David Mooers Judging Paradigm

Background: I originally come from Salt Lake City, Utah, where I debated policy for four years. I graduated in the spring of 2009 with a BA in History from Stanford University, but I did not debate during college. In high school I competed both locally and on a limited level nationally, which means I went to two to four national tournaments each year. I have judged occasionally in Utah the last few years, and at a few tournaments in Wisconsin so far this year, where I've primarily been placed in the Public Forum pool, though I've also judged novice/JV policy, and LD.

I'll be separating my paradigm into two sections, as I feel comfortable judging both LD and policy.

Policy Debate

Overall, I consider the round yours to do with as you will. That means I'll consider the arguments as presented, and attempt to evaluate them as such. It also places a heavy burden on teams attempting to control how I judge - tell me where to vote and why to vote there - that means both impact analysis (why your impact is greater/more likely/faster/etc than theirs) and reference to other issues in the round. (why theory comes before topicality, for instance). I am not entirely neutral, because I am a thinking person, and so your arguments need to make sense, so if you're arguing a non-conventional position, you need to be clear and heavily warranted. I'll certainly listen to them, and have no problem voting for them (I won a few rounds in high school on performative contradictions good) but it'll be tough. In the absence of instyructions from the teams on how to vote, I evaluate topicality first, then theory arguments (if relevant), then case/DAs/CPs. K's tend to work themselves out, in the round. I suppose you'd call that a policy-maker paradigm.

Speed: Be clear. If you're not I'll yell at you. If you don't slow down/get clear I'll stop listening to you, and give you terrible speaks. Otherwise, go as fast as you like - though if you're reading 20 two-sentence cards and failing to distinguish between authors, tags, and card text, as you can expect I'll have trouble following you. Theory is also potentially problematic here, but more when you're reading theory blocks than in later speeches, where you have to find your place on the flow as well.

Topicality: I like T. My partner and I tended to run K's and T' (often 1/2 K's and 3-4 T in the 1NC, and I'd go for 5 minutes of T in the 1NR). I do want clear voters - in-round abuse (real or carefully constructed) is most persuasive, though potential abuse/strat skew works, and I'm not opposed to voting on jurisdiction. I care more about tech than truth on T - I won most of my aff rounds my senior by being blatantly untopical and beating the other team on the flow.

Theory: I also like theory, but that doesn't mean it's an automatic win for either team - I have a bit higher threshold for voting on potential abuse on theory than on T. Articulation of specific abuse scenarios and ways the theory impacted the progression of the round are very compelling, though tying that to a general interpretation of how debate should be constructed is good - I'd love it if teams used some of topicality's structure to debate theory - outline an interpretation of debate, explain why your interpretation is good for debate and theirs bad (in-round abuse goes here), and then why I should vote on it.

Counterplans: go for it. I presume negatives have fiat and the ability to run pretty much any time of CP unless the aff calls them on it.

K's: I don't know every K on the current topic, so you'll need to make sure you have a solid overview, especially later in the round, but otherwise I'm comfortable with them. I prefer K's that operate in the world of the round, with specific impacts, over K's that, for instance, claim fiat doesn't exist. Feel free to run one of those, but it means you're assuming the burden of proof. I do like alternatives, but it's the aff's job to force you to provide them. If you don't have one, they need to tell me why it's a voting issue.

Conditionality/Negation Theory: I don't mind conditional counter-plans/k's - it just means there's a theory debate to be had. Negation theory, though, is tough to win on, just because there are so many good responses by affirmatives.

An aside: I don't particularly want to read your evidence after the round. If it's awesome, tell me why. Don't tell me it's awesome - reference the specific warrants it made, and how they interact with the arguments on the flow. That's significantly more compelling than forcing me to try and resolve every piece of evidence in the round.


The first thing to know? I was a policy debater. That means I'm comfortable with speed and fairly on top of the flow, but less comfortable with specific LD terminology.

One thing I really enjoy about LD is that it comes with its own built-in impact analysis - your Value/Criterion debate. What does that mean? The Value and Criterion are where I look to decide how to judge. They're the framework through which I view the arguments on the flow. As such, you need to tie all of your (hopefully spectacular) arguments back to the values and criterions. (Not just your own - you might lose the value/criterion debate, and I don't particularly care who wins it. It's just a way for me to judge the other issues in the round. Feel free to concede the value/criterion if you're beating them on who links best to their value/criterion) More sophisticated debaters, ones who want to win, will also weigh their arguments against their opponents - remember they'll also be trying to link back to the value and criterion.

While I believe the affirmative has the burden of proof, and that means they need offense proving the resolution is right, that doesn't absolve negatives from needing offense. Claiming something is difficult, unlikely, etc is not the same as saying I shouldn't do it. You need offense against the affirmative's case, and then to tie that back to the resolution. If you want me to vote otherwise, argue about it in round.