Colleyville Heritage Winter Invitational

2019 — Colleyville, TX/US

Alex Baez Paradigm

Updated for Grapevine 2019 :

Add me to the Email chain -

4 Years of Policy at the Law Magnet - in my 4th Year at UTD.

I've judged a decent amount of rounds a year since I've been out of high school, mostly Dallas Circuit and TFA Tournaments, also TOC Tournaments in Dallas.

Being persuasive and telling a story matters, that means your arguments s`hould connect and create a ballot story for me at the end of the round. Being persuasive includes a lot of things, spreading is an art, and if I can't understand you I will clear you/flow what I can.

Clash of Civ Debates: I have been in these debates a lot, I've judged these debates a lot, my voting record is probably 50/50 if I had to put a number to it. It really doesn't matter to me what the aff is, get ready for the framework debate, I guess.

Tech over Truth Usually... Mostly...

Ks: Explain them, don't assume I know what you're talking about, I don't sit around and read random K lit, just not a huge part of my life anymore.

RFDs - I try and keep them educational, I want to be able to teach you something after the round and help everyone improve, not just tell y'all who won. I know, it's annoying to some of y'all.


I just started judging LD rounds recently but I enjoy them a lot, the framework debate is my favorite but still some kids fail to explain this well.

Not as familiar with Kant, DNG, Tricks. But you do you, I'll flow your stuff and attempt to piece things together as the round goes.

All the Extra stuff

I Debated for the Law Magnet from 2012-2016, didn’t debate as much my senior year.

I now Debate for UTD.

I have been coached by some smart-ass people that has shaped the way I view debate as an activity including Kris Wright, Dustin Darby, Hunter McCullough, Scott Herndon, Phil Samuels, Matt Munday, Jacob Loehr and Anthony Ogbuli. If my Judge Philosophy leaves any questions, just contact me and I’ll be more than happy to answer any concerns.

How I View Debate:

I think debate is a pedagogical space that allows for there to be deliberate discussion of what is going on in the world. I think debate is a game simply because there is a winner and a loser and you answer what the other team has stated to win the debate, it’s an educational game that allows contestation to push us to become better researchers, public speakers and self-affirming people. I think there are structural problems with debate like coaching staffs and resources, but that doesn’t mean I vote for you because you’re from a smaller school. Smaller School Arguments are usually not persuasive to me.

How I evaluate debates:

Offense/Defense Paradigm – gotta have offense, or give me a reason to vote on presumption and what presumption means in the debate and why it flips in your favor.

Framing Issues – make these clear in the 2nr and 2ar, give me a lens in which I should evaluate the debate that is reasonable and warranted – if not I will default to a logical policymaker that wants to save as many lives as possible regardless of race, sex, gender, etc., keeping people alive for them to decide their personal ethics is the way I frame a debate unless told otherwise.

Impact Calc – If there is no impact Calc you will probably tell from my decision how annoyed I am and frustrating the decision was, if the debate was close, if you blew the team out the water I probably won’t be as annoyed but your speaker points will surely show your lack of debate skills in terms of impact Calc. Impact calculus is important for your judge’s decision making process, it’s literally you telling me what impacts are relevant and why your impacts outweigh… please do impact calculus, if you don’t do any impact calculus I will not stand any post rounding, simple as that.

If Death good or high theory is your thing, I wont say I’m not the judge for you, but it’s already an uphill battle, less for high theory Ks if you can explain it, it’s just that I am not well read in the literature and I wouldn’t want to put you in the situation to where you expect me to understand what you’re talking about throughout the whole debate, ya feel?

K Affs:

I read K affs throughout high school debating for the Law Magnet, they’re my favorite 1AC’s and 2AR’s to watch writ large but can also be painful to watch. You should probably defend something? Like I don’t care if it’s an affirmation of self through the rez, if it’s a negation of the rez, a plan, an advocacy statement, give the neg something to work with because if not I am a lot more inclined to find Topicality arguments about stasis points, clash and contestation more persuasive.

If your 1AC has music, that’s fine, but make sure your music isn’t on during your opponents’ speeches, unless it’s in conjunction with your argument, in that case please keep it down to where I can at least hear the other team, I will only ask once, after that I will give the other team more leverage than they probably deserve on “dropped” arguments, it’s your fault I couldn’t hear.

If your music or spits or poems lose their purpose after the 1AC then rethink about your aff, rethink about your strategy, Music and poems and all that sound nice, but if they have no use throughout the debate I don’t understand why they were necessary?

Ks :

60% of my 2nrs were probably the K, fair to say I like the K.

Specific Links are Dis ads to perm do both, any other perm requires a much more thorough explanation of how the links are Dis ads to the perm and not Dis ads to the aff.

Link explanation is essential in order for me to understand what specifically about the aff was problematic, the more explanation and the more specific the better.

Alts must resolve the Links and impacts, alts that don’t resolve any of the aff means the aff gets to leverage their aff against the K assuming they have won that they should be able to leverage their affirmative, which I find logically persuasive considering it would be strategically impossible to be aff in a world where the neg wins that the aff can’t leverage their impacts, the aff is forced to go for the perm every debate in that world and I don’t think that is great model of debate.

Ontology, Epistemology, Genealogy, Etc., Explain why this comes first, explain why this counts as a framing issue, warrant this out and if you don’t win this framing then I will default to a policymaker that wants to save everyone in this world if possible, do the work I will not do it for you.

Floating PIKS are Cheating unless you’re neg, if you’re neg more power to you, I love that shit, if you’re aff… point it out and make it a theoretical objection.

Ks : High theory like Baudrillard, Nietzsche, DNG, etc. Put someone else through that misery please, if I am the chosen one for these debates then cool, just understand I am not deep in your lit and will require far more explanation from your part.


TOPICALITY! T is a lost form and people don’t go for it as often as they should, If an aff is not topical and you have given me an interp, with a violation and offensive reasons to prefer your interp, then you need to hold the 2AC to a high threshold considering it is a gateway issue, the aff on T has to prove they are topical, if you have a reason they don’t meet your interp and give me an offensive reason to prefer your interp, go for that shit in front of me, because more than likely the 2a is reading shitty blocks and daring you to go for it, do It, extra speaks for having T in the 2NR and winning the debate. I will reward good T debates.

T vs K affs : Fairness against identity teams makes no sense and is borderline fucked up, there’s other things to say, Saying the aff’s incorporation of personal identity is not fair is not persuasive, innovate please. Read it though, I go for T vs non-topical affs all the time, Topical Version of the Aff is key in these debates sometimes, you might still win without a TVA, but TVA’s help when you’re neg.


The other 35% ish of my 2nrs were a CP and DA. I love a good adv cp and impact turn debate. I love Process Counterplans even though they’re cheating, steal that aff!

State’s, XO, Court’s - yes and no, probably solves all the aff, not creative, but gets the job done.

Multi Plank Cp – Cheating If you can kick all and any of the planks, probably solves all the aff and avoids the Solvency deficits though so use the cheating to your advantage.

2NC CPs – eh, okay, if the aff is new, then okay I see you, if the aff is not new, GO FOR THEORY IF YOU ARE AFF!

Dis Ads:

Politics is the Dis Ad I have the most experience going for because it was probably the net benefit I went for in most 2NRs.

Politics is silly though, the Dis ad never makes any sense but what are you gonna do, the 2AR needs to point out the Dis ad story is probably not tied together. If you are neg, and the aff doesn’t make a link turn, this should be a framing issue if you are going for Ptix as a Net benefit to an aff.

Dis ads probably turn the case – explain this, have cards if you can, this is persuasive and sometimes can win you the debate absent an external impact.


Perf Con, and Condo are reasons to reject the team.

Other theoretical objections can be reasons to reject the team if I am persuaded.

All the spots I have said “cheating” in this paradigm are reasons the aff should make a theoretical objection.

If there’s three conditional advocacies or more in the 1nc, condo should probably be in the 1AR.

If you’re going for Theory, 100% of the 2AR.

Speaker Points:

If you are unclear I will say clear once and then speaks plummet after that.

The 2ar should wax poetically, k aff or not, 2ars should have some kind of flow to them that are easy to follow.

Re-reading ev back to your opponents and explaining how it flows your way will help your speaks a lot.

T in 2nr also gets you good speaks if you win, Theory in the 2Ar gets you good speaks.

Kelly Bye Paradigm

Experience: I debated for four years at Wichita East High School and have some assistant coaching experience. I mostly went for DA's, CP's, and T, so I like listening to that style of debate. I also have experience reading and answering K's so if that is your style of debate that is also fine. I will try to be as objective as possible and avoid having any arbitrary biases in my judging. Go as fast as you want/are comfortable with.

Topic experience: I have only judged around 10 rounds on this topic, and I haven't judged any rounds since October, so I am not very familiar with the topic literature, especially if the topic has evolved in recent months.

Counterplans, DA's, T: These are the arguments I have the most experience reading/answering. Not really much to say here. I like the politics DA. Pretty much anything is fine. I don't really like process counterplans/word pics/other args like that, but I will still vote for them if you win them.

Kritiks: Any K is fine with me, but I have limited experience with a lot of them. If it is a more common Kritik (cap, anthro, etc.) then you should be fine, but for more complicated/less common K's you may need to have some more explanation than you normally would need since I probably won't be super familiar with the literature.

K affs: They are fine with me. The neg probably needs to read more than procedural fairness arguments if they want to win framework against a K aff, but framework is an argument I am open to. Again, the same as I put above in kritiks, I may require some additional explanation about more complicated affs, but I have experience in debates without plan texts.

Theory: I will probably default to reject the arg not the team on everything except condo, unless the team reading theory explains why its a reason to reject the team. I don't really like voting on theory arguments, but I will pull the trigger if the team reading it invests enough time/work on the argument and/or there is real abuse.

Yao Chen Paradigm

I have been coaching debate at the Liberal Arts and Science Academy in Austin, TX since 2005, where my focus is almost exclusively on policy debate. I was a three-year policy debater at Plano Senior High School in Plano, TX, and debated policy for one year at the University of Texas at Austin. I judge an average of 80-100 debates per season.

If there’s an email chain, please add me: yaosquared at gmail dot com

If you’re using a flash drive, prep stops when you pull the flash drive out of your computer. If you’re using an email chain, I won’t count attaching and emailing as prep time. Please do not steal prep.

If you have little time before the debate, here’s all you need to know: do what you do best. I try to be as unbiased as possible and I will defer to your analysis. I would rather listen to a politics+CP debate than a kritik debate, but I would also rather listen to you debating your strongest argument than you adapting to my preferences. As long as you are clear, go as fast as you want.

I believe judging debates is a privilege, not a paycheck. I strive to judge in the most open-minded, fair, and diligent way I can, and I aim to be as thorough and transparent as possible in my decisions. If you worked hard on debate, you deserve judging that matches the effort you put into this activity. Anything short of that is anti-educational and a disappointment.

Meta Issues:

  • I’m not a professional debate coach or even a teacher. I work as a finance analyst in the IT sector and I volunteer as a debate coach on evenings and weekends. I don’t teach at debate camp and my topic knowledge comes primarily from judging debates. My finance background means that, when left to my own devices, I err towards precision, logic, data, and concrete examples. However, I can be convinced otherwise in any particular debate, especially when it’s not challenged by the other team.
  • Tech over truth in most instances. I will stick to my flow and minimize intervention as much as possible. I firmly believe that debates should be left to the debaters. I rarely make facial expressions because I don’t want my personal reactions to affect how a debate plays out. I will maintain a flow, even if you ask me not to. However, tech over truth has its limits. An argument must have sufficient explanation for it to matter to me, even if it’s dropped. You need a warrant and impact, not just a claim.
  • Evidence comparison is under-utilized and is very important to me in close debates. I often call for evidence, but I’m much more likely to call for a card if it’s extended by author or cite.
  • I’m now over a decade removed from my own debate career and I don’t judge or coach at the college level, which means I’m usually a year or two behind the latest argument trends that are first broken in college and eventually trickle down to high school. If you’re reading something that’s close to the cutting edge of debate arguments, you’ll need to explain it clearly. This doesn’t mean I don’t want to hear new arguments. On the contrary, a big reason why I continue coaching debate is because I enjoy listening to and learning about new arguments that challenge my existing ways of thinking.
  • Please mark your own cards. No one is marking them for you.
  • If I feel that you are deliberately evading answering a question or have straight up lied, and the question is important to the outcome of the debate, I will stop the timer and ask you to answer the question. Example: if you read condo bad, the neg asks in CX whether you read condo bad, and you say no, I’ll ask if you want me to cross-out condo on my flow.


  • Don't over-adapt to me in these debates. If you are most comfortable going for procedural fairness, do that. If you like going for advocacy skills, you do you. Like any other debate, framework debates hinge on impact calculus and comparison.
  • If a topical version of the aff is presented, I default to viewing this as a counterplan to the aff’s interp. Please line up your offense and defense accordingly.
  • When I vote neg, it’s usually because the aff team missed the boat on topical version, has made insufficient inroads into the neg’s limits disad, and/or is winning some exclusion disad but is not doing comparative impact calculus against the neg’s offense. The neg win rate goes up if the 2NR can turn or access the aff's primary impact (e.g. clash and argument testing is vital to ethical subject formation).
  • When I vote aff, it’s usually because the 2NR is disorganized and goes for too many different impacts, there’s no topical version or other way to access the aff’s offense, and/or concedes an exclusion disad that is then impacted out by the 2AR. Without a credible counter-interpretation that the aff meets and that establishes some sufficient limits on the scope of debates, I lean negative.


  • Over the years, “tech over truth” has led me to vote neg on some untruthful T violations. If you’re neg and you’ve done a lot of research and are ready to throw down on a very technical and carded T debate, I’m a good judge for you.
  • I'm a stickler for the quality of a definition, especially if it's from a source that's contextual to the topic, has some intent to define, is exclusive and not just inclusive, etc.
  • Reasonability is a debate about the aff’s counter-interpretation, not their aff. The size of the link to the limits disad usually determines how sympathetic I am towards this argument, i.e. if the link is small, then I’m more likely to conclude the aff’s C/I is reasonable even without other aff offense.


  • The kritik teams I've judged that have earned the highest speaker points give highly organized and structured speeches, are disciplined in line-by-line debating, and emphasize key moments in their speeches.
  • Just like most judges, the more case-specific your link and the more comprehensive your alternative explanation, the more I’ll be persuaded by your kritik.
  • I greatly prefer the 2NC structure where you have a short (or no) overview and do as much of your explanation on the line-by-line as possible. If your overview is 6 minutes, you make blippy cross-applications on the line-by-line, and then you drop the last three 2AC cards, I’m going to give the 1AR a lot of leeway on extending those concessions, even if they were somewhat implicitly answered in your overview.
  • Framework debates on kritiks rarely factor into my decisions. Frequently, I conclude that there’s not a decisive win for either side here, or that it’s irrelevant because the neg is already allowing the aff to weigh their impacts. Usually, I find myself somewhere in the middle: the neg always has the right to read kritiks, but the aff should have the right to access their advantages. Kritiks that moot the entire 1AC are a tough sell.
  • I’m not a good judge for “role of the ballot” arguments, as I usually find these to be self-serving for the team making them. I’m also not a good judge for “competing methods means the aff doesn’t have a right to a perm”. I think the aff always has a right to a perm, but the question is whether the perm is legitimate and desirable, which is a substantive issue to be debated out, not a gatekeeping issue for me to enforce.
  • I’m an OK judge for K “tricks”. A conceded root cause explanation, value to life impact, or “alt solves the aff” claim is effective if it’s sufficiently explained. The floating PIK needs to be clearly made in the 2NC for me to evaluate it. If your K strategy hinges on hiding a floating PIK and suddenly busting it out in the 2NR, I’m not a good judge for you.


  • Just like most judges, I prefer case-specific over generic counterplans, but we can’t always get what we want.
  • I lean neg on PICs. I lean aff on international fiat, 50 state fiat, condition, and consult. These preferences can change based on evidence or lack thereof. For example, if the neg has a state counterplan solvency advocate in the context of the aff, I’m less sympathetic to theory.
  • I will not judge kick the CP unless explicitly told to do so by the 2NR, and it would not take much for the 2AR to persuade me to ignore the 2NR’s instructions on that issue.
  • Presumption flips if the 2NR goes for a CP.


  • I’m a sucker for specific and comparative impact calculus. For example, most nuclear war impacts are probably not global nuclear war but some kind of regional scenario. I want to know why your specific regional scenario is faster and/or more probable. Reasonable impact calculus is much more persuasive to me than grandiose impact claims.
  • I believe that in most cases, the link is more important for determining the direction of risk than uniqueness. The exceptions are when the uniqueness can be definitively determined rather than probabilistic.
  • Zero risk is possible but difficult to prove by the aff. However, a miniscule neg risk of the disad is probably background noise.


