Samford University Bishop Guild Debate Tournament

2019 — AL/US

Dan Bagwell Paradigm

6 rounds

Dan Bagwell

I was a Policy debater at Samford / GTA at Wake Forest, now an assistant coach at Mountain Brook. I’ve increasingly moved into judging PF and LD, which I enjoy the most when they don’t imitate Policy.

I’m open to most arguments in each event - feel free to read your theory, critiques, counterplans, etc., as long as they’re clearly developed and impacted. Debate is up to the debaters; I'm not here to impose my preferences on the round.

All events

• Speed is fine as long as you’re clear. Pay attention to nonverbals; you’ll know if I can’t understand you.

• Bad arguments still need answers, but dropped args are not auto-winners – you still need to extend warrants and explain why they matter.

• If prep time isn’t running, all activity by all debaters should stop.

• Debate should be fun - be nice to each other. Don’t be rude or talk over your partner.

Public Forum

• I’m pretty strongly opposed to paraphrasing evidence - I’d prefer that debaters directly read their cards, which should be readily available for opponents to see. That said, I won’t just go rogue and vote on it - it’s still up to debaters to give convincing reasons why that’s either a voting issue or a reason to reject the paraphrased evidence. Like everything else, it’s up for debate.

• Please exchange your speech docs, either through an email chain or flash drive. Efficiency matters, and I’d rather not sit through endless prep timeouts for viewing cards.

• Extend warrants, not just taglines. It’s better to collapse down to 1-2 well-developed arguments than to breeze through 10 blippy ones.

• Anything in the Final Focus should be in the Summary – stay focused on your key args.

• Too few teams debate about evidence/qualifications – that’s a good way to boost speaks and set your sources apart.


• I think LD is too often a rush to imitate Policy, which results in some messy debates. Don’t change your style because of my background – if you’re not comfortable (or well-practiced) spreading 5 off-case args, then that’s not advisable.

• If your value criterion takes 2+ minutes to read, please link the substance of your case back to it. This seems to be the most under-developed part of most LD rounds.

• Theory is fine when clearly explained and consistently extended, but I’m not a fan of debaters throwing out a ton of quick voters in search of a cheap shot. Things like RVIs or “consequentialism spec” are tough enough to win in the first place, so you should be prepared to commit sufficient time if you want theory to be an option.



• I generally think limited condo (2 positions) is okay, but I've become a bit wary on multiple contradictory positions.

• Theory means reject the arg most of the time, except for condo.

• I often find “Perm- do the CP” persuasive against consult, process, or certainty-based CPs. I don’t love CPs that result in the entire aff, but I’ll vote on them if I have to.

• Neg- tell me how I should evaluate the CP and disad. Think judge kick is true? Say it. It’s probably much better for you if I’m not left to decide this on my own.


• Nuanced links are important - specific links to the aff will go much farther than any generic args like “state bad.”

• Having a clear alternative that solves is important; be sure to explain exactly what it entails. Alternatives like “reject the aff” are usually a hard sell. I usually evaluate K debates in terms of who has a stronger chance at solving their respective impacts.

• Framework args on the aff are usually just reasons to let the aff weigh their impacts.


• Caselists, plz.

• No preference toward reasonability or competing interps - just go in depth instead of repeating phrases like "race to the bottom" and moving on.

Critical affs/performance:

• K affs that are directly linked to the resolutional controversy will fare the best in front of me. That doesn't mean that you always need a plan text, but it does mean that I most enjoy affirmatives that defend something in the direction of the topic.

Tim Barouch Paradigm

5 rounds

I am open to a variety of arguments across what's become the standard spectrum: K, T, counterplans, policy args, performance... To me the genre of your argument is less important than the question of its implications: explain those well in a manner that answers your opponents main claims and you'll be in good shape. 

Speed isn't a problem... but I've found that being comprehensible and making sound evidence comparisons is important. I will read relevant evidence after a debate; but I will also check my flow and assess the debate on the emphasis that the rebuttalists put on arguments (not merely the evidence).

K-- I will vote on it. I like it better when it accesses the case in some way... If it relies on a framework and/or role-of-ballot argument, then that's important to establish clearly at the outset. 

Theory-- I am somewhat old fashioned there... hard to win a debate on it... I don't uncritically accept the way that folks talk about theory (for example, I understand 'opportunity costs', but it's up for grabs whether that's a good way to think about debate theory...) 

Paperless stuff-- I generally run the clock until one side hands the other side a flash drive (unless the delay is because of the other side..). 


Good luck, and have fun!




Bill Batterman Paradigm

2 rounds

Bill Batterman
Associate Director of Debate — Woodward Academy (2010-present)
Director of Debate — Marquette University High School (2006-2010)
Assistant Debate Coach — Marquette, Appleton East, Nicolet, etc. (2000-2006)
Last Updated 12/11/2019

Twitter version: Debate like an adult. Show me the evidence. Attend to the details. Don't dodge; clash. Great research and informed comparisons win debates.

My promise: I will pay close attention to every debate, carefully and completely scrutinize every argument, and provide honest feedback so that students are continuously challenged to improve as debaters.

Perspective: During the 2010s (my second full decade of judging/coaching debate), I coached and/or judged at 189 tournaments and taught slightly more than 16 months of summer debate institutes. I don't judge as many rounds as I used to, but I still enjoy it and I still coach as actively as ever.

Pre-round: Please add to the email chain. Respect your opponents by sending the same documents to the email chain that you use to deliver your speeches. If you create separate versions of your speech documents (typically by deleting headings and analytical arguments) before sharing them, I will assume that you do not respect your opponents. I like debaters that respect their opponents.

1. I care most about clarity, clash, and argument comparison.

I will be more impressed by students that demonstrate topic knowledge, line-by-line organization skills (supported by careful flowing), and intelligent cross-examinations than by those that rely on superfast speaking, obfuscation, jargon, backfile recycling, and/or tricks. I've been doing this for 20 years, and I'm still not bored by strong fundamental skills and execution of basic, core-of-the-topic arguments.

To impress me, invite clash and show off what you have learned this season. I will want to vote for the team that (a) is more prepared and more knowledgeable about the assigned topic and that (b) better invites clash and provides their opponents with a productive opportunity for an in-depth debate.

Aff cases that lack solvency advocates and claim multiple contrived advantages do not invite a productive debate. Neither do whipsaw/scattershot 1NCs chock-full of incomplete, contradictory, and contrived off-case positions. Debates are best when the aff reads a plan with a high-quality solvency advocate and one or two well-supported advantages and the neg responds with a limited number of complete, consistent, and well-supported positions (including, usually, thorough case answers).

I would unapologetically prefer not to judge debates between students that do not want to invite a productive, clash-heavy debate.

2. I'm a critic of argument, not a blank slate.

My most important "judge preference" is that I value debating: "a direct and sustained confrontation of rival positions through the dialectic of assertion, critique, response and counter-critique" (Gutting 2013). I make decisions based on "the essential quality of debate: upon the strength of arguments" (Balthrop 1989).

Philosophically, I value "debate as argument-judgment" more than "debate as information production" (Cram 2012). That means that I want to hear debates between students that are invested in debating scholarly arguments based on rigorous preparation, expert evidence, deep content knowledge, and strategic thinking. While I will do my best to maintain fidelity to the debate that has taken place when forming my decision, I am more comfortable than most judges with evaluating and scrutinizing students' arguments. I care much more about evidence and argument quality and am far less tolerant of trickery and obfuscation than the median judge. This has two primary implications for students seeking to adapt to my judging:

a. What a card "says" is not as important as what a card proves. When deciding debates, I spend more time on questions like "what argument does this expert make and is the argument right?" than on questions like "what words has this debate team highlighted in this card and have these words been dropped by the other team?." As a critic of argument, I place "greater emphasis upon evaluating quality of argument" and assume "an active role in the debate process on the basis of [my] expertise, or knowledge of practices and standards within the community." Because I emphasize "the giving of reasons as the essential quality of argument, evidence which provides those reasons in support of claims will inevitably receive greater credibility than a number of pieces of evidence, each presenting only the conclusion of someone's reasoning process. It is, in crudest terms, a preference for quality of evidence over quantity" (Balthrop 1989).

b. The burden of proof precedes the burden of rejoinder. As presented, the risk of many advantages and disadvantages is zero because of missing internal links or a lack of grounding for important claims. "I know this argument doesn't make sense, but they dropped it!" will not convince me; reasons will.

When I disagree with other judges about the outcome of a debate, my most common criticism of their decision is that it gives too much credit to bad arguments or arguments that don't make sense. Their most common criticism of my decision is that it is "too interventionist" and that while they agree with my assessment of the arguments/evidence, they think that something else that happened in the debate (often a "technical concession") should be more determinative. I respect many judges that disagree with me in these situations; I'm glad there are both "tech-leaning" and "truth-leaning" judges in our activity. In the vast majority of debates, we come to the same conclusion. But at the margins, this is the major point of disagreement between us — it's much more important than any particular argument or theory preference.

3. I am most persuaded by arguments about the assigned topic.

One of the primary reasons I continue to love coaching debate is that "being a coach is to be enrolled in a continuing graduate course in public policy" (Fleissner 1995). Learning about a new topic area each year enriches my life in profound ways. After 20 years in "The Academy of Debate" (Fleissner 1995), I have developed a deep and enduring belief in the importance of public policy. It matters. This has two practical implications for how I tend to judge debates:

a. Kritiks that demonstrate concern for good policymaking can be very persuasive, but kritiks that ignore the topic or disavow policy analysis entirely will be tough to win. My self-perception is that I am much more receptive to well-developed kritiks than many "policy" judges, but I am as unpersuaded (if not more so) by kritiks that rely on tricks, obfuscation, and conditionality as I am by those styles of policy arguments.

b. I almost always find kritiks of topicality unpersuasive. An unlimited topic would not facilitate the in-depth clash over core-of-the-topic arguments that I most value about debate. The combination of "topical version of the aff" and "argue this kritik on the neg" is difficult to defeat when coupled with a fairness or topic education impact. Topical kritik affirmatives are much more likely to persuade me than kritiks of topicality.

4. I have greatly enjoyed judging debates on the arms sales topic.

I expected this would be a good topic: it's an interesting subject area with strong aff and neg ground, and it's timely enough to remain dynamic without the core arguments being constantly upended by the Trump administration's erraticism. This has indeed been the case; the quality of the debates I've judged has been generally excellent, and this is by far my favorite of the Trump era topics.

I don't think the initial opinions I shared about the topic at the end of the summer have changed all that much — you can still review those at After the first semester, there are my major topic-specific opinions that might influence your debating:

a. I know a lot about the topic. It is a good controversy, and you should debate it. You don't need tricks, at least not when debating the major cases (you can go for T against the other cases — see below). As long as you keep your materials reasonably up-to-date, I think the core advantages and disadvantages are both quite strong. Have those debates. I will enjoy them, and you will get some well-informed feedback out of it.

b. Topicality "substantially reduce" is a winnable negative option in many circumstances. I think the negative's 2.7% (or even 1%) interpretations of substantially are persuasive against specific country and weapons cases (even though they're "arbitrary"). The Pearson interpretation is less persuasive, but I have voted for it; the smaller the case, the more persuadable I feel. Topicality arguments against large/major cases — Saudi Arabia/UAE, Taiwan, Human Rights/Thrall, Militarism (whole resolution-style), etc. — will be very tough for the negative. I'll listen, but I'd much rather hear a DA/CP/case debate.

c. I'm very bad for the neg on "circumvention," at least against major cases. "Trump will give the weapons away for free outside of DCS/FMS to circumvent the plan" would only make sense in very limited circumstances; general descriptive evidence that "security assistance includes many programs that export weapons" isn't (nearly) enough. More fundamentally, it will be hard to ever persuade me that inherency disproves solvency; this contradicts my most basic understanding of fiat and its role in argumentation. If the negative wants to convince me that endorsing policy proposals that have no chance of being implemented is bad, they should make that argument explicitly — I think I disagree with it, but it's something I think about a lot and feel very persuadable about. Most circumvention arguments don't come close to meeting this burden.

d. I'm extremely bad for "war good" impact turns. This includes "war with Iran good," "war with China good," etc. It also includes what the current cohort of debaters calls "Spark," but which older folks would understand as a hodgepodge of (very bad and often internally inconsistent) Spark, Wipeout, Nuclear Malthus, and De-Dev arguments. Debaters who specialize in these arguments should avoid me. If our paths cross, your best chance is to explicitly defend misanthropy or nihilism rather than rely on silly x-risk extremism framings; you have a better chance of convincing me "humans are awful" or "nothing matters" than "nearly all humans should die so other humans can live #bostrom."

e. There are two major problems with the most common plan-contingent/process counterplans on the topic (in addition to more general gripes with those genres of counterplan). First, delivery is part of Foreign Military Sales and Direct Commercial Sales. Counterplans that claim to compete by ending "deliveries" but not "sales" do not make sense to me. Second, the way "durable" fiat and condition counterplans are typically understood doesn't contextualize well to this topic. Condition (leverage) counterplans make the most sense when the neg argues that they allow the U.S. to maintain sales while getting a concession from the purchasing country by threatening to end the sales. Because this still requires the neg to (separately) beat the case, it is not nearly as "strategic" if the goal is to avoid clash. The attempts I have seen by neg teams to remedy this "problem" by crafting counterplans that also end sales but claim a procedural net-benefit have not been persuasive. It will be hard to convince me that these counterplans are competitive or that these net-benefits outweigh even the smallest risk of a solvency deficit.

Works Cited
Balthrop 1989 = V. William Balthrop, "The Debate Judge as 'Critic of Argument'," Advanced Debate: Readings in Theory Practice & Teaching (Third Edition).
Cram 2012 =
Gutting 2013 =
Fleissner 1995 =

Natalie Bennie Paradigm

6 rounds e-mail chain, but know I do not follow along with docs during the debate and do not tend to read a ton of evidence afterwards.

Debated at Samford University.

Currently coaching as a graduate student at Wake Forest.

Top level stuff:

  • Do what you do best. Please do not try and change your debating to try and win my ballot-- chances are it won't help you out and you'll have less fun. I will listen to any argument and have experience running the gamut of them.
  • My default position is as a policymaker and that debate is a game (a very challenging one, often with legitimate real-world applications, but a game nonetheless). That said--if you want me to evaluate the round in any other way, be clear about what my role as a judge is and present a justification for that interpretation, and I will be happy to do so



  • I am often very compelled by a topical version of the aff.
  • Fairness is probably not an impact by itself, *update* but I find myself voting on it more often than I expect to.

Non-traditional affs:

  • Go for it
  • I don't think non-traditional aff necessarily need to be "topical," but I do think that the resolution ought to play a central role in your decision to run this affirmative.


  • Go for it
  • Specificity is always preferable to generics and will probably be rewarded
  • I am willing to no-link a disad
  • I am often very compelled by a good overview that includes a thorough turns case analysis.
  • Condo is fine and probably good. 3 CP's and a K are probably not. Cheater counterplans are probably cheating-- don't be afraid to take on this debate as the affirmative. I will vote on theory, but if there are other args you're winning, you should go for them instead.


  • Go for it
  • Specificity is preferable to generics and will probably be rewarded
  • While I may be familiar with your literature base, I will still hold you to a high threshold for explanation. I've seen a lot of k debates devolve into a battle of buzzwords with warranted analysis getting lost in the midst of it (to be fair, this is also true of a lot of policy debates). I will probably reward your ability to explain your own argument.

Tips for speaks:

  • Time efficiency— Have the 1ac ready to send before the start time/the 1nc to send asap. Stands should be set up before the round. Inefficient rounds = lower speaks and less decision time, which may either help or hurt you (if that’s a gamble you’re interested in making).
  • Assertiveness is not a license for disrespect or hostility.
  • say smart things! Be nice!
  • Make bold choices— trust your instincts.

Other stuff:

  • Be kind. Be conscious of the person you're speaking to and how your tone/language choices/body language could be coming off.
  • You are an intelligent and competent human being. Don't be afraid to use your brain and make some common-sense answers to arguments. I think a lot of what we say in debate is silly and could be taken down by a few good attacks, even without cards. Trust yourself to make smart arguments.
  • Do not clip cards.
  • Have fun! I love this activity and will put in as much effort judging your round as you did preparing for it.

Maggie Berthiaume Paradigm

1 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) and for email chains, please.

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.

William Bradshaw Paradigm

6 rounds

William Bradshaw- 4 years of high school policy at USN, majoring in International Affairs and Economics at GW

Add me to the email chain-

General: I will vote on anything you can warrant out, but the more out there your claims are the harder it will be to win.(i.e. it will be easier for you to win on a bad politics DA than dead good) I don't know anything about the topic. My hearing isn't the best sometimes so please be clear and signpost.

K's/K affs: I am familiar with a good deal of k's but the postmodern stuff still confuses me sometimes. I am more sympathetic to policy arguments and understand them better but will still vote on a k if it is explained well. I would prefer if you read a plan, but if your aff does not I will do my best to evaluate it objectively. Win framework

DA/CP: I love clever DA+CP strategies, but do not appreciate borderline abusive process cps. Obscure politics scenarios are A+. Make sure to win the link AND impact calc in the 2ar/2nr.

Theory: tech>truth more than other parts of the flow but if they answer it you'll need to point to abuse. 2 or less condo is probably necessary, 3+ is up for debate. Lean aff on process, consult, constitutional fiat, 50 state. Condo is usually a good reason for perfcon, but don't get too outrageous

T: tech>truth. Normally I default to reasonability for core affs but I don't know what the topic looks like this years so line by line will be very important. Topic education and fairness are very persuasive to me.

Brett Bricker Paradigm

4 rounds

Associate Director of Debate @ KU

Last Updated: Pre-GSU 2016

Quick pre-round notes:

I would prefer speech docs while I judge. Please email them to

The affirmative should read and defend a topical example of the resolution and the negative should negate the affirmative's example.

I reward teams that demonstrate a robust knowledge of the topic and literature concerning the topic.

