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Tehnikhil

Lay judges

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My coach tells me that I am still too early to worry about lay judging, but they still do concern me, because one almost stopped me from breaking (speaks saved me with a 3-2). I hit a broadband aff and went for a CP which solved for their case and means testing which was dropped. It was a two plank CP, and when they claimed our CP didn't solve in teh 1ar, in the 2nr, I mentioned the plank that showed that we did solve. They then stood up, and gave a 2ar that claimed we changed our CP text and that that was abusive and we should be voted down, even though I said that I was only mentioning the part that showed that we solved for their case in the 2nr. The judge didn't ask to look at our text or anything in the end, but instead just voted us down because she believed the 2ar.

 

So, in order to avoid issues like this in the future, I was wondering if I could hear some suggestions on what to do with lay judges (and people who make BS 2ar's). Neg is my main concern, since neg has some of the more complicated arguments (K's, complicated moral decisions, conditionality).

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My coach tells me that I am still too early to worry about lay judging, but they still do concern me, because one almost stopped me from breaking (speaks saved me with a 3-2). I hit a broadband aff and went for a CP which solved for their case and means testing which was dropped. It was a two plank CP, and when they claimed our CP didn't solve in teh 1ar, in the 2nr, I mentioned the plank that showed that we did solve. They then stood up, and gave a 2ar that claimed we changed our CP text and that that was abusive and we should be voted down, even though I said that I was only mentioning the part that showed that we solved for their case in the 2nr. The judge didn't ask to look at our text or anything in the end, but instead just voted us down because she believed the 2ar.

 

So, in order to avoid issues like this in the future, I was wondering if I could hear some suggestions on what to do with lay judges (and people who make BS 2ar's). Neg is my main concern, since neg has some of the more complicated arguments (K's, complicated moral decisions, conditionality).

 

 

First off, define lay judge. For most people, a lay judge is someone who is unfamiliar with the activity. In that case, do you think it is wise to be running a counterplan, critiques, conditionality etc is wise when the judge probably doesnt even understand that debate is structured around the premise of an argument - "claim & warrant"? Its just poor decisionmaking.

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Well, we did explain that the counterplan was a way of showing a better way of doing the plan, for about a minute. Would that not be enough?

 

I didn't run any topicality, K's, theory, non-util arguments, etc. I only ran a CP, a DA, and case defense. I would guess that that wouldn't be too complicated

 

I guess she wasn't a complete lay judge since she did understand that plans and counterplans were bound by a text since she voted us down on that, but she was a debater's mother and it was her first tourney judging. So, she may have just figured out a few bits and pieces here and there.

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coming from an area where about 95% of our judges are lay, I would suggest trying to avoid counterplans in front of them. If you do run them, make sure that you make it clear often and early why the counterplan solves the case. Even when it's in your text, lays don't really remember what the text said by the end of the debate unless you keep reminding them of what it said. Generally though, I would just stay away from CPs in front of lays. Go with one or two super-simple disads and lots of case cards. And as to BS 2ARs, my partner and I always make sure the last 10-20 seconds of the 2NR is devoted to saying something to the effect of, "protect me, judge. I don't get another speech after this, so don't let the affirmative come up here in their last speech and make any arguments that haven't already been discussed in the round." hope this helps. :-)

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Thanks a bunch :). I may still have to run a super simple counterplan (probably courts with politics) if I hit an unfamiliar aff, but that helps a lot. Thanks :).

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Thanks a bunch :). I may still have to run a super simple counterplan (probably courts with politics) if I hit an unfamiliar aff, but that helps a lot. Thanks :).

 

If your judge is unfamiliar with the activity, it would be unwise to run any counterplan at all because the affirmative alone may be bewildering enough without you introducing that into the mix. Hence, your best bet would be to go for simple arguments-such as if the plan is already in effect, it couldn't solve, or basic disadvantages (especially ones economically-oriented). Meaning I am almost positive that "courts with politics" is going to be too much.

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There tend to be less lays in varsity, though, right?

 

Also, then how woudl politics alone with running DA turns case work?

 

Also, is there any way to figure out how much a judge knows? I mean, I have had lay judges who are fine with spreading in the past as long as I made decent eye contact at least once a minute. One knew speech orders too, but he called himself a lay judge even though he said his paradigm was that of a policymaker's (probably wanted an excuse not to flow). I would just ask, "Are you fine with running counterplans", but if the person was knew more about debate that I assumed, it coudl just piss him/her off that I would ask if I could use a simple part of debate.

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Probe your judge with questions. Ask about their past experience in debate. Ask them if there are arguments they don't particularly like, or ask them about arguments you run often to get a bearing on how they feel. I guarantee that a good judge on your regional circuit will, if they're a halfway decent person, bear with you and happily answer any questions. If they're judging you on a regional circuit, they probably understand the politics and problems of that circuit. They'll accommodate, most likely.