  • I actually enjoy listening to a good theory debate, but these seem to be exceedingly rare. I think I can be persuaded that many theoretical objections require punishing the team and not simply rejecting the argument, but substantial work needs to be done on why setting a precedent on that particular issue is important. You're unlikely to win that a single intrinsic permutation is a round-winning voter, even if the other team drops it, unless you are investing significant time in explaining why it should be an independent voting issue.
  • I think that I lean affirmative compared to the rest of the judging community on the legitimacy of counterplans. In my mind, a counterplan that is wholly plan-inclusive (consultation, condition, delay, etc.) is theoretically questionable. The legitimacy of agent counterplans, whether domestic or international, is also contestable. I think the negative has the right to read multiple planks to a counterplan, but reading each plank conditionally is theoretically suspect.

Gabe Cook Paradigm

Debated at Missouri State and graduated in 2004

Executive Director of DEBATE-Kansas City until 2017

Assistant Coach and then Head Coach at Barstow starting in 2018

Yes, I want to be on the chain, and please be as efficient as possible with the emailing. Email:

I am open to almost any argument, but I defer policy. I like a compelling narrative, especially in the link debate. I value both technical skills and argumentative truth, but I defer to what I consider the truer argument when the debate is very close. Clarity and flowability will increase speaker points and chances of winning.

T - I defer to reasonability on T and I do not mind larger topics. That doesn’t mean I won’t vote on T if you win the argument. I find ground loss to be an intuitively important standard. I want both sides to explain the model of debate your interp creates and impact why it’s comparatively better.

Non-T AFF - I don’t mind framework debates and I will vote for who made the best arguments. I have generally preferred for the AFF to find a way to be topical, but I increasingly see reasons why teams choose the non-topical path. I think the best standard for non-T AFFs is that they need to prove it is not possible to ethically support the resolution. I believe you need a topic link and a clear method for the negative engage. I also lean towards believing you do not get a perm in a method vs. method debate.

Case - Here is where I copy and paste from every judge paradigm and say I want more case debate. I dislike AFFs with lousy internal links, and I will reward NEGs that take the time to point out flaws in AFF ev.

K - I find myself voting for the K a fair amount, and against a good number of AFFs, it is the best strategy. You need a specific link, and I appreciate it when debaters use lines from the 1AC to get a link. I am open to voting on presumption/turns case. But you need to explain how the K actually eliminates solvency and/or turns the case, and contextual examples help. I am most familiar with core kritiks like neolib or security. High theory Ks like Baudrillard are my least favorite and I am the least familiar with them. This means you should define key terms from your literature.

By default, I evaluate ontology, epistemology, discourse, and AFF consequences through the lens of link and impact rather than as something resolved or excluded by debate theory.

I generally believe the negative should have the flexibility to run a K and disads. However, a blatant contradiction may provide grounds for a performative contradiction that gives credence to AFF permutations and diminishes the solvency for certain alternatives. You can frame DAs as consequences within the system you are critiquing to help avoid a meaningful performative contradiction.

DA - The starting place is to be on the right side uniqueness. Then I need a compelling link story contextualized to the AFF. Impact comparison is obviously essential. I will vote on effective AFF criticism and/or takeouts of low probability disads.

When I debated I went for politics often, and I still cut a lot of politics cards. For me, the uniqueness research determines the viability of any politics DA. I don’t like forcing a story because of the links or impacts. I also don’t like shady politics DAs. The story should be clear in the 1NC and you shouldn’t win because the 2AC was confused about your argument. If teams run intentionally confusing stories, I will allow the 1AR new answers. I do appreciate nuanced and clever link stories, and I will reward NEG teams that have a compelling link story.

CP - I like core of the topic CPs and smart PICs. I dislike mechanism CPs with little topic literature that really only compete at a textual level. I also dislike consultation CPs. This doesn't mean I refuse to vote for them, but that I am receptive to theoretical objections and solvency arguments.

Condo/Advocacy Theory - I believe that the NEG should get one conditional CP and one conditional K. If the K alt is rejection, then I don’t think it counts as an advocacy. Or I think you can have unlimited dispositional advocacies. I dislike giving the NEG multiple CPs because I think it’s unfair to the 2AC, reduces depth, and gives the NEG too many high reward - no risk arguments. However, the community seems fine with multiple conditional CPs/Ks, and debate theory is a challenging 2NR. When teams run three or more conditional advocacies, by default, I will give the AFF more argumentative leeway in the 1AR and 2AR.


29.6 – 30 – Approaching perfection to perfect.

29.1-29.5 – Excellent

28.5 – 29 – Above average to very good.

28.4 – Average

28.3– 27.7 – Slightly below average to below average

27.6 – 27 – Below average to well below average.

26.9 and below – Bad to potentially offensive.

Philip DiPiazza Paradigm

Updated - Fall 2017

Number of years judging: 9

Like every judge I look for smart, well-reasoned arguments. I’ll admit a certain proclivity for critical argumentation, but it certainly isn’t an exclusive preference (I think there’s something valuable to be said about “policy as performance”). Most of what I have to say can be applied to whatever approach debaters choose to take in the round. Do what you’re good at, and I will do my best to render a careful, well thought-out decision.

I think spin control is extremely important in debate rounds and compelling explanations will certainly be rewarded. And while quantity and quality are also not exclusive I would definitely prefer less cards and more story in any given debate as the round progresses. I also like seeing the major issues in the debate compartmentalized and key arguments flagged.

As for the standard array of arguments, there's nothing I can really say that you shouldn't already know. I like strong internal link stories and nuanced impact comparisons. I really don't care for "risk of link means you vote Aff/Neg" arguments on sketchy positions; if I don't get it I'm not voting for it. My standard for competition is that it’s the Negative’s job to prove why rejecting the Aff is necessary which means more than just presenting an alternative or methodology that solves better – I think this is the best way to preserve clash in these kinds of debates. Please be sure to explain your position and its relation to the other arguments in the round.

I think the topic is important and I appreciate teams that find new and creative approaches to the resolution, but that doesn’t mean you have to read a plan text or defend the USFG. Framework is debatable, but I prefer substantive arguments that respond to the level of criticism underwriting the 1AC. This means I would be more persuaded if you can demonstrate why the focus on an external government actor is preferable to an approach that emphasizes personal agency or identity as the subject for debate.

Two other things that are worth noting: 1) I flow on paper…probably doesn’t mean anything, but it might mean something to you. 2) I think there is a difference between intensity and jackassery. Please be mindful of this.


Chris Flowers Paradigm

Paradigm update eNSDA


Chris Flowers

Little Rock Central

You can call me by my first or last name. I use he/him pronouns.

Email -


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

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

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

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

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

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

Debaters should not do any of the following:

Clip cards

Steal prep

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

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

Misgender folks

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

Read identity arguments that you don't identify as.

Defaults when you forget to make warrants to your arguments

Education > Fairness

Shapes Subjectivities > Just a game

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

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

K’s don’t need to win an alt to win.

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

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

reasonable disclosure practices = should be followed.

Analytic > Low quality evidence

Heg = bad.

Cap = bad.

Grumpy things

We don’t need to shake hands.

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

Case debate is underutilized.

Analytics are underutilized .

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

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

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

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

I'd pref these teams at 1:




PV VG (ride or die)



NoBro MR

Lane Tech CG

Determining Speaks

I evaluate a speech similar to how I would grade a paper.

30 = 100%

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

Execute a clear and cohesive argument strategy.

Delivery is dynamic, clear and organized.

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

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

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

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

Be yourself, don’t be flippant.

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

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

Strategy is cohesive and cool.

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

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

Argumentative Preferences

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

t/framework vs. k aff

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

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

T vs affs w a plan text that uses the usfg

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


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

Perf Con.

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

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

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

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

Counter Plans

If you have a solvency advocate, its legit.

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


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


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

Debate Philosophy

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

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

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

Julian Gagnon Paradigm please add me to email chains

from planet debate-

this is difficult for me b/c i'm not sure i have A judging philosophy but I do have many different ideas about and for debate...some inconsistent. that being said i don't want what i think about debate to totally dictate what debaters decide to do in rounds.

topicality- generally don't like it. I find no abuse args to be really persuasive. Since I like critical arguments so much I think you can usually find ground in any debate. i don't like the competing interpretations framework very much. i find the "that limits out any aff" arg to be persuasive. but i will vote on that framework and topicality if left unchallenged. in a good topicality debate on competeing interp vs an ok no abuse arg i'll USUALLY vote aff.

cp- like em. with a critical nb even better. i think i'm a fair judge for these debates. aff theory args generally not persuasive unless unchallenged. very similar to topicality in this regards.

das- great. a lot of people are now struggling with the we control the uniqueness = a risk vs. we got d/risk of turn. i don't think the aff has to have offense to win a da but i do find in a lot of debates that with only defense it hurts the aff a bunch. especially when the neg has a cp. but i tend to weight the da first in terms of probability and then magnitude.

critical args- love em. these are the debates i find the most interesting. i'm willing to listen to virtually any way the neg wants to present them. method. alternative. text no text. don't care. case turn. obviously it's the neg's burden to provide some way to evaluate their "framework" but in terms of theory i think they are all pretty much legit. args are args and it's the other teams responsibility to answer them.

others- i like to see people be nice to each other in debate rounds. some people may say i intervene sometimes. it's true but let me provide context. if you go for you mis-spelled (jk) a word in your plan and you should lose and your winning the arg but the other team says this is stupid...we'll i'm persuaded. you just wasted a bunch of peoples time. another thing. DON'T RUN MALTHUS IN FRONT OF ME- DOESN'T MATTER IF IT RIGHTS OR NOT. i won't flow it. i think that while debate is a game we still have a responsibility to "speak truth to power". discourse is very important. definately co-constitutes with reality. this may be why i'm starting/have been hating the politics debate for the last year and a half. but hey, like i said before, i'm full of inconsistancies b/c sometimes you just don't have another arg in the box to go for. i'm sympathetic to this. especially in high school debate. i still research it for the hs topic and coach my kids to go for it.

from debateresults...

Debate is a game- i have a lot of ideas about how the game should be played but in the absence of teams making those arguments i won't default to them. i think debate should make the rules of the game and provide a framework for how i should evaulte the debate. i'm not a big fan of some malthus in particular...but also theory arguments in general. these debates generally happen faster then my mind and pen can handle. ive judged a lot although i haven't much this year on the china topic. some people may think i have a bias towards critical arguments, and while this is true to some degree (i generally find them more intersting than other debates), it also means i have higher standards when it comes to these debates. yeah imagine that, me with high standards.

Andrew Halverson Paradigm

Name: Andrew Halverson
School: Wichita East High School (Wichita, KS), Assistant Coach
Experience: 20+ years. As a competitor, 4 years in high school and 3 years in college @ Fort Hays and Wichita State.

[BELOW IS UPDATED FOR DCI AND STATE - My original philosophy is after the update.]

I'm going to be that person that vent a bunch of my pet peeves regarding how the logistics of the debate go and how I adjudicate debates. Here's goes a quick list (I intended this to be a quick list, but now it's decent sized list of what grinds my gears):

1. If possible, I want to be on the email chain (halverson.andrew [at] If not, I want your speech docs flashed to me before you speak. There are a few reasons I would like this to happen: a) I'm checking as you are going along if you are clipping; b) since I am reading along, I'm making note of what is said in your evidence to see if it becomes an issue in the debate OR a part of my decision - these national qualifier tournaments put a heavy premium on quick decisions, so having that to look at before just makes the trains run on-time and that makes the powers that be happy; c) because I'm checking your scholarship, it allows for me to make more specific comments about your evidence and how you are deploying it within a particular debate. If you refuse to email or flash before your speech for me, there will probably be consequences in terms of speaker points and anything else I determine to be relevant - since I'm the ultimate arbiter of my ballot in the debate which I'm judging.

2. Don't make the roadmap harder than it needs to be. PLEASE DO HAVE A ROADMAP! If you were giving a 1nc roadmap, it should sound something like, "There will be 4 off and then case in the order of Advantage 1, Advantage 2, and Solvency." DON'T SAY: "It'll be 4 off and case." WTAF?! Where do I flow these arguments on case? Find a place to put your arguments. Keep to it.

3. This jumping around on the flow thing is ridiculous. I have judged more debates than I can count this year where a debater says: "On Solvency, the AFF is key to...wait, back onto Topicality. Reasonability should be the lens to evaluate T because...oh, back on the other T." THIS DRIVES ME BONKERS!! Be clean on your flows. If I can't figure out where you and what's you're doing it will costs you lots of speaker points and, most likely, a victory.

4. Don't debate off a script. Yes, blocks are nice. I like when debaters have blocks. They make answering arguments easier. HOWEVER, if you just read off your script going for whatever argument, I'm not going to be happy. Typically, this style of debate involves some clash and large portions of just being unresponsive to the other team's claims. More than likely, you are reading some prepared oration at a million miles per hour and expect me to write down every word. Guess what? I can't. In fact, there is not a judge in the world that can accomplish that feat. So use blocks, but be responsive to what's going on in the debate.

5. Blippy theory debates really irk me. To paraphrase Mike Harris: if you are going as fast as possible on a theory debate at the end of a page and then start the next page with more theory, I'm going to inevitably miss some of it. Whether I flow on paper or on my computer, it takes a second for me to switch pages and get to the place you want me to be on the flow. Slow down a little bit when you want to go for theory - especially if you think it can be a round-winner. I promise you it'll be worth it for you in the end.

6. Read below about this but I want to make this abundantly clear. I won't do work for you unless the debate is completely messed up and I have to do some things to clean up the debate and write a ballot. So, if you drop a Perm, but have answers elsewhere that would answer it, unless you have made that cross-application I won't apply that for you. The debater answering said Perm needs to make the cross-application/answer(s) on their own.

7. Stop stealing prep time. In terms of flashing, prep stops when the save is complete and the flash drive leaves your computer. At this point, you should have an idea of a speech order and be getting set to speak. Don't be super unorganized and take another 2-3 minutes to just stand up there getting stuff together. I don't mind taking a bit to get yourself together, but I find that debaters are abusing that now. When I judge by myself, I'm usually laid back about using the restroom, but I strongly suggest that you consider the other people on the panel - not doing things like stopping prep and then going to the bathroom before you start to speak. I get emergencies, but this practice is really shady. Bottom-line: if you're stealing prep, I'll call you on it out loud and start the timer.

8. Disclosure is something I can't stand when it's done wrong. If proper disclosure doesn't happen before a round, I'm way more likely to vote on a disclosure argument in this setting. If you have questions about my views on disclosure, please ask them before the debate occurs - so you know where you stand.

9. New in the 2nc is bad. What I mean by that is whole new DA's read - old school style - in the 2nc does not foster good debate. I'm willing to listen to theory arguments on the matter, BUT they have to be impacted out. However, that's not the best answer to a NEG attempting this strategy. The best answer is for the 1ar to quickly straight turn whatever that argument is and then move on. Debaters that straight turn will be rewarded. Debaters that do new in the 2nc will either lose because of theory argument or have their speaks tanked by me.


I never know how to completely do these things – because I tend to think there’s no way this judging philosophy can 100% accurately describe how I evaluate a debate, but here goes.

Stylistically, I’m a decent flow, but I wouldn’t go completely crazy. That being said, I’m one of those critics (and I was the same way as a debater) that will attempt to write down almost everything you say as long as you make a valiant attempt to be clear. Super long overviews that aren't flowable make no sense to me. In other words, make what you say translate into what you want me to write down. I will not say or yell if you aren’t clear. You probably can figure it out – from my non-verbals – if you aren’t clear and if I’m not getting it. I will not say/yell "clear" and the debate will most definitely be impacted adversely for you. If I don’t “get it,” it’s probably your job to articulate/explain it to me.

What kind of argument and general preferences do I have regarding academic debate? I will listen to everything and anything from either side of the debate. You can be a critical team or a straight-up team. It doesn’t matter to me. An argument is an argument. Answering arguments with good arguments is probably a good idea, if the competitive aspect of policy debate is important to you at all. If you need some examples: Wipeout? Sure, did it myself. Affirmatives without a plan? Did that too. Spark? You bet. Specific links are great, obviously. Of course, I prefer offense over defense too. I don’t believe that tabula rasa exists, but I do try to not have preconceived notions about arguments. Yet we all know this isn’t possible. If I ultimately have to do so, I will default to policymaker to make my decision easier for me. Hope all of this settles a few things about argument selection with me as a critic.

