Ulrich Invitational at UNI

2018 — IA/US

Emily Bosch Paradigm

6 rounds

Updated – 2019
this update is an attempt to be more clear about how I have been judging debates/ changes I have gathered after judging for 6 years.


Yes I want to be on the email chain --> bosch.e2010@gmail.com

I FLOW ON PAPER. I judge debates much more effectively / think harder about the debate / give better comments when I flow on paper. This is the only thing that I wish debaters would more effectively adapt to – give me a little pen time when you transition from card to card / arg to arg and please consider that I have to flip sheets between arguments.

I believe judges should adapt to the debaters, not the other way around. I will do my absolute best to objectively and fairly judge your debate, regardless of the arguments you choose to read. I would much prefer that you read the arguments you’re interested in / are better at debating than attempting to adapt to what you interpret as my preferences based upon what I have written here.

I find myself to be a much more “technical” judge than I once thought, and by that I mean I tend to pay a lot of attention to the way arguments evolve as the debate progresses. That’s not to say that I don’t enjoy the 2NR / 2AR spin game, but that those “spins” need to be traceable to previous speeches. In addition, I have and will vote on technical concessions SO LONG AS there is an IMPACT to that concession – debaters concede irrelevant arguments all the time, as it turns out.

I evaluate debates in segments – I think each flow has compartmentalized “mini-debates” that take place within them that I evaluate piece by piece (for example, on a critique, the “link debate” “perm debate” “alt debate”etc etc, on a disad the “uniqueness debate” “link debate” “impact debate” “impact turn debate” etc etc etc). If you label these segments clearly and follow these segments throughout the debate, I will be a great judge for you and your speaker points will reflect your organization / flow tech.

WITH THAT SAID!! I do enjoy non-traditional flow and speaking styles, so do not be afraid to pref me if you debate with a different style – I judge these debates a lot and have no problem following / figuring out what needs to be evaluated.

I’m a very expressive judge. You will know if I am feeling your argument if you pay attention to my non-verbal communication. I believe debate is a communication activity and you, as debaters, should know how I’m vibing with your arguments throughout the debate.

Note about speed: Speed is fine, but please make your card / argument transitions clear with vocal inflection. If I miss an argument, 97% of the time it’s because I didn’t hear you say “and” and I thought you were still reading evidence. Your speaker points will reflect it if you SLOW DOWN on tags and don’t just read them like another piece of evidence. IMHO, debate is still a persuasive activity, and being persuasive gets you bonus points. I will always be fan of a slower, persuasive rebuttal.

I don’t think you will have an issue reading almost any argument in front of me, but since folks seem to just read philosophies to find out how people feel about K debate and framework, I guess I’ll say some stuff.

Affirmatives: I think affirmatives should, AT THE VERY LEAST, be in the direction of the topic (but being topical is so much better). I think the best K affs have a resolutional component and have literature that is inherent to the topic. I can and have been persuaded otherwise, this is just my baseline.

Affirmatives should have a solvency method - I don't particularly care if that's an instrumental affirmation of US(fg) action or not (see FW discussion below), but you've gotta have a method that you have solvency for - I really don't like affs that state a lot of problems and argue that the revelation of those problems somehow does anything - that's not negatable. This is along the same lines of "advocacy" statements that don't take an "action" (I use the word action very carefully - I think a lot of things are actions). Statements are quite difficult to negate.


I think topicality debates need to be SLOWER than other arguments - you want me to write down more, you need to give me more time to flow. In general, I DESPISE T debates that are read entirely off blocks and read at the speed of cards. I don't think this is helpful, I don't think this creates depth, I don't think this is good for education, and I'm probably flowing like 2 words / argument tbh.

I am significantly more persuaded by topicality arguments (ie: the affirmative needs to defend international space cooperation bc that’s key to limits) than framework arguments (ie: debate is a game, the affirmative needs to defend instrumental USFG action bc them’s the rules and and it's unfair and they are cheater cheater pants).

I think negative limits arguments have the capacity to be quite persuasive if teams go for the correct internal links based upon the aff / 2ac strategy. One of the biggest mistakes I see (primarily) 2Ns make is going for the wrong limits scenario. Just like any argument, some links are stronger than others, and you don't need every link to win in the 2NR, so pick the best ones that you think tell the most compelling limits story based upon the particular affirmative. Don't forget to contextualize limits arguments to the COUNTER-INTERPRETATION not (only) the aff itself.

Topical versions of the affirmative are important, but you have to actually explain WHY they are topical versions of the aff (ie how they meet your interpretation, even better if they also meet the counter interp) and how they address the affirmative team’s offense. Ev for TVAs is preferred. I don't think you need to have a TVA to win the debate.

Things that are not persuasive to me:

“People quit”
“Small schools XYZ”

I’ll default to competing interpretations unless you tell me otherwise. Reasonability – how do I decide what is reasonable and by what metric do I use?


To make a link argument, YOU HAVE TO TALK ABOUT THE AFF. The aff has to have DONE SOMETHING that you have linked to an argument. I don’t think links of omission are links. If the 2NR is explicitly going for a link of omission, you’re going to have a hard time.

I don’t think criticisms always need an alternative (critique IS a VERB, after all). Make sure you explain how the "alternative" interacts with affirmative solvency / how they are different / how the alt accesses the aff (beyond just a generic root cause explanation).

I'm a sucker for K tricks - affs: don't get bamboozled.

Aff fw v ks: Often is an argument made in the 2AC that is just repeated over and over and not advanced in any meaningful way. If you think framework is important for how I evaluate the K debate, you need to do better than that.

“Role of the ballot”:

I have significant problems with ROBs. I think "role of the ballot" is an empty and meaningless phrase. The "role of the ballot" is to let tabroom know who won and lost the debate. I don't think my ballot does anything for activism / changing the structures of debate / anything at all. I tend to think most ROB claims boil down to "ROB: Vote for me" which is silly af.

Now, this is different than telling me how to evaluate the debate, how I should filter impacts, how I should prioritize arguments, or in general, how I should make my decision. You can and must do that to win the debate.

Perm stuff:
Permutations are tests of competition, and that is all. That means if you read severance / intrinsicness - those are reasons to reject the perm, not the team (unless the negative team gives me a compelling reason for why the team should be rejected, tbh, haven't heard one yet.).

There is a lot of discussion about why competition standards for advocacies / methods should change when a K aff is read – eh, I’m unconvinced this is true. My default position is that your method should compete, which means, it has to withstand the permutation test. I could, perhaps, be persuaded that the affirmative shouldn't get a perm if the negative is willing to commit the time and energy to explaining why competition standards should change, how they should change, what debate looks like with those competition standards, how it applies in that particular debate, etc. Sound like a lot? Yeah, it kinda is... just beat the permutation with disads and solid link explanations.

You can be certain that I absolutely will not reject a perm on an assertion of "no perms in critical debates" or "no plan, no perm."

Case debate:
is highly under-appreciated. Oftentimes 2ACs just assume the neg doesn’t know anything about the aff and entirely mishandle case arguments. Punish. Them.
I have and will vote on case turns if they outweigh the aff or if the aff has such diminished solvency that they outweigh the aff.

Theory: most theory debates are garbage. Prove me wrong. If there is one conditional K, don’t waste your time. If the alt isn’t actually vague, make a different argument.

Cecilia Cerja Paradigm

6 rounds

***Putting the word black in front of an argument does not make it a fundamentally different argument. Black fiat is no different than fiat. Black T is no different than T.***

I won't vote on things that happened outside of the round. Beef is meant for CPD dumpster fires and Twitter, so keep the timeline spicy and the round mild.

I did 4 years of policy debate at James Madison University. I am currently a Masters candidate at the University of Northern Iowa.

