Harvard Westlake Debates

2019 — Los Angeles, CA/US

Leah Clark-Villanueva Paradigm

Yes, please add me to the email chain.


Program Manager at the Los Angeles Metropolitan Debate League (LAMDL). Former CSUF policy debater.

I frequently judge for Harvard-Westlake in high school LD, and CSUN for college policy.

PLEASE BE PROMPT TO YOUR ROUND. Don't make the tournament late because you're still prepping after start time. AFF - set up an email chain once you know who your opponent is.

Speaker Points (HS Policy/LD)

27.0 = base speaker points/below average

27.5 = average novice level debate

28 = average varsity debate

29+ = excellent varsity debate

Speaker Points (College Policy)

28.0 = base speaker points/novice level

28.5= average open debate

28.6- 29.1 = above average open debate

29.2+ = excellent open debate

*I will adjust speaker points that align with community norms.

[Short Version]

Judge/Debate Biases

These are common debate beliefs I come into the round with. If your arguments don't align with them, I will still listen to it but in order to win the ballot you must provide warrants and impacts as to why I should prefer your framework/arguments over my implicit debate bias listed below:

*I listen to and flow your arguments and evidence. I don't read cards unless: 1. I suspect you are clipping, 2. you call on me to read warrants in a specific card., or 3. I think your tagline is supercharged vs what your evidence says. It's up to *you* to explain your cards to me, it's not my job to read them because you are unclear in your analysis, weighing, reading, or identifying which arguments matter. Debate is a persuasive competition, not Judge Has The Doc Therefore They Can Read My Evidence and Vote on an Argument (my blocks) Explained/Answered for 5 Seconds In My Last Speech competition.

-AFFs should present a plan in the direction of the resolution, I will vote on risk on solvency outweighs CP/K alts

-AFFs should solve or try to solve something

-(More specific to LD) Narrow down the debate to the *most* important arguments I should weigh. The AFF doesn't have enough time to go line by line on everything and the most common reason why I vote down AFF teams in LD is because they attempt to answer every NEG answer (poorly) without framing the round and crystalizing which arguments I should vote for. The NEG can always outspread you - tell me why your AFF still matters despite multiple offs the NEG read.

-K AFFs that do not present a plan text must: 1. Be resolutional - 1ac should generally mention or talk about the topic even if you're not defending it, 2. Prove the 1AC/AFF is a prereq to policy, why does the AFF come before policy, why does policy fail without the aff? 3. Provide sufficient defense to TVAs - if NEG proves the AFF (or solvency for AFF's harms) can happen with a plan text, I am very persuaded by TVAs. K teams must have a strong defense to this.

-Link to the squo/"Truth Claims" as an impact is not enough. These are generic and I am less persuaded by generic truth claims arguments without sufficient impacts, explanation of author literature & arguments, and defense to policy edu good arguments. I can agree with your analysis and root cause to squo impacts, but if it does not answer policy solvency questions or if idk how the AFF solves its own impacts (or what it aims to solve), I can easily vote for policy alternatives good args.

-Critique of the resolution > Critique of the squo

-NEG K alts do not have to solve the entirety of the AFF, but must prove a disadvantage or explain why a rejection of the AFF is better than the alt, or the squo solves.

-If AFF gets a perm, the NEG gets condo

-Debate is a game, if it is a survival strategy I need more warrants and impacts other than "the aff/alt is a survival strategy" with no explanation of how you are winning in-round impacts

-Framing is important, the team that gives me the best guide on how/why I should vote for X typically wins the round. What's the ROB, ROJ, the purpose of this round, impact calc, how should I evaluate the debate?

-Edu is the most important impact in each round, when the debate is messy or close I tend to evaluate the round in terms of 1. who did the better debating, 2. who best explained arguments and impacts and made me more clearly understand the debate, 3. who understood their evidence/case the most.

-I have never heard or voted on a convincing RVI - I find condo bad arguments to be more persuasive.

-If I have to read the warrants/impacts in your cards, you haven't done a good job of explaining your arguments. Don't expect me to follow the doc and read your cards. I will do so to clarify something I must have missed or misheard, but I should not be reading cards because you are unclear and do not explain your evidence.

-Dropped arguments are not always necessarily true - I will vote on dropped arguments if it was impacted out and explained why it's a voter, but not if the only warrant is "they conceded _____it so it's a voter"

-I flow arguments, not authors. It will be helpful to clarify which authors are important by summarizing/impacting their arguments instead of name dropping them without context or explanation.

[Long Version]

POLICY (scroll down for LD)

K Teams - If you're high theory, explain like you're low theory. If I don't know what the function of your alt/advocacy is or what it does, I'll vote for the team that makes the most sense or I understand more. Your Aff/K is a journey, guide me through it. Do the work for me throughout the debate and it makes it easier for me to cast a ballot for you. Explain how your alt/advocacy solves. Real world comparisons/spillovers are important, but why you why is the debate space necessarily key to you performing your K? What's the ROB, what's the ROJ? How should I evaluate the debate?

Policy Teams - Impact out your T/FW. Evidence is good but I need more impact calc and real-world and in-round comparisons about why your aff or neg case is key. Your education, fairness, ground, etc. and how you outweigh. Do the work for me. T/FW args should be specific to the AFF. What and how did the AFF violate the rules and why should I default or vote on the rules/args you presented?

EXTEND ARGUMENTS, NOT JUST AUTHORS. I flow args and sometimes authors. If you say "Extend this Yi evidence..." and move on without at least summarizing what the Yi evidence is, I might miss it. Again, do the work for me so it's easier for me to vote for you.

Overviews should tell a story about your case. I'm very big-picture, and will vote on pragmatic solutions as well as theoretical ones.

Quality over quantity is always better; don't run 6 offs and read a few cards on each and expect strong arguments. If I miss something because you're unclear, that's on you. I listen to your speech more than I read cards, unless you tell me to highlight a specific author.

Debate however you want, but if your arguments and CX is bigoted then you will get lower speaks.

I don't lean towards K debates vs Traditional debates more. Debate how you want, but do the work and make clear distinctions on voters, impact, solvency, links, etc.

I did traditional debate in high school but moved to K debates in college. I have a better lit background on K affs and arguments but will vote on CPs, DAs, and T if it applies and the work is done. Case extensions, clash, impact scenarios, WHY your educational value is better than the other team, etc. are all important things to discuss during round.

If you don't have a warrant for your arguments, I'm not counting it. Given that, you don't need a piece of evidence for every claim, but you have to explain your logical reasoning for WHY I should agree with your claim.

Extend arguments. If you bring it up in the 1A/N but it never gets mentioned anywhere else but your 2AR/NR, it's dropped.

Condo is fine. My default is if the AFF gets a perm, the NEG gets conditionality. Convince me otherwise by impacting out why multiple worlds is bad, uneducational, etc. Be ready to answer performative contradiction arguments.

Paperless: I stop time after the flash gets taken out of your laptop or you indicate that you're just sending the email. I'm pretty lenient with this as I understand how frustrating computer problems may be, but if I sense a team is abusing this and not using prep, then I start time again.

Read my face. I don't have a poker face. If I look confused you probably said something that didn't make sense. If I'm nodding, keep going. I either agree with the arg you're making and/or think your response is fire. If I look neutral/look up look down or if I'm not typing anything, I'm processing your speech and info and thinking about what it means. Use this as clues as to where you want to allocate your time and focus on certain arguments in the rebuttals.

Sometimes I flow cx, other times I just listen. I take notes for any potential links the neg can garner from the AFF's answer. I also write down any arguments I'll be looking out for in the remaining speeches and want to hear. USE THIS TIME TO BETTER EXPLAIN YOUR PLAN/ALT/ADVOCACY IF YOU'RE ASKED ABOUT IT, ESPECIALLY IF IT'S HIGH THEORY AND NEEDS TO BE REARTICULATED.

CX should be utilized more than just clarification. This is your time to engage with your opponent and frame the debate/your performance in your favor.


Pretty basic and straightforward. I need specific reasons why the perm won't work. Call out illegitimate perms and why those arguments are abusive to the NEG. Links and net benefits should be extended throughout the round. Call out severance/intrinsic perms.


T is fine. I need reasons why an untopical aff is uneducational *in* the round and why you definition is more beneficial. Provide competing interps or I will default to the one that was extended and impacted.

IMPACT OUT EDUCATION ARGUMENTS - and provide TVAs. I give this argument more weight than other standards - I'm an educator and view debate as a game. If you believe debate is a survival strategy, provide reasons why I should view it as a survival strat and why I should vote on that argument.

There's a difference between being topical and being resolutional. Policy team = topical plan, K teams = resolutional i.e. critiquing the resolution (K AFF) but still talking about the general area of the resolution. These are separate arguments so please answer/differentiate them accordingly.

Make it clear how the AFF is abusive, how it's unfair, etc. Don't run generic T arguments unless you can develop the impacts more clearly and effectively. If it's a strategic time suck then you do you.

Other standards like reasonability, ground, fairness, etc. come second to education since I believe that to be the most important goal in debate - to educate one another. If something about the other team hindered you from getting more education in a round i.e. not disclosing, not being topical, etc. then impact those other arguments as well and why they're voting issues.


Framework is an important tool to evaluate debates. Why is your FW better I enjoy FW debates more than T, but these can work cohesively to beat K AFFs. What I look for in T/FW agrs to beat K AFFs: Why is the resolution important to debate, why the FW of the AFF is wrong or doesn't analyze ___, even if AFF wins root cause their method doesn't solve for _____, pragmatic/material solutions vs theoretical ones.


K AFFs: I believe teams tend to pref me bc of my K background, but I find myself voting down teams that have generic "Links to the status squo" type AFFs without a specific reason why *the topic* needs to be critiqued first. K AFFs need to talk specifically about the resolution and make prereq to policy arguments, otherwise I will be easily swayed by T/FW arguments especially TVAs. Analyzing/winning root cause does not automatically mean your method solves your impacts. Focus on method/topic specific solvency rather than *just* critiquing the squo/state/civil society/modernity.

K NEG: I enjoy K debates when you know your case and not a filler K that you decided to run. Know your alt. Why do you solve better? Why are you mutually exclusive? Why are you a prerequisite to the plan/advocacy? Why doesn't the Perm solve?

