1st and 2nd Year National Championships at Woodward Academy

2019 — College Park, GA/US

Disha Adama Paradigm

6 rounds

yes, put me on the email chain: dishaadama@gmail.com

i am a 2N – senior at Chattahoochee High School

i'd rather you be slow than unclear. tech > truth. impact calc wins debates.

time your own speeches and prep. don't clip!

i think it's important for judges to put their biases aside, so do what you do well and have fun.

Tim Alderete Paradigm

1 rounds

Judging Philosophy - Tim Alderete -The Meadows School - timalderete@yahoo.com

Time before a round is Limited - you usually can't read the Whole Philosophy -the first part is the Short Version, the second part is if you have time to read it all.

First Part - Short / Pre Round Version

-"If nobody hates you, you are doing something wrong." - Dr. House

-I do want to be on the email chain - timalderete@yahoo.com
-I have a minimum standard for coherence of arguments or evidence. This probably means you think I’m “Interventionist.”
-I am not the best judge for Bad Theory. This is the area where my “minimum standard” gets used the most.
-I don’t inflate speaker points. To offset my low speaker point range, I offer incentives for flowing and sharing documents.
-I have often voted for kritikal affirmative and negative arguments
-I "can handle" your "speed" and I will call "Clearer" if you are unclear.
-I will vote on Defensive arguments.
-Prep time ends when you hit Send on the Email or hand over the USB.
-(Never thought I would have to state this in my philosophy...) Misrepresenting the context of evidence is cheating and can result in (up to) the loss of the round and points.

Second Part - Longer Version

Initially - I don't think that many people describe accurately how they judge. This is how I think I judge, but it is always better to ask Other people how I judge - they may have more accurate information.

Speaker Points – My speaker point range: 26 (Bad), 27 (Decent), 27.5 (Pretty Good), 28.0 (Very Good), 28.5 (Outstanding). 29.0 and above are saved for the most exceptional speakers – I have only given 3 people over a natural 29.0 in the last five years. I recognize that this range is lower than many judges. My Reason for my range is based upon my 28 years judging well over 4000 rounds at the high school and college levels – I am probably harder to impress than most judges. I have thought about changing my range, but I have chosen not to inflate speaker points, for the same reason that I chose not to inflate grades – it gives me no way to rate truly exceptional debaters, and doesn’t let fair to middling debaters know that they need to improve.

However, I Have chosen to augment points with incentives. If you keep a good flow, and show it to me after the round, I will give you up to an additional speaker point if I agree that it is a good flow. I do this to encourage flowing and organization. If you do not steal Any prep time during the debate and practice good USB/Paperless norms, I will give you up to .5 more. Remember that once I have entered my E-Ballot online, I cannot change your points, so you must Ask before I turn the ballot in.

The Theory – Good theory arguments are essential to prevent abusive practices by teams. Good theory is one aspect of debate that makes our activity unique, because it gives students a sense of empowerment as they control the rules of the game. Theory arguments are sometimes your only option – your “Plan B” – and I respect debaters who recognize and utilize their most strategic options. Bad Theory arguments make it harder for me to take Good Theory arguments seriously, because if everything is a voting issue, then nothing is. I think that currently, Bad Theory is drowning out Good Theory. I admit that there is no precise line or list dividing the two, and I won’t “Automatically Intervene” against arguments that I think are Bad, and I Often vote against my “defaults” or “preferences” on Theory. I will Try to take your Theory arguments as seriously as you do, but at a fundamental level, It is Harder to Convince me of a Dumb argument than a Good argument.

For the most part, debaters do a bad job of justifying that arguments are a reason to vote against a debater, rather than to drop an argument. Debaters too often conflate “Bad Debate Practice” with “Abusive Practices.” Too often, debaters focus on comparing fairness and education as terminal impacts, rather than focusing on the Link Magnitude and Probability of your theory arguments. Too often people overcommit, or go all-in, on theory too early in the debate. I believe that good theory can/should drown out Bad theory. Because that is such an imprecise line, I will try to give you some examples, so that you can see what my proclivities are:

Bad Theory –
Affirmative Framework Choice – this, Literally, Argues that Argument is Bad
“No Solvency Advocate = You Lose” – this is a solvency press, not a theory argument.
“PICs must have one card which advocates the Action it takes and Advocates Not taking the Action it PICs out of” – like above, but Waaay more silly.
“I cannot turn your theory argument, so you lose.” – Fundamental misunderstanding of how arguments work.
“Topicality is a Reverse Voting Issue” – No, it isn’t.
“You lose because you put your Role of the Ballot on the Bottom, not the Top, of the AC.” – Stunning.

"You said no reverse voting issues. That's a reverse voting issue." I'm speechless...
“You lose because you ran both theoretical and substantive justifications for your framework” – Really?!
“You didn’t number your Spikes = You lose.” – Strike me. Seriously.

Good Theory –
Whole Resolution / Plans Bad
Truth Testing vs Competing Worlds
Role Playing Policymakers vs Discourse
PICs Good/Bad (only run against Counterplans, not against Plans or the Resolution… Just FYI)

Fiat issues (Multiple Actors, International Actors, Contingent Fiat, etc. NOT "No Neg Fiat")

Offense and Defense – Offensive arguments are good because they give you options and they pressure the other debater. Defensive arguments are good because they often are necessary complements to offensive arguments, and because they are often the strongest logical flaws against a position. The idea that Defensive arguments cannot take out a position alone is misguided. "Offense/Defense" is a useful teaching concept but it is often misapplied as a debate argument or comparison, most often on theory. It is not an excuse to avoid responding to Link answers or Violation Answers or Counter standards. I am easier to convince than most judges that there is No Case, No Violation or No Interpretation. I rarely default to "There is always some risk." I evaluate impact calculus After I decide whether you have won an argument, not before (or instead of) it. I do not see "Defensive" arguments as being weaker arguments. An Intelligent Defensive argument is better than a Poor Offensive argument. I am willing to vote on Defensive arguments that take out the entirety of a case or the entirety of a Theory argument. It may be a high Threshold, but there is a Threshold. Again, Examples:

“You did not extend your Impacts – therefore there are no impacts” – this is just a weak press.
“Alternative Causality – they cannot solve all racism in the world” – I don’t believe that was their claim to start with…
“Economic Decline doesn’t cause war” – this is Defensive, but just because it doesn’t cause war doesn’t mean that decline isn’t bad.
“There is no Offensive reason why they Don’t have to number their spikes.” – Defense will probably suffice here.
“Obama won’t lose political capital if Kenya decides to ban oil” vs “There is always a risk of a link” – this has crossed the threshold of No Risk.

Kritiks - Good Kritik debates are some of the best debates that I have judged. They are interesting, creative, demand challenging case specific research, and respond to core issues and assumptions raised by the Affirmative. Bad Kritik debates are some of the worst debates that I have judged. They avoid engaging the debate either through obscure jargon or shallow procedurals, or conflate kritiks with other arguments, or are hopelessly generic, or are about Baudrilliard. I think that kritiks often balance well the philosophical and the political in LD – as such, I think that LD has been “Doing Kritiks” for decades, without calling the arguments kritiks. I think that it is a mistake to conflate all discourse arguments with “Micropolitical Activism” – they are not always synonyms.

Prep Time – LD has not developed norms or practices for sharing paperless evidence. This causes a substantial waste of time, which extends or moots prep time limits. At a minimum, I have these expectations:

-Prep time should end when you hand the USB to the opponent.
-Debaters must provide a USB or Email copy of every card they read to their opponent prior to the speech. Paper copies can be handed to them as they are read.
-Reading over someone’s shoulder is NOT a sufficient substitute – it is a major distraction, interferes with flowing, and it means one person will not be able to use their computer
-The Cases, Disads, frontlines, evidence, etc. must All be in One word document, rather than spread out over multiple documents.
-You may time yourself, but only My time is official.
-Why wouldn't you use Microsoft Word?
-I won't read evidence that isn't shared via USB or email. I realize that some teams have a Policy against sharing evidence. Those teams either already strike me, or should in the future.

Policy – I have coached both Policy and LD – although I have focused on Policy for most years. While I have judged a substantial amount of LD, my judging will always, inevitably, be influenced by my Policy background. Because of that:

-I hold debaters responsible for high quality evidence.
-I am familiar with Counterplan, Kritik and Topicality positions and burdens.
-I “can handle” The Speed.
-I have a lower point range.
-I reward strategic choices, and believe that Diverse Options are good.
-I don’t like Disclosure games – Although Don’t take this to mean I want to hear Disclosure theory…
-I will disclose decisions after the debate. I am not used to disclosing points, but I am not opposed to it.

I am usually loud and long winded when explaining decisions - I am not trying to be mean, just loud. I do enjoy judging a lot, even if I appear intimidating. In general, I will flow pretty much any intelligible speed. I will consider pretty much any intelligent argument.

George Alford Paradigm

4 rounds

George Alford

Westminster '20

Please include me on the email chain: georgealfo@gmail.com

Thesis of My Paradigm: Just do whatever.

Case: Case turns are underrated

T: not the best for T debates and I find myself AFF leaning in most T debates. But, if you win T on the flow then I will vote NEG

Note: I can see myself voting on ASPEC.

T-USFG: Yes. I debate at Westminster and only read plans. Clash is an impact and an intrinsic good because it structures the game of debate.

K: I'm not deep in the K literature. I'm OK for cap, security, and other basic Ks that can have links tied to the plan. I'm not great for stuff beyond that, including high theory Ks.

Theory: Conditionality is good unless it is dropped, in which case it most likely becomes a voting issue. If it goes above 3, then I will start evaluating conditionality.

50 State Fiat can be a reason to reject the team. If anybody remembers those fire preempts in Westminster 1ACs on the education topic, then you know that I think that 50 State Fiat is a voting issue.

Process CPs can also be a voting issue.

Anything else is probably a reason to reject the argument (i.e. don't stand up and go 5 minutes of multiplank CPs bad).

Ariana Arvanitis Paradigm

5 rounds

Ari Arvanitis

Carrollton Sacred Heart (2020)

Currently a 4th year debater, I'm a 2N/1A

I'd like to be on the email chain please: arianaarvanitisdebate@gmail.com

TLDR: do what you want (but note T USFG is my favorite argument in debate), I am open to most arguments, impact assessment is key, send a relevant cards doc at the end of the debate, tech over truth, do line by line, I won't evaluate arguments about things that happened outside of the round, nothing makes me more mad than debaters being rude to each other

Here are some specific thoughts about different areas:

Framework and K Affs

I am not the best judge for your K aff. I strongly believe that the affirmative should defend the hypothetical implementation of a topical plan, no matter what type of scholarship or performance you want to use (because that’s up to you or your school I guess).

Fairness is an impact. Debate is a game. T USFG is my favorite argument in debate. TVAs are highly persuasive.

To uphold what I believe to be the role of a judge though, I will try my best to leave my biases at the door and listen to everyone's speeches.


I've been debating for a while and have seen lots of good and bad T speeches (given some of those good and bad ones myself) and I keep finding myself persuaded by:

I default to competing interpretations, but I can be persuaded by good reasonability args (aff interp is ok enough)

Predictability and Limits - those two go together for me, I think you should be able to set a predictable limit, if the aff unlimits the topic that's not great (but I'd like to hear a case list).

CIs - aff should extend a counterinterp and paint a picture of their model of debate

T is a voter, never a reverse voter.


YES. It hardly gets better than a CP + DA debate to me. That said, it must be functionally and textually competitive. Impact your solvency deficits or I will default to neg sufficiency framing and risk of a net benefit. I would love to see well-researched case-specific CPs, but just make sure you read good solvency ev specific to the topic, no matter the CP.

If aff does not go for condo, and 2nr says judge kick, I'll default to that.


Yes, but make sure they make sense - many teams have gotten away with murder on bad DAs over the last two topics I've debated, if affs just pointed out the logical flaws in internal link chains a lot of these would probably go away

Make turns case args specific to the aff and that make sense

Zero risk is definitely a thing for DAs and advantages

Politics is really, really good.

Comparative impact assessment is pretty crucial


I ran Carrollton's Racial Cap K back in the day (aka 2 years ago), but that phase is long over so don’t assume I understand the jargon - explain and impact your argument like you would a DA

Things like cap and security are fun. High theory goes over my head most times, so I’m not great for that, but massive explanation will help me and I'm here for it

Best part about K debates: when debaters explain or refute the links really well and the mpxs

Long overviews as an excuse for not doing line by line work won't fly. Do most work on the flow or else it’s super hard for me to evaluate by the end of the round.

At the end of the day, I think I'd rather hear anything over a sloppy K.


Go slow.

Aff-leaning: process, multi-actor, 50 states, no solvency advocate

Neg-leaning: condo (to an extent, don’t make them contradictory), PICs, international fiat

Condo is a voter.

Kind of a high threshold for rejecting CPs based on theory

Case Debating

Yes please. It’s super underutilized today and I would like to see a debate centering heavily around the affirmative case.

I have my case turn obsessions from time to time - I really enjoy those debates too.


I'm totally here for it if you want to try a new strat.

Clipping or a false accusation of clipping is an auto-losses and low speaks, you must have audio evidence (with that, always ask your opponents if you can record them before the round starts)

If clipping has occurred, we'll continue with the round for educational purposes if all debaters would like to.

Above all have fun, I've never regretted joining debate even when it has been hard. Debate is incredibly fun and rewarding in so many ways.

I will always reward teams who work hard, enjoy themselves, crack jokes (not mean ones though), and treat others in the activity with respect - debate the debate, not the debaters.

"Always make a total effort, even when the odds are against you." (Arnold Palmer)

I love talking to people (most of my favorite people have been/are debaters) - email me after the round if you have more questions or want strategy advice.

Also I started a blog to help novices navigate their first year of debate: https://sites.google.com/view/policydebateforeveryone

Holland Bald Paradigm

6 rounds

me: 4th year at westminster, 2a, he/him

ask me questions before the round! ive tried to condense this paradigm (it hasnt worked ¯\_(ツ)_/¯) but if you know you're about to have a specific debate, i'd be happy to delve into the nuances of my predispositions about it.

postround me! should be kinda fun, just don't be aggressive lol - i'll sit for hours and answer good-faith questions but am unlikely to care if you are angry at me.

influences on this paradigm AND how i debate (in roughly this order): kevin hirn, anthony trufanov, dan bannister, shree awsare, brett bricker, dana randall, kristen lowe, joshua gonzalez, maggie berthiaume

email: yes, hollandebate [at] gmail [dot] com. do it without asking pls!

crash course: death is bad; be nice* (seriously - everyone should seem like they're having a good time. why would you pour hours into an activity and spend your weekend to be hostile?); tech over truth; bad for ks; good for t-usfg; judge instruction is real important; clash & fairness are impacts; bad for big, messy debates; excellent for all the policy stuff (in roughly that order).

*debate is a safe space. i reserve the right to stop the round if i feel one debater or team is making the debate unsafe for the other(s). being unkind, patronizing, rude, or overly aggressive will result in speaker point deductions.

*dudes - mansplaining or being patronizing to non-dude debaters is an A+ way to get your speaks TANKED. habits start - and are broken - early.

flowing: i do it, straight down. flow on my computer in novice debates, ask if you want a copy of my flow :)

disclosure: i will reward good flows and disclosure! +0.2 speaker points for good flows, +0.3 for full cites or open source of 1acs/1ncs for most/all rounds; +0.5 for cites/OS for all cards (1ac, 2ac, 1ar; 1nc, block). the aff should always disclose the 1ac (unless new). neg teams should do as good of disclosure as possible on the wiki and certainly adhere to aff requests (e.g. for past 1ncs, etc). full text of the 1ac and 1nc (again, unless positions are new) should probably be available somewhere -- incl. poems, songs, etc.

novices: tag team cx is fine, do not call me "judge", start the round on time, read plans, try to have the most educational debate possible (reading varsity blocks straight down is not a good novice debate and it is bad-faith engagement with the activity that prioritizes competition above all else).

tech over truth: obviously and STAUNCHLY. debate is one of the only places where anything goes, so prove to me that you are right about whatever you are defending.

however, arguments are claims, warrants, and evidence. if a blippy arg is dropped in the 2ac but warranted for the first time in the block, the 1ar gets to answer it. that said - if an argument is truly dropped and you impact out why that matters, i will 100% vote for you to incentivize technical debate and good flowing.

the rest of this is my predispositions. this means the bar will be lower for the side forwarding the arguments i've described below - but doesn't mean you can totally drop arguments i have said i "won't care" about, etc.

the best debates: pics cut from the aff's body of literature with tiny net benefits. this is also true of k affs!

offense/defense: 0% and 100% risk exist. if you have questions abt this, ask or debate it out.

judge instruction: do it! if i have to sort through a bunch of evidence for both sides and decide how arguments interact with each other, you have not met the burden of "debating" as a communicative exercise. this is VERY important in "big" debates -- condo, t, impact turns, 13 mins of the k in the block.

evidence: highlight it. teams who win because the 2ac drops the eighth off in the 1nc (the same 1nc in which they spent 45 seconds on case) are not good, they are just good at being cheaty. (lenient on new 1ar args in these debates, but justify them!) i will read evidence at the end of the debate if the meaning of it is contested, but if a claim/card is dropped, i do not care about evidence quality. final rebuttals should name cards by author that they want me to read, then send me those cards in a document.

arms sales: this topic seems bad for both sides but especially the neg. the investor confidence da is not real. spark people: boo. pearson is not real, but more on that below.

speaker points: i tend to give high ones - i've assigned above a 29.5 to novices multiple times, and rarely give below a 28.3. i am trying to adjust this down.

to get high ones: be nice to your opponents. understand your args. have good cx moments. no cheapshots. make jokes about bfhlr or any of my friends! sneak song titles from lover (taylor swift) into your speech for BIG speaks. make jokes, especially in high-theory k rounds. asking me for more speaks sounds like an excellent route to a 26.

t-usfg: yes. if debate is good, fairness is the biggest impact. it is easy to prove both teams think debate is good and a competitive activity (it is). even if debate is bad, clash and dogma are still smart impacts. aff offense is often not intrinsic.

other neg v k strategies i like: impact turns (heg), presumption, heavy case debating, new k affs bad

k affs: good luck. tech over truth. you probably get a perm, unless the neg wins you don't, in which case you don't. you are probably better suited to impact turn their stuff than to make bad analogies about t being an act of violence/the war on terror.

critiques: meh. best when they are impact defense, a disad, and a uniqueness counterplan. when your thesis & alt are unclear at the end of the 2nc, i am very unlikely to vote neg. the more words in the plan text you disagree with, the better off you are (e.g. fiat ks of "usfg should" are good, but ks of "reducing arms sales to saudi arabia" are better, and ks of "you said things which is signs which is baudrillard hee hoo" suck). unlikely to care that fiat isn't real, likely to let the aff weigh the plan and impacts. down for security, afropessimism, and settler colonialism. past that, you might be pushing it. this just means you need to explain your args more than normal, not that they are unwinnable.

critiques-ish: will not care about coin flips and judge preferences. t-embodiment and t-three tier are not particularly persuasive arguments to me, but tech over truth always!

aff against critiques: prove their thing is wrong. you should know going into the round whether you want to go for the perm and link defense or the case outweighs and framework. both of these are remarkably viable and i have been on both sides of it (even this year), but walking this line seems bad. cx is so underutilized in these debates and can be used to clown the other team when they are saying absurd things. 2acs should have a clear structure that the 1ar can stick to if the neg makes the block messy. (i will be sympathetic to the aff/2ar when this happens.) aff team: they said their most important thing in the overview! if there's one or two CRUCIAL args for the 1ar, put em there! it messes up the line by line a little but makes your strategy clearer and is rhetorically powerful,

t-not usfg: probably lean aff unless it is super egregious. precision and intent to define are so so important - you cannot go for a definition that literally does not exist, even if it would make the best topic in the world. there are diminishing returns to this, though -- we do still have to have a year of debates, and a year on the saudi aff would suck. judge instruction is very important because i will sift thru as little of the minutiae of these debates as possible. yes competing interps, but i can be convinced otherwise - "judge intervention" is almost never impacted out. the aff should point this out.

portela is an ok interp and not a counterinterp (it does not define what substantial IS -- thx aden).

pearson clearly says that reductions to specific states are topical, and so are broader arms control restrictions (this is what they mean by "include") - i really do not want to see the negative go for this. like, ever. it is the death of grammar (hi, t-hasche!).

new affs: infinitely good. but, in the case of new K affs, the neg should deploy the fact that the aff was not disclosed as case defense or to mitigate offense on t. be creative!

counterplan theory: the negative does not get to fiat international actors or kick planks (if there are more than, like, three). condo is bad past three, and maybe before three as well - but it is clear when you are going for condo out of desperation, which is sad. pics out of words in the plan are SO GOOD. they get less good the less relevant to the 1ac the word was (it's in the plan > a tag > highlighted > not highlighted). 2ac should make a substantial-ish investment in condo if you want to go for it - otherwise, lenient on new 2nr answers. intrinsic perms are smart. "most of the time when you are saying something isn't legitimate, you mean it isn't competitive" -kristen lowe. i agree!

re: solvency advocate theory -- the negative does not need a solvency advocate. but, the affirmative's response to this should be "we have read relatively specific evidence that the plan is key (hopefully you have!) and their thing was thought up by a seventeen year old during cx, so take it with a grain of salt". this seems to resolve most of the aff's complaints about solvency advocates while preserving neg innovation.

counterplans: barring the above, the neg gets fiat. just have intrinsic internal links. (fwiw, i thought the parole counterplan did not compete and was not net beneficial - but, thought it was a waste of breath going for solvency deficits to a well-written parole text.) be crafty with permutations. limited intrinsicness probably ok, severance probably not (tech/truth tho!) i have literally never had a thought about which way presumption goes, so tell me!

disadvantages: sure. impact turning the case matters less than there being a qualitatively high risk of the disadvantage. soft left disads seem smart to me but i haven't seen them deployed so idk.

politics: not real on this topic. intrinsicness is not an arg and nate silver is great (read: the politics da is good for debate).

framing contentions: critiques of link stories and impacts are answers to disads. critiques of impact calculus are not answers to disads. util is probably true and i have yet to hear a persuasive alternative.

impact turns: probably a bad idea in front of me. i am bad at evaluating these debates unless the final rebuttals REALLY clean up the debate. do it if you must, i guess. if you are reading cards in the final rebuttal, you have made a mistake. specific thoughts: exec flex is irl bad but cards probably say it's good, john yoo is a war criminal, heg is probs good, economic collapse might be good (hate a dedev debate tho), warming is irl really bad but it's a fun backfile check, nuke war is irl bad (neg cards are very good but very unqualified - 2nr will need to do lots of meta-level framing to win spark) - other than these, i don't have predispositions (these predispositions also don't matter cuz tech over truth).

Kevin Bancroft Paradigm

1 rounds

Prep stops when I receive the email or have the usb in my hand.

The only thing I care about is clarity and clipping. If you skip a highlighted/underlined word I cannot vote for you.

If I am judging your round.

Then your traditional decision making calculus on how clear to be which looks something like: "Judges wait for the other team to call out clipping, but the other team is disincentivized from doing so by loss of speaker points and rep. This paradigm means I should push the envelope as much as possible in terms of clarity, because at worst I just lose a few speaker points" should be fully discarded.

Instead your decision making calculus should be: "This judge is not afraid to drop for clipping, pays close attention to it, and never waits for the other team to make the accusation. I cannot push the envelope on clarity, because I will auto lose the round and get my speaker points nuked if I skip a single word"

My intention is to be transparent in order to allow you a proper risk vs. reward analysis on clarity decisions in round.

Tara Bhagat Paradigm

6 rounds

Tara Bhagat

Georgetown Day '19 (2A/1N, 3.5 years, TOC x2)

University of Cambridge '22 (not debating policy)

tarasbhagat [at] gmail [dot] com (+ email chain please)


1. Speech times are non-negotiable. Will only flow one speaker per speech. No audience participation. No excessive rudeness or personal attacks. Other than that, staunchly defend whatever you do. The rest of this paradigm is just idiosyncracies — I will attempt to intervene as little as possible.

2. Tech > truth. However, for a dropped argument to be relevant, it must consist of a claim, warrant, and implication. I won't vote on a dropped arg if not explained i/r/t the rest of the debate. The corollary to strict technical refutation is that even if I believe you present superior framing, you must apply that framing to the specific arguments the other side presents in order to win the debate.

3. I can't keep a straight face. Scroll down to the "Buntin Approach" for a preview of what triggers certain facial expressions.

4. I try to line things up during the speech when flowing (not straight down). This means you should signpost even more than usual.

5. People who have influenced the way I think about debate include: jon sharp, Joe Krakoff, Kevin Hirn, Ken Karas, Kristen Lowe, John Turner.

6. I judged HSS and Georgetown camp rounds this summer but am not super familiar with the topic. Please explain acronyms and do not assume I know the community consensus on core controversies.

"Clash of Civs":

- I read primarily "K" (particularly capitalism and high theory) args during the year but read primarily "policy" args at camp.

- I will default to util and weighing the aff vs the alt if nobody tells me how to weigh impacts.

- I believe that my ballot can only declare a winner and loser but this is almost always tied to who has the best model for debate and thus, internal link to debate's benefits and the question of the extent that arguments in debate shape our subjectivities. Arguments about the history and core controversies on arms sales play out in terms of education that should be garnered from debate would be refreshing.

- Fairness > clash > dialogue > other neg impacts if you win the game (and its inherent value) is good, which shouldn't be too difficult in front of me. However, you still need to win that fairness is an impact beyond "it's an intrinsic good/everything relies on it". I am seldom convinced that fairness means bracketing out the aff's offense. Accordingly, aff offense is most convincing in the context of what your aff/counter-interp means for the value and purpose of debate.

- Negs going for T-USFG please make your TVAs topical. It annoys me to no end when they don't meet the interpretation in the 1NC and I will lower your speaks.

K v K:

- My (weakly held) predisposition is the aff gets a permutation to test the strength of the link. The nature of competition should be clearly flushed out.

- Distinctions are very important to me. Please articulate your theory of power in relation to the other side's theory of power; that is, explain why your theories diverge in terms of concrete examples and ways of thinking (especially in relation to arms sales) as net benefits to the advocacy/permutation or alternative.

- I'm interested in hearing arguments about the scope of change within debate as a result of the advocacy or alternative and arguments about why the scope of change than can reasonably be achieved in a debate round should be irrelevant to my decision.

Policy v Policy:

- I'll judge kick if the cp's condo ("status quo is always an option") but you should remind me in the 2NR. (2AR should say why that's bad)

- Reciprocity persuades me: that is, it should relatively easy for you to win a theoretically abusive counterplan in front of me if the aff is also being shifty and if you have a solvency advocate.

- I really enjoy advantage CP debates.

- Most theoretical objections to politics DAs make little intuitive sense to me with the exception of horsetrading.


- My favorite neg strats are T and impact turns (severely underutilized versus K affs). In the block = +0.2. In the 2NR = +0.3

- +0.3 if you straight turn in the 2AC or 1AR

- +0.2 for a joke about: Thomas Brooks, Robin Forsyth, Alan Goldfarb, Lynnea Zhang, Hannah Niederman, Julianna Fabrizio

- +0.2 for hard numbering and/or subpointing

The Buntin Approach:

Policy ---------------------------X------------------ K


Offense-defense -------------------------X------ Zero risk

Read no cards---------------------X--------------Read all the cards

Qualified evidence --X-----------------------------Hyperbolic evidence

Conditionality good---------------------X--------------Conditionality bad

States CP good--------------------------X--------States CP bad

Politics DA is a thing----x----------------------------Politics DA not a thing

Always VTL-------------------------------X--------Sometimes NVTL

UQ matters most----------------------x-----------Link matters most

Fairness is a thing----------------X---------------Delgado 92

Not our Baudrillard--------X----------------------Yes your Baudrillard

Limits-------------------------------X----------------Aff ground

Longer ev----X----------------------------------------More ev

"Insert this rehighlighting"-x----------------------I only read what you read

Fiat solves circumvention-----x---------------------LOL trump messes w/ ur aff

Fiat double bind-----------------------------X--------------literally any other arg

Sara Ann Brackett Paradigm

2 rounds

she/her -- westminster 2020 -- third year -- 2A this year but 2N freshman & sophomore year

please put me on the email chain: saraanndebate@gmail.com

note: this is short so if you want more of an understanding of the way i think about debate you should look at seth gannon, anthony trufanov, and joshua gonzalez's paradigms -- they're worded much better than anything i say here.

impact framing & judge instruction are absolutely crucial. i will do my best to not intervene but that is much easier when top level framing and comparison occurs -- the 2xrs should write my ballot for me and have even if statements

tech determines truth -- dropped arguments are true arguments, they only have the implication you said they had before they were dropped

i'm not a very good judge for the k -- not very deep in the literature -- please slow down and explain your arguments and their implication. i default to weighing the aff vs the alt & util but can for sure be persuaded otherwise.

i think affs should have a plan text and defend a topical action by the usfg. i won't auto vote on framework but i'm very easily persuaded by a competently extended clash impact.

i love cp & da debates! love a good impact turn! i really appreciate when debaters demonstrate a nuanced understanding of the topics they're discussing & that definitely helps with speaker points.

also -- i will auto vote against any team that clips, says death good, or personally insults their opponents. debate is better and more enjoyable when teams respect their opponents and judges and treat everyone with compassion and kindness.

[for novices/first years] for bonus speaker points -- show me your flows (if you’re proud of them/they’re good) and/or that you have an updated wiki after the round! both are good, important practices that will help your debating as you gain experience, and i want to encourage them! i won’t dock you if i don’t like your flows or your wiki, only a chance this can help you

Daryl Burch Paradigm

Daryl Burch

currently the director of high school debate for the baltimore urban debate league (2007-present), also assist and aid in the development of argumentation for Towson University.

formerly coached at the University of Louisville, duPont Manual High School (3X TOC qualifiers; Octofinalist team 2002) have taught summer institutes at the University of Michigan, Michigan State, Emory, Iowa, Catholic University, and Towson University as a lab leader.

I debated three years in high school on the kentucky and national circuit and debated five years at the University of Louisville.

I gave that little tidbit to say that I have been around debate for a while and have debated and coached at the most competitive levels with ample success. I pride myself in being committed to the activity and feel that everyone should have a voice and choice in their argument selection so I am pretty much open to everything that is in good taste as long as YOU are committed and passionate about the argument. The worst thing you can do in the back of the room is assume that you know what I want to hear and switch up your argument selection and style for me and give a substandard debate. Debate you and do it well and you will be find.