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some times when you have a lay judge you have to toss out the standard play book. Depending on how lay a lay judge is it might not have any idea what a DA is, at that point the team that attempts to tell the most persuasive story tends to win. i have seen rounds where the judge picked up a team because they were the only people he could follow any train of logic, (other team speed/ran a k). adapt and prosper

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some times when you have a lay judge you have to toss out the standard play book. Depending on how lay a lay judge is it might not have any idea what a DA is, at that point the team that attempts to tell the most persuasive story tends to win. i have seen rounds where the judge picked up a team because they were the only people he could follow any train of logic, (other team speed/ran a k). adapt and prosper

And also consider that your judge may be quite smart, but unversed in debate jargon. So if you take 20 seconds to explain what a "disadvantage" is, you may be able to run it successfully, while you would lose a "DA" simply because the judge would have no idea what you're saying. The rebuttals should also walk the judge through the logic of the debate step-by-step. (E.g. "Aff said the plan isn't be done now, but that's not true b/c of A, B, and C; you cannot vote to make a policy that's already made. (Inherency) Then Aff said their plan will fix all of the problems they identified, but D and E show that's not the case; in fact D proves the plan is much more likely to make things worse, not better. (Solvency with a DA) Etc.)

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And also consider that your judge may be quite smart, but unversed in debate jargon. So if you take 20 seconds to explain what a "disadvantage" is, you may be able to run it successfully, while you would lose a "DA" simply because the judge would have no idea what you're saying. The rebuttals should also walk the judge through the logic of the debate step-by-step. (E.g. "Aff said the plan isn't be done now, but that's not true b/c of A, B, and C; you cannot vote to make a policy that's already made. (Inherency) Then Aff said their plan will fix all of the problems they identified, but D and E show that's not the case; in fact D proves the plan is much more likely to make things worse, not better. (Solvency with a DA) Etc.)

 

 

See, I am of the opinion that this shouldnt wait until the rebuttals. That means you lost the judge for most of the debate which went over his/her head and tried to claw back.

 

When having a lay judge, I recommend cutting your strategy short right out of the 1nc and using the time to explain the arguments so that the judge understands both the vernacular and the premise of how the debate works. If you need to, explain to the judge "when the negative presents a counterplan, we are giving the judge an option which we believe to be better than the policy the affirmative suggested in the previous speech. when you consider that we proved earlier that the aff plan cannot solve the problems they highlight because of (insert solvency argument), and the disadvantage to the affirmative policy that we argued a few minutes ago, the counterplan is a better policy because it solves the problems the affirmative highlights and avoids the disadvantage."

 

that should be in the 1nc with a lay judge.

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See, I am of the opinion that this shouldnt wait until the rebuttals. That means you lost the judge for most of the debate which went over his/her head and tried to claw back.

That's fair. I didn't mean to imply that such reasoning should wait until rebuttal, merely that it should be especially present there.

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lay judges in tournaments are both good and bad. good thing is that there is only so many things that can be run against the other team, limiting options. then again this is better if you're aff because the neg can't run complicated arguements without confusing the crap out of the judge.

however, lay judges are bad in a round because you have to take the time to make sure the judge understands what your arguments are and why they're better than the other team's. this can result in some explaining that is not usually necessary for flow judges.

strategy for the lay rounds has to be adjusted a bit because of the judge's experience with debate. just make a lot of things are clearly explained and if something like a CP or DA is run, make sure the judge understands how it links to the aff. or else they're just going to feel confused. & lay judges usually like it more when you attack on case stuff or at least from my experience. :)

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My partner and I generally run politics (usually winners win) and/or a very simple trade-off disad in front of lays. We just explain that if you do the affirmative plan, it will cause XYZ bill to pass (or not to pass) in congress and that would be worse than the scenarios explained in the affirmative case because of ABC reason. It tends to work pretty well as long as you do lots of explaining and impact analysis. Never run more than one or two off with a lay judge. Your time is far better spent explaining and putting arguments on case. If you must run a counterplan, explain that it's "a way to fix the problems with the current system while avoiding problems caused by the affirmative plan" I've found that a good way to explain counterplans is to say "just like in congress, the house of representatives may pass a bill, then the senate may change things in the bill and pass a different version, we are presenting a better version of the affirmative plan" That seems to make sense to lays.

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My partner and I generally run politics (usually winners win) and/or a very simple trade-off disad in front of lays. We just explain that if you do the affirmative plan, it will cause XYZ bill to pass (or not to pass) in congress and that would be worse than the scenarios explained in the affirmative case because of ABC reason. It tends to work pretty well as long as you do lots of explaining and impact analysis.

Please ignore this advice. I don't care how much "simplifying" you claim to do, the only instance where reading a politics DA might be strategic in front of a lay judge is (1) if your goal is to confuse your average mom or pop critic senseless, or (2) if you're trying to get them to think that you're a babbling idiot and want them to evaluate your arguments accordingly.