Proving root cause (Cap, Set Col, Antiblackness, Ableism, Patriarchy, etc.) does not mean you win the round. Prove HOW the AFF specifically makes these impacts worse than the squo. If you do not make these arguments, I am more inclined to vote for the AFF if they make a "the K is non-unique and a link to the squo, not the AFF" argument.



Traditional vs. Policy-oriented/K teams

Policy LD - Paradigm about policy debate applies here. LD is difficult to be thorough in your K/CP/Plan text explanations. Impact calc + card analysis > overspreading your opponent. If you read a bunch of cards with no explanation or impact calc during your last speech, do not rely on me cross-applying or analyzing arguments if you didn't do that work during the debate. Have blocks ready to answer procedural arguments. Just because I allow CPs/Ks/Plan texts in LD does not mean I will vote for it.

Traditional LD teams - I am open to voting for teams who do not have a clearly labeled FW (i.e. "My value is X, my value criterion is X"). I am also open to voting for teams who have a plan text/advocacy statement/CP. If a team has these components, it doesn't mean I will automatically vote for them, but be prepared to make arguments as to WHY policy-oriented style of LD debate is unfair, uneducational, take away ground, etc. If the other team's performance clashes with your view of how LD debate should be, make that an argument. Do not assume that I will default to how LD traditionally should be unless you can impact out why I should vote on procedurals.

Traditional LD vs. Traditional LD

I like clash. I've voted for V and VC that have apriori arguments and have been extended throughout the round. I'm not super techy so I focus more on the argument than definitions. Contentions should be consistent with your value and value criteria and you should show why your opponent is inconsistent or why your V and VC is better.

Deven Cooper Paradigm

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)

Email: Devenc325@gmail.com

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 yours....do 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.

Michael Eisenstadt Paradigm

Michael Eisenstadt, Ph.D.

Director of Forensics, California State University Long Beach | Notre Dame High School

9th Year Judging College Debate | 14th Year Judging High School Debate

2014 CEDA Pacific Region Critic of the Year | 2018 "Top Critic Award" at the Las Vegas Classic (UNLV) | 2019 CEDA Pacific Region Critic of the Year

For questions of any kind, please e-mail me at: michael.eisenstadt@csulb.edu

Tournaments Judged This Season (2019-2020): CNDI 3-Week, Jack Howe Memorial Invitational (Long Beach), Aztec Invitational (SDSU), Meadows, Fall at the Beach, Glenbrooks, Alta, Cal Swing 1, Cal Swing 2, Golden Desert, D1 NDT Qualifier (Pacific Championships), ADA Nationals

Updated 9-17-19

***I would like to be on the e-mail chain (m.stadt89@gmail.com, not my Tabroom e-mail).***

I will not necessarily read along with your speeches, but I would like to have evidence in the case that particular cards are disputed in cross-x and/or to make reading them after the debate concludes quicker.

This judge philosophy is just that, a philosophy. I think I have become more ambivalent to what your argument is over the years and more concerned with how you argue it. My job is to evaluate the arguments made in a debate, your job is to tell me why and how I should vote for them. Therefore, I think the following information is more helpful for you than me telling you what arguments I "like." This is your debate and not mine. Every day is #GAMEDAY and I will work hard when judging your debate, the same way I appreciated those who worked hard to judge my own.

An important meta-theoretical note: I believe in a 'healthy diet' of persuasion. I perceive there to be a serious problem with communication in competitive debate. Debates are won by important communicative moments (see below). Whether they are fast, slow, passionate, or hilarious, they must happen. I believe Will Repko has called these "Moments of Connection." Reading into your computer screen with no emphasis or clarity would make having such a moment extraordinarily difficult.

Debate is a communicative activity. This means that to win an argument a) I have to understand it and b) I have to hear it clearly enough to know it was there. At the end of the round, if we have a disagreement about something, usually a failure to achieve those requirements will be my explanation. Reading directly into your computer during your speeches and/or making no attempt at eye contact drastically heightens the risk of a miscommunication.

I am deeply concerned about the trend of evidence quality in debate. Teams seem to frequently read evidence that either fails to make a warranted claim OR that is highlighted down into oblivion. I think that a team who reads fewer, better (read: warranted) cards and sets the bar high for their opponents has a much better chance of winning their nexus/framing arguments.

Debate is what you make it. For some, debate is a game of verbal chess that is designed to teach them about institutional policy-making. For others, it is a place to develop community and advocacy skills for the problems and issues they face on an everyday basis whether at school, within debate, or elsewhere. I believe that one of the best things about this activity is that it can accomplish so many different things for so many individuals and it serves a variety of purposes. I think either or any of these approaches teach us the transferable skills debate can offer. No matter the arguments presented in a debate, I will always recognize this and will always support you for what you do. Over the years I have found myself voting fairly evenly for and against "framework" arguments because I will evaluate the arguments made in the debate itself. My ballot will never be an endorsement of one form of debate over another, it will very simply represent who I thought did the better debating.

Framework. In 1984, Dr. David Zarefsky famously argued, "the person who can set the terms of the debate has the power to win it." Generally, the 2NR that goes for "Topicality + Case D to Aff Impact Turns" is more likely to win in front of me than the 2NR who only goes for "State Good/Inevitable," though that is typically suitable defense on the case when the affirmative criticizes governmental action. The negative wins in front of me going for this 2NR strategy most often when it includes some combination of the following 3 arguments:

1. An interpretation supported by definitional evidence (that is ideally contextual to the topic). I am uncertain why negative interpretations like "direction of the topic" circumvents affirmative offense. These softer interpretations typically hurt the negative's ability to win the limits DA without much payoff. I have found that negative teams have a more uphill battle in front of me when the only term in the resolution they have defined is "United States Federal Government."

2. A Topical Version of the Aff and/or Switch Side Debate argument - I think of "framework" as the intersection between Topicality and argument(s) about how I prioritize impacts, which impacts should be prioritized, and what the best strategy for dealing with those impacts is. So, having a "counterplan" that plays defense to and/or solves portions of the case (and/or the impact turns) can be a good way to beat the affirmative. I find myself voting affirmative in debates where the 2NR did not address the affirmative's substantive offense (so, you did not respond to internal links to impact turns, address impact priority arguments, etc.). I also think this sets the negative up to make arguments about potential neg ground as well as a switch-side debate argument.

3. An impact - I have voted on procedural and structural fairness, topic education, and argument advocacy/testing impacts. Ideally, the 2NR will be careful to identify why these impacts access/outweigh the affirmative's offense and/or solve it. I think that debate is generally more valuable for "argument testing" than "truth testing," since the vast majority of arguments made in a debate rely on assumptions that "the plan/aff happens" or "the alternative/framework resolves a link."

Conversely, the affirmative should point out and capitalize on the absence of these arguments.

Presumption: This is a legal term that I think folks are often confused about. Presumption means that the affirmative has not met their burden of proof (sufficient evidence for change) and that I should err negative and be skeptical of change. Although a 2NR should try to avoid finding themselves with no offense, I am increasingly compelled by arguments that an affirmative who has not chosen to defend a(n) change/outcome (note: this does not mean a plan) has not met their burden of proof. For instance, an affirmative that says "the State is always bad" but does not offer some alternative to it has not overcome the presumption that shifting away from "the State" would be inherently risky. Of course, a framework argument about what it means to vote affirmative, or whether the role of the debate is to advocate for/against change factors into how I think about these issues.

Flowing: is a dying art. Regardless of whether I am instructed to or not, I will record all of the arguments on a flow. You should flow too. Reading along with speech docs does not constitute flowing. I am frustrated by teams who spend an entire cross-x asking which cards were read and requesting a speech doc with fewer cards. In the days of paper debate (I am a dinosaur to the teens of 2020), you would not have such a luxury. There are clearly instances where this is not uncalled for, but the majority of cases appear to be flowing issues, and not "card dumps" from an opposing team.

Permutations: I am almost never persuaded by the argument that the affirmative does not get a permutation in a "method debate." Permutations are mathematical combinations and all methods are permutations of theories and methods that preceded it. I could [rather easily] be persuaded that if the affirmative has no stable advocacy or plan, then they should not get a permutation. That is a different case and has a different warrant (affirmative conditionality). "Perm do the aff" is not an argument, it is not a permutation and says nothing about how a counterplan or alternative competes with the aff. I have also found that teams seem to have difficulty in defending the theoretical legitimacy of permutations. Although I would have an astronomically high threshold for voting on an argument like "severance permutations are a voting issue," such arguments could be persuasive reasons to reject a permutation.

Risk: I find that I am mostly on the "1% risk" side of things when a team has [good] evidence to support a claim. However, I can also be easily persuaded there is a "0% risk" if a team has made too much of a logical leap between their evidence and their claim, especially if the opposing team has also indicted their opponent's evidence and compared it to their own. This is especially true of "Link->Internal Link" questions for advantages and disadvantages.

Tech and Truth: If all arguments were equal in a debate, I would err on the side of truth. However, that is rarely (and should not be) the case. When there is not a clear attempt by both teams to engage in line-by-line refutation, one team tends to miss important framing arguments their opponents are making that undercut the "impact" of their truth claims. This understanding is distinct from "they dropped an arg, judge, so it must be true," since that is not a warranted extension of an argument nor is it a comparison that tells me why the "dropped argument" (how do we know it was dropped if we aren't debating line-by-line and making these comparisons? Could an argument somewhere else or on an entirely different sheet answer it?) should affect the way I evaluate other portions of the debate.

Other important notes:

A) I will vote for the team who I found to do the better debating. This means if your framing argument is "your ballot is political because _______" and I vote for you, my ballot is NOT necessarily an endorsement of that politics. Rather, it means you won your impact prioritization and did the better debating, nothing more, nothing less.

B) I do not want to preside over accusations about what has or has not happened outside of the debate I am judging. In these situations, I will always defer to the arguments presented in a debate first and try to resolve the debate in that fashion, since I am often not witness to the events that are brought up about what may or may not have happened prior to a debate.

C) I am ambivalent about argument selection and theory and am willing to vote against my own convictions. E.G. I think the Delay CP is 100% cheating and unfair but I will not credit a 2AR on that position that does not defeat the negative's arguments about why the CP is good/legitimate or I think conditionality is generally good but would still vote that it is bad if the negative is unable to defend their 1NC strategy.

