Aztec Invitational

2018 — San Diego, California, CA/US

Joseph Barquin Paradigm

5 rounds

I have had a total of less than 6 rounds on the hs cx topic this year. Dont assume I know what you're reading. I do have a hearing problem in my right ear. If I've never heard you b4 or it's the first round of the day. PLEASE go about 80% of your normal spread for about 20 seconds so I can get acclimated to your voice. If you don't, I'm going to miss a good chunk of your first minute or so.

Email chain:

I've been a part of the greater college debate community since I started debating in 2k5/2k6. I took a few years off after I left debate but came back in 2014. Back then I preferred policy v policy debate but I rarely get to watch those rounds these days. I'll vote on almost anything at this point if it's impacted correctly and you don't look like a flying douchebag.

Performances and K Affs: I view performance debate a little differently than some other critics. I’m a believer that if you’re to be doing a performance, your entire round needs to be real to the performance of your first constructive. If you deviate from the message of the performance and don’t actually embody it, I can be convinced pretty quickly to vote against you for lack of embodiment. I find myself less sympathetic to affirmative teams that don’t remind me why the aff is a good idea in relation to whatever off cases the neg team reads. If you just read generic k aff blocks to t/fw/k or the k, it is a travesty that needs to be fixed. You read/performed a 1ac, please use it.

Topicality: I have a decent threshold for topicality. I prefer the interpretations debate but a conceded we meet or reasonability argument is just as good a place to pull the trigger. Even if the aff interp sounds very topical, if the standards associated with it in the 2ar are found to be severely lacking compared to the model of debate the neg interp adheres to, I’ll 80% likely vote neg. One of my favorite parts of T is the definitions debate. A well articulated reason for why the context or quals of their definition is problematic compared to yours can pretty much undercut the entire standards/impx debate. Control the Uniqueness question on T and it can go very far for you.

Framework/ROB: Defend the model of debate you feel should be advocated. If that means advocating ericson against every K aff so be it. As for the impacts debate, I'm more in the line that fairness is an internal link to an impact. But I'm also open to viewing as an impact if you win that it should be in front of me. *shrug* debate it out. My vote skew for t/fw is around a 60/40 for the neg whatever that means. If you're aff and the neg concedes a we meet, extend that thing on the top of flow so I don't have to evaluate the rest of the t/fw flow. I'm lazy. The easier my decision is, the better. Well articulated CI with correct applications of the aff connected to an impact and disads to the neg interp is great. TVA? should solve enough of the aff to justify some neg ground so it can have a stasis point. I generally think parts of the aff that aren't solved can be utilized as neg ground. But at the same time if the TVA doesn't resolve portions of the aff that are key to resolving major conflict points indicated by the 1ac, I'm less likely to be persuaded by a tva.

ROB and ROJ > everything. It helps me filter how I as a judge should view the round and what my ballot is suppose to symbolize. Even if you're winning a flow, if it doesn't meet the ROJ/ROB that is won at the end, I'm 100 likely not going to include it in the evaluation of why you win a round. Do I feel that they're cheaty? yep. Do I care? nope. Debate it out.

Kritiks: Please please contextualize your links. There's nothing more aggravating when the neg extends links without explaining to me how the aff specifically links to the K or how the links acts as disads to the perm. Alts need to resolve something. If it doesn't or I have no idea what your alt does, i'm going to err aff. This is a communicative activity and your job is to communicate to me and the other debater(s) that your alt and its solvency can actually do something. Perms are great. Creative perms that aren't abusive are also great. Some people are convince if you run a K aff you don't get to access a perm, I'm on the other side of this debate. Methods aren't run in parallel. Movements that believe in different things create solidarity with one another for goals. But again, debate it out and impact it out.

CP: lean neg on conditionality but i've voted for multiple contradictory worlds bad when a neg has run 6-7 off and 3 of the counterplans/K's link to each other. Love pics. Love well explained net benefits to the CP. Love the solvency debates associated with the cp debate as well. I’ll also vote for a cp without a DA if the CP solves better than the aff. But you don’t really want to be in that rabbit hole unless you’ve done an amazing solvency debate on the aff vs the cp. Pivots around the cp/da debate can be very advantageous. You'll need to spend a little time on the overview though as to what this pivot means though. Should the offense associated with the pivot come into play? or the pivot one that makes no sense and should be disregarded?

DA: The more specific the link the better. The better the impact analysis the better. Have fun with this. I’m persuaded by really creative disads that have interesting impact calc vs the aff. If the da o/w and turns case, all the better lol. If the debate comes down to cp/da vs plan, paint me a world of what the different worlds look like. A world of the aff trying to resolve it's impacts and triggering the disad scenario vs what the cp does that prevents the da from occuring is one that makes the decision easier and can help the impact debate SOOOO much/

Case debate: very necessary in almost all forms of policy debate. Use it to your advantage. Impact out your turns. Tell me what it means to the rest of the flows that you’re going for. Aff – utilize the story telling potential that your aff is designed around. There are so many rounds that amazing solvency or advantages don’t get explained well because debaters get bogged down on the line by line and don’t see the bigger picture.

For LD debaters:

I encountered something at voices. I hit my physical threshold on being able to fully flow a round. Enunciate your claims and slow down a bit so I can actually flow it. When half the constructive is literally just analytics and you're 300+ wpm... that's lit unflowable and I'm not going to the docs to resolve that. If you lose because it's not on my flow? Shrug. Don't care.

FW: You all need to slow down here. I'm not familiar enough with your specific event to just flow it effortlessly.

No RVI's

Jasmine Stidham "You have the power to stop Nebel t in this activity" Mission accepted.

no nebel. the 1ar just needs to be nebel is bad vote aff. and we are done.

I prefer a substantive debate with 3-4 off to something like 13 off. I'll flow you regardless but I reserve the right roast you.

Paradoxes aren't super persuasive in front of me.

Tricks are meh. They're hard to flow for me so you'd actually have to slow down to read your trick and then is it really a trick at that point?