True things to know about me:
Did not flow debates while coaching at the University of Louisville for two years but am flowing again

Was a HUGE Topicality HACK in college and still feel that i am up on the argument. I consider this more than a time suck but a legitimate issue in the activity to discuss the merit of the debate at hand and future debates. I have come to evolve my thoughts on topicality as seeing a difference between a discussion of the topic and a topical discussion (the later representing traditional views of debate- division of ground, limits, predictability etc.) A discussion of the topic can be metaphorical, can be interpretive through performance or narratives and while a topical discussion needs a plan text, a discussion of the topic does not. Both I think can be defended and can be persuasive if debated out well. Again stick to what you do best. Critiquing topicality is legitimate to me if a reverse voting issue is truly an ISSUE and not just stated with unwarranted little As through little Gs. i.e. framework best arguments about reduction of language choices or criticism of language limitations in academic discussion can become ISSUES, voting issues in fact. The negative's charge that the Affirmative is not topical can easily be developed into an argument of exclusion begat from predictable limitations that should be rejected in debate.

It is difficult to label me traditional or non traditional but safer to assume that i can go either way and am partial to traditional performative debate which is the permutation of both genres. Teams that run cases with well developed advantages backed by a few quality pieces of evidence are just as powerful as teams that speak from their social location and incorporate aesthetics such as poetry and music. in other words if you just want to read cards, read them poetically and know your argument not just debate simply line by line to win cheap shots on the flow. "They dropped our simon evidence" is not enough of an argument for me to win a debate in front of me. If i am reading your evidence at the end of the debate that is not necessairly a good thing for you. I should know what a good piece of evidence is because you have articulated how good it was to me (relied on it, repeated it, used it to answer all the other arguments, related to it, revealed the author to me) this is a good strategic ploy for me in the back of the room.

Technique is all about you. I must understand what you are saying and that is it. I have judged at some of the highest levels in debate (late elims at the NDT and CEDA) and feel pretty confident in keeping up if you are clear.

Not a big fan of Malthus and Racism Good so run them at your own risk. Malthus is a legitimate theory but not to say that we should allow systematic targeted genocide of Black people because it limits the global population. I think i would be more persuaded by the argument that that is not a NATURAL death check but an IMMORAL act of genocide and is argumentatively irresponsible within the context of competitive debate. Also i am not inclined to believe you that Nietzsche would say that we should target Black people and exterminate them because death is good. Could be wrong but even if i am, that is not a persuasive argument to run with me in the back of the room. In case you didn't know, I AM A BLACK PERSON.

Bottom line, I can stomach almost any argument as long as you are willing to defend the argument in a passionate but respectful way. I believe that debate is inherently and unavoidable SUBJECTIVE so i will not pretend to judge the round OBJECTIVELY but i will promise to be as honest and consistent as possible in my ajudication. Any questions you have specifically I am more than happy to answer.

Open Cross X, weird use of prep time (before cross x, as a prolonging of cross x) all that stuff that formal judges don't like, i am probably ok with.


Gershom Chan Paradigm

4 rounds

Email: gershom000@gmail.com

Prep stops when email is sent.

Be clear!

You do you.

Clipping = loss & zero.

Dylan Chikko Paradigm

6 rounds

general stuff

yes email chain dylanchikko@gmail.com

i'm not really familiar with the arms sales topic at all.

clipping, rudeness, death, racism, sexism, etc are all bad.

"average" points are around 28.7-ish.

you'll get better points if you send analytics.

line by line > implicit clash/overviews

tech > truth

depth > breadth

usually offense/defense with any argument

have fun!!! srsly debate is great but it can also get stressful at times, so do whatever you can to make yourself and everyone else involved enjoy it!! i’m not the biggest fan of small talk or jokes but if that’s what you enjoy then do it!!

please direct any complaints to nathanglancy124@gmail.com - i’m sure he’d love to hear them.

policy stuff

i'm fine with anything (except aspec and new affs bad, i won't vote on those even if they're dropped).

will probably judge-kick a counterplan for the neg unless the aff makes arguments about why i shouldn’t before the 2ar.

i default to viewing topicality through competing interpretations but can be convinced otherwise.

don't have any predispositions about theory other than that perm theory is really unpersuasive. arguments about in-round abuse are more persuasive than arguments about what you justify. condo's the only reason to reject the team.

k stuff

i am probably like 60/40 better for policy-oriented debating, but that’s just because of my knowledge level, not because i like one style of debate much more than the other. i have voted for k's/k affs before, so you do you. but some things to keep in mind for both sides:

1. fairness might be an impact, but it also might not be. depends on what happens in the debate.

2. the aff should advocate for some kind of shift from the status quo.

3. most k-tricks are not very good but are also usually very poorly answered, so i’ve voted on them a bit.

4. the best approach to framework on both sides is to impact turn the other side's method of debate while having a lot of good defenses of your method of debate. middle of the ground approaches on either side are fine but usually easier for the other side to beat imo.

5. engaging the substance of the aff as much as possible is always a good idea - whether you’re a neg team going for a k against a policy aff, or a neg team against a k aff.

6. i don't really like super exaggerated existential impacts to framework (like not reading a plan will make everyone quit debate or that having to read a plan will turn everyone into evil state-operatives or whatever). just focus on the actual reasons your model of debate is good.

7. please don't go for death good.

Nicholas Clancy Paradigm

6 rounds

Hello everyone!

I am currently a high school student at University School of Nashville. I am open to any sort of arguments, so you don't have to edit your strategy for me. I shouldn't have to do the link work for you during my decision, so please make sure to clearly explain the story of your advocacy.

Phil Cramer Paradigm

1 rounds

Experience: Debated policy in HS and college; however, that was 20 years ago. Last judged 10 years ago, so I am admittedly rusty.

Structure: Give me a sign post; appreciate well-thought out arguments and analysis of how your side wins while acknowledging strengths of the other side; looking for you to walk me through why you win notwithstanding your opponents’ arguments; give me a thoughtful impact comparison

Style: I need to understand you – speed is fine but not at the expense of clarity and comprehension; toward that end, I am flow-centric judge so tell me where you are at all times; I will not credit cards or claims that are not read clearly; if your opponent is mischaracterizing or clipping evidence, point it out

Plan: Give me a concrete plan and explain the links/solvency; this equally applies to any counter plan; conversely, Ks (which I am not up to date on) must link to the plan

Topicality: Will entertain voting on topicality and enjoy creative (but fair) arguments from either side, but have a default toward an expansive reading; rote recitation of topicality arguments merely to spread are seen for what they are.

Cross-Examination: Will reward at the margins an effective, thoughtful and civil cross-examination

Sources: These matter; tell me why your sources are better, more qualified, and/or more relevant. Likewise, point out to me which cards are most significant in the rebuttals and explain why.

Dorothy Darden Paradigm

5 rounds

please add me to the email chain - dorothyvdarden@gmail.com

I graduated from Carrollton School of the Sacred Heart and debated for 4 years.

I will vote on pretty much anything as long as you explain it and tell me why I should vote on it.

I read along with the speech doc during each speech and if you are caught repeatedly and intentionally clipping you will lose and your speaker point lowered.

Non-T affirmatives

I believe all affirmatives should defend the United States Federal Government reduce restrictions on immigration, you are welcome to defend how you define that individual terms.

I will more than likely vote in line with a standard definition of those terms (plan text!)

I do believe that reading an affirmative that is explicitly a K aff is cheating.


They need solvency advocates that align with the CP text and the planks of the CP. Be clear about the net benefit in cross ex.


I am a big fan of the politics DA, have a link that is legitimate and you can explain it. The impacts need to be fully explained and compared to the affirmatives impacts.


The links need to be clear. If you run a K make sure it has an alternative that you can clearly explain and it is not just "alternative is to reject the aff", that is not an alternative. Tell me what the role of the ballot is, why should I vote for the plan or for the alternative?


It is a test of competing interpretations and I will vote on it if you prove the interpretation is predictable and the best for education, limits, etc.


Conditionality is good for debate but can be abusive, explain why it is bad in the specific round for it to matter. If the other team drops your theory argument and you can impact it out then capitalize on it!

Jared DeMunbrun Paradigm

6 rounds

Liberty University - Freshman - 2n

Email: jareddemunbrun75@gmail.com


I debated 4 years in high school and am currently debating in college.

I will judge anything and listen to anything as long as it is explained well. Debate is a game of constant clash and argumentation. I want to hear debates between students that are invested in debating one another's arguments based on rigorous preparation, scholarly evidence, deep content knowledge, and strategic thinking. I do like forms of strategy and trickery as long as they are executed well.

T - I tend to default to competing interpretations but will buy reasonability if it is explained well with reasons it should be preferred over competing interpretations. I love a good T debate as long as there are clear standards in the end of the debate and reasons I should vote for a team on topicality.

Framework - I am a 2n in college and think that framework is a very viable option. There should be clear impacts in the rebuttals and treat the impacts just as you treat them on a DA.

DA - I like a good DA debate. At the end of the debate, there should be good link analysis and good impact calculus so that I don't have to insert myself into the debate. I think that all DA debates should have a focus on the IL to impacts of the affirmative – this means make arguments like we access or we turn their impact.

CP - Love a good CP debate - the more specific the better - good CP's should have a good net-benefit. I tend to lean more towards the negative side when it comes to theory (conditionality). With that said if the neg reads 4 conditional advocacies I will lean towards the affirmative side as long as the standards are flushed out and explained.

K - I am well versed in most forms of K literature. I debated the K as a freshman and sophomore (psychoanalysis, Baudrillard, Settler Colonialism) and am a 2A so I know most K's. I also love a classic Cap K or security K as long as the links are contextualized to the aff. Debate like you know how!!!

Blake Deng Paradigm

6 rounds









General Comments

My email is blako925@gmail.com for the chain

Be quick with prep time, don't waste time.

I need to be able to flow down your analytics to vote on them. If I don't have it written down, I don't evaluate it

Conditionality debates all come down to tech. If you do the better debating, you win.

You will probably lose and get 0's for speaks if I catch you cheating or am provided enough evidence from the other team to prove that you are cheating.

Conceded arguments don't do anything for you unless you actually extend and explain them.


I am willing and able to vote on presumption

I am ok with any affirmative whether it be policy, critical, or performance. However, I think it should at least be related to the resolution in some way. If your aff is about the psychological underpinnings of circus clowns, at least make it about the psychological underpinnings of circus clowns related to the topic in some way. Just a preference really, not a rule.


I'd prefer to have at least one disad in the 1NC if the aff has a plan text.


I will vote on topicality. No preference on Reasonability or Competing Interps, it's just a debate to be had


I will vote on a counterplan. Please keep the number of planks to low single digits.


I am ok with K's. More familiar with common ones such as Capitalism and Security. I'm more biased towards a policy first mindset, but the neg can convince me of a kritik based framework with enough explanation

Ways to get better speaks with me

Try your best in the round.

If you can get me to laugh, you'll probably get higher speaks.

Jordan Di Paradigm

6 rounds

Jordan Di

Johns Creek 2016-2019

Alpharetta 2019-2020

Put me on the chain: jordandi505@gmail.com

Tech > Truth

Good debating outweighs my preferences, these should only matter in close debates

Top Level

1. Evidence quality matters a lot and the debating of that evidence is awesome. To quote Advait “the team that hands me the best evidence is in a great position after the debate.”

2. Alt-prep is awesome and I am cool if you do it, more tournaments should allow it!!!

3. Framing in the 2NR/2AR is super important.

5. Evidence must be read, not inserted. Charts, graphs, etc. are fine, you obviously don’t need to read those.

6. I lean towards less intervention.

7. Bad for framing contentions. These still require you to answer DAs and must be specifically applied.

8. Util is good. Analogies to previous atrocities fall apart quickly given logical debating. Any other framing must provide me a reasonable metric to evaluate decisions.

9. Bonus points for opensource. Tell me after the round.


1. I'm very in the middle on how I feel about these.

2. Prefer at least an advocacy statement.

3. Shiftiness is expected but disliked. The 1AC should have a stable defense of some departure of the status quo. If it's just "here is a new research method," I'm leaning neg.

4. AFF offense against T/FW typically lacks intrinsic ties to debate or the ballot. Random assertions that "x" is akin to historical atrocities are terminally unconvincing.

5. There must be a role for the neg.

6. Switch-side, read it on the neg, and do your thing but lose (shout out Johnnie) are all great.

7. Fairness/clash/competitive equity = best impacts. Iterative-testing/research/skills = good impacts. Topic education = meh. Make sure to explain why the process of debate turns all their offense, I can be easily persuaded. Remember that the AFF needs offense why the process of debate is bad, not that the content is bad.

8. Link the AFF to impact turns. Heg good, cap good, and interventions good etc.

9. Capitalism and other K's are all very good against these AFFs. 50/50 on whether the AFF gets a perm.

10. Neg gets "super" conditionality against AFFs that lack a plan text.


1. Fine for specific Ks, terrible for backfile garbage.

2. They get the AFF and they get the K.

3. Links should be specific to the AFF. I struggle to be convinced by generic reps/state links but will vote on them.

4. A clear explanation of the material consequences of the alt would be appreciated.

5. Most neg teams lose these debates at the alt.

6. Leverage the specificities of the AFF against the K.

7. I could care less that fiat isn't real. "It could be an Italian car for all I care and I'm still letting them weigh the aff.” - Alex Gazmararian.


1. Not my favorite debates, but I'm down.

2. Competing interpretations > reasonability. Perhaps I am yet to hear a convincing reasonability warrant.

3. An extension of topicality that lacks evidence will probably not get the ballot.

4. Limits matter more to me than other impacts, especially predictable limits.

5. T-substantial is something I see myself voting for.


1. Conditionality = infinite.

2. 2NC/1NR CP's, international fiat, uniqueness CP, agent CP, ESR, conditional planks, no solvency advocate, and PICs = great.

3. Process CP w/ topic relevant lit = neutral.

4. Process CP w/o topic relevant lit = meh.

5. Word PIK, floating PIK, and other nonsense = boo.

6. Theory arguments are not reasons to reject the team ever, except for condo (even then, I can be convinced).


1. Solvency deficits need impacts.

2. Perms are good. Smart permutation writing can be very strategic and gets you out of a lot.

3. Default to sufficiency framing.

4. More planks --> less.

5. Judge kick --> yes.


1. Specificity > generics.

2. Politics is great. Theory is a waste of time.

3. Turns case is important.

4. Tricks are awesome.


1. Good case explanation is important on both sides.

2. A lot of 2AC’s and 1AR’s answer quality pieces of negative evidence by just restating a tag or asserting claims with a random citation. That is not a real answer and I expect the block to make something of it.

3. Re-highlight important pieces of 1AC ev. A lot of the time it flows negative.

Maverick Edwards Paradigm

6 rounds

Blue Valley Southwest: 2015-2018

Liberty University: 2019-2022

Email for the chain: maverickedwards1@gmail.com

Top Level:

1. Debate is an activity of strategic planning and problem-solving. As such, I will reward you for the time and effort devoted to your arguments. This holds true for all styles of argumentation (policy to critical to everything in between).

2. Objectivity is an imperative. However, I am an imperfect judge with imperfect knowledge. Where I have started as a debater has shaped my views and what arguments I default to in close rounds. Hopefully the rest of my paradigm is reflective of those tendencies and gives you an idea of where I fall on the pref sheet.

K on the Neg

1. Unless you're reading cap, I probably don't know what your critique's theory is. That is not a green-light for a new sheet to explain the impact, but it means I will reward concise and jargon-less explanations on the flow.

2. Links should be to the plan. Any other link is to the status quo and lacks offense.

3. I probably side with Aff framework. They've spent anywhere from weeks to months cutting cards and perfecting the Affirmative, so I'm very uncomfortable throwing out 9 minutes of speech time from my calculus. If you want to go for epistemology impacts, you need a robust explanation of why the underlying theory you're questioning is wrong. For example: if you're going for security reps bad, I probably want you to tell me why the 1AC's US-China war impact is functionally unlikely. Indicts of 1AC evidence will be rewarded.

4. Debate is probably a game. Even if you win that it serves other purposes, I am skeptical towards the value of my ballot in relationship to your new paradigm or movement.

5. I'm probably a policymaker. Haven't thought too much about how Neg can change my calculus here.

K on the Aff

1. I'll echo what I said above - probably don't know what your theory is.

2. Pragmatism makes more sense to me than critical evaluation. I will reward explanations that give me the "next step" to practical application of your theory.

3. Counter-interpretations should be predictable. I.E., if your interpretation throws away the topic, I'm unlikely to vote for the C/I.

4. Winning disads to the Negative's model of debate can be useful, but you should have offense contextualized to the Neg's TVA and switch-side arguments.


1. Please don't ignore the case page. If the Aff solves their offense and has some defense to your impacts, then cost-benefit analysis most likely flips Aff. You can do case work on the F/W page, but you should flag when you cross-apply arguments.

2. If debate is a game then fairness probably comes first.

3. Topic education and idea-testing arguments are fine, but fairness is probably the clearest path to offense.


1. Not my favorite debate to watch, but that won't reflect in the speaker points.

2. I am not sure why reasonability ever comes before competing interpretations in close debates.

3. Offense should be comparative. I really enjoy impacts about the vision of research for the topic (limits and precision specifically).

4. TVAs are underutilized in these debates.

5. Caselists are great. They give me a vision of the topic, and I'm a visual learner.


1. CPs should be textually and functionally competitive. I lean Aff on Perm do the CP in these debates.

2. Sufficiency framing is very persuasive.

3. CP amendments are okay against new affs and add-ons. Not a big fan otherwise.

4. Perm do both explanations can be clarified in the 1AR, but not the 2AR.


1. A++.

2. Turns-case args should be couched in the internal links of the DA.

3. Good 1NRs line up their speech with the 2AC (impact o/v is the exception).

4. 1NR should card dump if you have the goods.


1. Go a bit slower.

2. Conditionality is good, but performative contradictions are bad. Couch condo bad args through the lens of perf con (obviously depends on the 1NC).

Things I've noticed about myself as a judge

1. I highly value explanation of impacts/scenarios/links/etc. This is especially true for the rebuttals.

2. I don't like reading evidence. If you tell me if a card is important during the round I'll take a look.

3. Impact turn debates are by far my favorite.

4. I'm often very confused. Keep it simple.

Hot Takes

1. Good for spark/dedev/co2 good.

House Keeping

1. Be polite and don't be offensive. Ethics Voters are arguments I'm comfortable voting on, so best to avoid the situation all together.

2. I think death/suffering good arguments are unpersuasive, unethical, and ivory-towered.

3. Mark cards during the speech.

Oliver Flint Paradigm

6 rounds

Debated 4 years at Milton High School (2A/1N)

3rd year debater at Georgia State University (2N/1A)

Add me to the email chain: my email is t.oliver.flint@gmail.com

For pre-round reading: Do what you want; I've been looking over my judging history, and it seems like I'm mostly middle of the road, with a slightly left bent. The rest of this paradigm is an attempt to organize my thoughts about debate that I've done mostly for my own benefit.

Basic Summary: The following are my pre-existing beliefs about debate. However, I evaluate each debate based on how the debaters frame/explain arguments, so this is not reflective of how I will make every decision.

1. Debate is a game. Consequently, I tend to think that fairness is more important than education etc. However, in order to really weigh the importance of fairness, you have to prove the value of the game, so it's useful to think of fairness as more of an internal link than an impact.

2. I believe that I should evaluate logical opportunity costs to the aff. This means that I'm more likely to be persuaded that neg advocacies that don't use the topic actor don't necessarily disprove the aff (see the section on Agent CPs).

3. I don't like offense/defense. I would much rather vote for a 2AR that clearly explains why a contrived DA doesn't make sense than a 2AR that goes for an equally contrived link/impact turn. I am willing to vote on 0% risk of the case or a DA, but it will require work on your part to explain it to me.

Specific Arguments:


I like DA/case debates, especially when the neg is investing time and analysis on specific case defense arguments. I read politics throughout high school, so I'll be familiar with it, but I think that it's probably not the best option in most cases. I would rather hear a more case-specific DA that clashes more with the aff.


I generally really like counterplans, but my opinions vary with different types of CPs, so I'll just give my opinions on the different types:

-- Agent CPs: I think the majority of the debate community probably disagrees with me on this, but I tend to think the Agent CPs don't disprove the aff because they don't prove a logical opportunity cost to the topic actor (the USFG). This is not to say that you couldn't win Agent CPs good in front of me, but you will have to prove an interpretation of my role as the judge as someone who has the power to decide between the USFG taking an action and some other actor (States, Other countries, etc).

-- Advantage CPs: I really like these counterplans because I think that they're good at testing contrived aff internal links. I'd say the A+ strategy would be to find advantage CPs in 1AC evidence because it makes for a more compelling CP solvency story.

-- PICs: I love a good PIC debate*. However, the most common way neg teams botch these debates is by either 1.) not properly clarifying exactly what the aff defends in 1AC cross-x, or 2.) not properly writing their CP texts. You can win different theoretical interpretations of what competition means, but it would be best if you could write your CP text so that it is both textually and functionally competitive.

PICs are also a good way to leverage smaller topic DAs, which I like.

*You're unlikely to win that a Word PIC is competitive in front of me.

-- Process CPs: I think that CPs that compete based off of the certainty or immediacy of the plan are generally sketchy but not unwinnable in front of me - I'm more likely to believe that the CP is justified if you have solvency advocate evidence in the context of the aff.


I'll vote on it if it's well explained and impacted out. The only thing I'll add here is that I tend to think that 1-2 conditional advocacies are defensible, but beyond that I'm more likely to go aff on condo bad.


Kritiks should disprove the affirmative. I think that kritiks tend to fail at this for two reasons: they either don't have an internal link from the aff to their impacts, or they don't present a logical opportunity cost to the aff.

- Internal links: In my experience, the link story of most Ks goes something like plan = capitalism, and then capitalism -> extinction, but it doesn't make the direct connection between the aff and the impacts to the K. I think this vulnerability opens up the K to stronger perm arguments because the aff can more easily prove that the plan is good even if the rest of the squo is bad.

- Opportunity costs: you can refer to my thoughts on agent CPs here because the same basic logic applies. If the plan advocates an action by the USFG, and the neg advocates a grassroots movement against capitalism, I'm unlikely to think the alt disproves the affirmative/is a logically relevant consideration.

This is where framework debates come in. I think that framework can be used to prove competition for alts that do something about epistemology/ontology/etc because it proves why the alt's approach is distinct in a way that's important enough for me to consider competitive. However, you're unlikely to win on just FW arguments: the 2NR that just says "epistemology first" and then "the aff's epistemology is capitalist/imperialist/etc." doesn't strike me as a compelling neg ballot because the epistemology arguments are really just defensive indicts to the aff.

- Side note: I tend to think that the neg should have to prove that the alt solves the impacts to the K. This is an important part of the debate that the aff should press on.

Thoughts on specific Ks -

-- Topic Ks - these are my favorite Ks, and most likely the ones that will clash best with the affirmative. However, they're also the Ks that I'm least likely to be familiar with, so they might require extra explanation.

-- Standard Ks (Security K/Cap K/Fem IR/etc.) - I'll be most familiar with these Ks, but they're often very generic and need to be explained in the context of the aff.

-- Identity Ks (Race/Gender/Sexuality/Disability/etc) - Links should be clearly explained and specific to the aff. I'm not very persuaded by links of omission or link arguments that are tied solely to state-based advocacy.

-- Language Ks - if the other team uses slurs, is outwardly rude towards someone's identity, or otherwise tries to invalidate someone's identity, I'm 100% willing to vote on these arguments. However, I think that some language Ks are more persuasive than others, so I would only suggest going for this argument if the language is particularly egregious.

-- Postmodernism - I'm not a huge fan of these Ks; I find that they're usually unecessarily esoteric and incoherent until the 2NR. However, I'm always willing to be proven wrong, so if you want to read them in front of me you can.

Topicality (vs traditional affs)

I like topicality debates. That being said, I think that your T argument becomes exponentially more persuasive when you can develop a topical caselist or, better yet, a topical version of the aff. The reverse is also true: if the neg can't provide a vision of what their interpretation looks like, I'm more likely to be persuaded by aff characterizations of the neg interp being overlimiting.

I default to reasonability. This means that, absent an alternative framing for the T debate, I'll vote aff if the affirmative is able to win sufficient defense to the negative's interpretation, even in the absence of substantial affirmative offense.

Topicality (vs non-traditional affs)

As I said above, I believe that debate is a game. Therefore, I'll probably find arguments about procedural fairness more persuasive than arguments about changing real-world policy etc. However, the neg also have to prove the value of the game, so that requires the neg to make some claims to educational/skill-based benefits to debate.

Because I think that debate is a game, I also tend to think that rules/limits are good; this means I'd be more persuaded by an aff counterinterpretation that sets a different limit on the topic than an aff argument that we shouldn't have any limits to begin with.

I'm not inclined to think that topicality is a form of violence, but that's mostly because I don't think it's ever been adequately explained to me. I could see myself voting on this argument, but it would require a lot of explanation on the part of the aff.

K vs K aff debates

I'll admit that I have almost no experience with these kind of debates. The depth of my knowledge on this subject does not extend past the phrase "no perms in a method debate", which is a statement I don't understand. In a debate like this, both sides will have to do a lot of explanation of how the aff/alt/perm function and how they relate to each other.

Eric Forslund Paradigm

3 rounds

email: eforslund@gmail.com

Copied and Pasted from my judge philosophy wiki page.

Recent Bio:

13 years judging and coaching high school debate. First at Damien High School and most recently at Greenhill. Generally only judge a handful of college rounds a year.

Zero rounds on the current college topic in 2018.

Coached at the University of Wyoming 2004-2005.

I have decided to incentivize reading strategies that involve talking about the specifics of the affirmative case. Too many high school teams find a terrible agent or process cp and use politics as a crutch. Too many high school teams pull out their old, generic, k's and read them regardless of the aff. As an incentive to get away from this practice I will give any 2N that goes for a case-only strategy an extra point. If this means someone who would have earned a 29 ends up with a 30, then so be it. I would rather encourage a proliferation of higher speaker points, then a proliferation of bad, generic arguments. If you have to ask what a case strategy involves, then you probably aren't going to read one. I'm not talking about reading some case defense and going for a disad, or a counterplan that solves most of the aff. I'm talking about making a majority of the debate a case debate -- and that case debate continuing into the 2NR.

You'll notice "specificity good" throughout my philosophy. I will give higher points to those teams that engage in more specific strategies, then those that go for more generic ones. This doesnt mean that I hate the k -- on the contrary, I wouldn't mind hearing a debate on a k, but it needs to be ABOUT THE AFF. The genero security k doesnt apply to the South Korean Prostitutes aff, the Cap k doesnt apply to the South Korea Off-Shore Balancing aff - and you arent likely to convince me otherwise. But if you have an argument ABOUT the affirmative --especially a specific k that has yet to be read, then you will be rewarded if I am judging you.

I have judged high-level college and high school debates for the last 14 years. That should answer a few questions that you are thinking about asking: yes, speed is fine, no, lack of clarity is not. Yes, reading the k is ok, no, reading a bunch of junk that doesn't apply to the topic, and failing to explain why it does is not.

The single most important piece of information I can give you about me as a judge is that I cut a lot of cards -- you should ALWAYS appeal to my interest in the literature and to protect the integrity of that literature. Specific is ALWAYS better than generic, and smart strategies that are well researched should ALWAYS win out over generic, lazy arguments. Even if you dont win debates where you execute specifics, you will be rewarded.

Although my tendencies in general are much more to the right than the rest of the community, I have voted on the k many times since I started judging, and am generally willing to listen to whatever argument the debaters want to make. Having said that, there are a few caveats:

1. I don't read a lot of critical literature; so using a lot of terms or references that only someone who reads a lot of critical literature would understand isn’t going to get you very far. If I don’t understand your arguments, chances are pretty good you aren’t going to win the debate, no matter how persuasive you sound. This goes for the aff too explain your argument, don’t assume I know what you are talking about.

2. You are much better off reading critical arguments on the negative then on the affirmative. I tend to believe that the affirmative has to defend a position that is at least somewhat predictable, and relates to the topic in a way that makes sense. If they don’t, I am very sympathetic to topicality and framework-type arguments. This doesn’t mean you can’t win a debate with a non-traditional affirmative in front of me, but it does mean that it is going to be much harder, and that you are going to have to take topicality and framework arguments seriously. To me, predictability and fairness are more important than stretching the boundaries of debate, and the topic. If your affirmative defends a predictable interpretation of the topic, you are welcome to read any critical arguments you want to defend that interpretation, with the above stipulations.

3. I would much rather watch a disad/counterplan/case debate than some other alternative.

In general, I love a good politics debate - but - specific counterplans and case arguments are THE BEST strategies. I like to hear new innovative disads, but I have read enough of the literature on this year’s topic that I would be able to follow any deep debate on any of the big generic disads as well.

As far as theory goes, I probably defer negative a bit more in theory debates than affirmative. That probably has to do with the fact that I like very well thought-out negative strategies that utilize PICS and specific disads and case arguments. As such, I would much rather see an affirmative team impact turn the net benefits to a counterplan then to go for theory (although I realize this is not always possible). I really believe that the boundaries of the topic are formed in T debates at the beginning of the year, therefore I am much less willing to vote on a topicality argument against one of the mainstream affirmatives later on in the year than I am at the first few tournaments. I’m not going to outline all of the affs that I think are mainstream, but chances are pretty good if there are more than a few teams across the country reading the affirmative, I’m probably going to err aff in a close T debate.

One last thing, if you really want to get high points in front of me, a deep warming debate is the way to go. I would be willing to wager that I have dug further into the warming literature than just about anybody in the country, and I love to hear warming debates. I realize by this point most teams have very specific strategies to most of the affirmatives on the topic, but if you are wondering what advantage to read, or whether or not to delve into the warming debate on the negative, it would be very rewarding to do so in front of me -- at the very least you will get some feedback that will help you in future debates.

Ok, I lied, one more thing. Ultimately I believe that debate is a game. I believe that debaters should have fun while debating. I realize that certain debates get heated, however do your best not to be mean to your partner, and to the other team. There are very few things I hate more than judging a debate where the teams are jerks to each other. Finally, although I understand the strategic value to impact turning the alternative to kritiks and disads (and would encourage it in most instances), there are a few arguments I am unwilling to listen to those include: sexism good, racism good, genocide good, and rape good. If you are considering reading one of those arguments, don’t. You are just going to piss me off.

Chris Fry Paradigm

3 rounds

I debated at Blue Valley Southwest High School for 4 years and am currently debating at KU


I am heavily persuaded by arguments about why the affirmative should read a topical plan. One of the main reasons for this is that I am persuaded by a lot of framing arguments which nullify aff offense (TVOA, argument testing, etc). The best way to deal with these things is to more directly impact turn common impacts like procedural fairness. Affirmative teams would also be well served to offer a competing interpretation of debate, designed to mitigate the negative impacts.

Fairness is the most persuasive impact to framework.