D) I am unwilling to "judge kick" a CP extended by the 2NR unless they have explicitly told me why I should. The affirmative should, of course, contest the claim that I can always revert to the status quo in the event that a counterplan is insufficient/unnecessary.

David Escobar Paradigm


paradigms should constantly evolve - will update as i develop further views of debate and the world.

add me to the email chain - dialupdavid@berkeley.edu

second year policy debater, currently @ uc berkeley, debated 4 years in hs.

For those who are scrambling to do prefs last minute, below is a tldr (we've all been there)

If you have time to do prefs, please read this tldr and the "long version" -

do you! I will evaluate any style willingly, i'm coming in familiar with most styles of debate and experience coaching a few events (namely policy, LD, and parli). Feel free to spread, i will be able to handle top speed, but keep in mind that speaker points are going to be affected by lack of enunciation or clarity. Many of my 2nr's are spent going for the K (that doesn't mean yours should be) but I was pretty flex early on, so debate as you would on any other day, as long as it is respectful to everyone in the room. DON’T let my preferred style of debate affect the arguments you read in front of me. I am of more use to you if the rfd is going to be centered around the k and I only include my argument preference to be clear about that. Debate should be a space to develop your agency or recognize and tackle the lack thereof, that’s my only preconception about the forwarding of any argument in a round.

Tech > Truth but if your "flow winning" arguments are rooted in bullshit then you'll have a hard time winning my ballot (i.e. "they conceded the sky is green", wouldn't inform my ballot). Tell me why a conceded argument informs and structures my decision on that specific flow. In most instances, win the flow, win the round - unless you do something that makes the debate space very explicitly worse.

i may be facially expressive - so feel free to use that to your advantage.

Long Version:

Case Debate: I feel that neg case specifics are a lost craft in debate (from what i've seen in the time that I've been involved). I love a good case debate, if you have a very specific and offense based neg case then i will enjoy the round significantly more, if a significant portion of your 1 and 2nr's are case turns, i'm all ears. Less of a fan of case generics but I understand their utility and necessity.

For the aff, I find that a lot of high school debaters don’t extend their impacts, please do.

I am willing to vote neg on presumption, if the aff doesn't do anything, then convince me of that.

Style: I was a K debater who mainly stayed in the realm of "identity" based arguments and dabbled in post modernism - while there is a good chance that i have dived into a lot of the lit you're going to read in front of me, overviews and explanations should assume a more basic explanation (i will understand the complexities of your buzz words, but we all know that is not the most effective way to debate). The only reason I mention my preferred style of debate is so you know who you're preffing, that doesn't mean it should affect the arguments you read in front of me.

If you're more traditional policy, that's great too, I am not entirely politically incompetent (I hope) and will understand the scenarios in your ptx disads, etc.

Debate as you will. Unorthodox, traditional, while doing a handstand, it doesn't matter to me, i'll evaluate it. I won't lie and say im "tabula rasa", but my internal biases almost definitely won't be the reason you lose a round.

Please contextualize args, I beg of you, speaks will probably be affected by generic blocks but that doesn't mean that they cant win you the debate.

Reliance on cards is a common practice that i've noticed. My biggest suggestion is if you're caught between taking the time to articulate an argument well and reading a blippy card, don't read the card.

Evidence is not the end all be all of debate (or "true" claims) and some arguments do not require evidence to be valid.


I like creative procedurals - generic procedurals may be less well received by me but I understand their utility and necessity, you're probably going to have to win that the other team truly made the debate unfair and there's a high threshold for that in most situations for me. The reason why there is a high threshold stems from the lack of impact work I see on t/fw flows. I get it, your standards affect the way the debate plays out, but why does that matter? Impact it. If the impact work is weak, then i lean aff against t/fw.

A TVA never hurt anybody and is the best way to win my ballot on the T flow, but there is usually a high burden to "prove" that the tva solves the aff.

I will happily vote on condo, agent cp's bad, and arguments of the sort if argued convincingly. You can do this by isolating ways the other team made the debate unnecessarily difficult. Ex) reading condo and telling me "they say *this* on one off case and *this* on another, these two arguments vehemently disagree with each other". I am particularly more sympathetic than your common judge if work like this is done.

You are best off reading the most inclusive interp on t/fw that still excludes the instance of the 1ac. This makes your job a lot easier and garners you the most offense/minimizes the offense read against your interp.

I like non-traditional theory arguments.

K debate (on the aff and neg):

This is what I spend most of my time involved with. That doesn't mean read a K in front of me and you'll be rewarded, I hold a high threshold for K debate so butchering args may hurt speaks. Vice versa, a good k debate will boost speaks. These are probably my favorite debates to judge and where my RFD can serve you the best - I prefer very case centered link work and an application of the meta level descriptions in the world of the aff, contextualization is premium. Thinking of links as case disads or turns may help you frame the links in a way that is compelling to me.

Let me know when the overview is going to be long, I usually put them on another flow.

I will gladly vote for a k aff, if articulated well. I like k affs that are in the direction of the topic, but feel free to not relate to the topic at all (just know that this may come with additional challenges).

If you are a critique of the resolution - be ready to explain why discussions of the topic are bad and why the education you forward is valuable. Please give me a reason that you reject political intervention, the burden for this isn't too high from me, i know ptx and political hope aren't accessible to everyone.

You don't need to claim to solve the structure with your k aff, in fact, I am more compelled by affs that resolve individualized impacts or mend unique instances in debate.

Non Trad or "performance" Debate:

I am receptive of these arguments.

If you read a poem, rap, dance, perform a ritual, use a prop, play music or sing, etc. please employ this as offense! Don't do it to flower your speaks, extend these arguments in a way that informs my ballot and is direct offense to the presentations or responses you receive. Tell me why your performance is a representation of your affirmation or alt, do the solvency work.

I reward creativity, only if the above is done. Innovative arguments are always going to be my favorite to judge.

DA's + CP's:

I find most impact scenarios with ptx and assorted da's hard to buy, largely because internal link work is lacking, and if we're being honest with ourselves they're not probable. This doesn't mean i'm not going to vote for them if they're won.

Don't kid yourself and try and convincingly yell about how the probability is 100%, that doesn't do you any favors. Do decent internal link extension and employ case specific links (that are in the context of the aff's policy) and you'll be in good shape.

If the link is not in the context of the aff, at least do a decent job articulating how the policy warranted in the link evidence is similar to the aff.

Feel free to read any type of CP, I don't have any dislike towards a specific type, but I can be compelled by aff theory vs counterplans that are almost entirely the aff. This also includes theory vs PIC's, so be aware.

Make your cp's competitive and make sure they resolve at least a snippet of the aff's impacts, this should be a given.

I like creative and non-traditional cp's as a format.

Framing + Organization:

This is a highly important component of debates that I adjudicate, if you are winning the framing level of the debate then your impacts are most likely going to be prioritized. I usually like the framing to come at the top of a speech (feel free to put it elsewhere so long as you maintain an able-to-be-followed organization). This applies to most framing - from util to "ethics" or subject form based framing.

Organized and coherent structure to speeches will mean more generous speaks, this means sticking to your road map and suggesting where to put something that isn't so obvious on the flow.

If your overview is going to be longer than 2 minutes (it probably shouldn't be, but it happens) then let me know.

If you have any other questions that aren't covered here, or questions about the paradigm, feel free to ask in person.


solid humor may be rewarded with an additional .1 or .2 speaks, it keeps the debate interesting, don't make a joke out of something that is objectively not to be joked about. don't speak over your partner or “puppeteer”/“parrot” them, both speaks may be docked.

30 - you literally did nothing wrong, best speeches i've ever heard and you actively engaged with your partner.

29.5-29.9 - you deserve to be top speaker and have very few mistakes, or you did something really cool and original that i've never seen before and is good for debate (whatever that may mean).

29 -29.4 - you should be a top 10 speaker at the least, there was something important that needed to be worked on but other than that you were entirely solid.

28.5-28.9 - you will probably make it to elims at the tournament and/or you were putting in an effort and that effort is truly paying off, good speaker.

28-28.4 - there are some significant improvements to be made, but you were a decent speaker and may be a lower seed in elims.

27.5 - 27.9 - there were clarity/comprehension issues, argument matching may not have been the strongest, stride for improvement.

27 - 27.4 - ehhhh, speeches were disorganized and can use major improvement.

26.9 and below - you did something that vastly made the debate space worse.

Sunil Gedela Paradigm

Updated 25 August 2019

TL;DR: Parent judge (arghh/ yipeee/ whatever-you-feel). I am able to flow most common types of args (but not dense phil/Ks) delivered at normal speed. I value logical args/ rebuttals, even if purely analytical.

Spreading: I will likely miss some args but will do my best to follow along with any speech docs you share. I strongly recommend you slow down for your tags and crucial points, especially if extemporaneous. Do signpost.

Case Debate: I expect a basic level of case debate in addition to whatever else you may choose to run.

Theory: I am unlikely to view it favorably unless you can show a timely pre-round good faith effort to avoid citing the violation in question. Unless it is a completely unexpected/ egregious in-round violation, the burden is on you to have engaged in pre-round communications if it could have voided the need for a theory debate.

Warrants: Incontrovertible, objective, data based cards are more potent than opinions/ claims. If I call for a card, I am also checking the text you minimized/ did not read.

ROB/ ROJ: Unless proven otherwise, all args will be viewed as a strategy to win a HS debate round and not as an altruistic endeavor to effect societal/ policy change.

Joel Lemuel Paradigm

8 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. 

Emmiee Malyugina Paradigm

For Email Chain: emmiee@berkeley.edu

LD Paradigm:

Background: Did some high school policy, some LD at Harker -- now doing policy @ Berkeley. I've done both Policy and K debate in both. For LD -- I don't have a whole lot of experience with tricks/phil/theory, but I do have a base level understanding. I got a few bids & taught at a few camps after graduating.

Arguments To Read/Not Read: I personally read LARP and K stuff (identity and pomo), but I'm not ideologically opposed to any other style. However, my understanding of Phil positions and tricks arguments are lower so you'll probably have to do more explaining. The only arguments I won't vote for are those that are blatantly abhorrent, unethically read (i.e.: clipped, misdisclosed, etc), or that lack a claim/impact/warrant.

Other Potentially Relevant Things: I tend to lean more towards how people explain/execute arguments and less towards what the original evidence says unless the other debater makes are argument about it or both teams are equally unclear because if you can't explain your evidence, I'm not going to do the work for you. Also, I presume NEG unless told otherwise and assume impacts are filtered by magnitude*probability if no one makes any framing arguments.

