The Hilltopper Classic

2018 — Milwaukee, WI/US

William Deverey Paradigm

This will be my first year judging debate. I guess I'll see what rounds I get assigned to but I'm hoping to mainly judge Varsity Policy or other Policy divisions. I debated for four years in high school for Marquette. I spent my first year in novice policy, my second year in Varsity LD, and my last two years in Varsity Policy. I am also going to be debating at Minnesota in the Spring but am currently deferring my first semester of college. My career was a little scattered and I had some interesting rounds but I've always been a fan of the great debate community we have here in Wisconsin.

As far as my influences go they can pretty much be summed up with Matt Cekanor. I've obviously had other coaches such as Thomas Van Bibber, Milorand Robinson, and John Roselle, but most of what I know about debate comes from Matt. I like to say that I've taught myself everything I know, but that is a blatant lie and anyone who is unclear about my expectations, or judge philosophy should probably just reference his paradigm.

As far as broad overarching points on my judge philosophy go I think clash, knowledge of one's argument, and strategic vision are extremely important. In high school I was often extremely frustrated by rounds in which our opponents would read the same outdated case or off case blocks to our arguments that were unresponsive to our advantages, links, or impacts. Don't just read arguments to put tags on the flow or outspread the other team this makes the round and mess and leads to an infinite regression of meaningless jargon and tagline extensions(something I've definitely been guilty of doing before, it happens to the best of us). I also believe knowledge of one's argument is extremely important ... obviously. Debate is an educational activity and if you don't know what your talking about you're not doing anyone any favors and while perfection and knowing everything is impossible its definitely refreshing to see a debater who is familiar with their evidence and able to make well educated coherent points in round. Lastly strategic vision is very important for me because whether you're a critical team, a policy team, a nihlism team, or a song and dance team, and the end of the day odds are you're trying to win rounds, and winning rounds is best done through strategy. This is something I always struggled with in high school, and greatly appreciate seeing executing. Whether you're going for the pic with the internal da, or going for the k with case defense(an undervalued strategy-Matt Cekanor), you should have some sort of game plan going into every round if your really serious about competing and getting the most out of the debate.

Case- I think the case debate is a very important part of every round and often forgot about or undiscovered. I am very impressed by intelligent teams that use their case as defense to offcase arguments and are knowledgable enough to extend key warrants to fend off attacks on their advantages and solvency instead of reading a slew of unresponsive new evidence in the 2ac. I also believe that by the end of the round it is wise to collapse down to one key advantage or impact to outweigh the harms brought up by the negative. You don't have to do this to win a ballot in front of me, I just think it is strategically beneficial for any team to recognize and spend their time on their best argument in the 2ar.

DA-When debating the DA, i think it is very important to outweigh or turn the affirmative case and try to be winning on probability timeframe and magnitude. In my career I noticed it was rare for local circuit teams to just go for the disad but I think it is an undervalued strategy and much of my very limited national circuit success came though running well prepped and updated disads. A good block speech on the Da with additional impacts can be devastating for the one 1ar and oftentimes even one dropped impact scenario can cinch a negative victory.

K-I'm a fairly educated man, and even though I am yet to begin college, and carry on my debate career I have had a decent amount of experience with the K. I am by no means an expert in any sort or the word on any critical literature however. That being said I am very open to and interested in critical arguments and had a Baudrillard phase during my senior year which can be confirmed by my frustrated teammates and coaches from my alma mater. When evaluating the K I think specific links make a much stronger argument. Along with this point specific impacts that aren't just biopower or ontological death with no further explanation or substation in the round are also good. Lastly I think it is very important for the mechanism of the alternative to be clearly explained, and for the method of your criticism to have clear and coherent functionality within the round. If I am told to ontologically reposition myself or deconstruct language with no further explanation or synthesis of how your argument posits itself as a favorable plan to that of the affirmative I will not vote for you. Also floating pik's are cool, cheaty arguments are despicable but fun, if the debate delves into T then so be it

CP-I am a big counterplan fan, especially for plan inclusive cp's. I believe all any good counterplan needs is a clever alternative solvency mechanism and of course a net benefit. If you don't have a net benefit I will die on the inside. Please have a net benefit. I think that better solvency as an internal net benefit is great but you should also have external net benefits as well. Thats pretty much it. Answer the perm, steal the aff, suffer though the theory, take home the trophy.

Topicality-I am not an expert on topicality but I ran it a fair amount in high school and had some success with it especially in running away from critical affs with framework. Even though it may not be a glamorous argument, I think it is a very important one to the debate game, and oftentimes can create some very interesting and competing rounds. Make sure your always extending your definitions and try to treat the argument like and disad in the sense that these debates should come down to impacts like any other rounds. Show me the abuse, show me why your world has better education and show me why you have the best evidence. Also I believe any team running T should always have TVA's (Topical Versions of the Affirmative), and should use these as defensive arguments as the the opponents education is not unique.

Theory-This is admittedly my least favorite arg in the game. Mostly because I've been crushed by it before and its dullness depresses me. However it is necessary just Topicality and can be highly strategic in a pinch. I will not have any bias against this agreement in round even though I may get bore and I am definitely open to sorting though a T battle in the final rebuttals.

