Peninsula Invitational

2018 — Rolling Hills Estates, CA/US

Dominique Baker Paradigm

3 rounds

What I thnk about debate really doesnt matter. My Job is to decide who did the better debating, how you choose to debate is up to you. Debate what feels right to you and Im with it. 

Benjamin Barov Paradigm

Last updated Berkeley 2019

Add me to the email chain:

I was a policy debater at Niles North High School for 4 years, currently I'm a student at USC (not debating). I would say 70% of my 2NRs in high school were politics and case, so that's my background.

Ways to increase your speaker points:

specific neg strategies, especially if you have specific links to the aff on the K

pronouncing Reuters correctly

sending out the email chain before the start time, the earlier the better

starting the round before the start time

Ways to decrease your speaker points:

the words "pre-fiat" and "post-fiat"

"time starts...NOW!"

"cold conceded"

"ok judge..."

"where in your evidence does it say..."

pronouncing reuters incorrectly

Biggest one: asking to send out a new doc without the cards the other team didn't read

(marked docs are OK)

asking to send out a doc with the overview/analytics

(interps and CP text is kosher)

"which evidence did you not read"


First and foremost you need to tell me on what grounds I should evaluate each piece of ev. I'll read all the evidence at the end of the round and if no one tells me what I should do with it then its much harder and so much less fun for me.

My default is that the only two reasons to reject the team are T and conditionality. It would be difficult to convince me otherwise.

The most important part of T are the case lists each side presents because that gives me a good vision of the topic each of you bring. Impacting your argument is especially important on T.

Joseph Barquin Paradigm

3 rounds

I do have a hearing problem in my right ear. If I've never heard you b4 or it's the first round of the day. PLEASE go about 80% of your normal spread for about 20 seconds so I can get acclimated to your voice. If you don't, I'm going to miss a good chunk of your first minute or so.

Email chain:

I've been a part of the greater college debate community since I started debating in 2k5/2k6. I took a few years off after I left debate but came back in 2014. Back then I preferred policy v policy debate but I rarely get to watch those rounds these days. I'll vote on almost anything at this point if it's impacted correctly and you don't look like a flying douchebag.

Performances and K Affs: I view performance debate a little differently than some other critics. I’m a believer that if you’re to be doing a performance, your entire round needs to be real to the performance of your first constructive. If you deviate from the message of the performance and don’t actually embody it, I can be convinced pretty quickly to vote against you for lack of embodiment. I find myself less sympathetic to affirmative teams that don’t remind me why the aff is a good idea in relation to whatever off cases the neg team reads. If you just read generic k aff blocks to t/fw/k or the k, it is a travesty that needs to be fixed. You read/performed a 1ac, please use it.

Topicality: I have a decent threshold for topicality. I prefer the interpretations debate but a conceded we meet or reasonability argument is just as a place to pull the trigger. Even if the aff interp sounds very topical, if the standards associated with it in the 2ar are found to be severely lacking compared to the model of debate the neg interp adheres to, I’ll 80% likely vote neg.

Framework/ROB: I'll take into consideration any type of framework or role of the ballot. I really prefer competing args here. Only extending your framework without turning theirs will leave one team very pissed off when I pick a FW from a coin flip. Please put this on the top of the flow somewhere. Having a ROB or FW debate in the last 30 seconds of any speech act is a little troubling.

Kritiks: Please please contextualize your links. There's nothing more aggravating when the neg extends links without explaining to me how the aff specifically links to the K or how the links acts as disads to the perm. I'm especially more lenient on the perm (neg) when the links are fleshed out. Other than that I like a good story from the K coming out of the block. If I have no idea how your alt functions in the 2nr and you go for the K, unless the aff completely drops the K, I'll have a hard time voting for it.

CP: lean neg on conditionality but i've voted for multiple contradictory worlds bad when a neg has run 6-7 off and 3 of the counterplans/K's link to each other. Love pics. Love well explained net benefits to the CP. Love the solvency debates associated with the cp debate as well. I’ll also vote for a cp without a DA if the CP solves better than the aff. But you don’t really want to be in that rabbit hole unless you’ve done an amazing solvency debate on the aff vs the cp.

DA: The more specific the link the better. The better the impact analysis the better. Have fun with this. I’m persuaded by really creative disads that have interesting impact calc vs the aff. If the da o/w and turns case, all the better lol.

Case debate: very necessary in almost all forms of policy debate. Use it to your advantage. Impact out your turns. Tell me what it means to the rest of the flows that you’re going for. Aff – utilize the story telling potential that your aff is designed around. There are so many rounds that amazing solvency or advantages don’t get explained well because debaters get bogged down on the line by line and don’t see the bigger picture.

For LD debaters:

FW: You all need to slow down here. I'm not familiar enough with your specific event to just flow it effortlessly.

No RVI's

Don't go 350wpm on key analytics if you want me to vote for it.

I prefer a substantive debate with 3-4 off to something like 13 off. I'll flow you regardless but I reserve the right to let your speaker points drown.

Paradoxes aren't super persuasive in front of me.

Tricks are okay. I just need them fleshed out on why they matter or I won't vote for it.

Theory is also good but I'd rather not vote on it if possible. If the aff is actually a form of severence, go for it. If the neg is hella object fiat, go for it. Remember, tell me why it matters.

Lastly, please be nice to each other. It's getting towards the end of the regular season and quite frankly I'm done with toxic debates

Aron Berger Paradigm

6 rounds

Updated for October 2018.

Put me on the email chain -

Note - I only check this email at debate tournaments, so if you are trying to contact me for some other reason, my response will be delayed.

Short version.

I've started to question the utility of these paradigm things. In short, do whatever you want. Read whatever you want to read. All styles of debate can be done well or poorly. My decision in any particular debate does not reflect a judgement on those styles but instead on the aptitude with which they are deployed in the given debate. Content matters less than strategy, unless the content of your argument makes it a bad strategy. I tend to make decisions quickly. This should not indicate to you whether the debate was close or not. Just because I go for or have gone for certain arguments does not mean I will automatically understand your arguments or do work for you. Similarly, it doesn't mean I will automatically discount any particular argument. I like clash. I dislike attempts to avoid clash. Perm do the aff is not an argument.

One thing I have noticed about debate is the proliferation of "cut the card there." When you stop reading before what your evidence indicates what you will read, you or your partner must mark the card in the speech doc and have a copy of those marks ready for anyone who needs them. To quote Andy Montee,
"If you just yell out "Mark the card at bacon!" you have to physically mark the card on your computer. It is not the responsibility of the other team or myself to do so."
Not marking evidence, and relying "cut the card there" to indicate where you stopped reading, is a form of clipping cards, and I will treat it as such. Since this seems to be an acceptable thing in debate at the moment, at the first occurrence of "cut the card there" I will ask for the marks, and if I notice you going through the doc to mark your cards post-speech, I will warn you about basically everything above.

Background info on me: I'm a first year out of college debate. I debated at the college level for 4 years at the University of Southern California. Attended the NDT four times, making it to doubles twice and octas once. I debated at the high school level for 4 years at Notre Dame High School. Qualified to the TOC 3 times. I was both 2A and 2N during my debate career.

Longer version.

Debate is a rhetorical game where debaters use a set of (ostensibly) mutually agreed upon scripts to persuade a judge. Scripts are rhetorical conventions that have been constructed in order for the game to make sense to all involved - impact calculus, uniqueness, etc. are examples of these scripts, convenient ways of describing a world that make the complexity of that world reducible to a (hopefully) less than 2 hour conversation. Debaters who can control how these scripts operate within the debate, either by implicitly agreeing to them and winning their set of contentions, or through the use of competing framing arguments, generally seem to win more debates. For example, many debates occur in which the value of life is never questioned - that is a script implicitly accepted in those debates for the purpose of brevity. This is not to say that I want to judge a bunch of death good debates, though I won't say the opposite either. Regardless, controlling the framing of the debate will serve you well.

I seem to be judging a lot of framework/T-USFG debates. I think quite a few of the commonly held framework predispositions are arbitrary, so I'll just say this: yes, you can read your K aff in front of me. Yes, you can go for framework in front of me. I don't really care, just make it a good debate.

Here are some of my reflections about FW rounds that I have judged.

-I find myself voting affirmative when the negative fails to explain their impact beyond "limits are important for negative ground" or "we won't learn stuff about immigration" or "fairness is important because otherwise debate isn't fair."

-I find myself voting negative when the aff fails to provide a workable vision of what debate would/should look like. T/FW/whatever we call it is a question of models of debate. That the neg could have read a particular strategy against your particular aff is not a defense of your model. In other words, "potential abuse" is important. You need a defense of your model of debate.

-Almost all of the K affs that I saw on the education topic were basically little more than a criticism of education policy. I did not hear a persuasive response to "do it on the neg" in these contexts.

-Topical versions of the aff are not counter-plans. They don't have to be perfect. They should, however, be well researched (though not necessarily evidenced in the debate) and explained. I would prefer 1 good TVA over 5 asserted TVAs.

-Asserting that debate is a game is fair enough, but does not on its own provide a reason to discount any of the aff's impact turns. I do believe fairness is an impact. I don't think it is an impact that automatically trumps all other impacts. As with all other things, impact calculus on the parts of the debaters matters most.

Case Debate
I would prefer to adjudicate a debate in which the negative reads less than or equal to 4 well constructed offcase positions and invests a good deal of time in taking apart the aff instead of a debate in which throwaway offcase positions are used as a timeskew and the case is addressed sparsely and with only impact defense. A diverse 1NC that attacks advantages at every level is helpful regardless of your broader strategy. Most affs are terribly constructed and have awful chains of internal links. Most affs wont solve the things they say they solve. Point it out.

You do not need a card to make a smart case arguments. In fact, the desire for cards to make an argument can often work to limit the vectors of attack you have against the case. Example: you do not need a card to point out a missing internal link, or that the aff's internal link evidence is about X and their impact evidence is about Y.

CPs and DAs
Not much to say here. If you have them, read them. Specificity is your friend. "DA turns case" arguments are invaluable.

Teams have found it difficult to convince me that the reading of any particular counterplan makes being aff impossible and as such is a voting issue.

At the same time, I find myself increasingly annoyed at the "use fiat as a battering ram" approach to counter-plans. Indefinite parole that is immune from deportation or cancellation, has full work authorization, all the benefits of LPR, etc. is just not something that exists in the literature base and is a ridiculous interpretation of what scholars in the field are actually talking about. All that being said, it is up to the debaters to figure this stuff out in the round.

I have voted for conditionality bad only once, in a debate where the 2NR spent about 15 seconds on it.

"Judge kick" is an inevitable element of conditionality. If the status quo is always an option, then a 2NR that includes a counterplan is not always and forever bound to that counterplan. In other words, if the counerplan is described by the negative as conditional, then my default is to also consider the status quo, and not just the counterplan. I can be persuaded otherwise.


Sure, why not. I've read them, I've debated against them. Just be specific about what your alternative does. If it is a pic, say that it is and what your pic removes from the aff. If you are debating against a K, defend your aff. Generic K answers like the Boggs card are far less useful than justifying whatever assumption that the neg is critiquing.

Permutations are tricky. All too often, the aff just kinda extends "perm do both" and leaves it there. Explain what parts of the criticism you are permuting, how that interacts with the links, etc.

"No perms in a method debate" is a bad argument. You can wish away the form of "permutation," but you cannot do away with the logic of opportunity cost. If your K doesn't actually link, find a better argument.

As said above, "perm: do the aff" is not a thing.

Generally speaking, I am not a fan of severance permutations or intrinsic permutations. A permutation is legitimate only if it contains the entire aff plan and some to all of the negative counterplan/alternative. At the same time, many alternative texts are not representative of everything that an alternative would do - in my opinion, any evidence included by the negative as descriptive of the alternative is fair game for permutations. Example - many alt texts are written as "The alternative is to vote negative" - but the alt card says that "interrogating tropes of security" is important. A permutation that does the plan and interrogates tropes of security is not intrinsic.

If you have a theory of power, explain it and its implications for the aff. Meta arguments such as these have broad implications for both the link and the alternative.

Speaker Points

Points are always arbitrary and I wont pretend that my personal scale is anything different. Average speakers get in the low to mid 28s. Good speakers get in the high 28s to low 29s. Mid to high 29s, good job. You wont get a 27 unless you consistently do something annoying, like telling your partner "faster!" over and over during their speech.

Other random thoughts.

--Puns translate directly to increased speaker points.

--Please don't call me judge.

--Arguments that are "new in the 2" - generally the bar for me is whether the opponent team could have expected this argument based on the content of the previous speech. This excludes new impact turns to a disad in the 2AR, but maintains the capacity for 2As to cross apply, say, an impact defense argument on the case in the 2NR (intervening actors check, for example) to a disad scenario. If an argument is made in the 2AC, conceded by the neg block, not mentioned in the 1AR (and thus not responded to by the 2NR), it would be 'new' for the 2AR to extend and elaborate on the argument. While this may seem arbitrary, and while dropped arguments are, in a provisional sense, true, it is the job of the debaters to jump on strategic mishaps, not me. However, if a completely new argument arises in the 2NR or 2AR, I am willing to strike it from my flow without a debater pointing out that it is, in fact new.

--Speed is good, clarity is better.

--Confidence in your arguments, your partner, and yourself is good, disrespecting your opponents is bad.

--Ethically repugnant arguments will not make me want to vote for you. At the same time, however, if you cannot defeat ostensibly "bad" arguments, then you are a bad advocate and you should lose.

--If a debate does not occur, I will either flip a coin or consult tab.

--Please, "settler colonialism", not "set col". similarly, "afro-pessimism" not "afro-pess" -- yeah, I'm grumpy.

--Just because I go for certain arguments does not mean I will either automatically understand your argument or supplement your lack of analysis with my understanding of the literature.

--Random buzzwords are not arguments. I don't care until you impact a statement.

--There can always be 0 risk of something.

--Ad homs about the other teams authors aren't arguments.

--A claim without a warrant is just that.

--Theory and T debates are not my favorite.

--No insults or general shenanigans.

--Binding and prior consultation with the North Atlantic Treaty Organization is probably pedagogically relevant.

Victor Briseno Paradigm

6 rounds

Background Info

I debated for 4 years for Downtown Magnets High School (LAMDL) and I am currently a sophomore JV debater at the University of Southern California.

Misc. Debate Information

Please include me in the email chain using:

Write my ballot for me

I do not take prep time for flashing or emailing, but please make it quick. Please inform me if you're having technical difficulties.

Overviews are not necessary, but if you want to point out an important concession or something of the sort by all means go ahead, but please make sure that you point this out again real quick on the line by line. Overviews do make my job easier as they high light the arguments that you want me to focus on. Just assume judge are lazy when it comes to making decisions, WRITE MY BALLOT FOR ME DURING YOUR LAST REBUTTAL. Tell me exactly why I vote for your side, concessions and impacts that win you the debate etc.

Framing is very important, especially if the framing is reasonable. Telling me how I should evaluate the round in terms of your impacts and other framing issues is key!

I will try my best to give constructive criticism at the end of the debate, I will disclose my decision, but I will not disclose speaker points.

I'm okay with tag-team during cross x but please make sure that cross x is even among partners because it will definitely impact speaker points if one partner does all the talking when it is not their turn.

I think that I'm a fairly middle of the road type of judge. Will vote on policy and critical impacts.



Case is very important so make sure that case is always extended and not dropped by the end of the debate. Teams sometimes focus so much on off cases that they forget to use their case offensively. Furthermore, the negative needs address the arguments made on case to some extent. I prefer policy affirmatives that have both terminal and structural impacts because it provides for a strategic diversity of arguments.


DAs need to do one or two of these. Exponentially more impactful in the debate if you have a CP that resolves the DA AND is mutually exclusive with the affirmative:

1) Have a strong link and have an impact that outweighs the affirmative

2) Serve as a net benefit for a CP


CPs are cool but please make sure that it has a net benefit so that it can actually be competitive with the affirmative's plan. I'm okay with any type of CP, but I may be more lenient towards the affirmative if the CP is just a consult CP or an agent CP that has no specific, clear application to the affirmative's plan.


The link and impact debate are the most important for me when it comes to the K debate. Specific links are preferred, especially impactful if you can make a link in the context of what is actually happening in a specific debate. However, the alternative should still be present throughout the debate and explained. If you're going for K solves case arguments, it's better for the alternative to advocate a specific action.


I grouped these two arguments because my comments for these are generally the same. These debates should always be specific to the round. They should have a substantial impact that outweighs what is going on in the round and the aff. Furthermore, these arguments should always be telling me how I should view the round and debate as a whole. An important thing to note is that I will see fairness as its own impact, but I think education is probably a better impact if you're reading other off cases. As someone who doesn't automatically reject K Affs, I hold the negative to a higher standard when it comes to proving these arguments against a policy aff. I rather not judge a procedural debate against a policy aff, but will vote when there are a lot of concessions.

Speaker Points

Just don't be mean or overly-sassy you will most likely not get something lower than a 27.5. However, being assertive while not being a jerk will probably get you good speaks. Cross examination is taken into consideration for speaker points, both based on how you answer questions and the questions you ask.

Amber Brooks Paradigm

wanna include me on your email chain? -->

high school debate: crenshaw high school ( policy )
college debate: st. john's university ( BP )
currently: coaching high school policy with LAMDL


hi i'm amber and i want you to have fun and learn new things. don't be rude in round or out. make sure you enunciate and explain your arguments properly, especially if you're running a k or theory of any type.

run/read whatever you want. if i can't understand you i'll stop flowing; don't value reading the most stuff over making valid, relevant, and useful arguments.
you as the debater have a very basic obligation to fulfill, and that is understanding and being able to articulate your arguments properly. if, at the end of the debate, i can't explain to you back what went on in the round because of messiness or ill covered args, you have failed that obligation.

prep time/email chain:
prep ends after you share your files. if you're doing email chains, they need to be made and prepared BEFORE the debate starts, not during. the aff needs to be starting the chain-- we aren't about to hold up tournaments with email chain nonsense in this here 2019

paperless is great n cool n all but seriously, if it gets in the way, you're losing speaks. if you don't have a viewing computer for teams that don't have computers of their own, you're losing speaks. yes, it IS your job to make sure you accommodate them. a fundamental tenant of debate is that we're sharing evidence within round, and if you're hindering that in some way, we have a problem.

i flow args not authors most of the time. EXTEND YOUR ARGS. TELL ME WHAT THEY'RE REPLYING TO. "judge, extend our brooks '03" tells me nothing. where am i putting that? what is it answering? how is it relevant? you want me to do as little intervention in the back as possible-- tell me exactly where you want something flowed, that way at the end of the round we can be assured that my decision is based off of what you all debated for me, not my own opinions or biases.