More info:

1. The word "interpretation" matters more to me than some. You must counterdefine words, or you will likely lose. You must meet your theory interpretation, or you will likely lose.
2. The words "voting issue" matter more to me than some. I am not searching for cheap shots, nor do I especially enjoy theory debates. However, I feel that I would be intervening if I applied "reject the argument not the team" to arguments that debaters did not explicitly apply the impact takeout to. That said, proliferation of empty voting issues will not only hurt your speaker points, but can be grouped and pretty easily disposed of by opponents.
3. "Turns the case" matters more to me than some. Is it offense? Does the link to the advantage/fiat outweigh or prevent turning the case? Does it mean the aff doesn't solve? Questions that should be answered by the 1ar.

I believe that debaters work hard, and I will work hard for them. The more debaters can show they have worked hard: good case debates, specific strategies, etc. the more likely it is I will reward debaters with speaker points and higher effort. In the same vain, debaters who make clear that they don’t work outside of debates won’t receive high speaker points.

Argument issues:

Topicality – It is a voting issue and not a reverse voting issue. I have not yet been persuaded by arguments in favor of reasonability; however, the reason for this usually lies with the fact that affirmatives fail to question the conventional wisdom that limits are good.

Kritiks – It will be difficult to convince me that I should completely disregard my conceptions of rationality, pragmatism and my aversion to unnecessary death. As a general rule, I think of Kritiks like a counterplan with net-benefits. The more aff specific the better.

Counterplans – I am up in the air about textual vs. functional competition – they both have their time and place, and are probably not universal rules. The cross-ex answer “for your DAs but not your counterplans” has always made negative sense to me. I understand that there are MANDATES of the plan and EFFECTS of the plan; I find this distinction more understandable than the usual c-x answer.

Rundown of general thoughts about counterplans:

Conditionality – it's feeling like a little bit much at the moment
PICs – Good, especially if they PIC out of a part of the plan
Consult/Condition – Up in the air and context specific. Solvency advocates, aff stances, etc. can change my feelings.
Delay – Aff leaning, but might be more competitive based on the structure of the affirmative, or a cross-ex answer. For example, if the affirmative has an advantage that takes the position the advantage can only be solved if it happens before "X" date, then the counterplan to do it after that date seems competitive.
Word PICs – Aff leaning
Alternate non-USFG actors – Aff leaning

Demeanor issues:

Be respectful of your opponent, partner and judge. All types of discrimination are prohibited. Don’t clip cards, don’t cut cards out of context, etc. Don't misclose.

Finally, our community relies on host tournaments with classroom space - don't steal, defame or destroy it.

Any questions, ask.

Brian Cai Paradigm

6 rounds

Alpharetta HS 2016

Georgia Tech 2019 (Computer Science)

Every judge prefers in depth clash and high quality strategy.
Perhaps that is not the winning strategy, and I understand.

Make it interesting and fun, as I am not doing this for the money and it is very time consuming for me to judge you all.

This means that lots of argument and evidence comparison, in depth knowledge and explanations, and charisma during speeches and cross examinations will be rewarded.

Reading 8 off and copy-pasting blocks will net you a win if done correctly, but your speaks will probably not be impressive. They're called speaker points, not technicality and strategy points.

People have poor memories, so make sure everyone is able to keep a good flow. Also write my ballot with really good impact calculus at the top of the 2NR/2AR so I don't have to think. Thinking burns calories.

I will try to evaluate evidence in the lens that was specified by the speakers. All evidence is just a bunch of words some people wrote, so tell me what these events mean in the context of the round, who the author is or cites and why that is important, and how it interacts with your opponent's arguments and evidence. Even if it's something like "Healthcare Thumps" (I don't keep up with the docket anymore...) I want to know if it's a White House correspondent or a health insurance company watchdog and why it will take precedence over Trump's tariffs. If it's just an opinion piece that says "Republicans have talked about repealing the ACA", I won't evaluate it as good evidence unless you tell me to combine it with contexts, dates, etc and its comparison to the other side's evidence and arguments. If you spin it enough, I will accept garbage evidence (given the other team doesn't do as good of a job disputing it).

Death is bad. Learning is good.

Cheaters will be penalized.

Topic Knowledge:

I watched Iron Man one time

Erin Carley Paradigm

3 rounds

Not Submitted

Julia Dias Paradigm

6 rounds

Debated for Riverwood 2015-2018. Mainly did performance and critical debate.

I will vote for the team that wins the debate regardless of my personal feelings. If you say offensive things or make problematic arguments/statements, I’m going to give you extremely low speaker points.

I will vote on microagressions. I will vote on theory arguments. I will vote on ridiculous arguments like 'vote aff to vote neg'. I will vote on FW. I will vote on lots of other things. Obviously, impact out your arguments and explain them clearly. Frame the debate and instruct me on how to write my ballot. A 2NR/2AR that goes for everything with mediocre coverage is really irritating.

Do whatever the hell you want. Just don’t expect me to be completely on board with it personally. Any specific questions? Ask me before the round.

Lack of explanation of internal links annoys me. Explain your theories and links.

Super serious debates are also boring to watch. Have some fun. I like CX a lot.

You can usually tell what I'm thinking from my facial expressions. Use that to your advantage.

Put me on the email chain.

Sarah Emerson Paradigm

Sawyer Emerson ( yes I want to be on the email chain)

I am a third-year debater at Samford University. However, I debated Policy for three years in high school. The six topics I've debated are Domestic Surveillance, Relations with China, Primary and Secondary Education, Executive Authority, International Space cooperation, and US Alliance Commitments. However, I have not done much work on the current High School Policy or LD topics. Please don’t assume that I know what your niche policy is because I probably don’t.

TLDR: Traditional college policy debater, lean negative on theory, affirmatives must affirm the topic with a policy option, very tech > truth, pls do impact calc

LD and PF Specific Stuff is at the bottom

My thoughts on various things:

Non-topical affs: Pairings are binding, the team assigned affirmative must affirm the topic with a policy option under the resolution. Debate is a game and there are rules to the game

Signpost, do line-by-line, and use smart analytics. Those things make you look more intelligent and on top of things. (Read as more speaker points)

Traditional v. Critical: Very Traditional. I have run and hit a few K's, but I probably won't understand what your K is saying if it's not one of the common ones. (Settler Colonialism, Anti-Blackness, Feminism, Cap, Security, etc.) At the end of the 2019-2020 Season, there was not a single K on my wiki. Do with that what you will. More on K’s below

Tech v. Truth: I lean really far toward tech. If you want to run the weirdest argument out there, go for it. If they drop it and you point it out, it's going to be a true argument for me. The downside is that if your opponent points out that your argument is weird and I think it is, I'll give them a little more wiggle room answering it. This is true for all args except args that have no business in debate (see impact turns below)

Speed: Go as fast as you want. If you're unclear, I'll say clear. If you become unclear again I'll say it one more time then I will just look at you with a confused face.

Kicking Arguments: Unless it’s a theory arg, you should be formally kicking out of things. I will kick a cp for the negative automatically if they respond to “status of the cp” in cx with “status quo is always an option” unless the aff tells me not to. Otherwise, I won’t kick anything unless explicitly told to by the negative.

My thoughts are various types of arguments:

T: I really don't like when someone runs a T-shell that clearly doesn't counter the aff. Make sure that there is at least an argument that they don't meet your interpretation and that your interp isn't absurd. I have a high threshold for voting negative on T, but it has happened before. If you are going to go for T in front of me, here are a couple of things you need:

- An interpretation of a word or phrase in the resolution - Yes, it must be the exact word or phrase in the resolution. Don't define reduce if the resolution says restrict for example.

- A clear reason or a card that states that the aff plan does not fall under that interp. If you are going to make T the 2NR, this should take more than just restating what previous speeches said.

- Standards (especially if there is a counter interp) - If you don't tell me why to prefer your interp, I probably will give aff more wiggle room on being T. Standards should develop throughout the round to have an impact. Why should I care about limiting the resolution?

-Preferably a Topical Version of the AFF that is introduced in the block or a case list at least. The TVA should somewhat access the internal discussion of the aff

Theory More Broadly: Your shell needs to be clear (a little slower that your regular spreading) or I won't be able to catch it all. Like T, you need an interp and standards in order for me to vote your way. Condo is reject the team or reject the arg, and everything else is just reject the arg. Debate is a game and theory arguments tell the judge when someone has broken a rule. I lean pretty far negative on theory like PICs, Conditional, etc.

Condo: I don't have a particular limit of conditional options that is a hard threshold for voting aff. Just remember, the more condo you have, the more persuasive the reject the team arg becomes and the more wiggle room I will give the aff when answering other sheets. I think conditional planks is sketchy at best. Dispo is fine too.

K: Your K must have some form of solvency mechanism. What that looks like is up to you. I don't find the argument that winning the alt solvency or framework means no perm particularly persuasive. Please please please don't just read card after card and not do any line-by-line clash or extrapolation. You cannot win a K without an alternative and reject the 1AC alone is not an alternative

CP: I love a good counterplan as most traditional policy debaters do. This means a counterplan text that is textually and functionally competitive with the plan, a credible solvency advocate, and a net benefit. The rest is up to the debaters. I’m good with any kind of cp as long as the negative is ready to defend it theoretically or kick out of it.

DA: Not much to say here. They’re cool, almost everyone runs them because they’re cool. Uniqueness determines the direction of the link.

Impacts: Do impact calculus and turns/solves case arguments at least in the 2NR/2AR, please. If the debate comes down to impact calculus and neither team has done any, I can’t tell you how I personally would evaluate the impacts. I would probably read some cards, figure out whose impact was more disputed, get really frustrated, and not want to give anyone good speaks… so just do the calculus.

Impact Turns: I'm down for impact turns such as Democracy, Proliferation, Economy, etc. Those debates can get messy, however. Do your best to keep your argument clean to help me evaluate the round, and you’ll get a speaker point boost. If you impact turn anything like discrimination, racism, sexism, homophobia, etc. you’re going to lose and get 0 speaker points.

LD Specific

- Affirmatives don't need to read a plan text if they don't want to, but they must defend the resolution

- Util is true-til but I'm willing to listen to other frameworks - just be aware of the bias and know that you'll need to do a little more work to win your impacts outweigh

- Although I am a policy debater, I'm not the biggest fan of K's, especially in LD. I don't think there is really enough time to develop such a complex argument and it would take a lot of explaining to really make me feel comfortable voting

- CPs are fair negative ground, plan texts are fair affirmative ground - although you're welcome to argue that they aren't


- Please, for the love of God, use an email chain. This is one of my biggest pet peeves about PF. Y'all spend so much time trying to exchange evidence when you can just use an email chain and cut all of that out. The more time y'all spend exchanging evidence is the less time I have to evaluate the round and make an informed decision.

- Plan texts, DAs, and CPs are all fine- not a requirement but I'm chill if you want to run those types of arguments.

- I wish PF debaters would stop dropping the entire line-by-line just to do bird's eye voters. You still need to answer Summary arguments in the Final Focus to win your voters. Honestly, I don't really think you need to waste time outlining voters anyways. I'd rather you tie up your contentions and do impact calculus than try to erase the rest of the debate.

- Collapse, collapse, collapse. No need to go for all your arguments. Pick your best arguments and get rid of the others.

- Impact calculus is a must.

Ryan Galloway Paradigm

Ryan Galloway

Director of Debate

Samford University

Coached for 24 years

Note: I agree with pretty much everything Adrienne Brovero says in her paradigm.

Top-Level Stuff you probably want to know:

Non-traditional AFF's:

I am judging more and more framework debates and am voting negative more than I used to. I think this is because affirmatives are defending less and less. I think affirmatives would do better at defending that they are in the direction of the topic, their method is predictable, etc. I am increasingly bothered by 1ar framework blocks that are 100% pre-scripted, and feel the negative can take advantage of making more nuanced arguments that get around the general indictment. The last thing I will say is that I think negatives are too gung-ho on going for framework even through the wall of affirmative answers. I watched two elim debates at GSU on framework and feel the neg would have been better off going for their other arguments. Make tactical decisions based on the round. That's good advice for me anyway.

You can win on the NEG without a topical version of the AFF. A lot of ideas aren't topical--but that doesn't mean the AFF somehow automatically wins.

Other Kritik related news:

I'm a decent judge for teams with specific philosophical indictments of the affirmative they are debating. If you have specific links to the AFF and a well-grounded alternative, you'll be in good shape. I expect your links to be specific to the topic area that you are debating. I expect your impacts to be pragmatic indictments of the world-view in which the AFF operates.

I don't understand high theory very well. The vast majority of tags I saw from high theory teams at GSU were 100% incoherent to me. You have to explain things in terms of the tangible consequences they create. You are best off debating the K like a social movements disad. If you speak postmodern or post-structuralist gibberish, I have no qualms about voting for the other team and saying I have no idea what you said and I think the emperor has no clothes.

In my heart of hearts I'm a liberal pragmatist that thinks we need to adopt real-world solutions to make the world a better place. I don't think the perfect should be the enemy of the good, and I think that solutions that are too radical won't be accepted by society and thus are poor choices for social movements. That said, if the NEG can prove that the world is irredeemable in the system in which the AFF operates, I'm willing to roll the dice and look for an alternative.

The rest...

Topic Specific News:


I like the space topic more than I thought I would. I think it is a little narrow. I was surprised by the number of contrived T interps I saw at GSU. I am more about an interpretation being correct first, good for limits and ground second than most judges. I am more willing to vote against a bad T argument that is technically executed well than most judges. That said, a well evidenced topicality violation that makes affirmatives that skirt the margins of the topic not topical is perfect for me.

Disads and risk:

I tend to be more link-oriented than many of my colleagues. I'm willing to no link a disad down to zero. That said, having judged on many panels, I would give you the following advice:

1) You need to sell thumpers to me: You need to win what the implication of your thumper is. A fight is not the same as a big fight unless you prove so. Link differentials matter to me. I'm not sold that a small non-unique takes out the entire link to the disad when the link is much larger than the status quo thumper.

2) I'm very persuaded by disad turns the case. A credible link to a disad + disad turns the case combined with minimal defense vs. the internal link to the advantage is usually a winner for me. Usually NEG's are thin on their rationale for disad turns case, so answer it.

3) Don't just go for impact defense. Going for "economic decline not that bad" is usually a loser. Challenging internal links to advantages is incredibly important. Many advantages are contrived and can be taken out with analytic arguments against the evidence.

4) Be careful how you frame the debate. If you say "uniqueness controls the direction of the link" I will take you at your word. If you say "link direction controls uniqueness" I will take you at your word. Framing issues are very critical to me, I flow them and listen carefully and do not impose a pre-prepared belief on how I should evaluate risk. Matt Sessions, who debated for me, says the best way to win Galloway's ballot is to take whatever they say is the most important thing in the debate and turn it. He is not wrong.


1) International FIAT: I'm probably OK with one country/one actor (EU) international FIAT good. I am a bit concerned about contrived international FIAT definitions that have multiple actors who never work together working together.

2) I don't think most process counterplans compete. It's not a slam dunk, but you're in trouble if you only mess with the process of the plan. I can also be sold that they're just bad, even if you come up with a method of competition. Artificial competition is a thing, even without a perm.

3) I tend to think there is a residual link to the perm. When I sit out, I frequently sit out on this issue.

4) Advantage counterplans are powerful weapons. Use them.

5) A dropped internal net benefit to the counterplan is like dropping a disad. The fact that you weren't paying attention in the 2ac doesn't mean the 1ar gets to recover.

6) Conditionality. I'm less worried about the number of counterplans than how they function in the debate. I can be sold that contradictory positions make it difficult to be AFF, I can be sold that you only get one conditional counterplan, etc. That said, one conditional counterplan and a conditional K seems pretty reasonable to me, and two conditional counterplans without a K seems pretty reasonable to me. I'd rather decide the debate on substance than theory.

Debate norms:

1) It hurts me that anyone would clip. I believe the community relies fundamentally on a sense of trust. I trust you. When you take advantage of that trust, part of what binds the community together begins to fray. Don't cheat. Mark your cards. Be beyond reproach in what you do. Better to lose a debate honestly than win because you got away with one.

2) Civility. I strongly believe we are having a civil discussion. There is no point in yelling, screaming, ad hominem attacks, etc. Reasoned disagreement sometimes results in hurt feelings, but I feel these are best resolved through calm discussion. What many people consider humorous I consider to be rude and hurtful to the other person. Self-depricating humor is the best kind. I love our community and respect people even with whom I disagree.

3) Speaker points. I think speaker points are important. I think speaker points are designed to illustrate a measure of individual performance in a given debate. I want you to feel you earned whatever points I gave you based on your performance, and not a sense of ideological fidelity to a cause. As a coach, I use speaker points as a metric to determine the individual progress my debaters are making. Artificial inflation or deflation of such points hinders the goal of determining said progress.

4) I have grown more sensitive to norms in our community that marginalize female debaters.

5) I wish you would number your arguments.

6) I wish you would label your arguments: No Link, Turn, No impact, etc.

7) Most people would be better off going 80% of full speed.

8) I am now officially old.

9) If I'm on a panel with you and you aren't flowing because you are checking email, checking Facebook, cutting cards, etc, I will do my best to publicly out you. We owe an obligation to our students to give it our all in every debate.

Any other questions? Feel free to fire away at:

Pablo Gannon Paradigm

6 rounds

My gmail is pablo.d.gannon

With George Mason Univ. Previously with Wake Forest & MSU

1. I often wish impact comparison was more about whether we should be taking a short or long term approach to the issue. Restructuring an alliance, an aspect of the economy, or our criminal justice system are going to come with tremendous growing pains, but is that transformation going to be a large improvement thirty years down the road. I often lead toward thinking that long term, big impacts outweigh short term disruption.

2. I think uniqueness is often used in the wrong way. The traditional DA might say, “the economy is resilient now, the plan changes that and makes it worse.” But I am more worried if the economic situation is already going poorly. The risks of the plan pushing us even closer to economic collapse seems more likely if things are fragile.

So in another context, I probably think disad uniqueness should be more like: US-China tensions are at an all time high because of x, y, z …it is probably not the time to do the plan and risk pushing it over the edge …

3. I judge a lot of situations where something like the following happens: a policy team reads a big policy 1NC, throws in a short two card under-highlighted security K, and then the aff goes to town in cx over how the K shell hardly said anything, didn’t really have an alt, etc.

