Despite the fact that Kevin Roberts' name shows up at the top of this page, probably due to some error I made when saving this thing initially, I am in fact Fred Robertson, the coach at Millard West High School in Nebraska. I am an older guy who usually judges Lincoln-Douglas debate, although I occasionally also judge Public Forum and policy.

In LD, I like to see more traditional delivery and more resolutional argumentation than I usually see now. I don't have any problems with people running non-traditional arguments but I would say that I usually see this done far better in policy debate than in LD. I have been around a long time and I'm not a fan of much of what has developed in national circuit LD, although I still do see some rounds that I really enjoy. For a point of reference for coaches, some debaters in the last decade in LD who I thought were superior competitors both substantively and stylistically would be Jenn Larson, Doug Jeffers, and Chris Theis. All were capable of considerable adjustment for a variety of judges.

In particular, I find the proliferation of inadequate case development (especially in negative cases, but now also happening on affirmatives, where I have seen debaters spend 3-4 minutes on establishing standards and then barely develop any substantive resolutional case arguments) in LD disturbing. Theory arguments, which are now all the rage in LD, are often very simplistic, and create mind-numbing debate that would be laughed at in most policy rounds. I just wish LD debaters would recognize that some of the developments in national circuit debate aren't really making Lincoln-Douglas debate better. It's also just plain weird that I often see better speaking occuring in policy rounds than in LD rounds.
In policy I have always enjoyed critical arguments but just like to see intelligent approaches to any resolution. It strikes me as bizarre that on this year's military withdrawal topic, so many teams are arguing affirmatives that essentially support continued military occupation and argue something like hegemony good on the aff; but if someone is arguing that well, I will evaluate it fairly. I am not going to be able to keep up with extremely fast rounds but I understand that in policy that is the way the game is played and don't get perturbed about it. You just will have to pay a little more attention to speaking to me and I will let you know if I can't get down anything from what is being said.

I work a lot of tab rooms and don't judge as much as I used to but I will usually see 20-40 rounds of LD each year and I judge about as many rounds of Public Forum, I suppose.

Fred Robertson