Theory is good if it isn't a blippy mess. Just saying a team is "condo" and they should lose without an interp, and why condo is problematic will not get you a ballot. Sorry not sorry.

HWL UPDATE: Weird af cps justifily severance perms. threshold will be very low. You'll know when you've entered that from my reaction.

Lastly, please be nice to each other. LD is such a short event that to there's really no point to get toxic from 2 cx's

Tom Boroujeni Paradigm

3 rounds

-Last Updated on 09/13/2019
-Updated on 10/29/2018

Please add me to your email chain (If there is one):

Please do not contact me for other schools' speech doc. Contact them directly. I have been contacted multiple times by different people asking me to share other team's speech doc. Why not contact them directly?


Novices: I am the strong proponent of the novice packet. Do what you will with this information.

Who am I?

I am the Director of Debate at California State University, Fresno. I started as a tradition policy debater and made the transition into K debate. I have respect for both camps and whatever is in between. I tell you what I tell all my students, only run arguments that you fully understand and can explain to the judge. I also believe that debaters should have a basic understanding of policy debate before venturing off into the critical realm but that is a decision you should hash out with your coaches. I understand the implications of that statement and I am willing to defend it if you want me to do so. There is not any particular argument that I will not vote for. However, you are responsible to persuade me.

Speech Time and Evidence Transfer:
Your prep time stops when you pull the memory stick out , send the email, or drop the document into Speechdrop. If you forget a card, your prep time will run until you give the other team the evidence. Stealing time will lead to severe reduction in speaker points. Speech time is non-negotiable (No 10 min constructions or extra rebuttal speech).

Evidence Quality:

I am very sensitive to the quality of your cards. Things are getting out of hand with power tagging and out of context evidence. Section XVII. EVIDENCE POLICY of CEDA's constitution indicates:
-B. Competitors shall be prohibited from using fabricated or distorted evidence.
------1. "Evidence" is defined as material which is represented as published fact or opinion testimony and offered in support of a debater's claim.
------2. "Fabricated" evidence refers to the citing of a fact or opinion that is either from a source that is found to be non-existent or not contained in the original source of the material in question.
------3. "Distorted" evidence refers to the misrepresentation of the actual or implied content of factual or opinion evidence. Misrepresentations may include, but are not limited to, the following:
------------a. Quoting out of context: selecting text from an article in such a way that the claim made with the selected text is clearly inconsistent with the author's position as that position is manifest in the article, book, or other source from which the quotation is drawn, when that material is taken as a whole.
------------b. Internally omitting words from a quotation or adding words to a quotation in such a way that the meaning evident in the resulting modified quotation deviates substantially in quality, quantity, probability or degree of force from the author's position as manifest in the quotation in question prior to modification.
------------c. Internally omitting words from a quotation or adding words to a quotation without indicating, either on the written form of the quotation or orally when the quotation is delivered to an opponent or judge, that such a deletion or addition has been.
------4. Fabricated and distorted evidence are so defined without reference to whether or not the debater using it was the person responsible for originally misrepresenting it.
-C. Competitors shall allow their judges and opponents to examine the evidence on request, and provide on request sufficient documentation on the source of the evidence which would allow another person to locate the quotation in its original form.
-D. Adjudication Procedures for by-law XVII

Any challenge over tagline and content of the card is important to me. Make sure you know what your cards say and tag them properly.

This section used to say "I am comfortable with speed but if you have your 1AR analytical arguments pre-written and you are machine-gunning them at me, be sure that I will miss a couple on my flow and if it is not on my flow, I cannot make a decision on it. I will yell "Clear" if you are not."

But I had to change it. I don't feel comfortable with some of your speeds anymore. My ears do not process too high or too low pitch of voices. I will tell you to be "clear" or "louder". No matter who you are and what you are saying, I reserve the right to ask you to be more clear. ESPECIALLY ESPECIALLY on analytical arguments. Analytical arguments are very important so If you want me to put them on the flow, please slow down.

I enjoy topicality debates because I have some legal background and one of my other jobs is trial and jury consulting. I argue (and defend) that at least half of the arguments in the legal field are topicality arguments.

How do I evaluate topicality you ask? As an Aff, you should be able to solidify a relationship to the topic or tell me why what you are talking about is so important that you felt the topic should be ignored. For me, the most important components of topicality are education and fairness in that order. OR why topicality is bad.

I put a very high value on this flow because it is about the activity itself. Framework tells me how I should be looking at the debate. Part of wining the framework flow is how you win through your lens. Absent the explanation of how you win, I probably vote against you because I think you don't know how you are winning and if you don't know why you should win through the lens you are advocating for then you have no business running framework.

Love them. I think most negative arguments are modified DAs. You can run a DA on anything that advocates for an alternative (i.e., Case, CP, and K). Explain the scenario of the DA to me. You also need to win that the DA outweighs the Plan or the Alt (or part of it).

Counter Plan:
Counter Plan is a way of solving one or more of the affirmative's advantages AND offering a Net benefit. The perm must be dealt with adequately.

Like them and will vote for them. My threshold of acceptance for your explanation is higher because I think Ks do not have argumentative breath so they need to satisfy the depth. That depth requires a lot of work. So do the work for me because I will not do it for you. Make sure you link to the case. If you are have a link of omission, then you probably should have a root-cause claim or some other sort of explanation.

You need to solidify and explain your links. Impact analysis is important to me.

It is YOUR responsibility to persuade me and not my responsibility to understand your argument. Unnecessary yelling and fighting in the round will lead to severely reduced speaker points unless it is your argument that yelling and fighting is good (In that case it would not be unnecessary).

Last word
I think respect for the judge's RFD is very important. I see the debate in a particular way and judge it based on that view. If you do not like that lens then you probably should have done a better job of telling me what lens I should use and why that is a good lens (See Framework above). You do not have to pref me if you do not think I am capable of judging your debates, but if you do, respect my RFD. Do not make any sort of assumptions about my judging style. I do not vote for a particular style of debate, a particular school, or a particular team. I vote for the team that does a better job of arguing. I do not care if you are a first round or a novice debater, if you make the better argument you are going to win my ballot. If you do not respect my opinion as a judge then you should probably put me at the bottom of your pref sheet (strike me).