In these situations, I find myself thinking that the aff either cannot see what I’m seeing – that the neg most likely is not going to go for this position, or that they are too eager to score points by having a great cx. To me, a better strategy is to forego the short-term perceptual advantage to “punking” an opponent in that kind of cx, and instead focus on making inroads on the positions that they may be most likely to lose on.

Things that do not make much sense to me:

When responding to the reps K, saying, “well we think condo is good.”

“We will defend this for the purpose of answering DA’s but not for CP’s”

“Perm, do the CP,” when it doesn’t actually make sense. Doesn’t matter if it’s dropped. Permutations generally need to have something behind them – if a team does not respond to the phrase “perm do both,” with nothing substantive, I do not think the debate is over.

Counterplans that say we should *not* do something. Like, “Congress should declare that it will never escalate conflict over Syria.” Both theoretically and in terms of solvency, this is not persuasive.

When planks of a counterplan are kicked, even though it was initially one counterplan. Massive condo risk.

When answering T, saying that “we are in the direction of the topic”

“Our evidence prices that in” when it probably doesn’t

Gavin Gill Paradigm

6 rounds

Recent Graduate and current Vanderbilt Coach; Debated for Vanderbilt 2014-16 (Novice, JV, and Open)

Email chain is usually easiest and most efficient, so use to add me to the chain.

As you can tell from the above description, It's been a few years since I've been in the policy world, so bear that in mind if you're planning on spreading up a storm. When I debated, I could flow with the fastest of them, but I wouldn't count on my ability to track your unwritten analytic arguments in your case at 400 words per minute. That being said, I will always do the utmost to follow everything, and I will shout "clear" if you exceed my rusted limits.

Another important caveat: I currently coach for Vandy with my main focus on developing its new parliamentary team. I've read up on the topic briefly, but don't expect me to be an expert on the acronyms that tend to emerge throughout the year. Expand them the first time you use them, and I am amenable to their use thereafter.

Onto the fun stuff:

I, in somewhat classic Vanderbilt style, mostly utilized policy arguments. While I enjoyed K's on the Neg, I only ran 1 K-Aff as a 2N during my time in college, so be aware of my potential limits in terms of familiarity with the literature. I prefer topical plans, but am adaptive depending on the round. Remember: it's your job to frame the round and explain how I should vote. Do your work to that end in defining and defending, and I'll vote accordingly. If you're running a nontraditional Aff, you'd better explain why I should believe you should win. Make arguments, not mere assertions, that effectively determine the role of the debaters, judge, and the space/round if you want your case to survive.

On Topicality: I love T debates. This is definitely a gatekeeping issue in terms of fairness and the purpose of the debate round, so it should be covered effectively if you're going to go for it. Again, don't waste anybody's time with assertions that lack impact or warrants, as shadow extending a T-Shell is likely not going to do you any favors. Develop and flesh out the debate, as I never have a de facto vote. That being said, I'm sympathetic to fairness arguments so long as they are well made, expanded, impacted, and interacted with the other team's defense. Do your work, or else it's a throwaway argument.

Case/DA's: Specificity is preferred to generality, the argument is only as strong as the link chain, I'm sympathetic to interpretations of probability when evidence supports it, and I need work done on how to weigh the arguments and why if you expect me to vote on them.

CP's: A great tool with a potential for abuse. Conditionality is cool, so long as you don't run too many. My sympathy to the aff's claims of abuse increase with the number of conditional counterplans, so you should have proportional defense if you're running multiple conditional CP's. I will always vote on a fair permutation if the neg can't prove unique net benefits.

Kritiks: I'll admit, I enjoy a really well done K. I like to think I'm decently well-versed in the literature, but I'm not an expert on every esoteric academic out there, and I require a fair degree of work on interpretations and framework if you're going this route. I will say that splitting a Neg in a way where the work on the K assumes a moral high ground that also attacks your other arguments leaves a bad taste in my mouth, but it's not impossible for me to vote for it if the other team doesn't explain why this is bad/unfair/whatever. As noted in the rest of my paradigm, do your work whatever your side, and I'll vote according to what happens in the round.

Framework: The bedrock of the debate. Two teams with radically different frameworks need to clash to define the round with well impacted arguments. Don't just assert your framework is better, or you'll leave it up to my preferences which might not be in your favor (and certainly aren't great for me to impose as a judge, in my view).

So, I hope it's clear that I'm game for whatever you bring to the round, but you'd better bring it. You don't win without clear and effective clash and framing, and I'm happy to vote for whomever does what is necessary to clash well, fairly, and with proper work done in the round.

Good luck, have fun, and enjoy the sport.

William Gilliland Paradigm

6 rounds

Not Submitted

Alyssa Hoover Paradigm

5 rounds

Former debater at the University of Georgia (2020), previously debated at Milton High School (2013-2016)


Truly, you do you. I am just here to adjudicate the debate & ensure this is an educational and fun space. Do what you care about and what you're good at.

The things you came here for:

Framework: Generally, not the best judge for planless affs. I think affirmatives should defend the USFG, or have a relation to the topic and defend a change from the status quo. I won't bog you down with my thoughts on what an "ideal" model of debate should be, but the TLDR is -- debatability is important, fairness is an impact, the TVA doesn't need to solve, labeling things as "DA's" and grandstanding when the neg drops them doesn't auto-win you the round, and I won't evaluate things that happened outside of the debate.

Kritiks: A better judge for this than you think, really. Links in context of the aff are important, as well as a robust explanation of the alternative and a framework for how I should evaluate it / what voting for the alternative means for me as a judge. A good framework press will get you a long way (both for the aff and the neg).

The rest: I don't think I'm really that ideological about most policy things. Competing interpretations over reasonability, conditionality is probably good, agent CPs/consult CPs/international fiat/50 state fiat are bad but PICs aren't (as long as they have a solvency advocate), and the Nate Cohn card really needs to die.

I find myself frustrated in many high school topicality debates, as I think they often lack nuance and appropriate impact calculus, and thus I find myself having a higher threshold to vote for T, so take that as you will.

Impact out the arguments you're going for and why they matter -- give me a framework to evaluate the debate, and explain the big picture.

Brent Huang Paradigm

6 rounds

I debated national circuit LD at Starr's Mill High School '12 (GA) and did Policy at Vanderbilt University '16 (TN).

I think I am a standard national circuit LD judge. If you only have experience with local debate, this means that I'm fine with (and proactively prefer) spreading and non-traditional arguments. However, if doing so, I recommend using a email chain, for which my email is


LD Paradigm


My general preference for debate argument types is Framework >= Plan-Focused/Util > Theory >> Kritiks.


I like philosophy debate a lot, especially analytical ethical philosophy. If you frequently read cards from Singer, Korsgaard, Mackie, and the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy in general, I would probably really enjoy judging you.

- I enjoy cases that are balanced between framework and contention-level offense, e.g., the AC spending half its time justifying an ethical system (utilitarianism, Kant, Hobbes, virtue ethics, divine command, moral skepticism, etc.) and then the rest on offense under that framework.

- I'm extremely opposed to theoretically-justified frameworks/affirmative framework choice. I think these things kill philosophy education, which is the most useful part of debate. If you can't prove that util is objectively true, what's even the point of pretending it's true if we have no reason to believe it?

- I'm not a fan of vague standards like "structural violence" where practically anything commonly considered bad can be considered an impact. Winter and Leighton are the bane of my existence.

- Your impacts need to actually link to an ethical philosophy in the round. Explain to me why I should care about people dying, why human rights exist, and why racism is bad in the context of the round.


I can enjoy a Plan-focused or whole-resolution util debate just as much, however, and I've done Policy in the past.

- Weighing is wonderful, and probably the point where you will best be able to pick up high speaks.

- Things like author-specific indicts or methodological critiques of particular studies are fantastic. Tell me things like, "This study only has a sample size of n=24" or "The study's authors indicated the following problems with their own study."

- Impact turns are great. I can’t promise it’s always the best idea, but I’ll probably love it if the 1AR is four minutes of “global warming good” or "economic collapse prevents nuclear war."

- Counterplans are a very important neg tool, but I think some of the more abusive ones, like 50 States CP or Consult CP are difficult to defend in terms of making debate a good activity.

- In LD, I'd prefer you just read one unconditional CP.


- If the AC is super spiky, please number the spikes. This will make it a lot easier for me to flow. If you spout out single-sentence arguments for a full minute, I’ll be more inclined to vote on them if I can clearly tell where one ends and another begins.

- I like clearly articulated theory shells in normal Interpretation-Violations-Standards-Voters format. It makes it much easier to flow compared to paragraph theory.

- I would prefer if you shared pre-written shells in the email chain, even if they're only analytical.

- I default to competing interpretations but am receptive to reasonability if mentioned.

- I like RVIs and will often vote on them, especially for the aff. If you're the aff and you're not sure if you should go for 4 minutes of the RVI in the 1AR, my advice is probably yes.


- Post-fiat Kritiks are fine. I'm not very receptive to pre-fiat Kritiks. If you aren't sure about the distinction, think about whether your alternative negates the resolution. For example, if the resolution is "The US gov should do [x]", and your alternative is "The US gov should not do [x]" or "The US gov should instead do [y]", that's fine. If your alternative is only "People around the world should..." or "The judge should..." or "The debate community should...," I'm probably not going to enjoy it. If the alt doesn't even have an actor and is just to "reject the aff," that's even worse.

- Although I’m generally well-versed with the basic ones like Cap/Security/Fem K, my understanding of the more esoteric ones falls off. Although I will try to evaluate the round as fairly as possible, I haven’t spent much time reading 1970s Continentals, and you can’t assume that I’ll have intimate knowledge of their arguments ahead of time.

- I lean towards the Role of the Ballot being just whoever proves the resolution true or false (offense-defense is also acceptable).

- Fairness definitely matters. Education might matter to some degree. I am very loathe to consider anything else as an independent voter. If your argument is nothing more than "Util justifies slavery, so auto-drop them," I am not likely to be agreeable.

- If your NRs often include the claim, "It's not a link of omission; it's a link of commission," I am probably not the judge for you.


- I'm fine with flex prep (asking questions during prep time) if you want it. I think it's a good norm for debate.

- I do not care if you sit or stand.


Policy Paradigm


Read the Plan-focused/Util and Kritiks sections of the LD paradigm, but you can ignore most of the rest. Due to my LD background, I am much more willing to vote on philosophical positions. If you want to go for "Don't do the plan because objective morality doesn't exist" or "Pass the plan because that's most in line with Aristotle's notion of virtue," I'm totally fine with that.


- I still prefer clearly articulated Interpretation-Violation-Standards-Voters theory shells, even in Policy.

- I'm more willing to accept conditional CPs in Policy, although it gets really sketchy with conditional K's, especially if there's performative contradictions.


- I'm probably more willing than most Policy judges to consider analytics. I don't think you need a card for every argument you make, and oftentimes just having a warranted argument is sufficient.


Public Forum Paradigm


I understand that Public Forum has different end goals than LD or Policy. I will try to evaluate it through the following in contrast to LD or Policy:

- I will not require explicit ethical frameworks. If something sounds bad, like "It kills people" or "It hurts the economy" or "It is unfair," I'll try to evaluate that in some gestalt manner. You can probably expect a little bit of judge intervention might be necessary in the case of mutually exclusive impact frameworks and lack of weighing.

- I will generally keep in mind who is "speaking better." Although this will not change my vote in most cases, if the round is really close I might use that as the determiner.

- If I ask for a card and you can't find it, especially if it has a statistic, I will drop 1 speaker point for poor evidence norms.

Lauren Ivey Paradigm

2 rounds

aka Lauren Donnenfeld.


2013- Present Co-Director of Debate at Alpharetta High School.

2012-2013-I was one of Vanderbilt's debate graduate assistants.

2007-2011-I debated for Emory University for four years. I started as a novice in college.

Approximate number of rounds judged per year: 50

Please add me to the email chain:

Most of the below notes are just some general predispositions/ thoughts. I firmly believe that debaters should control the debate space and will do my best to evaluate the round in front of me, regardless of if you adapt to these preferences or not.

1. General thoughts- I have tremendous appreciation for the value of debate and I am constantly thinking about debate. I'm likely to dock your speaker points for being a jerk or reading something offensive like wipeout or spark. I really don't want to judge death drive. I'm unlikely to vote on anything that happened outside the round , disclose your prefs type arguments etc. Be nice both to your opponents and your partner, even if your partner has substantially less experience than you. Don't be homophobic, sexist, racist, etc. Do not hurt yourself in a debate round, or encourage others to do so. Do not interrupt your opponent's speech time or clip cards. Don't organize your speech doc in a way that is deliberating confusing to the other team. I'll increase your speaker points +.1 if you make me laugh in the round.

2. Flowing- Make sure that you are flowing. I've noticed an increase in the amount of rounds I judge which include teams answering an argument (or sometimes an entire off-case position) that wasn't read or extended in the debate. Do not just flow off the speech doc. I am a very flow-centric judge and it makes me sad when debaters answer argument that aren't in the debate.

3. CPs- I generally think conditionality is good, and is more justified against new affirmatives. PICs, Process CPs, Uniqueness CPs, Multiplank CPs, Advantage CPs etc. are all fine. Delay CPs- no, I tend to think they're pretty abusive. Consult CPs- meh, tend to lean aff but have voted on them before. All CPs are better with a solvency advocate. If the negative reads a CP, presumption shifts affirmative, and the negative needs to be winning a decent risk of the net benefit for me to vote negative.

4. Disads- The more specific, the better. Yes, you can read your generic DAs but I love when teams have specific politix scenarios or other specific DAs that show careful research and tournament prep. I'm super unlikely to vote on politix theory, I think the politix DA is an important and educational part of policy debate.

5. Topicality- Meh. I find T debates sometimes difficult to evaluate because they sometimes seem to require a substantial amount of judge intervention. A tool that I think is really under utilized in T debates is the caselist/ discussion of what affs are/ are not allowed under your interpretation. Try hard to close the loop for me at the end of the 2nr/ 2ar about why your vision of the topic is preferable. Be sure to really discuss the impacts of your standards in a T debate.

6. Framework- I tend to lean neg in most debates when the 2nr goes for framework. However, I'll vote for whoever wins the debate, whether you read a topical plan text or not, and frequently vote for teams that don't read a plan text. I tend to think affs should at least be related to the topic, and if I vote aff in a FW debate it's often based on an education impact. If I vote neg, it's usually because the neg has persuaded me that fairness outweighs education.

7. Kritiks- I am more familiar with more common Ks such as security or cap than I am with high theory arguments like Baudrillard. You can still read less common or high theory Ks in front of me, but you should probably explain them more. I tend to think the alternative is one of the weakest parts of the Kritik and that most negative teams do not do enough work explaining how the Kritik functions.

8. If both teams agree that topicality will not be read in the debate, and that is communicated to me prior to the start of the round, any mutually agreed previous year's topic is on the table.

If you have any questions, feel free to email me at the email address above. Good luck!

Brandon James Paradigm

5 rounds

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Liam Jameson Paradigm

6 rounds



This philosophy is a list of personal preferences and individual quirks that I've noticed about myself. I think they will be helpful when you debate for my ballot. Very few of these preferences are set in stone. Debates are about your arguments.

I don't like theory debates. I think almost any counterplan is justified if it's competitive. I have slight biases against object fiat and counterplans without actors.

I don't like T debates. I think too many people have drunk the limits kool-aid, and, to quote Seth Gannon, I'm a reasonability guy.

I think death is bad and extinction is worse. These beliefs are weakly held.

I don't read a plan and I don't go for DAs. I have working knowledge of most critical theses.

I think people should read plans.

I think it's possible for the negative to win that the AFF doesn't get to weigh the plan. In fact, I think it would be easier than most people believe.

"Good" arguments in debate are relative. Quoting another old man, if you can't beat the argument that genocide is good or that rocks are people or that rock genocide is good because they are people, then you are a bad advocate for your cause and should lose. Most of the crazy arguments you hear are "crazy" because a lot of smart people have thought about these things and concluded that they're nonsense.

No audience participation. No arguments about the people in the round. No arguments about stuff that happened out of round. These three beliefs are 100% immutable.

Brayden King Paradigm

6 rounds

Yes, email chain or speechdrop are fine. Also, if you have any questions, feel free to email them to me and I will try to respond as promptly as possible.

If there are questions you have before round that aren’t answered in this paradigm, then feel free to ask!

Background information:

Lee’s Summit High School (MO) ‘17

Missouri State University ‘21 (NDT/CEDA and NFA LD)

I did debate all throughout high school, a little over three of those years was policy. My squad was not involved in any major national circuit tournaments, and most of my experience was the more traditional side of policy debate (very few Ks). However, I don't have any dispositions against them and have read critiques such as Queerness and Feminism in my college career. I enjoy listening to and judging K debate. That being said, I am not the most well-versed person in the literature, so if you want to have a high theory K debate, then I would suggest slowing down a little bit for me. My expertise is mostly policy debate, so that is where I feel the most comfortable.

I want to be able to be lazy in judging, so give me clear impact calculus and overviews, and be sure to follow the flows.

General opinions on debate:

tech>truth unless it’s arguments that are actually just false. I.e. Racism good and structural violence good.

It’s a game, and there are some rules to that, particularly in H.S., but that doesn’t inherently mean you need to follow them. You can make arguments and give reasons as to why some of the rules may be bad and shouldn’t be followed. I.e. Planless affs- there are many reasons why not upholding U.S.F.G. action is bad (and many why it is). I think these are debates that can be had. Clash and standards are key here, but don't just spout "fairness and education", especially if it's in a rebuttal. I will hold to you explaining why those are good and the impacts to them.

I probably won't have any problems with speed, but if you’re too fast or unclear, then I’ll let you know.

Policy things:

I sort of lean on the side of extinction outweighs, but good impact calc can easily sway me otherwise. Especially if there was significant work done on reducing the link and/or internal links to extinction. I try to weigh magnitude, time frame, and probability evenly. If one side explains why extinction-level scenarios are impossible or almost impossible and the other side just says, but extinction outweighs, then the ballot will probably go to the former.