I'm not great for the K. In most instances this is because I believe the alternative solves the links to the aff or can't solve it's own impacts. This can be resolved by narrowing the scope of the K or strengthening the link explanation (too often negative teams do not explain the links in the context of the permutation). The simpler solution to this is a robust framework press.


I really enjoy good T debates. Fairness is the best (and maybe the only) impact. Education is very easily turned by fairness. Evidence quality is important, but only in so far as it improves the predictability/reduces the arbitrariness of the interpretation. 


CPs are fun. I generally think that the negative doing non-plan action with the USfg is justified. Everything else is up for debate, but well developed aff arguments are dangerous on other questions.

I generally think conditionality is good. I think the best example of my hesitation with conditionality is multi-plank counter plans which combine later in the debate to become something else entirely.

If in cross x you say the status quo is always an option I will kick the counter plan if no further argumentation is made (you can also obviously just say conditional and clarify that judge kick is an option). If you say conditional and then tell me to kick in the 2NR and there is a 2AR press on the question I will be very uncomfortable and try to resolve the debate some other way. To resolve this, the 2AC should make an argument about judge kick.

Questions comments and concerns can be directed to 42fryguy@gmail.com

Don't send me comments

Sakshi Garg Paradigm

4 rounds

little rock central '20

add me to the email chain: gargsakshi506@gmail.com

i'm fine with anything as long as it is debated well -- good judge instruction, impact calc, and contextualization will win my ballot

Nermin Ghali Paradigm

6 rounds

Nermin Ghali Paradigm


Debated for the following schools:

Caddo Magnet High School

Emory University

Please know that I have only judged a handful of debates on this year’s topic, so please do not assume that I am familiar with the literature.

If I had to pick two words to describe the kind of judge I strive to be, I would choose “fair” and “open-minded.” If I had to choose one person on the circuit whose judging style and philosophy I most agree with, I would name David Heidt. His views on fairness, in particular, resonate very much with me. While I am receptive to hearing non-traditional styles of debate (e.g., “performances,” etc.), please note my heavy bias against non-topical affirmative cases, as well as any topic interpretations that argue in defense of running non-topical cases. I also think it’s important for the negative team to address the affirmative case and respond to their impact arguments, or else tell me why I should disregard their arguments in favor of yours and vote for you.

I mean no offense or disrespect to any teams that debate differently from the way I tend to vote on this issue. Please note that this is not personal for me, as it has literally not one iota to do with my feelings on the subject area you prefer to debate (which I am open to discussing with you anytime, outside of the round, if you would like); but, rather, reflects the importance I place on predictability, equal ground, and fairness in debate.

That being said, I cannot think of any other issues that I feel strongly about, one way or the other. I do my best to keep my opinions out of my decision-making and go by the arguments made by the debaters. Also, I would say that I’m technically-oriented in that I consider dropped arguments to be true arguments, if the other team provides no response. This, however, does not mean that I will necessarily assess the argument as being persuasive, or likely to happen. It just means that I give the team that made the argument its full weight.

I have no problem with critical arguments, or topicality, or theory. Just please be sure to always impact [all of] your arguments so that I know how you want me to evaluate and weigh them, especially in the end. Tell me why your argument is a reason to vote for you (or against the other team). Indeed, impact assessment, in front of me, is critical. Please do your best to take into account your opponent’s arguments when telling me why I should vote for you. (“Even if” statements are excellent.)

Lastly, I would very much appreciate your speaking loudly and clearly, please. I have hearing loss issues that I do not want to be the cause of missed arguments. Thank you so much. I look forward to watching you debate.

Colton Gilbert Paradigm

4 rounds


I competed in policy for three years in high school at Parkview Arts/Science Magnet High School; I did an additional year at the University of Kentucky. I am now on the coaching staff at Little Rock Central High School. I have a bachelor's and a master's in Communication Studies and a master's in Secondary Education. I said that not to sound pompous but so that you will understand that my lack of exposure to an argument will not preclude me from evaluating it; I know how to analyze argumentation. I have represented Arkansas at the Debate Topic Selection for the past few years (I authored the Middle East paper in 2018 and the Criminal Justice paper in 2019) and that has altered how I view both the topic process and debates, in a good way. I think this makes me a more informed, balanced judge.

Include me on all email chains, please cgilbert1906@gmail.com


I find that many teams are rude and obnoxious in round and don’t see the need to treat their opponents with dignity. I find this mode of thinking offensive and disrespectful to the activity as a whole

I consider myself an open slate person but that doesn’t mean that you can pull the most obscure argument from your backfiles and run it in front of me. Debate is an intellectual game. Because of this I find it offensive when debaters run arguments just to be running them, do not run your arguments if you don’t think they can win you the round!

I don’t mind speed and consider myself an exceptional flower. That being said, I think that it helps us judges when debaters slow down on important things like plan/CP texts, perms, theory arguments, and anything else that will require me to get what you said verbatim.

Saying anything remotely racist, ableist, transphobic, etc will get you an auto loss in front of me. If that means you need to strike me then do us both a favor and strike me.

Short Version

My previous paradigm had a thorough explanation of how I evaluate most arguments. For the sake of prefs and pre round prep I have decided to amend it. When I debated I was mostly a T/CP/DA debater. That being said, I am open to just about any form of argumentation you want to make. If it is a high theory argument don’t take for granted that I understand most of the terminology your author’s use.

I will prioritize my ballot around what the 2NR/2AR highlights as the key issues in the debate. I try to start with the last two speeches and work my way back through the debate evaluating the arguments that the debaters are making. I don’t have to personally agree with an argument to vote for it.


I see framework as slightly different from T so I evaluate it differently as well. Too often debaters read a lot of blocks and don’t do enough engaging in these kinds of debates. The “Role of the Ballot” needs to be explicit and there needs to be a discussion of how your ROB is accessible by both teams. If you want to skirt the issue of accessibility then you need to articulate why the impact(s) of the aff outweigh whatever arguments the neg is going for.

These debates, for me, generally come down to an issue of fairness. K affs should be able to articulate what the role of the negative is under their model. If the aff is in the direction of the topic, I tend to give them some leeway in responding to a lot of the neg claims. Central to convincing me to vote for a non-resolutionally based affirmative is their ability to describe to me what the role of the negative would be under their model of debate. The aff should spend time on impact turning framework while simultaneously using their aff to short circuit some of the impact claims advanced by the neg.

Parting Thoughts

Don’t manipulate what you are best at to fit into my paradigm of viewing debate. Do what you do best and I will do what I do best in evaluating the debate.

Jeremy Hammond Paradigm

3 rounds


I have judged a lot of debates. I view myself as a reasonable judge. I have judged every type of debate and find myself capable in any instance. I hate when people cry wolf with the word "conceded."

Kevin Hamrick Paradigm

3 rounds


I've been judging debates for a long time. I prefer listening to debates wherein each team presents and executes a well-researched strategy for winning. The ideological flavor of your arguments matters less to me than how you establish clash with your opponents’ arguments. I am open to most anything, understanding that sometimes “you’ve got to do what you’ve got to do” to win the debate.

At the end of the debate, I vote for the team that defends the superior course of action. My ballot constitutes an endorsement of one course relative to another. To win the debate, the affirmative must prove their course is preferable when compared to the status quo or negative alternatives. That being said, I interpret broadly exactly what constitutes a plan/course of action. An alternative is proven a superior course of action when it is net beneficial compared to the entirety of the plan combined with part or parts of the alternative. Simply solving better than the affirmative is not enough: the alternative must force choice. Likewise, claiming a larger advantage than the affirmative is not enough to prove the alternative competitive. A legitimate permutation is defined as the entirety of the "plan" combined with parts or parts of the alternative. Mere avoidance of potential or "unknown" disadvantages, or a link of omission, is insufficient: the negative must read win a link and impact in order to evaluate the relative merits of the plan and the alternative. The 2AC saying something akin to "Perm - do the plan and all noncompetitive parts of the counterplan/alternative" is merely a template for generating permutation ideas, rather than a permutation in and of itself. It's your job to resolve the link, not mine.

I believe there is an inherent value to the topic/resolution, as the topic serves as the jumping off point for the year's discussion. The words of the topic should be examined as a whole. Ultimately, fairness and ground issues determine how strict an interpretation of the topic that I am willing to endorse. The most limiting interpretation of a topic rarely is the best interpretation of a topic for the purposes of our game. The topic is what it is: merely because the negative wishes the topic to be smaller (or the affirmative wishes it bigger, or worded a different way) does not mean that it should be so. An affirmative has to be at its most topical the first time it is run.

I don’t care about any of your SPEC arguments. The affirmative must use the agent specified in the topic wording; subsets are okay. Neither you nor your partner is the United States federal government. The affirmative is stuck with defending the resolutional statement, however I tend to give the affirmative significant leeway as to how they choose to define/defend it. The affirmative is unlikely to persuade me criticisms of advocacy of USFG action should be dismissed as irrelevant to an evaluation of policy efficacy. I believe that switch-side debating is good.

All theory arguments should be contextualized in terms of the topic and the resultant array of affirmative and negative strategies. Reciprocity is a big deal for me, i.e., more negative flex allows for more aff room to maneuver and vice versa). Conditional, topical, and plan inclusive alternatives are presumptively legitimate. A negative strategy reliant on a process counterplan, consultation counterplan, or a vague alternative produces an environment in which in which I am willing to allow greater maneuverability in terms of what I view as legitimate permutations for the affirmative. I’ve long been skeptical of the efficacy of fifty state uniform fiat. Not acting, i.e., the status quo, always remains an option.

Debate itself is up for interrogation within the confines of the round.

I tend to provide a lot of feedback while judging, verbal and otherwise. If you are not clear, I will not attempt to reconstruct what you said. I tend to privilege the cards identified in the last two rebuttals as establishing the critical nexus points of the debate and will read further for clarification and understanding when I feel it necessary. Reading qualifications for your evidence will be rewarded with more speaker points. Reading longer, more warranted evidence will be rewarded with significantly more consideration in the decision process. Clipping cards is cheating and cardclippers should lose.

I value clash and line-by-line debating. Rarely do I find the massive global last rebuttal overview appealing. Having your opponent's speech document doesn't alleviate the need for you to pay attention to what's actually been said in the debate. Flow and, for god's sake, learn how to efficiently save/jump/email/share your speech document. I generally don't follow the speech doc in real time.

"New affs bad" is dumb; don't waste your time or mine. When debating a new aff, the negative gets maximum flexibility.

I believe that both basic civil rights law as well as basic ethics requires that debaters and judges conduct themselves in rounds in a manner that protects the rights of all participants to an environment free of racial/sexual hostility or harassment.

Michael Harrington Paradigm

6 rounds

***I will fill this in or UD this when needed – I’m learning about my judging as the year progresses***

- Let me preface this w/ saying the 2019-2020 year (Space topic) is my first year out from debating, so do as you will with that.

- Yeah add me to the chain…Please don’t use my old email that some of you know—use this one: mikedebate97@gmail.com

- ***I seek to judge the round that occurred in front of me & to not only give feedback, but to also learn from you all [because you’re valid & you work hard on your arguments]. Every judge should come into a round with the openness to listen to the debaters b/c it isn’t their career #iSaidWhatiSaid. But if you saying something racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, ableist or problematic to anyone, then it’s a no-go. Other than that, DO YOU because you can’t let NO haters stop you from doing what you want in your career and that’s on period.***

- I’m a graduate student at Baylor. I debated four years at Liberty starting as a novice until my senior year where I ended my career as a 2x NDT octafinalist, CEDA quarterfinalist, & a first-round recipient. I did policy my novice year & more critical stuff my last three years. 1A/2N.

- Here’s how I would pref me if I was still debating (1: good – 4: eh).
Kritiks (identity politics): 1
Kritiks (high theory tingz): 4
Policy (Soft left): 2/3
Policy (Heg): ¾

- If you’re reading this before the round & you just need the basics: Big picture stories are my jam (i.e.- here’s the main story and how the aff implicates xyz OR how the aff does xyz bad thing). I LOVE ballot framing (i.e.- what we here for?). Condensed debates are always more nuanced (i.e.- sitting on a particular arg). I typically work backwards (i.e.- I evaluate the debate from the 2ar/2nr and circle what’s important/key args…So if it is important in the 1NC/1AC- make sure you have it in the 2NR/2AR). Don’t assume I know your lango on the K or the latest updates on the DA (i.e.- *insert big words* without explaining b/c you assume I know it won’t be the best thing to do). Last thing, have fun & be petty (not rude) – I know debate sometimes forces people to take everything so seriously all the time, but I promise it’s SO much better if you just doing you & having a good time!

Here’s the tea on your particular args:


· I actually love a good disad debate! I think that a good link wall in the block is killer & it puts the aff in tougher positions.

· I think empirics that prove the story-line of the DA is SO helpful & slept on. (i.e.- this happened previously when X, which resulted in Y, but the distinction now is Z).

· To make these debates more juicy, I do think that there needs to be more impact distinction and framing than typical (i.e.- if y’all are both going for war scenarios, I need you to tell me more about why your scenario comes first or is more probable).


· Ehhhh, if counterplans are you’re thing, I think you need to make sure you’re highlighting a few things for me: why it competes, (if there are) what parts of the aff do you do, & explaining the nuances/planks(if any) of the CP. I think having an overview that is precise & slowing down on that portion would be very beneficial if you’re going for the CP.

· Internal NBs are good, tbh (obvi external ones are as well). Just make sure you explain how the CP avoids said NB.

· If you’re going for/answering theory args, slow down! If you think you’re going to win a theory argument that was 5 seconds of speeding through your block, then lololol no.

Kritik (Identity based args) aff/neg-

· If this is your thing, do you! These debates are best when you isolate an understanding of how power operates in a simplistic way.

· If you’re going for “it’s a question of orientation” or “what we do in the face of X” – I’m good for you, but don’t shy away from explaining why that orientation is important, along with why the aff is necessary.

· I just think making sure you explain your stories interaction with the power you claim puts you in a better position—along with a way to navigate and/or solve said issue.

Kritik (POMO, etc) aff/neg-

· High theory? Make it low. I understand that some of y’all are deep-deep-deep in the archives with whatever lit base you come from, but remember that we aren’t. If you can’t explain to me in translation what you’re saying in the most basic form possible, then I may not be the best for you.

· Make applications, please. The way I can process something that is complex is by making sure I understand it in conjunction to said example.

· Mmm, yeah just explain everything v. simple & you’ll be fine.

Kritik (Security, Cap)-

· These are both viable options that I think are strategic. I think most policy-sided teams get so used to the DA debate that they don’t do well on explaining the theory of cap. I think a little more time on this in relation to the aff will do y’all justice.

· I do think that having/making contextualized links will make it more useful for you in the long run. (i.e.- having an identity ptx link, but then utilizing that in the block to explain how the aff manifest said link *we know they are this b/c the 1ac/2ac said….which means that…)

· **[THIS APPLIES TO ALL THE KRITIKS PORTION THOUGH] Make sure if you’re going for the alternative, you explain how that alt is able to overcome the links you’ve made. (If you can’t articulate why the alt solves the link, then you’re in a rough spot).


· No, they aren’t the same. But it is up to you to explain the difference to me.

· So one of the things that I clearly wait/listen for in the 2NR is a clear interpretation extension. In my career, I found that for critical debaters its always an uphill battle versus FW & they have to explain everything so thoroughly – but somehow fw/t debaters can win on these arguments b/c “we know what they meant” or “its clear what their interp is”…yeah, no! If it ain’t there & the aff points it out, then that’s not good for you. I do think T can be done and done good versus critical debaters (think Michigan GW or Harvard CM/MS), but I think mediocrity shouldn’t be tolerated.

· Fairness is an impact.

· Insofar as T goes, make sure you have definitions that are clearly extrapolating what your interpretation would justify/mean.

· TVA’s are poppin’—so yes, have some.

· I also think you should contextualize everything to the particular aff and CONTEST THE AFF on some level, please.

Theory args-

· Slow down on them, please. I’m not going to get all 17 points in twenty seconds if you blazing through them.

· Can be strategic for final speeches, but time needs to be allocated there earlier if that will be your option in final speeches.

· Read your blocks, but also answer their particular theory arg about why what you did/do is bad.

If something is unclear or you want to ask me a question about a particular argument, email me! I enjoy talking about how we think about debate. Have fun!

Ben Harris Paradigm

6 rounds

Top level: What you say matters most. Good cards are very important, but spin and your articulation of your arguments is what you are held to. It's about strategy and what you say. If the only thing I held you to was your cards, then there would be no strategy in debate, just cutting cards.

I judge by the flow. I will listen to any argument (except racism/ableism/etc. good) regardless of its truth so be sure to answer it. Tech over truth all day long. I mostly do policy, but I have done some of PF and LD for the last 5 years. I am fine with speed. I will be keeping track of time. Impact calculus is critical to winning a round. I love scrappy debate. Finally, an argument that is not extended or answered is a dropped argument and so a true argument. Don't shadow extend arguments, actually explain it as you extend it, and don't just use buzz words.

Add me to the Email Chain: benharrisdebate@gmail.com

Ethics challenges: They stop rounds.


K's - A good K is always good. I will buy any argument here as well. I am moderately well versed in the literature, but that does not mean you can get away with not explaining your K. Perms can still work with K's. Lastly, Cap is a non-unique disadvantage, I don't love it but will vote on it if necessary.

K/Performance Affs: Utilize your performance as offense if it works, but I am not really persuaded by these arguments. I think that the aff should defend an advocacy statement (probably a topical plan or the resolution), but I can be persuaded otherwise. I love framework and will happily vote on it. Go beyond your prewritten blocks and actually debate the substance of the argument. Nothing is better than a 2a who answers a bunch of framework arguments that the neg never made.

T- If it is a topic generic aff, then it is topical. Otherwise, I will buy T. RVI's might be one of the few exceptions to the rule I stated at the beginning, I hate them, but I will vote off them if they are dropped.

DA's- Great. Love them. Will vote on them.

CP- I am a 2N, so I don't really find them abusive, but again any argument goes. I love Word Pics and a good, nuanced, one will help your speaks. Generic CP's are nothing special. Consult counterplans are the one kind that I feel are cheaty, but I can be persuaded otherwise. The perm should be in the 2AR 9 times out of 10.

Presumption- I only put this in here to say that I buy presumption more than most judges. I think that it is an underused argument that is actually great.

Prep: Starts and stops when you tell me to, but do not steal prep.


Same as above really. I am fine with speed, but if you spread you should flash.

Value: I don't love value debates very much and really default to Util, but if your value wins you the round then go for it.

As a policy debater, I prefer progressive LD, but I am fine with traditional LD as well.

For all forms of debate: Just do what you are comfortable with, I will listen to it, and if it is well debated, I will happily vote on it.

Chethan Hebbale Paradigm

3 rounds

Debate Background:

- Did policy debate for 7 years

- Debated at Johns Creek High School - competed at TOC

- Debated at UGA - cleared at the NDT, somehow

Overall Beliefs:

- Include me in the e-mail thread of speeches, I will follow along to ensure there is no card clipping. My email is chetan.hebbale@gmail.com

- I am pretty much okay for any argument you want to run. I would certainly prefer that the aff engages with the resolution but debate has changed a lot in that regard since I joined the activity so I am up for whatever.

- The only rules I enforce are speech and prep times

- I like good debates, I prefer not to make a quick, easy decision voting on a bad argument

- I heartily enjoy a good cross x

- I am not super up to date on the topic, so the team that thoughtfully and methodically explains their arguments and doesn't rely on topic-specific jargon will be better off

- Regardless of the argument you choose to run: clarity, explanation, specificity and execution are paramount

- Be nice and respectful to your partner and your opponents. Debate is a very competitive activity and sometimes that brings out condescension or rudeness - please don't

- Have fun!

David Heidt Paradigm

1 rounds

David Heidt

Carrollton School of the Sacred Heart

NDT 2019 notes:

I have no rounds on the topic and have not done topic research, so please keep that in mind.

Some education topic specific thoughts:

1. I'm ambivalent about the states counterplan. I could easily see myself voting against it on theory, but I think there's a debate to be had and I could also easily see myself voting for it as well. I'm a lot more likely to vote against it the further it gets away from topic literature or a respectable solvency advocate, and a lot less likely to vote against it if the evidence defending it is of high quality.

2. I think critiques are decent on this topic largely because I see critiques as competing strategies for social change, and I think there's pretty good education-topic literature that supports criticism from this perspective and *defends alternatives*. If you can't go for a critique without making it a critique of fiat or saying the word Baudrillard, then I'm unlikely to be the judge for you. But if you research critiques of education policy and defend an alternative method, then I'm very likely to be receptive. My view of critiques depends heavily upon evidence quality, and there were several that were turned out at camps this year that I think were pretty good. How specific is your argument to education reform? If it's about the topic and you have an alternative, you're probably good to go. If it's about cybernetics, you're probably not.

3. While I would like to see a good federalism DA, I have yet to hear one that I did not start at 0% risk and I don't think the 2ac even requires evidence to answer it. It seems pretty bad on this topic, despite being one of the core objections to federal education policy. I don't think this DA is even runnable in the 1nc; at least not the versions I've heard.

4. I like the education topic quite a bit - I think the federal education reform literature is outstanding and I think affirmative teams should defend it. I'm aff-leaning towards my view of the topic as a whole - the literature is pretty heavily aff-biased and the quality of negative generics is much lower than in previous years. But that has two pretty important implications.

First, I'm pretty unsympathetic to aff claims along the lines of "this topic is terrible for the aff; we need an expansive topicality interpretation to be creative". Broad topics are the enemy of education. Broad topics mean the neg goes for garbage like consult. That's not what I want my students to get from debate.

Second, if you're reading an aff without solvency evidence or with internal links that you just made up by mistagging evidence - I'm probably going to think that you haven't met your burden of proof and I'm likely discount it entirely. I think that the risk of both advantages and disadvantages can be - and frequently is - zero. I don't think the judging philosophy that says there's always a small risk of something is very well thought out. Presumably, it would mean that if I carded my own judging philosophy, and flagrantly mistagged the cards to represent an education tradeoff DA, someone subscribing to the 'any risk' view would assign the DA some risk and vote neg on it if it was read as a net benefit to a CP that solved the whole case. While this example might seem absurd, it's not more absurd than some of the aff advantages that were broken at Greenhill this year. It's not more absurd than some politics DAs. Mistagged cards from this very paragraph would probably be of higher quality and represent the source material more accurately than some of the things that people have called advantages and disadvantages over the years.

I don't know why judges assume there's a risk of anything - the whole point of the burden of proof is that it's a BURDEN and the judge needs to be convinced that you're right - we don't just give you the benefit of the doubt. If the standard is merely "they presented some words verbally so there's a risk because the neg didn't have offense", then we've all really failed at our jobs. If you're going to win a risk of an advantage or disadvantage, the minimal burden is (1) it has to make sense, and (2) it must be supported with evidence reflects expertise, data or logic, and does not misrepresent the author.


Generally I try to evaluate arguments fairly and based upon the debaters' explanations of arguments, rather than injecting my own opinions. What follows are my opinions regarding several bad practices currently in debate, but just agreeing with me isn't sufficient to win a debate - you actually have to win the arguments relative to what your opponents said. There are some things I'll intervene about - death good, behavior meant to intimidate or harass your opponents, or any other practice that I think is negative for a high school student classroom setting - but just use some common sense.

Thoughts about critical affs and critiques:

Good debates require two prepared teams. Allowing the affirmative team to not advocate the resolution creates bad debates. There's a disconnect in a frighteningly large number of judging philosophies I've read where judges say their favorite debates are when the negative has a specific strategy against an affirmative, and yet they don't think the affirmative has to defend a plan. This does not seem very well thought out, and the consequence is that the quality of debates in the last few years has declined greatly as judges increasingly reward teams for not engaging the topic.

Fairness is the most important impact. Other judging philosophies that say it's just an internal link are poorly reasoned. In a competitive activity involving two teams, assuring fairness is one of the primary roles of the judge. The fundamental expectation is that judges evaluate the debate fairly; asking them to ignore fairness in that evaluation eliminates the condition that makes debate possible. If every debate came down to whoever the judge liked better, there would be no value to participating in this activity. The ballot doesn't do much other than create a win or a loss, but it can definitely remedy the harms of a fairness violation. The vast majority of other impacts in debate are by definition less important because they never depend upon the ballot to remedy the harm.

Fairness is also an internal link - but it's an internal link to establishing every other impact. Saying fairness is an internal link to other values is like saying nuclear war is an internal link to death impacts. A loss of fairness implies a significant, negative impact on the activity and judges that require a more formal elaboration of the impact are being pedantic.

Arguments along the lines of 'but policy debate is valueless' are a complete nonstarter in a voluntary activity, especially given the existence of multiple alternative forms of speech and debate. Policy debate is valuable to some people, even if you don't personally share those values. If your expectation is that you need a platform to talk about whatever personally matters to you rather than the assigned topic, I encourage you to try out a more effective form of speech activity, such as original oratory. Debate is probably not the right activity for you if the condition of your participation is that you need to avoid debating a prepared opponent.

The phrase "fiat double-bind" demonstrates a complete ignorance about the meaning of fiat, which, unfortunately, appears to be shared by some judges. Fiat is merely the statement that the government should do something, not that they would. The affirmative burden of proof in a debate is solely to demonstrate the government should take a topical action at a particular time. That the government would not actually take that action is not relevant to any judge's decision.

Framework arguments typically made by the negative for critiques are clash-avoidance devices, and therefore are counterproductive to education. There is no merit whatsoever in arguing that the affirmative does not get to weigh their plan. Critiques of representations can be relevant, but only in relation to evaluating the desirability of a policy action. Representations cannot be separated from the plan - the plan is also a part of the affirmative's representations. For example, the argument that apocalyptic representations of insecurity are used to justify militaristic solutions is asinine, given the plan includes a representation of a non-militaristic solution. The plan determines the context of representations included to justify it.

Thoughts about topicality:

Limited topics make for better topics. Enormous topics mean that it's much harder to be prepared, and that creates lower quality debates. The best debates are those that involve extensive topic research and preparation from both sides. Large topics undermine preparation and discourage cultivating expertise. Aff creativity and topic innovation are just appeals to avoid genuine debate.

Thoughts about evidence:

Evidence quality matters. A lot of evidence read by teams this year is underlined in such a way that it's out of context, and a lot of evidence is either badly mistagged or very unqualified. On the one hand, I want the other team to say this when it's true. On the other hand, if I'm genuinely shocked at how bad your evidence is, I will probably discount it.

Azeez Ishaqui Paradigm

2 rounds

Quick Version: Run arguments that you are comfortable with. I will vote on anything if it is well argued and defended. Add me on the email chain debaterishaqui@gmail.com

Argument Preference

CP: Win the tech to win the CP, I lean neg on PDCP debates

DA: Impact Comparison goes far, I love impact turns

K: Define your terms and have specific analysis

T: I will vote for whoever wins the tech debate - I lean towards reasonability on affs which are core of the topic.

K affs: Win framework and defend your method. Perms are probably illegit if the link is decent to the method/analysis.

Theory: Warrant out your arguments and don’t spread through blocks. Please don't go for theory unless there is legitimate abuse.

If you roast your top team in-round I will boost your speaks.

Shunta Jordan Paradigm

1 rounds

**Updated pre-GSU 2019**

Yes I would like to be on the email chain: jordanshun@gmail.com

I will listen to all arguments, but a couple of caveats:

-This doesn't mean I will understand every element of your argument.

-I have grown extremely irritated with clash debates…take that as you please.

-I am a firm believer that you must read some evidence in debate. If you differ, you might want to move me down the pref sheet.

I have been a long-term fan of the great Shannon Sharpe. Now that he is the co-host of Undisputed, he often serves up Hot Dubs and Hot Ls daily. Please see ways below in which you or your team might earn one of these Dubs or Ls:

To Earn a Hot L:

1. You stumble, fumble or go silent on a fundamental series of CX questions related to your Aff, primary Neg position or issues germane to the topic.

2. You are blatantly racist, homophobic, sexist or are in any other way discriminatory in the debate space.

3. You decide that theory, skepticism or RVIs are more important than substance (specifically for LD).

4. You clip or cross-read.

To Earn a Hot W:

1. Debate well!

2. Be nice!

3. Don’t do any of the things in the Hot L section!

Note to all: In high school debate, there is no world where the Negative needs to read more than 5 off case arguments. SO if you say 6+, I'm only flowing 5 and you get to choose which you want me to flow.
In college debate, I might allow 6 off case arguments :/

Good luck to all!

Ayush Kumar Paradigm

6 rounds

4th Year High School Policy Debater - UPDATED FOR 1ST AND 2ND YEAR NATIONALS 2019

Cambridge HS 2019


I want to be on the email chain.

Instant Ls

- Death Good Args

- Racism/Sexism/Homophobia/Transphobia/Xenophobia in round or racism/sexism/homophobia/transphobia/xenophobia good arguments

- Racial Slurs in round

- I take one speaker point off for every off-case the neg tells me they are going to read but don't


I'll say it once, I'll say it twice, if I feel like I have to say it a third time I'm not flowing. I won't look at your speech doc until after the round and that's only to read over a card or two. I make my decision off the flow.

K Lit - If you have a plan text I'm not voting for you.

Not actually but I hate judges who assume that k-affs are an automatic voter. T-USFG/Framework will be evaluated with the same rigor as all other arguments I believe in fair debates and K-affs are no longer fringe arguments. Legitimate affs and critisims of the topic arise from K-affs and I will listen to those arguments.

I've run my fair share of wacky and weird kritiks over the years so I'll bite on anything. The alt debate is the most important part for me. You need to do a good job of convincing me that your alt has some form of solvency whether that be in round or in the real world (depends on the framework debate). Don't try to block or buzzword your way through a k debate because it will show and I will dock speaks and you will probably lose.

In terms of K-affs, I don't necessarily think that a plan text is good for policy debate. If you want to run a k-aff it needs to be critiquing something that is related to the topic or the topic itself. K-affs not related to the topic definitely have an uphill battle going into the round but I will vote on them.


Debaters read dumb T-violation on every single aff that could ever exist don't read T unless your harms are legitimate. There is no way I'm voting on T unless you actually lost ground and the aff is actually non-topical. If you read T as a time skew I will dock speaks.

When it comes to T-usfg or framework you must defend the USFG and prove that it is legitimately bad for debate. Unlike most judges, I'm usually leaning towards the aff when they read a 1AC without a plan text. You have to have intelligent reasons and good clash on your framework flow if you wanna win on it. I won't vote on pre-written framework blocks that barely address the reasons or DA's given by the other team. You must have a TVA and I prefer truth over tech in this part of the debate. Procedural fairness>Structural Fairness unless you do a really good job of convincing me.


Condo - 3 or more we'll have a debate otherwise I'm not voting on condo. Neg gets 2 conditional advocacies.

