University of Michigan HS Debate Tournament

2018 — Ann Arbor, MI, MI/US

Penelope Alegria Paradigm

7 rounds

Hi! If you're on computers, you should add me to the e-mail chain:

Novice: Run whatever you want. If you run a K, make sure you understand it and can explain it to me.

Casey Anderson Paradigm

4 rounds

I have judged lots of DC-area tournaments and about half a dozen national circuit tournaments over the past two years after more than two decades away from competitive debate.

Here's what I would want to know about me if I were you:

1. I am open to - and have voted for - just about every kind of strategy, even though my default position is still that affs should defend a topical proposal for action. If you don't read a plan you need to explain the role of the ballot.

2. My assumption (in the absence of argument to the contrary) is that the neg has to defend whatever they do or advocate as functionally competitive/net beneficial. This means that answering a permutation by just saying, "severs their reps" and moving on is not going to be very persuasive to me.

3. I presume that debate is an educational game and that competitive fairness is an impact unless someone suggests an alternative way of looking at what we're doing.

4. You need to be able to explain and defend the claims and warrants in your evidence. If the other team points out that your evidence does not actually say what you represent it as saying, I am willing to assign the argument zero weight/probability.

5. The electronic exchange of speech files is not an excuse for being incomprehensible. I also appreciate it when arguments and cards have short, clear labels.

6. Please be nice (or at least polite) to each other. I don't like watching debates where debaters are cocky, condescending, or rude, and I will punish this kind of behavior harshly via speaker points.

Alysa Aralis Paradigm

7 rounds

About Me - I have debated policy at Glenbrook South for three years.

**Please put me on the email chain -

Top Level - If you don't flow, I will dock speaker points. Be nice to your opponents; debate should be an inclusive activity where everyone feels welcome. I will not vote on any offensive arguments.

Topicality - I think topicality can be a really convincing negative argument if done properly. You need to extend your impacts throughout the debate and explain why the world of debate under your interpretation is better than the aff's counterinterpretation. I think that the best aff arguments are based off aff ground and overlimiting, but I can be convinced otherwise.

Counterplans - I am fine with any type of counterplan as long as there is some sort of solvency advocate. The more specific to the aff the better. I think solvency deficits can be the weakest part of counterplans, especially ones that aren't specific to the aff, so be sure to address them thoroughly.

Theory - Theory debates are not my favorite, but if the negative team is being abusive, then you should go for theory. It is important to extend your impacts throughout the debate and explain how they ruined topic education and decimated ground. I think the limit for condo is three, but I can be convinced three is abusive.

Disadvantages - I'm a big fan of disadvantages. I prefer there to be specific links. I think the aff team should extend some type of offense on the disadvantage because its hard to win there is a low risk of a disadvantage with defense only. That being said, impact calculus is the most important part for both the aff and neg.

Kritiks - These are not the type of debates I like to judge. Other than the Capitalism K, I am not familiar with kritiks. This means if you go for a kritik, you really need to explain to me which part of the aff you disagree with and why that is bad. Specific links are a must and a link of omission is not a link. I tend to lean aff on framework, but I can be persuaded otherwise.

Final Thoughts - With all this being said, you should run whatever you feel comfortable with and whatever your style is. The most important thing is to have fun!

Don Athnos Paradigm

5 rounds

tl;dr Do what you want. Be nice.

Short Bio:

Hi, my name is Don. I debated at Lincoln High School in Wisconsin Rapids, although that was over a decade ago. I have also been involved with Mock Trial and Model United Nations in high school and college. My fondness for international relations and public policy has been almost constant since I began debating. My formal education has focused on the sciences, specifically chemistry and molecular biology. I’ve recently started coaching debate at Okemos High School.

Feel free to ask me any questions before the round. Also, please add me to the e-mail chain: dlathnos(at)gmail(dot)com


Decorum matters. Be polite. Show respect. Have fun.

My Paradigm:

Tabula rasa: You provide the structure for the debate. I want to see you do the things you are comfortable with and enjoy. I’m happy to see you center the debate around critical theory, policy-making, gamesmanship, or anything else that strikes your fancy. Competing frameworks are also welcome. I promise to do my best to mitigate my own preconceptions.

It would be wise to:

1.) Have a claim, warrant, and impact for all your arguments. If you are missing any of these elements it will be difficult/impossible to evaluate the argument and weigh it against others.

2.) Explain your positions/arguments. The entirety of human knowledge is pretty tricky for one person to have complete command over, much less me. This is especially true if your going to shorthand your argument into an author or abbreviation without establishing a baseline understanding. Plain language is preferred.

3.) Perform a comparative analysis of evidence, arguments, frameworks, etc. I prefer debates where it is clear that debaters are listening to the other team and capable of explaining the interaction of arguments in the round.

4.) Weigh the round in the 2NR/2AR. Tell me what the flow for the round looks like, which arguments are being won by who, and how should I prioritize arguments on my ballot.

Some other things:

1.) Road map your speeches. It’s an easy way to keep the round organized.

2.) Speed is fine, but clarity is important. Reading headers/contentions/tags/theory in a way that differentiates it from the rest of your cards goes a long way.

3.) “Can I run ____ ?” Yes, you can. The only exception is morally reprehensible argumentation (e.g. racism/sexism good).

4.) Do I have to tell you not to cheat?

Kevin Bancroft Paradigm

4 rounds

Official Wiki:

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

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

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

If I am judging your round.

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

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

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


Unofficial wiki:

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

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

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

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

Mike Bausch Paradigm

7 rounds

Mike Bausch

Director of Debate, Kent Denver

Do what you do best and I will try to leave my predispositions at the door. How you debate matters more than what you debate.

I will work hard to make the best decision possible and give you feedback to improve.

Please include me in email chains; my email is

1. The affirmative should defend a topical example of the resolution. Topicality helps to facilitate clash, fairness is a relevant impact, and governmental policy is a useful target for critical and policy research. There is room to use many critical theories to advocate for topical action and most critical theories can be part of a well-prepared negative.

2. The negative should actually clash with the affirmative. I think the affirmative gets to weigh their case against a critique. The negative must win their critique is superior to the affirmative (turns, outweighs, solves, disproves, etc). I think many process counterplans are not automatically competitive; you must prove your counterplan competes with something the affirmative has actually committed to.

3. I value the research skills that debate fosters. I think a lot of teams get away with reading poor evidence. Please make evidence comparison (data, warrants, highlighting, source, or recency) a significant part of the debate.

4. Argument resolution is the most important part of debating. Identifying what to do with drops, answering “so what” questions, making “even if” statements, and comparing arguments (links, impacts, solvency, etc) are all examples of the kinds of judge instruction that winning rebuttals should focus on. Students should set themselves up to resolve arguments successfully by flowing, doing line-by-line, making choices, speaking clearly, and thoroughly explaining their arguments throughout the debate.

Eliana Bender Paradigm

7 rounds

niles west '19

Elizabeth Bennett Paradigm

7 rounds

University of Iowa class of 2022

Niles West High School 2018

add me to the email chain-

Top Level

- Tech is most important, and I'll vote on just about anything. I don't really have too strong predispositions about arguments, so if you want to go for heg good, spark, or Bataille I don't particularly care as long as you can debate it effectively.

- I tend not to read a ton of evidence during the round. I'll read cards for concepts that I'm less familiar with, or to help decide a close debate. The burden is on the debaters to explain their arguments and warrants

- I always default to judge kick for cps

- Saying "they conceded x card" and then proceeding to not explain any of the warrants to the card is a waste of speech time

- I am one of the laziest people that I know. I will take the easy way out. I'm not going to go search through my entire flow to cross apply something for you that you didn't do in your speech. I don't like think about the round outside of exactly what I have flown because that's even more effort. I am lazy. Thus, I'll really hate you if you are always saying "they conceded x" when in reality it wasn't dropped, because then I have to go and double check to see if it was dropped because you have now confused me and thus made me do work. I don't like to have to do work or judge intervene.

- Debates sometimes get boring so make jokes about Alison Weber, Suubi Namakula, Spencer Roetlin, Max McCarty, or Ephraim Bennett for extra points.

DAs- Evidence spin is usually important, especially in a world in which good generic DAs are hard to find. I’m not a huge fan of large framing contentions, so if you have one the more contextual you make it to whatever you are using it for the better.

Impact turns- I enjoy watching impact turn debates. It doesn’t matter what impact turn whether it’s de-dev or high food prices good or Malthus. I will give higher speaks to a well executed but dumb impact turn (think spark, disease good, etc.)


Solvency advocates are *usually* important, and without one I’m going to be more lenient to aff theory arguments about why the CP is abusive if it’s like a clearly cheaty cp. This is less applicable when you make a rather specific cp based upon something that was in the 1ac that you wouldn't have an advocate for

Net benefits come from the difference between the plan and the cp- that means that changing “should” to “ought” or something similar won’t generate textual competition for a CP unless it implicates the net benefit. Functional competitiveness> textual

PICs out of specific portions of the plan are good and are key to test the aff.

Ks- tech is the most important thing to me, which means that you should probably refrain from having huge overviews and then answering all of the line by line by saying "it was answered above”

Links should be specific to the aff. Don’t read a bunch of links about the state, fiat, etc. and then get surprised if I find the perm or aff outweighs compelling. That is not to say the links should be specific to the fiated implementation of the plan, they could be to reps or rhetoric but should be more nuanced and 2ncs/2nrs that don’t discuss some portion of the aff are not compelling

Alt explanation is important. You should be able to explain how the alt is able to resolve the impacts to the K as well as probably the aff. Obviously, if you don't go for the alt you need to win framework.

I generally fin that affs who just impact turn the K fare better. Cap good vs cap bad, biopower good vs biopower bad. Obviously, you can't/shouldn't do this with some Ks.

K affs/framework-

I am still undecided if fairness is an impact or not. I probably won't ever come to a conclusion one way or the other, and thus it is up to the debaters in the round to grapple with that question. I am surprisngly not very bias one way or another for most framework arguments. However, I generally dislike advocacy skills/topic education type arguments, though I will vote on them (and be unhappy). I also generally dislike huge spill up claims (k affs destory debate, our aff actually spills up to create change, etc.)

At the end of the debate, I'm going to try to put any ideologies of mine to the side and evaluate the debate as it occurred. This means if I don't understand the aff very well or how it interacts with framework it will be harder for me to vote for you. The same applies to the negative- if you simply assert that fairness is an impact without explaining why or how it interacts with the affirmative's arguments you are likely not getting that ballot. Thus, good impact calc matters.

Theory- I'm willing to vote on most theory arguments, it is just another debate to be had.

T- I generally default to competing interpretations. Ground is the most important negative impact.

Malena Bianco Paradigm

7 rounds

Name : Malena Bianco


If there is an email chain please add me to it. My email is

Debate is and should continue to be a welcoming space for all involved in the activity.

I will vote on any argument, just make sure to be clear and sum up the arguments in the rebuttals.

Leah Bohbot Paradigm

7 rounds

Niles West High School

if you're here, you already did one thing right!

I don't really care what you read, just make sure you understand and can explain it, especially Kritiks. I love K's/social arguments but if you can't give me links/impact/alt, I'll ignore it.

do! not! forget! case! oh my gosh don't forget the aff

My preferences:

- don't ignore me, I decide if you win or not so you should be making your arguments to me

- I want clarity over speed because I will stop flowing if I don't understand you

- you can call my Judge but my name is fine too (lay-uh)

- I love impact calc so please have that.

- K's, pleasee have alts that give the aff a space to work within.

- don't be rude to each other

- answer cx questions

- have clash

- you can leave the room, just ask me and I'll say yes. come back quickly so we can finish the round

Add me to email chains:

You're taking time to prepare and debate so I'll do the same for you and give feedback that'll help.

Ask me any questions you have! Trying to seem like a super debater won't help you if you don't actually know something and I respect you a lot more if you try to learn.

.2 extra speaker points if you play Despacito or ABBA at some point (not interrupting the other team)

Darcell Brown Paradigm

7 rounds

(Updated for NAUDL)

I’m currently the head coach for University High School Academy (Southfield, MI). Previously, I debated in the Detroit Urban Debate League for Plymouth Preparatory High School (which no longer exists). While competing in high school, I mostly read policy arguments but also read K's and K Affs as well. I was pretty successful on the local level and qualified to NAUDL my senior year. In college, I competed for Michigan State University for two and a half years. Argumentative choice was similar to high school (mostly policy but some K stuff).

As stated, most of my competitive history was policy oriented but I'm completely open to any arguments you choose to present in the round. The form in which you present doesn't matter to me either (whether it's traditional style, a performance aff, a rap, a poem, a story, spoken word, etc.,). With that being said, you have to give me a reason to vote for you. Impact it. Say why it is a winning argument. Don't expect me to vote for something because it sounds good. Even if an arg is super generic, you still have the burden of analysis. I'm pretty much good in any spot (not going to lie, Death Good is always going to be a hard sell for me, mainly because I haven't heard a compelling argument as to why Death Good is a winning argument) regardless of having a strong policy background. I personally feel like my main role as a judge is to make sure no one feels like they have to conform, assimilate or change the way they do things to meet my personal interests. I think instead, you should do what you know best and simply execute. As far as keeping up with the speed, tech or any fundamental components of the debate goes, you won’t have an issue with me in the back. I have more specific comments below in terms of how to strategize when I'm in the back of the room.

-- Top Level --

- Both sides need to have clash. Don't just read your blocks and not engage. It will likely not work in your favor it's up to my (or any judges) discretion.

- I feel like I'm a little more tech over truth in debates. I can definitely be swayed by a team big on ethos and performance or even a team who just makes straight up logical arguments and tears apart the foundational claims of the opposing team. But I will predominantly defer to my flow before anything is too heavily weighed.

-- Aff Stuff --

- On the policy end of the spectrum, I don't have too many comments for the aff besides the generic ones. Make sure the 1AC is clear, 2AC shouldn't take a ton of prep (if any at all), and the 1AR and 2AR should be consistent. I will say this year, I've judged debates where individuals have done a lackluster job of articulating the solvency story and solely focus on the impact debate. Make sure this isn't you. I'm alright with you reading util args in a debate, but you better be fire at tech against K teams because I can be persuaded by vtl/deontological framings.

- On the K side of the affirmative if you are choosing to refute the topic, you need to have a very solid and thoroughly explained reason why we shouldn't discuss a regressive topic that reduces state authority. Don't get me wrong, I will vote for a team that refutes the topic and/or is reading and advocacy statement. But you need to be thorough in your analysis on the aff and on point with your framework answers. This is one of the spots where clash is clearly crucial in my book.

-- Neg Stuff --

- CP -

- I'm down for a CP debate with a good net benefit. Don't read like 8 CP's that are just a CP text with a few analytics with no solvency advocate and expect for me to think it's a real CP. It's not. You will lose if the aff reads some kind of theory against this. I do think the neg gets some fiat for CP ground but to a certain extent. You should read evidence that all actors involved will actually do the plan or at minimum at least some evidence that warrants that they are interested in the CP. If explained well enough, there is potential for me to vote for a CP that has an internal net benefit but it's slim. I'd prefer to have a clear net benefit that the aff can't solve to seal the deal instead of some small nuance of the CP that supposed to make it marginally better than the aff.

- DA -

- No issues with voting on a DA. Make sure that the internal link story is clear through the entire debate. This tends to be where individuals spend the less focus outside of the uniqueness debate. Not too many comments considering how weird the politics DA was this year.

- K -

Make sure there is an actual link to the aff and not just the "You use the state and that's bad" generic stuff. Don't forget you have alt. People tend to do that for some reason. I give high speaks to debaters who can actually articulate their alternative in terms of how it functions AND what the world looks like post alternative. I don't really care too much what K you read but I've done more research on afrocentric identity politics. Other forms of identity politics and other K's are fine as well but will need to be explained a little more.

- T -

Will most definitely pull the trigger on T. Make sure there is actually clash when it comes to the counter standards and voters in terms of why your interpretation should be prefered. Don't just re-read your shell in every speech.

- Theory -

I will vote on theory but I rarely get into deep theory debates (I really don't want to). This shouldn't discourage you from reading theory against a team if they are doing something abusive (look at the CP section). But I'm not gonna vote on theory if you're just reading it because you have nothing to say. Reading K's bad theory isn't a substantive response; you'll lose. But you can win a debate on condo bad depending on the neg's responses and what they do in the round (I think neg get's condo; but how many advocacies is up for debate).

- Framework -

I'll definitely vote against a kritikal affirmative on framework if the neg is winning their arguments. There needs to be impacts to your framing in terms of what you lose by not arguing the resolution. However, if you don't have this in conjunction with a TVA, you should read something else because I'm probably not going to vote on it. Don't get me wrong though, if the aff gives a substantive list of negative arguments that could be read besides framework to contest the aff as well as win offense as to why debating policy frameworks is bad, then I'll vote aff so it's really a question of in-round resolve for me.

--- Speaker Points ---

- Some judges start from 30 and decrease based on mistakes made during the debate. I do not. With me you start low and work your way up based on things you do in round. Here are a few do's and dont's for attempting to get a 30 in front of me (I've never given one):
-Properly extending evidence needed to win particular arguments you're going for. STOP GIVING TAGLINE EXTENSIONS AND EXPECTING ME TO DO THE WORK FOR YOU!
- Act like you read my paradigm. DON’T ask me “Judge what’s your paradigm?” For me to tell you or direct you to my Wiki for you to NOT inject ANYTHING I mentioned into your speech or strat (you’ll probably end up losing speaks on that note).
-Eye contact is important to me. I'm the judge, not your competitors. Also with me being black, acknowledgement is important to me. I really can't stand when a random kid doesn't have the decency to at least look me in the face during their speech or the RFD.
-Properly split the block.
-Utilize cross-x threads in future speeches. Garnering links from really good cross examinations is becoming a lost art.
-Make the debate simple. I feel like a lot of times, debaters attempt too hard to confuse the opposing team that they never think about how to properly articulate their claims to the judge. You're more likely to persuade me using simple logic than over explaining what the thesis of some dense K you're reading is.
-Make my flow as clean as possible.
-Don't give me a roadmap you don't follow.
-I’m a sucker for jokes but this is a risk. If it’s not funny it can get awkward and I don’t want to laugh at any debaters.... But I will.

-Appropriate use of pronouns and names in your speeches.

Ethical Challenges in the Round —

If proven, I will vote against a team for clipping. I luckily have never been put in this position before but if a team calls another out, I will review any necessary material in order to make a decision. The challenging team must also be aware I take false claims seriously too. Don't say someone is clipping because you didn't hear or you mistook a marking on their evidence. You'll lose speaks like that too.

Negative interactions matter to me as well. By this I mean if you call another debater out of their name, acknowledge them as something they have not mentioned is alright with them or purposefully done something to cause trauma, aggression or fear in a debater, you WILL lose the round. I have a very low threshold for ignorance when it comes to individual‘s subject positions and trigger warnings. So responses such as “I didn’t know..“ or “I didn’t mean to..” or even “Me and my friends..” will never be permitted in front of me because it’s no way students of this age can introduce Kritikal literature and scholarly articles into a debate, but not know how certain words/actions and the way you acknowledge someone can be harmful to their subject position.


Only thing I ask, is that you check your preconceived biases at the door, and treat everyone in the round with equal respect ( <-- THIS IS VERY IMPORTANT IN ROUNDS WITH ME IN THE BACK OF THE ROOM)

Anything specific I didn't include, don’t hesitate to ask before the round!

Contact Info:

Tim Brzny Paradigm

7 rounds

Debated Maine East H.S. 2009 -2012, Coach/Judge 2012 -

Debate is an educational game where everything in debate is debatable i.e. should I prefer tech over truth, do I need a plan text. Be nice to each other, try your best and have fun. Prefer debates were debaters are challenged to think in new ways. Do not be deterred from going for any argument because of what you read here. I’m open to listening to and voting for any argument even debates about what debate should be i.e. k of debate. Just because I stated that I will listen to / vote on / prefer something does not mean that it is an automatic win. If I do not understand something I will not vote on it.

Has been said in many different ways by many different individuals: debating / coaching for a school without many resources and understanding the experiences of similar schools competing against schools who are well resourced, I tend to be sympathetic to arguments based on inequities in policy debate. I will default to a policy maker but am open to other ways of deciding the ballot. I will go off the flow and will try not to intervene, however I might default to my opinions below (which are not concrete).

I will vote for the least complex way to sign the ballot. Explaining your arguments / ideas and keeping the debate organized by road mapping, sign posting, and line by line are key and will help your speaker points. Other things that are key and help to explain / frame the debate are: overviews with impact clac, turns case/da arguments, framing of arguments and the debate, impacting out arguments, and in-depth analysis of arguments. Likewise, overall analysis and framing of evidence / arguments / warrants / qualifications / the round, is key. “Even if” statements will help with speaker points and to frame an argument. Do not assume that I know an argument, author, or specific terms. Analytics, defensive arguments (even without your own evidence) are able to reduce any argument/evidence to zero risk or close to it. If I do not understand a part of the argument or it is not explained/major gaps in your logic I will be less likely to vote on it, even if it is dropped. Explain to me why you should win the round and what this means for both you and your opponent’s arguments. Speed is ok but need to clear. Do not sacrifice clarity for speed. Emailing speeches does not count as prep time as long as it is reasonable and send it all in one doc. Have cites available after the round. I will vote down teams/dock speaker points for rudeness, racist, sexism, unethical, offensive and unacceptable arguments / behavior.

Look at / debate / answer the actual warrants (or lack thereof) in the cards not what the card is tagged as. Comparing evidence / qualifications with explanations as to whose is better helps me to evaluate an argument (even just reading evidence and pointing out its inconsistency is great (will help your speaker points)) and is something that I find is missing in a lot of debates. If their evidence is bad point it out. I will read evidence if call for or if I believe there is an issue with it.

Cross x – Tag Team is fine if both teams are ok with it. Overtaking your partner’s cross-x might result in lower speaker points. Be sure to carry cross-x into the rest of the debate. If you indicted a piece of evidence or proved that an argument does not work, say so in your speech.

Theory – Just like any other argument dropping theory is not an auto-win. If a part of the theory is not explained well enough or the other team points out that it is not explained or missing, I will be less inclined to vote for it. Will vote on all types of theory, but need to explain the theory, in-round abuse (why what they did was bad), voters, fairness, education, impacts and why I should either reject the argument or the other team. Do not just re-read your blocks. The more specific the theory is to the argument / abuse / voters / round, the better.

Topicality – Overviews help. Tend to lean affirmative (Neg has the burden) unless there is a clear: violation / definition, bright line between topical and untopical, impacts for allowing the affirmative and others like it to be topical and in-round / potential (prefer in-round) abuse. Will default to competing interpretations. Explanation on all parts of the flow are key i.e. definition, bright line, topical version of the affirmative, case lists, reasons to reject the team (in-round and potential abuse), standards, ground, limits, voters, fairness, education, and impacts. Reasonability, clash / lit checks, race to bottom, etc. are able to reduce the chance of voting on topically. Will vote on aspec / other spec arguments however, need to show abuse in-round.

Speaker points – My range is 27.8- 28.5, this does not mean that I will not go above a 28.5. The road to better speaker points is in this philosophy i.e. know your arguments, be clear, do line by line, point out inconsistency in arguments and evidence, extend / explain / compare warrants and or qualifications (or lack thereof), road map, sign post, impact clac, frame the debate and the other things that are listed in the various sections.

Plan text / Counterplan text – Should be written down. Check how they are written. Will vote on plan flaws and counterplans that change the plan text with a net benefit.

Affirmative – Two things are key: good overviews with impact clac and in-depth case analysis.

Counterplan – Use overviews. Make sure that there is a clear net benefit and/or solvency deficit.

Disads/advantages – Good overviews with turns case /da along with impact analysis/clac where opponent’s impacts/arguments are considered. Disad links should be clear and specific to the case. All types of turns (link, impact and straight) are also a good idea.

K–Explain. Have a general idea on the basic k, not a k hack, but will vote on them (including k of debate arguments / debates about what debate should be). The k needs to be specifically explained not just in terms of what the idea of the k is, but what is the framework, link (the more specific and clearer the better), impact and alterative (not only what the alterative does but how its solves the k and plan’s impact (i.e. root cause) and what does the world of the alterative looks like). A good overview of the k and framework helps a lot. The affirmative should always question the alterative.

K affirmatives and framework - Will vote on k affirmative and k of debate arguments / debates about what debate should be. Needs to be a clear role of the ballot and clear reason why your version of debate is better. Totally fine with looking at images, listening to music, narratives, stories and other things. Debates are more interesting when: the neg does not just read framework / k but engages with the affirmative and the affirmative k the negative positions through the lens of the affirmative. Framework and disads to framework have to be explained, show how your interpretation of debate solve or root causes the other side’s impacts, impacted out fairness and education, have analysis to show which style of debate is the best and show why the affirmative or argument should be or not be in debate.

Samuel Burnstein Paradigm

5 rounds

Not Submitted

Michael Buzil Paradigm

7 rounds

Not Submitted

Joseph Buzzelli Paradigm

7 rounds

I am the forensic adviser at Saint Ignatius high school in Cleveland, Ohio. I was a competitor in policy debate and have been a coach for more than 40 years. My judging experience includes mostly state, national and the TOC circuit. I have had several state championships in policy debate, championship speakers and respectable runs at the TOC tournament qualifiers over the years.

I prefer to allow the debate to evolve at the direction of the teams and will listen to most any arguments that are substantiated with logic, reasoning, know, debate.
I tend to be tabula rasa, do not follow "open" cross-x, become upset over angry, abusive conduct between debaters but will listen to reason. I seldom ask to see evidence unless it is absolutely critical to the decision...brought up by both teams and blatantly contradictory. I will NOT re-run the round like I think it should have gone but only on what the teams say in the round. kritics are okay especially if they are really developed, carefully crafted and debated throughout the round. I think camps are fun places for people to go and explore new ideas and use as a base building for the season but not doing updates or really knowing what is said in cards/briefs is inexcusable.

Debate should be fun, educational and enriching. I do not debate the debaters in round or after the round and I will offer comments but not engage in debate over the decision.

In the past several years the tendency is for some people to enter Policy debate tournaments having chosen not debate policy topics but to debate the merits of the activity, and/or any other societal ills perceived or real. While these may be admiral goals and topics for Lincoln Douglas, Public Forum, Original Oratory, Expository or Dramatic Interpretation or philosophy gatherings and competitions, I will not be bullied, screamed at or insulted into making a policy debate decision based on an individuals' gender, race, religion, social status or other sociometric characteristic.

Conor Cameron Paradigm

7 rounds

Name: Conor Cameron

Current Affiliation: Solorio


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


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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

Juan Chavez Paradigm

7 rounds

Debate Experience:I am a former CDL debater; previously, I was on the Kelly High school debate team in the south side of chicago. 

Usual ROB: I usually will flow whatever is presented in front of me in regards to the framework debate. 

Summary: I'm primarily a k debater My favourite ks are security or anything language based. Of course a clear link must be articulated in order for me to vote for any negative strategy. I'm also a fan of satire arguments, so show me what you got.

Da: No i don't believe in 100% type arguments; if they were 100% they would have already happened. With that in mind, I will most likely vote for the team that gives me the better link and or link story/ No-link. We live in an ambiguous world, so as long as you prove that it is possible ill give you leverage 

T: Topicality/ theory debates are probably one of the most important things that I will be most strict on. For me education and critical thinking are the biggest impacts in round. On T, IF there is a clear violation of the resolution within the plan text, as long as you extend the standards I'll probably vote for you. 

k:Depending on the k, if im judging you always go for the k. Enough said. Although if i would vote for the k or not is depended on your framework. Doing good line by line on framework is essential for my vote here.

cp: Counterplans to me are usually a waste of time. But again answer all theory debates/ flows and prove some solvency and ill have no problem voting for you

Speaks: Speaks for me isn't on how fast you can go because that's Bs. You need to be organized, articulative,and convincing. Do all these and i have no problem giving high speaks. But keep in mind, you can be all organized/articulative all you want, i have no problem giving a low point win.

prep: Tell me your taking prep, ill time, we are all happy. If i fail to take time, we are all human we all forget, then ill go with whatever time is given to me first. No I'm not one of those, "take prep for flashing" judges. I've had those and im not gonna be it. Take too long though and we will negotiate. 

Remember to me debates a game. Above all else its about education and critical thinking.



Josh Clark Paradigm

7 rounds

Joshua Clark

Montgomery Bell Academy

University of Michigan - Assistant Coach, Institute Instructor

Past Schools:
Juan Diego Catholic
Notre Dame in Sherman Oaks

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Elyse Conklin Paradigm

6 rounds

i'm not currently coaching any teams (2018-19) but will be judging occasionally. i have a good base knowledge of the topics and i really don't care about trendy arguments or teams.

i recently graduated from the masters in comm program at wake forest where i coached for two years. i coached whitney young magnet hs 2010 - 2014, walter payton college prep 2014 - 2018. i worked as a research/data analyst for the naudl from 2012 - 2014 and am currently a writing/research specialist for a litigation firm in ann arbor.

i have judged quite frequently for the last six years and am well-versed in most areas and styles of debate. i tend to coach "high theory" teams (whatever that means), but i think in order to be good at debate you have to engage and understand what other people are saying. i am more dispassionate than dogmatic when it comes to substance. good research and sound argumentation matter to me more than anything, though your cap good args better be post-Obama and sound

judge philosophies are deceptive, i would advise you to utilize this page mainly as a stylistic tool, rather than strategic. by this, i mean most of the advice i'm writing will help you improve your speaks in front of me--this isn't here to coach you, dictate your arguments, or give you my thoughts on every type of argument or debate to be had.

i try to reward quality, up to date research related to the topic. i could easily be persuaded that evidence written by individuals who are also in the judging pool of that tournament should not be evaluated.

i'm more willing to vote on presumption because the other side has not given me a coherent, justifiable reason to vote for them. i flow straight down and figure out where arguments interact later in order to record as much content as possible. this works out well as i tend to judge debates with less sheets of paper and long overviews.

i tend to write as much as i can during the debate as i flow, and my deciding process involves identifying the main questions/issues of a debate, how the debate itself answers those questions, and why those answers mean an aff or neg ballot. it would behoove you to identify those questions for me in your final rebuttals. in rounds that aren't close, i can call a winner/loser easily. in close rounds i read the ev, evaluate the args, write an rfd for both sides, and pick the one that i can explain better/is a better decision. i tend to view the debate holistically - generally, your arguments build up to form a coherent ballot. i only pick one technical argument to center my decision around if you tell me to, even technical drops require an explanation of how it implicates the rest of the debate.

i like well-organized intellectually stimulating debates, whatever "category" they fall in. we all make choices. justify them.
don't let my presence deter you from the most strategic 2NR choice. the more aff-specific, the better. i loveeeeee impact turns, of all varieties, regardless of your stance on liberalism.

obligatory framework vs. planless aff section:

if i hear a k aff and am left wondering " do what?" i'm happy to vote neg, but you have to outdebate the aff (what a novel idea). i like framework debates that get to the heart of why we do this activity, what communication means, and epistemological questions about what good debates and research processes should look like. debate itself is not a terminal impact, so i am better for ground impacts than fairness impacts. just because "debate is a game" doesn't mean i want to play a bad one. this seems to scare people; while i think my own ethical standards implicate everything i do (pure form, pure content don’t exist!), i also think that means i hold people to high quality standards. meaning, i love voting against planless affs that attempt to avoid hard debates. i write planless affs designed to provide the negative with more than concessionary ground (i swear to goddess, i try), i dont like voting for affs that dont link to things. i like affs that facilitate good debates, not affirmatively biased arguments that no link to things or claim feelings outweigh. but i am also unwilling to fill in the gaps for what certain terms like procedural fairness mean. the procedure of debate now is much different than when i debated 2003-2007.

i think to make framework less bland you should engage some flavors of topicality beyond erickson 3, i think it gets you some more depth on why your model of debate is good.

i think of framework debates in terms of both external and internal offense. what is the meta-impact of the aff/neg in terms of this weird activity and people we interact with, as well as the implications of the resolution in terms of more traditional impacts. i generally find final rebuttals should address both in fw debates. k affs tend to focus too much on their offense and not how their aff implicates debate itself. your aff shouldn't win because it is right about everything and unanswerable, your aff should win because it has good answers to arguments - yes, hard debate is good debate. policy debate isn't necessarily hard or good if you read shitty cards, just like kritikal debate isn't always great either when you read the same card from 2010 every debate.

i could be persuaded by contextual and smart topical versions of affirmatives that don't defend government action, but they should be topical/solve the aff. i generally think affirmatives should have the ability to be impact-turned, but not that the consequences of a plan / policy necessarily always have to be that point of contestation. some affs just cannot be disproven, and these probably make negative strategy difficult. some neg debaters are too lazy to find the offense against say, a cap bad aff, and go one off framework. apparently debate-ability is the new hotness, so both sides should think about what their vision of a valuable debate should look like, and why it matters that i endorse it.

just an fyi, i would not recommend trying to gauge the round based upon my facial expressions. i tend to flow without really looking up or reacting, so just do your thing and i will evaluate it to the best of my ability because i respect the activity and people who work hard. i'm listening, i would prefer not to make a lot of eye contact with you.

i suppose the one type of argument that is an uphill battle for the neg are process counterplans. those rounds are the few i would prefer to vote on theory than "substance." but i have voted for process CPs in the past if you can justify why that particular procedural education is important and predictable for the aff to defend against.

i enjoy when people tell me what my RFD should look like during the last rebuttals. 2NRs that say "even if" and pre-empt the 2AR make me happy.

the words "i voted on the perm" only come out of my mouth if the 2AR spends a good amount of time on it. either really win the perm, or win the aff. it's not fair to the 2NR if you make the perm blippy throughout the debate and i just happen to think they're not mutually exclusive. i need to know the function of the perm, how it solves the links, and if there is a net benefit to the perm. not just that - hey - you could do both, next arg.

please do not read arguments about sexual violence or rape in front of me. gender matters and i'm happy to listen to arguments about feminism, etc. - but RAPE SHOULD NOT BE A COMPETITIVE IMPACT. i write this because i would not feel ok having to decide whether or not one rape outweighs another, whether "rape" outweighs "hegemony," etc. i appreciate discussions about sexual violence, just not in a competitive form that would force me to vote in a way that trivializes something so important. this would cause me extreme emotional distress to the point where i have considered walking out of a round 7 at the TOC and letting tab figure it out. strike me if your fundamental arguments relate to sexual violence, and take the cards out of the speech doc if you are putting together a strategy and i am judging you. ask me before the round if you are unsure (i.e. talking about gender is not the same as a death good debate that comes down to whether or not rape is a fate worse than death).

time your speech, your partner's speech, the other team, and prep. if suddenly it seems like you have given a 12 minute 2AC, i will become even grumpier than usual and dock everyone's speaks .1
if you have any questions, ask me before i actually judge you.

Alyssa Corrigan Paradigm

2 rounds

Note during camp that applies to the season as well:

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

Pronouns are she/her

Update 5/2/19:

Yes chain,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

-No touching.

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

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

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

Olivia Crissinger Paradigm

7 rounds

Hi all! I am the captain/co-coach of the Traverse City Central team and I am in my third year of varsity debate (fourth year debating). I have been to SDI, debated on the national circuit, and overall had a lot of experience in the activity. I also prefer to be called Olivia (not judge) and my pronouns are she/her.

Here's just a quick overview of how I will likely vote...

T- This is a hard sell. If I'm going to vote on T I need to be convinced. This means you need to have the argument developed and extended in all your speeches. I am not going to piece your args together for you Typically a T win entails lack of explanation on the aff side.

DA- I'll vote on DAs all day as long as you can win the link and the impact. Impact calc is monumentally important if you're going to win this, and you need to really explain the link chain.

CP- CPs are good. Again, make sure you explain everything.

K- I will only vote on a K if you actually understand the argument you are making. If you can't explain in CX, line by line, and analytics what your argument is, you don't understand it and you shouldn't run it. I won't do the work for you or vote on you just because you trip the other team up.

I will drop you if you are abusive or discriminatory toward others in any capacity. This will not change and there are no exceptions. Debate needs to be a safe environment for everyone and if you do something to make another people feel unsafe, that completely ruins the debate experience and I will not stand by and be complicit with that no matter how well you debate technically.

I hope this gives you all an idea of who I am as a judge! This is a wonderful activity and I hope you all have the best experience possible and ensure that others have the same. Good luck and have fun! (-:

Dara Davis Paradigm

7 rounds


Run what you want but here's a few notes
-If your position isn't clear in the first constructive, I am going to be skeptical of new articulations in the next speech

-Be careful on R.O.B. that ask me as a judge to use my own personal relationship to debate to break down "X" because I will do that but you never know how I will decide
- I think as judge and an adult it is my responsibility to make sure that students in the community feel safe or at least comfortable enough to communicate with an adult when they feel unsafe.
-Also (even though this is a no-brainer for everyone outside of the debate world), if I don't understand your argument by the end of the round I'm not voting for you. Your kritik can be completely right but what difference does it make if you didn't articulate it well.

- I hate doing this but Please don't run death good args in front of me
-Feel fee to email me and ask any specific questions.

Carl Deceirdo Paradigm

7 rounds

Sup. I'm pretty chill

Amogh Dendukuri Paradigm

4 rounds

ABOUT ME: I competed in policy debate for 4 years at Milpitas High (CA) and am a junior at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign where I compete in NFA-LD, NPDA-Parli and serve as the chair of debate.

I was an LD lab leader at the 2019 UTNIF, so I've become more familiar with the particularities and norms of high school LD. I judged at the CNDI policy camp tournament, so I have some pre-season exposure to the arms sales topic.

I am currently coaching LD at Evergreen Valley (CA). I coached the policy debate team Woodlands MR (TX) from 2017-2019 who ended up earning 4 bids to the TOC and winning the Michigan RR their senior year.

I would like to be on the email chain: – feel free to email me with any questions you might have before or after the round. If there's something I can do to make this round more accessible, please feel free to let me know!

GENERAL VIEWS: My debate career and involvement as a coach has been almost exclusively invested into kritikal and/or performative styles of advocacy, but I actively try to not have any fixed biases that cannot be changed with good debating. I won't have a problem understanding or evaluating most traditional arguments, but just know that this is an area of debate that I do not have too much personal experience or investment in. I tend to get preffed for Policy vs. K (on either side) and K vs. K debates. If your idea of an ideal debate is a nitty-gritty Policy vs. Policy round, you should probably pref me mid/lower. That being said, I will do my best to evaluate any argument you want to make without any preconceived biases as long as it isn't problematic.

**If this is a Novice or JV round, I would much rather you stick to arguments that you are comfortable with than try to poorly adapt to what you think I'll want to hear.

TLDR: I am more familiar and comfortable with the kritikal side of debate, but you do what you do best and I'll do my best to evaluate it objectively. Regardless of what you choose to defend, specificity and depth are key to my ballot.


- I generally believe that tech > truth.

- Organization, specificity, evidence comparison and argument interaction are key to amazing debates.

- Framing (at every level) is crucial in my decision-making process. Tell me how I should view the debate and why.

- The debate is not determined by evidence in a vacuum; it's up to YOU to explain (or spin) warrants, regardless of how amazing (or unfortunately terrible) your cards may be.

- Cross-x is an underutilized art. Destroy your opponents with precision. Be one step ahead. Be a witty asshole.


POLICY AFFS: Not the types of affirmatives I read, but I'm open to evaluating them. I appreciate well thought out and creative approaches to the topic (if I wanted to listen to uninspired garbage every round, I would probably be judging public forum). I would much rather you read one or two well developed and strategic advantage(s) than several mediocre ones. I've noticed a troubling trend of terrible/outdated evidence in the policy rounds I've had the opportunity to judge – I appreciate teams that put in the effort to utilize and debate out the merits of evidence. I don't default to any particular framework when evaluating the round – it's up to the debaters to tell me what is important and my ballot ought to prioritize.

Because the policy rounds I judge are usually versus the K, here's some specific thoughts on those debates:

- Defend your affirmative - while a certain degree of adaptation/pivoting can be strategic, you're probably better off sticking to your guns. Avoid resorting to vague permutations and shifty link defense.