Role of the ballots that are self serving are bad. I think role of the ballot is always to indicate who has done the better debating. I rarely find role of the ballots persuasive.

Alex Cadena Paradigm

2 rounds

Background Information:

I have 4 years debate experience in Parl. I competed at Rio Hondo Community College in NPDA and IPDA then transferred to the University of Utah and competed in NPDA and IEs. This is my second-year coaching/judging collegiate forensics, and I am a graduate student at CSUN where I help coach the Policy teams we have.

How I evaluate rounds:

I find clarity important, make it clear what your argument is and how your impacts are the most important in the round. I like full and completed arguments. Do you have Warrants, Links, Internal Links, and Impacts? Please, please, please do the impact calculus for me and tell me where you are winning and how I should vote. If you are running a K, please state the Alternative Twice, it helps me get it down precisely as well as the opposing team. If your K is highly technical, please explain and articulate your argument.

Some other comments:

Debate is an animal that can bring out a lot of different emotions, please remember that you are competing against humans and treat each other as such. There is no need to reduce our humanity to “win a ballot.” If you don’t care how you win and are willing to treat your opponents poorly. Please strike me, I will not be a critic you want in the back of the room.

Cynthia Canterbury Paradigm

5 rounds

Not Submitted

Deven Cooper Paradigm

4 rounds

High school debate: Baltimore Urban Debate League

College debate: Univ of Louisville then Towson Univ

Grad work: Cal State Fullerton

Current: Director of Debate at Long Beach State (CSULB)


Speaker Scale

29.5-30: one of the best speakers I expect to see this year and has a high grade of Charisma, Uniqueness, Nerve, Talent, and Swag is on 100.

29.1 - 29.5: very good speaker has a middle grade of Charisma, Uniqueness, Nerve, Talent, and mid-range swag.
29: quite good speaker; low range of Charisma, Uniqueness, Nerve, Talent, and mid-range swag.

28.4 - 28.9: good speaker; may have some above average range/ parts of the C.U.N.T.S acronym but must work on a few of them and may have some issues to work out.

28 - 28.3: solid speaker; needs some work; probably has average range/ parts of the C.U.N.T.S acronym but must work on a few of them and may have some issues to work out.

27.1 - 27.5: okay speaker; needs significant work on the C.U.N.T.S acronym.

< 27: you have done something deeply problematic in this debate like clipping cards or violence.

Judging Proper

I am willing to hear any arguments that are well explained and impacted and relate to how your strategy is going to produce scholarship or policy action. I will refer to an educator framework unless told otherwise..This means I will evaluate the round based on how you tell me you want it to be framed and I will offer comments on how you could make your argument better after the round. Comparison, Framing, OFFENSE is key for me.

I avoid the privileging of certain teams or styles over others because that makes debate more unfair, uneducational, and makes people not feel valued or wanted in this community.

I judge debates according to the systematic connection of arguments rather than solely line by line…BUT doesn’t mean if the other team drops turns or other arguments that I won’t evaluate that. They must be impacted and explained. PLEASE always point out reason why the opposing team is bad and have contextualized reasons for why they have created a bad impact. I DO vote on framework and theory arguments….I’ve been known to vote on Condo

Don’t try to adapt to how I used to debate if you genuinely don’t believe in doing so or just want to win a ballot. If you are doing a performance I will hold you to the level that it is practiced, you have a reason for doing so, and relates to the overall argument you are making…Don’t think “oh! I did a performance in front of Deven I win.” You are sadly mistaken if so.

Overall I would like to see a good debate where people are confident in their arguments and feel comfortable being themselves and arguing how they feel is best. I am not here to exclude you or make you fell worthless or that you are a "lazy" intellectual as some debaters may call others, but I do like to see you defend your side to the best of your ability

A few issues that should be clarified:

Paperless: Prep time ends when the flash is out of your computer. Any malfunctioning means your prep has begun again. If the opponent you are facing doesn't have a laptop you must have a viewing one or give up not be classist GOSH...

Framework and Theory: I love smart arguments in this area. I am not inclined to just vote on debate will be destroyed or traditional framework will lead to genocide unless explained very well and impacted. There must be a concrete connection to the impacts articulated on these and most be weighed. I will not vote on conditionality good alone…You better point out the contradictions in the 2AC/1AR. I am persuaded by the deliberation arguments and topical version of the Aff.

Performance: It must be linked to an argument that is able to defend the performance and be able to explain the overall impact on debate or the world itself. Please don’t do a performance to just do it…you MUST have a purpose and connect it to arguments. Plus debate is a place of politics and args about debate are not absent politics sometimes they are even a pre-req to “real” politics, but I can be persuaded otherwise. You must have a role of the ballot or framework to defend yourself or on the other side say why the role of the ballot is bad. I also think those critics who believe this style of debate is anti-intellectual or not political are oversimplifying the nuance of each team that does performance. Take your role as an educator and stop being an intellectual coward.

Topic/Resolution: I will vote on reasons why or why not to go by the topic...unlike some closed minded judges who are detached from the reality that the topics chosen may not allow for one to embrace their subjectivity or social location. This doesn’t mean I think talking about puppies and candy should win, for those who dumb down debate in their framework args in that way. You should have a concrete and material basis why you chose not to engage the topic and linked to some affirmation against racism/sexism/homophobia/classism/elitism/white supremacy and produces politics that are progressive.

High Theory K: i.e Hiediggar, Zizek, D&G, Butler, Arant, and their colleagues…this must be explained to me in a way that can make some material sense to me as in a clear link to what the aff has done or an explanation of the resolution…I feel that a lot of times teams that do these types of arguments assume a world of abstract that doesn’t relate fully to how to address the needs of the oppressed that isn’t a privileged one. However, I do enjoy Nietzsche args that are well explained and contextualized. Offense is key with running these args and answering them.

