Michael Shelton Paradigm

Last changed 4/21 12:21P CDT

Email chain: lfsdebate@gmail.com

Who Am I: I debated four years at Field Kindley High School in Coffeyville, KS, did not debate in college, and have been an assistant coach at Lawrence Free State High School in Lawrence, KS since 2013. I have a Master's degree in International Relations.

General Approach: Tell me what I should be voting on and why. If you want me to evaluate the round differently than they do, then you need to win a reason why your framework or paradigm is the one that I should use. If no one does that, then I'll default to a policymaker paradigm. I don't view offense and defense as an either/or proposition, but if you do then I prefer offense.

Standard Operating Procedure: (How I will evaluate the round unless one of the teams wins that I should do something different) The affirmative has a non-severable duty to advocate something resolutional, and that advocacy must be clear and stable. The goal of the negative is to prove that the affirmative's advocacy is undesirable, worse than a competitive alternative, or theoretically invalid. I default to evaluating all non-theory arguments on a single plane, am much more willing to reject an argument than a team, and will almost always treat dropped arguments as true.

Mechanics: (I'm not going to decide the round on these things by themselves, but they undeniably affect my ability to evaluate it)

  • Signposting - Please do this as much as possible. I'm not just talking about giving a roadmap at the start of each speech or which piece of paper you're talking about during the speech, but where on the line-by-line you are and what you're doing (i.e. if you read a turn, call it a turn).
  • Overviews - These are helpful for establishing your story on that argument, but generally tend to go on too long for me and seem to have become a substitute for specific line-by-line work, clash, and warrant extension. I view these other items as more productive/valuable ways to spend your time.
  • Delivery - I care way more about clarity than speed; I have yet to hear anybody who I thought was clear enough and too fast. I'll say "clear" if you ask me to, but ultimately the burden is on you. Slowing down and enunciating for tags and analytics makes it more likely that I'll get everything.
  • Cross Examination - Be polite. Make your point or get an answer, then move on. Don't use cross-ex to make arguments.
  • Prep Time - I don't think prep should stop until the flash drive comes out of your computer or the email is sent, but I won't take it upon myself to police prep as long as both teams are reasonable.


Argumentation: (I'll probably be fine with whatever you want to do, and you shouldn't feel the need to fundamentally change your strategy for me. These are preferences, not rules.)

  • CPs/DAs - I prefer specific solvency and link cards (I'm sure you do, too), but generics are fine provided you do the work.
  • Framework - I prefer that framework gets its own page on the flow, and that it gets substantive development beyond each side reading frontlines at each other/me.
  • Kritiks - I prefer that there is an alternative, and that it has a text. "Reject the Aff." isn't an alternative, it's what I do if I agree with the alternative. I don't get real excited about links of omission, so some narrative work will help you here.
  • Performance - I prefer that you identify the function of the ballot as clearly and as early as possible.
  • Procedurals - I prefer that they be structured and that you identify how the round was affected or altered by what the other team did or didn't do.
  • Theory - I prefer that theory gets its own page on the flow, and that it gets substantive development beyond each side reading frontlines at each other/me.
  • Topicality - I prefer that teams articulate how/why their interpretation is better for debate from a holistic perspective. TVAs and/or case lists are good. My least favorite way to start an RFD is, "So, I think the Aff. is topical, but also you're losing topicality."


Miscellaneous: (These things matter enough that I made a specific section for them, and will definitely be on my mind during the round.)

  • Anybody can read cards, good analysis and strategic decision-making are harder to do and frequently more valuable.
  • Individual pages on the flow do not exist in a vacuum, and what is happening on one almost certainly affects what is happening on another.
  • Comparative impact calculus. Again, comparative impact calculus.
  • You may not actually be winning every argument in the round; acknowledging this in your analysis and telling me why you win anyway is a good thing.
  • Winning an argument is not the same thing as winning the round on an argument. If you want to win the round on an argument you've won or are winning, take the time to win the round on it.
  • The 2NR and 2AR are for making choices, you only have to win the round once.
  • I will read along during speeches and will likely double back to look at cards again, but I don't like being asked to read evidence and decide for myself. If they're reading problematic evidence, yours is substantively better, etc., then do that work in the debate.


Zen: (Just my thoughts, they don't necessarily mean anything except that I thought them.)

  • Debate is a speaking game, where teams must construct logically sound, valid arguments to defend, while challenging the same effort from their opponents.
  • It's better to be more right than the other team than more clever.
  • A round is just a collection of individual decisions. If you make the right decisions more often than not, then you'll win more times than you lose.


I'll be happy to answer any questions.