Impact calc is super important, so please do some!

Please explain how your CP/DA/case turns interact with the affirmative’s case and vice versa. Having a clear link and internal link chain is paramount to effectively weighing your arguments in the rebuttals.

CPs don’t necessarily have to solve all of case if the net benefit outweighs, but you should still tell me why that’s important, and make that argument yourself.

PICs are probably good, but can be abusive and, in the round, I will try to have a blank slate on the theory debate.

K things:

Clash is key. Link and perm debates are a mess if you don't know what the alternatives are or how they interact with each other.

PIKs can be legit, but there better be good explanation on why and how.

Impacts matter! Be sure to explain how to view and weigh them.

Form and Presentation:

Generally, I evaluate speaker points on how well the arguments were presented, explained, etc and less on just sounding pretty. While sounding good is still important, I would prefer a more in-depth explanation of your arguments. I come from a very lay background, but wasn't really a fan.

Be respectful! Debates that get excessively aggressive towards a team or specific individuals in round are not fun and are not things I want to see. Win the debate by out-debating the other team, not by trying to make them look bad. I WILL dock your speaks if you act like a brute.

Neal Kurande Paradigm

6 rounds

Alpharetta High School 2016

Georgia Institute of Technology 2020

General Comments:

I used to debate for Alpharetta HS. I was more policy oriented than K oriented when I debated. When evidence is presented in round, it needs to be explained or referenced in later speeches for me to consider the evidence in my decision. My spreading is not the same as it used to be, so if you are fast but borderline unclear, I won't be able to understand you. I'll let you know if you are unclear in your speeches. Outlines my thoughts on specific arguments are below.


I enjoy a good DA/Case debate. Impact calculus and specific interactions between Case and DAs are what win rounds. Make my life easy and do a good job on your Impact Calculus. Since everything leads to nuclear war nowadays, I tend to prefer more probabilistic impacts.


I like counter plans and will evaluate them as a impact defense to plan if they solve it and have a net-benefit of some kind. Counter plans do not need a solvency advocate especially if the other team is breaking a new affirmative. That being said, do not abuse this power as it can make for an extremely strong argument in the Condo Debate. Process CPs are definitely a viable strategy against many affs, but I think that many of them are resolved through a Perm. The neg needs to prove why the aff can't undergo this process in a reasonable interpretation of fiat for the CP to be able to survive a Perm.


Like I said above, I was a more policy oriented debater than a K debater. While I may not be well versed in critical literature anymore, I still very much enjoy the K debate. Explanation is key. I'm fine with almost any K being read in front of me, but if you read something like Death Good or another morally appalling K, I won't be happy.


T is my favorite argument in debate, and I find theory debates in general to be highly nuanced and full of clash. When evaluating T I need a good explanation of your impacts and need the same level of impact calculus that would traditionally come with a DA/Case debate. That being said, I don't think the standard impacts of fairness and education are good impacts for a theory debate. Fairness is not an impact in itself, but an internal link to one. You need to explain to me what would happen if the game were to become unfair, and how would that impact the skills you take away from debate. Education can be an internal link into T impacts, but I don't feel like education is unique to debate as a whole. You need to explain why education in a debate round is important. If your education based offense can be solved by reading a book, then it probably isn't a good impact that's unique to the activity.

Case Lists- I feel like I need to address this argument. I do not have an in-depth knowledge about what affs are viable or not. So if the Neg were to present a case list, I need the Aff to point out exactly how egregious the case list really is, because I don't really know, so I can not do any of that work for you.

Akash Kurupassery Paradigm

6 rounds

About Me: Sophomore at Emory University. I debated for 4 years in high school at the University School of Nashville. Add me to the email chain:

New Paradigm [9/27/2019]

I am re-writing this paradigm to be a little bit more transparent on some of the key issues which have been affecting a lot of the ways I judge debates. I used to consider myself more of a neutral judge, but I think it is time that I recognize my own biases because they definitely do affect a lot of my decisions.

Addressing each of the key issues outlined below is a great way to get my ballot. I would definitely recommend reading this thoroughly before your round because I definitely differ from other judges.

Key issues -

1.) K - If you are running a K, I want you to treat me as if I do not understand the literature. This way your argument becomes clearer in the round, and if I am genuinely not familiar with the literature then you have still done the work necessary to win the round. I think that this is a very hard skill to do in round with the limited time allotted to you (especially with the more jargon-heavy kritiks), but I think it is an important persuasive tool and it shows that you actually know your argument and aren't just relying on the other team's lack of understanding to win the round. I would rather you spend a minute or two on explanation rather than just reading additional sub-points to an irrelevant argument on the flow.

2.) Speed/Clarity - I prefer slower, clearer debate to faster technical debate. I think that this realm is where the best debates happen as it leads to better clash and argumentative nuance within the round. It also takes me a bit longer to understand arguments, so many times I just won't understand an argument if you are blazing through it. If you are debating whether to be fast or be clear - I would definitely recommend clarity in all instances. Some implications of this:

a.) I don't appreciate 1NC strats designed to spread the 2AC thin

b.) Signpost and number your arguments!!

c.) Please take time in speeches to clarify complicated/nuanced issues (especially in final rebuttals)

d.) I appreciate slow final rebuttals (except when you have a lot to cover - then almost certainly go fast) and writing my ballot at the start of the 2AR/2NR.

e.) Always start slower in speeches then go faster

f.) If you don't understand something the opponent said then please signal that in your response to it (as I probably didn't understand it as well)

g.) I don't read cards until after the round, so clearly spreading through the text of the card matters just as much as the tag!

3.) T/Theory - My least favorite debates to judge, but I understand the necessity of it at times. In front of me, I really do not want these to be the 2NR/2AR except where actual abuse occurs (Cheaty CPs/Non-Topical Affs). If you can debate substance over going for either of these, always go for substance.


Old Paradigm: Nothing here is really "different", so you can still look at this as a reference for how I evaluate debates.

Quick Version: Run arguments that you are comfortable with. I will vote on anything if it is well argued and defended. I am familiar with kritikal literature as well as policy arguments.

About Me: Sophomore at Emory University. I debated for 4 years in high school at the University School of Nashville. Add me to the email chain:

Argument Preference - Pretty non-existent. I don't want to tell you what to run so here is a tl;dr:

CP: Win the tech to win the CP

DA: Impact Comparison goes far.

K: Define your terms and have specific analysis

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

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

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

Morgan Leach Paradigm

First, a little about me...

I debated Public Forum for three years in high school at Piedmont Academy and Policy for four years at the University of Georgia.

Yes, put me on the email chain:

I expect respect from everyone involved no matter the climate - race, gender, religion, sexual orientation, etc. IF you have something controversial to say, I expect you to back it up and give it a purpose.

Let's talk PF:

Do you expect everything in the final focus to also be in the summary? Not necessarily - every round is different and comes down to different things, but I think having your main points extended in both is important. By the time of the summary and final focus, your winning points should be obvious (this includes your impact calculus).

Do second speaking teams have to respond to the first rebuttal? Yes, if time permits.

Do first speaking teams have to extend defense in the first summary? Defense, yes. New arguments, no.

Do you flow/judge off crossfire? It depends on how the round is going; crossfire can either make or break you, and if it is a close round, crossfire will play a part in the decision.

Do teams have to have more than one contention? No.

Does framework have to be read in the constructives? This is a loaded question - if you think you will need framework, include it in the constructive. AT THE LEAST, framework MUST be apart of the rebuttals. Summary or final focus is too little too late to bring up or heavily impact the framework debate.

Speed is fine, off-time roadmaps are encouraged, do not dominate or take over your partner's crossfire, but if needed, I will allow *some tag-teaming. I don't want you to be a sitting duck, but crossfire is the time where judges can see just how much you really know about your case, evidence, and arguments.

Let's talk Policy:

At the end of the day, the debate will come down to who had the most convincing points and who extended them the best. Clash is key, impact calc is key.

K Arguments: I am fine with K arguments, but do not assume that what you are advocating for is clear to all those who are listening. I need to see why the K outweighs staying on-case and why it is beneficial to debate.

DAs: I love me a good disad. Economy DA, Politics DA, any DA. If you can prove to me why the DA outweighs what the Aff can do, then I am all in it.

Topicality: I am completely fine with T args; I think in the chaos they keep the debate centered. But be warned, if you go for T, it must be won in the round.

CPs: Counterplans are fine IF they are not messy. I have seen, gone against, and read some really complex CPs that just don't pan out in the time permitted. If the explanation is not there in the planks and you struggle to add all you are trying to say, you probably shouldn't do it.

Don't get lost in the complexity of what Policy debate is; no matter the format, all debates come down to what the arguments are, how the evidence withstands, and how the debaters themselves carry the case through.

If anyone has any questions or if I left anything out, don't hesitate to ask :)

Good luck to all, and God bless!

Adam Lederer Paradigm

6 rounds

Debated Policy for 3 years at Alpharetta High School (GA)

Georgia Tech c/o 2022 (Public Policy)

I have judged zero rounds on the immigration topic, so don't assume that I know the acronyms and buzzwords that you'll inevitably spew out at 300 wpm.

I try my best to view each round as a blank slate, and am pretty open to most arguments. With that said, I am less likely to be familiar with critical arguments, so quality articulation will need to be done to persuade me to vote for them. To be honest, T debates aren't my favorite to judge; I default to competing interpretations, but am often persuaded by reasonability. Case lists from both sides in T debates are key.

Also important: I am predisposed to favor consequentialist moral frameworks. I generally think that outcomes matter, and a moral worldview is only as good as the world that results from it. This does not mean you can't win on deontology, as I have voted on these arguments before. You just have an uphill battle if you go with this strategy.

The best debates are high in clash and evidence comparison. Do not underestimate the utility of CX... let's be honest, policy debate is full of contrived link chains and tag lines that have little to do with the text of the card. CX is a great time to point out these inconsistencies and gain ethos in the meantime.

Impact calc is vital. The 2AR/2NR should paint a clear picture of why you get my ballot. Don't be messy. My flow is ultimately what I evaluate in making my decision, so jumping around increases the odds of me missing something that could play a key role in the debate.

Humor can be an effective means of getting across a point. If you make me laugh in the round, your speaker points will be rewarded. Also, if you are somehow able to weave Shrek, Rick and Morty, or the offensiveness/inferiority of pineapple pizza into your speech, I will bump your speaks up by 0.1.

Please add me to the email chain.

Rashard Leonard Paradigm

6 rounds for email chains


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

CX is binding and I will flow it.


Any other questions please feel free to ask me.

Royden Lynch Paradigm

6 rounds

Louisiana State University '22, Isidore Newman School '18

Yes Email Chain:

Update for Samford Tournament:

I have very little immigration topic knowledge, so you should at least introduce me to your acronyms of terms of art before you depend on them.


General Thoughts:

Debate is a game, it is a good game and should be a good game.

It is policy debate for a reason.

The ballot just decides who wins and loses.

Tech over truth.


Topicality debates are difficult, so when handled correctly, they are very rewarding and enjoyable, however, when handled incorrectly are messy and problematic to resolve. Since I'm new to this topic, don't assume I know what the core generics are, or what the heart of the topic is, you must tell me those things.

I think conditionality is great. I think the distinction between 3 or 4 conditional positions doesn't make intuitive sense, so the aff would probably have a better time going for 0 or 1, unless they can make good and specific brightlines.


Good DA/CP strategies are my favorite. Both sides should be making or answering arguments about how the disadvantage turns or accesses portions of the case, when this analysis is more contextual, it is typically much better. I'm generally lenient on more 'cheaty' counter-plans, but a good theory debate can convince me otherwise.


The affirmative gets to weigh the plan's implementation, you'll have a difficult time convincing me otherwise.


Read a plan.

Greg Malis Paradigm

6 rounds

I teach math and serve as chair of the math dept at Isidore Newman School in New Orleans. I retired from coaching at the end of the 2017-2018 school year. I coached Policy and LD (as well as most every speech event) for over 25 years on the local and national circuit.

In the fall semester of 2018-19, I have not judged any rounds on any topic. You will need to explain topic specific abbreviations, acronyms, etc. a little more than you would normally. You will also need to go slower than normal, especially for the first 30 sec of each speech so I can adjust to you.

Email chain:

My philosophy is in three sections. Section 1 applies to both policy and LD. Section 2 is policy-specific. Section 3 is LD-specific.

Section 1: Policy and LD

Speed. Go fast or slow. I don't really care. However, keep in mind that I think debaters have a tendency to go faster than they are physically capable of going. I won't read cards after the round to compensate for your lack of clarity, nor will I say "clearer" during your speech. In fact, I will only read cards after the round if there is actual debate on what a specific card may mean. Then, I may read THAT card to assess which debater is correct. Bottom line...I judge a lot of debates on the national circuit, so speed will not be an issue.

Theory. Theory should not be run for the sake of theory. I overhead another coach at a tournament tell his debaters to "always run theory." This viewpoint sickens me. If there is abuse, argue it. Be prepared to explain WHY your ground is being violated. What reasonable arguments can't be run because of what your opponent did? For example, an aff position that denies you disad or CP ground is only abusive if you are entitled to disad or CP ground. It becomes your burden to explain why you are so entitled. Theory should never be Plan A to win a round unless your opponent's interpretation, framework, or contention-level arguments really do leave you no alternative. I think reasonable people can determine whether the theory position has real merit or is just BS. If I think it's BS, I will give the alleged offender a lot of leeway.

Role of the Ballot. My ballot usually means nothing more than who won the game we were playing while all sitting in the same room. I don't believe I am sending a message to the debate community when I vote, nor do I believe that you are sending a message to the debate community when you speak, when you win, or when you lose. I don't believe that my ballot is a teaching tool even if there's an audience outside of the two debaters. I don't believe my ballot is endorsing a particular philosophy or possible action by some agent implied or explicitly stated in the resolution. Perhaps my ballot is endorsing your strategy if you win my ballot, so I am sending a message to you and your coach by voting for you, but that is about it. If you can persuade me otherwise, you are invited to try. However, if your language or conduct is found to be offensive, I will gladly use my ballot to send a message to you, your coach, and your teammates with a loss and/or fewer speaker points than desired.

Section 2: Policy only (although there are probably things in the LD section below that may interest you)

In general, I require that Affs read a plan and be topical. Performance-based strategies by either side are extremely difficult for me to evaluate largely because I don't know how to "weigh" one's performance over another's (although I have judged enough speech/interp, but I won't use those standards to pick a winner in a debate round). My approach to what constitutes an argument is traditional and conservative because that is how I was trained and that is how I have approached debate for the last 30 years.

I think K's need a solid link and a clear, viable, and competitive alt.

I best understand a negative strategy if consisting of counterplans, disads, case args.

Section 3: LD only (if you are an LDer who likes "policy" arguments in LD, you should read the above section}

Kritiks. In the end, whatever position you take still needs to resolve a conflict inherent (or explicitly stated) within the resolution. Aff's MUST affirm the resolution. Neg's MUST negate it. If your advocacy (personal or fiated action by some agent) does not actually advocate one side of the resolution over the other (as written by the framers), then you'll probably lose. I think debaters use phrases like "pre-fiat implications" all too often without explaining what it means or why it should be on such a level. Labeling a critical position as pre-fiat does not make it pre-fiat.

Topicality. I really do love a good T debate. I just don't hear many of them in LD. A debater will only win a T debate if (1) you read a definition and/or articulate an interpretation of specific words/phrases in the resolution being violated and (2) explain why your interp is better than your opponent's in terms of providing a fair limit - not too broad nor too narrow. I have a strong policy background (former policy debater and long-time policy debate coach). My view of T debates is the same for both.

Presumption. I don't presume aff or neg inherently. I presume the status quo. In some resolutions, it's clear as to who is advocating for change. In that case, I default to holding whoever advocates change in the status quo as having some burden of proof. If neither (or both) is advocating change, then presumption becomes debatable. However, I will work very hard to vote on something other than presumption since it seems like a copout. No debate is truly tied at the end of the game.

Plans vs Whole Res. I leave this up to the debaters to defend or challenge. I am more persuaded by your perspective if it has a resolutional basis. For example, the Sept/Oct 2016 topic has a plural agent, "countries" (which is rare for LD topics). Thus, identifying a single country to do the plan may be more of a topicality argument than a "theory" argument. In resolutions when the agent is more nebulous (e.g., "a just society"), then we're back to a question as what provides for a better debate.

Megan Mapes Paradigm

6 rounds

Debated at KU for 5 years

Coached at UNI of 2 years

Currently a GTA at Georgia State but not working with the debate team right now.

If you have more specific questions, or need clarification please feel free to send me an email.


please add me to any email chain -

I strongly believe that people with strong beliefs about can or cannot happen in a debate are kind of silly.

I believe that there is value in having discussions about the resolution. An example of the resolution should probably be the endpoint of any advocacy and debaters can creatively and critically engage the topic. I prefer debates where the affirmative defends a clear change from the status quo, but I'm open to what that means. When that does not happen I am more willing to vote negative on presumption.

I default to competing interpretations on questions of topicality.

Topicality will almost always come before theory arguments.

I default to offense/defense -

Tech > Truth


*Prep time/Paperless debate
- i find myself to be on the strict side of prep time questions. You have 30 seconds to get the other team your speech doc before prep starts again. If you're not using an email chain by now you'd better have a good excuse.

-- Smart strategic debaters who can make me laugh get good speaker points. Debaters who are offensive, rude, and neg teams that don't split the block do not.

--I'm willing to assign 0% risk to an argument if you are effective at establishing terminal defense. Obviously, offense always helps as most debaters are unlikely to effectively do this. This means you should probably adjust your impact calc in the 2ar if you're only going for defense to assess the possible risk of the disad. However, a dropped argument is a true argument in most cases for me (dropped evidence is considered based on the claims in the evidence and not necessarily your tag --- that means if you drop something, in a later speech you should be on top of the spin for that evidence in later speeches) so lack of offense doesn't mean ignore the defense because you'll think I always vote on a risk. Remember mistakes happen - if you drop an argument you always have the ability to make arguments as to why they only get the arg for what their evidence says in the case you drop a solvency argument or defense to an advantage. - the debate is never over.