Scott Brown Paradigm

2 rounds

Scott Brown

Debate Coach @ Honor Academy in Cerritos, CA

I have coached debate for the past decade, previously @ McDonogh, Centennial, Capitol Debate, River Hill, Atholton, etc.


I can flow on paper or laptop and will let the debaters decide before the debate which method I flow.

You must give your opponent a copy of your evidence before your speech begins (if using a laptop) or as it happens (if using paper).

I will proactively judge intervene to end a debate if any form of clipping/bad ethics occurs.

As a judge, and as students, being able to organize a debate is important. Successful line by line refutation is necessary.

I'm a part of the debate. I don't have a "debater poker face". I nod along if I get what you're doing, laugh at jokes, smile, give perplexing looks if I don't get what you're saying, etc.

I'm a sucker for smart analytical arguments

I will give written feedback during the debate (if available via tabroom) and provide verbal comments after the debate and disclose my decision.


Speed/"Spreading" is fine as long as you are "clear" (clear means that you audibly articulate the difference between each and every syllable of each and every word). If you do not clearly say every syllable of every word while spreading, you cannot get above a 27.

Truth > Tech

Zero Risk often occurs

If executed properly, I'm great for 'conditionality' bad and most "theory" arguments. I'm really bad for the NEG if the AFF properly executes theoretical arguments against positions such as Consult & Process CPs.

I don't "Judge Kick"

I dislike judging "framework" debates.


Speed/"Spreading" is fine as long as you are "clear" (clear means that you audibly articulate the difference between each and every syllable of each and every word). If you do not clearly say every syllable of every word while spreading, you cannot get above a 27.


Speed/"Spreading" is disallowed.

Bryant Cong Paradigm

6 rounds

Bellarmine '17

University of Southern California '21 (not debating)


I debated 4 years of policy at Bellarmine College Prep in San Jose, CA. I started out as a 2A during my freshman year, but spent my remaining 3 years as a 2N. I read and researched arguments from all over the map – from one-off security to flex policy counterplan/disad strats to identity args like settlerism. I haven’t had any experience on this topic, so will probably need some explanation of acronyms, T interps, etc.

Quick Notes:

tech >>>>> truth - run 6 off, go one-off K, read a performance aff, anything goes - just win the line by line.

I have no ideological preference when it comes to nontraditional affs versus framework; I'll vote for whoever wins the tech.

I love smart analytics – a series of good ones can take out a poorly constructed advantage.

CX is important and I will bump up speaks if you incorporate it well into a speech!

Author quals, evidence date, and evidence quality matter – please use them to do comparative analysis

Tech > Truth:

I will listen and try to fairly evaluate whatever argument you read in front of me. You do you – I don’t care whether you read a nontraditional aff, read 7 off, or go one-off spark – as long as you win the flow, you win my ballot. While I have my dislikes, everything about even my philosophy and my argumentative preferences is up for debate – just win the tech.


Limits is the most persuasive standard to me. I am persuaded by the arg that an unlimited topic decreases effective rigorous testing and nuanced engagement of the aff.

T is about a model of the topic, not just your aff.

I default to competing interpretations – to quote Ani, if affs want to go for reasonability, “The articulation of reasonability that will persuade me is that the substance crowdout generated by T debates outweighs the difference between the two interps”.


Fine with generic/topic disads, but I love super case-specific and well researched disads.

The more specific the link, the better.

I love well-articulated and smart turns case args – talk about why your disad’s impact turns not just the aff’s impacts, but their internal links. If you have cards for turns case, read them.

There is such a thing as 0% risk. Most cards tagged "extinction" don't actually say that, which is an argument that both teams should leverage.


I'm fine with most counterplans - as long as you have a solvency advocate reasonably grounded in the lit, I'll be happy. If you don't, just win the tech.

My favorite counterplans to judge are well-researched and specific PICs, my least favorite are bad and technical process counterplans.

I think that counterplans that just have a counterplan text can be super strategic, if deployed properly.


The difference between a well articulated K and a terrible one is the link work – don’t just read your preconstructed link block, use points from CX and quotations from their ev.

Link turns case is a fantastic argument.

I love overviews with good framing issues/turns case args/tricks in them – but ideally your speech isn’t just 8 minutes of overview.

I’m most familiar with, in descending order: security, neolib, cap/Marx vs. K affs, settlerism, identity args, Bifo, other high theory.

Kicking the alt can be great when done right – but know when it’s a horrible idea to do so.


Contextualize your framework claims to the round – don’t just read scripted overviews and blocks.

Procedural fairness and any internal links into it are the most convincing standards to me.

Quoting Ani again: “Impact comparison is very important - if the aff’s model makes it substantially harder for the neg to engage but the neg’s speech act was problematic, which way do I vote? Make sure to warrant internal links - I’ve seen lots of neg teams just assume that all K affs make engagement impossible to their detriment.”

I will reward negative teams that have a better strategy than 2-off Framework and Cap K against K affs – other kritiks like Anthro, Chow, and identity args can be super strategic when deployed properly.


Most comfortable with 2 condo – feel free to read higher than that, but I’ll start leaning more and more aff on theory

Ken DeJohn Paradigm

6 rounds

I'm an open college debater with 4 years of highschool policy debate experience.


In general, I'll be your flow-bot. General preferences include total and consistent clarity, depth over breath, unconditional respect for everyone in the debate, and why not brighten my day with a smile?


Affs/Performance: Consistent roll of the ballot, please - whether that means defending your plan or resisting pseudo-speciation. I'll protect the 2nr from total 2ar recharictarization of the debate. Other than that, run whatever you want. 


Kritiks: I'm decently well read, and this means I'll tend to "do work for you" without even knowing that I'm doing so; that is, I understand the jargon. That being said, I will not do any work for teams failing to apply their K to the particularity of the aff. K debate is about framing the relationship of the impact and the link. 


CP/DA/case: I'm game. Despite that I read and deploy the K more often, I actually prefer this type of debate becasue it almost always inevitably involves more clash. Be creative. Impact calc is a must. I'll read your evidence. Brink threshold and internal link magnitude are important yet unfortunately often absent from rebuttals.


T/Procedural: I'll vote on "stock issues". But for the sake of your speaker points (unless you have topic specific evidence that specicifcation has a quantifiable solvency deficit or theoritcal disadvantage), don't run spec arguments. 




Joseph Flores Paradigm

6 rounds

Los Angeles Metropolitan Debate League Program Manager: 2015 - Present
UC Berkeley Undergrad/Bay Area Urban Debate League Policy Coach: 2011- 2015
Los Angeles Metropolitan Debate League Debater: 2008-2011

The TL;DR:
There is no argument that I won't listen to-do what you do best. I feel debate is a sphere for all of types of arguments. Everything is debatable, so be ready to debate everything.
My background is in policy, and I still coach/judge it regularly. I also judge LD regularly, but some of the LD specific things are weird to me - so ask me about anything you might be concerned about.

If there's an email chain, include me:

I prefer narrow debates. When I come to my decision I start with trying to identify the nexus questions of the debate and begin to place and sequence arguments of the debate around that. The more work you do framing this (controlling what are the important questions I need to settle, how you win that question etc) the more in control of how I weigh arguments you are. Debates that are less narrow are fine too, they just have more questions to consider and the time allocation between arguments will most likely leave more things unresolved. If you think you can sufficiently control a lot of arguments go for it. The easiest way to do this is to articulate your argument in the context of your opponents. This helps facilitate clash on my flow. Always try to explain how not only your argument functions, but how it interacts with your opponents.

I don't prefer truth over tech, but rather your tech needs to be in the service of a substantive argument. Even if an argument is dropped, I need you to articulate the argument and what its significance is for the rest of the flow; simply saying they dropped it won't sell it. Buzzwords don't cut it for me on this front. Even if its dropped, without articulation of what the argument is, it won't get you anywhere. You'll be better off going for one good turn instead of three or four blippy ones. It may be true if it's dropped, but is only true after it is an argument. This also means that unwarranted claims are not enough for me to pull the trigger on, even if it was dropped. If you do the work articulating and extending not just the claim but the warrants as well you'll be fine.

I would prefer to not need to call cards/look at a speech doc - if you explain your evidence in a compelling and accurate way that will go much further. I appreciate overviews, but they need to be more than just a summary of your arguments, rather they should paint a picture of where all the pieces of the debate fall and how they interact.

Assume I don't know your topic specific acronyms. Feel free to use them, just mention what they stand for at least once.

I will take away speaker points if being paperless gets in the way of debate (ie missing major parts of the speech, giving the other team way more evidence than you read, sending multiple docs per speech that you're reading off of, not marking cards, general lack of organization etc.). At the same time, being paperless debate is not an excuse not to flow, so if you answer arguments that weren't made, or miss arguments because you were only looking at the speech doc, that's your own fault. Another important note, not everyone owns a laptop. For the rounds where your opponent does not have their own laptop, you should provide a viewing computer during your speech (such as your partner's). When your opponent doesn't have access to your evidence, that limits clash and hurts the debate as a whole.

Other Stuff:
-Arguments based on anything that happens outside the debate are nearly impossible for me to evalulate (ie- we will take this argument to elims, they said other things in other debates etc) so don't use them unless you feel it is a very important point to bring up for the debate.
-You will earn a small boost in your speaks if you successfully use the word "ackamarackus". I will only award this to you once per round.

**If there's anything I didn't address here, just ask before the round.

Jacob Fontana Paradigm

6 rounds

Homewood Flossmoor High School 2011-2015

Pomona College 2015-2019 (not debating)


Meta Level

The more work you do, the happier you will be with my decision. By this I don’t just mean that I reward smart strategies, research, etc. (I do), but rather that the better you explain and unpack an argument and tell me how to evaluate it, the less likely my own biases and preferences will affect the decision. With this in mind, there are a couple takeaways


-          Framing is important. At a certain point, this seems redundant to say (obviously impact calc is important), but all too often debaters fail to “tie up” the debate in a way that is easy to evaluate. What impacts matter? What arguments should I look to first? How should I think about making decisions? Leaving these calls up to my gut may not work out well for you. Do not assume that I will put together the pieces of your argument in the way that is most favorable to you, or the way that you they should be viewed. Your best bet is to do this for me. As a general rule of thumb, your likelihood of picking up my ballot is directly proportional to the number of “even if” statements you make.


-          truth and tech are both important and the divisions between them are far more arbitrary and vacuous than it is usually given credit for. That being said, it is up to you to give me a metric for evaluating what claims are true. What types of evidence should I look to? Should I view that evidence through a certain lens? How should I treat dropped/under covered arguments? Obviously I have some personal proclivities that may be harder to overcome than others


o   I will always tend to evaluate dropped arguments far less than extended arguments. This does not mean that dropped arguments are automatically “true” or that truth claims made earlier in the debate are suddenly gone (that may well require more work on my part), but it does mean that I am less likely to give these arguments weight.


o   Although they can be important parts of a speech, I am not inclined to give as much weight to solipsistic narratives as evidence. This is not a hard or fast preference, and some smart framing arguments about the way I should evaluate narratives will go a long way, but do not assume I will immediately evaluate a narrative as evidence in its own right sans an evidenced claim that I should evaluate them this way.


o   Make smart analytic arguments, these can often be better than reading yet another terrible uniqueness card on the politics disad. The more I see you thinking for yourself and making creative and smart arguments in a debate, the better speaks you will get.


I appreciate creative and innovative strategies, maybe more than others. If you want to bust out that weird impact turn or super cheating counterplan or sweet ass new K, you should do that. You will always be better at doing what you do best. Please don’t feel deterred from reading a strategy in front of me because the community has generally frowned on it (spark, death good, etc.), I’m down to hear things outside of the norm. That being said, I included a few notes about how I feel/debated like in high school, you can take these preferences however you want, they are subject to change within a round.

As a caveat, Debate should be a space where everyone feels welcome. Please do not read racist/sexist/anti-queer/ableist/ or otherwise offensive arguments in front of me.


Please add me on the email chain:



I debated both sides of this extensively in high school. I will not “penalize” you for reading framework; I think it is a smart and strategic argument. Similarly, do not assume that because you read framework you have my ballot, I am very middle of the road on these issues. You should treat this as any other K/CP strategy you have read. Too often teams miss nuance in these debates and read a bunch of state good/bad evidence while neglecting the smaller moving pieces, I tend to think those are important, and the more you address the internal link level of the debate, the better off you will be.



Affirmatives should find ways to leverage offense against the negatives interpretation. Playing some light defense and reading some reasonability blacks is not going to win you my ballot. I generally tend to default to competing interpretations. Furthermore, teams need to treat this debate more like disad, you should do impact calc, read impact, link, or internal link turns, explain why your interp solves a portion of their offense, etc. I greatly enjoy smart T debates and will reward you handsomely in speaker points if you execute it well.



Absolute defense (or defense to the point where I should cease to evaluate the disad outside of the noise of status quo) is a thing and far too few debaters go for. 90 percent of disads are absolute garbage and you shouldn’t be afraid to point that out. More broadly, Offense defense tends to be a heavily neg biased model of debate and contributes to a lot (in my eyes) to the denigration of the activity towards the most reality-divorced hyperbolic impact claims, and I will not default to it. Obviously this is subject to change in a given round, but you should be conscious of the weight I tend to give to defensive arguments. In general, I think link controls the direction of uniqueness, but I can easily be persuaded otherwise


Please, if you have it, read something different than politics. I don’t hate the politics disad, but it is an often overused strategy and I will reward your innovation with speaker points



Any argument is legitimate until it is not, don’t hesitate to read your cheating counterplans in front of me, but be ready to defend them. Theory debates are good and valuable, but I do not want to listen to you read your blocks at 400 words a minute. Slow down, make smart arguments, and go for what you’re ahead on. Less is often more in these situations. I actually very much enjoy good theory debates and find them quite interesting. You should treat these like any other type of debate, you should do impact calc, flesh out internal links, etc.



I have a reasonable familiarity with most mainstream critiques and greatly enjoy these debates. In high school, I would most often read the security or the cap K, but this should not be interpreted as an exclusionary list. You do you and I’ll likely jive with it. I will reward innovation, reading a tailored critique is far more interesting to me than rereading the same Spanos block your team has had for the last 8 years. The one caveat here is that my familiarity with certain “high theory” authors (Bataille, Deleuze, etc.) is rather passing. I am more than certainly open to hearing these arguments and don’t have any prejudices against them (I debated on the same team as Carter Levinson for 3 years), but this does mean that you may need to take extra time to unpack arguments and contextualize them in terms of the debate.



Topic Notes

I have not worked on the China Topic, for you this means you probably want to slow down on, and possibly explain, acronyms the first couple times.


Ethics violations

Ethic violations are deliberate, not accidental. Missing a few words or accidentally skipping a line isn’t a big deal, but repeatedly doing that or doing it in a way that is clearly intentional is. If you believe that someone has committed an ethics violation, please start recording the round, I also reserve the right to do this. If I think you are clipping, I may start a recording of my own, I will also try read along in the speech docs whenever possible. If I do determine you’ve committed a violation, you will lose the debate and receive 0 speaks, I will also speak to your coaches. Clipping is a serious offense and I will treat it with the attention it deserves.



Gabriela Gonzalez Paradigm

6 rounds



CSUF policy debate 5yrs (2010-2016)

The Los Angeles Metropolitan Debate League 2yrs (2008-2010)

Currently: Coach and Program Manager for The Los Angeles Metropolitan Debate League

I engaged and debated different types of literature: critical theory (anti-blackness and settler colonialism) and policy-oriented arguments during my early years of debate. I am not very particular about any type of argument. I think that in order to have a good debate in front of me you have to engage and understand what the other team is saying.

My experience in college debate and working with UDLs has taught me that any argument has the ability to or Critical arguments. All of them have a pedagogical value. It’s your job as the debater to prove to me why yours is a viable strategy or why your arguments are best. Prove to me why it matters. If you choose to go for framework or the politics DA, then justify that decision. I don’t really care if you go for what you think I like and if you are losing that argument then it would probably annoy me. Just do you.

Framework vs. Plan less or vague affirmatives

As a critical affirmative, please tell me what the affirmative does. What does the affirmative do about its impacts? If you are going for a structural impact, then please tell me how your method will alleviate that either for the world, debate, or something. I don’t want to be left thinking what does that affirmative does at the end of the 2ar because I will more likely than not vote negative.

I don’t mind framework as long as you can prove to me why the method that you offer for the debate, world, policy, etc. is crucial. Please explain how you solve for "x" harm or the squo goes. I promise you this will do wonders for you in front of me. I will not be doing the work for you or any of the internals for you. As long as your argument has a claim, warrant, and evidence that is clear, then what I personally believe is meh. You either win the debate based on the flow or nah.

Seems rudimental but debaters forget to do this during speeches.


If I can't understand what you're saying when you are speaking, then I'll yell out "clear" and after the second time I yell out clear then I won't flow what I can't understand. I will also reduce your speaker points. I tend to have facial expressions during rounds. If you catch me squinting, then it is probably because I can’t understand what you are saying. Just slow down if that helps.

DA+ Counter Plans

Cp have to have a net benefit.

I need specific impact scenarios--just saying hegemony, racism, global warming, and nuclear war does not win the ballot please explain how we get to that point. I really like when a 2AR gives a good explanation of how the aff solves or how the affirmative triggers the impact.

Make sure to articulate most parts of the DA. just bc you have a big impact that doesn't mean much for me please explain how it relates to the affirmative especially in the rebuttal. impact comparisons are pretty good too.

Theory debates

Not my strong point, but if you are going for this which I understand the strategic reasoning behind this, then explain the "why its bad that X thing" and how that should outweigh anything else. Also, slow down during these debates especially on the interpretation.

Speaker Quirks to watch out for:

Being too dominant in a partnership. Have faith that your partner is capable of responding and asking questions during CX. If you see them struggling, then I am not opposed to you stepping in but at least give them a chance.

Lincoln Douglas

For the most part, my paradigm applies to much of the args made in this sector of the activity a couple of things that you should mindful of when you have me as a judge:

1) I appreciate disclosure, but any theory args that are made about disclosure I don't appreciate, especially if I wasn't in the room to make sure neg/aff accusation are actually being saiD. If I'm not in the room its just a case of "they said I said." If you have it in writing, then I guess I can appreciate your arg more. I would still vote on it, but its not a decision I am happy about.

2) Time: LD leaves a lot of unresolved problems for me as a judge. Please make sure:

aff with plan text *make sure to not forget about the plan solvency mechanism and how you solve for your harms. this should be throughout the debate but especially in the last speeches. I understand there is an issue of time but at least 30 sec of explaining aff mechanisms.

sympathetic towards time constraints but be strategic and mindful of where to spend the most time in the debate. Ex: if you are too focused on the impact when the impact is already established then this is time badly spent.