Joshua Michael Paradigm

8 rounds

Updated 2/13/2020

Debated for UWG ’15 – ’17; Coaching Notre Dame – ’19 – Present; Baylor – ’17 – ’19

email: joshuamichael59@gmail.com


I prefer K v K rounds, but I generally wind up in FW rounds.

K aff’s – 1) Generally have a high threshold for 1ar/2ar consistency. 2) Stop trying to solve stuff you could reasonably never affect. Often, teams people want the entirety of X structure’s violence weighed yet resolve only a minimal portion of that violence. 3) v K’s, you are rarely always already a criticism of that same thing. Your articulation of the perm/link defense needs to demonstrate true interaction between literature bases. 4) Stop running from stuff. If you didn’t read the line/word in question, okay. But indicts of the author should be answered with more than “not our Baudrillard.”

K’s – 1) rarely win without substantial case debate. 2) ROJ arguments are generally underutilized. 3) I’m generally persuaded by aff answers that demonstrate certain people shouldn’t read certain lit bases, if warranted by that literature. 4) I have a higher threshold for generic “debate is bad, vote neg.” If debate is bad, how do you change those aspects of debate?

Special Note for Settler Colonialism: I simultaneously love these rounds and experience a lot of frustration when judging this argument. Often, debaters haven’t actually read the full text from which they are cutting cards and lack most of the historical knowledge to responsibly go for this argument. List of annoyances: there are 6 settler moves to innocence – you should know the differences/specifics rather than just reading pages 1-3 of Decol not a Metaphor; la paperson’s A Third University is Possible does not say “State reform good”; Reading “give back land” as an alt and then not defending against the impact turn is just lazy. Additionally, claiming “we don’t have to specify how this happens,” is only a viable answer for Indigenous debaters (the literature makes this fairly clear); Making a land acknowledgement in the first 5 seconds of the speech and then never mentioning it again is essentially worthless; Ethic of Incommensurability is not an alt, it’s an ideological frame for future alternative work (fight me JKS).


General: 1) Fairness is either an impact or an internal link 2) the TVA doesn’t have to solve the entirety of the aff. 3) Your Interp + our aff is just bad.

Aff v FW: 1) can win with just impact turns, though the threshold is higher than when winning a CI with viable NB’s. 2) More persuaded by defenses of education/advocacy skills/movement building. 3) Less random DA’s that are basically the same, and more internal links to fully developed DA’s. Most of the time your DA’s to the TVA are the same offense you’ve already read elsewhere.

Reading FW: 1) Respect teams that demonstrate why state engagement is better in terms of movement building. 2) “If we can’t test the aff, presume it’s false” – no 3) Have to answer case at some point (more than the 10 seconds after the timer has already gone off) 4) You almost never have time to fully develop the sabotage tva (UGA RS deserves more respect than that). 5) Impact turns to the CI are generally underutilized. You’ll almost always win the internal link to limits, so spending all your time here is a waste. 6) Should defend the TVA in 1nc cx if asked. You don’t have a right to hide it until the block.

Theory - 1) I generally lean neg on questions of Conditionality/Random CP theory. 2) No one ever explains why dispo solves their interp. 3) Won’t judge kick unless instructed to.

T – 1) I’m not your best judge. 2) Seems like no matter how much debating is done over CI v Reasonability, I still have to evaluate most of the offense based on CI’s.

DA/CP – 1) No special feelings.


All of my thoughts on policy apply, except for theory. More than 2 condo (or CP’s with different plank combinations) is probably abusive, but I can be convinced otherwise on a technical level.

Not voting on an RVI. I don’t care if it’s dropped.

Most LD theory is terrible Ex: Have to spec a ROB or I don’t know what I can read in the 1nc --- dumb argument.

Phil or Tricks (sp?) debating – I’m not your judge.

Indu Pandey Paradigm

Hiya! I’m Indu. I debated for Harvard-Westlake for 4 years (graduated in 2018), qualified to the TOC 3 times, had 10 career bids, and won a couple of tournaments/cleared at the TOC. I previously coached at HW and now I coach at The Harker School.

I want to be on the email chain. Your opponent should also be on it. **Email: indujp.2000@gmail.com

Check out girlsdebate.org – it has free resources, like cards and videos, as well as blog articles about being a woman or other minority debater.

Top Level (this is all you really need to know):

- Debate is about arguments/ideas and not individual people. You all are children and creating an actively hostile environment doesn’t really jive with me.

- I can’t vote on arguments that are immediately evident to me to be false. By that I mean, if you read a theory shell or make a competition arg and you are just objectively wrong about the violation, I cannot see myself being compelled to vote for you.

- I don’t really know how to classify myself on the weird “truth” vs “tech”/”flow”/”tab” spectrum – I just want people to be reasonable. That means I’ll lean heavily on the flow, but if you make arguments that are self-evidently ridiculous or underdeveloped it won’t float my boat.

- I love CX!!! Like, seriously. It’s my favorite part of debate. A good CX is killer, and I’ll give good speaks for it.

- Sexism, racism, etc are obviously nonstarters.

- I’ll try to give everyone in the round a fair shake even if you read arguments I never did in high school, I’ve never met you before, etc. Likewise, I expect everyone in the round to treat me with respect. Post-rounding is cool, and people have important questions to ask. Just take a deep breath and avoid insults, yelling, etc.

- I flow. Just wanted to throw that out there.

- WEIGH PLEASE. Most post-rounding is a result of a lack of weighing, and I don't feel particularly bad if I drop you because you didn't make a single comparative statement for 45 minutes.

- I'd prefer if you all regulate yourselves. By that I mean that you should hold each other accountable for speech times, CX, etc. If there's some clear age/experience/other factor that seems to prevent one party from having an equal opportunity to control the round, I will step in. This will likely be pretty uncommon.

- In the era of online debate, I ask that debaters maintain a professional environment. Please hold yourself like you would in a classroom setting and situate yourself in a neutral environment. It's important that all debaters, observers, and judges feel comfortable in the "room". This has not been an issue for me thus far, but I want to establish these boundaries in advance.

More specific things below. Honestly, you can change my mind on most of this stuff, and I’ll really try my best to give you a fair shot at winning these arguments. I just know as a debater I appreciated when judges put their default views on things in their paradigm to ease pre-round anxiety.

Policy Arguments:

Cards are cool------------X---------------------------------Tons of spin

Evidence comparison-X--------------------------------------------Make Indu flip a coin

PTX-X--------------------------------------------PTX?!!? ):

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

States CP good (+ uniformity)----------X-----------------------------------States bad

Agent, process CPs, PICs -----------------X---------------------------Boooo Wendy Testaburger boo

Impact Calc------------------------------------------X--IMPACT CALC!!!!

4 second competition arguments -------------------------------------------X-- Real competition arguments

Answering straight turns --X-----------------------------------------—Aggressive eye roll

Kritik Arguments:

Overviews longer than my Snapchat streaks--------------------------------X-------------Line by line

What does [INSERT CONFUSING K THING HERE] mean? ------X---------------------------------------Smoke bomb!

Specific links to the aff ------------X---------------------------------Generic links

Hashing out what it means to vote AFF/NEG -X-------------------------------------------- ???????

Starting from the assumption certain arguments are true ----------------------------------------X----- Argument humility

The aff does literally anything -X---------------------------------------- Nothingness for 6 minutes

Explain the perm -X---------------------------------- hehehe perm: do both, perm: double bind, perm: do the alt & make Indu mad

COLLAPSING TO A FEW CORE ARGS IN THE 2NR/AR -XXXXXXX---------------------------------------- ha ha but what if no

Making framing args in the 1NC/1AR --X----------------------------------------------------- me arbitrarily weighing based on my ~vibes~

Theory/Topicality Arguments:

Mix-and-match buy-1-get-1-free kitchen sink theory interps -----------------------------------------X- Debating?

Defend the topic!--------------------X------------------------- Completely non-T

Fairness/Limits good---------------X------------------------------Nope nope nope

RVIs--------------------------------------------------X----No RVIs

Slowing down on analytics & interps -XXXXXX--------------------------------------------------- LKDFGLJEOIKDFGLKJFDGL

Super structured LD froufrou shell -------------------------------------------------X---------- [Thingy] is a voting issue because ground blah blah

Shells that are actually just substantive -------------------------------------------X- make a substance arg?

Arbitrariness bad --X--------------------------------------------------------------------- hyper specific shells

Definition comparison in T debates --X-------------------------------------------------- weighing is overrated go back to 2016 indu


Explain atypical framework ---X------------------------------------------ Assume Indu understands 400 WPM metaphysics at 8 AM

Straight up -X-------------------------------------------- Tricks and memery

Collapse to a few core arguments ----------X----------------------------------- Everything

Actually having offense under your FW -X----------------------------------------------- 1 sentence analytic... ha ha but what if


- Please enunciate and be clear. If I clear you, it’s not because you’re going too fast, it’s because you are nearing or already are incomprehensible. Trust me – you can be fast while still making words come out of your mouth.

- Have some personality! I really enjoy people making some jokes, sarcasm, etc.

- I’m very expressive during round. I don’t really try to suppress in any way. Do with that what you will.

- Disclosure and being straight-up at the flip/disclosing cases pre-round/other related practices are good!

- Cheating accusations: you can stake the round on these. Tab could get involved. Have audio/video evidence of clipping. If a debater makes the clipping accusation, I will rely on the Tabroom provided clipping policy (if available) to make my decision and for guidance on how to proceed. Similarly, if a debater makes an evidence ethics challenge, I will rely on Tabroom's guidance when possible.

- Clipping: I've dropped a handful of people for clipping. I read along and feel comfortable dropping debaters regardless of if an accusation has been made by the other debater. If clipping happens once, I usually chalk it up to a mistake. When I do drop you, please be assured you were clipping egregiously (usually 3+ words) and consistently (usually 2+ cards). I've never dropped someone for clipping if they were super unclear, but I'm comfortable doing so if I've cleared multiple times, I'm ignored when I say clear multiple times, and the level of clarity is so poor such that a reasonable person could not discern which words were read and which weren't. Please don't cheat. I'm happy to have a conversation with debaters and their coaches during these difficult circumstances, but I ask for respect from all parties involved. It's incredibly frustrating for everyone when rounds end in this way, and I understand that these decisions may seem personal. Ending rounds because of clipping or other dishonest behavior does not reflect my personal evaluation of you as a debater or your team/coach. It's just in the spirit of academic integrity, and I hope everyone involved learns and grows from the experience. I take decisions to end a round very seriously.