Sidenotes/Clownery-I will reward point for any jokes(appropriate ones), and double these points if they are inspired by Matt Cekanor's beard. I also have a love hate relationship with puns so do your worst at your own risk. Most importantly I love music so any music playing before round is great. Unless your music is bad. If you're not sure if your music is bad pay attention to what your listening too. If your music is modern country ie. Luke Bryant or contemporary popular rap ie. Lil' whatever or something that you feel might be similar, chances are your music is bad. If your music is Johnny Cash or Nirvana or some artist or band with similar talent and refinement than you will have my respect, and at the end of the day what more could you ask for. Debate is just a game. Trophy's are mostly just plastic and anticlimactic, and winning is a never ending cycle of stress and disappointment. But have fun!!! (Also please play the "The Pesos" in round, they are my favorite band, need more attention, and are under appreciated)


"It's okay to eat fish because they don't have any feelings." -Kurt Cobain

"I know very little about acting. I'm just an incredibly gifted faker." -Robert Downey Jr.

"If you are a racist I will attack you with the north." -Abraham Lincoln

"Sorry I'm late, I got lost on the path of life." -Kakashi Hatake

”I like happy things, I’m really calm and peaceful.” -Marshall Mathers

Isaac Dorn Paradigm

Question: Am I a bad judge?
Answer: Maybe? Probably. I'm either dumb or just slow.

Experience: I debated policy three years for Neenah High School (WI) and have been judging/coaching since 2016. I was an ok (subpar) debater with some nationals experience, but I was double 1s so evaluate that however you want.

Paradigm: Tabs. I'm good with speed. I will vote for anything well run in a debate round. I am pretty good at following K proper flows. I can have a hard time with heavy theory debates. That being said, feel free to run whatever you are comfortable with.

In Round stuff: I really really really would prefer you to time your own speeches/prep/cross. I am very disorganized and absent-minded so I will probably forget to write down the prep usage or start speech times late if at all. Its also just good practice to be mindful of time in a round. If its allowed at the tournament put me on the email chain.

Special Notes: You are responsible for the language that you use in the debate round; racist, sexist, queerphobic, ableist, or any other discriminatory speech will not be tolerated.

-Anything Else-

Feel free to ask me before a round. Chances are you know more than I do, I generally think I know what I'm talking about but I probably don't.

My email is

Email me if you have any questions about your ballot or my paradigm, I'm happy to reply!

-More Detail-


Policy affs with a plantext: Go for it.

Plantext affs with K impacts: Go for it

Non Traditional Affs (advocacy, narratives, performance, kritikal, etc.): Go for it, but make sure to clearly extend case. Also I need a clear ROB so that I know what I'm voting for at the end of the round.


DAs: Go for it.

CPs (Consult, Process, Agent, etc.): Go for it, make sure there is a clear net benefit. I tend to grant affs a bit more leeway when it comes to solvency as long as there isn't a competitive fiat debate. I also appreciate good explanations of the perm on both sides (i.e. whether there is functional severance, redundancy, works/doesn't work etc.). Some caveats; I have a history of defaulting affirmative on counterplans that I am unclear on or if the permutation debate seemed muddled to me (I am, however, beginning to shift my mindset on this towards tech>truth)

Ks (any kind): Go for it. Love em'. Like I said, I can keep up with K proper flows. Make sure your alt and link are clearly explained. While I like kritiks, I prefer for them to be educational rather than strategically ambiguous. Although I'm comfortable with my literature base, I will not do the conceptual work for you. You must adequately explain the content of your kritik.

T - Let me preface this by saying I have never voted on T. That being said, there are a few things you need to do to win a T debate in front of me. 1) Clear and present standards AND voters 2) In round abuse (which could be strategically planned) or a compelling reason for me to vote on potential abuse 3) Commitment in the 2NR, the argument is theoretically that you can't engage with a non-topical aff, if you spend half the 2NR with offense on the aff that makes your argument less compelling. IMO Topicality is a tool to keep affirmatives in check, I am much more Truth>Tech on the T flow.


Most of my squirreling on panels is usually because my understanding of theory. I didn't really get it as a debater, so most of my knowledge comes from my experience as a judge/coach/just thinking about it. I think my biggest problem with theory is that it is often presented as a series of quick one-liners that don't have a ton of substance. Seeing that I've never been great at flowing my preference is depth over breadth on theory.

(Update) I will not retract my previous statement, however I have developed my thought process some more. When you are engaged in a theory debate in front of me, make sure you have two things. 1) A sufficient claim that you meet your interpretation of debate better than your opponent. 2) Comparative offense calculus so that I as a judge understand why I should care about your interpretation of debate.

I will for sure vote for theory arguments in a debate, if I can understand them.


I will not accept "they conceded this card, extent this card" as a valid extension of your arguments. I guess you could call this truth over tech but I need to understand what your offense is in every speech. Drop out of contentions that you are losing on and focus on how the arguments you are winning on outweigh your opponents arguments if you are concerned about time.

Dan Hansen Paradigm

Policy Paradigm - New 2020 Edition:I profess to have an old-school PURE policy paradigm. What the heck does that mean? Look up the strict definition of policy paradigm from awhile back, and you will read that policy meant a judge sat in the back and voted for what he/she felt was the best policy for the United States. In other words, they used the voting lense of the president. EVERYTHING you do in my round should be argued under that framework; I am a president. Not specifically any president, just a hypothetical president. Enough of the overview; below is the line by line. (Oh, and failure to adapt is a huge reason teams lose. I mean what I say.)