Yes I want to be on the email chain spookiedoo96@gmail.com. Also I carry a first aid kit, medicine, tampons, pads, and candy with me at all times so just let me know if you need one or all of those things.


Please slow down when reading theory. I can’t vote for you if I can’t understand you.

-Competition is based off of the plan text.

-I am down for a theory debate. However condo is a yes/no question, no I get x # of conditional advocacies before it is abusive.



Alt solvency is the most important portion of the K debate for me. Things that might help crystallize the alt for me: what movements/social justice groups is the alt similar to, what is the end goal of the alternative, do institutions exist in your alternative, what does the alt materially change about people's lives, what are revolutionary tactics the alt might employ, etc.

In short, I need to know what the world of the alt looks like, and if the alt description is vague then I am willing to give the aff a lot of leeway on what the permutation looks/functions like.

Case I have found that I have a difficult time evaluating the K when there are no arguments on case about why the aff is a bad idea.

Kicking the alt in front of me has had very little success with me this season. Without an alt you have a linear da, and it is likely that the aff ow.


I am more lenient towards spin over evidence here.


I think the discussion of what is T is always up for debate.

In a plan v plan debate

- I default to competing interpretations.

-I evaluate quality of evidence more in these debates.

-Explain what the world of debate looks like (what affs exist/what arguments do you lose).

In a planless debate

(Defending a non resolutional actor does not make you planless but it can implicate solvency)

-Fairness is an internal link to education. Fairness can be its own impact, but it is rarely debated well in a non-whiny manner.

-I am heavily persuaded by nuanced TVAs.


Here is my general range. I adjust based on division and tournament.

26 or lower: Yikes. Something offensive was said or no one had any clue what was happening in the round.

27-27.5: Major structural mistakes were made in-round and/or debaters were generally rude/unpleasant.

27.6-28.6: Average to above average understanding of the arguments and round. Some minor mistakes were made and/or debaters had trouble putting the entire round together.

28.7-29.2: Speeches were great, few errors were made, and/or the debaters deserve to be in out-rounds.

29-29.2: This team should be in late out-rounds or win the tournament.

29.3-30: One of the best speeches I have ever seen.


If it is a JV/Novice round I will do my best to type up notes about how I made my decision, specific feedback about each cx, speech, and speaking style for each debater. I think often people think JV/Novice debaters pretend to know what you are talking about and providing written feedback helps for redos and explaining debate jargon or concepts. I then reply all to the chain after attaching the coaches of each team and send the feedback. If that is something you want done in a varsity round just let me know, and I would be more than happy to do it.

Nathan Cho Paradigm

5 rounds

Paradigm: Tabula Rasa, default to offense/defense

Email: nateisdabomb@gmail.com

I would like to be on the email chain

Experience: I debated for Neenah High School for four years and UMKC for three years. For a year I served as assistant coach at Lee A Tolbert Community Academy. I also did forensics, kudos to you if you can make a group discussion reference. I've judged a lot of middle school rounds, a good number of high school, and the occasional college tournament.

I will flow whatever I hear in a speech, I have no objections to spreading. That being said, if I cannot hear you, I cannot flow you. Slow down on tags/authors or key points if you want to ensure I get them.

I want to hear good substantive clash in a round - that can occur with any argument type. Analysis wins rounds. Make comparative claims.

To me, there are two clear cut strategies to win a round - go further in depth or have a wider breadth. Either of these are fine for me. To win a depth round you need to do lots of analysis. To win a breadth round you need to capitalize on your opponents concessions. Either way you should be explaining why you winning a certain argument is important to the round.

Flows interact more than most teams acknowledge. Cross applying an argument your opponent made on one flow to another is a very viable strategy.

I have no objections to any argument type, whether it be K's, performance, T, theory, etc. That being said, I'm not super familiar with a lot of wild K literature; explain your thesis and you should be fine. I generally find myself leaning towards and inclined to vote for well explained kritiks over policy teams.

Theory should have an interpretation, standards, and voters just like topicality. I enjoy a good topicality or theory debate and I think that these arguments are underutilized in debate today. However, the ways teams are deploying topicality have drifted from the time/space I debated, I find it increasingly difficult to evaluate a round decided on topicality - make it easier for me. Tell a story, don't make me piece together the abuse claim.

Tech > Truth. But truth still has a lot of value, particularly on theory flows.

I aim to be as neutral as I can be going into a round. I think judge intervention is one of the worst things a debater can experience. This informs my philosophy towards me calling for cards at the end of a round. I will not call for cards unless there is a clear disagreement over the substance/text of a piece of evidence. I highly value good evidence, but if your evidence is better it should be articulated in round. I will not do work for you after the round. On the subject of evidence quality, I will give you significantly more weight on a claim/argument if you extend the warrants in a card rather than just saying extending the author or even the tag.

In some rounds judge intervention is inevitable depending on how the debaters performed. Eliminate the risk of judge intervention by doing my work for me. Tell me exactly why I should vote for you and why that's preferable to voting for the other team. Comparative analysis and warrant explanation does wonders here.

I'm serious when I say I'm a tabs judge. If you win that I should evaluate a round a certain way I will do so.

That being said, there are a few rules of debate that I would be very uncomfortable writing off. These include: uninterrupted speech, speech times, and speech order (I don't really care so much as to who on a team is speaking, especially if the identity of the speaker is relevant to the argument). From my perspective right now, these 'rules' are inviolable and necessary for a debate round to even occur, but if you argue against these rules I will evaluate it, I'll just need some real persuasion.

Pizza is my favorite food.

I'd be happy to answer any questions you have at any time! Good luck and have fun!

David Cram Helwich Paradigm

2 rounds

David Cram Helwich
University of Minnesota
21 years judging, 40-ish rounds this year

Quick version: Do what you do best and I will try to check my dispositions at the door.

Topic Thoughts: I read a lot, so there is a pretty decent chance that I am familiar with your argument set. I am still waiting for negatives to establish a meaningful opportunity cost for "plans" that largely just re-state the resolution. Although I sympathize with claims that the topic feels "stale", I still enjoy rounds where teams double-down on the economy adv/da.

Evidence: I believe that engaged research is one of the strongest benefits of policy debate, and that judging practices should incentivize such research. I am a bad judge for you if your evidence quality is marginal—sources, recency, and warrants/data offered. I reward teams who debate their opponent’s evidence, including source qualifications.

Delivery: I will provide prompts (if not on a panel) if I am having trouble flowing. I will not evaluate arguments that I could not originally flow.

Topicality: I vote on well-developed procedurals. I rarely vote on T cheap shots. T is not genocide—however, “exclusion” and similar impacts can be good reasons to prefer one interpretation over another. Debaters that focus interpretation debating on caselists (content and size), division of ground, and the types of literature we read, analyzed through fairness/education lenses, are more likely to get my ballot. I tend to have a high threshold for what counts as a “definition”—intent to define is important, whereas proximity-count “definitions” seem more valuable in setting the parameters of potential caselists than in grounding an interpretation of the topic.

Critical Arguments: I have read quite a bit of critical theory, and will not dismiss your argument just because it does not conform to ‘traditional’ notions of debate. However, you should not assume that I am necessarily familiar with your particular literature base. I value debating that applies theory to the ‘artifact’ of the 1AC (or 1NC, or topic, etc). The more specific and insightful the application of said theory, the more likely I am to vote for you. Explaining what it means to vote for you (role of the ballot) is vitally important, for both “policy” and “K” teams. Absent contrary guidance, I view ‘framework’ debates in the same frame as T—caselist size/content, division of ground, research focus.