- Utilize/Apply the affirmative - take the time to make specific link/impact turn arguments.

- I have a high standard for perm articulation from the Aff and link articulation from the Neg -- that means in addition to not letting lazy K teams get away with bad link analysis, you need to do the work to truly explain how the permutation functions.

- Substantive 2AC framework arguments are more likely to influence my decision than whiny procedural stuff.

KRITIKAL AFFS: These are the types of affirmatives I am most familiar with and find most interesting. I strongly believe that there is a level of investment with the literature and knowledge about debate as an activity necessary for successful execution of kritikal affirmatives – while I fully encourage you to experiment and go for whatever you'd like (in the pursuit of creativity and education), just know that I will not uncritically vote for you just because of your choice or style of argumentation.

I've debated, written, and judged a variety of kritikal Affs (both on the level of content and form), so you do you. I tend to think that the most interesting and strategic K-Affs are unique to the resolution in some way (whatever that may mean to you). If you're looking for an idea of literature bases I'm most familiar with, look to the "Kritiks" section of my paradigm below.

I think that taking the time to make smart and offensive application of your Aff's criticism and explaining the unique friction between your methodology and the Neg's argumentation is a necessary component of effective K-Aff execution – supplement your blocks and cards with smart in-round analysis and contextual application of your theory.

KRITIKS: My favorite argument in debate – most of my debate career consisted of various 1-Off K strategies.

I have a general understanding of most K's read in debate, but my personal knowledge and interest lies in criticisms dealing with identity and/or structural positionality (various branches of theory dealing with Anti-blackness, Asian/Indian American Identity, Necropolitics, Settler Colonialism, Feminism, Queer/Quare/Kuaer-ness, Disability...etc). If the edgy and unintelligible works of old/dead white dudes is your cup of tea, I'm not a terrible judge for you either – feel free to read your post-modern sludge in front of me, but I'm going to hold you to a higher standard for explanation and contextualization (due to the often dense nature of these works).

Regardless of what I'm familiar with in terms of literature bases, if YOU understand your criticism and YOU do the work to explain and contextualize your offense, you'll probably be fine.

Specificity and depth are key to good K debates – you can probably make generic link arguments and still get me to vote for you, but the best debates happen when you generate unique links to the Aff and are able to reference specific warrants or lines in your opponents' argumentation and evidence. I appreciate creative link stories. I'm down to listen to long overviews. You don't always need an alternative if you win your framing. I will reward you generously with speaks if you are really well versed in your literature and are able to demonstrate your knowledge by making smart analytic claims and arguments in your speeches and cross-x. I value 2NC/1NR's that are less card-intensive and more focused on explanation and contextualization.

DISADS/COUNTER-PLANS: Although I didn't personally go for these types of strategies during my high school career, I have no problem evaluating them. I don't have too many thoughts on these debates – the more specific and less generic your strategy is, the happier I will be. I'm a computer science student whose involvement in debate revolves mostly around critical theory – this means that I'm probably not super familiar with any specific political terminology or scenarios you may be talking about, so be sure to explain things and be precise. It would make me happy to not have to listen to politics-esque DAs unless you genuinely believe your evidence is hyper-specific or hyper-recent – I'll evaluate them to the best of my ability, but I think they're incredibly boring and often a product of ridiculous assertions/terrible evidence.

TOPICALITY: I have and will vote on well developed and impacted out topicality arguments. If you're reading T as an aimless timesuck argument, I will probably know and be very salty that I'm having to waste a perfectly good sheet of paper. I expect both sides to be taking the time to do real comparative work on the level of interpretations and standards.

I am more than excited to listen to any innovative or unconventional topicality arguments about identity, body politics, agency, boredom, death, simulation, education...etc.

FRAMEWORK (VS. K-AFFS): Despite almost always being on the other side of this argument, I see the value of Framework arguments and find the clash of civilizations debate to be an enjoyable one to evaluate.

For decision-making purposes, I evaluate these debates as a question of competing models for debate on the level of form AND content. My ideal Framework debates consist of well-executed procedural offense supplemented with tailored methodological arguments about institutional knowledge/political engagement. Explain to me what your model looks like in the context of the affirmative's criticism. I find well developed TVA and SSD arguments to be very persuasive and an easy place to vote neg in procedural debates. The TVA probably has to solve the Aff or at least be comparatively better (but I'll leave it up to the debaters to tell me what "better" really means).

Framework can get really stale, so I appreciate specificity and innovative approaches to the argument (Street-T, Black Framework, Embodiment, Counter-Tactics, Materiality, Utopianism...etc).

THEORY: Not really a big fan of most conventional theory arguments, but if it seems particularly strategic or necessary in your round, feel free to go for it.

Duncan Donahue Paradigm

5 rounds

Duncan Donahue - Assistant Debate Coach at H.H. Dow High School

Debated - 14-18 for H.H. Dow (Policy), Currently debating for the University of Notre Dame (NPDA)



- I lean toward kritikal debate over traditional policy, but my preferences don't determine my ballot - you do you

- my experience and comfort zone is soft left + k affs, t, fw, and ks.

- the framework/framing flow will decide what I'm doing in the back of the room, so don't overlook it for the minutiae of the line-by-line on other flows

- tech over truth, but every arg has to be impacted and warranted

- affs need to defend something other than the status quo but don't necessarily need to have a plan text or advocacy statement.

- overall, explain what your arguments are and why they mean I should vote for you. see below for little specifics about how tend to evaluate different types of arguments.

Procedural Information

- Be nice and have fun! Being rude/offensive will drop your speaker points quick, regardless of whether it's in a speech or not.

- Speed: Speed is great as long as you are clear.

- Warranted Claims: an argument isn't complete unless there's a warrant for the claim. I won't vote on unsupported blippy arguments even if they're conceded.

- Offensive Arguments: Offensive arguments like "Oppression Good" will sharply drop speaker points. Offensive/hurtful language directed at another debater will result in a loss, a zero in speaker points, and me contacting the offending team's coach.

- Post-rounding: it'll drop your speaks.

- Cheating: one warning for stealing prep before I dock speaks. Proven clipping will result in being dropped and zeros.

Specific Arguments:

Case - Extend it every aff speech. When the story of the aff is missing, I'm left wondering what I'm supposed to be voting for.

T - I love T, but because of that I have a high threshold for evaluating T. I favor tech over truth for T, but you’re interp and violations should at least make logical sense. I default to T being apriori unless the affirmative makes args to the contrary.

Theory - isolate how the other team’s specific actions warrant me punishing them with a loss or with dropping a certain argument. Generic claims of fairness and education won't get very far unless you contextualize specifically to the round. Also, don’t spread theory blocks please :)

CPs - no problem with CP debates but the solvency and net benefit debate need to be flushed out. I don't judge-kick CPs so if it's in the 2nr, the neg doesn't get the status quo. I will stick the negative to the exact plan text in the 1nc just like I will stick the aff to their plan text in the 1ac.

DAs - I think a lot of traditional DA link chains and impacts are kind of comical outside of the lens of debate, but so are a lot of advantages so don't expect me to believe the plan 100% causes nuclear annihilation, just weigh the probability of your impacts relative to the aff. Politics DAs are kind of disgusting.

Ks - love them, especially creative and specific ones. Make sure you’re explaining exactly what your alt is/does, including who does it and what my role as a judge is in participating/endorsing/affirming etc. I am most familiar with Cap/Neolib (especially Giroux, Marx, and Zapatismo), Critical Pedagogy, Security, Foucault, Postcolonialism, Posthumanism, and Anthro. Any high theory will need more explaining.

K affs/FW - Love them. Hate them when they're soulless and unexplained. I staunchly believe the affirmative should know their advocacy in and out and not just reread tags. Sure, K affs can just impact turn FW, but the best answers to FW usually go a bit further. It's gonna be hard for the neg to win any sort of "prior question" or apriori args in front of me and I'll probably lean toward weighing impacts on FW so tell me how to weigh them!

Speaker Point Ranges

27.6 to 27.9 needs work

28.0 to 28.3 acceptable

28.4 to 28.7 good

28.8 to 29 should probably get high speaker placement, maybe an award

29.1-29.4 speaker award

29.5+ top speaker contender

Maddie Dunne-Murphy Paradigm

7 rounds

i go to glenbrook south and usually run kritikal arguments, but please do not change your argument style for me.

i enjoy watching policy debates, but you just might have to explain the da/cp to me more in depth.

please flow and be present in the round! if you don't show you care, i won't either.

i think a lot of debates come down to impact work done in the 2ar/2nr - so please do impact analysis in these speeches.

overall, i will pretty much listen to any arguments unless it's problematic+offensive.

please be nice in round! it is important, and it will help your speaks. confidence is key, just please be respectful.

also, feel free to email me with any questions - most importantly, try your best and have fun! :)

Lauren Ernst Paradigm

7 rounds

I debated for four years at Iowa City West and I'm a freshman at Michigan (not debating right now). I intend on double majoring in psychology and PPE (politics, philosophy and economics).

Please put me on the email chain:

Ask questions if you want clarification or if I forgot anything :)

TL;DR --

I debated primarily policy arguments throughout high school and if you rely on jargon my brain will shut off and you will be just as frustrated with me as I am with you. However, I'll be open to whatever you want to debate (except for obviously wrong things e.g. racism/sexism good), just be aware I might need additional explanation. In general, case-specific everything is wonderful.

Also, debate is supposed to be fun, not stressful. Have fun, be nice and if you make me laugh or excited your speaks will increase. Also, if you get excited about an argument, I'll get excited because smiles and laughter are contagious.


Generic stuff --

I will do my best to be open if you're doing your best to communicate. Debate isn't about who can speak the fastest, it's about who can EFFECTIVELY COMMUNICATE ARGUMENTS the best. I love watching people do what they love and I love to learn, so feel free to do whatever as long as you're confident you can communicate your argument to me and teach me something.

I will not make arguments for you, something has to be on the flow and I try to avoid judge intervention as much as possible. Also along those lines, dropped = true, but you have to tell me WHY IT MATTERS that they dropped it. Otherwise, I'll be frustrated.

If you make any argument vaguely related to psychology, economics, politics or philosophy, there will be at least a small part of me that gets really excited, especially if it's psychology related.

My high school experience would land me squarely in the "policy" camp, but y'know I'm here to watch you do something you love so don't stop doing what you love because you're afraid I'll drop you on principle. I read big stick policy affs my first two years in high school, then ended with my senior year reading a soft left aff I cared about and going for the cap k consistently (was a 2A, switched to 2N).

T --

I default to competing interpretations, usually because reasonability is incorrectly debated most of the time. Reasonability applies to the definition, not the aff. Please go slower on T. Don't spread it like you would a card because I'll miss half your standards and everyone will be sad at the end of the debate.

K --

I'm most comfortable with cap and security. Pomo usually makes me want to cry because it relies so heavily on jargon. If you can successfully explain your kritik with minimal (preferably zero) jargon, I am 110% here for that. However, I am not heavily versed in the lit. Same goes for identity Ks. I love a good identity debate, but I'll need additional explanation because I do not read the lit.

The alt better solve the impacts of the kritik. Otherwise, everyone will be sad.

Also, it'll be difficult to convince me to exclude either the aff or the k.

If I haven't made it clear enough, I hate jargon. It's a crutch and to me, usually functions as words to freak the other team out. My main issue with kritiks is that the theories behind them are usually deployed poorly in debate and come off as an attempt to confuse or intimidate the other team. I am intrigued by the theories behind most Ks, so please explain your argument to me, I'd love to learn more about your theories.

Planless affs --

Look, I went for f/w consistently. I can be persuaded either way, but everyone has to do explanation otherwise I'm going to be sad. Specific analysis of each other's arguments makes the debate better for everyone. I hope your aff has a plan. I won't reject you outright but if you have two options and you have a more policy version of your aff, read it. Please. If you don't have a policy version of your aff or you're just not comfortable with policy, that's okay, read your K aff, just please avoid jargon. Please. For the love of debate and coherent RFDs please explain things.

Aff, labeling your DAs is nice and all but Sarcophagus DA makes me sad. That tells me not a lot about the DA and honestly, you probably could have made the same argument without labeling it as a DA. Also, if you show that there is a role for the neg in your world of debate, I am much more likely to vote for you.

Rejecting debate altogether will probably make me sad.

Neg, fairness is probably not an impact in of itself, but an internal link to other stuff. Make your analysis specific to the aff, don't just read the blocked out version that your coach gave you.

Topic-specific planless affs actually make me really happy. There was an identity team last year that had a beautiful model minority aff without a plan and I loved that debate.

CP --

I love me a smart counterplan. Be it a PIC or winged in the 1NC because of a card in the 1AC, if it's smart and kinda sneaky I love it. However, don't be awful and read a lot of one-liner counterplans because that ends up being a waste of paper which will make me sad because I like trees. Plus that sucks as a 2A and I'll listen to theory.

Process counterplans are cool IF THE PROCESS MAKES SENSE IN CONTEXT OF THE AFF. Throwing a process CP at an aff and hoping it sticks is bad. I'll listen to process theory, but it usually isn't a reason to reject the team. These just get kinda tricky so you'd better have a darn good explanation for competition and a legitimate net benefit that isn't contrived and just kinda awful *insert snarky GBN comment here*

2 advocacies, you're fine. 3, you're probably still okay. 4 is pushing it, but if you have a really good reason you might be able to pull it off.

Disclaimer, since I was a 2A for a while, I am sympathetic to theory. However, I usually default to reject the argument, not the team (add reasoning for this please please please).

DA --

The more case-specific the better. I am a fan of storytelling and if you can coherently explain link chains and internal links and have it sound more plausible than some DAs sound, I'll be happy.

I feel like I have to mention politics DAs at some point in this. I love politics but gut check yourself, don't pick your most obscure scenario and hope the other team doesn't have answers because if it's that obscure, a good 2A will wipe the floor with you with just analytics.

Also, case turns are good. Really good.

Jonah Feldman Paradigm

7 rounds

First of all, I am not the debate coach at Berkeley.  Sorry for the dissapointment :( (for those of you that don't get that, look up the name of the Berk debate coach).  This paradigm is going to be a little disorganized because my thoughts on debate are a little disorganized, but it should still be helpful.

Background/general stuff:  I debated for 3 years of Nat Circuit Policy in High School, and I'm currently doing APDA Parli at Tufts.  I had plenty of experience with speed, progressive debate, and all that stuff.  I was also a 2A in high school, so keep that in mind. Overall, I'd consider myself to be a pretty Tabs judge, although I do have some biases (which I try to supress) that I'll talk about a little below.  Fair warning: I don't have much experience with this year's topic, so try to keep the topic-specific jargon to a minimum: or at least explain it to me.  Although I'm fine with speed, try to preserve clarity.  You get a lot more points down on the flow if you speak 20% slower and 50% clearer. I will default to a policymaker framework unless someone tells me different.

Try to be courteous in your rounds.  It'll reflect in your speaker points, and being rude just makes debate a worse experience for everyone.

As a general rule, I prefer tech over truth, and I'd rather hear an overused arguement done well than some fancy new K that you obviously don't understand.  However, if you have some obscure K that you fully understand, feel free to use it! Additionally, impact calc should be in every speech after the 1NC.  

DA's: Obviously these are a good thing to use.  You should have specific links, or barring that, you should be able to contextualize your generic link in the context of the aff in the neg block.  Try to have a clear brink and IL chain in your DA's, the neg block should have an overview that explains why it turns case.  DA's are better when paired with Counterplans, however I'm totally down with you taking DA and case into the 2NR.  Case specific DA's are awesome, although I understand they're a high research burden.

Case:  I think case debate is incredibly undervalued in squo policy.  Having a bunch of case defense makes it 100x harder for the aff to outweigh your K/DA, and in my opinion is the most fun part of the debate.  

CP's: Overall Counterplans are a good thing, provided they're mutually exclusive.  I'm fine with Actor counterplans, I <3 advantage counterplans, and some process stuff like XO is good (although the aff can certainly make theory args against it).  I'm a not a fan of consult/condition/delay counterplans, but it's up to the aff to prove to me that they're not theoretically legit, but neg be warned that I am more sympathetic to aff theory args on those types of CP's.

Kritiks: I'm sure this is the only part most of you care about anyways.  Kritiks on the negare good things to run, and in high school I primarily ran Security (and Cap of course), and I also dabbled in Anthro, Baud, and DnG.  I'm not familiar with some of the more obscure authors like Lacan and Bateilles, and tbh I'm not even super familiar with DnG.  If you're running a Kritik, pass the grandmother test.  Don't rely on me to be a philosophy expert (hint: I'm not) who already understands your hyper-dense jargon.  Clear and concise 2NC overviews are absolutely essential to expertly running a K, and contextualizing your link to the 1AC (whether it be to the plan or the 1AC performance) is critical.  I want an explanation of what your alt does, what my ballot means, and why I should be ignoring the traditional policy framework.  Although I love K's, there are few things more painful than a bad K round, so please try to understand the literature before running a K.

I am not as big a fan of K affs, although I will listen to them.  I'm disgusted how many judges nowadays won't even listen to Framework as an arguement, and am definitely sympathetic to neg framework claims.  However, running framework isn't an instant win for neg vs. K aff, so it is still entirely possible to win with a K aff, especially if it pertains to the resolution (the farther away from the rez it is the more symapthetic I'll be towards neg FW claims).  However, I will hold the aff to a high threshold for explaining to me just exactly what your aff and 1AC performance does.

Performance debate: I know this is contrary to the direction debate is headed, but I'm not a big fan of performance debate.  If you're dedicated to performance, I'm going to need a clear explanation of why debate is a critical forum for you to express your performance, and why the speicifc format of policy debate is a good one with which to be pursuing your project.  What does my ballot do, and why is a performance debate better than a policy one.

T/Theory: I'm not the biggest fan of these debates, but they are a neccesary part of debate, and I'm totally okay for using them, even if it's just a timesuck.  RVI's are dumb except in extenuating circumstances (like 10 T shells).  2 conditoinal advocacies is good, 3 is fine but is pushing it, and 4 or more I'll be very sympathetic to a condo claim.  Make sure you SLOW DOWN when going through T/Theory standards.  If i can't flow it, you've lost all that neat analysis.  In-round abuse is always better than theoretical abuse, but both can win.  I default to reasonability, but can be persuaded by competing interps.

If you have any questions, feel free to ask me before the round.  Good luck and remember to have some fun!

Kurt Fifelski Paradigm

1 rounds

These are most of the predispositions I have about arguments that I can think of, these are not ironclad as my views on debate are constantly in flux. However, without being instructed otherwise, the below points will likely influence how I evaluate the debate.

Top Level:

-Please add me to the email chain, and please make the subject something that is easy to search like "NDT 4 - Michigan DM v UCO HS." Asking if I want to be added, might suggest that you didn't take the time to read on.

-I read along with speech docs and prefer clear, relatively slow, and organized debates.

-I cannot emphasize enough how important card quality and recency should be in debates, but it requires debaters to frame arguments about that importance.

-If you break a new aff and you don't want to share the docs, I will chalk it up to academic cowardice and presume that the aff is largely a pile of crap.

-Evidence can be inserted if the lines were read in CX, but otherwise this act is insufficient. I will only look at graphs and charts if they are analyzed in the debate.

Thoughts on the topic:

-I know about the topic areas in the following rank order:

1) Trade – I researched trade policy for fun prior to the topic, and have spent 30 hours per week thinking about it since August

2) Nukes – I debated on the topic back in the days of paper, feel fairly competent in these debates

3) Treaties – things start getting shaky here, but I probably get most of the acronyms; complicated issues should be explained further

4) Surveillance – I coached on this topic back in the days of Obama but haven’t thought much about it. Some convoluted aspects of surveillance law might go over my head

5) Deference – Up until February I spelled this “deferrence.” The way this lit gets debated seems bastardized to me – explanation of the core concepts will go a long ways.

-I have not voted on ESR is cheating this year, but I could be convinced if the CP fiats future actions or becomes object fiat. I am more prone to evaluate aff solvency deficit than some just because I don’t think the economy/allies/anyone will trust Trump just because Trump has tweeted. The more controversial the CP is the more likely the CP links to the net-benefit.

-John Yoo is a war criminal.

How to sway me:

-More narrativization is better than less

-Ev quality - I think higher quality and recent ev is a necessity. Make arguments about the qualifications of authors, how to evaluate evidence, and describe what events have happened to complicate the reading of their evidence from 2012.

-The 2nr/2ar should spend the first 15-20 seconds explaining how I should vote with judge instruction. If you laid a trap, now is the time to tell me, because I’m probably not going to vote on something that wasn’t flagged as an argument.

-I can flow with the best of them, but I enjoy slower debates so much more.

-More case debate. The 2ac is often too dismissive of case args and the neg often under-utilizes them.

-If reading cards after the debate is required for me to have comprehension of your argument, I’m probably not your judge. I tend to vote on warranted arguments that I have flowed and read cards to evaluate particular warrants that have been called into question. That said, I intend on reading along with speech docs this year.

-I think internal links are the most important parts of an argument; I am more likely to vote for “Asian instability means international coop on warming is impossible” than “nuclear war kills billions” OR “our patriarchy better explains x,y,z” instead of “capitalism causes war.”

-I like when particular arguments are labeled eg) “the youth-voter link” or “the epistemology DA.”

-If you're breaking a new aff/cp, it's probably in your best interest to slow down when making highly nuanced args.

Things I don’t like:

-Generally I think word PICs are bad. Some language obviously needs to be challenged, but if your 1nc strategy involves cntl-f [insert ableist term], I am not the judge for you.

-Overusing offensive language, yelling, being loud during the other team’s speech/prep, and getting into my personal space or the personal space of others will result in fewer speaker points.

-If you think a permutation requires the affirmative to do something they haven’t, you and I have different interpretations of competition theory.

-Old evidence/ blocks that have been circulating in camp files for a decade.


-This topic is poorly written and lets the aff get away with murder. Given that, I want to see debates that have coherent stories for violations and interpretations. I voted neg frequently on the NHI topic on limits, which charts many of my views on this topic.

Critical Affs:

-I am probably a better judge for the K than most would suspect. While the sample size is small, I think I vote for critical args around 50% of the time they're the center of the debate.

-A debate has to occur and happen within the speech order/times of the invite; the arguments are made are up to the debaters and I generally enjoy a broad range of arguments, particularly on a topic as dull as this one.

-Too often I think critical affs describe a problem, but don’t explain what voting aff means in the context of that impact.

-Is there a role of the ballot?

-Often I find the “topical version” of the aff argument to be semi-persuasive by the negative, so explain to me the unique benefit of your aff in the form that it is and why switching-sides does not solve that.

-Framework: Explain the topical version of the aff; use your framework impacts to turn/answer the impacts of the 1ac; if you win framework you win the debate because…


-Links should be contextualized to the aff; saying the aff is capitalist because they use the state is not enough. I'm beginning to think that K's, when read against policy affs, should link to the plan and not just the advantages, I'm not as sold on this as I am my belief on floating pic/ks (95 percent of the time I think floating PIC/Ks aren't arguments worthy of being made, let alone voted on)

-Alternative- what is the framework for evaluating the debate? What does voting for the alternative signify? What should I think of the aff’s truth statements?

-I’m not a fan of high theory Ks, but statistically vote for them a decent percentage of the time.

-When reading the K against K affs, the link should problematize the aff's methodology.

Answering the K:

-Make smart permutation arguments that have explained the net benefits and deal with the negatives disads to the perm.

-You should have a framework for the debate and find ways to dismiss the negative’s alternative.


-Overviews that explain the story of the disad are helpful.

-Focus on internal links.


-Your CP should have a solvency advocate that is as descriptive of your mechanism as the affirmative’s solvency advocate is.

-Consult and conditions counterplans are probably illegitimate.


-Conditionality is cheating a lot like the Roth test: at some point it’s cheating, otherwise neg flex is good.

-Affs should explain why the negative should lose because of theory, otherwise I’ll just reject the arg.

-I'll likely be unsympathetic to args related to ADA rules, sans things that should actually be rules like clipping.

-I’m generally okay with kicking the CP/Alt for the neg if I’m told to.

Chris Flowers Paradigm

7 rounds

Paradigm update WaRu: 9/17/19


Chris Flowers

Little Rock Central High School

You can call me by my first or last name. I use he/him pronouns and am white as bread.

Email -


I flow, pay attention to cx and would like to be on the email chain to read your evidence if necessary.

I want you to keep up with your own prep (unless you’re new at this).

I evaluate dropped arguments like won arguments, but expect you to extend the warrants to the claim and impact the argument out as necessary.

Debaters ought to determine the procedural limits and educational value of each topic by defending their interpretations in the round (See preferences section for more on this).

Affirmative teams should advocate for some departure from the status quo in the context of the topic. The more connected to the topic you are, the less likely I am to evaluate fairness impacts on framework/t.

I am reading and cutting a lot of lit on the LD topic(s). Not very much on the CX topic (thus far). I find critical literature more interesting (especially in the LD format) , but really enjoy nuanced, specific pragmatic arguments as well.

If I have to read evidence for decision purposes I will evaluate the quality of said evidence even without explicit indicts of the evidence from your opponent. If you are way ahead on technical stuff or even spin, evidence quality matters less.

Debaters should not do any of the following:

Clip cards

Steal prep

Outright disregard basic, logistical and procedural things that keep the tournament running on time, i.e. showing up super late, speaking over the time allotted to their side etc.

Disregard reasonable personal request of their opponents. If you don’t wish to comply with opponent requests, you ought to have a good reason why.

Misgender folks

Say or do racist, sexist, homophobic, transphobic or ableist things.

To heteronormative white males ONLY:

Don’t be flippant, overly dismissive or belligerent to your opponents.

Don’t read k arguments written from the perspective of bodies that are not yours.

Defaults when you forget to make warrants to your arguments

Education > Fairness

Shapes Subjectivities > Just a game

Breadth = Depth ---> both are important please make warrants here

Neg getting the status quo plus conditional advocacies is fair and incentivizes good aff research.

K’s don’t need to win an alt to win.

Perf Con is a reason to vote AFF, RVI’s are probably not.

Voting for theory when there’s substantial or egregious abuse > voting for theory because it was undercovered

reasonable disclosure practices = should be followed.

Analytic > Low quality evidence

Heg = bad.

Cap = bad.

Grumpy old man things

We don’t need to shake hands.

Calling framework T doesn’t make it not framework. What are you trying to hide!?

Case debate is underutilized.

Analytics are underutilized .

1AC’s should have embedded pre-empts, not underviews.

My tolerance for rudeness, sassiness etc. goes up the better you are at debate.

Your speaks go up when you are nice to opponents you are way better than.

Y’all are kids. I’m 35. You can call me by my first or last name, but I’m not here for unnecessary dramatics.

Your coaches and judges give up a lot to be here on the weekends. It’s because deep down they care about you and the activity. It has made a marked difference in their lives and they want you to get the same thing out of it that they did. Make this experience enjoyable and educational for yourself and others. If it’s not fun, maybe consider quiz bowl or model UN.

I'd pref these teams at 1:




PV VG (ride or die)



NoBro MR

Lane Tech CG

Asian Debate League BB

Determining Speaks

I try and give speaks like I would assign a grade to a paper. In my line of work, I don’t grade a lot of papers, but if I did….

30 = 100%

I think the 30 is too exalted. But, I do want to be blown away before I hand one out. Do the following for your best chances:

Execute a clear and cohesive argument strategy.

Delivery is dynamic, clear and organized.

Performance between speeches is exemplary (cross-x questions and answers, non-verbal during opponents speeches and a generally likable ethos).

Rebuttal speeches are rich with a combination of argumentation and persuasion (warrants are extended, comparisons are made, round vision is demonstrated through clear strategy but also responsive analytics).

and 29.9 = 99% and so on down the line.

The best way to get a 29 and up from me is focus on the following:

Be yourself, don’t be flippant.

Pre-written speeches should be clear, dynamic and within time.

Rebuttals are a smooth combination of argument extensions, comparisons and in-round analytics.

Strategy is cohesive and cool.

You signpost well and organized. The fewer times I have to move my arguments from the flow the better.

Novices should expect there speaks to be relatively lower. Since speaks are largely arbitrary the most fair way for me to assign speaks is to stick to the criteria above.

Argumentative Preferences

*If I haven't mentioned it here, I don't have any strong thoughts on the matter and am most likely to be a pretty blank slate. Especially on theory. *

t/framework vs. k aff

Planless aff’s are a thing and neg teams are best to attempt to engage case as earnestly as possible. This is especially true if the aff has been around for awhile and/or is steeped in literature that is readily accessible through camp files or previous years topics (read: basically everything).

Affs should be related to the topic. The less contextualized to the affirmative your aff is the more likely I am to vote on fairness/procedural issues. On face, I think education is way more important than fairness. But I will begrudgingly vote for you if you’ve out warranted the other team on this issue.

T vs affs w a plan text that uses the usfg

I default to reasonability because I think it incentivizes innovative research by the aff that expands the limits of the topic in a good way. (all about that education). I also don’t think it creates much more judge intervention that is already inevitable and comparable to evaluating competing interps. But, I will vote for competing interps if you’ve got good stuff to say that will establish a clear brightline as to what makes a definition better.


Neg definitely gets to be conditional. Limited conditionality is the most comfortable theory interp for me, but unlimited conditionality is fine too, unless you cross over the line into perf con.

Perf Con.

I am 1/1 voting on perf con that was in the 2ar.

The threshold for me on perf con is two fold. Either one of these violations happening is enough for me to vote for PC 2AR

a. Arguments made on one flow could be extended to other parts of the flow once the original argument is dropped.

b. Positons are grossly ideologically contradictory. IE, the econ da plus cap.

Counter Plans

If you have a solvency advocate, its legit.

Most PIC’s I’ve heard seem theoretically legit because demonstrable abuse hasn’t been proven. But if you have a clear, thesis story on CP abuse I will vote there. It’s happened before. But violations have to be clear.


I think most politics arguments are false and most econ arguments are false. However, I can detach myself from those beliefs and vote for your disad, even if it's terrible. Please be reading updated uniqueness arguments and be paying attention to what’s happening in the squo. Make your turns case analysis efficient and terminal.


Neg walks in with presumption. If both teams show up and neither team speaks I’d vote neg on a low point win. Neg teams should still make presumption analysis and not just rely on my assumption to vote their. Explain to me the inefficiencies of the aff to resolve the harms in the status quo.

Debate Philosophy

Debate is transformative. It is foremost an educational activity. As a classroom teacher, as well as an active coach and judge I approach nearly everything I do with that element of education in mind. I do think there should be some parameters to the game, but I also believe that part of the beauty of the game is that those parameters are generally underlimiting. I think this isn’t always the best for creativity, but that it definitely encourages students to do in-depth research on a broad range of topics.

Debate is challenging. I like arguments that are hard to beat, but not impossible. As a coach debate allows me to set personal challenges, some that I have accomplished others I may never achieve. There’s beauty in the struggle. As a coach, I want to be down in the trenches as much as possible, cutting cards, maximizing pre-round prep. and doing anything I can to win, even if it means being the waterboy before rounds. As a judge, I hope the debaters I judge will feel the same way. I don’t care how much experience you have, how good or bad at debate you are, I want you to be in it to win it. I also want you to not be afraid to fail.

Debate is exhausting. On my squad, I share responsibilities with two other phenomenal coaches. We all drive to and from tournaments, work tirelessly on hearing redos, facilitating practices, cutting evidence and overall trying to put all of our debaters in the best possible position to win debates. All of this can be excruciating and exhausting. If debaters on my team or at tournaments don’t’ share in this sense of sacrifice or the recognition that we are all a part of something a little bigger, there’s no payoff for me. Don’t be those kids. Being away from home and family so frequently during the school year CAN be a worthy sacrifice, if the students I coach and judge demonstrate excellence or a desire for excellence in competitive and interpersonal ways. Your coaches, myself included, do this for a reason. Most of us really want nothing but the best for you. Winning is important, but not everything. Have a good attitude and embrace the game.

Sam Franz Paradigm

7 rounds

Traverse City Central '17

University of Michigan '21

Affiliation: Walter Payton (sometimes independent)

I'm a student at the University of Michigan, and I debate with Harrison Hall there. I study history (of science) and German.

-I am unfamiliar with the high school topic. Please be slow with acronyms, don't make any assumptions about "community consensus," etc.

-I like specific, nuanced, and technical debates. I'll try to leave my argumentative predispositions and preferences out of judging.

-Truths are settled by the arguments made in a debate. I'll probably vote on anything, provided that it is substantiated.

-Strong, definitive, and specific contextualization of link arguments (for a disadvantage, critique, or whatever) will both boost speaker points and increase the persuasiveness of your argument. I especially enjoy watching teams read lines from evidence, quote the opposing team in their speech, etc. in order to give force to an argument.

-I don't think that I have a very strong slant in framework debates. I generally prefer judges who don't have strong ideological presumptions, so I'll try to keep mine out of the debate. I like framework debates when both sides pick a narrow set of offense that is explained well in relation to the other team's arguments. Pick and choose in the final speeches. Often, framework debates lack good impact calculus which makes it hard to decide without considerable intervention. I've gone for framework this year, but it's also been read against me.

-I particularly enjoy argument innovation, so if you have something new to say or a new way of explaining something, I'll probably be interested and be willing to give higher points because of this.

-I agree with nearly everything in Kevin Hirn's judge philosophy, and his coaching has deeply influenced how I think about debate, so if you're looking for something specific, you may want to look there. Brad Bolman and Calum Matheson have also influenced me a great deal.

Tim Freehan Paradigm

7 rounds

Yes, email chain.


A couple of quick very broad generalizations:

--Truth over Tech

--Old School Policy

--Quality of Evidence Counts

--Not a fan of whiny theory debates

I am inclined to refer to myself as a “policy hack” mostly because that is where my comfort zone lies. Arguments of a Kritikal nature are not alien to me, and while I certainly know how to adjudicate a round based on their tenants, I have little experience with them and policy related concepts are something more in my wheelhouse. To be clear, this is a preference based on my own abilities, not a threat.

How I evaluate the arguments themselves:

Advantage vs Disadvantage. This is my wheelhouse. I like discussing costs and benefits. Since you all seem to come to the same “nuclearized” conclusions, it is fair to say that I evaluate the means by which you arrive at the impact more than the impact itself. I will always give more credence to the team that has a more consistent narrative and better explains causality from A to B to C. One thing I have noticed is that judges seem to give too much weight to flimsy link stories. Not me. While I like the idea behind certain Political DA’s, it is not enough to read a card that says the Public Hates the Plan and then automatically infer that the Supreme Court becomes illegitimate or some Omnibus Spending Bill becomes doomed to fail. In a similar vein, I love debates about evidence. It forces you all to research better stuff and frankly, it’s a lost art. I can and will vote against an argument if cards are poor exclusive of counter evidence being read. Coherent and plausible stories with good evidence will always win out in my mind. You not understanding obvious political reality will cast a bit of a shadow over your credibility.

Not a big fan of Pre-Fiat DA's. Spending, Must Pass Legislation, Riders, etc. I will err Aff on theory unless the Neg has some really good evidence as to why not. I just think that debates about how bills become law are not valuable at this point in your advanced education.

Counterplans. Same thing. Right in my wheelhouse. A few things to note. First, Permutations are not advocacy. Unless something truly abusive goes down, do not waste your breath on Severance is Bad. Intrinsicness is tricky to prove. Second, I tend to lean in the direction of being a policymaker so Topical Counterplans are not always the worst idea. Can I be sold otherwise? Sure. But be advised of my preferences. Third, some of the best rounds I have ever seen or been involved with have had Counterplans. I think they serve excellent strategic value and can go a long way to compensating for deficiencies in your DA’s. Run them. But try to avoid abusing ground with lots of contradictory positions under the “shield” of conditionality. Also, getting back to my loathing of theory debates, instead of debating why some forms of CP’s are bad maybe use your off time researching possible DA’s or just generally having reasons why your agent or mechanism is superior. It is perfectly okay for Agents to be a part of the debate and I am not sure why whining about it via theory blips you have in your back files is the best course of action. The Negative having specific solvency will solve theory problems. More on that below.

I like PICs but will err Aff on Theory when the PIC is just "we solve the Aff and a eensy weensy bit of something else."

Also, a minor solvency deficit to a CP vs a Framing Contention does not an Aff Ballot make. This is especially true if a Net Benefit is still very much in play. Don't assume I will take Framing on its face if you don't attempt to weigh the magnitude of the deficit vs the Net Benefit.

An addendum on Process Counterplans. I mostly hate them. While I agree that on certain topics that DA's are dubious and Neg ground is murky, I don't think that busting out the Reg Neg backfiles is the solution. You had better have a solvency advocate and a good one and you had better prove why your "process" is somehow valuable and/or educational. This is another time I will err aff on CP theory debates. Not a huge fan of the K, but would rather wallow in White Liberal Guilt than listen to why passing the plan only after binding consultation with the Postmaster General is a good idea. Run a cool PIC or Set Col or something else. On that note...

Kritiks/Framework. I am a big enough person to admit that I am not up on the literature and the pantheon of scholars that are presently utilized in Policy Debate. Nor do I feel that 200+ words per minute is the appropriate manner in which to discuss such high-minded topics. What’s worse is that almost every tagline is an unflowable paragraph of ideas that is hard to manage later in the round. So here it is. I will vote on Kritikal arguments. I probably have a lower threshold for voting Negative than most judges (and I will explain that more below) but know that VERY few in-depth K debates I have seen thus far have been decided by anything more than me reading all of the relevant evidence and drawing many conclusions on my own. Sorry, but it’s the risk you run. As I alluded, an irony to my curmudgeonly ideas about the K is that I do believe that Alternatives are not necessarily a requirement. I will/have voted on the argument that the Aff is either the wrong starting point or should be rejected on face absent a viable alternative. The Securitization K is a good example of this. Language Kritiks sit well with me. The flip side of this is the intrinsic value of certain K arguments to debate. If the ultimate value of your Kritik or KAff is that this educational starting point is vital but fail to prove why your Starting Point has value to this topic/case/debate, then you are on thin ice. In other words, education is important, but the process of debate is equally important and if your opposition can prove you’re a merely passing relevance to them, then I can be persuaded by the argument that a poor debate is not worth voting on the K.

If your goal is to use the K as a means to teach an old white male who engages with both capitalism and the state for a living something valuable, then I am all ears. I love being taught things and you have done the K justice. If your goal is to make blanket statements about why certain people are good or bad or should be excluded from valuable discussions then I am not your judge. We are all flawed.

A few additional notes. I do not like “debate is bad” arguments. I am not going to dwell too much on my reasoning, but, suffice it to say, the people who want to blow debate up certainly have no problems accepting their trophies and their TOC bids. It rings hollow to me.

I take Framework arguments VERY seriously. I believe most K Affs unlimit the topic. And I believe the topic should have about 30-40 Affs. And I believe that limits make for good debates. And I believe that good debates are why we are here. If you are a K Team who chooses not to take Standards very seriously, you can and will lose.

Topicality. I look at this argument differently than almost EVERY other judge on the circuit. In my world, Topicality is a means by which we deter teams from running abusive Affirmatives. The argument serves 2 purposes, to create parameters of future research and to preserve debatable ground for the Negative. Because it theoretically serves an external function that affects other rounds, I do give the Aff a fair amount of leeway when the arguments start to wander into a gray area. It has been pointed out to me that the requirement for Offense on the part of the Affirmative is something on which I place little value. Put another way, the Aff need only prove that they are within the predictable confines of research and present a plan that offers enough ground on which to run generic arguments. The Negative must prove that the Affirmative skews research burdens to a point in which the topic is unlimited to a point beyond 30-40 possible cases and/or renders the heart of the topic moot. While I am not a judge who will “punish” teams for running Topicality as a strategic time suck, know that if you are running T against and Aff about which people have been lecturing and researching since July, your burdens are somewhat harder to prove. Merely winning "they don't meet" is not enough. It is all about abuse. Prove it one way or the other.

Some arguments I hate:

"New Affs Bad"

"T-USFG means 3 branches"


ConCon CP (unless there is specific literature for Solvency)

A few additional notes:

I have yet to hear a debate about Floating PIKS or Intrinsic Perms that makes me understand them.

Debate the evidence. It’s a lost art and, trust me, it’s a great skill to learn.