A caveat to the above – I have recently developed a disdain towards Consult CPs and most “cheating” CPs. If it’s a part of your core strategy, you shouldn’t be dissuaded from running these styles of argument. However, I tend to be sympathetic towards the AFF on theory and substantive arguments vs. this style of argument. As the NEG, you had better REALLY win this argument to win my ballot.

Debate theory is something that is continually evolving. As a young debater, you learn and execute the basics. Then other theoretical concepts come into play as you grow in debate. In the end, debate theory can be either really complicated or really interesting. Lots of people like to stay away from theory goo—I used to be one of them. Over time, I changed my viewpoint on the matter. One of my dislikes as a critic is tagline debating—especially when it comes to theory. Repeating your tags over and over again aren’t going to convey your point any further unless you get deeper into the claims/warrants being argued. Anyway, thoroughly explaining your theory argument is a very good idea with me. Like other debate arguments, I want to theoretically know what your interpretation of whatever aspect of debate theory includes or exclude—what the world looks like under your viewpoint.

Comparing and contrast claims, whether with evidence or analytics, is extremely important for me. If you don’t do it, then you’ll leave me to kneejerk to my own proclivities. That means that I’ll probably end up concocting a story that makes sense to me—confusing you and probably leaving you a bit irritated. My advice is do the work for me so I don’t get into such a position. For the record, I do tend to lean liberal with both my debate and political proclivities.

Finally, I know you hear this a lot, but be nice and have fun. If you have any specific question about my philosophy (which you should because this certainly doesn’t explain everything), ask me questions either immediately before the debate or you can e-mail me at halverson.andrew [at] gmail dot com. Hope this clear a few things up. Happy Debating to all of you!!

And by the way, below is a semi-judge of how I give speaker points. I stole the bulk of this (actually all of it) from Lucia Scott, so I guess this means she’s gets a h/t in this portion of my judging philosophy. This is a guide for how I give speaks, but it is subject to contextual change with any given debate (which probably shouldn’t happen very often – if at all).

Speaker Points:

25 or below – You were so offensive I almost told you to shut up. You're lucky my RFD wasn't as long as they would give me telling you how terrible whatever you said was. This also includes instances where I think you probably aren’t ready for the level of debate that I was judging at the time.

25.5-26.5 – You didn't use all your speech time, and/or your partner gave most of your rebuttal. You probably repeated yourself a lot and your speech, most likely, was not compelling at all. You also might have just been absurdly rude.

27 – You failed to extend warrants, your speech was so disorganized it hurt, and/or your rebuttal was clearly scripted. You made some kind of damning strategic error. I had to say clear twice and you still weren't clear.

27.5 – This is where I start. Your speeches were pretty average with no glaring strategic errors. You were decently clear, but by no means should you quit speed drills.

28 – Your strategy or the way you deployed it impressed me in some way. You're pretty fast and pretty clear.

28.5 – You're fast and I understood almost everything you said. You're persuasive. Your strategy was efficient and effective.

29 – I understood everything you said. You obviously know your arguments well, maybe even cut the argument yourself. You were smart and aggressive without being rude at all. I
had fun watching you debate.

29.5 – Your speeches were so devastating the other team had no chance. I heard every single word of every single card. You didn't rely on cheap arguments. Everything you said could've been the 2NR/2AR. This was a super easy decision.

30 – You're not getting one of these UNLESS there are some amazing circumstances that permit it OR you have given one of the top 3 debate speeches that I have ever heard. Usually, this amount of point means that I think you could win the NDT right now.

Mike Harris Paradigm

Mike Harris
Wichita East High School -Director of Debate

(formerly Kapaun Mt. Carmel)

Congress Update for West Kansas NSDA Qualifier: prefers substantive clash and advancement of debate over key issues grounded in literature. I don't believe in the dueling oration model of Congress. NSDA national semifinalists the past three seasons.

I have significant experience in the past 15 years judging many tournaments both in Kansas and around the nation. I am the Director of Debate at Wichita Eastl in Wichita. I have multiple students currently competing in the NDT/CEDA circuit in colleges across the country. We have had many national qualifiers in policy debate in recent years and compete as much as Kansas will allow at national circuit tournaments. I coached the 2nd and 3rd place teams at NCFL, had three teams in the top 30 at NSDA and coached the 7th place team and a top ten speaker, and had two teams qualified for the TOC last year. I have been exposed to many teams and styles from across the nation. Below is a brief explanation of some of my judging preferences. This is by no means a complete explanation, so feel free to ask specific question regarding my paradigm:

I'm a tabula rasa judge as much as that exists and you will need to address framing in this debate to win my ballot. DOn't care of it's K v K, clash of covs, or policy debates.

Speed - No preference. I can keep up on the flow with any team although I do not believe that extreme speed is required to win. I prefer clarity and quality argumentation to speed. With that said, I most enjoy a quality high speed round that combines the above traits.

Kritik's - Literature is essential to quality kritik arguments. I do not have any problem with performance k's or kritikal aff's. I'm familiar with kritikal identity and postmodern lit. I am a glutton for solid evidence and I know that the literature exists. Be prepared to explain the literature clearly and succinctly. I have a philosophy degree although I am quite a few years removed from in-depth study of the literature.

CP's - If it solves the for the aff advantages and has a net benefit I'm good. I'm solid on perm theory. Not often do I reject a team on theory. Is there such thing as cheating?

Topicality- My threshold for topicality is high. That said, I have voted on T in very significant out rounds when I don't feel it has been covered appropriately, and it is extended effectively. T must be impacted out and weighed to be a factor in my decision.

Disads - I am particularly interested in strong specific links and true internal link scenarios. I hate hearing internal links and impacts that are based on evidence from 2007. I am convinced at this level of debate evidence for disads should be updated every week to paint an accurate portrayal of the world. I will weigh a disad impact scenario without good specific links against case impacts in all cases, but the risk will probably be very low. I'm going to vote for whichever team (aff or neg) has the best and most true story.

Case - I love a good case debate. Above I mentioned I have a philosophy degree, but it is important to note my main degree area if study was political science and IR. I have found that specific and significant case turns by the negative can be very effective in undermining an aff case and being enough to win a round. Common sense analytics are important to accompany cards for both teams. Shadow extensions do little for me, I want warrant analysis with specific comparisons.

Theory and framework - Ask regarding specifics. Impact it out, ask for leeway, answer independent voters. I think this is an area of debate that is often under-covered and not understood by many advanced teams. I vote for kritikal affs and neg t/framework about evenly. I'll go either way.

All said, have fun and enjoy yourselves. Please signpost appropriately! I don't always catch the authors and sometimes it gets interesting in rebuttals when all I keep hearing is the "Brown 11' card" over and over. I can usually figure it out, but is annoying and a waste of time. I am very open-minded and will listen to anything, however teams need to explain both claims and their appropriate warrants. []

Bennett Harrison Paradigm

Bennett Harrison

Dallas Jesuit, 2012-present -- email chain and this is my email

Update 2/7/20

Quick Version

Debate is foremost a persuasive activity where being strategic means developing clear, clever, and organized solutions to resolve the issues put forward by the topic and the round. In front of me, you should read whatever argument you feel that you are most persuasive on, interested in, and proud of. The more that argument clashes with your opponent, the better the debate.

Frame the debate in the final rebuttals. Do your research. Look, sound and act like you're winning till somebody tells you different.

Stylistic issues

Organization is the closest thing debate has to beauty. Line by line is the ideal, but organization comes in all shapes and sizes. I try to be open, while maintaining general standards of argument evaluation highlighted below.

Clarity is really important to me. There should be a clear differential in the cadence of a tag, an argument, an author and a card, and all four should be intelligible.

Well researched, well qualified, well warranted, well highlighted, well debated evidence is the only relevant form of evidence.

Good debates are debates that narrow to clash over details of specific pieces of evidence.

Bad debates are debates without comparisons of evidence quality that fail to reflect the hard work done researching and preparing for the debate.

I do not tire over watching core generic strategies against core of the topic affs, nor do I tire over well debated T or K debates against new, creative, and well debated K affs. The repetition of these debates is at the core of the activity, thus we call them "core" debates regardless of whence their literature base. (I am disturbed by the proliferation of the concept of "clash of civilizations" in debate... this phrase comes from Samuel P. Huntington's thesis on the inevitability of conflict between opposing cultural and religious identities. This seems completely at odds with what debates about identity or policy in debate are trying to accomplish... Debaters are guardians of a rare thing).

Case Debating

Do it - debates are won and lost when I compare the coherence of one team's *argument chain* to the other's. Affirmative advantage internal links are the beginning of the substance of the debate and therefore must be contested by the negative in some way.


Competing interpretations are always the ground on which the house of T is built. Reasonability arguments should not be winnable if it is a good T debate.

The 1nc should have a sufficiently robust violation that foregrounds how the aff fails to be topical under your interpretation-- this is particularly important if multiple words are defined or if multiple T violations are at play (yes, even if you are reading "framework").

For both sides: limits and ground arguments should be contextualized to specific categories of arguments. I think caselists and topical versions are important, but name dropping affs is not helpful here: T is about ideally balanced categorical structures of arguments in debate based on the implications of those categories and the limits and the ground they provide.

70% speed is helpful for me if you want me to keep up with all the moving parts.

T v K aff - I think it is very difficult for a negative to win framework without making case arguments in the 2nr indicting the aff's method. If you feel unprepared to debate the case of this weekend's random K aff-- I get it-- but this should be the in-round (performative?) evidence of your predictability argument-- demonstrate that.

Procedural fairness - constraints produce creativity and rules of the game are debatable, but rules make the game what it is... tread carefully


I prefer a 1NC with cards that discuss issues recognizably specific to the affirmative. If your evidence merely establishes the terms of a critical argument, the burden is on you to explain why that matters in the context of the theoretical or methodological enactment of the plan.

Fiat is inevitable and is just a manner of speaking, so I'm not persuaded by fiat or psychoanalysis critiques that rely on the idea that behavioral factors influence reading a plan or being in debate. Unless someone actually behaves violently or unjustly in a debate, which should result in loss and out of round mediation.

Critiques of scholarship, history, methodology, performance, ethics in debate : good

Critiques of behavior, identity in debate : bad

K affs are good with a plan and a topic in the "good" category above


Counterplans need to have a net benefit that is a reason to reject the affirmative advocacy.

Solvency advocates are key. Affirmative's should ground solvency deficits to the counterplan in the relationship of the cp text to the evidence (or lack thereof). Negative's should be ready to defend the relationship of their cp text and evidence (or lack thereof).

Theory-- aff's should be creative in arguing that the counterplan should be theoretically rejected by providing interpretive explanations of what functional competition means.


Politics DA's and other DAs reliant on political and foreign policy calculations require a robust handling of the internal link. For me this means a reasonable, well-warranted, and evidence-supported reason why decision-makers in the US or other countries would react to the plan in a specific way.

I am sympathetic to smart arguments about the logical improbability or inconsistency of a DA argument chain. For example, I think it is possible to win no risk of the politics DA + any risk of CP solvency deficit is a reason to vote aff.

Carlos Henry Paradigm

Email Chain or questions:

Speed: Any speed fine. If you are unclear I won't get what you're saying.

Experience: I debated for three years in high school policy debate and two years on the college NDT Circuit. I'm educated as a philosopher and am a criminal defense lawyer. My philosophical training means I care alot about logical fallacies and how arguments are posed and answered. Also I ponder and wonder about big questions so that translates into my debate thinking. I do think and read articles about what debate should be; yes I'm a theory hack. Professionally, I defend criminals so I've developed a very thick skin. My love is trying cases so I'm very focused on how folks decide and why. I dislike dogma which is now shockingly rampant on both sides of our current political cultures.

FLOW I flow the debate. Specifically on a scetch pad. Cross X too. If you do not take this into account I'll miss your arguments. That means give me time to turn the page when moving to new arguments and signpost clearly where you going next on the flow (e.g. "on the Allies DA" and give me time to get there.) Connecting arguments - the line-by-line - is essential unless you want me to put the debate together myself out of micro-arguments. 'I will feel zero remorse in the post-round if you tell me that I did not appropriately decode the word vomit on 2AC 5 subpoint C or the treatise you regurgitated about some vague "theory of power" in a 2NC overview. ..It would help me immensely if you used consistent, easily transcribable soundbites' (thanks Shree) and very clear signposting so I can make connections on the flow effortlessly. Long overviews are bad in this same way--put them in the line by line.

Judging Philosophy: Be yourself, because sincerity is transparent and convincing. No argument would cause me to automatically vote against any team, regardless of whether they are labeled politically incorrect, offensive or whatever (I hate dogma.) If a team thinks an argument is morally wrong tell me why I should not vote for it.

Wish List: I expect the debaters to tell me how to decide the debate. I don't want to determine which interpretation is better or whether human rights trumps extinction. The best teams will compare evidence, indict arguments (qualifications or warrants), and resolve debate questions.

I HAVE NO DEFAULT OR PREFERRED JUDGING PARADIGM. I'll follow what the round dictates. Nor have I any theory preferences that I apply to my evaluation. I like theory debates and listening to debate arguments about what debate or the theory should be and why. Alot.


Both policy and Kritik debates thrill me when there is strong clash and great intellectual battle. I'm current on most debate K literature but that is a double-edged sword. I'll probably understand your Kritik, but I have a higher threshold for what you must articulate. And I'll know when you superficially understand your authors or the literature base.

- - Poor DAs/Advantages/K links: More and more I see DAs and 1AC advantages with poor link evidence and then severe brink and obvious uniqueness issues. Often these go unchallenged by opposing teams in a rush to simply read their evidence blocks. A few analytics or even a well reasoned cross-ex questions could destroy some of these disadvantages. Solid analytics will be rewarded with higher speaker points.

- - Evidence Comparison: Great debaters evaluate, compare and attack evidence. There is good evidence and bad evidence; good sources and lousy sources. Quality of evidence is very important to me. I'll be reading along with your speech doc and reading evidence in your prep time.

- - Cross-x: It's not simply your partner's prep time or time to get the card you missed. It's another opportunity to make your arguments. You are welcome to do cross x anyway you want but best speaker points are awarded to those who answer their own cross x. And when you find a soft spot in their answers don't just stop and let them off the hook, go for the kill and savor it. It's a rare and beautiful close to a Perry Mason moment as you'll ever find because they don't happen in court, ever. In the 1994 CEDA finals, James Brian Johnston from UKMC as 2AC, questions 2NC Dave Devereux (KSU) and his questioning beginning around 51 minutes into the video is, for me, a perfectly executed aggressive and brilliant cross-examination.

- - Speaker Points I won't give fewer than 26 for any reason and have given 30 for the best I have seen at any tournament. Wake Forest University devised a speaker point scale to attempt to universalize speaker points and I tend to follow it:

The best debaters I see don't simply bury their heads in their laptop and spread; they actually look at the judge periodically and persuade, particularly in 2NR and 2ar. Watch the 2002 Ceda Finals and see Calum Matheson's 2nc or Jason Regnier's 2ac or 2ar for great examples. I'm not sure why but the college debaters I watch do a much better job of this then the high school debaters.

Debate is about winning so be assertive even aggressive. Not rude or exclusive but go after your point with passion. We are in the persuasion business and enthusiasm is contagious. Have fun. A sense of humor is priceless (and rare) in a round.

Nathan Jagot Paradigm

Debated for Caddo Magnet 2014-2018

Assistant Coach @ Caddo Magnet/Caddo Middle Magnet

People who have been influential to me in debate/people I have been coached by: Neill Normand, Kasi & Jonathan McCartney, Sam Gustavson, Ian Dill, Darius White, Calen Martin, Cole Allen, Ethan Courtman, and Jake Crusan

**Arms Sales**

Rounds judged: 11

Still warming up to topic acronyms. Please adapt if you think I won't know it.


For the email chain:

Prep ends when the speech doc is saved/flashed. If it's taking you too long to ~"send the doc over"~ I will become suspicious. Don't abuse prep.

Don't clip.

Be nice to everyone in the room.

If you're here for a local LA tournament, there's a section at the bottom you should read.

Evidence quality > evidence quantity.

Frame your arguments:

If you can tell me what the central points of the debate are in the final rebuttals, make effective arguments and prove why you're winning, you will most likely win the debate. I think line by line is good, but that you also need to keep in mind the big picture/nexus question for the debate. Being wax poetic is especially good (but not necessary), but tell me what's most important and why, and explain it. "Even if" statements are also really useful in this situation, and be sure to use competing claims and why making the decision for you should be easy even if you're not winning the other/most important parts of the debate.

Be strategic:

Embedded clash is important. For argument extensions, make sure you have a claim, warrant, and an impact. Make sure you use this to your advantage and point out interactions between different arguments, be smart in pointing out double turns, etc.