Disadvantages: I’m cool with them just be well explained and have a link/link wall that can paint the story…you can get away with a generic link with me if you run politics disads. Disads on case should be impacted and have a clear link to what the aff has done to create/perpetuate the disad. If you are a K team and you kick the alt that solves for the disads…that is problematic for me.

Counterplans: They have to solve at least part of the case and address some of the fundamental issues dealing with the aff’s advantages especially if it’s a performance or critical aff…I’m cool with perm theory with a voter attached.

Race/ Identity arguments: LOVE these especially from the black/Lantinx perspective, but this doesn’t mean you will win just because you run them like that. I like to see the linkage between what the aff does wrong or what the aff has perpetuated. I’m NOT likely to vote on a link of omission.

Case Args: Only go for case turns…they are the best and are offensive , however case defense may work. If you run a K or performance you need to have some interaction with the aff to say why it is bad.

Doug Fraleigh Paradigm

3 rounds

Please add me to your email chain,


Director of Forensics, Fresno State. Competed in policy debate for four years for Sacramento State and coached policy at UC Berkeley, Sacramento State, Cornell, and Fresno State. Returned to coaching and judging in fall 2018 after serving as our department’s undergraduate advisor and chair, judged at ASU, SF State, San Diego State, UNLV, Northridge, USC, and Fullerton on this topic.

What Should You Know About How I Judge?

1. Run the arguments you run best, whether critical or policy. It is more important to me that you be clear (with your alt, your plan, your CP, your FW arguments, etc.) than follow any particular model of debate. If your arguments are vague or only become apparent in rebuttals, you are less likely to persuade me.

2. I am a flow-centric judge and the line-by-line debate is important to my decision.

3. I may not be persuaded by a very minimally developed argument (e.g. “T is an RVI, fairness”) even when it is dropped. However, I have a relatively low threshold for how much detail you need when extending an argument that was not answered. If the 1NC runs six off case positions and no case arguments, 2AC can safely spend a minute extending case (no need for detailed overviews) and focus on answering the off case.

4. My speaker points are mostly in the 28s-- low 28s for solid debating, mid 28s for good debating, and high 28s for very good debating, 29s for excellent debating. The considerations below are primary factors for me when assigning points.

What Can You Do to Earn Speaker Points?

1. Clash with your opponents’ arguments is essential. I am very impressed when debaters make on point answers and less impressed when the round looks like competing persuasive speeches. Debaters who extend arguments (explain why their arguments prevail on contested issues) earn top-tier points.

2. The quality of your evidence is very important. I look to the content, the match between content and tag, and credibility of your authors. I appreciate debaters who continue to research throughout the season. It is a plus when policy evidence accounts for recent events (e.g. Democratic House and Mattis resignation) and critical debaters incorporate recent literature.

3. Organization is very important. Be very clear and signpost where you are on the flow as you move through the debate. The more precise you are on the flow, the better. For example, instead of just saying you are on “case” or “the K” and mashing all your arguments together, identify the part of the argument you are on. (For example, “on the China scenario, three responses,” “go to framework,” or “now I’m on the alt.” If I am trying to figure out where you are, I am wasting cognitive resources that could be better spent listening to your argument.

4. Good delivery is a plus. Regardless of how fast you are going, it is important to enunciate well. This is especially important for analytics (and really/really important for analytics you plan to use in 2NR/2AR). I can follow the evidence on your speech doc, but don’t have this option when you are creating arguments on the fly. It is also a good idea to slow down a bit on the most essential arguments in 2NR/2AR, e.g. when you are advocating for how I should put the round together.

5. Be enthusiastic about your arguments, but when interacting with others in the round, err on the side of chill. The chance to travel with your squad, debate with your partner, and compete against other colleges is a privilege; enjoy the journey.

Procedural Considerations

1. Tag-team cross-x is all right. When speakers are prompted by their partner, the speaker needs to follow up by making the argument and that is what I will flow. I listen carefully to cross-x and promise not to check real or fantasy sports scores until prep time starts.

2. I do not want to adjudicate what happened before the round started.

Policy Rounds

1. For me, the round usually comes down to case vs. disads and counterplans. It is often a good negative strategy to refute case (even with analytics), rather than concede a case with massive impacts. However, I rarely give aff 0% risk of any advantage and am unlikely to vote on presumption alone in the absence of any offense. The same principles apply to disads; it is strategic to minimize the links and impacts, but I rarely give neg 0% risk. I can be persuaded that other more probable arguments, such as lives saved or human rights protected, outweigh an infinitesimal risk of nuclear war. I like the debaters to argue for how I should balance the arguments, but in the absence of such arguments (or if the explanation is very limited), then it is up to me to put the round together.

2. On T, neg is most likely to win when they do a really good job explaining and defending their standards (blips not helpful here if you are seriously considering going for T in 2NR), and explaining how their definitions meet the standards for T better than their opponents’ do. If the T debate is close, I generally vote aff.

3. No preference for or bias against any particular counterplan. The domain of neg’s fiat power on CPs is up for debate. Both counterplan text and permutations should be clear.

Critical Rounds

1. Critical Affs. For critical affs, a key argument for me is the rationale for debating about the K rather than debating about a plan that purports to be topical. What is the opportunity cost of having a policy debate instead? I am open to a wide variety of arguments by both sides to address this question. A second important consideration is your vision of what the round should look like.

2. Critical Negs vs Policy Cases. The link to the aff should be clear. If the link is based on evidence (especially multi-page evidence), specify where in the evidence you are getting the link. I am most likely to be persuaded by a clear and specific alt that is developed in the 1NC. If you are not using a link/impact/alt format, explain your model for what the debate should look like.

3. K vs K Debates. I look to the debaters to make arguments about how the round should be judged.

Performance Rounds

I can be persuaded to vote for a performance. A performance can be rhetorical (or is always rhetorical, depending on your definition of rhetoric). However, I need to understand what arguments are being made by your performance and why you are saying these arguments warrant a decision for your side. It should also be apparent to your opponents. Don’t be subtle when explaining this.