As I am a judge who likes to reward research, there is an argument that can solve many problems: Literature Checks Abuse. What I mean by this is that if you have a dubiously topical Aff, a seemingly abusive Process Counterplan, etc. I will tend to give a lot more leeway to the defense against theory claims. All you need to do is show me some evidence that your argument has a specific and valuable place in the debate and I am willing to overlook ‘PICS bad’ or other claims of this ilk because having a debate about X issue is educational.

I have romantic notions that well-reasoned assertions are good things. Feel free to think on your feet.

One final note. You all always ask what my philosophy is and I am always willing to tell you. But outside of a few teams, no one seems to want to listen. So read this and ignore at your own peril. Adaptation is a life skill. Debate provides us an opportunity to take arguments in a lot of interesting directions. But in life, the consequences are higher than merely “not clearing on speaker points.” You may or may not get a job, successfully defend your dissertation, alienate loved ones, lose an election or mess up a second date. Merely writing others off as being “an idiot” or “some bus driver” might be true in this context, but the values of adaptation are just as important as the many other things we get from this activity.


I judge about 1 PF Round for every 25-30 Policy Rounds so bear with me here.

· I have NOT judged the PF national circuit pretty much ever. The good news is that I am not biased against or unwilling to vote on any particular style. Chances are I have heard some version of your meta level of argumentation and know how it interacts with the round. The bad news is if you want to complain about a style of debate in which you are unfamiliar, you had better convince me why with, you know, impacts and stuff. Do not try and cite an unspoken rule about debate in your part of the country.

Because of my background in Policy, I tend to look at things from a cost benefit perspective. Even though the Pro is not advocating a Plan and the Con is not reading Disadvantages, to me the round comes down to whether the Pro has a greater possible benefit than the potential implications it might cause. Both sides should frame the round in terms impact calculus and or feasibility. Impacts need to be tangible.

Evidence quality is very important.

I will vote on what is on the flow (yes, I flow) and keep my personal opinions of arguments in check as much as possible. I may mock you for it, but I won’t vote against you for it. No paraphrasing. Quote the author, date and the exact words. Quals are even better but you don’t have to read them unless pressed. Have the website handy. Research is critical.

Speed? Meh. You cannot possibly go fast enough for me to not be able to follow you. However, that does not mean I want to hear you go fast. You can be quick and very persuasive. You don't need to spread.

Defense is nice but is not enough. You must create offense in order to win. There is no “presumption” on the Con.

While I am not a fan of formal “Kritik” arguments in PF, I do think that Philosophical Debates have a place. Using your Framework as a reason to defend your scholarship is a wise move. Racism and Sexism will not be tolerated. You can attack your opponents scholarship.

I reward debaters who think outside the box.

I do not reward debaters who cry foul when hearing an argument that falls outside traditional parameters of PF Debate. Again, I am not a fan of the Kritik, but if its abusive, tell me why instead of just saying “not fair.”

Statistics are nice, to a point. But I feel that judges/debaters overvalue them sometimes. Often the best impacts involve higher values that cannot be quantified. A good example would be something like Structural Violence.

While Truth outweighs, technical concessions on key arguments can and will be evaluated. Dropping offense means the argument gets 100% weight.

The goal of the Con is to disprove the value of the Resolution. If the Pro cannot defend the whole resolution (agent, totality, etc) then the Con gets some leeway.

I care about substance and not style. It never fails that I give 1-2 low point wins at a tournament. Just because you tie is nice and you sound pretty, doesn’t mean you win. I vote on argument quality and technical debating. The rest is for lay judging.

Relax. Have fun.

Colton Gilbert Paradigm

7 rounds


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

Include me on all email chains, please


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

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

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

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

Short Version

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

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


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

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

Parting Thoughts

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

Joshua Gonzalez Paradigm

5 rounds

Joshua Gonzalez

Yes, add me to emails. gonza310 at gmail

New for 2018-2019:

High School Debates:

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

1. You have to debate the topic. If you can't find some way to allow more legal immigration (migration) to the United States on a topic on which it is pretty easy to win topicality while advocating for open borders, I am utterly bereft of sympathy. This is as close as I get to an absolute line in the sand. If you debate very well, you can probably still win some flexibility on the USFG parts, but even then, not a ton. If you really want to just talk about Baudrillard, I've got bad news: your show wasn't renewed for this season.

2. Conversely, if you are neg and your topicality interp excludes affs that contemplate the 11 million or so undocumented migrants that are currently within the so-called borders of the United States, it will not take much work for the aff to convince me that your interpretation is a non-starter. That doesn't mean that there are no boundaries on the topic (the logical negative retort should be that the topical affirmative is one that creates a new immigrant visa for said migrants), just that a boundary that categorically excludes the *obvious* core immigration issue of the moment and forces us to debate EB visas for a whole year is, for lack of a better phrase, an epic travesty against common sense and decency.


Rando stuff that I've added:

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

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

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

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

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

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

Other stuff: you have a right to examine your opponent's evidence but do not have much of a claim to the examination of any other part of their speech. I would prefer it if there was a way to just jump cards and NOT jump any analytics. Try flowing, it will change your life.

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

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

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

Also, please stop calling debates that involve two teams espousing differing viewpoints on these questions "clash of civilizations" debates. That phrase was unwise in its original context (Huntington) and it is even more unwise in debate. For better or worse, we are all part of a community. We also happen to belong to the same civilization (whatever that word means), too, so let's just stick to "debating."

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

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

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

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

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

Nate Graziano Paradigm

7 rounds

Policy Coach at Kent Denver School. HS Policy, NDT/CEDA, NPTE/NPDA Competitor.

> Please include me on email chains - <

TL;DR - I like judge instruction. I'll vote for or against K 1ACs based on Framework. Clash of Civilization debates are the majority of rounds I watch. I vote frequently on dropped technical arguments, and will think more favorably of you if you play to your outs. The ballot is yours, your speaker points are mine. Your speech overview should be my RFD. Tell me what is important, why you win that, and why winning it means you get the ballot.

Note to coaches and debaters - I give my RFDs in list order on how I end up deciding the round, in order of how I resolved them. Because of this, I also upload my RFD word for word with the online ballot. I keep a pretty good record of rounds I've judged, so if anyone has any questions about any decision I've made on Tabroom please feel free to reach out at my email above.

1. Tech > Truth

The game of debate is lost if I intervene and weigh what I know to be "True." The ability to spin positions and make answers that fit within your side of the debate depend on a critic being objective to the content. That being said, arguments that are based in truth are typically more persuasive in the long run.

I'm very vigilant about intervening and will not make "logical conclusions" on arguments if you don't do the work to make them so. If you believe that the negative has the right to a "judge kick" if you're losing the counterplan and instead vote on the status quo in the 2NR, you need to make that explicitly clear in your speech.

More and more I've made decisions on evidence quality and the spin behind it. I like to reward knowledgeable debaters for doing research and in the event of a disputable, clashing claim I tend to default to card quality and spin.

I follow along in the speech doc when evidence is being read and make my own marks on what evidence and highlighting was read in the round.

2. Theory/Topicality/Framework

Most rounds I judge involve Framework. While I do like these debates please ensure they're clashing and not primarily block reading. If there are multiple theoretical frameworks (ex. A RotB, A RotJ, FW Interp) please tell me how to sort through them and if they interact. I tend to default to policy-making and evaluating consequences unless instructed otherwise.

For theory violations - I usually need more than "they did this thing and it was bad; that's a voter" for me to sign my ballot, unless it was cold conceded. If you're going for it in the 2NR/2AR, I'd say a good rule of thumb for "adequate time spent" is around 2:00, but I would almost prefer it be the whole 5:00.

In the event that both teams have multiple theoretical arguments and refuse to clash with each other, I try to resolve as much of the framework as I can on both sides. (Example - "The judge should be an anti-ethical decision maker" and "the affirmative should have to defend a topical plan" are not inherently contradicting claims until proven otherwise.)

Winning framework is not the same as winning the debate. It's possible for one team to win framework and the other to win in it.

Procedural Fairness can be both an impact and an internal link. I believe it's important to make debate as accessible of a place as possible, which means fairness can be both a justification as well as a result of good debate practices.

3. Debate is Story Telling

I'm fond of good overviews - round vision, and understanding how to write a singular winning ballot at the end, is something I tend to reward. To some extent, telling any argument as a chain of events with a result is the same process that we use when telling stories. Being able to implicate your argument as a clash of stories can be helpful for everyone involved.

I do not want to feel like I have to intervene to make a good decision. I will not vote on an argument that was not said or implied by one of the debaters in round. I feel best about the rounds where the overview was similar to my RFD.

4. Critical Arguments

I am familiar with most critical literature. I also do a lot of topic specific research and love politics debates. Regardless of what it is, I prefer if arguments are specific, strategic, and well executed. Do not be afraid of pulling out your "off-the-wall" positions - I'll listen and vote on just about anything.

As a critic and someone who enjoys the activity, I would like to see your best strategy that you've prepared based on your opponent, rather than what you think I would like. Make the correct decision about what to read based on your opponent's weaknesses and your strengths.

Debate that includes narration, personal experience, or autobiographical accounts is fine. I've voted for it frequently in the past.

Don't hesitate to email me or ask my opinions on framework before the round if it's a concern of yours.

5. Speaker Points

I believe that the ballot is yours, but your speaker points are mine. If you won the arguments required to win the debate round, you will receive the ballot from me regardless of my personal opinion on execution or quality. Speaker points are a way for judges to reward good speaking and argumentation, and dissuade poor practice and technique. Here are some things that I tend to reward debaters for-

- Debate Sense. When you show you understand the central points in the debate. Phrases like "they completely dropped this page" only to respond to line by line for 3 minutes annoy me. If you're behind and think you're going to lose, your speaker points will be higher if you acknowledge what you're behind on and execute your "shot" at winning.

- Clarity and organization are appreciated. Numbered flows, references to authors or tags on cards, and word economy are valued highly. I also like it when you know the internals and warrants of your arguments/evidence.

- Judge instruction. I know it sounds redundant at this point, but you can quite literally just look at me and say "Nate, I know we're behind but you're about to vote on this link turn."

I will disclose speaker points after the round if you ask me. The highest speaker points I've ever given out is a 29.7. A 28.5 is my standard for a serviceable speech, while a 27.5 is the bare minimum needed to continue the debate. My average for this last season was around a 28.7-28.8.

Harrison Hall Paradigm

7 rounds

Michigan '21

Westminster '17

You win and lose on the flow -- I have a high standard for new arguments and often disregard them.

Do whatever you want, just don't be aggressive/annoying about it.

I don't like to use my noggin very much, so go for the easy win

I cannot read, so keep that in mind.

Power moves get high speaks: be bold.

The louder team usually wins. At the same time, the quieter team usually wins.

Stolen from Sam Franz's philosophy:

"-I am unfamiliar with the high school topic. Please be slow with acronyms, don't make any assumptions about 'community consensus,' etc.

-Truths are settled by the arguments made in a debate. I'll probably vote on anything, provided that it is substantiated.

-I don't think that I have a very strong slant in framework debates. I generally prefer judges who don't have strong ideological presumptions, so I'll try to keep mine out of the debate...I like framework debates when both sides pick a narrow set of offense that is explained well in relation to the other team's arguments. Often, framework debates lack good impact calculus which makes it hard to decide without considerable intervention."

Things I enjoy seeing in debates:

- Dedev, done well

- Space colonization bad

- Word pics

- Condo bad 2ARs

- Logical CPs with small net benefits: the more planks the better

- Neg abusing theory

- Please hurt my feelings, I feed on that

Things I do not enjoy seeing in a debate:

- A nuanced T (we meet) debate: this topic is goofy dog help me out

- Being mean to partners or opponents

- Intentionally not responding to questions in cross-ex

- Bad jokes

- Good jokes

Jeremy Hammond Paradigm

1 rounds

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

David Heidt Paradigm

4 rounds

David Heidt

Carrollton School of the Sacred Heart

NDT 2019 notes:

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

Some education topic specific thoughts:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

Thoughts about critical affs and critiques:

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thoughts about topicality:

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

Thoughts about evidence:

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

Michael Hellie Paradigm

7 rounds

About me:

I debated for the University of Chicago Laboratory Schools from 2014-2018. For what it's worth, my senior year, I cleared at every major national tournament I attended and earned 7 bids to the TOC.

I would like to be on the email chain:

Top Level:

Debate is fundamentally a communicative activity. If, by the end of the debate, you have convinced me to vote on an argument, I will certainly do so, regardless of how I personally feel about the argument.

I don't believe that it is my prerogative as a judge to determine or influence the content of the debate. As such, I will do my best to fairly evaluate any and all arguments based solely on the flow of that particular round.

That said, please don't say anything offensive.

Thoughts on form:

The strongest final rebuttals will begin by writing my ballot and instructing me how to resolve the central question of the debate.

While I would certainly say that I am a tech over truth judge, it will be far easier for you to win my ballot with strong meta-level framing of the round than by assuming that I'll know that the block's concession of 2AC #12 is game over.

Thoughts on content:

I'll mostly discuss my thoughts on the Kritik because that's what I think most people are interested in:

If you believe in characterizing debaters by their argument preference, I would fall decidedly in the "k debater" camp. I spent my last two summers in the Michigan 7-week k lab and have not read a "policy aff" since my novice year.

However, this does not mean that I am any more likely to vote for kritiks or kritik affs. If anything, I will probably have a higher standard for these arguments to be executed properly.

Courtney Hornsby Paradigm

7 rounds

Not Submitted

Jace Hunter Paradigm

7 rounds

About me: I debated for three years in high school for Phoenix Military Academy. I was a junior varsity debater my freshman year and a varsity debater my junior through senior year. My junior year, I was a quarter-finalist at CDL T1, and my senior year, I was a semi-finalist at CDL T4 and a quarter-finalist at CDL T5. My senior year, I also debated at the University of Michigan, the Glenbrooks, and Harvard. With this being said, I have faced and heard a variety of arguments, and I am used to hearing the craziest of arguments. As a judge, I am willing to vote on practically any argument as long as it can be proven that it is something that should be voted on and is thoroughly discussed and flushed out. As a judge, the most important aspect of the round for me thoroughly explaining your arguments and telling me how I should weigh those specific arguments within the context of others.

I will admit that I do have a strong preference for policy-aligned arguments within the policy debate sphere, although I do understand the need and use of critical/theory arguments within a round. I believe that these arguments (T, theory, K) should not simply be used as another argument for the simplicity of winning the round, but instead as a starting point and discussion of the round and/or debate sphere.

A note specifically for UMICH2018 debate: this is my first debate tournament of the year. You should assume that I have no previous experience with the topic and it's literature. Prior years, I usually have experience with the topic at the local level.

Please include me on the email-chain!

Julia Hunter Paradigm

5 rounds

Hi all!

Put me on the email chain pls! And since my email is here, feel free to email me asking about debate or college or anything really after your round - debate was so key in my development into a real person in high school and that had so much to do with the people who judged me. I want to help and feed your love for debate as much as I can!!

Here's the real stuff:

Currently I'm a sophomore at the University of Michigan. I don't debate in college and I admittedly haven't been very involved in debate since the summer before my freshman year of college. I have coached both policy and LD debate, but very lightly. This topic I have judged at the Michigan tournament and the MLK tournament (in Union City).

I debated for four years in high school at St Vincent de Paul HS (SVDP HM and PH on pairings) in California, consistently cleared at tournaments and went to the TOC 3 out of my 4 years. Was mostly interested in critical debate - never read a plan, usually went for the K when I was neg. However, I also exclusively went for framework against K affs and really did my best to not have my K debates become a battle of who can say the biggest words. I have no moral stake in this game - I read arguments that I found to be fun and intuitive and did what I could to win. I went for death arguments a lot and I was (and still am) deeply interested in queer theory and gender literature. Take from that what you will regarding my levels of comfortability with certain arguments, but know that I will vote on anything regardless of my background.

I will evaluate a debate based on how you debate. I am not going to vote for a K just because it is a K. You have to do line by line. I'll say it again: you have to do line by line. At the same time, your arguments must be well explained and I have no problem with overviews that are meant to provide that deep explanation and organization of the debate. Line by line with no substance is worth almost nothing.

Ben Jablonski Paradigm

7 rounds

MBA '18

Emory '22

Put me on email chains --

Please format the email chain's subject in this fashion: "Round -- UK 4 -- Emory AJ vs Trinity GG" -- that is: "'Round' -- Tournament Round Number -- Aff Code vs Neg Code"

In Short

Fairness is an impact

I do not like T against affs with plans

High threshold for voting / rejecting a cp on theory

The long paragraphs below are my general ideas about debate -- all of this goes out the window with how things are debated

Top Level Stuff

1. Evidence -- the 1ar should read as many as possible. Don't be afraid of reading some cards in the 2nr. Same goes for the block, if you find yourself talking more than reading cards in the 2nc, it's gonna be difficult to win. I will read evidence after the round. Send a doc after the round with the relevant cards

2. Tech over truth -- this is always the case. If an argument is bad, beat it.

3. Case Debate -- Recut their advantage ev, it takes very little time. Make analytics. Don't let the 2ac and 1ar get away with spending 20 seconds on 15 arguments. A single persuasive and developed case argument can cut the aff down quickly and is way better than extending 8 different case d args in the 2nr.

4. Impact Turns -- i love them; I have an unnatural amount of enjoyment for these debates -- I don't care how "dumb" the impact turn is (Spark etc), I will vote on it if you win.

5. Framing contentions -- i am not a good judge for framing contentions that just say util bad, consequences bad, predictions bad, nuclear war isnt that bad; I'm much better for framing contentions that make a coherent K of DAs/CPs -- you will not win the debate if your impact is 2,000 people are sad. I don't know why teams don't just go for a DA + Case more in these debates. Your CP serves no utility here.


Zero Risk is a thing (that also applies to Advs)

CPs and theory

States, international, multiplank, multiactor, pics are probably good

Condo -- I'm beginning to lean further neg here, I could be persuaded by an argument in favor of infinite condo for the negative

Process CPs are good when grounded in topic literature. I do not have a predisposition on theory here.

Judge kick: I'm apprehensive about kicking the CP for the neg without the 2nr saying judge kick. I generally lean neg here, but the aff can easily persuade me otherwise.


The flow is important. 7 minute overviews are bad.

FW should be a small investment of time-- I will weigh the implementation of the aff unless the debating is extremely uneven

Don't assume I have the same amount of understanding of this area as you.

Planless affs


I think the aff should defend the hypothetical implementation of a topical plan. Most affs in these debates have little to no offense. I think fairness is the best impact, and other neg impacts link to much of the offense for the affirmative that I don't think links to fairness. In these debates, the impact turns rarely make sense to me. You must have a reason that the process of debating the topic is bad not just a reason that the topic itself is bad. The TVAs the neg reads are usually pretty bad and need to be applied to aff offense better. Reading the aff as a K on the neg solves almost all aff offense.

I'm willing to vote aff in these debates, but you've gotta do a lot more work to win.


While I understand the aversion against going for an impact turn, I think if the 1ar is light, I will hold the line on the 2ar re-articulating the entire aff. However, the 2nr has to deal with potential cross applications, so hedging against that should have a significant amount of time dedicated to it.


Not a big fan - I'd prefer just about any other debate

These debates are boring, and I will side with the aff on a lot of this debate

Reasonability = yes -- i think this could / should be the first minute or two of the 2ar, explain how reasonability and the impacts to reasonability turn all of their limits, ground or predictability arguments. I find substance crowd out to be very true, and I think it outweighs the minimal difference between the two interpretations.


Clipping means zero speaks and a loss; accusing clipping when it has not occurred is zero speaks and a loss - I will stop the round and you must provide video / audio evidence or I will not consider it.

I will not vote on arguments about things that happened outside of the round.

I am not a fan of spreading bad arguments.

Mahnoor Jamal Paradigm

7 rounds

Previous experience: Policy debater for Maine East High School for two years.

Current speech, IPDA, and BP/Worlds debater at Oakton Community College.

Heavily policy oriented— if you’re going to do any type of K work please speak to me as if I don’t know what’s going on. Avoid buzzwords and jargon unless you will give proper explanation and the framework/role of the ballot should be clearly defined giving me valid explanations as to why I should prefer your interpretation. Please have developed SPECIFIC links to the plan if you’re running a K on the Neg and your overviews for Ks (be it an affirmative or negative position) should be talked through not spread through. Make me understand—don’t just throw words at me. TLDR; if it’s a K talk to me like I’m lay.

Counterplans and Disads are my cup of tea. I will vote neg on theory if it’s against a shifty process or conditions counter plan (I absolutely despise conditions CP). Also don’t go for condo unless there are specific instances of abuse and you plan on speaking a whole 5min is your 2AR about it I don’t wanna hear that speech, you don’t wanna give that speech, and your opponent probably will think your not cool by the end of it.

I value clarity over speed—if you have clear arguments with in depth explanation I’ll lean towards you (at least in terms of speaker points) rather than having an abundance of unclear arguments.

Please be flowing, try line by line the best you can, avoid card clipping, and just be a decent human being in terms of interactions with one another. Okay EMPHASIS ON SIDE POSTING AND LINE BY LINE!!! I become absolutely flustered and frustrated when side posting isn’t done. If you’re not telling me to switch flows there’s a higher chance due to my misflowing the argument will be awash.

if you’re actually reading this: show me a meme, a cute puppy picture, or something weeb related by the end of the round or before it I’ll give you an extra 0.1 speaker point 😚✌🏽

Logan Jancek Paradigm

7 rounds

Pronouns: He/Him

E-mail: - put me on the email chain

Updated for MIFA state finals.

Experience: 2 years high school debate at Mona Shores High School, 2 years college debate at Wayne State University, 1 year coaching at Mona Shores High School, 2 years coaching at Detroit Country Day School.

I have a fair amount of experience debating both traditional policy and K frameworks.

I expect everyone to be timing themselves.

I'll give a short version: I'll listen to just about anything, minus overtly problematic arguments (racism good, sexism good, fascism good, etc.), which will at best lead to tanked speaker points, at worst an automatic loss.

Dropped arguments are usually true arguments, you must make the argument early enough in the debate for me to vote on it. That being said, I vote on arguments I understand. If I don't understand, that's on you, this is a speech activity.

The long version:

K affs - fine by me, be prepared for the framework debate, win the impact turns to framework and I'll probably vote for you. That being said, I still have to understand. These weird "every theorist ever" affs are kind of getting out of hand, but if you can explain it, run it.

T/Framework - Framework is also good, but you should do it right. You need to have impacts to framework that you can weigh against the aff. "Fairness" is not an impact I'm going to vote for. Explain the impact to fairness (research burden, ground loss, etc.).

DAs - fine, run them, explain them, win them.

Theory - the aff's last ditch effort. Run theory at your own risk. The only theory I find automatically compelling is conditionality bad (and that's if the neg runs like 4 condo positions). That said, if theory is dropped and is a reason to reject the team, that is super bad for the team that dropped it. Best case, I reject the argument, worst case I reject the team.

CPs - PICs get the aff some leeway on the perm and case debate, I wouldn't run them. See above for how I feel about conditional advocacies. I can be convinced of most counterplan theory.

Ks - Ks should usually engage something specific about the aff. Specific links are good. However, I don't think you necessarily need them. Ks should prove the aff is a bad idea and prove the alt can solve it. They should prove the perm doesn't work and that the impacts outweigh the aff. This means you have to win the framework debate too.

Speaker points - I guess I give low speaks? I'm sorry, speaker points are subjective and largely useless except for tie-breaking. Doing things like using problematic language, misgendering, stealing prep, being generally rude, etc. will at worst get you dropped (malicious use of problematic language or misgendering will get you dropped 100% of the time), and at worst will get you docked speaks.

Kyle Joseph Paradigm

7 rounds

Super duper short version

  • tech over truth

  • strong analytics/analysisis can beat carded evidence

  • prioritize your impacts

  • have fun!


Longer stuff

I've been meaning to do this for a while, but have not really had the time. My hope is that I end up judging better debates as a result of this updated philosophy. I am now changing to a more linear philosophy, it is my hope that you read this in its entirety before choosing where to place me on the pref sheet.

I debated for four years at Homewood-Flossmoor High School in the south Chicago suburbs from 2007-2011. During that time I debated, Sub-Saharan Africa, Alternative Energy, Social services and substantial reductions in Military presence.

In college, 2011-2012 [space topic] I started out at the University of Northern Iowa, Where I debated the Arab Spring resolution while judging a few debate rounds throughout the midwest. After my freshman year I transferred to the University of Iowa, where I started coaching at Iowa City High School. This year, I will continue to coach the City High Debate team.

Framing, Issue choice and impact calculus are in my opinion the most important aspects of argumentation, and you should make sure they are components in your speeches. Late rebuttals that lack this analysis are severely

I preference tech over truth. Your in round performance is far more important to me, as it is what I hear. I greatly attempt to preference the speaking portion of the debate. Increasingly, I've found that my reading evidence is not necessarily an aspect of close debates, but rather results from poor argument explanation and clarification. The majority of 'close rounds' that I've judged fall into the category of closeness by lack of explanation. In some limited instances, I may call for evidence in order to satisfy my intellectual fascination with the activity. Anything other than that--which I will usually express during the RFD--probably falls upon inadequate explanation and should be treated as such.

I feel my role as a judge is split evenly between policymaker and 'referee' in that when called to resolve an issue of fairness. I will prioritize that first. Addressing inequities in side balance, ability to prepare and generate offense is something may at times find slightly more important than substance. In short, I consider myself a good judge for theory, THAT BEING SAID, rarely do I find theory debates resolved in a manner that satisfies my liking - I feel theoretical arguments should be challenged tantamount to their substance based counterparts. Simply reading the block isn't enough. Though I was a 2A[≈ High power LED current, peak 2.7 A] in high school I have since found myself sliding towards the negative on theoretical questions. I can be convinced, however, to limit the scope of negative offense quite easily, so long as the arguments are well explained and adjudicated.

I consider reasonability better than competing interpretations, with the caveat that I will vote on the best interpretation presented. But topicality questions shouldn't be a major concern if the team has answered

I have a long and complicated relationship with the K. I have a level of familiarity with the mainstream literature, so go ahead and read Capitalism or Neolib. Less familiar arguments will require more/better explanation.

Sheryl Kaczmarek Paradigm

7 rounds

Sheryl Kaczmarek Lexington High School --

General Thoughts

I expect debaters to treat one another, their judges and any observers, with respect, and I also expect all audience members to treat every participant in a round with respect. If you plan to accuse your opponent(s) of being intellectually dishonest or of cheating, please be prepared to stake the round on that claim. Accusations of that sort are NOT JUST ARGUMENTS, they are round ending claims for me, one way or the other, so don't make the accusation in a speech if you don't want me to judge the round based on that argument alone, either for or against the person making the claim. I believe debate is an oral and aural experience, which means that while I want to be included on the email chain, I will NOT be reading along with you, and I will not give you credit for arguments I cannot hear/understand if you do not change your speaking after I shout clearer or louder for the second time. I take the flow very seriously and I probably judge as much as anyone my age, across the disciplines, but I still need everyone to explain their arguments because I may not "know" all of the nuances for every topic in every event, and I should not judge on what I know anyhow. There is an exception: I will NOT vote for arguments that are racist, sexist or in any other way biased against a group based on gender identity, religion or any other characteristic and I will NOT vote for suicide/self harm alternatives. None of those are things I can endorse as a long time high school teacher and decent human.

Policy Paradigm

The Resolution -- I would prefer that debaters actually address the resolution, but I do vote for non-resolutional, non-topical or critical affirmatives fairly often. That is because it is up to the debaters in the round to resolve the issue of whether the affirmative ought to be endorsing the resolution, or not, and I will vote based on which side makes the better arguments on that question, in the context of the rest of the round.

Framework -- I often find that these debates get really messy really fast. Debaters tend to make too many arguments and tend not to answer the arguments of the opposition very clearly. I would prefer more direct clash, and fewer arguments overall. While I don't think framework arguments are as interesting as many other types of arguments in a debate, I will vote for the team which best promotes their vision of debate through their framework arguments, or at least look at the rest of the arguments in the round through that lens.

Links -- You should have them, for both Disads and Kritiks. I would really like to know what the affirmative has done to cause the impacts referenced in a Disad, and I think there has to be something the affirmative does (or thinks) which triggers a Kritik. I don't care how big the impact/implication is if the affirmative does not cause it in the first place.

Solvency -- I expect actual solvency advocates for both plans and counterplans. If you are going to have multi-plank plans or counterplans, make sure you have solvency advocates for those combinations of actions, and even if you are advocating a single action, I still expect some source that suggests this action as a solution for the problems you have identified with the SQ, or with the Affirmative (which is why your counterplan is better).

Evidence -- I expect your evidence to be highlighted consistent with the intent of your authors, and I expect your tags to make claims that you will prove with the parts you read from your evidence. Highlighting random words which would be incoherent if read slowly really annoys me and pretending your cards include warrants for the claims you make (when they do not) is more than annoying. If your tag says "causes extinction," the text of of the part of the card you read really needs to say extinction will be the result. Misrepresenting your evidence is a huge issue for me. More often then not, when I read cards in a round, it is because I fear misrepresentation.

New Arguments/Very Complicated Arguments -- Please do not expect me to do any work for you on arguments I do not understand. I judge based on the flow and if I do not understand what I have written down, or cannot make enough sense of it to write it down, I will not be able to vote for it. If you don't have the time to explain some complicated philosophical position to me, and to link it to the opposition, you might want to try a different strategy. I will try to follow you, but there is no guarantee I will succeed.

Old/Traditional Arguments -- I have been judging long enough that I have a full range of experiences with inherency, case specific disads, theoretical arguments against politics disads and many other arguments from policy debate's past, and I also understand the stock issues and traditional policy-making. If you want to really confuse your opponents, and amuse me, you'll kick it old school rather than going post-modern.

LD Paradigm

The Resolution -- The thing that originally attracted me about LD (as opposed to policy) was that debaters actually addressed the whole resolution. These days, that happens far less often in LD than it used to. I do like hearing the resolution debated, but I also vote for non-resolutional, non-topical or critical affirmatives fairly often in LD. That is because I believe it is up to the debaters in the round to resolve the issue of whether the affirmative ought to be endorsing the resolution, or not, and I will vote based on which side makes the better arguments on that question, in the context of the rest of the round.

Framework -- I think LDers are better at framework debates than policy debaters, as a general rule, but I have noticed a trend to lazy framework debates in LD in recent years. How often should debaters recycle Winter and Leighton, for example, before looking for something new? If you want to stake the round on the framework you can, or you can allow it to be the lens through which I will look at the rest of the arguments in the round.

Policy Arguments in LD -- I understand all of the policy arguments that have migrated to LD quite well, and I remember when many of them were first developed in Policy. The biggest mistake LDers make with policy arguments -- Counterplans, Perm Theory, Topicality, Disads, Solvency, etc. -- is making the assumption that your particular interpretation of any of those arguments is the same as mine. Don't do that! If you don't explain something, I have no choice but to default to my understanding of that thing. For example, if you say, "Perm do Both," with no other words, I will interpret that to mean, "let's see if it is possible to do the Aff Plan and the Neg Counterplan at the same time, and if it is, the Counterplan goes away." If you mean something different, you need to tell me. That is true for all judges, but especially true for someone with over 40 years of policy experience. I try to keep what I think out of the round, but absent your thoughts, I have to use my own.

Evidence -- I expect your evidence to be highlighted consistent with the intent of your authors, and I expect your tags to make claims that you will prove with the parts you read from your evidence. Highlighting random words which would be incoherent if read slowly really annoys me and pretending your cards include warrants for the claims you make (when they do not) is more than annoying. If your tag says "causes extinction," the text of of the part if the card you read really needs to say extinction will be the result. Misrepresenting your evidence is a huge issue for me. More often then not, when I read cards in a round, it is because I fear misrepresentation.

New Arguments/Very Complicated Arguments -- Please do not expect me to do any work for you on arguments I do not understand. I judge based on the flow and if I do not understand what I have written down, or cannot make enough sense of it to write it down, I will not be able to vote for it. If you don't have the time to explain some complicated philosophical position to me, and to link it to the opposition, you might want to try a different strategy. I will try to follow you, but there is no guarantee I will succeed.

Traditional Arguments -- I would still be pleased to listen to cases with a Value Premise and a Criterion. I almost certainly prefer traditional arguments to new arguments that I cannot understand at full debate speed.

Theory -- Theory arguments are not magical, and theory arguments which are not fully explained, as they are being presented, are unlikely to be persuasive for me, particularly if presented in a paragraph, since there is no way of knowing which ones I won't notice or write down, and no one can write down all of the arguments in a densely packed theory paragraph. I also don't like theory arguments that are crafted for one particular debate. If it is not an argument that can be used in multiple debates (like topicality, conditionality, etc) then it probably ought not be run in front of me. New 1AR theory is risky, in my opinion, because the NR typically has more than enough time to answer it, and I don't especially like disclosure theory arguments because I am not in a position to judge what was done or said before a round, and because I am not at all sure I ought to be voting on things that happened before official speech or CX time begins. All of that being said, I have voted on theory, even new 1AR theory, and disclosure theory, if a debater WINS the argument, but it does not make me smile.

PF Paradigm

The Resolution -- PF still debates the resolution, which is one of the things I really like about the activity. Please make sure you do debate the resolution when debating in front of me. It would be best if the Final Focus on each side attempted to guide me to either endorse or reject the resolution.

Framework -- This is beginning to be a thing in PF in some places. I am perfectly willing to consider a lens through which I can look at the arguments in the debate, but given the time limits, please keep your framework simple and focused, should you decide to use one.

Policy or LD Behaviors/Arguments in PF -- I personally believe each form of debate ought to be its own thing. I do not want you to talk quickly in PF, just because I also judge LD and Policy, and I really don't want to see theory arguments, plans, counterplans or kritiks in PF. I will definitely flow, and will judge the debate based on the flow, but I want PF to be PF. That being said, I will not automatically vote against a team that brings Policy/LD arguments/stylistic approaches into PF. It is still a debate and the opposition needs to answer the arguments that are presented in order to win my ballot, even if they are arguments I don't want to see in PF.

Paraphrasing -- I really wish the NSDA had decided to kill paraphrasing in PF. When someone paraphrases inaccurately, I have a huge problem with it. I expect debaters to be able to immediately access the text of the cards they have paraphrased -- there should not need to be an off time search for the article, or for the exact place in the article where they drew their paraphrasing from. Taking a 150 page article and making a claim from it is not paraphrasing unless you can point to the exact place your statement is based upon.

Evidence -- If you are using evidence, I expect your evidence to be highlighted consistent with the intent of your authors, and I expect your tags to make claims that you will prove with the parts you read from your evidence. Pretending your cards include warrants for the claims you make (when they do not) is unacceptable. If your tag says "causes extinction," the text of of the part you card you read needs to say extinction will happen. Misrepresenting your evidence is a huge issue for me. More often then not, when I read cards in a round, it is because I fear misrepresentation.

Theory -- This has begun to be a thing in PF in some places, especially with respect to disclosure theory, and I am not a fan. As previously noted, I want PF to be PF. While I do think that PFers can be too secretive (for example, getting excited because people are watching their debates -- debates are educational and should be open to observers) I don't think that PFers ought to be expending their very limited time in rounds talking about whether they ought to have disclosed their case to their opponents before the round. Like everything else I would prefer not be true, I can see myself voting on theory in PF because I do vote based on the flow, but how about debating the case in front of you, instead of inventing new arguments you don't really have time to discuss? I would like that, and happy judges give better speaker points.

Aidan Kane Paradigm

7 rounds

Add me to the email chain:

Pronouns They/Them

Northside CP Class of 2018

University of Michigan Class of 2022 (Debating)



Second Year University Student, received multiple TOC bids throughout my career. Qualified my senior year.

No ideological dispositions, but I do know K v K and K v Policy rounds better. That being said, I have no bias towards policy or K in clash debates, my voting record is very 50-50.

I know nothing about the topic. Enlighten me.

I'm comfortable with nearly all kritiks, so go wild. My strength in high school was queer theory and high theory (I've read Preciado, Halberstam, Foucault, Puar, Irigaray, Deleuze, science fiction, generic Ks like Cap and Security, etc.), but I am also literate in policy rounds (I have read a corporal punishment aff and a school searches aff senior year, biotech aff junior year).


I don't usually read cards at the end of the debate unless they are heavily contested.


Clash of Civs

Aff (Policy) vs Neg (Kritikal)


Comfortable with mostly every K, just have a link.

A large portion of neg explanation needs to be on the link debate. Links should be labelled as something and should be contextualized to the aff.

I'm not opposed to the 1 Off, no case strategy, but it means a substantial amount of block time needs to be focused on framework and turns case analysis.

Long overviews are fine in front of me, but probably unnecessary.


Aff teams should at least attempt engage the kritik a bit and not just have half the 2AC be bad pragmatism cards from the early 2000s.

If you plan on making a large famework push in the 2AR, your shell should probably be longer than one sentence in the 2AC.

If your aff is big stick, moving the debate further left is a very bad idea.


Aff (Kritikal) vs Neg (Policy)


I'm pretty comfortable regardless of your aff. I never went for framework on the neg, but defended our aff against it nearly every tournament.

I'm happy to judge both performance affs and spreading 8 minutes of cards, but aff teams should be able to defend why they presented the 1AC in the way that they did.

I'm a bit more in the "K affs good for small schools" ideology having come from one, but can be persuaded either way.

Your framework block should be clear and organized and not just clumps of analytics. Numbered blocks will get a boost in points. If the block is not organized, don't blame me for not picking up random disad number 7 on the flow.

Will vote on either a C/I and W/M strategy or an impact turn framework strategy BUT you should be focusing on one of these options in the 2AR, and not going for both at once.


I will vote for framework if you win the flow.

Will vote on any type of standard if you win it, though I prefer fairness as an internal link rather than an impact in itself.

You should probably make either a good TVA or spend substantial time on a SSD claim.

I think it is strategic to read multiple off against K teams in the 1NC. Either they no link out of it and it makes framework a lot more convincing OR they completely blow it off and you can go for something they have no ink on!

Framework teams that just answer the line-by-line with "but debate is a game" with no further explanation of what that means or why it implicates the aff's offense will lose. You need to explain to me why debate being a game means that procedural fairness always comes first.


Kritikal vs Kritikal

These debates are awesome and are super useful to have in the community. Anything goes here! These were some of my favorite debates to have in high school and they are my favorite to watch.

I think debate is a constantly transforming activity that should be experimented on in new and innovative ways. I'm totally down to throw out all norms and having the debate round how you all want to have the debate round, just tell me what the best way to adjudicate it is.

Do whatever style you want. Any well researched strategy that is well thought out as well as personal narratives and forms of self-expression have worked well in front of me.

I'm personally 50-50 on the question of whether the aff gets a perm in these debates. This will just come down to the flow.

Alts are very big in these debates, the more explanation the better.

Not afraid to pull the trigger on floating PIKs in these rounds.


Policy vs Policy

I should be good for these. I've judged enough Policy vs Policy rounds now to feel comfortable in the decision I make.

If you don't read a rehighlighted card in your speech, I won't consider it.


Heavy evidence comparison on the definitions is good in front of me.

I default to competing interps, unless I am told otherwise.

Slow down in the last two rebuttals.


Multiplank process counterplans << other CPs. I'm just not extremely familiar with intricacies of the government, so if you go for a more complex CP I might require a little more explanation.

Aff teams shouldn't be afraid to go for counterplan theory, I'm willing to vote on it.


Dumb DAs with long contrived internal link chains can definitely be beaten in cross-exs calling out their ridiculousness if done right.

Maybe I'm in the minority, but if your uniqueness evidence is "heres a chart", I will be very upset. You should read cards.

Please. Do. Impact Calc.

Impact Turns

These are hella fun. Go crazy. Nuclear War Good, Warming Good, or Wipeout for all I care. Anything cool will get the neg a huge boost in points if they go for it in the 2NR.

Theory Things

I think I'm more likely to pull the trigger on theory than most judges. Whether it be condo, counterplan theory, or any spec arguments, I'm all for it.



These are mostly in the context of around an octas level bid tournament. Speaks will be adjusted for smaller bid tournaments.