Disadvantages/Risk: I typically assess the ‘intrinsic probability’ of the plan triggering a particular DA (or advantage) before assessing uniqueness questions. This means that link work is very important—uniqueness obviously implicates probability, but “risk of uniqueness” generally means “we have no link.” Impact assessments beyond shallow assertions (“ours is faster because I just said so”) are an easy pathway to my ballot, especially if you have strong evidentiary support

Theory: I will not evaluate theoretical objections that do not rise to the level of an argument (claim, data, warrant). Good theory debating focuses on how the operationalization of competing interpretations impacts what we debate/research and side balance. Thought experiments (what would debate look like if the neg could read an unlimited number of contradictory, conditional counterplans?) are valuable in drawing such comparisons. I tend to find “arg not team” to be persuasive in most cases. This means you need a good reason why “loss” is an appropriate remedy for a theory violation—I am persuadable on this question, but it takes more than an assertion. If it is a close call in your mind about whether to go for “substance” or “theory,” you are probably better off going for “substance.”

Counterplans: The gold standard for counterplan legitimacy is specific solvency evidence. Obviously, the necessary degree of specificity is a matter of interpretation, but, like good art, you know it when you see it. I am more suspicious of multi-conditionality, and international fiat than most judges. I am probably more open to condition counterplans than many critics. PICs/PECs that focus debate on substantive parts of the aff seem important to me. Functional competition seems to make more sense than does textual competition. That being said, I coach my teams to run many counterplans that I do not think are legitimate, and vote for such arguments all the time. The status quo seems to be a legitimate voting option unless I am instructed otherwise.

Argument Resolution: Rebuttalists that simply extend a bunch of cards/claims and hope that I decide things in their favor do poorly in front of me. I reward debaters that resolve arguments, meaning they provide reasons why their warrants, data, analysis, sources etc. are stronger (more persuasive) than those of their opponents on critical pressure points. I defer to uncontested argument and impact comparisons. I read evidence on questions that are contested, if I want the cite, or if I think your argument is interesting.

Decorum: I believe that exclusive practices (including speech acts) are unacceptable. I am unlikely to vote against you for being offensive, but I will not hesitate to decrease your points if you behave in an inappropriate manner (intentionally engaging in hostile, classist, racist, sexist, heterosexist, ableist etc. acts, for example). I recognize that this activity is very intense, but please try to understand that everyone present feels the same pressures and “play nice.”

Paperless: Email chains are faster--establish one before the round, and please include me on it (cramhelwich@gmail.com) . Prep time ends once a jump drive is pulled from the speaker’s computer or the email is sent. My default is that debaters may use prep time during a speech to resolve “tech issues” (crashes, freezes, etc). I do not have a strong opinion on the acceptability of mid-speech prep for other purposes.

If you have specific questions, please ask me before the round.

Tyler Gillette Paradigm

5 rounds

I debated for 3 years at KCKCC

I read a lot of different types of arguments when I debated and am willing to listen to almost anything. Just what you do best and even you are clear on why that means you win I will vote for it.


Theory- Just like any argument you need a clear link and impact in theory debates. With most theroy args I helieve it is usually a reason to reject the argument not the team. Condo: I am probably ok with conditionality, but, the more condtional arguments that are read the more sympathetic I am to the affirmative team. It will also be much easier to win if you can prove the conditional positions are contradictory to each other. CP theory: PICs are usually ok and the aff should have a defense on why wahtever the negative PICs out of is important to the aff. PIC theory is way more winable against ridiculous than it is against a PIC grounded in topic lit. .  


CPs- Are a very winable strategy in front of me. Make sure the net benefit is clear. The only 2 types of CPs I think may be iffy are consult and ridiculous word PICs out words such as "should" and "the". If you have literature grounded in the topic on reason consult is good you can probably win the argument, I just find that is rarely the case. Some word PICs are ok, if you have reason the world they said is offensive or bad for what they are trying to acheive you have a shot, but i should be subsantitive not just a PIC out of "should" "and" or "the". That does not mean I won vote on those types of arguments, I just think PICs out of minor words are harder to win and probably more thoeritically questionable.


Topicality/Framework- There needs to be a clear impact to these types of arguments, just saying it isn't fair or is bad for education is not an impact if you don't have reasons why those are true of the affirmative you are debating against. I am more than willing to vote on these arguments is they are well warranted and impacted it just may be harder to get me to vote here than it is other people. On topicality, I believe reasinibilty is the best way to evaluate it, I can be persuaded otherwise, but, that is my general starting point. On framework, it is hard for me to believe we should exclude certain styles of debate, I tend to find the impact turns to framework far more believable than the impacts to framework. The most important thing to win if you want me to vote on framework is probably topical version of the aff.


Disads-If you have them read them. I am totally ok with almost all disads, politics is one of my least favorite arguments in debate, the links and internal links on politics are usually questionable. Offense is always a prefferable strategy, but, I am willing to say a disad has 0 risk if the aff can prove it.


Case debate- I like to see good case debate and think the neg should in someway interact with the aff case. Just like disads offense is a better strat but if the neg can prove it I will vote on 0 risk of solvency.


Kritikal affs- I am open to any type of aff you want to read as long as you can justify why what you do means you win. If your method is clear and you impact your arguments you should have no problem. When negating these affs it is usually better to engage the argument instead of jsut reading framework, it wil be a hard sale to get me to believe we should exlcude any style of deabte.


Kritiks- I read a far amount of kritiks, but don't assume that means I know as much about the lit you are reading as you do. Kritiks are my favorite type of arguments and a usually a viable strategy, just be sure you are explainign how your argument interacts with the aff and means you win. 



I think that covers everything if you have any questions feel free to ask before round or email me tyler.gillette1@gmail.com
















Joe Hamaker Paradigm

4 rounds

Experience: 4 years of NDT-CEDA/2 years of NFA-LD at Missouri State, mostly reading policy arguments.

Currently: Graduate assistant at Missouri State seeking an M.A. in Communication

Contact: joehamaker [at] gmail.com. I'd like to be on the chain. If you have questions about an RFD or my judging philosophy, feel free to reach out.

I'm new at this and will update as my philosophy develops.

My goal is to resolve arguments made by debaters to form a coherent decision about the issue that the debaters have decided upon. I have predispositions but I will try hard to evaluate the debate outside of those because debate is for debaters. I list preferences below, but nearly all of them are contingent.


When I evaluate debates, I first identify nexus questions which the debaters have decided upon in the 2NR/2AR. Then, I determine arguments both sides have made on each nexus point and check my flow to assess whether they are sufficiently represented in previous speeches. Next, I evaluate the strength of the arguments of both sides. Often at this step, I will think through the implications of voting for both sides and the complications involved. Sometimes, this will cause me to reevaluate who I think is winning the debate. Finally, I determine who I think won the debate and write a paragraph (or more) of explanation.

It is difficult for me to decide debates which do not clearly identify nexus questions. When I have to determine them, it might work in or against your favor. This is a recipe for frustration for all involved; clear identification and engagement with the nexus questions is the best way to resolve that problem. I should also be able to explain, using language similar to that which is present in the 2NR/2AR, why I should vote for you and vote against the other team. If I cannot make that explanation, it will be more difficult for me to vote for you.

Incomplete list of advice/preferences/thoughts

- I (usually) flow cross-ex because it is binding

- Slow down on overviews and theory

- Tech > truth, but truth is important and doesn't always require a card

- "No perm in method v method debates" requires more explanation than most offer

- Zero risk of an impact is very rare but not impossible

- Stop taking prep outside of speech/prep time

- Make the implications of arguments and cross-applications clear, especially when they span multiple sheets. I should not have to do that work for you.