Kerrie Hillhouse Paradigm

5 rounds

I am an experienced Public Forum and Policy debater. I competed for 2 years at CSUF before graduating. I've been coaching the Public Forum and Novice Policy team for CSUF from 2015-2019. I'm also the head coach for Assurance Learning Academy - Harbor City.

AFFs: I like traditional and nontraditional affirmatives. I think it keeps everyone on their toes.

Framework: Have an interpretation that allows you to be competitive for both the AFF and NEG. Tell me how you want me to vote.

Counter Plans: I love a good counter plan. But coming up with a good CP comes with great responsibility. Coming up with a CP puts the burden of proof on you to prove why your plan is better. AFF, tell me why I should reject the CP.

Impacts: Make sure all your claims have impacts. This tells me why your argument is important. If there is no impact, then why does your argument matter? Tell me why your impact is more significant than your opponents impact.

If you want my ballot make sure your arguments are consistent across the flow. Tell me why I should vote for you clearly in the 2NR/2AR.

Joel Lemuel Paradigm

3 rounds

If you are pressed for time jump to the takeaways/bolded parts of each topic/section.

Coaching/Judging History

I have been involved with competitive policy debate in some fashion for the last 15 years. I competed  through high school through college and I have coached middle schoolers, high schoolers, and college students. I have experience judging in urban debate leagues as well as the national circuit.I'm currently the director of forensics at California State University - Northridge so I mostly judge intercollegiate debates. That means I am unlikely to know most of the acronyms, anecdotes, inside-baseball references about other levels of debate and you should probably explain them in MUCH more detail than you would for the average judge. 
Speaker Points
I used to think a 28 indicated a good speaker and a 27 indicated an average speaker. I am learning this may no longer be the case. The takeaway is…Rather than stick to some arbitrary standard for the sake of tradition I will adjust my scale to bring it in line with community norms. 
The Role of the Ballot/Purpose of the Activity/Non-Traditional Teams

The first thing I want to say isn’t actually a part of my philosophy on judging debates as much as it is an observation about debates I have watched and judged. I can’t count the number of rounds I have watched where a debater says something akin to, “Debate is fundamentally X,” or “the role of the ballot is X.” This is not a criticism. These debaters are astute and clearly understand that defining the nature and purpose of the activity is an extremely useful (often essential)tool for winning debates. That said, in truth, debate is both everything and nothing and the role of the ballot is multipleAsserting the "purpose of debate" or "the role of the ballot" is essentially a meaningless utterance in my opinion. Arguing in favor "a particular purpose of debate” or “a particular role of the ballot” in a given round requires reasons and support. Policy debate could be conceived as a training ground for concerned citizens to learn how to feel and think about particular policies that could be enacted by their government. Policy debate could also be conceived as a space students to voice their dissatisfaction with the actions or inactions of the governments that claim to represent them through various forms of performance. Excellent debaters understand policy debate is a cultural resource filled with potential and possibility. Rather than stubbornly clinging to dogmatic axioms, these debaters take a measured approach that recognizes the affordances and constraints contained within competing visions of "the purpose of debate" or the "role of the ballot” and debate the issue like they would any other. 
The problem is assessing the affordances and constraints of different visions requires a sober assessment of what it is we do here. Most debaters are content to assert, “the most educational model of debate is X,” or the “most competitive model of debate is Y.” Both of these approaches miss the boat because they willfully ignore other aspects of the activity. Debates should probably be educational. What we learn and why is (like everything else) up for debate, but it’s hard to argue we shouldn’t be learning something from the activity. Fairness in a vacuum is a coin-flip and that’s hardly worth our time. On the other hand, probably isn’t a purely educational enterprise. Debate isn’t school. If it were students wouldn’t be so excited about doing debate work that they ignore their school work. The competitive aspects of the activity are important and can’t be ignored or disregarded lightly. How fair things have to be and which arguments teams are entitled to make are up for debate, but I think we need to respect some constraints lest we confuse all discourse for argument. The phrase “debate is a game/the content is irrelevant” probably won’t get you very far, but that’s because games are silly and unimportant by definition. But there are lots of contests that are very important were fairness is paramount (e.g. elections, academic publishing, trials). Rather than assert the same banal lines from recycled framework blocks, excellent debaters will try to draw analogies between policy debate and other activities that matter and where fairness is non-negotiable. 
So the takeaway is … I generally think the topic exists for a reason and the aff has to tie their advocacy to the topic, although I am open to arguments to the contrary. I tend to think of things in terms of options and alternatives. So even if topicality is a necessarily flawed system that privileges some voices over others, I tend to ask myself what the alternative to reading topicality would be. Comparison of impacts, alternatives, options, is always preferable to blanket statements like “T = genocidal” or “non-traditional aff’s are impossible to research.”
Burden of Persuasion vs. Burden of Rejoinder
One of things that makes policy debate a fairly unique activity from a policy/legal perspective is our emphasis on the burden of rejoinder. If one competitor says something then the opponent needs to answer it, otherwise the judge treats the argument as gospel. Debaters might think their judges aren't as attentive to the flow as they would like, but ask any litigator if trial judges care in the least whether the other attorney answered their arguments effectively. Emphasizing the burden of rejoinder is a way of respecting the voice and arguments of the students who their valuable time competing in this activity. But like everything else in debate there are affordances as well as constraints in emphasizing the burden of rejoinder. Personally, I think our activity has placed so much emphasis on the burden of rejoinder that we have lost almost all emphasis on the burden of persuasion. I can’t count the number of rounds I have participated in (as a debater and as a judge) where the vast majority of the claims made in the debate were absolutely implausible. The average politics disad is so contrived that its laughable. Teams string together dozens of improbable internal link chains and treat them as if they were a cohesive whole. Truth be told, the probability of the average “big stick” advantage/disad is less than 1% and that’s just real talk. This practice is so ubiquitous because we place such a heavy emphasis on the burden of rejoinder. Fast teams read a disad that was never very probable to begin with and because the 2AC is not fast enough to poke holes in every layer of the disad the judge treats those internal links as conceded (and thus 100% probable). Somehow, through no work of their own the neg’s disad went from being a steaming pile of non-sense to a more or less perfectly reasonable description of reality. I don't think this norm serves our students very well. But it is so ingrained in the training of most debates and coaches (more so the coaches than the debaters actually) that it’s sustained by inertia. 
The takeaway is… that when i judge, I try (imperfectly to be sure) to balance my expectations that students meet both the burden of rejoinder and the burden of persuasion. Does this require judge intervention? Perhaps, to some degree, but isn't that what it means to “allow ones self to be persuaded?” To be clear, I do not think it is my job to be the sole arbiter of whether a claim was true or false, probable or unlikely, significant or insignificant. I do think about these things constantly though and i think it is both impossible and undesirable for me to ignore those thoughts in the moment of decision. It would behoove anyone I judge to take this into account and actively argue in favor of a particular balance between the burdens or rejoinder and persuasion in a particular round.
Importance of Evidence/Cards
I once heard a judge tell another competitor, “a card no matter how bad will always beat an analytic no matter how good.” For the sake of civility I will refrain from using this person’s name, but I could not disagree more with this statement. Arguments are claims backed by reasons with support. The nature of appropriate support will depend on the nature of the reason and on the nature of the claim. To the extent that cards are valuable as forms of support in debate it’s because they lend the authority and credibility of an expert to an argument. But there are some arguments were technical expertise is irrelevant. One example might be the field of morality and ethics. If a debater makes a claim about the morality of assisted suicide backed by sound reasoning there is no a priori reason to prefer a card from an ethicist who argues the contrary. People reason in many different ways and arguments that might seem formally or technically valid might be perfectly reasonable in other settings. I generally prefer debates with a good amount of cards because they tend to correlate with research and that is something I think is valuable in and of itself. But all too often teams uses cards as a crutch to supplement the lack of sound reasoning. 
The takeaway is … If you need to choose between fully explaining yourself and reading a card always choose the former.
KritiksI tend to think I am more friendly to critical arguments that most judges who debated around the same time I did but that might be wishful thinking on my part. My experience judging K teams suggests you are much more likely to convince me the AFF's methodology/epistemology is flawed by somehow relating your impacts to the logical consequence of the plan or aff method (e.g. "they solve their advantage, but it's actually a bad thing" or "they cant *really* solve their big impact + we *actually* solve a smaller impact" etc...) than you are by saying your impacts/framework is a-priori for some reason or another. I am very willing to listen to a-priori framework arguments (and vote on them more frequently than you might imagine) but the bolder the claim the more support you need. 
The takeaway is … I would say I am more friendly to critical arguments than some judges, but that also means I require a higher level of explanation and depth for those arguments. For instance, it is not sufficient to argue that the aff’s reps/epistemology/ontology/whatever is bad and these questions come first. You have to tell me in what way the aff’s methodology is flawed and how exactly would this result in flawed thinking/policy/ect. Unlike disads, individual links to kritiks have to have impacts to be meaningful. In general, I think people read too many cards when running kritiks at the expense of doing a lot textual and comparative work.
I have a relatively high threshold for theory arguments, but I am not one of those judges that thinks the neg teams gets to do whatever they want. You can win theory debates with me in the back, but it probably isn’t your best shot. As a general rule (though not universal) I think that if you didn’t have to do research for an argument, you don’t learn anything by running it. 
I have VERY high threshold for negative theory arguments that are not called topicality. It doesn’t mean I wont vote on these arguments if the aff teams makes huge errors, but a person going for one of these argument would look so silly that it would be hard to give them anything about a 27. 