Speed - Don't. Yes, because you have time constraints, you'll have to speak faster than you really would in front of the president. I'll bend that much. You still wouldn't argue auctioneer-style. Go with this guide - if you think you might be too fast, you are. Depth, not amount, is going to sway my decision. No amount of "but they didn't counter the six T-blips we fired off in the first two minutes of our 1NC" is going to help you...because I am not going to get them all down. You respect the office or you don't get an audience with the president. And this is a speaking competition; I won't read the speech doc and do your work for you.

Topicality - You might think this can't be argued, but it can. If, as president, I hired two teams of advisors to debate what I should do on a topic, and one of them did something besides what I hired them to argue, I'd fire them. In the case of the round, I drop them. It also means that if the other side isn't really non-topical, resist just showing off your silly squirrel definition. I am by far more of a "story T" judge than a "technical T" judge. Tell me the abuse story (in-round or potential) and explain a small number of good theory points. More is not better.

DAs and advantages - Clearly, the president has to be concerned about nuclear war. But to suggest to him that everything leads there? You'd be quickly dismissed and given an ambassadorship to someplace not so nice. This goes for both sides. Go there and all the other team has to do is spend 20 seconds showing how poor the logic is and your impact goes away. I like real impacts because I am trying to (fictitiously) decide real policy. On politics DAs, don't worry about am I this president or xo=bad or anything like that. I'm not delusional. I know I'm not the president, and I'm not trying to artificially limit your ground. Run the Trump good or Trump bad or whatever. The only thing I will not allow is a DA that destroys affirmative fiat. So, no “you spend capital to pass plan” DAs. However, “reaction” DAs, even those that involve political capital, are obviously very important.

CPs - Absolutely, within the framework. Tell me we should let China do it; we should consult the EU first, etc. You must keep the CP non-topical and competitive however. I hired two teams of COMPETING advisors, not lobbyists who will each sell me their own aff plan.

K - Be selective. Kritiks that function in the real world with policy alternatives are great. The president absolutely should care about the moral underpinnings of the Aff case or neg counterplan. They don't always, but I will. On the other hand, if the American people will laugh me out of office for rejecting a good idea because of some bizarre solipsistic construction a strung-out philosopher dreamed up, I'm not voting on it.

"Performance" I'm trying to do what's best for our country ON THE RESOLUTION. If your performance makes the resolution tangential, it isn't going to get my ballot. If you're creative, you can show how the president could be helpful in nearly any kritikal affirmative, even one about the debate round itself. You just need to tie it to the paradigm. Also see the comments on non-realistic K above.

Things I'm frustrated about currently: 1.Teams that just say "On the X Flow" and then read a card. I have seven cards on that flow. Where do you want me to put it? I'm not going to do your work for you. 2. Perms. You don't just get to throw out one-sentence perms, do nothing else, then make them a 5 minute rebuttal. If I don't understand how the perm functions after the 2AC, I'm not voting on it. It's the same with a K alt - fair ground, folks.

Finally, the president is a busy man. You do your arguing and don't expect me to do it for you by calling for all your cards at the end of the round. If you didn't make it clear enough, I guess you didn't consider it a very important point for me to consider. I'll only call for cards that are disputed in the round if I need to see them to make a decision.

Lastly, enjoy this. It is a rare opportunity to debate for the president. Don't be rude and don't be lazy. Have fun within the seriousness of the fake situation.

Brice Hansen Paradigm

Brice Hansen

PGPs: He/him/his, they/them/theirs (no preference)


as of 10/10/19
About me:
-I debated for 4 years at La Crosse Central High school in Wisconsin being bounced back and forth between PF and Policy. I am now on my fifth year of judging/assistant coaching there. I am a math education and political science major at UW-La Crosse.

Paradigm as a Judge:
-As a debater who was thrown around between PF and Policy, I would say I enter a round open to being told how I should judge the round. However if neither side argues the role of the judge/ballot/framing beyond the round, I will likely default to a role as a policy maker. Either way I still expect a full debate. I really enjoy K's (on aff or neg) just make sure you explain the link. Framework is first priority in evaluating the round. If framework isn't read, the for most intents and purposes you can consider me a "policy judge," though I don't hold any strict views as to how a round should go.


Open CX- if it's your turn to ask questions and your partner asks the majority of them you'll probably both lose speaker points

8 minutes prep unless a tournament says otherwise

Please include me in the email chain:

Arguments: I will listen to just about any argument. I love framework. I don’t hold any "strict" views on the role of the ballot or of the judge so I leave it to the debaters to shape that. I love K’s, they're good and fair-ground.
There are some arguments/authors I just will not validate or listen to, a few are listed here (please don't make me add more):


low Speed = bad / faster speed = better

any card from Jordan Peterson, Ben Shapiro, or any other author that makes claims of "race blindness" or uses biology pseudoscience to justify racist social/political theory.

cards and authors that actively support the oppression of peoples

Privatization good / Privatization CPs.