--I am not likely to vote on a cheap shot but could be convinced otherwise if the argument is fleshed out. BUT I'm flow-centric and like tricky args. you should know the difference between a cheap shot and strategically hiding args.
--cross-x is either the best or the worst part of the debate. Teams do well when they use cross-x to set up arguments or question the evidence quality of the other team. This will be better for everyone if there is actually a point for your cross-x questions, and not just using cross-x as the 3 minutes of free prep that your partner gets.

*Clarity is very important to me. I will not flow cards that I cannot understand. I will not hesitate to drop teams for clipping cards even if the opposing team does not make the challegne. IF it is questionable I will not hesitate to tank your speaks.
speed is ok and I highly enjoy judging fast debates. However, err on the side of clarity ESPECIALLY on theory and topicality debates. They are already messy enough and going at your top speed will only hurt you if I can't flow all of the warrants to your arguments. But seriously - you should know when its right to slow down and just do it. - there is nothing more annoying than a post-round decision where debaters are asking about arguments that didn't get on my flow - there's probably a reason that happened and it's probably because YOU weren't strategic when it comes to your speed and clarity. I am a very technical judge and you will make me happy if you're also technical

Case - Extremely underutilized. Minimizing the case is a sweet way to win a high risk of the disad. Likewise, I think the aff teams should be leveraging alot more of the case against disads/Ks than what happens in most rounds. A "try or die for the aff" argument is quite persuasive. I think even if you are going for a CP, you should still extend case defense as a way to avoid a "try or die" framing by the aff.

Disads - Impact framing arguments are pretty important to win these arguments, and i think that alot of teams do a poor job of explaining how arguments interact with each other, and explaining meta-arguments that will frame how i assess the debate in terms of Uniqueness, link, etc. DA turns the case is a slayer, and I will be more than happy to vote on it. On a side note, i tend to do some politics research, and do infact find it intrinsic to the plan. Intrinsicness arguments are an uphill battle, unless dropped by the negative (which happens more than it should). I also think that alot of the politics cards that people read are atrocious, and think that 7 bad cards does not equal one good, well warranted card. This also isn't unique to the politics disad, alot of cards people are reading everywhere are atrocious, and smart teams will capitalize on it by pointing out how their evidence makes arguments that go the other way. I am not part of the "cult of uniqueness" by any means, but I think that uniqueness is an important component of the link debate.

CP's- They are a very intergral part of the negative strategy. I think that there is a time and a place for textual or functional competition, and I try to let the debaters convince me one way or the other. In general, here are my views on legitimacy of CPs. CP theory is a reason to reject the argument, not the team, unless the aff has a reason why it skewed their ability to debate other positions (I can only see this being true in a conditionality debate). The net benefits shoud probably be disads to the aff, and not just advantages to the CP (I can be persuaded that the condition net benefit is a disad to the aff).

Topicality- . This was my favorite argument as a debater, which can be both good and bad for me as a judge. It means both that I am more willing to reward tricky T arguments but also that my expectations for what makes for a good topicality debater are a bit higher. I also think topicality/theory is about impact calculus and weighing your impacts against your opponents (i.e. why aff ground o/w's neg ground). These debates can be messy so try to be as clear as possible and engaging as possible. I prefer contextual definitions. Abuse should be proven, i probably won't vote on potential abuse because I think you can get to the crux of this through a different impact. I think that the negative lets affirmatives get away with way too much in these debates by no providing a topical version of the affirmative, and explaining how the affirmative interpretation explodes the limits of the debate. Generic impact turns are not particulary persuasive. .

I think that the most important standard for me is that the affirmative has an advocacy statement that deploys a specific instance of their method. However, if you tell me to think otherwise, fine. I won't tell you how to debate and will listen to any argument with an attempt to judge objectively. Just give me a clear explanation of the importance of your argument applied to the round. Impact assessment is important.

Theory- I'm persuaded by reject the arg not the team with a majority of these small blippy arguments. Don't assume you win because the 1ar dropped multiple perms bad. If you'd like me to default to another setting, explain why it means they lose. I generally think conditionality and pics are ok but will vote on anything so eh- go for it

Kritiks- My knowledge of the literature is limited but growing. I will actually be more inclined to reward you if you take a new and innovative approach on a lot of these arguments. I find that I do better with structural criticism, which probably has a lot to do with the research I've done so far in my academic career. My main requirements are a detailed and applied explanation of the alternative to the specifics of the affirmative case OR a fleshed out and impacted justification for why the alternative doesn't have to DO something in a traditional sense. I think negatives make a huge mistake ignoring double bind arguments on the perm and it can be detrimental. I'm also probably a TERRIBLE judge for Reps K's/PiCs - You will have to do a lot of work to convince me that a team should use because they used nuclear war reps - I also think Reps args are served better as links to a better K. I generally think framework is only a reason to reject the alt not the team or a reason the aff gets to weigh their impacts.

Erik Mathis Paradigm

6 rounds

So I really dont want to judge but if you must pref me here's some things you should know.

Arguments I wont vote on ever

Pref Sheets args

Do no add me to any ballot deals made in rounds

Things outside the debate round

Death is good

General thoughts

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

Clarity over speed if I dont understand you it isnt a argument.

Online edit -- go slower speed and most of your audio setups arent great.

Only the debaters debating can give speeches. Two people speaking at the same time means I probably only listen to the person who was suppose to be speaking

I catch you clipping I will drop you. So suggest you dont and be clear mumbling after i've said clear risk me pulling the trigger. for email chains... but PLEASE DONT PREF ME

Longer thoughts

Can you beat T-USFG in front of me if your not a traditional team.... yes... can you lose it also yes. Procedural fairness is a impact for me.

Aff's that say "Affirm me because it makes me feel better" I'm not a huge fan of this.

Alts that have unrealistic explanations have a high threshold for me to vote on. The more unrealistic the easier it is for affs to beat it.

Reading cards- I'm finding myself more and more voting for the team that my flow says who won, I dislike reading cards because I do not fell like reconstructing the debate for one side over another. I will read cards dont get me wrong but rarely will I read cards on args that were not explained or extended well.

K- Saying the links are turns to the aff vote neg on presumption is not a thing unless you explain it. See the reading cards part. Also, hard to win the K if there basically no alt UNLESS you win the link take out the entire aff. It can be done but you have to explain it.

In round behavior- Aggressive is great being a jerk is not. This can and will kill your speaks. Treat your opponents with respect and if they dont you can win a ballot off me saying what they've done in round is problematic. That said if someone says you're arg is (sexist, racist, etc) that isnt the same as (a debater cursing you out because you ran FW or T or a debater telling you to get out of my activity) instant 0 and a loss. i'm not about that life.

Miriam Mokhemar Paradigm

6 rounds

A few things about me (TLDR version):

I'm a first year law school student at Syracuse University and former debater at the University of Georgia.

Plans are good

Impact calculus is important. Framing the debate round is very important.

Clarity > Speed

Cross-ex is binding

Have fun and don't be rude. Extra speaker points for well crafted jokes about Georgia debaters

Long version:

Framework - I'm a good judge for framework. Debate is a game and framework is procedural question. I’m persuaded by negative appeals to limits and I think fairness is an impact in and of itself. I don’t think the topical version of the aff needs to “solve” in the same way the aff does. If there are DA's to the topical version of the aff, that seems to prove neg ground under the negative’s vision of debate.

Kritiks - I think it's really hard for the neg to win that the aff shouldn't get to weigh the plan provided the aff answers framework well. I've got a decent grasp on the literature surrounding critical security studies, critiques of capitalism, settler colonialism, and feminist critiques of IR. The aff should focus on attacking the alternative both at a substance and theoretical level. It's critical that the 2AR defines the solvency deficits to the alternative and weigh that against the case. Negative debaters should spend more time talking about the case in the context of the kritik. A good warranted link and turns the case debates are the best way for negative teams to get my ballot. Tell me how the links to the aff uniquely lead to the impacts.

Counterplans - My initial impression of whether your counterplan is legitimate will be whether or not you have a specific solvency advocate. There's nothing better than a well-researched mechanism counterplan and there's nothing worse than a hyper-generic process counterplan that you recycle for every negative debate on the topic. I generally think that 2 conditional options are good, but I can be persuaded by 3 condo is okay. PICs are probably good. Consult/Conditioning/delay counterplans, international fiat, and 50 state fiat are bad.

Disads- I love a good DA and case debate. I've gone for the politics DA a lot in my college career. Normally uniqueness controls the link, but I can persuaded otherwise. Impact calc and good turns cases analysis is the best!

Add me onto the e-mail chain, my email is If your computer crashes, stop the timer until you can get your doc back up.

Jacob Nails Paradigm

6 rounds

LD Paradigm

This is the LD paradigm. Do a Ctrl+F search for “Policy Paradigm” or “PF Paradigm” if you’re looking for those. They’re toward the bottom.

I debated LD in high school and policy in college. I coach LD, so I'll be familiar with the resolution.

If there's an email chain, please add me to it. My email is:

Summary for Prefs
I've judged 500+ LD rounds from novice locals to TOC finals. I don't much care whether your approach to the topic is deeply philosophical, policy-oriented, or traditional. I do care that you debate the topic. Frivolous theory or kritiks that shift the debate to some other proposition are inadvisable.

Topicality is good. Less a fan of most other theory arguments. There's not many I find plausible.

Most counterplan theory is bad and would be better resolved by a "Perm do the counterplan" challenge to competition. Agent "counterplans" are never competitive opportunity costs.

I don’t have strong opinions on most of the nuances of disclosure theory, but I do appreciate good disclosure practices. If you think your wiki exemplifies exceptional disclosure norms (open source, round reports, and cites), point it out before the round starts, and you might get +.1-.2 speaker points.

The neg’s burden is to negate the topic, not whatever word, claim, assumption, or framework argument you feel like. The 1AR is likely to say the words ‘procedural fairness’, and I am likely to be deeply moved by them.

Saying the words “voting issue” does not make something a voting issue. It might be a speaker points issue, but the person losing speaker points may not be the person you thought.

The texts of most alternatives are too vague to vote for. It is not the opponent's burden to spend their cross-ex clarifying your advocacy for you.

If the strategic value of your argument hinges almost entirely on your opponent missing it, misunderstanding it, or mis-allocating time to it, I would rather not hear it. I am quite willing to give an RFD of “I didn’t flow that,” “I didn’t understand that,” or “I don’t think these words in this order constitute a complete and warranted argument.” I tend not to have the speech document open during the speech, so blitz through spikes at your own risk.

I don’t know what the precise threshold for a “spike” or “trick” is supposed to be and so am generally skeptical of theory arguments about them. I think I already naturally judge in a way that makes abuse of such tactics unstrategic, so you shouldn’t worry about needing to police your opponent’s use of them.

The above notwithstanding, I have no particular objection to voting for arguments with patently false conclusions. I’ve signed ballots for warming good, wipeout, moral skepticism, Pascal’s wager, and even agenda politics. What is important is that you have a well-developed and well-warranted defense of your claims. Be aware that presumption still lies with the debater on the side of common sense. I do not think tabula rasa judging requires I enter the round agnostic about whether the earth is round, the sky is blue, etc.

Warrant quality matters. Here is a non-exhaustive list of arguments that I have frequently heard debaters assert but never followed by something I would consider a coherent warrant requiring a response: permissibility affirms, conditional logic, aff does not get perms, pretty much anything using the word “indexicals.”

I am pretty well-read in analytic philosophy.

I am not well-read in continental philosophy or identity literature, but read what you want as long as you can explain it and its relevance to the topic.

You cannot “theoretically justify” specific factual claims that you would like to pretend are true. If you want to argue that it would be educational to make believe util is true rather than actually making arguments for util being true, then you are welcome to make believe that I voted for you. Most “Roles of the Ballot” are just theoretically justified frameworks in disguise.

LD paradigm ends here.

Policy Paradigm

Yes I want to be on the email chain:

Summary for Prefs
I qualified to the NDT a few times at GSU, but nowadays I mostly coach/judge LD. Don't assume I'm well-read on the policy topic.

The affirmative should defend a topical USFG policy. The negative should prove that the status quo or a competitive USFG policy is preferable to the affirmative. I'll vote for arguments outside of those parameters if you win them, but I highly doubt I'm a good judge for them.

The topic makes a statement about what the best course of action the USFG should take is. I will vote for the best USFG policy proposal available based on the arguments in the round. If that proposal includes the affirmative plan, the affirmative wins. Otherwise, the neg wins.


1. Conditionality is fine. Judge kick is fine. I don’t think there’s any numerical limit on acceptable neg advocacies, but I’m pretty inclined to protect the aff from incomplete 1NC arguments that get sandbagged to the block, so it may be in your interest not to push the limits on how many positions you can read anyway for reasons other than condo-bad.

2. Any competitive counterplan is neg ground. If you think their Delay/Consult/Process Counterplan is not legitimate, you should prove that it’s not competitive with the plan. Perm do the counterplan >>> CP theory.

3. Non-USFG counterplans are never neg ground. 50 states doing something is not something the USFG could choose to do instead of the plan; it cannot be a competitive opportunity cost. You need a counter-plan, not a counter-agent or counter-world.

4. I have never understood the dogma against intrinsicness/extra-T. If your DA can be trivially solved by the USFG doing something else alongside the plan, it’s not a germane reason not to pass the plan. Most of the absurd DAs/CP net benefits that would never pass muster as aff advantages vs advantage counterplans (lookin at you, agenda politics) only exist because of this unjustified double standard.

I will of course vote for condo bad or whatever other theory arguments, but given the short and late-breaking nature of these debates, I find counterplan theory questions tend to be the singular issue on which my prior assumptions end up most influencing my decision.

A lot of advantages/DAs are super contrived, and it’s easy to convince me that impacts short of extinction should matter more.

I do find existential risk literature interesting, but I dislike the lazy strategy of reading a card that passingly references nuke war/terrorism/warming and tagging it as "extinction."

Straight turns are great turns.

Topics DAs >>>> Politics. I have judged 0 of these so far this year and that makes me sad.

K Affs
The only thing I am here to do is vote for the team that did the better debating. I do not care whether an aff ballot would affirm you as a person or advance your social movement into elims. I do care whether your opponents have a fair chance to win the round. What is your interpretation of what debates should look like, and why is that more fair as a model than the topic’s division of ground? I am a very fervent believer in the value of the topic, though I confess to having voted aff in rounds where the neg is just getting out-teched on this question.

I don’t understand why negs use the aff being non-topical as a justification for nonsense like “No Perms” or “PICing out of” things that weren’t in the aff’s advocacy. If you don’t think the 1AC advocacy is a fair stasis point for the debate, then just go for T. Otherwise, it’s your job to prove the aff advocacy is a bad idea, same as always.

I cannot stress enough how little tolerance I have for intentionally obfuscatory tactics. If I cannot tell what the alternative is supposed to do based on the 1NC text, the chances I vote for it are nil. It’s not the aff’s job to waste half their cross-ex trying to pin you down to something determinate. I find that a very large majority of 1NC kritik alternatives fail this minimal standard.

A verb phrase does not constitute a clear alternative. The agent(s) should be spelled out, and if you find that clearly articulating which agent(s) you’re talking about makes it start to sound like an agent counterplan, then you should probably refer to the counterplan section of my paradigm.

PF Paradigm

9 November 2018 Update (Peach State Classic @ Carrollton):

As the rest of my paradigm suggests, my background is primarily in LD/Policy. I don't have strong opinions on Public Forum norms in general or expect you to adapt to an LD/Policy style, but I do prefer directly quoted evidence over paraphrasing.

I have zero tolerance for evidence fabrication. If I ask to see a source you have cited, and you cannot produce it or have not accurately represented it, you will lose the round with low speaker points.

Manny Navarrete Paradigm

6 rounds

Updated: January 2020

Grady '18

Emory '22

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

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

Add me to the chain -

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

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

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

Scroll to the end for non-policy

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


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

28.4-28.7: Bad

28.7-29.1: Average/Good

29.2-29.6: Great

29.7-29.9: Top Speaker

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


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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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


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

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


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

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

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

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

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

Utkarsh Pandey Paradigm

4 rounds

Woodward Academy - C/O 2015

University of Alabama: Birmingham - C/O 2019

Add me to the email chain:

***I'm coming into this season with no topic knowledge whatsoever. I can keep up with general arguments and the flow of speeches just fine; however, you may find it worth your while to take time to explain more specific/niche acronyms that pop up throughout the course of the debate.

Last Updated/Written prior to: The Fall 2018 Chattahoochee Cougar Classic

Background: Debate at Woodward Academy for 3 years. Was pretty much exclusively the 2N/1A. I'm 4 years out of the activity now so I'm not very familiar with many new community norms that have developed since my time debating.

Meta/Activity Preferences:

1) Prep time: I won't take prep for emailing speech docs in Varsity unless it becomes excessive (I will inform you before I start taking prep off if I decide things are taking too long). I do take prep time in JV/Novice in order to facilitate rounds running on time.

2) Tag team C-X: Fine if it happens once (maybe twice); if it happens too much, it will reflect in your speaker points and my general view of how much I think you know your arguments.

3) Be nice and respectful to everyone in round (me, the other team, your partner).

Critical/Performance/Non-traditional/No Plan Affs - I enjoy listening to anything that you as the affirmative feel comfortable presenting. I'm highly unlikely to vote for arguments that I find morally reprehensible. But if you are reading high theory or some other very obscure affirmative, you will have a higher burden of explanation if I'm not too well versed with the literature.

Theory - Smart theory debates are fun, but bad theory debates are some of my least favorite to watch (probably second only to a round involving ethics violations or a bad T debate). I usually lean neg when it comes to conditionality.

T - If you can do it well then go for it; I do tend to lean Aff on questions of topicality.

Feel free to ask for clarification or other specific questions before round if you have them! Bear in mind, these are just general thoughts/observations that I hold going into the round; they are not set-in-stone viewpoints.