If you are concerned with the affirmative making new arguments in the 2AR have a blip that asks judges not evaluate. Because of the time (6 vs 3min), I am usually left with lots of unresolved issues so I tend to filter the debate in a way that holistically makes sense to me.

DA (Reify and clarify the LINK debate and not just be impact heavy)

T ( make sure to impact out and warrant education and fairness claims)

Robbins Gray Paradigm

2 rounds

Robbins H. Gray  email chain yes:

Affiliation – Fullerton Union High School, Orange County California

Brief background - I debated in Policy Debate for 3 years in high school and 2 years in College. I broke at most of my college tournaments and was in finals twice. I was a conventional spread debater. I have coached high school debate for 9+ years. I have coached multiple teams to the TOC and one to quarters at the TOC. I have been an active coach flowing on average more than 100 debates per year though I only judge about 20. I watch my own team and scout more than I judge. I took a few years off of coaching, but have been back since 2015.

I am a flow sheet judge. Every time I don’t hear what you said I will say clear. If you make no changes at all I will start saying other things. If you believe it is something you might want me to consider you should probably go back and repeat it. I will consider things I hear and remember even if it’s not on my flow. But if I didn’t hear it as far as I’m concerned you didn’t say it. If it’s important you might want to emphasize it to insure it’s on my flow. If it’s not on my flow, chances are you were too blippy or unclear and it’s not my fault. I’ve been in lots of rounds with other judges and I usually have things on my flow that they don’t have on their flow. If your 1AC needs to be fast you should start a little slower and give my ears time to warm up. You should read your theory a lot slower if, for example, you want me to get all 8 reasons why conditionality is good.

I try to be a tabula rasa judge but in my heart, I view debate much like a game. If a paradigm is not debated or discussed in round I will attempt to view the round without a paradigm; through the lens of the debaters in the round so to speak.

Except for death good, really untrue arguments, or teams that believe they don’t need to be topical; My argument preferences don¹t really matter in the grand scheme of things. Your debating is going to have a much bigger impact on my decision than any preference I have.

All debates are impact debates. You must explain why your arguments matter; and all arguments must have an impact. This is true for theory, policy, and critical debates, as well as activist and performative ones. Impacts should be extended in the 2AC, the block, the 1AR, the 2NR and the 2AR.

Procedural issues almost always trump substantive issues. In order for there to be a good substantive debate both teams must be able to have a reasonable expectation that they could wind up debating the given argument; and that continued expectation should be good for debate.

Fiat. To me Fiat is the ability to view the world of the affirmative and the world of the negative and way one against the other. I lean towards the opinion that fiat is good for debate.

Framework other than T and Theory. I believe we should be able to way the world of the aff and the world of the neg and vote for the better world.

Topicality arguments and Theory arguments are attempts to exclude the other team. If you are advocating one of those Topicality or Theory argument’s you must explain what both worlds look like and why yours is better. If I don’t understand your world, which is trying to exclude the other team, I will not vote for you If you expect me to exclude the other world; it is your job to make what your world looks like clear to me and explain why it is superior to the other world.

Topicality, I will err aff on T. I love good T debates. T must be QPQ or T can’t be QPQ is not my idea of a good T debate. On the Africa Topic, T in is throughout against a team that does a plan in one city was a good debate. Topicality is not genocidal. Critiques of topicality are not persuasive unless severely, and I mean severely, botched by the neg. I believe the affirmative contextually defines the topic with their advocacy. Therefore, I believe the Negative’s topicality argument is a counter interpretation. In round abuse is not necessary. It's what you justify not what you do. In my opinion allowing non-topical cases would destroy debate. An interpretation that would allow 1,000 cases would destroy debate.

However; there could be a reason to allow 1 of those 1,000 cases. For example: your case is topical and even though you link to their violation which allows 1,000 cases your case is predictable thus checking back any potential abuse and your issue is so significant that it would be worse for debate not to debate your case. In that instance, you might want to perm the negative definition i.e. “the negatives definition plus our case”.

I believe Fairness comes before Education: First, because debate is a competitive event and even if rounds are educational I don't believe anyone would keep debating if they were not fair. And second, fairness leads to predictability which is necessary for in depth debate which leads to better education.

Theory. I am a theory hack but I err neg on theory. I view theory as a useful and debilitating weapon. I love theory. Mostly because I believe that is where we should try to define what would be good for debate. What rule(s) would be the fairest, the best for debate. My experiences as a debater and judge have taught me that the team that has thought more about the theoretical issue at hand will usually win the argument. To me theory debates are about what debate would look like in the opposing worlds.

Non-Traditional (Performance/Counterfactuals/Irony/Pessimism/Critical) affs - I am more than skeptical of any aff., (call it non-traditional if you want) that does not affirm the resolution, that provides unfair ground or explodes limits or worse very little ground for the negative to debate. Consequently, these debates veer towards ridiculous argumentation and I am probably easily persuaded that they are bad for debate. I think when you are aff. you have to defend the resolution. This ensures predictable and fair limits and ground for the Neg. I think fair and predictable limits and ground for the negative outweighs the aff. arbitrarily deciding what they want to talk about or the exclusion DA if that’s your thing. If you don’t like the resolution, that’s why you get to be Neg. half the time. Many performance affs are critical of USFG action, state action, US involvement in Vietnam, etc. It seems that these examples don’t justify the resolution, but rather indict it, which is usually the goal of the Neg. I’m going to say this again here: Topicality is not genocidal. Critiques of topicality are not persuasive unless severely, and I mean severely, botched by the neg. When Framework links, I believe, the Negative team is probably on the right side of the issue. However, if you are neg in front of me against a team that does not use or endorse Unites States Federal Government action (3 branches located in Washington D.C.) please go for T and not Framework in the 2NR. If I’m on a panel with other judges and you feel they won’t vote for T you can get my ballot by spending 15 seconds on T. “They don’t meet our interpretation of USFG exploding potential actors which destroys predictability and makes in-depth debate impossible. Our model of debate, which is more in depth, is better.”

Critiques: Like most arguments they are only as good as their links. I think it would be good if teams explained how their critiques function relative to the specific aff. If you think that your critique somehow takes out or turns the aff, you should be able to explain how. Similarly, if your critique claims to create a framework in which the aff/case debate should somehow take a back seat to your critique, you should be able to explain why. You should also be able to explain what the world of your Critique looks like and compare it to the world of the aff. We all know nothing really happens with fiat. But guess what; I’m not a big believer in your ability to change my opinion; much less the way the world functions. I think you can imagine a world in which the aff. happens and a world in which the Critique happens and compare those worlds. That does not mean anyone gets 100% solvency, unless of course it’s conceded. I really love a critique with a real-world alt. and a net benefit.

Counter plans. I am fine with any counter plan. Cheaty is a claim. If it is cheaty you should win the theory debate.

I would truly love overviews if they were attempts to identify the two or three literal questions that the debater’s thought was going through a judge’s mind, made strong “even if” comparisons between their warrants and the strongest (most dangerous) warrants of their opponents within the framework of those questions. Brief overviews that address meta-issues and make arguments that don’t fit elsewhere on the flow can help resolve issues in the debate, but long overviews tend to confuse things. A strong overview frames an issue: “They’ve conceded x and y; therefore, we only need to win z.” A weak overview merely summarizes arguments that belong else-where on the flow: “Here are all of our links, and here are all of our impacts.” A strong overview takes stock of the arguments a team will probably win and the arguments that team will probably lose: “Even if they win x, we still win because of y.” A weak overview presumes that one team will somehow win all of the arguments in the debate: “We’ll win x, y, and z; therefore, we’ll win the debate.”

I vote on a variety of arguments and rarely reject things said by debaters out of hand. That said; I will not vote on something that makes no sense to me simply because the debaters have said it. Debaters have the responsibility to respond to their opponents' arguments, but not everything said by a debater counts as an argument. For example, simply uttering the phrase "voting issue" does not turn an issue into an issue that I vote on. There are some arguments I don’t like. I don’t like imagining the world of your argument when that world results in my death. I believe analytics are enough to beat well evidenced arguments that are not in line with an educated understanding of reality. Think: Flat Earth.

Good debate depends fundamentally on argument resolution. Debaters often concentrate on constructing and rebutting arguments without resolving them, leaving the most important work for the judge. Debaters that resolve arguments will win my ballot and earn good speaker points. I will not vote on evidence I don't understand so reading long cards with lots of big words without an appropriate explanation will probably not get you very far.

Wishing you all the best of success. Let's have good debates, Robb Gray

Skyler Harris Paradigm

6 rounds

One of my favorite quotes:

"I don't have problems with drugs, I don't commit crimes, I don't take pleasure in hurting people, and I don't typically have relationship problems. I do have a complete lack of empathy. But I consider that an advantage, most of the time. Do I know the difference between right and wrong, and do I want to be good? Sure. ... A peaceful and orderly world is a more comfortable world for me to live in. So do I avoid breaking the law because it's 'right'? No, I avoid breaking the law because it makes sense.”

Debate is a very fun and educational game

Be kind to others, speak with blazing quickness (or not, won't hate on u) and clarity.

Do whatever it takes to win - insofar as it is logical and coherent, it shouldn't be an issue

Have lots of fun, and have a beautiful day! ヾ(@^▽^@)ノ


I currently coach Futures RA (Ronak Ahuja)

Kerrie Hillhouse Paradigm

5 rounds

I am an experienced Public Forum and Policy debater. I competed for 2 years at CSUF before graduating. I've been coaching the Public Forum and Novice Policy team for CSUF since 2015. I'm also the head coach for Assurance Learning Academy - Harbor City.

AFFs: I like traditional and nontraditional affirmatives. I think it keeps everyone on their toes.

Framework: Have an interpretation that allows you to be competitive for both the AFF and NEG. Tell me how you want me to vote.

Counter Plans: I love a good counter plan. But coming up with a good CP comes with great responsibility. Coming up with a CP puts the burden of proof on you to prove why your plan is better. AFF, tell me why I should reject the CP.

Impacts: Make sure all your claims have impacts. This tells me why your argument is important. If there is no impact, then why does your argument matter? Tell me why your impact is more significant than your opponents impact.

If you want my ballot make sure your arguments are consistent across the flow. Tell me why I should vote for you clearly in the 2NR/2AR.

Laura Hosman Paradigm

Feel free to email me prior to if you have any questions.

Include me on email chains -


I currently coach LD and CX at Denver East. I competed in LD back in the early 2000s, and have been coaching since I graduated from HS in 2004. Most of my coaching as been part time as I'm a perpetual student/grad student. I'm currently working on my PhD in IR at the University of Denver. Prior, I attended law school and completed my JD in 2013. My current research interests focus broadly on judicial defection under non-democracies, International Human Rights Law, and the impact of transitional justice on democratization ( Feel free to talk to me about law school versus grad school - I'm friendly :)

Since I've been coaching for almost 14 years now, but part time, I'm good with national circuit trends and topic substance despite a low judging record. Where it hurts me is with spreading - I'm good with a fast rate of speed, but I'm not where I should be with proper spreading. As long as you flash me or email me your stuff, and slow down on tags and analytics, and you're clear, I'm fine. If I miss any cards I'll just ask.

On staff at SJDI this summer --


Flashing/Emailing is not prep - just keep it reasonable. I prefer email chains.

Flex prep is fine - that's up to the debaters as far as I'm concerned

For CX - open cross is fine; again, that's up to the debaters as far as I'm concerned


I lean strongly towards an offense-defense paradigm - You can concede FW and I'll still vote for you so long as your impacts outweigh. Just make sure when you kick FW its strategic - otherwise why are you running that FW in the first place. Subsequently, I'm not a huge fan of terminal defensive - link turns and perms are good so long as the impacts outweigh and there are some grounds for uniqueness.

I don't vote on presumption - the negative should at least have some net positive impacts from the SQ that outweigh. If I do vote on presumption, it was a bad round.

I'm a pretty progressive judge, so I love a good K, including [performance] aff Ks. But I'll hold you to a higher standard - if you access your solvency via deconstruction of the round itself, your method of doing so better be consistent with your theoretical FW. Fiat is merely a tool through which we can debate empirical impacts as a basis for that which we ought to do, rather than debating the likelihood of occurrence. So if you're running something pre-fiat, you no longer have the luxury of severing theory from method. On neg Ks, just make sure there's a link that's clear and specific, and you have an alt. If you do that you're probably fine. I'm significantly more likely to vote for your K if you have an alt.

Dropped arguments only matter if there's an impact - so again, be strategic and focus on the warrant + impact. In general try not to drop arguments though.

I favor conditionality, just explain [in brief] why kicking the CP, K, or whatever doesn't impact your offense.

DAs - links and impacts generally matter more than uniqueness, but don't ignore uniqueness if there's a CP/Perm

Counterplans are good, just make sure it competes with the plan (think opportunity cost model here).

Debate Theory/ROB - I've never once been persuaded by debate theory. Feels like most folks run debate theory out of habit and because they have the blocks, not because they mean it or even hope to win on it. And folks tend to sound like they are whining by defaulting to theory cause they don't have cards prepped out. But if you can argue it well I might be persuaded by it - especially if something in round is egregious enough to warrant rejection on such grounds (guess I'm yet to see something so egregious). In general, though, I'd rather just see debaters debate substance. I'm more inclined to favor the educational value that comes from debating whatever is offered in round, especially in light of current disclosure norms.

Disclosure Theory - I'm yet to have this be an issue in round, so I can't say definitely how I would vote if someone ran disclosure theory against their opponent. But I've been in this community a decent amount of time, and I've seen the net positive benefits of disclosing on competitive debate. So I strongly support disclosing and am apt to vote accordingly. Granted, I'd rather just vote on the substance of whatever is offered in round if I can, so I wouldn't spend much time on this (esp if its clearly a kid from a i.e. small program without a lot of resources - the net effect at that point is to just be exclusionary and keep kids out of the community).

Theory is not an RVI.

I default to competing interps.

I like T debates, but rarely find myself voting for it - probably because folks don't argue it well and don't impact it. Explain to me why I should pref your definition and why the distinction matters - the distinction should be fundamental and substantial to the resolution/debate/evidence, so don't just run debate theory as the basis for preferring your interp (i.e. studies on democratization are largely dependent on how you define "democracy," with findings determined by quantity versus quality operationalizations of democracy -- so you could link/impact turn the entire 1AC with an alternative definition of democracy). Generally, I'm more inclined to favor the educational value of debating whatever is offered in round and not vote on T.

I'm not a fan of spikes, so I wouldn't go for that strategy. I do see debate as a game, but it should be one with integrity and I see spikes as diminishing the integrity of the game.

Lastly, be nice and respectful, esp in cross. I have a really high threshold for what I consider to be "too aggressive," so rarely do I ever think debaters have crossed the line so to speak. But, i.e. do give your opponents an opportunity to answer during cross.

Speaks - I generally range from 27 to 30. My average is probably somewhere around a 28.5 (I wouldn't be surprised if I'm more generous than others with speaks). If you get above a 29, I think you should be in elim rounds. If you get below a 28, something about your behavior in round bothered me (it probably had to do with cross, and I've only given below a 28 once). If its borderline, I'll probably just give you a flat 29.

For traditional LD, the logic of all of the above applies - I need an impact calc under your value-criterion FW. You can concede your value and still win on impact calc.

Nadia Hussein Paradigm

About Me:

I have debated for three years at Georgia State and did a mixture of debate in high school. Now I’m a graduate coach at Wake Forest

I want to be on the email chain; use


Slow down when reading your tag and author, or I won't be able to catch it.

If GSU debate has taught me anything, it's to be extremely open minded to a variety of arguments. If you want to run death good, afropessimism, deterrence das, no period plan flaw, K affs, traditional affs, feminist killjoy etc, go for it. Just be sure to explain why you should win with this argument. ROB will be who debated the best unless I'm given another ROB with reason to perfer it. I'm against judge fill in but will vote down oppressive/offensive language/arguments especially if the other team points it out.


Do whatever you're best at, stay topical (or be ready to explain why topicality doesn't matter), be organized, and extend your case and why it outweighs throughout. I tend to err aff on framework if they have and defend a plan text, but you have to lock in if you decide to do that, otherwise I'll be persuaded to neg's abuse claims.


I love a good k with a clear link and impact. Your alts have to be clearly explained. I'll buy links of omission but the neg has to defend why the aff can't simply perm. Negs really have to take time in the block to explain why the aff can't perm and why it's net better to do the alt alone. Affs have to explain why they can perm and why the perm is net better than aff alone or why the alt can't solve the case. Don't drop theory args, or I will have to vote the other way.


I’m good with das but there has to be work done on how it links to the aff, or I will agree with the aff on no link args. If you have a solid Nonunique arg and extend it and I will vote on that. Solid impact calc will seal the deal for me, but if the aff successfully turns the DA or explains why the case outweighs the DA, I will vote on that as well. Long story short the more clash on the DA the better.


Love a creative CP, but it needs to solve/have a net benefit (DA or a K) along with stealing aff ground; otherwise I will agree with aff's perm and theory args. Aff needs to clearly explain why CP can't solve case, beat the net benefit, and articulate why the perm is best. Don't drop theory or you lose my ballot.


I will vote neg on a T arg if you convince me the violation is clear, the aff's counter interpretation is unreasonable, and the impact is big. I will vote aff if they convince me that their aff is reasonable, counter interpretation is better or equal to the negs, and a benefit to their definition, but aff can chuck topicality and still win if they articulate why being topical doesn't matter or is worse for debate. If the aff locks in and says they're T however, they cannot shift or it's an auto win for the neg.


I lean aff in most cases unless the neg provides me with a clear violation, story, and impact. 2acs have to clearly explain why the aff is fair and/or better. Tech is important when arguing FW but explanation is key when you arguing framework. Truth always better than tech.


cross ex is binding, answer the questions honestly, don't ask why the aff should win during 1ac cross ex or generic questions like that.

Leonardo Kim Paradigm

6 rounds

Coach at Chaminade & La Reina in LA.

Please put me on the email chain:

**Berkeley Update**

Debate is non-negotiably good.

Death is non-negotiably bad.

Please do not pref me if you disagree.

**Relevant Update for Immigration Topic**

This will very likely be my last year of involvement in Debate. To everyone I have judged, and everyone I will judge, thank you.

This being said, I have recently come to some ideological conclusions that will certainly be relevant to how certain teams fill out their pref sheet.

