John Neal: Retired Attorney. Debated in high school and college during what I am sure most of you will think was the "stone age".

The top portion of this judging paradigm narrative deals with policy debate.....bottom portion deals is L.D. debate


Number of rounds judged lifetime: Well over 1000 rounds I am sure---_30+ years of judging_
Number of rounds judged this season: 12_
List other schools which you may have current/past affiliations with and should not judge?
None
Your experience with academic debate (check those that apply).

_x_. Policy debater in college _
_x Frequently judge policy debate

Approximately how many years have you judged policy debate?
30+ years
Which of the following best describes your judging paradigm?

Stock Issues

How do you regard topicality as an issue in a debate? Please explain.
It is important if the case is clearly untopical and abusive. If not, it becomes a time waster—argue it sparingly.

Would you vote for a counter-plan? If so, what criteria must be met? Please explain.
Yes—must be non-topical, mutually exclusive, and have additional advantages to overcome presumption. Not particularly fond of counterplans because I believe Neg. team gives away too much when they decide to run a c.p. I don’t like PIC’s either.

As a judge, what is your attitude toward generic disadvantages?
I prefer case-specific arguments—including disadvantages. If generic, spend some time trying to make the link to aff. Plan---clear and believable.

Do you accept conditional negative positions? Why or why not?
No. Neg must be consistent in arguments and not shift advocacy in the middle of the round. I believe Negs need to defend what they propose. If the conditional arguments contradict, then Neg. must choose one position or the other.

Do you enjoy hearing debate theory arguments in a round? Why or why not?
Not really—substantive policy arguments against opponents are always preferable. Leave the theory for the textbooks and on-line chat rooms.

Comment on the delivery style you would prefer to hear in a debate.
A delivery style that is clear and coherent. If you can be clear speaking rapidly, fine. Most debaters are not able to do this. Remember, my definition of clear and the debaters in the round could differ substantially. Since I believe that this is a communication activity, I need to be able to understand a debater’s arguments. If I cannot understand what you are saying…the argument is not in the round. So Please ADAPT your delivery style to me....or don't be disappointed with the outcome of the round.

Please write a few sentences describing the “ideal” debate round you, personally, would prefer to judge. You may want to comment on debating style, quantity and quality of arguments, analysis, evidence, refutation, etc.

Ideally, debate is both a communication and argumentation activity. Good arguments, well supported, clearly presented should prevail. I like clash, case-specific analysis that is persuasively delivered. Doesn’t have to be oratorical, but should be clear what voting issues are and tell my why you should win the round.

What is your attitude toward “kritiks?”
Don’t like them. Given my judging paradigm, (stock issues), I don’t know how to evaluate a “kritik”. How does it impact a policy decision? If the philosophy is solid for the kritik, you should be able to structure it into a compelling disadvantage that I will vote for.


Comments related to L.D. Debate


Judged at least 25 L.D. rounds this season and have judged several rounds on this specific topic.

My experience in debate was as a policy debate in both high school and college. I have judged Wisconsin debate for 30 plus years. I have been involved as a policy debater..both high school and college and did one year of coaching at Ripon College many years ago. With regard to L.D., I have judged L.D. debate for over 15 years and enjoy it now far more than policy debate. I see debate as a communication activity which is what L.D. is all about--- requiring debaters to speak clearly and at a rate that is comprehensible. An L.D. debater should always clearly articulate what the voting issues are and why he/she should win the round.

Because of my policy background, I do believe that the affirmative does have the burden to prove his/her case in order for me to support the resolution. Since all debate is/should be based on the legal model that one is innocent until proven guilty....I believe that the affirmative team does have an obligation to prove the resolution to be true before I can cast a vote in favor of the resolution. Therefore, the negative only is required to prove the resolution false. The negative side also has a huge time advantage with the structure of L.D. debate. However, if affirmative carries the value in the round, which is hopefully supported most effectively through his/her case, affirmative is likely to win…..so the value debate is very important. The current topic in my opinion favors the affirmative based on the literature and what leaders in the health field would advocate. Therefore, the natural time advantage the negative side has is more than offset by the advocacy literature/evidence available to the affirmative side.

I think it is difficult for Affirmative to win the round if he/she doesn’t carry the value….assuming both sides are arguing different values. So, yes….I believe that winning the value/criteria debate is essential for a debater to win (especially aff.) However, if both sides are defending the same value….then I vote for the individual that best meets that value. It would be difficult to “sell” me on the most desirable world/worldview independent of the value being defended. It could only be sufficient to win the round if the worldview encompasses the better value or the agreed upon value by the debaters. However, with that said....every round is different. Sometimes the value is not a big issue in the round for whatever reason. I don't impose my views in the debate and judge on what the L.D. debaters have decided should be the issues....which doesn't always involve value advocacy.

Ideal Debate: Debate is an argumentation and communication activity and there is CLASH between the two teams. Make sure you chrystalize the debate into voting issues during your rebuttals--especially why the value and value criterion you are defending should prevail. Makes my job much easier that way. Good Luck to all the participants.