30-29.9 - probably within the top 5 speakers at the tournament

29.6-29.8 - probably within the top 20 speakers at the tournament

29.1-29.5 - will probably clear

28.6-29 - might barely miss clearing, but you still did something I liked

anything below 28.5 varies

Any racism/sexism/anti-queerness will make me give you the lowest points I can.


Debate Inspirations

Wayne Tang, James Mollison, Aaron Davis, Pauline Esman, Adam Hausman, Robb Berry, Kylie Vera, and Luther Snagel have all mentored me and shaped how I think about debate.

Also any good Wayne Tang joke in your speech will make me want to give you absurdly high speaks. Do it.

K. Karas Paradigm

7 rounds

I was a policy debater in high school (Glenbrook North) and college (Georgetown) many years ago.  I have been on the Board of Directors of the National Association of Urban Debate Leagues for the last decade and I have been actively coaching and judging these past two seasons.  I'm a strict tabula rasa judge and I'm fine with well-articulated speed.  Take CX and the obligation to be polite seriously, but please make sure to have fun.   

Maria Keller Paradigm

6 rounds

I'm a big advocate of comparative impact analysis and what I mean by that is explaining your impacts not just in relation to the affirmatives but reasons for why your arguments turn their impacts or come first or any other consideration you think gives me a reason to vote for you. At the end of the day the surest way to get my ballot is to do a better job explaining why I should vote for you compared to the reasons the other team is giving me. The team that does the better job of framing the debate usually wins.

Not my favorite argument, but am open to hearing the debate. I'm open to reasonability or competing interpretations. I don't have an image of what is and what is not topical and than bring some bias from that in, I will only evaluate from a tech perspective on this debate, which means if an aff is horrible for the topic and explodes limits but you argue that in an ineffective manner than you will lose. If you deserve to win the debate I will vote for you, no matter my feelings on topicality.

Theory is fine, I'll vote for anything from Condo to Process CP theory if you do a good job explaining it. Make sure you are doing comparative analysis as well as impact explanation.

I think that most K teams do the bare minimum with the argument and would not get my ballot because they rely on generic links and don't give specific applications. You should always make sure to explain the thesis of your K as well as your link arguments in detail.

A good specific CP to the aff is always a great debate. Just make sure to explain the difference between the CP and the Aff if it is a confusing one (e.g. you don't need to explain the consultation process in great detail if you read a consult CP, we all get it, it's consult).
These are fine. Politics, plan based DA's, whatever. The internal link and impact parts of the debate are the most important to me, do this well and you will be rewarded. 

Jack Kussman Paradigm

7 rounds

Glenbrook North '18

University of Michigan '22

Put me on the chain

1. You should probably read a plan

2. Process CPs are ok

3. I think the majority of non-old person Kritiks (ks that arents like neolib, security, Agamben or something) are poor arguments, however, if you do the better debating, you win

4. Condo may actually be bad, but don't be afraid to push the limit

5. If you make a joke about Jonah Jacobs, you will get +.1 speaker points

6. Condo > T (sort of)

7. Counterplan do the plan is acceptable if presumption goes neg

8. I'm cool with 10 off

9. I will not kick a counterplan for you, you must say judge kick

10. Do what you want and I’ll listen, I’m always down for some good memeing

Kevin Kuswa Paradigm

4 rounds

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

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

_____________________________ (previous paradigm)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

( The ballot is not based on record at previous tournaments, gpa, school ranking, or number of coaches.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Jack Lassiter Paradigm

5 rounds

Baylor Debate GA/Berkeley Prep Assistant Coach - 2017-2019


I have an appreciation for framework debates, especially when the internal link work is thorough and done on the top of your kritik/topicality violation before it is applied to pivotal questions on the flow that you resolve through comparative arguments. On framework, I personally gravitate towards arguments concerning the strategic, critical, or pedagogical utility of the activity - I am readily persuaded to vote for an interpretation of the activity's purpose, role, or import in almost any direction [any position I encounter that I find untenable and/or unwinnable will be promptly included in the updates below]

The Kritik

I have almost no rigid expectations with regard to the K. I spent a great deal of my time competing reading Security, Queer Theory, and Psychoanalysis arguments. The bodies of literature that I am most familiar with in terms of critical thought are rhetorical theory (emphasizing materialism) and semiotics. I have studied and debated the work of Jacques Derrida and Gilles Deleuze, to that extent I would say I have an operative understanding and relative familiarity with a number of concepts that both thinkers are concerned with.


I think that by virtue of evaluating a topicality flow I almost have to view interpretations in terms of competition. I can't really explain reasonability to myself in any persuasive way, if that changes there will surely be an update about it - this is also not to say nobody could convince me to vote for reasonability, only that I will not default in that direction without prompt.


Theory debates can be great - I reward strategic decisions that embed an explanation of the argument's contingent and applied importance to the activity when going for a theory argument on a counterplan.

I believe that permutations often prompt crucial methodological and theoretical reflection in debate - structurally competitive arguments are usually generative of the most sound strategic and methodological prescriptions.


Judging for Damien Debate - Berkeley 2016

In judging I am necessarily making comparisons. Making this process easier by developing or controlling the structure of comparisons and distinctions on my flow is the best advice I could give to anyone trying to make me vote for an argument.

I don't feel like it is really possible to fully prevent myself from intervening in a decision if neither team is resolving questions about how I should be evaluating or weighing arguments. I believe this can be decisively important in the following contexts: The impact level of framework debates, The impact level of any debate really, The method debate in a K v K round, The link debate... The list goes on. But, identifying particular points of clash and then seeing how they are resolved is almost always my approach to determining how I will vote, so doing that work explicitly in the round will almost always benefit you.

If you have any questions about my experience, argumentative preferences, or RFD's feel free to ask me at any time in person or via email.

I may on occasion request pieces of evidence, if thats the case it can be sent to my email:

Sean Lavelle Paradigm

7 rounds

Please add me to the email chain: (see below)

My experience is 4 years of high school debate @ St. Ignatius (toc/state/local/allthecircuits), one year of college debate @ Michigan State, and 3 years of coaching experience @ St. Ignatius High School (Cleveland). I currently study political science @ Ohio State.

Tldr: you do you, fairly open to anything; clash, comparison, nuance, and impact calculus win debates; have fun, don’t cheat, and be engaged!

I will probably leave something out or not make something very clear. PLEASE FEEL FREE TO ASK ME. I’m still learning/absorbing a lot about the way that I judge, so my preferences aren't very concrete at the moment.

I try to let the debate play out and do my absolute best to let the debaters tell me how to evaluate the round. I’d think I’m fairly open to just about any argument one could make, as long as it’s relevance is well articulated and impacted out.

I place high value in the craft of the activity and debater’s engagement with the relevant arguments at stake. I guess this means the more interested and engaged you seem about the debate and your arguments, the more interested and engaged I will be. Debate is an amazing activity and it should be both fun and educational for everyone involved.

I ask for speech docs mostly for my post-round decision-making (instead of having to call for cards). I rarely will follow along ur speech doc (cuz its not your speech…) but I sometimes will refer to it if something peaks my interest, to follow certain cx threads, or if I suspect someone of clipping cards or other malpractice. I will not substitute any inferences or knowledge I happen to gain from reading your ev during the round for how the evidence and arguments are debated. I will make determinations about evidence quality if there is high-level of comparison/analysis done on ev by the debaters (or sadly, sometimes in the event that there is none of this and I have to decide myself).

Speed = # of arguments communicated per minute (not words per minute). Efficiency + clarity are important.

Tech > truth, but big-picture framing of the debate often dictates my ballot allot more than technical aspects of things like line-by-line.

I’m not strictly offense/defense minded, but that way of thinking does have some inevitability in my head. However, I do believe that it’s possible for something to have a risk of 0%, and a great defensive argument is better than a bad offensive argument.

I might (?) have a higher bar than other judges for what constitutes an “argument”. Short-blips, two-word buzzwords, etc. are things that I will likely either miss or not understand. I will not vote for an argument that I cannot explain back to you.

Politics/Generic DA: I’m a big fan of DAs with a high level of nuance, especially on the link/internal link story, that also implicate a lot of the affirmative. If you think you’re DA is “generic”, make sure to try to make sound more specific/unique to the aff (analysis on why your link/internal link ev would be true of the aff)… this is especially relevant to politics DAs. While I’m sad with the current state of politics DAs, I think it could be a wake-up call for teams to find and read more intricate and specific internal link/link stories.

Aff teams often foreclose opportunities to do some serious mitigation of DAs with well-thought out analytics, by instead choosing to just read more cards. That’s not always the best idea.

CPs: I’m a sucker for really well-thought out and strategic CPs, like certain PICs, advantage CPs, or well-researched mechanism CPs. That being said, I have a higher bar for CP competition. Not as good for CPs that result in the entirety of the affirmative (process/consult CPs). That instinct could easily be changed if the CP has a solvency advocate in the context of the affirmative (eg: if there is a process/or consultable actor that’s HIGHLY relevant to the affs plan or case)… but what a proper solvency advocate comprises is also debatable.

With regards to the states CP: I think its definitely legitimate negative ground and has lot’s of strategic utility, however, the more magic wands of fiat you have to use to get out of the aff’s solvency deficits the less inclined I am to buy its legitimacy. DO NOT READ THIS AS “don’t read a states CP with lot’s of planks to deal with different arguments”. This is about how you explain how the CP skirts through certain solvency deficits.

T/Theory: I think I’m a better judge than most for topicality, as long as you have a good argument and set a clear vision for the topic…. Why it’s a voting issue.. etc.. generally I default to competing interpretations, but can be persuaded otherwise.

Ks: I’ve become a lot better for the K since high school as I’ve delved into more of the literature/thought about the strategic utility of the K. However, that doesn’t mean you should assume I will understand your K. I’m better for Ks that have a high level of clash with the affirmative (the alt/impact level somehow implicates case). I think the aff should probably get to weigh the material effects of the plan. I also think I should be able to easily understand/conceptualize your alt.

Kritikal affirmatives: I think the affirmative team should generally have an advocacy/stable defense of SOMETHING, but I can certainly be persuaded that this does not require a ‘topical plan’. If you’re not a “topical discussion”, I’d like to at least hear a “discussion of the topic”.  The framework/topicality debate is something I’m pretty open with and can see both sides of the debate. For the neg going for framework/topicality arguments, I’m more persuaded by advocacy skills/solvency type arguments than procedural fairness questions. But again this is something that’s open for debate.



John Lawson Paradigm

4 rounds

I am the Co- Director of Debate at Wylie E. Groves HS in Beverly Hills, MI. I have coached high school debate for 45 years, debated at the University of Michigan for 3.5 years and coached at Michigan for one year (in the mid 1970s). I have coached at summer institutes for 45 years.

On the 2017-18 education topic, I judged 28 rounds at the SDI, U of M Institute Final Tournament, Okemos HS @Lansing Community College (MI), West Bloomfield HS (MI ), Spartan Classic at MSU, Varsity and Novice State Finals, JV State Finals, Detroit Urban Debate League Championships, Montgomery Bell Academy Southern Bell Forum and the University of Michigan, voting affirmative 17 times. I have also judged three rounds on the 2017-18 NDT/CEDA college topic (health insurance), voting negative in all three rounds. I judged eight public forum rounds on the background checks and Catalonian independence topics, voting pro four times. I taught at the SDI two week institute and administered a one week Detroit Urban Debate League institute at Wayne State University.

On the 2018-19 immigration topic, I coached at the two week Spartan Debate Institute and judged 28 rounds at the SDI two week tournament, the University of Michigan Institutes final tournament, West Bloomfield HS, Wayne State University, Detroit Urban Debate League, Groves HS, Michigan State University, Sylvania, Ohio, the University of Michigan and MIFA State Debate Finals, voting affirmative 15 times. I've also judged three public forum debates on the UNCLOS and drug price controls topics, voting pro once.

On the 2019-2020 arms sales topic, I coached at the two week Spartan Debate Institute and administered and taught the coaches workshop at the one week Detroit Urban Debate League Institute. Thus far, I've judged 15 rounds at the SDI Two Week Tournament and the University of Michigan Institutes final tournament, voting affirmative eight times. I've also judged two middle school public forum rounds on the "One Belt, One Road" resolution, splitting one pro and one con ballot.

I am open to most types of argument but default to a policy making perspective on debate rounds. Speed is fine; if unintelligible I will warn several times, continue to flow but it's in the debater's ball park to communicate the content of arguments and evidence and their implication or importance. Traditional on- case debate, disads, counterplans and kritiks are fine. However, I am more familiar with the literature of so-called non mainstream political philosophies (Marxism, neoliberalism, libertarianism, objectivism) than with many post modern philosophers and psychoanalytic literature. If your kritik becomes an effort to obfuscate through mindless jargon, please note that your threshold for my ballot becomes substantially higher.

At the margins of critical debate, for example, if you like to engage in "semiotic insurrection," interface psychoanalysis with political action, defend the proposition that 'death is good,' advocate that debate must make a difference outside the "argument room" or just play games with Baudrilliard, it would be the better part of valor to not pref me. What you might perceive as flights of intellectual brilliance I am more likely to view as incoherent babble or antithetical to participation in a truly educational activity. Capitalism/neoliberalism, securitization, anthropocentrism, Taoism, anti-blackness, queer theory, IR feminism, ableism and ageism are all kritiks that I find more palatable for the most part than the arguments listed above. I have voted for "death good" and Schlag, escape the argument box/room, arguments more times than I would like to admit (on the college and HS levels)-though I think these arguments are either just plain dumb or inapplicable to interscholastic debate respectively. Now, it is time to state that my threshold for voting for even these arguments has gotten much higher. For example, even a single, persuasive turn or solid defensive position against these arguments would very likely be enough for me to vote against them.

I am less likely to vote on theory, not necessarily because I dislike all theory debates, but because I am often confronted with competing lists of why something is legitimate or illegitimate, without any direct comparison or attempt to indicate why one position is superior to the other on the basis of fairness and/or education. In those cases, I default to voting to reject the argument and not the team, or not voting on theory at all.

In T or framework debates regarding critical affirmatives or Ks on the negative, I often am confronted with competing impacts (often labeled disadvantages with a variety of "clever" names) without any direct comparison of their relative importance. Again, without the comparisons, you will never know how a judge will resolve the framework debate (likely with a fair amount of judge intervention).

Additionally, though I personally believe that the affirmative should present a topical plan or an advocacy reasonably related to the resolution, I am somewhat open to a good performance related debate based on a variety of cultural, sociological and philosophical concepts. My personal antipathy to judge intervention and willingness to change if persuaded make me at least open to this type of debate. Finally, I am definitely not averse to voting against the kritik on either the affirmative or negative on framework and topicality-like arguments. On face, I don't find framework arguments to be inherently exclusionary.

As to the use of gratuitous/unnecessary profanity in debate rounds: "It don't impress me much!" Using terms like "fuck" or "bullshit" doesn't increase your ethos. I am quite willing to deduct speaker points for their systemic use. The use of such terms is almost always unnecessary and often turns arguments into ad hominem attacks.

Finally, I am a fan of the least amount of judge intervention as possible. The line by line debate is very important; so don't embed your clash so much that the arguments can't be "unembedded" without substantial judge intervention. I'm not a "truth seeker" and would rather vote for arguments I don't like than intervene directly with my preferences as a judge. Generally, the check on so-called "bad" arguments and evidence should be provided by the teams in round, not by me as the judge. This also provides an educationally sound incentive to listen and flow carefully, and prepare answers/blocks to those particularly "bad" arguments so as not to lose to them. Phrasing this in terms of the "tech" v. "truth" dichotomy, I try to keep the "truth" part to as close to zero (%) as humanly possible in my decision making. "Truth" can sometimes be a fluid concept and you might not like my perspective on what is the "correct" side of a particular argument..

An additional word or two on paperless debate and new arguments. There are many benefits to paperless debate, as well as a few downsides. For debaters' purposes, I rarely take "flashing" time out of prep time, unless the delay seems very excessive. I do understand that technical glitches do occur. However, once electronic transmission begins, all prep by both teams must cease immediately. This would also be true if a paper team declares "end prep" but continues to prepare. I will deduct any prep time "stolen" from the team's prep and, if the problem continues, deduct speaker points. Prep includes writing, typing and consulting with partner about strategy, arguments, order, etc.
With respect to new arguments, I do not automatically disregard new arguments until the 2AR (since there is no 3NR). Prior to that time, the next speaker should act as a check on new arguments or cross applications by noting what is "new" and why it's unfair or antithetical to sound educational practice. I do not subscribe to the notion that "if it's true, it's not new" as what is "true" can be quite subjective.

Patricia Leon Paradigm

7 rounds

Last Updated: 09/03/2019

Maine East high school Assistant Debate Coach & Alum, class of 2015 / Northeastern Illinois University, class of 2020

Pronouns: They/Them/Their(s)

About Me: My name is Patricia Leon and I am an assistant debate coach for Maine East high school, and an alum. I debated in high school, and I am now a fifth year undergraduate student studying environmental science at NEIU in Chicago, IL.

General summary of my judging:
-I prefer big picture over small technical issues. I can't stress this enough: framing (top level especially) is super important to me and provides more concrete reasons for me to vote for you. This is especially important for me in rebuttals. Key questions you should ask yourself and explain to win me over: What arguments are you winning? How does this help you win the debate? What does this mean for your opponent's arguments(that is, why should I prefer them less and why are their arguments insufficient)? Please also try to slow down so I can flow these crucial moments properly.

-Evidence comparison. Please do this! This year's topic in particular I have seen a flood of evidence from debaters, yet no explanation or clash regarding the evidence. Absent comparison, I'm left to make these decisions myself, which can end up hurting you in the end. See a flaw in their evidence? Point it out, and explain why your evidence is better.

-I enjoy all kinds of arguments, but for more complex ones I will need more explanation before I can feel comfortable voting for you. I am familiar with the topic, so I know the common terms and court cases. If you are running an uncommon aff, just don't act like I automatically understand your specific terms and acronyms.

-I am actively trying my best to understand your arguments and strategy, and to accurately determine who won the round. By the end of the round, you should have really made it clear to me why I should vote for you. If I am still left confused once the round ends, it will be harder to do so.

Cross-x: Cross-x should be where you poke holes in the other team's arguments, not for asking questions because you are forced to. If you are the one asking the questions in cross-x, you should have taken at least 3 minutes before the speech ends to prepare your questions. Being prepared in cross-x will not only clarify issues in the round you did not understand, but will(or should) signal to me, the judge, where you are going with your strategy.

Kritikal debate: I enjoy K arguments a lot. I have decent knowledge of generics(cap k especially), Feminism kritiks(K's of western/white fem), Queer Theory (Edelman, Halberstam, Puar), and general understanding kritiks relating Race, Ableism, etc. BUT- I have found that when debaters go for arguments under the spheres of postmodernism, poststructuralism, and existentialism (think Nietzsche, Deleuze, Bataille, Baudrillard, etc.), their speeches are filled with incoherent arguments. If these are your preferred K stuff, then I am not the best judge for y'all. If you wish to go for these arguments in front of me, PLEASE go in depth on explanation and go beyond unnecessary jargon.
That being said, buzz words or excessive jargon are annoying and should not be used in place of actually explaining your argument. So please- explain your argument concisely and precisely. This makes it significantly easier for all of us to be on the same page and avoid confusing cross-x.

Policy debate: Be sure to have proper overviews that explain them more clearly to me. For affs- the 1ac tags should be coherent enough to help me understand your aff. I love it when counterplans/disad's are specific to the affirmative and are explained in depth.
Impact defense is certainly necessary for case, but internal link turns are the strongest case arguments. Impact turns are interesting, but usually have low-quality evidence/warrants (don't go for warming good in front of a scientist...).

Framework vs K aff's: I'd rather the neg engage with the substance of the affirmative, but big picture framing, impacting out arguments, and overall in depth explanations from either side will help me the most in any of these scenarios.

Topicality: I have a high standard for this. You absolutely need standards or reasons to prefer your interpretation. Focusing on even one standard like limits or ground could help you out. Affirmatives should only work on impacting their offense. If your argument has multiple interpretations, be sure to make clear what you are going for (all or some of the interpretations). Re-reading your 2AC block will not help you get my ballot.

Theory: Topicality comes before condo. 50 state uniform fiat, multiplank are probably good. 1 or 2 condo is fine, 3 condo is probably pushing it, 4+ is bad.

Other notes: I always have items like bandaids, tampons and pads on me. If you don't have access to any of these at a tournament we're both at, contact me! Find me in my room if I'm judging or email me.

Any other questions: just ask me in round!
If you ever want to email me any questions or resources (I'm a college student so I have access to various sites and articles that you may not), send me an email at !

Brianna Lewis Paradigm

7 rounds

Hey y’all!

Westlake '14
Michigan State '18


I am open to judging many different styles of debate but that does not mean I am willing to listen to foolishness. If you are reading an argument that is silly, please don’t.

Full disclosure: I am not in a place where I can hear arguments as to why death would be good. These won’t work for me emotionally or academically. Generally, arguments that talk about death/suicide make me uncomfortable at this time. But that doesn’t preclude me from evaluating impacts like war, nukes, or famine etc.


I’m a person who prefers promptness on the part of the debaters and will work to eliminate down time during the debates.

In my personal academic work I study literature at the intersection of race, gender, and economic systems. Thus, I am most comfortable on those terms but I can read and pick up things quickly. This is my first tournament on this topic. Please be mindful of that. I do not know the acronyms. I am not familiar with topic short hand.

If you are advocating for policy options or critical approaches to the topic, you better be able to defend why.

i have debated with a plan and not. Both are fine.

With me it’s always better to fully describe your arguments rather than to quickly rush past something. I’ll let you know if you’ve been talking about something too long.

I prefer to hear what you say rather than marvel at how “fast” you think you are. I can follow debates at any speed however clarity is key.

I’ll give you commentary at the end of the round like standard and you can always email me with questions later.

Loredana Lohan Paradigm

7 rounds

please be nice :) email:

I am cool with pretty much every argument.


I love topicality & theory.


Extend your advantages throughout the debate. I will vote on perms.

*Bonus points if you can make me laugh lol*

Jesse Love Paradigm

7 rounds


Michigan Debater

Email me with questions ( or ask me before the round

Do it and I'll judge it, it's your world.

Imran Makani Paradigm

7 rounds

Background: Current coach at Von Steuben HS (Chicago), formerly with Whitney Young HS (Chicago) and University of Illinois

Tournaments Judged on Immigration Topic: CDSI, Niles, GBX JV Opener, New Trier, CDL T1 (Blue & Maroon), UMich, CDL T2 (Blue), Glenbrooks, Dowling, CDL T3 (RCC)

Number of Years Judging/Coaching: 14

Top Level:

-Please include me on the e-mail chain:

-You can go as fast as you like and argue what you like.

-I'll give you an extra 0.3 speaker points if you put cites for most of the evidence you read on the wiki and show me you did after the round. *Do this before I submit my ballot.* Open sourcing is up to you.

-I love giving detailed feedback and strategy suggestions to the teams I judge--but, I'm usually too sleep-deprived at tournaments to be articulate and thorough in person. If you email me questions, though, I promise I'll respond thoughtfully. I've seen and thought a lot about clash of civ debates and "death is not an impact" critiques, so I might be helpful if you're getting frustrated by those debates.


1. I believe debate is almost all spin, so please don't get so bogged down in the line-by-line that you never explain what the big picture for my decision looks like.

2. Arguments aren't just claims; they need some reasonable warrant and a tie to an impact that merits priority. Dropped claims, therefore, do not necessarily equal wins to me.

This is where I'm more controversial:

3. I read along with your speech doc. I do this to better referee for clipping as well as to get a snapshot of the context of your evidence. For the most part, I won't intervene to trash your evidence, but I will usually know which cards lack relevance to the claims they're being used to support. When making my decision, I'll give more weight to warranted analytics than power-tagged or misinterpreted cards.

4. I flow cross-ex questions and answers. This helps me decide kritiks and many other arguments that carry a lot of spin or are very dependent on characterization during the round.

5. I read more theory than news and lean radical left politically. I work for UDLs to make debate more accessible and inclusive, and I'm passionate about that. Two consequences:

a. I'm probably more pliable than is average to teams who challenge conventional norms and heuristics in the activity, especially if they give good reasons for why it helps make the activity more accessible and/or meaningful to kids who otherwise get excluded from national circuit debate.

b. I'm also more willing than average to take K literature seriously and consider it my burden to figure out a basic understanding of it to evaluate the round, rather than demand that debaters explain the literature to me as if I was a five year old. I understand the value in students developing these explanations, but usually consider the demand for them unreasonable in an activity where we are largely relying on shared knowledge, judge expertise, evaluative heuristics and jargon to evaluate a broad scope of material at a high level within a very abbreviated, competitive format. If you are facing literature you don't understand, you should show me in your speeches that you are trying to read and characterize it. Then explain why I shouldn't do work to understand their lit any better than you've understood it (e.g. explain why that would hurt rather than help fairness and education for the competitors).

Me: I do tournament operations and grant writing for "Chicago Debates" (the Chicago UDL). I majored in philosophy. I have two years of high school debate experience (at Whitney Young) and one year of college (at DePaul). My high school didn't travel but my partner and I did win the City Championship and cleared at Maine East and Evanston. We ran a policy/K hybrid aff and went for plan flaws and other procedural arguments often on the neg.

The bulk of my training to judge comes from my many years coaching, teaching and judging debate. I've coached several TOC qualifiers from Whitney Young, including: Kevin Hirn and Misael Gonzales; John Vitzileos and Jeron Dastrup; Marcel Roman and Hanna Nasser; and Christian Palacios and Kat Sears.

Line-by-line: I've gotten more lax on wanting you to do "they say/we say" in recent years. As long as your speech seems to be engaging all the key points of your opponent's last speech, I'll make the appropriate connections for you.

Evaluation: I'm big picture. I try to determine through the round what's converging as the highest priority objective for voting, then try to decide that issue with the truth claims on the line-by-line. I want you to think the same way and articulate this convergence for me. Process the debate and consolidate the one or two issues that are the gateway between your highest-priority impact and your opponent's. Your final speech should include the phrase "The gateway issue in this debate is..." to get a wedge into my RFD.

I flow to build up my understanding of your claims and reason to vote, not to "punish" a side for dropped arguments. Whether dropped arguments warrant a loss depends on how you tie them into the highest priority objective that converges in the debate.

My Speaker Points System:

I start you at 27, then give you more points for each of the following:

1. Sounding good (0-0.5 points). I want to understand what you're saying and feel engaged when you speak. Note that, even though I am usually following on the speech doc, I'll yell "clearer" if I can't understand you without the doc. If I have to do this a few times and your speech doesn't improve, I stop evaluating until it does.

2. Arguing and extending warrants, not tags (0-1.5 points). This is most important to me and applies even to your opponent's arguments. Figure out the warrant to their argument by reading the card for it, then answer them on that level instead of just denying the tag of their argument. Almost all of your arguments should be comparisons of the warrants, quals, and assumptions of your evidence against theirs. It's not good if you're taking little to no prep to read your opponent's evidence, and I can see it. Take your opponent's literature seriously and show me that you're thinking through a synthesis of the arguments on the board, rather than just repeating snippets of the tags you read in your first speech.

3. Demonstrating content knowledge (0-0.5). The cards you read should be just a sample of your research, background knowledge, and thinking about the arguments in the round. I want to hear your voice in the round (e.g. through your making historical analogies; developing and making new applications for your evidence; offering characterizations of your opponent's evidence and how I should weight it against yours, etc.).

4. Thoroughly refuting (0-0.5 point). Be proactive about keeping the 1nc-case and 2ac-offcase orders of arguments, and reference those even if your opponent is wavering on that order. If the debate itself is becoming unwieldy, with too much going on to address everything, then it's time to do some argument selection and simplify the debate. Embedded clash usually works for me since it's actually processing the debate at a high level.

6. To get the 30, show off your wit and/or intelligence in addition to doing the above. Make good jokes, fill your analytics with things most people don't know, etc. When I give you a 30, I'm acknowledging that beyond technical excellence, you have a highly developed personality as a whole in this activity and it is flourishing.

My role:

I try to adapt my evaluation to the kind of debate that the students I'm judging want to have. The more you tell me about how I should evaluate the round, the better I will be able to adapt. I'm fine with seeing debate as any kind of forum you want, as long as you give reasons for it.

Each argument requires three things to be taken seriously on my flow: a claim, a warrant, and an impact (I consider evidence/data a part of warrants). If something you said is dropped but lacks these components, I will not vote on it. Keep this in mind when you are banking your last speech on any dropped arguments: Have they been warranted and impacted? Better to do it late than never.

In some sense, I am truth over tech. I do see myself as constrained to being a scorekeeper in the round, but in addition to keeping track of what you say, I make the call on whether it rises to the level of an argument. If your claims aren't reasonably consistent with basic facts and assumptions I rely on for coherence, then regardless of what your opponent did or didn't say, they won't register as arguments to me. I think you have to exercise transpersonal rationality just to get your points across to the judge, let alone refute your opponent.

I understand the competitive nature of the game and act in earnest to not be interventionist, despite the above. To me, good judging requires critical self awareness while evaluating, not being a blank slate. I'm not going to endorse dogmatism or illogicism just because something has been dropped. I am very skeptical about tabula rasa philosophies of judging and think they are often implausible on their own terms.

You should cite historical and contemporary examples, attempt to use logic to show the invalidity of your opponents' claims, and defend the quality of your evidence. You should avoid arguing as if you have a monopoly on what's true in the round. Decide what the best reasons would be for reasonable people to believe your opponent, and explicitly deal with those reasons in the process of explaining why the ballot should ultimately go your way. I find this method of giving credit to your opponent to be much more effective than dealing with opposing arguments superficially for fear of making them too strong.

If you have time, go as far as to supplement the line-by-line by thinking about the best reasons why a reasonable judge would disagree with you, and explicitly deal with those reasons to clear any reservations on voting for you. That is what clean victories are all about.

Ultimately, I see the round as a place for you to show off what you've thought about and are an expert on, whether that's the politics of a region, global economics, philosophical contentions surrounding how and what we know, or the educational theory of debate. I prefer that you read longer cards rather than shorter cards, that you explain and analyze at least as much as you read and cite, that you answer the warrants of your opponents' arguments, and that you talk about your own evaluation of the debate in your speeches.

Other Tips:

Before the round, ask me in private about how I would vote on a specific issue or situation if you don't want to disclose your strat to your opponent.

Politely ask if your opponent is prepping if you have suspicion, because I'm probably too lenient with them or not aware of it.

Don't hold back on questions about my decision, because it might help you at the rest of the tournament and/or give you a better sense of how to pref me.

Use my e-mail address ( after the round so you can ask more questions, get cites, and so on if you need.

Brian Manuel Paradigm

2 rounds

Director of Policy Debate @ Stanford University; Director of Debate @ Edgemont Jr./Sr. High School

(High School Constraints - Edgemont)

(College Constraints - Stanford, Harvard, and a crew of exceptionally talented college debaters I've had the pleasure to coach)

2017-2018 PF TOC Update: April 23rd, 2018

As you can see I used to have a very strong leaning towards how evidence needs to be presented during a debate. I've backtracked pretty substantially on this point. Therefore, I won't ask for your case ahead of time. However, I do still prefer evidence that is directly quoted and cited according to the rules of the tournament we are at. I do not like paraphrasing and will only accept paraphrasing as a logical argument to be made in the round and will not credit you for reading a qualified author.

I know a lot about debate, arguments, and the topics you are debating. I have an extremely competitive set of students that are constantly talking about the topic, I tutor students around the world in PF, and I generally like to be educated on the things that students will debate in front of me.

Beyond what I've said above, I'll give you an additional piece of advice: If you would strike Stefan Bauschard or Amisha Mehta than you'd probably want to strike me. I tend to fall somewhere in between where they are at in their philosophies.

Last but not least, I don't intend to steal your cards...we have more than we can use...however if it means you'll throw me up on a Reddit post that can get over 100+ responses than maybe I'll have to start doing it!

**Disregard the section about asking me to conflict you if you feel uncomfortable debating in front of me since I've judged minimally and don't have any experience judging any of the teams in the field more than once therefore, it doesn't apply to you**

2016-2017 Season Update: September 11, 2016

HS Public Forum Update: This is my first year really becoming involved in Public Forum Debate. I have a lot of strong opinions as far as the activity goes. However, my strongest opinion centers on the way that evidence is used, mis-cited, paraphrased, and taken out of context during debates. Therefore, I will start by requiring that each student give me a a copy of their Pro/Con case prior to their speech and also provide me a copy of all qualified sources they'll cite throughout the debate prior to their introduction. I will proactively fact check all of your citations and quotations, as I feel it is needed. Furthermore, I'd strongly prefer that evidence be directly quoted from the original text or not presented at all. I feel that those are the only two presentable forms of argumentation in debate. I will not accept paraphrased evidence. If it is presented in a debate I will not give it any weight at all. Instead I will always defer to the team who presented evidence directly quoted from the original citation. I also believe that a debater who references no evidence at all, but rather just makes up arguments based on the knowledge they've gained from reading, is more acceptable than paraphrasing.

Paraphrasing to me is a shortcut for those debaters who are too lazy to directly quote a piece of text because they feel it is either too long or too cumbersome to include in their case. To me this is laziness and will not be rewarded.

Beyond that the debate is open for the debaters to interpret. I'd like if debaters focused on internal links, weighing impacts, and instructing me on how to write my ballot during the summary and final focus. Too many debaters allow the judge to make up their mind and intervene with their own personal inclinations without giving them any guidance on how to evaluate competing issues. Work Hard and I'll reward you. Be Lazy and it won't work out for you.

NDT/CEDA Update: I'm getting older and I'm spending increasingly more hours on debate (directing, coaching, and tabulating at the HS and College level) than I used to. I really love the activity of debate, and the argumentative creativity being developed, but I'm slowly starting to grow hatred toward many of the attitudes people are adopting toward one another, which in turn results in me hating the activity a little more each day. I believe the foundational element of this activity is a mutual respect amongst competitors and judges. Without this foundational element the activity is doomed for the future.

As a result, I don't want to be a part of a debate unless the four debaters in the room really want me to be there and feel I will benefit them by judging their debate. I feel debate should be an inclusive environment and each student in the debate should feel comfortable debating in front of the judge assigned to them.

I also don’t want people to think this has to do with any one set of arguments being run. I really enjoy academic debates centered on discussions of the topic and/or resolution. However, I don’t prefer disregarding or disrespectful attitudes toward one another. This includes judges toward students, students toward judges, students toward observers, observers toward students, and most importantly students toward students.

As I grow older my tolerance for listening to disparaging, disregarding, and disrespectful comments amongst participants has completely eroded. I'm not going to tolerate it anymore. I got way better things to do with my time than listen to someone talk down to me when I've not done the same to them. I treat everyone with respect and I demand the same in return. I think sometimes debaters, in the heat of competition, forget that even if a judge knows less about their lived/personal experience or hasn’t read as much of their literature as they have; that the judges, for the most part, understand how argumentation operates and how debates are evaluated. Too many debaters want to rely on the pref sheet and using it to get judges who will automatically check in, which is antithetical to debate education. Judges should and do vote for the "worse" or "less true" arguments in rounds when they were debated better. Debate is a performative/communicative activity. Its not about who wrote the best constructives only. Its about how teams clash throughout the debate.

Therefore, as a result I will allow any person or team to ask me to conflict them if they feel uncomfortable debating in front of me or feel that the current system of judge placement requires them to prefer me since I'm a better fit than the other judge(s). I won't ask you any questions and won't even respond to the request beyond replying "request honored". Upon receiving the request I will go into my account and make sure I conflict you from future events. I feel this way you'll have a better chance at reducing the size of the judge pool and you'll get to remove a judge that you don't feel comfortable debating in front of which will narrow the number of judges available to you and might allow you to get more preferable judges. My email is Please direct all conflict requests to this email.

2014-2015 Season Update: September 2, 2014 (The gift that keeps on giving!!)

The following are not for the faint of heart!

Some days you just can't get ready in the morning without being bothered.Then you just need to be cheered up and it fails or someone threatens to eat your phone.
However, when it's all said and done you can at least sleep having sweet dreams.

**On a more serious note. Dylan Quigley raised a point on the College Policy Debate facebook group about what "competition" means when people are judging debates. I think this is a great question and I believe Gabe had an even better response. Therefore, I'll go with his answer "Because this is an emerging debate with no clear consensus, I would encourage judges to let the debaters hash out a theory of competition instead of trying to create one for them. I think in an era were students are taking their power to mold the "world of debate" they debate in it is especially important for us judges to *listen* to their arguments and learn from their theories. No shade towards the original post, I just think it's worthwhile to emphasis the relationship between "new debate" (whatevs that is) and student's ability to create theories of debate on their own instead of choosing a theory that's imposed on them." However, in the absence of these debates happening in the round I will default to a traditional interpretation of "competition." This interpretation says the neg must proves their alternative method/advocacy is better than the affirmative method/advocacy or combination of the affirmatives method/advocacy and all or part of the negatives method/advocacy. Also in these situations I'll default to a general theory of opportunity cost which includes the negatives burden of proving the affirmative undesirable.

2013-2014 Season Update: December 25, 2013 (Yes, it's here are your presents!!)

If you love debate as much as Sukhi loves these cups, please let it show!!

If you can mimic this stunt, you'll thoroughly impress me and be well rewarded: Sukhi Dance

And you thought you had a sick blog!!

Also why cut cards when you can have sick Uke skills like these and these!!

To only be shown up by a 2 year old killing it to Adele

Finally, we need to rock out of 2013 with the Stanford version of the Harlem Shake by Suzuki and KJaggz

2012-2013 Season Update: August 22, 2012

Instead of forcing you to read long diatribes (see below) about my feelings on arguments and debate practices. I will instead generate a list of things I believe about debate and their current practices. You can read this list and I believe you'll be able to adequately figure out where to place me on your preference sheet. If you'd like to read more about my feelings on debate, then continue below the fold! Have a great season.

1. TKO is still in play, and will always be that way!

2. You must win a link to a DA - if you don't talk about it I'm willing to assign it zero risk. Uniqueness doesn't mean there is a risk of a link.

2a. "Issue Specific Uniqueness" IS NOT a utopian answer to all affirmative arguments.

3. You must defend something on the aff - by doing so it also implies you should be able to defend your epistemological assumptions underlying that advocacy.

4. T is about reasonability not competing interpretations. This doesn't mean every affirmative is reasonably topical.

5. Debate should be hard; its what makes it fun and keeps us interested.

6. Research is good - its rewarding, makes you smarter, and improves your arguments.

7. "Steal the entire affirmative" strategies are bad. However, affirmative teams are even worse at calling teams out on it. This mean they are still very much in play. Therefore, affirmatives should learn how to defeat them, instead of just believing they'll somehow go away.

8. There are other parts to an argument other than the impact. You should try talking about them, I heard they're pretty cool.

9. Your affirmative should have advantages that are intrinsic to the mechanism you choose to defend with the aff. Refer to #6, it helps solve this dilemma.

10. Have fun and smile! The debaters, judges, and coaches in this activity are your life long friends and colleagues. We are all rooting you on to succeed. We all love the activity or we wouldn't be here. If you don't like something, don't hate the player, hate the game!

Clipping/Cross-reading/Mis-marking: I hear that this is coming back. To prosecute cheating, the accusing team needs hard evidence. A time trial is not hard evidence. A recording of the speech must be presented. I will stop the debate, listen to the recording, and compare it to the evidence read. If cheating occurred, the offending debater and their partner will receive zero speaker points and a loss. I'd also encourage them to quit. I consider this offense to be more serious than fabricating evidence. It is an honor system that strikes at the very core of what we do here.

Additional caveat that was discussed with me at a previous tournament - I believe that the status quo is always a logical option for the negative unless it is explicitly stated and agreed to in CX or its won in a speech.