  • Topicality is a dying art. It's a frustrating process to learn how to execute it, but for teams that can do a T debate the right way, I will be incredibly impressed and reward your speaks accordingly.
  • The critique is a frustrating argument to listen to, on both sides. As a result, if your critique debate that leaves me frustrated for the entire hour and a half, you might get a win, but I can almost guarantee I'll be your lowest speaks in prelims.
  • Soft left affirmatives are quite boring.
  • I will not vote for "[x disad] is racist" unless it is 5 minutes of your 2AR.
  • I really dislike the new meta of affirmatives with both a extinction and structural violence impact. No, it does not make a difference against the counterplan.
  • I will not honor requests for extra speaker points. If you ask, your max points will be 27.1, unless I think you deserve extra.
  • Prefs are not racist or sexist.
  • The negative's maximum speaker points will be 28.5 if the 1NC skips an offcase position in the doc, the cap is the same for the aff if the 2AC answers a position that is skipped.
  • *Addendum: For my position on the K this year: (not really but also kinda)

**General Thoughts**

I'm a good judge for you if:

  • You want a judge who will attempt to understand the debate to the best of their ability, and attempt to adjudicate fairly.
  • You read an affirmative.
  • You negate the affirmative.
  • You like fast, technical debate.
  • You display a ton of personality in your debates.
  • Your argumentative tendencies lean right.
  • You have a superior defense of a critique of the affirmative.
  • You are great at the topicality debate.
  • You read well researched disadvantage or counterplan strategies.
  • You have a superior defense of impact turns.

I'm a decent judge for you if:

  • You read a critical affirmative.
  • You mostly go for critical arguments.
  • You default to generic negative strategies.
  • You have a decent defense of your affirmative.

I'm not a great judge for you if:

  • You assume that I know anything about any mumbo-jumbo critique since I coached Chaminade AT.
  • You're bad at debating the critique.
  • You don't warrant your arguments.
  • You expect high speaker points every debate, unless you radically change my understanding of the debate.
  • You don't demonstrate a mastery of the arguments you've read.
  • You like satire.

I'm an AWFUL judge for you if:

  • You unapologetically defend sexist, racist, transphobic, homophobic, etc. arguments.
  • You ask your opponent to delete things from the speech doc. The highest speaker points you will receive are 28. I've only ever seen this problem in LD.
  • Your best strategy against a team is theory. Distinct from topicality. Also have only encountered this in LD.
  • You like racing through arguments as fast as humanely possible.
  • You speak unclearly.
  • Your strategy relies on making your opponents uncomfortable.
  • You're disrespectful to your opponents.

Here's a copy of my paradigm on Wikispaces - a lot more comprehensive and specific:

LD Prefs

I'm not a good judge for you if:

  • Your strategy relies on having someone who enjoys LD.

My old paradigm has more comprehensive thoughts; something I would like to address though is that I will straight up not vote for an affirmative whose plan text reads, "The United States federal government should [do the resolution] through the recommendation of [author]".

Tim Lewis Paradigm

3 rounds

I am one of the Assistant Debate Coaches at Damien High School in La Verne, CA. I debated on the national circuit for Damien for four years (2009-2013). I graduated from Occidental College in Los Angeles with a BA in Critical Theory and Social Justice. I am finishing up my Master's degree at the University of La Verne in Social Justice in Higher Education Administration. My academic work involves Georges Bataille, poetics, and post-colonialism.
I judged around 50 rounds on the Education topic (2017-2018) on the national circuit.
I judged around 25 debates on the Immigration topic (2018-2019) on the national circuit.

Technical Elements:
Please email ( me all of the speeches before you begin.
If you need an accommodation of any kind, please email me before the round starts so that we can try and work something out. I want everyone to feel safe and able to debate- this is my number one priority as a judge.
I don't run prep time while you email the speech doc. Put the whole speech into one speech doc.
I flow 1AC impact framing and solvency on the same page nowadays.
Speed is not an issue for me, but I will ask you to slow down if you are needlessly sacrificing clarity for quantity--especially if you are reading T or theory arguments.

I will not evaluate evidence indentifiable as being produced by software, bots, algorithms etc. Human involvement in the card’s production must be evident unique to the team, individual, and card. This means that evidence you directly take from open source must be re-highlighted at a minimum. You should change the tags and underlining anyways to better fit with your argument’s coherency. Otherwise, I read all evidence as it is read throughout the debate. This can go well or badly for you, but only if you do not make the debate legible and winnable at the level of argument (which is the only reason I would have to defer to evidentiary details).

I privilege technical debating and the flow. I try to get as much down as I possibly can and the little that I miss usually is a result of a lack of clarity on the part of the speaker or because the actual causal chain of the idea does not make consistent sense for me (I usually express this on my face). Your technical skill should make me believe/be able to determine that your argument is the truth. That means warrants. Explain them, impact them, and don't make me fish for them in the un-underlined portion of the six paragraph card that your coach cut for you at a camp you weren't attending. I find myself more and more dissatisfied with debating that operates only on the link claim level. I tend to take a formal, academic approach to the evaluation of ideas so discussions of source, author intentions and 'true' meaning, and citation are both important to me and something that I hope to see in more debates.

The best debates for me to judge are ones where the last few rebuttals focus on giving me instructions on what the core controversies of the round are, how to evaluate them, and what mode of thinking I should apply to the flow as a history of the round. This means that I'm not going to do things unless you tell me to do them on the flow (judge kick, theory 'traps' etc.). When instructions are not provided or articulated, I will tend to use (what I consider to be) basic, causal logic to find connections, contradictions, and gaps/absences.

I believe in the importance of topicality and theory. No affs are topical until proven otherwise.
Non-impacted theory arguments don't go a long way for me; establish a warranted theory argument that when dropped will make me pull the trigger. This is not an invitation for arbitrary and non-educational theory arguments being read in front of me, e.x. if you are going to read no neg fiat, then you better understand and be able to explain to me the history of the argument and why it is important.

I believe that there is a case for in-round violence/damage winning the ballot. Folks need to be considerate of their behavior and language. You should be doing this all of the time anyways.

I am less and less convinced by generic framework arguments. I find framework to be a boring/unhelpful/poorly debated style of argument. I want to hear about the ballot-- what is it, what is its role, and what are your warrants for it. I want to know what kind of individual you think the judge is (academic, analyst, intellectual etc.). I want to hear about the debate community and the round's relationship within it. These are the most salient questions in a framework debate for me. These are the questions we have to be thinking about in substantial and concrete terms if we are really thinking about them with any authenticity/honesty/care (sorge).

If you are going to go for Fairness, then you need a metric. Not just a caselist, not just a hypothetical ground dispensation, but a functional method to measure the idea of fairness in the round/outside the round i.e. why are the internal components (ground, caselist, etc.) a good representation of a team's burden and what do these components do for individuals/why does that matter. I am not sure what that metric/method is, but my job is not to create it for you. A framework debate that talks about competing theories for how fairness/education should be structured and analyzed will make me very happy i.e. engaging the warrants that constitute ideas of procedural fairness and critical education.

In-round Performance and Speaker Points:
An easy way to get better speaker points in front of me is by showing me that you actually understand how the debate is going, the arguments involved, and the path to victory. Every debater has their own style of doing this (humor, time allocation, etc.), but I will not compromise detailed, content-based analysis for the ballot.

I deeply dislike the trend of debaters asking questions about 'did you read X card etc.' in cross-x and I believe this contributes to the decline of flowing skills in debate. While I have not established a metric for how many speaker points an individual will lose each time they say that phrase, know that it is something on my mind. I will not allow questions outside of cross-x outside of core procedural things ('can you give the order again?,' 'everyone ready?' etc.).

While I believe that high school students should not be held to a standard of intellectual purity with critical literature, I do expect you to know the body of scholarship that your K revolves around: For example, if you are reading a capitalism K, you should know who Marx, Engels, and Gramsci are; if you are reading a feminism k, you should know what school of feminism (second wave, psychoanalytic, WOC, etc.) your author belongs to. If you try and make things up about the historical aspects/philosophical links of your K, I will reflect my unhappiness in your speaker points and probably not give you much leeway on your link/alt analysis. I will often have a more in-depth discussion with you about the K after the round, so please understand that my post-round comments are designed to be educational and informative, instead of determining your quality/capability as a debater.

Do not read these types of arguments in front of me:
Arguments that directly call an individual's humanity into account
Arguments based in directly insulting your opponents
Arguments that you do not understand

Matthew McFadden Paradigm

6 rounds

matt mcfadden
ucla - 2020 - economics major - email chain - please put me on it

predispositions – if you accurately describe your evidence as phenomenal, i will reward you with extra speaks in proportion to how good your cards are. if you oversell your sub-par cards, i will be thoroughly disappointed. not to say debating is in any way less significant, but if you have research of superb quality, it makes the debate much easier for you. regardless of my biases, please just go for what you are prepared to execute and have the research on.

if you are understandably in a hurry, there are really only 2 things you need to take from this –

1 – do what you're good at
"i vote on dropped arguments that i don't believe" -ian beier

for ld – please spare me the kant.

topicality – love it. please read a good amount of cards. if you've done the research to support a well-articulated t argument, i will be overjoyed to judge the debate. although i generally default to competing interpretations, after thinking about it, reasonability is compelling if the 2ar accurately articulates why the neg interpretation is unpredictable and overly burdensome for affirmatives, which outweighs 2nr offense – this is especially persuasive if you have aff-specific cards in relation to the topic literature or legal question of the resolution. negatives that 1 – do thorough impact calculus external to ‘they explode limits – limits are good’ and 2 – give overwhelmingly extensive lists of the absurd affs their interp justifies are crucial. limits is an internal link to the topic-specific expertise the resolutional question is designed to impart.

theory – can be tedious to resolve, but i'm intrigued. 1ar's do not extend this enough. 2ar's that do the impact comparison, turns case analysis, and offense/defense framing on theory as if it were a da are very enjoyable. if theory arguments aren't well-articulated and are overly blippy, i am fine with simply dismissing them.

must disclose judge prefs theory – no, thank you. i am not sympathetic.

kritiks – the most intricate debates or the most mediocre debates – i mean this sincerely. if you are good at making a real argument, yes please. specific link work with intricate turns case analysis and examples relating to the aff win debates. reading a new phenomenal critical theory card will make my day - ie if you have done the research to support your argument, let's go. the more generic your k is, the less inclined i am to vote for you. if you are a team that goes for the k like a disad (techy, line-by-line, interacts with the case) i'll be happy to judge the debate; the inverse is true as well.

cp – wonderful.

counterplans with long texts – my favorite.

pics – they're the best. HOWEVER – they should be substantively different than the aff and have a solvency advocate.

process cp's – you're probably cheating.

states cp – teams overestimate the impact of their solvency deficits and underestimate the efficacy of theory as an answer. aff – please go for theory.

judge kick – i'm ideologically sympathetic but will not default to it.

da – yes, please.

well-researched link evidence works wonders. taking a minute of the 2nr to detail turns case analysis puts you in a great position.

if you don't have a da, you don't have a da. 1% risk calculus won't make your link for you.

impact turn – please go for these if your evidence is recent and of high quality. doing thorough comparison between the data and qualifications of your cards versus theirs is how these debates are won.
"people should impact turn.... everything" -ian beier

neg v. k affs – if you're neg and don't win these debates, you're the exception. these are the hardest 2nr's, so i'm willing to grant some leeway.

presumption – make this argument.

framework – yes. compare your impacts at the internal link level and do intricate turns case analysis. i enjoy institutional engagement arguments vs identity affs and truth testing/fairness against more abstract affs.

the k – though i think it is an admirable strategy, unless you have hyper-specific evidence about the aff or its mechanism, you are highly susceptible to the perm.

k affs – good luck.

aff v. the k – you have an aff; that's all you have to defend.

affs lose to the k when they don't answer offense that is embedded in link arguments, lose the framework debate, letting them get away with broad and absurd generalizations, and going for too much.

execution – evidence quality doesn't replace the necessity of good debating. but i really do love good evidence.

zero risk – it’s not possible strictly in the sense of ‘zero risk’, because there is inherently a possibility of all events but it is possible to diminish the risk of an advantage or da to such a degree that it is not sufficiently significant to overcome from the noise of the status quo. i think the new fettweis card is pretty devastating impact defense. lots of neg da's are utterly ridiculous.

cx – if their cards are awful, or their da is incoherent, pointing it out is fun. being strategic in the rhetorical method you use to get the other team to say what you want, then referencing their answers in speeches to warrant arguments is persuasive and gets you additional speaks if what they said is truly applicable.
"be snarky if you want" -grace kuang

judges/people i admire - dheidt, tallungan, khirn, tyler peltekci, dan bannister, grace kuang, spurlock, matt munday, tucker carlson, forslund, scott brown.

prep – being efficient will make me happier with you – ie have the 1nr emailed out before 2nc cross-ex is over.

bad args – 'racism/sexism good' args are obviously non-starters. i won't immediately dismiss 'death good' but if this is really the position you're in, you have more immediate problems than my judging preferences.

Chris Paredes Paradigm

4 rounds


(Updated for Western JV/Novice Nats; see bottom of paradigm for LD)

Experience: I have been coaching for Damien since 2017. I debated four years of policy in high school (Damien; 2001-2005). I did not debate in college (Amherst College, MA; 2005 - 2009) but I coached HS briefly after college (2009-2010) and judged sporadically during law school (Emory Law, GA; 2010 - 2013) for the Atlanta Urban Debate League. I would consider myself fluent in debate, but since I'm a dinosaur my judging preferences may not align with current "meta" trends of the community that have developed in the past decade.

Debate: I view debate as a game where the rules of the game are mostly made up in round by the debaters. With a very few exceptions (the length of speeches, the order of the speeches, which side the teams are on, etc.) I think everything is fair game for the teams to establish during the round. That means that I am open to voting for almost any argument so long as I have an idea of how it functions within the round and it is appropriately impacted. My default view of my role as judge is a hypothetical policy maker evaluating whether I should pass the plan, but I can be persuaded that a round should be judged based on a real world function for the ballot or on theoretical post-round effects of how I vote.

Argumentative Weight: Technique trumps truth, but it is usually much easier to debate well when you are using true arguments. You simply are not going to be able to out-tech anyone on "GOP is the party of climate change." Being a good debater includes doing the research and preparation to come up with good arguments. That said, in-speech analysis goes a long way with me and I am very much more likely to side with the team that explains a warrant for their argument vs. the one that extends by tagline and/or author only. I will read cards as necessary, including explicit prompting, however when I start reading evidence I do so critically and evaluate warrants. Arguments are only as good as their warrants -- without necessary warrants I will treat carded claims as little more than analytics.

Topic Familiarity: I've judged about 40 rounds on the topic so far. I do not teach at a camp so beyond judging my exposure is limited to neg research. I have relatively high academic familiarity with the topic but I try not to let specialized knowledge affect how I judge unless the round calls for it (a highly specialized process-based CP where a lack of clash forces me to critically evaluate the CP evidence for myself)

Argument Selection: You should run whatever you are most familiar and comfortable with. Almost all of my preferences on this paradigm can be overcome if you debate better than your opponents. However regardless of the style of debate you choose it is in your own interest to debate in a way where you do the work for me. By that I mean that your goal in your final rebuttal is 1) establish what criterion the debate should be evaluated under and 2) demonstrate to me why you win under those criterion. I rarely give full weight to what I perceive as brand new arguments in either final rebuttal, but as a matter of practice the 2NR and 2AR should explicitly address newness of arguments. I do not believe it's necessary for 2NRs to say "No new args" for me to reject new 2AR arguments, but the 2NR should set itself up as a filter through which I evaluate the 2AR.

E-Mail Chain: However if you have no objections, I prefer that you add me (, but I do not need to be on the chain if there's some reason you would prefer to limit the distribution of your docs/ev. I do not distribute docs to third party requests unless a team has failed to update their wiki.

If you still don't know how to pref. me, there is an extensive argument by argument breakdown below.


Debating T well is a question of engaging in responsive impact debate. You win my ballot if you are the team that best contextualizes how you provide the best internal links (ground, predictability, research burden) to terminal impacts (fairness and education). I appreciate a good T debate and I will reward teams with the ballot and with good speaker points for well thought-out interpretations (or counter-interps) with nuanced defenses.

I default to competing interpretations because it features a built-in weighing mechanism, but reasonability can be compelling to me if properly contextualized. I am generally receptive to arguments like "The aff interp only imposes a reasonable additional research burden of two more cases." I am generally not receptive to arguments like "They have case specific literature, proves we are reasonably predictable."

I feel that this topic is sufficiently aff-biased such that preserving topicality as a viable negative strategy is important even against affs that are topical in a truth sense.

Fx/Xtra Topicality: Don't be afraid to go for Fx/Xtra with me in the back, but you should impact it. Especially when the T debate collapses to just a question of Fx/Xtra, there needs standards debate or an abuse story contextualized to the original interp.

Kritiks of Topicality / Topicality Silences Voices: I dislike this argument on principle because the resolution is one of the bare minimum rules of debate that I think I should enforce on the round. The resolution presumably exists for a reason. Moreover, the argument itself is just weak; there are lots of important and interesting problems in the world to discuss, so there is no unique impact to limiting the scope of discussion. Ultimately killing the neg's ability to check non-topical affs by kritiking topicality feels like a disingenuous way for the aff to re-orient the debate to their argumentative/topic preferences. However as a rule I punish incompetence over principle so I will vote on this if the negative mishandles it.

Framework / T-USFG

In line with my thoughts above on kritiks of topicality, I am very sympathetic to this argument in a truth sense. Despite this, I will vote aff if I think the aff debated better. For an aff to beat framework arguments in front of me, they need to articulate and defend specific and compelling reasons why they cannot and do not embed their personal advocacy into a topical policy. I am not keen on "The USFG/system sucks" as one of those reasons (that would be inherency, and if the USFG is an insurmountable solvency deficit, then it's an indication that your plan action is fundamentally flawed not necessarily that systems are bad).

For the neg, I am receptive to both procedural fairness and education arguments, as I find both impacts to be fundamentally true, but I think contextualization and specificity is important in this debate. Given that the affs in these debates will almost always sit on education, it is usually behooves you to give me a reason why fairness outweighs or why your model of debate better accesses education. I give great weight to contextualized examples for why plan-based debate is a better internal link to positive real world change out of debate compared to personal advocacy: debate provides valuable portable skills, advocacy for a case is excellent training for advocacy of actual real world policies, etc.


Generally speaking I have much less aversion to voting on procedurals and theory than other judges due to being raised in a different era of debate. I value nuance a lot more than many other judges because I think that debate's largest educational impact is training students in real world advocacy. Learning processes is important and the aff has a burden as advocates to defend a specific and coherent implementation strategy to their case. Consequently I will absolutely pull the trigger on vagueness, plan flaws, or other spec arguments as long as there is a coherent story about ground or education loss and a good answer to why cross doesn't check.

Meanwhile the neg has an equal burden to defend the coherence of a counter-advocacy or the model of debate implied by their negative strategy. I will reject a counterplan for a structural defect or because the aff has effectively convinced me that the neg is debating in a way that not just strategic but fundamentally unfair.

