Greenhill Fall Classic

2018 — Dallas, TX/US

Shree Awsare Paradigm

4 rounds


Current School Affiliations: NoBro (2016-), Emory (2019-)

Previous School Affiliations: JMU (2011-2016), Broad Run High School (2014-2016), Thomas Jefferson High School (2012-2014), Columbia University (2007-2011), Fordham University (2011), Monta Vista High School (2003-2007).

HS Topic Knowledge: Slightly above average. Led lab at DDI & actively cut cards for NoBro.

College Topic Knowledge: Below Average. I occasionally cut K answers and that's the extent of research. I need the topic disambiguated - topicality and complex topic mechanism-based counterplans will need more pentime and clarification.

No judge is tabula rasa, and I am no exception. My ideal debate involves two teams who read well-researched positions, engage in line-by-line refutation of their opponents’ arguments, and demonstrate strategic choice-making and vertical development of arguments. Not all debate is good debate. It is my firm belief that any model of debate (whatever the content) that disincentivizes any of the aforementioned qualities is an inferior product that is simultaneously less rigorous and less enjoyable. In the past, I have taken a more laissez-faire attitude towards judging rounds, but I’ve started to realize that I have been rewarding practices conducted by debaters on both sides of the artificial “traditional” and “critical” divide that are detrimental to the overall quality of debates – antics of which I was often guilty of pursuing as a competitor. As such, I will be making my biases transparent so that you can be more informed when you do your prefs. I’ve split this philosophy up into non-negotiables and preferences below.


(1) Only complete arguments will be evaluated. A complete argument consists of a claim, warrant, and data. This seems basic, but in the rush to construct 7+ off, scattershot 1NCs, some teams been encouraged to forward DA shells with poorly highlighted evidence without warrants, CP shells with just a text and no accompanying solvency cards, or cards tagged “extinction” (which is a word, not an argument) in hopes that they will get more words per minute out than the other team. You can miss me with that. Incomplete arguments will not be flowed, and in the event that an incomplete argument grows up to be a complete argument in a future speech, I will evaluate it as if you made the argument for the first time in that future speech, and I will give your opponents a new opportunity to respond with analytics and cards.

(2) You MUST be flowable. While I will try my best to keep up, I will feel zero remorse in the post-round if you tell me that I did not appropriately decode the word vomit on 2AC 5 subpoint C or the treatise you regurgitated about some vague "theory of power" in a 2NC overview. Not only should you limit your speed such that you maintain clarity at all times, but it would help me immensely if you used consistent, easily transcribable soundbytes so I can make connections on the flow effortlessly instead of speaking in large paragraphs with run-on sentences.

(3) Topicality is a voting issue, and never a reverse voting issue. The affirmative must defend the whole resolution or an example of the resolution. Nothing about this requirement is “the logic of genocide,” “psychologically violent,” nor a “will to mastery” that can be analogized to violence in “Abu Ghraib” or “drone strikes.” Ultimately, debate is a voluntary activity that you have the choice to not partake in, and to the extent that you've chosen to participate, it is only valuable insofar as the negative has an opportunity to anticipate and clash with your claims. That being said, I believe that critical affirmative approaches to the topic that may stray from traditional plan texts have immense value, but only if they creatively affirm the resolution in some way rather than being a negative argument or atopical. Here are some thoughts if you have me in the back of a K Aff v T debate.
(A) 2ACs should counter-define or prove they meet the words in the resolution to prove that the 1AC as presented is an example of the resolution, or they will have an extremely uphill battle in the face of a competently extended fairness violation. I am not persuaded by vacuous CIs like “discussion of the topic,” “only our aff is topical,” and others that are unsubstantiated by evidence interpreting words in the topic statement. None of those CIs would be acceptable in any other T debate (imagine if a Landmines aff responded to T – "Single Weapons Aren't Substantial" with CI: discussion of the topic – L 27.5). That being said, I don’t think this forecloses critical approaches beyond traditional interpretations of fiat – I think there are plenty of ways to creatively define “USFG” as an agent outside the 3 branches in DC (see Burch’s Performative Revolutionary Fiat or “we demand” style affs) or “direct commercial sales” as exceeding AECA context that could posit a broader but better limit on the topic. 2ACs can also make criticisms of expert based definitions, suggesting alternate, non-traditional definitions that are grounded in lived experience or social location, and make the case for why their definitions should be preferred. But, no definition at all = no model of debate, which implies that there is no equitable role for the negative team to anticipate their opponents' arguments and critically engage their scholarship
(B) The "impact" debate should be focused on a particular set of limits – the negative should defend the benefits of narrowing deliberation over a topic, and the affirmative should point out the myopia of such a curriculum. I think there is a defensible case to be made that a curriculum where the affirmative is limited to the 3 branches as an agent or a narrow subset of what “direct commercial sales” means distorts the cross-disciplinary literature over arms sales and is exclusive of particular bodies of thought which may have an impact that outweighs the convenience of negative researchers, in the same way that a definition of DCS that limits out the CCL might arguably be contrived, uneducational, and have an impact. However, impact turns that suggest the reading of topicality itself is a violent form of conditioning or that the negative should not be able to anticipate and engage your argument are significantly less convincing and don't require much to be refuted.
(C) I am annoyed by negative arguments read on the affirmative side. Positions that are pessimistic about the possibility of improving the status quo are negative arguments… by definition... and are reasons to vote for the negative team. Turns out there is a vast body of defensible literature in your area of the library that is hopeful about the propensity for change. Please be willing to research and defend more than 1 theory of power.
(D) I am more in the "limits/fairness" camp than the "skills" camp. The latter opens the neg up arguments about why we should prefer aff impact claims that exceed the intrinsic competitive nature of debate, permutation arguments to teach different skills to different people through different genres of argument, and arguments about how the neg's skills cannot be universalized to all and can be used for evil. This is not to say that "skills" style impacts are unwinnable in front of me, but it is certainly more uphill.

(4) There are 2 speakers on each team who have an equal amount of time to speak, and I will cast a ballot in favor of one winning team. I don’t really care about ins and outs or alternative use prep time, but there should NOT be debates where students are “kicked out” or otherwise don’t participate in an entire debate. Calling for a double win, intentionally interrupting an opponent’s speech, soliciting outside participation in a speech or cross-x, breaking time limits, playing board games, or devolving the debate into a 2 hour long discussion is a recipe for a quick L for the team that initiates it.

(5) I do not feel comfortable making decisions in contest rounds about the unconfirmable personal behavior or character of minors or coaching staffs that occur outside of debates. That said, arguments about things that are observable within the debate are fair game, and I have no tolerance for racism, etc - which I think is prolific in debate despite its pretense of liberalism.

(6) Attempts to negotiate speaker points with me within a contest round (eg, "please give me a 30 because x") will backfire. The last time someone tried to negotiate speaker points, they received a 24. Would not recommend.


(1) I am not staunchly offense/defense, as I believe in the existence of terminal defense and believe presumption can decide debates. Much of this depends on the quality of debating, but I can be compelled that negligible solvency to an affirmative case should be treated as zero, or that there is no internal link to a DA, or that a K aff doesn't meet its role of the ballot and should lose on presumption.

(2) Line-By-Line > OV/Implicit Clash. My favorite debaters number arguments and reference those numbers as they debate, regardless of whether they are debating a DA, T, K or CP – but a “they say” approach that follows the arguments in the order that they are presented is also acceptable. Implicit clash would be okay if people flowed more carefully and answered arguments in the order that they were presented - oftentimes it is not. 1+ minute overviews frustrate me and said frustration will be taken out on your speaker points.

(3) Judge Instruction in DA/CP Debates = Key. Does UQ frame the link debate, or do the links frame a close UQ debate and why? Does the DA turns the case or the other way around, and why? Does the internal net benefit to a process CP outweigh the impact of a CP solvency deficit? None of these questions should be left up to me.

(4) I enjoy T and Theory Debates more than most, but you will need to slow down for your analytics and adequately impact your arguments. If you want to read new 2NC CPs to avoid impact turns, generic process CPs, etc, I'm all ears if you are proficient at debating theory and won't take it out on your speaker points. That being said, if you are a LD debater, most of the "theory arguments" you are making are disease inducing because they neither pass the make sense test, nor do they have complete claims with warrants. Please stop, and save yourself from receiving 26 speaker points.

(5) Plan (Aff) v K Debates Thoughts. These appear to be the majority of debates that I watch. For teams reading the K: My familiarity with your literature base will be above average, and I won't need long explanations of terminology to demystify concepts. I am more interested in you establishing specific links to the affirmative and concrete impacts that turn or outweigh it.

For teams debating against the K: I am more interested in arguments (analytics and cards) that substantively engage the K while having a robust defense of the case. The K's "greatest hits" are useful but at some point, you are going to have to answer their "K turns the case" and other tricks they may have by using your aff. I do not necessarily need carded evidence to overcome their characterizations, smart analytics are often enough to respond to contrived uniqueness, link, or case turn arguments. Debaters on the policy end of the spectrum that I've judged tend to say I evaluate K debates like a "checklist."

(6) I have little familiarity with economics. I understand economics at high speed even less. The last time I studied economics was AP Macro in high school, and I didn't do so well in that class. If you are committing to a strategy centered on business confidence, the economics of oil prices, etc, it would help if you slowed down and added more details about how the economy works than you might have otherwise - you probably don't want me to make guesses by reconstructing the debate from your evidence.

(7) New Affs Bad/Must Be Disclosed is not a compelling argument - I have never voted on this argument sans 1 or 2 times it was conceded by the affirmative team in 3 consecutive speeches. I think there is arguably a case to be made that new affs might justify leniency for negative conditionality or that new K affs prove debate is controlled more by competitive incentives than subject formation, but I am not as sold as some of my colleagues that new affs justify shenanigans across the board (I have no idea why a new affirmative makes process counterplans more competitive or theoretically legitimate, for example).


PF Paradigm: I am a policy critic who has a lot of strong, negative feelings about some of the pedagogical practices that plague this activity. While there are some exceptions, PF has a extremely low standard for responding to arguments in the order that they were presented, and has an even lower standard for evidence quality (bordering on academic dishonesty). For you to receive speaker points higher than a 27, all of the following will be required:

(1) Do not paraphrase evidence. I expect that you include the full paragraph to include the context that your author is speaking in. If you paraphrase evidence, I will evaluate your excerpt with the same force as an analytic or opinion asserted by a debater.
(2) I expect students to flash or email evidence read before the speech in which they read it. I will not allow you to take time to look at articles outside of your prep time. You can look at their evidence during your opponent's speeches, cross-fire, or prep time.
(3) Extensions of argument labels or claims without warrants will not be evaluated as arguments. If no one manages to make a complete argument, I will intervene when making a decision. You will not like that.
(4) I expect the second rebuttal to respond to every argument in the first rebuttal. I will not be extending arguments from your grand crossfire (or crossfires in general). I steadfastly believe it is the second team's obligation to address both sides of the flow in the second rebuttal. A second team that neglects to attack both the opposing case and rebuild against the prior rebuttal will have a very low chance of winning my ballot because they have conceded large swaths of argument. A team that ignores this bit of adaptation should expect to see speaker points that reflect a performance that I see as half-complete.

If you disagree, please strike me.

Sabrina Bajwa Paradigm

4 rounds

Sabrina Bajwa

Kinkaid School ‘17

Brown University ‘21

**Updated for Greenhill 2018: I have zero knowledge of the current topic and have been largely out of debate for 2 years now: keep that in mind when using acronyms / articulating t args

About me: I debated for four years at Kinkaid coached by Eric Emerson. I qualled to the TOC sophomore through senior year and for you Texas people, I qualled to TFA state freshman through senior year. I was a 2A/1N for the first three years of high school and 1A/2N as a senior.

Top level

I have a pretty bad poker face, so if you look up every once in awhile, you’ll probably see what I think about your args. Yes, I want to be on the email chain:

Framing is key: Debates are won and lost in the framing of the last rebuttals. If you can isolate the nexus question in your last rebuttal and prove why you’re winning it, you’ll probably end up winning the debate. Line by line is great but that helps you win arguments in isolation not necessarily the debate. This doesn’t mean abandon the line by line and just wax poetically in your final rebuttals but tell me stuff like: Which impacts are most important? Which impacts control the escalation of other impacts? Most importantly: How do I weigh your claims vs your opponent's claims? “Even if” statements are the best way to clearly tell me how to weigh arguments. You’re rarely winning everything in a debate, so acknowledging what you’re losing and why it doesn’t matter makes it much easier to render a decision between competing claims.

Tech > truth (except for morally reprehensible arguments racism good, sexism good etc.), but be wary—just because a team “dropped” an argument on the line by line but answered it somewhere else (let’s say in the overview) and is controlling the meta framing for that issue, the arg isn’t actually dropped. In other words, embedded clash exists. Don’t ignore it. Also, I'm not going to vote for an arg that I can't explain to the other team (i.e saying "they dropped t, they aren't t vote neg is not an arg). For it to be an arg, you still need to extend a claim, warrant, and impact.

Be smart: Recognize interactions between different arguments and flows and bring it up in CX and in speeches. Exploit contradictions and double-turns. Flows don’t exist in isolation, and when someone reads 9 off, there’s almost always a double turn. Point these out.

Clarity > speed: If I can’t understand you, I’ll say clear probably twice but after that, I’ll just stop flowing. Make your speeches easy for me to flow--slow down on long blocks of analytics (especially for T/theory) and try to follow the line by line as best you can. It’s easier for both of us to recognize clash when you put the argument next to the argument it's responding to instead of giving a 7 minute overview and saying “that was the overview” 15 times.

Don’t steal prep, clip cards, or be mean.

Below are my predispositions to certain args. Obvi pre-dispositions can be disproven by making args to the contrary, but since everyone has inherent biases, you can read about my thoughts on your sick new 20-plank process counterplan here—

“K Affs” —

You need to be related to the topic in some way. It’ll be very easy for me to vote on framework if you’re not at least somewhat about the topic. Most of these affs tend to be large, sweeping FYIs and then claim to “disrupt the system”. For you to win these debates in front of me, you need to explain the method of your aff, and the impacts that you claim to “solve”. You should have some sort of an advocacy statement (doesn’t have to be a USFG plan) or a role of the ballot for me to evaluate your impacts. If you’re going to read high-theory affs, explain relevant terminology and buzzwords. Don’t assume I know what libidinal jouissance epistemology is. I don’t think conditional ethics is a viable 2AR strategy because I fundamentally believe that neg should be able to test the aff from multiple perspectives but you do you.

Framework/T/whatever you want to call it is a legitimate strategy against non-topical affs and can be a means of engaging the aff. I’m fine for whatever impacts you want to go for; however, in high school, I tended to like the procedural fairness/dialogue/”debate is a game” type arguments as opposed to decision-making/skills type impacts. I generally think “skills” based arguments work better against identity affs while fairness works better against high-theory affs. Topical versions of the aff are as close as it gets to silver bullets, and if you have a solvency advocate for it, I’ll be super impressed. For the neg, you also need to remember to explain both the link and internal link to your impact. Too often, teams just yell about fairness for a while without actually explaining what the aff has done that has “rigged the game”. For the aff, you need to explain why the TVA is either illogical or can’t solve; just saying roleplaying as the USFG is bad is not going to cut it. I also think the best way to win framework in front of me if you’re aff, is on your impact turns. A random technical “we-meet” is probably not going to be persuasive to me.

Other relevant K aff things: I lean towards not letting planless affs perm counter-advocacies (can easily be convinced otherwise). Neg teams need to be careful to clearly point out the differences between the aff and the alt.

Case Debate —

People don’t make use of case debate as much as they should—make smart analytics to take down the aff. 2As need to answer case instead of just extending your advantage and you need to say more than just “hegsolvesgreatpowerwar - that’sbrookikenberrywohlfoth”. I also feel people under-utilize impact turns (true in both K aff rounds and straight-up policy rounds). If you hear an aff that seems to say cap is bad, why not read cap good in the 1NC and then 8 min of cap good in the 2NC? Does the 1AC kinda sorta reject the American empire? Seems like not going for heg good for a large part of the block is just a missed opportunity.

Topicality —

I love good T debates. Don’t get bogged down in the nitty-gritty. You should explain your vision of the topic and why it’s better than your opponents’. You also need to explain terminal impacts. Why do I care if the topic is more limited? Why does intent to define matter? What matters more: limits or predictability? You need to have a case-list, otherwise I’ll lean towards overlimiting args. I default to competing interpretations but reasonability makes hella more sense if explained in terms of aff predictability.

Counterplans —

Though my neg record senior year might suggest otherwise, I love a good counterplan debate. If a counterplan text is like 20 planks long, for the love of god slow down at least a little in the 1NC. Necessary vs sufficient framing is incredibly persuasive and the 1AR needs to answer this. The best counterplans are specific PICs. As a 2A, I hated counterplans that would require a 4 minute AT: perm do the counterplan block but as a 2N, I loved cheating counterplans. I went for all kinds of counterplans my senior year from the human rights conditions counterplan (China topic) to Track 2 CP, so really it’s up to you. If you want me to judge-kick the counterplan, you need to tell me and justify it in the 2NR.

Theory --

I don’t really lean either way and these debates tend to be blippy and frustrating to evaluate. Make them not blippy and not frustrating to evaluate if you’re going for theory (totally viable against Word PICs for example and process counterplans)

I’m probably not the best judge for conditionality bad args because I think conditionality is amazing and also what’s really the difference between 2 conditional worlds and 2? I just really don’t care about how abusive it is but as always tech > truth.

Kritiks —

I went for Ks all the time my senior year against many different types of affs. I’m the most familiar with security and psychoanalysis kritiks. I’m not the best judge for pomo because I’m pretty easy to convince that material violence comes first, however it all depends on how you go for those args. Baudrillard is probably right about most of his theories but who cares? You need to explain the jargon and have specific link applications to the aff you’re debating. Saying the state is bad and calling it a day is not going to cut it and makes it really easy for me to vote on the perm + “try/die aff”. You need to contextualize all of your link explanations to the aff; using smart empirical examples and referencing lines from their ev is a great way for you to appear ahead on the link debate. The biggest problem aff teams usually have is that they forget about their 1AC. Don’t forget about your 1AC! That’s usually 8 minutes of solid offense you can use against the kritik.

Cross-x: This is functionally a speech and you should prepare/think of it as such. Preparing smart questions will enable you to use CX as a time to generate args. You should have a coherent CX strategy (e.g don’t just spend 3 minutes jumping from flow to flow with no real goal). Be smart about how you use CX time, and while I don’t ever think it’s a good strategy to use CX as prep, I do understand if it’s a new aff (even then, however, I still strongly recommend using CX as CX).

Point scale —

Below a 27 means you did something extremely offensive (racist, sexist etc.) I reward you for smart arguments, clear execution, good CX, and clever strategies. Above a 29.5 is reserved for incredibly amazing speeches. Making any jokes about Sam Richey, Sita Yerramsetti, Linda Gong, Jason Yang, or Eric Emerson will also get you a .1 increase in speaks.

In the words of Eric Emerson, "Debate well and have fun!"

Kevin Bancroft Paradigm

6 rounds

Official Wiki:

If you are unsure what clipping is, ask me before the round.

I don't care what arguments you choose to run as long as there is warranting: tabula rasa.

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.


Unofficial wiki:

All I care about is clipping, that is the only thing officially on my wiki. But if you are looking for more unofficial things, like my opinions, I can let you know that the critical args many people run lack rigor, i.e. well thought out alternatives, and their content is often predicated upon ahistorical classist assumptions of being and/or knowing. The people who try but are unable to overcome this classist critical theory end up confusing production with consumption.

Also the policy args many people run lack internal links and in some cases have become more facile than the most Discordian of critical args. Hearing a "vague alts" or "utopian alts" arg is ironic to me at this point because of the ubiquity of vague and utopian policy internal links.

Don't tell me one is better than the other because firstly we all(including me) could be doing much better. And secondly, there is no reason they are mutually exclusive (anyone that has been to grad school already knows this).

The jist of this unofficial wiki is that I enjoy debates where a team advocates a position and defends it. Rather than never advocating a position and just saying no link over and over (for policy) or perm over and over (for critical).

Maddie Barker Paradigm

4 rounds

Rounds on the topic: 12

Tournaments I’ve judged at (2018-2019):


Local Utah Tournaments

Affiliation: Rowland Hall

General Notes:

  1. Yes, I want to be on the email chain
  2. Generally, I flow on paper.
  3. I will try my best throughout the debate to make a fair decision and treat both teams with respect. I will expect you all to do the same when it comes to talking to each other and talking to me.
  4. Prep should end when the email is sent.
  5. Don't be mean. It’s okay to explain why the other team messed up but I’m not persuaded by “that was the worst 1AR I’ve ever heard” type comments.
  6. Speak clearly and don’t spread through your blocks. If I can’t flow you then I can’t vote for your arguments.
  7. I prefer depth over breadth.
  8. In the 2AR and 2NR spend time on the things you want me to evaluate and vote on. Write my ballot for me in your 2AR/2NR.

General Arguments

1. K Affs – Need to have some type of advocacy

2. Performance – I’m not going to penalize a team for “dropping it” because there was no clear definition of what it meant.

3. Framework/T-USFG: My preferred strategy against K Affs along with one other argument that is a viable 2NR.

4. Kritiks – Should not morph into different kritiks after the 1NC. Advocacies can’t change in the middle of the debate. I will hold the 1NC to whatever their alternative was. I like new page overviews on the kritik. If it’s one off kritik help me figure out what you’re answering in the neg block, it isn’t as clear as you think.

5. Topicality – Tech over truth. Even if the aff might be reasonably topical I would rather vote on a team that explains why their interpretation is best for the topic.

6. Counterplans – I will judge kick them if you tell me to.

7. Specific Arguments I do not like. (As I judge more rounds I will add more to this list):

a. Agamben

b. Death Good


DA’s: My ideal 2NR against a policy aff is usually a DA or a CP and DA. Be tricky and smart about the arguments you make. Keep your evidence as updated as possible. Clearly explain the internal link, I’ve seen way too many politics debates where it’s like “republicans win the house and then extinction from nuclear war” and it’s just very unclear how we get there and I don’t like that.

CP’s: I’m sympathetic to CP theory but it’s kind of unlikely I’ll vote on it unless you spend some time there and it’s just conceded or if it is a blatantly “cheaty” cp. That being said I like tricky counterplans because I think it shows that you’ve really thought out your strategy against the affirmative.

Theory: I don’t really like theory that much but I will vote on it. I find international fiat theory and other things like that kind of annoying. I do not like things being made voters for no coherent reason whatsoever. Be judicial in the amount of theory you read and the things you make voting issues. I won’t vote for something super blippy if it’s at the top of the 2AR/2NR for one second. If you're going for theory I think you should go all in and commit to it as a strategy. I don't mind if you go for it especially if they dropped it because it makes my decision really easy but for me to vote on it you need to spend time on it.

Topicality: I like topicality. I’m willing to vote neg on T if they win the T debate regardless of whether or not the aff is logically topical. I really like T debates and I think that it’s one of the best parts about debating the topic. If you just want to throw t into the 1NC to make them answer it but have no intention of going for it that’s fine but if they scandalously under cover it just go for it. I hold a pretty firm line on no blatantly new answers in the 2AR, especially on T.

K Affs: I would prefer the aff have an advocacy statement. I'm not going to say that I'll never vote for an aff without an advocacy statement but based on my past record I am more sympathetic to framework. I have not historically been a huge fan of performances especially if they don't come with some substantive explanation of why the performance is necessary to your advocacy. The aff should not change significantly in the 2AC. I am much less likely to vote on framework if you clearly illustrate how your aff connects to the topic. Be tricky with framework. The key to winning a framework debate running a K Aff (to me) is adequately defending why the type of education you create is valuable.

Framework: I really like framework, I think one of the best parts about debate is debating how the game should be played. The amount I lean towards framework really depends on the execution of the affirmative. I am very sympathetic if the aff has no relation to the topic or if the aff is intentionally vague and changes throughout the debate in order to prevent you from meaningfully answering it. I am very persuaded by procedural fairness and TVA arguments.

K’s: I don’t know a lot about philosophy so if you want me to vote for you I need an explanation of your argument. I hate when kiritks become something blatantly different than the 1NC in the block. I prefer more concrete kritiks over postmodernism. Don't expect me to have any understanding of what you're saying if you don't explain it well. I hate giving an RFD where a team is clearly frustrated about not getting my ballot and the primary reason they didn't get it is because they got so lost in the jargon of whatever philosophy they were reading that they forgot to connect it to the debate.

Speaking Tips

1. Don't spread through blocks.

2. Speed is not the end all be all. It’s good to be fast but not good to be un-flowable. Good debaters are fast or clear, great debaters are fast and clear. Be both.

3. Organize your speeches. The easier you make it for me to understand how you see the debate the easier time I will have voting for you.

4. Points

a. 27 and below: I didn’t like something you did in the debate enough to dock your speaks for it. You did something offensive or mean. I will talk about it after the round, your coach might hear about it after the round. It may have caused you to lose the debate or just for me to be upset.

b. 27-28: your speaking style, clarity, or execution in the debate had significant issues.

c. 28-29: You spoke well and I expect you to do well in the tournament. There were some small issues but overall I think you are a good debater.

d. 29 and up: I expect you to break and or possibly win a speaker award. You killed it. I was impressed.

Other philosophies of people who influence my view on debate:

1. Mike Shackelford

2. Joey Amiel

3. David Walter Bernstein

Aron Berger Paradigm

3 rounds

Updated for October 2018.

Put me on the email chain -

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

Short version.

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

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

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

Longer version.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

Speaker Points

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

Other random thoughts.

--Puns translate directly to increased speaker points.

--Please don't call me judge.

--When reading evidence, I will only evaluate warrants that are highlighted.

--I hate word-salad cards.

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

--Speed is good, clarity is better.

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

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

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

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

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

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

--There can always be 0 risk of something.

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

--A claim without a warrant is just that.

--Theory and T debates are not my favorite.

--No insults or general shenanigans.

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

Maggie Berthiaume Paradigm

4 rounds

Maggie Berthiaume Woodward Academy

Current Coach — Woodward Academy (2011-present)
Former Coach — Lexington High School (2006-2008), Chattahoochee High School (2008-2011)
College Debater — Dartmouth College (2001-2005)
High School Debater — Blake (1997-2001)

Meta Comments

1. Please be nice. If you don't want to be kind to others (the other team, your partner, me, the novice flowing the debate in the back of the room), please don’t prefer me.

2. I'm a high school teacher and believe that debates should be something I could enthusiastically show to my younger students, their parents, or my principal. What does that mean? If your high school teachers would find your presentation inappropriate, I am likely to as well.

3. Please be clear. I will call "clear" if I can't understand you, but debate is primarily a communication activity. Do your best to connect on meaningful arguments.

4. Conduct your own CX as much as possible. CX is an important time for judge impression formation, and if one partner does all asking and answering for the team, it is very difficult to evaluate both debaters. Certainly the partner not involved in CX can get involved in an emergency, but that should be brief and rare if both debaters want good points.

5. If you like to be trolly with your speech docs (read on paper to prevent sharing, remove analyticals, etc.), please don't. See "speech documents" below for a longer justification and explanation.

6. I’ve coached and judged for a long time now, and the reason I keep doing it is that I think debate is valuable. Students who demonstrate that they appreciate the opportunity to debate and are passionate and excited about the issues they are discussing are a joy to watch — they give judges a reason to listen even when we’re sick or tired or judging the 5th debate of the day on the 4th weekend that month. Be that student!

What does a good debate look like?

Everyone wants to judge “good debates.” To me, that means two excellently-prepared teams who clash on fundamental issues related to the policy presented by the affirmative. The best debates allow four students to demonstrate that they have researched a topic and know a lot about it — they are debates over issues that experts in the field would understand and appreciate. The worst debates involve obfuscation and tangents. Good debates usually come down to a small number of issues that are well-explained by both sides. The best final rebuttals have clearly explained ballot and a response to the best reason to vote for the opposing team.

I have not decided to implement the Shunta Jordan "no more than 5 off" rule, but I understand why she has it, and I agree with the sentiment. I'm not establishing a specific number, but I would like to encourage negative teams to read fully developed positions in the 1NC (with internal links and solvency advocates as needed). (Here's what she says: "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.") If you're thinking "nbd, we'll just read the other four DAs on the case," I think you're missing the point. :)

Do you read evidence?

Yes, in nearly every debate. I will certainly read evidence that is contested by both sides to resolve who is correct in their characterizations. The more you explain your evidence, the more likely I am to read it. For me, the team that tells the better story that seems to incorporate both sets of evidence will almost always win. This means that instead of reading yet another card, you should take the time to explain why the context of the evidence means that your position is better than that of the other team. This is particularly true in close uniqueness and case debates.

Do I have to be topical?

Yes. Affirmatives are certainly welcome to defend the resolution in interesting and creative ways, but that defense should be tied to a topical plan to ensure that both sides have the opportunity to prepare for a topic that is announced in advance. Affirmatives certainly do not need to “role play” or “pretend to be the USFG” to suggest that the USFG should change a policy, however.

I enjoy topicality debates more than the average judge as long as they are detailed and well-researched. Examples of this include “intelligence gathering” on Surveillance, “health care” on Social Services, and “economic engagement” on Latin America. Debaters who do a good job of describing what debates would look like under their interpretation (aff or neg) are likely to win. I've judged several "substantial" debates this year that I've greatly enjoyed.

Can I read [X ridiculous counterplan]?

If you have a solvency advocate, by all means. If not, consider a little longer. See: “what does as good debate look like?” above. Affs should not be afraid to go for theory against contrived counterplans that lack a solvency advocate. On the flip side, if the aff is reading non-intrinsic advantages, the "logical" counterplan or one that uses aff solvency evidence for the CP is much appreciated.

What about my generic critique?

Topic or plan specific critiques are absolutely an important component of “excellently prepared teams who clash on fundamental issues.” Critiques that can be read in every debate, regardless of the topic or affirmative plan, are usually not.

Given that the aff usually has specific solvency evidence, I think the neg needs to win that the aff makes things worse (not just “doesn’t solve” or “is a mask for X”). Neg – Please spend the time to make specific links to the aff — the best links are often not more evidence but examples from the 1AC or aff evidence.

What about offense/defense?

I do believe there is absolute defense and vote for it often.

Do you take prep for emailing/flashing?

Once the doc is saved, your prep time ends.

I have some questions about speech documents...

One speech document per speech (before the speech). Any additional cards added to the end of the speech should be sent out as soon as feasible.

Teams that remove analytical arguments like permutation texts, counter-interpretations, etc. from their speech documents before sending to the other team should be aware that they are also removing them from the version I will read at the end of the debate — this means that I will be unable to verify the wording of their arguments and will have to rely on the short-hand version on my flow. This rarely if ever benefits the team making those arguments.

Speech documents should be provided to the other team as the speech begins. The only exception to this is a team who debates entirely off paper. Teams should not use paper to circumvent norms of argument-sharing.

I will not consider any evidence that did not include a tag in the document provided to the other team.

Keith Bistodeau Paradigm

2 rounds

I am the Critical Argumentation and Co-Head Debate Coach at Wayzata High School (2015-Present). I previously coached at Ohio University (2014-2015) and North Dakota State University (2012-2014). I debated at North Dakota State University (2009-2012) and St. Michael Albertville High School (2005-2007).

There are six things I feel strongly about.

1. Evidence matters.

2. The aff should be topical.

3. Conditionality works.

4. Clarity is key.

5. CX is important.

6. Stock issues.

I read a lot of evidence and it is a main factor into my decisions in rounds. If you do not have quality evidence and you do not unpack and link it well that will not serve you well in my rounds.

Truth = evidence quality + technical proficiency. This means you need to not only ensure that your evidence is of high quality but the manner in which you present your evidence in the technical ways in which you go about conducting yourself in the round are both key to ensuring your success debating.

I seem to care more about the link than just about any other part of an argument and more than many other judges. I am a stickler for details. I need to see you clearly unpack the information you're using and showing me that you have a clear train of thought, a clear argument chain, and you actually understand what you are talking about and not just reading a card.

Stock issues matter. I should not have to explain this further for folks. People talk all the time about the role of the ballot. That role for me starts with stock issues.

Debaters who get high points from me are clear, concise, deeply knowledgeable about the topic, able to anticipate their opponent's arguments, good in CX, and clearly demonstrate meaningful preparation by developing new arguments or thoughtfully applying old ones to opposing strategies.

It should be noted for all who get me as a judge, explicit statements that are sexist, racist, etc. arguments will NEVER win my ballot. Also, students who are openly rude or exclude individuals in the round will NEVER win my ballot.

Alexia Boulos Paradigm

6 rounds

Not Submitted

Brian Box Paradigm

6 rounds

I am the debate coach at Blue Valley North. I previously coached at the University of Kansas. I was a policy debater at Wichita State University (2012) and Campus High School. I have taught camp at Kansas or Michigan every year since I graduated and typically judge 50-80 policy rounds per year, plus some pfd/ld/speech.

email chain: brianbox4 @ gmail

I care far more about your ability to send an email, speak clearly and respond to arguments than which aff you are reading. I am a "policy judge" in the strictest sense, but that has far more to do with my experience in debate than any desire to hold the line for a certain style of argument. I am too old, too tired and consider the stakes of a given high school debate too low to fight any kind of ideological battle. My most obvious and influential bias is that I am a neg judge.

The aff should be topical. The aff needs an offensive justification for their vision of the topic. Reasonability is meaningless and ultimately begs the question of the impact. I find the arguments for why the aff should be topical to be better than the arguments against it. If you are reading an aff that is not topical, you are much more likely to win my ballot on arguments about why your model of debate is good than you are on random impact turns to T.

Evidence matters a lot. I read lots of evidence and it heavily factors into my decision. Cross-ex is important and the best ones focus on the evidence. Author qualifications, histories, intentions, purpose, funding, etc. matter. Application of author indicts/epistemic arguments about evidence mean more to me than many judges. I find myself more than willing to ignore or discount poorly supported arguments. Kansas debate is particularly bad about filtering quality and I am probably more "interventionist" than what many Kansas debaters have become accustomed to from judges at local tournaments.

Either get good or get good at going for theory. Judge kick is the logical extension of conditionality. I am far more likely to be convinced by a qualitative interpretation than a quantitative one. Have yet to hear a good reason why 4 conditional is worse than 4 is worse than 2. I am more likely to vote aff on an objection to the competition of a counterplan than I am an argument about limiting the scope of negative fiat. Obviously the two are not entirely separable.

I cannot emphasize enough how much clarity matters to me. If you have dramatic tone changes between tag and card, where you can barely be heard when reading the text of evidence, you will get lower points from me and you should stop doing that. If I can't understand the argument, it doesn't count. There is no difference between being incoherent and clipping.

Lose the computer. Probably the single biggest thing that will cause your points to go up or down in front of me is the amount of time you spend reading into your computer screen at a rate that is impossible for me to flow vs. the amount of time you spend using your flow to identify and respond to arguments.

The link usually matters the most. I typically care more about the link than other parts of the argument. Framework or alternative solvency do not reduce the salience of the link. Evidence is important here. When in competition, you should spend more time answering the link than reading impact defense.

Daryl Burch Paradigm

4 rounds

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.


Conor Cameron Paradigm

4 rounds

Name: Conor Cameron

Current Affiliation: Solorio


If your affirmative strategy does not entail the defense of a topical plan OR if your primary negative strategy is not a reason to reject the affirmative's plan, then you should strike me.


Debate Experience: I debated for GBS in the early 2000s.  I have since started a debate program in one of the lower conferences in the Chicago UDL.  I am not intimately familiar with recent developments of the National Circuit. My first relevant exposure to the topic will be Round 1 of the first tournament of the year.


Summary – I am a policy-oriented judge. I’m a fan of neither performative debate nor the kritik. I do not mind speed, but clarity is key. You can tell if I can flow you by watching me. Failing a case specific strategy, my ideal negative strategy is a good topic generic: “Every topical affirmative must do [x]. [x] links to our topic-specific DA and/or generates competition for our topic-specific CP.” After that, I like classic debate disadvantages (politics, hegemony, e.g.) and counterplans (including Consult). I think it is difficult to beat most well-constructed affirmatives without a counterplan of some sort.

Disadvantages – I will not assign zero OR 100% weight to an advantage OR a disadvantage. Do your updates, but I tend to evaluate the direction of the link. While I try to keep it out of my decision, I am not oblivious to the ridiculousness of your scenario. I am more likely to spot ridiculousness in areas with which I am familiar. (I majored in economics)

Topicality – Affirmatives are topical until proven otherwise. That burden of proof is emphatically high. In order to win topicality, you need to compare what debating on this topic looks like under your interpretation vs the affirmative’s interpretation. It is insufficient to merely assert that the topic would be smaller under your interpretation. You need to talk about why the collection of affirmatives, disadvantages, and counterplans available under your interpretation would make for significantly better debate than the analogous collection available under the affirmative’s interpretation.

I give affirmatives a lot of leeway in characterizing the plan. In cross examination, the affirmative has the right to not take a stance on certain questions, e.g., whether Congress passes the plan. If a negative runs the XO CP, the affirmative has a right to say “Perm do the CP; that is how our plan passes; moving on.” I give the affirmative more leeway the less useful the counterplan is.

Counterplans – Are theoretically legitimate until proven otherwise. This burden of proof is also emphatically high. In debating counterplan theory, both sides need an interpretation of what a negative can and cannot do. An affirmative must prove that the negative’s interpretation significantly decreases the quality of the resulting debate. I like PICs, agent counterplans, consultation counterplans, etc.

Kritiks – Any acceptable framework should allow the affirmative to weigh the advantages of the plan against the implication of the kritik. Winning that “failure to solve the root cause means you do not solve” is a solvency question. I am unlikely to think that an affirmative has zero solvency in such case. I think affirmatives let negatives get away with a lot in terms of kritik links and alternatives. I am persuaded by “all other instances” permutations, because I think negatives very often do not have an explanation for why the plan in particular is key.

I do my best to avoid pulling the trigger on cheap shots, but if you failed to respond to a dumb argument, it makes you look disorganized and hurts your ethos.

Style – Keeping these notes in mind make you look more organized and “with it,” which will improve your speaker points. – Flowing and line by line are good. Referencing your opponents’ arguments in order and by number are good. Paperless debate is not an excuse to not flow. ALSO: Many theory debates in particular are super fast and super clear. Teams appear to be having a really good debate with each other. But they fail to realize that the only reason they can follow along is because they have immediate access to their opponent’s blocks / speech documents. The judge does not. We are in effect excluded from the conversation. If you want us to evaluate the argument, you need to make sure that we are flowing. It is your responsibility to make sure that your judge understands you. It is not your judge’s responsibility to call for all of your evidence OR try to recreate the entire debate from the fragments that did make it onto the page. Debate is, at its core, a communicative undertaking.


Finally, I do not give away free time, even for flashing. I keep a running clock: I stop a constructive after 8 minutes, cross examination after 11minutes, and just subtract out the 11 when you give me an order for the next speech. I start speech time after the order is given.  

Yao Yao Chen Paradigm

5 rounds

I have been coaching debate at the Liberal Arts and Science Academy in Austin, TX since 2005, where my focus is almost exclusively on policy debate. I was a three-year policy debater at Plano Senior High School in Plano, TX, and debated policy for one year at the University of Texas at Austin. I judge an average of 80-100 debates per season.

If there’s an email chain, please add me: yaosquared at gmail dot com

If you’re using a flash drive, prep stops when you pull the flash drive out of your computer. If you’re using an email chain, I won’t count attaching and emailing as prep time. Please do not steal prep.

If you have little time before the debate, here’s all you need to know: do what you do best. I try to be as unbiased as possible and I will defer to your analysis. I would rather listen to a politics+CP debate than a kritik debate, but I would also rather listen to you debating your strongest argument than you adapting to my preferences. As long as you are clear, go as fast as you want.

I believe judging debates is a privilege, not a paycheck. I strive to judge in the most open-minded, fair, and diligent way I can, and I aim to be as thorough and transparent as possible in my decisions. If you worked hard on debate, you deserve judging that matches the effort you put into this activity. Anything short of that is anti-educational and a disappointment.