Fiat - Aff and Neg both get government action fiat by default. Alternatives don't get fiat they have to have some sort of logical solvency mechanism. I flip-flop on whether government fiat is even good for debate so if you want to have the debate I am all ears. FIAT IS NOT SOLVENCY. You can't just use fiat to answer the negs solvency deficits you need to explain why the plan works and how it works. I prefer in-round impacts to out of round impacts.

PICS and PIKS - PICS aren't necessarily bad but it is a debate to be had. That being said if you are reading a PIC you must win a substantive risk of your impacts on your net benefit. A weak net benefit means I'll err aff because they are just a tad bit unfair imo. PIKS are all about the link debate; if you don't do a good job with saying they link AND saying why you don't then I'll err aff.

Other Theory Args - If they are blippy and weak I'm not voting on them. Severance Perms really aren't a voter. Neither is multiple perms theory or vague alts theory. Of course, we can have that debate but then you're really just making this harder on yourself. I need in round abuse and substantive truthful line by line.

Impact Calc

Make it good and meaningful.

Try or die is dumb arg that covers up for weak solvency don't make it.

Nuclear war impacts are dumb and I hate voting on them. I'm a big fan of the security Kritik and that bias shows in my judging. If that's your style go for it but I rather hear debate about realistic impacts especially on this topic where there are plenty of other reasons to bring immigrants into the country.

The Util debate is a good one to be had and I'll vote on either side of it.

Edward Kuperman Paradigm

6 rounds

Hey! Thanks for reading this paradigm, I hope it helps you understand how I judge debate rounds.

Email for the chain: kuperedw@berkeleyprep.org

I've been around debate since the Cuba, Mexico, or Venezuela topic, but really started getting into the activity in 2016 studying US engagement with China.

My favorite part about debate is the research process that allows debaters and judges to increase their understanding of the complex ways in which the world works. I will weigh heavily any impacted argument that is grounded in the nuanced way government, specific policies, immigration practices, or larger structures of oppression works - any time a debater qualifies their position from other seemingly identical cases based on minute but important material differences, I am very impressed.


I have read policy and kritikal positions on both the aff and neg. I am sympathetic to kritikal affs that are germane to / defend the topic (like Berkeley Prep KK's!), but also understand why teams read FW.

Specific links are important, but I love politics DA spin.

I am less well versed in high theory.

T-LPR is a pretty true argument, and I like T-substantial means without material qualifications because affs that only deal with a few countries are abusive.

Counterplans are underutilized. Almost all CPs are fair, except delay and conditions/consultation.

Multiplank plans and CPs are awesome!

Tech over truth as long as the dropped argument is FULLY DEVELOPED/LOGICALLY CONSISTENT.

Please don't do anything that would require judge-intervention during the round. That being said, I'm not here to police you so I have some prima facie trust that you've all shown up to have a good-faith discussion about immigration policy.

Don't be racist, sexist, homophobic, etc. but also don't throw these terms around at your opponents without understanding the gravity of that situation.

Don't cheat, don't egregiously steal prep or clip; that results in an auto-loss and zero speaks.

If you're not having fun or doing what you personally feel is important, you're doing it wrong.


Tech > Truth: I usually default to this paradigm because truth claims are mostly debatable, but I will not vote for a team that said "They didn't specify an agent, vote negative" and moves on, because there is no internal link or warrants for why not specifying is a voting issue. The only other case where I will ignore tech is if your argument is anti-factual. I will vote negative if the aff drops the "Trump good for the environment" uniqueness evidence and loses the rest of the DA, but not if the negative uniqueness evidence says "Hillary good for the environment now." Just make sure your cards don't say the opposite of what you say or you aren't just wrong about unquestionable facts and I'll happily let the flow do the talking.

What is debate? You tell me. I started from a policy paradigm, but as long as you can win that your MODEL makes sense and clearly define a role for aff, neg, the judge, and the ballot, I'm on board.

DAs: They're usually awesome, just please make them some-what specific to the aff or politics (guilty pleasure of mine, but I will hold you to a higher bar on the quality of your spin). Impact out and explain everything. Make sure you make turns case arguments.

CPs: Yes please. The more comprehensive and relevant to the aff the better, but advantage counterplans are also great. I prefer CPs that are clearly functionally competitive to the aff in the way or what they solve rather than word pics, conditions, or other silly process CPs. I have read offsets and have mixed feelings about it.

Topicality: I like it as long as you have a clear brightline to your interpretation, win it is grounded in the resolution, and win that it is marginally better than the affs I think I'm looking at a negative ballot. Besides for T-subs and K affs, I am usually very unsympathetic to reason-ability type arguments. Your aff is also probably not the only way we can discuss x issue.

Theory: I like theory when the neg is doing something abusive based on the form of their argument, not just the type. Conditionality should be articulated to the way their counterplans force time and strategy skew specifically - even if its just that they read 20 off, you probably should be going for lack of a solvency advocate is a voter rather than just straight condo. Vague alts bad isn't a reason to reject the team, its just a solvency take-out. Other unpopular opinions of mine: topical counterplans are a reason to vote aff, and multiple permutations can also be a voting issue.

*All these are just my opinions and will change depending on the arguments made in the round and if one team drops theory...

Kritiks: These can be very good if they are aff specific, or extremely awful. I've read Ableism, Biopower, Capitalism, Afropess, and Set Col (ordered by my familiarity with them). Outside of debate I have dived deepest into Ableism by far, I think this is one of the most deep and fundamental arguments you can make because the question of the normal policy is implicit in every part of policy debate and immigration (the movement of bodies...). If your kritik links has nothing to do with the topic or the aff but merely the form of the 1ACs presentation you will have a hard time winning this debate.

I am also familiar with all the arguments on the Berkeley Prep wiki.

CX: I listen to it carefully and it is crucial to help me understand how much I believe your arguments to be true which directly factors into the probability*magnitude*time-frame equation you should be helping me set up by the final rebuttals. If you don't answer any cross-ex questions I will be doubting whether you have an argument.

Speaker Points (I stole this from Taman with a few edits):

29.5-30: Amazing debater who makes little to no mistakes and displays knowledge about key issues in the round, utilizes cross ex very well to not only set up arguments but use their knowledge to their advantage. There is little feedback I can give to this debater based on what they have performed in the round, and they already have a bright future in debate because they are so lit (I added this part). This speaker will most likely get a top 5 speaker awards at this tournament based on the difficulty of the pool and tournament.

29-29.4: Also an amazing debater who made minor mistakes that can easily be adjusted. However, they displayed almost as great skills as the description above.

28.6-28.9: This is the above average debater who did what was necessary in round to win with PANACHE (also me)

28.2-28.5: This is your average debater, I think I just have been a little bit more strategic and will give you annoying pointers about what I would have done differently (I hope I am at least this good on my own scale).

27.8-28.2: Has a little work to do, a bit below average debater, can improve quickly. I will give you useful pointers!

27 - 27.8: Made mistakes that lost them the round, needs help on a few aspects of debating.

below 27: Something offensive happened in the round, intentionally or unintentionally, will break it down in the RFD.

Please make me laugh, think about something for a while and decide that, you know what, you were right all along, and please move through the round as efficiently as possible (and if you have an extra G2 or flow paper I maaaaaay need to "borrow" it).

If its a novice tournament I will try to adjust but no promises, just know my speaker points in no way reflect what I think of you as a person!!!

Please ask me many questions after the round, don't post-round but do ask an unlimited number of questions about what I think about your strategy, evidence, argument, etc. If I didn't want to judge rounds I have the luxury of just not doing so, so I'll usually be in a good mood.

Kevin Kuswa Paradigm

6 rounds

Updated 2019. Coaching at Berkeley Prep in Tampa. Nothing massive has changed except I give slightly higher points across the board to match inflation. Keep in mind, I am still pleased to hear qualification debates and deep examples win rounds. I know you all work hard so I will too. Any argument preference or style is fine with me: good debate is good debate. Email: kevindkuswa at gmail dot com.

Updated 2017. Currently coaching for Berkeley Prep in Tampa. Been judging a lot on the China topic, enjoying it. Could emphasize just about everything in the comments below, but wanted to especially highlight my thirst for good evidence qualification debates...

_____________________________ (previous paradigm)

Summary: Quality over quantity, be specific, use examples, debate about evidence.

I think debate is an incredibly special and valuable activity despite being deeply flawed and even dangerous in some ways. If you are interested in more conversations about debate or a certain decision (you could also use this to add me to an email chain for the round if there is one), contact me at kevindkuswa at gmail dot com. It is a privilege to be judging you—I know it takes a lot of time, effort, and commitment to participate in debate. At a minimum you are here and devoting your weekend to the activity—you add in travel time, research, practice and all the other aspects of preparation and you really are expressing some dedication.

So, the first issue is filling out your preference sheets. I’m usually more preferred by the kritikal or non-traditional crowd, but I would encourage other teams to think about giving me a try. I work hard to be as fair as possible in every debate, I strive to vote on well-explained arguments as articulated in the round, and my ballots have been quite balanced in close rounds on indicative ideological issues. I’m not affiliated with a particular debate team right now and may be able to judge at the NDT, so give me a try early on and then go from there.

The second issue is at the tournament—you have me as a judge and are looking for some suggestions that might help in the round. In addition to a list of things I’m about to give you, it’s good that you are taking the time to read this statement. We are about to spend over an hour talking to and with each other—you might as well try to get some insight from a document that has been written for this purpose.

1. Have some energy, care about the debate. This goes without saying for most, but enthusiasm is contagious and we’ve all put in some work to get to the debate. Most of you will probably speak as fast as you possibly can and spend a majority of your time reading things from a computer screen (which is fine—that can be done efficiently and even beautifully), but it is also possible to make equally or more compelling arguments in other ways in a five or ten minute speech (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OQVq5mugw_Y).

2. Examples win debates. Well-developed examples are necessary to make the abstract concrete, they show an understanding of the issues in the round, and they tend to control our understandings of how particular changes will play out. Good examples take many forms and might include all sorts of elements (paraphrasing, citing, narrating, quantifying, conditioning, countering, embedding, extending, etc.), but the best examples are easily applicable, supported by references and other experiences, and used to frame specific portions of the debate. I’m not sure this will be very helpful because it’s so broad, but at the very least you should be able to answer the question, “What are your examples?” For example, refer to Carville’s commencement speech to Tulane graduates in 2008…he offers the example of Abe Lincoln to make the point that “failure is the oxygen of success” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FMiSKPpyvMk.

3. Argument comparison wins debate. Get in there and compare evidence—debate the non-highlighted portion of cards (or the cryptic nature of their highlighting). Debate the warrants and compare them in terms of application, rationale, depth, etc. The trinity of impact, plausibility, and verge analysis doesn’t hurt, especially if those variables are weighed against one another. It’s nice to hear good explanations that follow phrases like “Even if…,” “On balance…,” or “In the context of…” I know that evidence comparison is being done at an extremely high level, but I also fear that one of the effects of paperless debate might be a tilt toward competing speech documents that feature less direct evidence comparison. Prove me wrong.

4. Debates about the relative validity of sources win rounds. Where is the evidence on both sides coming from and why are those sources better or worse? Qualification debates can make a big difference, especially because these arguments are surprisingly rare. It’s also shocking that more evidence is not used to indict other sources and effectively remove an entire card (or even argument) from consideration. The more good qualification arguments you can make, the better. Until this kind of argument is more common, I am thirsty enough for source comparisons (in many ways, this is what debate is about—evidence comparison), that I’ll add a few decimal points when it happens. I do not know exactly where my points are relative to other judges, but I would say I am along a spectrum where 27.4 is pretty good but not far from average, 27.7 is good and really contributing to the debate, 28 is very good and above average, 28.5 is outstanding and belongs in elims, and 29.1 or above is excellent for that division—could contend for one of the best speeches at the tournament.

5. All debates can still be won in 2AR. For all the speakers, that’s a corollary of the “Be gritty” mantra. Persevere, take risks and defend your choices

(https://www.ted.com/talks/angela_lee_duckworth_the_key_to_success_grit). The ballot is not based on record at previous tournaments, gpa, school ranking, or number of coaches.

6. Do not be afraid to go for a little more than usual in the 2NR—it might even help you avoid being repetitive. It is certainly possible to be too greedy, leaving a bloated strategy that can’t stand up to a good 2AR, but I usually think this speech leaves too much on the table.

7. Beginning in the 1AR, brand new arguments should only be in reference to new arguments in the previous speech. Admittedly this is a fuzzy line and it is up to the teams to point out brand new arguments as well as the implications. The reason I’ve decided to include a point on this is because in some cases a 2AR has been so new that I have had to serve as the filter. That is rare and involves more than just a new example or a new paraphrasing (and more than a new response to a new argument in the 2NR).

8. Very good arguments can be made without evidence being introduced in card form, but I do like good cards that are as specific and warranted as possible. Use the evidence you do introduce and do as much direct quoting of key words and phrases to enhance your evidence comparison and the validity of your argument overall.

9. CX matters. This probably deserves its own philosophy, but it is worth repeating that CX is a very important time for exposing flaws in arguments, for setting yourself up for the rebuttals, for going over strengths and weaknesses in arguments, and for generating direct clash. I do not have numbers for this or a clear definition of what it means to “win CX,” but I get the sense that the team that “wins” the four questioning periods often wins the debate.

10. I lean toward “reciprocity” arguments over “punish them because…” arguments. This is a very loose observation and there are many exceptions, but my sympathies connect more to arguments about how certain theoretical moves made by your opponent open up more avenues for you (remember to spell out what those avenues look like and how they benefit you). If there are places to make arguments about how you have been disadvantaged or harmed by your opponent’s positions (and there certainly are), those discussions are most compelling when contextualized, linked to larger issues in the debate, and fully justified.

Overall, enjoy yourself—remember to learn things when you can and that competition is usually better as a means than as an ends.

And, finally, the third big issue is post-round. Usually I will not call for many cards—it will help your cause to point out which cards are most significant in the rebuttals (and explain why). I will try to provide a few suggestions for future rounds if there is enough time. Feel free to ask questions as well. In terms of a long-term request, I have two favors to ask. First, give back to the activity when you can. Judging high school debates and helping local programs is the way the community sustains itself and grows—every little bit helps. Whether you realize it or not, you are a very qualified judge for all the debate events at high school tournaments. Second, consider going into teaching. If you enjoy debate at all, then bringing some of the skills of advocacy, the passion of thinking hard about issues, or the ability to apply strategy to argumentation, might make teaching a great calling for you and for your future students (https://www.ted.com/talks/christopher_emdin_teach_teachers_how_to_create_magic note: debaters are definitely part of academia, but represent a group than can engage in Emdin’s terms). There are lots of good paths to pursue, but teaching is one where debaters excel and often find fulfilling. Best of luck along the ways.

Hannah Laibinis Paradigm

6 rounds

Hannah Laibinis

Senior at the University School of Nashville (TN)

I’ve been a 2A and a 2N. I debated for 3 years. I don’t know much about the topic, so make sure to explain your arguments!

Add me to the email chain please: hannahlaibinis19@email.usn.org (thanks!)

Please be nice!!!

This includes your partner, the other team, me, and anyone else in the room.

Please don’t curse at me, your opponent, your partner, or anytime during the round for any reason (unless you are dying). The debate space should be a positive learning environment, cursing is unnecessary and takes away from that.


Don’t try to over-adapt to my philosophy - do what you do best.

I won’t take prep for flash/emailing, but if it’s excessive, your speaks will reflect that.

You should care about this round, even if you don’t, pretend that you do.


Clipping is a voter - if I catch you, I will call you out and vote you down. If you’re going to call someone out for clipping, you need a recording to prove it.

Once the 1AC is sent, communication outside the round must be stopped.

I’m Tech > Truth

I care more about how you debate your evidence than the quality of it, but if the other team reads bad evidence, please call them out for it. Write my ballot for me, it makes it much easier to vote for you. I’m probably not going to read that much evidence after the round unless you tell me to or the round is super close. A dropped argument is true, but I’ll only vote on it if it is extended and explained.


PLEASE be nice (again)!!! I love when people ask specific questions that set up arguments in later speeches. I would prefer that you minimize clarifying questions, and only ask them when absolutely necessary.


Good case debating is underrated. Smart analytics to take out bad internal links outweigh generic impact defense. Specifics are always better than generics (if you understand them). I’ll vote neg on presumption, but you will have to do a lot of work. I don’t usually read many impact turns, so I’m not super familiar with heg/warming turns, etc, but I’ll still vote on them if you can explain them. Please don’t read racism, sexism, etc good (I’ll dock your speaks if you do).


Debate T like a disad. Caselists and TVAs are convincing arguments that you should have if you extend T. Contextualize to the round: reading blocks won’t get you that far.


I don’t read or extend Ks very often (other than cap and security), so have that in mind when you choose your strat. I’m not going to vote on something that I don’t understand, so you need to explain your K well to get my ballot. I’m aff leaning on framework unless you can debate the warrants really well. I’m not the kind of judge that is going to vote on buzzwords that the 1AR drops. (P.S. - death is always bad.)


Specific counterplans are great. You should probably have a solvency advocate and a net benefit. I’m mostly neg leaning on theory issues unless the aff can prove in round abuse. Theory is a reason to reject the argument unless it’s conditionality (2 condo is probably fine, but I can be persuaded differently). I’ll only judge kick the CP for you if you tell me to and the aff doesn’t refute it/you win that they’re good.


They’re great. I appreciate a good overview with impact calculus and turns case. I’m a fan of politics DAs, so I won’t vote on intrinsic arguments.

K Affs:

I’m not a huge fan of these. I’ll still evaluate the round, but I am easily persuaded by T/framework. TVAs are great! I like it when teams go for a definition that isn’t necessarily “must be the USFG”. Fairness is an impact. I don’t mind if you go for a K (like cap or something) against a K aff, but I think that T is the best way to beat K affs. My ballot only signifies a win or loss to tabroom.


I’m not a huge fan of theory, but I’ll vote on it. Conditionality is my only default for theory to reject the team, but I can be persuaded differently. I love it when teams prove in-round abuse, so if you want me to vote on theory, that’s a good way to do it. Buzzwords and reading blocks are not the way to get my ballot here, or really anywhere.

Speaker Points:

Please be clear. If I can’t flow you, I can’t vote for you. Signposting, being nice, and strong CXs are great ways to boost your speaker points, so do all of those!

Valorie Lam Paradigm

4 rounds


tldr- i am fine with anything

yes, email chain: valorielam@gmail.com

Rashard Leonard Paradigm

6 rounds

rashard.leonard@gmail.com for email chains


4 years of policy debate in college, first two years mainly focused on policy, last two years leaning more K-heavy

Debate is an educational game. As the judge, I am responsible for evaluating the arguments of this game as you present them to me. This activity is centered around you, the debaters. Do you, run the arguments that you usually run and I will judge them accordingly.

Aff: Open to judging all types of affs, policy and K. Aff should be topical (affirming a change within the topic, not necessarily USFG). Be sure that you make clear to me why the aff is important and why your plan will give the best results. If you kick an advantage explain to me why.

DA: I like them. I think they’re the easiest way to win debates, especially if it turns the case. Make sure you have a clear link to the aff and I clear impact that will be triggered by the plan.

CP: I love a good CP-DA combo and it can be devastating if properly used. PICs are welcome as well but they need to have a clear difference between the aff.

Condo: I think condo is good but too much can be abusive. 3 conditional worlds is my absolute limit anything more better have some kickass Condo good blocks.

Theory: Please don’t make me vote on theory. Theory args are fine within the debate space but I’d rather not have my decision based on a generic theory arg that you read in the block. However, if it does come down to that please frame the how I should evaluate the debate and why the other their methods are harmful.

T: Always a voting issue. Block needs do good impact work on why the plan is bad for debate. T has real world impacts so use that to your advantage. Neg also needs to give a Topical Version of the Aff.

FW: I generally lean aff on most framework debates. You will not win if your main arg is “the aff makes debate too hard”. As long as the aff affirms a change in the direction of the topic then I think it’s good debate. Good FW teams should show me how their approach to the topic makes debate impossible, that will get me on your side and willing to vote for you.

K: Run it, but don’t half ass it. In the block you should be able to point to evidence they read in the 1AC/2AC to prove a clear link and show that they use the same methodology that will trigger all of your impacts. Don’t rely on all the big words that your cards use. Instead paint a clear picture of how your K operates and what the alt does to make a better world. Real world examples of the alt will help you.

Misc: Please be respectful to all debaters within the space. We sacrifice our weekends, while barely getting any sleep, to come and compete. Don’t be rude or mean.

Have fun, jokes are welcome in-round. Well executed jokes get a bump in speaks.

I’d rather not hear profanity but if you use do it should be impactful.

Speed is fine as long as you’re clear. If I am unable to understand you I will yell “CLEAR” during your speech.

CX is binding and I will flow it.


Any other questions please feel free to ask me.

Josiah Macumber Paradigm

6 rounds

Debated for Liberty University

Current: Affiliate Coach for JMU. Interlake High School.

Yes email chain: josiahmacumber@gmail.com

TLDR: Do not feel the need to adapt to my preferences I will do my best to judge fairly. Be persuasive and tell me why arguments are important. Dropped arguments are true arguments, but you need to still explain them and why they matter.

Speaking Preferences:

Slow down on analytics people can only write/type so fast, so slow down if you want me to flow it all. Same applies for theory arguments.

I do not have a concrete method for assigning speaker points. That being said things that help are: clarity, volume (not a big fan of barely being able to hear someone), cross ex (good questions/good answers), and strategic decisions.

K: Have a specific link to plan action/reps/epistemology makes it a lot easier to win instead of generic state links- those are cool and all, but at least contextualize it. Many times bad link debating is done so that the link explanation could have been read against any affirmative on any topic. Those are bad ways of explaining a link and it should be articulated in context of the round that is being had. That can take a variety of forms such as reading through the other team's evidence and pulling quotes that prove your link argument or the logic of the link. It could also take the form of using the answers that other teams provide in cross ex. Each link should have it's own unique impact and it would behoove you to explain how the link turns the case.

Framing for these debates is essential and direction is key for what to prioritize. It's nice to win the alternative, but I don't think it's necessary. IF you are not going for the alternative make it clear otherwise I will evaluate the perm and whether the alt can overcome the instances of the links.

CP: I think that CP's are dope and are generally underutilized (in the debates I have judged). A good CP and DA combo is a solid option for the 2NR. Also, try not to be too abusive. I also enjoy well thought out PIC's. CP's don't necessarily need evidence, but it is preferred (solvency advocate theory is probably a good arg against this).

Maybe it's just me, but after a team spreads through the planks and card for a CP I am still somewhat unsure what it does. Explanation is important in terms of explaining how it solves and why it is different from the affirmative.

DA: Disad's are also cool. Explain it well and it's interaction with the case. You need to do the analysis of why it outweighs the case or turns it. Do comparative evidence analysis and provide reasons why their evidence is not as warranted or does not really answer the DA and tell me why your evidence is better. That does not mean "our ev post dates by 3 days so it's better", but rather "our evidence analyzes long term trends through X method that provides a predictive claim, and their's is an opinion article".

T: I haven't had a ton of T debates. I do not give a ton of thought to T versus policy aff's, especially in the context of the high school topic. Generally I believe that over limiting is better than under limiting due to in depth research providing better education. Provide a coherent view of what the topic would look like without the limit that you set on it versus what the affirmative justifies when you are impacting out the T debate. That could include a case list that they justify that explodes research burdens or specific ground loss. You do not have to win in round abuse. Just impact it out well and you should be good.

Framework: I understand the strategic nature of the argument, and I will vote on it. However, I think that there are a few different ways to do it that are less offensive or more strategic. Top level winning that debate is a game probably means that fairness is an impact, but that work needs to be done. If education is the impact you are going for there must be good reasons why policy education is desirable or better than critical education. I think it is less strategic to make arguments like "our education spills over and we can one day do _____ to change the system"... that relies on a notion of spill over from policy education. If that is true, why then does that spillover not apply to the affirmative and their method/epistemology?

Theory: Dropped theory arguments are pretty easy to vote on, so don't drop them. Provide a reason why the abuse outweighs any other possible impact and make it a big deal. Just don't blaze through it and expect to win even if it was dropped.

-Policy AFF's: Tell a coherent story and do good impact calculus. Often times teams forget to do that and it's a super important part of the last rebuttals. If you are reading a hard right AFF I find it is better to just stick with it and go for util/death outweighs. I really do think it's more strategic against the criticism to go hard right.

-K AFF's: I think there is a great value to critical affirmatives and they can be really strategic. Just be prepared for the framework debate and explain why your model of debate is better or have disads to their model. I find it very helpful when critical affirmative provide examples and have in depth historical knowledge about their theory. In addition, providing examples of things the aff could do or would do helps to materialize some of the theory that can make it easier to grasp especially if it is not a literature base I am familiar with.

There is no single way to my ballot and there are often a variety of strategies that can work in the debate. Be smart and strategic... I often find that the debates I enjoy the most are guided by bold choices from the debaters.

Be nice to other debaters. That doesn't mean you can't be witty or funny just be respectful of others. I think debate is a great activity to make new friends and to enjoy yourself. There is no need to take yourself and other people too seriously, creating a fun environment to debate in makes debates 100% more enjoyable. Jokes are also appreciated. On second thought... maybe don't.

Mona Mahadevan Paradigm

6 rounds

@New Haven UDL Parliamentary debaters: Please ignore this paradigm.

I was a policy debater at Woodward Academy for four years, and I'm a first-year parliamentary debater at Yale. This paradigm is for policy debate with an LD and Parli note at the bottom.

I’d like to be on the email chain: monapm19@gmail.com

General —

I care most about respect for your opponents and your partner. Don’t hide ASPEC, delete analytics, be mean in CX, destroy classrooms, or troll. Please be kind. Disclose (unless the 1AC is new).

Good for “aff must have a solvency advocate” or “neg only gets 5-off” theory.


A clear vision of your interpretation and specific case lists are crucial. Semantic distinctions are irrelevant. I generally lean aff because I find “substance crowd-out” persuasive, but T-Substantial is a (substantial) exception.

DA’s —

There is often no relevant risk of a DA: “always a risk” is silly because the burden of proof is a burden. I consequently find “turns case” as an answer to well-deployed framing contentions unpersuasive absent a high risk of the DA.

CP’s —

My assessment of competition and theory rests on relative specificity of aff and neg solvency advocates but also what makes the most educational debate.

F/W —

I lean neg. However, “we meet” arguments based on creative, evidenced readings of the resolution; limited counter-interps that impact turn state-centric education; and, more generally, a defense of a model that generates substantial, fair neg ground are all potentially persuasive.

Fairness is the most persuasive negative impact.

K’s —

I’ll listen to anything. Both teams should aim for specificity and clear explanation. Include impacts to each link.

I really, really like the dialectical materialism/Marx K.

LD Note —

Explain how the affirmative/resolution/alt solves your impacts and wins within your ethical framework.

Role of the ballots should be grounded in the burden of rejoinder. The negative must prove that the affirmative/resolution produces a harm, not just that it maintains one.

Parli Note

I reward Gov teams that choose controversial positions. I'm impressed by debaters that exhibit intellectual humility, not by those that "sound good" or feign scholarly authority.

Ryan McFarland Paradigm

3 rounds

Ryan McFarland
Debated at KCKCC and Wichita State

Two years of coaching at Wichita State, 3 years at Hutchinson High School in Kansas, two years at Kapaun Mt. Carmel, now at Blue Valley Southwest.

email chain: remcfarland043@gmail.com

I have become increasingly frustrated at the recent debate trend where debaters just read pre-prepared blocks straight from their laptop at full speed with little contextualization to the arguments the other team is making. That frustration is magnified when the 2AR/2NR re-reads things from earlier speeches, at the same speed, while still not contextualizing those arguments to the other team. I appreciate debaters who debate from their flow and use their computers for reading evidence. Three things you should take away from this;

1. you could technically be winning a debate, but if I don't believe that you have clashed with the arguments presented by the other team, I will likely vote against you. Clash is not "they said perm, so insert generic perm 2NC block here". Clash is directly answering the nuances made by the other team.

2. I'm fairly expressive. I'm not going to say clear or tell you to slow down. If you think reading full speed in the 2NR/2AR is how you can convince me to vote for you, you're mistaken. If I'm not able to process the arguments you are making because you are reading full, card speed during a rebuttal, I'm not going to vote for you. I will either miss important things you want me to vote on, or I will spend my energy trying to make sure I can keep up with everything and not think about the arguments.

3. When I've given low speaker points in the last two years, it was because the things that I have mentioned above.

K v. FW - I'm pretty open to most arguments in the debate, but I will be up front and say that I believe the topic is good and important. This is not to say that I will never vote for a critical affirmative, but I am ideologically on the side of debating the topic is a good idea. With that said, I'm probably split pretty much down the middle on my voting record when it comes to K aff vs Framework. Most of the time when I have voted negative its because the affirmative does not adequately deal with the topical version of the aff. When I vote affirmative its because the negative spends most of its time establishing a link, but very little impact explanation and comparison. I do think that fairness is an impact, and don't find arguments about framework creating actual violence against people persuasive.

I don't find "debate bad" arguments persuasive. I've coached teams to say these things, but still don't find them valuable.

DA v. soft left aff - I don't think I've ever voted on the framing page takes out 100% of the disad. I've seen plenty of teams think that because they've read a framing page they don't need to engage the components of the DA and that will always be a losing strategy. Having specific critiques of disadvantages is more compelling to me. Likewise, negative teams reading a bunch of extinction first, util cards and generically extending them does little for me.

K's on the neg - I'm better for K arguments on the negative than K affirmatives. I might expect more link contextualization than some judges. I don't have a problem voting affirmative if I don't believe you have explained a link that makes sense with the aff.

An affirmative saying "duh" to "fiat isn't real" is sufficient, but you still need to defend your method of policy making.

Other things - I default to competing interpretations on topicality and other theoretical arguments. Conditionality is good but will vote on theory if it's well developed. Read disadvantages and counterplans. Case debate is underutilized and will increase your speaker points.

Judge kick - no idea why affirmatives just let negative teams get away with this. It forces the affirmative to give two different 2ARs. I'm not saying I'll just wholesale reject this, but affirmatives should get smarter.

I appreciate multi-plank counterplans that have some evidentiary support for all planks. I don't appreciate multi-plank counterplans that are used to fiat out of solvency deficits or offensive arguments.

More than 5 off case arguments - bad strategy. Makes me grumpy. Lowers your speaker points. Reading a bunch of bad arguments for the sake of reading more arguments is a bad debate trend.

Stop being scared of going for theory against cheating arguments.

Clipping is cheating no matter the intent.

I won't read or flow your inserted re-highlighting.

Beth McMahon Paradigm

3 rounds

Beth McMahon

You can put me on the E mail chain: mcmahon.beth@gmail.com.