That being said, I have rarely see theory deployed convincingly as most debaters have an inclination to use it as a mutual time sink even when it should be the clear default strat. If you're not putting in the time and work to make it a viable choice in your last speech, it probably isn't going to persuade me.

My default view on various theory, all of which can be overcome by better debating, are as follows: Condo is good but should have limitations. PICs, Actor, and Process CPs are good but are much better with solvency advocates. Consult and Floating PIKs are bad. The level of cheating/utopianism of a CP/alt justifies equivalent cheating with perms. Reject the arg not the team is overcome with instances of past real abuse. CX is binding. Disclosure of previously run arguments is good. Breaking new shouldn't require disclosure.

A special note on condo, I come from a time where condo was much less accepted. Part of that is because of an implicit understanding that the negative's entitlement to multiple worlds doesn't include severance of discourse/rhetoric pursuant to that world. It's one thing to test the aff from multiple perspectives, it's another to say you can run your Fear of Death K with a reps link along with a Hege Impact to your Politics DA and still access alt solvency just because you kicked out the DA. This is especially hypocritical if you claim there's no external impact to the ballot besides a rejection of a mindset. (That's not to say I think this is an automatic winning argument, I simply find it most logical to assume the negative is responsible for their discourse as much as the Aff is unless explicitly explained otherwise.)


TL;DR: If you actually are legitimately interested in philosophy and critical academic scholarship, have studied the literature seriously, and have a good contextualized argument for why that lens of that scholarship is relevant to the debate round, then I am a good judge for you. If you want to be lazy and avoid doing specific research so you can brute force a ballot against a team that knows K lit less than you, then I am a bad judge for you (and I think you're better served by getting good at T instead of the K).

I enjoy critical literature, however I tend to dislike critical rounds because I question the pedagogical value of the scholarship in debate and, more importantly, the vast majority of teams are very bad at making critical arguments. Quintessential bad K debate is defined by shifting the debate to repetition of some generic talking points. The kritik is an academic argument, therefore having good familiarity with the literature is essential to debating the K well. It's poor scholarship for you to argue the other team should be rejected when you yourself do not truly understand the internal logic of argument and the necessary warrants because someone else cut the file for you. I find that the K evidence (on both sides) are the most likely to be power-tagged and under-highlighted (which is saying something given the ever descending bar for politics update cards).

A good kritik should be able to clash with the affirmative head-on. Give a good contextualized link with solid argumentation for why the alternative is a superior option to the plan under your model of debate. I do not have any biases or predispositions about what my ballot does or should do, but if you do not explain your alt and/or how my ballot interacts with the alt (or lack thereof) you will find that I have a low threshold to treating the K as a non-unique disad. If the alt is some actual action which solves back for the implications of the kritik, in the fiat world or the real world, the solvency process of the alt should be explained. Alts like "Reject the aff" and "Vote neg" are fine as long as you actually give me a reason to do that besides saying that it's try or die because the aff links. Floating PIKs are generally bad. Links of omission are generally bad.

With all of that ranting aside said, if you are confident then by all means go critical. I have a high level of academic familiarity with basic critical lit, but only debate-level familiarity with higher level theory (Deleuze, Baudrilliard, etc.) However you should not rely on my familiarity with your argument and evidence; the onus is still on you to explain your argument to me because I will not make it coherent for myself. Even if I understand the lit, the kritik must be presented in an comprehensible fashion in round. The quality of literature does not matter if the kritik is functionally deficient as a call for the ballot.

Affs should not be afraid of going for straight impact turns and defending framework with me. I'm more willing than most judges to consider the merit in challenging kritik ideology head on rather than labeling your opposing discourse as a link. I won't necessarily vote for you, but I think it is a sign that debate ideology is becoming too one-sided when the only viable strategy against the K is link turns instead of impact turns.


The only relevant thing to know about my decision structure on DAs is that I don't think the aff needs offense to beat a disad -- that is to say, I'm more prone than most judges to assess minimal risk based on defense. This is especially true when bad evidence is pointed out as bad. I can be convinced by analysis that there is always a risk of a DA despite a lost defensive argument, but in the absence of that analysis I do not really care about how strong your link is if you straight up lose a no impact or a non-unique argument.

On the other side, I will absolutely vote SQ over plan if you can win the DA impacts are bigger, that the DA impacts turn case, or that in a world where both the DA and the aff impacts are inevitable that the SQ is even slightly better (less deaths, longer timeframe to extinction, etc.)


I think that research is a core part of debate as an activity, and good counterplan strategy goes hand-in-hand with that. I think the fact that counterplans are more straight forward than kritiks allows for more room for technical debate and fertile plan specific clash, which favors the better team because that is where you can leverage your skills as a debater.

The risk of the net benefit you must win is inversely proportional to how good your counterplan is. Generic PICs are more vulnerable to perms and carry a much higher threshhold burden on the net benefit, but PICs with specific solvency advocates or highly specific net benefits are devastating and one of the ways that debate rewards research. Agent and process counterplans are also better when you can present a nuanced argument for why one agent/process is better than the aff's for a specific plan. Solvency for aff impacts can be a sufficient net benefit (either because of a conceded aff-only case take-out or turn, or because the CP solves better) so long as there's a reason to reject the perm.

I do not judge kick by default, but 2NRs can easily convince me to do it.


Speaker Points: I think speaker points are arbitrary and bad, but there is no real alternative to them. I try to follow any provided tournament scale very closely if it's available. In the event that there is no scale my baseline is 27.5 and I distribute speaks as if I was grading debaters on a bell curve with 30 being the 99th percentile and 25 being the 1st percentile. Practically speaking my baseline of 27.5 should not disadvantage teams that need high speaks to break because breaking teams should be above average by definition. I'm aggressive at BOTH addition and subtraction from this baseline since on a bell curve very few people are actually average. Points above the baseline are rewarded for entertaining, organized, strategic, and clever speeches. I also listen closely to CX and include CX performance in speaks assessment. Well contextualized humor is the quickest way to get higher speaks in front of me, e.g. Thanos jokes on a Malthus flow.

Delivery: Your speed should be limited by clarity. You should be clear enough that I can flow without needing your speech doc. Additionally realize that even if I can hear and understand you, no one can flow a successive stream of quick analytics. Don't be afraid to lose ten seconds on things like sign-posting the line-by-line; you will likely make it up in efficiency (besides your arguments won't mean much if I don't know where to flow them).

Organization: I believe good line-by-line is a fundamental of good debate that is becoming increasingly rare and is the number one way most debaters can improve. Establishing (or following) a numbered (and, if necessary, sub-pointed) 2AC line by line structure in your constructives is a bare minimum requirement for anything over a 28.5. Rebuttal speeches get leeway since framing requires you to highlight key arguments.

Cross-X, Prep, and Tech: Tag-team CX is fine but it's part of your speaker point rating to give and answer most of your own cross. I think that finishing the final question in the first few seconds of prep is fine. Simple clarification and non-substantive questions during prep is also fine. I don't charge prep for tech time, but tech should be limited to emailing docs or flashing. When you end prep, you should be ready to distribute.

Accommodations: Feel free to ask for accommodations in round or email me ahead of time


My school does not participate in LD and I do not hire myself out for LD, but I have found myself judging more of these rounds due to tournament request/need. As I understand it, the LD meta is approaching the era of policy that I actually debated in. Combined with the fact that the meta generally drifts down from policy, I am probably competent enough to listen to most anything you want to run. Given my policy background I have some preferences that will probably be harder for you to overcome with me in the back than with an actual LD judge. Notably, RVIs are a non-starter with me and plan based debate is probably flatly better than value criterion debate (which is precisely why LD has ended up becoming plan-based over the last twenty years)

Coming from policy I have a few thoughts about how time works in the LD format that might be atypical. I think time constraints in LD mean that I have to give the aff a lot more leeway than I would give in policy. I am also a lot more receptive to arguments about why condo is bad in LD than I would be in policy. On a more substantive level I also think that the "outspread then kick" neg strategy is fundamentally weaker in LD than it is in policy. While the strategic goal of attaining a time trade-off is the same, the limitation on the number of speeches means that the neg must frontline more depth to the offcase earlier in order to develop the basic level of argumentative coherence necessary for something to be a reason to reject the aff. Therefore you're probably better off limiting the number of offcase regardless of condo theory.

Elizabeth Pavlath Paradigm

Since the Judge Philosophies wiki page has been deactivated.

I am a junior at California State University Long Beach and I debated LD for four years at La Reina High School. I will listen and vote on nearly any argument with certain exceptions i.e. racism, sexism, etc. good. If you choose to run theory, I will be happier if it is warranted, but a well-done frivolous theory debate can be fun to judge. I read a lot of critical arguments in high school so feel free to run them eg-Anti-blackness, feminism, etc. Policy-style debate is fine too. Finally, spreading wise, I have not heard spreading in a while so if you could start slow and build up speed that would be great.

Tyler Peltecki Paradigm

3 rounds

Tyler Peltekci

Damien HS 2017 | Loyola Marymount 2021

Debate is a game about research.
Send me the speech docs as well please —

I debated with Matt McFadden from 2013-2017 (Latin America thru China) at Damien HS in Southern California.

I had some competitive success in debate if that matters to you, qualified to the ToC both junior and senior year, was the 2nd seed my senior year, and finished in quarterfinals (5th place). Also won 2nd place at St. Marks, 1st place at Golden Desert, 6 ToC bids and was in the elimination debates of every major tournament.

There are TLDR's if you're in a rush

Fast and technical debating between two well-prepared opponents is my ideal.

I will always reward a well-researched strategy -- but execution is JUST AS IMPORTANT as evidence.

My favorite debates to participate in were the ones where BOTH sides had the cards to throw down, so I’d imagine my favorite debates to JUDGE, would be the same.

My biggest preference, is that you go for what you are the most PREPARED to go for, and what you have done the most RESEARCH to support..

I understand my role as judge is not to be dogmatic, and I won’t vote against an argument on ideology. I’ll remain objective when evaluating debates, and this paradigm reflects my argumentative preferences, not any sort of dogma.

That being said, here are some preferences and thoughts:

Topicality - TLDR: Yes

Love when the neg recognizes that topicality is the best strategy against a certain team/affirmative, and does the research to execute it.

EVIDENCE MATTERS, reasonability is almost never a round-winning argument, we meet is a yes/no question, the most persuasive impact arguments are ones concerned with gaining expertise from debates and predictability,

I’m not the judge with pre-determinations about all these small things that a lot of people in debate talk/argue about, that being said - fairness can be an impact, and it can also be an internal link, my advice is you make it whatever is most likely to win you the debate

I love when the AFF reads something questionably topical but just out-techs neg teams going for T, or when they just have the bag ready to be thrown on "we meet" and read a plan that doesn’t actually do anything.. #BTC

Framework/"T-USFG" - TLDR: Just debate this argument well and I will likely be persuaded..

Likely all that should be in the 1nc in a debate vs an AFF team that did not defend the resolution, going for a Kritik (against non-plan affs in HS) is almost asking to lose to a permutation, unless it's very specific/well-researched, or you’re winning some reason why permutations shouldn’t be allowed.

I will lean very heavily neg in Framework debates.

The way you deploy a framework strategy should probably change depending on what type of affirmative you’re debating; I’m equally persuaded by the impact arguments related to engaging in institutions/gaining skills as I am by arguments related to debate as a game and fairness/truth testing, so I’m game for whatever, just debate well and make sure you think strategy when deciding what 1nc to read…

The way you lose going for framework is by not comparing at the internal link level, and allowing the AFF team to get away with incredibly outlandish claims that make your offense irrelevant..

Kritiks - TLDR: As long as the argument follows... 

Not my favorite type of argument, but it's difficult to deny its strategic utility in debte...

- specific links, yes
- reason why the plan is bad, yes
- link of omission, no
- death k, save it for McFadden
- state is always bad, big no
- turns case, yes
- framework, do more than read a roleplaying bad card and hope they drop it

AFF against the K - TLDR: defend your aff, and impact turn every word they say
You have an aff, forgetting about the 1ac is how you lose this debate…
- weighing your aff is important, not doing that would be bad
- impact turn, yes
- util, yes
- impact defense to their impacts, yes
- link thresholds, yes
- perm, why do this when statistics prove hegemony is good
- going “soft left”, this can be very smart against certain K 1NC’s - think strategy
- alt answers, less important in front of me because impact turns make it somewhat irrelevant,

  • but if you’re not impact turning and you’re letting them get away with the assertion that a “reorientation” or whatever solves their links and the aff, you’re going to be in a tough spot debate wise…
  • you also don’t NEED cards to answer the alternative, smart arguments go a long way against the 80% of High School K 1nc’s that literally don’t make a cogent argument.

Kritikal AFFs - TLDR: Uphill Battle 

My threshold is quite simply that your 1AC should include logical premises and some form of conclusion which follows them.

Presumption against planless affs is both persuasive, and underutilized.

3 questions your K AFF should answer:

  1. How does voting aff solve your role of the ballot?
  2. If you read impacts about things happening outside of debate, how does voting aff solve those impacts? and if you read impacts about debate, how does voting aff solve those impacts?
  3. Why can’t I vote negative to preserve a model of debate, but still agree with everything the 1ac says and just assign you the loss?

Counterplans - TLDR: yes, being extra technical in these debates can only benefit you

PICs were my favorite strategy to cut/research and my 2nd favorite strategy to execute. Process CP’s are cool if you do it right, and have the technical proficiency to win competition/theory debates..

Actually competitive CP’s that don’t do the aff/use a different mechanism usually need good solvency evidence, the more comparative the better (obviously a high standard, but we’re talking ideals here).

The aff should be going for PDCP/Theory in most of these process CP debates, but do it right (answer the theory block)..

You don't need solvency advocates or cards for smart and intuitive advantage CP’s, and 2nc CP’s out of add-ons.

judge kick is sooooo 👎👎

DA's - TLDR: yes please, but I have no trouble assigning zero risk if you want to read something incoherent against a smart 2A (make an argument please)…

Link usually controls the direction (but I understand the need to go for UQ controls direction), generic/topic DA's are great when you have a specific link argument, politics+case is ALWAYS the move! If you’re e-sub-pointing turns case warrants for every internal link, you’re debating DA’s the right way…

If you don't have a DA, you don't have a DA... 1% risk analysis isn't the substitute for a link...

Impact Turns - TLDR: my favorite type of argument in debate — if you think a team can’t defend that a war between the US and China would be a bad thing, why not exploit that? :)

Evidence quality, and comparison of that evidence is HUGE in these debates and the more well-researched team typically wins.

prolif good is defense (except for bioweapons tradeoff)

impact turn k affs when you can, and go for it if you're winning..

Do more line by line than usual in these debates

--- some personal favorites: China War Good (+0.2pts if you win), Red Spread, Dedev (+0.1pts if you win), Water Wars Good, IPR Bad, Multilat Bad, I-LAW Bad, Cap good, Tech good, Hegemony good

Theory - TLDR: do line by line, 2nr/2ar offense defense paradigm framing and impact comparison/turns case warrants will win you these debates..

In terms of biases/which way I “lean” in theory debates — I have no bias strong enough to inform you not to go for a certain argument, just be honest with yourself over your ability to credibly persuade someone that a vague alternative is a reason to vote aff, and so on.

Tech over Truth, always-- if you go for truth over tech, i will evaluate the opposite --
consider the following:
1 - you had to technically win that I should evaluate truth before tech.. So tech comes before truth inevitably
2 - truthfully, it shouldn't come first in debate..

Rewarding good research - if your cards are fire, or just better than the other teams, let me know:
if you accurately sell your cards, higher speaks.
if you over-sell them, lower speaks.

Execution matters just as much as evidence - telling me to read your cards is NOT ENOUGH, you need to make an argument.

being aff

  • if you give a bad 2ac on case, I’m not going to let the 1AR pretend like that didn’t happen if the neg points it out, and THEY SHOULD
  • idk why you’re scared to straight turn a DA, test their link file (assuming you have a link turn file)...
  • the first 30-45 seconds of the 2ar should write my ballot

being neg

  • be strategic
  • just read your best offense and get ready to throw down and you will make me happy, but you're not here to make me happy, you're here to win, so if you need to read T-with, do it
  • 1 OFF DA = +0.3pts if you win
  • 1 OFF PIC = +0.3pts if you win
  • heg bad; you’re bad
  • you never have “nothing” to the point where you have to read time cube, consult Ashtar, or any of that other noise -- yes it's funny, but you might lose when you could have gone for politics or the death k and won...

See Matt McFadden if this philosophy if this wasn't enough, I understand debate similar to how he does -

Vito Perez Paradigm

Add me to the email chain please:

Please email me any questions regarding my decision. On the Subject line, please provide the name of the tournament, your team code, and the round number.

Bravo Medical Magnet HS (2010-2013)

UC Irvine (2013-14): 2014 NDT Qualifier and 2014 CEDA Octafinalist


My ideal debate demonstrates a) well-researched positions that are communicated clearly and concisely and are easily flowable, and b) direct refutation of arguments that can be easily visualized on the flow.

In 2014, I said, "I am compatible with embedded clash" and will do the sorting work even if messy. This delays the tournament schedule by prolonging the time it takes to render a decision. Line-by-line refutation is most preferred. Grouping arguments is acceptable if you identify what premise they all share that you are refuting.

The literature bases I’m most familiar with are around afropessimism, settler colonialism, capitalism, whiteness, biopolitics, semiotics, and (some) psychoanalysis.

Prerequisites to earning the Ballot:

1.) Be Clear: This is a communication activity. You are persuading the judge. I'm slightly hard of hearing, so if I can't understand you, I'll say "CLEAR". I will repeat only twice per debater. Lack of clarity will reduce speaker points and will make it difficult to flow and genuinely understand the argument. This rule is most important during OVERVIEWS and ANALYTICS.

SLOW DOWN for Plan texts, Counterplan texts, Advocacy texts, Permutation texts, and PIC/PIK texts. If I have to look at the speech document for the TEXT, I will remove half a speaker point. This is a speech activity. If it weren't, we would only need to share word documents over email and we wouldn't need to be physically present at tournaments.

Speaking for/over your partner (or puppeteering them) will reduce both of your speaks. Debaters should be able to speak for themselves in a speech activity.

2.) Complete the argument: A complete argument contains a claim, warrant, and evidence. An incomplete argument will be flowed for reference but ultimately will not be evaluated. If an argument is completed in a constructive, I will evaluate it. If it is completed in a rebuttal, it is a new argument and I will not evaluate it.