 

Parents won't vote for arguments they won't understand. Nine out of ten times politics does not qualify as a persuasive or understandable argument. The time you are wasting trying to explain what terms like "political capital" and "winners win" mean would be time much better spent reading nuanced, specific case turns.

 

Remember, lay critics generally expect a certain type of debate when they walk into the room, which is a debate primarily centered around the plan and its effects. Deviate from that model at your own risk.

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As a long-time debater and judge I can say that one of the more important things in debate is judge adaptation.

 

Probably the most important thing my coach told me my sophomore year in high school was "If the judge voted against you...you probably lost." Debate has a lost of subjectivity involved and you have to understand that. As a result, you typically should not blame rounds on "lay judges." This is not saying that all judges are equal but rather lay judges do not go into the round telling themselves: "I think I am going to vote affirmative today" or "I am not voting for you (before the debate takes place". This means that the judge you have is responsive to what you say and it may take a different form of convincing.

 

It seems like running a 2-plank counterplan might have some problems and if you know the judge does not have a lot of judging or debate experience you should adapt accordingly. The better team should win regardless of who the judge is because they tend to be more apt at adapting.

 

Frame the debate such that "as a judge you vote for the better policy option, the affirmative has conceded that our counterplan solves the case better than the affirmative meaning as a policymaker and intellectual individual you have to vote negative." ...ok dont say exactly that, but something of that nature that can communicate the round well.

 

I do agree with what someone said about telling the judge not to let the other team make new arguments in the 2AR because the negative does not have another speech to respond to those arguments.

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Coming from an area with basically all lay judges, I think it's fairly safe to say that it's really easy for 2AR's to get away with just about anything. You also probably don't want to run counterplans, because there have been instances where the judge thinks that the neg is affirming the resolution and thus votes aff. With lay judges, try to go lots of case and maybe a DA. The way most lay judges are won over in my area is through inherency+solvency in the 2NR. Mainly solvency. However, even if you have horrible arguments, delivery is absolutely essential. Most of these people can't flow, and so you want to organize the flow for them, define everything briefly, and basically teach them debate throughout your speech. Overviews and underviews are generally recommended. Also try to remember that these judges are tired and bored, and probably really don't care about the topic at hand. Convincing them that you care is important. Cross-ex is also HUGE. If you make your opponent look stupid, the judge remembers that. I guess the best way to explain it is that if you go into a round with a lay judge, assume that they have an IQ of 0. Assume they are dumb and cannot think. They probably can, but assuming this generally makes for a better win percentage.

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Coming from Kansas where lay debate is the primary form of debate a few things to keep in mind

- Politics DA's are not a great idea- Does it really make any sense that because you pass some plan a major bill won't pass and that leads to nuclear war? I know when my mom judged she didn't think so

- Case is the best way to go- Lay judges don't evaluate the round in terms of an offense/defense paradigm meaning that you can get away with just making a lot of logical case arguments.

- Read the other teams 1AC- during the 1NC and 2AC read the 1AC and then pick apart stupid parts of the evidence or unqualified sources- it sounds stupid but it tends to work well

- Don't ever use debate jargon!

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Please ignore this advice. I don't care how much "simplifying" you claim to do, the only instance where reading a politics DA might be strategic in front of a lay judge is (1) if your goal is to confuse your average mom or pop critic senseless, or (2) if you're trying to get them to think that you're a babbling idiot and want them to evaluate your arguments accordingly.

 

Parents won't vote for arguments they won't understand. Nine out of ten times politics does not qualify as a persuasive or understandable argument. The time you are wasting trying to explain what terms like "political capital" and "winners win" mean would be time much better spent reading nuanced, specific case turns.

 

Remember, lay critics generally expect a certain type of debate when they walk into the room, which is a debate primarily centered around the plan and its effects. Deviate from that model at your own risk.

QFA

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Don't be afraid to explain some simple debate concepts that your judge needs to know. Don't make them feel stupid, just give them a brief little explanation of what you are doing in your roadmap. I had a round against a fairly obscure Aff, and I ran a CP (it was actually a PIC), and in my roadmap I just said "I will be presenting a Counter-Plan, which basically means that instead of doing my opponent's plan, we should do an alternative plan."

 

On the other hand, if you have a true lay judge (in my league, the average lay judge didn't graduate junior high) then I would stay away from any arguments outside of stocks.

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Are there any stocks I should consider over the others? Such as solvency and harms over topicallity?

 

I would definitely recommend sticking to solvency and harms, yes. And when it comes to "true" lay judges (like the one judges I talked about in my previous post, ie: judges who failed out of junior high) I would use terms that those judges will better understand, such as: "Our case solves the current issues in the US by..." rather than "We win Solvency because..." Or visa versa on Neg "My opponents don't solve the current issues in the US because..." rather than "My opponents have no solvency..."

 

Most lay judges won't even grasp what inherency or topicality is...but if your opponents really explain it well in a dumbed down way...be prepared to answer those arguments in a dumbed down way...

 

And as stated in a post above, stay away from Policy jargon at all costs.

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