Edited to add: judging at the BF for Drew Charter/AUDL

I have been coaching Urban Debate here in Atlanta (Decatur High/Renfroe MS) for the past few years, but a long time ago (when we carried tubs, no one had a cell phone, and the K was still kinda new) I used to coach and judge on the national circuit. I took a sabbatical from coaching when I had kids, but one of those kids is now a middle school debater so I guess I'm back :)

My other "job" at Decatur High School is teaching 12th Grade English and AP Lang.

Since returning to debate, I've noticed that there is this tendency to rely on each others blocs rather than actually flowing -- be aware that I don't have the time to really know the lit (especially on the neg) so I depend on YOU the debater to clarify your positions. I don't want to be the ONLY one in the room flowing. Please. Flow.

I am fine with theory as long as you SLOW down and explain it. Just reading a bunch of analytical arguments will not win you the debate.

Debate is still a speaking activity. Crystalizing the round in rebuttals is an important skill - especially in front of a judge like me that did not spend 8 weeks at camp nor has read all of the lit. You absolutely will be more familiar with your evidence than I will so please don't expect that kind of deep dive into the post round discussion.

Please be courteous and respectful to your fellow debaters or your speaker points will reflect.

Sam Meacham Paradigm

6 rounds

Sam Meacham

Montgomery Bell Academy 3rd year debater


I want to be on the email chain: sam.meacham21@montgomerybell.edu

TLDR: do what you want, I am open to most arguments, tech over truth, do line by line

Here are some specific thoughts about different areas:

Framework and critical affirmatives

I am likely not the best judge for you if you want to run a K aff. I firmly believe that the affirmative should defend the hypothetical implementation of a topical plan, no matter what type of scholarship or performance you want to use. That’s up to you. That said, it is by no means an auto-loss not to defend a plan in front of me. While sympathetic to neg fairness and education claims, if you explain convincingly exactly why the ballot is key and how it resolves your impacts, I will be much more inclined to vote for you. Fairness is an impact and the ballot solves it. Debate is a game.


Not my favorite debates, but T is a voter and never a reverse voter.

Reasonability is great and I buy the argument that substance crowdout outweighs minor differences in limits, but the aff should still extend a counterinterp and paint a picture of their model of debate. Make sure to explain your best offense.


Yes, must be functionally and textually competitive. Aff, impact your solvency deficits or I will default to neg sufficiency framing and risk of a net benefit. I would love to see well-researched case-specific CPs, but just make sure you read good solvency ev specific to the topic, no matter the CP. I am frustrated with the trend of reading really big in scope counterplans that fiat out of all solvency deficits without any specific solvency advocate.


Aff-leaning: process, multi-actor, 50 states, no solvency advocate

Neg-leaning: condo (to an extent, don’t make them contradictory), PICs, international fiat

Theory arguments or blips that take less than 3 seconds to read are not theory arguments. For example, if your 2AC condo block takes 2 seconds and the block drops it, I will give the 2NR new answers

BUT, everything but condo is a reason to reject the argument not the team


Love them, but make sure they make sense—lots of teams have gotten away with murder on bad DAs over the last two topics, if affs just pointed out the logical flaws in internal link chains a lot of these go away

Make turns case args specific to the aff and that make sense

Zero risk is definitely a thing for DAs and advantages

Politics is good, especially on this topic with little neg ground. I don’t like politics theory args like intrinsicness or fiat solves the link.


Fine, but don’t assume I understand the jargon—explain and impact your argument like you would a DA

Things like cap, security, settler colonialism, biopolitics are great, and those lit bases interest me. High theory goes over my head all the time, so I’m not great for that. If I’m in the back, be extra explanatory about your theories

Contextualize your links to the action of the aff—nothing is worse than a generic K extension

Long overviews are an excuse for not doing line by line work—do most work on the flow or else it’s super hard for me to evaluate by the end of the round

I will usually default to weighing the aff on framework, but good debating can change my mind

Case Debating

Yes please. It’s super underutilized and I would like to see a debate centering heavily around the affirmative case in the final rebuttals

I love impact turns, even obscure ones


Clipping OR a false accusation of clipping are both auto-losses and zero speaks, you MUST have audio evidence

Above all, have fun, debate is incredibly fun and rewarding and I reward teams who work hard, enjoy themselves, and treat others in the activity with respect

Caroline Miller Paradigm

4 rounds

I am a Senior at Westminster and have been debating for 5 years mostly as a 2N.

Most importantly, be nice and have fun! I am going to try to keep this short, but feel free to ask me any questions.

Put me on the email chain - annacaroline2020@gmail.com

DAs - As a debater, I go for politics a lot. The most important thing for me here is impact calc. Tell me why I should vote for you in a way I can write on my ballot.

CPs - I love specific CPs! You should probably have a solvency advocate, condo is probably good, and PICs can be abusive? You can definitely win the opposite of any of these dispositions in front of me.

Ks - I probably don’t understand it going into the round, and I can’t vote for something without understanding what it is I am voting on. Don’t let that change your strat, just explain it to me! Novices should read plans.

T - I enjoy judging good T debates. I haven’t debated in a while, so I don’t know what is commonly considered T.

Jeffrey Miller Paradigm

1 rounds

Jeffrey Miller
Director of Speech & Debate at Marist School in Atlanta, GA (2011-present)
Director of Debate/Asst Director of Debate, Fayette County High School in Fayetteville, GA (2006-2011)

Thoughts about the new PF rules:

1) 3 minute summaries don't change anything in the grand scheme of things. I still believe that a) teams should respond to the first rebuttal in the second rebuttal, b) everything in final focus needs to be in summary and c) there should be weighing throughout the round. What 3 minute summaries do effect is that they raise my standard for what is acceptable as an extension. Merely re-stating your claims is no longer enough to count as an extension - you have an extra minute - make actual arguments in the summary speeches.

2) The new paraphrasing rules indicate that you must have cut cards. Don't read that as you must read cards, but read it as I believe the new rules indicate that that for the protection of the debater you must have cut the card. I will not evaluate evidence that is not cut. I will not wait for you to cut a card in the post round if I need a piece of evidence. If I see you exchange evidence throughout the debate that is not cut, I will dock your speaker points.

Guide to Prefs Based Your Research Habits

If you cut cards & read cards in case & rebuttal -- I am probably a top 10 judge in your prefs. This is my ideal version of debate - I will flow the warrants of your cards and not just the taglines.

If you cut cards, read cards in case & paraphrase in rebuttal -- C'mon, its not that hard - just read cards in rebuttal. Believe me, the time you think are "wasting" by reading cards is worth it. But besides that, I'm probably a pretty good judge for you.

If you cut cards, but paraphrase throughout the debate -- I'm not your worst judge by far. I have a higher standard of holding arguments to their original context than others, but I won't vote you down just because you paraphrase. If this describes you, it is truly silly to strike me over someone who's never judged a debate before.

If you do not cut cards and you paraphrase -- strike me. please.

3) "Progressive" Argumentation, lol. I don't think there is enough time in a PF speech to warrant clearly most kritiks - that doesn't mean I won't vote for them, but it does mean that you're starting from a disadvantage because I don't think you can fully articulate why they should be voted on. For theory, there needs to be actual abuse and it needs to be used sparingly. Disclosure Theory is dumb, but sometimes necessary - I think misdisclosure is way worse than not disclosing. Paraphrasing Theory is also kind of dumb based on my previous statement of there needs to be actual abuse. If a team is paraphrasing a card poorly, you don't need theory to beat them - just beat their argument and call them out. Every other theory arg I've judged honestly doesn't have its place in the debate. Theory is not a way to win rounds, its a way to check bad behaviors.

**The Rest**

Debate is hard. I expect every debater to work hard before, during and after each tournament. Working hard means cutting cards and doing research on the topic. I expect debaters to not search for shortcuts to make this easier - doing your own research and cutting your own cards will pay dividends in all of your debates. In debates I judge you, you should expect I work hard to evaluate the debate and make the best decision possible. That's my guarantee to you.

Since Public Forum is a research based activity, I expect debates to be more about evidence usage and execution than persuasive speaking. If I expect debates to be about evidence usage, the prerequisite to this is having evidence and using it. I expect all five participants in the round (myself and the four debaters) to be well read on the topic and flow the debate. You should expect me to give you constructive feedback on the ballot as well as in round after the debate.

In debates, speeches build off of each other. It would be weird if we engaged in a communication activity where we ignored what the other person did right before our speech - that's why the second rebuttal must respond to the first rebuttal and so forth. Consistency is vital in debate therefore this expectation continues into the second half. Arguments that you extend in the final focus must be in the summary.

How do I define good evidence ethics?

Every card you read within a debate should be cited (by author, not institution) and be available (almost immediately) within context for your opponent to read. Within context does not mean full text, but the full paragraph of the cited line. (Asking for the full text of the study is dumb/waste 96% of the time, because you have 3 minutes of prep and I'm sorry you don't have enough time to read the full text. I understand sometimes you want to read the conclusion, but you still can't do that within the time limits of this event for more than 1 card usually.)

Teams who cannot quickly exchange evidence should not pref me - please strike me.

Don't lie or blatantly misrepresent about your evidence, I will drop you whether or not the argument is made in the round. I define lying or blatantly misrepresenting evidence as excluding key phrases that are in the text of the document that contradict your point, using portions of evidence to make arguments the authors do not intend, etc. Indicts are not lies or misrepresentations, they're arguments. Cards that are poorly cut/don't make a good argument are just not persuasive. Don't ruin the game, it's really fun when done correctly.

Come to the debate prepared and you won't have a problem.

What is my speaker point scale?

Speaker points are earned for the arguments you make in the debate. Every debater in every round starts at a 28.0. I will move up/down on a scale with steps of 0.1 and not 0.5. You're probably not going to get a 30 from me as that means you were truly perfect. Making smart, strategic arguments is going to maximize your points from me.

Shivan Moodley Paradigm

6 rounds

Shivan Moodley

Alpharetta '20


These are just my general thoughts about debate; anything in here can be changed by the quality of debating done in the round. Tech > Truth, unless you're argument is morally repugnant, racist, or incoherent. Make sure to tell me if you open source and I will increase your speaker points if I think it is proper disclosure (This means all cards read in round by you are posted for ALL rounds).

K Affs and Framework:

If you are choosing not to read a plan, the Aff should be related to the topic in some way and have central offense/defense centered around the mechanism defended in the 1AC. I find procedural fairness persuasive given that the activity cannot really be divorced from clash however, I can be persuaded otherwise. Teams that impact turn procedural fairness have a better shot at winning my ballot. Larger overviews are acceptable in these debates but do not lose the line by line.


This is hit or miss. Teams that go the extra step to explain the link-level will be rewarded. This means pulling direct quotes from opponents' evidence, highlighting cards, and pointing out lapses in tags. It truly filters the threshold for the impact and framework debate. In a close debate, I am likely to let the Aff weigh their impacts, but the technicalities of the K can mitigate how relevant the case is - Does the Alt solve the case Does the link turn the case? These are central.

Theory Leanings:

Conditionality is good unless it's egregious. 2NC CPs are usually good, especially to get out of add-ons. Creative PICs will be rewarded, but the more generic it gets, the more abusive. Most Process CPs can be beat by a well-articulated Perm or a heavy theory push.

CPs/DAs/Impact Turns/Case Debate/T:

CPs - Read them, go for them. Smart, analytical CPs are fun but make sure you have a good defense of them or the threshold for solvency deficits will be low.

DAs - The DAs on the Arms Sales Topic actually make sense unlike past topics so make sure you use them. Turns Case can change the game, but can also easily be answered by smart analytics. Neg teams that have carded turns case need to be handled properly by the Aff. Aff teams should identify the weak spots and exploit them, instead of trying to cover every single portion.

Impact Turns - Good stuff, can be a gamechanger for both the Aff and the Neg. Impact Comparison and Evidence Comparison will win these debates so do that.

Case - Has quickly become my favorite type of debates. Asserting "Presumption" without a clear reason means nothing, explain the reasoning. Neg teams that go the extra step to indict authors, answer specific I/Ls, and read multilayered defense to Aff impacts will make me happy. Aff teams that do not fold, are efficient and smart on case questions also impress me equally.

T - I like it a lot when it is done well. Both teams NEED to give me a clear picture of what the topic looks like under their interpretation, I will almost always default to competing interpretations because teams are just bad at going for reasonability these days. Limits are the controlling I/L for the Neg. Aff teams that choose one central piece of offense and explain how that implicates the Limits DA are doing something right.

Other Things:

Clipping is maximum penalty.

Anything unethical is maximum penalty.

Speed is good, but make sure you are clear or it will be reflected in your speaks.

Final rebuttals need to answer the key questions of the round - tell me why you win.

Don't waste time - show up to the round on time, send the chain on time, finish on time.

Jack Mruz Paradigm

6 rounds

i have been 2n and 2a, i will vote on memes, extra speaks for well-executed kanye jokes


-If there's an impact, turn it

-Put me on the email chain jackmdebate@gmail.com - please have the 1ac sent by the round start time and I hate having to ask "are you taking prep/is it sent" so don't be skeezy with time

-Clarity>speed, if I can't understand you I won't flow

-I'm open to all args, read whatever you feel comfortable with just be sure to explain complicated arguments well. I'm pretty 50/50 on Ks and policy strats and I don't really have a preference. Whatever advantage the neg gets from the aff being confused by jargon might mean that I don't understand you either. The easiest way to not get jf'kd is to clearly explain why you won certain args, write the ballot for me.

-Don't be rude, especially not to your partner. This means don't cut them off frequently in CX and don't shake your head in dismay when they do something wrong. *If you call your partner a dumbass under your breath -1 point

NOVICE - Tag team cx is fine, just don't overpower your partner


-Analytics are great, I don't always need evidence. If you walk me through the absurdities of their internal link chain without evidence, do it.

-Smart and relevant explanations > pre-written overviews. Stale block debates are the worst.

-Creative arguments and jokes are encouraged, we're all here to have fun.

-I like cx, it's really boring when you get up and ask clearly unnecessary clarification questions for 3 mins,


-I will vote on T but I hate T debates without good argumentation or clash

-I'm pretty unlikely to vote on condo when there's 2 or less advocates. IF they read 7 process CP's with no solvency advocates I'm much more likely to vote on condo.

-neg fiat probably good

-I'm cool with K affs as long as they're topic related, I vote either way on framework, I'm cool with both fw and rev v. rev debates as long as it's interesting

-New affs probably good, +.1 speaks if you read and extend old affs bad


-PICs should have a solvency advocate/carded evidence not just contrived cp text

-I lean slightly aff on process CPs but will vote on it but neg might have to do more work

-there should be perm and theory on substantive CPs

-if the neg wins sufficient solvency and avoids nb I'll probably vote neg


-2 card DAs with no uq in the 1nc are annoying

-I would rather you read 1 DA with strong UQ, specific links, and cohesive link chain than 5 shitty 2 card ptx DAs

-2As - if they read a DA turn it, if they read 5 DAs turn potentially all of them and annoy the neg

-I am much more willing to vote on CP/DA than DA/Squo


-I'm cool with critiques of normative debate

-I tend to flow neg on the framework debate, neg should indict the aff's epistemology

-Use case specific links, it's harder to vote neg when all of the links are just USfg bad

-Vague alts need to be explained very thoroughly, be prepared to justify reading one. Aff should press in cx about what the world of the alt looks like and punish any shiftyness

Projeet Mukherjee Paradigm

6 rounds

Email: Ronaldopor2010@gmail.com (add me on the email chain)

Do what you want. Try to be kinda funny tho cuz novice debates get kinda boring. Also don't post round me unless you tryna get roasted.

Rithvik Nagabhirava Paradigm

6 rounds

i am a 2N – 4th year at Chattahoochee High School. I promise to evaluate the debate to the best of my ability every round.

i'd rather you be slow than unclear. tech > truth. impact calc wins debates.

time your own speeches and prep. don't clip, or be rude.

i think it's important for judges to put their biases aside, so do what you do well and have fun.

add me on the email chain: putmeontheemailchain@gmail.com

Also I think I need to add, they conceded "X" means nothing to me, if you say "they conceded X and that matters" "or that implicates X" than that is a viable argument.

Manny Navarrete Paradigm

3 rounds

Updated: January 2020

Grady '18

Emory '22

Coaching affiliations: AUDL Debate Ambassadors (Grady, Decatur, Drew Charter, etc.), 2018-

Varsity policy rounds judged on this topic: 12 (2 elims) (read: not super familiar with it but have a working grasp of the Saudi Arabia and Taiwan affirmatives and am almost entirely unexposed to judging affs without plans on this topic)

Add me to the chain - mnav453@gmail.com

Feel free to email if you have questions about anything I've written here or if you thought of a question after post-round feedback

I have one of the worst poker faces --- you will know what I think about the round and whatever argument is being discussed in the moment.

People who have influenced how I think about debate: Erik Mathis, Nick Lepp, Brian Klarman

Scroll to the end for non-policy

BFHS 2020 LD UPDATE: Scroll down if you want to read my general thoughts, but the short if it is that I have zero experience in LD aside from judging some rounds during the last BFHS, and as such if you have me judging your debate you need to approach things like a "traditional" policy debate i.e. the affirmative should affirm the topic and negative should negate it. I'm also not huge on theory debates, so make of that what you will.


Below 28.3: You're clipping and/or you're REALLY bad - either way, please go back to basics

28.4-28.7: Bad

28.7-29.1: Average/Good

29.2-29.6: Great

29.7-29.9: Top Speaker

30: Best speaker I've ever seen (have not given one of these yet)


At the end of the debate, I will sign a ballot that indicates who I thought won and who I thought lost the debate.

2 teams of 2 debaters each, with each debater giveing 1 constructive and 1 rebuttal, within speech and prep times.

I will only flow the first debater who speaks in a given speech. Prompting will not be flowed until the person actually giving the speech says the argument(s).

"Insert this rehighlighting" is a no go. Debate is a communication activity and you need to treat it as such.

Arguments I will never vote on: death / self harm good; pref sheets args; out-of-round incidents

An accusation of an ethics violation i.e. clipping will result in the immediate stop of the round. The accusing team will need video / audio evidence of this accusation.


I try to only evaluate decisions my flow says were debated out throughout the round - if I can't trace an aff argument back to the 1AC/2AC for example, then I will try not to vote on it unless there is some extenuating circumstance (like the 1AR impact turning a new impact to a DA) to excuse it. This means that you should probably go slightly slower on arguments you want to make sure I flow in good detail. I suggest doing this for theory debates especially.

The first 30 seconds of the 2NR and 2AR should attempt to write my RFD for me - even something as straightforward as "vote negative because the risk of a link on the DA outweighs the risk of the aff's advantages" or "vote affirmative because they dropped condo in the 2NR" goes a long way towards clarifying where you the think the debate is at and how you want me to evaluate what you think you're winning and how that interacts with what you think you're losing.

Close debates tend to come down to the evidence. In these cases, you should take care to think about your card doc before the round - Which pieces of evidence do you want me to read after the round? Where is your evidence better or weaker than theirs? How do you want to deal with those asymmetries? These are all things you should take into consideration when crafting your set of evidence to read in the debate.


"Tl:Dr- do you just dont violate the things i'll never vote on and do not pref me that'd be great." - Erik Mathis

"The best debaters isolate which argument they're winning and then spend the vast majority of their final rebuttals explaining how that influences the rest of the debate." - Zahir Shaikh

"Line-by-line involves directly referencing the other team's argument ("Off 2AC #3 - Winners Win, group"), then answering it. "Embedded" clash fails if you bury the clash part so deep I can't find the arg you are answering." - Adrienne Brovero

"I love good Topicality debates. To me, Topicality is like a disadvantage. You need to control the link debate and make it clear that your interpretation has an impact in the round and on debate as a whole, and/or debate as a game and an activity." - LaTonya Starks

"I kind of feel like "reasonability" and "competing interpretations" have become meaningless terms that, while everybody knows how they conceptualize it, there are wildly different understandings. In my mind, the negative should have to prove that the affirmative interpretation is bad, not simply that the negative has a superior interpretation." - Hunter McCullough

"Please, please, please debate the case. I don’t care if you are a K team or a policy team, the case is so important to debate. Most affs are terribly written and you could probably make most advantages have almost zero risk if you spent 15 minutes before round going through aff evidence. Zero risk exists." - Caitlin Walrath


This is how I think I judge, which may or may not be accurate

The rest of this---------------------------------------X-----What Happens in the Debate

Read all of the cards-------------------------X-------------------Flow only


Smart analytic------X--------------------------------------OK card

More ev-----------------------------------------X---Quality ev

Impact defense----------------------------------X----------Internal link defense

Fairness is an internal link------X--------------------------------------Fairness is an impact

"The state is bad so we shouldn't be topical"---------------------------------------X-----"the process of debating hypothetical state action results in violent skills/education/community norms/etc"

Reasonability-----------------------------X---------------Competing Interps

"There's always a risk"-------------------------------X-------------Terminal defense

"Framework - weigh the aff"----------------------------------X----------"our aff is a pedagogically good idea"

Floating PIKs good-----------------------------X---------------Floating PIKs bad

Condo good-X-------------------------------------------Condo bad

"1 condo solves"-------------------------------------------X-"Conditionality is the devil"

High theory---------------------------------------X-----any other critical argument

Solvency advocate required--------------X------------------------------Solvency advocate optional

Process CPs good------X--------------------------------------Process CPs bad

"We turn the case because we also result in their impact"---------------------------------------X-----"We turn the case because we make it impossible for them to solve their impact"


I put this at the bottom because I find topic knowledge does not make a good or bad judge, rather it determines the burden of explanation for certain arguments. Most judges know what to do with a politics DA and case debate but need some extra clarification on T violations and such.

Seems miles better than education or immigration...looking back, I am not a particularly big fan of one advantage and framing affs because the framing arguments tended to be on-face rejection of CP's and DA's when the aff would have been better off answering the specifics of those arguments. Maybe those were just better topics for discussion rather than debatable controversies but what I can do to change the past...


tl;dr I don't know much of the activity and thus you should approach like in a "policy-esque" way. Additionally, it would behoove you to do less theory work than you might be used to. Overall, my advice is to pref me only if you are comfortable with a standard policy debater judging; if not, then don't.

I have very little understanding of the nuances of the activity, i.e. what constitutes a well-constructed case for me might be different than what is generally considered to be such in the community. I'm also a policy debater by training and so I probably lean towards "progressive" trends than some (as in, I am fine with spreading). I also have ZERO knowledge of the topic and you should be prepared to break down its complexities for me. One other thing: I will probably use my policy speaker point scale from the beginning of this philosophy but I have no idea if that scale is typical of current numbers or not.


Dear Lord, PLEASE kick scenarios by the end of the debate --- my ideal debate has each side go for 1-2 impacts and most of the final focuses being spent on impact comparison (Mr. T, for example).

Most crossfires I have seen are filled with bad or leading question --- instead of asking "You failed to respond to our card about (insert issue here), so doesn't that mean we win" you should be asking questions like "why should the judge prefer your evidence over ours"

Pet peeves --- offenders will be docked speaks ---

don't say "we tell you about (insert issue here)" --- just say what you want to say about the issue

DO NOT END YOUR SPEECH WITH "FOR ALL THESE REASONS I STRONGLY URGE A (INSERT SIDE HERE) BALLOT" --- I know what side people are on and will intuitively understand what you say is a reason to vote for you...

Ty Navarro Paradigm

5 rounds

I'm currently working as a paralegal in SF at an immigration law firm before I start at USC in January. Despite that, I'm probably more equipped to watch your K debate than policy if we're being honest. For reference, I ran a racial Lacanian psychoanalysis aff during the immigration topic last year, so take that for what you will.

I think judge intervention is bad. This means I'm fine with any argument that's not racist, sexist, homophobic, etc.

please add me to the email chain: tynavarro3@gmail.com

Eric Oddo Paradigm

 I am the Head Debate Coach at Niles West High School.

Concordia University-Chicago
Master of Arts in School Leadership
Wake Forest University
Master of Arts in Education
Chicago-Kent College of Law
Juris Doctor
University of California at Santa Barbara
Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy & Political Science

Debate arguments:
I will vote on any type of debate argument so long as the team extends it throughout the entire round and explains why it is a voter. Thus, I will pull the trigger on theory, agent specification, and other arguments many judges are unwilling to vote on. Even though I am considered a “politics/counter plan” debater, I will vote on kritiks, but I am told I evaluate kritik debates in a “politics/counter plan” manner (I guess this is not exactly true anymore...). I try not to intervene in rounds, and all I ask is that debaters respect each other throughout the competition.

Rishika Pandey Paradigm

6 rounds

Woodward '17

UGA '21

Yes, I would like to be on the email chain: rishika.pandey21@gmail.com

Feel free to ask me any questions before the round or email me afterwards, I'm here to help!

When reading through these comments, just remember that they reflect my background and thoughts based on debates that I've had, watched, or judged so far - don't let them determine your neg strat or 2AR decisions. You do you. I can keep up.

General comments:

1. Be nice. There's a difference between confidence and rudeness, and I will dock speaker points if you are rude/offensive to anyone (yes, including me and your own partner) in the room at any point.

2. If I have to remind you to be clear, then you shouldn't expect above a 28. Use your words.

3. Prep-time: I'll stop the timer when you tell me the speech doc is done; however, if it takes you too long to email/flash the speech to everyone, I'll probably be suspicious and dock prep time.

4. I read evidence apposite to the nexus question of the debate.

5. Yes, absolute defense is possible.

6. Smart analytics over trash evidence.

7. Evidence - don't underhighlight, clip, or do any of that cheat-y stuff. You're not as cool or sneaky as you think you are.

Specific arguments:

T - Nuanced T debates are great. T over theory unless explained otherwise. Reasonability is fair if the neg interp is meta and non-specific to the aff. You need to explain what the topic would look like under your interp and provide clear case lists and DAs to the other team's interpretation.

DAs - GOOD aff-specific researched DAs are pretty much my favorite arguments. On the other hand, I'm fine listening to politics and other general topic DAs (although you'll have a harder time convincing me to vote for your generic budget or trade-off DA).

CPs - I get excited judging innovative CPs. Defend your CP against CP theory, especially if you think you have a great solvency advocate (though not all CPs need one). No, I won't "judge-kick" a CP for you - you need to make a decision and stick to it.

Theory - 1-2 conditional advocacies is fine; any more is probably excessive and/or abusive. Politics theory is fine as a time-skew, but I'm not likely to vote on it. Floating PIKs/PICs and process CPs are generally bad.

Ks - I'm good with most general/topic/identity/reps critiques, but not necessarily all of the high-theory Name Ks. The best Ks in front of me are contextualized to the aff (using aff evidence as links). Clear explanations and in-depth analysis will most likely help you win a K debate in front of me, not just evidence.

Affs/case - Affs should generally have a plan text/advocacy statement, but I'll listen to affs that don't. Also, case debates are AWESOME and way too undervalued - I love impact turns, alt causes, link turns, etc. Be innovative.

For extra clarity, if necessary, my debate ideology has been strongly influenced by Maggie Berthiaume - see her paradigm.

Taylor Parker Paradigm

6 rounds

My Name is Taylor Parker. I am currently a senior. I have over 3 years of debate experience from the meadows school. Two years of LD debate and a year of Policy.

Flash me your evidence/ include me in an email chain before the debate round starts.

Give roadmaps before you start your speeches.

I don’t mind speed just make sure you are clear and coherent in your arguments. I will say clear if I cannot understand you.

Flow the debate. Organization is key to any debate.

Know your times and time yourself.

Have fun and do your best, good luck!!

Akshay Patil Paradigm

6 rounds

I'm currently a junior at Northview high school (2N)

Add me to email chains: avpat02@gmail.com

Have fun debating!

Sam Pavur Paradigm

4 rounds

Westminster '21

Add me to the email chain - thebestsampablo@gmail.com


Top Level - Do what you do and don't over adapt to anything on this paradigm. I see this on a good amount of judge paradigms, but I think it's particularly important to me. Debate is ultimately for the debaters and I will try my best to listen and evaluate which team should get the ballot after 2 hours. To be perfectly honest, as a debater I'm most impressed by judges who try their best to be receptive to a wide range of debates and arguments. That being said, I'm not a robot and debate is a persuasive activity, so I will add some of my feelings about things that persuade/fail to persuade me in most instances below. Finally, if I make a mistake or something important wasn't in the RFD please post round me, I'm trying to become the best judge I can be.


I don't love hearing...

- Death/Suicide Good

- Most Spec arguments

- "Embedded Clash" / "It was answered in the overview"

- Heavy perm focus in K v K debates (especially when there's a link)

- Spreading in theory debates

- Counter-interpretations that don't define words in the resolution

- "____ controls the direction of ____"

- The fiat double bind

- Prefs based arguments


I enjoy hearing

- NEG strategies that are AFF specific or at least interact with the AFF a high level

- Impact turns

- Evidence directed arguments

- Strategic trolling (it's not that funny if you lose)

- Slow theory debates


If you're trying to figure out where to pref me

- Check the "I don't love hearing" section above

- I'm a 1A/2N

- I go to Westminster

- I'm a fourth year who's judged 25 novice rounds (4 on the arms sales topic)

- I have read a plan in most rounds on the AFF

- I go for K's somewhat frequently on the NEG

- I default to fairness being an impact, but I think most other impacts on T are somewhat ridiculous and straight turnable

- In presumption debates I fall under the category of judges the defaults to negation theory not the category of judges that defaults to the world of least change


Speaker Points

Under 27.5 = You said something offensive, clipped, forged evidence or didn't follow speech times

27.5 - 28 = Needs work

28 - 28.5 = Some of the pieces were there but there's room for improvement

28.6 - 28.9 = Super solid, keep it up

29 - 29.4 = The best range of speaks I could realistically give, you demonstrated an excellent understanding of your arguments and executed

29.5 - 30 = One of the best debaters I've ever seen, first speaker material


If you have any questions please email me or ask before the round.

Donald Pierce Paradigm

6 rounds

ask me about my views on lemon seeds coolcoolcool

Debating @ mba

3 most important things:

1. Theory -- I will be fine if you want to go for theory but please slow down on theory debates especially if you don't send analytics in the speech doc

2. K -- you can read Ks in front of me but WARNING: I am a 2a and my partner is the one who has been running the ks and winning on them. that being said I have taken framework in my 1nr pretty consistently and have recognized that 2ac interpretations need to adapt to the k at hand. For example, don't go for an education impact against a security k that is saying your reps and education are bad. fairness in that scenario is a much better avenue.

3. K affs -- I am not going to be your best judge. I think fairness is an impact, and I generally think that plan texts are pretty necessary.

playfully make fun of any of my friends or my spelling.

please add me to the email chain or ask questions: don.pierce21@montgomerybell.edu

Max Pilcher Paradigm

6 rounds

My kids keep making fun of me for my paradigm being too long so I decided to make a shorter updated version, but I'll leave the old stuff on the bottom for posterity. All the stuff I say in the old essay is still true unless it contradicts something written up here. Updated 12/22/2019. (Update 2: Apparently even in my short version I’m super verbose so I’ll give you a super cliff notes as well).