- Evidence ethics: you can also stake the round on this. I take an accusation of this nature to mean they have substantially changed the work of an author such that it includes ideas not present in the original work or excludes critical portions of a piece of work, concludes differently than the author intended, or follows poor citation methods in a way that is academically dishonest. Here is a list of things I consider unethical (which is not exhaustive): cutting out part of a paragraph, adding your own (or that of another author) ideas to a card, skipping paragraphs in a single card, not noting when an author disagrees with the argument presented, and mis-citing (literally just incorrect cites).

- Like, I mentioned... I flow. That means, like you, I could miss arguments or not understand what you’re talking about. We all expect judges to be magic flow fairies, which isn’t true. Try your best to be clear, collapse to few arguments, and weigh. Little judging errors happen when there’s a million moving pieces, and I’ll feel less bad if I make a mistake and the round is like this.

- I read cards and like rewarding good evidence. My reading of evidence unless instructed or in extreme extraneous circumstances (ethics challenges, etc) does not affect my decision. I think debaters would do so much better if they read their opponent's cards because a lot of cards I've seen this season have had... sub-prime quality.

- As I went to Harvard-Westlake, I probably view debate in a similar way to my coaches and teammates. Some of them include: Travis Fife, Scott Phillips, Mike Bietz, Connor & Evan Engel, Cameron Cohen, Nick Steele.

- In light of recent events, I will wait to submit speaks until after the post-round is done. I think aggressive/rude/condescending post-rounds are bad sportsmanship and will be reflected in speaks. I'd like to think I have reasonably thick skin, so this is something that I don't think I'll have to use too often. Just wanted to give everyone a fair warning. This equally applies to your coach(es) & friend(s) who are rude to me after a round. If you can't control yourself, I will not be sympathetic.

- I sometimes (read: often) vote for a team even though I think their arguments aren't particularly good, they made contradictory arguments, or some other ridiculous thing occurs. It's incumbent upon the other debater to point this stuff out. Most of the time, they don't. If you don't, it'll just make everyone sad, including me. This scenario is where most post-rounding occurs. I won't just drop people because I don't vibe with their arguments.

- Please don't feel compelled to read arguments that you think I read in high school. I can tell when you read arguments to try to pander to me, and it's usually a worse quality debate than if you just read the position you actually wanted to. (No one believes this, but I read 50/50 K & policy args in high school and now judge 50/50 K & policy rounds... I actually don't have a preference. Seriously.) I don't need to hear decol fem and states every round -- don't worry about me. Do your own thing. (That being said, I judge a decent number of phil, theory, and clash rounds. I feel comfortable evaluating whatever you throw at me provided you do whatever you're doing well and straight up.)

- I vote relatively 50/50 in non-T aff vs FW rounds. You NEED to have offense and a defense of your vision of the topic/debate! Most of my decisions boil down to not being able to articulate what are big macro-level issues because people are overly caught in LBL. LBL is very important obviously, but that doesn't supplant the importance of explaining what model you're even defending.

- #stopsplittingthe2nr2k20 (Seriously, *who* taught you all to do this! I do not give above a 29 to people who split the 2NR even if you're in the finals of every tournament that year. There is 1/1000 instances where this is debate smart, and I bet you your round isn't that instance.)

- I don't disclose speaks -- you don't need to ask after the round. Here's random things I enjoy and reward with higher speaker points (in no particular order): being passionate about your position, numbering of args, strategic collapse in every speech, not going for every argument, weighing(!), having a personality, using examples & stats effectively, anticipating your opponent's args, good CX, judge instruction, being respectful during the RFD & post-round. While I vote on args that I think are silly sometimes, people get low speaks for those rounds. If you go for some reasonable phil and do it well/straight-up, that's fine -- high speaks. If you go for some ridiculous theory shell and bumble your way into a win, I will not be kind with speaks.

- I have chronic migraines that are sometimes triggered by excessive noise, which is sort of unfortunate given that debate... involves much yelling. I will occasionally ask debaters to speak softer if you yell-spread. I've only done this once or twice, but just wanted to give people a fair warning. (No, the migraine does not affect my ability to judge your round. It's just painful. Be a homie.)

Happy debating!

Rodrigo Paramo Paradigm

i debated ld and policy in high school, i coach ld @ greenhill.

toss me on the email chain: greenhilldocs.ld@gmail.com

[current/past affiliations: woodlands ('14-'15), dulles ('15-'16), edgemont ('16-'18), westwood ('14-'18), greenhill ('18-now)]

I am most comfortable evaluating critical and policy debates, but find myself thoroughly enjoying 6 minutes of topicality or framework [like, T-framework against k affs, not kant] if it is delivered at a speed i can flow. I will make it clear if you are going too fast - i am very expressive so if i am lost you should be able to tell. I am a bad judge for tricks debates, and am not a great judge for denser "phil" debates - i do not coach or think about analytic philosophy outside of tournaments, so I need these debates to happen at a much slower pace in order for me to process and understand all the moving parts - notably, this is also true for whoever is answering these positions.

Thoughts I have

0) Miscellaneous New Thoughts I Have Had Recently:

  • i think the word "unsafe" means something and get uncomfortable when it is deployed cavalierly - it is a meaningful accusation to suggest that an opponent has made a space unsafe (vs uncomfortable), and i think students/coaches/judges should be mindful of that distinction
  • i find the insistence on labeling non-independent voters as independent voters exhausting and off-putting
  • there is no chance you get me to exclude/disregard a speech from the debate- i will evaluate every portion of the debate after the 2ar, with relevant content from the 2ar taken into consideration.

1) Evidence Ethics: In previous years, I have seen a lot of miscut evidence. I think that evidence ethics matters regardless of whether an argument/ethics challenge is raised in the debate. If I notice that a piece of evidence is miscut, I will vote against the debater who reads the miscut evidence.

I think that a piece of evidence is miscut if:

  • it starts and/or ends in the middle of a sentence or paragraph.
  • text is missing from the middle of the card (replacing that text with an ellipsis does not make it okay),
  • the next paragraph or another part of the article explicitly contradicts the argument/claim made in the card,
  • the card is highlighted in a way that modifies or does not accurately represent the author’s claim - i think students & coaches both are far too comfortable highlighting only parts of words/sentences in a way that drastically changes the meaning of a card, and i think this is bad. [Be careful with brackets - I don’t think they always mean a card is miscut, but I’ve seen that they very often do. I think that brackets, more often than not, are bad - if a bracket changes the strength of a claim made by the author, or in some other way changes the *meaning* of the evidence, it is miscut],
  • if a cite lists the wrong author, article title, etc. (I hope to decide 0 debates this year on citations - I’ll only decide debates on them without challenges in the most egregious cases).
  • if a card does not have a citation at all and the debater is asked for it, but cannot provide it, i think this means you do not get that argument. i do not think it would be super hard to convince me that this is a voting issue, but i will not presume that.

If I decide a debate on evidence ethics, I will let the debate finish as normal. If the debate is a prelim, I will decide speaks based on the content of the debate and subtract two speaker points from the debater that I vote against. If the debate is an elim, I will submit my ballot and won’t say anything about my decision until the debate is announced.

If both sides read miscut evidence, I will vote against the debater who read miscut evidence first. (I really don’t love this as a way to evaluate these debates, but the only comparable scenario that I can think of is clipping, and that’s how I would resolve those debates.)

I do not plan to go out of my way looking for miscut evidence or checking to see whether every card is cut correctly. If I do notice that something is miscut, I will vote against the debater who reads it regardless of whether a challenge is made.

Please do not hesitate to ask questions about this before the debate.

Evidence Ethics Procedures: the phrase "evidence ethics" means something - if someone says it and their opponent clarifies "is this an evidence ethics challenge," i understand this to mean that the debate ends - whoever has made the accusation wins if i believe the evidence ethics violation is correct, they lose if i believe the accused did not commit an evidence ethics violation - i will not independently end the round if the accused does not ask for this - if they do, i am happy to - words matter and evidence ethics matters - see the relevant section on bennett eckert's paradigm for more of my thoughts on this question. i also believe that debaters should think carefully before accusing their opponents of academic dishonesty, plagiarism, etc. - heavy claims.

2) Clipping: i have a good ear for when clipping is occurring - if i suspect it is, i will follow along in the speech doc - if i determine i am correct, the person clipping will lose. to be very clear, this does not necessitate the opponent making a clipping accusation - i feel very comfortable making this adjudication on my own.

3) Online Debate:

  • slow down.
  • here is the procedure i will follow if a student drops off a call, or i drop off a call: students are expected to maintain local recordings of their speeches - if they drop off, they should complete the speech and immediately email their recording upon completing it. i will not allow students to restart speeches / attempt to figure out how much time they had left, particularly in elimination rounds.
  • more to come

4) Comparative Worlds/Truth-Testing:

  • i will default to a comparative worlds paradigm unless the 1ac/nc justifies otherwise - later speeches cannot shift to truth-testing without an indication of that interpretive claim in the constructives.

