Noah Trilling


I did policy debate from 03-07 (Oceans-Service) at Sheboygan North High School in Sheboygan, WI. In 07-08 (Africa) I was an assistant coach at Marquette University High School in Milwaukee, WI under head coach Bill Batterman. In 08-09 (Energy) I was the head coach of Brookfield Central High School in Brookfield, WI. In 09-10 (Poverty) I plan to judge frequently at National and Regional Tournaments. I am a junior at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee studying Sociology and Political Science.

Policy Paradigm


Paradigm-Tabula Rasa: I’m an open-minded critic but, like everyone, I have certain argument preferences. Don’t let my personal argument preferences alter your strategy, however. You should run arguments based on your pretournament preparations and the arguments you hear in the debate. The arguments that you feel most comfortable with and believe are appropriate for the round will be your best arguments. I’d rather hear arguments you’re familiar with than have you alter your strategy and not know the evidence. I will evaluate all arguments presented in the debate and attempt to minimize judge intervention (to things like mischaracterizing evidence, cheating, etc).

Delivery-Fast: This will be my seventh year involved in Varsity Policy Debate so speed isn’t an issue. Expanding on your best arguments, avoiding blippy tag-line extensions, and slowing down on theory and topicality will help you win debates by improving the clarity of your warrants and the clarity of your speech. Out carding and out tech-ing a team is not the surest way to victory. Narrowing the focus of the debate and sitting on arguments of significance does a great deal to improve the clarity of your message.

Evidence Quality: Researching high quality evidence, explaining warrants effectively, and executing case-specific strategies IS the surest way to win in front of me. At the end of the debate I almost always call for evidence. If you are overstating the quality of your evidence or mischaracterizing its claims I might simply disregard it entirely. You are absolutely responsible for providing truthful evidence from qualified sources that accurately represents the nature and scope of your claims.

How to Win
I find reasonability claims a bit illogical and unfair in the same way that I find “Counterinterpretation: Only our case is topical” illogical and unpredictable. Although competing interpretations can be a race to the bottom, the affirmative still has the burden of providing a reasonable, predictable interpretation that includes the affirmative. Instead of making vague claims about reasonability, invest time in how your counterinterpretation is grounded in a literature base, preserves core affirmative cases or preserves negative counterplan, kritik and disadvantage ground.

That being said, I don’t like voting on topicality. I’d much rather resolve substantive issues about the plan than deal with absurd distinctions on the definition of increase or substantial that have no effect on the division of ground. Negatives need to spend a substantial amount of time in the block and the 2NR explaining the significance of the violation in terms of specific ground and education losses.

Theory: I am growing increasingly disturbed by the proliferation of blatantly non-competitive plan-inclusive counterplans designed to conform to generic disadvantages (spending, politics, etc). Negatives need to be more creative, plan case-specific strategies and cut advantage counterplans instead of avoiding debating the case.

However, like topicality, I would much rather resolve substantive issues about the plan than vote on cheap shot theory arguments. PICs are one of the few theory arguments I have strong feelings about. I also typically find theory as a reason to reject an argument, not the team. Especially with PICs though winning theory can be a significant blow to the 2NR’s impact calculus.

Kritiks: Kritiks are excellent when they are executed properly. However, it is important that you are able to explain the significance of your impact, especially if it is operating outside the traditional utilitarian/policymaking framework. You also need to explain how the alternative functions to overcome the status quo and solve the 1AC.

Many teams have difficulty answering kritiks and I don’t understand why. Kritik alternatives tend to greatly overstate the impact of their adoption. Its important for affirmative teams to highlight the specificity of 1AC solvency evidence to create solvency deficits to the alternative. Instead of allowing kritik hacks to dominate the internal link debates, remind me of the practicality of the affirmative and its ability to create incremental positive change.

Counterplans: Counterplans need to be functionally competitive and have a solvency advocate. As I noted above, I am not a big fan of a lot of Generic PICs. Most generic PICs cede too much of the solvency and impact debate to the affirmative. At the same time, PICs rarely capture the intent and the specificity of the 1AC cards, leaving the negatives with a solvency deficit. Instead of running generic PICs to capture 1AC solvency evidence, run advantage counterplans or case specific PICs with specific solvency evidence, internal net-benefits, case-specific disadvantages and impact turns on case.

Disadvantages/Case: I generally file all globally cataclysmic events (environmental collapse, nuclear war, extinction, etc) in the same category of terrible fates. To win you should emphasize probability in impact analysis. Having high quality evidence and extrapolating their warrants will go a long way to convince me of the probability of your impact scenarios. Focusing on smaller impact scenarios is a great way to distinguish your plan from the solvency claims in PICs, big disadvantages, and kritik impact turns and alternatives.

Speaker Point
30/29.5-Perfect/Excellent: A perfect or nearly perfect performance.

29/28.5-Above Average: A good performance that combines technicality, strategic execution, and impressive evidence quality. These speakers should be in contention to break and receive a speaker award.

28/27.5-Average: This indicates an average performance. I would give these to a team with sufficient technical skills and execution to win the debate, but perhaps not in contention to clear or win a speaker award.

27/26.5-Below Average: This indicates a poor performance such as a major strategic error or technical error that had an effect on the outcome of the debate. These will usually be given to a losing team that struggled throughout the entire debate or a debater who made an especially serious strategic error.

Lincoln Douglas Paradigm

I debated my senior year in Lincoln Douglas Debate, competing with some success in state but with very little national circuit experience. Most of my experience in the debate community comes from my experience participating in and coaching varsity policy debate. I included my varsity paradigm below to give you further insight into my judging philosophy and feelings on the activity. The overview to my policy debate philosophy and the speaker point scale would be worth noting.

Given my policy background, most of my knowledge about debate theory comes from my experience in policy debate. I'm familiar with theory arguments like topicality and conditionality but most other high tech theory arguments are going to require explanation. You may need to slow down on these arguments and explain them more thoroughly. Although i am not terribly familiar with theory in lincoln douglas, I will be very receptive to any of these types of arguments. Both sides can establish burdens as they see fit. Debates about how to evaluate the real world implications of the resolution vs evaluating the resolution as a truth claim are invited and will help me resolve the meta-issues of the debate.

The nature of your arguments is much less important to me than the quality of your arguments. My view on evidence quality in policy debate are applied equally, if not moreso in lincoln douglas debate. I will be keeping a rigorous flow of the round, so be sure to address arguments line by line. In the final rebuttals emphasize crystallization and on impacting to your standard. Weighing your impacts and your standard is the surest way to win my ballot.