- Be swift with paperless

- Be caring of your partner and the other team

David Hingstman Paradigm

6 rounds

David B. Hingstman, University of Iowa, 28 years coaching


I am UNLIKELY to do the following things that other judges sometimes do to decide close rounds, with the exception of particularly egregious situations: (A) completely accept or ignore one side's story on judge role, links, link turns, uniqueness, and risk assessment; (B) discount one side's story on these issues on the grounds that I didn't understand it sufficiently; (C) assume that each side wins "some" link or "some" link turn to their arguments in spite of very strong uniqueness or argument thesis challenges and then weigh the personal importance of a priori considerations or the size of the impacts for empirical arguments or the in a rough fashion; (D) apply strict standards of "newness" to discount arguments in rebuttal speeches other than 2AR; or (E) vote on an argument with an underdeveloped warrant (“one line cheap shot”) because the other team may have undercovered it, especially if an argument elsewhere in the debate takes it into account.

I am LIKELY to resolve close debates by using two steps: (I) devising an overarching story on major issues or on subsidiary parts of major issues that gives some credence to both sides' final positions on that issue but shows why one side's position ultimately becomes more relevant to drawing a particular conclusion on that issue; (II) if necessary, checking the relationship between particular claims and the evidential and argumentative support for those claims when that relationship is contested. You can increase your chance of winning my ballot if you make a special effort to: (a) understand the other side's arguments [ALL OF THEM]; (b) use labels that explain your arguments or give one sentence of explanation between label and card; (c) figure out what both sides agree on for any issue or argument you want to extend and use that agreement to coopt the other side's position; (d) assess issues in the last rebuttal under the worst-case assumption that I will give the other side's position on each issue some consideration and be willing to concede those arguments that are not critical to a favorable assessment for you; and (e) explain why an argument made in 1NR, 1AR, or 2NR is illegitimately new and then answer the argument anyway. If you do not provide me with explanations on subissues that subsume and reconcile the opposing arguments, I will look for that explanation by thinking about the arguments or by looking at the evidence.

TOPICALITY: I treat it like other issues in the debate, by synthesizing the competing stories. I am a little less likely than the average judge who vote negative on topicality to vote on debatability problems alone. I prefer topicality standards that focus on grammatical or jurisdictional arguments. I think affirmatives can do themselves a favor by having a counterinterpretation of the terms at issue or a critique of topicality. To me, this is offense, and offense is good.

COUNTERPLANS AND KRITIKS: I try to avoid voting on predispositions about the legitimacy of counterplan strategies (agents, PICs, international fiat, conditionality, etc.) and critique strategies (performance, epistemological objections, actional alternatives, forum arguments, etc.). Be sure to make the arguments about why I should abandon the default decision-making paradigm below if it is necessary to make your strategies work (that is, what is my revised role as a judge under your worldview). In the last four years, I have voted quite often for well-developed critiques and critical affirmatives.

DECISION-MAKING PARADIGM: The default paradigm is traditional policy-making, unless you ask for and ultimately better defend theoretical justification for some other paradigm in the debate. I am familiar and comfortable with functioning in different paradigms, however, including critical paradigms. Both teams can increase their chances of winning debates considerably by emphasizing “offense” in their responses whenever possible.


NEW ARGUMENTS: I am not as strict as some judges about possibly “new” arguments in the 1AR or 2NR, given that the other side has a chance to respond. 2AR is a different story. I am unlikely to accept a 2AR concession or cross-application not forecasted in the 1AR unless there is NO reasonably conceivable response the negative could have made to undercut the shift. The same standard applies to new arguments in 2AR.

STYLE AND CROSS-EX: I penalize stylistic excesses and rudeness in speaker points, not in the decision. Evidence misuse penalties vary according to the seriousness of the distortion. The significance of cross-x answers should be developed in the speeches, although I listen to and flow cross-ex to check for possible concessions.


Eric Morris Paradigm

4 rounds

Eric Morris, DoF - Missouri State – 29th Year Judging

++++ NDT Version ++++ (Updated 10-22-2019)

(NFALD version: https://forensicstournament.net/MissouriMule/18/judgephil)

Add me to the email ermocito@gmail.com (For Wyoming Online, use mostatedebate@gmail.com)

I flow CX because it is binding. I record rounds to deter clipping.

Please be nice to others, whether or not they deserve it.

I prefer line by line debate. People who extend a DA by by grouping the links, impacts, UQ sometimes miss arguments and get lower points. Use opponent's words when refuting them.

Assuming aff defends a plan:

Strong presumption T is a voter. Aff should win you meet neg's interp or a better one. Neg should say your arguments make the aff interp unreasonable. Topic wording or lit base could justify extra or effects T, particularly with a detailed plan advocate.

High threshold for anything except T/condo as voting issues*. More willing than some on dismissing CP texts, K alts, or even DA links on theory. Theory is better when narrowly tailored to what opponent did. 3x Condo makes sense to me, but have voted on any range of interps.

Zero link, zero internal link, and zero solvency are possible. Zero impact is rare.

Large-scale terminal impacts have comparable magnitude unless you prove otherwise. Lower scale impacts also matter, particularly as net benefits.

Evidence is important, but not always essential to initiate an argument. Respect high-quality opponent evidence when making strategic decisions.

If the plan/CP is vague, the opponent gets more input into interpreting it. CX answers, topic definitions, and the literature base helps interpret vague plans, advocacy statements, etc. If you advocate something different from your cards, clarity up front is recommended.

I am open to explicit interps of normal means (who votes for and against plan and how it goes down), even if they differ from community norms, provided they give both teams a chance to win.

Kritiks are similar to DA/CP strategies but if the aff drops some of the "greatest hits" they might be in bad shape. Affs should consider what offense they have inside the neg's framework interp in case neg wins their interp. K impacts, aff or neg, can outweigh or tiebreak.

Assuming aff doesn't defend a plan:

Many planless debates incentivize exploring important literature bases, but decades later, we should be farther along creating a paradigm that can account for most debates.

Impact turns are presumed relevant to kritikal affs. "Not my pomo" is weak without a warranted distinction. I prefer the negative to attempt direct engagement (even if they end up going for T). It should be easier to win the ballot this way when the aff overcovers T. Affs which dodge case specific offense are particularly vulnerable on T (or other theory arguments).

Topicality is always a decent option for the neg. I would be open to having the negative go for either resolution good (topicality) or resolution bad (we negate it). Topicality arguments not framed in USFG/framework may avoid aff offense.

In framework rounds, the aff usually wins offense but impact comparison should account for mitigators like TVA's and creative counter-interps. An explicit counter-interp (or model of debate) which greatly mitigates the limits DA is recommended - see example below. Accounting for topic words is helpful. TVA's are like CP's because they mitigate whether topics are really precluded by the T interp. Here is a good example of detailed counter-interps (models of debate). http://www.cedadebate.org/forum/index.php/topic,2345.0.html

If I was in charge of designing a format to facilitate K/performance debate, I would propose a season-long list of concepts with significant literature bases and expect the aff to tie more than half into an explicit 1AC thesis.

This was too short?

Older, longer version is available here: http://bit.ly/1gchPYx

* Some ethical issues, like fabrication, are voting issues, regardless of line by line.

Brian Rubaie Paradigm

4 rounds

Iowa, Greenhill - edited for UMich 2020 - brubaie at gmail, please add to email chains!


There are three versions below: TLDR (10 second read); Short/Pre-Round version (1 min), and Long/Pre-Tourney version (2-3). The short/long versions are an "either/or" thing, they're more or less identical besides length. The paradigms of recent college debaters Primavera Martinez and Johnnie Stupek stand out as more modern and well-written versions of much of what I'm trying to communicate below.