5) Politics Disads:

  • i follow domestic politics prettttty closely. this means i will be thrilled to reward smart analytics made on politics scenarios and will be impressed if you know your stuff. that said, this means my bs meter is pretty high on some ptx scenarios - for instance, i am not going to vote on an impeachment impact unless you tell me how we get from a 53-47 gop senate to a successful vote to remove trump from office - absent that warrant, i will not grant you "impeachment proceedings remove trump from office" [of course, the opposing side must be able to explain why a 53-47 gop senate is unlikely to cast that votes
  • i think we are quickly approaching the time when i will see elections disads - if you read one, make sure your evidence is *recent,* *high-quality,* and that you understand the playing field well so you can make intelligent analytic arguments - this election will be the thing i think about most between now and november - i will thoroughly love a good politics debate

6) miscellaneous thoughts on Theory/topicality:

  • slow down on it - will say slow twice. after that, i will miss your arguments and that will be the RFD. this is similarly true for perm texts etc - dont super care what the doc said if i didnt flow the text near verbatim in the 1ar. if i say "slow" i have almost certainly already missed an argument - do with that what you will.
  • defaults: dtd, no rvi, c.i.
  • im pretty receptive to text of the interp/text of the rotb/plan flaw args - i generally think that when issues arise in those 3 things, they are a result of students not giving much thought to them which is a shame bc all 3 are pretty important in my view - well crafted interps, as well as cxes that isolate plan flaws/interp issues will be rewarded (this does not mean i like /bad/ plan flaw args). i am also fairly willing to check in on semantic i meets against frivolous theory.
  • you should always flash or have written down interp/counter-interp texts readily available for both your opponents and your judges
  • i will likely be easily compelled by a "debaters should not bracket evidence" argument *if* you can execute it well - i have grown sympathetic to this argument as abuses become increasingly egregious
  • theory and topicality are different and i think this implicates what the 1ar is expected to do to respond to each. it also implicates what topicality vs theory interpretations (and counter interpretations) are expected to include
  • my reluctance to vote on bad theory arguments is not because they are bad but because i sincerely dont understand the abuse story on many many shells. some examples: spec status; spec standard; rotb spec; cant concede the aff framework; must concede the aff framework. i am not interested in judging these debates and do not think the feedback i give in these debates is that helpful for anyone involved. good theory debates can be great, but i will feel comfortable saying "i did not understand the abuse story so i did not vote on this shell" (this also applies to framework v k affs)
  • "in the interest of disclosing my own bias, i think the best debates happen when both teams are able to reasonably predict what arguments will be read (with the exception of new affs + unbroken neg positions). i am unsympathetic to arguments about disclosure that do not contest this point. even if you cannot post broken positions on the wiki for whatever reason, it is my belief that you should be willing to provide them, in good faith, to your opponent upon request in some way." - anna (weird to quote a former student on here!)
  • Nebel: in the past i have made clear that the nebel argument did not make a lot of sense to me. in many ways, i am still receptive to the "pragmatics first" school of thought. however, nebel 19 (the second one) is compelling. i intuitively believe that a world where debate has plans is a better one, but jake has convinced me that our topic wordings do not often justify that world. i will obviously still judge these debates based only on what happens in the round, but i am newly receptive to the nebel argument (this is primarily true for the semantic claims. given that, please slow down on it if you read it - portions of the grammar stuff still confuses me at the speed of a debate round, so please slow down)

7) miscellaneous thoughts on T-Framework

  • i spent... a lot of time last summer thinking about framework against k affs - im into it if done well - im not as into the procedural fairness version of it - get creative.
  • i do not think i have ever been convinced by the claim that judges have a jurisdictional constraint to only vote for topical affs - i do not foresee that changing [really, *any* jurisdictional constraint is unlikely to be compelling to me bc it is a claim that just kind of is incapable of a particularly good warrant]
  • I think the best framework shells will be written to pre-empt semantic I meets, and will do more than just define three words in the resolution - they will provide a model for what topical affs must defend, they will have standards level offense that has explanatory power for why debate has rules, what the role of the ballot is, etc. - I suppose in short, the claim behind a good framework shell is stronger than just “the resolution determines the division of aff and neg ground.”
  • your shell should define a word in the resolution besides just "Resolved:"
  • pretty close to 50/50 voting record in clash debates

8) miscellaneous thoughts on permutations:

  • i do not understand why the aff would not get perms in a method debate - i have never seen a compelling warrant and can't really think of one - thus, the default assumption on my part is that the aff does get perms and it is a fairly uphill battle to convince me otherwise
  • i will not grant you the perm if i am uncertain about the perm text bc the articulation between 1ar and 2ar was different
  • perm texts should be more than "perm do both" - *especially* in the 2ar
  • you should always flash or have written down perm texts readily available for both your opponents and the judges

9) miscellaneous thoughts on the Kritik

  • i am so deeply deeply unreceptive to and uninterested in this trend of explaining new identity categories with the same form and language of antiblackness literature. if you do not have a psychoanalytic warrant, dont claim you do! if you do not have evidence identifying a structural antagonism, i do not know why you are using that language! sigh.
  • kritiks i have spent a lot of time thinking about: deleuzean scholarship, queer theory (a lot of authors fall under this second category), borderlands
  • kritiks I judge a lot: afropessimism, settler colonialism
  • kritiks I don't really get: baudrillard [i am far far more receptive to baudrillard on the negative than on the affirmative, but i think it is a kinda uphill battle against identity affs in front of me]
  • i think that the best k affs will have a defense of why *debating the aff* is good - not just why *the aff* as an object is good - why is the process of reading it in an environment where the neg must respond to it good? (in other words, the affirmative should answer the question of why it is good to read non-t affs on the aff, not just in debate)
  • i really enjoy a good performance debate
    • i think that people often attempt to go for performative offense when all they have done is read cards that are formatted in a normative way, at a conventional speed, and where later speeches revert to a hyper technical style of debate - i am *very, very* skeptical of the level of offense that these performances access - to get access to a "we change debate" claim, you should... do something I haven't seen before. a performance debate should not be indistinguishable from a policy debate, and these days almost all of the ones i judge are. that is a real shame.
  • my threshold for "debate bad" is fairly high - my presumption is that there is a lot of value in debate, and that is why I have stuck around for so long.

10) miscellaneous thoughts (strategy):

  • Evidence quality is directly correlated to the amount of credibility I will grant an argument - if the card is underhighlighted, the claim is likely underwarranted. The 1ac/nc should have evidence of high quality, and the 1ar/2nr/2ar should have explanation of that evidence of a similarly high quality
  • if the 2nr is split that is rarely a great sign for speaker points - it also is liable to implicate your ability to win the debate - any 2nr with 2 shells is deeply deeply perplexing to me and a shell + a cp/da is even harder for me to understand!!!
  • i will not vote for a position i do not understand - this includes poorly explained kritiks, sloppy link scenarios on a disad, dense ncs that i probably wont get, and theory shells whose abuse story i can not adequately explain back to the debaters
  • I'll say clear/slow twice - speaks will be deducted after that
    • given how clear it is to me that no one could flow a debate round as it is delivered, i am cool w debaters tossing out a "slow" at their opponents if they can't flow them at top speed
  • clarity is important for high speaks but more important than how you sound is making strategic decisions in the 2AR/NR collapse in the 2nr/2ar
  • if any of your 1nc positions are too short to sustain a 6 minute 2nr on it i think that likely means the 1nc arg is underdeveloped. that issue should be resolved pre round, not by relying on 2nr cards/new args - i think this is particularly true of very short topicality arguments - a sentence or two of standards will likely not be enough to beat a 1ar thats just like "hold the line"
  • I love a robust debate on the case line by line - I do not love a case debate that is just three disads read on the case page, or that dumps generic case turns on the page with no signposting / interacting with cards from the ac - this is particularly true when you read all the generic turns and then do the line by line.

11) miscellaneous thoughts (rules of debate):

  • i can't think of any instances where a debate round would be better if it includes personal invectives against specific debaters/institutions/etc - i can think of many when it is worse for it.
  • on flashing: i think if you send a doc with a lot of analytics that you do not get through, you cannot just refuse to tell your opponent what analytics you did/did not read
  • i mark cards at the timer and stop flowing at the timer.
  • flex prep means asking questions during prep time - in no world does unused CX time become prep time
  • speech times dont change presumption how wild (and neither do other random theoretical warrants - i will presume negative if the negative defends the status quo, and affirmative if the negative does something to flip presumption (read: defends more change from the status quo)) - people should deploy presumption more against affirmatives that do not defend anything!
  • i generally do not believe you can merely "insert" a list of what the aff defends - I think this is functionally equivalent to not reading it.
  • my average speaks so far this year:
    • grapevine: 28.32
    • greenhill rr: 28.63
    • greenhill: 28.43
    • marks: 28.72
    • apple valley:28.3
    • glenbrooks + glenbrooks rr: 28.71
    • ut: 28.18
    • blake: 28.9
    • first semester average: 28.52
    • churchill: 28.38
    • emory: 28.75
    • colleyville: 28.23
    • stanford: 28.65
    • cal: 28.58
    • tfa state: 28.45
    • isidore rr: 28.45
    • e-toc: 28.48
    • second semester average: 28.50

11) on trigger warnings:

The onus is on debaters planning to read positions about potentially triggering issues to ask those in the room for permission to read the position. Spectators may leave, but judges and opponents do not have that option, meaning there is an expectation that if one of them objects to the triggering position, the position will not be read. If a debater does not adjust their strategy after being asked to, they will start the round with a 25. If you do not ask before round, but someone is triggered, speaks will similarly be docked. If there is no trigger warning but no one is triggered, the round will continue as normal.

The question for what necessitates a trigger warning is difficult to objectively delineate - if you have a reasonable suspicion someone could be negatively impacted by your position, ask before you read it - explicit narratives are probably a good starting point here. Trigger warnings are contentious in debate but I've seen students negatively impacted in rounds because they were not present and have engaged in conversations with other coaches that lead me to conclude something along these lines is necessary.

This (admittedly strangely) probably means I'm not the judge for "must read a trigger warning" shells.


This article is very good at articulating my views on the importance of trigger warnings
It is not up for debate that if someone was triggered on account of your failure to adequately make use of trigger warnings, you'll be punished through speaks and/or the ballot

Demarcus Powell Paradigm

Feel free to email me with any questions about my paradigm. powelld@greenhill.org

Only send speech docs to for Dallas tournaments powelld@greenhill.org.For national circuit tournament please send speech docs to greenhilldocs.ld@gmail.com

ASK FOR POLICY PARADIGM - The paradigm below is designed mostly for LD. Some things change for me when evaluating the different events/styles of debate. Also when you ask please have specific questions. Saying "What's your paradigm?", will most likely result in me laughing at you and/or saying ask me a question.

About Me: I graduated from Crowley High School in 2013, where I debated LD for three years mostly on the TFA/TOC circuit. I ran everything from super stock traditional cases to plans/counterplans to skepticism, so you probably can't go wrong with whatever you want to run.I debated at The University of Texas at Dallas, in college policy debate for 3 years .Running any sort of Morally repugnant argument can hurt you, if you're not sure if your argument will qualify ask me before we begin and I'll let you know.