Full Judging Record

Tournament Date Ev Rd Aff Neg Vote Result
Trevian Invitational 10/10/2020 TOCPD R6 Walter Payton HR Westwood NY Neg
Trevian Invitational 10/10/2020 OPEN R5 Pine Crest IW Woodward MJ Neg
Trevian Invitational 10/10/2020 OPEN R1 Gulliver Prep LR Glenbrook North FJ Aff
Blue Valley Southwest 9/25/2020 Var R6 Riverfied Day AB Lansing AS Neg
Blue Valley Southwest 9/25/2020 Var R4 Derby JS St James CM Aff
Washburn Rural Debate Invitational 9/18/2020 Open Round Olathe Northwest LM Pittsburg MS Aff
Washburn Rural Debate Invitational 9/18/2020 Var R3 Shawnee Mission West WW Lansing AS Neg
Washburn Rural Debate Invitational 9/18/2020 Open R2 Basehor-Linwood HB Olathe Northwest WW Neg
National Speech and Debate Tournament 6/12/2020 LD Final L148 L121 Neg Aff on a 9-6
National Speech and Debate Tournament 6/12/2020 CX R11 X228 X286 Aff Aff on a 2-1
National Speech and Debate Tournament 6/12/2020 CX R6 X165 X182 Aff Aff on a 2-0
National Speech and Debate Tournament 6/12/2020 CX R5 X142 X270 Aff
National Speech and Debate Tournament 6/12/2020 CX R4 X205 X147 Neg Neg on a 2-0
National Speech and Debate Tournament 6/12/2020 CX R3 X175 X169 Neg Neg on a 2-0
National Speech and Debate Tournament 6/12/2020 CX R2 X181 X187 Neg
National Speech and Debate Tournament 6/12/2020 CX R1 X259 X118 Aff Aff on a 2-0
Kanellis Invitational 2/21/2020 VCX Octos Lansing ZW Barstow MT Neg Neg on a 2-1
Kanellis Invitational 2/21/2020 VCX R6 Oak Park and River Forest BM Barstow GA Aff
Kanellis Invitational 2/21/2020 VCX R3 Barstow MT Wichita East YN Aff
Colleyville Heritage Winter Invitational 1/31/2020 VCX O Coppell DR Greenhill FS Aff Aff on a 3-0
Colleyville Heritage Winter Invitational 1/31/2020 VCX R5 Casady WN Eisenhower HS Neg
Colleyville Heritage Winter Invitational 1/31/2020 VCX R4 Casady AR Washburn Rural KP Neg
Colleyville Heritage Winter Invitational 1/31/2020 VCX R3 Greenhill FS Washburn Rural DJ Aff
Colleyville Heritage Winter Invitational 1/31/2020 VCX R1 Lansing WZ Dallas Highland Park LW Aff
KSHSAA 2020 6A 2 Speaker Tournament 1/17/2020 6A Qtr 18A SH 17B RR Aff Aff on a 3-0
East Kansas District Tournament 12/13/2019 CX R3 S Tran & Kerrigan F McCarthy & Wallenburg Neg Neg on a 3-0
East Kansas District Tournament 12/13/2019 CX R2 H Flory & Vaughan E Shew & Viloria Aff Aff on a 2-1
East Kansas District Tournament 12/13/2019 CX R1 S Tuohey & Jones T Sufi & Squires Aff Neg on a 2-1
KCKCC DCI TOC Policy Qualifier 11/1/2019 DCI Double Blue Valley Northwest Alex Mojica & Max Xu Blue Valley North Kelsie Fisher & Anushka Valsan Neg Neg on a 3-0
KCKCC DCI TOC Policy Qualifier 11/1/2019 DCI R5 Blue Valley North Aarthi Toniappa & Selin Ulusarac Blue Valley Northwest Alex Mojica & Max Xu Neg
KCKCC DCI TOC Policy Qualifier 11/1/2019 DCI R4 Newton Miguel Molina Chavez & Fletcher Hummingbird Lansing William Strickland & Stephen Kautt Aff
KCKCC DCI TOC Policy Qualifier 11/1/2019 Nov R3 Blue Valley North Rahul Chavali & Sofia Sarris Barstow Quinn Luce Neg
KCKCC DCI TOC Policy Qualifier 11/1/2019 Nov R1 Wichita East Xander Niblack & Jaan Mansoor Kapaun Mount Carmel Audri Byers & Beatrice Kim Aff
JW Patterson Invitational 10/12/2019 VCX R6 Wichita East SH Caddo Magnet KL Neg