TLDR - 10 second version

If you put time and effort into your craft, you're good. I will always give my undivided attention, stay open-minded, and be thorough. To quote Einstein, things should be as simple as possible, but no more.


Short Pre-round - 1 min

Stuff I know and don't know: Expert in nothing, familiar with most. Have debated, coached, and judged most everything and really enjoy most all of it.

K or policy? Why not both? I think the community's rough divide is occasionally principled but, more often, it is just sound and fury. I love great K debates and I love great policy debates. I'm more experienced at sorting policy/policy than K/K, but I'm equally interested in judging whatever.

What I will vote on: I have a lower quality filter than most. I'm not really proud or ashamed of that, it's just a fact. I lean much more heavily tech than truth. I often vote on things I don't agree with and sometimes on ones I don't feel great about. Winning in front of me is like good Southern cooking: cook up something spicy and delicious, and I'll probably avoid deeper questioning about what the ingredients are or how you cooked it up. I have very little ability to assess things from events outside the debate.

Which evidence I read: I skim 60-90% of cards as they are read, but I rarely read them in any meaningful depth. I skim to check context, confirm tags, or stay engaged. I usually only read ev which I'm directed to read and which is cited by name, but I can easily be directed to be more ev-oriented. Just tell me what to do.

What the aff should defend and what I prefer on the neg: The Aff should defend something controversial and debatable in relationship to the topic and establish a role for the Neg. The Neg should dig in on the 1ac. A 1nc with extra case often leads to extra points and Ws. I prefer fewer, better cards and a smaller number of good links etc. I also prefer a block going deep on 1-2 2NR options instead of 3-4.

What the neg can get away with: You can probably get away with more in terms of CP theory, K alt evolution, etc. in front of me than most. My tech-leaning ways tend to make me a good judge for bold 2Ns of any kind. I'm not heavily policy or K biased, but the data suggests I'm at a bit friendlier to the neg lifetime. I'm about the tech, and the aff too often just drops stuff without fighting back enough late in an attempt to recover. Speaking of...

What the aff can get away with: You can also probably get away with a more 'evolving' 1AR in front of me than most. I do punish big 2AC errors, but I also can be easily persuaded to allow some new-ish 1AR angles (i.e. "they did x, y, and z new things, we get this new 1AR thing.") I feel for the neg, but I also really admire great 1ARs that change the game after a bad 2AC.

If I were coaching a team that was neg to go for framework: I'd probably tell them to: a) Dig in and calculate an impact. I sometimes hear a big 2NC explanation that doesn't make it into the 2NR. Figure out what the 2NR impact calculus on your biggest impact sounds like. b) I often find that the neg is doing better at winning/calculating a procedural impact (fairness, ground, etc.) than a pedagogical one (skills, deliberation, etc.) That being said, do what you do, just impact it deeply. This can't be an after-thought: if you win this, you probably win the debate, and vice versa. c) Put some genuine effort into nailing down the 1AC's thesis claim/core goal and explaining why the interpretation you have forwarded can do something positive for achieving that. You don't need to win that a TVA, reading it on the neg, and/or anything else does the aff as well as the aff, but having some effective defense can go a long way.

If I were coaching a team that was aff vs. framework: I'd say to: a) Define some role for the neg and have a "debate key" claim. You don't have to give them the 1NC, but why is debate about the 1AC (and not just the act of having read it) a good thing and what do those debates look like? There should be some reason the 1NC speaking for 8-9 minutes is good. I used to be somewhat dismissive of "other stuff outside of debate solves," but I find myself voting on it more because the aff sometimes misses answering this. b) Lean more on impact turns/core aff offense than counter-interpretations. I find that neg teams are usually weakest on refuting core aff thesis points while being much stronger on procedural issues. I wouldn't abandon defense, but I would perhaps frame it more as how your counter-interp can create a stable role for the neg, desirable neg ground, more ethically grounded debates, etc. than leaning in on "we're right that 'resolved' is mental analysis."


Long pre-tournament version

1. What is the burden of the aff in the 1ac?

Up for debate, but I prefer that affs:

(a) Defend a controversial change in the area of the topic

(b) Display consistency and clarity, and

(c) Answer CX questions. If you don't do those things, I'd prefer a strategy that revolves around "those impositions are bad" vs. "why not?"

2. Constructing the 1NC

Less is more! Said this above, but smaller 1NCs that contain more cards with deeper highlighting will be rewarded. I appreciate an artful big 1NC so long as it isn't just throwing the box.

You need an argument saying "the 1ac doesn't achieve/resolve/correctly analyze (x)." I am skeptical of modern 1ac construction. Many affs (of all types) defend close to nothing. Some affs withstand heavy scrutiny, but very few survive a battle with a thoughtful 2N without some damage.

3. Earning better speaker points -- how to gain and lose points.

You will gain points if:

General -- you demonstrate rich knowledge of your evidence and can demonstrate you produced it. Extra points if it's from a book, but some additional love if it's from a peer-reviewed source, etc.

CX -- being concise, using the language of the other team, making complex things simple.

2NR -- talking about the 1AR in detail, framing/comparing instead of extending, making choices.

2AR -- isolating the 2-3 biggest issues and why you won them, making honest "even if" comparisons.

You may lose points if:

General -- being rude and unhelpful, replacing substance with noise, replacing listening with dismissiveness.

CX -- way-too-long answers, acting like the other team is stupid, making simple things complex.

2NR -- ignoring the 1AR/restating and extending the 2NC, going for too much/making bad choices.

2AR -- scattering a mix of everything in hope the neg dies by a thousand small cuts, ignoring the 2NR.

4. Evidence

Evidence quality matters, but my inclination is still to begin deciding a debate by scouring the flow before reading any evidence. I am moved by great ev, but it needs to be sold by the debaters. I am happy to give evidence quality greater priority, just tell me how and what to reward.

There are many good short tags/cards, but at a minimum I prefer tags that are at least half of a sentence and cards that are at least a few sentences. Highlighting must accurately convey the author's point.

5. Docs

I look at docs during the speech on occasion, but I don't read all of it or follow along. I will not start to follow along if you are unclear unless I'm worried you're clipping. I look at the docs most directly during CX. If you ask about a particular card directly, I'll usually be right there in the doc with you.

6. Early topic thoughts

College -- TBD

High School - CJS - I have enjoyed my initial topic reading and will update this as my thoughts clarify a bit.

7. Neg v K affs

Press heavily on what the aff does. You will get pushback on questions like "what question does the ballot answer?" etc but I like those foundational questions and want you to ask them.

Set up frameworks for competition and tell me what the role of the neg/burden of rejoinder is. If the aff is an analysis but not a proscription, does the neg win if it offers a better analysis (i.e. suggests capital and not race is more determinative of oppression?) This could be the more developed version of "you don't get a perm" -- the aff proposed an analysis of how x operates, the neg's theory of power was always distinct, etc.

Offense-defense doesn't make much sense in these debates. Does the neg have to win the aff proposing a survival strategy made the world worse? That's a high burden. Perhaps the neg needs only to win "defense" or to prove a better method.

8. Arguments/things I'm better and worse for as a judge...

Ks: I know more about structural Ks like afropessism, settler colonialism, queer theory, etc than continental philosophy/high theory/postmodernism/most Europeans. Not as good for floating PICs, better for "we don't need an alt."

CPs: The more you disagree with the aff, the better off you'll be. The less you disagree with the aff/the more you try to manufacture competition in illogical ways, the worse off you'll be.

DA/case: Yes please. I don't judge this a bunch anymore, but it's not because of disinterest. I try to do a lot of policy research and have enjoyed the early policy debates I've watched in our squad room.

