1992, and 1994-1999.  I judged some debates at the last two GSU tournaments.  I don?t think I have lost much in the way of debate knowledge (theory, conventions, etc.) but I am absolutely sure I have lost some judging skill (my flowing is not as good as it used to be, for example, see below).  
  I expect that you treat your opponents, your partner, and me with respect (this should be standard procedure when you are debating in front of a judge you don?t know).  If something is going on that I really don?t like, I will let you know.
  At least two things haven?t changed: my goals are 1) to be fair and 2) to make the best decision possible given the resources I have at my disposal.  I think there is some point at which taking longer to make a decision has diminishing returns for me.  I will explain my decision as clearly as possible, be happy engage questions about my decision, and won?t mind too much if you don?t agree with me.  I usually don?t assign points until after the post-round discussion.  Take that for what it?s worth.  
  I can?t flow as well as I used to, but this is getting better as I watch debates (I have listened to some practice debates recently).  You are more likely to win the debate if you make good arguments and I understand them.  I will verbally tell you if I do not understand you once or twice.  Overall, focus on clarity and you should be good.  If your tags are long and complicated, you should slow down and be extra clear when reading them.
  I make decisions based on my understanding of what debaters say, so I need to understand you.  I tend to not look at evidence after the debate unless there is an actual controversy about what a piece of evidence says, or if there is a substantive debate that makes concrete claims of comparison about the quality of evidence.  
  I am more comfortable judging ?traditional? policy debates than critique debates.  I haven?t seen any performance debates so I can?t say much about them.  I am open to ?alternative? (?non-traditional?) approaches to debate, but since I don?t have much exposure to the theory behind them, teams debating these styles will need to do more work to orient me to the argument(s).  I will be happy to reveal as much as I can before the debate about what I know or have been exposed to, for your information.

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