3.) Explain Key Theories/Concepts: Assume I am a lay judge who only knows how to flow. Do not assume that my familiarity with certain literature bases will allow you to skip over explaining key philosophical, economic, or political concepts and chains of logic. Doing so risks skipping warrants, which means you've made an incomplete argument that I will not evaluate. Returning to the first prerequisite of clarity, if you are not clear I might not completely understand the concepts you explained. Then, your warrants and analytics might be absent on my flow. Don't let that happen.

Also, DO NOT use abbreviations or acronyms until you have spelled them out for me. Do not leave me to guess. I might not flow it.

4.) Tell me who I am: Role of the Judge. Dictate to me how I ought to view the round--as a policymaker, a critic, an educator, a revolutionary, etc. Otherwise, my default position is to evaluate the round as a policy-maker. I have spent too much time post-round thinking about how to weigh impacts and advocacies that clash and are both well-researched. Do not leave me at the end of the round with my biases.

5.) Tell me what the ballot does: Role of the Ballot. Dictate to me what the purpose of the ballot ought to be: for example, does it simply go to the team that did the better debating or does it change the structure of debate or the debate community? Moreover, what the ballot ought to do/be depends on what DEBATE should be about. In short, delineate your model of debate (what debate should be about) and defend why we should affirm that model of debate.

6.) Tech over Truth: I will only evaluate what is said in the round not what I know outside the round. Prioritizing truth claims relies on judge intervention which nullifies the argumentation within the round and the purpose of the activity. Prioritizing tech minimizes judge intervention because the argumentation in the round determines the ballot.


Aff/Neg Roles: The affirmative must change the status quo via fiat or performance. The 1AC must make the status quo net better. The negative must prove the affirmative either DOES NOT change the status quo or makes the status quo net worse. Sounds too basic but is a fundamental theoretical issue about the model of debate that debaters gloss over with statements like "we only need to prove the aff is a good/bad idea".

I find myself wanting to vote Neg on presumption in debates in which the Aff does not meet the burden of changing the status quo or does not provide a counter-interpretation to "changing the status quo". To clarify, I won't vote on presumption if the argument is not made.

I believe the neg should have the status quo as an option, only if the neg makes this argument. Unless the debate becomes a method vs method debate, the focus of the debate is the 1AC's effects on the status quo.

Framework: Tell me why I ought to prefer your model of the debate. The more comparative the standards and impact debate, the better. For example, tell me whose scholarship/pedagogy should be preferred with clear disads to the other team’s education claims. As a judge, I do not take a position on the structural fairness vs procedural fairness debate, except that fairness (structural or procedural) should be explained as an impact in and of itself. Otherwise, I am likely to interpret fairness as an internal link to an impact waiting to be articulated.

Topicality/Theory: Will vote on it but my threshold is high because in the debates I've judged, abuse in-round is not clearly articulated (or that it's potentially abusive) or it is unclear what kind of ground the aff destroyed or the extent to which the negative was unable to generate substantial clash or the aff killed education on topic literature. If neg definitively proves in-round abuse, I'll vote on T.

Topical versions of the Aff are extremely persuasive because they prove that the 1AC's content is non-competitive with topicality, which means that being un-topical is not uniquely key to access 1AC offense. Neg doesn't have to prove solvency; only that the content and performance of the 1AC is not competitive with affirming the resolution.

Disadvantages: I’m not always familiar with abbreviations so please explain them at least once. For politics debates, I like case-specific specific links. If you only have generic links available, contextualize the links to the warrants and evidence of the 1AC or the warrants and premises you have elicited from the cross-ex of the 1AC. Returning to the third issue of explanation, explain the economic and political concepts that prove the disad.

Counterplans: Slow down substantially so I could catch the full CP text instead of relying on CX to clarify for me or waiting throughout the debate for the text to be fleshed out. Solve for your net benefits, don't link to them. I don’t dislike any specific CP. Agent, consult, delay CPs...I could vote on them.

Plan-Inclusive Counterplans/Kritiks: May or may not be abusive. I will consider voting on it if neg proves textual and functional competition. If aff does not impact a lack of such competition, then the PIC is legitimate. Provide an impact to "Mooting the 1AC". Provide defense for this impact.

Kritiks: Do not depend on tag-lines and buzzwords for explanatory power. Be well-read on your literature base. If I recognize that you mischaracterize, oversimplify, or misunderstand the thesis of the K, your speaks will decrease.

Starting point debates/Root Cause debates: I evaluate these debates just like a framework debate: competing models of structural analysis. Thus, I compare standards/net benefits. If your analysis has a wider scope, why is that good? If it has a narrower scope, why is that good? If your starting point historically precedes the other team's starting point, why does that mean I should prefer your starting point. I ask these questions because these are the questions I am left with at the end of the debate. Dictate to me the criteria for comparing starting points. Without it, you are asking me to intervene with my own analysis. Don't do that.

Alternatives: By the 1NR, it should be clear how the alt solves. Whether this is via fiat or via scholarship (epistemological/ontological model) should be established BY THE BLOCK.

If something happens in-round and one team argues that the other's performance/language/etc is problematic in some form, explain how the significance of this issue outweighs the rest of the debate (i.e. why should I pay attention to this before analyzing the debate itself)--which means engaging in the framework debate.

If this is a new argument in the rebuttals, you have a higher threshold for proving why this outweighs the rest of the debate or why I should/can moot the 1AC.


Debate ought to encourage safety, fairness, and education.

Everyone should feel as safe and comfortable as the community can make itself to be, even though safety and comfort are effects of power and are not equitably distributed.

Debaters should be able to substantially engage with the topic and each other. Please disclose arguments and evidence properly. Please share enough with the other team before the round so they can understand and at least attempt to make arguments.

Everyone should be able to learn from the activity, win or lose.

The team that violates any of these tenets will be denied the ballot.

Devon Reese Paradigm

6 rounds

High school and college policy debater. Coach now. Lawyer by day. City Councilperson too. I have no axe to grind and am open minded about different styles of debate. I am a gay democrat with three kids that debate. I vote based on who did the best job of debating. My goal is to not have to intervene in the round.


-I vote for things that I don't like, the debate is yours to make what you will. That does not mean I have no opinions.

-T: Asylees and Refugees are presumptively immigration; substantial means many things; compare evidence and impact T like a DA.

-kritikal or performance team: that's great and I am all for that, but explain the K without just throwing around "buzz words". I have a hard time understanding teams that run Neolib/Cap with a Spending DA (?). This does not make a lot of sense to me and I can be persuaded to vote on the contradiction.

-I want to see line-by-line clash.

-Things I am unlikely to vote for: Inherency, "speed kills", claims without warrants, poorly debated T violations, "multiple perms are bad".

Read a topical plan----------------------X--------------------say anything


Usually some risk---------x---------------------------------Zero Risk

Conditionality Good--------------------X----------------------Conditionality Bad

States CP Good------X------------------------------------States CP Bad

Process CPs------------------X------------------------Ew Process CPs

Competing off immediacy/certainty---------------x---------------------------No

Politics DAs are a thing-------------------x-----------------------Good Politics DAs are a thing

Reasonability-----------------------------------x-------Competing Interps

Limits-----------------x-------------------------Aff Ground

Read every card----------x--------------------------------Read no cards

Lots of evidence--------------------------------------x----Lots of good evidence

Judge Kick---------------------x---------------------Stuck with the CP

Reject the Team--------------X----------------------------Reject the Arg

CPs need cards--------------------------------------x----Smart CPs can be cardless

Competition is based off the plan----x--------------------------------------Neg gets to define the plan

Fiat solves circumvention---------------x---------------------------Trump's President

K alts need to do something------------------X------------------------but you're asking the wrong question

K links about the plan---------------X---------------------------K links about a broad worldview

Not my Baudrillard-----------------------------------------X yes your Baudrillard

I will try to keep in these range for speaker points:

29.3+ — the top speaker at the tournament.
29.1-29.2 — one of the five or ten best speakers at the tournament.
28.8-29.0 — one of the twenty best speakers at the tournament.
28.6-28.7 — a 75th percentile speaker at the tournament; with a winning record, would barely clear on points.
28.4-28.5 — a 50th percentile speaker at the tournament; with a winning record, would not clear on points.
28.0-28.3 — a 25th percentile speaker at the tournament.
27.7-27.9 — a 10th percentile speaker at the tournament.

Have fun and be kind.

Samal Senaratna Paradigm

No one likes vague mysterious judge philosophies so I’ll make this as straightforward as possible. I’m a stock issues paradigm kinda guy: you tell me the impacts in the round, why they matter, and why they outweigh.

General: argumentation only works if there is clash so go line by line and refute points. Signpost. If you see I’m not flowing on the same paper as you, it’s probably cause I have no idea where you are and I just titled miscellaneous on a page and started writing. I believe that speed is a viable way of presenting as much evidence as possible within the time alloted. I can flow just about anything brought up in round. That being said, I value the use of speed combined with clarity. If you are just mumbling your way through your speech, I won't be able to flow you. While I won't drop you for the act of being unclear... I will not be able to get everything on the flow (which I am confident is probably just as bad). Obviously be respectful. The only time anyone should be crying in round is if they are hungry af which would be a reasonable reason. Debate is a safe space so let’s keep it that way.

On Aff: love good comprehensive policy affs, especially if it’s creative (but still topical b). Not big on planless affs, K affs, performance affs, etc. unless you make a big stink of framing the round to why the aff is important and by extent, why I sign my ballot to you. Aff theory still works if you think neg is abusive but if you really wanna make it important I expect a comprehensive 2AR. All in all theory I hold to a very high threshold so run it well or don't run it at all.

On Neg: I like DAs, Ts, CPs, but tell me why the DA shows a detriment to the aff, why I’m considering T as an a priori issue, why the CP has net benefits and solvency (solves better than the aff and like screw whatever perm they make). Again, not huge on Ks, but if running, make sure there are clear link stories and flush that out and tell me why the alt is better than anything else. Run theory if you think something the aff team did was abusive and try to organize your neg strat around it out of the block. High threshold here too.

Smile and have fun. We are all nerds talking really fast in an empty classroom on a Saturday and Sunday (maybe a Friday too).

Sarah Sherwood Paradigm

UPDATED 10/22/17 Fall '17 Update (New PF section included)

I have been judging high school debate for the past 9 years now, and I did Parli in High School, and Parli and LD in College. I have judged all forms of High School Debate. Feel free to ask me more in depth questions in round if you don't understand a part of my philosophy.

Over All Debate Philosophy
Don't be a jerk. Make good arguments.

I RESERVE THE RIGHT TO GUT-CHECK DROP ANY AND ALL TEAMS/DEBATERS I PERCEIVE AS BEING RACIST/SEXIST/HOMOPHOBIC/TRANSPHOBIC. I'm not in the mood for any problematic comments in debate rounds. Your speaks and record will suffer greatly in my hands.That being said I do not find running conservative arguments to automatically trigger this. If you have a problem with this I don't care. Your views are not wanted in the rounds I'm in the back of the room for.

Policy Debate Edu Topic Update 10/22/17

Please note that I do not judge Policy Debate very often. I am not as familiar with your norms but being an educator and knowing and working with educators I am more familiar with topic lit than I have been in the past. I am familiar with both Policy style arguments having done LD in College and Ks. I tend to vote more for truth over tech. I have recently found myself being interventionist against cards with problematic authors or cards cut to exclude marginalized groups from the debate space. That being said, nothing makes me happier than being able to vote on T. I love hearing a good K. But please be sure that you explain it or that your cards do. If I still have no idea what you are talking about then that is a you problem. Spread fast if you want but at a certain point I will miss something if you are going top speed because I flow on paper, I do know how to flow I'm just not as fast as those on a laptop. Feel free to ask me any questions before round.

[Do not read my LD phil as it is directed at TOC LDers only and probably won't give you any clarity in how I will vote in your rounds.]

LD Debate (Updated 4/21/17)

[Do not take my Policy phil into account as it does not apply to you and I will not evaluate you how I evaluate them.]

STRIKE ME if you won't disclose your cases to the other debater AND the judge/s. I will not vote for a debater that won't give their case. It is shady and uneducational. If you are that afraid of people having your case it's bad, and all you have as a replacement for skill is this game of playing gotcha. I'm not impressed. I shouldn't have to have this on here but I don't trust ya'll and I don't want to be put in a spot where I take this out and someone pulls something.

Things to consider:

  • I see my self as a truth over tech K judge. High theory, love for dead white male philosophers, and time wasting theory spikes are really not my thing and not what I am interested in having to evaluate. I will. But I'm probably not the judge for you if you think your two line theory spikes are something I should take seriously.
  • Your K's should link and I need an alt that is more than 'Drop Aff Vote Neg'. At least care about what your K is talking about instead of making it just a means to my ballot.
  • I will vote on RVI's if they apply. A well warranted theory argument or T that is part of the main Neg strat that is not dropped does not deserve an RVI nor will I vote on that RVI.
  • In rare cases I will drop you for rudeness. Be sassy. Be loud. Be aggressive. Don't be a jerk.
  • Education is a voter to me, but that's because as an educator I feel like Debaters should be able to get something out of this activity.
  • I flow on paper. I hate the current methods of flowing on a laptop. So I don't flow nearly as fast as some of my fellow judges.
  • I will look at your docs during your speech, and I do so for two reasons. One: I want to spell the author's names right. My quality of life when judging has drastically increased since speech docs. Don't take this away from me. Two: I'm checking against you clipping cards.
  • If you are not going to try to adapt to what I have written here then at least let me know and ask me some questions to try to make the best of it.
  • I probably need real articulated abuse in round to vote for your theory or RVI or whatever. Your arbitrary "Neg can only run this many of this argument" probably doesn't have the abuse story I am looking for.
  • On the note of super complex philosophical arguments, I try really hard to understand what you are talking about and there has only been one round this past season that I felt totally lost in the lit. But if I don't get it I probably will not vote on it.
  • K probably comes before T.

You do not win rounds if you win framework. You do NOT win rounds if you win framework. YOU DO NOT WIN ROUNDS IF YOU WIN FRAMEWORK. You win that I judge the round via your framework. You can still lose under your framework, you shouldn't but that's a YOU problem and not a ME problem. When it comes to framework I'm a bit odd and a bit old school. I function under the idea that Aff has the right to define the round. And if Neg wants to me to evaluate the round via their framework then they need to prove some sort of abuse. I don't buy "mine is better" or "mine presumes theirs" or whatever buzz phrase ya'll are using these days. I do buy "mine is more important" due to kritikal positions that come first. When it comes to competing kritikal frameworks I often feel like I am being asked to prioritize one marginalized group over another. I don't like being put in this position. I always feel gross. I feel like it is often taken personally that I voted for one over the other. I just ask that you understand that I have to make a choice in a limited time and often it doesn't come down to the framework. I try to not judge rounds based on framework.

I apparently need to clarify my position on theory. I'm good with theory but that doesn't mean I buy yours. And that doesn't mean I live for it. LD theory is always changing and adapting and I don't buy that a lot of it is good or correct or needed. If you want to win your theory spend time on it and put a voter on it. So basically tell me why it's important. Reading 80 theory spikes in the AC wastes all of our time. If the Neg is good enough your one line spike won't be enough to stop whatever it is they want to do. But just doing work on theory isn't enough to win it. I do not like frivolous theory. I don't want to promise I will or will not vote for it it really depends on how the rounds go but if you are running what I see as frivolous theory then I probably won't vote for you.

I define frivolous theory to be:

  • Theory spikes read in the AC at the bottom that will never be used for anything. Just read another card for your contentions.
  • Theory that tries to get debaters to debate under a super restrictive requirement.
  • Theory that could easily go away with a "we meet". Or in other words a waste of time.

My brightline for "we meet" on theory will vary depending on what it is. But most often if I can reasonably agree there is some type of "we meet" and no articulated actual abuse then I will probably buy there is no reason to vote on the theory.

Speaks will be disclosed if they are asked for. Range is 28.5-29.6 for me mostly. If you are really good they will be higher, if you are not so good they will be lower but this is my normal range as of the last few tournaments.

Public Forum

I'm impressed that you found this, and also bewildered I was put in the position I have to judge PF. So lets make the best of it.

  • You are required to read a date and an author or source name for your evidence.
  • You are required to hand over evidence if asked for it.
  • I will drop you and tank your speaks if you don't. Protest me I'll walk into a tab with a smile on my face and be happy to fight with your coach over it.
  • I know how to flow and will flow.
    • This measn I require a road map. This does not need to be timed.
    • I need you to sign post and tell me which contention you are on. Use author/source names.
  • You do not need to stand. You do not need to wear your jacket if you do not want to. You do not need to wear heels if you have comfy alternatives you would rather wear. None of these things have any impact on my ballot in any way.
  • I will disclose. I will give feedback. If you ask I will disclose speaks.
  • I will vote on Ks.
  • I will vote on theory.
  • If you run it and I don't vote for you I will give you a full explanation as to why I did not and let you ask me as many questions as you want as to why I didn't and try to give you ideas on how to run it better in the future.
  • Be strategic and make good life choices.

Christina Tallungan Paradigm

3 rounds


Current Affiliation = Notre Dame HS (Sherman Oaks, CA)
Debates Judged on this topic: about 40 Rounds (UMich Debate Institute)
Prior Experience: Debated policy in HS at Notre Dame HS in Sherman Oaks, CA (1992-1995); Debated NDT/CEDA in college at USC (1995-1999); Assistant debate coach at Cal State Northridge 2003-2005; Assistant debate coach at Glenbrook South HS Spring of 2005; Director of Debate at Glenbrook North HS 2005-2009; Director of Debate at Notre Dame HS Fall of 2009-Present.

General Note

My defaults go into effect when left to my own devices. I will go against most of these defaults if a team technically persuades me to do so in any given debate.

Paperless Rules

If you start taking excessive time to flash your document, I will start instituting that "Prep time ends when the speaker's flash drive is removed from her/his computer."

Major Notes

Topic familiarity

I am familiar with the topic (7 weeks of teaching at Michigan at MNDI and Classic and involved in argument coaching at Notre Dame).


Delivery rate should be governed by your clarity; WARRANTS in the evidence should be clear, not just the tagline.
Clarity is significantly assisted by organization - I flow as technically as possible and try to follow the 1NC structure on-case and 2AC structure off-case through the 1AR. 2NR and the 2AR should have some leeway to restructure the debate in important places to highlight their offense. However, line-by-line should be followed where re-structuring is not necessary.

Ideal 2AR Structure

Offense placed at the top (tell me how I should be framing the debate in the context of what you are winning), then move through the debate in a logical order.

2NR's Make Choices

Good 2NR strategies may be one of the following: (1) Functionally and/or textually competitive counterplan with an internal or external net benefit, (2) K with a good turns case/root cause arguments that are specific to each advantage, (3) Disadvantage with turns case arguments and any necessary case defense, (4) Topicality (make sure to cover any theory arguments that are offense for aff). My least favorite debates to resolve are large impact turn debates, not because I hate impact turns, but because I think that students lose sight of how to resolve and weigh the multiple impact scenarios that get interjected into the debate. Resolving these debates starts with a big picture impact comparison.