Meta Issues:

  • I’m not a professional debate coach or even a teacher. I work as a finance analyst in the IT sector and I volunteer as a debate coach on evenings and weekends. I don’t teach at debate camp and my topic knowledge comes primarily from judging debates. My finance background means that, when left to my own devices, I err towards precision, logic, data, and concrete examples. However, I can be convinced otherwise in any particular debate, especially when it’s not challenged by the other team.
  • Tech over truth in most instances. I will stick to my flow and minimize intervention as much as possible. I firmly believe that debates should be left to the debaters. I rarely make facial expressions because I don’t want my personal reactions to affect how a debate plays out. I will maintain a flow, even if you ask me not to. However, tech over truth has its limits. An argument must have sufficient explanation for it to matter to me, even if it’s dropped. You need a warrant and impact, not just a claim.
  • Evidence comparison is under-utilized and is very important to me in close debates. I often call for evidence, but I’m much more likely to call for a card if it’s extended by author or cite.
  • I’m now over a decade removed from my own debate career and I don’t judge or coach at the college level, which means I’m usually a year or two behind the latest argument trends that are first broken in college and eventually trickle down to high school. If you’re reading something that’s close to the cutting edge of debate arguments, you’ll need to explain it clearly. This doesn’t mean I don’t want to hear new arguments. On the contrary, a big reason why I continue coaching debate is because I enjoy listening to and learning about new arguments that challenge my existing ways of thinking.
  • Please mark your own cards. No one is marking them for you.
  • If I feel that you are deliberately evading answering a question or have straight up lied, and the question is important to the outcome of the debate, I will stop the timer and ask you to answer the question. Example: if you read condo bad, the neg asks in CX whether you read condo bad, and you say no, I’ll ask if you want me to cross-out condo on my flow.


  • Don't over-adapt to me in these debates. If you are most comfortable going for procedural fairness, do that. If you like going for advocacy skills, you do you. Like any other debate, framework debates hinge on impact calculus and comparison.
  • If a topical version of the aff is presented, I default to viewing this as a counterplan to the aff’s interp. Please line up your offense and defense accordingly.
  • When I vote neg, it’s usually because the aff team missed the boat on topical version, has made insufficient inroads into the neg’s limits disad, and/or is winning some exclusion disad but is not doing comparative impact calculus against the neg’s offense. The neg win rate goes up if the 2NR can turn or access the aff's primary impact (e.g. clash and argument testing is vital to ethical subject formation).
  • When I vote aff, it’s usually because the 2NR is disorganized and goes for too many different impacts, there’s no topical version or other way to access the aff’s offense, and/or concedes an exclusion disad that is then impacted out by the 2AR. Without a credible counter-interpretation that the aff meets and that establishes some sufficient limits on the scope of debates, I lean negative.


  • Over the years, “tech over truth” has led me to vote neg on some untruthful T violations. If you’re neg and you’ve done a lot of research and are ready to throw down on a very technical and carded T debate, I’m a good judge for you.
  • I'm a stickler for the quality of a definition, especially if it's from a source that's contextual to the topic, has some intent to define, is exclusive and not just inclusive, etc.
  • Reasonability is a debate about the aff’s counter-interpretation, not their aff. The size of the link to the limits disad usually determines how sympathetic I am towards this argument, i.e. if the link is small, then I’m more likely to conclude the aff’s C/I is reasonable even without other aff offense.


  • The kritik teams I've judged that have earned the highest speaker points give highly organized and structured speeches, are disciplined in line-by-line debating, and emphasize key moments in their speeches.
  • Just like most judges, the more case-specific your link and the more comprehensive your alternative explanation, the more I’ll be persuaded by your kritik.
  • I greatly prefer the 2NC structure where you have a short (or no) overview and do as much of your explanation on the line-by-line as possible. If your overview is 6 minutes, you make blippy cross-applications on the line-by-line, and then you drop the last three 2AC cards, I’m going to give the 1AR a lot of leeway on extending those concessions, even if they were somewhat implicitly answered in your overview.
  • Framework debates on kritiks rarely factor into my decisions. Frequently, I conclude that there’s not a decisive win for either side here, or that it’s irrelevant because the neg is already allowing the aff to weigh their impacts. Usually, I find myself somewhere in the middle: the neg always has the right to read kritiks, but the aff should have the right to access their advantages. Kritiks that moot the entire 1AC are a tough sell.
  • I’m not a good judge for “role of the ballot” arguments, as I usually find these to be self-serving for the team making them. I’m also not a good judge for “competing methods means the aff doesn’t have a right to a perm”. I think the aff always has a right to a perm, but the question is whether the perm is legitimate and desirable, which is a substantive issue to be debated out, not a gatekeeping issue for me to enforce.
  • I’m an OK judge for K “tricks”. A conceded root cause explanation, value to life impact, or “alt solves the aff” claim is effective if it’s sufficiently explained. The floating PIK needs to be clearly made in the 2NC for me to evaluate it. If your K strategy hinges on hiding a floating PIK and suddenly busting it out in the 2NR, I’m not a good judge for you.


  • Just like most judges, I prefer case-specific over generic counterplans, but we can’t always get what we want.
  • I lean neg on PICs. I lean aff on international fiat, 50 state fiat, condition, and consult. These preferences can change based on evidence or lack thereof. For example, if the neg has a state counterplan solvency advocate in the context of the aff, I’m less sympathetic to theory.
  • I will not judge kick the CP unless explicitly told to do so by the 2NR, and it would not take much for the 2AR to persuade me to ignore the 2NR’s instructions on that issue.
  • Presumption flips if the 2NR goes for a CP.


  • I’m a sucker for specific and comparative impact calculus. For example, most nuclear war impacts are probably not global nuclear war but some kind of regional scenario. I want to know why your specific regional scenario is faster and/or more probable. Reasonable impact calculus is much more persuasive to me than grandiose impact claims.
  • I believe that in most cases, the link is more important for determining the direction of risk than uniqueness. The exceptions are when the uniqueness can be definitively determined rather than probabilistic.
  • Zero risk is possible but difficult to prove by the aff. However, a miniscule neg risk of the disad is probably background noise.


  • I actually enjoy listening to a good theory debate, but these seem to be exceedingly rare. I think I can be persuaded that many theoretical objections require punishing the team and not simply rejecting the argument, but substantial work needs to be done on why setting a precedent on that particular issue is important. You're unlikely to win that a single intrinsic permutation is a round-winning voter, even if the other team drops it, unless you are investing significant time in explaining why it should be an independent voting issue.
  • I think that I lean affirmative compared to the rest of the judging community on the legitimacy of counterplans. In my mind, a counterplan that is wholly plan-inclusive (consultation, condition, delay, etc.) is theoretically questionable. The legitimacy of agent counterplans, whether domestic or international, is also contestable. I think the negative has the right to read multiple planks to a counterplan, but reading each plank conditionally is theoretically suspect.

Josh Clark Paradigm

2 rounds

Joshua Clark

Montgomery Bell Academy

University of Michigan - Assistant Coach, Institute Instructor

Past Schools:
Juan Diego Catholic
Notre Dame in Sherman Oaks

Jordan (UT) 96-98
College of Eastern Utah 99
Cal St Fullerton 01-04


Speaker Points
Points will generally stay between 27.5 and 29.9. It generally takes between a 28.6 and 28.7 to clear. I assign points with that in mind. Teams that average 28.65 or higher in a debate means that I thought your points were elimination round-level debates. While it's not an exact science, 28.8-28.9 mean you had a good chance advancing the elimination rounds, 29+ indicates excellence reserved for quarters+. I'm not stingy with these kinds of points and they have nothing to do with past successes. It has everything to do with your performance in THIS debate.

1. Jumping is no longer considered prep.
2. Please do your best to reserve restroom breaks before the opposing team's speeches and not right before your own.
3. Try to treat each other with mutual respect.
4. Cards MUST be marked during the speech. Please say "Mark the card" and please have you OR your partner physically mark the cards in the speech. It is not possible to remember where you've marked your cards after the speech. Saying "mark the card" is the only way to let your judge and competitors know that you are not intending to represent that you've read the entirety of the card. Physically marking the card in the speech is necessary to maintain an accurate account of what you did or didn't read.

My 20 years in the community has led me to have formulated some opinions about how the activity should be run. I'm not sharing these with you because I think this is the way you have to debate, but because you may get some insight about how to win and earn better speaker points in front of me.

1) Conceded claims without warrants - A conceded argument is only given as much weight as the warrant that supports it. You still must have a warrant to support your claim...even if the argument has been conceded. If no warrant has been provided, then it wasn't ever an argument to begin with. For theory arguments to rise to the level of an actual "argument", they have to be properly warranted. If your conditionality argument takes less than 5 seconds to read, it's probably not an argument. "Condo -strat skew, voter....I hope they drop it" very well might be dropped, and not voted on. Politics theory arguments and Permutations fall into this same category. A perm must describe how it resolves the link to the net benefit to be an argument. You can't win on "perm: do the cp" without a reason it resolves the aff and should be theoretically allowed. "Vote NO" and "Fiat solves the link" need to have warrants also. If you are the victim of a theory arg like this, vote no, or intrinsicness, or whatever short thought, do not give up on this argument. You should be honest about not having flowed the argument because of its absurd brevity. You should also make arguments about how the development of those arguments in the 1ar are all new and should be rejected and your new answers be allowed. Affirmatives should make complete theory args in front of me, and negatives shouldn't be afraid to point out that the argument lacked a credible warrant.

2) Voting issues are reasons to reject the argument. (Other than conditionality)

3) Don't make affirmative statements in CX to start your response to a CX question you disagree with. For example, if one is asked "Is your plan a bad idea?' You shouldn't start your response with "sure" or "right", and then go on to disagree with the question. If you need a filler word or phrase, find one that doesn't posit an affirming response.

4) Debate stays in the round -- Debate is a game of testing ideas and their counterparts. Those ideas presented inside of the debate will be the sole factor used in determining the winning team. Things said or done outside of this debate round will not be considered when determining a winning team.

Topicality vs Conventional Affs: I default to competing interpretations on topicality, but can be persuaded by reasonability. Jurisdiction means nothing to me because I see jurisdiction being shaped by the questions of predictability, limits, and fairness. Topicality is a voting issue.

Topicality vs Critical Affs: I generally think that policy debate is a good thing and that a team should both have a plan and defend it. Given that, I have no problem voting for "no plan" advocacies or "fiat-less" plans. I will be looking for you to win that your impact turns to topicality/framework outweigh the loss of education/fairness that would be given in a "fiated" plan debate. I generally think affirmative teams struggle with answering the argument that they could advocate the majority of their aff while defending a topical plan. I also think that teams who stress they are a pre-requisite to topical action have a more difficult time with topical version type arguments, then teams do who impact turn standards. If you win that the state is irredeemable at every level, you are much more likely to get me to vote against FW. The K aff teams who have had success in front of me have been very good at generating a reasonable list of arguments that negative teams could run against them in order to mitigate the fairness impact of the T/FW argument. This makes the impact turns of a stricter limit much more persuasive to me.

I'm also in the fairness camp as a terminal impact, as opposed to an emphasis on portable skills. I think you can win that T comes before substantive issues.

One note to teams that are neg against an aff that lacks stable advocacy: Make sure you adapt your framework arguments to fit the aff. Don't read..." you must have a plan" if they have a plan. If a team has a plan but doesn't defend fiat, and base your ground arguments on that violation.

Counterplans and Disads: The more specific to the aff, the better. There are few things better than a well-researched PIC that just blind sites a team. Objectively, I think counterplans that compete on certainty or immediacy are not legitimate. However, I still coach teams to run these arguments, and I can still evaluate a theory debate about these different counterplans as objectively as possible. Again, the more specific the evidence is to the aff, the more legitimate it will appear.

The K: I was a k debater and a philosophy major in college and you are welcome to run a criticism in front of me. I prefer criticisms that are specific to the resolution. If your K links don't discuss arms sales this year, then it's unlikely to be very persuasive to me. I think that impact comparisons usually become the most important part of a kritik, and the excessive link list becomes the least of a team’s problems heading into the 2nr. You need to win that either a) you turn the case and have an external impact or b) you solve the case and have an external impact. Root cause arguments are good, but rarely address the timeframe issue of case impacts. If you are going to win your magnitude comparisons, then you better do a lot to mitigate the case impacts. I also find most framework arguments associated with a K near pointless. Most of them are impacted by the K proper and therefore depend on you winning the K in order to win the framework argument. Before devoting any more time to framework beyond getting your K evaluated, you should ask yourself and clearly state to me, what happens if you win your theory argument. You should craft your "role of the ballot" argument based on the answer to that question. I am willing to listen to sequencing arguments that EXPLAIN why discourse, epistemology, ontology, ect. come first.

Conclusion: I love debate...good luck if I'm judging you and please feel free to ask any clarifying questions.

In an effort to promote disclosure at the high school level, any team that practices near-universal "open source" will be awarded .2 extra per debater if you bring that to my attention prior to the RFD.

Travis Cochran Paradigm

2 rounds

Current as of 10/9/19


1. I no longer coach, I haven't worked at a camp and I haven't seen any rounds on the college or high school topic. My initial reaction to both topics is that they were broken from the jump.

2. Slow down and be clear. Especially on theory and analytics. I'm not the fastest flow in the country. Haven't pretended to be and will never front to be. 85% of you, this is not a problem. For the top 15% in speed, this will be an issue for you.

3. Speech docs. I want to be included on any email chains. I will use my flow to determine the decision, which can be different from speech docs, especially if you aren't clear and give me enough pen time.

4). All of your are smarter than me, so please be easy on me. I'll work hard to be a good judge, but I promise I won't get all that's happening in the round.

My email is

If you still think it's good to have me in the back of the room after you know this and you read the rest of this philosophy, then ... whatever happens is on you :)

As a judge, here are my thoughts…

Topicality: It is up to the debaters to determine how I evaluate topicality. I tend to default to reasonability.

Counterplans: The more specific the better, but I’m game for whatever. Consult CPs are fine. Delay is fine. I do not like counterplans with a lot of planks that the negative can jettison at will. Such counterplans will leave me sympathetic to affirmative theory arguments.

Counterplan Theory: Sketchy counterplans should lose to theory. However; theory violations should be well developed and it is up to the affirmative to prove why I should reject the team and not the argument. It's no secret that I am not the quickest flow, so slow down for me on theory debates.

Theory: I think negatives are getting away with too much. People can run multiple contradictory counterplans/advocacies all they want in front of me and I will not automatically vote them down for it. However; I am sympathetic to well articulated theory arguments as to why it is cheating, as well as sympathetic to affirmatives that use negative shenanigans to justify affirmative shenanigans. Play dirty pool at your own risk in front of me…aff or neg. I do not like cheap shot theory. I try to not vote for cheap shot theory arguments, even if they are dropped. However; I will use cheap shot theory arguments as a way out of difficult rounds in which both teams were making my job painful. I try not to let cheap shots determine the outcome of rounds that are well debated on both sides. I reward good smart debate.

Disads: The more specific the better. I prefer 1 or 2 good uniqueness cards to 10 bad uniqueness cards. I prefer 1 or 2 good warrants to 10 bad uniqueness cards.

Criticisms: The more specific the better. To me…most of these debates come down to how the criticism asks me as the judge to deal with the advantages. Is the problem introduced by the criticism the reason for the advantages? Are the advantages rhetorical ploys? Does the critique impact turn the advantages? Whichever team addresses this best for me usually wins.

Framework: Sure. You can go that route, but please slow down. I prefer substance to theory (I don't find the T stuff that persuasive). That's to say that I prefer discussions of why your framework interp is best for reasons other than procedural fairness.

Performance/Nontraditional: I’m open to it.

Case: I wish my people debated it more. I honestly think that a well developed case attack (offense and a heck of a lot of good defense) with a disad or with a critique are much more effective than multiple disads/critiques/counterplans. Case debate is good and underrated.)

I’m open to any kind of argument you have as long as it is intelligent, arguably true, and not mean.

One thing that everyone should know is that I naturally give a lot of nonverbal (sometimes verbal) feedback, even in the middle of rounds. If I think your argument is really smart then you will probably see me smiling and nodding. If I think your argument is not smart or just wrong, my face will look contorted and I will be shaking it in a different direction. If this happens…do not freak out. Use it to your advantage that you know which arguments I like and do not like.

I will also intervene in cross x if I think that a team is being particularly evasive on a point that needs to be clarified to conduct a good clean debate. I will also intervene in cross x if I think the environment is becoming hostile.

One thing that everyone needs to know is that I am unabashedly human. I am open to the whims of fatigue, hunger, emotions and an overwhelming desire to do what I think is right, no matter how inconsistent and possibly misguided at the time. This is just a fair warning to any of you that will be inevitably upset if my decision seems to vary from this judging philosophy. I'm not a robot and sometimes my opinions about my role and this activity changes while judging a round. This is a fact. Deal with it :)

Debate is fun…at least it should be. Don’t be a jerk.

William Coltzer Paradigm

4 rounds


Debated for Winston Churchill (tx) 2014- 2018

Debate for UT Austin from 2018 –

Currently Coaching for Winston Churchill.

Add me to the email chain:

If you’re using a flash drive, prep stops when you pull the flash drive out of your computer. If you’re using an email chain, I won’t count attaching and emailing as prep time. Please do not steal prep.

TLDR: Debate the way you debate best, focus on impact comparison on all levels of the debate, and give me a clear ballot story in the last two speeches.

Meta Issues:

· Do not try to over adapt to me. I’d rather listen to a CP/Politics debate, but I would much rather listen to what you debate best.

· Tech > Truth – Debates should be left to the debaters, so I will try to revert to my flow as much as possible. This isn’t to say you need to repeat the same answer to 5 args. You should group or cross-apply your answers. I will try my best to place arguments w because where they apply because expecting you to crossapply all the arguments that are relevant is unrealistic, but the cleaner you make my flow the better your chances are of picking up my ballot.

· Evidence comparison – ev comparison is under-utilized and is very important in deciding close debates. Evidence carries great weight in most debates. Evidence is the only thing that gives credibility to the arguments of a high schooler. In critical debates, I am far more willing to allow for uncarded arguments. You SHOULD still read cards that define your theory and explains the alternative else you don’t have the foundation to make uncarded args.

· Mark your own cards

· In LD Debates – I use moral hedging/modesty – I don’t think that a framework is a preclusive impact filter. Rather, I view it as a weighing mechanism.


· * Don't over-adapt to me in these debates. If you are most comfortable going for procedural fairness, do that. If you like going for advocacy skills, you do you. Like any other debate, framework debates hinge on impact calculus and comparison.

· * I don’t view TVA’s as counterplans. They don’t need to have specific texts of a 1AC – your job isn’t to write a 1AC, but to prove that another plan can meet the negs interp and resolve some of their offense. However, better TVAs are often more specific bc you can no link their generic answer to TVAs. The neg needs to provide either topic areas or specific plans that meet your interp and access some of their education/fairness disads. The affirmative shouldn’t read a case neg against the TVA bc it is not supposed to be impenetrable. The aff responses should be about the effective solvency of that TVA to the your offense.

· * When I vote neg, it’s usually because the aff team missed the boat on topical version, has made insufficient inroads into the neg’s limits disad, and/or is winning some exclusion disad but is not doing comparative impact calculus against the neg’s offense. The neg win rate goes up if the 2NR can turn or access the aff's primary impact (e.g. clash and argument testing is vital to ethical subject formation).

· * When I vote aff, it’s usually because the 2NR is disorganized and goes for too many different impacts, there’s no topical version or other way to access the aff’s offense, and/or concedes an exclusion disad that is then impacted out by the 2AR. Without a credible counter-interpretation that the aff meets and that establishes some sufficient limits on the scope of debates, I lean negative.


§ I'm a stickler for the quality of a definition, especially if it's from a source that's contextual to the topic, has some intent to define, is exclusive and not just inclusive, etc.

§ Reasonability is a debate about the aff’s counter-interpretation, not their aff. The size of the link to the limits disad usually determines how sympathetic I am towards this argument, i.e. if the link is small, then I’m more likely to conclude the aff’s C/I is reasonable even without other aff offense.


§ The kritik teams I've judged that have earned the highest speaker points give highly organized and structured speeches, are disciplined in line-by-line debating, and emphasize key moments in their speeches.

§ Just like most judges, the more case-specific your link and the more comprehensive your alternative explanation, the more I’ll be persuaded by your kritik.

§ I greatly prefer the 2NC structure where you have a short (or no) overview and do as much of your explanation on the line-by-line as possible. If your overview is 6 minutes, you make blippy cross-applications on the line-by-line, and then you drop the last three 2AC cards, I’m going to give the 1AR a lot of leeway on extending those concessions, even if they were somewhat implicitly answered in your overview.

§ Framework debates on kritiks rarely factor into my decisions. Frequently, I conclude that there’s not a decisive win for either side here, or that it’s irrelevant because the neg is already allowing the aff to weigh their impacts. Usually, I find myself somewhere in the middle: the neg always has the right to read kritiks, but the aff should have the right to access their advantages. Kritiks that moot the entire 1AC are a tough sell.

§ I’m not a good judge for “role of the ballot” arguments, as I usually find these to be self-serving for the team making them. I’m also not a good judge for “competing methods means the aff doesn’t have a right to a perm”. I think the aff always has a right to a perm, but the question is whether the perm is legitimate and desirable, which is a substantive issue to be debated out, not a gatekeeping issue for me to enforce.

§ I’m an OK judge for K “tricks”. A conceded root cause explanation, value to life impact, or “alt solves the aff” claim is effective if it’s sufficiently explained. The floating PIK needs to be clearly made in the 2NC for me to evaluate it. If your K strategy hinges on hiding a floating PIK and suddenly busting it out in the 2NR, I’m not a good judge for you.


§ Just like most judges, I prefer case-specific over generic counterplans, but we can’t always get what we want.

§ I lean neg on PICs. I lean aff on international fiat, 50 state fiat, condition, and consult. These preferences can change based on evidence or lack thereof. For example, if the neg has a state counterplan solvency advocate in the context of the aff, I’m less sympathetic to theory.

§ I will not judge kick the CP unless explicitly told to do so by the 2NR, and it would not take much for the 2AR to persuade me to ignore the 2NR’s instructions on that issue.

§ Presumption flips if the 2NR goes for a CP.


§ I’m a sucker for specific and comparative impact calculus. For example, most nuclear war impacts are probably not global nuclear war but some kind of regional scenario. I want to know why your specific regional scenario is faster and/or more probable. Reasonable impact calculus is much more persuasive to me than grandiose impact claims.

§ Uniqueness is important, but I will default to “link controls the direction of the disad” unless told otherwise and conceded by the other team.

§ Zero risk is possible but difficult to prove by the aff. However, a miniscule neg risk of the disad is probably background noise.


· * I default on drop the argument – I can be persuaded that many theoretical objections require punishing the team and not simply rejecting the argument, but substantial work needs to be done on why setting a precedent on that particular issue is important. This means don’t read generic “drop debater on theory.” You need to articulate a sufficiently offense reason to vote for your shell then articulate how rejecting the team resolves that offense.

· * Potential abuse can be a voter, but I am far less persuaded by potential abuse on theory as compared to T.

· * I am really persuaded by reasonability (remember reasonability is a debate about the counterinterp) on theory – I find a lot of the “bad” and “frivolous” shells essentially have no disads to the counterinterp. For example, It might be true that disclosing open source vs just cites can lead to more educational debates, BUT this does not mean that the debates we have under sending cites is uneducaitonal. A marginal improvement in education is unlikely to be enough to gain by ballot.

Mallory Copeland Paradigm

4 rounds

Debated for 4 years at Shawnee Heights High School in Kansas (Military Presence- Economic Engagement), coached for 4 years in Kansas, and currently coach for Lincoln High School in Portland.

For Washburn Rural tournament - don't go full speed the first speech or two, I haven't had a chance to judge any practice rounds yet this season because Oregon doesn't start till October. In the same vein, don't assume I know the acronyms or underlying policy - I need it explained to me a bit more than other coaches in the judging pool.

Put me on the email chain

*Everyone should be respectful. If y'all are rude/racist/homophobic/ableist/sexist etc. I consider that a reason to vote against you.* this will be your only warning. You can be nice and still win debates.

*If y'all aren't reading a content warning and describe trauma/violence/in general issues that need a content warning, I will vote you down*

*Please read whatever you want but know that I am a mandatory reporter. That means if you tell me about sexual violence/other types of violence enacted against you I have to BY LAW report it.

The down low: Tabula rasa, default policymaker. Speed is fine but I would prefer you to not go your top speed, I'm not super familiar with all of the topic literature yet. K’s are fine, I don’t read a lot of K literature but if you explained the ideology I would most likely understand it, but you probs need to explain it more and slower for me than others. On T- I default to competing interpretations. If you’re not rejecting the topic, you should be topical.

Framework vs non-traditional affs: If you think the aff should be topical, tell me why your model of debate is better than theirs. I prefer external impacts, but will still evaluate fairness as an impact if you go for it.

Specific Arguments

Aff: Need to have a method through which you solve your impacts, if you’re topical, that means you’re using the USfg and have a plan. If you’re reading a K, I want a clear articulation of how your advocacy is adopted/changes the debate space/matters in terms of impacts.

Case Debate: You don’t need carded evidence to point out solvency deficits of the aff. Analytics are generally smarter and more true than the arguments that take you 20 seconds to read the card.

Clarity>Speed: I’ll say clear once, but after that I’ll probably just stop flowing. I don’t think it’s my job or my prerogative to flow the speech off of the speech doc, so don’t assume you can go as fast as you want just because I’m on the email chain. SLOW on theory/T/analytics. Embedded clash in the overview is nice, but don’t put all your answers to the line by line there.

Cross-x: I flow cross-ex, and I think you should have a strategy for cross ex that helps you set up or further your arguments. If there is truly a part of the aff that is confusing, go ahead and ask for clarification, but your CX shouldn’t give the other team an opportunity to re-explain entire arguments.

Topicality: Describe to me what type of debate your interp justifies, and what type of debate theirs justifies. Whose interpretation of the resolution is better? Impact T out, for example limits in a vacuum don’t mean anything, I want you to explain how limits are key to your education and fairness. I could be persuaded to vote on reasonability, but for the most part think that competing interps is the best paradigm.

Disadvantages: Link controls the direction of the disad. Specificity over generics.

Counterplans: Presumption flips aff if the 2NR goes for the CP. I would judge kick the CP even if not explicitly told by the 2NR, unless the 2AR tells me a super cool reason why judge kick is bad that I haven't heard yet.

Kritiks: Run what you want, articulate what the alt is and how it solves for the impacts you’re claiming. Not enough teams explain HOW the alt works, which I think is devastating when compared to an aff’s clear mechanisms for solving their harms. A conceded root cause explanation or a PIK (“alt solves the aff”) would be a way to win my ballot if explained well. The floating PIK needs to be clearly made in the 2NC for me to evaluate it. I’m most familiar with fem, anthro, and neolib, but would listen to other K’s.

Theory: I rarely, if ever vote on theory. Mostly because most teams don’t spend more than 1 minute on it in the final speeches. If the aff thinks the neg reading 7 off was abusive, then the 2AR should be case + condo bad. Dedication to explaining and going for the argument validates it as a reason to consider it. If you spend 30 seconds on extending a dropped ASPEC argument, I’m definitely not voting on it.

Mac Cronin Paradigm

4 rounds

For e-mail chains and any questions:

About me - I debated for 8 years competitively, starting at Douglas High School (Minden, NV) before transferring to Sage Ridge (Reno, NV) where I debated with the incredibly brilliant Kristen Lowe. We were the first team from Northern Nevada to qualify to the TOC and had a pretty consistent record of deep elim appearances. I went on to debate at Wake Forest University (class of '17) with varying amounts of success on a wide range of arguments, finishing my career with Varun Reddy in semis of CEDA. I currently work as a legal assistant and lobbyist in Reno/Carson City when I'm not out and about judging and coaching debate.

I have also been published a couple times. I don't think any of it applies, but please don't read my work in front of me. That's just awkward.

Minor update 9/18/19 - What ever happened to impact calc? Ya know, magnitude, timeframe, probability? I will actively reward, with speaker points, debaters that can show me this isn't a lost art... especially with DAs.

Generally - YOU DO YOU!!! I cannot stress that enough. Be aware of my general thoughts on debate, but I want to judge the debate that you want to have!! I have increasingly found that my role as an educator and adjudicator in debate prioritizes the debaters themselves, whatever argument that they want to make, and providing them with the advice and opportunities to be better that I can. It is extremely unlikely (but not impossible) that you read an argument that is entirely new to me.

Whether the 1AC has a plan, an advocacy text, or neither, truly makes no difference to me. It is up to you to explain to me why I should care. I have become increasingly frustrated with the people so quick to say "no plan, no chance at my ballot". This is a pedagogical question.

I consider myself a hard working judge. I will flow, I will read cards, and I will take the time to make the best decision I can.

That being said, the following are my thoughts on certain arguments and some pointers on how to win my ballot.

The kritik - Really dig K debates. I'm pretty well read in a lot of different theories and genuinely enjoy reading critical theory, but I still prefer clarity in explanation. The less jargon you use, the easier it will be to win a K in front of me. Overall, I find that framework args are increasingly irrelevant to the way that I evaluate these debates. Both teams will (hopefully) always win why their conversation is good, so just do the impact calc. But also answer critical framing args about ethics/reps/ontology/etc. For the aff - I find that permutations are pretty underutilized when it comes to mitigating links and find myself voting aff in policy v K debates on permutations more than I would have anticipated. Alternatives are usually the weakest part of a K IMO so leveraging bits and pieces that may not be mutually exclusive, in addition to winning some offense/defense, will go a long way. I also think impact turning is something that is truly underutilized by affirmatives that are facing off with a kritik. Digging in on certain points of neg offense can work wonders. DO NOT say things like anti-blackness, sexism, ableism, etc. are good though. PLEASE explain why your aff outweighs the K, especially if you have big stick impacts that are basically designed for some of these debates... For the neg - framing is absolutely essential. I like 2NRs on the K that guide me through my decision in a technical fashion. Links should obviously be as contextualized to the aff as possible. I am frequently persuaded by teams that realize the alt is a dumpster fire and shift to framework for the same effect. I am more likely to vote negative when there is case debating happening in line with the K, as well. Whether that is impact defense or some sort of "satellite" K, well, that's up to you.

The flourishing of performance debate has really effected the way that I think about form and content in the debate setting. I think these arguments are extremely valuable to the activity and I thoroughly enjoy debates about debate as well.

The DA - I think these debates are pretty straight forward. Do your impact calc, win your link, answer uniqueness overwhelms, etc. I like power plays where the aff straight turns a DA, especially if the 1NC was a lot of off case positions.

The CP - don't judge as many of these debates as I would like. A good counterplan with a specific solvency advocate will impress me. I think these arguments are relatively straight forward as well. In terms of theory issues like PICs bad, condo bad, etc., I truly don't have much of an opinion on these issues, but that doesn't mean I will let you get away with shenanigans. I would prefer arguments to be contextualized to in round abuse claims and how the role of the affirmative became structurally impossible. Rarely do I judge a theory debate, but I would be interested to hear more of them.

I do not default to kicking the CP for the negative. I think the 2NR needs to make that choice for themselves and stick with it. That doesn't necessarily mean I cannot be persuaded otherwise, however. This question should be raised before the 2NR for it to be persuasive to me.

Topicality - I like T debates. Limits isn't an impact in and of itself, I want to hear more explanation on how limits effects what should be your "vision of the topic" holistically, what affs and ground exist within it, and why those debates are good. Education impacts that are contextualized and specific will go a long way for me, whether it be in the context of the aff or the resolution.

I am increasingly persuaded by teams that give me a case list and explain what sort of ground exists within that limited topic.

Framework - I am an advocate for engaging with the affirmative and whatever it is that they have to say. I don't think framework should be taken off the table completely, though, and if you do plan to go for it just know that I require a lot more work on a topical version of the aff and some sort of in-road to how you resolve the claims of the 1AC. There are a lot of framework debates I have judged where I wish the 2NR did some work on the case flow -- ex: aff is about movements, 2NR makes arguments about why movements are coopted or repressed, therefore state engagement is essential.... whatever.

Procedural fairness is becoming less and less persuasive to me. I would vote on it if I have to, but I likely won't be happy.

I believe that debate is a game, but a game that has unique pedagogical benefits.

I may seem "K happy" but I promise my judging record proves that I am more than willing to vote on framework. But like I said, there needs to be more interaction between the affirmative and a limited vision of the topic. I have found that a lot of teams give case lists (both on the aff and the neg) but there is little to no clash over what those affirmatives are and why they are or are not good for debate. If you are trying to make arguments about why your vision of the topic provides a better set of affirmations, whether policy or critical, then there must be some comparison between the two. And those comparisons must have some sort of impact.

Other things - if there is anything else, please feel free to ask me. I know that some of this is vague, but my thoughts tend to change based off of the argument that is being presented and how exactly it is explained. I probably lean more on the side of truth over tech, but that doesn't mean I will make a decision wholly irrelevant to what is said in the debate unless I feel that it is absolutely necessary and something terrible happened. Plus I like to think I keep a clean flow so obvi tech still matters. I have absolutely no qualms checking debaters that are being rude or problematic. That being said, I look forward to judging you and happy prep!

Philip DiPiazza Paradigm

6 rounds

Updated - Fall 2017

Number of years judging: 9

Like every judge I look for smart, well-reasoned arguments. I’ll admit a certain proclivity for critical argumentation, but it certainly isn’t an exclusive preference (I think there’s something valuable to be said about “policy as performance”). Most of what I have to say can be applied to whatever approach debaters choose to take in the round. Do what you’re good at, and I will do my best to render a careful, well thought-out decision.

I think spin control is extremely important in debate rounds and compelling explanations will certainly be rewarded. And while quantity and quality are also not exclusive I would definitely prefer less cards and more story in any given debate as the round progresses. I also like seeing the major issues in the debate compartmentalized and key arguments flagged.

As for the standard array of arguments, there's nothing I can really say that you shouldn't already know. I like strong internal link stories and nuanced impact comparisons. I really don't care for "risk of link means you vote Aff/Neg" arguments on sketchy positions; if I don't get it I'm not voting for it. My standard for competition is that it’s the Negative’s job to prove why rejecting the Aff is necessary which means more than just presenting an alternative or methodology that solves better – I think this is the best way to preserve clash in these kinds of debates. Please be sure to explain your position and its relation to the other arguments in the round.

I think the topic is important and I appreciate teams that find new and creative approaches to the resolution, but that doesn’t mean you have to read a plan text or defend the USFG. Framework is debatable, but I prefer substantive arguments that respond to the level of criticism underwriting the 1AC. This means I would be more persuaded if you can demonstrate why the focus on an external government actor is preferable to an approach that emphasizes personal agency or identity as the subject for debate.

Two other things that are worth noting: 1) I flow on paper…probably doesn’t mean anything, but it might mean something to you. 2) I think there is a difference between intensity and jackassery. Please be mindful of this.


Elizabeth Dodson Paradigm

4 rounds

I love logic and SOUND economic arguments. If you spread you must be clear and be slower when reading taglines. Please don't make an arguement you don't understand. No fluff arguement please. Give me substance. Also, don't be mean or a bully.

Tim Edstrom Paradigm

3 rounds

Tim Edstrom
Edina High School, MN


I haven't judged many debates on this topic so keep that in mind starting out here at GREENHILL 2019.

I wanted to add a few notes to my paradigm before Blake:

There is a wide interpretation as to what is considered clear. There seems to be a decreased emphasis on communication overall in the activity and oftentimes people just yell into their computer screens. I have found myself less inclined to yell out "clear" multiple times before just giving up flowing in frustration. Instead, I will show that I am visibly not flowing you if I find you to be unflowable- my pen will be in the air, or if I am computer flowing, I will hold my hands up. I guess I might still say clear from time to time. My point is I do not think it should be my responsibility to ensure your clarity. Hopefully my signals will allow you to adjust your clarity without being interrupted. Please consider your level of clarity BEFORE you start speaking.

Second, the question of re-highlighting has been coming up in other people's paradigms and in general in the community. If you are bringing a re-highlighting to my attention and it is in the speech doc only, you need to explain WHAT THE RE-HIGHLIGHTING SAYS and HOW IT IMPACTS THE DEBATE. I will not just assume the argument you are trying to make. Furthermore, if you think it's simpler to just read the re-highlighting, than there will be NO QUESTION as to my interpretation of it after the fact. In other words, just pointing out a re-highlighting is similar to an in-round evidentiary indict in my mind, whereas actively reading re-highlighted evidence will be weighted as evidence in your favor.

Now, onto my usual paradigm:

While I try not to let biases affect my decision making in debates, I do have a few preferences for HOW you are debating and not WHAT you are debating that can help you get my ballot:

-Slow down on theory debating so that I can flow the warrants of your arguments. People criminally speed through theory debates. Not only does it make it more difficult for you to go for, but you might be unsatisfied with my decision if I couldn't flow your analytics.

-While I default to an offense/defense view of the debate I think it is possible to have low enough risk of a DA to make it insubstantial as well as to mitigate solvency to the point where it can't be weighed substantially.

-Comparative analysis surrounding the warrants of your evidence is probably the most underutilized skill in debate and the thing that is most likely to pump your speaker points in front of me. It gives the debate more clash when those comparisons are explicit, and makes it so that you can be satisfied in my decision. The harder you work in round the more you will be rewarded.

-No argumentative preferences. I'm not just saying that- I like DA and CP debate but I also think that there is educational value in performative and alternative styles of debating. If it's going to be a huge framework debate make sure that the respective turns on each side can be weighed against each other. Unless you are interested in having me flip a coin to decide.

-Debate is at its best when the teams are respectful of each other and the critic, having fun, possibly using humour or other communicative strategies to gain ethos, and doing their best to quickly email/flash their speeches without stealing prep time etc. These are also all things that can affect your speaker points positively or negatively. Do your best to enjoy what you are doing and that should reflect in your points and in the decision.

Please don't hesitate to ask questions. I enjoy the activity of debate and think that judges should be open to expanding their written paradigm before a given debate.

I still haven't given a 30 in a varsity debate.

Eric Emerson Paradigm

2 rounds

Greetings, by way of introduction, my name is Eric Emerson.

I coach debate (policy, LD and public forum) at the Kinkaid school. I am chair of the Board of the Houston Urban Debate League and have also directed the UTNIF.

As a judge, I evaluate arguments (claim, warrant, data and impact). I prefer arguments grounded in literature rather than regressive debate theory (take note LD). My preferences are flexible and can be overcome by persuasive, smart debaters.

I take notes, sometimes quite quickly. If I think you unclear, I will let you know in my facial expressions and on the occasion, hopefully rare, when I yell 'clear'.

If I find you/your arguments, unpleasant then your speaker points will reflect that. I disagree with judges who give out high speaker points to everyone. You gotta earn my points.

I am easily distracted and I prefer debaters to be both engaging and entertaining. If I appear distracted, it may be your fault.

Debate is a powerful educational tool that should be accessible to everyone. I try to approach all of my interactions with empathy and concern for others. I find unpleasant debates to be just that, unpleasant. I would ask that you avoid being unpleasant to your opponents, spectators, and me. Unpleasantness that threatens debate, to me, should be avoided.

Kegan Ferguson Paradigm

4 rounds

Put me on the email chain:

Assistant Director of Debate at North Broward Prep.

Debated in Indiana/at Indiana University, and went to the NDT in '15/'16. Fifth year judging.

PF Paradigm:

I don't need to be there for the flip. I don't care what side of the room you sit on.

All rules are negotiable aside from speech times. Feel free to go for K's or theory arguments, but I have a high standard for quality here.

If you take minutes to bring up a card that was called for I will tank your speaks.

Impact calc is most important. Warrants always beat taglines. I prefer hearing smart arguments over a large quantity of them.

2nd rebuttal should answer the 1st. First summary should extend defense, especially given the 3 minute change. Arguments in final need to be in the summary. Argument spin I could clearly see coming is not new.

Keep your evidence in cut card form, and don't just hand me an article if I call for evidence after the round. I will discount it. Don't misrepresent things and then get caught when I read evidence after the round - that's a quick way to a low speaks L.

Policy Paradigm:

DA's: I prefer smart, clear policy debate over stringing together awful disadvantages. One of my least favorite things in debate is a DA that has entirely misconstrued evidence, no real internal links, and a nonsense impact card. I would much rather people stick to politics or well-researched DA's instead of trying to go shoddy but tricky (looking at you, Miller DA)

CP's: Delay CP's are bad, UQ CP's are meh, Conditions CP's are meh, Consult CP's are mediocre, Specific PICS are great. Go for theory against abusive stuff, but the threshold is higher for aff's outside of the core on arms sales.

Topicality: Nebulous 'it's the heart of the topic' claims do not make you topical. I default to competing interps and think that reasonability generally requires the aff to extend a counterinterp that is reasonable.

K's: Topic specifics are my fav, and always will be. Alt solvency is more important than most rounds treat it. Same goes for internal link turns to the aff. Policy aff's should focus on impact turns and alt answers instead of the perm (unless the aff is written to go for a perm)

Framework: Fairness can be an a-priori impact if you win it is one. I find it persuasive when fairness is also clearly explained as an internal link turn to aff impacts. Debate is an offense-defense activity and clearly explaining your offense matters a lot. FW is more of a question about whose interp cultivates education and good debates than it is a question of rules.