-Put me on the email chain but I flow off your speech.

-Warrants are super important, and I won’t vote on arguments without them.

-More impact comparison, no matter what kind of debate you do.

-Everything is fine, and I’m a lot better judge for neg FW than I used to be.

-Go for theory and T more.

-Don’t be shifty or mean.

-Zero risk is possible and defense can be terminal, but it often isn’t.

Paradigm, Short(er) Edition:

-Email is maxtp26@gmail.com. Put me on the email chain please, though I won't read along outside of curiosity etc. reasons. I flow based on the words I hear, not what's in your document. This means clarity is of utmost importance. I'll say clear up to three times, but if I don't hear an argument the onus is on you. My hearing is also apparently not as good as it once was so this is crucial. It also means if you want me to flow a rehighlighting, you have to actually read the important stuff.

-I'll vote on anything (with the exceptions of racism good, etc.) as long as it's warranted and impacted out. However, arguments do consist of a claim, a warrant, and an impact. If your argument doesn't contain a warrant I won't vote on it and I'll give the other team pretty much infinite leeway on answering it in later speeches. My threshold for blippiness is going up and, from recent panel results, is probably higher than your average judge's. When in doubt, explain.

-While I think I've developed a reputation as a K judge and coach, I'm definitely getting more middle of the road the more I judge, and I think my record in recent framework rounds is near 50-50 or even slightly favoring the team reading framework. I find fairness is usually least persuasive when gone for as an impact of its own, and most persuasive as an internal link to other impacts. The arguments I find most compelling when going for neg framework have to do with the educational value of beginning with the USFG as a starting point or of switching sides as pedagogy. Impact comparison is paramount in these debates and I usually vote for the team who does the most of it.

-Because it bears repeating, impact comparison is paramount. I find one of the most common post-round comments I give to be "there could have been more impact work," whether it's a T debate, FW debate, or DA/case. I would always err on the side of more.

-I love tricky and creative arguments but if your strategy relies on shiftiness and deceit I'm probably not the judge for you. This means if your cxes consist of a lot of "we don't have to answer that" or other forms of question dodging I will be greatly displeased. A good rule of thumb to follow: if truthfully answering questions about your argument hurts you strategically, you probably just shouldn't make that argument.

-I find it funny when judges say "I have a general predisposition against violence" or stuff like that then go on to vote on heg good in half their rounds. I too am predisposed against violence but if your argument includes advocating for violent revolution or whatever to me that's no different (and probably more morally defensible) than advocating for US empire. It's almost like certain forms of violence are naturalized and camouflaged to maintain the supremacy of whiteness and the global liberal order... That said I'll vote on heg good too and will try my best to counteract my personal bias against such.

-Affs should be reading and going for way more theory and negs should be going for way more T (at least in front of me). I find teams these days are getting away with the most ridiculously abusive counterplans and affs because everyone's too scared to go for theory against them.

-Most of all, have fun! Debate as an educational space is great and important but I'd rather have enjoyable debates bereft of educational value than educational debates that everyone hates. You only have 4-8 years on average to enjoy this strange and wonderful activity, and I want everyone to make the most of it and not just look back on their debate careers with ressentiment.

Old Stuff:

Quick LD cheat sheet for Apple Valley:

-I judge/coach policy mainly but judge a couple LD tournaments a year, and have judged multiple bid rounds, RRs, etc. in LD

-Anything goes: tricks, Ks, value/criterion, LARP, whatever. As a former philosophy major, I'm pretty familiar with all major moral theories that get used in phil debates and I judge a lot of K debates in policy so I shouldn't have a problem with whatever you read

-Depth>breadth in terms of argument development. I'm more likely to vote on well-developed arguments that are answered than dropped blips, although I will vote on the dropped blips occasionally as well.

-The one thing I ask is that you SLOW DOWN ON THEORY, maybe by about 20-30%. Any other argument you're fine going full-speed but my tiny policy brain can't flow LD theory at 300 wpm so if you want me to flow your arguments, slow down a bit.

-I'm not gonna disclose speaks, sorry. I get this is seemingly a norm in circuit LD so maybe I just need to adjust the way I think about this but it makes me fairly uncomfortable do so.

What do I need to know?

I'm the varsity policy coach for West Des Moines Valley for my 3rd (non-consecutive) year now, and in the past I debated for Des Moines Roosevelt and the University of Iowa. I just graduated from Grinnell College with a degree in Philosophy and Gender Studies. Over my first two years of coaching I ended up judging 70 or so rounds a year, mostly at bid-level tournaments.

Do what you want, within the reasonable guidelines of not being racist, sexist, homophobic, transphobic, and so on. I believe that debate is an activity for the debaters, and while I consider my role as judge to be that of an educator, the educational model I follow is one which is substantially less horizontal than traditional ones, in that I think my job as judge is to learn from you, as well as hopefully encourage and strengthen your competitive abilities.

There aren't any arguments outside of the parameters established earlier that I either won't or haven't voted on, and I'm down to hear whatever you enjoy most and are best at. What I find most disappointing while judging is when I see competitors who seem actively disengaged from the round for whatever reason, and as such I think I should facilitate enjoyment of the round by encouraging you to read and do whatever makes you happy.

With that said, here are my thoughts and presuppositions about specific arguments. All of them can be changed and I will always prefer arguments made within the debate to my thoughts outside of that round, but these are my "defaults" that I will revert to absent arguments to the contrary:

Top Level Stuff:

- Tech over truth but tech is guided by and generally adheres to the "truth," whatever that may be. In other words, I'll evaluate the round based off the flow and the arguments made in round, but determining which argument wins in a technical debate is something which is limited by, or at least shaped by, the truth of those arguments. "Global warming causes extinction" and "Global warming prevents an ice age, which causes extinction" are both viable arguments in a debate round, but the former is going to be easier to win because it is more in line with reality.

- On that note, dropped arguments are true arguments but an argument consists of a claim, a warrant, and an implication (impact). If you say that your opponent dropped X arg so you win the debate, that may be true, but you still need to explain why X arg wins you the debate. One of the things that is most frequently missing from high school policy rounds is the impacting of conceded arguments, and this often presents major difficulties to my ability to evaluate the debate, especially in messy rounds where both teams drop arguments all over the flow. If you want an easy way to win (and get good speaker points) make sure you are explaining not only that your opponent has dropped your arguments, but also what it means that they have dropped your arguments. All of the above is of course true in the case of contested arguments as well, but I find the implication debate appears a lot more naturally in those circumstances.

- Do as much as you can get away with. Again, everything here is just my personal bias or default, and just because I say I don't like or disagree with an argument doesn't mean you shouldn't make it or read it.

DA/Advantage Debate

- "Zero risk" is certainly possible but often unlikely. What I mean by this is that if the neg says "The plan leads to an increase in hair loss, and warming causes extinction" and the aff says "No link--no warranted reason the aff leads to hair loss and no internal link between hair loss and warming," I'm not going to decide that since the aff only made defensive arguments that there's "only a risk" of the DA occurring. Smart defensive arguments (including and sometimes especially analytics) can take out entire disads and advantages, but if they're not terminal I am going to be more susceptible to "only a risk" logic.

- I love a good impact turn debate (who doesn't?) and find they're often the most strategic option given that your opponents' evidence about their aff or DA or whatever is often (and probably even should be) better than your cards to answer it.

- Impact comparison is obviously crucial but it seems a lot of debaters forget the comparison part of the phrase. If your overview is just "our impact is big, fast, and probable" you've done the first step, now explain why your impact is bigger, faster, and more probable. Even more astute debaters will attempt to evaluate which of those metrics they are most likely to be winning, and then make arguments as to why I should prefer that one; e.g. "magnitude before timeframe" and so on.

- Most politics theory arguments are, in fact, garbage, but I will happily assign zero risk to the disad if they're conceded. Just because it's a bad argument doesn't mean you shouldn't have to answer it (which is a metric that is, in general, true for how I evaluate debates).


- My personal bias is that most process counterplans, consult, and so on, are generally cheating because they are A. usually marginally competitive at best and B. steal a lot of aff ground. If you're aff you should almost certainly be reading theory against these arguments, and if you're neg you should be prepared to defend them. All that said, I think "cheating" counterplans are usually a great strategic choice because they steal aff ground and because most aff teams aren't prepared to extend theory in the face of your 15-point 1NR block, so if you have them, it's probably wise to read them. Again, do as much as you can get away with.

- I generally really like PICs on the other hand, with the obvious caveat that the more well-researched and specific to the aff they are the better.

- The common thread between these two presuppositions is that I generally believe the best counterplans are those with a specific solvency advocate that distinguishes them from the aff. What the bar for this solvency advocate is is a matter of debate, but the more contextualized to the aff your cp is the less likely you are to lose it to theory.

- I'll judge kick for you, but only if you tell me to and the aff doesn't tell me you can't. The "logical policymaker" in me thinks the squo should always be an option, but the "debate is a game" person tells me this is bad for the aff, so just make an argument why I should/shouldn't do so if the aff ends up being worse than the CP


- The link debate is probably the most important here since you'll usually be winning that your thing is *~bad~* and the debate will usually come down to whether the aff actually does that thing or not and thus gets access to a perm. That said, if you're reading a big stick policy aff you should probably just bite the bullet and go for the impact turn if there's no chance you can win a link turn.

- In KvK debates I don't really find myself having a default when it comes down to whether "method debates" mean the aff gets a perm or not. I guess I don't really see why the fact that we're talking about methods means that those methods don't have to be competitive, but if we're not viewing the aff as a test of the resolution's truth value maybe that changes. Either way, simply asserting that "method debates means no perms" probably isn't sufficient and I like when these debates get in depth

- Similarly, the zaniness of your perm arguments should probably be proportional to the zaniness of the 1AC&1NC, and the same for perm answers. Creative perms that are based in your literature have often been effective in front of me, and the neg should rely on similar creativeness in answering them. In other words, why limit yourself to "perm do both" when you could tell me the perm is a radical cooption of their method which makes you the true symbolic terrorists, or something?

"K Affs"/"New Debate"/FW

- The teams I coach mostly read critical arguments, affs without plan texts, and stuff like that, I went to college to study gender theory and philosophy, and a large portion of the rounds I've judged in the past have been K rounds, so I think I've (deservedly) cultivated a bit of a prior reputation as a K hack. However, I've noticed in more recent times that perhaps I'm swinging a bit back toward the middle of the road in these debates, or at least that at the end of rounds I often find myself asking: "why didn't this team go for framework?" because the kritikal team has mishandled or neglected parts of that debate, yet the opposing team ends up going for something else. I have voted on framework in the past, I expect I will continue to do so in the future, and if it is the best option for you in any given debate you should choose it.

- I think the biggest shift in my thinking here is that over time I have stopped subconsciously viewing my vote of any given individual debate as implying that I have somehow committed some ideological boon/transgression, and instead believe that the most educational approach to facilitating debates as a judge involves me allowing debaters to challenge any and all aspects of their opponents arguments. While I believe each debate round is important as a unique pedagogical moment, I am somewhat less convinced that the results of that debate will change the world or even the (horrible and oppressive) structures of debate, and thus I believe that if a team is not capable of beating framework or topicality on its own merits, I shouldn't vote for them just because it helps the movement or is supposed to improve debate, because it probably won't.

- If you are the "K team" in this debate, you should make sure you answer args like "it's about the best model of debate/competing interps" if you're just going for arguments that boil down to "our aff is good." If it's "not what you do but what you justify," you need to ensure that you have either an adequate description of what you justify and why it's good, or an answer to the above argument.

- I'm finding myself (slightly) more compelled by "do it on the neg" style arguments against affs that just say the resolution is bad. If you are reading such an aff you probably want a defense of why you being even forced to defend the resolution in a pedagogical space is bad, not just reasons the resolution as a question is bad.

- TVAs are good and important but often not the game-ender FW teams think they are. If the aff says "state bad" then you give a big list of state actions, this still does not (on its own) mean that the state is good, and thus doesn't necessarily disprove any part of the aff's claim. If you impact out how exactly that TVA solves, preferably even with evidence, you're in a much better place. Basically, you need to actually have a warranted reason the TVA solves, not just the phrase "we have a topical version of the aff!!!"

Other random things:

My "role of the ballot" is to, as the cliche goes, determine who did the better debating, but that doesn't mean there can't be other "RoBs" within the debate. Generally I interpret these as frameworks or criteria for evaluating the different arguments and impacts within the round, so a phrase like "the role of the ballot is to vote for the team who best performatively and methodologically challenges queerphobia" would mean, to me, basically, that I evaluate arguments according to whichever team best meets such a criteria, not that my ballot serves some literal other purpose than choosing the best debater. However, this does mean that if you answer such an RoB with the phrase "the role of the ballot is to choose the team who does the better debating" I'm not sure you're being responsive to what that phrase is actually saying.

Any number of conditional options is allowed as long as you can justify you get that many, and any number of conditional options is not allowed as long you can win the opponent doesn't get that many. I don't think there's any magic number above which condo suddenly does or doesn't become okay, and as with everything I think this is a debate best left to the debaters. Despite my reputation I actually really enjoy big debates with lots of different arguments and you should always look to get away with as much as the other team will let you in any given debate.

Excessive rudeness is obviously never appreciated. I know debate can get heated sometimes and that's fine but if you get to the point of insulting the other team, your partner, etc. Jokes are always good as long as they aren't at the expense of other people, and so you should always be careful about accidentally hurting someone.

Call me Max, or judge if you absolutely feel uncomfortable with that (though being referred to as judge makes me feel weird), and put me on the email chain if you remember (my email is maxtp26@gmail.com).

As I've alluded to a couple times earlier, I believe that one of the reasons why debate is such an amazing activity (and it truly can be!) is because of the relatively non-horizontal nature of it compared to other educational activities, and I really want to facilitate that environment. Obviously as the person holding the sheet of paper or connected to the tabroom ballot I have a certain degree of power, but again, debate is for you (the debaters). So, as I keep reiterating, do what makes you most happy and comfortable within the debate space. Me asking anything otherwise would just be an attempt to stroke my ego as a judge and reassert my power within the room. I'm not going to stop you from doing anything as long as it does not hurt other people (which words can most certainly do, as we should all know) or cause me to be responsible for activities which would violate my contract as a coach. Read "trolly" arguments if you so desire, sit or stand to speak, go to the bathroom or get a drink of water when you need to, chat with people as long as it isn't disrupting or delaying the debate, or "dance with a chair if that's what the muse tells you to do." Do what you enjoy and I will enjoy it too.

Lizzie Prete Paradigm

6 rounds

UIUC '18

Niles West '14

I coach for Niles West debate and have for the past 4 years.

I debated for three years for Niles West and one year at Michigan State University on the legalization topic – so the bulk of my debate experience has been very policy-oriented.

Yes, I would like to be on the email chain but I will not be flowing off the speech doc --- lizzieprete1@gmail.com

First and foremost: I try my absolute best not to allow my preconceived notions about certain types of arguments affect my decision making. I view debate primarily as an activity that develops critical thinking and advocacy skills, so do that in whatever way you think is best suited for your situation (granted that it is respectful and not offensive). I won’t tell you to run or not run any particular argument in front of me. That being said, I’ll briefly go through some smaller-scale preferences that I have pertaining to certain arguments.

Meta things:

1. Clarity - I would rather not have to work too hard to decipher what you are saying. I am bad at multitasking, and if I’m doing that I’ll probably miss an argument or two. Please enunciate tag lines especially. If I can’t decipher your answer to an argument, I will consider it dropped.

2. Be respectful – yes, debate is a competitive activity, but before anything else it is an academic thought exercise. I encourage assertiveness and confidence in round, but if you are rude, I will reduce your speaker points. Rudeness includes excessively cutting your opponent off or talking over them in cross-ex, excessively interrupting your partner's speech to prompt them, being unnecessarily snarky towards your opponents, etc. Please just be nice :)

3. Logic - a lot of times, debaters get wrapped up in the technicality of their debates. While tech is important, it shouldn’t come at the expense of doing things like explaining your arguments, pointing out logical flaws in your opponents’ arguments, and telling me how I should evaluate a particular flow in the context of the whole debate. I tend to reward teams that provide consistent, clear, and smart meta-level framing issues – it makes my job 100 times easier, and it minimizes the extent to which I have to intervene to decide the debate. I will not do work for you on an argument even if I am familiar with it – I judge off of my flow exclusively.

4. DO NOT assume that I am following along on the speech doc as you are giving a speech, because I am probably not.

Certain arguments:

T – I like a good T debate, if both teams compare their interpretations and evidence adequately. The impact level is the most important to me in T debates, and if you don’t do a good job comparing the standards/impacts being gone for in the round, do not be mad if I intervene and weigh them myself.

DAs – are essential to a good debate I think. If you don’t start your speeches with impact overviews, however, I will be less inclined to vote for you and more inclined to look at the aff’s impacts first.

Ks and Framework – I love kritiks, I went for them a lot in high school. They are good for debate *if they answer the affirmative*. Please engage the affirmative. This entails making specific link arguments as well as thorough turns case analysis. I am probably familiar with your literature, however, I will not weigh your buzzwords more than logical aff arguments against your K. If you want my ballot, you need to first and foremost TALK ABOUT THE AFF. If you don’t say a word about the aff in the debate I will probably not vote for you. Read specific links to the aff’s representations and impacts, not just to the topic in general. The link debate is crucial – and the aff should recognize if the neg is not doing an adequately specific job explaining their link story. Additionally, you need to make turns case arguments. I will not be compelled by a mere floating pik in the 2NR – that’s cheating. Give me analysis about why the aff reifies its own impacts. Absent this, I usually default to weighing the 1AC heavily against the K. Relating to framework, I have a high threshold for interpretations that limit out critiques entirely. I would rather see debaters interact with the substance of the criticism than talk shallowly about fairness and predictability (especially if it is a common argument). A lot of the times, framework debates are lazy. If you are going to read high theory in front of me (i.e. Baudrillard or Bataille) please be even more thorough. Your attempt to confuse your opponent so that they incorrectly answer your argument(s) will most likely just make me grumpy.

Lastly, K affs - I've been doing a lot of thinking about K affs lately, especially planless K affs. It seems that K affs are becoming farther and farther removed from the topic/resolution. I think that most planless K affs could be read on the neg, but that does not mean that they should not be read on the aff. This is good news if you are negative going for framework because switch side debate probably solves a lot of aff offense if there is a topical version of the aff. This is also good news for the aff because I can just as likely be persuaded that the reading of your aff in the debate space creates something unique (i.e., whatever you are solving for). However, my threshold for considering your aff as being relevant or engaging the topic/resolution is extremely high, as most teams do not even attempt to do this anymore. Plan texts are important, unless you have good offensive reasons why you don’t have to read one. Expecting the negative to predict every possible advocacy statement or hypothetical argument the aff can defend is a little ridiculous. A policy action, whether or not it's done by the federal government, should be a priority for the aff to defend. Please just do something that gives the negative a role in the debate. If you do not or cannot, I will be grumpy. SLOW DOWN on taglines if they are paragraphs; I think it kills your ethos to spread your tags, and more importantly, I probably will not flow them very well.

Dana Randall Paradigm

1 rounds

My name is Dana Randall (danarandall@gmail.com) and I am the Director of Debate at Carrollton School of the Sacred Heart. I have been an active member of the policy debate community since 1996.

As a competitor and coach of policy teams at regional and national levels I feel comfortable assessing debates that are quick and complex.

I have instructed novice, jv, and varsity teams who've enjoyed tremendous success. I credit that success to the fact that I've had the privilege of working with some of the brightest and most dedicated students in the activity. Witnessing their steadfast commitment inspires me to take my judging responsibilities very seriously. I will strive to keep a meticulous flow and render my decision based on what transpires in the debate round as opposed to my personal predispositions.

I will ask to be included on the speech thread. I do this to prevent teams from debating students that succumb to pressure of competition by representing that they have read words in a speech document which they have not audibly read. Debate is a very difficult activity without compelling students debating to also follow along with every word read by their opponent.

I believe that fairness is a terminal impact – that is why I flow both teams, listen to both teams, enforce reciprocal time limits, have teams affirm or negate the resolution based on the pairing provided by the tournament and I have no idea what an alternative metric for reaching a conclusion as to which team did the better debating.

Christopher Rascoe Paradigm

4 rounds

Westminster 19

Northwestern 23

Put me on the email chain: christopherrascoe@gmail.com

I don’t have a ton of topic knowledge so explain it like I’m 5.


I want to be post-rounded if you disagree. As long as it's within reason, I won't get offended and it makes us all a little better. I also want to get in on the fun.

Staunch tech over truth. An argument is a claim and a warrant. Additionally, it's up to you to explain the implication of an argument if dropped by the other team. I don't enjoy voting on cheap shots (ASPEC, New AFFs Bad) but I will. It's a way to keep people flowing and technically proficient, but for cheeky neg teams, it hurts your speaks especially if it's egregious.

Evidence. I will read cards when there is a substantive clash over the content between the two teams. I will not read cards if I believe the other team has not adequately responded to them. The evidence is irrelevant if you don't explain your argument, it cannot do the debating for you. That said, evidence is clearly important and to maximize its utility you should do the following: highlight the most important cards well, quote your evidence directly in late rebuttals, prodict author qualifications and dates and explain why it matters, and talk about statistics.

Offense/Defense. It is how I evaluate debates. For example, you shouldn't go for "perm do both" without solvency deficits because any risk the DA links to the perm means I vote neg. This isn't to say you can't get a DA to 0 risk, but the difference between "low risk" and "no risk" is large. "Low risk" is I think one team was largely ahead on a few key presses and the DA is contrived. "No risk" is that the DA is facially absurd or they dropped an argument, so don't gamble on winning that.

I will vote on anything. There comes a point where one team is just winning. I will vote for that team regardless of the content of their arguments but have a higher burden of proof for arguments that ask me to disregard the resolution or the material consequences of the AFF.

Be clear. I will yell "clear" a few times then give up and stop flowing. You're not too fast to be clear.

Reinsertion. I may be in the minority here but I think you can reinsert lines of evidence without rereading it if it's from the portion of the article that the other team has already read. In my opinion, it's just an indict of evidence with the added clarity that comes from referencing portions of their card. I feel as though that should be rewarded.

Expression. I'm expressive during the round, you will be able to tell if something doesn't make sense to me. I will nod if I agree with you.

New 1AR Args. Just justify them in the 1AR.


Top Level.

Technical wins overwhelm my bias on theory.

Cross-applications are the best way to recover from a botched response to a theory argument/concession.

How to win.

1. Comparing theory interpretations.

2. Making theory arguments specific to the round and the arguments in question. "Process CPs Bad" <<< "Conditional Consult CPs Bad"

3. Do impact calculus.

How to lose.

1. Extend only defense (it's amazing how many people do this)

2. Assume that because of my opinions that you don't have to answer an argument thoroughly.

3. For the AFF - try to go for a theory violation that was too small in the 1AR.

4. For the Neg - blow off a developed theory violation in the 2NR.

General Opinions.

Condo - neg leaning, I honestly don't care how many

Kicking Planks and Combining CPs - Neg leaning unless you do it out of the blue in the 2NR. Just telegraph to the other team that you are allowed to do that before the 2NC ends.

States CPs - neg leaning

2NC CPs - neg leaning except out of straight turned DAs, you should justify it in the 2NC

Solvency Advocate Theory - neg leaning, make it a solvency argument.

Functionally Competitive PICs - neg leaning

Textually Competitive PICs - heavily aff leaning

International CPs - 1 national government = on the fence; anything else = aff leaning

"Process CPs" - CPs that fiat the entire plan conditionally (consult, commissions, etc.) are probably unfair. CPs that fiat something which might result in the plan are fair. For instance, the ICJ CP that only fiats asking the ICJ for a ruling, then claims spill-up is much more theoretically legitimate than the ICJ CP which fiats U.S. abidance with the ruling. CPs that don't reduce restrictions on immigration (non-enforcement, pardons, waivers, and exemptions) are not process CPs, they're PICs and they're legitimate. For the aff, if you're going for theory against these types of CPs in the 2AR then more power to you, but it should be paired with competition arguments (most often perm do the CP) and it should be most of your 2AR.

Judge Kick - I'm assuming judge kick unless the aff tells me why I shouldn't.

Intrinsic Perms - the only thing that matters is whether or not a perm is functionally intrinsic. Functionally intrinsic perms can be justified for artificial net benefits but generally, this is not the strongest argument to go for.

Severance Perms - no.

Policy Arguments


Do impact calculus and turns case. Uniqueness matters for all levels of a DA. Immigration Bad DAs are neg ground. Most Politics DAs are trash but people are also bad at answering them.

Impact Turns.

Yes. If you do it right, it's a big bump in speaks. Just remember to do impact calculus, keep the debate clean/organized and read a lot of cards. It's probably my favorite kind of argument. I'm familiar with dedev, heg bad, prolif good, space col bad, democracy bad, spark, fast growth bad, trade bad, dollar heg bad, nato bad, and EU bad but also I'm totally happy with obscure impact turns, as long as it makes sense.


Love CP + DA debates. See the section on theory.

"Process CPs". I really like these debates when done well but when done poorly they're atrocious. In these debates, the Neg wins by being a technical monster in the 2NC/1NR and then just methodically closing doors in the 2NR. The Aff wins by keeping up and not being scared to go for perm do the CP and theory.


Please check the boxes of good CP debating. Reread or at least reference their internal link evidence, say sufficiency framing, say solvency deficits link to them, read 2NC CPs/Amendments when you know you're in trouble, use your brain when writing CP texts, be aggressive with neg fiat. Advantage CPs are underutilized. I'm sick of parole and politics but I also understand the need to go for it.


Impact out solvency deficits. Do impact calculus in the context of the CP. Read Add-Ons. Read DAs to CPs. Say it links to the net benefit. Competition and Theory > Competition > Theory Alone.


Generally, I dislike T debates and voting on T against an AFF with a plan text. That said, debate is a technical game and some T violations are persuasive. T is a voter, it's never a reverse voter.

How to debate it:

Case lists and impact comparison are both essential.

I think that predictability is a filter for the rest of the debate but it's your job to explain why that is. I think the phrase "debatability outweighs predictability" must be an inside joke that I missed. Evidence and evidence comparison are important. To that end, reasonability is more persuasive if the neg's interpretation is unpredictable.

K Arguments (Neg)

Neg K.

I'm familiar with basic K literature (security, neolib, set col, legalism, afropess, etc.) but you'll have to explain it. I don't like voting on K tricks but I will if it's impacted out by the neg and dropped by the aff. I'm bad for high theory unless they started it (see K v K). If I don't understand it, I'm not voting for it. If I only understand it from background knowledge outside of round, I'm not voting for it. If you chose to go for a complex argument, it's your job to do the heavy lifting.

I'm actually kind of into Buddhism personally so I would be really excited to see it executed well but, don't force it if you don't know what you're doing.

How to win: technical proficiency, labels, organization, specific link arguments that are based on the aff's consequences, turns case, clearly explained alternatives, making choices.

How to lose/be terrible: long overviews, lack of line by line, make clearly generic link arguments.

I'm willing to decide that I shouldn't weigh the AFF's consequences, but I don't think that framework should be your go-to 2NR strategy.

Aff v K.

I'm a big fan of the 2AR that is util, case outweighs, impact turns and alt presses.

Framework arguments that not only let you weigh the AFF but also establish a high bar for competition are strategic and persuasive.

Appeals to the specificity of your internal links and aff solvency are good.

Disprove their theory about the world.

Talk about link uniqueness and alt solvency.



Against T:

I am not a great judge for you, but I will try my best not to let them influence my decisions.

Impact turning their stuff is your best option. Debate bad isn't a good argument or one I agree with at all, but it is admittedly strategic.

If I don't understand your arguments, I don't expect the negative team to. I have a high bar for re-explanation, I have a low bar for new explanation in response to new spin.

Against Everything Else:

Explain what the AFF does clearly.

Do impact calculus.

Provide a clear framework for evaluating impacts, competition, and

Don't be cavalier with "no perms" theory.

Neg v K-Affs.

I'm a good judge for T but you have to cover your bases. Teams too often believe that I'm taking things for granted because I agree with T. You have to do line by line, you have to impact out fairness and clash. Yes, it's an "intrinsic good" but you need a warrant to go with that. If you don't have an answer to "why is fairness an impact?", if you drop the top of the case where they're clearly just hiding DAs on Framework, etc. then I'm immediately sympathizing with the AFF. Arguments that increase your chance of winning are: clash turns case, TVA, ballot not key, debate not key, and switch side solves.

Engage the case as best you can but I understand if it's obscure. Don't worry about their "Not Our Wilderson" arguments, I'm not buying it.

You should read DAs against these AFFs. It will either expose them as amorphous/vacuous which makes T better or they give you a link and you just debate the DA.

Going for the K. I won't auto-vote on the perm if you go for the K v K AFFs but it's your burden to explain your theory of the world and links clearly. Additionally, I would advise you to develop a standard for competition.

If the Aff team is clearly trolling with randomly thrown together pomo nonsense. I give you free rein to be obnoxious as you want in the 1NC: 10+ off, logical fallacies, procedurals, whatever. They asked for it. You can totally just condense down to T in the 2NR, I don't care.

Other Stuff

New AFFs.

They are infinitely good. You don't have to disclose them. Just don't drop new affs bad.

Stuff that should go without saying.

Clip, you lose. Self-harm in the round, you lose. Do something offensive, you lose. To clarify, morally ambiguous authors or arguments do not qualify, but doing or saying something to harm someone else in the round obviously does. Saying any form "prejudice or oppression good" is unambiguously wrong and you should lose for that.

Speaker Points

You can get good speaker points by doing the following:

1. Have a single organized speech document.

2. Don't take out analytics (you cowards).

3. Use math or statistics.

4. Debate the case.

5. Make bold choices.

6. Jokes

7. Analogies (if they aren't contrived)

8. Use emphasis and look up from your computer.

I will tank your speaks (<27.0) if you:

1. Ask the other team not to spread, then spread.

2. Have abysmal disclosure/no wiki.

3. Start yelling/screaming or attacking other debaters personally.

4. You're a jerk to your partner.

Malachi Robinson Paradigm

6 rounds

Woodward 19’

Email chain: 19malrobinson@woodward.edu


Respect your opponents. Passion and enthusiastic argumentation do not require aggression or insult.

Strategies dependent on confusion or evasion are much less persuasive than those that engage with and defeat the other team’s arguments. That said, don't drop arguments. If you do early on, explain why those concessions don't matter

There is frequently zero risk of both advantages and disadvantages.

T: I am a pretty big fan of T on this topic, especially T substantial. If you want to win my ballot, paint a picture of what your vision of the topic is and what happens in debates on it, which matters much more to me than conceeded generic blips and buzzwords.