Newly Updated Philosophy - November 18, 2011

So after talking to Tim Aldrete at USC, he convinced me that I needed more carrots and less sticks in my philosophy. Therefore, I have a small carrot for those debaters who wish to invoke it. Its called a T.K.O (Technical Knockout). This basically means that at any point of the debate you believe you've solidly already won the debate, beyond a reasonable doubt, (dropped T argument, double turn, strategic miscue that is irreparable by the other team) you can invoke a TKO and immediately end the debate. If a team chooses this path and succeeds, I will give them 30 speaker points each and an immediate win. If the team chooses to invoke this but its unclear you've TKO'd the other team or in fact choose wrong, you obviously will lose and your points will be severely effected. Who dares to take the challenge?

Past Updated Philosophy - September 9, 2010

I am Currently the Assistant Coach @ Lakeland/Panas High School, College Prep School, and Harvard Debate. I’m also involved with Research & Marketing for Planet Debate. This topic will be my 14th in competitive debate and 10th as a full time coach. Debate is my full time job and I love this activity pretty much more than anything I’ve ever done in my life. I enjoy the competition, the knowledge gained, and the people I’ve come to be friends with and likewise I really enjoy people who have the same passion I have for this activity.

I last posted an update to my judge philosophy a number of years ago and think it is finally time I revisit it and make some changes.

First, I’ll be the first to admit that I probably haven’t been the best judge the last few years and I think a majority of that has come from pure exhaustion. I’ve been traveling upwards of 20+ weekends a year and am constantly working when I am home. I don’t get much time to re-charge my batteries before I’m off to another tournament. Then while at tournaments I’m usually putting in extremely late nights cutting cards and preparing my teams, which trades off with being adequately awake and tuned in. This year I’ve lessened my travel schedule and plan to be much better rested for debates than I was in previous years.

Second, since my earlier days of coaching/judging my ideology about debate has changed somewhat. This new ideology will tend to complement hard working teams and disadvantage lazy teams who try and get by with the same generics being ran every debate. Don’t let this frighten you, but rather encourage you to become more involved in developing positions and arguments. When this happens I’m overly delighted and reward you with higher speaker points and more than likely a victory.

Erik Mathis Paradigm

4 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

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.

Only the debaters debating can give speeches. for emal 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 of xyz" I'm not a huge fan of this.

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.

Rachel Mauchline Paradigm

7 rounds

Rachel Mauchline

Director of Debate Cabot High School 2019-2020

Conflicts- Bentonville West High School


Put me on the email chain [] I’m down with whatever arguments you want to read. No matter what style of debate I’m judging you in, don’t over adapt. Do whatever makes you enjoy and succeed in debate. I would recommend reading the specifics of each section, but I understand that time is limited between rounds. If you ask a question to something that is answered here, it comes across like you’ve not read this.

Answering the common questions…

Yes speed is fine

Yes flex prep

Yes sit or stand

Yes open cross

Short Version Policy Debate

I typically get preferred for more policy-oriented debates, however, if you get me as a judge and you read other non-policy arguments- read those arguments. I would consider myself overall to be a more technically driven and line by line organized debater. My ideal round would be a policy affirmative with a plan text and three-seven off. Take that as you wish though.

Short Version Lincoln Douglas Debate

I’ve got experience both coaching progressive arguments but competing on a traditional circuit so I’m open to whatever unfolds in the round. If traditional, framework needs to be prioritized and the scope/lens of how the ballot is cast at the end. If progressive, look to the specific section below for specific arguments. Overall though, I’m good with whatever arguments you want to run as long as you have a clear link.

Short Version Public Forum Debate

I’ve judged a mixture of local, regional, and national tournaments and have seen a variety of different styles for Public Forum. I’ve worked at multiple camps such as Capitol Debate and the UTNIF so I’ve seen a vast number of styles of PF. It shouldn’t be a debate going back and forth asking for thousands of cards during prep. I don’t mind if the second speaker frontlines in the rebuttal- it’s whatever you think is the most strategic. It’s your call if defence is in the summary speech- I would reccomend extending terminal defense but you do you. Final focus should extend offense and write the ballot and not be some fresh hot takes that should have been in earlier speeches.


Of course a voting issue. This shouldn’t simply be about reading interpretations back and forth. Be sure to articulate warranted analysis on the voters level. Give clear reasons to prefer. Don’t assume simply because it’s a camp aff that it’s topical. Camps cut non topical affirmatives every year.


This is my fav strat in high school. I’m a big fan of case-specific disadvantages but also absolutely love judging politics debates- be sure to have up to date uniqueness evidence in these debates though. It’s critical that the disad have some form of weighing by either the affirmative or negative in the context of the affirmative. Counterplans need to be functionally or textually competitive and also should have a net benefit. Slow down for CP texts and permutations- y’all be racing thru six technical perms in 10 seconds. Affirmative teams need to utilize the permutation more in order to test the competition of the counterplan. I don’t have any bias against any specific type of counterplans like consult or delay, but also I’m just waiting for that theory debate to happen.


I believe that case debate is under-covered in many debates by both teams. I love watching a case debate with turns and defense instead of the aff being untouched for the entire debate until last ditch move by the 2AR. The affirmative needs to continue to weigh the aff against the negative strat. Don't assume the 1AC will be carried across for you throughout the round. You need to be doing that work on the o/v and the line by line. It confuses me when the negative strat is a CP and then there are no arguments on the case; that guarantees aff 100% chance of solvency which makes the negative take the path of most resistance to prove the CP solves best.


I’ve judged more of these debates in the past year, but overall these were not my preferred argument when I debated. I am not a hack for a specific type of literature so be aware of that when explaining the thesis of the kritik. From my observations, I think teams end up just reading their prewritten blocks instead of directly engaging with the k specific to the affirmative. Be sure you understand what you are reading and not just reading a backfile or an argument that you don’t understand. The negative needs to be sure to explain what the alt actually is and more importantly how the alt engages with the affirmative. Similar to disads, the neg block/nr should expand on the link level of the debate and then condense down to the link they are winning in the 2NR for policy. I am seeing more and more teams, taking the strategy of kicking the alt and cross-applying the links as disads on the case flow. It's important to be aware though that for some kritiks that simply kicking the alt eliminates the uniqueness level of the link debate since they are simply implications from the status quo. That’s a cool strategy, which is also why affirmative teams need to be sure to not just focus on the alternative vs. the aff but also respond to all parts of the K. I think most aff teams that read a plan should have clear framework against the K in order to weigh this aff against the alt. Like I’ve said I judge more K rounds than I expected, but if you are reading a specific authors that isn’t super well known in the community, but sure to do a little more work in the o/v.

Kritikal Affirmatives:

I personally prefer judging policy affirmatives BUT if this is what you’re most comfortable with, go ahead and read it. Don’t over-adapt to me, but also be aware that you might need to flesh out your analysis more than norma and specifically focus on why your method is good. I think that K affs should be somewhat related to the resolution. You also should be able to answer general thesis level claims of your affirmative. I’m not super well versed in a lot of specific literature, but if it’s common or you are able to explain it, I would rather you read that rather than over adapting. Arguments that are particularly convincing are those that can be backed up by concrete examples; this not only makes it easier for me to evaluate your arguments, but it also demonstrates to me that you know what you’re talking about. In the 1AR/2AR, explain to me how you want me to frame the debate, and extend it accordingly (this can be done in the form of a “role of the judge” argument).

K Aff vs Framework:

These were my most preferred 2NR choice against planless affirmatives -- I see the relevance and educational value in these debates, although I can be persuaded either way based on the competing models presented by both teams. For affs, I prefer a mixture of offense and defense, i.e. impact turns along with arguments that the counter-interp provides enough stasis and ground. The best aff teams I’ve seen have been technical with a lot of engagement with the neg’s arguments and debated why their model, not their aff, was a good idea. For the neg, I’m not heavily biased towards either procedural fairness or advocacy skills arguments - you do you, but have a good and warranted explanation of why your model is better along with comparative impact analysis.

K vs. K:

I haven’t judged m(any) of these debates, so judge instruction will be especially necessary. I’m not a super huge fan of links of omission, unless the neg has a really good justification. In regards to k affs getting perms, I think that all the affirmative has to say to justify that they get a permutation is “they provide a method, and so do we, there’s no reason why we cannot do both methods together”


I’ll vote for whatever theory; I don’t usually intervene much in theory debates but I do think it’s important to flesh out clear impacts instead of reading short blips in order to get a ballot. Saying “pics bad” and then moving on without any articulation of in round/post fiat impacts isn’t going to give you much leverage on the impact level. You can c/a a lot of the analysis above on T to this section. It’s important that you have a clear interp/counter interp- that you meet- on a theory debate.

Jake Maxey Paradigm

7 rounds

I am fairly new judge and find myself generally apathetic towards many things, as such I have very few strong opinions about most topics usually covered in these pages.


I debated for 4 years at Dexter High School and currently debate at Wayne State University


At Dexter I read exclusively traditional policy affs and at Wayne both traditional policy aff and more left affs.


I may make faces during the round that may either mean that I am not a fan of what you are doing or I am tired and cursing myself for getting out of bed that morning. Regardless don't let that deter you from "doin' you."


Short version:

Do whatever you want (there are exceptions dictated below), explain it well, tech over truth, and if both sides have similar qualities of evidence I default to spin.


Longer version:

As an important note to begin that while these opinions may influence how I perceive and think about the round, they are not the end of the discussion. I will do my best to evaluate the round as it happened based on my flow. Just do whatever it is that you want to do, your goal is to convince me that your line of argumentation is best and that as a result I should vote for you.

I tend to default to an Offense/Defense paradigm due to reasons of laziness, however I tend to think it is not a particularly useful way of thinking about things. A simplified version of what I think may be better is to consider risk. This involves a threshold where I think that sufficient defense can convince that something is just as likely not to happen as it is to happen. Slightly more bluntly, a reasonable to high risk of a non extinction event can outweigh a low to minuscule risk of extinction. This also means that with sufficient defense, a more nebulous ontological impact can outweigh even the aff's "seven extinctions."


Case -

Love big case debates - perhaps my favorite strategy while debating is the super specific case turn or the generic but classic impact turn - these debates show off your research, indepth topic/aff knowledge, and are super clash heavy. Pulling this off successfully is to me very impressive. For the aff - I expect y'all to understand the strategy of your aff - I am sure that you put together the 1ac the way you did for a reason, now use it throughout the rest of the debate. My single pet peeve on this front is when 2As just read a large block of text to extend their entire 1ac rather than taking the opportunity to point out strategic points like concessions or flow interactions/tricks - unless you are making good strategic arguments or nuances this overview extension is probably just on my flow as "extend 1ac." Other than that I assume that y'all will just be doing whatever it is you normally do so just do it well.


T v. USFG Plan Action -

I have not really judged many rounds where an attempt was made to turn T into a viable strategic option. In the instance that some attempt was made, it has been too surface level. Given that I haven't seen many of these debate really play out, I don't know exactly what I find compelling - I think that the impact portion of the T debate should be handled much like a disad. You have internal links to an impact based on an interpretation of a word/s of the resolution. This is basically always Fairness or Education in some form. K's of T are fine is handled along the lines of my other thoughts on Kritiks. In this instance though a way I am probably more persuaded by an explanation of how the Kritik of their interpretation affects their Fairness and Education claims.


Also here are one of the above exceptions to the "Do whatever you want" rule - NEVER attempt to make T a RVI (you smirk, you laugh, but enough have tried it in front of me that I feel the need to mention this), the aff has the burden to prove that they are topical is the neg brings it up - I am leaning toward the not even requiring negs to answer it - you will lose speaks, end of discussion.


T v. Not USFG Plan Action -

Similar story as above but I tend to err aff as most neg teams seem to be too whiny or simply lack sufficient defense to aff offense - I find that the most compelling args have to do with policy simulation (not roleplay) good and am potentially willing to buy a big fairness push if it moves beyond the usual tagline "but it is unpredictable and makes it impossible to be neg," this will also require that you answer any access arguments the aff may have. Agonism based Framework arguments are also becoming something that I tend to agree with, but I am still trying to organize my thoughts about this.

In the instance that the aff chooses to K the negs interp, I simply ask that you impact it in a way that makes sense for a procedural question of "whether this debate ought to have occurred." (Yes obvious, but again teams have read them and never explained why it actually answers the negs interp).


Ks -

I have begun to enjoy these debates more now that I am out of high school - I still am not a perfect judge for these debates given that I am not super well read in the various literature - I do know some of it, but it would be better if you assume that I don't get it and then explain arguments rather than blast through with buzz words and other jargon. I tend to think that the neg is well suited by using specific parts of the aff speeches and evidence to help their link/impact story. Framework is very important for both sides, I am lazy, so with out it I find that I default to "well extinction is super bad and stuff." I also can be fairly easily convinced that the K doesn't need to prove that it solves all of the real world issues of X but that it is a better understanding of X and proves that the aff doesn't access said good stuff thus the aff should lose.


DAs -

Super awesome - I think the Link and Internal Link are the most important and often under-utilized part of the debate (I have certainly been guilty of this myself). Not much else to say, I think.


CPs -

Also pretty great - I tend to think that most CPs are fine, this however depends on the topic/aff. CPs like Word PICs and the "Do the aff minus 1 person/penny" are also usually stupid/probably illegitimate. Specific literature goes a long way toward proving CP legitimacy in my mind, at least in terms of Consult and Conditions CPs. In terms of other sorts of questionably legitimate CPs I don't really have many thoughts but in general the further away from aff/topic specific literature the more accepting of aff theory/perm legitimacy I become.

In terms of competition I don't have a ton of thoughts assuming for all other intents and purposes that the CP is legitimate. I think that it is burden of the neg to prove a meaningful opportunity cost to voting aff, which means y'all definitely have to win something more than just a nebulous "solves enough of the aff and I guess makes a sad child slight less sad."


Theory -

I think one or two conditional options are acceptable, any more and I am more receptive to theory arguments. This is magnified if they contradict. Most theory arguments are reasons to reject the argument or a justification for some other potentially objectionable argument. However conditionality is always a reason to reject the team, the "reject the arg not the team" is nonsensical to me.


Misc -

I really don't want to be at all responsible for timing anything - time yourselves, be honest, I will be upset if have to find a timer or use my phone's timer (it kind of sucks)


Ethics stuff - less serious, stealing prep, first time it is a warning then it comes out of your prep time (which the other team gets to time) and hurts your speaks - more serious, clipping and the like, I will not tape nor call you out on it. If the other team thinks you clipping they can challenge you on it, I will stop the round and ask for a recording and speech doc to determine the validity of the challenge. If I think that you are clipping (consistent, lines - not just you didn't say a word like "a") you will lose the round and recieve zero speaker points, and vis-versa if I think that you are not clipping.


Offensive actions or language or any other type of harassment will also not be policed by myself but the other team may ask to stop the round to address it. It can/should be remedied (in terms of the ballot) with an apology (also assuming it was not intentional/severity) - if the language continues then you may face consequences depending on severity of the action/language.


Be nice (or at least professional/courteous toward your partner and opponents), be smart, and have fun.


Clare McGraw Paradigm

5 rounds

Clare McGraw

Juan Diego Catholic H.S. '17 (2A/1N)

University of Michigan '21 (both speaking positions)

Please put me on the email chain -

Top Level Note - 2018 H.S. Topic: I have not judged many rounds on this topic so clarification of acronyms would be helpful.

1. Kritiks (Neg)

I am most familiar with feminist literature/arguments (particularly rage) and ran a one off strategy almost all through H.S. You should have multiple links specific to the plan and make turns case arguments. Please explain your alt and how it implicates the impacts of the aff. I am less familiar/have very limited knowledge of high theory/postmodern literature so those debates may require a bit more explanation. If you go for a state link, it needs to be contextualized to the aff - or else the neg is very susceptible to step in the right direction or aff reforms the state arguments.

As far as framework vs a neg k goes, I will almost always allow the aff to weigh their impacts, but am open to arguments about why education or scholarship should come first.

The permutation is the best aff strategy against most Ks, in my opinion. Outline clear NB's to the perm that the alt can't solve.

2. K Affs/FW

I don't think you necessarily need to defend the state, but teams should certainly attempt to relate to the resolution and be in the direction of the topic. Anti-topical affs or affs that plausibly do not have anything to do with the resolution are a hard sell for me and are certainly susceptible to FW. If the negative team reads FW, the 2AC should make specific we meet and counterinterpretation arguments as well as impact turns.

I think FW is a fair and oftentimes effective strategy against affs without a plan but I enjoy case-specific k's and innovative disads/case turns as well. If you decide to read FW, the negative should make arguments about how a TVA/working through the state can solve the impacts of the aff/the impact turns the aff has read to FW. I also think internal link turns (how FW solves the aff better) are persuasive. I think fairness and predictability impacts against most K affs (particularly identity affs) tend to be susceptible to strong impact turns and maybe aren't your best option.

I really like nuanced, external impacts or internal link turns for FW. These debates can be really boring/repetitive sometimes and when people explain their arguments in new and fun ways, it will be rewarded. I love case debating against K affs. Presumption/ballot args are always a good idea and are usually pretty powerful.

In the final rebuttals in a FW debate, both teams should outline what their respective models of debate look like and have net benefits to each model that the opposing team's model can't solve.

I default to giving K affs a perm unless persuaded otherwise.

3. Topicality/Theory

I love good T debates. If an aff is blatantly untopical do not be afraid to go for it. That being said, I am very open to reasonability arguments for the aff. Negative teams should identify the ground they lose and clearly impact out their violation starting in the block.

As far as theory goes, I don't necessarily have any preexisting biases. Please slow down and contextualize your theory arguments, this will get you much farther than speeding through blocks.

4. Case Debate

Great case debates are something I really enjoy. 2AC answers to case arguments should be clearly delineated, maybe even slow down a little bit instead of speeding through analytics. I enjoy on-case disads/case turns that are blown up in the block. Advantage CP + case turn debates are super fun.

5. Disads/CPs

Make clear, smart turns case arguments. If your disad is specific to the aff or not something a lot of people read, be sure to explain it in the block.

Specific CPs/PICS are a great. Just be clear about explaining what they do in CX/the block. Affs, oftentimes the perm is your best option.

6. Speaking Style/Points

I enjoy speakers who write my ballot in the final rebuttals. Please do this. Good, precise CX's with a point will improve your points. Be strategic and take risks if you think they will pay off. Violent/overly aggressive rhetoric and behavior will not be tolerated, please make debate a welcoming space.

You can't insert rehighlighted evidence. Please read it. Graphs, however, are insertable and can make good cards.

I don't judge too frequently -- this means you might need to slow down a little bit. I probably won't be able to write down every single thing you say, so if something is important, mark it as so.

Be funny! Debates can be pretty boring sometimes but charismatic and enjoyable debaters change that.

Overall, do what you do best.

Feel free to ask me any other questions before the round. Also, feel free to ask me anything about the Michigan debate team/college debate in general!

T.A. McKinney Paradigm

7 rounds

I was a policy debater in the 1990s (debated for MBA in high school; University of Kentucky in college). I got back into the activity three years ago. I am a policy-oriented judge. I am fine with speed but you do need to be comprehensible. I won't re-read cards that weren't comprehensible when read in the debate. I am not including a long discussion in this paradigm of "this is my opinion on the following 8 issues" because that shouldn't be relevant to your debate ... with one exception- I am skeptical of non-topical /non-advocacy Affs so a good framework presentation will usually get my ballot in that situation.

Brad Meloche Paradigm

7 rounds

Brad Meloche (my last name rhymes with "Josh" not "brioche")

he/him pronouns

Affiliations: Wayne State University, Niles West High School, Seaholm High School, Birmingham Covington School, the School of Hard Knocks, the School of Rock, a school of fish

Email: (I ALWAYS want to be on the email chain)

The short version -

Tech > truth. A dropped argument is assumed to be contingently true. "Tech" is obviously not completely divorced from "truth" but you have to actually make the true argument for it to matter. In general, if your argument has a claim, warrant, and implication then I am willing to vote for it, but there are some arguments that are pretty obviously morally repugnant and I am not going to entertain them. They might have a claim, warrant, and implication, but they have zero (maybe negative?) persuasive value and nothing is going to change that. I'm not going to create an exhaustive list, but any form of "oppression good" and many forms of "death good" fall into this category.


Non-traditional – Debate is a game. It might be MORE than a game to some folks, but it is still a game. Claims to the contrary are unlikely to gain traction with me. Given that, I'm a good judge for T/framework. One might even say it makes the game work. I don't think the correct palliative for inequalities in the debate community is to take a break from debating the topic. Approaches to answering T/FW that rely on implicit or explicit "killing debate good" arguments are nonstarters.

Related thoughts:

1) I'm not a very good judge for arguments, aff or neg, that involve saying that an argument is your "survival strategy". I don't want the pressure of being the referee for deciding how you should live your life.

2) The aff saying "USFG should" doesn't equate to roleplaying as the USFG

3) I am really not interested in playing (or watching you play) cards, a board game, etc. as an alternative to competitive speaking. Just being honest.

Kritiks – Scientists predict that we will begin to see the catastrophic impacts of climate change within the next three decades and I would really prefer I don't waste any of that time thinking about baudrillard/bataille/other high theory nonsense that has nothing to do with anything. If a K does not engage with the substance of the aff it is not a reason to vote negative. A lot of times these debates end and I am left thinking "so what?" and then I vote aff because the plan solves something and the alt doesn't. Good k debaters make their argument topic and aff-specific.

Unless told specifically otherwise I assume that life is preferable to death. The onus is on you to prove that a world with no value to life/social death is worse than being biologically dead.

I am skeptical of the pedagogical value of frameworks/roles of the ballot/roles of the judge that don’t allow the affirmative to weigh the benefits of hypothetical enactment of the plan against the K.

I tend to give the aff A LOT of leeway in answering floating PIKs, especially when they are introduced as "the alt is compatible with politics" and then become "you dropped the floating PIK to do your aff without your card's allusion to the Godfather" (I thought this was a funny joke until I judged a team that PIKed out of a two word reference to Star Wars. h/t to GBS GS.). In my experience, these debates work out much better for the negative when they are transparent about what the alternative is and just justify their alternative doing part of the plan from the get go.

Theory – theory arguments that aren't some variation of “conditionality bad” aren't reasons to reject the team. These arguments pretty much have to be dropped and clearly flagged in the speech as reasons to vote against the other team for me to consider voting on them. That being said, I don't understand why teams don't press harder against obviously abusive CPs/alternatives (uniform 50 state fiat, consult cps, utopian alts, floating piks). Theory might not be a reason to reject the team, but it's not a tough sell to win that these arguments shouldn't be allowed. If the 2NR advocates a K or CP I will not default to comparing the plan to the status quo absent an argument telling me to. New affs bad is definitely not a reason to reject the team and is also not a justification for the neg to get unlimited conditionality (something I've been hearing people say).

Topicality/Procedurals – By default, I view topicality through the lens of competing interpretations, but I could certainly be persuaded to do something else. Specification arguments that are not based in the resolution or that don't have strong literature proving their relevance are rarely a reason to vote neg. It is very unlikely that I could be persuaded that theory outweighs topicality. Policy teams don’t get a pass on T just because K teams choose not to be topical. Plan texts should be somewhat well thought out. If the aff tries to play grammar magic and accidentally makes their plan text "not a thing" I'm not going to lose any sleep after voting on presumption/very low solvency.

Points (updated 10/13/17 because inflation is reaching Weimar Germany levels) - My average point scale is consistently 28.2-29.5. Points below 27.5 are reserved for "epic fails" in argumentation or extreme offensiveness (I'm talking racial slurs, not light trash talking/mocking - I love that) and points above 29.5 are reserved for absolutely awesome speeches. I cannot see myself going below 26.5 absent some extraordinary circumstances that I cannot imagine. All that being said, they are completely arbitrary and entirely contextual. Things that influence my points: 30% strategy, 60% execution, 10% style. Saying "baudy" caps your points at 28.7.

Cheating - I won't initiate clipping/ethics challenges, mostly because I don't usually follow along with speech docs. If you decide to initiate one, you have to stake the round on it. Unless the tournament publishes specific rules on what kind of points I should award in this situation, I will assign the lowest speaks possible to the loser of the ethics challenge and ask the tournament to assign points to the winner based on their average speaks.

I won't evaluate evidence that is "inserted" but not actually read as part of my decision.

A high school specific note -

I am employed by a public school district. If you plan on introducing arguments that would violate anti-harassment codes or rules banning the introduction of sexually explicit materials in the classroom, you should either strike me or not read those arguments in front of me. If I think a round is getting close to a point where I would not be able to explain my decision to stay in the room to a disciplinary board/school administration, I reserve the right to remove myself from the round and make a decision accordingly.

Inspired by "Chef Jeff" Buntin

Doug Bandow -----------------------x--------------------------------- Doug Husic

multiple condo-------------x-------------------------------------------Marie Kondo

pounders/"X pounds the DA"-----------------------------------------------------x--- thumpers/"X thumps the DA"

thumpers/"X thumps the DA" ----------------------------------------------------x---- yeeters/"X yeets the DA"

Eleanor/Chidi ----------------------------------------x---------------- Eleanor/Tahani

untropical affs ---x----------------------------------------------------- untopical affs

pigs ---x----------------------------------------------------- the average human

dinner roll ------x-------------------------------------------------- role of the ballot

timecube -------------------------------------------------------x- Jeremy Bearimy

ooDebate -------------------------------------------------------x- O O O O'Reiley...Auto Parts!

Captain America------------x-------------------------------------------- Iron Man

Cats -----------------------------Bats--------------------------- Insects

Monster Zero Ultra x-------------------------------------------------------- everything other liquid

Kate Mozynski Paradigm

7 rounds



***Note: I work in immigration law. Topic knowledge is how I pay my rent. :-P***

Coaching/judging CX for about 10 years now. Tech over truth, insofar as it minimizes my own intervention. But that's not an excuse to throw out a bunch of poorly developed/bad quality args.

In general, it's your debate, not mine. You can choose to follow my preferences on here if you want to, but never limit your ability to debate based on my personal preferences.

I find that case debate is frequently underdeveloped on the high school level. Like, I get you love your K, but you should probably cross apply all that to the S flow please? At the end of the round, I'm basically going to ask myself if the aff is a good idea. As the neg, don't make it harder than it needs to be- tell me why it isn't. As an Aff, give me good impact calc and explain why the plan is a good idea, as opposed to just answering off case.

T- I have a very high standard on T, and in general, I'm not going to vote on potential abuse. You need to do more work than that. The standards debate is important and needs to be fleshed out well.

Theory- Make it interesting. Super generic theory is lame, and it makes me very sad, especially when you use it to avoid poignant and interesting debate. I really hate rounds that are just people reading blocks at each other instead of actually engaging. That being said, I really appreciate nuanced pre-fiat args, so go for it- tell me all about how fiat is illusory. Tell me all about how policy debate is inherently elitist and how valuing fairness is a bad idea. Engage and have critical thought.

Ptix- I get that it's the bread and butter of policy debate, but can we please be a bit more creative than pol cap? I get that there's generic DA ground on this topic, but can we all just admit that Trump base is a stupid scenario?

Condo CPs are fine, PICS are fine.

I love good K debate, and I'm completely fine with voting on unusual positions. However, you need to truly know and understand your K and articulate it well. Even if I know your cards, I'm not going to interpret them or argue them for you- that's your job. I'll appreciate it if you do a nice job with the alt debate- make me understand the post alt world and flesh out alt solvency. Perf con matters on a reps focused K.

Framework debates are sometimes really frustrating to judge. Chances are, they're going to get to read their K. I'd much rather you spend the time of K proper and impact framing.

K affs are fine, with some notes. If there's absolutely no potential for clash or when the K aff is just making for really lazy aff debaters, that's sad to me. I think that topic education is important, and I hate when either Aff debaters or neg debaters use the K as a way to bypass properly engaging with the topic lit.

Other Notes:

Speed is fine as long as you're clear. I'll tell you if you aren't. I appreciate it if you slow down on your tags, especially super long ones. For the love of all that is holy, if you spread those Lacan tags at me, we will not be friends.

Underviews make everyone sad, me included.

If you are racist, sexist, homophobic, transphobic, etc., you will absolutely pay for it in your speaks.

A good analytic is always better than a bad card, especially in K debate.

At the end of the day, debate is a game. Have fun and learn stuff.

Trevon Muhammad Paradigm

6 rounds

Add me to the email chain:

Hello, my name is Trevon Muhammad, but I prefer to be called Trey! Credentials are important to everyone, so I will start my paradigm with mine. I started debate in the sixth grade in the Chicago Debate League's middle school debate circuit. I then transition to high school debate, in the Chicago debate league, at Lindblom Math & Science Academy. There, I was named captain by my junior year and competed on both the local circuit as well as the national circuit at tournaments such as Niles, New Trier, Glenbrook's, Dowling, and Evanston Township. I also judged at some of these tournaments in the past as well. I also attended Northwestern's debate institute every summer throughout my high school career. I am now attending the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign as a member of their debate team while coaching Lindblom Math & Science Academy. I say this to say that I have a lot of experience and knowledge in debate. Now on to the important stuff!

Biggest Thing's to know going into the debate:

1. I hate biased judges and so I will do my absolute best at being completely un-biased-- I debated both policy and critical arguments so I have no urge to put one style over the other when judging.

2. I will not be the type of judge who will willingly intervene and connect dots within the debate. Don't expect an olive branch because if I have to intervene y'all will be mad.

3. I dock speaks for any rude behavior or actions that end with ist or ism so beware because I can be mean when it comes to actions like those.

4. Each final rebuttal needs to write my ballot: I need an overview explaining what arguments your opponents dropped and why that is detrimental for their position within the debate, what arguments you are winning and why, Impact calculus and comparison, and what my role is as the judge as well as the position the ballot plays within the debate.


Do what you want, read what you want, and live your best debate life-- without actions that ends with ist or ism of course. I just don't like a lazy debater. As the judge I should be the lazy one who must think very little about who won unless it was the best debate I have ever judged tbh! Follow step number four above and you should be great. I expect everyone to know how to run and respond to a DA, CP, and T. There are two arguments I feel the need, however, to specify what I am looking for.

K. I need you to really do step number 4 above and include F/W answers if necessary***** I need differentiations of links and links used as DA's to the perm and the Aff in general. I need K-tricks such as how the content of the K or the links should be used as a filter to address any uncovered arguments proposed by your opponents and other clever things like such. I need an explanation of the alternative and how it operates as the best route as opposed to the Aff solvency mechanism or in round representation, regardless of what type of alt it is-- you will not get away with the alt is a good thing and that's it.

On the flip side Aff be prepared to answer these things.

F/W. I need an interpretation that explains the value of using the USFG as a reference to policy implementation. I need a TVA that works; meaning how does it solve for in round and out round representations your opponent’s are trying to access or sever. The biggest impact I will vote for on F/W is Clash. You can try to go for limits, ground, and switch side but I am not as convinced by those impact as I am clash. If you go for them and they work I will vote for it, but Clash is where the heart is. Explain to me how clash works: it's key to epistemology, it avoids false negatives and false positives, it is key/ a pre-requisite to accessing a RTJ and ROB, and lack of clash equals the root cause to fairness violation. Clash does a lot so explain to me how and why.

On the flip side Aff be prepared to answer these things.

Ask me if you are confused about anything I explained above and I will be more than willing to clarify, otherwise happy debating!

Matt Munday Paradigm

4 rounds

Please add me to the email chain:

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

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

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

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

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

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

Speaker Points

Scale - Adjective - Description

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Manny Navarrete Paradigm

4 rounds

Updated: March 2019

Grady '18

Emory '22

Rounds Judged on the Topic: 0

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.

I'm going to level with you --- most judges just want the debate to be as easy as possible to resolve so they can wither enjoy the free food or hang out with their fellow judges/coaches at the tournament. I certainly operate under this mindset, so I tend not to

People who have influenced how I think about debate: Erik Mathis, Clay Stewart, Solomon Watson

Scroll to the end for non-policy


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 ask myself "what questions do I need to resolve to give a good ballot?" Generally, I will try to answer these based on args in the 2NR/2AR that I can trace back to the 2AC/Neg Block. Usually, these will be "impact framing" type args - "timeframe comes before magnitude" or something like that. Yeah, this seems pretty self-explanatory, but you'd be surprised at the number of teams who forget to make framing arguments like this. I will be more leaning towards whoever has the most comparative analysis - "our framing accounts for theirs," "our impact turns theirs" "even if they win this arg we still win" etc.



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

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 would genuinely prefer you not pref me. I don't believe that I'm well suited to the types of debates (read: endless theory) that I find tend to dominate the activity. I'm also a first year out, so y'know, the general stupidity there also applies.


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...

Ryan Nierman Paradigm

3 rounds

I debated for Groves High School for two years, U of M - Dearborn for one year, and I debated for U of M - Ann Arbor for one year. I have been coaching at Groves High School since August 2007, where I am currently Co-Director of Debate.

Please include me on the email chain:

Speed: Speed is not a problem so long as you remain clear.

Topicality: I am willing to vote on T. I think that there should be substantial work done on the Interpretation vs Counter-Interpretation debate, with impacted standards or reasons to prefer your interpretation. This doesn't mean that one should merely reread their 1NC shell. There needs to be specific explanations of your standards and why they are better than the aff's or vice versa. Why does one standard give a better internal link to education or fairness than another, etc? Finally, I tend to default to competing interpretations when evaluating T debates.

CPs: I am willing to listen to any type of CP and multiple counterplans in the same round. I also try to remain objective in terms of whether I think a certain cp is abusive or not - the legitimacy of a counterplan is up for debate and thus can vary from one round to the next.

Disads: There should be a clear link to the aff. I am willing to assign zero risk to a disad. The overviews should focus in on why your impacts outweigh and turn case. Let the story of the DA be revealed on the line-by-line. Leave the overview for impact analysis. If the aff drops a DA or drops the internal links and/or uniqueness debate, I consider those to be won by the negative, so there is no reason to go through every card that was read in the 1NC - do what you need to do to win the flow and move on.

Kritiks: I enjoy a good kritik debate. Having said that, you shouldn't run the K just because I am judging. If you decided to read the K, make sure that there is a clear link to the aff. This may include reading new link scenarios in the block. There should also be a clear explanation of the impact with specific impact analysis. For the alternative debate, this is where some time needs to be spent. What is the alt? Does it solve the aff? What does the world of the alternative look like? And finally, who does the alternative? I believe the way in which framework functions in a round is up for debate, but if there is no clear explanation, framework is typically a reason why the aff gets to weigh their impacts, but not necessarily a voting issue. The neg should also isolate a clear f/w - why does methodology, ontology, reps, discourse, etc. come first? Typically, unless the aff reads f/w in the 1AC, this f/w may be read in the block.

Theory: I don't lean any particular way on the theory debate. For me, a theory debate must be more than just reading and re-reading one's blocks. If this happens, I will not evaluate the theory debate, as there is a lack of clash and educational value. There needs to be impacted reasons as to why I should vote one way or another. If you don't do this, then it will be hard to pick me up on the theory debate. Having said that, if there are dropped independent voters on the theory debate, I will definitely look there first. Finally, there should be an articulated reason why I should reject the team on theory, otherwise I default to just rejecting the argument.

Performance: I find myself judging more and more of these debates. I prefer if the performative affirmation or action is germane to the topic, but that is up for debate. I am certainly willing to listen to your arguments, and evaluate them fairly. If you win framework, then you have a fair shot at winning the debate.

Paperless Debate: I try to give the paperless teams the benefit of the doubt should a computer issue occur. I do not take prep time for flashing, but don't use this as an excuse to steal prep.

Other general comments:

Line-by-line is extremely important in evaluating the rounds, especially on procedural flows.

Clipping cards is cheating! If caught, you will lose the round and get the lowest possible speaker points the tournament allows.

Finally, don't change what works for you. I am willing to hear and vote on any type of argument, so don't alter your winning strat to fit what you may think my philosophy is.

Shannon Nierman Paradigm

4 rounds

I debated for Wylie E. Groves High School for four years, now a rising Senior debating at Michigan State University. 

Topicality: I’m not opposed to voting on T, but rereading T shells is insufficient. There needs to be substantial work on the interpretations debate from both teams, in addition to the standards and voters debate, i.e. education and fairness. As long as the aff is reasonably topical and it is proven so, T is probably not a voter. Also, if you are going for T in the 2NR, go for only T, and do so for all 5 minutes. 

Counterplans: Any type of counterplan is fine; however, if it is abusive, do not leave it for me to decide this, make these arguments. 

Disads: Any type of DA is fine. A generic link in the 1NC is okay, but I think that throughout the block the evidence should be link specific. When extending the DA in the block, an overview is a must. The first few words I should here on the DA flow is “DA outweighs and turns case for X and Y reasons.” 

Kritiks: I will vote on the K, but I often find that in the K rounds people undercover the alternative debate. When getting to this part of the K, explain what the world of the alternative would look like, who does the alternative, if the aff can function in this world, etc. I am well versed in psychoanalytic literature i.e. Zizek and Lacan and I do know the basis of a plethora of other Ks. This being said, I should learn about the argumentation in the round through your explanation and extrapolation of the authors ideas; not use what I know about philosophy and philosophers or what like to read in my free time. Read specific links in the block and refrain from silly links of omission. 

Theory: I am not opposed to voting on theory, but it would make my life a lot easier if it didn’t come down to this. This is not because I dislike the theory debate rather I just believe that it is hard to have an actual educational and clear theory debate from each side of the debate. Now, this said, if a theory argument is dropped, i.e. conditionality bad, by all means, go for it! 

Performance: An interesting and unique type of debate that should still relate to the resolution. As long as there is substantive and legitimate argumentation through your rapping or dancing and whatever else you can come up with, I am willing to vote on it. Even if you are rapping, I would prefer to have a plan text to start. 

*As technology is vital in our life, many of us have switched toward paperless debate. I do not use prep for flashing, because I have also debated both off of paper and paperlessly in debate and I understand that technology can sometimes be your opponent in the round, rather than the other team. I am being a nice and fair judge in doing this, so please do not abuse this by stealing prep, because I will most likely notice and take away that stolen prep. 

FAQs: Speed – I’m okay with speed as long as you are clear! 
Tag teaming - I’m okay with it as long as it’s not excessive. 

Things not to do in rounds I’m judging: go for RVIs, go for everything in the 2NR, and be mean. Believe it or not, there is a distinction between being confident and having ethos vs. being rude and obnoxious when you don’t have the right to be.

D'Angelo Oberto-Besso Paradigm

5 rounds (please add me to the email chain and email me if you have questions). When you start speaking, I will be flowing. There's no need to ask if I'm ready. If I am out of the room, send the doc and I'll be there shortly.

Niles North High School 2011-2015. University of Iowa 2015-present.

Debate is a game. It can be more than a game, too. I think fun is an impact. I do recognize risk-taking and reward it accordingly. A 2NR with either a DA or impact turn and case gets higher speaker points from me because case debate has fallen off.

Impact calculus is the way to get my ballot. It doesn't matter what kind of impact you have - putting it in a conversation with the other team's impact is necessary. I haven't heard the terms "timeframe," "magnitude," or "probability" in rebuttals for a long time - do that and I will give you higher speaker points. Make sure your impact turns the other team's impact. Seriously, do some impact calc.

Specific things:

If the neg says "the status quo is always an option," I will kick the CP in the 2NR if I think it's worse than the SQ. Aff should explicitly start this debate in the 2AC/1AR.

I like some K's on the Neg. Most are obnoxious, though. A lot of people lose the K in front of me because they go for "tricks" without a real explanation or impact. Bold 2ARs that impact turn and go hard on Alt Fails are fun.

T (not framework) is hit or miss for me. I don't like sifting through legal jargon at the end of the round - it's your job to have a. impacts b. a caselist c. a TVA that is clearly different than the Aff.

Love DA's. Generally a 1% risk kind of judge, but that can change.


I judge a lot of "clash" debates. Try to be creative - these debates can be incredibly boring.

Still not sure which approach is better on the Aff - try to mitigate a lot of Neg defense and win a small risk of the Aff, or just impact turn everything. As of now, I like the former approach. Be reasonable, have some good defense of your Aff on this topic, and call the other team out for having silly impacts.

Neg just wins on better models of debate or fairness tricks. You can win without a TVA.

Dylan Palbrach Paradigm

7 rounds

Background: Three years of policy debate at Stevens Point Area Senior High (SPASH) in Wisconsin between 2012 and 2015. I attended SDI for debate camp and was fairly frequent on the national circuit my senior year and currently judge for/help out the SPASH debate team.