Evidence Quality/References

Reference evidence by warrant first and then add "That's [Author]." Warrant and author references are especially important on cards that you want me to read at the end of the debate. Also, evidence should reflect the arguments that you are making in the debate. I understand that resolving a debate requires spin, but that spin should be based in the facts presented in your evidence.

I have been getting copies of speech documents for many debates lately so I can read cards during prep time, etc. However, note that I will pay attention to what is said in the debate as much as possible - I would much rather resolve the debate on what the debaters say, not based on my assessment of the evidence.


Safer to go for offense, and then make an "even if" statement explaining offense as a 100% defensive takeout. I will vote on well-resolved defense against CP, DA's and case. This is especially true against process CP's (e.g., going for a well-resolved permutation doesn't require you to prove a net benefit to the permutation since these CP's are very difficult to get a solvency deficit to) and DA's with contrived internal link scenarios. Winning 100% defense does require clear evidence comparison to resolve.


I like a well-developed topicality debate. This should include cards to resolve important distinctions. Topical version of the aff and reasonable case lists are persuasive. Reasonability is persuasive when the affirmative has a TRUE "we meet" argument; it seems unnecessary to require the affirmative to have a counter-interpretation when they clearly meet the negative interpretation. Also, discussing standards with impacts as DA's to the counter-interpretation is very useful - definition is the uniqueness, violation is the link, standard is an internal link and education or fairness is the impact.


Word PIC's, process, consult, and condition CP's are all ok. I have voted on theory against these CP's in the past because the teams that argued they were illegit were more technically saavy and made good education arguments about the nature of these CP's. The argument that they destroy topic-specific education is persuasive if you can prove why that is true. Separately, the starting point for answers to the permutation are the distinction(s) between the CP and plan. The starting point for answers to a solvency deficit are the similarities between the warrants of the aff advantage internal links and the CP solvency cards. Counterplans do not have to be both functionally and textually competitive, but it is better if you can make an argument as to why it is both.


All parts of the DA are important, meaning neither uniqueness nor links are more important than each other (unless otherwise effectively argued). I will vote on conceded or very well-resolved defense against a DA.


Good K debate should have applied links to the affirmative's or negative's language, assumptions, or methodology. This should include specific references to an opponent's cards. The 2NC/1NR should make sure to address all affirmative impacts through defense and/or turns. I think that making 1-2 carded externally impacted K's in the 2NC/1NR is the business of a good 2NC/1NR on the K. Make sure to capitalize on any of these external impacts in the 2NR if they are dropped in the 1AR. A team can go for the case turn arguments absent the alternative. Affirmative protection against a team going for case turns absent the alternative is to make inevitability (non-unique) claims.

Aff Framework

Framework is applied in many ways now and the aff should think through why they are reading parts of their framework before reading it in the 2AC, i.e., is it an independent theoretical voting issue to reject the Alternative or the team based on fairness or education? or is it a defensive indite of focusing on language, representations, methodology, etc.?. Framework impacts should be framed explicitly in the 1AR and 2AR. I am partial to believing that representations and language inform the outcome of policymaking unless given well-warranted cards to respond to those claims (this assumes that negative is reading good cards to say rep's or language inform policymaking).

Neg Framework

Neg framework is particularly persuasive against an affirmative that has an advocacy statement they don't stick to or an aff that doesn't follow the resolution at all. It is difficult for 2N's to have a coherent strategy against these affirmatives and so I am sympathetic to a framework argument that includes a topicality argument and warranted reasons to reject the team for fairness or education. If a K aff has a topical plan, then I think that framework only makes sense as a defensive indite their methodology; however, I think that putting these cards on-case is more effective than putting them on a framework page. Framework is a somewhat necessary tool given the proliferation of affirmatives that are tangentially related to the topic or not topical at all. I can be persuaded that non-topical affs should not get permutations - a couple primary reasons: (1) reciprocity - if aff doesn't have to be topical, then CP's/K's shouldn't need to be competitive and (2) Lack of predictability makes competition impossible and neg needs to be able to test the methodology of the aff.


I prefer substance, but I do understand the need for theory given I am open to voting on Word PIC's, consult, and condition CP's. If going for theory make sure to impact arguments in an organized manner. There are only two voting issues/impacts: fairness and education. All other arguments are merely internal links to these impacts - please explain how and why you control the best internal links to either of these impacts. If necessary, also explain why fairness outweighs education or vice-versa. If there are a host of defensive arguments that neutralize the fairness or education lost, please highlight these as side constraints on the the violation, then move to your offense.

Classic Battle Defaults

These are attempts to resolve places where I felt like I had to make random decisions in the past and had wished I put something in my judge philosophy to give debaters a fair warning. So here is my fair warning on my defaults and what it takes to overcome those defaults:
(1) Theory v. Topcality - Topcality comes before theory unless the 1AR makes arguments explaining why theory is first and the 2NR doesn't adequately respond and then the 2AR extends and elaborates on why theory is first sufficiently enough to win those arguments.
(2) Do I evaluate the aff v. the squo when the 2NR went for a CP? - No unless EXPLICITLY framed as a possibility in the 2NR. If the 2NR decides to extend the CP as an advocacy (in other words, they are not just extending some part of the CP as a case takeout, etc.), then I evaluate the aff versus the CP. What does this mean? If the aff wins a permutation, then the CP is rejected and the negative loses. I will not use the perm debate as a gateway argument to evaluating the aff vs. the DA. If the 2NR is going for two separate advocacies, then the two separate framings should be EXPLICIT, e.g., possible 2NR framing, "If we win the CP, then you weigh the risk of the net benefit versus the risk of the solvency deficit and, if they win the permutation, you should then just reject the CP and weigh the risk of the DA separately versus the affirmative" (this scenario assumes that the negative declared the CP conditional).
(3) Are Floating PIK's legitimate? No unless the 1AR drops it. If the 1AR drops it, then it is open season on the affirmative. The 2NC/1NR must make the floating PIC explicit with one of the following phrases to give the 1AR a fair chance: "Alternative does not reject the plan," "Plan action doesn't necessitate . Also, 2NC/1NR must distinguish their floating PIK from the permutation; otherwise, affirmatives you should use any floating PIK analysis as a outright concession that the "permutation do both" or "permutation plan plus non-mutually exclusive parts" is TRUE.
(4) Will I vote on theory cheap shots? Yes, but I feel guilty voting for them. HOWEVER, I WILL NEVER VOTE FOR A REVERSE VOTING ISSUE EVEN IF IT WAS DROPPED.

Who is a Good Debater

Anna Dimitrijevic, Alex Pappas, Pablo Gannon, Stephanie Spies, Kathy Bowen, Edmund Zagorin, Matt Fisher, Dan Shalmon, Scott Phillips, Tristan Morales, Michael Klinger, Greta Stahl, George Kouros. There are many others - but this is a good list.


Your Opponents, Your Teammates, Your Coaches, Your Activity.

Extra Notes CP/Perm/Alt Texts

The texts of permutations, counterplans, and alternatives should be clear. I always go back and check the texts of these items if there is a question of a solvency deficit or competition. However, I do feel it is the burden of the opposing team to bring up such an argument for me to vote on it - i.e., unless it is a completely random round, the opposing team needs to make the argument that the text of the CP means there is a significant solvency deficit with the case, or the affirmative is overstating/misconstruing the solvency of a permutation because the text only dictates X, not Y, etc. I will decide that the aff does not get permutations in a debate where the affirmative is not topical.

Technical Focus

I try to follow the flow the best I can - I do double check if 2AR is making arguments that are tied to the 1AR arguments. I think that 2AR's get significant leeway to weigh and frame their impacts once the 2NR has chosen what to go for; however, this does not mean totally new arguments to case arguments, etc. that were presented before the 2NR.

Resolve Arguments

Frame claim in comparison to other team's response, extend important warrants, cite author for evidence, impact argument to ballot - all of these parts are necessary to resolve an argument fully. Since debate is a game of time management, this means going for fewer arguments with more thorough analysis is better than extending myriad of arguments with little analysis.

Disrespect Bad

Complete disrespect toward anyone who is nice; no one ever has enough “credibility” in this community to justify such actions. If there is a disrespectful dynamic in a debate, I ALWAYS applaud (give higher speaker points to) the first person to step down and realize they are being a jerk. Such growth and self-awareness should rewarded.

Fear to Engage Bad

Win or lose, you are ultimately competing to have the best debate possible. Act like it and do not be afraid to engage in the tough debates. You obviously should make strategic choices, but do not runaway from in-depth arguments because you think another team will be better than you on that argument. Work harder and beat them on the argument on which she/he is supposedly an expert. Taking chances to win debates good.

Fun Stuff

And, as Lord Dark Helmet says, “evil will always triumph over good because good is dumb.”


Chris Thiele Paradigm

6 rounds

2018 update: College policy debaters should look to who I judged at my last college judging spree (69th National Debate Tournament in Iowa) to get a feeling of who will and will not pref me. I also like Buntin's new judge philosophy (agree roughly 90%).

It's Fall 2015. I judge all types of debate, from policy-v-policy to non-policy-v-non-policy. I think what separates me as a judge is style, not substance.

I debated for Texas for 5 years (2003-2008), 4 years in Texas during high school (1999-2003). I was twice a top 20 speaker at the NDT. I've coached on and off for highschool and college teams during that time and since. I've ran or coached an extremely wide diversity of arguments. Some favorite memories include "china is evil and that outweighs the security k", to "human extinction is good", to "predictions must specify strong data", to "let's consult the chinese, china is awesome", to "housing discrimination based on race causes school segregation based on race", to "factory farms are biopolitical murder", to “free trade good performance”, to "let's reg. neg. the plan to make businesses confident", to “CO2 fertilization, SO2 Screw, or Ice Age DAs”, to "let the Makah whale", etc. Basically, I've been around.

After it was pointed out that I don't do a great job delineating debatable versus non-debatable preferences, I've decided to style-code bold all parts of my philosophy that are not up for debate. Everything else is merely a preference, and can be debated.

Style/Big Picture:

  • I strongly prefer to let the debaters do the debating, and I'll reward depth (the "author+claim + warrant + data+impact" model) over breadth (the "author+claim + impact" model) any day.

  • When evaluating probabilistic predictions, I start from the assumption everyone begins at 0%, and you persuade me to increase that number (w/ claims + warrants + data). Rarely do teams get me past 5%. A conceeded claim (or even claim + another claim disguised as the warrant) will not start at 100%, but remains at 0%.

  • Combining those first two essential stylistic criteria means, in practice, many times I discount entirely even conceded, well impacted claims because the debaters failed to provide a warrant and/or data to support their claim. It's analogous to failing a basic "laugh" test. I may not be perfect at this rubric yet, but I still think it's better than the alternative (e.g. rebuttals filled with 20+ uses of the word “conceded” and a stack of 60 cards).

  • I'll try to minimize the amount of evidence I read to only evidence that is either (A) up for dispute/interpretation between the teams or (B) required to render a decision (due to lack of clash amongst the debaters). In short: don't let the evidence do the debating for you.

  • Humor is also well rewarded, and it is hard (but not impossible) to offend me.

  • I'd also strongly prefer if teams would slow down 15-20% so that I can hear and understand every word you say (including cards read). While I won't explicitly punish you if you don't, it does go a mile to have me already understand the evidence while you're debating so I don't have to sort through it at the end (especially since I likely won't call for that card anyway).

  • Defense can win a debate (there is such as thing as a 100% no link), but offense helps more times than not.
  • I'm a big believer in open disclosure practices, and would vote on reasoned arguments about poor disclosure practices. In the perfect world, everything would be open-source (including highlighting and analytics, including 2NR/2AR blocks), and all teams would ultimately share one evidence set. You could cut new evidence, but once read, everyone would have it. We're nowhere near that world. Some performance teams think a few half-citations work when it makes up at best 45 seconds of a 9 minute speech. Some policy teams think offering cards without highlighting for only the first constructive works. I don't think either model works, and would be happy to vote to encourage more open disclosure practices. It's hard to be angry that the other side doesn't engage you when, pre-round, you didn't offer them anything to engage.

  • You (or your partner) must physically mark cards if you do not finish them. Orally saying "mark here" (and expecting your opponents or the judge to do it for you) doesn't count. After your speech (and before cross-ex), you should resend a marked copy to the other team. If pointed out by the other team, failure to do means you must mark prior to cross-ex. I will count it as prep time times two to deter sloppy debate.

  • By default, I will not “follow along” and read evidence during a debate. I find that it incentivizes unclear and shallow debates. However, I realize that some people are better visual than auditory learners and I would classify myself as strongly visual. If both teams would prefer and communicate to me that preference before the round, I will “follow along” and read evidence during the debate speeches, cross-exs, and maybe even prep.


  • I like competing interpretations, the more evidence the better, and clearly delineated and impacted/weighed standards on topicality.

  • Abuse makes it all the better, but is not required (doesn't unpredictability inherently abuse?).

  • Treat it like a disad, and go from there. In my opinion, topicality is a dying art, so I'll be sure to reward debaters that show talent.

  • For the aff – think offense/defense and weigh the standards you're winning against what you're losing rather than say "at least we're reasonable". You'll sound way better.


  • The exception to the above is the "framework debate". I find it to be an uphill battle for the neg in these debates (usually because that's the only thing the aff has blocked out for 5 minutes, and they debate it 3 out of 4 aff rounds).

  • If you want to win framework in front of me, spent time delineating your interpretation of debate in a way that doesn't make it seem arbitrary. For example "they're not policy debate" begs the question what exactly policy debate is. I'm not Justice Steward, and this isn't pornography. I don't know when I've seen it. I'm old school in that I conceptualize framework along “predictability”; "topic education", “policymaking education”, and “aff education” (topical version, switch sides, etc) lines.

  • “We're in the direction of the topic” or “we discuss the topic rather than a topical discussion” is a pretty laughable counter-interpretation.

  • For the aff, "we agree with the neg's interp of framework but still get to weigh our case" borders on incomprehensible if the framework is the least bit not arbitrary.

Case Debate

  • Depth in explanation over breadth in coverage. One well explained warrant will do more damage to the 1AR than 5 cards that say the same claim.

  • Well-developed impact calculus must begin no later than the 1AR for the Aff and Negative Block for the Neg.

  • I enjoy large indepth case debates. I was 2A who wrote my own community unique affs usually with only 1 advantage and no external add-ons. These type of debates, if properly researched and executed, can be quite fun for all parties.


  • Intrinsic perms are silly. Normal means arguments are less so.

  • From an offense/defense paradigm, conceded uniqueness can control the direction of the link. Conceded links can control the direction of uniqueness. The in round application of "why" is important.

  • A story / spin is usually more important (and harder for the 1AR to deal with) than 5 cards that say the same thing.

Counterplan Competition:

  • I generally prefer functionally competitive counterplans with solvency advocates delineating the counterplan versus the plan (or close) (as opposed to the counterplan versus the topic), but a good case for textual competition can be made with a language K netbenefit.

  • Conditionality (1 CP, SQ, and 1 K) is a fact of life, and anything less is the negative feeling sorry for you (or themselves). However, I do not like 2NR conditionality (i.e., “judge kick”) ever. Make a decision.

  • Perms and theory always remain a test of competition (and not a voter) until proven otherwise by the negative by argument (see above), a near impossible standard for arguments that don't interfere substantially with other parts of the debate (e.g. conditionality).

  • Perm "do the aff" is not a perm. Debatable perms are "do both" and "do cp/alt"(and "do aff and part of the CP" for multi-plank CPs). Others are usually intrinsic.


  • I think of the critique as a (usually linear) disad and the alt as a cp.

  • Be sure to clearly impact your critique in the context of what it means/does to the aff case (does the alt solve it, does the critique turn it, make harms inevitable, does it disprove their solvency). Latch on to an external impact (be it "ethics", or biopower causes super-viruses), and weigh it against case.

  • Use your alternative to either "fiat uniqueness" or create a rubric by which I don't evaluate uniqueness, and to solve case in other ways.

  • I will say upfront the two types of critique routes I find least persuasive are simplistic versions of "economics", "science", and "militarism" bad (mostly because I have an econ degree and am part of an extensive military family). While good critiques exist out there of both, most of what debaters use are not that, so plan accordingly.

  • For the aff, figure out how to solve your case absent fiat (education about aff good?), and weigh it against the alternative, which you should reduce to as close as the status quo as possible. Make uniqueness indicts to control the direction of link, and question the timeframe/inevitability/plausability of their impacts.

  • Perms generally check clearly uncompetitive alternative jive, but don't work too well against "vote neg". A good link turn generally does way more than “perm solves the link”.

  • Aff Framework doesn't ever make the critique disappear, it just changes how I evaluate/weigh the alternative.

  • Role of the Ballot - I vote for the team that did the better debating. What is "better" is based on my stylistic criteria. End of story. Don't let "Role of the Ballot" be used as an excuse to avoid impact calculus.

Performance (the other critique):

  • Empirically, I do judge these debate and end up about 50-50 on them. I neither bandwagon around nor discount the validity of arguments critical of the pedagogy of debate. I'll let you make the case or defense (preferably with data). The team that usually wins my ballot is the team that made an effort to intelligently clash with the other team (whether it's aff or neg) and meet my stylistic criteria. To me, it's just another form of debate.

  • However, I do have some trouble in some of these debates in that I feel most of what is said is usually non-falsifiable, a little too personal for comfort, and devolves 2 out of 3 times into a chest-beating contest with competition limited to some archaic version of "plan-plan". I do recognize that this isn't always the case, but if you find yourselves banking on "the counterplan/critique doesn't solve" because "you did it first", or "it's not genuine", or "their skin is white"; you're already on the path to a loss.

  • If you are debating performance teams, the two main takeaways are that you'll probably lose framework unless you win topical version, and I hate judging "X" identity outweighs "Y" identity debates. I suggest, empirically, a critique of their identity politics coupled with some specific case cards is more likely to get my ballot than a strategy based around "Framework" and the "Rev". Not saying it's the only way, just offering some empirical observations of how I vote.

Teja Vepa Paradigm

Update for Voices / LD Oct 2018:

I coach Policy debate at the Polytechnic School in Pasadena, CA. It has been a while since I have judged LD. I tend to do it once a or twice a year.

You do you: I've been involved in judging debate for over 10 years, so please just do whatever you would like to do with the round. I am familiar with the literature base of most postmodern K authors, but I have not recently studied classical /enlightenment philosophers.