Dorri Mang Paradigm

2 rounds

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Jordan Mills Paradigm

1 rounds

I'm an old school ceda judge who takes a decent paper flow. I'm sort of the worst of both worlds: I like leftist literature, but I prefer policy debate. Either way I'm not going to intervene. I'll listen to anything. Not too up on the jargon, tho.

Politically I'm PSL but that doesn't necessarily mean you want to run a Cap Arg....might be dangerous

Since I know the lit so well.

I think I'm fair, but so do all judges. One recent angry post round was mad because they won the T line by line, but the K 1AC impact turned T.

Another time recently I judged a sloppy performance debate and voted on an underdeveloped "role of the judge" blip. I guess if I'm confused I look for crass drops and framing issues. If you make ME resolve it, you might be mad.

Toni Nielson Paradigm

5 rounds

Toni Nielson
Debate Coach at Fullerton College
Executive Director - Bay Area Urban Debate League (2013-2017)
Co-Director of Debate at CSU, Fullerton for 7 years (2005-2012)
Debated in College for 5 years
Debated in High School for 3 years
Rounds on the Topic: less than 5

Email Chain:

I just want to see you do what you are good at. I like any debater who convinces me the know what they are talking about.

Here’s what I think helps make a debater successful –

1. Details: evidence and analytics, aff and neg – the threshold for being as specific as humanly possible about your arg and opponent's arg remains the same; details demonstrate knowledge
2. Direct organized refutation: Answer the other team and don’t make me guess about it – I hate guessing because it feels like intervention. I'm trying to let the debaters have the debate.
3. Debating at a reasonable pace: I ain’t the quickest flow in the west, even when I was at my best which was a while ago. I intend on voting for arguments which draw considerable debates and not on voting for arguments that were a 15 seconds of a speech. If one team concedes an argument, it still has to be an important and relevant argument to be a round winner.
4. Framing: tell me how you want me to see the round and why I shouldn’t see it your opponents way
5. Comparison: you aren’t debating in a vacuum – see your weakness & strengths in the debate and compare those to your opponent. I love when debaters know what they are losing and deal with it in a sophisticated way.

Some style notes - I like to hear the internals of evidence so either slow down a little or be clear. I flow CX, but I do this for my own edification so if you want an arg you still have to make it in a speech. I often don't get the authors name the first time you read the ev. I figure if the card is an important extension you will say the name again (in the block or rebuttals) so I know what ev you are talking about. I rarely read a bunch of cards at the end of the debate.