I went for policy arguments for the most part in high school, but I consider myself a tabs judge and I vote off the flow so I'll really listen to any argument as long as you wrap up the round and give me a reason to vote for you and why your impacts outweigh the other team's impacts. Clash is important, and I consider warranted analysis something that's vital and is often missing from high school debate rounds. Unexplained arguments and shadow extending is a pretty frequent reason for me voting down teams that could have otherwise very well won. Additionally, I think internal link/link is probably the most important part of most arguments so keep that in mind.
TLDR: Explain what you're saying, actually respond to the other team, and do good link/internal link work and you'll probably be fine.

If you have any questions you can contact me at

Speed-Go as fast as you want but just be clear. I'll tell you if you need to be. But just be especially clear and a bit slower on tags so I'm able to realistically flow what you're saying.

Ks/K Affs-I'll listen to any K aff and will vote on them if you give me a reason to, but just remember you need to explain what your advocacy is pretty well since I largely debated policy in high school and I've never excelled at arguing Ks. Explaining your advocacy is a must and not having a good grasp of what you're arguing probably won't do very well with me as a judge, and neither will relying on ridiculously lengthy overviews and blocks through the 2NR. I will vote on either a Policy or critical Framework, but you need to argue it well from both sides and should probably spend a bit more time on it than usual in front of me. Also, I like a thorough explanation of how the alt functions; otherwise it's pretty hard to say the K has any solvency.
From experience, I understand that framework is often the only option for a debater versed in policy and is a valid strategy. Treat it as a DA/T violation and have internal links to fairness, education, etc.

DAs-I don't see too many good rounds come down to DA vs. Case anymore which is too bad, so I'll thoroughly enjoy a DA debate if it's something relevant with a strong link. Solid impact calc and link analysis from both sides are a must to win in these debates and like all policy arguments I hold a fairly high standard for internal links and internal link analysis. Too often, teams don't spend nearly enough time on specific clash for any of these components, and I'll probably default affirmative if it's lacking from both sides.

CP: Competition is important and if a CP isn't competitive a perm is a great strategy to go for as long as a reasonable amount is done in the 2AR. That said, I'm most easily convinced by solvency deficit arguments and the negative needs to spend a fair amount of time answering these arguments in the block and 2NR to win on the CP in addition to warranted analysis on how they solve their net benefit. Additionally, specific solvency advocates are a lot more likely to win you the round with me. As with my general stance on theory, I'm not likely to vote on it unless the CP is clearly abusive or (in the case of arguments like conditionality bad) it is argued exceptionally well without simply reading off of blocks, and I'm definitely not likely to vote on it unless a lot of time is spent on it in the 2NR/2AR.

Topicality: Topicality is a great position when run well and unfortunately hardly anyone goes for it. I'll vote on potential abuse. For the love of god don't read reverse voters on T.

Some things that are just generally annoying to me/could possibly get speaker points docked
1.) Being an asshole in your speeches or cross-x or being overbearing to your partner
2.) Personally rambling to me during your speech ("judge, you have to vote for this judge")
3.) Trying to be clever by asking questions like "how's it going" in Cross-X
4.) Sucking up to me
5.) Saying "this card is on fire" or equally absurd buzzwords
6.) "This is my cross-x"
7.) Not using all of your prep/speech time

Arjun Patel Paradigm

7 rounds

Arjun Patel, Maine East Debate 2012-2016, TOC Octafinalist 2016, UChicago Class of 2020.

Email: for documents, for comments, questions, and all other forms of contact.

General Background:

Debated for Maine East High School (coached by Wayne Tang, Keith Barnstein, Ann Peter). Most of my ideations about debate have been shaped by who I've debated with (Ashton Smith) and who've I been coached by. I will approach arguments in a very "policy" mindset, so keep that in mind throughout this paradigm. It will be harder to win non-intuitive arguments (death good, etc) in front of me, but tech rules truth. Note specific to 2018-2019: I don't know much about immigration acronyms. Please clarify those as necessary in speech (and please especially in T debates).Generally, if you are confused by anything here, check Ashton Smith's paradigm or Wayne Tang's to gain an insight into my debate atmosphere.

Affirmative General Comments:

N.B: I think the best aff on the (immigration) topic is a small soft left aff with strong solvency advocates, mechanism, and framing evidence.

Ran policy affs through most of my career, ran a soft left aff at the TOC and the good part of my senior year (genetic discrimination/racism impacts), check the wiki for 2015-2016. Generally, the smarter and more nuanced the aff, the more I'll enjoy it. Do not assume I am readily knowledgeable about aff mechanics on the 2018-2019 topic, so please accommodate AKA explain acronyms you use!!!!!


Disads are awesome, as long as you make sure you are making inroads to the case and are mitigating aff arguments. The more specific the arg, the more diverse the link debate, and the stronger the internal link to the impact, and everything will go fine.
Politics: I am very receptive to affirmative arguments on politics, especially link defense and uniqueness thumpers. It's a good disad only in the hands of the technical. Make sure you spell out the uniqueness debate.

Enough chips away at the disad, and it's entirely possible for the aff team to reduce risk of the DA to zero. Be careful. This also means that 1% risk framing isn't super convincing to me on face, and you need to do work to establish this.

Answer warrants in impact defense.

I am receptive to ethical objections to the DA, if they are relevant (eg last year, terror DA is racist, etc), as long as they are supported and impacted.


Good, nuanced ones are going to convince me very well. Make the net benefit clear, and dispatch of theoretical concerns, make the aff team's life hell. Aff: theory arguments and smart perms are incredibly persuasive, as well as smart solvency deficits. No solvency advocate is ALWAYS a bad time.


I'm not the best judge for this argument, as I am weak technically on interpreting T debates. Unless you have made it incredibly devastating for the affirmative, it will be tough for me to decide the debate on T, and I will lean affirmative. It's best to go for other arguments.

If you do decide to do this, make the impacts clear. Assume I have no idea about the (immigration) acronyms you will inevitably use on the T debate. Explain as much as possible.


I didn't go for framework much, but I am pretty receptive to the argument given clear clash and engagement with the affirmative arguments. Please impact why your framework is better, and why your interpretation solves offense from the aff side. Please engage with the case. Topical version of the affirmative is a strong defensive argument, which if dropped or substantially won, becomes a huge reason to vote for the team that proposed it.

Planless Affs/Performance.

In general, not really receptive to these arguments, but I will not refuse to listen to them and I will judge them to the best of my ability. I consider Plan Text solves the case and C/I solves the aff args the most damaging against these affirmatives, as well as ballot k type arguments made pertinent to the affirmative, so prepare accordingly. I'm going to post something that my former debate partner put quite well here (Ashton Smith).

"Note: Coming from a school without tons of resources and recognizing the experiences of other relatively resource deprived school trying to compete against very well resourced debate schools, I am not unsympathetic to arguments based on inequities in policy debates."

Lastly, if you debate your affirmative well, and dispatch with neg offense, you will win my ballot. If you use overly technical philosophical/(insert theory here) language, and not explain what is going on, chances are I will get lost and I'll vote for the other team. I'm not an expert in what you're running, please understand that.


I had an odd relationship with kritiks in my debate career. I have ran k arguments, ranging from security to Virillio to antiblackness a few times, however with any k debate I probably don't know what you are talking about. I will approach a kritik debate, in the absence of clear explanation from the negative, very much like a counterplan with a non-unique net benefit. Make it clear what your k is, why the affirmative UNIQUELY links, and what the impact is. Don't forget to include why your alternative solves risk of aff offense. BS K tricks are just that, BS k can do better, and I'm not likely to vote on them. Probably weigh the aff.


The best debate possible is one with heavy discussion of case (such as case/author indicts, turns, arguments cut from the opposing sides evidence, impact turns, mechanism cps/mechanism das, and analytics). If you can dismantle an affirmative with more analytics than cards in the 1nc, I'll be impressed.

Cross ex is a speech. I take notes on cross ex (meaning I write down what you state, in order to use this as clarifying or framing information for arguments you make make later) so make the most use of it. Get concessions, framing, clarification, or run traps. Point out flaws. Bonus if you can make their arguments look ridiculous, while still being classy.

Protip: I have a horrible poker face, so if I look distracted, or confused in the round, chances are that I am. Same for if I don't look those ways.

I'm a sucker for impact turns, so I appreciate a good impact turn adv cp strategy. (Consequently however, I will pay especially close attention to this debate. It isn't a get out of jail free card).

If you can trap the affirmative (or the negative) in making an argument dentrimental to themselves (especially in CX), or if you concede arguments strategically to put yourself in a better position, speaker points will go up. Some of the best debate rounds happen when unseen connections are made between arguments, and used efficiently.

The more you engage the case, the more I wil enjoy the debate and the better it will turn out for you.

Dropping Theory is almost always a game over, but this is diminished by how ridiculous the theory argument is. Condo is persuasive, so is any kind of theoretical objections to abusive counterplans (conditions, multi-actor fiat, no solvency advocate, pics bad etc). Just be sure you impact your argument when it's dropped, and it's good.

Don't do anything unethical (racist, sexist etc). I will not hesitate to drop you.

Good luck.

Sonny Patel Paradigm

7 rounds

Updated: 8/31 Niles Township Invitational

- i view the speech act as an act and an art. debate is foremost a communicative activity. i want to be compelled.
- i go back and forth on t/fw vs kritik/performance affs, which is supported by my voting record.
- i'm open to voting on nearly anything you put in front of me. details below.
- academic creativity & originality will be rewarded
- clarity matters. i flow by ear, including your cards' warrants and cites
- tag team cx is okay as long as its not dominating
- don't vape in my round, it makes me feel like an enabler

i've been in 2 camp rounds + a handful of practice debates on the arms sales resolution and will have >50 rounds by the end of the season. i've assisted with coaching debate on the north shore for several years. i am currently the head coach for u chicago lab school. former policy debater at maine east (north shore, wayne tang gharana) with some college debating at iowa. i identify as subaltern, prefer he/they pronouns. my academic background is medicine. this means i haven't spent my summers deeply reading into the topic aside camp files. it also means you may be counseled on tobacco cessation.

how to win my ballot:
*entertain me.* connect with me. teach me something. be creative. its impossible for me to be completely objective, but i try to be fair in the way i adjudicate the round.

as tim 'the man' alderete said, "all judges lie." with that in mind...
i get bored- which is why i reward creativity in research and argumentation by being more forgiving in articulation. if you cut something clever, you want me in the back of your room. i appreciate the speech as an act and an art. i prefer debates with good clash than 2 disparate topics. while i personally believe in debate pedagogy, i'll let you convince me it's elitist, marginalizing, broken, or racist. i wish i could adhere to a paradigmatic mantra like 'tech over truth.' but i've noticed that i lean towards truth in debates where both teams are reading lit from same branch of theory. my speaker point range is 27-30, above 28.1 being what i think is 'satisfactory' for your division. do not abuse the 2nr. kindly put me on the email chain, even if im just observing:

i think debaters should be able to defend why their departure from (Classic mode) Policy is preferable. however i don't enter the round believing plan texts are necessary for a topical discussion. i enjoy being swayed one way or the other debate to debate on k aff vs t/fw. overall, its an interesting direction students have taken Policy. i used to be a HUGE t & spec hack. nowadays, the they tend to get messy. so some flow organization is much appreciated: number your args, sign post through the line-by-line, slow down to give me a little pen time. i do not enter the round with an assumption of the necessity of plan texts. argument of T through analogy, metaphor, exclusion/inclusion is just as valid as a discussion of voters; i tend to vote on analysis with specificity and/or(?) creativity.

kritiks, etc.
i enjoy performance, original poetry, rap, singing, moments of sovereignty, etc. i find most "high theory" and critical identity politics literature & debates enjoyable. i dont mind how you choose to organize k speeches/overviews so long as there is some way you organize thoughts on my flow. 'long k overviews' can be (though rarely are) beautiful. i appreciate a developed analysis (more specific the better, analogies help a lot). i default to empiricism/historical analysis as competitive warranting unless you frame the debate otherwise. i understand that the time constraint of debate can prevent debaters from fully unpacking a kritik. if i am unfamiliar with the argument you are making, i will prioritize your explanation. i may also read your evidence and google-educate myself. this is a good thing and a bad thing, and i think its important you know that asterisk.

theory and ethics challenges
i have no way to fairly judge arguments that implicate your opponent's behavior before the round, unless i've witnessed it myself or you are able to provide objective evidence. debate is a competitive environment which means i take accusations with a degree of skepticism. i think the trend to turn debate into a kangaroo court, or use the ballot as a tool to ostracize members from the community speaks to the student/coach's tooling of authority at tournaments as well as the necessity for pain in their notion of justice. a really good podcast that speaks to this topic in detail is invisibilia: the callout.
regarding traditional theory args, whatever happened to presumption debates? i more often find theory compelling when contextualized to why there's a specific reason to object to the argument (e.g. why the way this specific perm operates is abusive/sets a bad precedent). as someone who used to go hard on theory pimps, i think there's an elegant way to trap someone. and it same stipulations apply- if you want me to vote for it, make sure i'm able to clearly hear and distinguish your subpoints.

i always enjoy creative, case specific PICs. i like hearing good story-weaving in the overview. impact analysis, a thorough perm debate also key. i do vote on theory - see above.

NOVICES: Congrats! you're slowly sinking into a strange yet fascinating vortex called policy debate. it will change your life, hopefully for the better. focus on the line by line and impact analysis. if you're confused, ask instead of apologize. this year is about exploring. i'm here to judge and help. :)

Gabriela Perez Paradigm

7 rounds

Gabriella (Gaby) Perez

Carrollton School of the Sacred Heart '18

University of Notre Dame '22

Debate has been incredibly valuable for me and I believe that it is unique in the education it offers, and I think that it is important to have debates that stem from the resolution and affs that defend a stable advocacy in order to have a meaningful discussion for both sides.

Topicality – I think competing interpretations are the most logical way to evaluate topicality, and think topicality should be framed as two counterplans with specific net benefits such as education and fairness.

Counterplans – You should have a solvency advocate for consult/condition counterplans. Delay CPs and Word PICs are probably susceptible to theory. I can be convinced either way. Case specific PICs are good.

Theory – Conditionality is good to an extent (2 conditional options is usually a good limit). Everything else is probably a reason to reject the argument, not the team.

Kritiks – I think that the aff should probably be able to weigh their aff and thus it’ll be difficult to convince me that a framework in which the aff is held to a perfect standard is fair.

Kathryn Polus Paradigm

7 rounds

Current coach for Traverse City Central High School.

Paradigm: I want you to frame the round and tell me where to vote and why. A well developed framework on which I can vote is key. I will not create your arguments for you, so explain them well. As a teacher, it is most important to me that you understand your arguments and learn from the process, so if you can create a framework that convinces me I should vote on it and is well argued I will vote on any argument.

Speed: I can handle speed, but please enunciate. Be sure to be clear on your tags and subpoints. Do not use speed as a tool to confuse. I would rather hear quality arguments and clash than spreading just for the sake of confusing your opponent.

Kritiks: I have no problem with K debate, but for me it must be combined with a quality impact analysis or alternative including a way for me to evaluate the round. Please do the work to explain to me the quality of your framework and why I need to vote in this way. Help me understand the world of the alt, specifically.

DA/CPs: These are great with me. Be thorough in your cards and links, and solid in your impact calc on the DA. Again, understanding of your own arguments are key for learning in the round. Please do not run blocks written by others which you do not understand.

Procedure: Be polite! This is an educational process and should be respected by all competitors. Regardless of your experience level in this community, we are all still learning.

I strongly prefer that you do your own CXs. Each team member should be able to articulate the arguments and should not rely on the other(again learning is the key). I will let you know if your tag-team gets out of hand.

Politeness and respect in the round is a TOP priority. I do not find any flashy behavior appropriate, and will take speaker points for rude interruptions during constructives or rebuttals, cursing or inappropriate language, racist/sexist/classist/xenophobic/homophobic comments to other people in-round, arrogant or insulting comments even if you believe you are winning the round.


-Road map before each speech. If I don’t know where you’re going my flow is already not in your favor.

-Having a card on something doesn't always beat good analytical arguments

-I will not assume dropped arguments are true if you haven’t done the work to extend it.

-Good analysis needs to make it all the way through to the final speeches.

-I need to be able to understand and find your arguments to vote on them, be organized!

I'm always working on learning as a judge and updating my paradigm.I think all types of debate are interesting and enjoyable as long as you do it well. Ask me questions, make good arguments, and help me understand why it is important to vote for you on any argument. Have fun.

Lizzie Prete Paradigm

7 rounds

UIUC '18

Niles West '14

I coach for Niles West debate and have for the past 4 years.

I debated for three years for Niles West and one year at Michigan State University on the legalization topic – so the bulk of my debate experience has been very policy-oriented.

Yes, I would like to be on the email chain but I will not be flowing off the speech doc ---

First and foremost: I try my absolute best not to allow my preconceived notions about certain types of arguments affect my decision making. I view debate primarily as an activity that develops critical thinking and advocacy skills, so do that in whatever way you think is best suited for your situation (granted that it is respectful and not offensive). I won’t tell you to run or not run any particular argument in front of me. That being said, I’ll briefly go through some smaller-scale preferences that I have pertaining to certain arguments.

Meta things:

1. Clarity - I would rather not have to work too hard to decipher what you are saying. I am bad at multitasking, and if I’m doing that I’ll probably miss an argument or two. Please enunciate tag lines especially. If I can’t decipher your answer to an argument, I will consider it dropped.

2. Be respectful – yes, debate is a competitive activity, but before anything else it is an academic thought exercise. I encourage assertiveness and confidence in round, but if you are rude, I will reduce your speaker points. Rudeness includes excessively cutting your opponent off or talking over them in cross-ex, excessively interrupting your partner's speech to prompt them, being unnecessarily snarky towards your opponents, etc. Please just be nice :)

3. Logic - a lot of times, debaters get wrapped up in the technicality of their debates. While tech is important, it shouldn’t come at the expense of doing things like explaining your arguments, pointing out logical flaws in your opponents’ arguments, and telling me how I should evaluate a particular flow in the context of the whole debate. I tend to reward teams that provide consistent, clear, and smart meta-level framing issues – it makes my job 100 times easier, and it minimizes the extent to which I have to intervene to decide the debate. I will not do work for you on an argument even if I am familiar with it – I judge off of my flow exclusively.

4. DO NOT assume that I am following along on the speech doc as you are giving a speech, because I am probably not.

Certain arguments:

T – I like a good T debate, if both teams compare their interpretations and evidence adequately. The impact level is the most important to me in T debates, and if you don’t do a good job comparing the standards/impacts being gone for in the round, do not be mad if I intervene and weigh them myself.

DAs – are essential to a good debate I think. If you don’t start your speeches with impact overviews, however, I will be less inclined to vote for you and more inclined to look at the aff’s impacts first.

Ks and Framework – I love kritiks, I went for them a lot in high school. They are good for debate *if they answer the affirmative*. Please engage the affirmative. This entails making specific link arguments as well as thorough turns case analysis. I am probably familiar with your literature, however, I will not weigh your buzzwords more than logical aff arguments against your K. If you want my ballot, you need to first and foremost TALK ABOUT THE AFF. If you don’t say a word about the aff in the debate I will probably not vote for you. Read specific links to the aff’s representations and impacts, not just to the topic in general. The link debate is crucial – and the aff should recognize if the neg is not doing an adequately specific job explaining their link story. Additionally, you need to make turns case arguments. I will not be compelled by a mere floating pik in the 2NR – that’s cheating. Give me analysis about why the aff reifies its own impacts. Absent this, I usually default to weighing the 1AC heavily against the K. Relating to framework, I have a high threshold for interpretations that limit out critiques entirely. I would rather see debaters interact with the substance of the criticism than talk shallowly about fairness and predictability (especially if it is a common argument). A lot of the times, framework debates are lazy. If you are going to read high theory in front of me (i.e. Baudrillard or Bataille) please be even more thorough. Your attempt to confuse your opponent so that they incorrectly answer your argument(s) will most likely just make me grumpy.

Lastly, K affs - I've been doing a lot of thinking about K affs lately, especially planless K affs. It seems that K affs are becoming farther and farther removed from the topic/resolution. I think that most planless K affs could be read on the neg, but that does not mean that they should not be read on the aff. This is good news if you are negative going for framework because switch side debate probably solves a lot of aff offense if there is a topical version of the aff. This is also good news for the aff because I can just as likely be persuaded that the reading of your aff in the debate space creates something unique (i.e., whatever you are solving for). However, my threshold for considering your aff as being relevant or engaging the topic/resolution is extremely high, as most teams do not even attempt to do this anymore. Plan texts are important, unless you have good offensive reasons why you don’t have to read one. Expecting the negative to predict every possible advocacy statement or hypothetical argument the aff can defend is a little ridiculous. A policy action, whether or not it's done by the federal government, should be a priority for the aff to defend. Please just do something that gives the negative a role in the debate. If you do not or cannot, I will be grumpy. SLOW DOWN on taglines if they are paragraphs; I think it kills your ethos to spread your tags, and more importantly, I probably will not flow them very well.

Sonwan Quadri Paradigm

7 rounds

Not Submitted

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.

Sagar Rathod Paradigm

3 rounds

If you have any questions, please feel free to email me at sagarbrathod1 (AT) gmail (dot) com or just ask me before the round.

I am:

  • Sagar Rathod
  • Coach for Okemos High School


  • Tech > Truth. However, framing is a dying art — I enjoy 2NR/2ARs that have round-vision and aren't just entirely responsive to the speech before. Prefer to not judge "two ships passing in the night."
  • I'll listen to anything — no preference between Policy or K — defend your form of argumentation.
  • Tell me how you'd like me to frame the round.
  • Affect gets speaker points, but line-by-line wins debates.
  • Add me to the email chain: sagarbrathod1 (AT) gmail (dot) com.


  • I don’t take prep for flashing — just don’t take too long.
  • I don't mind tag-teaming in CX — just don’t make it excessive.
  • CX is generally reflected in speaker points.
  • Take risks — I'll boost your speaker points if you can beat the other team with shorter speeches.
  • Extinction Good is a valid argument. Racism/Sexism/Discrimination Good is not.
  • This is likely my last year of judging — I really want to give someone a 30 — persuade me.


  • Neg:
    • Specific links are awesome. Frame the 1AC (reps/action of the plan) around your links.
    • The burden of the Neg is to prove the Aff is a bad idea, so you don't need an Alt to win my ballot.
    • If you are going for the alt, explain what the world of the alternative is going to look like.
    • “K tricks” are cool, but only when explained and contextualized.
    • Please don’t contradict yourself. Know what your philosophers defend and what they don’t.
  • Aff:
    • Generic “Ks Bad” frameworks are not great.
    • Perms are your best friends.
    • Please answer the specific links.
    • “Policy tricks” like extinction outweighs, pragmatism, institutions key, etc. are actually very persuasive to me. Call out the Neg for mishandling these types of arguments.


  • What does your model of debate look like?
  • Neg:
    • “They took my DAs” is not a good impact to Framework.
    • Fairness is more of an internal link than an impact.
    • Impacts need to be explained and contextualized to the broader schema of debate.
    • You need to win that your model of debate is good, not just that the Aff’s model is bad.
      • You need to win that the game is good before you can win that your model of the game is good.
    • TVAs are super persuasive to me - explain how they solve your impacts.
  • Aff:
    • Affs should generally have some relation to the topic.
    • I enjoy it when K-Aff teams impact turn the Neg’s model of debate rather than meet it.


  • Neg:
    • Why should I prefer your interpretation?
    • Why do the impacts to Topicality matter?
    • I generally expect a 5 minute 2NR on T if you plan on going for it.
  • Aff:
    • Please provide counter-standards, or else you will be at a HUGE disadvantage.
    • Reasonability is reasonable, but should be supplemented with more arguments.


  • Explain the scenario of the DA. The more specific the link, the better


  • Counterplan texts are important - spend time actually writing them.


  • Slow down when spreading through your theory blocks.


  • Be clear, duh.
  • I give high speaks to people who make coherent arguments that I think contributed most to the final decision of the round.
  • Rough Scale:
    • <27.5 - you did something v wrong
    • 27.5-27.9 - there's great room for improvement
    • 28.0-28.4 - there's room for improvement
    • 28.5-28.9 - you did your thing
    • 29.0-29.4 - i enjoyed your performance
    • 29.5-29.9 - yo fam whaddup
    • 30.0 - wow
  • To see if you read my paradigm before the round, if you mention the following in your speech without ruining the flow of your speech, I'll add 0.2 to your speaks:
    • UofM Camp Tournament - Lil Nas X, Fortnite


  • Clipping is cheating.
  • Clipping will be punishable by an L and 0 speaker points. Accusing Team must provide proof. If proof is deemed insufficient, Accusing Team will receive an L and 0 speaker points.

Don't be rude. Be honest. Have fun!

Sophie Rogoff Paradigm

7 rounds

- thoroughly explain your arguments and don't just reread evidence, say why this happens

-refer back to others arguments

- focus on impact calc and why I should vote for you

Reed Rosenbacher Paradigm

7 rounds

UC Lab 16

Michigan 20

1. Debaters have a debilitating tendency to fail to see the forest for the trees. Most debates can be resolved by 1 central issue, define that issue and tell me why you are winning on that question.

2. I am tabula rasa- I have a read a drilling aff, a Moby Dick aff, an Asian Identity aff, an encryption aff, went for Baudrillard ALOT, etc. In other words, do what you want

3. The best way to win a K in front of me is to spend a shit ton of time on the link debate and give each link an impact and/or turns case args. Pull lines from the 1AC, go into their internal links or the structuring logic of the aff- don't just read your generic heg links to the K blocks. 

4. Your final speech should always begin and end with the exact reason you think I should vote for you. 

5. Nuance is always strategic and appreciated. 

6. Im not the best for techy T and theory debates but I can most def handle it. 

7. CrossX is a speech and it is super important. 

8. After some personal experiences I have come to believe that death good arguments pose a serious real life threat to the mental health of high school debaters. If you read these arguments and the other team makes the argument that death good is detrimental to the community, I am very likely to vote on the argument. However, that does not mean that you shouldn't read arguments like fear of death bad in front of me.  


Nathan Rothenbaum Paradigm

3 rounds

Nathan Rothenbaum

Oak Park River Forest – Debater 2008-2012

Trinity University – Debater 2012-2016

University of Georgia – Coach 2016 – Current

My favorite part of debate is that you, the debater, determines what debate is. I will do my best to evaluate the substance of your arguments. Three things to vastly improve your speaks when I am in the back: 1.) Recognizing arguments are rarely conceded. 2.) The first sentence of your 2ar/2nr should strive to be the same sentence I use when I tell the other team why they lost. 3.) Your CX strategy is better served by getting your opponent to say things and using those things in your following speeches than by posturing or trying to make them look foolish.

*I am more concerned with tech over truth, but also recognize that “good” tech needs to (at least) look true from afar.

*If it isn’t in the tag, then the 2ac didn’t “drop it”

*It is possible to win terminal defense – but usually even the most sympathetic read of an argument is far from terminal. Terminal defense is also significantly harder to sell me on if we are entering a "try or die" situation - not impossible, but much harder.

*A comment on the Kritik. Your "alt cause" Kritik, or "No solvency" kritik is not persuasive. It only matters if you win your alt solves it, but your alt usually isnt trying to solve your alt-causes to the affs method so these links are totally irrelevant. I find these kritiks a chore to listen to and find them completely uncompelling. Aff teams, tell me how you solve your specific impact and tell me how the neg has no chance of overcoming the alt causes they complain about and your good to go. Usually in these debates there is a lot of confusion for both teams that stem from the framework debate. If you win the framework debate, not only will it make the alt finally make sense, but it'll let you outweigh the aff. Vice versa for the aff. I don't really understand the "They get the K, we get our Aff" permutation. What does it mean you "get your aff" vs their K? What are you getting?

*Reading an untopical aff is not a death sentence. I generally find myself personally persuaded by framework, but find that when I vote aff the neg is shit at going for it or the aff gets away with murder in characterizing "what" the debate is about.

*Smaller debates are better. The more argumentative moving pieces, the worse the debate ends up being. Collapse down in your 2nr or 2ar to 3-4 arguments and you will make it way easier for me to vote for you and explain to the other team why I voted.

*Tell me what happens if you win your argument. Don't just assume I know. If you tell me explicitly, then I'll tell the other team that also in the RFD.

*Ev quality is great. Your explanation of that evidence is much more important. A good argument beats a bad card every time.

*I will only flow the debater whose speech it is. You are welcome to prompt your partner to say what you want them to say, but its their time to speak and this is a team activity, not a solo enterprise. So, if your style is to make arguments when its your partner's designated speech time, adjust accordingly.

*If you are wondering if a CP is cheating it probably is (my default position is that CP's must use the same actor as the aff)

*I think CX is very important for controlling the spin of a position

*I think of the 1ar as the same way I think of the 1NR – ideally a rebuttal, but capable of doing some quasi-constructive things.

*Condo is ok. I find myself more persuaded by the aff side of arguments but, unfortunately, not often enough to vote the neg down.

*I would greatly prefer it if you didn't make the debate *about* the other debaters, or tried to make my ballot a referendum on your competitors. Making them lose because of the things they did is fine, telling me that I should vote them down for the people that they are... I won't like nearly as much.

If you do not like my rfd, feel free to post-round me. I won’t take any offense. I was always a hot head as a debater, and it won't ever hurt my perception of you if you are equally(which is probably impossible) as hot-headed as me. If you help me understand how you saw the debate, there a more than zero chance it'll pay off in some non-quantifiable way sometime in the future.

Ben Schultz Paradigm

4 rounds

-- You should speak more slowly. You will debate better. I will understand your argument better. Judges who understand your argument with more clarity than your opponent's argument are likely to side with you.

-- You can't clip cards. This too is non-negotiable. If I catch it, I'll happily ring you up and spend the next hour of my life reading Cracked. If you're accusing a team of it, you need to be able to present me with a quality recording to review. Burden of Proof lies with the accusing team, "beyond a reasonable doubt" is my standard for conviction.

-- If I can't understand your argument -- either due to your lack of clarity or your argument's lack of coherence, I will not vote for it. The latter is often the downfall of most negative critiques.

-- One conditional advocacy + the squo is almost always safe. Two + the squo is usually safe. Any more and you're playing with fire.

-- I like to reward debaters who work hard, and I will work hard not to miss anything if I'm judging your debate. But I'm also a human being who is almost always tired because I have spent the last 12 years coaching if you seem like you don't care about the debate at hand, I am unlikely to try harder than you did.

- Anything else? Just ask....

Jon Sharp Paradigm

4 rounds

jon sharp

Director of Debate @ GDS (the actual GDS, not the camp, not the affinity group, not the cultural phenomenon...well, maybe the cultural phenomenon...)

(Relevant) Background: Debated in HS (program doesn't exist any more) and college (Emory); coached at Emory, West GA, USC, New Trier, Kentucky, and GDS; taught around 75 labs (including, but not limited to the Kentucky Fellows, SNFI Swing Lab, Berkeley Mentors, Antilab, and the forthcoming Quantum Lab). This is what i do - i teach, coach, and judge debate(s). This is both good and bad for you.

This is Good for You: One could say that i have been around, as it were. If you want to do something that people do in debates, i got you. If you want to do something that people don't do in debates, i won't freak out.

This is Bad for You: This ain't my first rodeo. If you want to do something that people do in debates, i have seen it done better and worse. If you want to do something that people don't do in debates, i probably remember the last time that somebody did it in a debate.

Are You For Real? Yah, mostly...i just don't think judging philosophies are all that helpful - any judge that is doing their job is going to suspend disbelief to as great an extent as possible and receive the debate in as much good faith as they can muster...but almost nobody is upfront enough about what that extent looks like.

Well, that's not especially helpful right now. OK, you make a strong point, imaginary interlocutor. Here are a few things that may actually help:

1 - Flow the Debate - I flow the debate. On paper. To a fault. If you do not take this into account, no matter how or what you debate, things are going to go badly for you. Connecting arguments - what used to be called the line-by-line - is essential unless you want me to put the debate together myself out of a giant pile of micro-arguments. You Do Not Want This. "Embedded clash" is an adorable concept and even can be occasionally helpful WHEN YOU ARE MANAGING THE REST OF THE FLOW WITH PRECISION. There is no such thing as "cloud clash."

2 - Do What You are Going to Do - My job isn't to police your argument choices, per se; rather, it is to evaluate the debate. If debaters could only make arguments that i agreed with, there would not be much reason to have these rounds.

3 - If you are mean to your opponents, it is going to cause me to have sympathy/empathy for them. This is not an ideological position so much as an organic reaction on my part.

4 - "K teams," "identity teams," and non-traditional/performance teams pref me more than policy teams - Make of that what you will.

5 - Stop calling certain strategic choices "cheating" - This is one of the few things that just sends my blood pressure through the roof...i know you like to be edgy and i respect your desire to represent yourself as having no ethical commitments, but this is one of the worst developments in the way people talk and think about debate since the advent of paperlessness (which is essentially The Fall in my debate cosmology). Reading an AFF with no plan is not cheating; reading five conditional CPs in the 2NC is not cheating; consult NATO is not cheating. Clipping cards is cheating; fabricating evidence is cheating, consulting your coach in the middle of the debate is cheating. An accusation of an ethics violation (i.e., cheating) means that the debate stops and the team that is correct about the accusation wins the debate while the team that is wrong loses and gets zeroes. This is not negotiable. Ethics violations are not debate arguments, they do not take the form of an off-case or a new page and they are not comparable to anything else in the debate.

Also - just ask.

Jacob Shelton Paradigm

7 rounds

Chattahoochee High School 2015
University of Michigan 2019
Assistant Coach --- Wayzata High School (2015-Present)

Personal Information

I debated for four years at Chattahoochee High School on the national circuit, and three-ish years at the University of Michigan. As a debater, most of my experience involved reading policy-oriented arguments (my most frequent 2NRs included DA/Case or DA/CP strategies, T, and the Security K). As a judge, I've voted for arguments at pretty much every point on the argumentative spectrum. Judging is a privilege, and I'll work hard to make the best decision I possibly can.

Thoughts About Debate

I reward smart debaters who control the spin of the debate with quick, technical comparisons and intuitive analytics because, as a debater, I've always disliked judges that I felt were overly interventionist or reppy. I penalize debaters who tell me to "read 'X' flaming hot card" instead of comparatively explaining its warrants during their speeches. It's your job to make arguments within the debate, not mine to do so during the RFD.

With that said, I (like all judges) have some personal preferences about specific arguments that are likely to shape my decisions at the margins:

Counterplans: Obviously I prefer them to be specific, but I'm better than most judges for process CPs because most affirmative teams are bad at contesting their theoretical legitimacy or competitiveness.

DA/Case Debate: It's your job as debaters to tell me how I should weigh different components of these debates. Is winning the link more important than winning uniqueness? How does turns case analysis impact aff solvency? The team that better responds to these kinds of general framing questions within their speeches tends to be the one I end up voting for in close rounds.
Well-developed case defense is an incredibly under-utilized weapon, especially when people read bad affs that can be beaten with logical analytics.

Kritiks: The best critique debaters I've seen contextualize their links to the specificity of the aff and it's advantages and don't rely on random dropped K tricks. When I was asked "how far left is too far left" before a debate, my response was "if you can't explain your argument in a coherent fashion, you've gone too far". Take that as you will.

Theory: The most likely theoretical violation to result in me rejecting the team is conditionality. Many theory debates are difficult to adjudicate because they lack impact analysis. Explain why what your opponents have done is a reason to reject the team and explain the consequences of not doing so in a persuasive manner. I'm not likely to vote on blippy theory arguments like vague alts or multiple perms that are minimally articulated early in the debate, but these are useful as reasons to reject arguments.

Topicality: I generally default to competing interpretations. Many 2N's lack impact analysis or comparison between interpretations, which makes general aff arguments for their interpretation relatively convincing. Caselists for your interpretation and your opponent's are useful for helping me conceptualize and compare competing visions of the topic.

Planless Affirmatives: My voting record reflects a fairly even split of aff and neg ballots in framework debates, which some may find surprising given my personal inclinations towards reading plans and defending American hegemony. Maybe this just means teams are really bad at going for framework, but I hope it's more of a reflection of the fact that I care a lot more about what you say in the round than what I personally believe. Teams that win these debates in front of me tend to control the overarching framing of the round --- while technical debate is important, don't miss the forest for the trees. Impact-wise, procedural fairness has historically been more successful in front of me than skills and education-based arguments, but it requires better defense given the inherently smaller scale of the impact.

Jonathan Silverstein Paradigm

7 rounds

General Thoughts/Background


I debated four years at New Trier in northern Illinois, and now attend the University of Michigan (I don’t debate here). This is my first tournament on this topic, but I have talked with a couple of college debaters about this topic.

In high school I was both a 2N and a 2A, though I was primarily a 2N. In addition I was fairly flexible on the neg, but read only soft-left and policy affs.

In my opinion debate is a strategy game, with a presentation component. By which I mean how persuasive you are is important, and will impact your speaks, and how I think about your arguments, but the more important part is the ability to make smart strategic decisions, which I will reward (or punish) to a much larger degree. That doesn’t necessarily mean you shouldn’t use generic strategies, but you have to implicate them in terms of the aff (or neg), and all of your strategies (off-case, advantages, impact-turns, whatever) should be part of a larger, coherent whole. To do this you don’t need to be fast, or eloquent, but rather think critically about the strengths and weaknesses of the different arguments in the debate, and how those things interact.

I will probably be fine with respect to speed, but slow down a little bit for analytics, especially if you’re going to be doing a lot of sub-points, or dense argumentation in a short time span. If you’re just reading cards, you can probably go as fast as you like (still be clear).

‘Dropped arguments are true arguments’ (but if your opponent dropped a 5 second blip, and you make it 2 minutes in your next speech, then they get answers to the logical extrapolation that you added to make it a real argument. In the actual scenario where an fully fleshed out argument is dropped, or responded to so poorly or incorrectly that it’s functionally dropped, then you don’t get new answers).


I feel like I’d be doing a disservice to critical teams if I didn’t start by re-iterating that I read mostly policy affs when I was in high school. In addition to that I believe that debate is a game, and that the skills you take away from doing the research and debating at tournaments are valuable. That means I’ll probably be more persuaded by arguments about how the model you advocate impacts those skills, rather than the specific implications of the education of your aff.

That being said, those are my personal beliefs, and I’ll do my best to let the debaters inform my view of the direction of the debate. I will probably re-iterate this through out my paradigm, but I think that those skills are only gained by actually getting down and arguing, so by introducing my personal beliefs into the debate would be doing a disservice to the debaters.


T 2NR’s were some of my favorite to give, but the neg has to be thorough when giving them. You have to do a lot of impact calculus, in addition to comparative link vs. reasonability work. If the aff is going to go for a non-reasonability/w-m strategy on the aff, then you should be getting pretty deep into the weeds on the impact analysis, comparing why, for instance, the ground differential means that a larger topic is ok.

If you are going to go for w-m, there should be cards from both teams, unless there is clear logic argument one way or the other.

I tend to agree with the general premise of reasonability – that the neg can always create a marginally more limiting interpretation, giving an inroad to some sort of limits argument. This is probably the only time I believe that you don’t need impact offense (you still need offense on the reasonability debate, but the terminal T impact debate, can be purely defensive). The smaller the difference in the size or the number of categories of affs, the better the arguments for reasonability become, and the more likely I’ll end up voting aff. If you want to control the direction of this debate, a comparative case list (their interp affs – your interp affs) goes a long way. For the aff, go through that list and explain why some of the affs either don’t meet that burden, are terrible and don’t represent a small burden, or the number of affs listed represents a small fraction of the number of affs on the topic.


This is nothing new, but the team that controls the Framework debate, usually controls the debate – if I should be evaluating your representations, or pedagogy, or whatever first, then the permutation has probably been poisoned, footnoted, sidelined, unless the link is actually very weak, or the aff is fairly in line with the K. It also means that the terminal impact of a teams representations are probably important to evaluate. How you do impact calculus is up to you, but I definitely should know why the world of the K is preferable, or vis versa.