Theory: I don't particularly enjoy theory debates. I will vote on Condo bad if you win it/it's dropped, but I find most neg answers persuasive. Though the higher the number of conditional positions the more there's a debate to be had. Squo is not an option unless you say so. I won't kick the CP for you unless an argument is made for why I should.

Ethics: Don't be hateful or use bigoted language. Don't clip. Don't intentionally steal prep.


29.6 -30: I think you are debating like a Top 5 debater at a national tournament.

29.3 – 29.5: I think you are debating like a Quarter-finalist at a national tournament

28.8 – 29.2: I think you are debating like a doubles or bubble team.

28.5 – 28.7: Debating like you should be .500

28 – 28.4: Debating on a very average level

27-27.9: lots of room for improvement

Below 27: You have used some hateful language, been excessively rude, or given up mid speech

Brandon Garrett Paradigm

6 rounds

I debated 4 years of policy in High school for Bellarmine and 1 in college for UT Dallas. I coach Policy and LD currently at Presentation High School. I have been there for 7 years. If quals matter I was in CEDA octas as a frosh in college. for the email chain.

Despite being mostly a T/K debater in high school, my team in Dallas was a very straight-up oriented team and as a result I am familiar with and accepting of those types of arguments as well. I read plenty of counterplans and disads in college and high school. I have had and judged tons of politics debate and states counterplan debates and soft vs hard power debates. I don't dislike these debates on face, I just dislike when they lack substance in the sense that theres no analysis happening. I am pretty okayish at flowing so prolly can get you at near top speed but will yell clearer from time to time. As with anything, if you cannot clearly articulate your argument or position, I will not vote for it.

That being said, I definitely havent judged these debates much lately bc most people think I am a K hack, but I actually find them easier to adjudicate and enjoy them a lot when they are good. In a policy v policy style round, I think I am generally a pretty good judge for these debates despite preferring to judge the more left debates.

T/K affs/Fwk
I am relatively familiar with most critical literature but thinks like schlag and heidegger and baudrillard need a lot of link work analysis and alt explanation as do other dense kritiks. this type of explanation will help you in the long run anyways.

I have been told I don't get preffed because my paradigm may be a bit strongly worded. I definitely feel very strongly about use of framework as a way to silence teams with a legitimate gripe against institutional and systemic injustice that is relevant both to this activity and students autonomy. I think there are certain schools that are obviously uninterested in engaging with the substance of these types of arguments because it doesn't benefit their hegemonic structure that is self reinforcing or because it puts coaches outside their comfort zone. I think these arguments are intrinsic goods to the future of the activity and I would tend to think the trend of the community voting patterns and explosion of identity and performance arguments corroborate this direction and opinion.

I am highly inclined to believe that T-USFG is very problematic against certain types of Ks or performance affs. Debate isnt just a game, but certainly has gamelike attributes. I think entirely gamelike views on debate ensure hegemony of opinions.
True procedural fairness doesn't really exist because of structural issues, judge bias, and humans being humans and not robots. Education in some form is inevitable - its just a question of how open you are to learning something and what you are contributing.

This activity matters, what we say in it matters, and if you feel like you have no answer to a K or performance argument then go through the following thought process real quick:
1) Am I more concerned with winning than understanding the arguments of my opponent (if you answered yes you prolly wont win my ballot)
2) Do I want to win and engage the substance of my opponents arguments (If you answered yes then you can proceed)
3) Do I have anything to actually engage with the probably true argument that people of color and women and other disadvantaged people are set up to fail and the institutions of the state and debate have failed them? (If the answer is no you can still potentially win this debate: contribute to the discourse or attack thiers/create your own methodology, and tell me why you think that should enable you to win my ballot. That or cut more cards and prep better answers)

Most people who read these arguments do it to discuss real issues that really matter to them and to our community. The norm of the community to try and avoid these conversations with theory spikes or T arguments that are unspecific and poorly developed is depressing and most definitely not a strategy i support.

To clarify: I think its fine to read Policymaking good / framing against a security K or cap K - but when the debate is about an individuals autonomy and recognition in the debate space (for example - a survival strategy for a PoC) that neccesitates an entirely different discussion.

I think T-usfg/fwk (its pretty much the same thing dont lie) is a competing interpretations debate and there is pretty much no convincing me otherwise. If you cant explain what your version of debate looks like then why should you win? I love a good fiat/framing debate and can vote either way on it.

I tend to favor the team that does more analysis and explanation of warrants. If you are extending your tag and cite but not explaining the warrants of your evidence your opponents will probably win. I also dont typically look for the easiest way out. You all put a lot into this activity and I want to make sure I consider every avenue.

I definitely think that extending a dropped argument is pretty impactful - many judges will tell you just because its dropped doesn't mean its true, but until your opponents make a reasonable refutation, I will evaluate dropped arguments with a high degree of weight. I will NOT, however, give you huge impacts for dropped arguments that are extended in a blippy manner.

I feel like the biggest thing I am lacking in most rounds is impact comparison across layers. I often find myself doing unnecessary intervention because no one tells me how their impacts interact with their opponents. If you want me to vote for you make the path to the ballot really clear, and I will follow your line of thinking. When there are a bunch of open ended questions at the end of the round and doors that are not closed there is always going to be a gap of understanding between my decision and your interpretation of the round. It is definitely your responsibility to minimize that gap as much as possible.

Theory and T
In terms of theory I don't really like to pull the trigger on reject the team unless there is proof of in round abuse. I could vote on a reject the team argument but they would have to be setting a pretty uniquely bad standard for debate. I think things like "must read a trigger warning" or "condo bad" definitely fall within this description. I have a very low tolerance for frivolous theory and am definitely not your judge if you like that style or tricks. There are winnable theory arguments in front of me but stuff like 'new affs bad' or 'plans bad' that dont make realistic sense arent gonna fly. Lookin at you LD community.

I will take away speaks if you tell me to judge kick things. Do your job as a debater.

Speaks are about ethos, pathos, and logos. If you are lacking in presence or your arguments dont make logical sense it will be hard to get perfect speaks. The best technical debater in the world is probably only a 29.5 without ethos.

I don't really give 30s and a bunch of 29s and 29.5 is really for an amazing debater. 30 for me is perfect. That being said, I also don't really give 26 or 26.5 unless you are doing really poorly. If you got a 26.9 or lower you were probably very offensive towards me or your opponents. 27 range is you messed up some fundamentals like dropped an important argument, made a contradiction that was obvious, were uneducated on your own positions, etc.

PF specific:

I favor evidence far more heavily than other judges in this event. I am SO TIRED of kids not giving dates or cites to your evidence. There are NSDA evidence rules for a reason. I am gonna start docking a speaker point for each member of each team that doesn't properly cite your evidence. If I wanted to I could not evaluate any cards you dont read author and date for because of these rules.

You force me to intervene when you read 1 liner pieces of evidence. Just stop misrepresenting and paraphrasing cards and we will get along.

Arguments in Final Focus need to be in the summary or second rebuttal. I prefer if you are second rebuttal you respond to the first rebuttal but wont hold it against you. Its just the correct strategic choice.
Extending cards by name will help you win my ballot. Weighing is huge and matters a bunch. I think you should probably use cross ex for clarification and understanding rather than making arguments. Im not flowing cross-ex.

Bryan Gaston Paradigm

4 rounds

Updated for Oklahoma State and NDCA 2019
Bryan Gaston
Director of Debate
Heritage Hall School
1800 Northwest 122nd St.
Oklahoma City, OK 73120-9598

I view judging as a responsibility and one I take very seriously. I have decided to try and give you as much information about my tendencies to assist with MPJ and adaptation.

Quick Version:

1. Debate is a competitive game.

2. I will vote on Framework and T-Aff's should be topical. But, you can still beat framework with good offense or a good counter-interpretation.

3. DA's and Aff advantages can have zero risk.

4. Neg conditionality is mostly good.

5. Counterplans and PICs --good (better to have a solvency advocate than not)

6. K's that link to the Aff plan/advocacy/advantages/reps and have an alternative that is explained and solves are good.

7. I will not decide the round over something X team did in another round, at some other tournament, or a teams judge prefs.

8. Email Chain access please:

9. The debate should be a fun and competitive activity, be kind to each other and try your best.

**Arms Sales topic notes***

--I have noticed I tend to find that many critiques debaters like to read link to the status quo but not the plan or ending arms sales. I think the K should link to the plan, reps of the aff or solid links to the advantages otherwise it is an uphill battle--

My Golden Rule: When you have the option to choose a more specific strategy vs a more generic strategic, always choose the more specific strategy.

Pro-tip: FLOW---don't stop flowing just because you have a speech doc.

"Clipping" in debate: Clipping in the debate is a serious issue and one of the things I will be doing to deter clipping in my rounds is requesting a copy of all speech docs before the debaters start speaking and while flowing I read along to check from time to time.

Long Version...

Affirmatives: I still at my heart of hearts prefer and Aff with a plan that's justifiably topical. But, I think it's not very hard for teams to win that if the Aff is germane to the topic that's good enough. I'm pretty sympathetic to the Neg if the Aff has very little to or nothing to do with the topic. If there is a topical version of the Aff I tend to think that takes away most of the Aff's offense in many of these T/FW debates vs no plan Affs--unless the Aff can explain why there is no topical version and they still need to speak about "X" on the Aff or why their offense on T still applies.

Disadvantages: I like them. I prefer specific link stories (or case-specific DA’s) to generic links, as I believe all judges do. But, if all you have is generic links go ahead and run them, I will evaluate them. The burden is on the Aff team to point out those weak link stories. I think Aff’s should have offense against DA’s it's just a smarter 2AC strategy, but if a DA clearly has zero link or zero chance of uniqueness you can win zero risk. I tend to think politics DA's are core negative ground--so it is hard for me to be convinced I should reject the politics DA because debating about it is bad for debate. My take: I often think the internal link chains of DA's are not challenged enough by the Aff, many Aff teams just spot the Neg the internal links---It's one of the worst effects of the prevalence of offense/defense paradigm judging over the past years...and it's normally one of the weaker parts of the DA.

Counterplans: I like them. I generally think most types of counterplans are legitimate as long as the Neg wins that they are competitive. I am also fine with multiple counterplans. On counterplan theory, I lean pretty hard that conditionality and PICs are ok. You can win theory debates over the issue of how far negatives can take conditionality (battle over the interps is key). Counterplans that are functionally and textually competitive are always your safest bet but, I am frequently persuaded that counterplans which are functionally competitive or textually competitive are legitimate. My Take: I do however think that the negative should have a solvency advocate or some basis in the literature for the counterplan. If you want to run a CP to solve terrorism to you need at least some evidence supporting your mechanism. My default is that I reject the CP not the team on Aff CP theory wins.

Case debates: I like it. Negative teams typically under-utilize this. I believe well planned impacted case debate is essential to a great negative strategy. Takeouts and turn can go a long way in a round.

Critiques: I like them. In the past, I have voted for various types of critiques. I think they should have an alternative or they are just non-unique impacts. I think there should be a discussion of how the alternative interacts with the Aff advantages and solvency. Impact framing is important in these debates. The links the Aff are very important---the more specific the better. Some K lit bases I'm decently familiar with: Capitalism, Security, Anti-blackness, Natives, Reps (various types), Fem IR, Anthro, Nietzsche, and Queer theory. Some K lit bases I don't know very much about: Baudrillard, Bataille, Deleuze.

Big impact turn debates: I like them. Want to throw down in a big Hegemony Good/Bad debate, Dedev vs Growth Good, method vs method, it's all good.

Topicality/FW: I tend to think competing interpretations are good unless told otherwise...see the Aff section above for more related to T.

Theory: Theory sets up the rules for the debate game. I tend to evaluate theory debates in an offensive/defense paradigm, paying particular attention to each teams theory impacts and impact defense. The interpretation debate is very important to evaluating theory for me. For a team to drop the round on theory you must impact this debate well and have clear answers to the other sides defense.

Impact framing-- it's pretty important, especially in a round where you have a soft-left Aff with a big framing page vs a typical neg util based framing strat.

Things not to do: Don't run T is an RVI, don't hide evidence from the other team to sabotage their prep, don't lie about your source qualifications, don't text or talk to coaches to get "in round coaching" after the round has started, please stay and listen to RFD's, and don't deliberately spy on the other teams pre-round coaching. I am a high school teacher and coach, who is responsible for high school kids. Please, don't read things overtly sexual if you have a performance aff--since there are minors in the room I think that is inappropriate.

CX: This is the only time you have “face time” with the judge. Please look at the judge not at each other. Your speaker points will be rewarded for a great CX and lowered for a bad one. Be smart in CX, assertive, but not rude.

Speaker Point Scale updated: Speed is fine, and clarity is important. If you are not clear I will yell out “Clear.” Average national circuit debate starts at 28.4, Good is 28.5-28.9 (many national circuit rounds end up in this range), Excellent 29-29.9, Perfect 30 (I have given 3 in 16 years judging) they all went on to win the NDT at some point. I will punish your points if you are excessively rude to your opponents or partner during a round.

Paperless Debating (most of this is old and not necessary anymore):
1. You need to provide a readable copy of all evidence used in your speech (in one speech doc---like 2AC Round 6, do not open up 7 files on your computer and tell the other team you are reading different things from all of them).
2. You should let the other team view your speeches on their own laptops if they choose.
3. You should have a viewing computer for teams that use paper (or you must let them use one of your computers if they ask).
4. Give me a digital copy of the speech also. Why? See "clipping" below...
5. DO NOT give your opponents speech docs with all the tags and/or cites missing. This is not acceptable. You may leave out analytics (not tags) if you choose.
6. I will stop prep while you save your doc.

Have fun debating!

Colton Gilbert Paradigm

6 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


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.

Joshua Gonzalez Paradigm

3 rounds

Joshua Gonzalez

Yes, add me to emails. gonza310 at gmail

New for 2018-2019:

High School Debates:

0. I will, at my own discretion, treat evidence that is highlighted such that the remaining words still follow basic grammatical rules as necessarily superior to evidence that is not. If I have to read and/or search unhighlighted parts of the evidence to make sense of the parts that you *did* read, then *your* version of that evidence isn't very good, even if the full, un0highlighted card is quite good...


Rando stuff that I've added:

1. I will not automatically judge-kick conditional CPs. 2NR must signal to me to do it, in which case (absent a compelling aff response) I'm happy to do it, but I don't remember to do it every single time unless signaled, and it isn't fair for me to do it inconsistently.

The majority of what I've written below is of a positive/empirical nature, rather than normative/ideal. I obviously have opinions about debate, arguments, etc., but who doesn't? Every time a debate happens, the activity changes a little bit, as do my thoughts and opinions about it. If anything, what is below describes how I have voted in the past more than I how I intend to vote in the future.

That being said, there are a number of practices that have developed various degrees of normative force over time in our activity. Arguers who seek to overturn norms (not universally, obvi) are necessarily dealing with a task of overcoming presumption. I don't think that this is a particularly high bar (certainly not high enough that it should discourage you from trying); I just think it's the best explanation for my past voting behavior.

Speaker Points: who even knows anymore. I'll assign some.

Newest Complaint: 2NC/1NR - please don't group disparate parts of a flow and call it "the link debate" or "the uniqueness debate." While there are def. parts of flows that deserve grouping, this is a technique that is over-used and isn't very smart. There's a good chance you'll drop something the other team said.

Paperless addendum: Mark your cards during your speech. Save the speech doc from which you spoke, with marks. Be prepared to send it out after the speech if the other team requests that you do so. Regardless, I will expect to receive a post-round doc of all relevant cards WITH MARKS CLEARLY NOTED. If I don't, I will not consider the cards as part of my decision. If this document includes evidence that was not read in full (all portions that are highlighted) but is not marked as such, I will definitely blow up your speaker points and will may just vote for the other team on the spot. If you discover, after sending the document to me, that it is missing a mark, don't hesitate to correct it. Honesty and transparency are what we're aiming for here.

Clipping: Auto-loss, auto zero points for the debater. This is obvious.

SWEAR LESS: I didn't care about this nearly as much when I was younger, but as I've become older, I've increasingly become of the belief that all of you kids need to stay off my lawn. Let's try and cut down on the swearing during actual debate speeches, it's just not particularly becoming and it gets us in trouble with the higher ups. I'm sure there's any number of things you can say about this, but honestly, I probably disagree and this is one of those spots where I assign the speaker points and you'll just have to adapt. If this is a non-negotiable item for you, I take no offense to you moving me down the pref sheet, as is your perogative.

T/Framework/Etc. - I have rarely made the decision that topicality was not a voter. In all but the most extreme instances, I have typically decided that the affirmative should have to try and read a topical plan. I phrase this as an empirical statement rather than a normantive one, but I think it would be unfair of me to not let you know that I've been more likely than not to side with the negative when they make an argument to that effect. Here's the big catch: what the words that are configured into this “plan” (and the resolution) mean are significantly open to debate (or how they are best understood/interpreted) but it's plainly obvious what the directions of most topics are and what one would do to have some fidelity to that. I am inclined to think that people who claim that it is actually impossible to make arguments about social justice in the context of most any recent debate are, well, incorrect and really aren't trying very hard.

Theory – I don’t seem to vote on this much, but I’m probably just waiting to meet the right theory debater. I have an intuition that the multiplicity of worlds advanced in 1NCs these days are probably unfair, I just haven’t heard a team that has really made a good set of arguments as to why. Be careful with the words “logical policy maker”: logical policy makers might consider lots of different counterplans, but they probably think the politics disad is really, really stupid, too. I don’t have too much of a dog in the fight with regard to intrinsicness, etc. – I coach a lot of teams to go for politics, but I do also think that debate is probably worse off for it at the end of the day. I find most totalizing theories of CP competition pretty self-serving and stupid, particularly “textual competition.” I have not heard a compelling reason why it makes sense as a standard, rather than just something that conveniently excludes a number of undesirable counterplans. If those CPs are bad, there is likely plenty of good reasons to reject them on their own and we don’t need a counterintuitive competition standard to prevent them from being run.

ASPEC – this is my least favorite debate argument. New rule: 2ACs don’t have to spend any more time answering it than the 1NC spent reading it. If the block makes a big deal, I’m inclined to allow a TON of new 1AR argument—and you can still probably say “cross ex checks” and get out of Dodge. This is one of the only things I am actually willing to impose by judge fiat.

Consultation CPs – these are my second least favorite debate arguments. Any generic strategy that creates an incentive for the aff to read plans that would be vetoed by any relevant international actor is probably a bad argument. I still vote on them, just don’t expect great speaks, even if you think you gave the best speech of your life, which, by virtue of making it about a consultation CP, you have not.

Critiques – I used to be the guy that K teams struck. Now I seem to be a middle-of-the-road sort of fellow. Maybe even K-leaning. This is not because I think critiques are totally awesome and the past/present/future of debate. I actually think many, if not most of them are surprisingly shallow and silly, but most teams seem incapable of acquitting themselves as anything less than even more shallow and dumb. My research interests go vastly farther into the critical than do my debate interests, so there’s a good chance I know what you’re talking about. Don’t be afraid to make arguments that have some theoretical depth, but in so doing, do not fail to make them relevant to the question of the debate (theorizing biopower is totally fascinating, but you need to make it into a reason to not do the plan).

Decorum/Attitude/Behavior – ethos matters in a persuasive setting. Become comfortable with the fact that debate judges (this one in particular) are not logical robots. We are big, jiggly masses of flesh. This means that you should make some attempt at being likeable in debate rounds. I rarely find myself voting for teams that I do not like and yet I feel as if I make decisions on the basis of relatively objective criteria. This does not make much sense unless one understands that how judges feel about you effects (affect?) how they understand and evaluate every other facet of the debate. I have spent more than 20 years of my life in this activity and rarely regretted it (until recently). I still love almost every person I've met through debate, but I am having an increasingly hard time coming to grips with how many of us are behaving (myself included, from time to time). Make it the sort of place that other people want to be and not only will judges reward you, but you will likely reap an enormous number of other intangible benefits as well. Only one team wins the tournament – everybody else should have a pretty good reason that they came. Year after year, I find that the only good reason (and the best reason that I could imagine) is “everybody else.”

Malcolm Gordon Paradigm

2 rounds

A quick guide to getting good speaker points:

-get to the point, and be clear about it
-"extinction" or "nuclear war" is not a tag
-a well explained, logical, argument trumps an unexplained argument merely extended by it's "card name"
-Ks must pass the make sense test
-cross x is a speech-i figure it in as a substantial factor in speaker points

Here is an explanation of how I evaluate debates at a meta-level:

While I think there is value in the offense/defense framework for evaluation, for me to vote on offense there has to be substantive risk. Second, quality trumps quantity. 30 bad uniqueness cards that barely make a claim can not overcome the power of 1 well warranted, logical argument that is consistently applied to the onslaught of evidence. In short:

Where X is a good, warranted argument and Y is an illogical argument, and X, A, and Y are all positive integers:

X > A(Y)

Also, "extinction" is not a tag line. I don't even like tag lines like "causes nuclear war." I need complete sentences, with claims and warrants.

Where does the evidence come from? there are not enough debaters talking about the quality of research their opponents are quoting.

Get to the point. On any given controversy in debate, there are relatively few arguments at play. Get to the core issues quickly. Point out the central logical/argumentative problems with a given position. I am much more compelled by a speaker’s ability to take the 2-3 core problems with their opponent’s position and use those fallacies to answer all of the other team’s advances. It shows you have a grip on the central issue and you understand how that issue is inescapable regardless of your opponent’s answer

Calling for cards: I will do this, but I don’t like to read every card in the debate. If you opponent is making well explained arguments you should be very wary of just saying “extend our smith evidence”.


Arbitrary interpretations are one of the worst trends in debate right now. If your interpretation of debate theory is wholly arbitrary and made up it doesn’t seem very useful for me to uphold it as some new norm and reject the other team.

Conditionality is good, it would take a very decisive aff victory with a very tangible impact (in policy debate). Whatever your arbitrary counterinterpretation is that limits the neg to X number of conditional positions…..sorry, I wasn’t born yesterday. If conditionality is good it’s good.

While I'm fine with conditionality, I am persuaded by other theoretical objections (multi actor fiat, uniform fiat without a solvency advocate, etc). I also think that a theory argument that combines objections (conditional multi actor CPs) could be a reason to reject the team.

My personal belief is that the negative can only fiat the agent of the resolution, and that competition based off the ‘certainty’ of the plan (consult/conditions) is not productive. This does NOT mean I have a low threshold in voting aff on agent/actor cps bad, but it does make my threshold lower than most. To win these theory debates on the aff, see above point about cutting to the core 2-3 issues.

On topicality-you need tangible impacts. You’re asking me to drop a team because they made debate too unfair for you. “limits good” is not an impact. “They unlimit the topic by justifying x types of affs that we cannot hope to prepare for” is an impact. There must be a very coherent connection between neg interpretation, violations, and standards in the 2nr.

Counterplans: I spoke above about my theoretical beliefs on counterplans. I think counterplans should be textually and functionally competitive. I am sometimes persuaded that purely functional competition (normal means/process counterplans) should probably not be evaluated. If you’re aff and theory-savvy, don’t be afraid to go for theoretical reasons the process cp goes away.

Floating Pics/Word PICs- I’m great for the aff on these. I believe that every position has theoretical reasons behind it related to education and competitive equity. The aff counterinterpretation of “you can run your K/word K as a K without the CP part” generally solves every pedagogical benefit of those positions-this means the aff just needs to win that competitively these positions are bad for the aff, and it outweighs any ‘educational benefit’ to word/floating pics. I'm persuaded by those arguments, making it an uphill battle for the neg if the aff can explain tangible impacts to the competitive disadvantage the PIC puts them in.


The story must matchup. I will vote on such non-offensive arguments like: your uq and link evidence don’t assume the same group of politicians, you have no internal link, passage of that bill is inevitable, Trump has no PC etc. Of course I don’t vote on these in isolation-once again, refer back to my meta-approach to debate-you need to explain why that core defensive argument trumps everything else the neg is saying.


I’m generally not compelled by framework against a Neg K-I think all Ks have a gateway/framing issue that is much easier and more logical for the aff to attack. For example, if the neg reads an epistemology K you are much more likely to win reading a card that says “consequences outweigh epistemology” or “epistemology focus bad” than you are to win that the other team is cheating because of their K. Focus on answering the gateway issue so that you can leverage your aff against the K and get the decision calculus of the debate back in your favor. Subsequently for the neg the issue of ‘framing’ is also very important.

In the 2ac, don’t make a bunch of perms you have no hope of winning unless they are conceded. Perm do the alt is not a perm. Make 1 or 2 permutations and EXPLAIN IN THE 2AC how the permutation overcomes neg links/risks of the impact.

Ks are a great example of the “there are only 2-3 arguments” theory I subscribe to. If you’re debating a 1 off team, it’s much better for me if you don’t read 40 cards in the 2ac with as many different caveats as possible. Instead, read a good number of argument but take the time to explain them. What part of the K do they refute? How do these arguments change the calculus of the round? When you do this I put much more pressure on the neg block to get in depth with their explanations, which I find usually helps the aff.

K affs:

T > Framework. Given that most impact turns to T come from pedagogical reasons, you need to prove that your interpretation provides space for the ‘good education’ the aff thinks is key to stop genocide/war/racism/turkeys. Topical version of your aff is compelling, as well as giving other examples of topical action that prove the aff could have accepted the parameters of the resolution and gained the same educational benefits. Then it’s just a matter of proving that competitively the K aff hurts the neg. Also, prove how your competitive equity impacts implicate their education impacts.

Case debate:

These are great. Impact defense is kinda meh unless it's real specific. Solvency and internal link answers are where it's at. Make alt causes great again!


It’s all about probability-magnitude is ok but only when you’re discussing it in terms of “our impact causes yours”. Extinction outweighs is trite because by the end of the debate all impacts are extinction or nuclear wars that easily result in another impact in the debate that has been claimed as extinction (nuke war hurts the environment, aff said that causes extinction). Probability is key. Establishing risk is where it’s at. A higher risk trumps a higher magnitude in most instances.

Cross Examination: it’s a speech, I grade it like a speech. Be funny if you can. Base the cross x on core issues in the debate, and base it on quality of evidence and establishing risk/threshold for various arguments.

Robbins Gray Paradigm

2 rounds

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Omar Guevara Paradigm

6 rounds

Not Submitted

Jeremy Hammond Paradigm

4 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

4 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.

David Heidt Paradigm

4 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.

Jackson Hoffmann Paradigm

6 rounds

i debated at kapaun in high school

currently a third year debater at u of kansas

please add me to chain -

tldr: do your thing and i'll listen. i will evaluate the arguments made in a debate as impartially as i can, but i have included my argumentative biases below. if you have questions that i didn't answer below, just ask me

i think affs should be topical and am neg-biased in t debates vs affs that do not defend a topical plan, but my voting record in those debates is pretty even. i think neg arguments about competitive equity / fairness are most compelling. i am very particular in framework/t debates, so it isn't an auto-win just because you said "the aff should be read a plan" - if you poorly execute framework/t, my ballot will reflect it

i will not vote on an argument that i cannot coherently explain

i will be annoyed if you read death good

assume i don't know what your k is talking about because i probably don't. it will be difficult to convince me that i should not allow the aff to weigh the consequences of their plan. it will also be difficult to convince me that extinction does not outweigh other impacts absent a clear, substantial mitigation of the risk of the aff's impact

theory: i've become pretty impartial about it because i've started to enjoy theory debates much more, but it's nearly always a reason to reject the argument rather than the team

i get frustrated when i'm put in a position where i have to intervene, but absent clear judge instruction, impact calculus, evidence comparison, etc. i will not feel guilty about intervening. in those instances where my intervention seems necessary, my decision will most likely be guided by evidence quality on the debate's most relevant issues. to avoid frustrating decisions that involve my intervention, write my ballot for me so i only have to minimally sort through the debate

clipping = auto-loss. the other team does not have to call you out on it. if i recognize it, i will let the round finish but you will automatically lose

one last thing - an excerpt from Yao Yao Chen's paradigm that i think is really important:

"I believe judging debates is a privilege, not a paycheck. I strive to judge in the most open-minded, fair, and diligent way I can, and I aim to be as thorough and transparent as possible in my decisions. If you worked hard on debate, you deserve judging that matches the effort you put into this activity. Anything short of that is anti-educational and a disappointment."

Robert Holmes Paradigm

2 rounds

Flow and respond to what the other team says.

I don't have the speech doc open so do things that make it easier for me to flow. Position yourself so I can hear you. Don't speak into your laptop or stand on the opposite side of the room. Don't read typed-out things like they are the text of a card. Slow down and change the intonation of your voice when you're speaking.

If I don't understand something, I will not vote on it even if it is conceded.

I am getting tired of multiple conditional cp's. Seriously, it is getting out of hand. The neg gets 1 conditional cp or Kritik.

Kenton Hutcherson Paradigm

4 rounds

I debated for Grapevine High School and then at the University of Texas.  At UT, I majored in philosophy and economics.  I am a big fan of existentialism (Neitzsche, Camus, Sartre) and Karl Marx.  That doesn't necessarily mean that I like the way these philosophers are used in debate--debate typically presents bastardized versions of philosophers.  I have coached CX at Grapevine High School for the past 4 years.  I coach debate for fun--my full time job is as an Internet lawyer where I help individuals and businesses who have been attacked online.  I earned my law degree from the University of Chicago Law School.

My decisions are often influenced by my legal background.  I view topicality as a debate over what the resolution is as opposed to what it ought to be (and I vote on T more than most judges).  And because I deal with nasty people every day, I do not like to see it when I judge debates.  I will vote you down for being a jerk.  That should not be a difficult burden to meet.  Be respectful of everyone in the room and in the community.  If I am on a panel with one judge who doesn't like spreading and one judge that is okay with spreading (I prefer spreading), if you spread to appeal only to the two spread judges, I will not like it because by doing so, you will have disrespected the non-spreading judge.  I get it--it sucks when you have a judge that doesn't like speed, but that is life and the non-spread judge is a person too.  Also, please make sure your disclosures on the wiki are up to date and easy to navigate.  If you play games on the wiki, I see that as the same as being a jerk before the round begins.  Please don't be a jerk.  And if you like to bash people in the debate community on the Internet or otherwise, you are a bad person and should not be in the activity.

If you were to ask my debaters what they should do in the round with me judging, here is what I think they would tell you:

1. I love topicality.  I vote on T more than most judges, and I generally have a much more narrow view of the resolution than other judges.  If your plan has non-topical tricks to evade specific DAs, then I see that as distorting the debate by excluding that specific DA.  You can run the most common Aff on the topic, but if the other team runs T based on a trick in the plan, and they win that debate, I am happy to vote you down.  T is never a reverse voter.  I will only vote on that if the argument is completely dropped by the Neg, but you will get terrible speaks.  All the Neg has to say is "that's stupid."

2. If you are trying to decide between running your critical aff and your policy aff, you should probably pick the policy aff.  If you only have a critical aff or want to run it out of principle, good for you.  You may enjoy the debate, but you probably won't find my RFD very satisfying.  It's not that I have anything against critical affs--I don't--it is that I do not understand most of them and how they can function within a competitive debate setting. Let's say that you affirm that the Holocaust is a bad thing--I would agree with you, but I don't see why that has anything to do with the resolution or how that leaves any ground for the Neg.  I know there are people much smarter than me that love critical affs and think they are good for debate.  I wish I was one of those people, but sadly I am not.

3. Go out of your way to go line by line.  Sign post your arguments.  If you are the 2NC or the 1NR, say something like 2AC #1 says "No Link" - We say ______.  2AC #2 says "Uniqueness overwhelms the link" - We say ______.  Standing up and reading a bunch of arguments without actually applying them to the other team's arguments is not good debate.  In fact, it is sloppy.  I think "embedded clash" is interesting in theory, but in practice I see it as an excuse to not go line by line.  I suggest that you avoid embedded clash in front of me.  That being said, feel free to group arguments, especially in the 1AR.  So you can say, "Off 2AC #3, Group It (the Neg's arguments against 2AC #3). 1. ___ 2.___ 3.____".

4. I enjoy theory debates so long as they are not blippy.  If you take the time to really explore a theory argument and explain how it applies in that specific debate, I will vote for you more than other judges will.

5. Rhetoric Ks make a lot of sense to me, more so than other Ks.  I am not a fan of Ks with Candy Land alts.  Because of that, I rarely vote for the Cap K.  I agree with the thesis of the Cap K - Cap definitely exploits people on a worldwide scale.  But the alts I have seen seem to be simply wishing problems away.  I do not find that very compelling when the Aff identifies specific problems and ways to solve them.  That being said, if you can attack the Aff's epistemology and show why their knowledge is flawed, and thereby take out the premise of their harms, that I can find compelling.

6. Please be clear on who the actor is for the alt.  If the Aff can show that the alt uses a different actor from the Aff, and says, "Perm do both," then the Neg better have a really good reason why two different actors cannot do different things.

7. I generally do not find Ks based on the fact that the Aff uses the USFG compelling. 

8. Open CX is fine, but please do not abuse it.  I'm not a fan when one partner dominates all of the CX for the team.  Prep time stops when you pull the flash drive out or when you hit send on your email.

9. Tell me what to do in your 2NR and 2AR.  Tell me why you win.  I like reading cards, and I think I read cards more often than I should.  So if you are winning the evidence comparison debate because the other team has not explained their evidence and you have, tell me to not read their cards.  If I agree with you that they have not explained their evidence, then I will not read their evidence.  If you tell me to read certain cards, I probably will as long as you have explained the cards in the round.

10.  I do not enjoy framework debates, but I blame that on the Aff instead of the Neg.  Framework should have a T component, and that is really how I evaluate framework.

As a final comment, I generally think mutual judge preference is a bad idea.  While I think sharing judge philosophies is a good idea, I think judge preference has encouraged debate on the extreme ends of the spectrum.  If you are a policy team, you can pref policy judges.  If you are a critical team, you can pref critical judges.  Given the way the system is structured, you would be foolish not to do that.  But the result is that we end up siloing ourselves within echo chambers that conform to our own philosophical or political views.

Nathan Jagot Paradigm

2 rounds

I debated for four years at Caddo Magnet HS (graduated in 2018) in Shreveport, LA. I'm a sophomore at Louisiana Tech University in Ruston, LA (Political Science major) and assistant coach for Caddo Magnet High School/Caddo Middle Magnet. I was coached by Neill Normand, Kasi & Jonathan McCartney, Sam Gustavson, Ian Dill, Darius White, Calen Martin, Cole Allen, Ethan Courtman, Jake Crusan, and other Caddo/LA-area alumni.


For the email chain:

Prep ends when the speech doc is saved/flashed, unless "sending" or "naming" the doc is taking an unusually long time.

No clipping, stealing prep, or being rude to your opponents or anyone else in the room. Debate should be fun and respectful without any additional stress.

I judge/coach a few Louisiana tournaments and try to do my part in making their overall quality better, both in terms of debate quality and community quality. If you're debating in Louisiana and I'm judging you, there's a section below you should read before the round.

Frame your arguments:

If you can tell me what the central points of the debate are in the final rebuttals, make effective arguments and prove why you're winning, you will most likely win the debate. I think line by line is good, but that you also need to keep in mind the big picture/nexus question for the debate. Being wax poetic is especially good (but not necessary), but tell me what's most important and why, and explain it. "Even if" statements are also really useful in this situation, and be sure to use competing claims and why making the decision for you should be easy even if you're not winning the other/most important parts of the debate.

Be strategic:

Embedded clash is a thing, don't ignore it. For argument extensions, make sure you have a claim, warrant, and an impact. Make sure you use this to your advantage and point out interactions between different arguments, be smart in pointing out double turns, etc.

Clarity > speed:

I'd rather hear a very engaging 4-5 off debate that has a variety of winning 2NRs against a certain aff, rather than a team who reads 8-10 off just to scare the other team. Slow down on blocks and analytics, because they're going to be the point in the debate where I really start paying attention to the arguments at hand and seeing how they function (also the point in the debate where you should explain them as such). Being efficient and prepared rather than fast and blippy until the 2NR is better than not.

Line by line is important:

This is very important and I think some debaters sadly forget about. Answer arguments in the order in which they appear - if "they say (x), but (x)" statements are helpful in this instance.


CX should be treated as another speech. Don't waste your time, i.e., don't use it to clean up/fill in your flow. Write down your questions beforehand and have a strategy, and it will help you. Please don't talk over anyone while this is happening. Some judges flow CX, I tend to stray away of that, but I may star an argument a team mentions something multiple times or if an argument seemed to be critical for any particular side during CX. If an important argument is an effective turning point for the debate in CX, point it out in later speeches, it can only help you.

Critical Affirmatives:

I'll listen to it, but I'm finding myself frustrated with a lot of these types of affirmatives. The 1AC should ground itself with a foundational disagreement with resolutional action - meaning a solid, specific topic link - and go from there about debating it. Not doing so will likely result to me just voting negative on T. Debates where the affirmative identifies a problem with resolutional action and uses that as offense against framework/T-USfg are much more interesting than stale debates.

***I think for topics where the resolution mandates the USfg reduces something negative it does (like restrict immigration or reduce arms sales), reading an aff with a plan is much more legitimate than not reading a plan.

***If you're reading this before round and are unsure about what your strategy with your K aff would be with me judging you based on everything above, I'd suggest reading an aff with a plan.


I think this is the best strategy against planless affs. Though it's legitimate that the aff not using the USfg as an agent is unfair, you need to explain why in terms of why it's bad for normative debate practices and why it's bad that you can't engage with the aff as well as you could with one that had a specific policy proposal. Fairness is an impact in itself, but that should be explained in terms of what unfairness is, how the affirmative makes it worse, and then funnel into discussion of other "greatest hits" impacts on the flow. Make sure your TVA is logical and at accesses the affirmative's offense, and the aff answers need to be logical and established in order for me to not vote on it. Well-thought out aff impact turns to T/Framework are convincing to me, if executed effectively. Framework should also be debated in the context of every aff - I think that makes in large part much easier for the negative to produce an effective in-round abuse story and why it may be [x] type of aff, but they couldn't prepare against its specific activism-based strategy.


You NEED to engage case. Smart analytics on case are just as good as impact turns/no solvency arguments. Make sure to utilize it, it's there for a reason. Interact with it, don't forget it. I would rather you sacrifice another 1-2 off and concentrate time on case (you'll be glad you did, the debate might go better for you and a 2NR on just case can be devastating).


I enjoy T debates, but don't get bogged down in the non-important parts of debate. Say why your vision of the topic is better and couch that in the language of your impacts. Caselists are super effective for me in this instance.


If your CP text is long, please slow down. Specific PICs are good, I like them. Consult and conditions counterplans are fine as long as you defend them as you're supposed to practically and theoretically.

Obviously talk about how you access/solve the affirmative and you should have a clear net-benefit. I think counterplans are highly underutilized, and always think that no affirmative is totally perfect to where it can't lose to a certain counterplan.

One small thing about advantage counterplans - please utilize them if they're better than the other generic counterplan you've read in the 1NC. I'd rather you spend time prepping that out or having done so before hand, because a counterplan that's tailored to a certain affirmative that uses 1AC evidence to implicate said affirmative is both research/strategically savvy and shows you're at least trying to refute the affirmative creatively - which will help your ethos/speaker points.


Like them, I think they're underutilized. The DA should have specific links to what the aff is talking about, or at least a claim that what the aff is fiating will cause what you say it will because it's that large of a policy. Your block work on the DA should be thorough explanation, as well as lots of cards that prove your argument(s). Specific links/analysis to the aff are highly appreciated.

For new/small/interesting politics DAs (Farm Bill was a good example of this, and so was Shutdown): I think a good politics debate is fun and interesting, but the link and uniqueness cards should be on par and you should have a variety of links (and link cards) in the block. Lots of cards + lots of analysis = extra good. For these DA's, it's generally more difficult to garner specific offense against specific affs, but you should frame your cards + link analysis with that in mind, because the aff can go for "no specific link to the aff in the 2NR is a voting issue" + whatever else they say, and I'd probably be persuaded by that.


I read kritiks when I debated - being from a relatively small school, I understand their strategic value. There's always stuff I find myself being unfamiliar with, so if you think there may be a risk that I don't know what you mean, don't be too buzzwordy and explain what your argument means.

But if you do want to include a K, here's some important things I value:

Link Contextualization - You absolutely need to win a link to the affirmative. Generic links rarely grab my attention, unless the aff just mishandles it completely. A K 1NC that has mechanism and content links to the aff (links to the aff's process, either K-based or state-based, depending on the type of aff) is better than a K 1NC that has the link arguments "state + scenario analysis bad," without mentioning the aff's advantages. A smart 2NR will go all-in on 1 or 2 solid links with clear impacts.