Delivery: I am opposed to speed in a debate round where the 1ac/1nc is on paper and the rest of the evidence is digital. If your strategy to win depends on the quantity of arguments you get out as opposed to the quality of your arguments while making it harder for your opponents to flow, read, and keep up with you, your round is likely not to be very educational in the real world. In novice debates I never really expect speed. In a round I'll give everyone 1 warning. If the speaker doesn't slow down or clear up their speech I may stop flowing parts that aren't understandable or only record what I can keep up with, as well I will give leeway to the other team missing arguments or cards because they couldn't catch it. In other words, if you read like 14 one-sentence CP's and perms back to back I might only get down 7 of them, so just like don't do that, you're better than that.

When on a panel I tend to disregard these preferences to a degree, but would still like to be included in an email chain.

Different Cases: I’ll listen to non-traditional affs and kritikal affs, I don't have much experience with them but I've voted for them before. Just be ready for a Topicality/framework fight. I will not vote neg on T/FW on my own just to intervene against a non-traditional, performance, or K-Aff.

Theory & Framework: I like good theory debates, but I need to know how it is relevant for me to care about it. If your fighting to win/view the round in a framework, you should be consistent with that and not just treat as a "hail-mary" argument from your first speech; pull yours through and weigh in your framework throughout the round.

Honestly, framework is huge in round and plays a huge role in how I evaluate the round. If you want to go for FW you can't drop it in any speech. If framework isn't contested, then isn't brought up until the 2nr/2ar I will not weigh it. FW doesn't get just to be opportunistically used, it must be used consistently to be considered valid praxis.

Topicality: T is important, but I won't just default a neg vote on T without it being the focus of the 2nr. I've voted for untopical plans before because T and abuse wasn't the focus of the rebuttals, and chances are I will do so again. Right now I'd say T is best used as an argument when a plan text hinders the ability of a team to have a functional debate on the terms the 1ac sets, and/or is beyond the span of the topic/resolution. If abuse isn't evident in the 2nr nor the focus of the 2nr, I will not intervene for the neg and they will probably not win T.

In round let's be reasonable on T, not oblivious. If a team uses a common acronym such as USFG, and you're not sure what they mean just ask. Unless you are trying to make an actual point about acronyms or the team is using them to intentionally mislead, don't try to make some abstract T argument on it and claim they stand for something completely unrelated to the resolution like "United States Faceters Guild." Be reasonable about things, don't try to just strictly rule monger in a nonconstructive way. If you want to go for an executive or courts CP that's fine, I don't make an assumption on what branch of the USFG the aff's actor is so there's merit to those CP's, just ask in CX what branch(es) the actor is. I don't like presumption on A-Spec when CX after the 1ac can resolve it. The aff gets to reserve clarification of the acting branch(es) for CX after the 1ac should it become a question.

DAs: If the disad’s uniqueness, link, and/or impact has been defeated or torn apart I’m not likely to weigh any of the DA other than evidence and arguments that apply to other areas in my decision. On DA's I look heavily at the risk of impact and the minimum impact it may have in a situation if it has any. Cross-applying DA's to other flows is fair game and more teams should remember that it's a thing they can do.

CPs: I will still flow through and apply any evidence and arguments you made if you kick a CP, I won't let you remove arguments from a round only your advocacy for the CP. Fiat and competitiveness are fair-ground arguments for me and I will listen to them. Really I'll listen to pretty much any argument you make on CP's but will not strike the evidence and arguments you presented from the round.

Kritiks: K's are good, I enjoy them. I'll admit I have Marxist/anarcho-communist sympathies so I'll typically understand K's down those paths. However, I've voted for and against all kinds of K's so don't expect any K to immediately win or lose you the round, I can personally agree with your K and vote against it based on the round or disagree with aspects of your K but vote for it. I don't have a preference to whichever K you run; you won't lose a round for running a K I'm not as personally experienced with, just run a K whose link makes sense for the plan. On alt; the alt can be an advocacy, but you should be able to explain what your advocacy/alt is and be able to point out where you made the argument for it in your cards. Be consistent with your 'alt,' redefining what your advocating in rebuttals is analogous to changing your CP so try to avoid doing that. If you wanna run clash of the K's between a K-aff and a K on the neg, I'm up for it, let's make it constructive though.

Role of the aff and neg: I tend to view the role of the aff to present a plan and/or defend the resolution, and the role of the neg is to negate that. I have issues with topical CP's, as I see those as pro-resolution which is pretty unfair to aff ground. If your CP version of the plan is better than the aff but is obviously still topical, I'll struggle to not vote for perm: do the CP if it's brought up; as I see it, the neg's job is to not be the aff. That's not to say you can't make the case for it, there are plenty of legitimate arguments for running topical CPs, I just expect some Theory defense on why it's justified in this particular situation.

Other Things to consider:
My favorite techniques and practices in a round are explaining arguments and weighing the round in common terms so that there is no confusion. It makes my job easier and lets everyone do a better job in round of both learning the topic and arguing on it.

When deciding on a winner I look at what points were emphasized in the rebuttals and then the net impacts on the flow. I’ll look at it through whatever frames I’m asked to look at it through otherwise I’ll decide on which side presents the best policy in the round. I am a really big fan of world-by-world comparisons in the 2r's.

Framework is HUGE. If the 1ac reads framework and it isn't contested in the 1nc, and then is extended in the 2ac, then that is how I will be evaluating the round. If FW is not argued in the 1nc and not mentioned in the 2ac, just consider the framework dead and weightless if/when used in the rebuttals, and me really disappointed.