Clarity > speed:

I'd rather hear a very engaging 4-5 off debate that has a variety of winning 2NRs against a certain aff, rather than a team who reads 8-10 off just to scare the other team. Slow down on blocks and analytics, because they're going to be the point in the debate where I really start paying attention to the arguments at hand and seeing how they function (also the point in the debate where you should explain them as such). Being efficient and prepared rather than fast and blippy until the 2NR is better than not.

Line by line is important:

This is very important and I think some debaters sadly forget about. Answer arguments in the order in which they appear - if "they say (x), but (x)" statements are helpful in this instance.


CX should be treated as another speech. Don't waste your time, i.e., don't use it to clean up/fill in your flow. Write down your questions beforehand and have a strategy, and it will help you. Please don't talk over anyone while this is happening. Some judges flow CX, I tend to stray away of that, but I may star an argument a team mentions something multiple times or if an argument seemed to be critical for any particular side during CX. If an important argument is an effective turning point for the debate in CX, point it out in later speeches, it can only help you.

Critical Affirmatives:

I'll listen to it, but I'm finding myself frustrated with a lot of these types of affirmatives. The 1AC should ground itself with a foundational disagreement with resolutional action - meaning a solid, specific topic link - and go from there about debating it. Not doing so will likely result to me just voting negative on T. Debates where the affirmative identifies a problem with resolutional action and uses that as offense against framework/T-USfg are much more interesting than stale debates.

***I think for topics where the resolution mandates the USfg reduces something negative it does (like restrict immigration or reduce arms sales), reading an aff with a plan is much more legitimate than not reading a plan.

***If you're reading this before round and are unsure about what your strategy with your K aff would be with me judging you based on everything above, I'd suggest reading an aff with a plan.


I think this is the best strategy against planless affs. Though it's a legitimate claim that the aff not using the USfg as an agent is unfair, you need to explain why in terms of why it's bad for normative debate practices and why it's bad that you can't engage with the aff as well as you could with one that had a specific policy proposal. Fairness is an impact in itself, but that should be explained in terms of what unfairness is, how the affirmative makes it worse, and then funnel into discussion of other "greatest hits" impacts on the flow. Make sure your TVA is logical and at accesses the affirmative's offense, and the aff answers need to be logical and established in order for me to not vote on it. Well-thought out aff impact turns to T/Framework are convincing to me, if executed effectively. Framework should also be debated in the context of every aff - I think that makes in large part much easier for the negative to produce an effective in-round abuse story and why it may be [x] type of aff, but they couldn't prepare against its specific activism-based strategy.


You NEED to engage case. Smart analytics on case are just as good as impact turns/no solvency arguments. Make sure to utilize it, it's there for a reason. Interact with it, don't forget it. I would rather you sacrifice another 1-2 off and concentrate time on case (you'll be glad you did, the debate might go better for you and a 2NR on just case can be devastating).


I enjoy T debates, but don't get bogged down in the non-important parts of debate. Say why your vision of the topic is better and couch that in the language of your impacts. Caselists are super effective for me in this instance.


If your CP text is long, please slow down. Specific PICs are good, I like them. Consult and conditions counterplans are fine as long as you defend them as you're supposed to practically and theoretically.

Obviously talk about how you access/solve the affirmative and you should have a clear net-benefit. I think counterplans are highly underutilized, and always think that no affirmative is totally perfect to where it can't lose to a certain counterplan.

One small thing about advantage counterplans - please utilize them if they're better than the other generic counterplan you've read in the 1NC. I'd rather you spend time prepping that out or having done so before hand, because a counterplan that's tailored to a certain affirmative that uses 1AC evidence to implicate said affirmative is both research/strategically savvy and shows you're at least trying to refute the affirmative creatively - which will help your ethos/speaker points.


The DA should have specific links to what the aff is talking about, or at least a claim that what the aff is fiating will cause what you say it will because it's that large of a policy. Your block work on the DA should be thorough explanation, as well as lots of cards that prove your argument(s). Specific links/analysis to the aff are highly appreciated.

For new/small/interesting politics DAs (Farm Bill was a good example of this, and so was Shutdown): I think a good politics debate is fun and interesting, but the link and uniqueness cards should be on par and you should have a variety of links (and link cards) in the block. Lots of cards + lots of analysis = extra good. For these DA's, it's generally more difficult to garner specific offense against specific affs, but you should frame your cards + link analysis with that in mind, because the aff can go for "no specific link to the aff in the 2NR is a voting issue" + whatever else they say, and I'd probably be persuaded by that.


I read kritiks when I debated - being from a relatively small school, I understand their strategic value. There's always stuff I find myself being unfamiliar with, so if you think there may be a risk that I don't know what you mean, don't be too buzzwordy and explain what your argument means.

But if you do want to include a K, here's some important things I value:

Link Contextualization - You absolutely need to win a link to the affirmative. Generic links rarely grab my attention, unless the aff just mishandles it completely. A K 1NC that has mechanism and content links to the aff (links to the aff's process, either K-based or state-based, depending on the type of aff) is better than a K 1NC that has the link arguments "state + scenario analysis bad," without mentioning the aff's advantages. A smart 2NR will go all-in on 1 or 2 solid links with clear impacts.

Links should be able to turn case without winning the alternative (even though you should still win your alt), and should each have an impact-level claim that are distinct from the other links and that can independently win you the debate. But, you need to win the alternative to win the debate, tell my why it resolves your links specific to the aff and any other link you may read - this is where the links that fit the aff best come in. I'd rather hear the 2NR go for 2 solid links rather than 3-4 not-so-good links.

Being aff and debating K's:

You should explain aff framework and the permutation in a clear, logical sense that doesn't link back to their offense. Winning that you get to weigh your aff because it's fair, predictable, and generates better debates because [x, y, z reasons] is generally something I agree with, but you have to have a defense of that in every speech and not let me forget that your aff is a thing, too.


I'll consider theory only if it is severely mishandled/conceded by the other team. I think having it as your A-game strategy isn't as strategic, but don't be discouraged and think you can't go for it in front of me, just remember there are certain times and places for those debates.

Conditionality is bad if an absurd number of advocacies are in the 1NC (more than 3 is questionable, but I'm open to a debate on whether or not that is true), but make sure to contextualize your theory blocks to the debate at hand and tell me why what they did in round is bad and incentivizes worse debates for everyone else. Tell me more of a story about what they did, why they should lose, and what your model of debate looks like under a certain interpretation (that isn't just repeating your interpretation you read in the 2AC/2NC).

Final rebuttals:

These should be used to write my ballot. Easy ways to do this are to do the "final review of the debate" at the top of the 2NR/2AR and then get into the substance/nuance of individual arguments you're winning on the flow.

If Debating In Louisiana:

Don't call me judge and don't waste your speech time for thanking me to judge you.

Don't waste time asking "judge ready? partner ready? opponent ready? audience ready?" That takes WAY too long and just asking if everyone is ready is better.

Explain your arguments well. Answer your opponents' arguments well. I judge LD sometimes in-state because of tab-based restraints and something I've noticed is a severe lack of clash in these debates, and I think forcing yourself to interact with the other team's arguments is generally a good thing in debate.

You don't need to shake my hand if I judge you. I'm anywhere from 1-5 years older than y'all and that's weird and you probably have the flu.

Good luck and have fun!

Kerry Joiner Paradigm

8 rounds

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John Landry Paradigm

Policy Debate – Judge Paradigms

Framework – Framework is important. If you successfully frame the round toward Aff or Neg, it can help you win the round. My expectation is both teams must engage each other’s interpretations fully instead of reading and extending…if neither team suggests a standard for evaluation…I ALWAYS DEFAULT to the POLICY MAKER!

Case Debate – I believe smart analytics are preferable to SPEED (spread) reading Card after Card after Card. Specific on-case arguments can be very compelling.

DA/CPs – AS SPECIFIC as POSSIBLE, but I’m willing to vote either way. I prefer link-specific analysis, but I’m willing to vote either way as long as there is a clear impact/ net benefit to be preferred

Kritik Debate – I like to divert back to Case Debate when it comes to a debate that turns Kritik. It is important to me that the team evaluates why the K is the most important impact in the round, get out of the CARD READING, always be sure to extend them in later speeches…use your prep time…fully develop!! I think if the 2NC attempts to gain inroads to the case by suggesting the alternative is a necessary precondition to case solvency can be persuasive and is a helpful way for me to evaluate the K against the Aff. I'm fine with kritik affirmatives so long as you explain what exactly I'm endorsing by voting affirmative.

Topicality – My threshold for T is the same as any other stock argument. I’ll default to competing interpretations, but how I evaluate T should be the work done in the round. I think of standards/reasons to prefer as external impacts to a vote for a given team’s interpretation. That means that comparative impact calculus is important for any 2NR going for T. Explain to me what debate looks like if I vote for your interpretation and why that vision should be preferred to one that would allow for cases like the affirmative’s. That also means that proving in-round abuse isn’t necessary if you’re winning the standards debate, but it does make it a lot easier to vote on T.

Theory – Theory becomes easier to evaluate when actual clash takes place instead of just reading blocks and not engaging with the other team’s argument. If you expect to solely win on theory you should give me some kind of substantive reason why a given violation merits a rejection of the team and not just the argument.

Non-Traditional Debate – If I’m provided with a standard for evaluation that both teams can reasonably meet, I don’t care what you do.

Speed/Spread – As long as you’re clear, and not out of breath… I’m fine with speed. Breaking up your cadence and tone between tags/authors/analytics and warrants will help you make sure I don’t miss anything.

Speaker Points – 27.5 is average. I’ll add points for things like clarity and efficiency and subtract for messy debating or getting too harsh with your opponents/partner. I believe Policy Debate should be Policy…not ATTACK debate! I also believe and will add points for respect. EVEN if the Aff/Neg is clearly more prepared/seasoned, the opponent can score high based on RESPECT.

Evan Manning Paradigm

Evan Manning

Eisenhower High School Director of Debate


Previous institutional affiliations and role

Wichita East High School

Shawnee Mission West High School

Emporia State University

Debating experience

I debated from 2000-2005 at Shawnee Mission West, and Emporia State. I have stayed fairly connected with the activity since, and have ranging from a little to a lot coached teams who have finished high at national tournaments, TOC qualifiers, the DCI, and State Championships.

What do you view your role as the judge in the debate?

1.) Ensure a safe and equitable space for the debate to occur.

2.) Pay attention to both argumentation and communicative ability of all in the room

3.) Let the debater’s debate, and stay in my lane, adjudicating the round as they would like the round to be interpreted. (I am Tab)

4.) Make the best decision I am able, and can give a reasonable assessment of my methodology

5.) Try and offer advice, or clarity on the RFD and choices in the round in an oral critique

Purpose of Philosophy

I think debaters either under or overvalue who I am as a judge, and the philosophy should be a starting point of shared understanding before asking more specific questions pre round with both teams present.

Evaluative Practices and Views on Debate Round Logistics

I have come to dislike computer debate as per the lost time, the flashing issues, the speech doc reading, the functional clipping of unintelligible sound during speeches, sitting in cross ex, not making eye contact, the phrase “straight down the flow” and the overall lack of warrants or communicative intricacy.

Am I on the Chain?


What is your normal range for speaker points and why? What can earn extra speaker points for a debater? What can cost speaker points for a debater, even if they win the debate?

-My speaker point scale has tended to be:

30. I have only given out two, and would love the chance of hearing another perfect pair of speeches.

-------Shout-out: Samantha Nichols DCI Round 7

Grace Kessler : vs LFS in 2017

29.5 - you should receive a speaker award in this division at this tournament

29 - you should be in elimination debates at this tournament, and probably win one or more of those rounds

28.8 you are competing for a spot to clear but still making errors that may prevent you from doing so. Average for the division/tournament.

28. - you are fine

27.5 - you are slightly below average for the division/tournament and need to spend some time on the fundamentals. Hopefully, I've outlined in my notes what those are.

27 - you are in the wrong division or at the wrong tournament in my estimation.

**I've found that the best way to boost your speaks on my ballot is to demonstrate that you understand the nexus points of the debate and/or when the debate has resolved itself through your argumentative prowess. Often, this means strong/specific overviews, and can sometimes mean not utilizing all of your prep/speech time when the flow of the debate indicates it is impossible for your opposition to come back in the round. (EG - if the 1AR drops a topicality argument in its entirety, and you use 4 minutes of prep for the 2NR and give a 5 minute 2NR speech - you have not demonstrated mastery of the flow.

Do you say clearer out loud if a debater is unclear? Is there a limit to the number of times you will say clearer if you do? Do you use other non-verbal cues to signal a lack of clarity?

Yes I will say clear, I will say it until I feel you aren’t trying to be clearer, I will be overtly grumpy and you should know I’m no longer flowing if you were to look up.

Do you find yourself reading a lot of evidence after the debate?


Do you evaluate the un-underlined parts of the evidence even if the debaters do not make that an argument?

No, the team would have to make argumentation about the evidence

What are your predispositions or views on the following:

Topicality- If the Aff is not T, it should be the 2NR

Theory- I find myself usually not pulling the trigger as a stand alone round winning argument But I do fondness myself using theory as a framing or threshold mitigation question

Affirmative’s need to read a plan in order to win on the aff- Yes, or at least a topical stasis point.

Performance teams - Possible to go for it, need to know what you will and won’t defend. I think you should make explicit how my ballot functions in this debate as well as where you defend the impacts occur and stop occuring (IE in the room, in the fiated debate world, outside the literal debate room etc.)

How do you feel about tricks?

Tricks are fun. You can slow roll in cx, you can impact turn pretty much anything, you can set up double binds and double turns and all is good. There is no such thing as a cheating argument you can’t win, just an argument that probably had a higher threshold to win. I find myself being madder at the opponent for putting me in a position to vote for a bad argument than the team that did it.

Mason Marriott-Voss Paradigm

Yes I want to be on the email chain:

**Please make the subject line of your email something that makes sense (ex: TFA State - Round 3 - Texas CM v MSU GS)**

All other things (questions, comments, speech doc requests, etc) should go to masonnmv[at]gmail[dot]com

[Pre-TFA State UPDATE - 2/25/2020]

Still judging only clash debates so here is a more complete framework rant

  • Ideologically I slightly lean aff for reasonability reasons. In the real debate world we actual live in, (some) K affs are predictable, and (most) K affs that are in the direction of the resolution are not hard to engage with. Not only that, but ideally we all have case negs to the best teams at the tournament anyway. That being said, framework is still absolutely negative ground, and K affs are (often) impossible to pin down. Also a lot of K affs require you to spot them solvency before you can win offense which is probably not something we should have to do. Two things you should take away from that
    • On the aff, defense goes a long way. The negatives fairness and limits offense is often blown way out of proportion and you should stop letting them get away with that
    • On the neg, negative engagement is the easiest standard to convince me of. The 2AR will probably say "our aff is contestable because XYZ" but framework debates are questions of models not just about the aff.
  • I vote aff in these debates when:
    • The 2AR wins that impositions of limits are bad. I don't often find myself voting that "limits in the abstract are always terrible" but re-framing that same argument as "imposing X limit on debate is bad for Y reason" is something that I find a lot more compelling, especially when the 2NR doesn't do impact comparison and instead just asserts "but I promise limits are super great"
    • The 2AR wins that their interpretation solves limits with even a small net benefit of some kind. Mostly this happens when the the aff spends a lot of time on defense (an under-utilized component of framework debates, see above), or when the 2NR rants about impacts for 5 minutes without talking about internal links.
  • I vote neg in these debates when:
    • The 2NR does great internal link work. I would love for the 2NR to include a section that says "their interp is A which allows for B because C which doesn't solve D because E" Doing so will force you to clearly articulate an internal link differential which is a thing I care about, while also dramatically raising the threshold the aff has to meet to win any of their defense (again, a thing I care about)
    • There isn't a role for the negative under the affs interp. I believe clash is great, and the negative often gets away with telling me that they are the only ones that allow for clash to occur. Not only that but the negative often is better at telling me why the types of clash that we have under their interp is good for XYZ reason.
  • I think debate is great, I wouldn't devote 100% of my non-schoolwork time to it if I didn't, so you will have a hard time convincing me that "debate is terrible, we shouldn't do it, clash is always bad in every instance" and the negative will have an easy time winning "debate can be good, you don't even have to read a plan just say something at all please"
  • I find it really hard to explain why the act of reading framework in and of itself is violent or bad. Specifically, I will have a really hard time voting on "you read framework you should lose" if the 2NR doesn't go for it, and I really don't care about framework linking to X other position that you read. If you don't put framework in the 1NC the aff gets to run wild in the 2AC, and fallback positions are a thing. If you're neg you still need to answer it but don't think you have to go for framework or you're screwed because as long as you answer it I don't care that much at all.