9. Things I'm better and worse at as a judge...

I will listen, flow, and think with all my energy regardless of time of day, your record, division, argument choice, etc. I do not always listen, flow, and think perfectly, but that's the goal. You try to debate your best so you deserve me trying to do my best.

I'm not A+ in economic debates or with high theory. I am interested in that stuff, i.e. my first semester in my MBA has been a blast, it's just not a strength relative to IR, political science, or even some strains of critical theory like Afro-pessimism. Not saying I know much in those relative to some in debate, I just know more of the core tenets there than in branches of economics that might guide a precise difference in the text of the prizes CP.

10. All the framework all the time

Answering framework

Tell me what the biggest impact is and guide the debate through that.

Take clear, defined stances. Dismissing basic, common sense questions about what the aff does is often a bad move because it makes it look like the aff doesn't do or defend anything/makes limits more persuasive. It is much better to do the "we explained and defended this consistently and clearly the whole round" thing with me in the back.

I think the "we took a stance in the direction of the topic that locked in your core neg generics" approach is a good one. For instance, saying "we K'd all nuclear weapons/surveillance, so you get the best version of deterrence/the terror DA" is a solid answer to ground/idea testing.

Tell me what debate should look like. What is the neg doing here/what role should they play? If you can explain what ideas in the 1ac are testable and why testing them is good it goes a long way to answering a lot of neg framework args.

Address the TVA. Is the TVA T? Would "slap a plan on the aff" style TVA ever result in meaningful dialogue about the thing the aff proposes?

Going for framework

There's no singular argument on framework I favor, I just prefer direct engagement. I liked how Hemanth debated in these rounds: he made lots of comparisons, used the language of the other team, made CX matter, and broke things down very clearly. I don't even remember what his angle was. I just liked how he framed debates and treated people.

I don't get why folks quit going for fairness and limits in front of me. It's generally the thing the neg's interp most clearly resolves. I almost never say "you didn't win fairness mattered at all" or "debate is better with no rules or prior preparation." It is much more common for me to vote on well-packaged aff defense/counter-interp/doesn't solve the aff arguments that aren't addressed than it is to vote on "fairness bad."

It is not hard to convince me that the aff should be a contestable, stable, debatable thing, but many affs can persuasively argue that the stable, contestable thing they affirm isn't the USFG. Dig in on the internal link: why is the neg's model the most educational, predictable, stable, fair ground. Engage the counter-interpretation or competing model thoroughly.

Similarly, explain why the kinds of debates you want to have matter. Too often, negs just say "the aff's ground is one-sided and concessionary." That's a good start, but every good argument is a comparison. Talk about the value of debates under your model (it targets a deep literature base, i.e. space policy, IR, etc. with good arguments on both sides and tons of practical application to a wide range of issues.)

A thoughtful TVA can go a long way. Some extra time, evidence, and/or argument development here is usually time well spent. Digging into the other team's literature base is often very helpful: read Black scholars like Mills/Taylor who defend political engagement, indigenous scholars who demand accountability, etc.

Zach Simonson Paradigm

6 rounds

I debated several years at UNI. I've been out of the activity for a while.

I’m still pretty new to this judging thing. I’ve only seen the debates I was in and a few others, so it’d be unfair to claim a lot of preferences. I’ll do my best to judge the debate that y’all have. I’ll update this as I figure my shit out.

Clarity is important. So are impacts. So is being a decent person to everyone in the debate.

Tyler Snelling Paradigm

6 rounds

*Updated after 2016 Texas 

Debaters should have the ability to argue about what the terms of the debate are and how that relates to my decision. I prefer judging debates where the competitors are invested in their arguments, whatever those might be.

It is very rare in the debates I’ve judged so far that one team loses every argument on the flow. Consequently, it often seems going for a few less arguments would improve the quality of the debating between the aff and neg’s arguments. Most debates are decided in terms of how well either team characterizes each other’s options and framing of the interaction between issues in the debate. In most debates, I refrain from evaluating issues outside of how they occurred in the speeches of the debate.



Prep time only goes until your done prepping your speech, which means email (or in the worse cases flash and hand) time don't count against you. Please include me on your email chain (email = snelling101[at]gmail…] Sometimes in cross-x when people are asking questions about evidence, I like to be able to look at the cards as well. During speeches, I do not look at documents because I think debate should be a speech activity. If one of the teams is not paperless, then I don’t open the document.

I am better at flowing if I can maintain eye-contact with the person speaking. This doesn’t mean I’m going to be staring at you, but that you should make sure to not allow stands or laptops get in the way of your face and mine.


Speaker Points:

I spend most of my time at the end of the debate trying to decide who won and what I would have needed from the other team to win the debate or general commentary about the debate. While I’m filling out the ballot, I spend a few seconds trying to decide speaker points. I don’t have a static starting point for assigning or categorizing speakers, but try to decide how well the speakers used / responded during Cross-x, whether a decision made by one of the speakers uniquely helped improve/hurt the teams chances of winning and how well the speakers brought together the debate in their final rebuttals.

I take notes during cross-x and enjoy when debaters get strategic concessions that are used in their speeches.


Argument related comments:

- Counterplans generally require a solvency advocate. This can be aff evidence or neg evidence.

- It is nearly impossible to persuade me the negative should be forced to read a policy position or not get their alternative.

- Critiques may not need to have an alternative to be competitive with the aff, but I will not judge kick an alt (or counterplan) for you unless the framing in the 2NR justifies that option.

- I find it insufficient to read a hodgepodge of cards or arguments that “critique the squo” and call it an affirmative.

- In K aff verse K debates, links need impacts / clear internal links. The negative can win a link and still lose the debate if it’s unclear why that link “matters”.

- Competing methodologies seems like a buzz phrase that does not establish why the affirmative should not be able to have a permutation. Similarly, asserting there is a permutation that is advantageous, does not explain why I should allow the aff to access that option.



In-round Accessibility

Part of my responsibility as the judge is to make the debate accessible. If there is something I can do to help with that – please let me know. If you don’t feel like disclosing then you’re welcome to email me (address above).



Pet Peeves:

1- Clipping cards is punishable with a loss and 0 speaker points. Borrowing this line from Gabe: “To be very clear I do not feel that I need a debater to initiate a clipping challenge, as an educator I feel I have a responsibility to monitor against cheating.”

2- I value very highly the safety for ALL competitors to engage in this activity, so please be considerate of others. Making arguments with sexist, racist, ableist, and other exclusionary language can be especially harmful for people in the activity.

3- Please make sure you ask your opponents what gender pronouns they would like to have used. Misgendering is a serious issue.

4- Stealing prep time

5- Reading conditional arguments that clearly and unquestionably contradict 

6- Repeating that an argument was conceded- especially if it clearly was not  

7- Asking cross-x questions that go nowhere in developing the strategy or understanding of the debate.

8- Don’t be disrespectful to the people who host tournaments. They often times put their PC on the line to host, so you should clean up trash EVEN IF YOU DIDN’T PRODUCE IT.

Brief Bio

I am not the greatest judge for you if your speaking style includes: monotone, hyper-fast, undifferentiated tag-cards. I consider myself to have a sufficient flow and haven’t had problems judging debates in the past, but I thought a fair warning was important. I will ask you to be clear once, but after that point arguments will just be missing.

I studied philosophy and sociology as an undergraduate and I’m studying communication at UNLV.

3 years of debate at Millard South High School (qualified to NFLs & TOC)

4 years of debate at Concordia College – Moorhead (qualified to NDT twice)

First year coaching at University of Nevada- Las Vegas  



Jackson Specker Paradigm

6 rounds

jacksonspecker@gmail.com yes ple ase include me in your email chain. If you use speech drop please write the code on the board.

Debate is a game, have fun playing.