Speed: I can flow moderately fast speeds (7-8 on a scale of 10), but obviously I'll catch more and understand more if you're clear while spreading. I'll say "clear"/"slow" twice before I stop attempting to flow. If I stop typing and look up, or I'm looking confused, please slow down!! Also just because I can flow speed does not mean I like hearing plan texts and interpretations at full speed, these things should be at conversational speed.

Cross Examination: While in front of me cx is binding anything you say pertaining to intricacies in your case do matter. I don't care about flex prep but I will say that the same rules of regular cx do apply and if you do so your opponent will have the chance to do so. Also be civil to one another, I don't want to hear about your high school drama during cx if this happens you will lose speaker points.

Prep Time: I would prefer that we don't waste prep time or steal it. If you're using technology (i.e. a laptop, tablet, or anything else) I will expect you to use it almost perfectly. These things are not indicative of my decision on the round rather they are pet peeves of mine that I hate to see happen in the round. I hate to see rounds delayed because debaters don't know how to use the tools they have correctly.UPDATE. You need to flow. The excessive asking for new speech docs to be sent has gotten out of hand. If there are only minor changes or one or two marked cards those are things you should catch while flowing. I can understand if there are major changes (3 or more cards being marked or removed) or new cards being read but outside of this you will get no sympathy from me. If you are smart and actually read this just start exempting things. I don't look at the speech doc I flow. If you opponent doesn't catch it so be it. If this happens in rounds I am judging it will impact your speaker points. If you would like a new doc and the changes are not excessive per my definition you are free to use your own prep time, this will not effect your speaker points.

Theory: I don't mind theory debates - I think theory can be used as part of a strategy rather than just as a mechanism for checking abuse. However, this leniency comes with a caveat; I have a very low threshold for RVI's (i.e. they're easier to justify) and I-meet arguments, so starting theory and then throwing it away will be harder provided your opponent makes the RVI/I-meet arguments (if they don't, no problem). While reading your shell, please slow down for the interpretation and use numbering/lettering to distinguish between parts of the shell!

Also theory debates tend to get very messy very quickly, so I prefer that each interpretation be on a different flow. This is how I will flow them unless told to the otherwise. I am not in the business of doing work for the debaters so if you want to cross apply something say it. I wont just assume that because you answered in one place that the answer will cross applied in all necessary places, THAT IS YOUR JOB.

  • Meta-Theory: I think meta-thoery can be very effective in checking back abuses caused by the theory debate. With that being said though the role of the ballot should be very clear and well explained, what that means is just that I will try my hardest not to interject my thoughts into the round so long as you tell me exactly how your arguments function. Although I try not to intervene I will still use my brain in round and think about arguments especially ones like Meta-Theory. I believe there are different styles of theory debates that I may not be aware of or have previously used in the past, this does not mean I will reject them I would just like you to explain to me how these arguments function.

Speaks: I start at a 27 and go up (usually) or down depending on your strategy, clarity, selection of issues, signposting, etc. I very rarely will give a 30 in a round, however receiving a 30 from me is possible but only if 1) your reading, signposting, and roadmaps are perfect 2) if the arguments coming out of your case are fully developed and explained clearly 3) if your rebuttals are perfectly organized and use all of your time wisely 4) you do not run arguments that I believe take away from any of these 3 factors. I normally don't have a problem with "morally questionable" arguments because I think there's a difference between the advocacies debaters have or justify in-round and the ones they actually support. However, this will change if one debater wins that such positions should be rejected (micropol, etc). Lastly, I do not care if you sit or stand while you speak, if your speech is affected by your choice I will not be lenient if you struggle to stand and debate at the same time. UPDATE. If you spend a large chunk of time in your 1AC reading and under-view or spikes just know I do not like this and your speaks may be impacted. This is not a model of debate I want to endorse.

General Preferences: I need a framework for evaluating the round but it doesn't have to be a traditional value-criterion setup. You're not required to read an opposing framework (as the neg) as long as your offense links somewhere. I have no problem with severing out of cases (I think it should be done in the 1AR though). NIBs/pre standards are both fine, but both should be clearly labeled or I might not catch it. If you're going to run a laundry list of spikes please number them. My tolerance of just about any argument (e.g. extinction, NIBS, AFC) can be changed through theory.

Kritiks and Micropol: Although I do not run these arguments very often, I do know what good K debate looks like. That being said I often see Kritiks butchered in LD so run them with caution. Both should have an explicit role of the ballot argument (or link to the resolution). For K's that are using postmodern authors or confusing cards, go more slowly than you normally would if you want me to understand it and vote on it.

Extensions and Signposting: Extensions should be clear, and should include the warrant of the card (you don't have to reread that part of the card, just refresh it). I not a fan of "shadow extending," or extending arguments by just talking about them in round - please say "extend"!! Signposting is vital - I'll probably just stare at you with a weird look if I'm lost.

Some of the information above may relate to paper flowing, I've now gone paperless, but many of the same things still apply. If I stop typing for long stretches then I am probably a bit lost as to where you are on the flow.

Chris Randall Paradigm

Debate for me first and foremost is an educational tool for the epistemological, social, and political growth of students. With that said, I believe to quote someone very close to me I believe that it is "educational malpractice" for adults and students connected to this activity to not read.

Argument specifics

T/ and framework are the same thing for me I will listen. I believe that affirmative teams should be at the very least tangentially connected to the topic and should be able to rigorously show that connection.

DA'S- Have a clear uniqueness story and flesh out the impact clearly

CP's- Must be clearly competitive with the aff and must have a clear solvency story, for the aff the permutation is your friend but you must be able to isolate a net-benefit

K- I am familiar with most of the k literature

CP'S, AND K'S- I am willing to listen and vote on all of these arguments feel free to run any of them do what you are good at

In the spirit of Shannon Sharpe on the sports show "Undisputed" and in the spirit of Director of Debate at both Stanford and Edgemont Brian Manuel theory of the TKO I want to say there are a few ways with me that can ensure that you get a hot dub (win), or a hot l (a loss).

First let me explain how to get a Hot L:

So first of all saying anything blatantly racist things ex. (none of these are exaggerations and have occurred in real life) "black people should go to jail, black death/racism has no impact, etc" anything like this will get you a HOT L


Next way to get a HOT L is if your argumentation is dies early in the debate like during the cx following your first speech ex. I judged an LD debate this year where following the 1nc the cx from the affirmative went as follows " AFF: you have read just two off NEG: YES AFF: OK onto your Disad your own evidence seems to indicate multiple other polices that should have triggered your impact so your disad seems to then have zero uniqueness do you agree with this assessment? Neg: yes Aff: OK onto your cp ALL of the procedures that the cp would put into place are happening in the squo so your cp is the squo NEG RESPONDS: YES In a case like this or something similar this would seem to be a HOT L I have isolated an extreme case in order to illustrate what I mean

Last way to the HOT L is if you have no knowledge of a key concept to your argument let me give a few examples

I judged a debate where a team read an aff about food stamps and you have no idea what an EBT card this can equal a HOT L, in a debate about the intersection between Islamaphobia and Anti-Blackness not knowing who Louis Farrakhan is, etc etc

I believe this gives a good clear idea of who I am as judge happy debating

Hailey Robertson Paradigm

I did policy for 4 years at Washburn Rural High School (2013-17) in Kansas and I currently debate for the University of Southern California (2021).

Email for docs: hailey.danielle98@gmail.com

Email only if you're adding me to Zoom: haileyro@usc.edu


- I'm probably more "good" for technical DA/CP strategies than high theory K's, but my voting record shows I’ll vote for any style of argument. As a debater, I have always been a 2N which probably shapes how I think about debate to an extent. Throughout my career, I’ve read both policy + critical affs, and on the negative, most often go for politics, framework, Marx, topic DAs/CPs, etc.

- I will immediately vote against arguments that are moral blackmail (and tank your speaks for trying), regardless of how they are answered by your opponent. This applies to “vote for me or else I have to quit” and similar arguments. If you have a concern like this, talk to your opponent/coaches, but do not make me the arbiter of that decision. These debates really weigh on me as a judge and are bad for my (and maybe your opponent’s) mental health, so please don’t put me in this position, you’ve been warned. You will be angry when I immediately vote against you, and I will not care.

**More pet peeve/other things at bottom, but basically, don't be rude, don't cheat, and know that I am a mandatory reporter!

Critical Affs v FW:

These debates can be some of the most engaging or most boring, in my opinion. My biggest qualm is with teams - either side - that don't tailor their positions to answer the specifics of their opponent's argument. In cases that I vote negative, I find that it is often because aff teams don't generate offense beyond "USFG bad." That said, many neg FW arguments seem to be just repetitive cliches or unresponsive blocks that they stole from a college team (and thus can't articulate args beyond the block). I generally think affs should have some relation to the topic, but saying “JuDgE tHeY dIdN’t sAy UsFg” isn’t going to get the job done.

Policy Affs vs T:

T is always a voter and never a reverse voter. I default to competing interpretations, and generally think that I think that limits are the most persuasive standard for evaluating T. That said, I don’t think limits or ground are impacts on their own — it’s simply an internal link to education, fairness, etc.


I generally believe theory is a reason to reject the arg, not the team. Exception is condo/disclosure (maybe?) but that doesn’t mean I want to hear a theory debate. Does anyone? If you must, contextualize your violation to the round + give warranted analysis why something should/should not be theoretically allowed in debate. Please slow down in these debates and give me pen time. Tech over truth, but the args need to be warranted and impacted.


I like politics DAs, love case specific DAs, and Hate "The Spending DA."

I'm not a fan of politics theory args, or DA theory args generally. If the DA's so bad, beat it on substance.

I also will not assign zero (or 100%) risk to an advantage/DA unless there is an explicitly dropped argument.


CPs that are usually good:

- PICs

- Advantage

- Process (though some people have tested me recently lmao)

These CPs are more susceptible to theory but still generally enjoyed:

- International fiat

- States (especially those cheat-y multi plank ones)

- Consult/conditions

Not a fan:

- Word PICs

- Delay

** this is not a comprehensive list, just a few common ones

Not super technical in my knowledge of CP theory, mostly due to a lack of interest.