[MID SEASON UPDATE - 12/11/2019]

  • I increasingly find myself saying something like this in the RFDs "I have you saying quote: *reads exactly what I have written on my flow* in the 2NR/2AR, to me that is not a complete argument nor does it answer the explanation the other team is doing" - this might be me being picky, but just know that I have a slightly higher threshold than average for what qualifies as extending a complete argument
    • I have also done this a couple of times "I have you saying quote: *reads from flow* in the 1AR/block, while the 2NR/2AR explanation is very good you have not made this into an actual argument until then"
    • This is not a tech over truth claim. Truth does come before tech, but there is a minimum threshold that your truthful argument has to meet for me to feel comfortable evaluating it
  • For framework, some new thoughts
    • To quote Bankey: there are two framework 2ARs: 1) limits are bad, or 2) we solve limits. While there are a plethora of winning 2ARs on framework, if you don't do either of those things you are going to be in a rough spot
    • If the aff is going for the "we solve limits" 2AR, the 2NR would be greatly served by having a section which says "their interp is A which allows for B because C which doesn't solve D because E" Doing so will force you to clearly articulate an internal link differential between your interp and their interp. If you can't do that in the 2NR then maybe go for a different standard.
  • I still continue to only judge clash debates. I've accepted that fate by now, but know that if for some reason I'm in a policy debate I will probably not be as educated as I should be.
  • Specifically, I seem to end up judging a lot of *different flavor of anti-blackness* vs *state engagement and fiat are good* debates. I can almost promise that I've heard someone make a much better version of the argument you're making and I can also promise that I'll just wish I was watching that person debate and not you when you're making that mediocre argument.
    • I enjoy these debates when:
      • There are examples from both sides on the ontology portion of the debate
      • Each side answers the specifics of the others examples
      • I hear an example I haven't heard before (examples are a trend here if that wasn't clear enough)
      • You clearly know what you're talking about/look like you've actually read a book - if you know your shit, make that clear, it makes me happy that students know things
    • I DO NOT enjoy these debate when:
      • You assume you're winning ontology true/not true without doing any explanation
      • You sound like you're annoyed the other team exists/is making arguments (yes even if their arguments are bad you should still respect them)
      • When there are only non-black people in the room and nobody talks about/seems to recognize/cares about that fact
      • It's clear you are just reading blocks and don't actually know what your cards say - I will still vote for you, I'll just be upset about it and you're speaks will not be happy


General Things:

  • Tell me how to vote and why, hold my hand as much as possible and you will be rewarded
  • Your evidence quality matters a lot to me, but I won't read evidence unless I need to. Use that to your advantage, compelling and in depth evidence comparison goes a loooong way.
    • If/when I call for cards I will ask for "whatever you think is important" That is NOT an invitation to send me everything you read, nor is it a promise to read everything you send me. Instead it's an opportunity to do what you should have done in the speech and tell me which cards you think I should read (that does include opponent evidence if you so choose).
  • Truth over tech, you should have a warrant to prove why your truth claim is true
  • Take risks and have fun. When you're engaged and having fun it makes my job more enjoyable and a happy me = better speaks
  • Always happy to answer specific questions you have before the debate. The question "do you have any specific paradigms judge" (or anything along those lines) will be answered with "do whatever you want"

Framework - these are my initial thoughts, all of these (unless otherwise stated) are things I think are true but I can be convinced otherwise if you out debate someone on it:

  • State good isn't offense for a framework argument, and state bad isn't offense against it - unlikely you will tell me otherwise
  • Your interp isn't just a model that dictates the way debates go down, but also a research model that dictates the way we prepare for debates - you should have reasons why both in and out of round their interp is bad and yours is good
  • If the aff says arms sales are bad I do not understand why winning arms sales are good is not a reason to vote neg. On the aff that should help you answer fairness/ground, on the neg that should give you another 2NR option if you so choose.
  • I am more than willing to vote for intervention/heg/cap/arms sales are good. Often times I think the aff is too flippant about answering the impact turns that get read on case and the negative fails to capitalize on that.
  • Increasingly I am becoming less and less of a fan of arguments that say "framework is policing/the prison/any other actually bad thing" In fact, I think that it is very dangerous to equivocate the violence that happens in a prison to the "violence" that happens when teams read framework.
  • Answering the aff is not a microaggression. Neither is reading generic evidence. Debaters make bad/non-responsive arguments all the time, that's not a reason to vote them down, just a reason you don't have to spend as much time answering the argument.

Until I judge more rounds on this topic I won't have as many topic specific things to say. Please consult the previous seasons paradigm for any additional information


Yes I want to be on the email chain:

General things:

  • Tell me how to vote and why, not only will this help your chances of winning, it will also help your speaks
  • I will read your evidence after the debate, not during, so the more you do the ev comparison for me during the debate the more likely I am to believe you - that being said, your evidence quality matters a lot to me, and I will read the evidence that I think is relevant while making my decision, so make sure to tell me which evidence matters
  • Take risks. It makes my job a lot more fun and often pays off big. Your speaks will be rewarded for it.
  • Truth over tech, and you should have a warrant to prove why your truth claim is true
  • I increasingly keep judge clash debates, I have judged maybe two high level disad/cp debates since the Greenhill tournament, that means two things
    • First, in clash debates I find myself leaning aff on the internal link level but neg on the impact level, I think the 2NR impact explanation sounds pretty but the internal link is dramatically under explained, and the 2AR can often be very compelling on a "you don't solve your own impact" level. The topical versions that teams are reading (mostly the generic open borders stuff) is also only really ever compelling to me in a world where the aff goes for "our discussion good" which is increasingly not the way the aff is answering framework. If your aff defends restrictions are bad and provides a mechanism for resolving (whatever that means) that then I am a fan. If your aff is just "debate is bad, fairness and clash are bad" then I am not a fan
    • IF you do have me in a policy v policy debate, make sure you explain which part of the debate matters and why, and do a little bit more handle holding me through the debate in the 2NR and 2AR than you would in front of your regular policy judges as I will need to shake the rust off

Policy things - these are my initial thoughts, all of these (unless otherwise stated) are things I think are true but I can be convinced otherwise if you out debate someone on it:

  • Uniqueness controls the direction of the link, you will be hard pressed to persuade me otherwise
  • Undecided on indefinite parole good/bad - probably lean neg on this question but haven't seen it really debated out enough yet
  • The topic is LPR - way more thoughts on this later, but unlikely you convince me your non-LPR aff is T
  • If your CP has a solvency advocate (each plank, together) I think it's almost impossible to lose to any theory argument
  • Presumption flips aff if the CP is a larger change from the status quo than the aff is (fully explained in the CPs section at the bottom)
  • The 1AR is a constructive, you should probably read some cards

Clash of civ things - these are my initial thoughts, all of these (unless otherwise stated) are things I think are true but I can be convinced otherwise if you out debate someone on it:

  • Fairness is an internal link, but negative engagement and clash are very compelling impacts
  • State good isn't offense for a FW argument, and state bad isn't offense against it - unlikely you will tell me otherwise
  • If the aff says and defends that restrictions on immigration are bad I find it harder to win a limits impact but a little easier to win a topical version
  • Your interp isn't just a model that dictates the way debates go down, but also a research model that dictates the way we prepare for debates - you should have reasons why both in and out of round their interp is bad and yours is good
  • Ericson is descriptive of debate 15 years ago, not prescriptive of what debate should be. I think this makes it a little difficult to win a predictability internal link, you still can just make sure you do slightly more work than you normally would here for me
  • Negative engagement/clash is an impact but probably doesn't solve the affs education offense because the neg wants to be able to go for the temporary CP and base, instead it is good as a critical thinking model

K v K things - these are my initial thoughts, all of these (unless otherwise stated) are things I think are true but I can be convinced otherwise if you out debate someone on it:

  • I don't judge a lot of these debates, but when these debates are good, I highly enjoy them. The more specific you get with your links/alt explanation/link turns/alt offense the happier I will be
  • The aff gets a perm - "this is a method debate" is not a real world thing to do, only way I really change my mind here is if the aff drops this argument
  • You are not responsible for other things your author wrote that you haven't read, but you are responsible for other things/theories that the parts you have read rely on for their theorization (your psychoanalysis aff probably has to defend the Lack even if you don't make any of your arguments about it)
  • Examples are the key to winning the link v link turn debate for me
  • Just because you read a Zizek card doesn't mean you can just make any argument you want - your theory should be consistent and you should tie your arguments back to your evidence, I will read your evidence after the debate while making my decision

Feel free to email me with any questions - masonnmv[at]gmail[dot]com - yes this is different from the email above, please use each for its intended purpose.

After that quick and dirty, here is my rant about the topic as I've seen it so far. Increasingly on this topic I find myself becoming more and more frustrated with the trajectory of affirmatives who have decided to read a plan. Two large complaints that I have:

  • Your aff should be LPR
  • You should specify which restrictions you reduce

Let me unpack those two things

First, LPR. I feel very strongly that the aff has to be for the purpose of LPR and only for the purpose of LPR. I know that generally the community is moving in this direction but I feel like it’s worthwhile for me to talk about this because I find myself more ideological about this than others I’ve talked to. I think that “legal immigration” most clearly means “admission to the United States for the purpose of long term permanent residence” and anything that isn’t that is fairly clearly negative ground. There are two versions of the refugee/asylum/T/U visas affs that are mainly being read now.

The first type just makes it easier to get those visas. This is the “determine that environmentally-displaced persons constitute ‘refugees’” aff’s. Or the “remove the requirement to cooperate with law enforcement” aff. These affs, for me, and almost impossibly defensible. Those people that enter under those new expanded rules are not permanent residents, nor are they guaranteed to be permanent residents. The most popular counter-interp for these affs, “legal immigration is path to lpr” to me is poor at best. It begs the question of what a “path” is, which I have yet to find a good definition of. For example, H1-B’s might be considered a path to LPR because the majority of people here on H1-Bs apply for transfer of status and become LPR. Without a good definition of what a “path to LPR” means I have no idea how that interp can set a limit on the topic that excludes non-immigrant and temporary visas. With these affs they all have the similar we meet/reasonability story that happens in the 2AR which goes something like “but our visas end up with LPR and aren’t temporary because they eventually become permanent so please don’t vote neg” But this we meet argument is not even close to compelling. In my mind this is the negatives argument, and at best for you is just the same as saying “we are effectually topical so don’t vote neg” The plan doesn’t immediately give people LPR, and I don’t think that our model of debate is defensible.

The second type of that aff changes those visas and makes them LPR. These are the “for the purpose of long term permanent residence” affs. These are think are more defensible than the type above, and end up raising a lot of interesting T questions, but I would prefer it if they weren’t topical. The problem that I have with these affs is that they just make any non-topical group topical. I have no idea why the plan can fiat that they give refugees immediate LPR and why they would not be able to fiat that H1-Bs are LPR (I keep using H1-Bs because I feel like everyone agrees that those are by definition not topical). The problem that I run into when thinking about these types of affs though is that I don’t think that there is a good interp that clearly limits these types of affs out. I think that there are two ways you can try and limit out these affs. The first, is a definition of restrictions that would say that making a new LPR isn’t reducing a restriction. But I think that a compelling answer to that is probably that the restriction that exists on getting LPR is the 1 year requirement which the plan would eliminate. I think that this could go either way, but that’s the point of debate. The second way you can limit this out is to say that a reduction has to be pre-existing. The aff increases the cap from 0 to 200 LPR refugee visas, which is technically a reduction of a cap but it doesn’t increase a currently existing cap. That coupled with a literature argument about there not being any lit to contest reducing restrictions that don’t officially exist to me feels weak but doable. In general this is the debate the aff wants to have in front of me, because despite the fact I don’t want these affs to be topical I don’t know how to safely limit them out without just arbitrarily deciding that they shouldn’t be topical.

Second, specification. This one really gets me going but comes up in debates less. The topic is not immigration good/bad. The topic is restrictions good/bad. The number of affs with plan texts that resemble “Plan: The USfg should substantially reduce its restrictions on legal immigration for artificial intelligence professionals.” is sad but not surprising. Look I get it, you don’t want to debate PICs. But come on, you have to actually defend something. The best debates on this topic are not “should we let in AI professionals to the US?’ but instead centered around how we should do that. And unless you want every debate to be indefinite parole vs LPR then it would benefit everyone if you just specified. If you read a plan, and a solvency advocate that goes with it, that defends a specific restriction(s) then I am very comfortable inflating your speaks AND telling the neg that their generic CP/links don’t assume the specific mechanism of the aff. If you do not do that (read a real plan that is), I am very comfortable voting neg on a circumvention argument. Let’s be real, you are reading your plan like that because you think it has strategic value, and truthfully, it does. And with that in mind I think that there has to be some incentive for the aff to foster clash and read a real plan text so if you are aff in front of me and you don’t read a real plan, make sure you spend more time than you want to answering vagueness arguments/case circumvention arguments. I am also more comfortable with cheating CPs against affs with vague plans, and dramatically less comfortable with cheating CPs against affs that specify.

I understand that the two above statements might make you slightly uncomfortable but I feel like I should put that out there just so that everyone is on the same page.

------------------------------2016-17 Season-----------------------------------------

I am a first year out. I debated for four years at the Liberal Arts and Science academy and currently attend the University of Texas in Austin. I have always been a 2A so that does actively shape the way that I think about/approach debate.

Short and sweet – Yes put me on the email chain - I lean more truth over tech in the sense that I will not vote on something that can't explain to the other team at the end of the debate, but that doesn’t mean you can just drop things and hope I ignore them. Do what you do best. Seriously. I would rather judge a good debate on something I am less familiar with than a bad debate any day. The more you can write my ballot in the 2NR/2AR, and tell me what I am voting on and why, the more likely you are to win but also the more likely I am to give you better speaks. Make my job easy and you will be rewarded. I will be somewhat/very expressive during the debate, and I will flow cross ex

Any specific questions feel free to email me: masonnmv [at] gmail [dot] com - yes I realize that this is a different email from the one above, please use each email for its intended purpose.

Now what you are probably here for:

K affs and Framework – I read mostly traditional affs throughout my career but I did read a variety of different K affs with moderate levels of success. I would like to think that I will do my very best to evaluate the debate in front of me but there are a couple of thoughts that I have about framework debates in general that will always be a part of my decision calculus no matter how hard I try and be objective.

First, my senior year my partner and I went for framework against every single K aff that we debated except for one, against which we went for the global/local K. I think that K affs tend to not meet their own interp more often than you would think, and get away with it, and in the instances in which they do meet their interp, it is often very easy to win a limits disad. I also think that a lot of the offense that K teams like to go for is often only a question of “our education is unique” which I feel is often resolved by switch side and maybe the topical version. Limits and clash are the negative standards that I find the most persuasive, and I most commonly went for clash as an impact that has intrinsic value. I am least persuaded by the topic education standards people like to go for, but I encourage you to do what you are the best at and if that’s topic education then go for it. I tend to think about switch side debate more than other people do when evaluating framework debates. I lean neg in general on framework that's for sure.

That being said, there is nothing intrinsic to me about debate that requires that you read a plan, nor do I think that not reading a plan means that no productive debate can occur. I think predictability is definitely a question of the lens through which you view the resolution (eg: on the China topic, even “policy” teams knew that people were going to read a Pan aff. Doing research in a particular area helps to guide what you and others are able to predict will be read during the year), which means that K on K debates can be highly productive/clash can occur. I think that the neg often gets away with way too much offense in terms of things like the limits disad etc as the aff often forgets to test the internal links of their impacts and instead just goes for the impact turn. To use the limits disad as an example, I think that the negs interp is not nearly as limiting as they often get to spin it as, and the world of the aff is often not as bad as the neg says it is. Don’t get me wrong, impact turning things is fantastic, but sometimes smart effective defense can be just as useful.

Other thoughts on framework debates

  • One carded, smart, topical, topical version of the aff goes A LOT farther than 4 short generic ones. Specificity matters a lot in these topical version debates. Both the aff and the neg can exploit this to great effect
  • If your aff has a solvency advocate that links your theory to the topic in the same way you claim to, you are in a MUCH better place. It cuts back against a lot of their offense and makes it substantially harder for them to win anything that isn’t limits
  • I tend to think that both interps have some educational value, if you are winning reasons why the education that your interp provides is comparatively better than the education that their interp provides you are 75% of the way to winning these debates
  • I think that debate is a game, but that doesn't mean that it can't have other intrinsic value, eg it can definitely be a home, or a place of individual expression, or even an academic space or educational training ground. I get this framing from my years playing soccer, which while being a game, also provides a lot of good to a lot of people. What that really means for y'all is that I am probably not the best judge for "it's a game cause some wins so vote neg because fairness"
  • The more specific that each sides offense gets, the better. There is often a lot of offense happening on both sides of these debates so the more you are able to get ahead on the specifics of how your offense interacts with their offense the better.