It's okay to read Disads: I'm very happy to judge a debate involving a plan, DAs and counter-plans with no Ks involved as well. Just because I coach at a school that runs the K a lot doesn't mean that's the only type of argument I like / respect / am interested in.

Framework: I am open to "traditional" and "non-traditional" frameworks. Whether your want the round to be whole res, plan focused, or performative is fine with me. If there's a plan, I default to being a policymaker unless told otherwise.

Theory: I get it - you don't have a 2AC so sometimes it's all or nothing. I don't like resolving these debates. You won't like me resolving these debates. If you must go for theory, please make sure you are creating the right interpretation/violation. I find many LD debaters correctly identify that cheating has occurred, but are unable to identify in what way. I tend to lean education over fairness if they're not weighed by the debaters.

LD Things I don't Understand: If the Aff doesn't read a plan, and the Neg reads a CP, you may not be satisfied with how my decision comes out - I don't have a default understanding of this situation which I hear is possible in LD.

Other thoughts: Condo is probably a bad thing in LD.



Update for Jack Howe / Policy Sep 2018: (Sep 20, 2018 at 9:28 PM)

Update Pending

Please use the link below to access my paradigm. RIP Wikispaces.

Leah Villanueva Paradigm

6 rounds

Yes, please add me to the email chain.

Program Manager at the Los Angeles Metropolitan Debate League (LAMDL). Former CSUF policy debater.

I frequently judge for Harvard-Westlake in high school LD, and CSUN for college policy.

PLEASE BE PROMPT TO YOUR ROUND. Don't make the tournament late because you're still prepping after start time. AFF - set up an email chain once you know who your opponent is.

Speaker Points (HS Policy/LD)

27.0 = base speaker points/below average

27.5 = average novice level debate

28 = average varsity debate

29+ = excellent varsity debate

Speaker Points (College Policy)

28.0 = base speaker points/novice level

28.5= average open debate

28.6- 29.1 = above average open debate

29.2+ = excellent open debate

*I will adjust speaker points that align with community norms.

[Short Version]

Judge/Debate Biases

These are common debate beliefs I come into the round with. If your arguments don't align with them, I will still listen to it but in order to win the ballot you must provide warrants and impacts as to why I should prefer your framework/arguments over my implicit debate bias listed below:

*I listen to and flow your arguments and evidence. I don't read cards unless: 1. I suspect you are clipping, 2. you call on me to read warrants in a specific card., or 3. I think your tagline is supercharged vs what your evidence says. It's up to *you* to explain your cards to me, it's not my job to read them because you are unclear in your analysis, weighing, reading, or identifying which arguments matter. Debate is a persuasive competition, not Judge Has The Doc Therefore They Can Read My Evidence and Vote on an Argument (my blocks) Explained/Answered for 5 Seconds In My Last Speech competition.

-AFFs should present a plan in the direction of the resolution, I will vote on risk on solvency outweighs CP/K alts

-AFFs should solve or try to solve something

-(More specific to LD) Narrow down the debate to the *most* important arguments I should weigh. The AFF doesn't have enough time to go line by line on everything and the most common reason why I vote down AFF teams in LD is because they attempt to answer every NEG answer (poorly) without framing the round and crystalizing which arguments I should vote for. The NEG can always outspread you - tell me why your AFF still matters despite multiple offs the NEG read.

-K AFFs that do not present a plan text must: 1. Be resolutional - 1ac should generally mention or talk about the topic even if you're not defending it, 2. Prove the 1AC/AFF is a prereq to policy, why does the AFF come before policy, why does policy fail without the aff? 3. Provide sufficient defense to TVAs - if NEG proves the AFF (or solvency for AFF's harms) can happen with a plan text, I am very persuaded by TVAs. K teams must have a strong defense to this.

-Link to the squo/"Truth Claims" as an impact is not enough. These are generic and I am less persuaded by generic truth claims arguments without sufficient impacts, explanation of author literature & arguments, and defense to policy edu good arguments. I can agree with your analysis and root cause to squo impacts, but if it does not answer policy solvency questions or if idk how the AFF solves its own impacts (or what it aims to solve), I can easily vote for policy alternatives good args.

-Critique of the resolution > Critique of the squo

-NEG K alts do not have to solve the entirety of the AFF, but must prove a disadvantage or explain why a rejection of the AFF is better than the alt, or the squo solves.

-If AFF gets a perm, the NEG gets condo

-Debate is a game, if it is a survival strategy I need more warrants and impacts other than "the aff/alt is a survival strategy" with no explanation of how you are winning in-round impacts

-Framing is important, the team that gives me the best guide on how/why I should vote for X typically wins the round. What's the ROB, ROJ, the purpose of this round, impact calc, how should I evaluate the debate?

-Edu is the most important impact in each round, when the debate is messy or close I tend to evaluate the round in terms of 1. who did the better debating, 2. who best explained arguments and impacts and made me more clearly understand the debate, 3. who understood their evidence/case the most.

-I have never heard or voted on a convincing RVI - I find condo bad arguments to be more persuasive.

-If I have to read the warrants/impacts in your cards, you haven't done a good job of explaining your arguments. Don't expect me to follow the doc and read your cards. I will do so to clarify something I must have missed or misheard, but I should not be reading cards because you are unclear and do not explain your evidence.

-Dropped arguments are not always necessarily true - I will vote on dropped arguments if it was impacted out and explained why it's a voter, but not if the only warrant is "they conceded _____it so it's a voter"

-I flow arguments, not authors. It will be helpful to clarify which authors are important by summarizing/impacting their arguments instead of name dropping them without context or explanation.

[Long Version]

POLICY (scroll down for LD)

K Teams - If you're high theory, explain like you're low theory. If I don't know what the function of your alt/advocacy is or what it does, I'll vote for the team that makes the most sense or I understand more. Your Aff/K is a journey, guide me through it. Do the work for me throughout the debate and it makes it easier for me to cast a ballot for you. Explain how your alt/advocacy solves. Real world comparisons/spillovers are important, but why you why is the debate space necessarily key to you performing your K? What's the ROB, what's the ROJ? How should I evaluate the debate?

Policy Teams - Impact out your T/FW. Evidence is good but I need more impact calc and real-world and in-round comparisons about why your aff or neg case is key. Your education, fairness, ground, etc. and how you outweigh. Do the work for me. T/FW args should be specific to the AFF. What and how did the AFF violate the rules and why should I default or vote on the rules/args you presented?

EXTEND ARGUMENTS, NOT JUST AUTHORS. I flow args and sometimes authors. If you say "Extend this Yi evidence..." and move on without at least summarizing what the Yi evidence is, I might miss it. Again, do the work for me so it's easier for me to vote for you.

Overviews should tell a story about your case. I'm very big-picture, and will vote on pragmatic solutions as well as theoretical ones.

Quality over quantity is always better; don't run 6 offs and read a few cards on each and expect strong arguments. If I miss something because you're unclear, that's on you. I listen to your speech more than I read cards, unless you tell me to highlight a specific author.

Debate however you want, but if your arguments and CX is bigoted then you will get lower speaks.

I don't lean towards K debates vs Traditional debates more. Debate how you want, but do the work and make clear distinctions on voters, impact, solvency, links, etc.

I did traditional debate in high school but moved to K debates in college. I have a better lit background on K affs and arguments but will vote on CPs, DAs, and T if it applies and the work is done. Case extensions, clash, impact scenarios, WHY your educational value is better than the other team, etc. are all important things to discuss during round.

If you don't have a warrant for your arguments, I'm not counting it. Given that, you don't need a piece of evidence for every claim, but you have to explain your logical reasoning for WHY I should agree with your claim.

Extend arguments. If you bring it up in the 1A/N but it never gets mentioned anywhere else but your 2AR/NR, it's dropped.

Condo is fine. My default is if the AFF gets a perm, the NEG gets conditionality. Convince me otherwise by impacting out why multiple worlds is bad, uneducational, etc. Be ready to answer performative contradiction arguments.

Paperless: I stop time after the flash gets taken out of your laptop or you indicate that you're just sending the email. I'm pretty lenient with this as I understand how frustrating computer problems may be, but if I sense a team is abusing this and not using prep, then I start time again.

Read my face. I don't have a poker face. If I look confused you probably said something that didn't make sense. If I'm nodding, keep going. I either agree with the arg you're making and/or think your response is fire. If I look neutral/look up look down or if I'm not typing anything, I'm processing your speech and info and thinking about what it means. Use this as clues as to where you want to allocate your time and focus on certain arguments in the rebuttals.

Sometimes I flow cx, other times I just listen. I take notes for any potential links the neg can garner from the AFF's answer. I also write down any arguments I'll be looking out for in the remaining speeches and want to hear. USE THIS TIME TO BETTER EXPLAIN YOUR PLAN/ALT/ADVOCACY IF YOU'RE ASKED ABOUT IT, ESPECIALLY IF IT'S HIGH THEORY AND NEEDS TO BE REARTICULATED.

CX should be utilized more than just clarification. This is your time to engage with your opponent and frame the debate/your performance in your favor.


Pretty basic and straightforward. I need specific reasons why the perm won't work. Call out illegitimate perms and why those arguments are abusive to the NEG. Links and net benefits should be extended throughout the round. Call out severance/intrinsic perms.


T is fine. I need reasons why an untopical aff is uneducational *in* the round and why you definition is more beneficial. Provide competing interps or I will default to the one that was extended and impacted.

IMPACT OUT EDUCATION ARGUMENTS - and provide TVAs. I give this argument more weight than other standards - I'm an educator and view debate as a game. If you believe debate is a survival strategy, provide reasons why I should view it as a survival strat and why I should vote on that argument.

There's a difference between being topical and being resolutional. Policy team = topical plan, K teams = resolutional i.e. critiquing the resolution (K AFF) but still talking about the general area of the resolution. These are separate arguments so please answer/differentiate them accordingly.

Make it clear how the AFF is abusive, how it's unfair, etc. Don't run generic T arguments unless you can develop the impacts more clearly and effectively. If it's a strategic time suck then you do you.

Other standards like reasonability, ground, fairness, etc. come second to education since I believe that to be the most important goal in debate - to educate one another. If something about the other team hindered you from getting more education in a round i.e. not disclosing, not being topical, etc. then impact those other arguments as well and why they're voting issues.


Framework is an important tool to evaluate debates. Why is your FW better I enjoy FW debates more than T, but these can work cohesively to beat K AFFs. What I look for in T/FW agrs to beat K AFFs: Why is the resolution important to debate, why the FW of the AFF is wrong or doesn't analyze ___, even if AFF wins root cause their method doesn't solve for _____, pragmatic/material solutions vs theoretical ones.


K AFFs: I believe teams tend to pref me bc of my K background, but I find myself voting down teams that have generic "Links to the status squo" type AFFs without a specific reason why *the topic* needs to be critiqued first. K AFFs need to talk specifically about the resolution and make prereq to policy arguments, otherwise I will be easily swayed by T/FW arguments especially TVAs. Analyzing/winning root cause does not automatically mean your method solves your impacts. Focus on method/topic specific solvency rather than *just* critiquing the squo/state/civil society/modernity.

K NEG: I enjoy K debates when you know your case and not a filler K that you decided to run. Know your alt. Why do you solve better? Why are you mutually exclusive? Why are you a prerequisite to the plan/advocacy? Why doesn't the Perm solve?

Proving root cause (Cap, Set Col, Antiblackness, Ableism, Patriarchy, etc.) does not mean you win the round. Prove HOW the AFF specifically makes these impacts worse than the squo. If you do not make these arguments, I am more inclined to vote for the AFF if they make a "the K is non-unique and a link to the squo, not the AFF" argument.



Traditional vs. Policy-oriented/K teams

Policy LD - Paradigm about policy debate applies here. LD is difficult to be thorough in your K/CP/Plan text explanations. Impact calc + card analysis > overspreading your opponent. If you read a bunch of cards with no explanation or impact calc during your last speech, do not rely on me cross-applying or analyzing arguments if you didn't do that work during the debate. Have blocks ready to answer procedural arguments. Just because I allow CPs/Ks/Plan texts in LD does not mean I will vote for it.

Traditional LD teams - I am open to voting for teams who do not have a clearly labeled FW (i.e. "My value is X, my value criterion is X"). I am also open to voting for teams who have a plan text/advocacy statement/CP. If a team has these components, it doesn't mean I will automatically vote for them, but be prepared to make arguments as to WHY policy-oriented style of LD debate is unfair, uneducational, take away ground, etc. If the other team's performance clashes with your view of how LD debate should be, make that an argument. Do not assume that I will default to how LD traditionally should be unless you can impact out why I should vote on procedurals.

Traditional LD vs. Traditional LD

I like clash. I've voted for V and VC that have apriori arguments and have been extended throughout the round. I'm not super techy so I focus more on the argument than definitions. Contentions should be consistent with your value and value criteria and you should show why your opponent is inconsistent or why your V and VC is better.

Scott Wheeler Paradigm

1. Offense-defense, but can be persuaded by reasonability in theory debates. I don't believe in "zero risk" or "terminal defense" and don't vote on presumption (though technically i guess I do in debates where the aff goes for "perm do the CP" and wins that it isn't severance, but not in any other instance). 

2. I'll submit the ballot that is most persuasive to me, and will try to think through the story of each ballot before choosing (of course, in good debates, that's what the final rebuttals do). I won't simply point to an argument on my flow and say "I voted on this," nor will my RFD lead with technical advice in lieu of an actual decision. Substantive questions are resolved probabilistically--only theoretical questions (e.g. is the perm severance, does the aff meet the interp) are resolved "yes/no," and will be done so with some unease, forced upon me by the logic of debate. 

3. Dropped arguments are "true," but this just means the warrants for them are true. Their implication can still be contested. The exception to this is when an argument and its implication are explicitly conceded by the other team for strategic reasons (like when kicking out of a disad). Then both are "true."

1. Conditionality bad is an uphill battle. I think it's good, and will be more convinced by the negative's arguments. I also don't think the number of advocacies really matters. Unless it was completely dropped, the winning 2AR on condo in front of me is one that explains why the way the negative's arguments were run together limited the ability of the aff to have offense on any sheet of paper.

2. I think of myself as aff-leaning in a lot of counterplan theory debates, but usually find myself giving the neg the counterplan anyway, generally because the aff fails to make the true arguments of why it was bad.

1. I don't think I evaluate these differently than anyone else, really. Perhaps the one exception is that I don't believe that the affirmative needs to win uniqueness for a link turn to be offense. If uniqueness really shielded a link turn that much, it would also overwhelm the link. In general, I probably give more weight to the link and less weight to uniqueness.

2. On politics, I will probably ignore "intrinsicness" or "fiat solves the link" arguments, unless badly mishandled (like dropped through two speeches).


1. I like kritiks, provided two things are true: 1--there is a link. 2--the thesis of the K indicts the truth of the aff. If the K relies on framework to make the aff irrelevant, I start to like it a lot less (role of the ballot = roll of the eyes). I'm similarly annoyed by aff framework arguments against the K. The K itself answers any argument for why policymaking is all that matters (provided there's a link). I feel negative teams should explain why the affirmative advantages rest upon the assumptions they critique, and that the aff should defend those assumptions.

2. I think I'm less techincal than some judges in evaluating K debates. Something another judge might care about, like dropping "fiat is illusory," probably matters less to me (fiat is illusory specifically matters 0%). I also won't be as technical in evaluating theory on the perm as I would be in a counterplan debate (e.g. perm do both isn't severance just because the alt said "rejection" somewhere--the perm still includes the aff). The perm debate for me is really just the link turn debate. Generally, unless the aff impact turns the K, the link debate is everything.

3. Many of these debates seem to involve one team discussing a nuanced critique and the other side arguing "state bad" or "state good." Not surprisingly, I'm generally going to side with the team doing the former. 

Nontraditional affirmatives:

Versus T:
1. I usually vote neg in these debates, because the aff never has a defensible interp (to be honest, I think the current model might be what they want--these affs require a boogeyman to rail against). Some people seem to view these debates as a plan/counterplan debate where the 1AC is weighed against the "topical version of the aff." I don't subscribe to that view. The affirmative has to defend an interp. If I do vote aff, one of two things has happened. Most often, the aff successfully impact-turned the impacts the negative went for. The other time I vote aff is when the neg doesn't have an external impact--their offense is simply "we're the better version of the discussion you want to have." In those debates, "TVA doesn't solve" does become offense against their interp.

2. I've noticed that some judges tend to dismiss T impacts that I take seriously. I've seen this with not just fairness, which I think is the truest T impact, but others run less often (like "moral hazzard") that were in the 2NR and then not in the RFD at all. I think a lot of things can be impacts to T, so aff teams might want to spend more time on them. 

3. To be honest, I enjoy judging K affs with plans, and wish teams ran them more. With judges voting on nonsense like PIC out of fiat and Schlag, I can see why teams don't. And of course you also still have to answer politics/util and regular T (which you might not be used to debating), but I think those are pretty doable and you'd be in better shape in front of me if you are a team that is at all flexible.

Versus the K:
1. Affs are in much better shape here because, for me, it's not up for debate whether planless affs get to perm. They do. I have yet to hear a convincing argument as to why there is such a thing as a "methods debate" for which theories of debate competition no longer apply. If the negative has a better methodology or starting point, I will vote aff, provided the aff methodology or starting point is good. I wouldn't vote for a counterplan that solves warming better than the aff without a link to a disad, and I don't believe competition theory goes out the window because it's a performance aff. If the aff doesn't get a perm, there's no reason the neg would have to have a link.


Topicality versus plan affs:
1. I used to enjoy these debates. It seems like I'm voting on T less often than I used to, but I also feel like I'm seeing T debated well less often. I enjoy it when the 2NC takes T and it's well-developed and it feels like a solid option out of the block. What I enjoy less is when it isn't but the 2NR goes for it as a hail mary and the whole debate occurs in the last two speeches.

2. Teams overestimate the importance of "reasonability." Winning reasonability shifts the burden to the negative--it doesn't mean that any risk of defense on means the T sheet of paper is thrown away. It generally only changes who wins in a debate where the aff's counter-interp solves for most of the neg offense but doesn't have good offense against the neg's interp.

LD section:
1. I've been judging LD less, but I still have LD students, so my familarity with the topic will be greater than what is reflected in my judging history.

2. Everything in the policy section applies. This includes the part about substantive arguments being resolved probablistically, my dislike of relying on framework to preclude arguments, and not voting on defense or presumption. If this radically affects your ability to read the arguments you like to read, you know what to do.  

3. If I haven't judged you or your debaters in a while, I think I vote on theory less often than I did say three years ago (and I might have already been on that side of the spectrum by LD standards, but I'm not sure). I've still never voted on an RVI so that hasn't changed.

4. The 1AR can skip the part of the speech where they "extend offense" and just start with the actual 1AR.