Marty Pimentel Paradigm

6 rounds

Marty Pimentel

OPRF 2012-2016

Emory 2016-2020

General stuff:

-I default to a view of debate as a game. That being said, no one spends their summers at monopoly camp. Debate being a game doesn't make it less of anything else

-Tech vs. Truth: I probably default to tech over truth, but just as all the truth in the world won't save you without good tech, all the tech in the world won't save an argument that is obviously false.

-Analytics: I'm a big fan. There are obviously arguments that you need an authoritative source for, but you shouldn't be afraid to point out when something logically or factually doesn't make sense

-Terminal defense and Presumption: I have a lower threshold than most for voting on terminal defense/presumption arguments, but if that's your strategy then you better be prepared to go all in on it. Otherwise it's still a very difficult argument for me to pull the trigger on.

-I don't flow CX but I listen very carefully and remember what was and wasn't said. I think a good CX is one of the most powerful tools a debater has.

-Debate is serious and you should care about it, but it's also fun and you should have fun


-Awesome: I love a good case debate. There are very few situations in debate in which the neg can't benefit from a serious effort on case

-Evidence comparison is key: reading cards back and forth at each other isn't a debate. Even analyzing your own evidence doesn't matter unless you use that analysis and compare it to the other team's evidence. This goes for any part of the debate

-Try or die: I think that 99% of the time the aff is going to win that there is some sort of impact which I should probably stop. But if the neg is saying that the advantage or internal link is non-unique then it's not actually try or die anymore.


-Politics DA vs. Specific DA's: Some people love the politics disad and others hate it. I'm somewhere in the middle. I think it's an argument with obvious strategic utility, but I tend to think in most cases that it's not as compelling as a good case specific disad.

-Impact calc: If you're going for the disad then you need to be winning the impact calc. I think that turns the case arguments are really compelling defense. I'm also persuaded by the argument that you don't need to win the terminal impact in order to turn the case (e.g. you don't need to win economic collapse; even an economic slowdown could turn the case)


-I'll just start by saying that I won't vote against a CP just because I think it is cheating; you need to win that argument.

-I think that States and International Fiat CP's are open for a theory debate. I think that Process CP's are cheating.

-Advantage Counterplans: I think that they are very under utilized and I don't know why. If an aff has three advantages, two of them are usually shit. If you know that the aff has an advantage that is much better than the others, an advantage CP is a great way to neutralize it.


-I was a "K guy" in high school: that means I'm familiar with most of the usual lit out there. It also means I can tell when you're trying spin nothing into something. I know all the tricks, so use them at your peril.

-Long words do not make an argument good: I personally believe that if you can't explain an argument to a little kid in a way they would understand, you probably don't understand the argument yourself. And if you don't understand your own argument I am much more likely to be persuaded by an aff team that understands their arguments. So skip the intentionally confusing verbiage and get to the substance of your argument.

-The same goes for long taglines: For real, why? Why would you have a tagline thats as long as the card you're about to read? Just don't read the card at that point...

-Framework: Both sides need to have a clear framework for what debate should look like and what our engagement with the world should look like. The team that does a better and more consistent job is going to be ahead. I don't buy frameworks that exclude K's from debate entirely.


-Coming from a guy who read K affs in high school: Framework is a legitimate and persuasive argument against your aff. Treat it as such. I personally love a good framework debate

-You still have to engage the aff: Framework by itself isn't good enough. You should still be addressing the substantive parts of their aff and challenging their view of the world. It makes framework that much more convincing.

-Watch out for contradictions between framework and other off case arguments

-New K affs that don't disclose and say that debate isn't a game should lose to framework. If debate isn't a game then why would you not disclose?


-I default to reasonability. I analyze this part of the debate the same way I do with tech vs. truth. If the aff is truthfully topical then you're going to have to work much harder with your techy T argument.

-Limits are an internal link to ground, fairness, and education


-I am much more willing to pull the trigger on theory than a lot of people

-Conditionality: I think that the neg is probably justified in a conditional CP and a conditional K. Anything more is very susceptible to theory

-If you think a CP is cheating, it probably is

-If it's a new aff and they didn't disclose, the neg gets way more leeway


Robbie Quinn Paradigm

6 rounds

Robbie Quinn, coach at Montgomery Bell Academy, mucho judging on this topic, which is the one with ASPEC, Consult NATO, and the Death K.

I have no prejudices toward any argument type. I do have prejudices to people who don't have fun. You have to have fun. I'm a librarian, so at the very least you can have fun making fun of that.

I determine which way to evaluate any argument based on who most convinces me of the superiority of a certain way to evaluate it.

I like humor, stories, and creative uses of historical examples. Cross-ex is very important to me and I watch it closely. I think it sways my thinking on key issues. What judge won't admit to actively monitoring who seems to be winning? Cross-ex, to me, is a powerful barometer of that.

Things I've been telling debaters lately that make me feel like I am incredibly awesome but are really just things that everybody knows that I rephrased into something snappy and I'm taking credit for:

1. Don't unnecessarily cut people off in CX. The best CX questions are the ones they can't answer well even if they had all 3 minutes to speak.

2. Be a guardian of good debate. Yes, debate's a changing network of ideas and people, and winning a debate on bad arguments isn't a crime punishable by death. But I reward debaters who seek to win on good arguments. I love good debates. I don't like making "easy" decisions to vote on bad arguments, even though I often do.

3. The most sensible kritik alternatives to me are the ones that defend the idea of a critical-political resistance to the assumptions of the plan and how that idea works in real-world situations. Even if an alternative isn't as cleanly recognizable or linear as the passage and enforcement of a piece of legislation, that doesn't mean that it can't be something concrete. I watch so many bad kritik debates that are bad because both sides never give the alternative any sensible role in the debate. I will reward debaters that give up on gimmicky and irrelevant defenses and attacks of kritik alternatives.

Reasons why my judging might mimic the real world:

1. I might be consciously and unconsciously swayed against your arguments if you're a mean person. Humans are good judges of sincerity.

2. I appreciate style. Rhetorical style and the style of your presence. There's a big difference between going-through-the-motions and having presence in a debate.

3. I like endorsing and praising passionate debaters. Lots of people who articulate that "this debate and the discourse in it matter" don't really energize their discourse to make me feel that. On the other hand, lots of people who don't think that "this debate round matters" often sway my thinking because they speak with urgency. I love listening to debates. If you want to speak, I want to hear you.

Me and cards: I'm very particular about which cards I call for after the debate. If there's been evidence comparison/indicts by one side but not the other, that's usually reason for me not to ask for either side's evidence on that question since one team did not engage the evidence clash.

Lee Quinn Paradigm


Titles: Assistant Director of Debate at Samford University (AL).

Head Coach at The Altamont School (AL).

Debate Background:

College: Top Speaker at ADA Nationals. 2x NDT First-Round Bid at Wake Forest. 2x NDT Octofinalist. 2x Kentucky Round Robin. Dartmouth Round Robin.

High School: 3x TOC Qualifier. 2011 Winner of Emory's Barkley Forum in Policy Debate. Greenhill and Harvard Round Robin Invitee. Winner of Woodward JV Nationals. Third Place at NSDA Nationals in 2011. Seventh Place NSDA Nationals 2010.

Policy Thoughts:

I’m not the smartest human. You’re maybe/likely smarter than me. Please do not assume I know anything you are talking about. And I would honestly love to learn some new things in a debate about arguments you invented.

Debaters are guilty until proven innocent of clipping cards. I follow along in speech docs. I believe it is judges job to police clipping and it is unfair to make debaters alone check it.

Meta level: Research skills and persuasive speaking are the foundation of debate. The team that persuasively makes the most arguments backed by the Brookings Institute likely will win my ballot.

Condo. 3 against a basic/big stick aff is about my ceiling. 3 contradictory condo and I can more easily be persuaded to vote on condo. For new affs, I think at most 5 condo is permissive. Anymore and I think you risk losing on theory.

Process/ Conditions/ consult CPs are the devil, unless you have a fire solvency advocate specific to their plan text which can prove its predictable and important for that area of debate. But I’m persuaded that a generic/predictable aff posted on the wiki can win a theory debate against a generic process/ conditions/ consult CPs. You just need an interpretation about a world of debate that excludes these CP’s. This is especially true with any Con Con CP. Con Con is the worst.

K debate is cheating in policy. Especially K affs. Kritikal literature is obviously very relevant to being educated and ethical, but in debate this lit is bastardized for polemic positions that unfairly tilt debate in their favor for a litany of obvious strategic gains.

I hate judge kick. Do you want me to flow for you too? Maybe compose your speech doc while you're at it? I don't give the affirmative random permutations. Don't make me kick your trash counterplan for you. I won't be there to take your boards or bar exam saying "hey don't worry I got you if you make the wrong choice.

PS- Please do not read global warming good. Global warming is real and will kill us all. And I am particularly persuaded by the argument that introducing these arguments in debate is unethical for spreading propaganda and should be deterred by rejecting the team. I'm way more persuaded by inevitability and alt cause args.

LD Paradigm

I am largely engaged with college policy debate levels of debate. I will flow every word you say. Speed is a weapon in debate. LD is often one big K debate which is fine in LD but I err towards util/consequentialism FW's. I can be persuaded pre-fiat impacts are extra-topical and can be rejected as such (likely not a reason to reject the team). But I do love me a good ol' fashioned value premise throw down from time to time, I must admit. It is the premise.

PF Paradigm

I'm increasingly frustrated with the liminal space public forum operates in. I'm so happy to see the progress made in terms of substance and clash, but am frustrated at the lack of norms that should accompany these progressive improvements. Here are my thoughts when judging a PF debate:

- Public Forum, if you're looking for your paraphrasing theory gatekeeper, you've found them. I will vote on paraphrasing bad theory ONLY IF the you read properly cited and highlighted cards that are sent out prior to your speech. Please dear god people, let's stop this spreading "Reuters '19" and "Forbes '19" non-sense. Atleast policy has to read long cards, that's WHY they have to spread. Paraphrasing makes debate impossible for both debaters and judge to genuinely test the veracity of evidence sources. This is an increasingly important issue too in our modern age of disinformation, fake news, and propaganda. Let's all work together to continue the progress being made in PF.

- I DO NOT CONSIDER URL/ARTICLES EVIDENCE. if you have to google/search for an article after I call for a card I will not evaluate the evidence and will treat it as an analytic. A CARD HAS TO BE CUT. There has to be some norm to reward actual research and preperation.

- I do not want to be a "policy judge" in PF. Please do not unload the canon and spread at 110%. If you want to do that, just come to policy debate and I'll be happy to judge it. I feel like my experience in policy debate/another debaters experience asymmetrical tilts the debate in a way that is unfair to debaters who do not have policy experience or experience spreading. You can make a ton of arguments while still going at 60-70% of your top speed. How do I plan to enforce this? I'm not entirely sure. It will definitely be reflected in speaks and will feel empathetic to the other team, but past that I'm not entirely sure. I have judged enough PF rounds now where debaters come in and spread that I feel like I am unfairly skewing the debate in one teams favor. Please do not make me feel like this! If you wanna spread, do policy/come do policy for me at Samford.

- Disclosure norm. I'm a BIG advocate of open source/wiki, but I'm not entirely sure I'm willing to vote down a small local school who maybe didn't know there was a wiki against a big school reading disclosure theory "to help small schools." It almost seems counter-productive. I think it can be an easy win if the other team drops it, or if its two big schools debating, I could consider it. But I literally judged a round where a team from a the reigning TOC policy champion school read disclosure theory against a small rural school with no coach and said it would help small programs. I'm not the biggest fan there.

Vignesh Ramesh Paradigm

6 rounds

Vig Ramesh

Debated at Alpharetta High School Policy - 4 years

General Philosophy:

To me the only rules of debate are the time limits for speeches & prep. Other than that, I generally let the debaters decide what the round should be about and what factors to evaluate when deciding the ballot. If no such guidelines are established in the debate then I tend to default to the standard offense/defense paradigm. Also it goes without saying that if you are disrespectful or rude I will not look upon such behavior favorably.

Argument Specifics:


Love debates that boil down to these because they are so rare to see (at least that was the case when I used to debate). I don't have any specific preferences here, just argue what you are comfortable with well and I'll be happy.


No Preferences, open to most arguments including theory.


I was never much of a K debater and am likely unfamiliar with the material surrounding your favorite K (except Capitalism because America). I'm not bringing this up to dissuade you from running one, but just be aware that you may have to do more work establishing your position here if you want me to follow along. Clarity is paramount.


I WAS however very much a T debater and AM familiar with most of the arguments surrounding this topic. I would say that I am very open minded to T debates and will consider most arguments here that other judges might outright dismiss. That being said, you still have to convince me (and this is very much the lens in which I view T debates) that the topic is better serviced by your interpretation of it because of x, y, z etc. If you do this well, you have a shot at winning debates.


Again no real special preferences here. These debates usually come down to a few questions for me:

1.) Can the CP solve all or parts of the Aff?

2.) Does the CP avoid the DA?

3.) Do the parts of the aff that are not solved by the CP outweigh the DA?

The third question being the most important one and likely the one on which I'll judge the debate on. Oh yeah and then there's

4.) Theory

I think Theory is strongest when it is situationally aware. For example, arguing conditionality bad if the Neg only runs 1 CP isn't a very strong argument and outside of the aff completely conceding it is unlikely to persuade me. However if the Neg runs 3 CP's a Floating PIK, a Consult CP, and a K... well then your argument suddenly has more merit. Like with T, I'm open to these debates and judge from a lens of which interpretation provides a better landscape for debate.

Performance Arguments

Never judged a debate this way. It's not to discourage you, but just be aware I don't have experience evaluating such debates and this could help or hurt you. As stated in my general philosophy, I believe the only real rules in the debate are the speech and prep times. Other than that, have at it.

Dana Randall Paradigm

4 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.

Jack Rankin Paradigm

6 rounds

I am a fourth year debater at MBA. I have debated in plenty of rounds on the Immigration topic, so I am familiar with the topic.

Below is some useful information that I know I would look for when checking a judge's philosophy, but I try to judge mainly off the flow and the debating that occurs in round. That being said, good evidence helps and is important.

Put me on the email chain:


Fairness is an impact. Defending the resolution is always a good idea in front of me. Beating the AFF's case and theories about the world always helps. It isn't impossible to beat framework with me in the back because I'll judge these debates off the flow. A couple of smart and logical arguments from either side can change these debates.


I'm down for whatever technical T debate you want. But AFF teams under-utilize substantive crowd-out as offense and reasonability.


Condo is generally good, but I am down for a technical theoretical debate. Most types of CP theory arguments are dumb, but again, you have to win the flow.


The AFF has to disprove the internal links to disads before probability framing makes sense. 1% risk of racism is an illogical argument. Solvency deficits on CPs need to be impacted out to outweigh the NEG's offense. If the CP solves the whole AFF, most framing arguments don't make sense.

Peyton Reeves Paradigm

6 rounds

Lee's Summit High School (MO) 18'

Mo State 23 (?)' (NDT/CEDA and NFA-LD)

Pronouns are They/Them.

Email Chain-

"I'm going to flow your speech. There is nothing you can possibly do to stop this short of concede. What's worse, I'm even going to decide the debate based on said flow and said flow alone."

Tech > Truth

Don't have to affirm the USFG, but should be something about the res - it's there for a reason.

I know the general thesis of most K's, doesn't mean you get a pass on explaining them.

Theory is cool, condo is good to some extent - you can argue where that extent is.

Pen time is good.

average - 28.5, you can go up or down from there - if you send cards in the body of an email with yellow highlighting, -.1 speaks, gives me a headache and i am red-green colorblind so i literally cannot read it.

as long as you don't break tournament rules and everyone gives two speeches within time constraints, i don't care what you do

Ricardo Saenz Paradigm

6 rounds

Ricardo Saenz
Debated at Georgia Tech (Parli & Policy) for ~2 years
Debated at Alpharetta High School - 4 years

STEM background (studied Engineering in College)

Currently configure Leak Detection software for a Pipeline Company for a living.


last updated 1/2/2020

TLDR: Debate what you're good at and debate well. I'll do my best to vote for the team that did the better debating.

General notes for everyone:

1. I vote for the team that did the better debating. What the "better debating" means is up to the debaters. If no one defines what it means to win the round, I usually default to weighing offense and defense. I also tend to be quick to decide rounds. It's not you... it's me!

2. Debate what you're comfortable with and debate it well. I don't really have many biases anymore and will hear you out on practically anything. There are a few arguments that will make me unhappy and affect your speaker points, but if you win the sheet of paper, you win the debate.

3. Add me to the email chain and please add your coaches, too. I will reply all with my comments and flow to the thread so y'all can have my record for redos.

4. I will try to keep with community norms in terms of speaker points. Just make sure I can understand you. You've seen me flow on the live stream so that should give you a good idea of my capabilities and limitations in that department.

4. It's very important that I can understand everything in your speech as I don't tend to read cards as much as most judges. I also try to write down key warrants on my flows and decide the round based on that.

5. I have been out of the activity for a while now and don't know much about the topic. Please keep that in mind and adjust accordingly.

6. Get the little stuff right - if it's clear that you have the paperless stuff down (no delays emailing, using flash drives etc...) you're likely to get on my good side and earn higher speaker points.

6. Let's all try to be friends here.

Argument Specific:

Performative Method - I am less persuaded by arguments that the ballot means something. That being said, I think arguments that focus on the scholarship of afro-pessimism and black feminism can be very persuasive. I am not very well read in the literature but did pick up a bunch from watching Kansas BR a bajillion times last year. Just be clear about what my role as a judge is and what the ballot means.

Kritiks - I don't really get Baudrillard but I think that's the point. If you want me to vote on one of your tricks, debate it well and impact it. Don't assume your job is done after the 1AR forgets the floating PIK. I debated many topic Ks back in the day, but make you explain stuff and... debate well...

Disads - Love DA/Case debates. This was one of my favorite strategies. Not much to say here.

Politics/Elections - sure

CPs - Make sure it competes. If it doesn't make sure you're good at theory.

Conditionality - I'm closer to 50/50 on this than most. Counterinterpetations are silly and self serving in these debates. The debate should be about conditionality being good or bad if it comes down to this.

Questions? Just ask!

