[eDebate] Judging Philosophies - Please Read

Chris Crowe velcrowe
Thu Mar 5 14:18:19 CST 2009

Hello all,

     I've updated my judging philosophy (most everyone thinks it was very
uninformative) and encourage others to do so in the run-up to CEDA and the
NDT, especially younger judges.  I put my philosophy below because I want
some feedback on it.  I did a small study trying to figure out what debaters
might want to know about particular kinds of debate I judge.  This was a
very debate-nerdy thing to do, so naturally, it was awesome.  Email me if
you think this is informative at all, have any suggestions, or think it is
the biggest waste of time ever.  Hopefully the formatting sends correctly...

-Chris Crowe

Chris Crowe

University of Wyoming

78 Rounds on the 2008-2009 Agriculture Topic (42 Aff/33 Neg)

69 Rounds excluding JV, a late forfeit, and the Wyoming Scrimmage (38 Aff/28

Most debaters reading philosophies are either total debate geeks that just
like to know general tendencies, or are just wondering if a judge likes the
K or not.

I did a small analysis of how I?ve voted in particular styles of debates
this year to maybe give some insight into the points of contention one might
want to capitalize on.  Hopefully this can help you figure out the answer to
the question, ?What the hell is with the aff hackery, Crowe??

I broke the debates I judged down into four categories:

1) Policy Aff vs. Policy Neg,

2) Kritik Aff vs. Kritik Neg,

3) Policy Aff vs. Kritik Neg, and

4) Kritik Aff vs. Policy Neg.


Policy Aff:      an affirmative case that instrumentally defends the outcome
of their policy.  If the advantages are contingent entirely on the
implementation of the plan, it falls into this category.  For example,
affirmatives that defend the plan is needed to solve ?hunger? and that one
starving person outweighs a nuke war are a ?policy aff.?

Policy Neg:     in these debates, the 2NR went for an argument that?s link
derives exclusively from the implementation of the plan (disads, case args,
counterplans).  Framework arguments forcing the affirmative to defend the
instrumental implementation of the plan and topicality arguments are
included in this category.

Kritik Aff:       an affirmative case that defends something other than
exclusively an instrumental adoption of the plan.  2ARs that go for
something like gendered language or speed bad or an argument that similarly
is not about their plan are lumped into this category.

Kritik Neg:      in these debates, the 2NR went for an argument that?s link
derives from something other than (or in addition to) the implementation of
the plan.  Some ?kritiks? that are *mostly* debated like disadvantages
(capitalism, civilization bad, etc.) are lumped into this category for
distinction conveniences and because they at least *sometimes* include some
epistemological/ontological/other element as well.  I also included
counterplans that PIC out of a word or phrase that have no real functionally
competitive component that is relevant to the net-benefit.


Policy Aff vs. Policy Neg:      23 Debates (16 Aff/7 Neg)

Kritik Aff vs. Kritik Neg:       12 Debates (6 Aff/6 Neg)

Policy Aff vs. Kritik Neg:      20 Debates (14 Aff/6 Neg)

Kritik Aff vs. Policy Neg:      14 Debates (5 Aff/9 Neg)


Policy Aff vs. Policy Neg:      I think a few main things account for the
aff-leaning here; 1) I voted aff in every topicality debate [twice], 2)
there were a few instances where negatives went for counterplans that were
deemed not competitive, 3) a lack of case debate in the 2NR usually inflated
the magnitude of the risk of a solvency deficit to a counterplan, and 4) the
negative didn?t control impact framing or ?even-if? situations.

Kritik Aff vs. Kritik Neg:       I thought this section would be more neg
heavy because, in general, some kritik affs don?t have good justifications
for their plan, and the negative usually capitalizes on some version of a
?state bad? argument.  But everything?s even here, so maybe it?s just luck
of the draw.

Policy Aff vs. Kritik Neg:      Another aff-leaning record and I think it?s
because 1) negatives were behind on the spin against the ?truth? of the
advantages [whether or not the aff solved them], 2) difficulties defending
alternatives theoretically [mostly the agent of the alternative or whether
or not the alternative rejected more than just the plan].  It seems an
alternative that just rejects the affirmative wins more often when it?s
explained as a criticism of the aff?s method that is a voting issue in
itself.  Without this, many of these alternatives have uniqueness problems
[e.g. I voted aff against the cap K twice because of ?subsidy cuts coming
now? evidence].  If an alternative rejects more than the aff/plan, then the
neg needs to win the spin on the classic ?alternative overcomes the link to
the aff? double-bind.

Kritik Aff vs. Policy Neg:      Two clear reasons this has leaned neg: 1)
kritik affs having difficulties rationalizing their criticism of a disad or
deontology-flavored arguments in the face of a counterplan that solves the
entire aff.  Many times, the affs that lost didn?t advance any credible
solvency deficits to the counterplans. 2) framework debates where the aff
lost/conceded one of two arguments: A) there?s a topical version of the aff,
and B) unpredictable nature of the aff means a judge can?t determine that
their impacts are true because they didn?t have the opportunity to be tested


"I believe I have an obligation to work as hard at judging as the debaters
do preparing for the

debates. I will read evidence. I do expect debaters to be comprehensible and
I have no qualms about telling you if I can't understand you. I try my best
to resolve a debate based on what the debaters have said in their speeches."

-Scott Harris

"It's a little harder to get me to vote on a cheap-shot than with other
judges. By default, I assume that a cheap-shot is a reason to reject the
argument rather than the team - even if the other team drops the cheap shot.
You can get me to vote on a cheap shot only if you give a reason why it's a
reason to reject the team."
-David Heidt

"I think CX could be used more effectively in most debates, especially to
clarify arguments and get commitments. CX answers are usually binding (e.g.
what the plan does), but are relevant only as they are used to make
arguments in speeches. I try to take notes on CX regarding matters like what
the plan and counterplan actually do."
-Ken Strange

"Even if...because...: Yeah, I ripped this idea off from Becky Galentine, I
know, but I have yet to hear a more effective tool for rebuttals. You aren't
winning everything. So it would behoove you to protect yourself by
indicating why you still win even if your opponent should win some of their
important arguments."
-Adam Symonds

"IF AT ALL POSSIBLE, TELL A JOKE AND HAVE FUN. Debate is a good activity,
but not if you're wound up so tight that you aren't enjoying yourself. There
is no professional debate; you are only doing this because you like it.
Don't lose sight of that."
-Jon Bruschke

IF AT ALL CONFUSED about any of this...just read Josh Branson's philosophy.

Christopher Crowe
University of Wyoming
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