Hot takes:

If climate change/warming bad is your impact, you don't need to read an impact card. Anyone who doesn't understand the scope of warming impacts, needs/wants it explained to them, or questions the validity warming impacts really shouldn't be judging in 2019. Just say it as an analytic. You should probably still read your link chain unless it's absolutely obvious. If you say warming good you still need to read impact evidence and I will probably laugh with disappointment in you and our education system, I will still flow the argument but not with high regard/merit for it.

Assume I watch the news regularly, obsessively even.

Saying Cap good is gonna take some work for me

Crack some jokes and talk with the other team before round; it's a competition but you're all presumably cool people if you're in debate. (but if like the other team makes you feel uncomfortable or talking to strangers is overly stressful or anxiety inducing like I get it, it's not a necessary obligation and doesn't affect your speaks)

Todd Le Paradigm

Todd Le—Policy

updated 1/6/20 (LD section)

School Affiliation: Homestead High School

Position: Head Coach

If you have questions about an RFD feel free to e-mail at: todd241 (at) gmail (dot) com - put me on the chain btw

I know prefs suck so I'ma try to make this as painless as possible. Am I qualified to judge your debate? Maybe? In high school I was not a nat circuit debater but I've been coaching a nat circuit team for the past 3-4 years and have judged out-rounds at octos bids. I don't have hella clout so if you're looking for a proven judge with a legacy I'm not your guy, but I will do my best to be as fair and transparent with my decision as possible.

Do my argument ideas align with yours? I don't think that really matters because my job is to evaluate what you do best - my opinion of what's good/bad should not matter. My familiarity with Pomo stuff and K lit in general is pretty low, so going for policy args probably requires less explanation to win. I'll vote on whatever - I just need to know what I'm voting for and the ROB to be evident. Coaching is not my full-time job so if you are going for a super techy CP then you're going to have contextualize really well within the round. Overviews? - Do that shit. Impact Calc? FFS please do.

If you have questions about specific arguments (although I thought I made it pretty clear above that that really shouldn't matter) I've tried to detail my thoughts below, but just do what you do best and I'll try to be as fair as possible.


New Section for LD:

I am new to LD and a lot of my debate opinions are derived from policy debate - most of the items below should still apply. Good with speed, Theory, Ks, plan, etc. Feel free to ask specific questions.


Overview Tech > truth. I'll vote on whatever. Don't be a jerk.

Counterplans The burden of proving the perm functions is on the affirmative. If you just read a laundry list of perms without doing really analysis to show me how it functions it doesn't really do much. I'd rather hear "X perm looks like Y in the context of the plan" than "Perm do both because both can be done at the time!" (The number of times I've heard terrible perm analysis is way too much). The neg has to prove CP competition (although I've learned that I despise condition CPs) and CP is net better or I vote on aff presumption. What makes a successful CP in my eyes is proving that a perm is impossible with the aff's plan, the CP is clearly competitive, and the CP can solve better/dodges the net ben. With these things, I'm much more willing to vote on the CP even with the smallest risk of triggering the net ben.

Disadvantages/Advantages Overviews are a good thing. Please do them. I think this also helps with being able to spin a much more convincing story for the 2NR/2AR. I think the internal link chain is one of the most important parts of any adv/DA, which also makes it the most vulnerable. I tend to prefer no link args/link turns over generic impact defense, and I find myself usually voting on who gives me a better link story at the end of the round (or telling me why the adv/DA is trash because of a bad link story). Impact calc will carry you super far. When it comes down to all things being equal, I look to who first has the best and most solid internal link chain, then to who gave me the best line by line.

Topicality & Theory I'll vote on T. Potential abuse is a fine voter, but if you can prove in-round abuse I'm way more convinced. If you're aff make sure you're answering T top to bottom (counter-interp to T as a non-voter). I've found myself much more willing to vote on what people call "bad" T violations. At the end of the day, the 2NR strategy is predicated on 1AR missteps. I will definitely vote on it even if you think it's stupid. I default to reasonability unless told otherwise. I find that a good theory debate has clear violations, standards, and voters. I've never seen a good theory 2NR/2AR that I like, or one that I thought was well done. I'm fine with most theory arguments but make sure you tell me how to use it i.e justification to reject the team or reject the arg. I'm fine with theory being run in the 1AR/block if it's justified.

Kritiks My opinion of Ks has moved around a ton. When I first started judging, having no experience with them, I did not know how to evaluate them and hated K rounds. Eventually I tried to be a cool kid and read a couple philosophy papers and thought I was the shit and was super open to K args. Then I realized I'm too lazy to actually read the lit to try and understand things like psychoanalysis or Baudrillard. I've come to the conclusion, that while I think Ks can be interesting and I can enjoy well thought-out rounds with Ks, running Ks to be edgy or tricky doesn't jive with me. If you use tons of jargon I reserve the right to take a nap during your speech. I think one the smartest things an aff can do in an instance like this is to win on solvency presses that can be set-up in the cross ex, because there's a really good chance that if you didn't understand what the K was saying neither did I. If you read a K aff I need clear offense extended in the 2AR. To do well in front of me, the team that can best dissect the K and can contextualize the alt will win it (even if that means showing me that alt is garbage). This applies especially to obscure Ks centered in philosophical literature but not as much to structural Ks like Cap or Security.