Links should be able to turn case without winning the alternative (even though you should still win your alt), and should each have an impact-level claim that are distinct from the other links and that can independently win you the debate. But, you need to win the alternative to win the debate, tell my why it resolves your links specific to the aff and any other link you may read - this is where the links that fit the aff best come in. I'd rather hear the 2NR go for 2 solid links rather than 3-4 not-so-good links.

Being aff and debating K's:

You should explain aff framework and the permutation in a clear, logical sense that doesn't link back to their offense. Winning that you get to weigh your aff because it's fair, predictable, and generates better debates because [x, y, z reasons] is generally something I agree with, but you have to have a defense of that in every speech and not let me forget that your aff is a thing, too.


I'll consider theory only if it is severely mishandled/conceded by the other team. I think having it as your A-game strategy isn't as strategic, but don't be discouraged and think you can't go for it in front of me, just remember there are certain times and places for those debates.

Conditionality is bad if an absurd number of advocacies are in the 1NC (more than 3 is definitely questionable), but make sure to contextualize your theory blocks to the debate at hand and tell me why what they did in round is bad and incentivizes worse debates for everyone else. Tell me more of a story about what they did, why they should lose, and what your model of debate looks like under a certain interpretation (that isn't just repeating your interpretation you read in the 2AC/2NC).

Final rebuttals:

These should be used to write my ballot --- as cheesy as it sounds to say it, a final rebuttal that can tell me what happened, who's winning which arguments with multiple reasons on individual arguments, and can clearly explain what voting aff/neg does is much more convincing than a debate where it comes down to who messed up more. Easy ways to do this are to do the "final review of the debate" at the top of the 2NR/2AR and then get into the substance/nuance of individual arguments you're winning on the flow.

If Debating In Louisiana:

In general:

You don't need to shake my hand.

Underviews = :(. I don't need you to tell me again the things you just said.

Yes speed is fine, just make sure you're clear.

You don't have to ask for prep time.

Don't call me judge. Also, this will sound terrible, but hear me out - please don't waste speech time to thank me for judging you/"being an educational figure in this round that you'll learn "SO MUCH" from. I judge debates based off of who made better arguments and that just takes time away from that and is something that's an unwritten implication I feel like. It may be fine for other judges, but I love the activity and I'm in state judging you because I think Louisiana debate can always be improved and it's important to give back where you started - focus more on arguments during speech times, and you can always say "thanks for judging" after the RFD or as you're packing up.

If I judge you for LD (I do this in state sometimes because of small brackets) -

Make your points clear, why they're moral/ethical, and how your guidelines are distinct from whoever you're debating.

Argument interaction and answering arguments as they appear down the flow is a good skill here --- debating based off of the flow is much better. Focusing more on arguments rather than saying "they didn't answer this, this, and this...and that means they're doing..." rather than just answering arguments that ARE on the flow is much worse than just having a debate off of the flow. Focus more on "they say..., I say..." formatting of answering arguments to make those types of things clearer.

Final rebuttals should write my ballot for me and explain the debate in 2-3 ways that clearly show how & why you win.

You don't have to loudly announce prep time and all that, you should be timing your own prep and as long as you and the person debating you knows how much time you have left, it's not that big of an issue.

Clear affirmation of something and clear negation of something is always important. Granted I'm not totally proficient in LD because I did policy, you should make clear affirmation and negation clear. Explain your things, and debate them well! (also, I don't know what an "off-time" road map is but just tell me where you'll be focusing your speech and say that you'll signpost when you get to certain arguments - way more time efficient and clear).

Good luck and have fun!

Nikhil Jain Paradigm

6 rounds


The best overall way that you should think about me as a judge is somewhere between Tim "Clarity is King" Mahoney and Eric Forslund

Speed: go at 70%, clarity applies to tags and text of evidence-- think Tim standards.

DA: yes

Impact turn: yes

CP’s: yes

T: yes

Theory: ok

K’s: eh — security and cap bad type are ok, baudrillard/bataille/etc not so much

K affs: ok

No plan affs: auto loss

Longer version:

Debated for 6 years at St. Mark’s. During that time I won Greenhill, Grapevine, and Stanford; finals of MBA and NDCA; and semis of Cal & GBX. The vast majority of my 2NR’s were topicality, DA’s (esp ptx), Impact turns, case D, adv CPs. So I have a good sense of debate as an activity, the theory, and the technicalities; however my only involvement in the activity since high school was judging Greenhill this year-- so don't assume I know all the stuff discussed at camp, or that I have any background on a hypertechnical T argument or process aff/counter plan-- the most effective debaters will use Cross X to explain their arguments and catch me up to speed early on.

***Clarity Is King. Back when I debated, most kids seem to have a tendency of reading the tagline cards really clearly while blitzing through the body of their evidence unclearly. I will yell clear if I can’t understand, and if it continues, it will hurt your speaker points and I won’t call for any of your evidence that I can’t understand during the round. I would recommend you slow down to 70%. This is probably the most important part of this philosophy. I gave someone a 30 and was already psychologically inclined to vote for them from the outset because they had perfect 1AC clarity-- so I understood their arguments as they are being said, which matters for a judge who doesn't already have heavy background knowledge. Another team lost because they blitzed through extending a supposedly dropped argument so fast I couldn't understand what they said-- your clarity will win and lose you debates. This applies to more judges than me even if they may not say it it in their initial philosophy.

I’ll be a good judge for traditional policy arguments — counter plans, disads, impact turns, T etc. I will also do fine with theory such as conditionality. Process counterplans I'm not very good for unless there's a specific solvency advocate. If you have a big stick affirmative that defends the economy and American hegemony it will make me incredibly happy

Kritiks are very iffy — I usually beat back on these arguments by a combination of alt doesn’t solve+case outweighs/ impact turns the K and I would imagine I’d be quite persuaded by these today. I’ll be up front — if you have to run a K, it should probably be something based on security/IR studies or cap bad as those ones are most familiar with and able to judge more effectively and fairly. K affs fall under the same boat although these tend to be much better since they have a solvency mechanism.

No plan affs — an abomination. Don’t even try it. I believe that these affirmative’s are on the same level of rule breaking as ignoring speech times or tearing up your opponents flows. If the negative runs a framework argument and goes for it (thus stating that they do not find the no plan aff to be appropriate), the affirmative will lose. You also don't want to try to hide whether you're defending your plantext -- once you start being ambiguous on that, it won't be ambiguous who I'm voting for.

Shunta Jordan Paradigm

2 rounds

**Updated pre-GSU 2019**

Yes I would like to be on the email chain:

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!

Arnav Kerjiwal Paradigm

6 rounds

I debated at Greenhill from 2007-2010. I did not debate in college but I have judged between 10-20 rounds every year. I have volunteered for Greenhill on and off during that time.

main take: I think debate teaches hard work. That hard work should either be in researching the heck out of a topic and developing cool strategies, or honing in on how to argue a few positions and tailor them to your opponents. If you’re reading a nifty PIC that you found based on a 1ac author, I understand it probably won’t be blocked out to the 2nr. I’ll reward your research by being much more forgiving in your articulation. If you’re 1ac doesn’t have a plan text, I assume you’ve spent most of your tournament prep honing in on that position. I’m open to voting for you, but I do have the expectation that you contextualize your evidence and not just regurgitate blocks.

- I appreciate smart, well impacted debates. This does not mean quickly re-reading impact scenarios, but rather fleshing out the story while preemptively answering key questions that I’ll have to decide. Types of questions that should factor in: What is the escalation story for a particular impact? How and when does it spread in the context of your link story? How does this round’s specific plan/CP interact with your narrative? In the presence of any countering defense/turns, how might the impact story still look? How might your impacts still be relevant even if uniqueness/solvency is incomplete? What preference should I give to certain link/impact scenarios, and why? Winning and speaker points are usually tied to whether I am the one answering these types of questions, or you are.

---- I also enjoy watching (and will reward) teams that smartly make concessions on other flows, such as when kicking advantages/DAs. If you're conceding global warming is inevitable, that would probably mean our extinction is inevitable - does that mean we should focus our efforts to impacts that occur sooner? If uniqueness overwhelms the link on a healthcare reform DA, maybe SQ can provide some solvency to economy impacts?

- I am open to any argument that does not attack the other debaters personally or any ethnic/religious group. I'm open to K's/identity debates but I come into debates with the presumption that you have probably debated this same argument dozens of times before. Thus I have a higher expectation for you to contextualize your position to the other team's specific arguments. I.e., link and alt specificity is central.

*Addition after Greenhill RR - most negatives I’ve watched have gone for generics that barely pertain to the aff. I see that other judges explicitly mention speaker point rewards in their bio’s, so I’ll do the same. I will reward any neg team with +1pt that reads a case specific strategy that is tailored to the aff they’re debating. I’ll also reiterate my point above. Depending on how “generic” your strategy is, I am less willing to do work for you.

I value smart arguments MILES above technical debate. I am sure it goes without saying, this is especially true for sophomores and younger. My tolerance for theory and dropped arguments changes for varsity vs novice debates.

David Kilpatrick Paradigm

4 rounds

I am a coach at the University of Texas-Austin and Westwood High School. Conflicts: Texas, Westwood, Polytechnic, St Vincent de Paul, Bakersfield High School

Email Chain: yes,

2018-2019 Judging record: 84 total debates (excluding HS locals), AFF - 47 NEG - 37

Debate is an activity about persuasion and communication. If I can't understand what you are saying because you are unclear, haven't coherently explained it, or developed it into a full argument-claim, warrant, impact, it likely won't factor in my decision.

While there are some exceptions, most debaters I've judged the last few years are pretty unclear, so its likely I will miss some arguments. Final rebuttals offer you a space to retrace the part(s) of the debate you think are most relevant to the decision. This both makes it much more likely I will understand your argument and will likely improve your speaker points.

The winner will nearly always be the team able to identify the central question of the debate.

Virtually nothing you can possibly say or do will offend me, if you can't beat a terrible argument you probably deserve to lose.

Everyone seems to have intense clashphobia these days - this isn't about policy or k debate, its across the board and going for the least covered option seems to be everyone's mantra. I get why you think that's strategic, but typically it results in shallow rebuttals, frustrating decisions, 1-1-1 panels and lower points. Specific AFF/NEG research that demonstrate the third and fourth level testing everyone seems to think is important wil be rewarded with higher points. All in on "not our ___" will not.

I flow CX, unless its some random clarification question you forgot I will stop flowing CX after 3 minutes. The "I'm going to ask a million questions while my partner preps their 2NC" has gotten ridiculous.

Framework-I find myself voting negative a lot on procedural fairness a lot. K affs seem to have a lot of trouble deciding if they want to go for the middle ground or just impact turn--pick a strategy and stick to it 1AC-2AR and you're more likely to be in a good place. The block is almost always great on T, the 2NR almost always forgets to do terminal impact calculus. Testing arguments become much more persuasive to me when you give specific examples for how those would occur. What neg args would you be able to read against a potential TVA? Why is it good for the 2AC to research those positions, how would you researching answers to their answers be beneficial? A lot of this stuff just gets assumed and I think that a lot of repetitiveness from most framework 2NCs can be substituted for this kind of depth early in the debate. 2NRs sometimes seem to spend so much time on why they access AFF lit base/impacts that they don't end up extending a terminal impact or external offense at all. I think it's difficult to win a debate when you basically go for a CP w/o a net benefit.

I'm a lot better for framework that sounds closer to T with a limits and clash as the primary impacts then the soliloquy on the most superior model for debate. Clash as the most important internal link to education/fairness/skills/game etc. is usually more persuasive to me than other arguments on T.


-If your CP competes based on the certainty or immediacy of the plan, it doesn't take a ton on theory for me to reject the counter plan.

HS topic - I think the arms sales topic might be one where conditions CPs are more legit. The amount of specific and good solvency advocates for conditions CPs this year is staggering so I think it's reasonable to expect the AFF to prepare for it. This being said, I'll be pretty hostile towards conditions CPs with terrible solvency evidence given how much good stuff exists.

-I won't kick it for you unless you tell me to. I'm pretty easily sold that judge kick is bad.

-"perm do both" or "perm do cp" with no explanation isn't a complete argument. I get that given negative off-case prolif sometimes this feels inevitable, but I'm confident results will improve if you give warrants for any permutation that you think it's likely will find its way into the 2AR.


-affs usually lose these by forgetting about the case, negs usually lose these when they don't contextualize links to the 1ac. If you're reading a policy aff that clearly links, I'll be pretty confused if you don't go impact turns/case outweighs.

-link specificity is important - I don't think this is necessarily an evidence thing, but an explanation thing - lines from 1AC, examples, specific scenarios are all things that will go a long way


-they should be intrinsic to the plan, with enough time investment affs can potentially win that agenda politics disads are not a logical opportunity cost.

-uniqueness controls the direction of the link typically makes the most sense to me, but you can probably convince me otherwise

MarthaClaire Lepore Paradigm

I am a former policy debate from Parkway High School in Bossier City, Louisiana. I am currently a coach for Airline High School in Bossier City, Louisiana.

I am more likely to vote for a policy option than a Kritik or Kritikal Affirmative.

I have always liked a good Topicality debate as well as traditional disad/counterplan combos.

Ok with open cx, I want to be in on the e-mail chain because I cannot flow spreading as I once could. I will ask you to slow down or be clearer if I cannot hear/understand what you are saying.

I also do not tolerate post-rounding. If you would like feedback, you should listen respectfully and ask appropriate questions. Otherwise, your speaker points and ranks will be consequently impacted.

Jaden Lessnick Paradigm

4 rounds

Jaden Lessnick

---Emory ’20, Rowland Hall ‘16 chain---don’t ask. Title it with team names, sides, round, tournament, year (Rowland Hall GL (a) v Blake SW (b) – Meadows R6 – 2019)

---Fourth year judging varsity policy. I work hard to be attentive, well-rested, and helpful.

---Feel free to ask for my flows after the debate if I flowed on my laptop (I sometimes flow on paper)

---I also really like when people email me questions if they let the rfd ruminate for a while

Cliff Notes

---strategy, research, and quality of debating override marginal substantive preferences

---prefer quick, technical debating regardless of argument. Vertical 1NCs are fine if you’re making complete arguments. If you nuke your highlighting I’ll nuke your speaks.

---clash > tricks. Speaks will reflect that.

---voting record is slightly (60/40) neg for T USFG. All else equal, fairness is the best impact.

---receptive to and experienced judging critical arguments in all varieties (but your grasp of Baudrillard and ability to regurgitate KM/BoSu/Loyola EM will not impress me)

---above average for framework arguments that exclude either the aff or the critique

---zero risk is possible but requires judge instruction

---framing contentions are dumb but starting impact calc early isn’t (“structural violence first” > “predictions fail, no war, Cohn 13”)


---CX ends after 3 minutes

---no inserting

---presumption is less change (ambiguity absent instruction = intervention)

---YOU MUST PHYSICALLY MARK CARDS DURING YOUR SPEECH. Anything that happens after is your prep time, and I'll give you a warning. If in the next speech your team gives you fail to mark cards *during* your speech, I will significantly reduce your points.

---I don’t say “clear.”

---everything previously-read (including non-traditional evidence and descriptions of performances) should be disclosed before the debate and should be posted to the wiki.

---blippy arguments---as a matter of tech over truth, I will vote on an argument that has a logically-connected claim, warrant, and impact, but if it's an attempt to win without substantively engaging the affirmative, your speaks will be so poor that you will be at the bottom of whatever bracket you're in.

---if the claim, warrant, and impact don't align (PICs are bad---they're unpredictable---reject the team), I will likely just ignore your cheap shot.

---"condo is a v/i---incentivizes sophistry, kills in depth analysis and makes debate impossible" is a string of claims without a warrant or a true implication---you need all three to make a complete argument.

---card quality can trump spin. I like reading ev even if not robustly debated (think it encourages better research)

---I will only flow who is supposed to be speaking

---1AR and 1NR are similar---rebuttals that exhibit pseudo-constructive qualities

---I will try and reject new args/unpredictable evolution, but establishing a link/impact helps resolve ambiguity

---clipping requires a recording unless I see it myself (I sometimes follow along). Substantive evidence ethics should be treated as part of the debate.

---I'm relatively forgiving if you accidentally say something potentially objectionable and you immediately apologize. Would rather watch a real debate. If it's serious, I will stop the debate. I alone possess the discretion to determine where that line is.

Topic (Arms Sales)

---haven't researched it or worked at a camp---all the typical acronyms, T args, consensus(es) that have developed need to be played out

---Thus, I'm probably not great for T and will likely err aff. But I will obvi make a good faith effort to resolve the debate to the best of my ability

T USFG/Planless affs

---very comfortable/experienced evaluating any iteration of any argument pertaining to this section

---voting record suggests I’m marginally better for the neg, but I vote neg more frequently if the neg goes for a fairness impact connected to defensive framing arguments about the relative importance (or lack thereof) of the ballot

---impact turning fairness is tautological---the neg should say that, but even if they didn't, it creates some pretty interesting judge dilemmas...(if you win fairness is bad, shouldn't I just vote against you anyways?)

---for counter-interps---explaining the quality of neg ground/substance of debates > quantity (would be much more persuaded by "you get one huge, predictable, sick response to our aff" than "you could have read afropess or afrofuturism or cap or anthro or fem or ableism").

---counter-interps that link to your offense prove you haven't thought sufficiently about your aff's relationship to your alternative model of debate.

---teams are often okay at impact calc but bad at explaining why any given model of debate does or does not solve those impacts

---for the neg---making a fairness argument AND skills argument often means you lose the most strategic defensive components of fairness impact framing

---topical debating bad/debating about the government bad > topic bad/government bad

---if there is ZERO impact calculus and both teams have won their impacts: fairness > substantive issues (likely aff impact > skills, but depends on how well skills itself was impacted externally)


---relatively well-read in most theories and I'm receptive enough that I can and will learn your argument quickly if you explain it well, even if unfamiliar

---your overview can go somewhere on the line by line

---If the links/alt exist in a different world from the plan, you NEED to win a framework argument. I am SUBSTANTIALLY more willing than most to vote on framework arguments that frame out EITHER the aff OR the critique

---no idea what "weigh the aff" means vs Ks that don't exist in the same world

---full disclosure---if the aff has a fairness impact and there’s no impact calc, I will usually resolve framework in the aff’s favor

---floating piks (almost) always presuppose framework---I'll vote against you without remorse if you extend external links that you did not pik out of.

---blippy K tricks are a weak facade to hide a lack of debate skill.

---argument by analogy alone is not an argument at all ("they are the logic of the WOT")

---impacting components of the K in debate language is helpful


---predictability has always been more intuitive to me than a quantitative limits impact.

---absent impact calc: debatability > predictability > limits

---haven't found anyone who can explain reasonability well (predictability > substance crowdout)


---better for pdcp than cp not legit all else being equal

---process CPs probably not legit, but 1ARs are terrible at responding to large neg perm/theory blocks

---conditionality by type makes more sense than by number (if you already have 2 CPs, it probably won't hurt you to add more).

---if CX says judge kick and there is no debating on it, I will kick the CP

---if the block says judge kick and aff drops it, judge kick. Condo and logic =/= judge kick

---any other situation where the aff responds in the 2AR---likely no judge kick

---if the neg wins judge kick and the aff wins pdcp, I'll kick the CP and evaluate the aff vs the DA in its original, non-permuted form absent judge instruction otherwise

---that means if the aff wins PDCP and no judge kick, the aff avoids the link to the nb.


---zero risk is possible but you have to impact it out (if a CP solves 100% of the aff, it would be harder to convince me the DA should be totally ignored absent judge instruction)

---DAs about the PC of certain Congresspeople are stupid. General politics DAs are only marginally better.


---really like CPs that show preemptive thinking about 2AC solvency deficits and are creatively worded/show forethought

---vague plans + clear solvency advocate = route to something like positional competition (idk if that's the best form of it though). Vague plans shouldn’t be able to get out of competition questions if it’s clear the function of the plan means something specific.

---the "for the purpose of your DAs but not for CPs" thing is stupid

---intrinsicness---if a CP's actor and the aff's actor are different, it is still NOT intrinsic for the aff's actor to take the same action as the CP's actor (might be severance though).

---policy decisions > attitudinal changes


---necessary/sufficient language is underutilized. Just because something is necessary doesn’t mean it’s sufficient

---structural violence outweighs args are fine, but "impact framing" pages that include no war, predictions impossible, and other general theoretical indicts to DAs are dumb

Tim Lewis Paradigm

3 rounds

I am one of the Assistant Debate Coaches at Damien High School in La Verne, CA. I debated on the national circuit for Damien for four years (2009-2013). I graduated from Occidental College in Los Angeles with a BA in Critical Theory and Social Justice. I recently completed my Master's degree in Social Justice in Higher Education Administration at The University of La Verne. My academic work involves critical university studies, Georges Bataille, poetics, and post-colonialism.
I have judged 7 rounds on the Arms topic (2019-2020) so far (not including practice rounds without a decision rendered).
I judged around 25 debates on the Immigration topic (2018-2019) on the national circuit.
I judged around 50 rounds on the Education topic (2017-2018) on the national circuit.

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

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

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

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

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

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

I find framework to be a boring/unhelpful/poorly debated style of argument on both sides. I want to hear about the ballot-- what is it, what is its role, and what are your warrants for it. I want to know what kind of individual you think the judge is (academic, analyst, intellectual etc.). I want to hear about the debate community and the round's relationship within it. These are the most salient questions in a framework debate for me. If you are conducting a performance in the round and/or debate space, you need to have specific, solvable, and demonstrable actions, results, and evidences of success. These are the questions we have to be thinking about in substantial and concrete terms if we are really thinking about them with any authenticity/honesty/care (sorge).

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

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

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

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

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

Dan Lingel Paradigm

3 rounds

Dan Lingel Jesuit College Prep—Dallas for email chain purposes

Updated for 2018-2019 topic
25 years of high school coaching
I will easily judge at 20+ tournaments this year

****read here first*****
I still really love to judge and I enjoy judging quick clear confident comparative passionate advocates that use qualified and structured argument and evidence to prove their arguments. I expect you to respect the game and the people that are playing it in every moment we are interacting.

***I believe that framing/labeling arguments and paper flowing is crucial to success in debate and maybe life so I will start your speaker points absurdly high and work my way up if you acknowledge and represent these elements: label your arguments (even use numbers and structure) and can demonstrate that you flowed the entire debate and that you used your flow to give your speeches and in particular demonstrate that you used your flow to actually clash with the other teams arguments directly.

Some things that influence my decision making process

1. Debate is first and foremost a persuasive activity that asks both teams to advocate something. Defend an advocacy/method and defend it with evidence and compare your advocacy/method to the advocacy of the other team. I understand that there are many ways to advocate and support your advocacy so be sure that you can defend your choices. I think that this years topic is very good and very real and personal to many of us so I do prefer that the topic is an access point for your advocacy.

2. The negative should always have the option of defending the status quo (in other words, I assume the existence of some conditionality) unless argued otherwise.

3. The net benefits to a counterplan must be a reason to reject the affirmative advocacy (plan, both the plan and counterplan together, and/or the perm) not just be an advantage to the counterplan.

4. I enjoy a good link narrative since it is a critical component of all arguments in the arsenal—everything starts with the link. Call me old fashion but I think the negative should mention the specifics of the affirmative plan in their link narratives. A good link narrative is a combination of evidence, analytical arguments, and narrative.

5. Be sure to assess the uniqueness of offensive arguments using the arguments in the debate and the status quo. This is an area that is often left for judge intervention and I will.

6. I am not the biggest fan of topicality debates unless the interpretation is grounded by clear evidence and provides a version of the topic that will produce the best debates—those interpretations definitely exist this year. Generally speaking, I can be persuaded by potential for abuse arguments on topicality as they relate to other standards because I think in round abuse can be manufactured by a strategic negative team.

7. I believe that the links to the plan, the impact narratives, the interaction between the alternative and the affirmative harm, and/or the role of the ballot should be discussed more in most kritik debates. The more case and topic specific your kritik the more I enjoy the debate.

8. There has been a proliferation of theory arguments and decision rules, which has diluted the value of each. The impact to theory is rarely debating beyond trite phrases and catch words. My default is to reject the argument not the team on theory issues unless it is argued otherwise.

9. I know that some of you may not prefer me because I still use a realistic speaker point scale. I think that is a poor choice especially because it is easy to get me to give very high points. Here is the method to my madness on this so do not be deterred just adapt. I award speaker points based on the following: strategic and argumentative decision-making, the challenge presented by the context of the debate, technical proficiency, persuasive personal and argumentative style, your use of the cross examination periods, and the overall enjoyment level of your speeches and the debate. If you devalue the nature of the game or its players or choose not to engage in either asking or answering questions, your speaker points will be impacted. If you turn me into a mere information processor then your points will be impacted. If you choose artificially created efficiency claims instead of making complete and persuasive arguments that relate to an actual victory path then your points will be impacted.

10. I believe in the value of debate as the greatest pedagogical tool on the planet. Reaching the highest levels of debate requires mastery of arguments from many disciplines including communication, argumentation, politics, philosophy, economics, and sociology to name a just a few. The organizational, research, persuasion and critical thinking skills are sought by every would-be admission counselor and employer. Throw in the competitive part and you have one wicked game. I have spent over twenty five years playing it at every level and from every angle and I try to make myself a better player everyday and through every interaction I have. I think that you can learn from everyone in the activity how to play the debate game better. The world needs debate and advocates/policymakers more now than at any other point in history. I believe that the debates that we have now can and will influence real people and institutions now and in the future—empirically it has happened. I believe that this passion influences how I coach and judge debates.

Note about paperless debating--I prefer an email chain with me included whenever possible. I feel that each team should have accurate and equal access to the evidence that is read in the debate. I have noticed several things that worry me in paperless debates. People have stopped flowing and paying attention to the flow and line-by-line which is really impacting my decision making; people are exchanging more evidence than is actually being read without concern for the other team, people are underhighlighting their evidence and "making cards" out of large amounts of text, and the amount of preptime taken exchanging the information is becoming excessive. For me, prep time is running until the flash drive is given to the other team and then it stops and becomes judge time. I reserve the right to request a copy of all things exchanged as verification. If three cards or less are being read in the speech then I prefer that the exchange in evidence occur after the speech. I don't understand why people exchange paperless speeches that do not contain evidence.

Mark Little Paradigm

4 rounds

Updated for TOC 2019 and early tournaments of 2019-2020

Email chain:


Current: OES (Oregon Episcopal School) 6 years


- Cornell assistant coach (pre-merger)

- UW debater (pre-merger)

- Interlake debater (long time ago)


1. Open to any argument. There are comments below about three substantive positions: T, PoMo Ks, and Identity Ks.

2. Debate is a game. You get to set the rules, except for speech times, speech order, and prep time.

3. Tech > truth. I am deeply suspicious of truth claims in debate. I endeavor to be flow centric in my judging.

4. Don't steal prep.

5. Debate is a scholarly activity. Sharp use of excellent ev is compelling to me.

6. If I seem grumpy, it just means I'm engaged and interested.


The general rule is that T is great, subject to the exceptions below in the "Substantive arguments" section. Innovative interps or well carded args on T are refreshing.

Theory other than T

Vote for and against theory args.

- Condo / dispo: make no assumptions about the number of neg positions a team gets. Default to dispo (its ok to kick). Need justification for condo (its ok to contradict). Willing to change these defaults.

- Framework / T USFG: sure, but you will be more successful if you also engage substantively with the aff even if you don't ultimately go for those args in the 2NR.

- ASPEC, OSPEC, etc: if they are meaningful arguments, no problem voting for them.

- Novel or resurrected theory: explain it, win it, and the ballot is yours.


Straight forward. A couple of pet peeves:

- "Perm do both" is not an argument. Perms need an explanation of how they function and why they disprove competition.

- "Perms are severance and VI" is not an argument. As a default, perms are a test of competition and not an advocacy, barring an actual shift by the aff.


Mild preference for Ks grounded in the topic or with meaningful links to the aff. Links of omission are usually not persuasive.

Substantive arguments: T, PoMo Ks, and Identity Ks

Normally, I don't have opinions on substantive arguments, but I have noticed two patterns in my judging which you might care about:

1. POMO positions with some relation to the topic win my ballot much more frequently than POMO with no relation to the topic.

2. Identity politics positions are challenging under two conditions:

(a) if the team running identity politics position cannot answer the question "How can the other team reasonably win the ballot?", then I will probably vote against the position, and

(b) arguments predicated on the other team's identity will get ignored. You are welcome to argue about your own identity or social position.

Alyssa Lucas-Bolin Paradigm

4 rounds

Note during camp that applies to the season as well:

If you don't attend a Glenbrook 225 school, please call me Alyssa.

Pronouns are she/her

Update 5/2/19:

Yes chain,

That being said, I'm going back to flowing on paper/not reading speech docs during the debate.

I've deleted most of my philosophy because I found this year that the rounds where I was most confused about what on Earth teams were doing were the ones were people were trying to over adapt. Please don't do this. I find I'm much better at adapting to teams than teams are at adapting to me (no offense.) Here are just the absolute most important things.

-Won't judge kick for you automatically. You can make the arg that I should judge kick for you; it just won't be my predisposition to do so automatically.

-Clarity is very important to me. So is pen time.

-I often end up flowing straight down as an inevitable consequence of sloppy line by line. Email me for flows/written feedback if you'd like either.

-Zero risk is a thing. Love me some smart defensive arguments against silly arguments.

-Don't have many aff versus neg predispositions. I might have counted wrong but I believe my voting record was 44-44 aff neg on immigration.

-If you're making new args late in the debate you're likely to have to justify them to me. That doesn't mean don't do it, it just means defend your actions.

-No touching.

-Clipping = zero points and a hot L. Clarity to the point of noncomprehension that causes a clipping challenge constitutes clipping.

-Please stop trying to classify me as a "K person" or a "policy person." This divide is exceptionally harmful for the community. Spoiler alert, you'll be a better debater if you're flex. I grew up in policy land but also debated in college on the left coast so when people try to classify me they're usually wrong. I get bored easily so I enjoy judging a wide range of debates. I like the topic and think taking action in the 1AC is important... I like even more when judges let the debaters do the debating and try to decide the round as objectively as possible. The times when my background and preferences come into play are only when the debaters don't resolve issues for me and I have no choice but to insert my own opinion.

I welcome any questions you might have and really quite enjoy talking about judging practices. Feel free to email me anytime.

Matthew Luevano Paradigm

4 rounds

Hey, I debated at Damien for four years went to the TOC a couple times and now go to USC

Some thoughts:
Affirmatives should defend the hypothetical enactment of a topical plan. Middle of the road or big stick, doesn't matter to me. 

Read what you want as long as it engages the affirmative in a meaningful manner. This necessarily excludes decontextualized criticisms 
My default is competing interpretations, but interpretations should be reasonable.

Reject the argument not the team, except for conditionality.

DA's other than politics are awesome, but I went for politics a fair amount in high school.

I prefer cp's to compete functionally/textually, but it is possible for a team to persuade me otherwise 
PIC's are awesome.
Advantage CP's are awesome.
International fiat tows a fine line. Could be persuaded it's good or bad.

Process Cp's and consult cp's tow the line even more

I am not biased against these per se but they are by far the hardest argument to execute, absent dropped silver bullets i.e. root cause, ontology first, or floating pik's.
Framework should be impacted.
Links should be responsive to the content of the 1AC.
Impacts should be based off of such links, not the overall knowledge/material/methodological structure you are criticizing. K's should not be an excuse to sidestep conventional impact comparison.
Alternatives should either be explained to solve such links or explained within a framework that makes alternative solvency irrelevant.

Explanation over evidence. If you ask me to read a card after the round which has warrants not explained in the debate, those warrants are irrelevant.
Tech and truth. Technical concessions matter, but there can be larger truths which belittle the weight of such concessions. Control framing to control the debate.
Rebuttals. Make choices. Go for what you are ahead on, and explain why what you are ahead on is more important than what you are behind on using even if statements.
Prep time ends after you are done writing the speech.

Debate's a game have fun! 

Tim Mahoney Paradigm

3 rounds

St. Mark's School of Texas

CXphilosophy = Years judging: 16 as a hs coach another 10 as a college coach
Rounds on this year’s high school topic: 30+
Rounds on this year’s college topic: 0

Teachers teach, coaches coach, judges judge.1
Clarity is king.2
I view my role as a judge in the frame of least intervention.3

China topic specific:
More and more I'm starting to think that it should all revolve around solvency advocates. Especially on a topic like this. Traditional notions of fiat and effects/extra T don't make real world sense with a phrase like "economic engagement".While I've probably had some tendencies toward that approach for a few years now it's even more prominent now. If a team is willing to read a plan and they have a card that says their plan is EE or DE with China then we should thank our lucky stars that they are willing to talk about the topic and try to give them a good debate. Having said that if they have a solvency advocate for their CP I think the neg should get a tremendous amount of leeway on theoretically legitimate questions. The test is "Is the cp solvency advocate at least as specific as the aff solvency advocate".

New additions:
Framework: I'm over it. The aff gets to weigh their advantages (fiat) and the neg gets their K. The neg can't win fiat is an illusion but they can win it's a waste of time/bad idea to engage the state OR they can say "Our argument is that in the face of the aff Obama/Congress/Supreme Court/usfg should say 'no, we reject the securitization/racism/imperialism/capitalism/insert k lingo' of this idea the world would be better if we FILL IN WITH YOUR ALTERNATIVE". If you don't understand what I mean then feel free to ask questions about this.
If you say you are ready then say "Oh wait, I need another second." I will probably penalize you 15 seconds of prep. Don't say you are ready and ask me to stop prep time until you are ready.

Virtually everything else in this judging philosophy is about ways you can get better speaker points or some of my subjective biases I think you should be aware of. The reality is that most of my subjective preferences rarely matter in debates because the debates aren’t close enough to make it matter.

Respect others.4
Want good speaker points? Impress me with arguments that prove you have done a substantial amount of research on the topic and that you can make smart arguments.5
New aff’s are intellectual terrorism – you ask for it you got it.6
Topicality is for the unresearched.7
Most theory debates are terrible.8
Evidence is a good thing. Read some cards, preferably some with warrants from people with expertise in the relevant area.9
Excessive arrogance is unacceptable.10
Take ownership of your arguments.11
Post round discussions are good.12
Notes on the use of computers in debate.13

Make complete arguments. "perm do both" and "voting issue fairness and education" are not complete arguments.

]1 While this may seem obvious it bears repeating. What I teach my students and what I coach my students, i.e. what I think about debate and how the game should be played, shouldn’t be relevant when I’m judging two teams that I don’t coach or teach.

2 I've decided that a part of my role as a judge is to ensure that all debaters speak clearly. It is unfair that some debaters are virtually incomprehensible forcing the other team to read over their shoulder or look at every card instead of just being able to flow. So I'm adding a deterrent to the unclear debater. I expect debaters to speak clearly at all times. That doesn't just mean the tags on your cards, it means all the words of your evidence, it means everything. When I say "clearer" what I'm saying is "you are so unclear I have virtually no idea what you are saying so please make a SIGNFICANT, MEANINGFUL change in your delivery". I don't mean make a .001 change. If I have to say clearer a second time you are well on the path to having a cranky judge.


3 As a judge I have two jobs 1) pick one winner in each debate 2) enforce time limits as set by the tournament. To some extent intervention may be inevitable, however, it is my job as a judge to pick a winner based on the arguments made in each debate. That includes being cognizant of my subjective biases and doing my best to keep those preferences from influencing my decision.

4 This should be self evident. See also, footnotes 10, 11 and 13.

5 If your strategy relies on your technical proficiency it probably won’t impress me. If your strategy relies on reading a host of confusing cards that you don’t really understand and you hope that the other team won’t understand them either then you probably won’t impress me. A 1ac with several advantages all with poor internal links probably won’t impress me. A 1nc with a clear coherent method of winning the debate based on good evidence probably will impress me. A 1ac with a solvency advocate and well evidenced advantages probably will impress me. I like it when the aff is kritikal and the neg beats them with a smart go farther left strategy.

6 If you really wanted to have an in depth educational debate you would have disclosed your plan and advantages and given the other team a chance to research it. Break a new aff and your chances of losing on T go up and your chances of winning that anything the neg did was an illegitimate voting issue go way down. Will I be really impressed if, in the face of a new aff, the neg provides a well researched coherent strategy? Yes. Will I understand if, in the face of a new aff, the 1NC is three conditaional cp’s and a K? Yes.

7 Limits usually wins topicality debates and that is unfortunate. Smart teams should make arguments not only about limits/ground but about the educational value of the topic envisioned by both sides. A narrow topic that excludes some of the core issues that would generate educational research probably isn’t as good as a broader topic that encourages students to research important issues.

8 I generally find theory debates to be the bastion of the weak. Your amazingly good ASPEC debate usually sounds like a 27 to me. Think of it this way…every time you say something besides topicality is a voting issue count on losing half a speaker point. Again, this will not affect who wins debates only speaker points. However, I can be persuaded that illegitimate counterplans have so skewed the playing field that reject the argument not the team is insufficient and they must be voting issues. There are probably a host of counterplans that fall within this category. Three that leap to mind are consult, delay, and states. Two exceptions to this rule to help the negative: If your counterplan is unconditional it will be pretty hard for the aff to convince me it has unfairly skewed the debate. Second, have a true solvency advocate for your counterplan. Just a hint, a card that says states have acted uniformly and another card that says the states have poverty programs doesn’t cut it. You need a card that is as specific as the aff solvency advocate. Of course, if the aff solvency advocate doesn’t really match up to the plan it will probably be difficult for the aff to convince me that the counterplan should be rejected for lack of an advocate.
It would help make theory/topicality debates better if you SLOW DOWN so I can flow your arguments. It’s not necessarily a clarity issue it’s just that it’s very difficult for judges to flow short analytical arguments as fast as you can spit them out.
“Voting issue – fairness and education” usually gets flowed as VI F@E and I presume that means it’s a voting issue if they go for whatever argument you have identified as a VI. If you expect it to be a voting issue if they don’t go for it then you need to give some type of warrant as to why the debate has been skewed by them merely making the argument.

9 One good card is better than three short bad ones. Qualifications should matter but debaters rarely take the time to explain what constitutes qualified evidence and what doesn’t. In front of me that would be time worth spending.

10 Confidence is good. It’s better when it’s backed up with smart arguments and good evidence. If you disrespect your opponents because of some inflated sense of your own importance be prepared for low speaker points.

11 If it sounds like you read the same argument every debate, your coach wrote all your blocks, and you have no idea how your arguments interact with your opponent’s arguments then your speaker points aren’t going to be very good. My argument preferences are way less important than your ability to explain arguments. When in doubt about what arguments to go for choose arguments you understand, you can answer cx questions about, and arguments you will be able explain in rebuttals.

12 If you have questions about the decision please ask them. Don’t be afraid to ask pointed questions. However, don’t become the debater who always whines about every decision as if they have never lost a debate. Word gets around.

13 I don’t penalize your time to jump/email material to your opponents but I’m a stickler for stolen prep so if I think you are abusing the privilege be prepared to be called out on it. You get ten minutes of “crash” time per debate. If you computer crashes and you need to restart I won’t penalize your prep time. I’ll set a timer for 10 minutes and if you can’t get your computer ready in 10 minutes you are going to have to start anyway. Most other issues related to this are covered under #4.

Mason Marriott-Voss Paradigm

5 rounds

Yes I want to be on the email chain:

All other things (questions, comments, speech doc requests) should go to masonnmv[at]gmail[dot]com

General Things:

  • Tell me how to vote and why, hold my hand as much as possible and you will be rewarded
  • Your evidence quality matters a lot to me, but I won't read evidence unless I need to. Use that to your advantage, compelling and in depth evidence comparison goes a loooong way.
    • If/when I call for cards I will ask for "whatever you think is important" That is NOT an invitation to send me everything you read, nor is it a promise to read everything you send me. Instead it's an opportunity to do what you should have done in the speech and tell me which cards you think I should read (that does include opponent evidence if you so choose).
  • Truth over tech, you should have a warrant to prove why your truth claim is true
  • Take risks and have fun. When you're engaged and having fun it makes my job more enjoyable and a happy me = better speaks
  • Always happy to answer specific questions you have before the debate. The question "do you have any specific paradigms judge" (or anything along those lines) will be answered with "do whatever you want"

Framework - these are my initial thoughts, all of these (unless otherwise stated) are things I think are true but I can be convinced otherwise if you out debate someone on it:

  • State good isn't offense for a framework argument, and state bad isn't offense against it - unlikely you will tell me otherwise
  • Your interp isn't just a model that dictates the way debates go down, but also a research model that dictates the way we prepare for debates - you should have reasons why both in and out of round their interp is bad and yours is good
  • If the aff says arms sales are bad I do not understand why winning arms sales are good is not a reason to vote neg. On the aff that should help you answer fairness/ground, on the neg that should give you another 2NR option if you so choose.
  • I am more than willing to vote for intervention/heg/cap/arms sales are good. Often times I think the aff is too flippant about answering the impact turns that get read on case and the negative fails to capitalize on that.
  • Increasingly I am becoming less and less of a fan of arguments that say "framework is policing/the prison/any other actually bad thing" In fact, I think that it is very dangerous to equivocate the violence that happens in a prison to the "violence" that happens when teams read framework.
  • Answering the aff is not a microaggression. Neither is reading generic evidence. Debaters make bad/non-responsive arguments all the time, that's not a reason to vote them down, just a reason you don't have to spend as much time answering the argument.

