RSD logo

Next Tournament: Sunday, February 14, 2021

Five of our Division 2 clubs (Falcon, Firehawk, Husky, Polar Bear, and Tiger) are squaring off at our second online tournament of the 2020-2021 year. Only participants and their friends and family are permitted to attend, but check our video page after the event for selected video from the tournament.

The topic for the tournament is “In the U.S., fines should be scaled based on a person’s income.” In the U.S. status quo, legally imposed fines (for example, fines associated with traffic tickets, or criminal penalties) are generally structured as a flat fee, regardless of a person’s income level. This resolution proposes to alter the system to calculate fines as a share of the person’s income, so that fines would inflict comparable levels of suffering on people who receive them.

Judge Paradigms

READY SET DEBATE Statement to Debaters: You will benefit from a clearly stated and appropriate framework, and you’ll gain a significant advantage on the ballot if you implement your framework consistently throughout the debate. A full line-by-line rebuttal as very important, and you are encouraged to ask clarifying questions in CX if you missed any of your opponents’ case. A great way to persuade the judge to vote for you is to bring in clear and realistic impacts and convincingly demonstrate that they outweigh your opponents’ impacts. Judges won’t vote against you based on speed, but be aware that they can only flow so fast, so speak quickly at your own risk. Judges are commonly impressed by debaters who adopt a “confident, friendly, open-minded educator and collaborator” approach in their presentations. They generally look poorly upon disruptive, disrespectful, and/or belligerent conduct from debaters. While they generally will not vote against you for this conduct alone, it will guarantee you low speaker points. Judges should have a policy of viewing a round “tabula rasa” (clean slate), unless they know the competitors have been instructed to expect that the judge will be familiar with aspect(s) of the resolution. This means a judge would generally expect debaters to clearly explain any aspects of the resolution that I might not be familiar with. Judges do not tolerate dishonesty in debate, and they almost always vote against otherwise competent debaters who clearly exhibit intentional dishonesty.

Megan Arbuckle

I like to see well-constructed, organized cases with sufficient evidence and reasoning. I usually won’t decide based on your evidence alone; your argumentation and analysis are far more important. Line-by-line refutation with clear signposting is key. All refutation should be addressed clearly enough that I know exactly what point it applies to. Additionally, just telling me one argument or piece of evidence refutes someone’s entire case without explaining or impacting why is not an argument that I will easily buy. I won’t vote based on speaking presence, but having a professional tone (which includes being polite and cordial to your opponent) is a key factor in any good argument. Also, “speak quickly at your own risk” is a very good policy for me, as well. I am much more likely to vote on well-developed arguments than the number of arguments on the page, and I need to be able to understand what you are saying to know that your arguments are well-developed. I would also echo the general paradigm’s view on dishonesty; it will not be tolerated, and will definitely impact your likelihood of gaining my vote.

Steven Errico

I like to see a clearly stated and appropriate framework, used consistently throughout the debate. Full line-by-line rebuttal is very important; ask clarifying questions in CX if you missed any of your opponents’ case. Impact your arguments and show how they outweigh your opponent’s arguments. I won’t vote on speaker points, but your speaking will affect your persuasion. I prefer a friendly, conversational tone, but I don’t mind if you speak fast. Respect your opponent, and you’ll do fine. I will judge based only on what is presented in the round, so make sure you present what you want me to consider. The one exception to this is if I see fabricated evidence.

Josh Johnson

I agree with the general paradigm above except: (1) I can flow as fast as the debaters speak, so that shouldn’t be an issue. (2) It is important to me that the Pro fulfills their burden of proof and explains how that plays out within their framework.

Joseph Lee

I appreciate having a clear and engaging framework of thought throughout the debate. Debaters should focus on using impactful evidence to clearly demonstrate how your arguments outweigh your opponent’s. Speakers who use their time efficiently are favorable. I will be voting on speaker points, but you will be fine as long as you maintain a respectful, conversational tone. I do not mind if you speak fast.

Grayson Sumpter

My RFD will come down to two things: your evidence and your reasoning. Define terms well, especially if you want to define something unconventionally or a word you are trying to use isn’t necessarily clear. I will try to assess the debate as if I only have common knowledge to avoid bias; but don’t lie to me. Establish the conditions you need to meet to win the debate, then show me how you’ve met them. Concise, well paced speaking will do much better than rushed speaking. I need to be able to flow and I need to be able to understand what you’re arguing. Telegraph your main points clearly and emphasize what you think is most important so I see it; I will assume you value what you spend your time on. A few strong arguments is better than a bunch of weak arguments delivered in a rapid-fire manner so as to overwhelm one’s opponent. Overall, have fun. Show good sportsmanship, good conduct, and good faith. I will not tolerate dishonesty of any kind. It’s ok to be aggressive and passionate, but don’t be rude. I want a good, clean, fair, debate, but that shouldn’t be a problem.


Emma Waite

I vote based on overall persuasive ability. Responding to everything your opponent says, line by line, is very important. I will count dropped points against you. Present strong logical analysis with good evidence to back it up, and make sure to impact everything back to the resolution. Framework is important, but it shouldn’t be everything. Make it reasonable and fair, and keep it consistent. I won’t vote you down for speaking ability, but I will vote you down for inappropriate or extremely unsportsmanlike conduct.