SP Breakdown

Nat Circuits or 0.1 scales

26 and below - something went wrong (racist, sexist, ableist, homophobic, etc. language) and I explained in my oral why I gave you those points (rarely happens)

26.1-27 - If I have to call you out for a minor infraction like stealing prep or if you are being super rude in round this is where you end up

27.1-27.5 - Nothing happened in terms of behavior, but I still think you need a lots of work

27.6-28.0 - Speeches left quite a bit to be desired. I think you probably have the potential to do better, but just didn't show it in this round.

28.1-29.0 - My average range, you did nothing wrong, but did nothing remarkable

29.0-29.5 - Showed superb understanding of argumentation, left little to no room for your opponent to come back into the debate

29.5 + - You gave a really fucking good 1NR/1AR/2NR/2AR

Wisconsin Circuit or 0.5 scales

24 and below - Something you said or did was wrong and you will be told in round what that was

24.5 - 26.0 - You got called out for stealing prep or you were being really obnoxious and rude in a round, or you showed a clear lack of mastery and practice for the level you are at

26.5 -28.5 - Average range

29 - 29.5 - You did an excellent job taking control of the round and are leaps and bounds better than others in the circuit

30 - rare, but when given, it's because you adapted incredibly well to the round and made my decision either incredibly easy or excruciatingly difficult

Irma Sanchez-Mora Paradigm

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Benjamin Sauer Paradigm

Background: In college I debated on the national circuit for parliamentary debate. I formerly coached collegiate parliamentary and policy debate. I currently serve as the Ronald Reagan College Prep head coach, I was an assistant coach for Solorio Academy High School for the past few years, I sit on the Board of Directors of the Milwaukee Urban Debate League, and I am the President-Elect of the Wisconsin Debate Coaches' Association.

E-Mail Chain: Yes. Send to (Note: asking me if I want to be on the e-mail chain is usually a sign that you didn't read my paradigm before the round. It is right here at the top...)

Quick Philosophy: I strongly favor a policy making philosophy. Ideally the AFF should advocate a policy topical to the resolution, and the NEG should explain why I should reject the specific policy case made by AFF.

Quick Tips:

  1. Speak clearly. If I can't understand you, I can't flow you.
  2. Do not argue a tagline. Argue the logic and evidence.
  3. Maintain clash. Line by line is good.
  4. Identify voting issues.
  5. Take advantage of the cross examination to force concessions and formulate your arguments.
  6. Do not be rude. Be witty. (Wit = speaker point bumps)
  7. Have fun.

Longer Philosophy:

- Planless Aff: If the AFF isn't affirming any specific plan, advocacy or course of action, then the status quo doesn't change, and NEG wins on presumption regardless of what else the AFF says.

- Tech v Truth: I will prefer tech to truth. Like all judges I attempt to avoid intervention, and a dropped argument is a true argument.

- Links: I do not think enough scrutiny is usually given to link arguments or link chains. I am a big fan of strategies that attack internal links or the link of a disadvantage/K/etc.

- Advantages and Disadvantages: You need to perform an impact calculus. Significance arguments should have fleshed out impact assessments with relative risk analysis supported by evidence. Politics DAs are great.

- Speed: Keep your speed reasonable. While I can handle a speedy round, I think teams who slow down perform better - they understand their round better, and I understand the arguments better. Clarity in the round matters. Make sure you articulate and enunciate your words. Speaking exceptionally quickly to try to read more cards or have more, and less developed arguments, isn't effective (and will hurt your speaks). I will let you know if I have a problem keeping up with (or understanding) you, and I'll give two warnings before I stop flowing. I will not use your cards to fill in what I miss because you are going too quickly (or if I stop flowing because I warned you twice).

If you are doing more than 7 off case arguments, you're not giving enough attention or time to all of the arguments, and you're likely relying on speed. I would far rather have fewer arguments with a deeper dive into the issues than more arguments and cursory explanations with an attempt to win simply by having the other team drop an argument that hasn't been developed much at all. I will weigh how well developed and impacted an argument is that the other team dropped when 8+ off-case are run.

- Cross Examination: I flow CX. Cross examination is an extremely important and undervalued tool in current policy debate. I recommend flowing those developments into your speeches. Do not be elusive in response to questions. A simple "I don't know" is an acceptable response if you do not know the answer. I do not prefer tag teaming on CX for varsity or open rounds. I award higher speaker points for individuals who do not rely on verbal assistance from a partner in asking or answering questions or making speeches.

- Topicality: I will vote on topicality, but my threshold for topicality is rather high. Topicality arguments that are well developed and given time during the 1NC/2NC are more likely to be successful, and the NEG should explain either how the AFF violated a reasonable and fair framework or why NEG's interpretation is better (I enjoy debates about what the proper meaning of a word should be and how that impacts the plan or the debate). If you are going to argue topicality and the AFF asks what a topical plan would look like under your framework for topicality, you need to be able to give an answer. If you cannot provide an example of topicality under your own framework, you have a problem, and your argument is very unlikely to persuade.

- Performance or Meta-Debate: I am not your judge, and you should strike me. My threshold for theory / topicality arguments against performance debate is low.

- Counterplans: I am a huge fan of counterplans, and I strongly look to functional competition. I enjoy a well run process counterplan. Process does matter in the real world and has real policy implications. I am not a fan of consult counterplans, but I have and will grudgingly vote for them.

