Looking at LD: Round Analysis and Flows

Looking at LD: Round Analysis and Flows

First, the Lecture.  It’s long, so get yourself a drink and a notebook to take notes.  There will be a quiz.

Go take the quiz now.  This one counts for points.

Writing for the Future Past Tense

Second, I had hoped to have a guest this week, but she’s not available.  So we will have spent the day working on logic and some social contract theory.  Now that you know what the LD round looks like, we’re going to look at another round.

Please take notes on the two constructive cases.  Bring your flows to class on Monday.

I wanted to show you how I as a judge would take notes on this round:  Here’s a link to my actual notes:  Kim ld flow mandatory db

I take notes in 4 colors:  Blue for AFF, red or orange for NEG (orange today).  You’ll hear about green and black later.  As you can see, I use 2 pages.  One is for the AFF case.  Because the NC includes the attacks on the AFF’s case, those notes are on that page.  The second page is NEG’s constructive (NC) and I haven’t yet heard the AFF’s attack on it (therefore, no blue on that page yet.)

The line down the middle of the page shows me what started in the constructive speeches.  Anything to the right is part of the rebuttals, CX, or attacks on the cases.  (Sometimes I’ll add notes from the CX into the constructive when I didn’t get things down during the speeches.)

That may be hard to read (I thought it was) so here’s a spreadsheet layout of that image.  That should be easier to read.  The AFF side is highlighted in blue, and the NEG is in orange.

Let’s talk a bit about those constructives:

I. You’ll see some terms we haven’t yet defined (sources in links):

Burden a burden is defined in a case to show the limits to which it must answer.  The case may not apply in all situations.

Observationgeneral preliminary remarks usually about assumptions underlying various arguments.

These are very advanced debate techniques.

II.  I abbreviate a lot.  There’s no way to flow debate without abbreviations.  Learn to love them.

III.  AFF defined several words.  NEG did not, nor did he challenge any of them.  You’ll never know when a definition is important, but you don’t need to write down the definitions – just the words that were defined.  If the definitions are going to be challenged, then the debater will bring it up.  In the meantime, keep your eyes down and your pen moving primarily on the value, value criterion (V, VC) and the contentions’ taglines.


CX gets little on my flow other than noting which parts of the case the opponent asked questions about.  Failing to ask a question is NOT  a problem for a judge, but failing to attack or defend during your speech is.  Use your CX time to clarify points and taglines and to set up/defend your case or attack the opponent’s case.

Follow the Flow

Now that you know how an LD debate round goes, you will understand the importance of following the flow.  The reasons to not follow the flow:

*You are combining an attack on the opponent’s framework while supporting your own.  Make sure you tell the judge you’re doing that and when it’s time to turn to the other side of the flow, remind the judge of what you said.

*You are using your contentions to attack the opponent’s case.  Keep this is the proper position during the attack:  If you’re starting with supporting your own case, you could say:

“Judge, you will see that my contention 1 answers several of the problems in my opponent’s contention 2 because…”

Then when you get to their side of the flow, remind the judge, “Judge, remember that I attacked contention 2 during my defense of my contention 1.”

Don’t give the judge the reason to not pick you up.  (That means give you the win.)

Some Judges Don’t Flow (GASP!)

I personally don’t know how to judge a round without a flow.  But there are judges who do.  They must have better memories than I do.

Next week, we’ll talk about flowing and I hope to have a live demonstration of it.  This means that our class will go long.  Please expect to stay another 20 minutes past our usual end time.  Bring your pad of legal size paper and colored pens.