Abby Schirmer Paradigm

1 rounds

Pace Academy, Atlanta GA (2019-2020)
Marist, Atlanta, GA (2015-2019, 2020-Present)
Stratford Academy, Macon GA (2008-2015)
Michigan State University (2004-2008)

Please use email chains. Please add me-

Short version- You need to read and defend a plan in front of me. I value clarity (in both a strategic and vocal sense) and strategy. A good strategic aff or neg strat will always win out over something haphazardly put together. Impact your arguments, impact them against your opponents arguments (This is just as true with a critical strategy as it is with a DA, CP, Case Strategy). I like to read evidence during the debate. I usually make decisions pretty quickly. Typically I can see the nexus question of the debate clearly by the 2nr/2ar and when (if) its resolved, its resolved. Don't take it personally.

Long Version:
Case Debate- I like specific case debate. Shows you put in the hard work it takes to research and defeat the aff. I will reward hard work if there is solid Internal link debating. I think case specific disads are also pretty good if well thought out and executed. I like impact turn debates. Cleanly executed ones will usually result in a neg ballot -- messy debates, however, will not.

Disads- Defense and offense should be present, especially in a link turn/impact turn debate. You will only win an impact turn debate if you first have defense against their original disad impacts. I'm willing to vote on defense (at least assign a relatively low probability to a DA in the presence of compelling aff defense). Defense wins championships. Impact calc is important. I think this is a debate that should start early (2ac) and shouldn't end until the debate is over. I don't think the U necessarily controls the direction of the link, but can be persuaded it does if told and explained why that true.

K's- Im better for the K now than i have been in years past. That being said, Im better for security/international relations/neolib based ks than i am for race, gender, psycho, baudrillard etc (that shit cray). I tend to find specific Ks (ie specific to the aff's mechanism/advantages etc) the most appealing. If you're going for a K-- 1) please don't expect me to know weird or specific ultra critical jargon... b/c i probably wont. 2) Cheat- I vote on K tricks all the time (aff don't make me do this). 3) Make the link debate as specific as possible and pull examples straight from the aff's evidence and the debate in general 4) I totally geek out for well explained historical examples that prove your link/impact args. I think getting to weigh the aff is a god given right. Role of the ballot should be a question that gets debated out. What does the ballot mean with in your framework. These debates should NOT be happening in the 2NR/2AR-- they should start as early as possible. I think debates about competing methods are fine. I think floating pics are also fine (unless told otherwise). I think epistemology debates are interesting. K debates need some discussion of an impact-- i do not know what it means to say..."the ZERO POINT OF THE Holocaust." I think having an external impact is also good - turning the case alone, or making their impacts inevitable isn't enough. There also needs to be some articulation of what the alternative does... voting neg doesn't mean that your links go away. I will vote on the perm if its articulated well and if its a reason why plan plus alt would overcome any of the link questions. Link defense needs to accompany these debates.

K affs are fine- you have to have a plan. You should defend that plan. Affs who don't will prob lose to framework. A alot.... and with that we come to:

NonTraditional Teams-
If not defending a plan is your thing, I'm not your judge. I think topical plans are good. I think the aff needs to read a topical plan and defend the action of that topical plan. I don't think using the USFG is racist, sexist, homophobic or ablest. I think affs who debate this way tend to leave zero ground for the negative to engage which defeats the entire point of the activity. I am persuaded by T/Framework in these scenarios. I also think if you've made the good faith effort to engage, then you should be rewarded. These arguments make a little more sense on the negative but I am not compelled by arguments that claim: "you didn't talk about it, so you should lose."

CPs- Defending the SQ is a bold strat. I will listen (and most likely vote) on CPs done in either the 1NC or the 2NC. Multiple conditional (or dispo/uncondish) CPs are also fine. Condo is probably good, but i can be persuaded otherwise. Consult away- its arbitrary to hate them in light of the fact that everything else is fine. I lean neg on CP theory. Aff's make sure you perm the CP (and all its planks). Im willing to judge kick the CP for you. If i determine that the CP is not competitive, or that its a worse option - the CP will go away and you'll be left with whatever is left (NBs or Solvency turns etc). This is only true if the AFF says nothing to the contrary. (ie. The aff has to tell me NOT to kick the CP - and win that issue in the debate). I WILL NOT VOTE ON NO NEG FIAT. That argument makes me mad. Of course the neg gets fiat. Don't be absurd.

T- I usually view it in an offense/defense type framework but I'm also compelled by reasonability. I think competing interpretations are good but do think that some aff's are reasonably topical. Impact your reasons why I should vote neg. K's of T are stupid. I think the aff has to run a topical aff, and K-ing that logic is ridiculous. T isn't racist. RVIs are never ever compelling.... ever.

Theory- I tend to lean neg on theory. Condo- Probably Good. More than two then the aff might have a case to make as to why its bad - i've voted aff on Condo, I've voted neg on condo. Its a debate to be had. Any other theory argument I think is categorically a reason to reject the argument and not the team. I can't figure out a reason why if the aff wins international fiat is bad that means the neg loses - i just think that means the CP goes away.

Remember!!! All of this is just a guide for how you chose your args in round. I will vote on most args if they are argued well and have some sort of an impact. Evidence comparison is also good in my book-- its not done enough and i think its one of the most valuable ways to create an ethos of control with in the debate. Perception is everything, especially if you control the spin of the debate. I will read evidence if i need to-- don't volunteer it and don't give me more than i ask for. I love fun debates, i like people who are nice, i like people who are funny... i will reward you with good points if you are both. Be nice to your partner and your opponents. No need to be a jerk for no reason

Ben Schultz Paradigm

3 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....

Rebecca Steiner Paradigm

6 rounds

I am coaching for Emory nowadays. Previously coached at UGA, Wake Forest & University of Florida.

Create an email chain for evidence. Put me on it. My email address is

yellyellDo not trivialize or deny the Holocaust yellyell

2020-2021 Updates - Online Judging:

Ask if I am in the room / paying attention before you start speaking. Non-negotiable. "Becca, are you ready?" or "Becca, are you here?" I will give you a thumbs up or say yes (or I am not in the room and you shouldn't start).

I get that tech issues happen, but unnecessary tech time hurts decision time.

Please please please have one (or all) debaters look to make sure people haven't gotten booted from the room. It might happen to you, might might happen to me. I've heard best practice is to have some backup of yourself speaking in case this occurs. If the tournament has rules, follow those.


Is there an overview that requires a new sheet of paper? I hope not

Does the DA turn the AFF?

Impact turn debates are fine with me


What are the key differences between the CP and the plan?

Does the CP solve some of the aff or all of the aff?

Be clear about which DA/s you are claiming as the net benefit/s to your CP

"Solving more" is not a net benefit

I lean neg on international fiat, PICS, & agent CP theory arguments

I lean aff on conditionality bad & conditional planks bad theory arguments.

I don't love when the neg reads a 1nc full of arguments in great tension with/clearly link to other things in the 1nc.


I will flow the entire debate and judge based on what I flowed

I prefer when debaters make flowing easier for me (signposting, identifying other team’s argument and making direct answers, clarity)

I prefer when debaters answer arguments individually rather than “grouping”

Tech > truth


"What cards did you read" and "What cards did you not read" definitely count as cross-x time

Avoid intervening in your partners cross-x time, whether asking or answering. Tag team is for WWE, not debate.

Misa Stekl Paradigm

6 rounds

PRONOUNS: they/them/theirs -- please put me on the email chain

PhD student @ Stanford, in Modern Thought and Literature

Emory '19 (did not debate; judged on the GA circuit for 4 years)

Bishop Guertin '15 (debated on the national circuit, went to the TOC, etc. etc.)

***UPDATE for Berkeley 2020: This will be my first tournament on the topic. Please do not assume any familiarity with the topic or especially with any topic-specific acronyms. You can spread, but clarity is paramount as always — clarity over speed any day, but today more than ever!***

My favorite judges in high school were jon sharp, Calum Matheson, and Jarrod Atchinson.

In general, you should not change what you do because you have me in the back of the room. As a debater, I tended to be pretty flexible, alternating frequently between "critical" and "policy" positions. This is your space to argue, not mine, so I will vote for the arguments on the flow that yield the path of least intervention. Pure objectivity being impossible, I nonetheless do my best to keep my subjective argumentative preferences out of the picture. That said, I'm not quite a blank slate; for instance, I won't be persuaded by racism/sexism/etc. good, or by any unapologetically discriminatory positions or practices.

I’m pretty well versed in K lit – I study theory at a graduate level, so I should have some degree of familiarity with whatever you choose to read. I'm an especially good judge for any brand of poststructuralism, including those concerned with questions of identity. Obviously, this doesn't mean that you can rely on buzzwords to get out of explaining your argument; it does mean, too, that I'll know if you have no idea what you're talking about. You should have at least a working knowledge of the position you are asking me to vote for, which requires you to do at least some cursory background reading and thinking. Then, bring your knowledge of critical theory to bear on the particulars of the aff, balancing overarching framing questions with specific link and impact analysis.

I'm not convinced that the aff must defend governmental action. Which is only to say that I will not enter the room with any dogmatic biases against plan-less affirmatives. That said, I probably enjoy a good framework debate more than most, and find myself voting for framework as often as I vote against it. Still, I don't think it should be your only strategy against all K affs; I will be more persuaded if you at least make an effort to substantively engage the aff. Of course, particularly obscure affs or those lacking a consistent advocacy will tend to be harder to defend against framework than core, topic-specific K affs.

***UPDATE September 2018: As I've judged more debates, I've become increasingly wary of framework as a default negative strategy against K affs. In my experience, framework very often becomes a lazy cop-out, even an excuse to avoid debating the substance of the aff. I can still be convinced that this is not always the case, and I will continue to evaluate framework debates technically, but it is on framework debaters to prove the value of their strategy.***

I think I tend to prioritize evidence quality less than most judges. Not that good cards aren't important – they're the pillars of your argument – but they can't replace good analysis. Depending on your argumentative genre of choice, it may be better to establish your position through evidence-reading or through your own explanation in the constructives; but in most cases, I'd rather you invest more time in nuanced and specific applications of your argument than read another card. In the final rebuttals, you absolutely shouldn't rely on your cards to do the work for you – extensions should be much more substantive than simple author name-drops. If you can't explain your author's argument, as well as its implications for the debate, I won't explain it for you.

Clear! I'll take clarity over speed any day. You should be comprehensible enough that I can understand the text of your cards. I will not call for cards after the debate if I was unable to understand them when you read them; I only read evidence for the sake of refreshing my memory.

Chill out. While antagonism is inevitable in this competitive forum and may even enhance debates in limited doses, I maintain that debaters too often take aggression to unhealthy extremes. Outside of a small number of "critical" strategies that benefit performatively from hostility, there is no reason to deliberately be an asshole to the other team, or – especially – to your partner (!!seriously!! if I can hear you yelling at your partner during prep time, you're doing something wrong). Jokes can also help ease the tension.

Speaks – Points vary by tournament (i.e. I'll give higher points at Samford than at the NDCA). Generally speaking, I'm a bit of a point fairy. Methods for improving your speaks include innovative, specific strategies and clear logical organization. Humor is the icing on the cake.

30 – Among the best speakers I’ve ever heard: you should be top speaker and win the tournament. A+
29.5-29.9 – Outstanding: expect to be one of the top 5 speakers – you should be able to make it to late elims. A
29-29.4 – Very impressive: a noteworthy performance with quite little room for improvement; you deserve to be among the top 20 speakers. A-
28.6-28.9 – High average: you are in or near the top of your division; with any luck – and, more surely, with just a little more practice – you should be able to break. B/B+
28-28.5 – Average: you're doing well, but still need to iron out some remaining issues with your clarity of speech or of argument. B-
27.5-27.9 – Low average: you have potential, but displayed: a) notable problems with both speaking and argument development, or b) more serious problems in one of the two areas. C/C+
27-27.4 – Below average: your performance was passable, but suffered from critical issues of both style and content. C-
26.5-26.9 – Needs improvement: you spoke poorly, made major strategic mistakes, and likely dropped some important arguments. D
26-26.4 – Needs major improvement: you failed to answer a majority of your opponent’s arguments and made some manner of unforgivable mistake. D-
0-25 – You did something offensive. F

Clipping will result in an immediate loss and the lowest speaks allowed by the tournament. I will follow along with the speech doc and record the debate; if I catch you clipping, I will stop the round you even if your opponent doesn’t call you on it.

This is not, in fact, your CX.

*** Update March 2019: YES TKO PLEASE TKO! Far too many debates drag on painfully long after they (should) have technically ended. For this reason, I am following B. Manuel's paradigm and urging you to invoke "total knock-out" mode if the other team makes an utterly irredeemable mistake – e.g., double turn, dropped T or a K, etc. Of course, you must stake the round on this; if you can pull it off (i.e., if you can satisfactorily extend the dropped/devastating argument while covering all your bases, e.g., answering condo if going for a dropped K...), then you will win the round after your speech and receive 30s. If you are unsuccessful, you lose and get a hard cap of 27.5. ***

Terrell Taylor Paradigm

3 rounds

Terrell Taylor

add me to doc chains: terrell taylor at gmail dot com. No punctuation, no space, no frills.

Debated at Mary Washington from 2007-2011

Debate is an intellectual activity where two positions are weighed against each other. A part of this is making clear what your position is (plan, cp, alt, advocacy, status quo etc.) and how it measures up against the other team’s position. Arguments consist of a claim (the point you want to make), warrant (a reason to believe it), and an impact (reason why it matters/way it functions within the debate). Evidence is useful when trying to provide warrants, but is ultimately not necessary for me to evaluate an argument. Debates get competitive and heated, but staying polite and friendly and remembering that the name of the game is fun at the end of the day makes for a more enjoyable experience for everyone involved.

Disads/Case and Advantages

These arguments should be stressed in terms of a coherent story of what the world looks like in terms of the status quo, affirmative plan or alternative option. These positions should be attacked from a variety points including the link and internal link chain, impact and uniqueness level. When it comes to link turning, my default thought is that uniqueness determines the direction; if you have an alternative understanding that is particular to a scenario, be sure to explain why it is that the direction of the link should be emphasized or what have you. Impacts should be compared not only in terms of timeframe, probability and magnitude, but in terms of how these issues interact in a world where both impact scenarios take places (the popular "even if.." phrase comes to mind here). Also, keep in mind that I have not kept up with the trends in disads and such within the topic, so explaining specifics, acronyms and otherwise is useful for me. I prefer hearing case specific scenarios as opposed to generic politics and similar positions. This does not mean I will not vote for it or will dock your speaker points, just a preference.

Counterplans and Counterplan Theory

Counterplans should be functionally competitive; textual competition doesn’t make a whole lot of sense to me (see later section on theory). I think that perms can be advocated, but am more than willing to hear reasons why they shouldn’t be and why that is a bad way to frame debates. When it comes to agent counterplans, I tend to think that topic specific education should trump generic presidential powers or judicial independence debates. Consult and condition cps just make the logician inside my head painfully confused (not sure why a reason to talk to X country is also a reason why the plan is bad). International fiat is suspect to me, and I tend to think that limiting the discussion to US policy (including its international relevance) is a good thing.

All of this being said, I am open to voting for any of the above arguments. These are merely my general theoretical leanings, and I will certainly flow, listen to, and evaluate arguments from the other side.


I haven’t seen many debates on this topic, so if a debate comes down to T, don’t be surprised if you see me googling to find the resolution to check the words. In general I think Topicality is important for two reasons. One is the general reason that most people think it’s good, being that we need to be prepared/have set limits and parameters for debate. The second is that I think each year presents an opportunity to gain in depth education on an issue, even if it's not a policy perspective of that issue. I feel that competing interpretations is generally the default for T, but I am open to defenses of reasonability and in fact, think that there are cases where this is the best means of evaluation. Standards should be impacted in terms of education and fairness, and the debate should come down to the best internal links between the standards and these terminal values. If you are the type to critique T, your critique needs to come down to these terms (education and fairness). RVIs don’t make sense to me. If you want to take the challenge of trying to make one make sense, be my guest, but it’s an uphill battle.

General Theory

As mentioned, I am not wedded to any particular frame or “rulebook” for debate. Part of the beauty of debate to me is that debaters get to be both the players and referee. As such, I enjoy theory and think that such discussions can be fruitful. The flipside to this is that most theory debates devolve into tagline debating, shallow and repetitive arguments, and a race to see who can spit their block the fastest. These debates are 1) hard to flow and 2) not really a test or display of your ability so much as a test of your team’s theory block writer. I reward argumentation that is clear, comprehensible and complete in terms of theory debates, and urge debaters to these opportunities seriously.

I’ve laid out most of my theoretical dispositions in the counterplan section. Conditionality to me is like siracha sauce: a little bit heats up the debate, too much ruins it. I don’t know why three or four counterplans or alternatives along with the status quo is key to negative flex or good debating (one is good, two is ok). Also, if you want to use a status other than conditional or unconditional, (like the imaginary “dispo”) you should be ready to explain what that means. Again, I think that it is okay to advocate permutations as positions in the debate.

In terms of alternate frameworks for the debate (i.e. anything other than policy making) I’m honest when I say I’m not extraordinarily experienced in these areas as I’d like to be. I’ve seen a decent few of these debates and think that they provide some nuance to an otherwise stale activity. That being said (and this is true for all theory positions) you should try and weigh the educational and competitive equity benefits of your position versus the other teams proposed framework the debate. I debated for a squad that saw framework as a strategic and straightforward approach to most alternative forms of debate, so those arguments make sense to me. On the other hand, especially when it comes to arguments concerning structural issues in society/debate, if argued well, and with relevance to the topic in some way, I am willing to listen and evaluate.

Critical arguments (Kritiks/K-affs)

Much of what I just said applies here as well. I had the most success/felt most comfortable debating with these types of arguments as a debater (I did, however, spend most of my career debating with “straight-up” affs and disads that claimed nuclear war advantages). I studied English and Philosophy in undergrad and am pursuing a MA in English with a focus on critical theory, so there’s a decent chance that my interests and background might lean more towards a topic oriented critique than a politics Da.

