Lee Bartlett Judging Philosophy


I’m Lee Bartlett and I debated NPDA at WWU from 2010-15. I was persistent enough to make it to eventually make it to outrounds at both NPDA and NPTE. This will be my first time back in the activity in two years, so fair warning. I’ve written some cases in the meantime, and more recently watched some rounds and looked over some newer files to get a taste of what I should be expecting so I’m not too worried about that being a huge deal.

P.S. I swear a lot; “fuck” has basically replaced “uh” as my filler word, for better or worse. I’ll try and keep in it check, but don’t think I’m pissed or anything if I swear during my RFD or something.

General Guidelines:
Don’t be a jerk is pretty much my general guideline for anything. If you are being a jerk, I will not hesitate to dock speaks and possibly more. I’m fine with some jokes and firing some shots, but chill on shit like generic ad hominem “Their arguments are LAUGHABLE” sort of shit.

You only have to take a single question, but if there are clearly real questions about the position, please do your best to help understanding of the other team—don’t try and win off a lack of clarity.

I will fact check, so if there is a discrepancy regarding whose claim is true, flag it, and if you can cite your source to make it easier to validate.

I will give 2-3 “CLEAR!” warnings before giving up. Speed for speed’s sake is bad, and I highly recommend starting off slow at the start of your speech as I get acclimated to your voice before you ramp up. Efficient argumentation at a fair clip will almost always sound better and get you further than stumbling over yourself with frantic double-breathing.

With texts (advocacies, CPs, alts, etc.) and interps, read them twice, without exception. In addition, copies of the text must be given to both myself and the opposition. It may be a good idea to do so with interps as well, so use your own judgment. And please state the status of your CP/Alt/whatever as soon as possible. Writing out copies of a perm text is often unnecessary, but if word order is important (as it often is) please do to minimize potential confusion.

Past that, some general tips for success. Good organization is key; if you’re pointing directly to the b) point under your second Internal-Link on the Advantage during your PMR that makes it so much easier to put the puzzle pieces together for your team than the opposition. Second would be just to remember to do impact calculus. Please don’t make me figure out on my own which is worse between a .1% of a nuclear war and a 100% chance of 100 people being dehumanized. There’s frequently a way for both teams to win at the end of the debate so again, the easier it is to write the ballot for you, the better.

This is probably my favorite thing to see in Parli, only because it takes the best advantage of Parli’s perpetually changing round resolutions. Most cases will be fairly unique by default because they have to adhere to the stipulations of the resolution. I can even enjoy politics, though it’s definitely the most generic of the arguments. That said, I’m assuming it’ll be all-Trump-all-the-time this weekend, so if you’re bold enough to feel like you can impact turn and go Trump good on it, I’d love to see that.

For CPs, I’m down with both conditional and unconditional. I don’t think making your CP condi has much of a strategic purpose unless you’re running a CP and a K, so unless the Neg takes that path, I’d advise against the Aff wasting time on a procedural. But, if that’s the path you want to take vs a CP/K, you do that.

In general, I think these were way underutilized when I was debating, and I think trying to repeatedly take the road of “Whatever we can still beat them at their own game why run a procedural” was probably one of the worst decisions I repeatedly made as a debater. Blatant time-suck Ts are still pretty lame, but I’m very open to voting on most procedurals. I understand a procedural as consisting of an interpretation, an explanation as to why the other side violates that interpretation, a list of standards as to why that’s the best way to interpret, and then voters to explain why it’s important to vote them down for violating your interp. The other side needs to read a counter-interpretation to have offense on the position, explain how they meet their own interpretation, potentially explain how they actually do meet the first interpretation, and then provide counter-standards and/or explain why their interpretation satisfies the other team’s standard’s better, as well as probably put a blip or two in regards to why T shouldn’t be a voter. I probably won’t be voting for an RVI, but if it’s clearly a blatant waste-of-time timesuck, why not?

So, I was probably known most for running Baudrillard, Foucault, Post-Colonialism, and by the end of my career saying fuck it and sharing speech time with my partner. That said, I do not like the K in particular, and I think the K probably leads to a lot of shitty rounds and sometimes even just lazy debate. I respect the K’s strategic utility, but find it too often leads to ultra-generic debates. I could not tell you a single topic from my final NPTE, because I don’t think I debated the actual topic a single time during that tournament (and I wish I could’ve at least read my fairly specific environmental managerialism K). We ran it either because the judging pool was receptive to it, because we needed to beat the other side to the political left of the debate (because they ran critical positions/advocacies), or because we lacked the ability to have fully researched and fleshed out positions to compete at a sufficiently specific level.

Because of that, I respect that the K is probably a necessity, and do think it leads to good debate at times. However, I do ask you try and do what you can to tailor it to the topic. The difference between a Militarism K with vague claims about ending the interventionist mindset and a Militarism K that has specific analysis about the topic, let’s say, Syria and how changing our position here would lead to specific geo-political ramifications with ISIS, etc. is absolutely huge and is 100% going to up your speaks and make you more likely to win the ballot than a traditional clusterfuck where an under-covered framework that ends up demanding a headache inducing bout of me having to do impact calc and figure our real world vs. fiat world impacts.

I’ll also say that very few people read the lit behind their Ks, so even the people running them often don’t understand the position and can’t explain it well. If you can’t explain it well to the opponent, that’s bad news for you. I also put huge importance on the position itself making sense. I don’t think I heard a Nietzsche position until sometime in my last couple years where I felt like I could’ve understood what it was saying without outside knowledge. I may know some authors and positions, but I’m not just going to hear you say “Will to truth” and say “Oh yeah Nietzsche something k” and fill in the gaps. Buzz-words will get you nowhere, make the position make sense on face so that someone doesn’t have to have read the source text to understand what you’re saying. If you don’t, I’m probably not voting for you.

I’m honestly not sure what to say about a lot of these. They’re not bad, but I’m not sure what they’re getting you a lot of the time. Why is the ballot necessary/relevant? Is there a reason beside more people watching outrounds and talking about successful teams? Would people not pay attention to a team in a similar manner for conceding ballots, but getting speaker awards? I don’t know. They’re difficult to engage with, and so if you’re not pre-emptively disclosing to the enemy team, I will find a procedural to be very justified and advise the opposition team to not be scared by various pre-empts and warnings that of being exclusionary. It still needs to be executed right, but I am open to vote on one. These vary so much though that I find it hard to say much past that. I’d say that like before, if you can do something to better connect it to the round’s topic, I would find that very persuasive. I value Parli’s breadth of education highly, and at least in my time the community became very open to forums to address and hear grievances which can solve some of the offense had. But, I’ll have to see more specific performances and more of what’s currently being run to really say anything even remotely conclusive here.

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