They See Me Flowin’
Flow as a Judge
Judges are required to keep notes of the debate, but the format of those notes are up to the discretion of the judge. Judges are encouraged to keep a flow chart like the one seen below.
Judge flow charts differ from debater flow charts in their depth. While debaters tend to keep track of arguments based on their assertions, judges should try to take notes with as much detail as possible, as such details helps when deciding victors and speaker points.
Flowing helps judges not only keep track of debater’s speeches but also provide valuable feedback during the deliberation period. Just like debaters must present evidence for their arguments, judges are asked to defend feedback with specific examples that occurred throughout the debate.
There are typically two different styles of flowing. Some use a numeric standard whereas some use an Alphabetic standard.
This style of flowing uses numbers to list the arguments presented by the speaker and rely on arrows to show the “flow” of arguments.
You may notice that with each argument or assertion, the Reasoning, Evidence, Significance, and Results are listed below. All this information can be difficult to write down especially if the debater is speaking fast. However, debaters are trained to understand the hardships of judges and therefore often repeat critical information at the end of their speech or throughout the debate. Judges are not allowed to ask the debater to repeat themselves.
Also attached with some arguments is an arrow. The arrow signifies that it is a refutation rather than a predetermined argument. For example, in the Opposition 1 column there are two arguments with the number 1. The first argument with the arrow is a refutation whereas the second argument is the speakers first predetermined argument that has not been refuted yet.
You may also notice a * or ** in each column. These are feedback notes that the judge wrote down for themself to provide to the speaker once the round is complete. It is often extremely difficult to remember these minute details so writing them down will help!
In the Proposition 2 column, written in red is a POI presented by the third speaker of the opposite team. Underneath is the response of the speaker.
This style of flowing uses letters to list the arguments presented by the speaker and lists double letters to show refutation.
Both standard are similar and follow similar formats. Not one is better than the other and judges can choose not to use either of these formats. Personally, I find that drawing arrows on my notes can get messy so I use the Alphabetic Standard.