CPs: Almost all are legitimate if there is a solvency advocate as specific as the affirmative’s. Evidence-Based PICs are good. Conditionality is good absent contradictions. If the affirmative is new, i'm much more lenient when evaluating neg schenanigans

FW: I believe that the affirmative should defend a topical plan. The most important question for me in these debates is the role of the negative and neg ground. Therefore, some anti-topical affirmatives that don’t permute defenses of the resolution are potentially persuasive.

Ks: Well impacted case-specific link analysis always beats broad claims or tricks. Going for less is more. Defend an alternative unless you can either win the plan is worse than the status quo or actually does not solve, and I mean with case defense. I am most familiar with critiques of capitalism and settler colonialism, but also understand most other generic Ks decently, escpecially critiques of anti-blackness. I do not like high theory. If you read deleuze you will likely lose.

Abby Schirmer Paradigm

2 rounds

Pace Academy, Atlanta GA (2019-Present)
Marist, Atlanta, GA (2015-2019)
Stratford Academy, Macon GA (2008-2015)
Michigan State University (2004-2008)

Please use email chains. Please add me- abby.schirmer@gmail.com.

Short version- You need to read and defend a plan in front of me. I value clarity (in both a strategic and vocal sense) and strategy. A good strategic aff or neg strat will always win out over something haphazardly put together. Impact your arguments, impact them against your opponents arguments (This is just as true with a critical strategy as it is with a DA, CP, Case Strategy). I like to read evidence during the debate. I usually make decisions pretty quickly. Typically I can see the nexus question of the debate clearly by the 2nr/2ar and when (if) its resolved, its resolved. Don't take it personally.

Long Version:
Case Debate- I like specific case debate. Shows you put in the hard work it takes to research and defeat the aff. I will reward hard work if there is solid Internal link debating. I think case specific disads are also pretty good if well thought out and executed. I like impact turn debates. Cleanly executed ones will usually result in a neg ballot -- messy debates, however, will not.

Disads- Defense and offense should be present, especially in a link turn/impact turn debate. You will only win an impact turn debate if you first have defense against their original disad impacts. I'm willing to vote on defense (at least assign a relatively low probability to a DA in the presence of compelling aff defense). Defense wins championships. Impact calc is important. I think this is a debate that should start early (2ac) and shouldn't end until the debate is over. I don't think the U necessarily controls the direction of the link, but can be persuaded it does if told and explained why that true.

K's- Im better for the K now than i have been in years past. That being said, Im better for security/international relations/neolib based ks than i am for race, gender, psycho, baudrillard etc (that shit cray). I tend to find specific Ks (ie specific to the aff's mechanism/advantages etc) the most appealing. If you're going for a K-- 1) please don't expect me to know weird or specific ultra critical jargon... b/c i probably wont. 2) Cheat- I vote on K tricks all the time (aff don't make me do this). 3) Make the link debate as specific as possible and pull examples straight from the aff's evidence and the debate in general 4) I totally geek out for well explained historical examples that prove your link/impact args. I think getting to weigh the aff is a god given right. Role of the ballot should be a question that gets debated out. What does the ballot mean with in your framework. These debates should NOT be happening in the 2NR/2AR-- they should start as early as possible. I think debates about competing methods are fine. I think floating pics are also fine (unless told otherwise). I think epistemology debates are interesting. K debates need some discussion of an impact-- i do not know what it means to say..."the ZERO POINT OF THE Holocaust." I think having an external impact is also good - turning the case alone, or making their impacts inevitable isn't enough. There also needs to be some articulation of what the alternative does... voting neg doesn't mean that your links go away. I will vote on the perm if its articulated well and if its a reason why plan plus alt would overcome any of the link questions. Link defense needs to accompany these debates.

K affs are fine- you have to have a plan. You should defend that plan. Affs who don't will prob lose to framework. A alot.... and with that we come to:

NonTraditional Teams-
If not defending a plan is your thing, I'm not your judge. I think topical plans are good. I think the aff needs to read a topical plan and defend the action of that topical plan. I don't think using the USFG is racist, sexist, homophobic or ablest. I think affs who debate this way tend to leave zero ground for the negative to engage which defeats the entire point of the activity. I am persuaded by T/Framework in these scenarios. I also think if you've made the good faith effort to engage, then you should be rewarded. These arguments make a little more sense on the negative but I am not compelled by arguments that claim: "you didn't talk about it, so you should lose."

CPs- Defending the SQ is a bold strat. I will listen (and most likely vote) on CPs done in either the 1NC or the 2NC. Multiple conditional (or dispo/uncondish) CPs are also fine. Condo is probably good, but i can be persuaded otherwise. Consult away- its arbitrary to hate them in light of the fact that everything else is fine. I lean neg on CP theory. Aff's make sure you perm the CP (and all its planks). Im willing to judge kick the CP for you. If i determine that the CP is not competitive, or that its a worse option - the CP will go away and you'll be left with whatever is left (NBs or Solvency turns etc). This is only true if the AFF says nothing to the contrary. (ie. The aff has to tell me NOT to kick the CP - and win that issue in the debate). I WILL NOT VOTE ON NO NEG FIAT. That argument makes me mad. Of course the neg gets fiat. Don't be absurd.

T- I usually view it in an offense/defense type framework but I'm also compelled by reasonability. I think competing interpretations are good but do think that some aff's are reasonably topical. Impact your reasons why I should vote neg. K's of T are stupid. I think the aff has to run a topical aff, and K-ing that logic is ridiculous. T isn't racist. RVIs are never ever compelling.... ever.

Theory- I tend to lean neg on theory. Condo- Probably Good. More than two then the aff might have a case to make as to why its bad - i've voted aff on Condo, I've voted neg on condo. Its a debate to be had. Any other theory argument I think is categorically a reason to reject the argument and not the team. I can't figure out a reason why if the aff wins international fiat is bad that means the neg loses - i just think that means the CP goes away.

Remember!!! All of this is just a guide for how you chose your args in round. I will vote on most args if they are argued well and have some sort of an impact. Evidence comparison is also good in my book-- its not done enough and i think its one of the most valuable ways to create an ethos of control with in the debate. Perception is everything, especially if you control the spin of the debate. I will read evidence if i need to-- don't volunteer it and don't give me more than i ask for. I love fun debates, i like people who are nice, i like people who are funny... i will reward you with good points if you are both. Be nice to your partner and your opponents. No need to be a jerk for no reason

Adam Smiley Paradigm

3 rounds

Coach at Alpharetta High School 2006-Present
Coach at Chattahoochee High School 1999-2005
Did not debate in High School or College.

E-mail: asmiley27@gmail.com

General thoughts- I expect debaters to recognize debate as a civil, enjoyable, and educational activity. Anything that debaters do to take away from this in the round could be penalized with lower speaker points. I tend to prefer debates that more accurately take into account the types of considerations that would play into real policymakers' decision making. On all arguments, I prefer more specifics and less generics in terms of argument choice and link arguments. The resolution has an educational purpose. I prefer debates that take this into account and do not go out of their way to moot any real discussion of the topic or try to avoid any real discussion of the merits of the aff. Everything in this philosophy represents my observations and preferences, but I can be convinced otherwise in the round and will judge the arguments made in the round. I will vote on most arguments, but I am going to be very unlikely to vote on arguments that I consider morally repugnant (spark, wipeout, malthus, cancer good, etc). You should avoid these arguments in front of me.

K- I am not a big fan of kritiks. This does not mean that I will not vote for kritiks, and I have become more receptive to them over the past few years. However, this does mean a couple of things for the debaters. First, I do not judge as many kritikal rounds as other judges. This means that I am less likely to be familiar with the literature, and the debaters need to do a little more work explaining the argument. Second, I may have a little higher threshold on certain arguments. I tend to think that teams do not do a good enough job of explaining how their alternatives solve their kritiks or answering the perms. Generally, I leave too many rounds feeling like neither team had a real discussion or understanding of how the alternative functions in the round or in the real world. I also tend towards a policy framework and allowing the aff to weigh their advantages against the K. However, I will look to the flow to determine these questions. Finally, I do feel that my post-round advice is less useful and educational in K rounds in comparison to other rounds.

T- I generally enjoy good T debates. Be sure to really impact your standards on the T debate. Also, do not confuse most limiting with fair limits. Finally, be sure to explain which standards you think I as the judge should default to and impact your standards.

Theory-I am willing to pull the trigger on theory arguments as a reason to reject the argument. However, outside of conditionality, I rarely vote on theory as a reason to reject the team. If you are going for a theory arg as a reason to reject the team, make sure that you are impacting the argument with reasons that I should reject the team. Too many debaters argue to reject the team without any impact beyond the argument being unfair. Instead, you need to win that it either changed the round in an unacceptable way or allowing it changes all future rounds/research in some unacceptable way. I will also tend to look at theory as a question of competing interpretations.I feel that too many teams only argue why their interpretation is good and fail to argue why the other team’s interpretation is bad.Also, be sure to impact your arguments. I tend towards thinking that topic specific education is often the most important impact in a theory debate.I am unlikely to do that work for you. Given my preference for topic specific education, I do have some bias against generic counterplans such as states and international actor counterplans that I do not think would be considered as options by real policymakers. Finally, I do think that the use of multiple, contradictory neg advocacies has gotten out of hand in a way that makes the round less educational. I generally believe that the neg should be able to run 1 conditional CP and 1 conditional K. I will also treat the CP and the K as operating on different levels in terms of competition. Beyond that, I think that extra conditional and contradictory advocacies put too much of a burden on the aff and limit a more educational discussion on the merits of the arguments.

Disads- I generally tend towards evaluating uniqueness as the most important part of the disad debate. If there are a number of links and link turns read on a disad debate, I will generally default towards the team that is controlling uniqueness. I also tend towards an offense defense paradigm when considering disads as net benefits to counterplans. I think that the politics disad is a very educational part of debate that is my favorite argument to both coach and judge. I will have a very high threshold for voting on politics theory. Finally, teams should make sure that they give impact analysis that accounts for the strong possibility that the risk of the disad has been mitigated and tells me how to evaluate that mitigation in the context of the impacts in round.

Counterplans-I enjoy a good counterplan debate. However, I tend to give the aff a little more leeway against artificially competitive counterplans, such as consult counterplans. I also feel that a number of aff teams need to do more work on impacting their solvency deficits against counterplans. While I think that many popular counterplans (especially states) are uniquely bad for debate, I have not seen teams willing to invest the time into theory to help defeat these counterplans.

Calling for cards- I prefer to read as few cards post round as possible.I think that it is up to the debaters to give clear analysis of why to prefer one card over another and to bring up the key warrants in their speeches.

Rebecca Steiner Paradigm

6 rounds

current PHD student at University of Georgia. Previously coached at Wake Forest & University of Florida.

Create an email chain for evidence. Put me on it. My email address is lace.stace@gmail.com also add georgiascoutingdocs@gmail.com . If you are debating in high school, you do not need to add the second email address.

First team to trivialize or deny the Holocaust loses.


Is there an overview that requires a new sheet of paper? I hope not.

Does the DA turn the AFF?

Impact calculus is necessary from both sides.

Impact turn debates are fine with me (ex. heg good/bad).


What are the key differences between the CP and the plan?

Does the CP solve some of the aff or all of the aff?

If you are reading multiple DA's, be clear about which one/s you are claiming as the net benefit/s to your CP.

"Solving more" is not a net benefit for me.

Although I generally lean negative on international fiat, PICS, and agent CP theory arguments, I do not think the neg should get multiple conditional planks on a counterplan. I am more aff leaning on multiple conditional advocacy s are bad for our activity. I hate when the neg reads a 1nc full of arguments in great tension with/clearly link or are clearly a double turn to other things in the 1nc.


I will flow the entire debate and judge based on what I have flowed.

I prefer when debaters make flowing easier for me (signposting, identifying other team’s argument and making direct answers, clarity).

I prefer when debaters answer arguments individually rather than “grouping”.

Tech > truth


"What cards did you read" and "What cards did you not read" definitely count as cross-x time.

Avoid intervening in your partners cross-x time, whether asking or answering.

Speaker points:

Speaking clarity, argument clarity, disrespectfulness to partner or other team, stealing prep time, sophistication of strategy, and in-round argument execution all matter to me when determining points.

"Cut the card there" is not sufficient. Mark any cards you do not finish. Give a new speech document that reflects the marked cards to your opponents.

Locating pens, flows, timer/s, and evidence all count for prep time.

Misa Stekl Paradigm

6 rounds

Emory '19 (not debating; 4th year judging)

Bishop Guertin '15 (national circuit; went to the TOC)

mstekl@emory.edu -- please put me on the email chain

My favorite judges in high school were jon sharp, Calum Matheson, and Jarrod Atchinson.

In general, you should not change what you do because you have me in the back of the room. As a debater, I tended to be pretty flexible, alternating frequently between "critical" and "policy" positions. This is your space to argue, not mine, so I will vote for the arguments on the flow that yield the path of least intervention. Pure objectivity being impossible, I nonetheless do my best to keep my subjective argumentative preferences out of the picture. That said, I'm not quite a blank slate; for instance, I won't be persuaded by racism/sexism/etc. good, or by any unapologetically discriminatory positions or practices.

I’m pretty well versed in K lit – I'm a Philosophy and Comparative Literature double major, so I should have some degree of familiarity with whatever you choose to read. I'm an especially good judge for any brand of poststructuralism, including those concerned with questions of identity. Obviously, this doesn't mean that you can rely on buzzwords to get out of explaining your argument; it does mean, too, that I'll know if you have no idea what you're talking about. You should have at least a working knowledge of the position you are asking me to vote for, which requires you to do at least some cursory background reading and thinking. Then, bring your knowledge of critical theory to bear on the particulars of the aff, balancing overarching framing questions with specific link and impact analysis.

I'm not convinced that the aff must defend governmental action. Which is only to say that I will not enter the room with any dogmatic biases against plan-less affirmatives. That said, I probably enjoy a good framework debate more than most, and find myself voting for framework as often as I vote against it. Still, I don't think it should be your only strategy against all K affs; I will be more persuaded if you at least make an effort to substantively engage the aff. Of course, particularly obscure affs or those lacking a consistent advocacy will tend to be harder to defend against framework than core, topic-specific K affs.

***UPDATE September 2018: As I've judged more debates, I've become increasingly wary of framework as a default negative strategy against K affs. In my experience, framework very often becomes a lazy cop-out, even an excuse to avoid debating the substance of the aff. I can still be convinced that this is not always the case, and I will continue to evaluate framework debates technically, but it is on framework debaters to prove the value of their strategy.***

I think I tend to prioritize evidence quality less than most judges. Not that good cards aren't important – they're the pillars of your argument – but they can't replace good analysis. Depending on your argumentative genre of choice, it may be better to establish your position through evidence-reading or through your own explanation in the constructives; but in most cases, I'd rather you invest more time in nuanced and specific applications of your argument than read another card. In the final rebuttals, you absolutely shouldn't rely on your cards to do the work for you – extensions should be much more substantive than simple author name-drops. If you can't explain your author's argument, as well as its implications for the debate, I won't explain it for you.

Clear! I'll take clarity over speed any day. You should be comprehensible enough that I can understand the text of your cards. I will not call for cards after the debate if I was unable to understand them when you read them; I only read evidence for the sake of refreshing my memory.

Chill out. While antagonism is inevitable in this competitive forum and may even enhance debates in limited doses, I maintain that debaters too often take aggression to unhealthy extremes. Outside of a small number of "critical" strategies that benefit performatively from hostility, there is no reason to deliberately be an asshole to the other team, or – especially – to your partner (!!seriously!! if I can hear you yelling at your partner during prep time, you're doing something wrong). Jokes can also help ease the tension.

Speaks – Points vary by tournament (i.e. I'll give higher points at Samford than at the NDCA). Generally speaking, I'm a bit of a point fairy. Methods for improving your speaks include innovative, specific strategies and clear logical organization. Humor is the icing on the cake.

30 – Among the best speakers I’ve ever heard: you should be top speaker and win the tournament. A+
29.5-29.9 – Outstanding: expect to be one of the top 5 speakers – you should be able to make it to late elims. A
29-29.4 – Very impressive: a noteworthy performance with quite little room for improvement; you deserve to be among the top 20 speakers. A-
28.6-28.9 – High average: you are in or near the top of your division; with any luck – and, more surely, with just a little more practice – you should be able to break. B/B+
28-28.5 – Average: you're doing well, but still need to iron out some remaining issues with your clarity of speech or of argument. B-
27.5-27.9 – Low average: you have potential, but displayed: a) notable problems with both speaking and argument development, or b) more serious problems in one of the two areas. C/C+
27-27.4 – Below average: your performance was passable, but suffered from critical issues of both style and content. C-
26.5-26.9 – Needs improvement: you spoke poorly, made major strategic mistakes, and likely dropped some important arguments. D
26-26.4 – Needs major improvement: you failed to answer a majority of your opponent’s arguments and made some manner of unforgivable mistake. D-
0-25 – You did something offensive. F

Clipping will result in an immediate loss and the lowest speaks allowed by the tournament. I will follow along with the speech doc and record the debate; if I catch you clipping, I will stop the round you even if your opponent doesn’t call you on it.

This is not, in fact, your CX.

** Update March 2019: YES TKO PLEASE TKO! Far too many debates drag on painfully long after they (should) have technically ended. For this reason, I am following B. Manuel's paradigm and urging you to invoke "total knock-out" mode if the other team makes an utterly irredeemable mistake – e.g., double turn, dropped T or a K, etc. Of course, you must stake the round on this; if you can pull it off (i.e., if you can satisfactorily extend the dropped/devastating argument while covering all your bases, e.g., answering condo if going for a dropped K...), then you will win the round after your speech and receive 30s. If you are unsuccessful, you lose and get a hard cap of 27.5. **

Jordana Sternberg Paradigm

Director of Debate at Westminster, former lawyer, college debater before that -- but slow it down a little if you want your arguments to make it to my flow, which is usually on paper.

I know VERY LITTLE about the arms sales topic, and I don't know the nuances of any T arguments. Don't assume, and explain well.

Put me on the email chain at wildcatstalkfast@gmail.com

Quick thoughts:

1) Make your speeches flowable. I can listen and flow as fast as you can speak but not if you are reading pre-written blocks at top speed with no breaks or changes in inflection. If you're going to read blocks, try to at least pretend you're not reading blocks by having breaks between arguments, emphasizing tags, slowing it down a little on analytics, etc. You are also a lot more likely to hold my attention to details and help me not miss stuff that way. I will reward your speaker points if you do a good job of this.

You would be shocked at how many "good" judges think the same thing about block-reading and the above advice, and how little some judges are flowing, or even catching, of what you think you said.

2) I disagree with approaches that make the personal identity of the debaters in the round relevant to the decision in the debate, especially for high-school-aged students, and I am also not a good judge for these debates because I often do not understand what the judge is being asked to vote for. This does not mean you can't read K arguments or arguments about race or identity, in fact there are many K arguments that I think are true and make a lot of sense, I just don't think a teacher should in the position of ratifying or rejecting the personal identity or experiences of a teenager.

3) "Death good" arguments can be a reason to reject the team.

4) There needs to be a fair stasis point in order to have good debates. Debate is good.

5) Theory: You are really taking your chances if you rely on a sketchy CP that requires winning a lot of theory, because I do not spend a lot of time outside of debate rounds thinking about theory. I can't tell you which way I will come down on a particular theory issue because it usually depends on what is said -- and what I flow -- in that particular round. This applies to T debates and other theory debates too.

6) If it is pretty close between the CP and the aff (or even if it isn't close), you need to give some really clear comparative explanations about why I should choose one over the other -- which you should do for any judge but make sure you do it when I'm judging.

7) I really dislike high theory and post-modernism in debate.

8) Reading cards to decide the debate: For many years I tried to judge without looking at the speech documents during the speeches, but I have recently concluded that is unrealistic because there is an entire additional level of the debate that is happening between the debaters in the speech documents. I don't think it should be that way, but I understand why it is happening. However, if the claims made about a card or set of cards are uncontested by the opponent, I am likely to assume when deciding the debate that the cards say what their reader claimed they say rather than reading both sides' cards or any of the cards.

9) I am not at all deep in the files and evidence especially for most neg arguments, so I am really judging the debate based on what you say and what your cards say as you present them in the round.

9) Links and impact calculus are really, really important, especially in the last rebuttals. However, I think lengthy pre-written overviews are not as good as 2NR/2AR (and prior) explanations based on what actually happened in the particular debate.

Clay Stewart Paradigm

6 rounds

Note: This is my Policy paradigm. For my LD paradigm, see the JudgePhilosophies Wikispaces.

Disclaimer: I am partially deaf in my left ear. While this has zero impact on my ability to flow in 99.9% of debates, exceptionally bad acoustics may force me to be closer than usual during speeches. In less exceptional circumstances, I may ask you to make minor adjustments (e.g. changing the angle of your laptop). I apologize in advance for the inconvenience.

***Debate Experience***

Lincoln-Douglas: 3 Years (Local/ National Circuit)
Policy Debate: 4 Years of College Policy Debate, Georgia State University (Starting with the 2011-2012 Democracy Assistance Topic)
2015 NDT Qualifier (WOOT!)
Coached By: Joe Bellon, Nick Sciullo, Erik Mathis
Argument Style: I read primarily kritikal arguments my Freshman/ Sophomore year; I switched to primarily policy arguments my Junior/ Senior year.
Caselist Link (I was a 2N my Senior year): http://opencaselist14.paperlessdebate.com/Georgia+State/Stewart-Nails+Neg

***Coaching Experience***

Lincoln-Douglas Debate: 4 Years (Local/ National Circuit)
Policy Debate: 3 Years (Graduate Assistant At The University of Georgia)

***General Preferences***


Debate is a game; my strongest belief is that debaters should be able to play the game however they want to play it. I remain committed to Tabula Rasa judging, and have yet to see an argument (claim/ warrant) I would not pull the trigger on. The only exception to this is if I could not coherently explain to the other team the warrant for the argument I'm voting on. Unless told otherwise, I will flow the debate, and vote, based on the line-by-line, for whomever I thought won the debate.

What follows are my general thoughts about arguments, because for some reason that's what counts as a "judging paradigm" these days. Everything that follows WILL be overridden by arguments made in the debate.


Not my strongest point as a judge. That does not mean that you should not run theory if that's your thing/ there's actual abuse/ it's the most strategic way out of the round. The easiest thing you can do to win my ballot on theory is to slow down and give an overview that sets up a clear way for me to evaluate the line-by-line. I have no default conception of how theory functions, it could be an issue of competing interpretations, an issue of reasonability, an RVI, or a tool of the patriarchy. Frame it the way you want it evaluated.

***Warning***: My LD background, where theory is much more common, means that I probably have a much lower threshold for pulling the trigger than you're used to. Defaults such as X is never a reason to reject the team, RVIs Bad, and a general disregard of Spec arguments aren't hardwired into me like the vast majority of the judging pool.

Shenanigans/ Weird Stuff:

I'm fine with whatever you choose to do in a debate round. Given my debate career, I've probably put myself in Death Good/ Omega Point-land for the rest of my life.


Not a judge to reconstruct debates after the 2AR. Substantial deference will be given to in-debate spin. If that's not enough for my decision, then I'll start reading more into card quality/ warrants.

Computer Issues/ In-Round Issues:

I'm an understanding person. We'll stop the clock, resolve the issue/ wait an appropriate amount of time.

***Policy Preferences***


Read 'em. While I'm personally a big fan of process CPs/ PICs, I generally default to letting the literature determine CP competition/ legitimacy. If you have a kickass solvency advocate, then I will probably lean your way on most theoretical issues. On the other hand, as a former 2A, I sympathize with 2AC theory against CPs against which it is almost impossible to generate solvency deficits. 2ACs should not be afraid to bow up on CP theory in the 1AR.


Specific DAs/ links trump generic DAs/ links absent substantial Negative spin. Love DAs with odd impact scenarios/ nuanced link stories.


I functionally never read this as a debater, but my time coaching at UGA has brought me up to speed. Slow down/ clearly flag key points/ evidence distinctions in the 2NR/ 2AR.


Read it. Strategic tool that most 2Ns uderutilize. Rarely hear a nuanced argument for reasonability; the T violation seems to prove the 1AC is unreasonable...


I do not personally agree with the majority of Kritiks. However, after years of graduate school and debate, I've read large amount of Kritikal literature, and, if you run the K well, I'm a good judge for you. Increasingly irritated with 2ACs that fail to engage the nuance of the K they're answering (Cede the Political/ Perm: Double-Bind isn't enough to get you through a competently extended K debate). Similarly irritated with 2NCs that debate the K like a politics DA. Finally, 2ACs are too afraid to bow up on the K, especially with Impact Turns. I often end up voting Negative on the Kritik because the 2AC got sucked down the rabbit hole and didn't remind there was real-world outside of the philosophical interpretation offered by the K.

Framework (2AC):

You're better off reading this as policymaking good/ pragmatism offense to prefer the plan versus the alternative than a reason to exclude the K entirely. Generally skeptical of 2ACs that claim the K isn't within my jurisdiction/ is super unfair.

Framework (2NC):

Often end up voting Negative because the Affirmative strategically mishandles the FW of the K. Generally skeptical of K FW's that make the plan/ the real-world disappear entirely.

***Non-Traditional Preferences/ Clash of Civilization Debates***

Clash of Civilization Debates:

Enjoy these debates; I will probably judge alot of them. The worst thing you can do is overadapt. DEBATE HOWEVER YOU WANT TO DEBATE. My favorite debate that I ever watched was UMW versus Oklahoma, where UMW read a giant Hegemony advantage versus Oklahoma's 1-off Wilderson. I've been on both sides of the clash debate, and I respect both sides. I will just as easily vote on Framework/ the Community PIC, as use my ballot to resist anti-blackness in debate.

Traditional ("Policy" Teams):

DO YOU. Traditional teams should not be afraid to double-down against K 1ACs,/ Big K 1NCs either via Framework or Impact Turns.

Framework (As "T"):

Never read this as a debater, but I've become more sympathetic to arguments about how the the resolution as a starting point is an important procedural constraint that can capture some of the pedagogical value of a Kritikal discussion. As a former 2N, I am sympathetic to limits arguments given the seemingly endless proliferation of K 1ACs with a dubious relationship to the topic. Explain how your interpretation is an opportunity cost of the 1ACs approach, and how you solve the 2ACs substantive offense (i.e. critical pedagogy/ our performance is important, etc.).

Non-Traditional ("Performance"/ "K" Teams):

As someone who spent a semester reading a narrative project about welcoming veterans into debate, I'm familiar with the way these arguments function, and I feel that they're an integral part of the game we call debate. However, that does not mean I will vote for you because you critiqued X-ism; what is your method, and how does it resolve the harms you have isolated? I am greatly frustrated by Kritik Teams that rely on obfuscation as a strategic tool---- even the Situationist International cared deeply about the political implications of their project.

AT: Framework

The closer you are to the topic/ the clearer your Affirmative is in what it defends, the more I'm down with the Affirmative. While I generally think that alternative approaches to debate are important discussions to be had, if I can listen to the 1AC and have no idea what the Affirmative does, what it defends, or why it's a response to the Topic beyond nebulous claims of resisting X-ism, then you're in a bad spot. Explain how your Counter-Interp solves their theoretical offense, or why your permutation doesn't link to their limits/ ground standards.

Fairness/ Education:

Is important. I am generally confused by teams that claim to impact turn fairness/ education. Your arguments are better articulated as INL-turns (i.e. X-ism/ debate practice is structurally unfair). Debate at some level is a game, and you should explain how your version of the game allows for good discussion/ an equal playing field for all.

Ethics Violations:

After being forced to decide an elimination debate on a card-clipping accusation during the 2015 Barkley Forum (Emory), I felt it necessary to establish clarity/ forewarning for how I will proceed if this unfortunate circumstance happens again. While I would obviously prefer to decide the debate on actual substantive questions, this is the one issue where I will intervene. In the event of an ethics accusation, I will do the following:

1) Stop the debate. I will give the accusing team a chance to withdraw the accusation or proceed. If the accusation stands, I will decide the debate on the validity of the accusation.

2) Consult the Tabroom to determine any specific tournament policies/ procedures that apply to the situation and need to be followed.

3) Review available evidence to decide whether or not an ethics violation has taken place. In the event of a clipping accusation, a recording or video of the debate would be exceptionally helpful. I am a personal believer in a person being innocent until proven guilty. Unless there's definitive evidence proving otherwise, I will presume in favor of the accused debater.

4) Drop the Debater. If an ethics violation has taken place, I will drop the offending team, and award zero speaker points. If an ethics violation has not occurred, I will drop the team that originally made the accusation. The purpose of this is to prevent frivolous/ strategic accusations, given the very real-world, long-lasting impact such an accusation has on the team being accused.

5) Ethics Violations (Update): Credible, actual threats of violence against the actual people in the actual debate are unacceptable, as are acts of violence against others. I will drop you with zero speaker points if either of those occur. Litmus Test: There's a difference between wipeout/ global suicide alternatives (i.e. post-fiat arguments) and actually punching a debater in the face (i.e. real-world violence).

Corey Turoff Paradigm

1 rounds

After a decade, I’ve now finally decided to update my philosophy. I’ve found that nothing I could say about each of the main argument categories would be particularly relevant because of one simple issue- my ultimate preference is to evaluate the round in whatever way you tell me to. I’m not saying you can call me a “tabula rasa” judge, if people even use that phrase anymore…I’m saying that my goal is to intervene as little as possible in the debate.

-I find myself evaluating every argument in a debate as a disad. This is obvious for actual disadvantages, counterplans, etc but for me, it's also true of theory, framework, and topicality. Did you read framework against a critical race aff? Then you likely have a predictability disad and a fairness disad against the aff’s framing of how debate should be. Did the neg read a conditional CP, K alternative, and insist the SQ is an option? You probably have ground and fairness disads to the CP/K. In those instances, you HAVE to make an impact argument that makes sense. Exclude the aff, reject the CP, reject the team…whatever. I will compare those impacts to the impacts the other side has (flexibility, education, etc.). It’d be a lot better if you did the comparison for me. If you don't, I will read into everything and make a decision for myself.

-Otherwise, debate like you want to debate. I no longer find myself voting against framework all of the time or voting for the K vs policy affs that are going for framework against the alt. I probably have voted the opposite way more often in the last year.

-Lastly, I flow but I also want to be on the email chain (cturoff@headroyce.org). I'm actually trying to model what you are supposed to be doing...flowing the speech and looking at the evidence the team is reading once I've written down what they said ALOUD. If you do this, guaranteed 28.9 or better (which is high for me). If you actually flow AND you are funny and/or efficient at line-by-line and/or making a ton of smart arguments while covering everything, guaranteed 29.5 or better (which is outrageous for me).