Quick Thoughts:

1. I feel like it is my job as a judge to not let my thoughts influence my decision of who did the better debating. However, It will inevitably happen. So you do what you do best and I will try my best as a judge. What I am really saying is I am not an argument processing machine, mistakes will happen.

2. You should debate as if I have little background and experience in the area you are talking about. It seems that it would serve anyone best to take the time and develop clear and well-constructed warrants. This will limit my ability to misunderstand your argument.

3. In my experience, people can take this activity too seriously. Humor will be rewarded.

4. Specificity is good, will be preferred over general claims/arguments.

5. Read Arguments that you enjoy. If you enjoy them I will probably enjoy them more as a judge.

6. I tend to find myself more in line with the tech>truth.

7. One conditional position for the neg is not abusive I will never process this as a reason to reject the team.

8. In T debates I generally think limits are good. Standards should be a way to explain how the debate space should divide the topic, I don't care about "in-round abuse"

9. I am not a big fan of debaters quoting my paradigm in round. This is not a contract, just the current state of my debate thoughts. Those thoughts can change.

10. I do not like any form of speed bad arguments.

11. I flow straight down

12. I prefer you call me by name rather than 'judge'

13. If you call the politics DA the "tix da" ill probably drop your speaks

The following format is stolen from Jeff Buntin (Northwestern)

Feelings--------------------------------------X----Dead inside


Read no cards-----------------------X------------Read all the cards

Conditionality good--X----------------------------Conditionality bad

States CP good----------------X------------------States CP bad

Politics DA is a thing-------X----------------------Politics DA not a thing

UQ matters most-------------X-------------------Link matters most

Try or die--------------x---------------------------What's the opposite of try or die

Clarity X---------------------------------------------Srsly who doesn't like clarity

Limits------------X----------------------------------Aff ground

Presumption-----------------------------X---------Never votes on presumption

Longer ev------------X-----------------------------More ev

"Insert this rehighlighting"------------------X-----I only read what you read

Fiat solves circumvention-----X-------------------LOL trump messes w/ ur aff

CX about impacts-------------------------------X-CX about links and solvency

AT: -------------------------------------------------X------- A2:

AFF (acronym)-------------------------------------------X Aff (truncated word)

Richard Tews Paradigm

4 rounds

Updated Feb 2017

Yes, I want to be on the email chain, tewsie1@gmail.com.

If you are a team that has been judged by me in the past there aren’t many changes. This is mostly an update b/c I haven’t looked at this thing in like 7 years.

I don’t really have strong argumentative preferences. Do what you do best and I will give you my best attempt to understand what you are arguing. Complete arguments have a claim, warrant and impact (reason it matters in the debate). Incomplete arguments rarely make it into my decision.

I flow and I don’t really read speech doc until I need a specific piece of evidence at the end. I value line-by-line refutation and get irritated when arguments don’t line. Overview proliferation is annoying. Most of those args can just be made on the lbl. I also flow on paper so undeclared overviews destroy my flow.

Good impact analysis helps my decision. Spend a little time talking about timeframes and probabilities instead of just magnitude. Often times mag is a tie, so I need something to clarify the extinction v extinction debate, obviously.

I look mad all the time. I’m not actually mad. It has no bearing on how I feel about the debate or you as debaters.  If I am mad at you, you will know it.

Pet Peeves:

Links are links not Disads to XYZ. If you win a link that means the argument competes, it isn’t a DA to anything on its own.

Debaters should handle their own CXs. If they need help that is fine, but they should at least be given the chance to answer questions in their own CX.

You are 18-25 year olds, figure out how email works. Excessive time sending email will result in prep time restarting.

I find it kind of sad that debaters aren’t funny anymore. I reward humor with points. Obviously, you should consider audience and appropriateness but don’t take everything so seriously all the time.


I don’t really have anything substantive to say here. You can outweigh the aff with a good disad you don’t always have to have a counter-plan but you do have to win case defense. It also helps if you explain the warrants of the case defense in relation to the aff impact claims (instead of just reading cards and letting me sort it out). In DA outweighs the aff rounds, you must have internals between your DA and the case impacts OR some really good defense. You also need to spend a lot of time on internals and TF/Prob differentials.  


I pretty much adjudicate K debates like I do disads, did you prove a link and does the impact outweigh. Also typically in K rounds I will ask myself at the end of the round if I can explain in plain English why I voted on this argument (to the losing team). In other words if you can’t explain a K in simple English it becomes more difficult (not impossible) for me to vote for you. Alternatives don’t have to solve the aff if they solve the K and it outweighs the aff.

Self-serving roles of the ballot are annoying. My ballot typically indicates who did the better debating. Sometimes that better debating means that you convinced your opponents that the ballot means something different, but for real that ballot doesn’t change just b/c you said so. Go ahead and play the game but like all other arguments you are going to have to win this. A simple assertion of a new role is not enough. If you want to change the role of the ballot you are going to have to have a rationale for why your role is good for debate/the round/has some justification that goes beyond “you want to win the round”.


It is a voter. I usually evaluate on competing interps. I can be persuaded by reasonability however I think that these args are deployed weakly these days. Reasonability is a value claim and as such you need to assert the value (i.e. we are reasonable) and then explain how to evaluate reasonableness (how do I recognize if something is reasonable). The aim of this should be to take the onus off of my moral system of what is reasonable/fair to me and put it more on an objective system for recognizing reasonability in relation to community norms. It helps if you have a vision for debate and can defend it and don’t just treat T/FW as an analytic disad.



I often struggle with theory debates because people blaze through them with no regard for pen time. If you want to win theory debate you have to have a clear link and impact and explain why the impact should merit the ballot. I won’t read your blocks, if I can’t understand it from the speech and my flow then it doesn’t count. 

Caitlyn Wicks Paradigm

4 rounds

Update for the 2019-2020 Collegiate debate season: I am working on my PhD at Indiana University. Yes I want to be on the Email chain - SovietHistory2396@gmail.com ; Please standardize your highlighting to green and purple as the 2nd color if dual highlighted. This is a great accommodation for your judge (me) as Yellow is a Migraine Trigger. Blue is also acceptable, but for the late rounds of the tournament becomes tiring to look at. If you don't, I will automatically standardize highlighting on my end, which may cause me to miss any dual highlighting you had done and it doesn't solve for the initial trigger of me having to look at the yellow highlighting. Please, and thank you. I also have a Service Dog, so be aware. Also DO NOT START YOUR SPEECHES BY YELLING especially if you are white and male presenting. I will straight up not flow due to being triggered for PTSD. On this note, if you have any disabilities and accommodations you would like noted to me, please feel free to email before the round and I'll do my best to stick to them.


I will now sum up what was important from my various updates that used to be here from the last several seasons before the other paradigm comments about particular args: I have a zero tolerance policy for racism, and other isms. Period. The end. "If these harms were real we would already be seeing them" is NOT an answer to oppression impacts, especially when you're a white student or a member of the dominant group for that particular ism. THEY ARE REAL. I will sign the ballot for the other team as soon as the transgression occurs and WILL report you to your coaches. Many of the things (by topic) below are written for High School Debate but do apply to how I judge college policy rounds, you may find them helpful, you may not. Essentially you do you and I'll judge it. Don't call me white please. Debate is supposed to be passionate and fun - for a lot of us, debate defines us as people. If your job is to destroy people and careers, that's on you. But at least make it bearable to listen to or pay the consequences. Those of you that know me know that I am more familiar with set. col. literature and that was my comfort zone junior and senior year. That being said, if you are reading set col args in front of me - don't misrepresent the authors and if you're a settler thats chill just check yourself, white people can stand up against set. col. and racism just be willing to sit down when a Native wants to speak. Definitely Don't be a pretendian. Its not "cool" to experience oppression, and its really not cool to pretend to. General note on K debate: Please share with me your link stories, and impact them out. Think of your links as independent disads. Best way to overcome a perm is really explain and impact out link args. Remember presumption flips aff when you read a K or a CP. RT the above on CP's. Anyway the rest of this is organized by topic. :) Bonus points for Ermo jokes and Delo jokes <3


Experience: I debated 4 years at Truman High School, I completed my 4th year of College Debate (NDT) at Missouri State University (NDT 2018) and I coached Middle School Debate in Springfield and High School Debate at Blue Valley West, Truman, and Notre Dame de Sion [Kansas and Missouri]. All in all however, Just have fun and do your thing and I will adapt - I want this space to be welcoming and educational. So GOOD LUCK and please email me if you have any more questions.