I will avoid following the trend of listing the genres of critiques and critical literature with which I am familiar with the belief that it shouldn't matter. Running critiques shouldn't be about maintaining a secret club of people who "get it" (which often in debates, is construed to be a club consisting of the critique friendly judge and the team running the argument, often excluding the other team for not being "savy"). In other words, Whether I've read a great deal of the authors in your critique or not, should not give you the green light to skimp on the explanation and analysis of the critique. These debates are often about making the connections between what the authors and literature are saying and the position of the other team, and hence put a great burden on the debater to elucidate those connections. A shared appreciation or research interest between a team and a judge does not absolve you of that burden, in my opinion.

I agree with many recent top tier collegiate debaters (Kevin Kallmyer, Gabe Murillo, etc.) that the difference between policy and critical arguments is overstated. An important piece of reading critical arguments with me in the back of the room is explaining what your arguments mean within the context of the aff/da. If you read a no value to life impact, what about the affs framing makes it so that the people involved see their lives differently; if the critiqued impact is a merely constructed threat, reveal to me the holes in the construction and explain how the construction came to be. Doing that level of analysis (with any argument, critical or policy) is crucial in terms of weighing and relating your arguments to the other teams, and engaging in a form of education that is actually worthwhile. This probably entails removing your hypergeneric topic link and replacing with analysis as to the links that are within the evidence (and therefore, the assumptions, rhetoric, methodology, so and so forth) of your opponents. In terms of vague alts and framework, I have mixed feelings. The utopian fiat involved in most alts is probably abusive, but there is something to be said for making the claim that these arguments are vital to thorough education. On the framework question, gateway issue is probably a poor way to go. I don’t understand why the fact that your K has an impact means that you get to suck up the entire debate on this one issue. Instead, a framing that opens the door to multiple ways of critiquing and evaluating arguments (both on the aff and the neg, or in other words, doesn’t hold the aff as a punching bag) is preferable.


I didn’t do a whole lot of handling with this genre of argument, but have debated semi-frequently and enjoy the critical aspects of these arguments. I think that there is a difference between the type of critical debater that reads a couple of disads along with a K and case args, and a team that reads a indictment of the topic or reads narratives for nine minutes. If you read a poem, sing, recite a story or anything of that nature, I will be more interested in observing your performance than trying to flow or dictate it on my flow (my reasoning for this is that, unlike a speech organized for the purpose of tracking argument development and responses, I don't think flowing a poem or song really generates an understanding of the performance). More importantly, framing should be a priority; give me a reason why I should look at the debate through a certain lens, and explain why given that framing you have done something either worth affirming your advocacy. I think that these types of debates, especially if related to the topic, can be fruitful and worthwhile. Performance affirmatives should try to find some in road to the topic. If your argument is pervasive and deep enough to talk about, I generally think it probably has a systemic implication for the resolution in some way, even if that doesn’t manifest as a topical plan or even agreeing with the resolution.

For teams going against performance strategies, Framework based arguments are options in front of me. A good way to frame this argument is in terms of what is the best method to produce debates that create the most useful form of education, as opposed to just reading it like a procedural argument. I do think it is important to engage the substantive portion of their arguments as well, (there are always multiple dimensions to arguments of these forms) even if it happens to be a critical objection to their performance or method. Many policy based strategies often want to avoid having to engage with the details involved, and in doing so often fail to rigorously challenge the arguments made in the debate.

Good luck, and have fun. I spent a great deal of my debate career stressing out and losing sleep, instead of experiencing the challenge and fun of the activity; Enjoy your time in the activity above everything else.

Siddhartha Vemuri Paradigm

6 rounds

Debated 2014-2018 at Alpharetta High School

General Notes: I haven't yet judged a round on the immigration topic, so please start from the assumption that I have little to no topic knowledge. I want to see a clean, organized debate with great clash and in-depth explanations of arguments from both sides. I am generally open to any argument, but I have a few predispositions that I'll cover below. Keep in mind that those predispositions will only help you if you call your opponents out on things they do wrong and actually answer arguments.

T/Theory: I prefer reasonability just because I've seen teams use T and theory way too often as a means to get out of actually engaging an opponent's case/offcase. If you go for T or a theory violation, you should have a good explanation of exactly what the other team did that made the debate unfair and why you're making this the central point of the round. That being said, this is not an excuse to brush off your opponent's theory violations/Topicality arguments, and if you're doing something shady, I won't hesitate to vote on theory.

Condo: I made this separate from the T/Theory section just to make my stance on it clear. Having up to 2 conditional advocacies is fair in my opinion. However, if you run 2 condo with a blatant case of perfcon, then I think it's fair for the aff to make it an issue, especially if you're using their answers to one of your advocacies to generate offense for the other one. If you're using 3 or more condo, you're playing with fire.

CPs: I like counterplans, but not as much if you're basically just stealing the aff and generating a disad off of a tiny part you changed to make it competitive (consult/process CPs). However, if the aff says to do x, y, and z but you want to use a CP that says only do x and y and make a disad off of z, then go for it. I really like advantage counterplans, so feel free to use those.

Ks: I don't like it if you're just stealing the aff through a PIK or if you get wishy-washy with the alt and end up changing what it is throughout the debate. If you're running a K, you should have specific links to the aff and a clear explanation of your alternative and how it generates uniqueness for your links. I tend to like Ks that attack the epistemology of aff like the security K. In terms of ontological and identity Ks, I'm not very well-versed in the literature, so you'll have to explain them very well. Also, those Ks really should have clear, specific links to the affirmative, otherwise it seems to me like this K is the only thing you came into this round ready to go for and you didn't plan on engaging the affirmative. If an affirmative is unfair enough that you can only use a generic K as an answer, that's probably a sign you need to go for T.

Non-resolutional affs: I generally believe the resolution should be the starting point for the debate. I don't mean to discourage you if you have an aff that you really want to read, but if your opponent knows how to properly leverage framework or T, you can expect an uphill battle.

Disads: I like a good old case vs DA debate. What makes disads stand out to me is specific links and a realistic internal link chain. If you are aff and you see a ridiculous DA, rip it apart and show me how absurd it is. If you're neg and going for a DA, make the story of the DA clear and show how the aff will absolutely cause it to happen.

Case: Same as the DA section, great affs have a well thought out internal link chain. Make sure the story of the aff is clear and use it to increase the probability of your impacts happening. If you're neg, explaining how ridiculous the story of the aff is using solid evidence and common sense will defang it and make it easy to beat with your offcase.

Robert Whitaker Paradigm

6 rounds

Currently working with Alpharetta, previously worked with Chattahoochee. I debated throughout high school, then at the University of Oklahoma and the University of Central Oklahoma, and am now a member of U of West Georgia debate.

I’m comfortable with all speeds and styles, especially those regarding the k – I’m most familiar with poststructural + positional criticisms, though you should do whatever it is you do best – you can just as easily win with a plan, theory, framework, etc. If you want to test a sneaky new framework strategy, I'll happily adjudicate your chess match; if you're all about the Death K, well, I've done my fair share of that stuff too. Give me your best args and write my ballot. I privilege tech over truth and frequently vote for arguments that contravene my personal beliefs. I judge k affs frequently but this only thickens my belief that they need some relation to the resolution, even if only neg-neg. I thus also believe that the neg, in turn, needs to prove why either A) the aff links to harder to the k than squo does, or B) why that distinction doesn't matter - i.e. how I can vote without presumption and/or L/UQ or why presumption still goes neg, does not exist, sucks, whatever. I am not, personally, keen on the notion that presumption can flip aff, but am willing to entertain the argument and have voted on it when used to exploit a neg weakness.

I flow on paper, if you care. I'll say clear twice and then stop flowing anything incomprehensible. If you begin a speech in unsettling fashion (e.g. giving an inaccurate roadmap or jumping the gun with 400+wpm), I'll act flustered and require a few effervescently dramatic seconds to get my affairs in order. If I'm otherwise not flowing or I'm on the wrong sheet, it's because either you've created a mental backlog of arguments that I'm flowing in retrospect or I'm repackaging your arguments to make them more palatable to my flow, or both.

Some things that frustrate me: excessive rudeness (toward opponents or judges), offensive strategies (racism inevitable/good, for instance), and clipping (zeroes + L = bad time for you). The advent of digital debate brings with it a new and widespread sense of suspicion, and though I will do my best to catch any and all forms of cheating, I ask that debaters remain vigilant for it as well. Also, and I can’t believe I need to write this, please don’t engage in acts of self-harm to win my ballot (you know who you are). Instead, please demonstrate mastery of persuasion, word economy, and 2nr/2ar prescience – teams that reverse-engineer strategies and execute them methodically speech-by-speech impress me the most – a searing cross-ex is, of course, welcome – entertaining and innovative teams will be rewarded with speaker points.

A few final notes: not a huge fan of process counterplans (but I’ll still vote for them), conditionality is pretty good (as is neg fiat), link uniqueness wins k rounds, and maybe, just maybe, go for presumption.

Lisa Willoughby Paradigm

6 rounds

Judge Philosophy

Name: Lisa Willoughby

Current Affiliation: Henry W. Grady High School

Conflicts: AUDL teams

Debate Experience: 1 year debating High School 1978-79, Coaching High School 1984-present

How many rounds have you judged in 2012-13: 50, 2013-2014: 45, 2015-2016: 25, 2016-17 15, 2017-2018: 30, 2018-19: 30, 2019-20-5

send evidence e-mail chain to

I still view my self as a policy maker unless the debaters specify a different role for my ballot. I love impact comparison between disadvantages and advantages, what Rich Edwards used to call Desirability. I don’t mind the politics disad, but I am open to Kritiks of Politics.

I like Counterplans, especially case specific counterplans. I certainly think that some counterplans are arguably illegitimate; for example, I think that some international counterplans are utopian, and arguably claim advantages beyond the reciprocal scope of the affirmative, and are, therefore, unfair. I think that negatives should offer a solvency advocate for all aspects of their counterplan, and that multi-plank cps are problematic. I think that there are several reasons why consultation counterplans, and the States CP could be unfair. I will not vote unilaterally on any of these theoretical objections; the debaters need to demonstrate for me why a particular counterplan would be unfair.

I have a minor in Philosophy, and love good Kritik debate. Sadly, I have seen a lot of bad Kritik debate. I think that K debaters need to have a strong understanding of the K authors that they embrace. I really want to understand the alternative or the role of my ballot. I have no problem with a K Aff, but am certainly willing to vote on Framework/T against a case that does not have at least a clear advocacy statement that I can understand. I am persuadable on "AFF must be USFG."

I like Topicality, Theory and Framework arguments when they are merited. I want to see fair division of ground or discourse that allows both teams a chance to prepare and be ready to engage the arguments.

I prefer substance to theory; go for the theoretical objections when the abuse is real.

As for style, I love good line-by-line debate. I adore evidence comparison, and argument comparison. I am fairly comfortable with speed, but I like clarity. I have discovered that as I get older, I am very comfortable asking the students to "clear." I enjoy humor; I prefer entertaining cross-examinations to belligerent CX. Warrant your claims with evidence or reasoning.

Ultimately, I demand civility: any rhetoric, language, performance or interactions that demean, dehumanize or trivialize fellow debaters, their arguments or judges would be problematic, and I believe, a voting issue.

An occasional interruption of a partner’s speech or deferring to a more expert partner to answer a CX question is not a problem in my view. Generally only one debater at a time should be speaking. Interruptions of partner speeches or CX that make one partner merely a ventriloquist for the other are extremely problematic.

Clipping cards is cheating. Quoting authors or evidence out of context, or distorting the original meaning of a text or narrative is both intellectually bankrupt and unfair.

There is no such thing as one ideal form or type of debate. I love the clash of ideas and argumentation. That said, I prefer discourse that is educational, and substantive. I want to walk away from a round, as I often do, feeling reassured that the policy makers, educators, and citizens of the future will seek to do a reasonable and ethical job of running the world.

For Lincoln Douglas debates:

I am "old school" and feel most comfortable in a Value/Criterion Framework, but it is your debate to frame. Because I judge policy frequently, I am comfortable with speed but generally find it is needless. Clarity is paramount. Because of the limited time, I find that I typically err AFF on theoretical objections much more than I would in a policy round.

I believe that any argument that an AFF wants to weigh in the 2AR needs to be in the 1AR. I will vote against new 2AR arguments.

I believe that NEG has an obligation to clash with the AFF. For this reason, a counterplan would only be justified in a round when the AFF argues for a plan; otherwise a counterplan is an argument for the AFF. The NEG must force a decision, and for that reason, I am not fond of what used to be called a 'balance neg.'

Moriah Windus Paradigm

I'm a former policy debater from Samford University and started debating as a novice my first year in college (2016). I qualified to the NDT for the 2017-2018 debate year.

I haven't judged on the high school topic too much this year, so please don't assume that I know all of the technical topic-specific terms.

I'm very much a "you do you" type of judge and want the debate to be what the debaters want it to be about, that said I do have some preferences:

For the Neg:

1. Disads

As a former 2N, I love disads, but I'm going to be skeptical of your ability to win the disad if your uniqueness and link work isn't done well throughout the entire debate. Impact calc is your best friend, in the 2nr I want you to write my ballot for me and tell me why your link chain is much more probable than your opponents and why your impact turns the case debate.

2. CPs

I'm not particularly persuaded by Aff claims that the CP should be textually competitive, and err on the side of functionally competitive. If the CP has multiple planks I want a clear explanation of how each one functions (or how they function together) at some point in the debate, so many debaters don't synthesis their CP planks to work together which ultimately ends up hurting them in the debate. As far as 50 states goes, the Aff is 100 % right! 50 state fiat isn't the most real world model of education, however, as a 2N I can definitely be persuaded by the arg that it's important to test federal vs. state action---just make sure that these arguments are well drawn out if the debate comes down to 50 states fiat.

3. K debate

All too often the alt isn't clearly explained. While I would definitely vote on "we prove the aff is bad even without the alt," you'd really have to be winning case turns arguments which ultimately makes more work for you. It's best to work with an alt that you are familiar with and can clearly explain with well-articulated links to the case. I try to interfere with the debate as little as possible, so even if I understand the literature base you're working with, I'm not going to do the work for you if you don't fully explain your arguments or develop them.

4. Topicality

It's really important that you win your interpretation though explaining why it is comparatively better than the Aff's CI. It's a good practice to include a list of topical versions of the affirmative that the aff could easily have adopted. Also, I want to see good impact work done in the 2NR (what ground you lost, how they over or under limit etc & why those things matter).

5. FW

Win the TVA debate and I'm 89% convinced you'll win my ballot. If there is a TVA that solves all your offense and gives the Aff the ability to debate the things that they want to debate, that's an easy neg ballot. BUT you need to do the work for me and do impact work in the 2NR that explains what ground you lost (and it needs to be more than "I couldn't run my econ da").

6. Final Tips

A) Clarity over speed

B) When the debate is too big in the 2NR, the neg will always lose

C) If the Aff reads add-ons in the 2AC, impact turn them and make the debate fun :)

D) 1NRs should be offensive not defensive, it's a strategic time to read lots of cards because the aff usually focuses more on the 2NC.

For the Aff:

1. For Policy Affs

A) Be topical, or be really good at debating topicality--I'm going to err neg in a debate that you're not winning the topicality debate. Persuasive counter interpretations are a good thing to have in your toolbox and explaining why your interpretation is comparatively better (for debate, for this round etc.) is a must.

B) Impact calc---write my ballot in the 2AR

2. For K Affs

I think that it is helpful for K aff's to be germane to the resolution, it makes it harder for the neg to win aspects of the FW debate (if it is a K vs policy debate) and increases the nuance level of the debate.

A few final things

1. Pronouns are very important, please be respectful and ask the other team their preferred pronouns before the debate starts and adhere to those throughout the debate.

2. Microaggression and rudeness will result in your speaker points being docked, please keep the debate civil and respectful.

Austen Yorko Paradigm

6 rounds

*add me to the email chain:

High School: Wooster High School ~ College: Trinity University ~ Coach: MBA


-A "dropped" theory arg means nothing if the original arg was a 1-line, incomplete thought. If you extend it and give it the Cadillac treatment, I allow new answers.

-Fairness is an impact. Impact turns to T rarely make sense to me. They have to impact out why the process of debating the topic is bad. Not why the topic is bad.

-Kritiks are making me grumpy. How do I quantify the impacts in the context of relative alt solvency? Why are links offensive if they're not about the 1ac?

-Condo is just another argument. Win it or beat it.

-Probability framing is meaningless if you don't indict the disad.

-"Ethics" first is meaningless if I don't know what the ethic is or what it impacts.

-Everything should have an impact (k links, disad overviews, solvency arguments). If this isn't happening, you're wasting time.

-A negative ballot on presumption exists, but not on impact defense.

-If you go for T, read a lot of cards and describe the world under your interp.

-Process counter plans are good if they are grounded in the core topic literature. The neg should be reading ev on the theory debate.

Ben Zeppos Paradigm

6 rounds

Please include me on the email chain: (

Assistant Coach at University School of Nashville since 2014.

I generally prefer affirmatives that do something bold and transformative over ones that do something small and technical. On the negative, I most enjoy the kritik and case debate.

Beyond that:

Defend a hypothetical project that goes beyond the 1AC

  1. Affirmatives should defend a project that is independent of the recitation of the 1AC.
  2. This means voting affirmative should engage some project that exceeds the simple validation of the 1AC's theoretical positions or performative mood.
  3. Ideally, this is a material project that is specifically outlined and allows for its consequences to be posed as a question.
  4. This ensures that the negative team can generate (unique) offense through a characterization of how the affirmative project would be hypothetically implemented.

Rarely go for theory

  1. Nothing is a voter except conditionality.
  2. Within reason, conditionality is only a voter in rounds with full (plan+advantages/cites) affirmative disclosure.
  3. I will not vote on conditionality if there are 3 or fewer positions. I may still be unlikely at 4 positions unless the positions are redundant (ie same types of Ks/CPs or solving the same net benefits).
  4. I have a distaste for multi-plank CPs when # of planks >> sum of aff advantages+add-ons. This strikes me as cynical and needlessly complex. I would consider rejecting the CP if the aff checks out ideologically.