Until I judge more rounds on this topic I won't have as many topic specific things to say. Please consult the previous seasons paradigm for any additional information


Yes I want to be on the email chain:

General things:

  • Tell me how to vote and why, not only will this help your chances of winning, it will also help your speaks
  • I will read your evidence after the debate, not during, so the more you do the ev comparison for me during the debate the more likely I am to believe you - that being said, your evidence quality matters a lot to me, and I will read the evidence that I think is relevant while making my decision, so make sure to tell me which evidence matters
  • Take risks. It makes my job a lot more fun and often pays off big. Your speaks will be rewarded for it.
  • Truth over tech, and you should have a warrant to prove why your truth claim is true
  • I increasingly keep judge clash debates, I have judged maybe two high level disad/cp debates since the Greenhill tournament, that means two things
    • First, in clash debates I find myself leaning aff on the internal link level but neg on the impact level, I think the 2NR impact explanation sounds pretty but the internal link is dramatically under explained, and the 2AR can often be very compelling on a "you don't solve your own impact" level. The topical versions that teams are reading (mostly the generic open borders stuff) is also only really ever compelling to me in a world where the aff goes for "our discussion good" which is increasingly not the way the aff is answering framework. If your aff defends restrictions are bad and provides a mechanism for resolving (whatever that means) that then I am a fan. If your aff is just "debate is bad, fairness and clash are bad" then I am not a fan
    • IF you do have me in a policy v policy debate, make sure you explain which part of the debate matters and why, and do a little bit more handle holding me through the debate in the 2NR and 2AR than you would in front of your regular policy judges as I will need to shake the rust off

Policy things - these are my initial thoughts, all of these (unless otherwise stated) are things I think are true but I can be convinced otherwise if you out debate someone on it:

  • Uniqueness controls the direction of the link, you will be hard pressed to persuade me otherwise
  • Undecided on indefinite parole good/bad - probably lean neg on this question but haven't seen it really debated out enough yet
  • The topic is LPR - way more thoughts on this later, but unlikely you convince me your non-LPR aff is T
  • If your CP has a solvency advocate (each plank, together) I think it's almost impossible to lose to any theory argument
  • Presumption flips aff if the CP is a larger change from the status quo than the aff is (fully explained in the CPs section at the bottom)
  • The 1AR is a constructive, you should probably read some cards

Clash of civ things - these are my initial thoughts, all of these (unless otherwise stated) are things I think are true but I can be convinced otherwise if you out debate someone on it:

  • Fairness is an internal link, but negative engagement and clash are very compelling impacts
  • State good isn't offense for a FW argument, and state bad isn't offense against it - unlikely you will tell me otherwise
  • If the aff says and defends that restrictions on immigration are bad I find it harder to win a limits impact but a little easier to win a topical version
  • Your interp isn't just a model that dictates the way debates go down, but also a research model that dictates the way we prepare for debates - you should have reasons why both in and out of round their interp is bad and yours is good
  • Ericson is descriptive of debate 15 years ago, not prescriptive of what debate should be. I think this makes it a little difficult to win a predictability internal link, you still can just make sure you do slightly more work than you normally would here for me
  • Negative engagement/clash is an impact but probably doesn't solve the affs education offense because the neg wants to be able to go for the temporary CP and base, instead it is good as a critical thinking model

K v K things - these are my initial thoughts, all of these (unless otherwise stated) are things I think are true but I can be convinced otherwise if you out debate someone on it:

  • I don't judge a lot of these debates, but when these debates are good, I highly enjoy them. The more specific you get with your links/alt explanation/link turns/alt offense the happier I will be
  • The aff gets a perm - "this is a method debate" is not a real world thing to do, only way I really change my mind here is if the aff drops this argument
  • You are not responsible for other things your author wrote that you haven't read, but you are responsible for other things/theories that the parts you have read rely on for their theorization (your psychoanalysis aff probably has to defend the Lack even if you don't make any of your arguments about it)
  • Examples are the key to winning the link v link turn debate for me
  • Just because you read a Zizek card doesn't mean you can just make any argument you want - your theory should be consistent and you should tie your arguments back to your evidence, I will read your evidence after the debate while making my decision

Feel free to email me with any questions - masonnmv[at]gmail[dot]com - yes this is different from the email above, please use each for its intended purpose.

After that quick and dirty, here is my rant about the topic as I've seen it so far. Increasingly on this topic I find myself becoming more and more frustrated with the trajectory of affirmatives who have decided to read a plan. Two large complaints that I have:

  • Your aff should be LPR
  • You should specify which restrictions you reduce

Let me unpack those two things

First, LPR. I feel very strongly that the aff has to be for the purpose of LPR and only for the purpose of LPR. I know that generally the community is moving in this direction but I feel like it’s worthwhile for me to talk about this because I find myself more ideological about this than others I’ve talked to. I think that “legal immigration” most clearly means “admission to the United States for the purpose of long term permanent residence” and anything that isn’t that is fairly clearly negative ground. There are two versions of the refugee/asylum/T/U visas affs that are mainly being read now.

The first type just makes it easier to get those visas. This is the “determine that environmentally-displaced persons constitute ‘refugees’” aff’s. Or the “remove the requirement to cooperate with law enforcement” aff. These affs, for me, and almost impossibly defensible. Those people that enter under those new expanded rules are not permanent residents, nor are they guaranteed to be permanent residents. The most popular counter-interp for these affs, “legal immigration is path to lpr” to me is poor at best. It begs the question of what a “path” is, which I have yet to find a good definition of. For example, H1-B’s might be considered a path to LPR because the majority of people here on H1-Bs apply for transfer of status and become LPR. Without a good definition of what a “path to LPR” means I have no idea how that interp can set a limit on the topic that excludes non-immigrant and temporary visas. With these affs they all have the similar we meet/reasonability story that happens in the 2AR which goes something like “but our visas end up with LPR and aren’t temporary because they eventually become permanent so please don’t vote neg” But this we meet argument is not even close to compelling. In my mind this is the negatives argument, and at best for you is just the same as saying “we are effectually topical so don’t vote neg” The plan doesn’t immediately give people LPR, and I don’t think that our model of debate is defensible.

The second type of that aff changes those visas and makes them LPR. These are the “for the purpose of long term permanent residence” affs. These are think are more defensible than the type above, and end up raising a lot of interesting T questions, but I would prefer it if they weren’t topical. The problem that I have with these affs is that they just make any non-topical group topical. I have no idea why the plan can fiat that they give refugees immediate LPR and why they would not be able to fiat that H1-Bs are LPR (I keep using H1-Bs because I feel like everyone agrees that those are by definition not topical). The problem that I run into when thinking about these types of affs though is that I don’t think that there is a good interp that clearly limits these types of affs out. I think that there are two ways you can try and limit out these affs. The first, is a definition of restrictions that would say that making a new LPR isn’t reducing a restriction. But I think that a compelling answer to that is probably that the restriction that exists on getting LPR is the 1 year requirement which the plan would eliminate. I think that this could go either way, but that’s the point of debate. The second way you can limit this out is to say that a reduction has to be pre-existing. The aff increases the cap from 0 to 200 LPR refugee visas, which is technically a reduction of a cap but it doesn’t increase a currently existing cap. That coupled with a literature argument about there not being any lit to contest reducing restrictions that don’t officially exist to me feels weak but doable. In general this is the debate the aff wants to have in front of me, because despite the fact I don’t want these affs to be topical I don’t know how to safely limit them out without just arbitrarily deciding that they shouldn’t be topical.

Second, specification. This one really gets me going but comes up in debates less. The topic is not immigration good/bad. The topic is restrictions good/bad. The number of affs with plan texts that resemble “Plan: The USfg should substantially reduce its restrictions on legal immigration for artificial intelligence professionals.” is sad but not surprising. Look I get it, you don’t want to debate PICs. But come on, you have to actually defend something. The best debates on this topic are not “should we let in AI professionals to the US?’ but instead centered around how we should do that. And unless you want every debate to be indefinite parole vs LPR then it would benefit everyone if you just specified. If you read a plan, and a solvency advocate that goes with it, that defends a specific restriction(s) then I am very comfortable inflating your speaks AND telling the neg that their generic CP/links don’t assume the specific mechanism of the aff. If you do not do that (read a real plan that is), I am very comfortable voting neg on a circumvention argument. Let’s be real, you are reading your plan like that because you think it has strategic value, and truthfully, it does. And with that in mind I think that there has to be some incentive for the aff to foster clash and read a real plan text so if you are aff in front of me and you don’t read a real plan, make sure you spend more time than you want to answering vagueness arguments/case circumvention arguments. I am also more comfortable with cheating CPs against affs with vague plans, and dramatically less comfortable with cheating CPs against affs that specify.

I understand that the two above statements might make you slightly uncomfortable but I feel like I should put that out there just so that everyone is on the same page.

------------------------------2016-17 Season-----------------------------------------

I am a first year out. I debated for four years at the Liberal Arts and Science academy and currently attend the University of Texas in Austin. I have always been a 2A so that does actively shape the way that I think about/approach debate.

Short and sweet – Yes put me on the email chain - I lean more truth over tech in the sense that I will not vote on something that can't explain to the other team at the end of the debate, but that doesn’t mean you can just drop things and hope I ignore them. Do what you do best. Seriously. I would rather judge a good debate on something I am less familiar with than a bad debate any day. The more you can write my ballot in the 2NR/2AR, and tell me what I am voting on and why, the more likely you are to win but also the more likely I am to give you better speaks. Make my job easy and you will be rewarded. I will be somewhat/very expressive during the debate, and I will flow cross ex

Any specific questions feel free to email me: masonnmv [at] gmail [dot] com - yes I realize that this is a different email from the one above, please use each email for its intended purpose.

Now what you are probably here for:

K affs and Framework – I read mostly traditional affs throughout my career but I did read a variety of different K affs with moderate levels of success. I would like to think that I will do my very best to evaluate the debate in front of me but there are a couple of thoughts that I have about framework debates in general that will always be a part of my decision calculus no matter how hard I try and be objective.

First, my senior year my partner and I went for framework against every single K aff that we debated except for one, against which we went for the global/local K. I think that K affs tend to not meet their own interp more often than you would think, and get away with it, and in the instances in which they do meet their interp, it is often very easy to win a limits disad. I also think that a lot of the offense that K teams like to go for is often only a question of “our education is unique” which I feel is often resolved by switch side and maybe the topical version. Limits and clash are the negative standards that I find the most persuasive, and I most commonly went for clash as an impact that has intrinsic value. I am least persuaded by the topic education standards people like to go for, but I encourage you to do what you are the best at and if that’s topic education then go for it. I tend to think about switch side debate more than other people do when evaluating framework debates. I lean neg in general on framework that's for sure.

That being said, there is nothing intrinsic to me about debate that requires that you read a plan, nor do I think that not reading a plan means that no productive debate can occur. I think predictability is definitely a question of the lens through which you view the resolution (eg: on the China topic, even “policy” teams knew that people were going to read a Pan aff. Doing research in a particular area helps to guide what you and others are able to predict will be read during the year), which means that K on K debates can be highly productive/clash can occur. I think that the neg often gets away with way too much offense in terms of things like the limits disad etc as the aff often forgets to test the internal links of their impacts and instead just goes for the impact turn. To use the limits disad as an example, I think that the negs interp is not nearly as limiting as they often get to spin it as, and the world of the aff is often not as bad as the neg says it is. Don’t get me wrong, impact turning things is fantastic, but sometimes smart effective defense can be just as useful.

Other thoughts on framework debates

  • One carded, smart, topical, topical version of the aff goes A LOT farther than 4 short generic ones. Specificity matters a lot in these topical version debates. Both the aff and the neg can exploit this to great effect
  • If your aff has a solvency advocate that links your theory to the topic in the same way you claim to, you are in a MUCH better place. It cuts back against a lot of their offense and makes it substantially harder for them to win anything that isn’t limits
  • I tend to think that both interps have some educational value, if you are winning reasons why the education that your interp provides is comparatively better than the education that their interp provides you are 75% of the way to winning these debates
  • I think that debate is a game, but that doesn't mean that it can't have other intrinsic value, eg it can definitely be a home, or a place of individual expression, or even an academic space or educational training ground. I get this framing from my years playing soccer, which while being a game, also provides a lot of good to a lot of people. What that really means for y'all is that I am probably not the best judge for "it's a game cause some wins so vote neg because fairness"
  • The more specific that each sides offense gets, the better. There is often a lot of offense happening on both sides of these debates so the more you are able to get ahead on the specifics of how your offense interacts with their offense the better.

I think it is very hard to win state good is a net benefit to framework, especially if you’re coupling it with a switch side debate argument.

Now the more specific things

Kritiks vs Plans –

  • Buzzwords do NOT equal explanation. Just because I might be familiar with your author/argument doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t explain it.
  • Specificity matters. Feel free to read your generic link cards but be prepared to explain them in the specific context of the aff. On the aff, read your generic K answer cards if you have to/want to but again, be prepared to explain them in the specific context of the aff
  • I am better for the negative than most for frameworks that do not let the aff leverage its advantages – I generally think that the aff just assumes that obviously they get the aff and don’t spend enough time here. Yes you can go for framework as the alt/without the alt/whatever you want to call it. Especially if you have a link specific to the aff/something the aff did and not just a link to the squo this can be a very effective strategy.
  • Link turns and “the aff is a good idea”/”our reps are true” are sufficient offense to vote aff, but mostly only when coupled with a perm, and you have to explain to me why the aforementioned statement is true. You don’t always have to have external offense against the alt but it would greatly increase your chances of winning. If they kick the alt you can sometimes still get the perm, but you have to do the work to tell me why you should
  • On the aff, you should defend the aff and you shouldn’t forget about the aff. Often people get caught up in going for “psychoanalysis bad” instead of actually just answering the links and defending the aff. You should still have specific K offense but seriously, if the K is competitive, then the aff is offense in and of itself. Unless you don’t get to weigh it. See above

Kritiks vs No Plans –

  • Just because this is a “method debate” does not mean the aff does not get a permutation. I definitely think that it is actually most real world to combine different methods and see how they interact. Just because we are in debate doesn’t mean that that same standard should apply. Now you can win specific reasons why in the context of your theory the perm still fails, but the aff probably gets the perm.
  • See K vs plans stuff as well – specificity matters a ton. Especially in the link vs link turn debate. The aff will almost always have some chance at a link turn, so whoever is ahead on the spin and explanation game will probably win that part of the debate. Historical/contextual examples are super useful and super underutilized. Don’t just assume your truth claim is true, say words and explain why.

Disads –

  • I have different thoughts about risk than most people do. Start at 0% risk and build up, NOT at 100% and work down. I think that it is the negatives burden to prove that their internal links are true and not necessarily the affs burden to disprove them. That being said, if the aff only reads a non-unique in the 2AC I think that the negative is going to have a very easy time proving that the rest of their disad is true. What this means is that I am a sucker for a 2AC that maybe reads one or two cards but mainly makes smart and true analytic arguments to answer the disad at each level. Especially if your disad is bad (if you have to ask then yes, yes it is), then I think that the 2AC probably doesn’t need to even read a card and can instead get away with talking about the disad in its entirety for about 45 seconds or less. This is the best example of where I am more truth over tech
  • Yes disads can go away in cross ex if it is done correctly, but you still have to make those same arguments in your next speech. A well-executed cross ex on a disad in my opinion is more concerned about what the 1NC evidence says than what the 1N has to say about it.
  • The 1AR is basically a constructive. Let’s be real, I got through A LOT of my high school career going for cards that were in the 1AR. As long as you have a similar analytic argument in the 2AC, you can often justify the card. I don’t think that it’s the 2A’s burden to start answering a disad before it becomes a real disad (see above about analytics being awesome). This does NOT mean you can just drop it. But I often don’t think that you need to read cards.
  • I really enjoy a good impact turn debate. My senior year this was my bread and butter, and this is where I am more tech over truth. I think that sometimes the CP just solves the aff and so impact turning the net benefit is often an effective and useful answer to CPs. So on the negative just be prepared to defend your impact(s). This goes both ways, if you are ready to impact turn the aff then go for it. These debate are awesome and often involve a lot of strangely qualified evidence and if you do this well I can’t say that your speaker points wouldn’t see a small not-so-subconscious boost.
    • On that note I should add: You will receive minimum speaker points and lose if you read racism good, sexism good, and a variety of other arguments where your moral compass should understand that thing is un-impact turn-able. If you have to ask, you shouldn’t go for it

Counterplans –

  • I have thoughts about presumption that I think are different from others when it comes to counterplans. Presumption flips affirmative when the counterplan is more change from the status quo than the aff
    • For example: Plan: USfg should feed Africa and go to the moon, CP: USfg should feed Africa, Presumption stays negative.
    • Example two: Plan: USfg should invest in renewables, CP: USfg should sign the Law of the Sea, iron fertilize the ocean, build CCS, and instate a carbon tax, Presumption flips aff.
    • Obviously there are instances where this is not a perfect standard which is why I think it is up to the debaters to explain which way presumption flips and why. This doesn’t come up a ton but when it does it matters.
  • On CP theory in general – I am a 2A. Always have been. That being said, I think that you are much better off going for perm do the counterplan/the counterplan isn’t competitive, instead of trying to go for “delay CPs are a voting issue”. I have a hard time believing that I should reject the team because they read a [insert process] counterplan, but I can be persuaded if you have to go for it.
  • Also while I am on theory: I have a lot of thoughts about conditionality, but I try my best to judge the debate that happened in front of me. I try to view and evaluate the condo debate the same way someone would evaluate a T debate: which interp have the debaters proved to me is best for a model of debate. I do subconsciously lean aff on this question, but if it's a new aff, do whatever you want.
  • 2NC CPs/amendments to CP texts: they justify new 1AR arguments (perms, offense, solvency deficits, links to the net benefit, etc), they are very rarely a reason to reject the team, I could be persuaded that it’s a reason to reject the argument
  • The solvency deficit just has to outweigh the risk of the net benefit. Both sides should be doing this comparative work for me please.

Case debate –

  • Please do it. I view this the same way that I view disads, it’s the affs burden to prove that their internal links are true and not the negs burden to disprove them. So just like with disads, a smart 1NC on case can be devastating and the less generic your case work is the 1NC the higher the threshold will be for 2AC answers. Basically just read the stuff about disads but switch the aff and the neg
  • I am not a fan of the fast, blippy, 2AC case answers, nor am I a fan of your 45 second long block of text that you are going to spread through and call an overview. The 2AC should actually answer case args and the block and 2NR will be given a lot of leeway if you don’t. “Yes war – their evidence doesn’t assume miscalc” is not an answer.

Topicality –

  • T is and always will be a question of competing models of debate. That might sound to you like "competing interps" but there is a distinction. Competing interps for me is much more a question of how I should evaluate offense in a topicality debate. Reasonability just means that your interpretation is reasonable (not that the aff is reasonable)/your interp is sufficient to resolve a risk of their offense, competing interps just means that it should only be a question of offense/defense. But in both worlds I am still evaluating different, comparable models of debate.
  • I am less concerned about your ability to read your five sub-points ground and fairness block and more concerned with your ability to outline what the world of the other teams interp looks like. Why is it bad for debate (both aff and neg ground) etc.
  • That being said, I went for T a lot in high school. T QPQ and framework were our two most common 2nrs. So do what you have to do. And yes, T is a topic generic.
  • Topicality is about the model of debate that you endorse, so have a defense of that. Case lists, and why the affs on that list are bad or good, are a must.
  • For reference from the China topic – on a scale of Yes T-QPQ We Meet/Counter Interp double bind to No T-QPQ We Meet/Counter Interp double bind I’m a firm “no”.

To close I would like to quote Ezra Serrins, my high school debate partner, "I appreciate it when debaters take arguments seriously but you shouldn't take yourself too seriously"

Charlie Marshall Paradigm

6 rounds

I have no argument preferences, as long as you don't say anything offensive and you explain your arguments well. Just please be clear (including in the text of evidence) and interact with your opponents' arguments.

Kevin McCaffrey Paradigm

6 rounds

Updated 9-26-2013

Kevin McCaffrey

Assistant Debate Coach Glenbrook North 2014-
Assistant Debate Coach Berkeley Preparatory School 2010-2014
Assistant Debate Coach University of Miami 2007-2009
Assistant Debate Coach Gulliver Preparatory School 2005-2010

I feel strongly about both my role as an impartial adjudicator and as an educator – situations where these roles come into conflict are often where I find that I have intervened. I try to restrain myself from intervening in a debate, but I make mistakes, and sometimes find myself presented with two options which seem comparably interventionary in different ways, often due to underarticulated argumentation. This effort represents a systematic effort to identify the conditions under which I am more or less likely to intervene unconsciously. I try to keep a beginner’s mind and approach every debate round as a new learning opportunity, and I do usually learn at least one new thing every round – this is what I like most about the activity, and I’m at my best when I remember this and at my worst when I forget it.

My default paradigm is that of a policy analyst – arguments which assume a different role (vote no, performance) probably require more effort to communicate this role clearly enough for me to understand and feel comfortable voting for you. I don’t really have a very consistent record voting for or against any particular positions, although identity- and psychology-based arguments are probably the genres I have the least experience with and I’m not a good judge for either.

Rather, I think you’re most interested in the situations in which I’m likely to intervene – and what you can do to prevent it – this has much less to do with what arguments you’re making than it does with how you’re making them:

Make fewer arguments, and explain their nature and implication more thoroughly:

My unconscious mind carries out the overwhelming majority of the grunt work of my decisions – as I listen to a debate, a mental map forms of the debate round as a cohesive whole, and once I lose that map, I don’t usually get it back. This has two primary implications for you: 1) it’s in your interest for me to understand the nuances of an argument when first presented, so that I can see why arguments would be more or less responsive as or before they are made in response 2) debates with a lot of moving parts and conditional outcomes overload my ability to hold the round in my mind at once, and I lose confidence in my ability to effectively adjudicate, having to move argument by argument through each flow after the debate – this increases the chances that I miss an important connection or get stuck on a particular argument by second-guessing my intuition, increasing the chances that I intervene.

I frequently make decisions very quickly, which signals that you have done an effective job communicating and that I feel I understand all relevant arguments in the debate. I don’t believe in reconstructing debates from evidence, and I try to listen to and evaluate evidence as it's being read, so if I am taking a long time to make a decision, it’s probably because I doubt my ability to command the relevant arguments and feel compelled to second-guess my understanding of arguments or their interactions, a signal that you have not done an effective job communicating, or that you have inadvertently constructed an irresolveable decision calculus through failure to commit to a single path to victory.

In short, I make much better decisions when you reduce the size of the debate at every opportunity, when you take strategic approaches to the debate which are characterized by internally consistent logic and assumptions, and when you take time to explain the reasoning behind the strategic decisions you are making, and the meta-context for your arguments. If your approach to debate strategy depends upon overloading the opponent’s technical capabilities, then you will also likely overload my own, and if your arguments don’t generally “jive” with one another, then I may have difficulty processing them when constructing the big picture. I tend to disproportionately reward gutsy all-in strategic decisions. As a side note, I probably won’t kick a counterplan for you if the other team says just about anything in response, you need to make a decision.

Value proof higher than rejoinder:

I am a sucker for a clearly articulated, nuanced story, supported by thorough discussion of why I should believe it, especially when supported by high-quality evidence, even in the face of a diversity of poorly articulated or weak arguments which are only implicitly answered. Some people will refer to this as truth over tech – but it’s more precisely proof over rejoinder – the distinction being that I don’t as often reward people who say things that I believe, but rather reward fully developed arguments over shallowly developed or incomplete arguments. There have been exceptions – a dropped argument is definitely a true argument – but a claim without data and a warrant is not an argument. Similarly, explicit clash and signposting are merely things which help me prevent myself from intervening, not hard requirements. Arguments which clash still clash whether a debater explains it or not, although I would strongly prefer that you take the time to explain it, as I may not understand that they clash or why they clash in the same way that you do.

My tendency to intervene in this context is magnified when encountering unfamiliar arguments, and also when encountering familiar arguments which are misrepresented, intentionally or unintentionally. As an example, I am far more familiar with positivist studies of international relations than I am with post-positivist theorizing, so debaters who can command the distinctions between various schools of IR thought have an inherent advantage, and I am comparably unlikely to understand the nuances of the distinctions between one ethical philosopher and another. I am interested in learning these distinctions, however, and this only means you should err on the side of explaining too much rather than not enough.

A corollary is that I do believe that various arguments can by their nature provide zero risk of a link (yes/no questions, empirically denied), as well as effectively reduce a unique risk to zero by making the risk equivalent to chance or within the margin of error provided by the warrant. I am a sucker for conjunctive/disjunctive probability analysis, although I think assigning numerical probabilities is almost never warranted.

Incomprehensible value systems:

One special note is that I have a moderate presumption against violence, whether physical or verbal or imaginary – luckily for me, this has yet to seriously present itself in a debate I have judged. But I don’t think I have ever ended up voting for a pro-death advocacy, whether because there are more aliens than humans in the universe, or because a thought experiment about extinction could change the way I feel about life, or because it’s the only path to liberation from oppression. While I’d like to think I can evaluate these arguments objectively, I’m not entirely sure that I really can, and if advocating violence is part of your argument, I am probably a bad judge for you, even though I do believe that if you can’t articulate the good reasons that violence and death are bad, then you haven’t adequately prepared and should probably lose.

Email me:

I like the growing practice of emailing flows and debriefing at the end of a day or after a tournament – feel free to email me: kmmccaffrey at gmail dot com. It sometimes takes me a while to fully process what has happened in a debate round and to understand why I voted the way I did, and particularly in rounds with two very technical, skilled opponents, even when I do have a good grasp of what happened and feel confident in my decision, I do not always do a very good job of communicating my reasoning, not having time to write everything out, and I do a much better job of explaining my thinking after letting my decision sit for a few hours. As such, I am very happy to discuss any decision with anyone in person or by email – I genuinely enjoy being challenged – but I am much more capable and comfortable with written communication than verbal.

Kasi McCartney Paradigm

2 rounds

Debated for Caddo Magnet HS 1999-2004

Director of Debate Bossier Schools 2009 -2017

Current Debate Coach at Caddo Magnet HS

LHSSL Executive Secretary


**update for Grapevine** - these are my first rounds on the topic please spend extra time fleshing out your topic specific scenarios

Personal Philosophy

Overall, I am essentially a policy maker. I feel that the goal of the debate is to find the best policy option. I do not consider myself an activist or that my role is to balance forces within the debate community. I will vote for non-policy strategies if they can present a clean structure for their impacts. I know its out of style, but I prefer the affirmative to have a plantext.

Identity Politics - You should probably not pref me. You MUST have a link to the aff or specific in round actions for me to vote on this. I understand and sympathize with the issues in round, but this is not my preferred argument at all. It will take a lot of convincing to get me to vote on a strategy that is outside the resolutional bounds. I ultimately believe that traditional forms of debate have value.

Theory – I think theory is definitely a voting issue, but there needs to be some form of in round abuse for me to truly buy that it is a reason alone to reject one team or the other. I do not think that simply kicking a CP in block is a time skew that is truly worth voting against a neg team unless there are other circumstances. I do love tricky CP's (consult CP's, clever agent CP's, process CP's etc.) and it would be hard for me to believe that on this topic they're really that unpredictable.

Case - I must say I have a hard time being persuaded that the negative has enough weight on their side to win with only case defense and a DA. What can I say, I'm a product of the late 90's. I much prefer to have a CP/K in there to give the flexibility, especially with a topic that allows for affirmatives to have heavy military impacts. Please be careful and make sure that if you takea case only route that you attack each advantage with offense and have a very very weighty DA on your side.

Kritiks- Not my bread and butter, although I do understand their strategic benefit, having come from an underfunded public school. It is my preference that K’s have a clear order and structure. I will vote on the K if you win that your impacts outweigh the impacts of the plan and that there is a true need for action, but I would not be the judge to introduce an extremely loose and unstructured argument to. I understand and buy into threat construction and realism claims, but in the end, I much prefer a well executed CP and politics debate to a poorly executed critical strategy. You will need to a have link specific to the plan. Links based off of the SQ will not be enough for me.

Framework - I default to the framework that the aff can weight the impacts of their plan versus the impacts of the neg.

Impacts – I believe that impact analysis is at the heart of a judging decision. You are an advocate for your arguments and as such you should provide insight and analysis as to why your specific impacts are the greatest in the round, how they should be evaluated by the judge and how they change the evaluation of the impacts to the other team’s case. Without this assessment I feel like you leave too much wiggle room for the judge to pick their personal preference of impact.

Speaker points- Speed can be an advantage in the round and should be encouraged, but always with the intent of being clear first. My ability to clear understand your arguments is crucial to getting them evaluated at the end of the round. The ability to provide analytics and analysis in the round will get you much further with me. As far as CX is concerned, I simply ask that the person who is supposed to be asking/answering the questions, gets the first shot at speaking. If they ask for help that’s perfectly fine, but don’t overwhelm your partner’s ability to conduct their own cx. Baseline speaks for e is 28.5 and you move up or down from there. I hardly ever give above a 29.5

Tracy McFarland Paradigm

3 rounds

Tracy McFarland

Jesuit College Prep

Updated 9/27/19

Please use for speech docs. I do want to be in the email chain.
However, I don't check that email a lot while not at tournaments - so if you need to reach me not at a tournament, feel free to email me at

Evidence stuff:

Jesuit is not open source - and if you think our cards are good, you should enjoy the experience of reading the good research. While I know that there are many people who disagree with me, I think that reading other people's cards disincentivizes hard work and cultivates unethical academic practices. And, for the record, there's no small school arg here - in fact large schools benefit more from this model (where you read other people's cards without recutting them) because they have more access to more open source docs in debates. I will disregard Jesuit evidence read by another team whether that's an argument made or not. Doesn't mean I will auto-vote against you but not going to vote on cards we cut that you use.

I DO NOT mean that you can't take cites and recut the evidence - in fact getting cites from someone and recutting the evidence is good. BUT, if for example School A debate School B in round 4, then School A uses ev read by B against another B team, that's unethical. TEAM'S SPEECH DOCUMENTS ARE NOT OPEN EVIDENCE FILES. Know the difference. If there is a Jesuit cite you can't access because of a lack of access to resources, please email me and I will provide a full text of the article or book - I pinky swear.


This topic seems T-complicated. Substantially may not be your best bet - especially if it's an arbitrary % that doesn't have a baseline comparison. Topicality is about competing interpretations for me, unless you tell me otherwise. Negatives should explain what allowing the affirmative in the topic would allow— ie what other affirmatives would be allowed and what specific ground or arguments you have lost out on. Affirmatives should, in addition to making counter-interpretations, explain why those counter-interpretations are good for the topic.

Case lists are underutilized in these debates – both about what they exclude and realistically justify on both sides of the topic. Topical version of the aff is an important but not a must have – especially if you are partially trying to say that they are SOOOO bad I shouldn’t want them to be a part of the topic.


Counter plans are good -- but I think that Affs underutilize solvency advocate based arguments. If you are going to have a CP with a ton of different elements, neg should be able to support that with solvency evidence that supports the whole CP not just the elments. If you are neg, you should still do these mutliplank cps if you like but the aff can win a solvency deficit if you don’t have someone to advocate all of it together. Asserting a not accurate way the government works to make a claim about neg CP also should be contested by the aff - and so should dates of the evidence being used to justify the CP. Specific counterplans that reflect you did some work in research the aff = good for the neg. Process counterplans less good b/c they usually show that you didn’t do the research on the aff. Also, I don't know why climate offsets is a CP - it's more like a plan, opposite of the plan debate????


Also enjoy a good disad debate—used to include politics. But alas, Trump has ruined many things for me - including this. I am more persuaded by the args that center on congressional internal links - that are not dependent on pretending like Trump is consistent with pol cap theory in poli sci. 2020 is a thing - but I find myself not really thinking that the link + internal make sense. I do think it is possible to win zero risk of the politics DA. I do think that affs should make a bigger deal about how that zero risk of the DA means that any risk of a solvency deficit on the CP means should vote Aff. But alas, you probably won't, then I will have to default to my engrained any risk of the DA if the CP solves mostly wins a debate. I also am very persuaded the base DA gives into racist logic - and probably should be a reason to vote aff. But alas, you probably won't make that argument with warrants.

For other DAs, much like my previous discussion of topicality and the kritik, explain the link specific to the affirmative – you can and should have multiple link args in the block that help build your story about why the aff triggers the DA. Assess how the impact of the DA relates to the case impact. Overviews should be specific to the aff not a reiteration of magnitude probability and time frame - as this results in awkward comparisons especially on this topic. Offense is a good thing but defensive versus a disad may be enough to win. In other words, any risk of a DA does not mean you win on the Negative (unless perhaps it’s a CP net benefit)—there is room for Affirmatives to make uniqueness, no link, and impact arguments that erode the DA so significantly the Negative doesn’t win much a risk versus the Aff. Good case debates with solvency or impact turns make for appealing and compelling debates. Negatives can win on case turns alone if the impacts are developed in the block.


Contrary to what some of you might think, I really do enjoy a good kritik debate. The difficulty I have with kritiks really lies with Negatives who do not, again, believe that specificity is our friend. I am not of the “if link, then lose” camp: the Negative should, through evidence and link narratives, explain how more ‘generic’ evidence and the K applies to the Aff. For example, explain why the aff’s use of the state is bad; don’t just assert they are the state therefore they must be bad. The other place to be sure to spend some time is explaining the role of the ballot and/or the role of the alternative. Addressing how the alternative solves or address in a better way the harms of the aff (ie by getting to the root of the harms, etc) is a good thing. Affirmatives in some debates I have watched this year concede too much of the link—utilize the strategic nature of your aff versus the kritik link to argue both turns and no link arguments. This will arguably force Negatives to explain how your aff links beyond the fact you use the state. Likewise on this topic it helps Affs with the perm debate. I think that topic specific K much better than your hodgepodge throw some authors together ks. Also not a huge fan of death is inevitable so we should give up now or alternatives that incorporate “suicide” as an alternative. Both sides when initiating framework arguments need to think through what they are getting out of the framework arguments – don’t just blindly go for it if you could get by with simply meeting and conceding their framework, thereby doing their thing better than they do it.

Performance/non-instrumental use of the rez

While I am compelled by arguments about the need to redress exclusion in the debate community, Negatives should challenge, and the Aff should defend, the importance of the ballot in redressing those exclusions. If the neg can explain why the same education and same exploration of privilege can occur without the ballot, I am very persuaded by those arguments. However, in these debates I have judged, I have almost always voted for the team advocating non-instrumental use of the topic because this often goes unchallenged. I think that if you are aff and running an advocacy statement, you should have some reason why that is better than a plan on the ready -- assuming the neg challenges this. Even if the reason is that the plan ties you to the state and that is a problem, you need to be able to explain why you cant accomplish your business with a plan. In these debates it seems that negatives often forget that even if they are only going for framework, they will still need to have a reason why the aff ROB or method is bad. Otherwise, the aff will make some arguments (as they should) that their method is offense against traditional understandings of debate/T/framework. I do think that the performance should be tied to the resolution when you are aff.

Theory – Aff/Neg

If there is a legit reason why what the other team has done has eroded your ability to win by creating a not reciprocal or not level playing field, then initiate the arguments. I understand the strategic value creating a time trade off might get you. However, you should think about whether or not you have some compelling args before going for the arg all out or in the 2nr/2ar. Multiple contradictory framework type args are an underutilized arg when there are k alts and cps in the debate---especially if any or all are conditional. Be concrete about what they are doing and what the justify in order to make “impact” arguments.

New aff theory - I don't have anything else in my philosophy like this (that just say no to an argument) but "new aff disclosure theory" arguments are silly to me. Aff Innovation = good, and incentivizing innovation by giving a strategic leg up to affs by getting to break a new aff = good. I've got more warrants if you want to chat about it - I know some of you feel very strongly about this - but it doesn't make sense to me. You should not probably spend the time to read your shell even if its supershort. Affs should say "competitive innovation = good". And that'd probably be enough.

Certainly, new affs mean that the neg get to make a bunch of args - and that I probably am more sympathetic on issues like no solv advocate, multiple cp, condo, etc - but yeah, no, new affs = good not bad.

Stylistic Issues (Speed, Quantity)

Clarity is important and so are warranted arguments and cards – say what you would like but be clear about it. If you have many argument but you have highlighted down the evidence to 3-5 words, you have also not made a warranted argument. Also, “extinction” is not a tag. Some highlighting practices have become so egregious that I think you're actually highlighting a different argument than the author is actually making.

Speaker Point Scale

Decent debate = 28 + ; more than decent gets more points. You can gain more points by having proper line by line, clash, good evidence with warrants, good impact comparison. You can lose points by not doing those aforementioned things AND if you are snarky, condescending, etc.

Additional Comments:

Productive cross-examinations add to speaker points and help to set up arguments---needlessly answering or asking your partners cx questions subtract from speaker points. Did I mention flowing is a good thing?

The line by line is important as is the evidence you read, explain and reference by name in the debate. Line by line is the only way to clash and avoid “two ships passing in the night” debates. Line by line isn't answer the previous speech in order - it's about grounding the debate in the 2ac on off case, 1nc on case.

I do tend to read evidence on important issues – so the quality of your evidence does matter as does how much you actually read of it. I am persuaded by teams that call out other teams based on their evidence quality, author quals, lack of highlighting (meaning they read little of the evidence). You should flow – you can’t do anything else I’ve outlined without flowing – and like, actually flow, not copy the speech doc..

Ryan McFarland Paradigm

4 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:

**NCFL UPDATE** -- I'm realized I'm grumpy about a couple things;

1. 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.

2. Neg fiat - no, this isn't a rant about negatives not getting it. BUT, I do think we're letting the negative team fiat out of way too much while also having a lower threshold for competition. The infinite parole counterplan is basically the affirmative. Reading a new plank for every possible solvency deficit is annoying and makes me think you're scared of debate.

3. 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.

4. Stop being scared of going for theory against cheating arguments.

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.

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.

Debate. Stop reading from your computer. Flow the debate. Look at your flow during the debate. I've seen far too many rounds where the debaters don't even bring their flows with them to give speeches. I don't enjoy being shouted at as someone reads the same script they read every other round with no contextualization to the other team's arguments. Your ceiling is a 28.3.

Clipping is cheating no matter the intent.

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

Jonathan Mccartney Paradigm

2 rounds

Jonathan McCartney

Volunteer Assistant Coach for Caddo Magnet 1998 - Present

Former Assistant Coach at UT 2002-2005, debated for University of Texas 1999-2002, debated for Caddo Magnet HS 1994-1998

Please put me on the email chain:

I listen to all arguments and try to decide debates based on my flow and my understanding of the arguments as clearly articulated by the teams within the round. I used to judge a lot of college and high school policy debates. I am not as active of a judge now as I was a decade ago or so, but I do maintain involvement with high school policy debate on a volunteer basis. Here are my current thoughts on how I evaluate debates:

Framework: My default setting is to evaluate the policy consequences of a plan vs the status quo or a competitive alternative. I can be persuaded to evaluate the debate through another framework, and I will work to decide framework debates based on the specific arguments made by the debaters within the debate.

Topicality: I like well developed Topicality debates with clear interpretations supported by compelling evidence. Distinctions in definition sources can go a long way, for example, reasons why a particular government agency definition might be preferable when interpreting words in the resolution can be persuasive. I tend to default to competing interpretations when deciding T debates, however I can be persuaded otherwise, particularly if the aff has a strong argument why their interpretation provides superior predictable ground.