For affs, I think by the 2AR you should focus either on a permutation heavy, or an impact heavy strategy, depending on the aff. You know your affs strengths better than I do, so you should probably be set up to take one path or the other.


A good counterplan debate is a good debate, but the quality of the debate is (usually) related to the specificness of the counterplan to the aff. If you are reading consult NATO, then some sort of permutation, with some theory would be fairly persuasive. On the other end of the spectrum if there is a pic that’s clearly specific to your aff, which two net benefits that clearly implicate the permutation, then you better have some good offense against the net benefit, a solvency deficit, or a permutation that is equally specific, because I probably won’t be persuaded that that CP is abusive.

I also tend to think that advantage plank counterplans are under-rated, as long as you have cards on the net-benefit with respect to the planks (or if it’s obviously contextualized to the aff). I don’t really believe that a 8 plank CP that can be individually kicked creates a large number of conditional worlds, but multi-plank CP theory can definitely be argued outside the realm of conditionality. Also I have no qualms about kicking the CP after the round if instructed to do so, and the aff doesn't explain why you should be stuck with it.


I don’t actually think this needs a section: If you want to go for one, go for it. Interact with the impacts, and internal links of the aff. Impact calculus, and defense on the advantages are your friend. On the flip side, link and impact turns (but not both) are always a fun debate, and you should establish some level of defense against the DA, then get into impact calculus. Neither side is going to win terminal defense, so don’t forget about impact calculus.


The only reason to reject the team is (probably) conditionality. I think 1 CP and 1 K makes a good 1NC, but I definitely would be willing to vote neg on more than that, or aff on less. Establish the specific, in-round abuse (strategic flexibility, time, etc.), or why it is so important for debate that fewer condo be read, explain how the CI remedies the abuse, and be thorough in the line by line. The neg will always allocate less time to condo then the aff – that means the aff has a somewhat higher thresh hold to reach.

For the neg, have an actually predictable interpretation. I honestly think that “2 CPs and 3 Ks” is the same as “I can read whatever I want”, so you should have to defend that rough model of debate (Obviously you can’t read infinitely many conditional options, and saying you can read whatever you want doesn’t require winning you can read 1000 CPs – but unless you have a real line you can draw, don’t try to). Impact out the debate, and explain why you need your interpretation to resolve your impacts.

If you want to go for something else, you should have strong reasons to reject the team and tell a story in the context of the current debate. If you don’t, even if the neg has a rather paltry response, I’ll probably vote neg.


I think the purpose of Cross-x is to establish arguments, that will be present in future speeches (I don’t think this is revolutionary). Don’t necessarily tip your hand, but do look to establish weak points in your opponents arguments, or set up your own. If you’re going to ask random questions, your speaker points will suffer.

Please be respectful of your opponent, and their arguments. You can be assertive, and even a little forceful towards their arguments, but you should always be civil.

Speaker Points

I think that the range of speaker points being basically 29.85 to 29.99 is silly but I can’t change that. I also, frankly, have no clue what the range should be. I have, however gone through the most recent Wake Forest tournament (-1HL) and collected this information:

Percentage -> Points

0% -> 29.3

10% -> 29.1

20% -> 28.9

30% -> 28.8

40% -> 28.7

50% -> 28.6

60% -> 28.6

70% -> 28.5

80% -> 28.3

90% -> 28.2

100% -> 27.7

If you think this may indicate that speaker points have become absurd I agree with you. If you think there is something wrong, or that the rating system is wrong, feel free to talk to me before the round – I’ll weigh what you have to say (and getting your opponents to agree with you helps), as well as contact other current debaters.

Bee Smale Paradigm

7 rounds

Bee Smale

They/Them pronouns

4 yrs - East Kentwood High School

4 yrs - Indiana University

Current - GTA @ Wayne State University, Argument Coach @ Little Rock Central

Yes on the email chain:

New Philo Pre Shirley 2018

Im seeing a lot more diverse debates and my thoughts on framework have also shifted so I have some new stuff to add. I'm becoming increasingly agnostic on content, so my comments here are mostly limited to strategy and form.

1) Do More Impact Calc - almost every decision I have given this year has started out with a suggestion for both teams to do more impact calc. Please.

2) Circumvention has been highly underutilized in front of me on both the College and High School Topic

3) Policy Aff Framework against the K should focus exclusively on substantive defenses of policy making - I do not find the "we get the aff because fairness and their alt is sad because we dont want to debate it" flavor of aff framework persuasive because you have guaranteed offense from the 1ac.

4) Policy framework on the neg - theory args like fairness or clash are fine on the neg and often necessary to establish offense. No guaranteed 1nc offense means fairness can become an impact

5) Slow down for theory - its in everyones philo, but I didn't really do theory debates (except framework) when I debated so I need a little more time to flow. Only condo is a reason to reject the team, everything else is a reason to reject the arg. I will judge kick by default, unless told not to at some point before the 2AR.

6) Organization - try to stick to flow order, makes flowing easier.

7) Zero risk is possible, but only if your defensive arg is terminal - probabilistic defense reduces risk but cant eliminate it.

8) K affs should question the claim that the rez is the locus of predictability for tournament research.

9) Framework is engagement, not policing. You K of framework should be about the substance of their arg not that they read framework against you. Note - this doesn't mean framework isn't violence/violent, just that I don't think its a literal performance of policing.

10) More specification is always better for your ethos then less

11) Authenticity testing is not fun and I don't want to judge it but do you.

12) Especially on the HS topic - do not ask people to disclose immigration status in a debate round. Its actually super dangerous at a material level especially in the current political climate


I will drop teams for misgendering people. If it happens in the 2ar, I will ask whoever was misgendered if they would like me to consider it in my decision. If I get misgendered, do not expect satisfactory speaker points or fair consideration. Gender dysphoria is a real think that actual makes it materially harder to function when it hits. Sorry?

Adam Smiley Paradigm

4 rounds

Coach at Alpharetta High School 2006-Present
Coach at Chattahoochee High School 1999-2005
Did not debate in High School or College.


General thoughts- I expect debaters to recognize debate as a civil, enjoyable, and educational activity. Anything that debaters do to take away from this in the round could be penalized with lower speaker points. I tend to prefer debates that more accurately take into account the types of considerations that would play into real policymakers' decision making. On all arguments, I prefer more specifics and less generics in terms of argument choice and link arguments. The resolution has an educational purpose. I prefer debates that take this into account and do not go out of their way to moot any real discussion of the topic or try to avoid any real discussion of the merits of the aff. Everything in this philosophy represents my observations and preferences, but I can be convinced otherwise in the round and will judge the arguments made in the round. I will vote on most arguments, but I am going to be very unlikely to vote on arguments that I consider morally repugnant (spark, wipeout, malthus, cancer good, etc). You should avoid these arguments in front of me.

K- I am not a big fan of kritiks. This does not mean that I will not vote for kritiks, and I have become more receptive to them over the past few years. However, this does mean a couple of things for the debaters. First, I do not judge as many kritikal rounds as other judges. This means that I am less likely to be familiar with the literature, and the debaters need to do a little more work explaining the argument. Second, I may have a little higher threshold on certain arguments. I tend to think that teams do not do a good enough job of explaining how their alternatives solve their kritiks or answering the perms. Generally, I leave too many rounds feeling like neither team had a real discussion or understanding of how the alternative functions in the round or in the real world. I also tend towards a policy framework and allowing the aff to weigh their advantages against the K. However, I will look to the flow to determine these questions. Finally, I do feel that my post-round advice is less useful and educational in K rounds in comparison to other rounds.

T- I generally enjoy good T debates. Be sure to really impact your standards on the T debate. Also, do not confuse most limiting with fair limits. Finally, be sure to explain which standards you think I as the judge should default to and impact your standards.

Theory-I am willing to pull the trigger on theory arguments as a reason to reject the argument. However, outside of conditionality, I rarely vote on theory as a reason to reject the team. If you are going for a theory arg as a reason to reject the team, make sure that you are impacting the argument with reasons that I should reject the team. Too many debaters argue to reject the team without any impact beyond the argument being unfair. Instead, you need to win that it either changed the round in an unacceptable way or allowing it changes all future rounds/research in some unacceptable way. I will also tend to look at theory as a question of competing interpretations.I feel that too many teams only argue why their interpretation is good and fail to argue why the other team’s interpretation is bad.Also, be sure to impact your arguments. I tend towards thinking that topic specific education is often the most important impact in a theory debate.I am unlikely to do that work for you. Given my preference for topic specific education, I do have some bias against generic counterplans such as states and international actor counterplans that I do not think would be considered as options by real policymakers. Finally, I do think that the use of multiple, contradictory neg advocacies has gotten out of hand in a way that makes the round less educational. I generally believe that the neg should be able to run 1 conditional CP and 1 conditional K. I will also treat the CP and the K as operating on different levels in terms of competition. Beyond that, I think that extra conditional and contradictory advocacies put too much of a burden on the aff and limit a more educational discussion on the merits of the arguments.

Disads- I generally tend towards evaluating uniqueness as the most important part of the disad debate. If there are a number of links and link turns read on a disad debate, I will generally default towards the team that is controlling uniqueness. I also tend towards an offense defense paradigm when considering disads as net benefits to counterplans. I think that the politics disad is a very educational part of debate that is my favorite argument to both coach and judge. I will have a very high threshold for voting on politics theory. Finally, teams should make sure that they give impact analysis that accounts for the strong possibility that the risk of the disad has been mitigated and tells me how to evaluate that mitigation in the context of the impacts in round.

Counterplans-I enjoy a good counterplan debate. However, I tend to give the aff a little more leeway against artificially competitive counterplans, such as consult counterplans. I also feel that a number of aff teams need to do more work on impacting their solvency deficits against counterplans. While I think that many popular counterplans (especially states) are uniquely bad for debate, I have not seen teams willing to invest the time into theory to help defeat these counterplans.

Calling for cards- I prefer to read as few cards post round as possible.I think that it is up to the debaters to give clear analysis of why to prefer one card over another and to bring up the key warrants in their speeches.

Joe Smith Paradigm

4 rounds

Policy Maker is my paradigm. As such, I regularly vote negative on counterplans and am not biased against a team that goes for it in the 2NR. I like all kinds of counterplans and the key in my paradigm is a net benefit that would outweigh affirmative advantages. I will vote negative on topicality especially if the negative clearly has won the line by line debate on it. Clarity on the line by line is essential for an argument to be won. I enjoy fast debates and can keep up with most clear debaters. You should know at what speed your speech becomes unintelligible and adjust so clarity is maximized. The only type of arguments that I do not like are Kritiks as these are rarely done well and most often devolve a policy debate round into a philosophical mash with little clarity. As an alternative to a Kritik, I would suggest a counterplan which would demonstrate a policy that would create whatever "alternative" you want thus allowing this policy making judge the ability to select the best policy available in the round.


Debated 4 years of Policy in High School (St. Edward, Ohio)

Debated 3 years of Policy in College (John Carroll University CEDA)

Coached 1 year of Policy at Sophia University (Tokyo, Japan)

Coached 2 years of Policy at Queens' College (NY, NY)

Judged Policy Debate 24 years

Nick Smith Paradigm

1 rounds

Not Submitted

Ashton Smith Paradigm

4 rounds

Ashton Smith, second year undergraduate student at the University of Michigan

I debated four years in High School at Maine East in Park Ridge, IL on the national circuit and I currently debate for the University of Michigan. As a debater, most of my experience has been reading "policy"-oriented arguments. My senior year of high school, I advanced to octofinals of the Tournament of Champions. I’ve spent lots of my time in high school reading "kritikal" literature, but less experienced in its application to debate.

I know minimal things about this high school topic but I did work at the University of Michigan debate camp as a lab leader for MNDI.

General notes:
-- I'm a technical, flow-oriented judge who will attempt to adjudicate the debate with as minimal intervention as possible on my part. Dropped arguments are (usually) true arguments. I appreciate tricky concessions that interact with other parts of the debate.
-- I think case-focused debates are the most interesting debates. I love impact turns and I think in-depth case analysis can substantially help negative strategies and affirmative wins against off case positions.
-- Put me in the email chain:

I consider myself a good judge for T. I really enjoy technical, well-defended interpretations of the topic. Case lists and arguments on what various interpretations would allow/not allow are very important. I’m persuaded by reasonability as an alternative to offense/defense evaluation of topicality debates. I do not immediately view any interpretation with a limits standard as the best interpretation for any topic.

Intelligent story telling with good evidence and analysis is something I like to hear. I generally will vote for teams that have better comparative impact analysis (i.e. they take into account their opponents’ arguments in their analysis). I think it is possible to reduce risk to zero or close enough to it based on defensive arguments.

Counterplans are good and strategic. Read them. Debate them. I do have some issues with some PICs, Process CPs and other questionably justifiable positions.

I really enjoy well-articulated kritiks that directly interact with the affirmative. I enjoy kritiks most when they’re read against kritikal affirmatives. In order to win, the negative must establish a clear story about 1) what the K is; 2) how it links; 3) what the impact is at either the policy level or: 4) pre-fiat (to the extent it exists) outweighs policy arguments or other affirmative impacts. Don’t just assume I will vote to reject their evil discourse, advocacy, lack of ontology, support of biopolitics, etc. Without an explanation I will assume a K is a very bad non-unique Disad in the policy realm. If you can make specific applications (in contrast to they use the state vote negative), or better yet, read specific critical evidence to the substance of the affirmative, I will be much more likely to vote for you.

Honestly, probably best not to pref me if this is your style. I’ve spent the majority of negative debates against K affs going for T/Framework. I also personally believe that debate is a game. Therefore, there’s a greater chance that I’ll vote for framework in these debate because I evaluate questions of topicality prior to aff solvency. It is possible to beat T/FW in front of me if you have a well-articulated reason why debate isn't just a game or have in-round offense that's separate from "the 1AC was good".  Other ways to beat framework in front of me include 1) Why I should focus on the affirmative first, even though it’s not within the resolution 2) Why discussions about the impact you probably don’t solve is more important than the education we get in debate. I think counter-interpretations can be VERY strategic by kritikal affirmatives to beat framework. USE THEM.

I’ve developed a liking for theoretical arguments over the years. I’m least persuaded by “conditionality bad” if there are 3 or less conditional positions. When evaluating counterplan, I’m most persuaded by theory when there is not a solvency advocate for the counterplan. I believe that the existence of literature on a topic is important for affirmative preparation.
I also believe that Plan-inclusive Kritiks are probably bad but it’s not an immediate Affirmative ballot. I’ll evaluate both PIKs bad debates and framework on whatever happens in a specific debate.

Tommy Snider Paradigm

7 rounds


Director of Debate at Casady School

Debate is a unique activity that allows for a plethora of arguments, styles, and worldviews (that would traditionally separated by academic discipline or specialization) to clash against one another. Simply put, I love debate for its diversity. I've noticed I have a weird reputation in different parts of the country. National tournaments outside of Texas people assume I'm a K hack because I debated for the University of Oklahoma in college. Yet in Oklahoma and Texas people consider me a framework hack. The truth is somewhere in the middle.

Put me on the e-mail chain: snidert [at] casady [dot] org


General - I’ve been influence by some of the best K coaches in the country and a common theme among them, which has been ingrained in my brain, has been:

“You are a debater, not a philosopher.”

This should be your guiding principle when reading and answering a kritik in front of me. Debaters seem to rely more on jargon than actually doing the work of explaining and applying their argument. Unnecessarily complex kritiks won't get good speaker points (90% of the time you could have just read the cap k).

No overviews on a separate sheet of paper.

Neg - Kritiks, typically, come from literature bases that have robust explanatory power for the way the world/power/violence works, which I don't see many debaters take advantage of. Instead of using this theory as a way to control large parts of the debate, debaters start and stop at "X is the root cause."

I'm not persuaded much by self-serving counter interpretations on framework. There needs to be a very compelling reason to not let the affirmative weigh the plan. That said, most of the reasons why I shouldn't evaluate the plan are typically offense against it. For example while I don't find the FW interpretation "Debate should be about epistemological assumptions" very convincing, I will definitely vote on "the affirmative's plan relies on a flawed epistemology, which results in serial policy failure."

Stop reading Antonio 95.

Affs - The easiest way to beat a kritik is to defend your aff. Don't force yourself to play the neg's game if you don't know what you're talking about.


Condo seems to be getting a bit excessive, but no one goes for condo anymore so I'm sort of stuck with it.

See “tech vs truth” and “On Evidence.” If your Adv/DA isn't logically consistent then I probably won't vote for it. You should interrogate evidence quality and author qualifications (applies to advantages too).

On Evidence

Evidence quality and consistency is really important to me. Teams should point out when evidence is really bad (looking at you politics DA).

Tech vs Truth

I think of this as more of a continuum as opposed to a binary. I lean more towards truth than tech. For example, I have a higher threshold for arguments like “climate change not real” than “plan doesn’t solve climate change.” I traditionally evaluate the debate in offense/defense paradigm. There is a such thing as a 0% risk.

K affs/T-FW

I enter every debate with the assumption that the resolution is going to play a role in the round. What role it plays, however, is up for debate. I really enjoy “clash of civilizations” debates. I don’t have a preference between skills or fairness standards.

Common reasons I vote aff on FW:

The Neg goes for too many “standards”/"DAs"/whatever-youre-calling-them in the 2NR.

The Neg doesn’t even try to engage the aff’s 2AC to FW.

Stop reading Antonio 95. Yes the second time was intentional.

Common reasons I vote neg on FW:

The Aff doesn’t have an offensive reasons why the TVA is bad.

The Aff doesn’t even try to engage the neg’s standards on FW.


I only flow what I hear, I won't use the doc to correct my flow. If I don't catch an argument/tag because you're too unclear then ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Guaranteed 30 if you’re paper debate team #PaperDebate

My facial reactions will probably tell you how I feel about your arg.

I won't flow the overview on a separate sheet of paper. Bad.

You should wear pants and a shirt while you debate.

Jordana Sternberg Paradigm

3 rounds

Director of Debate at Westminster, former lawyer, college debater before that -- but slow it down a little if you want your arguments to make it to my flow, which is usually on paper.

I know VERY LITTLE about the arms sales topic, and I don't know the nuances of any T arguments. Don't assume, and explain well.

Put me on the email chain at

Quick thoughts:

1) Make your speeches flowable. I can listen and flow as fast as you can speak but not if you are reading pre-written blocks at top speed with no breaks or changes in inflection. If you're going to read blocks, try to at least pretend you're not reading blocks by having breaks between arguments, emphasizing tags, slowing it down a little on analytics, etc. You are also a lot more likely to hold my attention to details and help me not miss stuff that way. I will reward your speaker points if you do a good job of this.

You would be shocked at how many "good" judges think the same thing about block-reading and the above advice, and how little some judges are flowing, or even catching, of what you think you said.

2) I disagree with approaches that make the personal identity of the debaters in the round relevant to the decision in the debate, especially for high-school-aged students, and I am also not a good judge for these debates because I often do not understand what the judge is being asked to vote for. This does not mean you can't read K arguments or arguments about race or identity, in fact there are many K arguments that I think are true and make a lot of sense, I just don't think a teacher should in the position of ratifying or rejecting the personal identity or experiences of a teenager.

3) "Death good" arguments can be a reason to reject the team.

4) There needs to be a fair stasis point in order to have good debates. Debate is good.

5) Theory: You are really taking your chances if you rely on a sketchy CP that requires winning a lot of theory, because I do not spend a lot of time outside of debate rounds thinking about theory. I can't tell you which way I will come down on a particular theory issue because it usually depends on what is said -- and what I flow -- in that particular round. This applies to T debates and other theory debates too.

6) If it is pretty close between the CP and the aff (or even if it isn't close), you need to give some really clear comparative explanations about why I should choose one over the other -- which you should do for any judge but make sure you do it when I'm judging.

7) I really dislike high theory and post-modernism in debate.

8) Reading cards to decide the debate: For many years I tried to judge without looking at the speech documents during the speeches, but I have recently concluded that is unrealistic because there is an entire additional level of the debate that is happening between the debaters in the speech documents. I don't think it should be that way, but I understand why it is happening. However, if the claims made about a card or set of cards are uncontested by the opponent, I am likely to assume when deciding the debate that the cards say what their reader claimed they say rather than reading both sides' cards or any of the cards.

9) I am not at all deep in the files and evidence especially for most neg arguments, so I am really judging the debate based on what you say and what your cards say as you present them in the round.

9) Links and impact calculus are really, really important, especially in the last rebuttals. However, I think lengthy pre-written overviews are not as good as 2NR/2AR (and prior) explanations based on what actually happened in the particular debate.

Brandon Stras Paradigm

7 rounds


I am a disabled, bi Jew that wholeheartedly supports American hegemony. Please, show me China War Good, Baudrillard, disads derived from Milton Friedman's smirk, and/or probability-first framing. Refusing to utilize my angry and badly trimmed eyebrows as a resource is a bad move. I am a grumpy and expressive judge, so look at me.

College debate has indoctrinated me for a year. Consequently, I have adopted a more truthy mindset. This mindset has an uncomfortable implication: what's flowed on my excel sheet always receives preponderant deference, but that has some limits. Idiotic arguments can be defeated by mere analytics and two-line cards—unless those idiotic arguments have immaculate evidence backing it. Spin is okay, but I read cards as the round goes, and so I often detect bold lies. While perceiving bold lies does not often influence my decision, it makes me even more grumpy and expressive.

If I don't write about something below, I don't have strong feelings about it.

University of Michigan '22

Wayzata '18

Sabes JCC Pre-K '05

Add me to the chain.

In return, I'll send out my flows after the round.

Framework: fairness or bust?

I lean 60/40 in favor of framework.

People should stop reading skills and topic education in front of me because it makes victory less likely. Here's my hierarchy of neg offense: fairness > clash > the garbage.

Kaffs almost always outweigh on magnitude if granted a causal link. I don't strongly prefer impact-turning over counter-defining the resolution, but I need to understand the aff offense in the 2AC, not just the 1AR and 2AR. That might mean slowing down and over-explaining arguments.

Clarity over speed—and I mean it.

The floor for clarity is that I can understand the card text while reading along. I have no zero qualms yelping "clear" at you. It's to your advantage, not mine. It helps me piece together your arguments.

My response to the soft-left invasion.

I have about as much agnosticism concerning "existential risks first" as my Judaism (so a lot). I am okay—perhaps even good—for soft left affs. Unfortunately, teams rarely spend the entire contention impact-turning the notion existential risks come first/magnitude outweighs probability, see [1] or [2]. Please exclude the throwaway garbage like random Security K cards. In my eyes, the neg could concede them and still win.

I am aff-biased on counterplan theory.

Solvency advocates—pieces of evidence that make a normative judgment about whether a certain actor should do a certain action—often determine counterplan legitimacy. The more case-specific, the more the neg gets to abuse the aff. That's arbitrary, but I can read.

Generic process CPs waste the round. I will vote on them, but I would rather vote for perm do the counterplan or that it's abusive.

I am neg-biased on conditionality, but...

Condo is good and probably infinite. This comes with two caveats:

First, if the neg gets conditionality, then they should use it to execute consistent strategies. Contradictions are gross.

Second, by default, I don't judgekick. When prompted, I do. When equally debated, I lean affirmative.

I closely read topicality evidence.

I don't have a lot of feelings about arms sales yet because I haven't followed it closely.

However, if I employ judge intervention anywhere, I admit that it is evaluating topicality. Because precision is an intoxicating impact, I read every card closely.

Many arguments are stupid.

As a disabled person, I struggle to understand how calling an argument stupid is a voting issue. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Margaret Strong Paradigm

5 rounds

Quick Q&A:

Yes, include me on the doc chain –

No, I am not ok with you just putting the card in the text of the email

Idk if the aff has to read a plan. I would obviously prefer it, but I also would prefer if I were in for zero rounds, so…

The longer version:



-I’ve never judged a planless debate where the neg has not gone for framework.

-I generally went for framework against planless affirmatives when I debated, and therefore am a bit deeper on the neg side of things.

-I don’t think topicality, or adhering to a resolution, is analogous to rape, slavery, or other atrocities.

-I don’t think that not being topical will cause everyone to quit, lose all ability to navigate existential crisis, or other tedious internal link chains.

-I would really prefer if people had reasonable arguments on topicality for why or why they don’t need to read a plan, rather than explaining to me their existential impact to voting aff or neg.

-I find myself persuaded that the case can not outweigh topicality. Arguments from the case can be used to impact turn topicality, but that is distinct from “case outweighs limits” in my mind.

-if you choose to pref me, that’s on you. Blow me up and I might blow back.

Neg K v plans:

-Generally, the alt won’t solve

-Generally, the alt doing the plan is a reason to reject the alt/team

-Generally, contradictions justify severance

-Generally, the neg is allowed to read Ks

K v K debate:

Wow, you might be the first to be judged by me in this situation. Congrats! Also sorry! I have no clue what if I’m supposed to judge differently, but I tend to find myself thinking of things in terms of causality, so if that’s not your jam you gotta tell me not to think in that way.

K stuff in general:

-My degree is in math. While y’all were reading a lot of background lit, I was doing abstract algebra. You might have to break it down a bit.

-I am more persuaded by identity or constructivism than post modernism.

-I do not recommend reading Baudrillard, Bataille, etc.



-Tell me if I can (or can’t!) kick it for you. I may or may not remember to if you don’t. I may or may not feel like you are allowed to if you don’t.

-Reading definitions of should means the perm or theory are in tough shape. Its not unwinnable, but I was a 2A…

-Links to the net benefit is usually a sliding scale. But sometimes links have a certain threshold where it doesn’t matter which links less. Please consider this nuance when debating.


-TBH – y’all blaze through theory blocks with no clarity and then get confused when I have no standards written down. These debates are bad. Be more clear. Speak at a flowable pace. Maybe make your own arguments. Idk.

-It is debatable whether an argument is a reason to reject the argument or team. Except conditionality…that makes no sense.


-Yes, there can be zero DA. No, it’s not as common as you think.

-answer turns case!!!


-There is a lot uncovered here… at least I finally updated it from 2012 ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Bajeel Syeda Paradigm

7 rounds


Explain your aff to me. Tell me why whatever you do is good and what exactly you solve. Explain your impact to me, what does the Plan solve for and why would the SQUO be bad. When I determine who will win I look at the impact and how you solve. I look at what the plan does and normally look at the link debate to see what the negative effects of the aff could be. Use this round to tell me a story about your aff. Please don't drop T.


DON'T DROP CASE. If you want to read 5 off by all means go ahead but make sure you get to case.


They can be a good way to win the round if you explain it well. I want a clear link and impact.


Explain your net ben and your DA, I shouldn't have to think about it very hard. Explain your perm to me, why does the perm solve or why can the perm not function.

T and Theory:

T: a great tool. utilize it. If the aff is really untopical call them out and explain why it is unfair. If you tell me that their not topical and why that's bad for the neg and can convince me theyre unfair I'll vote for you.

Theory: tell me specifically how the perm works and talk about. I will probably not use this as a big tool for my decision but it might help you if both teams are at an equal level. I will probably not vote on condo unless there are 3 or more worlds, in which case you need to tell me that.


If you're reading a K explain it to me. Tell me a story about why your K o/w and is more important. Explain buzzwords to me, pretend you're talking to a 6-year-old and explain those words to me before you start using fancy jargon. If you want to read the Death K go ahead but explain why death is good (i'm not opposed to this and will listen to it). Identity K's are my thing that being said I won't vote for you if you don't explain it to me and tell me why your K o/w case and why you solve for case as well (if you're making that arg). Please do not forget framing. BOTH the aff and neg need a Role of the Ballot. Explain the alt to me in depth, i've seen many teams just rereading the tag of the alt card not knowing what the alt is, that will hurt you. Do not drop theory, it is very important.

To get high speaks:
1. Be clear on your cards. If, despite my training, I would not be able to comprehend your cards without seeing the speech doc, you lose a point or two on the spot, and if you're egregious even after I say "clearer" i likely wont evaluate the card. Being especially clear on cards will be rewarded.

2. Argue and extend warrants, not tags. This applies even to your opponent's arguments. Figure out the warrant to their argument by reading the card for it, then answer them on that level instead of just denying the tag of their argument. Almost all of your arguments should be comparisons of the warrants, quals, and assumptions of your evidence against theirs. It's not good if you're taking little to no prep to read your opponent's evidence, and I can see it. If you mishandle the processing of the debate because you weren't anticipating and dealing with the substance of the arguments, you lose another point or two.

3. Make historical analogies and predictions. I expect you to color your arguments as the debate goes on with relevant examples from history that support your conclusions and to outline some specific, plausible impact scenarios for your arguments. The real stuff we deal with in debate are ideas, not mere tags and cards. Coloring and animating your ideas will be rewarded with at least a half point, and more importantly with deference during my evaluation of the flows. That being said don't give inaccurate facts just for the sake of having a historical example.

4. Thoroughly refute. Be proactive about keeping the 1nc-case and 2ac-offcase orders of arguments, and reference those even if your opponent is wavering on that order. If the debate itself is becoming unwieldy, with too much going on to address everything, then it's time to do some argument selection and simplify the debate. Embedded clash usually works for me since it's actually processing the debate at a high level.

5. A good netflix recommendation can get you +.5 points smile

Overall debating comments:

If you are unclear and too fast I will stop flowing (I won't be on the email chain so be very careful)

If you are rude to the other team/your partner/judge you will not get above a 27.5 no matter how good of a debater you are. Be nice to each other, you're not enemies. you're here because a computer matched you up. Make friends and please don't yell at each other during the round (ie in CX) but also please don't be really quite either.

Don't take my immediate reaction as an indicator for if you're right or not. Most of the time I'm probably reacting to a notification on my laptop or at my spelling skills (or lack thereof)

Please dont ask me to keep your prep/speech time (I might keep prep but most probably not speech time) or if you can run an argument or if you should run _____ argument

If you want more info ask me before the round I might have forgotten some stuff.

Please dont call me judge. My name is Bajeel (Ba-jeel). Also please dont shake my hand or give me hug

Good Luck I hope you all do well

Matthew Tan Paradigm

7 rounds

Matthew Tan

I debated at Lexington High School for 3 years

Please put me on the email chain:


Tech > Truth

Please slow down instead of trying to spread 500 wpm. My ears are not the greatest and slowing down will allow me to flow your arguments better.

Spin (explanation) > Ev, to a degree

I was a 2a, which means I follow more of a 2a perspective on issues like theory.

I prefer well developed arguments over shotgunned speeches.

Please do line by line and it will be much easier for me to flow you. No 4 minute overviews and then saying "I did that in the overview"


I am not very well versed with Immigration policy. I won't know any of the jargon or abbreviations on this topic. It may be wise to simplify your explanations in front of me.

I understand that camp files are limited and also that everyone is trying out new arguments. While, I obviously have biases against certain arguments, you should read what you would like to practice. I will do my best to evaluate the round in front of me and provide appropriate advice. Nevertheless, judge adaptability is also an important skill so you could disregard this statement.


K affs: I am probably not the best judge for these affirmatives. I always defended a plan text and went for traditional policy neg arguments like politics. I frequently went for fw versus k affs. This does not mean I will immediately vote you down if you read a k aff; however, it does mean that I better understand the arguments that teams going for fw/t will be trying to make and also means that I will require a higher bar of explanation for k affs than you are probably used to doing.

Ks: Really did not touch Ks very much either. Besides neolib, my understanding in critical literature is very limited and I am going to understand traditional aff arguments that plan text teams against Ks much better. Going for the K will require a high level of explanation. I generally feel a good portion of K link cards I have run into are extremely generic and not aff specific. I will probably be much more persuaded by aff specific ks. I particularly am undereducated with pomo, baudrillard, bataille, dng, psycho, etc.

T: Most of my 1nrs last year consisted of extending T or a politics DA. I will default to competing interps, unless told otherwise. Going for T is perfectly fine in front of me.

DAs: I enjoy a in-depth da debate regardless of whether or not it is a generic with specific link ev or an aff specific da. Impact calc is very helpful. Many DAs are still foolish and can be beaten by rehighlighting neg ev or even smart analytics. Smart analytics > card dumping.

CP Theory: I'm not great for process CPs
Aff Leaning: Process, Delay, Word PICs, 2NC Cps
Neg Leaning: PICs and especially PICs out parts of the plan
Context Specific: Consult/Condition

Condo: This is up in the air for the debate.

DON'T discriminate, misdisclose, be disrespectful in cx/ speeches, or clip cards.

I will not vote on anything that happens outside of the round. I believe it is outside of my jurisdiction and should be brought to the attention of the tournament heads.

For Speaks/Impressing Me

Everything I said under general

Giving final rebuttals off the flow

Re-highlighting evidence

Humor with a purpose

Speech Efficiency

Ashley Thurber Paradigm

7 rounds


-Please flow. It makes it easier for me to flow.

-Time your own prep and speeches.

-Don't be rude to your partner or the other team.

-Try to use all of your speech time.

-Give a roadmap before your speech and stick to it.


-I like them. I think they're good arguments to make. If you read one, make sure you understand it and how it functions. Make sure it's competitive and that it has an external net benefit.


-I like these too. Make sure you understand the internal link chain of your DA and have a decent impact card. Specific links are good too, so if you have them, read them.


-I'm familiar with Ks, but I didn't read them very much. I will vote on a K, but as with any argument, you need to explain it.


-I will vote on T if it is extended throughout the round. Make sure you explain the voting issues, your interpretation, why it's better for debate, and why the aff violates your interpretation.

Speaker Points:

I don't generally give below 27.5 speaker points. That being said, if you're rude to your partner or your opponents or if you say something offensive, you will get less than that.

Misty Tippets Paradigm

5 rounds

Debated 4 years at Weber State University (2013-2017)

Four time NDT Qualifier, 2017 NDT Octa-Finalist, 2015 CEDA Quater-Finalist

Currently a Graduate Assistant at James Madison University

I believe debate is for the debaters, I am happy to listen to whatever your argument is and will do my best to adapt to you so you don’t have to change the way you debate. I would much rather you do what you are comfortable with than read an argument just because you think it is something I would prefer to hear. I debated for 8 years and have read and coached all different kinds of arguments, so you should feel comfortable doing whatever you want in front of me. Everything else I’m going to say is just my preference about debate arguments and doesn’t mean that my mind can’t be changed. The last thing I'll say here is the most important thing for me in debates is that you defend your arguments. You can read almost anything in front of me as long as you can defend it. I decide the debates based off of what is on my flow, and nothing else.

Critical Affirmatives – I believe affirmatives should have a relation to the resolution, but I think there are many different interpretations as to what that can mean. To get my ballot with a non-traditional affirmative you must justify why your discussion/performance is a better one for us to have than talking about the resolution or why the resolution is bad. I am sympathetic to arguments that the negative needs to be able to engage the affirmative on some level, and I don't think that "they could read the cap K" is good ground. Counter interpretations are important on framework and will help me frame your impact turns. To win your impact turns to any argument I think the affirmative should have some mechanism to be able to solve them. Overall, I think it is important for any affirmative to actually solve for something, having a clear explanation starting from the 1AC of how you do that is important, and that explanation should stay consistent throughout the debate.

Framework – I think negative framework arguments against critical affirmatives are strategic and love to listen to thought out arguments about why the resolution is an important form of education. Fairness and ground are also impacts I will vote on and I perceive them as being important claims to win the theory of your argument. I am easily compelled that the negative loses ground when a non-topical affirmative is read, and having a list of what that ground is and why it is important is helpful when evaluating that debate. Even if you don't have cards about the affirmative it is important that you are framing your arguments and impacts in the context of the affirmative. If your FW 2NC has no mention of the affirmative that will be a problem for you. I view topical versions of the affirmative and switch side arguments as an important aspect to win this debate.

Kritiks – As I reached the end of my debate career this is the form of debate I mostly participated in which means I will have a basic understanding of your arguments. My research was more in structural critiques, especially feminism. I have dappled in many other areas of philosophy, but I wouldn’t assume that I know a lot about your Baudrillard K, so if that is your thing explanation is important. If you have an alternative, it is important for you to explain how the alternative functions and resolves your link arguments. I would prefer links specific to the affirmative over generic links. I am not a huge fan of links of omission. You will do better in front of me if you actually explain these arguments rather than reading your generic blocks full speed at me. In method v method debates I think you need to have a clear explanation of how you would like competition to function, the sentence "no permutations in a method debate" doesn't make sense and I think you need to have more warrants to why the permutation cannot function or wouldn't solve.

For affirmatives answering critiques, I believe that impact turns are highly useful in these debates and are generally underutilized by debaters. I don't think permutations need to have net benefits, but view them as just a test of competition. However just saying extend "perm do both" isn't an acceptable extension in the 1AR and 2AR, you should explain how it can shield the links. As for reading framework on the aff against a critique, it will be very hard for you to convince me that a negative team doesn’t get the critique at all, but you can easily win that you should be able to weigh the impacts of the 1AC.

Counterplans – Please slow down on the text of the CP, especially if it is extremely long. I am fine with anything as long as you can defend it and it has a clear net benefit. If I can't explain in my RFD how the counterplan solves majority of the affirmative or its net benefit then i'm probably not going to vote for it, so start the explanation in the block.

Disadvantages – I enjoy a good disad and case debate with lots of comparison and explanation. I would much rather that you explain your arguments instead of reading a bunch of cards and expecting me to fill in the holes by reading all of that evidence, because I probably won’t.

Topicality - I really don't have a strong opinion about what it is and isn't topical and think it is up to you to explain to me why a particular aff makes the topic worse or better. I tend to have a pretty low standard of what it means to be reasonably topical.

Theory - I generally think conditionality is good. Other than that I really don't care what you do just be able to defend your arguments.

Finally, as I becoming older and more grumpy I am getting increasingly annoyed about stealing prep and random down time in between speeches. That doesn't mean you aren't allowed to use the restroom, just be respectful of my time. I will reward time efficiency between speeches with better speakers points. Especially if you can send the email before prep time is over. These are my preferences

--If a speaker marks the speech document and the other team wants the marked document that should happen after CX during prep time. If the other team cannot wait until after CX then they can take prep time to get the cards

--If a speak reads a cards that were not in the speech document and needs to send them out the speaker will take prep time before CX to send out the necessary evidence.

--CX ends when the timer is over. Finish your sentence quickly or take prep time to continue CX

I would like to be on the email chain –

Anthony Valiaveedu Paradigm

7 rounds

"Policy Debate is increasingly neither... I do not mind when it is both." - Repko

Debate is a persuasion activity - persuade me.

I am one of the few people around that am more convinced with a link overview in why the affirmative causes the link to occur rather than an impact overview. Note that impact calc still plays an important role in my decision calculus. I also put ev quality in a high standard when looking at questionable evidence post-round.

Conditionality is probably fine, Counterplans that do the plan are probably not.

Yes email chain:

Thomas Vance Paradigm

7 rounds

TLDR : Plans or GTFO

Please Don't:
Be Rude or aggressive towards me, your opponent or your partner

Please Do:
Read a plan
Defend a course of action
Defend your consequences
Have a competitive methodology

Short version- You need to read and defend a plan. I like good debate, I've been blessed to coach and listen to great debaters in the past few years. 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 (doesn't matter if its the K, impact turns or a DA). I don't like to read a ton of evidence and I usually make decisions pretty quick. I do this because I feel like I can see the nexus question of the debate pretty 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 racism, gender, Lacan, baudrillard etc (that shit cray). I tend to find case specific Ks 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" -Hemanth Sanjeev (I totally agree with this wise wise 12 year old.) 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 on the HS level 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

Lauren Velazquez Paradigm

3 rounds

Name : Lauren Velazquez

Affiliated School: Niles North


General Background:
I debated competitively in high school in the 1990s for Maine East. I participated on the national circuit where counterplans and theory were common.

I debated for one year in college at DePaul University.

After college, I coached and supported several teams in Chicago. I ran the debate program at Juarez High School for 4 years (also teaching a debate class in addition to my other classes). My teams were competitive in the Chicago debate league and frequently qualified for elimination rounds and speaker awards.

After leaving classroom teaching, I continued to work with teams and judge for the Chicago Debate League on an Ad Hoc basis for 2 years.

Recently I have stepped back into national circuit debate through helping teams first at Solorio HS then at OPRF in the Chicagoland area.