I think it is very hard to win state good is a net benefit to framework, especially if you’re coupling it with a switch side debate argument.

Now the more specific things

Kritiks vs Plans –

  • Buzzwords do NOT equal explanation. Just because I might be familiar with your author/argument doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t explain it.
  • Specificity matters. Feel free to read your generic link cards but be prepared to explain them in the specific context of the aff. On the aff, read your generic K answer cards if you have to/want to but again, be prepared to explain them in the specific context of the aff
  • I am better for the negative than most for frameworks that do not let the aff leverage its advantages – I generally think that the aff just assumes that obviously they get the aff and don’t spend enough time here. Yes you can go for framework as the alt/without the alt/whatever you want to call it. Especially if you have a link specific to the aff/something the aff did and not just a link to the squo this can be a very effective strategy.
  • Link turns and “the aff is a good idea”/”our reps are true” are sufficient offense to vote aff, but mostly only when coupled with a perm, and you have to explain to me why the aforementioned statement is true. You don’t always have to have external offense against the alt but it would greatly increase your chances of winning. If they kick the alt you can sometimes still get the perm, but you have to do the work to tell me why you should
  • On the aff, you should defend the aff and you shouldn’t forget about the aff. Often people get caught up in going for “psychoanalysis bad” instead of actually just answering the links and defending the aff. You should still have specific K offense but seriously, if the K is competitive, then the aff is offense in and of itself. Unless you don’t get to weigh it. See above

Kritiks vs No Plans –

  • Just because this is a “method debate” does not mean the aff does not get a permutation. I definitely think that it is actually most real world to combine different methods and see how they interact. Just because we are in debate doesn’t mean that that same standard should apply. Now you can win specific reasons why in the context of your theory the perm still fails, but the aff probably gets the perm.
  • See K vs plans stuff as well – specificity matters a ton. Especially in the link vs link turn debate. The aff will almost always have some chance at a link turn, so whoever is ahead on the spin and explanation game will probably win that part of the debate. Historical/contextual examples are super useful and super underutilized. Don’t just assume your truth claim is true, say words and explain why.

Disads –

  • I have different thoughts about risk than most people do. Start at 0% risk and build up, NOT at 100% and work down. I think that it is the negatives burden to prove that their internal links are true and not necessarily the affs burden to disprove them. That being said, if the aff only reads a non-unique in the 2AC I think that the negative is going to have a very easy time proving that the rest of their disad is true. What this means is that I am a sucker for a 2AC that maybe reads one or two cards but mainly makes smart and true analytic arguments to answer the disad at each level. Especially if your disad is bad (if you have to ask then yes, yes it is), then I think that the 2AC probably doesn’t need to even read a card and can instead get away with talking about the disad in its entirety for about 45 seconds or less. This is the best example of where I am more truth over tech
  • Yes disads can go away in cross ex if it is done correctly, but you still have to make those same arguments in your next speech. A well-executed cross ex on a disad in my opinion is more concerned about what the 1NC evidence says than what the 1N has to say about it.
  • The 1AR is basically a constructive. Let’s be real, I got through A LOT of my high school career going for cards that were in the 1AR. As long as you have a similar analytic argument in the 2AC, you can often justify the card. I don’t think that it’s the 2A’s burden to start answering a disad before it becomes a real disad (see above about analytics being awesome). This does NOT mean you can just drop it. But I often don’t think that you need to read cards.
  • I really enjoy a good impact turn debate. My senior year this was my bread and butter, and this is where I am more tech over truth. I think that sometimes the CP just solves the aff and so impact turning the net benefit is often an effective and useful answer to CPs. So on the negative just be prepared to defend your impact(s). This goes both ways, if you are ready to impact turn the aff then go for it. These debate are awesome and often involve a lot of strangely qualified evidence and if you do this well I can’t say that your speaker points wouldn’t see a small not-so-subconscious boost.
    • On that note I should add: You will receive minimum speaker points and lose if you read racism good, sexism good, and a variety of other arguments where your moral compass should understand that thing is un-impact turn-able. If you have to ask, you shouldn’t go for it

Counterplans –

  • I have thoughts about presumption that I think are different from others when it comes to counterplans. Presumption flips affirmative when the counterplan is more change from the status quo than the aff
    • For example: Plan: USfg should feed Africa and go to the moon, CP: USfg should feed Africa, Presumption stays negative.
    • Example two: Plan: USfg should invest in renewables, CP: USfg should sign the Law of the Sea, iron fertilize the ocean, build CCS, and instate a carbon tax, Presumption flips aff.
    • Obviously there are instances where this is not a perfect standard which is why I think it is up to the debaters to explain which way presumption flips and why. This doesn’t come up a ton but when it does it matters.
  • On CP theory in general – I am a 2A. Always have been. That being said, I think that you are much better off going for perm do the counterplan/the counterplan isn’t competitive, instead of trying to go for “delay CPs are a voting issue”. I have a hard time believing that I should reject the team because they read a [insert process] counterplan, but I can be persuaded if you have to go for it.
  • Also while I am on theory: I have a lot of thoughts about conditionality, but I try my best to judge the debate that happened in front of me. I try to view and evaluate the condo debate the same way someone would evaluate a T debate: which interp have the debaters proved to me is best for a model of debate. I do subconsciously lean aff on this question, but if it's a new aff, do whatever you want.
  • 2NC CPs/amendments to CP texts: they justify new 1AR arguments (perms, offense, solvency deficits, links to the net benefit, etc), they are very rarely a reason to reject the team, I could be persuaded that it’s a reason to reject the argument
  • The solvency deficit just has to outweigh the risk of the net benefit. Both sides should be doing this comparative work for me please.

Case debate –

  • Please do it. I view this the same way that I view disads, it’s the affs burden to prove that their internal links are true and not the negs burden to disprove them. So just like with disads, a smart 1NC on case can be devastating and the less generic your case work is the 1NC the higher the threshold will be for 2AC answers. Basically just read the stuff about disads but switch the aff and the neg
  • I am not a fan of the fast, blippy, 2AC case answers, nor am I a fan of your 45 second long block of text that you are going to spread through and call an overview. The 2AC should actually answer case args and the block and 2NR will be given a lot of leeway if you don’t. “Yes war – their evidence doesn’t assume miscalc” is not an answer.

Topicality –

  • T is and always will be a question of competing models of debate. That might sound to you like "competing interps" but there is a distinction. Competing interps for me is much more a question of how I should evaluate offense in a topicality debate. Reasonability just means that your interpretation is reasonable (not that the aff is reasonable)/your interp is sufficient to resolve a risk of their offense, competing interps just means that it should only be a question of offense/defense. But in both worlds I am still evaluating different, comparable models of debate.
  • I am less concerned about your ability to read your five sub-points ground and fairness block and more concerned with your ability to outline what the world of the other teams interp looks like. Why is it bad for debate (both aff and neg ground) etc.
  • That being said, I went for T a lot in high school. T QPQ and framework were our two most common 2nrs. So do what you have to do. And yes, T is a topic generic.
  • Topicality is about the model of debate that you endorse, so have a defense of that. Case lists, and why the affs on that list are bad or good, are a must.
  • For reference from the China topic – on a scale of Yes T-QPQ We Meet/Counter Interp double bind to No T-QPQ We Meet/Counter Interp double bind I’m a firm “no”.

To close I would like to quote Ezra Serrins, my high school debate partner, "I appreciate it when debaters take arguments seriously but you shouldn't take yourself too seriously"

PJ Martinez Paradigm

8 rounds

Debated at Mercedes High School for 4 years, and the Uiversity of North Texas for 1. I coach at Coppell now. 


Short version: I'll vote for anything if it's impacted well. The below is brief, so ask questions before the round.


Theory - I'll vote on it. I'm not the fastest flow, so don't speed through these arguments please, particularly in the later parts of the debate when your doing impact work. 

Topicality - I love a good topicality debate. I usually default to a competing interpretations framework, but there are good reasons to prefer reasonability. I appreciate clever "topical version of the aff" arguments and if you do go for T well, your speaker points will show. 

Counterplans - they're cool. Fair warning, I find the aff's cheating counterplan theory arguments persuasive. Don't let this dissuade you from reading them though if that's your game. 

Disads - they're fine. Like I said above, I'm not the fastest flow, so when there's a big link/link turn debate happening here, it would benefit you to slow down a bit. This wasn't my game in the years I debated, so being clear about the intricacies would be helpful. 

Kritiks - Like em'. These are what I've dedicated most of my debate career to. I understand most of the theory that is popular in debate, but that should not mean you don't have to explain the theory in its application to the aff (i.e. I get what the Lack is, but why does that turn the aff?)


Stormee Massey Paradigm

I am the ONLY Speech & Debate coach at Trinity High School.

I competed for Flower Mound High School for 4 years and competed in oratory, policy, extemp, and congress. I was an NSDA National Competitor in Student Congress.

In college, I debated at the University of Oklahoma for 5 years in policy debate. My father is Jackie Massey who was the coach at the University of Oklahoma while I was there- so if you know his philosophy on debate, I am not too far behind. I was on the team with George and Rashid, so our arguments ran in a similar vein.

Though I did policy for 9 years, I coach my students in a plethora of events including LD and PF. I have been a debate judge for the last 10 years for high school speech and debate, and 3 years on the college level.

Debate how you want, but tell me how to evaluate the round. Keep me in the loop! I am most familiar with kritikal arguments, but I am willing to listen to whatever is put in front of me.

Here are some more tips:

- I expect an impact debate. There should be comparison and clash. I need impact framing! Give me magnitude, time frame, and probability!

- An argument is a claim and a warrant. I also expect evidence to include warrants. If the warrants were not read, I will not do extra work for you. Extending a tagline does not satisfy this expectation.

- I am totally fine with speed, but please ensure that you're making an effort to clearly distinguish cards and taglines.

- I will do my best to judge the round neutrally. Even though I am familiar with various arguments, you are still responsible for explaining your argument. So, just because I read whiteness and settler colonialism arguments during my career does NOT guarantee that you will win with those arguments.

As for specific arguments:

Topicality/ Framework: I am not apt to vote on Topicality. However, if it is poorly handled by the other team, then there is a chance I will vote on it. That being said, you need a really good interpretation of “predictability” and a viable abuse story to get my ballot. I expect a standards debate and analytic clash- making claims and reading a bunch of cards without context is a good way to lose my ballot.

CPs/ DAs: Totally fine with them in Policy. Do what you do best. An argument is an argument and I will evaluate the impacts and solvency regardless. In LD, you really have to do some framing for me to consider voting on a DA or CP for an Aff that doesn't have a plan text or USFG implementation...

Kritiks: I am familiar with a plethora of different kritik authors, but I expect every argument to be explained regardless of my familiarity. I prefer non-generic link debates, but do not necessarily think every alt needs to solve the aff. Reject the aff is fine with me.

Theory: I kind of hate it, but sometimes you just gotta throw some theory on it. I understand. Just make sure you are doing comparitive work and giving me an IMPACT, rather than an arbitrary claim to vote the other team down.

If you have specific questions not covered in this paradigm, please do not hesitate to ask.

Tracy McFarland Paradigm

Tracy McFarland

Jesuit College Prep

Updated for GDI workshop tournament - I do not think T -substantial makes sense versus the death penalty - it's, you know...death...seems substantial to me. Substantial also modifies criminal justice reform - not the enact biz - no reason why sheer numbers is the way to measure CJR particularly when CJR like MM would impact some unknown future number of defendants, for example.

Updated 9/27/19

Please use for speech docs. I do want to be in the email chain.
However, I don't check that email a lot while not at tournaments - so if you need to reach me not at a tournament, feel free to email me at

Evidence stuff:

Jesuit is not open source - and if you think our cards are good, you should enjoy the experience of reading the good research. While I know that there are many people who disagree with me, I think that reading other people's cards disincentivizes hard work and cultivates unethical academic practices. And, for the record, there's no small school arg here - in fact large schools benefit more from this model (where you read other people's cards without recutting them) because they have more access to more open source docs in debates. I will disregard Jesuit evidence read by another team whether that's an argument made or not. Doesn't mean I will auto-vote against you but not going to vote on cards we cut that you use.

I DO NOT mean that you can't take cites and recut the evidence - in fact getting cites from someone and recutting the evidence is good. BUT, if for example School A debate School B in round 4, then School A uses ev read by B against another B team, that's unethical. TEAM'S SPEECH DOCUMENTS ARE NOT OPEN EVIDENCE FILES. Know the difference. If there is a Jesuit cite you can't access because of a lack of access to resources, please email me and I will provide a full text of the article or book - I pinky swear.


This topic seems T-complicated. Substantially may not be your best bet - especially if it's an arbitrary % that doesn't have a baseline comparison. Topicality is about competing interpretations for me, unless you tell me otherwise. Negatives should explain what allowing the affirmative in the topic would allow— ie what other affirmatives would be allowed and what specific ground or arguments you have lost out on. Affirmatives should, in addition to making counter-interpretations, explain why those counter-interpretations are good for the topic.

Case lists are underutilized in these debates – both about what they exclude and realistically justify on both sides of the topic. Topical version of the aff is an important but not a must have – especially if you are partially trying to say that they are SOOOO bad I shouldn’t want them to be a part of the topic.


Counter plans are good -- but I think that Affs underutilize solvency advocate based arguments. If you are going to have a CP with a ton of different elements, neg should be able to support that with solvency evidence that supports the whole CP not just the elments. If you are neg, you should still do these mutliplank cps if you like but the aff can win a solvency deficit if you don’t have someone to advocate all of it together. Asserting a not accurate way the government works to make a claim about neg CP also should be contested by the aff - and so should dates of the evidence being used to justify the CP. Specific counterplans that reflect you did some work in research the aff = good for the neg. Process counterplans less good b/c they usually show that you didn’t do the research on the aff. Also, I don't know why climate offsets is a CP - it's more like a plan, opposite of the plan debate????


Also enjoy a good disad debate—used to include politics. But alas, Trump has ruined many things for me - including this. I am more persuaded by the args that center on congressional internal links - that are not dependent on pretending like Trump is consistent with pol cap theory in poli sci. 2020 is a thing - but I find myself not really thinking that the link + internal make sense. I do think it is possible to win zero risk of the politics DA. I do think that affs should make a bigger deal about how that zero risk of the DA means that any risk of a solvency deficit on the CP means should vote Aff. But alas, you probably won't, then I will have to default to my engrained any risk of the DA if the CP solves mostly wins a debate. I also am very persuaded the base DA gives into racist logic - and probably should be a reason to vote aff. But alas, you probably won't make that argument with warrants.

For other DAs, much like my previous discussion of topicality and the kritik, explain the link specific to the affirmative – you can and should have multiple link args in the block that help build your story about why the aff triggers the DA. Assess how the impact of the DA relates to the case impact. Overviews should be specific to the aff not a reiteration of magnitude probability and time frame - as this results in awkward comparisons especially on this topic. Offense is a good thing but defensive versus a disad may be enough to win. In other words, any risk of a DA does not mean you win on the Negative (unless perhaps it’s a CP net benefit)—there is room for Affirmatives to make uniqueness, no link, and impact arguments that erode the DA so significantly the Negative doesn’t win much a risk versus the Aff. Good case debates with solvency or impact turns make for appealing and compelling debates. Negatives can win on case turns alone if the impacts are developed in the block.


Contrary to what some of you might think, I really do enjoy a good kritik debate. The difficulty I have with kritiks really lies with Negatives who do not, again, believe that specificity is our friend. I am not of the “if link, then lose” camp: the Negative should, through evidence and link narratives, explain how more ‘generic’ evidence and the K applies to the Aff. For example, explain why the aff’s use of the state is bad; don’t just assert they are the state therefore they must be bad. The other place to be sure to spend some time is explaining the role of the ballot and/or the role of the alternative. Addressing how the alternative solves or address in a better way the harms of the aff (ie by getting to the root of the harms, etc) is a good thing. Affirmatives in some debates I have watched this year concede too much of the link—utilize the strategic nature of your aff versus the kritik link to argue both turns and no link arguments. This will arguably force Negatives to explain how your aff links beyond the fact you use the state. Likewise on this topic it helps Affs with the perm debate. I think that topic specific K much better than your hodgepodge throw some authors together ks. Also not a huge fan of death is inevitable so we should give up now or alternatives that incorporate “suicide” as an alternative. Both sides when initiating framework arguments need to think through what they are getting out of the framework arguments – don’t just blindly go for it if you could get by with simply meeting and conceding their framework, thereby doing their thing better than they do it.