JW Patterson Invitational 10/12/2019 VCX R5 Bentonville TM Wichita East GR Neg
JW Patterson Invitational 10/12/2019 VCX R4 Lansing Sr SS Little Rock Central TL Aff
JW Patterson Invitational 10/12/2019 VCX R1 Topeka BJ Mill Valley BS Aff
Washburn Rural Debate Invitational 9/20/2019 VADB8 R5 Hutchinson UO Wichita East SG Aff
Washburn Rural Debate Invitational 9/20/2019 VADB8 R2 Blue Valley West Jaguars AW Lawrence DV Neg
Washburn Rural Debate Invitational 9/20/2019 VADB8 R1 Shawnee Mission West MW Shawnee Mission East HY Aff
National Speech and Debate Tournament 6/17/2019 CX R8 X240 X192 Neg Neg on a 3-0
National Speech and Debate Tournament 6/17/2019 CX R7 X276 X207 Aff Aff on a 3-0
National Speech and Debate Tournament 6/17/2019 CX R5 X266 X164 Aff Aff on a 2-0
National Speech and Debate Tournament 6/17/2019 CX R4 X153 X257 Neg
National Speech and Debate Tournament 6/17/2019 CX R3 X196 X228 Aff Aff on a 2-0
National Speech and Debate Tournament 6/17/2019 CX R2 X204 X230 Aff Aff on a 2-0
National Speech and Debate Tournament 6/17/2019 CX R1 X205 X139 Aff Aff on a 2-0
Kansas Championship Series 1/4/2019 DCI R6 Eisenhower DJ Topeka RR Aff
Kansas Championship Series 1/4/2019 DCI R3 Lawrence DR Topeka JC Aff
Kansas Championship Series 1/4/2019 DCI R1 Olathe West DU Eisenhower GS Neg
East Kansas District Tournament 12/7/2018 CX R4 N Botkin & Lehan A Worthington & Wallenburg Neg Neg on a 3-0
East Kansas District Tournament 12/7/2018 LD R3 L Haylee Rose B Samuel Sokoloff Aff Aff on a 3-0
East Kansas District Tournament 12/7/2018 CX R2 F Boutte & Hartwell N Owsley & McLeod Neg Neg on a 2-1
East Kansas District Tournament 12/7/2018 LD R2 M Noah Gruman H Hudson Headley Aff Aff on a 2-1
East Kansas District Tournament 12/7/2018 CX R1 S Ruzich & Trout R Buchholz & Strickland Neg Aff on a 2-1
East Kansas District Tournament 12/7/2018 LD R1 L Amelia Vasquez R Salem Clemens Neg Neg on a 3-0
Maize High School 11/30/2018 VP RD 5 Wichita East AG Salina South DV Aff
Maize High School 11/30/2018 VP RD 4 Wichita East WF Newton HC Neg
Maize High School 11/30/2018 VP RD 3 Washburn Rural MS Kapaun Mount Carmel BT Aff
Maize High School 11/30/2018 VP RD 1 Andover PB Eisenhower DJ Aff
Shawnee Mission East 11/9/2018 DCI R6 Blue Valley Southwest Shi & Wu Blue Valley Northwest Shankar & Ramanujan Aff Aff on a 2-1
Shawnee Mission East 11/9/2018 DCI R3 Blue Valley North Christensen & Hahn Washburn Rural Jadhav & Droge Aff
Shawnee Mission East 11/9/2018 DCI R2 Blue Valley North Dmitrienko & Mao Shawnee Mission South Larsen & Ridge Aff
KCKCC TOC DCI Qualifier 11/2/2018 DCI Octos Blue Valley West Seena Saiedian & Vineet Tallavajhala Olathe North Aly Shirley & Reem Atallah Aff Aff on a 3-0
KCKCC TOC DCI Qualifier 11/2/2018 DCI Double Wichita East Esra Qaki & Sarwa Shah Barstow Sam Short & Taha Fanaswala Neg Neg on a 3-0
KCKCC TOC DCI Qualifier 11/2/2018 DCI R5 Wichita East Madeline Halabi & Quan Nguyen Raymore-Peculiar Brenden Lucas & Jaden Lanza Aff
KCKCC TOC DCI Qualifier 11/2/2018 DCI R4 Shawnee Mission East Graham Revare & Grant Colvin Wichita East Malhar Tamhane & Noah Yust Neg
KCKCC TOC DCI Qualifier 11/2/2018 DCI R3 Blue Valley West Rayyan Abid & Larry Chen Andover Central Camille Carpenter & Aditi Kiragi Aff