Now you are asking,
Can I read an aff without a plan? I lean rather in the direction of a topical plan, instrumentally implemented these days. This is a big change in my previous thoughts and the result of years of working with young, beginning debate. I appreciate policy discussion and believe the ground it provides is a preferable locus for debate. So I am somewhat prone to vote neg on framework must implement a plan.

Can I go for politics/CP or is this a K judge? Yes to both; I don't care for this distinction ideologically anymore. As far as literature, I lean slightly more in the K direction. My history of politics and CP debate are more basic than my history of K debate.

Theory - lean negative in most instances. Topicality - lean affirmative (if they have a plan) in most instances. I lean neg on K framework which strikes me as fair negative ground of a topical plan of action.

Truth v Tech - lean in the direction of tech. Debate, the skill, requires refuting arguments. So my lean in the direction of the tech is not a declaration to abandon reality. I will and do vote on unanswered arguments, particularly ones that are at the core of the debate. Gigantic caveat, I will struggle to vote on an argument just because it is dropped. The concession must be relevant and compelling to the debate. I will also be hesitant to vote on arguments that fly in the face of reality.

Here's what I like: I like what you know things about. And if you don't know anything, but get through rounds cause you say a bunch and then the other team drops stuff - then I don't think you have a great strategy. Upside for you, I truly believe you do know something after working and prepping the debate on the topic. Do us both a favor: If what you know applies in this round, then debate that.

Good luck!.

Josh Pang Paradigm

5 rounds

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Michael Rizk Paradigm

3 rounds

I'm pretty easy going and am okay with whatever you want to run, as long as you can sell me your case and it makes sense. Tell me the story of your case, and don't just assume I am familiar with what you are taking about. Evidence is important, but HOW you use it is important-er. If you just throw a card out and expect it to be enough of an argument, it won't be. I don't flow cross-x normally, but if you tell me to take note I will. I won't vote on what is said in cross-x, but if you can effectively implement what is said in your case I will take note. Debate can be an aggressive activity and I think everyone in it understands that. As long as you don't disparage or purposefully put down your opponents, we're golden. 


Jeanette Rodriguez Salcedo Paradigm

5 rounds

I see debate as a space for knowledge production, where we can use our ideas about the world to transform the world or make it a better place. The debaters get to decide what the debate should be about, be that a plan text or a critical approach to the topic. There are various approaches to the resolution and I am open to listening to your particular approach. You should advocate an approach that engages/attempts to engage the resolution.

That in mind I will provide a disclaimer, do not say evil things for the sake of competition, that approach is not persuasive at all! By evil I mean saying that genocides are good/necessary or that rape is ok, this extreme is not one that will persuade me to vote for you.


NEG- If you are going to go for framework make sure that the rebuttals contextualize the framework debate to the affirmative. Specificity in these debates goes a long way because often times framework is a blanket extension of standards with no explanation as to how the 1AC in particular causes the impacts.

AFF- If you are answering framework make sure you address their interpretation or provide a counter interpretation for the debate. Alf's should attempt to address the resolution, but if you dismiss the resolution I expect there to be a defense of a non-topical approach.

Good Luck and Have Fun!

If you have any questions please feel free to email me @

Grace Saez Paradigm

4 rounds

2015 Update: The paradigm below is all still pretty true but I only judge a couple of tournaments per year now so I am not sure how relevant it is. 


Philosophy from the farm subsidies topic (2008/2009):

In general: as long as you win an argument and a reason why that argument means you should win, you should be in pretty good shape. 
Also, I love debate. If I didn’t, I would not be involved with the activity. You might want to keep that in mind if you run arguments about how horrible debate is. 
So, Policy, K, Performance? 
Two things: 
1. I don’t like to on-face reject any arguments, but I do tend to think that “performances” that don’t defend the topic or … a coherent argument are cheating. Still, I don’t think that just “framework” debating will get the job done against these types of arguments. You need to have a strategy that deals with the arg, or at least a substantive reason why your framework stuff matters (more than theory arguments). 
2. Apart from performance arguments, I think that the distinction between “K’s” and “policy” arguments is mostly arbitrary. They are all arguments about the value, truthfulness, or correctness of a proposition …. It’s pretty simple: defend the value of your proposition. Here are some notes on how to do that: 
“middle of the road” K business on the aff- I always liked to run these types of arguments on the aff, but to my chagrin, a counterplan usually solved enough of the case to outweigh because of “the risk of a net benefit.” I think that approach is much more strategic than just reading framework. Affs – make sure to use your built in framing issues to exclude the negs args from my consideration. 
“middle of the road” K business on the neg- see #2 about the arbitrary distinction between “policy” and “K” arguments- the suffix “ology” or “ism” does not automatically make an argument unfair, it just means that the aff has to defend a DIFFERENT aspect of their case. I never know why affs don’t have to defend, for example, the assumptions underlying their claims. However, I am open to specific objections about shady stuff K teams do (like vague alts, or refusing to specify if/how it solves the case). Other than that, just step up and defend that what you said was valuable. 
K’s in general– “I don' t know what the lack is.” I don’t read this type of literature in my spare time … that’s because I don’t really understand it. Please PLEEASE PLEASE please explain this stuff, or I won’t understand and will look at you confused at the end of the round. 
Framework- prefer “race to the middle.” More arguments related to the topic = probably good. 
Disads and “policy” advantages- totally fine. I don’t really appreciate the shit-cannon approach, so please make sure to really develop the arguments. I think defense is under-utilized/under-answered, so pay attention to that stuff. 
Counterplans- as a former 2A, I have a love-hate relationship with counterplans. The counterplan is crucial to negative strategy/the ability to test every word in the plan text. On the other hand, it’s a shame that so many negatives abuse the tool with unrealistic counterplans. Who thought it was a good idea to write “overrule Quirin” or “engage the Middle East” into the Constitution as an amendment? 
Theory- I don’t like theory debates, but that is mostly because I don’t understand them that well. If this is what the debate comes down to, you will do better in front of me by slowing down and actually explaining your theory args, not just reading blocks. Oh, also, I don’t really know what “community norms” about most theory issues are – please don’t rely on some prior knowledge of debate theory – I DON’T HAVE IT. 
Cheap shots- yeah, I will vote on them. Don’t drop these, if you are the victim. Explain the impact, if you are the perpetrator. See above about not knowing what debate theory “should” be. 
Topicality- having a resolution is good. I enjoy a good T debate, but I probably err aff on reasonability questions. 
Other things: 
- I hate prep-stealers 
- I flow cross-ex. 
- I usually end up voting on conditionality bad when there were multiple contradictory conditional worlds and the aff specifically explains these relationships and their impact on the round/their ability to debate. 
- I’ve noticed that clarity matters a lot. If I can’t understand you … I can’t understand you. And, I kind of have a slow ear. 