I now run the policy team at Niles North in skokie where we compete in national tournaments and I work with and am familiar with current arguments including critical affs, framework arguments etc.

When deciding to vote on disadvantages and affirmative advantages, I look for a combination of good story telling and evidence analysis. Strong teams are teams that frame impact calculations for me in their rebuttals (e.g. how do I decide between preventing a war or promoting human rights?). I should hear from teams how their internal links work and how their evidence and analysis refute indictments from their opponents. Affirmatives should have offense against disads (and Negs have offense against case). It is rare, in my mind, for a solvency argument or "non unique" argument to do enough damage to make the case/disad go away completely, at best, relying only on defensive arguments will diminish impacts and risks, but t is up to the teams to conduct a risk analysis telling me how to weigh risk of one scenario versus another.


I will vote on topicality if it is given time (more than 15 seconds in the 2NR) in the debate and the negative team is able to articulate the value of topicality as a debate “rule” and demonstrate that the affirmative has violated a clear and reasonable framework set by the negative. If the affirmative offers a counter interpretation, I will need someone to explain to me why their standards and definitions are best. Providing cases that meet your framework is always a good idea. I find the limits debate to be the crux generally of why I would vote for or against T so if you are neg you 100% should be articulating the limits implications of your interpretation.

Over the years, I have heard and voted on Kritiks, but I do offer a few honest caveats:

I read newspapers daily so I feel confident in my knowledge around global events. I do not regularly read philosopy or theory papers, there is a chance that I am unfamiliar with your argument or the underlying paradigms. I do believe that Kritik evidence is inherently dense and should be read a tad slower and have accompanying argument overviews in negative block. Impact analysis is vital. What is the role of the ballot? How do I evaluate things like discourse against policy implications (DAs etc)

Also, I’m going to need you to go a tad slower if you are busting out a new kritik, as it does take time to process philosophical writings.

If you are doing something that kritiks the overall debate round framework (like being an Aff who doesnt have a plan text), make sure you explain to me the purpose of your framework and why it is competively fair and educationally valuable.

I am generally a fan of CPs as a neg strategy. I will vote for counterplans but I am open to theory arguments from the affirmative (PICs bad etc). Counterplans are most persuasive to me when the negative is able to clearly explain the net benifts and how (if at all) the counterplan captures affirmative solvency. For permutations to be convincing offense against CPs, Affs should explain how permutation works and what voting for perm means (does the DA go away, do I automatically vote against neg etc?)


Tag team is fine as long as you don’t start taking over cross-ex and dominating. You are part of a 2 person team for a reason.

Speed is ok as long as you are clear. If you have a ton of analytics in a row or are explaining a new/dense theory, you may want to slow down a little since processing time for flowing analytics or kritkits is a little slower than me just flowing the text of your evidence.

I listen to cross ex. I think teams come up with a lot of good arguments during this time. If you come up with an argument in cross ex-add it to the flow in your speech.

William Wang Paradigm

7 rounds

About me: I am a freshman at the University of Michigan and I debated at H. H. Dow High School.

Add me to the email chain: william.wang822 at

Arguments that often get covered in these:

K: Absolutely. I have the most experience with neolib & security. Especially for more complicated ones, I will need explanation.

K aff: Also yes, but I may not have as much experience with them as you and the other team would like if it comes down to K vs K.

Framework: I have no issues with it, but you will probably lose because the K aff is designed to beat it, so have another option.

Theory: Don't run (a)spec unless the actor isn't 'the USFG'. Other kinds of commonly-run theory arguments, like T, are okay.

I have a strong appreciation for both policy and K debate, and I don't have a particular preference toward either.

Please ask me questions at any point, and have fun!

Alison Weber Paradigm

7 rounds

Alison Weber

Michigan State University '22

Please put me on the email chain


For extra speaks make jokes about Nate Glancy, Ellie Bennett or Max McCarty

DAs- yes

Ks- I'll vote on the K as long as you win the debate. Links should be specific. Don’t read a bunch of links about the state, liberalism etc and then be surprised if I find the perm or aff outweighs.

T- win the debate, i will vote on it

CPs- Cp's are good, having a solvency advocate never hurts. Condo is also good.

Impact Turns- Yes

David Weston Paradigm

2 rounds

Updated: December 2017

*Update = I prioritize line by line debating when evaluating the comparison of arguments. Teams who decide not to debate in a line by line fashion will have a more difficult time winning my ballot. I think that line by line debating is essential for me to remain objective in the debate. Presuming that an argument in one portion of speech automatically responds to an argument that is somewhere else requires me to use my own inferences in applying argumentation. That is something that I should be avoiding as a judge. I find that this mostly happens in large K debates, where the NEG explains the thesis of their K for several minutes, then groups the debate in ways that aren't logically coherent with the 2AC, and expects me to understand why an argument made at the top/in the overview answers the #10 2AC claim without the NEG stating some comparative application.* 

I'm currently a head coach at New Trier Township High School outside of Chicago, IL. 

Here are some insights into the way I tend to evaluate arguments. Obviously these are contingent upon the way that arguments are deployed in round. If you win that one of these notions should not be the standard for the debate, I will evaluate it in terms of your argumentation.

*Offense/Defense - I'm not sure if I'm getting older or if the quality of evidence is getting worse, but I find myself less persuaded by the idea that there's "always a risk" of any argument. Just because a debater says something does not mean it is true. It is up to the other team to prove that. However, if an argument is claimed to be supported by evidence and the cards do not say what the tags claim or the evidence is terrible, I'm willing to vote on no risk to a negative argument.

*I prefer tags that are complete sentences. The proliferation of one word tags makes it difficult for me to understand the connection between arguments.

*Evidence should be highlighted to include warrants for claims. I am more likely to vote on a few cards that have high quality warrants and explained well than I am to vote on several cards that have been highlighted down to the point that an argument cannot be discerned in the evidence.

*Avoid ad hominem attacks. I would prefer that students attack their opponent's arguments as opposed to their opponent. General rudeness will probably cost you speaker points.

*Arguments require claims and warrants. A claim without warrant is unlikely to be persuasive.

*Performance/Non-traditional Affirmative - I would prefer that the debate is connected to the resolution. My ultimate preference would be for the Affirmative to defend a topical plan action that attempts to resolve a problem with the status quo. I think that this provides an opportunity for students to create harms that are tied to traditional internal link chains or critical argumentation. Teams should feel free to read critical advantages, but I would prefer that they access them through a topical plan action. For example, reading an Affirmative that finds a specific example of where structural violence (based on racism, sexism, heteronormativity, classism, etc.) is being perpetuated and seeks to remedy that can easily win my ballot. Debaters could then argue that the way that we make decisions about what should or should not be done should prioritize their impacts over the negative's. This can facilitate kritiks of DA impacts, decision calculus arguments, obligations to reject certain forms of violence, etc.

Teams who choose not to defend a topical plan action should be very clear in explaining what their advocacy is. The negative should be able to isolate a stasis point in the 1AC so that clash can occur in the debate. This advocacy should be germane to the resolution.

I am not wedded traditional forms of evidence. I feel that teams can use non-traditional forms of evidence as warrants explaining why a particular action should be taken. An Affirmative that prefers to use personal narratives, music, etc. to explain a harm occurring in the status quo and then uses that evidence to justify a remedy would be more than welcome. I tend to have a problem with Affirmative's that stop short of answering the question, "what should we do?" How a team plans to access that is entirely up to them.

*Kritik debates - I like kritik debates provided they are relevant to the Affirmative. Kritiks that are divorced from the 1AC have a harder time winning my ballot. While I do not want to box in a negative's kritik options, examples of kritiks that I would feel no qualms voting for might include criticisms of international relations, economics, state action, harms representations, or power relations. I am less persuaded by criticisms that operate on the margins of the Affirmative's advocacy. I would prefer links based off of the Affirmative plan. Kritiks that I find myself voting against most often include Deleuze, Baudrillard, Bataille, etc.

*Theory - Generally theory is a reason to reject the argument not the team. The exception is conditionality. I find myself less persuaded by conditionality bad debates if there are 2 or less advocacies in the round. That is not to say I haven't voted for the AFF in those debates. I am willing to vote on theory if it is well explained and impacted, but that does not happen often, so I end up defaulting negative. Avoid blips and theory blocks read at an incomprehensible rate. 

*CP's CP's that result in the plan (consult, recommendations, etc.) bore me. I would much rather hear an agent CP, PIC, Advantage CP, etc. than a CP that competes off of "certainty" or "immediacy."

*Case - I'd like to see more of it. This goes for negative teams debating against nontraditional Affirmatives as well. You should engage the case as much as possible.

Other things
*If your strategy is extinction good or death good, genocide good, racism good, patriarchy good, etc. please do all of us as favor and strike me. These arguments strike me as being inappropriate for student environments. For example, imagine a world where a debater's relative recently passed away and that student is confronted with "death good" for 8 minutes of the 1AC. Imagine a family who fled slaughter in another part of the world and came to the United States, only to listen to genocide good. These are things I wouldn't allow in my classroom and I would not permit them in a debate round either. Since I can't actually prevent people from reading them, my only recourse is to use my ballot. 

Hannah Wolfson Paradigm

7 rounds

USN 2017

Michigan 2021

Topic experience: reasonable

TL;DR pre-round version:

Do you, I really don't care.

Email chains over flashing if you can. Yes, I like to be included on those. My email is I don’t take prep for flashing/emailing as long as it’s not excessive.

How I evaluate specific arguments:

Clash debates – I've voted both ways. Take that as you will.

Aff teams: I like it when the aff relates to the resolution in some way. That doesn’t mean you have to have a plan, but talking about the topic might be a good idea.

Neg teams: yes, I'm in the camp that thinks there is a difference between T and FW. Have an impact pls thx.

Kritiks – go ahead.

I understand at least the basics behind a good amount. Still, explaining stuff is always good. Alts are usually underexplained, so lemme know before the 2NR how the alt functions/solves. Floating PIKs are probably not a reason to reject the team. Links of omission are not real links.

On framework, I lean towards weighing the aff, but I can be persuaded otherwise. I'll vote on "K tricks", but you have to do more than just saying the words "fiat is illusory" or "serial policy failure".

Topicality – way more of my 2NRs than I care to admit.

I really like T. That said, being removed from high school has its disadvantages when it comes to evaluating the minutiae of T debates on the HS topic. Avoid too many acronyms, please explain/contextualize things (especially the violation, it sounds obvious but you'd be surprised).

Theory – I’m down

I have no predisposition to sides on theory, but condo's prob the only reason to reject the team. You can win that one condo is bad or 10 condo are good in front of me, it all depends. Please slow down and do line by line on theory, as it makes it easier for me to judge.

Counterplans – Yep

The more specific to the aff the better. Re: where I lean on theory, see the above.

I don't really like judge kicking things unless there's an arg made as to why I should and the aff doesn't answer it (like, I will take "no judge kick because it's unfair" as an answer). Otherwise, if it's in the 2NR, the status quo is no longer an option.

Disads – can't beat the classics.

Don't read things that are racist.

Same with CPs, the more specific the better. Politics is fine I guess. They're probably not bad for debate, fiat probably doesn't solve the link.

That's pretty much it. If you have any other more specific questions, email me or ask me before the round.

Vince Woolums Paradigm

7 rounds

Add me to the email chain:

I debated for Iowa City High 1989-1993 on the prisons, space, and homelessness topics then graduated early. I won lots of rounds and speaker awards. I didn't debate in college because life happened otherwise. I hold BA degrees in English and Political Science with a lot of incomplete Master's level work. I work a full time project management job in the aerospace industry, enjoy bicycling and spending time with my six year old son. Since 2009 I've been the Director of Debate at Iowa City High and enjoy coaching both casual and highly competitive teams. I am very familiar with the arms sales topic.


Policymaker by default. I vote on well constructed, true arguments presented in a technically proficient manner. I'm not the best judge for you if you're an advocacy, narrative, performance, or project team.

Before the Round - VCX:
I'm primarily a policymaker, but I also think stock issues are important. It's my deeply held belief that policy debate requires a plan text and that Affirmative teams should employ the USFG through its subsidiary agencies as actors, as directed by the resolution. My preferences are case debate, counterplan/disad debate, solvency mechanism debate, core K debates.

There is a place for every argument and story, but I'm not convinced that the following belong in policy debate: narratives, performance, personal advocacy, and/or projects. I'm open minded, and don't disinclude the aforementioned out of hand, but if it helps assist in your selection of judge strikes then I don't think I'm very well qualified to judge these debates.

I'm fine with core kritiks, including but not limited to cap/neolib, colonialism, gender, and security, but stray into the margins of philosophy, psychology, semiotics, sociology, etc in front of me at your peril.

I demand in-round decorum. Rudeness and ad hominem fallacy will NOT be tolerated. Debaters who militarize their identity to the point of excluding others will not do well in front of me.

I suppose I'm at odds with the community in that I favor of 'truth over tech', as you will need to win the technical side of debates with truthful arguments to gain my ballot. I can't in good faith hang a ballot on evidence that may be several years old and is no longer a factual representation of the status quo, which is particularly important on this years topic.

You should ask me for clarifications of this entire judge philosophy AND ask any other questions before the round. Absent your questions, I will assume that you have read and understood this philosophy. For example, if you have to ask me "do you take prep for flashing speeches" anytime after the start of the 1AC, well, just don't do that. If you ask me during 1AC CX "hey do you allow tag team CX" then expect your points to suffer. Always ask questions before the round begins. Always. This includes specific questions about my voting threshold etc for any particular arguments you wish to deploy that aren't discussed below.

I prefer you ask and answer your own questions. I require politeness during cross ex. Cross-ex isn't Crossfire.

K's and Framework:

We are participants in policy debate; hence, policy debate briefs -- similar to those that are written to assist theoretical policymakers in making critical policy decisions for the United States federal government -- provide the stasis point for our arguments, which requires scenario analyses geared toward solving real world problems and not simply rejecting or refusing to engage the topic.

That said, I'm fine with kritik debates as long as you articulate the finer points of your argument -- like alternative solvency -- in a way that makes sense without relying on debate jargon. For example, if you stand up in a 1NC and read an IR Fem shell but can't answer any questions about it in cross-ex, then I will not be impressed. If you are taking a theoretical or philosophical/critical approach to the topic, then I find it more engaging when you explain your position in clear, non-debate terms. It demonstrates a level of understanding about the criticism that extends well beyond the debate space, and I support that as an educational endeavor.

Similarly, with framework debates, highlight the advantages or disadvantages to competing methodologies in a clear concise way (no cloud/overview clash, use actual line-by-line) and it becomes a lot easier to vote on framework and/or separately evaluate aff and neg impacts. I'm better with discourse, ethical scholar, reps, and that kind of framework and less okay with meta, ontological, or psych frameworks, the latter mostly outside my studies.

Regurgitating debate jargon on complex academic topics that are (sometimes merely at best) tangential to substantive policy debates does not demonstrate to me that you grasp the underlying issues; instead, it tells me you primarily want to win debates and have selected an esoteric critical and/or theoretical position that other debaters aren't as familiar with in order to do so.

I've seen some fantastic, well organized T debates, and ones that make my head hurt. Go for T, I will vote on it, but keep the refutation and line-by-line clean. I don't have a clear default to competing interpretations or reasonability, so be persuasive. Explain why you meet, or why you're losing ground and exploding limits. I am not persuaded by arguments that disqualify T as a voter or attempt to impact turn T. It's a STOCK ISSUE and always a voter.

Yes please!, but be invested in them. They need solvency advocates that compete with and test the Aff's solvency mechanism. Perms, likewise, test the competitive structures of the counterplan and are therefore legitimate. I'm not persuaded by severance theory because the Aff doesn't garner offense from the perm. Instead of reading severance, spend time actually addressing the competition between the plan and counterplan. Finally, I don't default to any theoretical objections either aff or neg on counterplans, but cheaty counterplans do exist. For example, is your process counterplan part of normal means? If so, then perm probably solves. Is States counterplan bad? Probably not, because devolution of powers is a thing. Have country x do the plan? Tricky ... there are a lot of countries and likely an unfair burden to the Aff to prepare for all of them. Etc, see below.

On the one hand, I prefer not voting on theory; however, if the abuse is egregious, or the claim particularly compelling, then I will vote on it. I have a high threshold for "abusiveness" claims. On the other hand, I can easily be persuaded that Condo is bad if, for example, a 1NC reads six+ off, of which three are conditional counterplans/kritiks, and then the 2N has the audacity to whine about a 'blippy 2AC'. I have, in fact, voted Aff on Condo! Otherwise, no memorable RFD's on theory. While the Aff carries the burden of winning their case, the Neg has a similar burden to shape the discussion. It's my opinion we learn more by digging deeper into a smaller set of arguments rather than learning very little about many.

Speech, CX, and Prep time:
Set up an email chain before the round.

I run a speech and prep timer.

Cross-ex starts when the speech stops, unless either team asks for prep before CX. Prep starts immediately following CX ends unless the next speaker indicates they're ready and a speech has been sent. Otherwise, I stop prep when you have sent the speech. I usually flow CX as it's binding, and I also think CX are the most interesting speeches in debates.

I'm going to get on a soapbox here. If you use Gmail, then be sure the "Undo Send" feature is off. Then, during the time we're all waiting for the speech to arrive - unless you are the speaker setting up a stand for your laptop, taking a drink of water, etc - everyone in the room should be DOING NOTHING. No looking at your flows/backflowing, no typing on the computer. No separating out your 'card doc' from speech doc. There is a terrible amount of mental prep time stolen between starting CX after getting flows together and waiting for emails, etc.

Further, I support tournaments moving forward with "decision time" because these small minutes of delay really drag a tournament. At any tournament with decision time, I will begin the round promptly at the start time regardless of whether a team is present or not.

Generally, I'm fine with speed. I flow on a laptop and type ~80wpm. I'm okay with most things speech-related provided I can audibly differentiate your tags, cards, cites, and analytic arguments. This is particularly true of overviews and 2NR/2AR (see below). The speech act, for all our outside the round research and preparations, is the purpose of debate. Organizing your speech is vitally important to its persuasiveness.

As other paradigms I've recently read point out: 'cloud clash is not a thing' and 50% or more of your speech spent on an overview is just clumsy and unrefined. Do your work on the line-by-line answering the other team's arguments.

Furthermore, I come from a time in debate when people used numbering systems and "line by line" meant answering all the opponents arguments in order. If you use numbering systems, such as on 1NC case "1. No impact: ...", and the 2AC says "off 1NC 1", then I will be mightily impressed and your speaks will increase dramatically. It's so much easier to flow because the Synergy template auto numbers, which is a beautiful thing.

If I need you to speak more clearly, enunciate, slow down, or emphasize your tags, I will call out for it verbally in-round. You get one call out and after that your partner needs to be watching me to make sure I'm capturing what you want me to capture. It's up to you to crystallize your arguments in a meaningful, rhetorical way.

Lastly, judges aren't AI bots, so don't get mad at us when we don't flow every single word of your gale-force word salad overview. Yeah, I type fast, but if your Rate of Delivery is 300 and I'm at ~80wpm, do the math.

The RFD:
Now that you've read this far, in-round experiences account for more than my preconceived notions of debate as stated above, including K's, debate theory, framework, and the topic in general provided you make your case or arguments compelling and don't make me do any of the work on the flow for you.

All things considered, I will render a decision on any well-developed argument.

If you have questions about the RFD, please ask them politely.

29+ speaks:
you probably blew my mind somehow;
you did NOT exaggerate, powertag, under-highlight your evidence, including its warrants;
you made cogent link, internal link, and impact calculus arguments;
you properly refuted the nexus question(s) in the round;
you were really easy to flow, with great intonation, inflection, and cadence;
you focused on speaking coherently instead of technically;
you told a compelling story using well-honed rhetorical devices and true arguments, presented persuasively;
you were polite yet assertive in CX and during your speeches and answered/asked your own questions.

27.5-28.9 speaks:
you did a pretty good job answering all the arguments, but you may have dropped some stuff;
you were too fast or too unintelligible, and didn't adapt to me flowing you;
you didn't do as good a job analyzing arguments as you could have;
you exaggerated your evidence beyond what the author intended, or beyond the warrants you read;
you didn't persuade me, you were snarky or needed your partner's help in CX, etc.

25-27.5 speaks:
you did a poor job refuting arguments, or you dropped whole arguments;
you were unintelligible;
you didn't analyze the arguments or perform a cogent impact calculus;
you used ad hominem arguments or were aggressive either in your speech or CX;
you needed a lot of help answering/asking CX questions.

0-25 speaks
you did something I found egregiously offensive (racism, sexism, other bigotries);
you used fraudulent evidence;
you clipped cards;
you forfeit, or left the debate for any of your own personal reasons.

Pet peeves:
I really don't like when a team interferes with their opponents speech or prep by requesting evidence and/or asking for your flash drive back, or by whispering to your teammate so loudly I can't hear the speaker, or by throwing backpacks, laptop cords around, etc. If these are a problem, then your speaker points will assuredly suffer.

Good luck to all!

Henry Wright Paradigm

7 rounds

Debated 4 years of policy debate at Iowa City High school
Debated 3 years at the University of Iowa (BS Economics)
University of Chicago Masters in Public Policy candidate


I find debates the most interesting when debaters bring new things to the table or have a strong and innovative way to explain their argument. Someone who understands and can apply their links from the cap K or spending DA to the aff specificity is more rewarding than someone struggling to answer basic questions about a more topic-specific argument. With that in mind, if you have spent the time to construct a specific strat please please read it.

Before taking everything I say to heart, Tim Alderete told me something that changed my perspective on reading judge philosophies. He said something to the effect of “Judges ALLWAYS lie. No one ever wants to say they are a bad judge or predisposed to certain arguments. It is your job as debaters to sift through that.” So if you want the truth don't ask me what I like ask people who know me.

1) I find that debate is a game and whoever plays it better wins. I really enjoy good line by line debate but what is often lost is for what ends are your arguments being made. Please have a framework for me to evaluate everyone's arguments. That should help prevent me from intervening arbitrarily.

2) Speed=amount of arguments clearly articulated per second. So make sure you articulate the argument and not just a claim. Moreover, if I can't understand you then I can't flow you and I can't evaluate what you said as an argument.

3) I think that a discussion of the resolution is important. That can be come in many forms but should include an advocacy that answers/engages with the topic.

I want you to enjoy this activity so please ask me for help if you want it.

Matthew Yasuoka Paradigm

7 rounds


1. Uniqueness controls the direction of the link.

2. You can win terminal defense in debate.

3. 2 condo is fine, 3 condo is sketch.

4. I will vote neg on presumption - the aff has to win some offensive justification for whatever its plan, advocacy, performance, etc is. But please remind me if you're neg.

5. Tech over truth.

Big picture:

In my dream debate round I do not have to think as I make my decision because the winning team has clearly articulated voters that demonstrate why they have won. That being said, I try not come into the round with any preconceived notions of what impacts "matter." It's not enough to read your nuke war -> extinction argument because why should I presume that extinction, death, etc. are inherently bad? Thus, it is up to the you to frame the impacts and explain why I should weigh yours a certain way. I also tend to prefer impact analysis that doesn't just say probability 100% Time frame is now, but hashes out the links in relation to the round. It is not enough to prove that X is good or that X is bad, you must win X is better/worse than Y to secure my ballot.


I really enjoy the theory debate. Defining the paramaters of the round and what debate ought to look like is a fascinating exercise that requires lots of thinking about debate as a practice. Theory also gives you the freedom to develop fascinating, brand new arguments. That being said 2 really well reasoned arguments in your shell is better than ten blips. Also if you concede the Counter Interp, I'm pretty inclined to not vote for you on theory. Please explain why theory is a voter. Don't be afraid to impact out to the various frameworks or other flows these types of applications can really earn you speaks and strengthen theory.


TVA is probably important. I'm agnostic on framework permutations. Examples are super important on this flow. You're probably going to be doing better if you cleverly shape your interpretation to at least include some K affs. Portable skills are probably a hot mess. The question of whether or not debate is a game matters to me. If debate is a game, I will evaluate the round differently (ie fairness, limits, etc probably become more important to me), than if it isn't a game. I'm not really a fan of most of the cards by debate authors that say "debate should be X." It's much more interesting to look at what happens when we conceive of debate in a certain way. IE if we debate about policy action what happens? Does that allow us to become more effective activists? Does it challenge the lines of impossibility? Does it lead to better education? Then, I need impact calc. I need to see comparison on impacts and also compare your stories on framework. What happens in your world of debate versus theirs? Really, I think of the interpretation as a plan text about what the debate space should do and accordingly I want to see what happens when the debate space does your plan.


I think my previous paradigm discouraged teams from going for T. I can be persuaded either way on reasonability/competing interps.


I love the K as an argument and it has really shaped my reading and thinking through out my education. That being said, there are a lot of really generic Ks floating around and I am becoming increasingly inclined to punish teams on speaks that cannot explain the K in their own words and don't know their authors. That being said, it is still affs job to answer the K. Bringing in framework and/or theory is almost always a necessity.

Aff's Role:

I'm pretty open to most role's aff wants to set for themselves. Policy? Cool. Performance? Cool. Kritikal? Cool. Project? Cool. Of course, this role is still debatable and how different roles interact with topicality, disads, etc. is debatable as well.

Speaker points:

I distribute them based on how many things you do that I've explicitly stated here, clarity, and strategy. I award speaker points on a range from 27 - 30. Overt racist, sexist, homophobic, anti-black, etc. behavior will drop your speaks substantially.

Austen Yorko Paradigm

7 rounds

*add me to the email chain:

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

*Updated for NDCA*

--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?

--Uniform 50 state fiat is fine.

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

--International fiat is fine in most instances, but it has to be decided by the lit base.

--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.

--I appreciate topicality arguments that are grounded in relevant topic lit but probably lean affirmative. Ev on limits/predictability makes me sympathetic for the neg.

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

Michael Zhang Paradigm

7 rounds

First-year debater at the University of Michigan '22

Debate should be fun and thought-provoking. The ideas and points you make should be made with your own twist. Be authentic. Be funny. Please don't just repeat the same generic structure most teams use to me- teach me something new, open up my eyes to a new way of thought.

I tend to be looser on the flow and have lower pre-requisites for introducing new arguments. I believe that it should be the overall thought process and presentation that wins debates. That said, please don't try to take too many liberties with the rules. I'm generally lax on them, but if I sense that a debater trying to take advantage, I will penalize them for that.

I am unfamiliar with the high school topic. Please be slow with acronyms and avoid any assumptions on what I already know.

I like theory arguments and will weigh them heavily if they are presented well. That said, please only present theory arguments that you can get yourself to buy into.

Please do not be mean or intentionally waste time during cross-x. That's entirely unproductive and takes away from the spirit of debate.

Be funny! I love jokes, good or bad, as long as the delivery's good.

Extra points for any good digs against Ohio State or MSU (just their football teams though)

Matthew Zhu Paradigm

7 rounds

Short Version for email chains.

Truth > tech. That means dropped args don’t have 100% weight so you have to talk it up and explain how much it mitigated some argument. eg an aff dropping they only let in 50% of asylees still solves 50% of their impact.

Some topic familiarity, I’ve judged a couple of tournaments. Fairly involved in umich’s team. I do work for mba.

I’d prefer slower debates. I’d like to understand every word that’s not in a card, and I’d like to be able to understand every word that’s in a card if I listen closely. I have slow fingers.

Bad for K affs, probably bad for Ks. Framework is important, and you should explain what your framework interp means for the debate.

Not a fan of cheap shots. I might go out of my way to avoid voting on them. Impact out theory stuff, and I’m willing. Probably won’t vote on ‘no new affs’ even if its dropped.

Neg counterplans must have a solvency advocate similar to the aff.

I’m big on zero risk. I have a lower bar for a presumption ballot than most I think.

Send out new affs after the 1AC. Don’t remove headers (that’s just weird). You should probably keep analytics but you have plausible deniability if you don’t.

Immigration Thoughts

I have an obscenely aff biased voting record. Maybe debating as a 2A for a couple of years does that to a person. In general I feel like neg strats don’t make a whole lot of sense. When I’ve voted aff, it’s usually because the 2nr time allocation is like 4 minutes on a cp and 1 minute on a da. When I’ve voted neg, it’s usually because the aff either dropped framework, or the neg had a big da.

I label “framing” pages as “farming”. This was a problem when the farm bill da was around.

I don’t think the econ da is racist.

I’ve never judged a t-substantial debate but I think I’d be very good for the neg. Arbitrariness is the hardest part for these, but I think if the neg explains why this particular aff is insubstantial then they’re in a good place.

I don’t think I fare very well in judging plenary powers debates. The impacts are often to vague and nebulous for me to sift through. If it does come down to it, you will probably do better if you focus on the relative importance of internal links instead of trying to get them as big as possible. For instance, if you’re going for “congress fast” it’s better for you to explain why the scenarios that Congress is likely to be fast in are more important or likely than the scenarios where the neg would say they’d be slow rather than say Congress is fast in every instance.

Risk Assessment

Low risk = no risk.

Impact comparison should be extended to internal links, not just the impact.

I find most risk assessment in the final rebuttals uninstructive because they’re unrealistically optimistic. If the first line of the 2nr is “the counterplan solves 100% of the case” you’re not doing yourself any favors.

Try or die is illogical to me. You have to win a reasonable degree of solvency.

Not answering an impact or turns case isn’t fatal. It only matters as much as each step leading up to it. Most impact defense is really internal link defense so the “only impact without defense” framing is usually unpersuasive to me.

Evidence Things

Evidence quality/quals are important. Quals extend to the publication as well as the author.

Recency is not nearly as important. A gerrymandering card from 2017 is not very different from 2018.

I’d prefer if evidence were highlighted in coherent sentences.

No inserting re-highlightings unless the other team’s card was highlighted out of context. “Your ev says alt causes – insert rehighlighting” not okay. “They missed the word ‘not’” okay. I would probably just err on the side of reading the card.

I think inserting articles on minor questions of fact is alright (eg here’s a link to an article that says France has nuclear weapons; last year we admitted [x] number of people under this visa, here’s a link). There’s probably examples of this that I would not be cool with, use at your own caution.


Not very good for the aff on framework debates.

Affs will have a better time if their offense is “reading a topical aff is bad” instead of “a topical aff would be bad”.

I’ve thought that affs would do better if they played defense to the size of the neg’s internal links to fairness.

For the neg, I like a limits argument. I think fairness is an impact.

T and Spec

The college healthcare topic was the best topic ever. A lot of people say there was only 1 topical aff, but there were actually 2.

I got a lot of thoughts on T, but basically go for T more.

Affs should have solvency advocates and answer reasonable spec questions.

I’m bad for “topic education” impacts. I think it’s circular to say your aff is part of the topic because it’s necessary for topic education.

I’m not a fan of how affs shotgun a ton of weak blanket defensive arguments (functional limits check, other words check, states cp checks). You should explain how it solves the neg’s particular grievances.

I’m not a fan of ‘plan text in a vacuum’ type arguments because the topical interpretation of the plan text can be very different from the aff solvency advocate’s proposal.


Not a huge fan of listening to weird small politics DAs (eg about specific people). I’m fine with the mainstream politics disad mainly because I think they’re an important functional limit for affs.

For election type arguments, I am persuaded by the structural type aff arguments (party of the president always loses, it’s all about the economy, etc.)


I think you should have something in mind for each cp plank you introduce. Sometimes people say something along the lines of “haha your at: cp card assumes a cp with just that plank, but not a cp with 10 planks!” and then move on and that’s kind of weird.

If you want me to kick the cp for you, you should specify under what conditions I should (for example, say something like “if you think the cp links to the nb then kick it for us”). If you ask for a cp kick but drop case, that’s probably weird.

I lean heavily aff on counterplans that compete off certainty/immediacy.

I lean slightly neg on conditionality. I’m pretty sure 1 counterplan, 1 K is the only interpretation that is not arbitrary.

I’m very interested in alternative remedies to condo. It seems like voting aff on condo bad is going out of style, so maybe a better middle ground is the aff gets some intrinsic perms?


Be thorough on framework. I often feel its half the debate.

For the neg, you are more likely to win if the 2NR either:

is sufficient to win framework, explains in concrete debate terms what framework means for winning a link, and wins a link


wins that the alt solves some impacts, and the inclusion of the aff makes the alt not solve because of a link

I’m not a great for structural type Ks. I am probably best for cap or security.


I try to say 28 is average but I tend to increment my points in more than tenths of a point.

Things I like:

Good, medium length cards.

Pointing it out when affs mess up how many counterplan combinations there are.

1AR cards

Concise and clear cx answers.

Things I find annoying:

referencing this paradigm

“view the counterplan through the lenses of sufficiency”

“you to go [school]”

“aff has infinite prep”

Things that will make me cringe:

“hard debate is good debate”

Slandering the healthcare topic

Things that will make me stop flowing for a moment:

“writ large” (7)

“age of trump”

David Zin Paradigm

3 rounds

David Zin

Debate Coach, Okemos High School

Quick version: If you want to run it, justify it and win it and I'll go for it. I tend to think the resolution is the focus (rather than the plan), but have yet to see a high school round where that was a point with which anybody took issue or advantage. I like succinct tags, but there should be an explanation/warrant or evidence after them. I do pine for the days when debaters would at least say something like "next" when moving from one argument to another. If you run a critical argument, explain it--don't assume I understand the nuances or jargon of your theory. Similarly, the few critical debaters who have delivered succinct tags on their evidence have been well-rewarded. Maybe I'm a dinosaur, but I can't flow your 55-70 word tag, and the parts I get might not be the parts you want. I think all four debaters are intelligent beings, so don't be rude to your opponent or your partner, and try not to make c-x a free-for-all, or an opportunity for you to mow over your partner. I like the final rebuttals to compare and evaluate, not just say "we beat on time-frame and magnitude"--give me some explanation, and don't assume you are winning everything on the flow. Anything else, just ask.

The longer version: I'm a dinosaur. I debated in college more than 30 years ago. I coached at Michigan State University for 5 years. I'm old enough I might have coached or debated your parents. I got back into debate because I wanted my children to learn debate.

That history is relevant because I am potentially neither as fast a flow as I used to be (rest assured, you needn't pretend the round is after-dinner speaking) and for years I did not kept pace with many of the argumentative developments that occurred. I know and understand a number of K's, but if you make the assumption I am intimately familiar with some aspect of Kato, Taoism, Heidegger, or whoever, you may not like the results you get. Half the time I still struggle to be conversant about what many of these arguments involve unless somebody prompts me (indigenous peoples and nuclear development, anthropocentrism, tech=evil, etc. is far more informative than simply saying Baudrillard or Zizek). Go for the idea/theme not the author.

Default Perspective:

Having discussed my inadequacies as a judge, here is my default position for judging rounds: Absent other argumentation, I view the focus of the round as the resolution. The resolution may implicitly shrink to the affirmative if that is the only representation discussed. If I sign the ballot affirmative, I am generally voting to implement the resolution, and if the affirmative is the only representation, then it is as embodied by the plan. However, I like the debaters to essentially have free rein--making me somewhat tabula rosa. So if you prefer a more resolution focus rather than plan focus, I'm there. I also like cases that have essential content and theory elements (stock issues), but if one is missing or bad, the negative needs to bring it up and win it to win. I do generally view my role as a policy maker, in that I am trying to evaluate the merits of a policy that will be applied to the real world--but that evaluation is being done in a format that has strong gamelike aspects and strong "cognitive laboratory" aspects. As such, I will accept counter-intuitive arguments (e.g. extinction is good), planless affs, etc. and vote on them--although you will have to justify/win such an approach if it is challenged and in many cases there is a bit of a natural bias against such arguments.

I say "absent other argumentation" because if you want me to use another process, I all ears. I'm pretty open-minded about arguments (even counter-intuitive ones), so if you want to run something, either theoretical or substantive, justify it, argue it, and if you win it, I'll vote for it.

Weighing Arguments:

The biggest problem I observed when I did judge college rounds, and at the high school level, is that debates about how I should evaluate the round are often incomplete and/or muddled, such as justifying the use of some deontological criteria on utilitarian grounds. While such consequentialism is certainly an option in evaluating deontological positions, I struggle to see how I'm not ultimately just deciding a round on some utilitarian risk-based decision calculus like I would ordinarily use. I've had this statement in my philosophy for years and no one seems to understand it: if I reject cap, or the state, or racism, or violations of human rights, or whatever because it leads to extinction/war/whatever, am I really being deontological--or just letting you access extinction via a perspective. That fine if that's why you want it, but I think it makes "reject every instance" quite difficult, since every instance probably has solvency issues and certainly creates some low internal link probabilities. If you do truly argue something deontologically, having some sort of hierarchy so I can see where the other team's impacts fit would be helpful--especially if they are arguing an deontological position as well. Applying your position might be helpful: think how you would reconcile the classic argument of "you can't have rights if you are dead, yet many have been willing to give their life for rights". Sorting out that statement does an awful lot for you in a deontology vs. utilitarianism round. Why is your argument the case for one or the other?

Given my hypothesis-testing tendencies, conditionality can be fine. However, as indicated above, by default I view the round as a policy-making choice. If you run three conditional counterplans, that's fine but I need to know what they are conditional upon or I don't know what policy I am voting for when I sign the ballot—or if I even need to evaluate them. I prefer, although almost never get it, that conditionality should be based on a substantive argument in the round, preferably a claim the other team made.

Theory and K's:

I can like both theory args, especially T, when the debate unfolds with real analysis, not a ton of 3-5 word tags that people rip through. Theory arguments (including T) can be very rewarding, and often are a place where the best debaters can show their skills. However, debaters often provide poorly developed arguments and the debate often lacks real analysis. I do not like theory arguments that eliminate ground for one side or the other, are patently abusive, or patently time sucks. I like theory arguments but want them treated well.

I'm not a fan of K's, but they definitely have a place in debate. I will vote on one (and have voted for them numerous times) if two things happen: 1) I understand it and 2) you win it. That's a relatively low threshold, but if you babble author names, jargon, or have tags longer than most plans, you make it much harder for me.

Style Stuff:

As for argument preferences, I'll vote on things that do not meet my criteria, although I dislike being put in the position of having to reconcile two incomprehensible positions. I'll vote on anything you can justify and win. If you want me in a specific paradigm, justify it and win that I should use it. I like a 2ar/2nr that ties up loose ends and evaluates--recognizing that they probably aren't winning everything on the flow.

I don't like to ask for cards after the round, or reviewing the evidence in pocketbox, etc. and will not ask for a card I couldn't understand because you were unintelligible. If there is a debate over what a card really says or signifies, or it seems to contain a nuance highlighted in the round that is worth checking, I may take a look at the evidence.

I traditionally rely on providing nonverbal feedback—if I'm not writing anything, or I'm looking at you with a confused expression, I'm probably not getting what you are saying for one reason or another.

Debate is still a communication activity, even if we rip along at several hundred words a minute. If I missed something in your speech, that is your fault--either because you did not emphasize it adequately in the round or you were unintelligible. If you are a gasper, you'll probably get better points if you slow down a bit. I tend to dislike prompting on content, but keeping your partner on pace is fine. I'd prefer you ask/answer your own c-x questions. I like numbering and organization, even though much has apparently died. At this point, even hearing "next" when going to the next tag would be a breath of fresh air (especially when it isn't being read off of a block). Similarly, I'll reward you if you have clear tags that would fit on a bumper sticker I could read without tailgating. Humor is a highly successful way to improve your speaker points. If you are organized, intelligible and funny, the much-sought-after 30 is something I have given. I haven't given many, but that reflects the debaters I've heard, not some unreasonable predisposition or threshold.

If you have questions about anything not on here, just ask.

orion cleaver Paradigm

7 rounds

I debated mostly on the Oregon circuit in LD and parli. The circuit was mostly traditional but I debated critically on occasion. I like K debate but I don't have a very extensive/complete background so make sure to explain complex arguments clearly, don't assume I'll know what you're taking about. I also like a good policy debate so I'll have an open-minded coming into the round.

- Tag teaming cx is fine just try to give your partner a chance to speak first. 
- Feel free to run topicality but I have a pretty high threshold for voting on it.
- Absolutely make sure you slow down on tags. I'm alright with speed but will inevitably miss stuff if you get too fast! I'll let you know if I need more clarity.