Performance/non-instrumental use of the rez

While I am compelled by arguments about the need to redress exclusion in the debate community, Negatives should challenge, and the Aff should defend, the importance of the ballot in redressing those exclusions. If the neg can explain why the same education and same exploration of privilege can occur without the ballot, I am very persuaded by those arguments. However, in these debates I have judged, I have almost always voted for the team advocating non-instrumental use of the topic because this often goes unchallenged. I think that if you are aff and running an advocacy statement, you should have some reason why that is better than a plan on the ready -- assuming the neg challenges this. Even if the reason is that the plan ties you to the state and that is a problem, you need to be able to explain why you cant accomplish your business with a plan. In these debates it seems that negatives often forget that even if they are only going for framework, they will still need to have a reason why the aff ROB or method is bad. Otherwise, the aff will make some arguments (as they should) that their method is offense against traditional understandings of debate/T/framework. I do think that the performance should be tied to the resolution when you are aff.

Theory – Aff/Neg

If there is a legit reason why what the other team has done has eroded your ability to win by creating a not reciprocal or not level playing field, then initiate the arguments. I understand the strategic value creating a time trade off might get you. However, you should think about whether or not you have some compelling args before going for the arg all out or in the 2nr/2ar. Multiple contradictory framework type args are an underutilized arg when there are k alts and cps in the debate---especially if any or all are conditional. Be concrete about what they are doing and what the justify in order to make “impact” arguments.

New aff theory - I don't have anything else in my philosophy like this (that just say no to an argument) but "new aff disclosure theory" arguments are silly to me. Aff Innovation = good, and incentivizing innovation by giving a strategic leg up to affs by getting to break a new aff = good. I've got more warrants if you want to chat about it - I know some of you feel very strongly about this - but it doesn't make sense to me. You should not probably spend the time to read your shell even if its supershort. Affs should say "competitive innovation = good". And that'd probably be enough.

Certainly, new affs mean that the neg get to make a bunch of args - and that I probably am more sympathetic on issues like no solv advocate, multiple cp, condo, etc - but yeah, no, new affs = good not bad.

Stylistic Issues (Speed, Quantity)

Clarity is important and so are warranted arguments and cards – say what you would like but be clear about it. If you have many argument but you have highlighted down the evidence to 3-5 words, you have also not made a warranted argument. Also, “extinction” is not a tag. Some highlighting practices have become so egregious that I think you're actually highlighting a different argument than the author is actually making.

Speaker Point Scale

Decent debate = 28 + ; more than decent gets more points. You can gain more points by having proper line by line, clash, good evidence with warrants, good impact comparison. You can lose points by not doing those aforementioned things AND if you are snarky, condescending, etc.

Additional Comments:

Productive cross-examinations add to speaker points and help to set up arguments---needlessly answering or asking your partners cx questions subtract from speaker points. Did I mention flowing is a good thing?

The line by line is important as is the evidence you read, explain and reference by name in the debate. Line by line is the only way to clash and avoid “two ships passing in the night” debates. Line by line isn't answer the previous speech in order - it's about grounding the debate in the 2ac on off case, 1nc on case.

I do tend to read evidence on important issues – so the quality of your evidence does matter as does how much you actually read of it. I am persuaded by teams that call out other teams based on their evidence quality, author quals, lack of highlighting (meaning they read little of the evidence). You should flow – you can’t do anything else I’ve outlined without flowing – and like, actually flow, not copy the speech doc..

Eleanor Mendelson Paradigm

8 rounds

Current assistant coach at Blue Valley North; debated at Oklahoma (2018-19) and Blue Valley North (2014-18).

email chain/questions:


Debate should be enjoyable. Be nice to each other and have fun.

Do whatever you do best. I don't have any strong ideological positions on debate and I'll do my best to fairly judge whatever you put out there.

Any speed is good, but clarity is much more important. The more time you spend on your flow instead of the computer the better.

Evidence quality is very important and I'll read cards after the round, but that is not a substitute for you explaining arguments during the debate.


Case is very important to me and I would MUCH rather see in-depth case debate than five different disads. Substantive solvency arguments > generic impact defense.

Offense is always important but I think I am slightly more willing than most to vote neg on presumption.


I love counterplan debates. The more specific and creative the better.

If the CP doesn't have solvency evidence I won't reject it on face, but I will have a much lower threshold for voting aff on solvency deficit arguments.

I’m sympathetic to theory arguments against word PICs, delay/conditions/consult CPs, and CPs that fiat outside the federal government.

Outside of the above examples, I lean neg on counterplan theory. If the aff wins theory it’s more likely a reason to reject the argument than the team, with the exception of condo.


Don't read a kritik that you cannot clearly articulate in CX. If you are unable to explain your own evidence, I will be very unlikely to vote on it.

The link is the most important part. Winning framework does not reduce the necessity of winning the link.

The neg still needs to beat the aff in order to win the K. What that looks like can vary, but I'm not very persuaded by arguments that I should just ignore the 1AC.

K Affs/Framework:

I really enjoy framework debates.

The affirmative should probably defend something that is in the direction of the resolution but that doesn't necessarily require a plan text. The farther the aff strays from the topic area the more likely that I'll find framework arguments persuasive, but I won't on-face reject any aff.

As the aff, you need to explain why the ballot matters and why debate specifically is a necessary site for your argument, not just why the thing you're talking about is important to learn about/discuss.

As the neg, framework is not a "they cheated" argument and I probably won't vote for it if that's how it's framed.

I can’t see myself voting aff in a world where there’s a compelling TVA. The aff needs a reason why the TVA can't access the same education, not just why it doesn't solve the aff.

I increasingly think that fairness is not its own impact but an internal link to education, but I can be persuaded otherwise.


The neg should frame T as "here is why the aff model of debate is bad," not "the aff should lose because they cheated."

I think I'm more pro-reasonability than a lot of judges, but "the aff is reasonably topical" is not a compelling deployment of it. The explanation of reasonability that makes sense to me is "our definition is a reasonable interpretation of the topic." That still needs to be backed up by warrants, though.

Limits and ground are internal links to voters, not voters in and of themselves.

Eric Meuller Paradigm

Eric Mueller Judging Philosophy

Overall I am a policy maker with some exceptions. Default mode is policy advantages weighed against risks of disadvantages and consideration given for counterplans and possible solvency deficits. Multiple CPs can be irritating but also at times strategic. Obviously advantage CPs can be an exception.

I read evidence. I like comparisons of the quality of evidence compared to the other team. Not just qualifications, but unanswered warrants in the evidence. Take the time to pull warrants out of the cards and explain them. It will go a long way here. Explain why your evidence should be preferred.

I also like you to take the time to explain specifically how you think you win. Put the whole round together in a quick "story." How do you want me to view it? Compare it the other team's "story." Tell me how this is taken out and that outweighs this. It makes it easier for me to frame your approach as I decide. Give me some "big picture analysis." Don't just get mired down in line by line. I don't need 4 minutes of overview or "canned" overviews. Make specific to what is occurring in this debate round. Otherwise, it's boring.

Put me on your email chain. My email address is

I am amenable to kritik arguments. I am willing to vote for them on the affirmative as well. I like methodology arguments and see them as advanced attacks on all the claims the other teams make. So when affirmatives lose, it is often because I believe that your framing of the discourse and claims of the case have lapsed into indeterminacy because they are based on fundamentally flawed analysis combined with some net benefit if possible. I also see kritiks as solvency arguments and case turns and will allow them to be deployed as discursive impacts and as policy turns. I can be persuaded on framework either way.

It is the job of the negative to explain how K functions with respect to affirmative solvency. I think that needs to be hashed out in more specific ways than I often see occur. How do advantages with short time-frames factor into the question of whether to vote on K first? It is more clear for me with things like settler colonialism than it is with Marxism, for example. But don't assume. Take the time to explain. Make the reason it comes first very clear. How does the K undercut their turns? Be specific. Use examples. Don't make it just a non-unique disadvantage with a floating pic alternative. Sell it.

I also think there are reasons why there might be advantages left for the affirmative even given the criticism provided by the K. I think sometimes more specific affirmative evidence proves the plan can still have advantages to weigh vs. K impacts (as in Marxism) especially when the time frames are quick. Why does K come first? Has that been explored?

T against critical cases:

I also believe that it is necessary to answer clearly case claims by critical affirmatives that answer the voting criteria on T. Think of T as the disad, and case arguments as solvency that allows the T disad to outweigh the case. That is an easy framework, in my opinion, for approaching T debates against critical affirmatives. Framing matters. I think "competitive equity"as a standard against critical affirmatives is often untenable for the negative. Focus more on the nature of voices and representational aspects of the need for grammar. Think semiotics. That makes voting negative on T easier in these cases. You need offense, not just terminal defense. T must be framed as offense against the case. Negative must prove affirmative non-topical.

I prefer to evaluate the substance of evidenced permutations to CP or even K. Quickly worded "Do both" or "Do plan and K" sometimes leave me confused as to what the world of the perm really looks like. Take the time to frame your perm for me clearly. How does it take out CP/K? How does it interact with the link to any net benefit? On the negative, hold the affirmative to clearer explanations of how the perm functions. Confusion for me usually breaks negative in the presence of a net benefit. Evidence makes a difference.

I’m not a big theory guy. I understand theory but I don’t like voting on it. I will if necessary. One exception is topicality. I will vote on T if negative takes it seriously. Ground and fairness generally, with some exceptions.

I give the 1AR a lot of leeway in interpretation 2AC claims. I like good evidence. Even in the rebuttals. Nothing cements a claim like solid evidence. But read the entire part of the card you want me to read. Make arguments about the quality of evidence related to how little the card says when people cut it down. I may not be as impressed when you cherry pick words and expect me to provide the warrants for your evidence.

All in all, I’m a quality of argument person. Focus more on making quality arguments rather than quantity. Kick out of stupid things early and focus on what you want to win in the block. I have a tendency to allow new explanations of old arguments in the rebuttals and love a crafty 2AR. Always remember case impacts against the disads. Certainty of case vs. risk of disads is often a winner.

I also want to say that I will always write a ballot. That way any discussion cut short for time or any other reasons there is still a clear explanation of everything in the round. We can talk and discuss it online as well as after the debate. Keep in contact with me. I will try to answer all questions.

Aly Mithani Paradigm

Debate History: St. Mark's '10/Trinity University '14
Currently the head policy debate coach at Hendrickson HS

I treat each debate round as an academic exercise in decision making. I leave many questions of framework and impact calculus to the teams debating, however if not otherwise explicitly stated I will default to a policy making framework and utilitarianism, respectively.

I typically evaluate this from a competing interpretations standpoint and an offense/defense framework but can be persuaded otherwise. When making these kinds of arguments, negative teams typically forget that their interpretation is of how the debate space should operate and thus must defend it as so. Negative teams MUST explain why their interpretation is better for the overall debate space in order to get my ballot. In round abuse arguments are compelling, however, they are nearly impossible to prove and I have a high threshold for voting on them.
I am a fairly firm believer that debate is a game and that structural fairness is an impact. However, this also means that fairness should be utilized as a lens or impact filter for all the other impacts in the framework debate.

Many of my thoughts in the above section apply to my thoughts on counterplan theory. I feel that 2 conditional advocacies is the most that the negative should run, much to the chagrin of most folks (new affs are an exception). That being said, I won't default certain ways in theory debates. I will be considerably more compelled to deem that a counterplan solves an affirmative if it is a specific CP than if it is your typical agent CP. Specific PICs that have functional impacts on plan implementation are so much better than your generic process counterplan. So, so, so much better.

Many kritik teams tend to focus more on tricks than substance. The most important portion of this debate for me is the link debate and I expect a clear explanation of why the specific affirmative links. It is the negative's task to explain why the permutation cannot possibly solve back/overcome the links. I will default affirmative in many of these debates. I feel that the best kritik debaters are the ones who are willing to adapt their strategy and link debate to the specific affirmative that they are debating.
Links of omission are functionally spotting the aff a uniqueness overwhelms the link argument to the net benefit to a very vacuous alternative. Please have link specificity.

I didn't think I had thoughts on this until recently. There are very good disads and very bad disads. If you are aff against a very bad disad, don't be afraid to point this out! I feel like I am more likely than most to say there is zero risk of a disadvantage when the uniqueness very clearly overwhelms the link or there is zero link specificity.

-Yes email chain: Every time a varsity debater forgets to hit "reply all" on an email chain, a kitten cries and you will lose 0.5 speaker points.
-Do not clip cards! If there is an ethics challenge, I will stop the debate and have the accused debater re-read their speech with either their speech document on my computer or standing over their shoulder. That being said, ethics challenges are serious, if you are making one, then you are willing to lose the debate if you are wrong. Strategic ethics challenges will result in horrific speaker points from me.
-I will call you out if you are blatantly stealing prep and it will hurt your speaker points.
-For paperless teams, I do not run prep time for saving/flashing the speech unless this time starts to become excessive or it becomes evident that prep is being stolen.
-It drives me crazy when debaters are disrespectful to each other. There is no reason why competitiveness needs to turn into aggression. Treat the debate space like a classroom.
-Another pet peeve: debaters who do not seem to legitimately enjoy what they are doing. Debaters who go through the motions are usually the ones that end up with the lowest speaker points from me. Even if you are not keeping up with the technical aspects of the debate, if you remain engaged and committed throughout the debate, I will definitely feel more comfortable with giving you higher speaker points.

Read a topical plan--------------x-----------------------------say anything


Usually some risk--------------------------------x----------Zero Risk

Conditionality Good----------------------x--------------------Conditionality Bad

States CP Good-------x------------------------------------States CP Bad

Process CPs--------------x-------------------------------Ew Process CPs

Competing off immediacy/certainty--------------------x------------------------No

Reasonability-------------------------x------------------Competing Interps

Limits---------x-----------------------------------Aff Ground

CP linking less matters-------------------x-----------------------links are yes/no

Read every card--------------------x-----------------------Read no cards

Judge Kick------------x-------------------------------Stuck with the CP

Reject the Team---------------------------x----------------Reject the Arg

CPs need cards-----------------------------------x-------Smart CPs can be cardless

Fiat solves circumvention---------------x---------------------------Trump's President

K links about the plan-----------x--------------------------------K links about a broad worldview

Cody Morrow Paradigm

I am willing to listen to most arguments. There are very few debates where one team wins all of the arguments so it is essential that each of you identify what you are winning and make the necessary comparisons between your arguments and the other teams arguments/positions. Speed is not a problem although clarity is essential. If I think that you are unclear I will say clearer and if you don't clear up I will assign speaker points accordingly. Try to be nice to each other and enjoy yourselves. Good cross-examinations are enjoyable and typically illuminates particular arguments that are relevant throughout the debate. Please, don't steal prep time. I do not consider e-mailing evidence as part of your prep time nonetheless use e-mailing time efficiently.

I enjoy substantive debates as well as debates of a critical tint. If you run a critical affirmative you should still be able to demonstrate that you are Topical/predictable. I hold Topicality debates to a high standard so please be aware that you need to isolate well developed reasons as to why you should win the debate (ground, education, predictability, fairness, etc.). If you are engaged in a substantive debate then well developed impact comparisons are exceptionally important (things like magnitude, time frame, probability, etc.). Also, identifying solvency deficits on counter-plans are typically very important.

Theory debates need to be well developed including numerous reasons a particular argument/position is illegitimate. I have judged a number of debates where the 2NR or 2AR are filled with new reasons an argument is illegitimate. I will do my best to protect teams from new arguments, however you can further insulate yourself from this risk by identifying the arguments extended/dropped in the 1AR or Negative Bloc.


Yes, I want to be on the email chain.

Neill Normand Paradigm

From the beginning, I think debaters need to understand that I was never a policy debater myself. I took over a successful team at Caddo when they needed faculty support, and the debaters and alums taught me the activity. Over the next fifteen years I learned enough to teach it to novices and intermediates. I judged actively for about fifteen years, but since bringing a new coach to our school two years ago, I have not been in many rounds. If you want someone who is going to understand clipped references to acronyms or core camp affs that you think everyone already knows on this arms control topic, I am not that guy. You are going to have to break things down and explain. I am a flow judge, but kind of rusty.

Now, Caddo has been known as a fairly critical team over the last decade, and I have learned to appreciate those arguments a good bit. As someone who teaches sociology, psychology, and philosophy at my high school, I am sympathetic to many identity arguments, critiques of epistemology, etc. However, I am not going to be down with a lot of jargon-filled blocks on framework—you must explain why I should weigh your project or method against fairness arguments of the policy world. I like the kind of literature discussed in critical rounds, but I have voted for policy affs outweighing a critique in different debates, especially where the aff won the framework and the neg did not.