Counter Plans: I like them. I tend to default neg on most counterplan theory, (Pics, Conditionality, etc) but I can definitely be persuaded otherwise. I think theory is a powerful tool which seems to be underutilized by many affirmative teams, but it has to be well explained. Well executed theory arguments can decide debates. As a default setting: I am generally fine with Consult CPs, Conditions CPs or Agent CPs that are debated well by the negative and have good evidence. While I probably default neg on Conditionality in the world of 1 or 2 CPs, I could be persuaded that 3 or 4 CPs or more might be too many - if an aff team debates the issue very well. If its a new aff, that could be a reason to be more flexible on conditionality if the negative articulates that argument clearly. Unless well developed otherwise, Pics Bad or Consult/Conditions CPs bad etc are probably just reasons to reject the argument (unless the neg completely drops a voting issue). I do not automatically Judge Kick a CP, unless the 2NR clearly explains how they want it to work. Example: 2NR says something like: "even if they win the perm, it only means CP is not competitive and it would just go away and we get the SQ, and then our DA still outweighs the Case." I can also be persuaded by the Aff that the neg is stuck with the CP if they go for it in the 2NR. While these are some general thoughts on CP theory: its all open to debate.

Kritks: I tend to prefer Kritks which specifically link to the plan or its advantages. Generic Links to the Status Quo are not my favorite, and I can to be persuaded that a Perm would probably solve them unless the negative team does a good job explaining otherwise. While I tend to default to a somewhat policy making style of impact evaluation, I can be persuaded that certain philosophical considerations can come first. Explaining how a Kritk turns the case or disproves affirmative impact claims is also critical in helping decide these debates.

Disads: I like them. The strength of the Link story is at the heart of good disadvantage debate. Making the link (or link turn) specific to the plan makes a big difference, and quality distinctions in link evidence can be decisive. Controlling uniqueness is important, but evaluating the link comes first. Reasoned explanation of why a disad impact outweights case and/or turns the case is good, but having evidence to support those claims is better.

Impact Evaluations Decide Debates: Explaining why the timeframe, probability or magnitude of a given impact outweights another impact is critical to deciding debates in late rebuttals. Having evidence to support that impact claim is better. For example, a timeframe claim with a warrant is good, but having evidence to support it is decisive. Explaining how one impact accesses the other team’s impacts within a debate, or how various impacts interact with one another is also crucial. In close debates, the team doing the better impact assessment in the 2NR/2AR tends to win.

Speaker Points: Please be clear and be polite.

Eric Melin Paradigm

2 rounds

Email chains are good. Include me

Coach stuff:

Debate Coach @ Coppell 9th Grade Center and Coppell High School (2018- )

Mean Green Comet Debate Institute -Director of LD (2019 - )

Previously coached teams: Grapevine and Colleyville (2017-2018), Law Magnet (2015-2017), Hockaday (2009-2014), Southlake Carroll (2006-2009), Colleyville and Grapevine (2005-2006).

I debated for Grapevine High School, graduating in 1997. I judged debate for a few years after that before taking some time off for grad school. In have been a classroom teacher and debate coach since 2007. I was an LDer in high school but competed in policy at some tournaments junior and senior year. I also debated for UT Austin for one year. While most of my time coaching has been spent focusing on LD, I began coaching policy debate regularly in 2015 when I worked at Law Magnet. I coached the policy kids at Grapevine last year and now (2018-2019)coach policy at Coppell and Coppell 9.

I think debate operates in a unique place in the high school experience, where it serves as a crucible for the development of advocacy skills and critical engagement that is not replicated anywhere else. I love this activity and want each successive generation to be able to enjoy it. As such, be good to one another! Take care of our space and leave it better than the way you found it. Come back and give back if debate has given you a space to develop yourself.

Paradigm stuff:

1. Please forward a well-developed ballot story.

2. Tell me what you want me to vote on.

3. Compare evidence - this doesn’t happen enough and it’s usually what close debates depend on to resolve.

4. K aff’s - I default to believing that K aff's should still be affirmative arguments. I think switch-side debate is good and develops a portable skill that other activities do not. K aff's should forward counter-interpretations as needed. I am willing vote on framework. That being said I am unimpressed with teams that run framework but never go for T in other debates.

5. Counterplans - when they are case specific they are great less specific is obviously less good. I am not thrilled by the 50 states cp or consult cp’s generally. PiCs are fine. The aff should have to defend their plan.

6. I prefer line-by-line debate more than long overviews. Too many rebuttals I’ve seen recently spend a ton of time explaining arguments in over views that should just be done on the flow. Numbering arguments and following the order of your opponents is preferable or at least be explicit when re-grouping the flow.

7. I cannot flow a string of unending analytics with no time to type even if its in perfect outline form in your speech doc. This means slow down on theory arguments, 2ac blocks of text that you have read a lot of times but I am hearing for the first time, etc. I will not vote on what I don't catch.

8. I will be following along with the evidence read in the debate on my computer. I will not be on Facebook or otherwise doing things that would take my attention away from the debate. I wish more judges would commit to paying attention to every debate.


LD specific (also see notes above)

Theory is over-used in LD. You will always have links of omission to generate violations. I have a high threshold for frivolous theory.

RVI's can be justified but not on topicality. That said ditching substance and going for 4 minutes of RVI in the 1ar is not the A-strat in most rounds in front of me.


PF specific:

You must email/flash/give a copy your cases (and evidence in later speeches) to your opponents prior to the beginning of your speech.

You may not read paraphrased evidence and expect me to evaluate it.

I will listen to disclosure arguments and theory arguments about bad evidentiary practices.

Cody Morrow Paradigm

6 rounds

I am willing to listen to most arguments. There are very few debates where one team wins all of the arguments so it is essential that each of you identify what you are winning and make the necessary comparisons between your arguments and the other teams arguments/positions. Speed is not a problem although clarity is essential. If I think that you are unclear I will say clearer and if you don't clear up I will assign speaker points accordingly. Try to be nice to each other and enjoy yourselves. Good cross-examinations are enjoyable and typically illuminates particular arguments that are relevant throughout the debate. Please, don't steal prep time. I do not consider e-mailing evidence as part of your prep time nonetheless use e-mailing time efficiently.

I enjoy substantive debates as well as debates of a critical tint. If you run a critical affirmative you should still be able to demonstrate that you are Topical/predictable. I hold Topicality debates to a high standard so please be aware that you need to isolate well developed reasons as to why you should win the debate (ground, education, predictability, fairness, etc.). If you are engaged in a substantive debate then well developed impact comparisons are exceptionally important (things like magnitude, time frame, probability, etc.). Also, identifying solvency deficits on counter-plans are typically very important.

Theory debates need to be well developed including numerous reasons a particular argument/position is illegitimate. I have judged a number of debates where the 2NR or 2AR are filled with new reasons an argument is illegitimate. I will do my best to protect teams from new arguments, however you can further insulate yourself from this risk by identifying the arguments extended/dropped in the 1AR or Negative Bloc.


Yes, I want to be on the email chain.

Eric Mueller Paradigm

4 rounds

Eric Mueller Judging Philosophy

Overall I am a policy maker with some exceptions. Default mode is policy advantages weighed against risks of disadvantages and consideration given for counterplans and possible solvency deficits. Multiple CPs can be irritating but also at times strategic. Obviously advantage CPs can be an exception.

I read evidence. I like comparisons of the quality of evidence compared to the other team. Not just qualifications, but unanswered warrants in the evidence. Take the time to pull warrants out of the cards and explain them. It will go a long way here. Explain why your evidence should be preferred.

I also like you to take the time to explain specifically how you think you win. Put the whole round together in a quick "story." How do you want me to view it? Compare it the other team's "story." Tell me how this is taken out and that outweighs this. It makes it easier for me to frame your approach as I decide. Give me some "big picture analysis." Don't just get mired down in line by line. I don't need 4 minutes of overview or "canned" overviews. Make specific to what is occurring in this debate round. Otherwise, it's boring.

Put me on your email chain. My email address is

I am amenable to kritik arguments. I am willing to vote for them on the affirmative as well. I like methodology arguments and see them as advanced attacks on all the claims the other teams make. So when affirmatives lose, it is often because I believe that your framing of the discourse and claims of the case have lapsed into indeterminacy because they are based on fundamentally flawed analysis combined with some net benefit if possible. I also see kritiks as solvency arguments and case turns and will allow them to be deployed as discursive impacts and as policy turns. I can be persuaded on framework either way.

It is the job of the negative to explain how K functions with respect to affirmative solvency. I think that needs to be hashed out in more specific ways than I often see occur. How do advantages with short time-frames factor into the question of whether to vote on K first? It is more clear for me with things like settler colonialism than it is with Marxism, for example. But don't assume. Take the time to explain. Make the reason it comes first very clear. How does the K undercut their turns? Be specific. Use examples. Don't make it just a non-unique disadvantage with a floating pic alternative. Sell it.

I also think there are reasons why there might be advantages left for the affirmative even given the criticism provided by the K. I think sometimes more specific affirmative evidence proves the plan can still have advantages to weigh vs. K impacts (as in Marxism) especially when the time frames are quick. Why does K come first? Has that been explored?

T against critical cases:

I also believe that it is necessary to answer clearly case claims by critical affirmatives that answer the voting criteria on T. Think of T as the disad, and case arguments as solvency that allows the T disad to outweigh the case. That is an easy framework, in my opinion, for approaching T debates against critical affirmatives. Framing matters. I think "competitive equity"as a standard against critical affirmatives is often untenable for the negative. Focus more on the nature of voices and representational aspects of the need for grammar. Think semiotics. That makes voting negative on T easier in these cases. You need offense, not just terminal defense. T must be framed as offense against the case. Negative must prove affirmative non-topical.

I prefer to evaluate the substance of evidenced permutations to CP or even K. Quickly worded "Do both" or "Do plan and K" sometimes leave me confused as to what the world of the perm really looks like. Take the time to frame your perm for me clearly. How does it take out CP/K? How does it interact with the link to any net benefit? On the negative, hold the affirmative to clearer explanations of how the perm functions. Confusion for me usually breaks negative in the presence of a net benefit. Evidence makes a difference.

I’m not a big theory guy. I understand theory but I don’t like voting on it. I will if necessary. One exception is topicality. I will vote on T if negative takes it seriously. Ground and fairness generally, with some exceptions.

I give the 1AR a lot of leeway in interpretation 2AC claims. I like good evidence. Even in the rebuttals. Nothing cements a claim like solid evidence. But read the entire part of the card you want me to read. Make arguments about the quality of evidence related to how little the card says when people cut it down. I may not be as impressed when you cherry pick words and expect me to provide the warrants for your evidence.

All in all, I’m a quality of argument person. Focus more on making quality arguments rather than quantity. Kick out of stupid things early and focus on what you want to win in the block. I have a tendency to allow new explanations of old arguments in the rebuttals and love a crafty 2AR. Always remember case impacts against the disads. Certainty of case vs. risk of disads is often a winner.

I also want to say that I will always write a ballot. That way any discussion cut short for time or any other reasons there is still a clear explanation of everything in the round. We can talk and discuss it online as well as after the debate. Keep in contact with me. I will try to answer all questions.

Matt Munday Paradigm

4 rounds

Please add me to the email chain:

I am not the kind of judge who will read every card at the end of the debate. Claims that are highly contested, evidence that is flagged, or other important considerations will of course get my attention. Debaters should do the debating. Quality evidence is also important. If the opposing team's cards are garbage, it is your responsibility to let that be known. Before reading my preferences about certain arguments, keep in mind that it is in your best interest to do what you do best. My thoughts on arguments are general predispositions and not necessarily absolute.

T – Topicality is important. The affirmative should have a relationship to the topic. How one goes about defending the topic is somewhat open to interpretation. However, my predisposition still leans towards the thought that engaging the topic is a good and productive end. I tend to think implementation of the plan must be defended, but there is a debate to be had. I am most persuaded by topicality debates that focus on questions of limits. Competing interpretations typically makes more sense to me than reasonability.

Disads/Case Debate – Among my favorite debates to judge. Clash is built in and evidence comparison occurs naturally. Offense is important, but it seems like defense is often undervalued. I am willing to assign 0% risk to something if a sufficient defensive argument is made.

Counterplans – I lean neg on conditionality and PICs. Functional competition seems more relevant than textual competition. If the affirmative is asked about the specific agent of their plan, they should answer the question. Actual solvency advocates are important.

Kritiks – While I am not very deep on the literature base, I do think these are strategic arguments. I expect the negative to explain the impact of their argument beyond nebulous claims. It seems like the aff generally outweighs. However, good K debates usually control the key framing questions that make those concerns irrelevant. I tend to think of the alternative like a uniqueness counterplan. It benefits the aff to have clever perms as well as offense against the alt.

Theory – A quality theory argument should have a developed warrant/impact. “Reject the argument, not the team” resolves most theory arguments except for conditionality. It benefits both teams to slow down slightly when engaging in the theory debate. Making sure I am able to sufficiently flow the substance of these debates is important.

Speaker Points

Scale - Adjective - Description

29.6-30 - The Best - Everything you could ask for as a judge and more.

29-29.5 - Very, Very good - Did everything you could expect as a judge very, very well.

28.6-28.9 - Very Good - Did very well as a whole, couple moments of brilliance, but not brilliant throughout.

28.3-28.5 - Good - Better than average. Did most things well. Couple moments of brilliance combined with errors.

28-28.2 - OK - Basic skills, abilities, and expectations met. But, some errors along the way. Very little to separate themselves from others. Clearly prepared, just not clearly ahead of others.

27.5-27.9 - OK, but major errors - Tried hard, but lack some basic skills or didn’t pay close enough attention

27-27.4 - Needs Improvement – major errors/lacked effort - Major errors committed, effort questionable

Below 27 - Bad, and I intend for you to take it that way - Disrespected one’s opponent, the judge, or otherwise

Theo Noparstak Paradigm

5 rounds

Niles West High School '14
University of Kentucky '18

Coach at Northwestern University

Put me on the chain

I don't consider personal biases when judging policy or k debates. Debates hinge on link, impact, and solvency questions that have to be argued whether its plan/cp, perm/alt, fw/advocacy.

I decide debates by re-organizing my flow around the issues prioritized in the 2nr and 2ar, going back to chart the progression of the argument, then resolving that mini-debate. Tell me what I should care about in the final speeches.

I'll read evidence during and after the debate. Evidence quality influences my perception of the argument's strength. Bad evidence means there's a lower bar for answering the argument and vice versa.

Have an appropriate level of respect for opponents and arguments.

Eric Oddo Paradigm

2 rounds

 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.

Chris Paredes Paradigm

3 rounds


(Updated for Arms Sales Topic; see bottom of paradigm for LD)

E-Mail Chain: Add me ( I do not flow off speech docs so I do not need to be on the chain if there's some reason you would prefer to limit the distribution of your docs but I will call for a card doc if I end up needing to analyze ev. I do not distribute docs to third party requests unless a team has failed to update their wiki.

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

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

Argumentative Weight: Technique trumps truth, but it is usually much easier to debate well when you are using true arguments. You simply are not going to be able to out-tech anyone on "GOP is the party of climate change." Being a good debater includes doing the research and preparation to come up with good arguments. That said, in-speech analysis goes a long way with me and I am very much more likely to side with the team that explains a warrant for their argument vs. the one that extends by tagline and/or author only. I will read cards as necessary, including explicit prompting, however when I start reading evidence I do so critically and will evaluate warrants for myself. Arguments are only as good as their warrants -- if a card does not have the necessary warrants underlined/highlighted then I will treat them as analytics. Well explained analytics can beat bad cards.

Topic Familiarity: I do not teach at a camp so beyond judging my exposure to the topic is limited to neg research done during the year. I have less familiarity with international topics than I do with domestic topics from an educational/professional perspective, but I understand high level international relation theory.

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

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


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

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

I feel that most debate topics are sufficiently aff-biased that preserving topicality as a viable negative strategy is important even against affs that are topical in a truth sense. I feel this topic is sufficiently large and poorly worded such that T-Subs is the only practical filter available and I will pull the trigger on it.

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

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

Framework / T-USFG

In line with my thoughts above on kritiks of topicality, I am very sympathetic to the negative on this argument. My predisposition is that affs avoid the resolution for competitive advantages rather than ideological devotion, and I do not believe there is educational value gained from the aff getting to avoid debating the topic.

However, I will vote aff if I think the aff debates better. For an aff to beat framework arguments in front of me, they need to articulate and defend specific and compelling reasons why they cannot and do not embed their personal advocacy into a topical policy and why resolutional debate is bad. I am not very keen on "The USFG/system sucks" as a justification for that -- I default to believing that this is probably an indication that your plan action is fundamentally flawed rather than the political system is bad and that you should go do more/better research.

For the neg, given that the affs in these debates almost always sit on education, you have the burden of proving either that fairness outweighs or that resolutional debate has better access to education or accesses a better type of education. I believe the negative is on the truth side of both of those arguments, but contextualization and specificity is important in this debate. I give great weight to arguments for why plan-based debate is a better internal link to positive real world change out of debate compared to personal advocacy: debate provides valuable portable skills, advocacy for a case is excellent training for advocacy of actual real world policies, etc.


Generally speaking I have much less aversion to voting on procedurals and theory than other judges due to being raised in a different era of debate. That being said, I have rarely see theory deployed convincingly as most debaters have an inclination to use it as a mutual time sink even when it should be the clear default strat. If you're not putting in the time and work to make it a viable choice in your last speech, it probably isn't going to persuade me unless it was flat conceded.

My default view on various theory, all of which can be overcome by better debating, are as follows: Condo is good but should have limitations. PICs, Actor, and Process CPs are good, but are much better with solvency advocates that demonstrate real world competition and the lack of specific solvency evidence indicates a likelihood of a solvency deficit. Consult and Floating PIKs are bad. The level of cheating/utopianism of a CP/alt justifies equivalent levels of cheating with perms. Reject the arg not the team is overcome with instances of real abuse. Disclosure of previously run arguments is good. Breaking new shouldn't require disclosure. I don't care about what has happened previously outside the room/round, but I could be convinced care about real world impacts attached to the ballot (i.e. setting precedents).

I value nuance a lot more than many other judges because I think that debate's largest educational impact is training students in real world advocacy. Learning processes is important and the aff has a burden as advocates to defend a specific and coherent implementation strategy to their case. Consequently I will absolutely pull the trigger on vagueness, plan flaws, or spec arguments as long as there is a coherent story about why the aff is bad for debate and a good answer to why cross doesn't check. A 1AC plan text that does not specify does not give the aff default access to all theoretical implementations of the plan. Meanwhile the neg has an equal burden to defend the coherence of a counter-advocacy or the model of debate implied by their negative strategy. I will reject a counterplan for a structural defect or because the aff has effectively convinced me that the neg is debating in a way that is not just strategic but also fundamentally unfair.

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


TL;DR: If you actually are legitimately interested in philosophy and critical academic scholarship, have studied the literature seriously, and have a good contextualized argument for why that lens of that scholarship is relevant to the debate round, then I am a good judge for you. If you want to be lazy and avoid doing specific research so you can brute force a ballot against a team that knows K lit less than you, then I am a bad judge for you.

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

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

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

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


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

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


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

The risk of the net benefit you must win is inversely proportional to how good your counterplan is. Generic PICs are more vulnerable to perms and carry a much higher threshhold burden on the net benefit, but PICs with specific solvency advocates or highly specific net benefits are devastating and one of the ways that debate rewards research. Agent and process counterplans are also better when you can present a nuanced argument for why one agent/process is better than the aff's for a specific plan.

Superior solvency for aff impacts can be a sufficient net benefit for me to vote on the CP (either because of a conceded aff-only case take-out or turn, or because the CP solves better) so long as there's a reason to reject the perm.

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


Speaker Points: I try to follow any provided tournament scale very closely if it's available. In the event that there is no scale my baseline is 27.5 and I distribute speaks as if I was grading debaters on a bell curve with 30 being the 99th percentile and 25 being the 1st percentile. I'm aggressive at BOTH addition and subtraction from this baseline since on a bell curve very few people are actually average but rather they are distributed around the average. Theoretically speaking teams that need high speaks to break should be speaking above average by definition. Points are rewarded for entertaining, organized, strategic, and clever speeches. I also listen closely to CX and include CX performance in speaks assessment. Well contextualized humor is the quickest way to get higher speaks in front of me, e.g. Thanos jokes on a Malthus flow. You will get bonus speaker points as the aff if you demonstrate intricate knowledge of your case and put forth a compelling defense of your aff as a workable theoretical policy that achieves a minimally greater level of good than the negative's world. You will get bonus speaker points as the neg if your strategy demonstrates that you researched the plan thoroughly and understand the case better than the aff or that you understand why it does not belong in policy debate (i.e. hyper-specific counterplans or nuanced procedural objections).

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

Organization: I believe good line-by-line is a fundamental of good debate that is becoming increasingly rare and is the number one way most debaters can improve. Proper sign-posting, or establishing/following a numbered 2AC line by line structure, is the bare minimum to get over a 28.5. Embedded clash soup is average.

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

Accommodations: Feel free to ask for accommodations before or during round or email me ahead of time.


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

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

Kush Patel Paradigm

6 rounds

I debated in high school at the Greenhill School in Texas. I debated at Michigan State my freshman year in 2012. I have not debated for 6 years.

A few “meta” thoughts:

  1. More than anything else...Smart arguments > evidence. Willing to assign almost 0 risk to monocultures resulting in extinction or economic collapse resulting in nuke war. That is not to say I do not appreciate well thought out arguments and strong evidence, but it comes secondary to one's ability to persuade me in the back of the room.
  2. I will vote on the K. I do not read a lot of critical literature. Given that, a couple years removed from the activity has given me perspective on the way I used to demand unreasonable risk evaluation of nuclear war from an economic collapse stemming from grain underproduction in China etc. There is probably something amiss if our activity engenders students to think about the policymaking process in a way that prioritizes an evaluation of these scenarios over systemic harms. Real world vs. debate world I guess.
  3. I was a 2N for the majority of my career and I feel a strong affinity for case specific strategies. 2A's step your game up. I loved the 1AR, there were tons of fun things you could do in this speech.
  4. Dropped arguments are not automatically true.

Feel free to ask questions before the debate.

Sonny Patel Paradigm

6 rounds

Updated: 8/31 Niles Township Invitational

- i view the speech act as an act and an art. debate is foremost a communicative activity. i want to be compelled.
- i go back and forth on t/fw vs kritik/performance affs, which is supported by my voting record.
- i'm open to voting on nearly anything you put in front of me. details below.
- academic creativity & originality will be rewarded
- clarity matters. i flow by ear, including your cards' warrants and cites
- tag team cx is okay as long as its not dominating
- don't vape in my round, it makes me feel like an enabler

i've been in 2 camp rounds + a handful of practice debates on the arms sales resolution and will have >50 rounds by the end of the season. i've assisted with coaching debate on the north shore for several years. i am currently the head coach for u chicago lab school. former policy debater at maine east (north shore, wayne tang gharana) with some college debating at iowa. i identify as subaltern, prefer he/they pronouns. my academic background is medicine. this means i haven't spent my summers deeply reading into the topic aside camp files. it also means you may be counseled on tobacco cessation.

how to win my ballot:
*entertain me.* connect with me. teach me something. be creative. its impossible for me to be completely objective, but i try to be fair in the way i adjudicate the round.

as tim 'the man' alderete said, "all judges lie." with that in mind...
i get bored- which is why i reward creativity in research and argumentation by being more forgiving in articulation. if you cut something clever, you want me in the back of your room. i appreciate the speech as an act and an art. i prefer debates with good clash than 2 disparate topics. while i personally believe in debate pedagogy, i'll let you convince me it's elitist, marginalizing, broken, or racist. i wish i could adhere to a paradigmatic mantra like 'tech over truth.' but i've noticed that i lean towards truth in debates where both teams are reading lit from same branch of theory. my speaker point range is 27-30, above 28.1 being what i think is 'satisfactory' for your division. do not abuse the 2nr. kindly put me on the email chain, even if im just observing:

i think debaters should be able to defend why their departure from (Classic mode) Policy is preferable. however i don't enter the round believing plan texts are necessary for a topical discussion. i enjoy being swayed one way or the other debate to debate on k aff vs t/fw. overall, its an interesting direction students have taken Policy. i used to be a HUGE t & spec hack. nowadays, the they tend to get messy. so some flow organization is much appreciated: number your args, sign post through the line-by-line, slow down to give me a little pen time. i do not enter the round with an assumption of the necessity of plan texts. argument of T through analogy, metaphor, exclusion/inclusion is just as valid as a discussion of voters; i tend to vote on analysis with specificity and/or(?) creativity.

kritiks, etc.
i enjoy performance, original poetry, rap, singing, moments of sovereignty, etc. i find most "high theory" and critical identity politics literature & debates enjoyable. i dont mind how you choose to organize k speeches/overviews so long as there is some way you organize thoughts on my flow. 'long k overviews' can be (though rarely are) beautiful. i appreciate a developed analysis (more specific the better, analogies help a lot). i default to empiricism/historical analysis as competitive warranting unless you frame the debate otherwise. i understand that the time constraint of debate can prevent debaters from fully unpacking a kritik. if i am unfamiliar with the argument you are making, i will prioritize your explanation. i may also read your evidence and google-educate myself. this is a good thing and a bad thing, and i think its important you know that asterisk.

theory and ethics challenges
i have no way to fairly judge arguments that implicate your opponent's behavior before the round, unless i've witnessed it myself or you are able to provide objective evidence. debate is a competitive environment which means i take accusations with a degree of skepticism. i think the trend to turn debate into a kangaroo court, or use the ballot as a tool to ostracize members from the community speaks to the student/coach's tooling of authority at tournaments as well as the necessity for pain in their notion of justice. a really good podcast that speaks to this topic in detail is invisibilia: the callout.
regarding traditional theory args, whatever happened to presumption debates? i more often find theory compelling when contextualized to why there's a specific reason to object to the argument (e.g. why the way this specific perm operates is abusive/sets a bad precedent). as someone who used to go hard on theory pimps, i think there's an elegant way to trap someone. and it same stipulations apply- if you want me to vote for it, make sure i'm able to clearly hear and distinguish your subpoints.

i always enjoy creative, case specific PICs. i like hearing good story-weaving in the overview. impact analysis, a thorough perm debate also key. i do vote on theory - see above.

NOVICES: Congrats! you're slowly sinking into a strange yet fascinating vortex called policy debate. it will change your life, hopefully for the better. focus on the line by line and impact analysis. if you're confused, ask instead of apologize. this year is about exploring. i'm here to judge and help. :)

Louie Petit Paradigm

3 rounds

Debate is a game.   

My preference is debate centered around a plan focus style of debate.  This is not say that other debate styles should or do not exist, but it is to say, I prefer policy debates, and I enjoy judging policy debate rounds.  I will not immediately rule out or prohibit other styles of debate, but I want to be clear, my preference is debates about the plan and competitive policy alternatives. As a judge, an educator, and a debate coach, I can respect all styles of debate/arguments, but prefer certain ones as well.  My preference serves as a starting point to how I think about debate, but will not be used to exclude any style of debate.  


I lean heavily neg on counterplan theory questions.  Conditionally is generally good, but I think the format and speech times of parli debate begs the "generally good" question.

If both teams are silent on the question, my presumption will be that counterplans identified as “conditional” mean that status quo is always an option for the judge to consider, even if the counterplan is extended by the 2nr.  This presumption can easily be changed if debated by either side.

Counterplans which result in the affirmative, probably, not competitive.  I’ve written many of these counterplans, and voted on many of these counterplans many times, so do not think they are off limits 

The K

First, see above.

Second, If you are going for the K you best have well developed link args to the plan and alternative that is competitive. Explain what the alternative does and how it interacts with the AFF. 


All about competing interpretations and which interp is best for debate. 





Christina Phillips Paradigm

2 rounds


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

General Note

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

Paperless Rules

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

Major Notes

Topic familiarity

I am familiar with the topic (4 weeks of teaching at Michigan at Classic and involved in argument coaching at Notre Dame).


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

Ideal 2AR Structure

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

2NR's Make Choices

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

Evidence Quality/References

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

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


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


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


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


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


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

Aff Framework

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

Neg Framework

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


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

Classic Battle Defaults

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

Who is a Good Debater

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


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

Extra Notes CP/Perm/Alt Texts

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

Technical Focus

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

Resolve Arguments

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

Disrespect Bad

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

Fear to Engage Bad

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

Fun Stuff

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


Stephen Pipkin Paradigm

6 rounds

Glenbrook North

The role of my ballot is to vote for the team who does the better debating on whether a topical plan is better than the status quo or a competitive alternative. That means the aff has to defend a topical plan and the neg has to prove the plan is a bad idea or there's no risk the plan is a good idea. I will ignore any other framework or role of the ballot args.

Flow and respond to what the other team says. Tech over truth, tech over offense.

Slow down and explain more. Voting on what you said requires understanding both the actual words and the substance of the arguments you are making. Do things that make it easier for me to flow. Position yourself so I can hear you. Don't speak into your laptop or stand on the opposite side of the room. Don't read typed-out things like they are the text of a card. Slow down and change the intonation of your voice when you're speaking. Sign-post. Be clear when you are transitioning between cards and sheets. Give me time to switch sheets. Be explicit about what you're answering.

Other things that may differ from what you consider norms:

I'm in charge of timing.

Asking the other team questions counts as cross-x.

I stop flowing when the timer goes off.

You can't take less than 10 seconds of prep. Every time you restart prep, you're taking at least 10 seconds. The constant starting and stopping is getting excessive, get your stuff together.

Everything needs to be in one speech doc. Getting everything together in one speech doc is prep. I stop prep when you've sent the doc.

If you steal prep, I'll take a punitive amount of prep time from you. If you read one or two extra cards, sending it after the speech is fine. If it becomes excessive, I'll also take a punitive amount of prep time from you.

There's no situation in which I'll vote for death is good.

No reinserting highlighting

I don't pay attention to questions after cross-x time is up.

Ammar Plumber Paradigm

1 rounds

Debated for 5 years thus far.
The arguments I've gone for most are Politics DA, Terror DA, Framework, Security K

I'm fine with the K but am not well-versed in a lot of the deep K literature, so if you're gonna read Baudrillard or something, be careful because you might lose if I don't understand it.

Read a plan in front of me, or lose to framework. Or, better yet, strike me.

I will not vote for an argument that I don't understand or doesn't make intuitive sense to me. For example, if you say "words don't mean anything" if you're aff to beat framework, I will not vote on that argument even if it is dropped because of how nonsensical it is.

I will NOT vote on arbitrary voting issues. Don't go for ASPEC. No matter how it's debated, I won't vote neg. Even if debate is about what both sides said, I can't pretend to be an idiot and vote for it. If you're curious to know my reasons, email me.

Clarity is king--applies to text of evidence as well as tags.

Steve Pointer Paradigm

2 rounds

Updated Round 3 at St Mark's:

Please include undertheorized and warrantless blips about settler colonialism in my list of things I do not want to unpack for you. Needing to read whole articles to attempt to establish a connection that makes sense in my mind between the 6 words you said that constitute an "argument" seems like an unreasonable task. Please explain some stuff.

Put me on your email chains:

Note: If you ask me whether I want to be on the email chain, or for my email address, I will give your speaker points the same level of consideration and respect that you have given my judging philosophy.

Someone once described my judging philosophy very accurately as follows: "Pointer votes on 'The Stupid DA' - He really wants to vote against the team that is doing the dumbest stuff."

I haven't yet fully decided the most egregious way we've set ourselves up for failure with the arms sales topic. More thoughts forthcoming.

I've deleted most of the record of debates on the immigration topic from both my judging philosophy and (hopefully) my memory, but I'll leave this part of the rant up since I suspect it will be almost as true on this topic:

This topic has a terrible literature imbalance in favor of the aff in terms of disads. The fundamental problem is that while the aff gets to enjoy reading hypothetical and prescriptive claims about the world in their solvency contention, while the neg is limited to descriptive claims about the status quo in order to research link and uniqueness questions. Nobody would possibly write good link cards about things that would never happen outside the realm of fiat, so the neg is forced to rely on some spin to make their disads links seem like actual things. So I have a high degree of sympathy for negative teams that make link arguments based off of literature that interprets how particular actors would respond to hypothetical plans, provided they actually do the work to make that spin make sense. We've accepted doing this with worse evidence for the political capital DA for at least a decade, I'm not sure why we as a judging community are pretending like we don't want to do this during the Trump Administration.

A different rant - Debate is better when claims come from some form of evidence. This expanding trend of taking the K in the 2NC, not reading any cards (or 1-2 max) and asserting claims like "the state is always bad" and "humanism is always bad" is not really appealing to me. I don't start the debate with a predisposition to think those arguments are already decided, and I don't find your assertion persuasive. You need some evidence to back up those claims. That being said, I'm pretty open to alternative forms of evidence and will do my best to evaluate them, but there has to be something there.

I've been coaching debate for quite a while now, and I've coached teams that run just about everything. I've judged debates about most things as well, so the odds are that you won't be doing anything that I'm not somewhat familiar with. That being said, I find myself less willing than I used to be to unpack your buzzword-laden cryptic statements about continental philosophy or psychoanalytic concepts. If your strategy revolves around obfuscation or deferral, I am not the most sympathetic judge for you. If you are talking about Lacan, I have a higher burden of explanation than you are probably meeting. I also find rejection as an isolated concept to be a generally uncompelling alternative absent some development.

Debate is a game, but it is a game that needs to have some value. Therefore, any good debate practice should be both fair and educational, but the content of such education and the neutrality claims of procedural fairness become internal links, not terminal impacts, once contested. In other words, be able to defend the value of your model of debate, and you'll have a much better chance in front of me when the opponent offers a different model of debate.

Most of you would be better off slowing down, especially on tags and analytics and overviews. Seriously, most of you read them like they're cards, which just makes them unflowable. Typing time and mental processing time are real things that judges need. I know you are just flowing the speech doc, but please don't make me do that too. Be slow enough that you can be clear.

Now to the stuff you actually care about:

Can I read the K? Yes. But please have a better link than the state or civil society. The more germane you are to the topic, the better.

Can I read a K aff? Yes

Does that K aff have to be about the resolution? It should be. I've been persuaded that it doesn't matter in some debates, but I think a good minimal standard is that your aff should be about why arms sales are bad. Questions of process or implementation, or defending state action are generally up for debate.

Will you vote on framework/T against K affs? Yes. However, you probably need to make inroads against the aff's structural fairness claims about the world to have a shot. I am generally more persuaded by engagement/institutions arguments than fairness arguments, but have voted for both. I think the value of fairness in debate often begs a larger question about the value of the model of debate that particular claims to procedural fairness would preserve, and I'm open to hearing that debate.

Conditionality? It's good. Contradictory conditional advocacies, however, are probably not. Note that a K that links to the CP as well as the plan probably does not meet this threshold of being a contradiction in this sense. Your 3-4 counterplans in the 1NC are probably not complete arguments, and likely haven't made a solvency argument worth comparing to the case, so those might be better arguments than conditionality. Conditionality only allows you to jettison an advocacy statement and default to the status quo or another advocacy, not the series of truth claims made on a page.

Theory arguments? Be clear when you present them. Everything other than conditionality bad is probably a reason to reject the argument, not the team.

Judge kick? Not by default. If you make the argument and win it, sure I'll kick the CP for you. Otherwise, you made your choice and I won't default to giving you a second 2NR in my judging.

I like smart, strategic debate and quality evidence. I give pretty clear nonverbals when I can't understand you, either because of clarity or comprehension. I'm not above yelling clear if I have to. Policy teams, your highlighting is bad. K teams, your tags are unflowable.

Despite our best efforts to avoid it, sometimes clash accidentally occurs and a debate breaks out. Be prepared.

Colin Quinn Paradigm

6 rounds

Colin Quinn
University of North Texas

Highland Park High School (TX)

Please include me in email chains, thanks:

Framing how I should evaluate things is the most important thing to do. When that doesn't happen I have to intervene more and rely more on my predispositions rather than the arguments made.

Topicality: I like T debates. I think that for the neg to win a T debate there needs to be a well established competing interpretations framework and a good limits or ground argument. Affs need to have a reasonability argument paired with a decent we meet or counter-interpretation.

Counterplans: The neg needs to establish competition and a clear net benefit. I think i'm generally aff biased although they need to focus on what they can win (Most theory arguments are reasons to reject the argument except conditionality bad, I think most condition/consult-esque counterplans are legitimate but not competitive, etc).

Disadvantages: Impact calculus should be a priority. I do not think that there's always a risk of anything and can be persuaded that there's zero risk.

Kritiks: Impact framing arguments are the most important thing to win. They filter how I evaluate the rest of the debate in terms of deciding what is important to win and what isn't. I think that negatives need to make definite choices in the 2NR in terms of how to frame the K and what to focus on otherwise the aff is in a strategic place.

Affs: I think that framework is useful and can be won but I am sympathetic to affs that are topical without maybe defending a resolutional agent. I think a winning framework argument should be centered around a method that encourages the best discussion about the topic rather than just the government. When negs lose framework debates they fail to win links to the aff c/i or role of the ballot arguments. Topical version arguments are useful but negs need to remember to explain the reason they solve the affs offense; "you can still talk about x" often doesn't cut it. I think that affs that don't defend a plan need to focus on framing the ballot because that's how I will filter all of their arguments. I think that it is difficult for aff's to win framework debates without a we meet or counter-interp that can frame any other offense you have in the debate.

I may not know the very specific part of the topic/argument you are going for so make sure it's explained. I'm pretty visible in terms of reactions to certain arguments and it will be obvious if i'm confused as to what is going on.

Don't cheat.

Carla Ramazan Paradigm

6 rounds

Updated 9/7/2018

Hello! I'm Carla, and I debated policy for four years in high school for Sage Ridge School. I coached Greenhill sophomores for the 2017-2018 season, but as of now I am fairly out of the game. In other words, don't assume I know your arguments and explain them thoroughly.

Please add me to the email chain:

Above everything else in this philosophy, I believe that debaters must be humane to each other. I will not hesitate to vote against a team for using language that is racist/ableist/transphobic/sexist/homophobic/etc.

I'm not picky about a lot, but here is what you should know:

It is your burden to fully explain your argument to me. I do not think it is my responsibility to do the work for you/vote on something I do not understand.

Read what you want. This is your debate, not mine. I've defended affs with several nuclear war impacts, and I've also read affs with no plan text.

That being said, high-theory is not my area of expertise. I will listen to you, but you must explain your argument thoroughly in order for me to vote on it.

I am also probably not the best judge for very technical T debates. I think I am more sympathetic to reasonability arguments than most judges.

I was a 2N for four years, and this affects how I view rounds. I will protect the 2NR and think carefully about how much 2AR extrapolation is "fair" based off of what was in the 1AR.

I make decisions relatively quickly, or at least I try to. I find that the longer I wait and think about the round the more likely it is that my own biases will kick in and influence my decision.

If you are reading framework, remember that you are on the side of truth. So use it. Oh and I actually like to judge framework debates. A lot.

The best final rebuttals write my ballot out for me. Make "even if" statements. They are your friend.

I love K debate, but be specific when it comes to the link. Usually, the alt is the weakest part of the kritik. Please explain to me what your alt does.

Oh. One more thing. Debate can be hard, but in the end I believe that is has a unique, pedagogical value unlike that of any other activity. I understand that you all work hard and will reward charisma, good cross-ex questions, and bold choices with high speaks. Please be kind to each other. There's a difference between the witty, cross-ex sass that everyone likes and being an absolute jerk. Know the difference.

P.S. I never really cared about this, but if you are wondering about my experience, my senior year of high school I was frequently in elimination rounds of national tournaments and picked up some speaker awards along the way. I was also a two-time state champion in Nevada. That being said, I am not and will never be the smartest, fastest, or most technical debater, but I do promise to work hard as a judge and try to make the "best" decision possible.

Dana Randall Paradigm

5 rounds

My name is Dana Randall ( 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.

Chris Randall Paradigm

6 rounds

Debate for me first and foremost is an educational tool for the epistemological, social, and political growth of students. With that said, I believe to quote someone very close to me I believe that it is "educational malpractice" for adults and students connected to this activity to not read.

Argument specifics

T/ and framework are the same thing for me I will listen. I believe that affirmative teams should be at the very least tangentially connected to the topic and should be able to rigorously show that connection.

DA'S- Have a clear uniqueness story and flesh out the impact clearly

CP's- Must be clearly competitive with the aff and must have a clear solvency story, for the aff the permutation is your friend but you must be able to isolate a net-benefit

K- I am familiar with most of the k literature

CP'S, AND K'S- I am willing to listen and vote on all of these arguments feel free to run any of them do what you are good at

In the spirit of Shannon Sharpe on the sports show "Undisputed" and in the spirit of Director of Debate at both Stanford and Edgemont Brian Manuel theory of the TKO I want to say there are a few ways with me that can ensure that you get a hot dub (win), or a hot l (a loss).