Joel Salcedo Paradigm

5 rounds

Its all in the framing

email chain:

Erika Thomas Paradigm

3 rounds

Director of Forensics at CSU, Fullerton since Fall 2010

3 years coaching (Wayne State)

2 years coaching (Miami University , Ohio)

4 years debate, Novice – Open (John Carroll University)

I'm an Assistant Professor at CSUF in the Human Communication Department. My research interests include rhetorical theory and criticism, critical/cultural theory, in particular feminist and queer studies especially related to body rhetoric.  As a critic, I put a great deal of time and effort into making my decision – I like to be thorough.  As a result, you can make my job a lot easier if you are clear and specific in the last rebuttals.  Frame the debates well by telling me where I should cast my ballot and why.  Tell me what evidence I should read and why.  Here’s what else you should know about me:

Flowing:  I’m fine with speed and have a pretty decent flow, however please be clear on your tags and cites, it just makes my life a lot easier.  It is possible to go too fast for me, especially on theory debates; if you plan on going for the argument or if you think the argument could threaten your success in the round, your time is best spent slowing down just a bit.

Paradigm/Framework:  I will vote on anything if it’s a good argument and impacted.  My own experience as a debater has left me more equipped to judge in a policy paradigm, however, I am very much open to the idea of alternative debate paradigms, such as performance debate. I tend to err on the side of allowing alternative forms of argumentation as long as the other team has reasonable ground to debate. I will vote on anything, as long as the argument is clear and I understand what I am voting on. I primarily see debate arguments as either offensive or defensive claims and although I think it is much easier to win with offense in the debate, I am willing to vote for compelling defensive arguments.  I avoid putting myself in debate rounds whenever possible, but if all the debaters fail to make their position clear, I am forced to intervene and weigh impacts from a strictly utilitarian perspective.  If I read a lot cards after the round it’s probably because you failed to explain the timeframe, magnitude, or probability of the impact, or because you failed to explain the warrants in your evidence.  It could also mean that it’s simply a close round, and that both teams did such a nice job explaining their arguments that I need to resort to cards to determine who provides the most “true” story.  In short, explain your frameworks and impacts at the end of the round.   

Kritiks/Framework: To be honest, I probably enjoy these debates the best and I am probably most equipped to judge critical rounds. I have a strong working knowledge of post-structural theorists, including Butler, Derrida, and Foucault. I have a decent understanding of Lacanian/Zizek theory but please be clear to explain particular components of your psychoanalysis K.  Debaters tend to bastardize the philosophy for all these theorists so don't expect that just because I read these authors I automatically understand the way you use them or that I understand all of a critical theorists’ jargon. The argument needs to be clear.  If I don’t know what it means to vote for a kritik, I probably won’t vote on it.  Also, have a clear framework – if the framework is clear, I am more than willing to evaluate the kritik.  The same goes for performance.  I am wary of alternatives that do little but suggest they can solve the entirety of the aff plan.  At the same time, I question alternatives that too utopian. When judging in the American Debate Association (ADA), I will uphold the ADA rule that a kritik should have an alternative, if the other the team makes that argument and the kritik clearly does not provide one.  Also, I take language kritiks seriously (although just because the team links to the argument that does no necessarily mean that they win the debate).  But, for example, if a teams fails to use gender-neutral language, and they fail to answer the kritik appropriately, I am certainly willing to pull the trigger here.

Disadvantages: Although I tend to watch many critical debates, I very much enjoy adjudicating traditional, realist-framework debates.  Be sure to tell clear stories on Politics DAs and Economics scenarios – don’t assume I know the internal link stories – I’ve never taken a class in Economics and I was not a political science major.  Don’t simply revert to referencing the claims of political theory on politics without explaining the warrants. 

Counterplans/Theory/Topicality: I will consider and vote on theory debates, especially CP theory, however you should make sure you are clear with the warrants with your arguments, do not assume that I know that any one particular theory argument means, and do not expect me to vote on blip theory arguments/voters. Proving abuse/or explaining the impact is necessary; if the risk of the impact is legitimate, I will vote here. I am willing to vote on topicality. I think that affirmatives should have to be topical, and if the negative proves that the affirmative is not playing fair or if the activity is suffering as a result of these types of cases, I will certainly pull the trigger. Often, if a team goes for topicality, I think they should invest the majority of the 2NR on this flow.  Regarding  arguments like ASPEC and Vagueness, you have to work a lot harder when convincing me to vote on arguments.

When debating negative: Don’t undercover the case.  If you do not go for case turns or take-outs, be sure your positions actually complete with the Aff’s solvency claims. 

Misc:  Since I started directing, I cut fewer cards on the topic and, as a result, do not necessarily know all the acronyms or jargon on the topic.  Explain your case and its advantages in the round.  Provide clear standards and warrants for Topicality arguments that reference the resolution.  These actions will help you convince me to vote for your position.

Finally, show respect to your opponents, your partner and myself.  I really enjoy debates that are funny and/or passionate but also are friendly and collegial.  Please do not steal prep time. I won’t count jumping evidence as part of prep time, but don’t abuse the privilege. If you have any questions feel free to ask, and have fun!!!

leslie mariscal Paradigm

4 rounds

Tabula rasa judge. The rules of debate are debatable- prove it. If you’re going to spread make sure you are articulate and pronunciate well.