College debaters - read if you so feel compelled.

Speed is fine as long as you are clear - slow down just a smidge for tags and authors. Then just be clear and dont clip. I will say "clear" once and then if you are still unclear I will just stop flowing and then my decision might come down to whoever I can hear. You probably don't want that. Also don't try to spread yourselves out just in order to spread out the other team. You're only hurting yourself. Don't read one million time-suck arguments like a non-legit T or Spec argument just to make the 2AC and 1AR spend time on it. Everything in the 1NC should be a viable 2NR option. Every Advantage in the 1AC needs to be a potential for the 2AR. Add-ons and new Impact Mods are fine - just be sure to actually develop your arguments. A non developed shell of a DA in the 2NC will not be a convincing 2NR and I will give some weight to new 1AR args and 2AR shifts.

Evidence - I don't want to read evidence after a round, it will delay my decision and thus delay the tournament and delay your next food break. So, that being said, do a good job explaining why your evidence is good/why your opponent's is bad. I will call for cards if I do have to read them, but note, that means your speaker points may be effected. Unless of course you are making the argument that evidence is a bad metric for decision making and if you win that arg then I won't evaluate ev at all.

Topicality (And also Framework) - I tend to vote for reasonability claims if they are reasonably topical (not on framework unless dropped). Topical version of the aff can be devastating - make sure you answer it. I am willing to vote on this argument - but explain the impact level. Why is your education good, and why is theirs bad? In terms of framework - there is a difference between "this is about models of debate" and "this is about whats the better political strategy." Furthermore, if you are non-black and non-poc, you better have a pretty dang good reason for saying that us POC don't get to do what we wish. That goes for all args really. In other words, I'm lenient to the access DA but if you win T version of the Aff, again, thats why it can be devastating. The aff side of these debates, really explain why your topic criticisms are also reasons why the neg's education they want to learn is bad education / creates bad societies/ etc. etc. impact. impact. In both T and Framework debates you need to win your model is good and their model is bad - give me a case list of topical affirmatives in both worlds and why they're good/bad.

Disads - Explain your impact scenario. I want to know how exactly the internal link scenario happens. Don't just tell me extinction happens. Why does it happen? How? Etc. IMPACT CALC. turn the aff impacts. turn their solvency mechanism(s). yes you need a link. yes cx can be a link but cards are cool(er) too.

Counterplans - LOVE 'EM. However, Make sure your counterplan competes (hopefully in a way other than "perm links to the disad." but thats cool too in PIC scenarios). Advantage counterplans are awesome. If the CP is multi-plank, read the text slowly so I get them all, especially if the distinguished planks are going to be essential. Also CP's should solve a lot of, if not all, of the aff.

Condo - no more than 2 conditional worlds is my general lean BUT if condo good is dropped i mean hey thats what debates about right? all args are condo. Interpretation debate is so important.

Kritiks - (See above but also) These are not always ran well at the High School level, but if you can run it well - go for it. Under this stipulation - HAVE A REAL ALTERNATIVE. DO SOMETHING to combat whatever it is you are critiqing. Alts that are "Do nothing" or "vote neg" or "reject the 1ac" generally don't work with me unless your alt evidence is very good at explaining (and you are good at explaining your alt evidence) why that action ACTUALLY ends what you are critiquing otherwise you're probably losing on Alternative Solvency [i.e. work PIKs are cool. Tuck and Yang and Audra Simpson's Refusal Alts actually explain what refusal is as a political action rather than just "reject the aff" etc. etc. etc.]. On that note, if your plan is to go for the Kritik as a non unique disad and kick the alt - make sure you have an impact and explain why the aff doesn't get try-or-die - like idk having some case D.

Performance/Identity/Non-Traditional/Planless/advocacy affs *Yes I know none of these words accurately describe your aff but this is the segment for your type of non-usfg-plan-action-affs*: A) Don't read your Baudrillard aff in front of me. He was racist and extremely anti-indigenous and honestly the neg could just say that and sit down for the 1nc and no you can't say "not my Baud". B) My senior year at MoState was almost always these. I will listen to these. I will vote on these. These often have speaker point boosts. I believe these reveal a lot about the debaters themselves. That does not mean I lean anyway, I just have a high threshold for this kind of debating on both sides. However: 1. My ballot does not actually create social change - debate is debate, even if I believe in your aff I'm probably not going to start a revolution or join yours (unless I am already a part of it) even if I vote aff - so these arguments are probably less persuasive. BUT my ballot CAN and DOES reflect my endorsement of the aff ideology and an agreement of the aff's description of reality. 2. Make sure that you do have an argument for why my ballot is important and what that means. Aside from these two things, I prefer these debates to actually be educational and informative and fun (debate is a game, an activity, and it is fun) so have fun and don't forget why you are all here. Try not to scream at each other or at me. For Identity teams, I am NOT White. I am Native American, I have tribal citizenship. Yes I know I have white passing privilege, but that's not the same. Your job as a debater is not to critique the judge. Yes I understand this means I don't know what black suffering is like. Or the suffering of other non-black POC, and of course not even all other Native Americans - suffering is not universal. SO please do not ever tell me that I am white, and that I am not important, or that by voting against you it is an act of White Supremacy. Doing so makes me feel like I can never be an activist for my people. That hurts almost as much as white framework debaters saying your education is bad and useless and uneducational. almost. anyway, Follow these, and you'll be in a good position (assuming you debate the opposing team).

Procedurals: Very persuasive if impacted out. Not good as time sucks. I'll get frustrated with you. also read above discussion of Topicality and the section right above this.

Theory: These debates suck these days - people read blocks at each other and don't answer the actual arguments. people assume things were said. They answer or extend what they think they heard rather than what was. Just don't. The exception is condo, as stated above, but honestly, I err neg mostly unless it really is some egregious or arbitrary thing trying to be excluded. or if you are willing to actually DO THE WORK, have your blocks in the doc so I can fact check things that were read and trace from speech to speech. Honestly theory debates these days are abysmal.

Speaker Points:

(High school) I don't really have a scale just yet. I start everyone at the highest (so I'm assuming a 30 or whatever the tournament has) then I keep a tally of how many times a speaker screws up or does something to anger me or is just plain stupid. Then I judge the severity of how stupid this transgression was and dock speaker points that way. No matter what, I try not to award lower than points from the highest (i.e. a 26) unless I think you should just quit debate or have a serious discussion with your coach about delivery and how to speak professionally.

(College) For everyone, my zero tolerance policy doesn't just get you an L it will also get you a 0. Partners that let you get away with it or laugh and joke about it will also be punished to the degree I see fit in their speaks.

If you wish to have more information about your round, ballot, etc. Email me at SovietHistory2396@gmail.com ; I will hold on to your flows for only a week. past that, I may not be that helpful in answering questions. In these emails, be very specific about what tournament, round, side, and give me some round context before your question just to jog my memory before I grab my flow.