First let me explain how to get a Hot L:

So first of all saying anything blatantly racist things ex. (none of these are exaggerations and have occurred in real life) "black people should go to jail, black death/racism has no impact, etc" anything like this will get you a HOT L


Next way to get a HOT L is if your argumentation is dies early in the debate like during the cx following your first speech ex. I judged an LD debate this year where following the 1nc the cx from the affirmative went as follows " AFF: you have read just two off NEG: YES AFF: OK onto your Disad your own evidence seems to indicate multiple other polices that should have triggered your impact so your disad seems to then have zero uniqueness do you agree with this assessment? Neg: yes Aff: OK onto your cp ALL of the procedures that the cp would put into place are happening in the squo so your cp is the squo NEG RESPONDS: YES In a case like this or something similar this would seem to be a HOT L I have isolated an extreme case in order to illustrate what I mean

Last way to the HOT L is if you have no knowledge of a key concept to your argument let me give a few examples

I judged a debate where a team read an aff about food stamps and you have no idea what an EBT card this can equal a HOT L, in a debate about the intersection between Islamaphobia and Anti-Blackness not knowing who Louis Farrakhan is, etc etc

I believe this gives a good clear idea of who I am as judge happy debating

Sukriti Rawal Paradigm

6 rounds

Emory '21

Edina '17


I'm down - but don't assume I'll vote neg just because you go for it. Have debated on both sides throughout my career.

Procedural fairness can be a thing if explained well.


I'm more familiar with traditional Ks (Neolib, Security, the works), identity-based Ks, and other structuralism Ks. But everyone should be explaining things anyways.


Love em.

Impact turns

Love em more.


Don't have preferences on theory. I want to see the neg defend super cheaty multiplank CPs that fiat out of all the aff internal links.

I'll judge kick if you say it in cross-ex or the 2NR.

Devon Reese Paradigm

4 rounds

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


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

-T: Substantial means many things; compare evidence and impact T like a DA.

-I have a hard time understanding teams that run Neolib/Cap with a Spending DA (?). This does not make a lot of sense to me and I can be persuaded to vote on the performative contradiction (distinct from condo).

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Have fun and be kind.

Chris Sardo Paradigm

6 rounds

To add me to the chain:

Rounds on the topic: 48

Tournaments Judged: Greenhill, Jack Howe Invitational, CSU Fullerton Invitational, Damus Hollywood Invitational, Glenbrooks, Arizona State HDSHC Invitational, Peninsula Invitational, UNLV

TL/DR: Run the arguments that you think will best show your skills as a debater. Argumentation isn’t just tallying dropped arguments, but engaging in comparative and contextualized analysis. Your warrants and evaluative criteria are the most important thing. I have a Ph.D. in political theory, so I'm probably familiar with your lit base, whether it's K or policy oriented.


I completed a PhD in political theory at Northwestern and now coach at Polytechnic School, where I judge 5+ TOC bid tournaments a year. Matt Liu (then Struth) taught me policy debate in High School, and I judged and coached occasionally throughout college. I was a 1A/2N, reading both big stick policy and soft left affs, and everything from Agent CP/Politics to 1 off Ks on Neg. In my other life, I teach and write on political theory, specifically on Nietzsche, critical theory, the Anthropocene, and political responsibility.

Stuff I care about (Judge philosophy):

My biases are much less on particular substantive arguments or styles and methods of debate, than on argumentation practices more broadly. I am equally comfortable judging a round with a non-traditional affirmative as a straight up policy round. I would much rather judge the debate that you want to have that plays to your argumentative strengths than watch a debate where you run arguments that you think I want to hear. Whether that’s a 1 off Deleuze K, a performance identity aff, a flex strat with 7 off, an agenda politics disad, or an all postmodernism round, I will evaluate the round based on the quality of the debating in round. I tend to think of debate as a game, albiet one with enormous pedagogic value.

While I think I’m fairly agnostic and open when it comes to argument substance and debate style, I tend to sound like a “cranky old man” when it comes to techniques and mechanics of argumentation. A couple of things you should know:

Comparative analysis: too many rounds lack comparative link and impact analysis. Simply repeating your link cards without doing the work to compare your evidence and/or analysis to your opponent’s and giving me multiple reasons why I should prefer your reasoning is not persuasive. Debate is not just about competing claims, or even competing evidence, but the warrants that that justify those claims.

Contextual evidence analysis: Just because you’ve read a card on it doesn’t mean that the argument is true. Just because the card is more recent doesn’t mean that it’s better. Contextualize and analyze the evidence in the round. More cards doesn’t mean better: I’m looking for the warrants of the evidence not just the assertions or conclusions of the author. If you highlight the card down to only the author’s thesis or conclusion without reading their justifications for reaching that conclusion, it’s just an argument from authority and is no different than if you just made that assertion. This also means that author’s qualifications and forum of publication matter. I reward debaters that really do the work on comparing the quality of evidence in the round

Flowing, listening, and organization: nothing will annoy me more than you spending significant portions of cross-x asking which evidence your opponent read. In some cases it is warranted, but in most cases the problem can be resolved by flowing. Don’t rely on speech docs and don’t assume I’m reading along (I’m not, I’m flowing what you actually communicate). If you don’t have a good flow, you’re going to miss round winning arguments and your speeches are going to get messy and you will not be able to develop as coherent and compelling arguments.

Ethos and Pathos: Good speakers aren’t just fast or clear, they speak with passion and emphasis. A speech is a performance and persuasion doesn’t just happen on the flow it happens through your rhetoric and your speech.

Tech v Truth: I tend to lean on the side of tech because you should have to develop the better arguments not just happen to be right on accident. That being said, I’m evaluating arguments not just looking for who dropped the argument. If you’re running arguments of a questionable veracity (conspiracy theories, Flat Earth, etc) or arguments that are demonstrably false and you should know better (i.e. the bill in your politics disad has already passed), your opponent doesn’t have to do a lot of work to persuade me that your argument is bad, regardless of the amount of ink on the flow.

Stuff you care about (specific issue biases):

Like I said, I’d rather hear the debate that you want to have. I prefer well-researched in depth substantive debates. These are just some issue biases, but I often find myself voting against them:

Affs: I personally think that affirmative should affirm the resolution, but I’ve become more open as to what affirming the resolution means. I love a clever and well-crafted affirmative (whether K or policy) that shows deep research into the topic.

Framework v K Affs: My personal biases tend to lean towards framework, since I think that in general – though not always – switch side debate is good and that most literature bases can be accessed by a topical action (more so on pomo than identity Affs). But I find myself often voting Aff in these rounds, because the framework debate gets too block reliant and is less responsive to the impact turns the Aff is making on framework. I tend to think that procedural fairness in itself is not an impact. Good TVAs can be quite persuasive to me, and I would rather have one clearly developed (and even carded) TVA than rattling off a bunch of them. I don’t think the TVA has to solve the aff, but has to a) access the literature base of the Aff and b)meet the framework interpretation. On the aff, you need more than just access to your literature, but some articulation of why that literature is a) necessary for debate and b)necessarily precludes a topical action.

T v policy Affs: I default to competing interpretations and evaluate standards like disad impacts. I tend to lean truth over tech a little bit here: just because you found a weird definition that excludes the aff and sets good limits for the resolution, doesn’t mean it’s the best, especially if it’s decontextualized or from a strange source. I do think your plan text is important, as it’s what provides the stable advocacy point around which I evaluate your action. Teams should be less afraid of going for T in the 2NR when they're ahead on the flow.

Case debate: I love a good case debate. Whether the neg strat is critical or policy, I think it’s hard for you to win without some ink on the case flow.

Disads: the link debate takes priority, the more specific you can contextualize the disad in terms of the affirmative the better. Impact calc isn’t just about outweighing, but providing the evaluative criteria for how you outweigh

Politics: Most politics cards are bad, but I like a clever politics scenario with a well developed internal link story.

Counterplan Theory: I lean neg on conditionality and agent counterplans, but lean aff on process counterplans (especially ones that involve multiple agents doing multiple conditional actions).

Counterplans: Counterplan texts are important (just like plan texts), and solvency advocates are important too. Case specific advantage counterplans or pics that show in depth research are some of my favorite arguments.

Perms v CPS: just because they perm doesn’t mean that they are severance or intrinsic. The aff should be able to test the competition of the CP; if it fails I don’t think it should be a reason to reject the team, but shows that the argument is competitive. I’d rather fewer well-explained perms than a bunch of blippy perms hoping that the neg drops one.

Ks: I think critiques are good for debate; forcing the affirmative to justify their method/reps/scholarship/speech act/ontopolitical assumptions is both good in general and good for debate. I would much rather hear specific link analysis that engages the specifics of the Aff advocacy and contextualizes the thesis of the K in terms of what the Aff is doing (whether their policy action or their ontological assumptions) than a vague pre-written overview that doesn’t connect to the aff. Even if the K is a really a K of debate or Fiat, I want to hear your criticism in terms of the Aff. As a political theorist, I’m fairly deep in the literature, so you should feel comfortable running just about any K in front of me. I’ll keep my own interpretive and hermeneutic biases out of my decision, but if it’s a blatent misinterpretation of the scholarship, I will let you know in my ballot. I also want to contextualize the alternative for me, whether it’s reject the aff, an advocacy statement, or some sort of ethical orientation. Tell me what it is that you are asking me to vote for.

Perms v Ks: I tend to think that most K perms are really variations on perm do both. I’d rather you just articulate why the alternative’s advocacy isn’t competitive with the AFF with one perm, rather than read a bunch of perms with no explanation and hope they drop one. I definitely give aff leeway on perm theory since most Alts don’t get fully articulated until the block. I don’t think Perm: do the Aff is a perm, or really an argument. It doesn’t test competition; just make the alt fails argument.

Framework v Ks: I don’t like framework arguments that are either pure defense “we get to weigh the aff’s impacts against the K” or frameworks that exclude Ks entirely from debate. In general I think framework is important on the K for both sides, as it provides the evaluative criteria by which I will make my decision. I think we all know that fiat is illusory, but it’s a question of how I should evaluate the competing speech acts in the debate, and why that method is the best (for whatever reasons you articulate).

Dennis Savill Paradigm

6 rounds

Current Coach of Crossings Christian School in Oklahoma since 2011. We have a 6th grade - 12th grade debate program and our varsity team debates on the national TOC circuit. I debated in high school under Martin Glendinning.

Things you need to know for prefs:

Kritiks: Oklahoma is very heavy with kritiks and non-topical affs so I am very familiar with them. I like kritiks and K affs and can vote for them.

Policy: I am familiar with policy debates and can judge those. My squad has a mix of K teams and policy teams so I am good with either.

Speed: I can handle any kind of speed as long as you are clear.

Theory/FW/T: Only if the team is blatantly non-topical will I consider voting neg or if the aff screws up. On FW heavy debates, I am not such a fan so if you are neg and hit a non-topical aff I will entertain FW but that shouldn't be your only offcase. I am a fan of seeing actual abuse in the round so you should run a generic DA to get the "no link" argument. Also, root causing with a K is a good strat for me.

Performance/non-traditional debate: Despite what some would think coming from a Christian school, I actually like these kinds of debates and have voted up many teams including LGBTQ affs and wipeout-type arguments.

I try to be a tab judge but I know I tend to vote on more technical prowess. I believe debate should be a fun and respectful activity and I try to have a good time judging the round. I think debaters are among the smartest students in the nation and I always find it a privilege to judge a round and give feedback.

I would like to be on the email chain:

Ben Schultz Paradigm

4 rounds

-- You should speak more slowly. You will debate better. I will understand your argument better. Judges who understand your argument with more clarity than your opponent's argument are likely to side with you.

-- You can't clip cards. This too is non-negotiable. If I catch it, I'll happily ring you up and spend the next hour of my life reading Cracked. If you're accusing a team of it, you need to be able to present me with a quality recording to review. Burden of Proof lies with the accusing team, "beyond a reasonable doubt" is my standard for conviction.

-- If I can't understand your argument -- either due to your lack of clarity or your argument's lack of coherence, I will not vote for it. The latter is often the downfall of most negative critiques.

-- One conditional advocacy + the squo is almost always safe. Two + the squo is usually safe. Any more and you're playing with fire.

-- I like to reward debaters who work hard, and I will work hard not to miss anything if I'm judging your debate. But I'm also a human being who is almost always tired because I have spent the last 12 years coaching if you seem like you don't care about the debate at hand, I am unlikely to try harder than you did.

- Anything else? Just ask....

Mike Shackelford Paradigm

2 rounds

Mike Shackelford
Head Coach of Rowland Hall

Do what you do best. I’m comfortable with all arguments. Practice what you preach and debate how you would teach. Strive to make it the best debate possible.

Key Preferences & Beliefs
Debate is a game.
Literature determines fairness.
It’s better to engage than exclude.
Critique is a verb.
Defense is undervalued.

Judging Style
I work hard to be objective.
I flow on my computer. If you want a copy of my flow, just ask.
I think CX is very important.
I reward self-awareness, clash, good research, humor, and bold decisions.
Add me to the email chain: mikeshackelford(at)rowlandhall(dot)org

Feel free to ask.

Want something more specific? More absurd?

Debate in front of me as if this was your 9 judge panel:

Ian Beier, Maggie Berthiaume, Daryl Burch, Yao Yao Chen, Malcom Gordon, Jyleesa Hampton, Nicholas Miller, Christina Philips, jon sharp

If both teams agree, I will adopt the philosophy and personally impersonate any of my former students:

Andrew Arsht, Madison Barker, David Bernstein, Madeline Brague, Julia Goldman, Emily Gordon, Elliot Kovnick, Jaden Lessnick, Will Matheson, James Steiner, Corinne Sugino, or Caitlin Walrath (these are the former debaters with paradigms... you can also throw it back to any of my old school students).

LD Paradigm

Most of what is above will apply here below in terms of my expectations and preferences. I spend most of my time at tournaments judging policy debate rounds, however I do teach LD and judge practice debates in class. I try to keep on top of the arguments and developments in LD and likely am familiar with your arguments to some extent.

Theory: I'm unlikely to vote here. Most theory debates aren't impacted well and often put out on the silliest of points and used as a way to avoid substantive discussion of the topic. It has a time and a place. That time and place is the rare instance where your opponent has done something that makes it literally impossible for you to win. I would strongly prefer you go for substance over theory. Speaker points will reflect this preference.

Speed: Clarity > Speed. That should be a no-brainer. That being said, I'm sure I can flow you at whatever speed you feel is appropriate to convey your arguments.

Disclosure: I think it's uniformly good for large and small schools. I think it makes debate better. If you feel you have done a particularly good job disclosing arguments (for example, full case citations, tags, parameters, changes) and you point that out during the round I will likely give you an extra half of a point if I agree.

Sam Shore Paradigm

6 rounds

Edited most recently in March 2018. I debated in high school at Greenhill School (2006) in Texas and debated in college at Michigan State (2010). I have been helping coach Greenhill since my graduation. A fair number of the assumptions that one would draw about me being affiliated with those institutions are probably true. In a given year, I will probably judge 60+ HS policy debates, ~5 HS LD debates, and under 5 college policy debates. There are a couple special notes at the bottom for the latter two groups.

Case Debates – Case debate is underutilized, there are few things that I am more impressed with than beating a team on their own aff. Although, too many teams gloss over the fact that there needs to be uniqueness for neg case turns.

Disads – Defensive arguments are important, and I am willing to assign zero risk of a disad if the affirmative has damning defensive arguments even if the affirmative lacks any offensive arguments. Negatives who rely on there always being a risk of a link will leave me unimpressed. That being said though, I often think that many times a lack of offense does result in a moderate probability of the disad.

CPs – I lean negative on most CP theory issues (more on theory below), although I’m not a fan of the consult cp. I also lean negative on legitimacy of the states CP. This does not mean that affs cannot win theory debates in front of me. Additionally I think some of the arguments that affs make as to why some counterplans are bad, tend to be much better when used as a reason why the permutation is legitimate. Negs should be sure to weigh what happens when there is a solvency deficit to the cp when making their impact calculus arguments. Conversely, affs need to have an impact to their solvency deficits.

Kritiks – Teams must articulate an impact to what happens if they win their framework arguments. I don’t think the negative must have an alternative but I find it hard for the neg to establish uniqueness for their links without one. Affirmatives need to find ways to leverage their aff against the implications of the kritik as well as making sure that they are still able to access their offense if they lose their framework arguments. Negs must also discuss why the aff in particular makes the squo worse. I’m certainly not well versed in much kritik literature so avoiding buzzwords and jargon can help my understanding. If you want me to vote on a kritik, it would benefit you to debate it very much like a CP/DA: turns the case, solves the case, xyz comes first, etc.

Topicality – I tend to view T debates in an offense/defense framework. Its all about competing interpretations, whomever creates the best world for debate should win, issues of abuse are not necessary but can be helpful. That being said, I’m also not a fan of the cult of limits, just going for your interpretation is more limiting will most likely lose to a broader interpretation that is more educational. Also, your K aff's impact turn of T does not amuse me – topicality is a voting issue.

Theory – I lean neg on most theory questions but this is not to be taken to mean that I like to hear your XYZ-Spec argument, your points will go down. Conditionality, or multiple conditional counterplans are both fine. The caveat to this is that I'm not sure if I'm a fan of conditional counterplans with half a dozen planks each independently conditional (ie 2nr could be planks 1-6, or 1-3, or 1&3, etc.). This doesn’t mean I won’t vote aff on theory though, whomever can make their trivial distinctions seem most important will probably win.

Non-traditional affs – I’ve debated at Greenhill and Michigan State, if that doesn’t provide some hint, I’ll break it down some more. The Aff should probably be topical, probably have a plan, and probably also have to defend the effects stemming from the hypothetical enactment of said plan - I've yet to be convinced by a reason as to why any of these things are bad.

General Notes: All of this being said – I will evaluate the arguments made in the round even if they are contrary to my beliefs, this is a guide of what I think and how I will default with a lack of argumentation. Evidence comparisons are important, Impact comparisons as well. There needs to be a decision calculus set up in the final rebuttals – i.e. you can still win the round even after admitting a solvency deficit to your CP. I do like being on the email chain of documents but will NEVER be reading the speech doc during the speech – you need to be clear. I’m only going to flow what the person who should be speaking says, if your partner yells out an argument during your speech, you have not made it.

College debate note: I will judge at one college tournament roughly every four years, this being said, please, please, please, assume I have next to ZERO topic knowledge (careful with acronyms too). I judge a ton of debates, just none on your topic.

Lincoln-Douglas debate notes: Well, you’ve read all of this which means two things: 1. I’m probably judging you. 2. Something has gone terribly awry for both of us. If possible, I’d basically prefer your LD debate to be policy-esque, I can obviously follow whatever but still have no idea what a criterion is. For some reason when I say this, people seem to think theory args are a good idea....most LD theory args seem to be asinine standards that the other team needs to follow…I will not vote on this, and will probably lower your speaker points. Also, if you intend to win due to a theory argument, you need a reason to reject the team – otherwise the obvious remedy is rejecting the argument.

Eric Short Paradigm

5 rounds please add me to an email chain.

previous coaching: Niles West (2016-present), Walter Payton (2014-2016), Wayzata (2009-2013), Moorhead (2007-2009), University of Minnesota (2011-2015, plus various tournaments since), Concordia College (2006-2009).

I generally judge 75+ debates on the high school topic.

updated September 2019

I'm updating my philosophy not because of a meaningful change in how I evaluate debates, but because I think the process of how I decide debates is more important than how I feel about individual arguments.

I judge debates in the way they are presented to me. This means you control the substance of the debate, not me. As such, the team that will win is the team that is best able to explain why their arguments are better than their opponent's arguments.

I start deciding a debate by determining if I need to read evidence. I often read very few cards at the end of a debate. In many debates, the quality of evidence, its qualifications and even warrants or conclusions go uncontested. I'm not the judge to reconstruct the debate for you. Then, I assign "risk" to the positions forwarded in the last rebuttals. The type of "risk" is determined by the debate--anywhere from "does the DA outweigh the aff" to "do the representations lead to a unique impact" to "does the performance actively resist forms of oppression". Link and impact analysis is therefore extremely important. You probably won’t like the decision if I decide what is most important.

Most of my topic research revolves around critiques. I have also worked at a summer institute almost every year since 2005. Chances are I am familiar with your literature base, no matter which side of the library it's housed in. However, you still need to explain your arguments for me to consider voting for them.

If you want me to consider the status quo as an option, you should tell me in the 2NR: I will not default for you. Outside of conditionality, I default to rejecting the argument, not the team unless instructed otherwise.

Note on decision times: the longer it takes to finish the debate, the less time I have to adjudicate, so it is in your best interest to be efficient.

Speaker points are influenced by a variety of factors. While I do not have a specific formula for integrating all the variables, your points are reflected by (in no particular order): argument choice, clarity, execution, participation in the debate, respect for others, strategy, and time management. I tend to reward debaters for specific strategies, humor, personality and speeches free of disposable arguments.

Bee Smale Paradigm

6 rounds

Bee Smale

They/Them pronouns

4 yrs - East Kentwood High School

4 yrs - Indiana University

Current - GTA @ Wayne State University, Argument Coach @ Little Rock Central

Yes on the email chain:

New Philo Pre Shirley 2018

Im seeing a lot more diverse debates and my thoughts on framework have also shifted so I have some new stuff to add. I'm becoming increasingly agnostic on content, so my comments here are mostly limited to strategy and form.

1) Do More Impact Calc - almost every decision I have given this year has started out with a suggestion for both teams to do more impact calc. Please.

2) Circumvention has been highly underutilized in front of me on both the College and High School Topic

3) Policy Aff Framework against the K should focus exclusively on substantive defenses of policy making - I do not find the "we get the aff because fairness and their alt is sad because we dont want to debate it" flavor of aff framework persuasive because you have guaranteed offense from the 1ac.

4) Policy framework on the neg - theory args like fairness or clash are fine on the neg and often necessary to establish offense. No guaranteed 1nc offense means fairness can become an impact

5) Slow down for theory - its in everyones philo, but I didn't really do theory debates (except framework) when I debated so I need a little more time to flow. Only condo is a reason to reject the team, everything else is a reason to reject the arg. I will judge kick by default, unless told not to at some point before the 2AR.

6) Organization - try to stick to flow order, makes flowing easier.

7) Zero risk is possible, but only if your defensive arg is terminal - probabilistic defense reduces risk but cant eliminate it.

8) K affs should question the claim that the rez is the locus of predictability for tournament research.

9) Framework is engagement, not policing. You K of framework should be about the substance of their arg not that they read framework against you. Note - this doesn't mean framework isn't violence/violent, just that I don't think its a literal performance of policing.

10) More specification is always better for your ethos then less

11) Authenticity testing is not fun and I don't want to judge it but do you.

12) Especially on the HS topic - do not ask people to disclose immigration status in a debate round. Its actually super dangerous at a material level especially in the current political climate


I will drop teams for misgendering people. If it happens in the 2ar, I will ask whoever was misgendered if they would like me to consider it in my decision. If I get misgendered, do not expect satisfactory speaker points or fair consideration. Gender dysphoria is a real think that actual makes it materially harder to function when it hits. Sorry?

Megan Smalley Paradigm

5 rounds

Debate experience: 4 years HS policy, 2 years HS PFD, 1 year college policy at UT Dallas, judge experience 4 years.

Topicality- I love T. Topicality is one of my favorite arguments. However, a lot of teams do things with topicality in which I don't think is strategic. To win T, you must win the interpretation, standards, and voters. Often, a team will focus on one section of T and try to win the argument. Similarly to winning the UQ on a da, it's not enough alone. If you want to go for T, go for T.

Framework- If there is a ROB/ROJ please extend it throughout the debate. Nothing is worse than having a team present one then not talk about it again until the 2AR/2NR.

K- k's are fine, but please be clear on terminology. There are several instances when a team will use a term that doesn't mean what they think it means. Reading philosophy is cool, understanding the philosophy wins debates.

Da- I'm not sure why any judge would have issues with Da's. I'm not a huge fan of politics, but if politics is your thing don't let this scare you away from it.

Cp- Cp's are fine. If you can solve the aff better by all means do it.

K/Performance Affs: For specific questions, ask. If this is your style of debate, then do it. On issues of "you have to be USFG" just tell me why you don't need to be. Although, I love T debates, they boil down to a question of which method/model is best for debate (where the bulk of my decision making takes place) so tell me why yours is better.

General housekeeping: open cx is cool, speed is okay. I will say "clear" if I can't understand you, and I will not be responsible for time keeping. Please don't shake my hand, I hate germs. If you have any questions, please feel free to ask.


Jordana Sternberg Paradigm

3 rounds

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

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.

Preston Stolte Paradigm

6 rounds

Affiliation: Winston Churchill HS
Years Judging: 8

******POLICY 2018: I did not work a camp this summer and thus do not have a deep knowledge of this topic, please don't assume I know all the acronyms/inner workings of the immigration system**********

borrowing this from Ben Crossan, if I have judged you in the past/if I judge you, feel free to fill out this form and I will post responses at the bottom.

TLDR version: no strong ideological debate dispositions, link/perm analysis is good, tech > truth, affs should probably be topical/in the direction of the topic but I'm less convinced of the need for instrumental defense of the USFG. Everything below is insight into how I view/adjudicate debates, its questionably useful and certainly malleable.

*If you are an LD debater, this should give you a good idea of how to debate in front of me. Feel free to ask more specific questions before the round.*

Do what you do well: I have no preference to any sort of specific types of arguments these days. Sure, some debates I may find more interesting than others, but honestly the most interesting rounds to judge are ones where teams are good at what they do and they strategically execute a well planned strategy.

This being said, if I am judging you in LD, here are a few things I've realized about myself that you should know: I find myself seeing most 'traditional/phil' strategies to be lacking in offense and largely ill explained; I think bad theory arguments are wildly unpersuasive and generally default to drop the arg; I think 'spikes' (especially when undisclosed) are not arguments and generally give the neg decent amount of leeway to make responses once they actually become warranted arguments.

-Truth v Tech: I find myself more frequently deciding close debates based on questions of truth/solid evidence rather than purely technical skills. Super tech-y teams probably should be paying attention to overviews/nebulous arguments when debating teams who like to use a big overview to answer lots of arguments. I still vote on technical concessions/drops but am frequently lenient to 2AR/2NR extrapolation of an argument made elsewhere on the flow answering a 'drop'. This also bleeds into policy v policy debates, as I get older I find myself much more willing to vote on probability/link analysis than magnitude/timeframe; taking claims of "policy discussions good" seriously also means we need to give probability of impacts/solvency more weight.

-Evidence v Spin: Ultimately good evidence trumps good spin. I will accept a debater’s spin until it is contested by the opposing team. I will call for evidence if said evidence is contested or if compared/contrasted to the oppositions evidence. If I do call for evidence I will first read it through the lens of the debater’s spin but if it is apparent that the evidence has been mis-characterized spin becomes largely irrelevant. This can be easily rectified by combining good evidence with good spin. I often find this to be the case with politics, internal link, and affirmative permutation evidence for kritiks, pointing this out gets you speaks.
That being said, there is ALWAYS a point in which reading more evidence should take a backseat to detailed analysis, I do not need to listen to you read 10 cards about political capital being low.

-Speed vs Clarity: I don't flow off the speech document, I don't even open them until either after the debate or if a particular piece of evidence is called into question. If I don't hear it/can't figure out the argument from the text of your cards, it probably won't make it to my flow. If I have never judged you or it is an early morning/late evening round you should probably start slower and speed up through the speech so I can get used to you speaking. When in doubt err on the side of clarity over speed. If you think things like theory or topicality will be options in the final rebuttals give me pen time so I am able to flow more than just the 'taglines' of your theory blocks. If I say clear it is because I cannot hear/flow you and you probably want me to have your arguments, if you hear me say clear and your opponent doesnt get more clear, I don't see any reason why you shouldn't be able to ask me before CX what arguments I did/did not get on my flow because I don't see why you should have to answer arguments that I didn't even have flowed. this seems to be a problem that is especially true in LD.

-Permutation/Link Analysis: this is becoming an increasingly important issue that I am noticing with kritik debates. I find that permutations that lack any discussion of what the world of the permutation would mean to be incredibly unpersuasive and you will have trouble winning a permutation unless the negative just concedes the perm. This does not mean that the 2AC needs an detailed permutation analysis but you should be able to explain your permutations if asked to in cross-x and there definitely should be analysis for whatever permutations make their way into the 1AR. Reading a slew of permutations with no explanation throughout the debate leaves the door wide open for the negative to justify strategic cross applications and the grouping of permutations since said grouping will still probably contain more analysis than the 1AR/2AR. That being said, well explained/specific permutations will earn you speaker points and often times the ballot. In the same way it benefits affirmatives to obtain alt/CP texts, it would behoove the negative to ask for permutation texts to prevent affirmatives shifting what the permutation means later in the debate.

The same goes for link/link-turn analysis I expect debaters to be able to explain the arguments that they are making beyond the taglines in their blocks. This ultimately means that on questions of permutations/links the team who is better explaining the warrants behind their argument will usually get more leeway than teams who spew multiple arguments but do not explain them.

Speaker points: average = 27.5, I generally adjust relative to the pool when considering how I rank speakers.
-Things that will earn you speaker points: being organized, confidence, well-placed humor, politeness, well executed strategies/arguments.
-Things that will lose you speaker points: arrogance, rudeness, humor at the expense of your opponent, stealing prep, pointless cross examination, running things you don’t understand, mumbling insults about myself or other judges who saw the round differently from you.

Argument-by-argument breakdown:

Topicality/Theory: I tend to lean towards a competing interpretations framework for evaluating T, this does not mean I won't vote on reasonability but I DO think you need to have an interpretation of what is 'reasonable' otherwise it just becomes another competing interp debate. Aff teams should try and have some offense on the T flow. I generally believe that affirmatives should try and be about the topic, this also applies to K affs, I think some of the best education in debate comes from learning to apply your favorite literature to the topic. This also means that I generally think that T is more strategic than FW when debating K affs. I've learned that I have a relatively high threshold for theory and that only goes up with "cheapshot" theory violations. Winning theory debates in front of me means picking a few solid arguments in the last rebuttal and doing some comparative analysis with the other teams arguments; a super tech-y condo 2AR where you go for 15 arguments is going to be a harder sell for me. Other default settings include: Topicality before theory, T before Aff impacts, T is probably not genocidal. These can be changed by a team making arguments, but in an effort for transparency, this is where my predispositions sit.

Kritiks: I have no problems with K's. Most of my debate experience has been involved in the critical side of debate, if this is the only reason you are going for the K in front of me - please don't.

I'm becoming more and more convinced that teams who read Ks more often than not don't know how to articulate links to the plan, but are pretty proficient at reading links to the status quo that someone has typed up into a block on their computer. The more I judge, the more I find myself voting aff in these debates on some combination of a permutation/no link debate absent the neg winning a significant framing question.

I've read a decent amount of critical literature, there is also LOTS that I haven't read, it would be wise to not make assumptions and take the time to explain your argument; in general you should always err towards better explanation in front of me. I also am getting tired of having to sift through unexplained cards after K v K rounds to find out where the actual tension is (you should be doing this work), as such I am becoming more comfortable with not caring that I may not have understood whatever argument you were trying to go for, that lack of understanding is 9/10 times the debater's fault. Feel free to ask before the round how much I know about whatever author you may be reading, I'm generally pretty honest. I generally think that critical debates are more effective when I feel like things are explained clearly and in an academic way, blippy extensions or lack of warrants/explanation often results in me voting affirmative on permutations, framing, etc.

CP: I have no problems with counterplans, run whatever you want. I think that most counterplans are legitimate however I am pre-dispositioned to think that CP's like steal the funding, delay, and other sketchy counterplans are more suspect to theory debates. I have no preference on the textual/functional competition debate. On CP theory make sure to give me some pen time. If you are reading a multi-plank counterplan you need to either slow down or spend time in the block explaining exactly what the cp does.

DA: I dont have much to say here, disads are fine just give me a clear story on whats going on.

Performance/Other: I'm fine with these debates, I think my best advice is probably for those trying to answer these strats since those reading them already generally know whats up. I am very persuaded by two things 1) affs need to be intersectional with the topic (if we're talking about Latin America your aff better be related to the conversation). 2) affirmatives need to be an affirmation of something, "affirming the negation of the resolution" is not what I mean by that either. These are not hard and fast rules but if you meet both of these things I will be less persuaded by framework/T arguments, if you do not meet these suggestions I will be much more persuaded by framework and topicality arguments. If you make a bunch of case arguments based on misreadings of their authors/theories I'm generally not super persuaded by these things

Survey Results:

If you had to give advice to a team who had this judge in the back of the room, what would you tell them?

--Do whatever you’re good at, he’ll be down for it.

--Read your normal arguments, but make sure you explain them correctly and are able to connect your arguments to the 2nr/2ar explanation.

--read what you feel comfortable explaining and is most strategic in your eyes

On a scale of 1-10 with 1 being the least similar and 10 being the most similar, rate how you thought the round went down matched up to this judge's assessment of the round based on the RFD




What was the quality of this judge's RFD?




What was the quality of this judge's post-round comments?




What areas of scholarship do you feel this judge is familiar with?

--I feel like he has a wide base of knowledge over a broad range of literature, which helps a lot in both Policy v Policy debates and Policy v K debates.

--Topic specific literature of policy affs/DA's and mostly familiar with the literature in the round

--Policy and Kritik

What areas of scholarship do you feel this judge is unfamiliar with?

--Maybe the pomo bs people have are reading (baudrillard, bataille, etc.)

--This was only for a specific post-round question, but the judge wasn't 100% sure about ontology cards to read when aff vs settler colonialism.

--LD Moral Frameworks/LD Analytic Philosophy debates

Do you have any additional comments?

--Very thorough and helpful RFD!


--Make sure to be explicit in not allowing judge intervention, ie "dont kick this for them"

Jason Sykes Paradigm

2 rounds


  • Debate Director @ Coppell High School (TX)
  • Outreach Coordinator @ UNT/UTD Mean Green Comet
  • Founded/Directed UNT Mean Green @ 15 years
  • Debated NDT/CEDA at North Texas ('02)
  • Please include me on the email chain: sykes.tx AT
  • I try to avoid speech docs during the debate. Clarity is important to me.


  • This document is only meant to provide insight to the process I use to make decisions unless directed otherwise.
  • I view all debate as comparison of competing frameworks.
  • I will attempt to minimize intervention in the evaluation of a) the selection of framework and b) the fulfillment of the framework's demands.
  • Everything is open to debate.


  • I believe the topic should provide debatable ground.
  • Consistent with my view of competing frameworks, there is no difference in my mind between "competing interpretations" and "abuse." Abuse is a standard for evaluating competing interpretations.
  • I am generally more interested in thinking about how substantive (literature-based) arguments interact than I am in determining who won a theory debate.


  • If the framework for evaluating the debate involves a disad, be aware that I generally determine the direction of uniqueness before the link, but these arguments together speak to the propensity for risk.
  • If forced by lack of comparison to use my own framework I will consider time frame, probability, and magnitude of your impacts as part of cost benefit analysis of endorsing the affirmative advocacy.


  • I have no strong predispositions related to counterplan types or theory.


  • The division in the community between "kritik people" and "policy people" frustrates me. We should constantly seek more effective arguments. Questions of an academic nature vary from method to application.
  • A working definition of "fiat" is "the ability to imagine, for the purposes of debate, the closest possible world to that of the advocacy."
  • I am admittedly more intrigued by the quality and complexity of critical research than 2-3 sentence politics cards.

Rebuttals/How to win

  • You should either win in your framework and show how it's preferable, or simply win in theirs. This applies to impact comparison as much as anything else.
  • I find that many debates I judge are heavily influenced by the quality, persuasiveness, and effectiveness of warranted explanation and comparison.

Wayne Tang Paradigm

4 rounds

Name Wayne Tang School - Northside College Prep, Preclusions- Maine East, IL

General Background:
Former HS debater in the stone ages (1980s) HS coach for over many years. I coach on the north shore of Chicago. I typically attend and judge around 15-18 tournaments a season and am sometimes placed (for whatever reason) in upper end rounds at national tournaments. However, I am not a professional teacher/debate coach, I am a patent attorney in my real (non-debate) life and thus do not learn anything about the topic (other than institutes are overpriced) over the summer. I like to think I make up for that by being a quick study, being forced to look at the files produced by my teams, and through coaching and judging past topics, knowing many recycled arguments.


Intelligent story telling with good evidence and analysis is something I like to hear. I generally will vote for teams that have better comparative impact analysis (i.e. they take into account their opponents’ arguments in their analysis). It is a hard road, but I think it is possible to reduce risk to zero or close enough to it based on defensive arguments.


I vote on T relatively frequently over the years. I believe it is the negative burden to establish the plan is not topical. Case lists and arguments on what various interpretations would allow/not allow are very important. I have found that the limits/predictability/ground debate has been more persuasive to me, although I will consider other standards debates. Obviously, it is also important how such standards operate once a team convinces me of their standard. I will also look at why T should be voting issue. I will not automatically vote negative if there is no counter-interpretation extended, although usually this is a pretty deep hole for the aff. to dig out of. For example, if the aff. has no counter-interpretation but the neg interpretation is proven to be unworkable i.e. no cases are topical then I would probably vote aff. As with most issues, in depth analysis and explanation on a few arguments will outweigh many 3 word tag lines.


Not a fan, but I have voted on them numerous times (despite what many in the high school community may believe). I will never be better than mediocre at evaluating these arguments because unlike law, politics, history and trashy novels, I don’t read philosophy for entertainment nor have any interest in it. Further (sorry to my past assistants who have chosen this as their academic career), I consider most of the writers in this field to be sorely needing both a dose of the real world (I was an engineer in undergrad, I guess I have been brainwashed in techno-strategic discourse/liking solutions that actually accomplish something) and a fundamentals of clear writing course. In order to win, the negative must establish a clear story about 1) what the K is; 2) how it links; 3) what the impact is at either the policy level or: 4) pre-fiat (to the extent it exists) outweighs policy arguments or other affirmative impacts. Don’t just assume I will vote to reject their evil discourse, advocacy, lack of ontology, support of biopolitics, etc. Without an explanation I will assume a K is a very bad non-unique Disad in the policy realm. As such it will probably receive very little weight if challenged by the aff. You must be able to distill long boring philosophical cards read at hyperspeed to an explanation that I can comprehend. I have no fear of saying I don’t understand what the heck you are saying and I will absolutely not vote for issues I don’t understand. (I don’t have to impress anyone with my intelligence or lack thereof and in any case am probably incapable of it) If you make me read said cards with no explanation, I will almost guarantee that I will not understand the five syllable (often foreign) philosophical words in the card and you will go down in flames. I do appreciate, if not require specific analysis on the link and impact to either the aff. plan, rhetoric, evidence or assumptions depending on what floats your boat. In other words, if you can make specific applications (in contrast to they use the state vote negative), or better yet, read specific critical evidence to the substance of the affirmative, I will be much more likely to vote for you.

Also not a fan, but I have voted on these arguments in the past. I am generally not highly preferred by teams that run such arguments, so I don't see enough of these types of debates to be an expert. However, I judge a number of Chicago Debate League tournaments where teams run these arguments and also for whatever reason, I get to judge some high level performance teams each year and thus have some background in such arguments from these rounds. I will try to evaluate the arguments in such rounds and will not hesitate to vote against framework arguments if the team advocating non-traditional debate wins sufficient warrants why I should reject the policy/topic framework. However, if a team engages the non-traditional positions, the team advocating such positions need to answer any such arguments in order to win. In other words, I will evaluate these debates like I try to evaluate any other issues, I will see what arguments clash and evaluate that clash, rewarding a team that can frame issues, compare and explain impacts. I have spent 20 plus years coaching a relatively resource deprived school trying to compete against very well resourced debate schools, so I am not unsympathetic to arguments based on inequities in policy debates. On the other hand I have also spent 20 plus years involved in non-debate activities and am not entirely convinced that the strategies urged by non-traditional debates work. Take both points for whatever you think they are worth in such debates.

Case specific CPs are preferable that integrate well (i.e. do not flatly contradict) with other negative positions. Clever wording of CPs to solve the Aff and use Aff solvency sources are also something I give the neg. credit for. It is an uphill battle for the Aff on theory unless the CP/strategy centered around the CP does something really abusive. The aff has the burden of telling me how a permutation proves the CP non-competitive.

POINTS – In varsity debate, I believe you have to minimally be able to clash with the other teams arguments, if you can’t do this, you won’t get over a 27.3. Anything between 28.6 and 29 means you are probably among the top 5% of debaters I have seen. I will check my points periodically against tournament averages and have adjusted upward in the past to stay within community norms. Unfortunately for you, I have judged a lot of the best high school debaters over the years and it is difficult to impress me. Michael Klinger, Stephen Weil, Ellis Allen and Stephanie Spies didn’t get 30s from me (and they were among my favorites of all time), so don’t feel bad if you don’t either.

I dislike evaluating theory debates but if you make me I will do it and complain a lot about it later. No real predispositions on theory other than I would prefer to avoid dealing with it.