- Theory: I am fine with theory arguments and debates. For conditionality, I am fine with multiple CPs and kritiks, but keep your conditionality within reasonable constraints (i.e. six or more worlds is not very reasonable). I default to reject the argument not the team for theory arguments. If I am to reject the team, not the argument, have a very good explanation as to why.

- Kritiks: I am not opposed to a K, but I am only well versed in K literature that is based in law and economics. For almost any other K you're going to need to SLOW DOWN, explain your buzzwords / jargon and explain the concepts. If you don't explain the buzzword / jargon, I'm not searching your cards for what a term means.

I strongly dislike K taglines that are paragraphs. That is not a tagline - it's a mini-speech.

The K needs to link to the specific policy case made and engage with the substance of the Aff's plan. If there is no link to the specific policy or no engagement with the substance of the plan, then there is no reason for me to vote for the K. A successful K will (1) link to the specific policy being argued; and (2) have an alt that (A) is a conditional policy option; (B) competes with the Aff's plan; and (C) you have explained how it functions in the real world. If, at the end of the debate, I am left thinking "So what?" I am going to vote for the Aff. The Aff actually solves for something, and the K does not.

For a K-Aff, the alt in the K-Aff needs to meet the same standards as the alt for any other K - the alt still needs to be topical, create change and solve for some harm.

- Off-Limits Arguments: No argument is out of bounds or off-limits in the debate round. Your team can make any argument it wants. If a team thinks an argument is objectionable or morally wrong, then the burden is on that team to explain why and why I should not vote for it. Merely claiming that something is offensive, immoral or "-ist" isn't enough. Why is it immoral or "-ist"? Why is it unfair or wrong? If your team can't explain why, I won't intervene to do the work for you. Run whatever argument(s) you want.

Note: The above should not be interpreted as carte blanche to engage in ad hominem attacks or other personal attacks in the round. You must be respectful to each other.

- Court or Legal Plans/Arguments: I am the general counsel of a multinational company. I really enjoy listening to plans/counterplans/etc that involve the courts or a legal strategy. That said, I will know if you do not understand how the judicial branch functions, and I will know if your plan/CP actually functions or solves the way that you claim. I will not intervene to vote on these issues if the other team does not call you on it, but my threshold for them to call you on these issues is low.

Linnea Stanton Paradigm

I debated for four years in high school on the Minnesota circuit, making it to state and nationals a few times. I am fine with speed, but you MUST be understandable. If I can't tell what you are saying, chances are it won't be on the flow and someone will be upset. I have no preference towards policy/critique based debate, just prove to me why you should win. An easy way to get the ballot is to do impact analysis. Please do not be rude during cross ex, or in any other part of the debate. Tag team cross ex is fine. I don't have any objections to arguments, so juts read what you think you can win on.

John Tao Paradigm


  • Nationally ranked high school debater (2004- 2006)
  • Former Director of Debate at IUPUI (2009- 2012)
  • Former Director of Debate at the University of Illinois at Urbana- Champaign (2013-2015)
  • Volunteer Judge for the CUDL 4+ years
  • Chicago Debate Summer Institute Instructor (Summer 2015)
  • Solorio HS Coach (2015- Present)
  • Milwaukee Debate Legue Executive Director (2017- Present)

TL;DR (The "Round Starts in 2 minutes, Who is this judge?!") *

  • Speed: Fine
  • Line-by-line: Always
  • Signpost: Always
  • Roadmap: Yes, off the clock
  • Tag Team: Meh
  • Default paradigm: Policymaker
  • Theory: Great
  • T: Lovely
  • K: Fine
  • Framework: Meh
  • CP: Competitive
  • DA: Awesome
  • Case: Fantastic
  • Analysis: Necessary
  • Debate Formality: Meh

Longer Form (The "Oh, there's time and we should probably see what this judge is all about")*


I'm comfortable with speed. But, with that said you need to be clear, you ideally do not do weird distracting things (like GASPS of air), you ideally slow down on tags, you ideally slow down when reading plan text/advocacy statement.

I ultimately flow based on what I hear within a round regardless of what you think you may or may not have said. I will "clear" you if you are egregiously unintelligible but that's probably a bad sign if I need to do that. If after I "clear" you and I still find myself struggling significantly with quality of presentation I will literally stop flowing for as long as I need to. With all of that said though, I do have a fairly high tolerance for speed.

There is one more important caveat I think it's necessary to say here: if you are able to spread and your opponents are clearly not able to handle it (e.g. literally cannot flow) I expect you to adapt to the round (i.e. do not steamroll a team because you are able to overwhelm them with quantity of arguments). Speed is a tool in the world of debate and I fully expect you to use it but not at the point where it becomes abusive for the other team and takes away from the educational value of the round for all parties.


Please try your best to stick to the structures of the round. Please do your best to frame your arguments in the "They say but we say" structure. Even if things get messy, please do your best to consolidate, group, or summarize arugments together and respond to them in a clear manner. Try and not jump all over the place.

With all of that said, I think this is a skill that all debaters aspire for. Sometimes rounds get messy and all I really do is ask that you do your best to try and line up your arguments as best as you can. The effort is important at the end of the day. I know all judges like a clean line-by-line, and I know that it can get lost in the moment, so... all I ask is that you try your best (cause, let's be honest, is there going to be a judge that ever says "No line-by-line"?)