I believe that fiat and the ability of the aff to weigh their impacts are generally good. I have debated kritiks from both sides, but have not read as much of the literature (especially for high theory arguments), so I will need you to explain your argument very clearly to me. I would prefer if it was obvious to me what your argument is in the 1NC -- if you have a performative argument, it would help if you allocated time in the first speech to establish links, rather than just hoping I can deduce them from the thesis of your K. If you do not articulate your argument until the block, I will be sympathetic to new 1AR/2AR answers. Ultimately, I will not vote on something if I do not know what it means, so don't just read a K in hopes of confusing your opponents -- I will probably be really confused too.

I generally believe that links should be as specific to the aff as possible -- links to the status quo or links of omission are not links -- they're solvency deficits or FYI's about how messed up the world is and will likely lose to a perm. I enjoy block strategies that pick specific lines from evidence/look at author quals and use that to generate offense for the K.

Kritiks that claim death is good will probably never win my ballot, just a heads up. Before you read these type of arguments, you should also ask the other team for triggers. DBAD.

LD Stuff:

Because I judge this a bit now...

1. I don't think RVIs are real args.

2. Framing contentions don't substitute for impact explanations and vise versa. If you say that most DA link chains are highly improbable you have to prove that by contesting the links, not just repeating Nate Cohn's math at me.

3. More likely to vote on theory here than in policy (still would prefer not to), as long as it's not like about font size.

Pet Peeves:

- Asking your opponents for argument clarification and which cards they did/didn't read and pretending it’s not prep

- Asking questions outside of CX and expecting me to listen

- Reading your blocks monotone at 100% speed

- The phrases: “method debate” “logical policy maker could do both” “fiat solves the link”

- Not listening during the RFD

- Being mean, laughing during speeches, etc — I’ll drop your speaks significantly.

- Bad/miscut/misrepresented evidence.

- Not pointing out that someone’s evidence is bad.

I'm still working on developing my speaker point scale and will adjust by tournament/division, but generally:

29.4+ -- Top 5

29-29.3 -- Speaker Award

28.6-28.9 -- Good, hope you clear

28.0-28.5 -- Didn't do anything wrong

27s -- Dropping arguments, ending speeches early, etc.

Below that -- you did something offensive


I am a mandatory reporter because I am employed by a high school, so if your position includes disclosure of sexual harassment/violence, I am required by law to stop the round and report. If it is something that you feel unsafe about, I am more than happy to assist you in finding the resources necessary to remedy the problem, but I ask they do not become a central component in the debate. That's not to say your concerns are not welcome or invalid, but I'd rather pursue a solution rather than give you a ballot and move on with my day.

Aaron Timmons Paradigm

Aaron Timmons

Director of Debate – Greenhill School

Updated – April 2019

Please put me on the email chain – timmonsa@greenhill.org

New for the TOC 2019 – I am the Director of the Global Debate Symposium and for this summer I have hired Spencer Paul and Vishan Chaudhary from Harvard Westlake, and Ishan Bhatt from St. Andrews of the list of competitors that will be in the 2019 TOC competing in Lincoln Douglas.

Lincoln - Douglas Philosophy

I have coached debate, and been a classroom teacher, for a long time. I feel that when done well, with agreed upon “rules of engagement”, there is not a better activity to provide a training ground for young people. That said, at some point, most of the adults have left the building as it relates to national circuit Lincoln Douglas debate. I find many of the things that are now commonplace, are antithetical to the things that I love about debate. In fact, many of these practices are not educational, but also make the activity unsustainable in any meaningful way to sell to administrators, parents, new coaches, or even a new generation of debaters.

I have taken some time to reflect on how I judge debates, and have revised my paradigm. It would behoove you to read it if I have the potential to judge you. If you do not like what you read, strike me.

Debate rounds, and subsequently debate tournaments, are extensions of the classroom. While we all learn from each other, my role is parallel to that of an instructor. I will evaluate your performance. At this stage in my career, I have no interest in being the “most preferred” judge in the pool. In fact, what I see is that many in the Lincoln Douglas community (as opposed to policy debate); make preferences more based on personal relationships, than the relative experience/paradigmatic perspective of the critic. I see my role as to set a fair, but stringent, set of expectations for the students I am judging. At times, this means advancing expectations that I feel are best for the students and, at times, the broader community as well. At this point, I am also not shy to share those thoughts and expectations. I see myself as a critic of argument if I had to pigeonhole myself with a paradigmatic label. Unlike many claim to be, I am not a blank slate. If I see behaviors or practices that create a bad, unfair, or hostile environment for the extension of the classroom that is the debate round, I will intervene. I WILL do my best to be an objective evaluator of your argument but the idea that my social location is not a relevant consideration of how I view/decode arguments is just not true (nor do I personally think it is true for anyone).

Below please find a few thoughts as to how I evaluate debates.

1. Speed is not a problem. In most of the Lincoln Douglas I judge, clarity IS a problem. I judge high level policy debates quite a bit and while they are quiet fast, I don’t see clarity as much of an issue with the top teams. Please understand that unstructured paragraphs that are slurred together does not allow the pen time necessary to write things down in the detail you think it might. I reserve the right to yell “clearer” once or twice. Style and substance are fundamentally inseparable.

2. I feel theory is debated far too much in Lincoln – Douglas, and is debated poorly. I am strongly opposed to that practice. My preference is NOT to hear a bad theory debate. I believe the negative does get some “flex”, that said it can’t be unlimited. The idea of reading a “counter shell” against a theory argument is one of the silliest practices I see in contemporary debate. Before the proliferation of theory in Lincoln Douglas I thought RVI’s were silly. They have a place in contemporary LD. I DO NOT think jettisoning the case and going all in on the RVI should be the A strategy in the 1ar. While I like competing interpretations, in the end, I feel even that view is filtered through my perspective of reason/what is reasonable/the best lens for debate. Some intervention is inevitable as we judge.

3. Evidence is important. In my opinion debates/comparisons about the qualifications of authors on competing issues (particularly empirical ones), in addition to a comparison of competing warrants in the evidence, is important. Do you this and not only will your points improve, I am likely to prefer your argument if the comparison is done well. All students should have full cites for materials.

4. I am not a “blank state”. I also feel my role as a judge is to serve a duel function of rendering a decision, in addition to serving a role as educator as well.

5. Words matter. Arguments that are racist, sexist, homophobic etc will not be tolerated.

6. I am not a fan of random; multiple sentence fragments that claim to “spike” out of all of the other teams arguments. At its foundation, debate should be about argument ENGAGEMENT, not evasion.

7. Answer questions in cross-examination. Cross-ex is binding. I do listen carefully to cross – ex.

8. Although I know you have figured it out, Lincoln Douglas does not have a 2AC in the same way that policy does. 1AR’s that advance lots of offense on many negative positions will be rewarded with high points.

9. Debating with a laptop is a choice, if you are reading from a computer I have three expectations that are nonnegotiable:

A) You must jump the documents read to the opposition in a timely manner (before your speech or at worse IMMEDIATELY after your speech) to allow them to prepare or set up an email chain.

B) If your opponent does not have a laptop you need to have a viewing computer OR surrender your computer to them to allow them to prepare. The oppositions need to prep outweighs your need to prep/preflow in that moment in time.

C) My expectation is that the documents that are shared are done in a format that is the same as read by the debater that initially read the material. In other words, I will not tolerate some of the shenanigan’s that seem to exist, including but not limited to, using a non standard word processing program, all caps, no formatting etc.

10. Many debaters have been instructed, or watched others run, “metaethics” with some success. My experience is that many debaters have a very superficial grasp of what this even means. Make sure to explain, and compare your position against the position of your opponent. A good rule of thumb is to assume you don’t win every argument and frame things in an even /if perspective.

11. I do not like skepticism as an argument. It would be in your best interest to not run it in front of me. While perhaps interesting in a philosophy class in college, training young advocates to feel that “morality doesn’t exist” etc. is educationally irresponsible.

12. I do not disclose speaker points. That seems silly to me.

13. Dropped arguments and the “auto-win” seems silly to me. Just because a debater drops a card doesn’t mean you win the debate. Weighing and embedded clash are a necessary component of debate. Good debaters extend their arguments. GREAT debaters do that in addition to explaining the nexus point of clash between their arguments and that of the opposition and WHY I should prefer their argument.

14. I feel it takes more than a sentence (or in many of the rounds I judge a sentence fragment), to make an argument. If the argument was not clear originally, I will allow the opponent to make new arguments.

15. Choose. No matter the speech or the argument.

Please ask me specific questions if you have one before the debate.

Lawrence Zhou Paradigm

Last updated for VBI Debate Camp

Do whatever you want, it's camp... Put me on the chain, email below.

I am the Director of Publishing and Lincoln-Douglas Debate at the Victory Briefs Institute and Debate League Director of the National High School Debate League of China. I have been involved with debate since 2010, having won NSDA Nationals in LD in 2014 and clearing at CEDA in 2016 and 2018. I coach The Harker School in LD and ideologically align with the vast majority of their preferences.


Email for the chain: lwzhou10 at gmail.com (Yes, I want to be on the chain, if you don't put me on the chain, I just assume you haven't read the paradigm)

If it is right before the round, just look at the "Answers to Common Questions" section. If you are doing prefs before the tournament or have more time before the round, you should begin at the "Prefs Overview" section in my paradigm in full paradigm linked below.

Full Paradigm here.

Answers to Common Questions

Q: Should I shake your hand?
A: NO (esp. nowadays...)

Q: What's your paradigm?
A: ... the way I evaluate rounds? More specifically?

Q: Are you okay with speed?
A: If I wasn't, do you think anyone would hire me?

Q: What experience do you have as a judge?
A: Too much.

Q: Do you care if we stand/sit?
A: Nope, but it's better for you if you can stand.

Q: Preference of seating?
A: Nope.

Q: Will you yell clear/speed?
A: Yes, 2 times.

Q: Are you okay with theory?
A: I suppose.

Q: What do you default on theory?
A: Competing interps, drop the arg, RVIs fine, but need to be justified.

Q: How about policy arguments?
A: I suppose.

Q: What about kritiks?
A: I suppose.

Q: What about performance?
A: I suppose (see below)

Q: What if I read a blatantly non-topical aff?
A: Meh (see below)

Q: Are there any arguments you don't want me to make?
A: Yes, bad arguments. Again, I'll vote on them, but I'd rather not.

Q: Do you disclose speaks?
A: Not anymore.

Q: What does it take to get the 30?
A: You probably won't get one, but knock my socks off and you'll get close.

Q: Should I pref this guy?
A: Good question.