Tag team is fine as long as you don’t start taking over cross-ex.

I do not count flashing time (or general tech screw ups) as prep time and quite frankly am not really a fascist about this kind of thing as some other judges, just don’t abuse my leniency on this.

Speed is fine (this is of course a danger sign because no one would admit that they can’t handle speed). If you are going too fast or are unclear, I will let you know. Ignore such warnings at your own peril, as with Kritiks, I am singularly unafraid to admit I didn’t get an answer and therefore will not vote on it.

I will read evidence if it is challenged by a team. Otherwise, if you say a piece of evidence says X and the other team doesn’t say anything, I probably won’t call for it and assume it says X. However, in the unfortunate (but fairly frequent) occurrence where both teams just read cards, I will call for cards and use my arbitrary and capricious analytical skills to piece together what I, in my semi-conscious (and probably apathetic) state, perceive is going on.

I generally will vote on anything that is set forth on the round. Don’t be deterred from going for an argument because I am laughing at it, reading the newspaper, checking on my laptop, throwing something at you, etc. Debate is a game and judges must often vote for arguments they find ludicrous, however, I can and will still make fun of the argument. I will, and have, voted on many arguments I think are squarely in the realm of idiocy i.e. [INSERT LETTER] spec, rights malthus, the quotations and acronyms counterplan (OK I didn’t vote on either, even I have my limits), scaler collapse (twice), death good (more than I would like to admit), Sun-Ra, world government, etc. (the likelihood of winning such arguments, however, is a separate matter).

I will not hesitate to vote against teams and award zero points for socially unacceptable behavior i.e. evidence fabrication, threats of violence, racist or sexist slurs etc., thankfully I have only been faced with such issues twice in my 25 + years of judging.

Michelle Thomas Paradigm

2 rounds

names michelle. Asst coach at gmu, previously binghamton for 2 years. debated for 5 years at mason

fyi, im a trash person and am probably running late so please have the email chain ready. i will cut into ur prep if i determine ur using excessive time to email docs. my email is

Do whatever you do best. I debated on both sides of the clash so I’ll hear just about any arg as long as it’s well warranted and you make it interesting. That said, I do have a few opinions. I have voted against these opinions tho so don’t think they’re set in stone. i still dont really know how to write a paradigm yet so hope this helps.

FW - fairness is probably just an internal link. i am not compelled if ur tva isnt actually responsive to the aff. even if ur going for fw, u still need to answer the aff.

for answering fw - if youre a team that does nothing in the 1ac and all of ur offense is based on just impact turning whatever the 1nc said, im probably not the judge for u. i like affs that defend things. i need a v clear explanation of wut ur interp is and wut it actually means in a competitive sense; debate is a pretty cool activity and if ur interp is just 'fuck debate' ill be sad.

t - default to competing interps. Unlike fw, I think fairness is an impact to t - if you’re reading a plan text, it should probably be topical. this topic is already galactic in size (heh) so im willing to take a stand.

disads - i think there can be zero risk of a link. if a k aff gives u a disad link, why arent you going for the disad against them?

Counterplans - condo is good up to about 3 conditional worlds. conditional planks are like never ok. 1nr counterplans r trash (the 1nr isnt a constructive and i will fight u).

case debate - dear god please #bringbackcasedebate I LOVE good impact turn debates and will reward you for going all in. seriously, give me ur best heg good or warming good speeches. first strike china. go for cap good against k teams. have fun! I’m slightly more likely to pull the trigger on presumption than a fair amount of other judges

K - I prefer specificity in the link story, but who doesn’t. i need a clear explanation of what my ballot does - this requires a decent level of framework debating.

some odds and ends -

im typically a big picture thinker, so meta level questions and framing args are critical to instructing my ballot.

if im in a straight up policy db8, i dont get these too terribly often, so id recommend not making it too big - id prefer depth over breadth. i do have some topic knowledge tho for a mostly k coach so i generally should not have too much trouble following along.

ive found im a pretty expressive judge, and if i am confused or cant understand u my face will make that clear.

That’s about it. Have fun, be clear, be clever. Don’t say fucked up shit.


the queen bee of db8 polls, becca steiner, also came up with some fun db8 polls so ill include my answers here

1. In roughly 6 days, 344 debaters (172 partnerships) from college debate programs in 26 different states across 3 divisions will begin an adventure that will forever change their lives… the season opener at GSU and a new year of college policy debate. In a debate featuring two teams of comparable skill, do you sense that Framework is still a winnable argument in 2018-2019?

- Yes

- Fairness 4 whom cmon judge

2. If you’re having trouble researching for a topic DA, you are not alone according to David Cram Helwich and Justin Green. While you keep looking, does uniqueness control the direction of the link? Does link direction control uniqueness?

- All about the UQ

- Link controls cmon judge

3. Each debater should be assigned speaker points on a .1 scale with no ties between debaters.

- Obvi dot gov

- Allow ties, cmon judge!

4. Should the National Debate Tournament committee revise its rules regarding hybrid participation at the NDT? O:-)

- Time 4 change

- No hybrids cmon judge

5. You (the judge) are watching a 1nc this year at the season opener and the neg reads the Executive Self Restraint CP (The executive should restrict itself in a sub-area of the topic). As the 1nc is occurring, do you have any gut leanings regarding the theoretical legitimacy of the counter plan?

- Hella cheating

- Core ground, cmon judge!

6. Does file sharing (ex. speech documents) during debates enable more effective judging? Dr. Eric Morris has some thoughts. What about y'all?

- Ya

- lol nah, cmon judge

7. Folks at the amazing Jayhawk Debate Institute run by Kansas Debate were wondering: "Is there ever a world in which presumption stays negative even when the 2NR goes for a CP?"

- Ya

- No! cmon judge

8. You (the judge) are watching a 2ar going for a global warming impact. Existential risk, extinction first, try or die - Have these impact framing arguments run their course? Asking for a friend whose name rhymes with Pollen Fork. Feel free to make a case for either retaining these lenses, modifying them, or throwing them out altogether in favor of something new.

- New framing args needed

- Bostorm 2 cmon judge

9. If the negative team wins a DA to the aff but you (the judge) determine the CP the 2nr went for doesn’t solve the case, is it acceptable if you (as the judge) kick the CP for them and decide the negative wins the debate on the DA alone?

- meh sure

- no! cmon judge!

10. Alright u̶p̶p̶e̶r̶ ̶e̶a̶s̶t̶ ̶s̶i̶d̶e̶r̶s̶, current paperless debaters and coaches: People have different visions of competition and "competitive game spirit." Deleting tags from the navigation pane is…

- For cowards

- alright with me cmon judge

11. When evaluating or cutting evidence: Should we (debate coaches, critics, and educators) count the qualifications of an author at the time they wrote the article, or their present-day qualifications? Asking for a friend whose name rhymes with Bryan Callaway.

- publish date quals

- current quals cmon judge

12. Is it okay to “insert” (not read) a re-highlighting of the other teams’ evidence into the debate?

- sure

- read it aloud cmon judge!

13. Good luck to those prepping to compete at NSDA Nationals later this week. As you are in debate mode prepping, help us settle a debate at the ENDI: Should the aff be allowed to impact turn and link turn the same position in a debate?

- sure

- no cmon judge

14. New summer, new kids to teach at the Emory National Debate Institute ! As I settle in to the dorms, here is an oldie but a goodie to ponder: Does the aff need to have a counter interpretation on T in order to win that they are "reasonable" ?

- yes

- nah cmon judge

15. You’re judging a policy debate. The 2ac is giving their road map. One of the off-case positions in the 1nc is not in the 2ac roadmap. Is it appropriate for you, as the judge, to intervene and ask the 2a about it? Perhaps to directly ask “what about the courts counterplan?” Or to ask them to re-give the order, in case it was just a mistake? Or should you wait and see what happens?

- im willing to intervene

- zip it, cmon judge!

16. Many colleges/universities have sports rivalries. Can you think of a current or historic debate program that your college/university was/is rivals with?

- not really

- of course, cmon judge!

17. When it comes to college policy debate tournaments over winter break, I would prefer 1. A more traditional “swing” with 2 separate tournaments or 2. 1 tournament only but with more preliminary rounds than the average tournament

- swing, swing

- more prelims, cmon judge!

18. As a debater, coach, judge, or scout, I would rather see policy debate tournaments operate with

- traditional cx and prep

- alt us time, cmon judge

19. “You must judge 12 debates this season prior to the NDT or you are a free strike” is

- too fast, too furious

- p reasonable, cmon judge

20. In 2012, the "going rate" to sell/hire 1 college policy debate was $25-30. In 2018, this rate went up to around $35-40 per debate. (Of course, certain tournaments may offer more such as the NDT). Overall, I think this amount of money is..

- reasonably good

- too little, cmon judge

21. On balance, college policy debate tournaments provide adequate (enough for all veg attendees, tasty) vegetarian and vegan options.

- lol, nah

- good enough, cmon judge

22. Many resolutions are “list topics” such as the 2018-2019 college policy topic which (in short) includes nukes, trade, treaties, deference, surveillance.

Imagine a hypothetical new season with a “list topic” as well. There is no novice packet. In lieu of that, would you support a fall novice tournament/s where the novice division would agree to debate only 1 of the “list” areas? For example, novices at this year’s GSU perhaps could have debated only the nukes area.

- sure

- packet or bust, cmon judge

23. On balance, I (a debater, judge, or coach) see more benefits to side equalization in elimination debates than harm.

*side equalization assigns sides based on seeds rather than using coin flips.

- let my ppl flip

- side equalization, cmon judge

24. A non-USFG resolutional actor could sustain an entire season’s worth of college policy debates.

- usfg or bust

- time 4 change, cmon judge

24. Speaker points accurately reflect debater performance in a given debate.

- speaker points r broken

- agreed, cmon judge

25. To apply for a first round at large bid to the National Debate Tournament (NDT) a team must have competed at at least 1 regional tournament.

- ya, regional db8 is good

- too taxing, cmon judge

26. It is acceptable if the negative team reads arguments that contradict each other in the 1nc.

- negation theory bb

- no perf con, cmon judge

27. Are disadvantages and other arguments that you are not bound to "conditional," or is that term exclusively reserved for conditional "worlds" like the Kritik or a counterplan/s? Asking for a friend - Craig Hennigan

- all args are condo

- only cps and ks r cmon judge

28. Maintaining brackets is educationally sound.

*The term “breaking brackets” refers to the practice of
re-seeding the elimination pairings to prevent competitors from the same school from debating. see more:…/rost…/luong-maintintegrityFeb99.pdf

- agreed

- break brackets, cmon judge


Prelims are over. Overall, I see more benefit than harm in making 75% of the judging pool roughly equally “get-able” and essentially striking the other 25%.

- eh

-save db8, cmon judge!

30. Any prior affirmative case on this sub-area of the topic means this other one you're about to read can't be disclosed as "new"

- agreed

- too limiting, cmon judge

Hayden Uihlein Paradigm

3 rounds

Plz email chain me: hayden.uihlein [at]

DoF @ Edina. Work w/ U of Minnesota sometimes. MDAW & SDI.
Rounds judged 18-19: ~85


I guess I'm a lifer now. That's a strange thought. I'm not picky and I don't think there's anything too out there about how I view debate. I will do my best to flow as much of the debate as possible. I'm faster on paper than on a computer.

At this point, I don't really hold my framework against debaters. There's nothing that "I'm expecting to see" and I don't consider my paradigm to be more important than the coaching that you're following telling you to debate a specific way.


Quick thoughts:

I used to like Ks a lot more than I do now.

Debate is bad for mental health.

If it's done in a debate round, it's to win the round.

Good strategy > good cards.

Prefer engagement to reject the team.

Most args are stale.

Look up once in a while.

Please challenge i/l chains.


I diligently monitor my speaker point awarding after tournaments and usually find myself in the middle of point allocation. Here are what my points mean:

27.5-28.2: This wasn't great to maybe I'm being nice
28.3-28.6: I thought you were off to it was alright
28.7-28.9: If you do a little better you should break
29-29.3: You should break, that was good to dang.
29.4-29.8: Is a damn fine speech or two to just wow.
29.9-30: I will never return to the temporal instance of your speeches and that makes me sad.

Garrett Vande Kamp Paradigm

6 rounds

"The basic rule I try to abide by is that I can be persuaded to vote on any argument, and that teams are best left to “doing their own thing” in front of me. I have several pre-dispositions and biases, but generally teams are best left to trying to execute the strategies they are most comfortable with and modify them to my expectations and standards, rather than start wholesale." - Ryan Galloway

My name is Garrett, and I am a former varsity debater at Airline High School and Samford University. I have judged two TOC bid rounds in policy, but that was a few years ago. When I was a debater, I mainly used policy arguments, theory, and kritiks, with some framework when I was negative. I left the community to pursue a PhD in political science, and I only come back when I'm asked to volunteer to judge some rounds. I've judged plenty more rounds than my Tabroom page would indicate, but that was before every decision was uploaded to the internet. My role model for judging is Ryan Galloway, a well-respected member of the NDT community, and I share his views that debaters should generally execute their favorite strategies for me. Full disclosure is good, however, and deep down inside I do have my own nuances for judging that are stated here. This philosophy is designed to introduce you to the ideals/biases about how debate should work.

Policy Affirmatives/Disads/Counterplans:
I love to hear intense battles on these issues. I'm not familiar with the acronyms developed for the current topic, so make the first constructive tags clear. But I won't be lost on your impact calculus debates, and I love debaters who make nuanced, effective arguments on all of the policy positions.

I have grown to love kritiks. I especially love kritiks specific to the topic. I will admit, however, I still do not understand some criticisms, like Lacan, so your explanations of theoretical underpinnings of your criticism need to be crystal clear. I do know how you lose to a K, however, so you shouldn't fear. I don't have a preordained stance on reps in round or the role of the ballot, so you are going to have to sell well for me not to evaluate the plans' implications.

Many (though certainly not all) good K's attack the opponent on a number of grounds, including their epistemology, ethics, and the role of the ballot. But while these are good arguments to make, I cannot stress enough that good debaters will explain how they indict their opponents arguments. For an example, I recently judged a round where a team kept saying that "Western knowledge production was flawed". I was intrigued, but ultimately did not find such arguments persuasive because they did not explain what part of their opponents knowledge was flawed (and the Affirmative's explanation of their reasoning seemed sound). This specificity is necessary for me to vote on such arguments.

I've noticed lately that some K debaters are getting really good at the hard parts of debate (the link flow) but struggling to have the same quality on the easy parts (the impact debate). I consider all arguments in debate important, even inherency on the Aff and Impacts on the Neg K, and I will vote a team down for not clearly articulating why a particular school of thought is good/bad. Links don't matter if there's no impact, ya dig?

I tend to lean reasonability for the aff. I will pull the trigger on T if you can prove abuse (they spiked out of our disad) or provide nuanced definitions for terms unique to the current resolution. It will often be difficult to win T, however, if you spend only a minute or two on it in the block/2NR.

I encourage theory debates on specific arguments that you really believe are abusive. Likewise, I can recognize timesucks and don't think they contribute much to the intellectual merit of the round. I tend to lean towards conditions, consult, and policy-specific PIC's are bad, but the Aff's execution of theory debate must be higher than what I've seen from high-schoolers (my former self included). 1 conditional argument probably isn't bad, and 4 conditional arguments probably isn't good, but the better debaters on theory can win on rather sketchy theory claims.

I'm willing to listen to your personal stories, but I would do a disservice to everyone if I did not mention that I have reservations about personalizing debate. We run into some serious risks of race-to-the-bottom in terms of oppression stories when we personalize debate, and there is a chance that such strategies will be hijacked by the privileged when we allow them.

I have strong concerns about fairness when the Affirmative refuses to defend the topic (with the implicit argument in my mind that a violation of fairness is disrespectful/dehumanizes opponents). If you are on neg, however, do whatever you want; your mission is to negate the affirmative by any means necessary.

I think that switch-side debate that is predictable and accessible to both teams is the best form of education.
I don't think a single debate can change anything structurally in the debate community.
I think change in the community best happens from building alliances, not divisiveness.

Cameron Vaziri Paradigm

6 rounds

Debate Coach - Hebron High School 2015 - Present

Sure, I'll be on the email chain:


I'm extremely tired of framework v. K debates. I get why it happens but please...

If the teams aren't an actual clash of civilizations then please just let me have a K v. K round.

I don't mind what arguments are made in a round, there is almost no argument that I can see myself just not voting for. I will evaluate the arguments as they are ran, which means that explanation and analysis are more important than number. I have experience with policy, critical, theoretical, and stupid debate arguments and, as such, am willing to hear any of these. To win a round, all I think that can/needs to be done is for the team to explain their arguments, do the impact work, and be strategic (both in how their arguments interact and where the team's focus should be). A team that does this will have told me what to vote on and why (this should be the top of your 2NR/2AR).

A few notes:

1. Don't assume I know what your acronym means.

2. I'm fine with speed, I'll tell you if you are going too fast or are unclear.

3. Understanding your arguments is the key to a good debater. Don't run arguments you don't know. Misapplying an author annoys me. There is room for interpreting and using an author but there's a limit past which your evidence is no longer relevant.

4. Quality matters. Quantity is almost entirely irrelevant to good debate.

5. I don't care about the "community consensus." Your argument is acceptable and winnable based off of how effectively you utilize it.

6. Kritik probably should be spelled Critique except on flows where writing "K" is easier.


I am probably more willing to vote on topicality than most judges are now.

The best topicality debates and the ones I'm likely to vote on are those that have a depth of theoretical understanding. Nuances such as textual versus functional violations and how those specifically link to standards or the relationships between the various standards (limits key to ground or predictability outweighs) are key to a good topicality/theory debates that can devastate opponents.

I don't take "reasonability" to mean reasonably topical. I don't know what it means to be "reasonably" topical when there is a violation. "Reasonability" is a response to "Competing Interpretations," namely it is a framework for evaluating topicality and differing readings of the resolution. Thus, "Reasonability" is supposed to legitimize your reading of the resolution or your "Counter-Interpretation." Was the counter-interpretation a reasonable reading of the resolution? Does the counter-interpretation provide a reasonable expectation of debatability? If so, then under a "Reasonability" framework you will win your topicality violation. Only in this way does "Reasonability" solve the arguments against "Competing Interpretations" such as "Race to the Bottom" arguments.

If you wish to critique topicality, go ahead. However, explanation as to why this comes before the violation is required, do not assume it is a given. Also, a critique of topicality is a critique, as a result, it is not simply another analytical response that is used to counter a time-suck. If you want to critique topicality, then critique topicality. I will evaluate critiques of topicality as I would a critique, thus look below.


I evaluate theory similar to topicality. Having an interpretation of what is legitimate and justifying it via standards is better than just a 10 second spew of random claims to biases. I understand the utility of theory arguments as time-sucks, however, 10 seconds is probably not enough to leave that option open for later in the debate. Either way, I will initially evaluate theory arguments as a reason to reject arguments unless told to otherwise and provided a reason. Every theory argument can be made into offense except Aff/Neg Bias claims, doing so will show you take the argument seriously.


I evaluate disadvantages under an offense-defense framework. I interpret this to mean that defensive arguments primarily serve to effect the impact calculus rather than directly take-out the Disad. For example, no link claims can mitigate the probability of the 1AC triggering the DA's impacts meaning the case outweighs the DA.

I tend to err towards a risk of the DA rather than 100% defense takeouts so make sure you make impact calculus comparisons if you only have defense in the last speech that account for the mitigating defense arguments. However, "Fiat Solves the Link" and "Process" (i.e. congress links to a courts Aff) defense are obviously 100% takeouts.


I like debates involving very specific PICS and/or very unusual mechanisms. I don't think that a solvency deficit means that the counterplan is nullified, just that the 1AC's advantages are now risks of a DA to the CP so it would come down to impact calculus (see above). Permutations require more response than simply theory. If theory seems like your best/only way out on a permutation then don't make it a small argument (see above).

Critiques or Kritiks:

This is probably what I am most adept to judge because of my academic work. I prefer and am more experienced with "high theory" arguments than identity ones. I expect critique debates to focus on elucidation rather than the number of cards or arguments ran. Your understanding of the argument is essential to a critical debate. As such, I think critique debates that use less cards and focus more on elucidating the position are superior. I think that most critique literature is rich enough that any critique can find good enough evidence to merit not reading much more, if any, after the initial presentation and still be able to draw offense against the other team's responses. In short, card dumping on a critique is the opposite of efficient, smart, and strategic. Put another way, if you can explain a specific link story that ties back to the logic of your generic link evidence then you have a specific link.

I understand critiques as Foucault describes them, "a critique is not a matter of saying that things are not right as they are. It is a matter of pointing out on what kinds of assumptions, what kinds of familiar, unchallenged, unconsidered modes of thought the practices we accept rest.... Criticism is a matter of flushing out that thought and trying to change it: to show that things are not as self-evident as one believes, to see that what is accepted as self-evident will no longer be accepted as such." However, that is not to say critiques attempting to do something else are illegitimate. This is just how I will understand your argument until told differently.

You do not win a critique because of your sweet jargon. Know what you're talking about.

I'm not inherently against a project team. However, I am against teams that make the argument that their opponents are inherently racist/sexist/ableist/heteronormative, etc. the moment they walk into the room.


This is what I judge most it seems and I'm just bored of it now. I evaluate the theory parts of framework as I would a topicality or theory argument meaning that you should read what I wrote above. Some notes:

TVA's should at least be viable as strategies to access the education claims that would come from having the topical debate. (I need to believe that there may be some form of solvency mechanism.)

Fairness as a voter is something I may view differently than most K-oriented judges. I think of fairness as a sort of morality claim, you harmed my ability to participate because your crazy K stuff is unpredictable or whatever and that's exclusionary. That can be weighed against the morality claims about good education, ethical subject formation, debate bad, or whatever. However, it most often doesn't single-handedly outweigh as the K team probably has a bunch of impact cards for their education claims.

This may date me a bit but I do think there are jurisdictional arguments that can be made to combat this. This may be a bit more of how policy teams tend to think of fairness now anyway but I tend to consider them separate as this is more of a Role of the Judge/Ballot argument. I don't think it's inherently problematic to say that I, as a judge, have to ensure that a debate is legitimate or viable before I fulfill whatever Role of the Judge the K team says I must fulfill (after all I can vote on alt theory that many K teams don't even critique). However, your framework arguments need to connect to this procedural voting mechanism (i.e. ground arguments apply but advocacy skills probably aren't a procedural issue). K teams need to critique the idea of a procedure or a gatekeeper that comes before ethics.

I say all this because when teams get on the fairness debate, I am sometimes forced into making assumptions about the relationship between these arguments because teams don't explain their internal link connections well. For example, when you are talking about debatability, I'm probably thinking jurisdiction claims. Or when you're talking about advocacy skills I'm thinking of fairness as an internal link to education. If you don't want me to make these assumptions then fill-in-the-blanks for me and explain which arguments are internal links and which are impacts and why.

Please make sure that you clearly explain your interpretation or counter-interpretation and repeat it throughout the debate when necessary. I think that too often teams assume the judge is clear on the nuances that their interpretations provide and how they avoid some bit of offense or something and I'm sitting in the back wondering how you expect me to type out 10-15 words verbatim without paraphrasing when you have already moved onto another analytic.

Any questions, feel free to ask or email the address above.

Good Luck!

Lauren Velazquez Paradigm

6 rounds

Name : Lauren Velazquez

Affiliated School: Niles North


General Background:
I debated competitively in high school in the 1990s for Maine East. I participated on the national circuit where counterplans and theory were common.

I debated for one year in college at DePaul University.

After college, I coached and supported several teams in Chicago. I ran the debate program at Juarez High School for 4 years (also teaching a debate class in addition to my other classes). My teams were competitive in the Chicago debate league and frequently qualified for elimination rounds and speaker awards.

After leaving classroom teaching, I continued to work with teams and judge for the Chicago Debate League on an Ad Hoc basis for 2 years.

Recently I have stepped back into national circuit debate through helping teams first at Solorio HS then at OPRF in the Chicagoland area.

I now run the policy team at Niles North in skokie where we compete in national tournaments and I work with and am familiar with current arguments including critical affs, framework arguments etc.

When deciding to vote on disadvantages and affirmative advantages, I look for a combination of good story telling and evidence analysis. Strong teams are teams that frame impact calculations for me in their rebuttals (e.g. how do I decide between preventing a war or promoting human rights?). I should hear from teams how their internal links work and how their evidence and analysis refute indictments from their opponents. Affirmatives should have offense against disads (and Negs have offense against case). It is rare, in my mind, for a solvency argument or "non unique" argument to do enough damage to make the case/disad go away completely, at best, relying only on defensive arguments will diminish impacts and risks, but t is up to the teams to conduct a risk analysis telling me how to weigh risk of one scenario versus another.


I will vote on topicality if it is given time (more than 15 seconds in the 2NR) in the debate and the negative team is able to articulate the value of topicality as a debate “rule” and demonstrate that the affirmative has violated a clear and reasonable framework set by the negative. If the affirmative offers a counter interpretation, I will need someone to explain to me why their standards and definitions are best. Providing cases that meet your framework is always a good idea. I find the limits debate to be the crux generally of why I would vote for or against T so if you are neg you 100% should be articulating the limits implications of your interpretation.

Over the years, I have heard and voted on Kritiks, but I do offer a few honest caveats:

I read newspapers daily so I feel confident in my knowledge around global events. I do not regularly read philosopy or theory papers, there is a chance that I am unfamiliar with your argument or the underlying paradigms. I do believe that Kritik evidence is inherently dense and should be read a tad slower and have accompanying argument overviews in negative block. Impact analysis is vital. What is the role of the ballot? How do I evaluate things like discourse against policy implications (DAs etc)

Also, I’m going to need you to go a tad slower if you are busting out a new kritik, as it does take time to process philosophical writings.

If you are doing something that kritiks the overall debate round framework (like being an Aff who doesnt have a plan text), make sure you explain to me the purpose of your framework and why it is competively fair and educationally valuable.

I am generally a fan of CPs as a neg strategy. I will vote for counterplans but I am open to theory arguments from the affirmative (PICs bad etc). Counterplans are most persuasive to me when the negative is able to clearly explain the net benifts and how (if at all) the counterplan captures affirmative solvency. For permutations to be convincing offense against CPs, Affs should explain how permutation works and what voting for perm means (does the DA go away, do I automatically vote against neg etc?)


Tag team is fine as long as you don’t start taking over cross-ex and dominating. You are part of a 2 person team for a reason.

Speed is ok as long as you are clear. If you have a ton of analytics in a row or are explaining a new/dense theory, you may want to slow down a little since processing time for flowing analytics or kritkits is a little slower than me just flowing the text of your evidence.

I listen to cross ex. I think teams come up with a lot of good arguments during this time. If you come up with an argument in cross ex-add it to the flow in your speech.

Teja Vepa Paradigm

2 rounds

Update for NSDA Nationals 2019:

Coming soon.

Update for Voices / LD Oct 2018:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



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

Update Pending

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

Connor Warshauer Paradigm

3 rounds

About me:

I debated for 4 years at New Trier High School. I have currently judged 3 debates on the arms sales topic.

About my philosophy:

Everything I say here is simply a reflection of my preferences as a debater, which may or may not be useful to you in debating in front of me. I will always attempt to evaluate the arguments on the flow irrespective of my personal opinions, but as a human being I feel it’s useful to inform you of any predispositions I may unwittingly retain.

Things I believe about debate:

Tech over truth. Dropped arguments are true assuming a claim and a warrant. The implication of the argument is up for debate unless there is also a dropped, warranted implication to the initial argument.

I probably won’t evaluate inserted rehighlighting - read it.

Card quality matters a lot, but only if you explain why. I don’t want to do evidence comparison for you. One great card is usually better than five okay ones, but like anything this is debatable.


Outside of round, I believe that teams should read topical advocacies and went for Framework all the time in high school.

Is fairness an impact? I don’t really even know what this question means. Economic decline is an impact, but despite this classification its desirability is still up for debate. Fairness is “an impact” but that doesn’t mean it’s intrinsically good and I generally think other impacts are more strategic.

T vs. Plans:

I think the desirability of an extremely limited topic is more debatable than most judges.

I generally believe in competing interpretations.

CP Theory:

As a debater, I thought CP’s competing off certainty and immediacy were cheating and not competitive.

I hated textual competition, loved PIC’s, and enjoyed taking advantage of teams’ unwillingness to go for conditionality.

I presume theory is a reason to reject the argument not the team absent an explicit warrant otherwise.

Kritiks: Quite a few of my favorite and least favorite debates as a debater involved a kritik. Kritiks that critically engage an affirmative are often very effective strategies, but many kritik debates turn into blobs of incoherent philosophy babble vs. policy relevance. Contextualization and examples will probably win you the debate.

Affirmatives will be granted a lot of leeway when the block extrapolates or alters the thesis of the kritik unpredictably based on the 1NC. Line by line will be rewarded and long overviews will not.


Zero risk is definitely possible.

As a debater, I hated most variations of politics/elections DA’s but read them anyway.

Most DA’s and advantages are terrible and should lose to smart analytics.


I love plan flaws and thought structural inherency was a great arg on the China topic.

David Weston Paradigm

3 rounds

Updated: December 2017

*Update = I prioritize line by line debating when evaluating the comparison of arguments. Teams who decide not to debate in a line by line fashion will have a more difficult time winning my ballot. I think that line by line debating is essential for me to remain objective in the debate. Presuming that an argument in one portion of speech automatically responds to an argument that is somewhere else requires me to use my own inferences in applying argumentation. That is something that I should be avoiding as a judge. I find that this mostly happens in large K debates, where the NEG explains the thesis of their K for several minutes, then groups the debate in ways that aren't logically coherent with the 2AC, and expects me to understand why an argument made at the top/in the overview answers the #10 2AC claim without the NEG stating some comparative application.* 

I'm currently a head coach at New Trier Township High School outside of Chicago, IL. 

Here are some insights into the way I tend to evaluate arguments. Obviously these are contingent upon the way that arguments are deployed in round. If you win that one of these notions should not be the standard for the debate, I will evaluate it in terms of your argumentation.

*Offense/Defense - I'm not sure if I'm getting older or if the quality of evidence is getting worse, but I find myself less persuaded by the idea that there's "always a risk" of any argument. Just because a debater says something does not mean it is true. It is up to the other team to prove that. However, if an argument is claimed to be supported by evidence and the cards do not say what the tags claim or the evidence is terrible, I'm willing to vote on no risk to a negative argument.

*I prefer tags that are complete sentences. The proliferation of one word tags makes it difficult for me to understand the connection between arguments.

*Evidence should be highlighted to include warrants for claims. I am more likely to vote on a few cards that have high quality warrants and explained well than I am to vote on several cards that have been highlighted down to the point that an argument cannot be discerned in the evidence.

*Avoid ad hominem attacks. I would prefer that students attack their opponent's arguments as opposed to their opponent. General rudeness will probably cost you speaker points.

*Arguments require claims and warrants. A claim without warrant is unlikely to be persuasive.

*Performance/Non-traditional Affirmative - I would prefer that the debate is connected to the resolution. My ultimate preference would be for the Affirmative to defend a topical plan action that attempts to resolve a problem with the status quo. I think that this provides an opportunity for students to create harms that are tied to traditional internal link chains or critical argumentation. Teams should feel free to read critical advantages, but I would prefer that they access them through a topical plan action. For example, reading an Affirmative that finds a specific example of where structural violence (based on racism, sexism, heteronormativity, classism, etc.) is being perpetuated and seeks to remedy that can easily win my ballot. Debaters could then argue that the way that we make decisions about what should or should not be done should prioritize their impacts over the negative's. This can facilitate kritiks of DA impacts, decision calculus arguments, obligations to reject certain forms of violence, etc.

Teams who choose not to defend a topical plan action should be very clear in explaining what their advocacy is. The negative should be able to isolate a stasis point in the 1AC so that clash can occur in the debate. This advocacy should be germane to the resolution.

I am not wedded traditional forms of evidence. I feel that teams can use non-traditional forms of evidence as warrants explaining why a particular action should be taken. An Affirmative that prefers to use personal narratives, music, etc. to explain a harm occurring in the status quo and then uses that evidence to justify a remedy would be more than welcome. I tend to have a problem with Affirmative's that stop short of answering the question, "what should we do?" How a team plans to access that is entirely up to them.

*Kritik debates - I like kritik debates provided they are relevant to the Affirmative. Kritiks that are divorced from the 1AC have a harder time winning my ballot. While I do not want to box in a negative's kritik options, examples of kritiks that I would feel no qualms voting for might include criticisms of international relations, economics, state action, harms representations, or power relations. I am less persuaded by criticisms that operate on the margins of the Affirmative's advocacy. I would prefer links based off of the Affirmative plan. Kritiks that I find myself voting against most often include Deleuze, Baudrillard, Bataille, etc.

*Theory - Generally theory is a reason to reject the argument not the team. The exception is conditionality. I find myself less persuaded by conditionality bad debates if there are 2 or less advocacies in the round. That is not to say I haven't voted for the AFF in those debates. I am willing to vote on theory if it is well explained and impacted, but that does not happen often, so I end up defaulting negative. Avoid blips and theory blocks read at an incomprehensible rate. 

*CP's CP's that result in the plan (consult, recommendations, etc.) bore me. I would much rather hear an agent CP, PIC, Advantage CP, etc. than a CP that competes off of "certainty" or "immediacy."

*Case - I'd like to see more of it. This goes for negative teams debating against nontraditional Affirmatives as well. You should engage the case as much as possible.

Other things
*If your strategy is extinction good or death good, genocide good, racism good, patriarchy good, etc. please do all of us as favor and strike me. These arguments strike me as being inappropriate for student environments. For example, imagine a world where a debater's relative recently passed away and that student is confronted with "death good" for 8 minutes of the 1AC. Imagine a family who fled slaughter in another part of the world and came to the United States, only to listen to genocide good. These are things I wouldn't allow in my classroom and I would not permit them in a debate round either. Since I can't actually prevent people from reading them, my only recourse is to use my ballot. 

Scott Wheeler Paradigm

4 rounds

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

Nontraditional affirmatives:

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

Toby Whisenhunt Paradigm

4 rounds

Fundamentally I see debate as a game. I think it is a valuable and potentially trans-formative game that can have real world implications, but a game none the less that requires me to choose a winner. Under that umbrella here are some specifics.

1. Comparative analysis is critical for me. You are responsible for it. I will refrain from reading every piece of evidence and reconstructing the round, but I will read relevant cards and expect the highlighting to construct actual sentences. Your words and spin matters, but this does not make your evidence immune to criticism.

2. The affirmative needs to engage the resolution.

3. Theory debates need to be clear. Might require you to down shift some on those flows. Any new, exciting theory args might need to be explained a bit for me. Impact your theory args.

4. I am not well versed in your lit. Just assume I am not a "____________" scholar. You don't need to treat me like a dullard, but you need to be prepared to explain your arg minus jargon. See comparative analysis requirement above.

Side notes:

Not answering questions in CX is not a sound strategy. I will give leeway to teams facing non responsive debaters.

Debaters should mention their opponents arguments in their speeches. Contextualize your arguments to your opponent. I am not persuaded by those reading a final rebuttal document the "answers everything" while not mentioning the aff / neg.

Civility and professionalism are expected and will be reciprocated.

Whit Whitmore Paradigm

3 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:

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.

Tom Woodhead Paradigm

4 rounds

Very experienced judge and coach for Saint Francis high school. I will consider pretty much any arguments that are not blatantly sexist, racist or crudely discriminatory (blatant is the key word here, much of this stuff is debatable and I will try not to punish you for my general feelings about your arguments).

It is important to me that debaters be respectful and polite to each other, this puts the spotlight on the arguments themselves and I am not a fan of extra drama.

I try hard to be fair and the following things help me do that:

- I rarely call cards. I like to focus the debate on the analysis given by the debaters (of course I will usually give more weight to analysis that is taken from qualified sources). I do not like to decide debates on random parts of a card that neither debater really focused on. I will call cards if I forget what they said, if there is a conflict about what they say and I can not remember, or if I am personally interested in the card.

- I try to judge on the flow in the sense that I evaluate the debate on the arguments presented, explained and extended into the rebuttals. I will occasionally do the work to weigh impacts or decide framing if the debaters are not doing that for me.

- I will not yell "clear", so mumble and slur at your own risk (I don't yell clear because I don't want a team to find that sweet spot where I can understand them but their opponents can not). I will also not evaluate arguments that I can not hear. I do not read speech documents during the debate rounds, sometimes I will look at them after the round (see calling cards stuff above).

Argument preferences:

I am cool with critiques on the aff and neg.

I am cool with framework (I like the debaters to work this out and I am pretty neutral on this question).

I like clarity (both in speech and arguments). I am not impressed by things that are "too complex" for me to understand but I will do my best to try to make sense of it. I am confident enough to not pretend I know your position and I will not fill in the blanks for you.

I am cool with policy arguments.

I have a wide breadth of knowledge but little depth on certain positions, don't assume I know your literature.


I give high speaks for clarity, efficiency, a pace that I can flow, respectfulness and occasionally speaking style.

I feel like the speaker point range I give is pretty close to average (I am not a reliable source of high speaks for everyone, but I will reward excellent debate with high speaks).

Contact info

mail all speech documents to:

anything else (if you want me to read the e-mail or respond):

Jason Young Paradigm

4 rounds

Experience/Background: I debated policy for 4 years in high school (Centerville High School, OH), I did not debate in college. I started a policy team at Garfield High School, WA in 2014, and have been coaching them since then. I judge ~50 rounds a year split between the local Washington and national circuits. I am a white, cis-gendered, heterosexual male that was educated and socialized within a Western context, which has likely produced certain subtle biases in terms of my epistemological view of the world.

Bottom Line: As a debater I pursued a mix of policy and critical positions, so I'm familiar and comfortable with a wide range of arguments. Because of the openness of my paradigm I tend to judge more K debates than policy debates, so that is where I tend to get the most judging experience. My PhD work was also fairly heavy on critical theory, so I have a good grasp of that lit base. At the end of the day, though, I believe that a debate should be about the debaters, not about me. I will therefore do my best to decide the round based on arguments made by the debaters, rather than based on my own beliefs. Be clear about how you think I should be judging, and there shouldn't be any big surprises.

Biases: Unless I am convinced to do something different, I will generally do/believe the following:

-I will flow the round, and will give weight to arguments that are not answered by the opposing team.
-I will protect the negative team from new arguments in the 2AR. This means that if I cannot connect an argument in the 2AR back to the 1AR, then I will likely give that argument less, or no, weight.
-Completely new arguments should not be made in the rebuttals. I also think that it is difficult - although not impossible - for the negative to introduce completely new off-case positions in the 2NC and then develop them completely.
-I will vote for one team or the other.
-I personally believe that the open source movement in the debate community too often takes an unnuanced approach, without considering how the open sourcing of knowledge reproduces new forms of inequalities (often along neoliberal/service economy lines, wherein better resourced schools are better able to take advantage of the open knowledge economy). Therefore, I rarely find 'non-disclosure' theory arguments to be persuasive.
-Don't ask me to 'judge kick' things for you.
-I will vote against you if I think you are clipping cards.

Speaking: Be clear! I like transition words between your arguments, and find that my ears pick up the word 'next' better than 'and'. Not a requirement by any means, but perhaps something you would want to know about me. Please slow down a tad in theory debates, I'll miss arguments if you pepper me with a ton of underwarranted standards.

I learned to flow in the paper era, and I continue to flow on paper. As a result, my flow tends to be much more orderly if you do your line-by-line straight down the sheet of paper rather than when jumping around. Generally, I think that this straight-down organization will help your line-by-line coverage anyway. If you choose not to organize your speech in this way, I will still flow it. But, my flow is likelier to be messier than I (or you) would like.

Finally, please feel free to ask me questions before the round! I'm happy to answer specific questions about my paradigm.

clara bates Paradigm

4 rounds

Harvard ‘21

The Meadows School ‘17

(Largely paraphrased from Malcolm Gordon and Kristen Lowe)


Fairness > skills impacts

TVA is helpful, doesn’t have to solve the aff entirely

I’m better for the K on the neg than the aff, but if you read a nontraditional aff, impact turning T is more effective than trying to go for we meet or defense


Condo – fine

CP’s should be textually and functionally competitive. Theory is a reason to reject the CP (except condo)


Good, well explained internal link or link defense can take out 1% risk framing if you explain how those arguments interact with the neg’s offense


Aff FW “K’s are cheating” is less persuasive than specific answers to the K’s framing such as “epistemology not first”

I’m better for structural Ks that question core assumptions of the aff (I went for neolib a lot in high school)


Long, well-warranted ev > a bunch of short cards

CX factors highly into speaks

I haven't kept up much with the hs topic so be sure to explain terms