Part and parcel with the idea of line-by-line format is signposts. I think it's incredibly important for teams to make sure they give proper sign posts. Give me a remider of where you are, let me know where I should be flowing, let me know what's going on. Give me a sign that you're about to move to the next card (usually a "AND NEXT" is a good indicator). Signposts help keep you organized, help your opponent stay organized, and helps the judge stay organized. It's an important skill to have... and all I ask is that you try your best.


Please. There are four things I've been seeing that drive me absolutely insane - and apparently there's enough for me to even write about it.

1) Roadmapping the 1AC. Don't do it. It's not necessary. It's not a thing.

2) Asking if I want a roadmap. The answer is YES. The answer is always YES (with the exception of the 1AC, because, once again, don't do it).

3) 1NC roadmap - just tell me how many off, and then where you plan on going on. Don't tell me what the Off cases are, that's not necessary.

4) Roadmap by being clear and concise: "DA, K, Case in order of solvency then advantage one." Do not roadmap: "I'm going to go a little bit on solvency, and then maybe the K...and if I have time maybe the DA...."


Tag teaming is okay as long as 1) the other team is okay with it and 2) as long as it is not abused. The person being questioned should be responding to a majority of the questions. The partner should be able to help but should absolutely not be dominating the cross-ex. Keep it minimal if you are not "standing up" during cross.


I like policy rounds. I think debate is a forum for analyzing policy so my default is always to be a policy maker. But, with that said, I've been engaged in this activity enough that I also just see it as a free-form open game space for debaters to discuss whatever issues, in whatever format they want to. If you are making arguments that deviate outside of the traditional policy arguments that's totally cool! I'm down (with caveats I'll explain on each specific argument below) but you need to give me a paradigm to judge in otherwise it probably won't go in your favor (or at least it'll be more of an upward climb).


I used to debate theory all the time. I don't think abuse necessarily has to be proven within a round to win this argument. I do think you need to make well articulated, well warranted, well impacted out arguments though. I am more on the side of rejecting the argument and not the team but depending on the flow of the round I can be convinced otherwise. I think a well run theory argument is something a debater can fill a full 8 minutes with, if necessary. That is the level of analysis I love for theory. The quick 10s blips are not particularly compelling.


Okay. I really do like Ks. BUT I need to see that the team running it (whether as a negative argument or aff advocacy statement) has a very good understanding of the Kritikal arguments. I think too many K cards are incredibly power tagged and full of unnecessary jargon. Keep things simple, pretend I've never heard of your literature/author, and explain it to me, do not assume I know your literature or author. For example, if you use the term "war machine" repeatedly but never explain what the "war machine" is, I will not do the mental work for you. You need to at a minimum explain it in the beginning of your speech. I think the K debate ultimately is made or broken at the link level -- generic Ks will not really do that much for me. I want to see that you understand the K you are running, and that you can actually find specific, concrete links, into your opponents' arguments.

Second, I think alternatives should actually be viable alternatives. Tell me what the altnerative is and show me how it can work. I think that should come without saying but often I hear alternatives that don't necessarily connect with the thesis of the K or ultimately just don't make sense. If the argument does not make sense then I will very unlikely vote for it.


Framework arguments are kind of boring these days to be honest. Try and keep it interesting by being specific. Show me how the framework interacts with the rest of your arguments. Explain to me how your framework works. Give me analysis, bring it outside of the world of generic cards and let me know how the framework works within the round we are in.


Ideally CPs are non-topical and competitive. I think they are viable options but there needs to be a clear solvency story presented and particularly good impact analysis to balance the world of the plan against the world of the counter plan.


DAs are great. The more specific the better. Generic DAs happen, of course, but the better the link story the better. If you can give me a good DA to the case then you have a significant chance of being able to win the round but it has to be well articulated, it has to be well warranted, it has to be well impacted out against the world of the plan.


Let's be real, the more specific case arguments you can make the better. Who doesn't like clash and actually engaging in the arguments?


Give me analysis. It's not good enough to give me impact calculus in the form of magnitude, timeframe, and significance. I need to understand how you reach the world of the impacts. I need to understand why the impacts are even a possibility. The magnitude, timeframe, and significance formula is fine and all but I need much more than that.


I may or may not run a timer at the back of the room and I strongly prefer both teams time themselves. I don't really care where you're speaking from. I'm not particularly formal about the rounds.


* I reserve the right to modify my paradigm based upon how much coffee I've had, my understanding of your team's argument tool kit (e.g. if your coach believes (s)he is the President when evaluating rounds I will hold any team from any such school to a higher expectation that the debaters' default actor for any plan is Executive unless I am specifically told otherwise), and any number of factors. If there is anything confusing, anything you're unsure of, please feel free to ask me before the round begins. It can only be a benefit for you.

~ A comment on speaker points if I am judging a Wisconsin, non-national circuit tournament. My default speaker point calibration is set to a 28.1 in accordance with national debate trends. Within the state of Wisconsin I have traditionally held an average of 27.5/28 with the idea that points should not and cannot go lower than a 25 (as a matter of custom and as a matter of rule at many tournaments since at least 2002). However, I have recently seen ballots within the state of Wisconsin where points within the low 20s (e.g. "23") seem to be acceptable and endorsed by the state. With that in mind, I am specifically calibrating my average point distribution to a 26 to ensure consistency with state practices.