Rosie Valdez Paradigm

3 rounds

-Director of Debate at Little Rock Central High School
Yes, email chain and sure, questions: rosalia.n.valdez@gmail.com


Do what you do and do it well. I will vote for who wins. Over-adaptation is probably not a great idea with me in the back (I can smell your soft-left add-ons a mile away). Be clear, be concise, be economical. I coach primarily K teams, so it is immaterial to me whether or not you read a plan.


I care about quality of evidence. I would much rather hear you read a few well-warranted cards than a wave of under-highlighted evidence. Same goes for redundant evidence; if you need six cards that “prove” your claim with the same words interchanged in the tag, your claim is probably pretty weak. Evidence does not (alone) a (winning) argument make. I like to be on email chains.


Neg teams lose when they don’t demonstrate how their arguments interact with the 1AC. Winning that the affirmative is “flawed” or “problematic” does not guarantee a neg ballot. In my mind, there are two ways to win the k versus a policy aff: either win that the effects of the plan make the world significantly worse OR win framework and go for epistemology/ontology links. Know when framework is important and when it’s not. Give analysis as to how your links implicate the world of the aff. This is where case mitigation and offense on why voting affirmative is undesirable is helpful. These debates are significantly lacking in impact calculus. Also - the alt needs to solve the links, not the aff - but if it does, great! If you win framework, this burden is lessened. Don’t spread through link explanations. I am seeing more debates where teams kick the alt and go for the links as disads to the aff. This is fine, but be wary of this strategy when the alt is what provides uniqueness to the link debate.

Conversely, affs typically lose these debates when there is little press on what the alternative does and little analysis of perm functions. However, some teams focus on the alt too much and leave much to be desired on the link debate (especially important for soft-left affs). Not sure why teams reading HSI are making perms on the cap k. Defend your reps. Your framework shell should also include a robust defense of policymaking, not just procedural fairness. The 1AR should actually answer the block’s framework answers. More impact turning rather than defensive, no-link arguments.

Also, running to the middle will not save you. Some Ks are going to get a link no matter what, and tacking on a structural impact to your otherwise straight policy aff will likely only supercharge the link. So. Read the aff you'd read in front of anybody in front of me. You're probably better at that version anyway.

K Affs vs. FW

For affs: I’m good for these although I do think that oftentimes the method is very poorly explained. Neg teams should really press on this and even consider going for presumption. Side note: I absolutely do not think that critical affs should have to win that the ballot is key for their method. Against framework, I most frequently vote aff when the aff wins impact turns that outweigh the neg’s impacts and have a counter-interp that resolves the majority of their offense. I can still vote for you if you don’t have a counter-interp in the 2AR but only if the impact work is exceptional. I prefer affs that argue that the skills and methods produced under their model inculcate more ethical subjectivities than the negative’s. The best aff teams I’ve seen are good at contextualizing their arguments, framing, and justifying why their model and not their aff is uniquely good. I am most frequently preffed for K v K debates. Judge instruction is extremely important here as these debates can become muddled extremely quickly. I would rather evaluate those rounds based on whose method is most relevant to the debate rather than k tricks.

For neg teams: I like to see framework deployed as debate methodologies that are normatively good versus debate methodologies that are undesirable and should be rejected. Framework debates should center on the impact of certain methodologies on the debate space. “Your argument doesn’t belong in debate” is not the same thing as “your argument is hindered by forum” or “your argument makes it functionally impossible to be negative.” (fun fact: I read a lot of judges' paradigms/preferences..."debate is a game" does not = debate is a good game, and participation in that "game" does not = can't say the game is bad). I prefer more deliberation & skills-based framework arguments rather than procedural fairness, but I will vote on either as long as you have warrants and comparative impact analysis. If going for skills & research impacts, the internal link debate is most important. TVAs are great as defense against the aff’s impact turns. They do not have to solve the aff but should address its central controversy.

I feel similarly about theory debates in that they should focus on good/undesirable pedagogical practices. Arguments that explain the role of the ballot should not be self-serving and completely inaccessible by a particular team.


Topicality is a voting issue and never a reverse voting issue. T debates are won and lost on the standards level. If the affirmative wins that their interpretation solves the impact of topicality, then I see no reason to vote negative. Thorough T debates are about more than fairness. The idea that you have no game on an aff in this era is just not as persuasive as the idea that the aff’s interpretation negatively impacts future debates. For the immigration topic: I agree with the general consensus that topical affs must provide legal permanent residence.


No real issues here. Specific links to case obviously preferred to generic arguments. Give me good impact analysis. As a debater, counterplans weren’t really my jam. As a judge, I can’t say that I get to vote on CPs often because they are typically kicked or are not competitive enough to survive an affirmative team well-versed in permutations. A CP should be something to which I can give thoughtful consideration. Don’t blow through a really complicated (or long) CP text. Likewise, if the permutation(s) is intricate, slow down. Pretty sure you want me to get these arguments down as you read them, not as I reconstruct them in cross. I vote for theory as much as I don’t vote for theory. No real theoretical dispositions.

Arkansas Circuit

1. I’m not going to bump your speaks for thanking me and taking forever to start the round because you’re asking “opponent ready? judge ready? partner ready? observers ready?” for the first 20 minutes.
2. If you do not take notes during my RFD, I will leave.
3. Don’t clip. Why do debaters in Arkansas clip so much? Answer: Because I don’t judge very much in Arkansas.
4. Keep your own time.

Daniel Wakefield Paradigm

6 rounds

Daniel Wakefield (He/Him) - Updated Pre-1st/2nd year state


Please Don't

Clip Cards

Anything that will result in me getting questioned by your coach and potentially you getting suspended from the team

Please Do

Call me Daniel

Have fun!

Things that I feel one way or the other about

Death is probably bad - Extinction is probably worse

If you think a card won't stand up to the "Daniel looks at it for 2 seconds in the doc and when relevant after the round" test - you probably shouldn't put it in the speech at all

I love good disclosure. If you open source - give me a heads up after the 2ar and I'll add .3 speaks to your points. Even if it proliferates high speaker points, I think disclosing your evidence so that other teams can vet/ recut it is an awesome practice that everyone post novice year should engage in. If you're a team that doesn't read traditional forms of evidence but does post descriptions of your arguments for each round - that's perfectly fine as well.

There's a difference between arguments that advocate for death good and punching your opponents in the face. If your plan is to give your opponent a panic attack - 0 and an L.

Dylan Wang Paradigm

6 rounds


I am a fourth year varsity debater at McDonogh. I am a 2A/1N. Add me to the email chain/contact me with questions at dmwang@mcdonogh.org

I run critical race arguments on the aff and have a good amount of experience with model minority literature for I have read some version of it most of my debate career on the aff. I also have some policy experience. Tech and truth both matter.

Things to note

I am pretty much okay with any argument and will vote on anything. Do what you do best. If you seem to understand what you are running, I will be more inclined to vote for you.

Kritikal Affs- I definitely prefer them and lean more aff during FW debates. However, I think K affs should still be under the resolution or related to the topic.

Policy Arguments-I am not super familiar with all the different disads and counterplans on the topic. This does not mean go for something you are not comfortable with. Do what you do best.

Topicality- I’ll vote on it. Make sure your T violation actually makes sense.

Framework- I’m fine with it. Just cause I run K affs doesn't mean I think framework is bad or that I won't vote on it. I definitely think that there are K affs that are not topical and therefore you could/should run framework. I will be less swayed by K teams that impact turn framework rather than those who attempt to win their model of debate.

Kritiks- I know most of K lit, particularly race-based arguments. I’m less familiar with high theory.

Cross-Ex- I think CX is important. Everything said in CX can be/is an argument. This will majorly control your speaks in front of me.

Speaks- I generally give pretty generous points unless you really mess up. Making the round interesting for me will boost your speaks.

Other Notes: Make it clear as to why I should be voting for you in your final rebuttal. It will be obvious to me if you do not know what you are doing and are simply reading down blocks. Look at DB’s paradigm if you still have questions about my judging philosophy.

Tommye Weddington Paradigm

1 rounds

Hey, so apparently sending evidence without tags is a thing now. Don't do it in front of me. I'll cap your speaks at 28.


I don't want to be on the email chain. If I want to, I'll ask. You should debate as if I'm not reading a speech doc.

I'm currently a phd candidate and I view debate as an educator and also activist/organizer. This is to say that I ground much of what I think is important in debate in terms of how skills critical thinking in debate rounds adds into a larger goal of pursuing knowledge and external decisionmaking.

i've been in debate since fall 2008. at this point i'm simultaneously more invested and less invested in the activity. i'm more invested in what students get out of debate, and how I can be more useful in my post-round criticism. I'm less invested in personalities/teams/rep/ideological battles in debate. it's entirely possible that I have never heard of you before, and that's fine.

you should run what will win you the round. you should run what makes you happy. don't run what you think I want to hear.

Impact scenarios are where I vote - Even if you win uniqueness/link questions, if I don't know who's going to initiate a war, how an instance of oppression would occur, etc. by the end of the round, I'll probably go looking elsewhere to decide the round. The same thing goes for the aff - if I can't say what the aff solves and why that's important, I am easily persuaded by marginal negative offense.

Prep time ends when you email the file to the other team. It's 2019, you've likely got years of experience using a computer for academic/personal work, my expectations of your email prowess are very high.

Competing methods debates don't mean no permutation, for me at least. probably means that we should rethink how permutations function. people/activists/organizers combine methods all the time.

I don't think I've ever voted a team down b/c theory. an arg yes, but not a team:

I've found myself especially unwilling to vote on theory that's on face not true - for example: if you say floating PICs bad, and the alternative isn't articulated as a floating PIC in the debate, I won't vote on it. I don't care if it's conceded.

I think fairness is an independent impact, but also that non-topical affs can be fair. A concession doesn't mean an argument is made. your only job is to make arguments, i don't care if the other team has conceded anything, you still have to make the argument in the last speech.

Affs I don't like:

I've found myself increasingly frustrated with non-topical affs that run philosophically/critically negative stances on the aff side. The same is true for non-topical affs that just say that propose a framework for analysis without praxis. I'm super open to presumption/switch-side arguments against these kinds of affs.

I've also become frustrated with non-topical affs that do not have any sort of advocacy statement/plan text. If you're going to read a bunch of evidence and I have to wait until CX or the 2AC to know what I'm voting for, I'll have a lower threshold to vote on fw/t/the other team.

Finally, I have limited belief in the transformative power of speech/performance. Especially beyond the round. I tend to think that power/violence is materially structured and that the best advocacies can tell me how to change the status quo in those terms.

Negs I don't like:

Framework 2nr's that act as if the affirmative isn't dynamic and did not develop between the 2ac and the 1ar. Most affs that you're inclined to run framework against will prove "abuse" for you in the course of the debate.

Stale politics disadvantages. Change your shells between tournaments if necessary, please.

Theoretically inconsistent/conflicting K strats.

I don't believe in judge kicking. Your job is to make the strategic decisions as the debate continues, not mine.

if you have questions about me or my judge philosophy, ask them before the round!


Whit Whitmore Paradigm

1 rounds

LD Specific Business:

I am primarily a policy coach with very little LD experience. Have a little patience with me when it comes to LD specific jargon or arguments. It would behoove you to do a little more explanation than you would give to a seasoned adjudicator in the back of the room. I will most likely judge LD rounds in the same way I judge policy rounds. Hopefully my policy philosophy below will give you some insight into how I view debate. I have little tolerance and a high threshold for voting on unwarranted theory arguments. I'm not likely to care that they dropped your 'g' subpoint, if it wasn't very good. RVI's aren't a thing, and I won't vote on them.

Policy Business:

add me to the email chain: whit211@gmail.com

You should debate line by line. I continue to grow frustrated with teams that do not flow. If I suspect you are not flowing (I visibly see you not doing it; you answer arguments that were not made in the previous speech but were in the speech doc; you answer arguments in speech doc order instead of speech order), you will receive no higher than a 28. This includes teams that like to "group" the 2ac into sections and just read blocks in the 2NC/1NR. Also, read cards. I don't want to hear a block with no cards.

Debate the round in a manner that you would like and defend it. I consistently vote for arguments that I don’t agree with and positions that I don’t necessarily think are good for debate. I have some pretty deeply held beliefs about debate, but I’m not so conceited that I think I have it all figured out. I still try to be as objective as possible in deciding rounds. All that being said, the following can be used to determine what I will most likely be persuaded by in close calls:

If I had my druthers, every 2nr would be a counterplan/disad or disad/case.

In the battle between truth and tech, I think I fall slightly on side of truth. That doesn’t mean that you can go around dropping arguments and then point out some fatal flaw in their logic in the 2AR. It does mean that some arguments are so poor as to necessitate only one response, and, as long as we are on the same page about what that argument is, it is ok if the explanation of that argument is shallow for most of the debate. True arguments aren’t always supported by evidence, but it certainly helps.

I think research is the most important aspect of debate. I make an effort to reward teams that work hard and do quality research on the topic, and arguments about preserving and improving topic specific education carry a lot of weight with me. However, it is not enough to read a wreck of good cards and tell me to read them. Teams that have actually worked hard tend to not only read quality evidence, but also execute and explain the arguments in the evidence well. I think there is an under-highlighting epidemic in debates, but I am willing to give debaters who know their evidence well enough to reference unhighlighted portions in the debate some leeway when comparing evidence after the round.

I think the affirmative should have a plan. I think the plan should be topical. I think topicality is a voting issue. I think teams that make a choice to not be topical are actively attempting to exclude the negative team from the debate (not the other way around). If you are not going to read a plan or be topical, you are more likely to persuade me that what you are doing is ‘ok’ if you at least attempt to relate to or talk about the topic. Being a close parallel (advocating something that would result in something similar to the resolution) is much better than being tangentially related or directly opposed to the resolution. I don’t think negative teams go for framework enough. Fairness is an impact, not a internal link. Procedural fairness is a thing and the only real impact to framework. If you go for "policy debate is key to skills and education," you are likely to lose. Winning that procedural fairness outweighs is not a given. You still need to defend against the other team's skills, education and exclusion argument.

I don’t think making a permutation is ever a reason to reject the affirmative. I don’t believe the affirmative should be allowed to sever any part of the plan, but I believe the affirmative is only responsible for the mandates of the plan. Other extraneous questions, like immediacy and certainty, can be assumed only in the absence of a counterplan that manipulates the answers to those questions. I think there are limited instances when intrinsicness perms can be justified. This usually happens when the perm is technically intrinsic, but is in the same spirit as an action the CP takes This obviously has implications for whether or not I feel some counterplans are ultimately competitive.

Because I think topic literature should drive debates (see above), I feel that both plans and counterplans should have solvency advocates. There is some gray area about what constitutes a solvency advocate, but I don’t think it is an arbitrary issue. Two cards about some obscure aspect of the plan that might not be the most desirable does not a pic make. Also, it doesn’t sit well with me when negative teams manipulate the unlimited power of negative fiat to get around literature based arguments against their counterplan (i.e. – there is a healthy debate about federal uniformity vs state innovation that you should engage if you are reading the states cp). Because I see this action as comparable to an affirmative intrinsicness answer, I am more likely to give the affirmative leeway on those arguments if the negative has a counterplan that fiats out of the best responses.

My personal belief is probably slightly affirmative on many theory questions, but I don’t think I have voted affirmative on a (non-dropped) theory argument in years. Most affirmatives are awful at debating theory. Conditionality is conditionality is conditionality. If you have won that conditionality is good, there is no need make some arbitrary interpretation that what you did in the 1NC is the upper limit of what should be allowed. On a related note, I think affirmatives that make interpretations like ‘one conditional cp is ok’ have not staked out a very strategic position in the debate and have instead ceded their best offense. Appeals to reciprocity make a lot sense to me. ‘Argument, not team’ makes sense for most theory arguments that are unrelated to the disposition of a counterplan or kritik, but I can be persuaded that time investment required for an affirmative team to win theory necessitates that it be a voting issue.

Critical teams that make arguments that are grounded in and specific to the topic are more successful in front of me than those that do not. It is even better if your arguments are highly specific to the affirmative in question. I enjoy it when you paint a picture for me with stories about why the plans harms wouldn’t actually happen or why the plan wouldn’t solve. I like to see critical teams make link arguments based on claims or evidence read by the affirmative. These link arguments don’t always have to be made with evidence. I think alternative solvency is usually the weakest aspect of the kritik. Affirmatives would be well served to spend cross-x and speech time addressing this issue. ‘Our authors have degrees/work at a think tank’ is not a response to an epistemological indict of your affirmative. Intelligent, well-articulated analytic arguments are often the most persuasive answers to a kritik.

Ed Williams Paradigm

1 rounds

Email: lemuel30034@gmail.com

I will listen to most arguments. I have problems with most theory arguments in LD. Topicality is like the death penalty so I proceed with care. I understand policy arguments and kritiks. I flow most of the time. If you have questions about what I think about your arguments you should ask.

I believe debaters should be civil to each other. I would prefer that high school students not use foul language in debates.

I am ok with performance debates. I do believe the teams should engage the topic. If a team chooses not to engage the topic, then I will give the other team leeway to deal with the lack of engagement.

Reverse voting issues do not make sense in most instances.

I am ok with counterplans and disadvantages.

I will vote for the team that makes the most sense at the end of the debate.

Lisa Willoughby Paradigm

3 rounds

Judge Philosophy

Name: Lisa Willoughby

Current Affiliation: Henry W. Grady High School

Conflicts: AUDL teams

Debate Experience: 1 year debating High School 1978-79, Coaching High School 1984-present

How many rounds have you judged in 2012-13: 50, 2013-2014: 45, 2015-2016: 25, 2016-17 15, 2017-2018: 30, 2018-19: 30, 2019-20-5

send evidence e-mail chain to quaintt@aol.com

I still view my self as a policy maker unless the debaters specify a different role for my ballot. I love impact comparison between disadvantages and advantages, what Rich Edwards used to call Desirability. I don’t mind the politics disad, but I am open to Kritiks of Politics.

I like Counterplans, especially case specific counterplans. I certainly think that some counterplans are arguably illegitimate; for example, I think that some international counterplans are utopian, and arguably claim advantages beyond the reciprocal scope of the affirmative, and are, therefore, unfair. I think that negatives should offer a solvency advocate for all aspects of their counterplan, and that multi-plank cps are problematic. I think that there are several reasons why consultation counterplans, and the States CP could be unfair. I will not vote unilaterally on any of these theoretical objections; the debaters need to demonstrate for me why a particular counterplan would be unfair.

I have a minor in Philosophy, and love good Kritik debate. Sadly, I have seen a lot of bad Kritik debate. I think that K debaters need to have a strong understanding of the K authors that they embrace. I really want to understand the alternative or the role of my ballot. I have no problem with a K Aff, but am certainly willing to vote on Framework/T against a case that does not have at least a clear advocacy statement that I can understand. I am persuadable on "AFF must be USFG."

I like Topicality, Theory and Framework arguments when they are merited. I want to see fair division of ground or discourse that allows both teams a chance to prepare and be ready to engage the arguments.

I prefer substance to theory; go for the theoretical objections when the abuse is real.

As for style, I love good line-by-line debate. I adore evidence comparison, and argument comparison. I am fairly comfortable with speed, but I like clarity. I have discovered that as I get older, I am very comfortable asking the students to "clear." I enjoy humor; I prefer entertaining cross-examinations to belligerent CX. Warrant your claims with evidence or reasoning.

Ultimately, I demand civility: any rhetoric, language, performance or interactions that demean, dehumanize or trivialize fellow debaters, their arguments or judges would be problematic, and I believe, a voting issue.

An occasional interruption of a partner’s speech or deferring to a more expert partner to answer a CX question is not a problem in my view. Generally only one debater at a time should be speaking. Interruptions of partner speeches or CX that make one partner merely a ventriloquist for the other are extremely problematic.

Clipping cards is cheating. Quoting authors or evidence out of context, or distorting the original meaning of a text or narrative is both intellectually bankrupt and unfair.

There is no such thing as one ideal form or type of debate. I love the clash of ideas and argumentation. That said, I prefer discourse that is educational, and substantive. I want to walk away from a round, as I often do, feeling reassured that the policy makers, educators, and citizens of the future will seek to do a reasonable and ethical job of running the world.

For Lincoln Douglas debates:

I am "old school" and feel most comfortable in a Value/Criterion Framework, but it is your debate to frame. Because I judge policy frequently, I am comfortable with speed but generally find it is needless. Clarity is paramount. Because of the limited time, I find that I typically err AFF on theoretical objections much more than I would in a policy round.

I believe that any argument that an AFF wants to weigh in the 2AR needs to be in the 1AR. I will vote against new 2AR arguments.

I believe that NEG has an obligation to clash with the AFF. For this reason, a counterplan would only be justified in a round when the AFF argues for a plan; otherwise a counterplan is an argument for the AFF. The NEG must force a decision, and for that reason, I am not fond of what used to be called a 'balance neg.'

Bill Wilson Paradigm

2 rounds

Give me your best arguments and tell me why they matter.

I appreciate well structured speeches. This applies to performance and policy alike. Debaters need to tell me what evidence/arguments are most important for resolving the round, and why. I appreciate a good overview. Tell me how, even in light of the opposition's best argument, you still win the round. Give me a balanced assessment, and try to write my RFD for me.

I like it when debaters think about the probability of their scenarios and compare and connect the different scenarios in the round. If it is a policy v critical debate, the framing is important, but not in a prior question, ROB, or "only competing policy options" sense. The better team uses their arguments to access or outweigh the other side. I think there is always a means to weigh 1AC advantages against the k, to defend 1AC epistemology as a means to making those advantages more probable and specific. On the flip side, a thorough indictment of 1AC authors and assumptions will make it easier to weigh your alternative, ethics, case turn, etc. Explain the thesis of your k and tell me why it it is a reason to reject the affirmative.

Please don't hide behind or speak into your laptop screens. I can't hear you and your pre-written rebuttals rarely match the debate as it happened anyway. I reward clarity of speech with higher points.

Cross Ex: I pay attention. Debaters can establish credibility on important issues and earn extra points at the margins through an exceptional cross examination. I feel the best debaters use cross ex to frame evidence and foreshadow their endgame.

Critical Aff: My default is the aff should endorse USFG action. You will have to persuade me why not using a federal actor was a necessity, and how there are still limits to the discussion. It helps if your advocacy is germane to the resolution. While I would much prefer to hear the negative debate the case--I give the negative a lot of latitude in these debates if they do so--I get this is unlikely when the aff wasn't predictable and didn't do anything, but if they don't do anything, you can win on presumption. If there is a creative TVA, it doesn't have to "solve" the aff, just be debatable under your interpretation.

Topicality: I vote on well argued violations. T debates need not devolve into questions of "abuse" but ultimately boil down to limits. I prefer literature/expert based interpretations of the resolution. Negatives do well to provide case lists and to articulate why their interpretation isn't an arbitrary line to exclude the affirmative. For affirmatives to win reasonability, they must provide a qualified counter interpretation and make a compelling argument for why theirs is a quality/predictable limit for the topic, driven by topic literature/experts with intent to define, and why the lack of significant offense for neg interp means competing interps becomes arbitrary in the context of this round.

Theory: I rarely vote for teams going for theory to reject team. Please get beyond the tag lines and don't assume I know or am bound to any particular convention. In most cases I would prefer to reject the argument not the team, unless clearly explained and impacted otherwise. I would much rather make a decision on more substantive issues in the round. For condo debates, please have a clear interpretation and RTP same as you would in a T debate. 3 conditional advocacies seems ok to me--K, CP, Advantage CP(s) (to test intrinsicness of aff scenarios).

Analytics: Smart, warranted arguments can have A LOT of weight on my flow. If you expose the absurdities of their internal link chains, you can get to minimal risk even without a carded response.

CP's: I prefer your CP's have a specific solvency advocate. "We fiat x does the plan" without carded solvency is not compelling and leads to boring debates about stilted net benefits. For multiplank, every plank needs an advocate.

DA: Your turns the case analysis is more compelling at the plan implementation/aff internal link level than a silly "our impact means x doesn't happen".

Politics: I find logical policy maker a compelling AFF argument.

Cheating: Clipping happens more than it should, which is never. If you are not reading every word you are claiming through underlining or highlighting, that is clipping. If it seems like a one time miscue I will say something since I will give you the benefit of the doubt but will not have given you credit for reading the card. If it is egregious or persistent, I will intervene, and I will contact your coach immediately with a description of what I witnessed.

If the other team raises a dispute. I will do my best to adjudicate the claim and follow the above reasoning to render a penalty either to dismiss the evidence or reject the team. If you intend to record the debate for calling out clipping, please be aware of the relevant state law, if you need consent please get the consent from all parties before the round.

Austen Yorko Paradigm

3 rounds

*add me to the email chain: apyorko@gmail.com

High School: Wooster High School ~ College: Trinity University ~ Coach: MBA


-A "dropped" theory arg means nothing if the original arg was a 1-line, incomplete thought. If you extend it and give it the Cadillac treatment, I allow new answers.

-Fairness is an impact. Impact turns to T rarely make sense to me. They have to impact out why the process of debating the topic is bad. Not why the topic is bad.

-Kritiks are making me grumpy. How do I quantify the impacts in the context of relative alt solvency? Why are links offensive if they're not about the 1ac?

-Condo is just another argument. Win it or beat it.

-Probability framing is meaningless if you don't indict the disad.

-"Ethics" first is meaningless if I don't know what the ethic is or what it impacts.

-Everything should have an impact (k links, disad overviews, solvency arguments). If this isn't happening, you're wasting time.

-A negative ballot on presumption exists, but not on impact defense.

-If you go for T, read a lot of cards and describe the world under your interp.

-Process counter plans are good if they are grounded in the core topic literature. The neg should be reading ev on the theory debate.

Ben Zeppos Paradigm

3 rounds

Please include me on the email chain: (bzeppos@gmail.com)

Assistant Coach at University School of Nashville since 2014.

I generally prefer affirmatives that do something bold and transformative over ones that do something small and technical. On the negative, I most enjoy the kritik and case debate.

Beyond that:

Defend a hypothetical project that goes beyond the 1AC

  1. Affirmatives should defend a project that is independent of the recitation of the 1AC.
  2. This means voting affirmative should engage some project that exceeds the simple validation of the 1AC's theoretical positions or performative mood.
  3. Ideally, this is a material project that is specifically outlined and allows for its consequences to be posed as a question.
  4. This ensures that the negative team can generate (unique) offense through a characterization of how the affirmative project would be hypothetically implemented.

Rarely go for theory

  1. Nothing is a voter except conditionality.
  2. Within reason, conditionality is only a voter in rounds with full (plan+advantages/cites) affirmative disclosure.
  3. I will not vote on conditionality if there are 3 or fewer positions. I may still be unlikely at 4 positions unless the positions are redundant (ie same types of Ks/CPs or solving the same net benefits).
  4. I have a distaste for multi-plank CPs when # of planks >> sum of aff advantages+add-ons. This strikes me as cynical and needlessly complex. I would consider rejecting the CP if the aff checks out ideologically.

Nicholas Zuga Paradigm

4 rounds

Nick Zuga

McDonogh ‘20

Chain: nmzuga@mcdonogh.org


I ran policy arguments my freshman year as a 2a/1n and have run strictly k-affs and kritiks since then as a 1a/2n. I specialize in asian-identity, afropessimism, and psychoanalysis.

Top-level stuff:

1. Read what arguments you know best, do not over-adapt to me, I will try my best to adapt to you. If you are a young debater with me in the back, don't read a k argument and think I will hack for you even if you can't explain it.

2. I hate too much wasted down time in between speeches.

3. Good line-by-line is good - tech=truth.

4. Pref me - I genuinely enjoy judging and will do my best to give helpful feedback.

5. Speed is Ideas Communicated Per Minute not Words Per Minute. A few well thought out arguments with a claim, warrant, and impact > a ton of blippy one-liners.

6. Adhere to speech times - if you do not, you will lose with me in the back. There is no persuasive, pedagogical benefit to breaking speech times.

K-Affs and Framework:

1. I have not read a plan since I was 14. That being said, I firmly believe the burden of the aff is to prove a departure from the status quo through the lens of the resolution is a good idea i.e. please meet the burden of proof within reason. I do not think that statement requires reading a plan/defending fiated implementation of hypothetical USFG action. I think the aff must be within the scope of the resolution.

2. The most important thing k-affs should do is counter-define words in the resolution defined by the 1nc. No counter-definitions = no-counter interpretation = no offense.

3. I think debate is an educational activity. Yes, there is a winner/loser and there are rules in debate i.e. speech times, but reading a plan is most certainly not a rule, it is a norm. Reading a k-aff is not cheating, BUT you should explain why norms are good for clash etc.

4. I enjoy newer, more innovative framework arguments that cannot just be copy-pasted into every k-aff's 2ac AT: framework. That goes both ways - do not just read the same 2nc against every aff. Framework is not pathologizing but k-affs do not destroy the activity.

5. I'm not persuaded by the 2ac just that debate is bad and unfairness is good, I have gone for framework against ridiculous affs, so don't think because I debate at McDonogh I will auto-vote aff in a framework debate, I still like limits, I am a 2n so I sympathize to pre-tournament negative prep being structured around the resolution as a point of contestation.


1. I value good, technical line by line over long overviews. You probably don’t need more than 45 seconds.

2. I think the framework debate is extremely important. Pretty much all ROB/ROJ are going to be somewhat self-serving so I’m not sure how much that argument is valued – just win offense on why yours is best. A good ROB/ROJ/ROD will also help lower the threshold for alternative solvency which is usually the most underdeveloped part of a kritik.

3. I do not think a kritik requires an alt to win – I am perfectly comfortable if the 2nr kicks the alt and goes for the links as disads/case turns, I do that all the time.

4. It’s very important to engage the case page when going for kritiks – if you can win a really good solvency deficit to the aff/presumption argument it will make it easier for me to vote on the alt.

5. The fiat K is not a persuasive argument - read links to the departure from the squo.

6. Overcorrection for cognitive bias requires judge intervention and is a bad model of debate.

K v K debate:

1. These debates tend to get extremely messy – please do line by line.

2. I’m like 60/40 in favor of the aff when it comes to perms in method debates – if they are well thought out and articulated, I lean aff – if you just say “perm do both” and move on without in-depth explanation, I lean neg. The 2ar needs to articulate solid net benefits.

3. The framework debate becomes crucial here – refer to my thoughts above.

4. Link debate gets weird, pull lines from 1ac evidence to prove the link.

5. Presumption, presumption, presumption (on both sides).


1. Good link contextualization and well thought out internal link chains are good

2. Important to differ the solvency of the cp v perm

3. ngl this is not my area of expertise, so I'm really just deciding based on the flow - be very technical

Speaker Points:

Cross-x and clarity are important. Find the line between arrogance and strategic petty. Ethos, ethos, ethos.