KCKCC TOC DCI Qualifier 11/2/2018 DCI R2 Wichita East Allen Dong & Adam Foster SF Roosevelt Jazmyn Luckett & Jaxon Kroger Neg
The Iowa Caucus 10/19/2018 VCX O West Des Moines Valley CK Blue Valley West MM Aff Aff on a 3-0
The Iowa Caucus 10/19/2018 VCX R5 Highland Park Senior GE Glenbrook North CK Neg
The Iowa Caucus 10/19/2018 VCX R4 Rosemount HJ Shawnee Mission East AW Neg
The Iowa Caucus 10/19/2018 VCX R1 Dowling Catholic WP Wayzata HR Neg
Blue Valley North Invitational 10/12/2018 Var R5 Shawnee Mission South Tuehoy & Soyski Lansing Sr Kautt & Souser Neg
Blue Valley North Invitational 10/12/2018 Var R4 Lansing Sr Kautt & LaPee Shawnee Mission West Wallenburg & Worthington Neg
ONW Debate Invitational 10/5/2018 JV R5 22Q 24P Aff
ONW Debate Invitational 10/5/2018 JV R4 22P 17P Aff
Washburn Rural Debate Invitational 9/14/2018 VADB8 R6 Maize LB Mill Valley WS Aff
Washburn Rural Debate Invitational 9/14/2018 VADB8 R5 Maize MP Lansing WZ Neg
Washburn Rural Debate Invitational 9/14/2018 VADB8 R3 Maize LY BV West VD Neg
Washburn Rural Debate Invitational 9/14/2018 VADB8 R1 Salina South VJ Newton CH Neg
Olathe West Friday Forensics 2/9/2018 PFD R4 SMW MW ONW JL Neg
Olathe West Friday Forensics 2/9/2018 PFD R3 BisMie AR LanSr LW Neg
Olathe West Friday Forensics 2/9/2018 PFD R2 SMNW SM ONW CP Neg
Olathe West Friday Forensics 2/9/2018 LD R1 LibNor PK SMNW NG Neg
KSHSAA 6A 2 Speaker Shadow Tab 2018 1/12/2018 KSHSA QFs 9B 16D Aff Aff on a 3-0
KSHSAA 6A 2 Speaker Shadow Tab 2018 1/12/2018 KSHSA DOFs 9D 5D Neg Aff on a 2-1
KSHSAA 6A 2 Speaker Shadow Tab 2018 1/12/2018 KSHSA R6 3C 7D Neg
KSHSAA 6A 2 Speaker Shadow Tab 2018 1/12/2018 KSHSA R5 18A 5D Neg
KSHSAA 6A 2 Speaker Shadow Tab 2018 1/12/2018 KSHSA R4 12B 13D Aff
KSHSAA 6A 2 Speaker Shadow Tab 2018 1/12/2018 KSHSA R2 4B 3A Aff
KSHSAA 6A 2 Speaker Shadow Tab 2018 1/12/2018 KSHSA R1 12C 11B Aff
KCKCC TOC Qualifier 11/3/2017 DCI Quarte Barstow Tyler Durwood & Kristin Tingle Jenks Rylee Buchert & Sanjeev Musuvathy Neg Neg on a 3-0
KCKCC TOC Qualifier 11/3/2017 Nov R2 Barstow Phoebe Brous & Jacqueline Tingle Blue Valley North Alexandria Hines & Laysa Kambhampati Aff
KSHSAA 6A 2 Speaker Shadow Tab 1/27/2017 KSDB8 QFs 09C Blue Valley North MT 08D Blue Valley West BN Neg Neg on a 3-0
KSHSAA 6A 2 Speaker Shadow Tab 1/27/2017 KSDB8 OFs 01C Topeka WH 08A Blue Valley West SS Neg Neg on a 3-0
KSHSAA 6A 2 Speaker Shadow Tab 1/27/2017 KSDB8 DOFs 03A Shawnee Mission East HM 02B Olathe Northwest JC Aff Aff on a 3-0
KSHSAA 6A 2 Speaker Shadow Tab 1/27/2017 KSDB8 R6 04C Blue Valley CF 12B Olathe North HM Aff
KSHSAA 6A 2 Speaker Shadow Tab 1/27/2017 KSDB8 R5 03D Shawnee Mission East RM 04D Blue Valley BM Aff
KSHSAA 6A 2 Speaker Shadow Tab 1/27/2017 KSDB8 R3 23A Shawnee Mission North RB 18B Derby SC Neg
KSHSAA 6A 2 Speaker Shadow Tab 1/27/2017 KSDB8 R2 15B Shawnee Mission Northwest GM 09C Blue Valley North MT Neg
KCKCC DCI TOC Qualifier 11/4/2016 DCI Octos Lindale McWhorter & Wyatt Shawnee Mission East Hassett & Massa Neg Neg on a 3-0
KCKCC DCI TOC Qualifier 11/4/2016 DCI R6 Shawnee Mission Northwest Ellis & Marvine Sumner Mielkus & Shaw Aff
KCKCC DCI TOC Qualifier 11/4/2016 Nov R5 Blue Valley Southwest Demel & Price Blue Valley North Silswal & Swenson Aff