That being said, I am very comfortable listening to case, disad, counterplan rounds. I think topicality sets important rules of the game & so if you plan to flout those rules, you better have a compelling reason. I certainly value the kind of knowledge and skills that policy debaters learn through the activity.

Ethos matters. We all know how important cross-ex is to establishing a confident position, but don’t be rude. If you can have a really competitive round and still treat your opponent—and your partner!—with respect, then that goes a long way with me on speaker points.

Email chain—yes.

I am not a proficient enough typist to flow on the laptop, but if you signpost your arguments well enough, I should be able to flow a debate at speed. Being able to read the evidence during the speech certainly helps me though.

Do what you do best in front of me, give full explanations of why I should vote for you, and you will be ok. Make blippy arguments that claim you won because of something that was barely in the debate and dropped by the other team—then no matter how pissed you act when “post-rounding” me at the end, you will still have lost.

This is a great activity. Have fun with it & don’t take yourself too seriously, then we all win.

Hannah Nunley Paradigm

8 rounds

Background: I have competed in just about every single event imaginable and still compete in college. I currently debate at Texas State where I do Parli, PF, LD, and IPDA. I have multiple state recognition/medals in policy, congress, extemp, parli, ipda, and impromptu. I also have national recognition in Worlds (octos), extemp debate, PF (9th place), parli (7th place), and extemp.

Read advocacy and interpretation texts slowly and twice if you want me to get them. If I don't get the text written down, or I miss the first couple solvency points because you won't slow down, that is on you.


I probably won't vote on presumption or terminal defense. I'd rather vote on some marginal risk of offense somewhere else on the flow if that's an option. The exception to that is procedurals - if the team meets the interp, it goes away.

Speaker points – I hate being bored. You'll get better speaks for a new and interesting strategy even if it isn't perfectly polished like the exact same Marx shell that's been around for 20 years. It should go without saying, but I heavily deduct points for being racist/sexist/ableist etc or fueling systems of oppression in round.

Texts - Please read interps and plan/cp/alt texts slow. You are responsible for making sure that I get it on my flow somehow, and if I can't get it down because you don't slow down, you might be at a disadvantage. I'll do my best to get it down as closely to the original text as possible.

Advantages/Disads – I think linear disads are a solid strategy because you can weigh the magnitude of your link against the probability of theirs, and with some half decent probability framing you'll probably be able to outweigh any unwarranted extinction scenario.

CPs - Go ahead and be condo, read a PIC or a delay counterplan, or anything else as long as you feel like you can answer theory if they read it.

Theory – I default to competing interpretations, though a brief explanation of what reasonability means will make me much more likely to vote on it. I'll vote on RVIs as long as they're reasonably well explained. While I typically don't vote on terminal defense, I will vote on a "we meet" as the only answer to a procedural - I think that a very marginal chance of a team violating an interp isn't sufficient to drop them.

Kritiks – Much of my career was spent going for the K. While I am more likely to be familiar with your lit, I am also likely to know if your K is bad. If you're just not good at or comfortable with K debate, I would overwhelmingly prefer you read your heg disad or whatever because frankly it will be a much better debate.

When going for a K, I would strongly prefer that the 2NC/1NR collapse to one link, and make internal link analysis about how that leads to their impact. For example, if your link to cap is individualism, explain how individualism specifically leads to ecological destruction (or whatever your impact to cap is). Skipping that part means I will be pretty skeptical of your impact claims and allows the PMR to leverage the perm and link turns to outweigh the links much more easily.

I'm actually pretty well disposed to arguments that the neg must specify the actor of the alt or other aspects of the solvency mechanism; K alts are often pretty OP in terms of their ability to fiat solvency. A lot of K alts are straight up theoretically abusive/ object fiat and if you want to read an alt like that, you should have to defend why that's ok. Similarly, if you want to go for solvency that revolves around endorsement or in-round action by the judge you probably need a lot of warrants for why that's going to spill over to out of round impacts, and absent those warrants your "K solves the aff" arguments will probably not get very far.

AFF Ks - I'm a big fan of topical K affs that creatively engage with or interpret the topic. Untopical K affs are also fine. If you're going for truth over tech, I would appreciate a brief explanation of how I determine what is true.

I will vote for framework against K affs but it's always fun to see more creative/specific answers that engage with the internal warrants of the PMC. I probably have a comparatively low threshold for arguments that teams should be able to weigh their aff or K against theory, but I won't do the work to make cross applications and will default to treating procedurals as a priori absent arguments otherwise.

Perms – In general, I’m more hesitant to vote on perms in K debates than many other judges seem to be; since the alternative only has to generate uniqueness, I need specific warrants for why the permutation would shield the links based on what the perm actually would look like. Since the links are typically a question of the desirability of the permutation, rather than just its possibility, simply stating that the permutation could happen is not sufficient to win that it should.

High School LD:

I'm fine with speed, plans, counterplans, kritiks, performances, theory, etc. Debaters are the ones who decide what debate should look like. I disclose unless you prefer I don't, I don't care if you stand or sit, and I'm fine if you use your cx as flex (as long as your opponent agrees).

Slow if your opponent asks you to slow.

My CX philosophy probably answers a lot of your questions about my evaluation of specific arguments.

I almost never call for cards; if you didn't extend and contextualize the warrants to the round I'm not going to dig through your evidence to see if I can find a way to do that for you. The exception is when there's a disagreement between the debaters about what the actual content of a card says, or a piece of evidence seems to be making an especially improbable claim. Evidence for me is more about justifications for why something is true, rather than whether you have a source that says it's true.

Either give me a copy of your advocacy/plan/alt/CP/interpretation texts or slow down and read them twice. Just because you flashed it to your opponent doesn't mean I have it.

Plans/ Counterplans: Frankly I wish I saw more of them in LD

Value/criteria: I look at the criterion/framework debate first to establish which impacts matter. If your value is something other than morality/justice, please explain what it has to do with the resolution rather than just why that thing is good in a vacuum, otherwise it's incredibly hard to evaluate how it fits in with the evaluation of the round.

I probably cut or helped cut whatever brief you got your cards out of so I'll know if you're just regurgitating arguments you don't understand. It will affect your speaker points.

High school PF:

I don't flow crossfire; if you want me to evaluate evidence, bring it up in a speech. Evidence for me is more about justifications for why something is true, than whether you have a source that says it's true.

Extensions: I accept arguments that aren't explicitly extended in the summary to be brought up in the final focus (shadow extensions) as long as the other team didn't respond to it. However, if you concede arguments against it, you can't address those arguments.


I prefer if you collapse to one issue in your final focus; I think it's strategic to choose your strongest point and spend your full two minutes explaining why it's the most important, and I won't penalize you for kicking out of other arguments.

Please do impact weighing - tell me what's most important and why. If you force me to arbitrarily decide what I, personally, think is most important you run the risk that I will make a decision you dislike.

The one-line, unwarranted claims that pass for frameworks in PF are probably not going to have a large influence on my decision unless you warrant your framework with cards or at least analytics. I will default to evaluating impacts that hurt all people according to a basic utilitarian calculus, and students typically have more success spending their time on impact calculus rather than framework debate.

Cameron OBannon Paradigm

My background:

I was a four-year debater at the Jesuit College Preparatory School of Dallas (2001-2005). I debated for Georgetown in 2005-06. Between 2016 and 2018 I was the Program Director for the Dallas Urban Debate Alliance. Now I help coach at Jesuit part time.

I will flow your debate on paper. I will be reluctant to look at my laptop during any speeches. (Naturally, I will look at contested evidence post-round.)

General preferences:

I value good warrants for arguments. A true (or persuasive) analytical argument is worth more than a bad, misapplied, misleadingly highlighted card. Indeed, it's worth more than a hundred such cards.

I value accurate, well-considered use of evidence. If none of your authors would actually make the argument you want to make them make, then your opponents will have an easy time defeating it. It is reasonable to expect that serious arguments will be grounded in (some kind of) literature.

I value debates that demonstrate that their participants actually understand the issues and arguments involved, rather than simply possessing the surface-level understanding necessary to read a card.

I value good-faith, fair competition. I dislike obvious efforts to steal prep, take illegitimate advantage of circumstances outside the debate, etc. I view transparently intentional fumbling during flashing as a form of prep theft.

Specific arguments:

I am reluctant to comment on my views on too many specific arguments (CPs, Ks, T, etc.), because I don't want to unduly influence those who debate in front of me. I try to be open to just about any argument one could reasonably expect to encounter at a national or TFA policy tournament.

With that caveat, I think I can still say a few specific things:

· I like topicality, and will vote on it. At the same time, see the above on accurate use of evidence—don't twist some non-definition into a definition, or a definition into some other, more limiting/strategic definition.

· I am very comfortable with kritiks; in fact, I think kritiks often satisfy my preferences about warranted arguments, good evidence, etc. better than more "conventional" arguments. (See: most every politics disadvantage.)

· I enjoy kritik-y affs, but tend to think that they should have a plan text, be topical, etc. I am likely to be skeptical of "performances," all the more so if they're not germane to the resolution.

· I appreciate thoughtful case debate, and likewise thoughtful solvency debates on counterplans.

· I'm personally inclined to think that multiple conditional counterplans are illegitimate, which marks me as a curmudgeon. But not so much of a curmudgeon that I can't be persuaded that condo is good.

Nonetheless, as a general rule, I try to be open to voting on any argument, so long as it's presented well and defended persuasively. I know that everyone(?) says this, so take it for what it's worth.

On fairness, since people seem to ask this a lot nowadays: Yes, fairness is a terminal impact and an intrinsic good. Valuing fairness (iusticia) is integral to my activity as a judge--more so than, say, the speech times and other debate rules.

If you think you can impact turn fairness, you're wrong. What you probably mean to say is that the other team's conception of fairness is bad, and that the judge should prefer some other conception of fairness. But saying "fairness is immoral" is akin to saying "triangles have four sides": linguistically possible, but meaningless.

That said, I'm certainly persuadable that different approaches to fairness might be valid, or that other things might be more important than fairness. But teams that argue against these lines do so at their peril. If you win "fairness bad," doesn't that imply that the judge need not give the ballot to the team that made the more persuasive argument?

On flashing, prep time, etc. I know that I'm a dinosaur, and that the norms of policy debate have left me behind. While it strikes me as silly, I'll allow a reasonable amount of time for teams to flash outside of prep. However, I don't believe the opposing team has an inalienable right to see your cards (much less your analyticals!) before the speech has even begun. So long as you flash your evidence to your opponents before your speech ends, I won't hold it against you.

Notes on speaker points: If you are gratuitously rude, cruel, or otherwise unpleasant, expect your speaker points to drop. If you are outrageously and unequivocally racist, sexist, etc., I might vote against you just on principle.

William Ponder Paradigm

The biggest thing you need to understand about me to win the round is that I am lazy. I am going to choose the easiest ballot possible, don't make me do any work plz.

This paradigm is written largely for policy debate although most of it should be applicable to LD as well. One quick tidbit for the LDers, I view LD as single person policy debate, the only rules are speech times / speech order, anything else is based on what you tell me in the round.


Background: I'm currently employed at CenturyLink as a corporate strategy specialist, I have an undergraduate degree in finance from Louisiana Tech University, and will complete an MBA there this fall. I did LD at Ruston High School from 2012-2016, and since then I have judged / coached periodically.

Speed: You can go as fast as you want on the internals so long as you are clear. The only thing I ask is that you slow down on the tags in cites. Say your tags / cites like you are speaking to your grandparents (not literally, but you get what I mean.)

Speaker Points: These are super arbitrary to me. I start at a 28, and if I think you did good enough for me to want you to make it to out rounds I'll go higher, and vice versa for lower. Things that will increase your speaker points include, but are not limited to:

- being a decent human being

- making me laugh

- making the round interesting to judge (not just arguing the most generic positions)

K's: If you run a K you need to win the alt. I do not like reject alts. I want to see some kind of policy alternative or at the very least something grounded in reality that could actually happen. I'll vote for pretty much anything, reading a reject alt isn't an automatic loss, but I tend to like policy alts better.

T / Theory: Don't run it unless you are willing to go for it in the 2NR. I fully understand that sometimes you are losing T / Theory and other args are better, but if you are winning it, or its your best chance of winning you better go for it. Also if you want me to vote for T / Theory it better be the only thing you go for in the last speech.

Other Misc. Things:

- I evaluate off util unless told otherwise.

- I don't like new off case positions in the 2NC, or add-ons in the 2AC. I think its because it's just because I did LD, and we only had one constructive speech each, but unless you are reading theory, or some kind of K based on something they did in their second speech I'd prefer you not.

- Creating a speech doc is prep time, getting set up to speak is prep time, the only thing I don't count is when you are literally passing the flash drive / sending the email. In a perfect world, I would let you guys do infinite prep, but I really hate when tournaments go late, and debaters tend to move really slowly if I don't do this.

- I don't like the thing where your partner speaks during your speech and tells you what to say. I understand sometimes an interjection can be necessary, and I'm not going to tell you not to, but if it's excessive I will probably dock speaks.

Mason Remaley Paradigm

I'm tab in its purest sense,so feel free to run what ever you want. I'm just as comfortable with Deleuze as I am with T.

I am probably more gamey than other judges. I love impact turns on things like nuke war, democracy, global warming, ect. The bright line to that is very much when it crosses over to direct offensiveness like racism good.

Very much believe that the debate happens in the flow.

You have to extend analysis of arguments things for me to vote on them. I'm good with speed just be clear.

Entertainment wise I prefer k debates over policy debates. But if policy is your thing I want to see that.

The more specific the better.

Don't be offensive.

I can answer specific questions in round or if you email me.


Seth Robertson Paradigm

8 rounds


Former Mount Pleasant High school debater. I have four years of debate experience and began judging during the fall of 2018. During my time as a debater I managed to advance to 5A UIL State both my junior and senior year, placing 5th my senior year.


I would consider myself a Tab judge who leans more towards a policymaker. I enjoy a more policy oriented round, but will honestly vote on anything (such as k's or performance affs) but only if you can properly warrant it out and tell me why. Keep the round clean and just make sure that I know whats going on and you can easily pick up the ballot. Make sure to include impact analysis and voters to ensure I know how to properly evaluate the round as this is how I will sign my ballot. I value framing and topicality very high in the round so use that information as you wish. For Theory arguments there has to be clear abuse in the round and you have to adequately warrant out how this effects the education of the round. I'm fine with speed just be articulate. Please ask any specific questions before the round.

Gabriel Sanchez Paradigm

8 rounds

Debate Experience
Law Magnet High School 2012-2016
The University of Texas at Dallas 2016-now


Don't assume I know all the nuances of your arguments. Needless to say, you should probably explain your argument anyways. I evaluate all arguments.

Case: You should read it. Lots of it. It's good, makes for good debates and is generally underutilized. Impact turns are fun.

Topicality: I enjoy good T debates. Unfortunately, T debates are normally really messy, so the team to really put the debate into perspective and be very clear on how the two worlds interact first generally wins.

DAs: DAs are also a core debate argument. Specific DAs are always a plus. I default to an offense/defense paradigm but I think an aff can win on defense alone if they making arguments about why having to have offense is bad.

Counterplans: Well thought out specific counterplan are one of the strongest debate tools that you can use. I will vote on almost any cp if you can win that it is theoretically legitimate and that it has a net benefit.

Kritiks/ K AFFs: Over the past couple years I have opened up towards the K a lot. I have a pretty good grasp of a lot of the popular Kritiks, but that isn't an excuse for a lack of explanation when reading your argument. I have no problem with teams running untopical affs as long as they can win that it’s good to do so.

Theory: I have no problem voting on theory if it is well warranted. I honestly believe affirmative teams let the negative get away with a ton of stuff, and shouldn't be afraid to not only run theory but to go for it and go for it hard.

Dennis Savill Paradigm

Current Coach of Crossings Christian School in Oklahoma since 2011. We have a 6th grade - 12th grade debate program and our varsity team debates on the national TOC circuit. I debated in high school under Martin Glendinning.

Things you need to know for prefs:

Kritiks: Oklahoma is very heavy with kritiks and non-topical affs so I am very familiar with them. I like kritiks and K affs and can vote for them.

Policy: I am familiar with policy debates and can judge those. My squad has a mix of K teams and policy teams so I am good with either.

Speed: I can handle any kind of speed as long as you are clear.

Theory/FW/T: Only if the team is blatantly non-topical will I consider voting neg or if the aff screws up. On FW heavy debates, I am not such a fan so if you are neg and hit a non-topical aff I will entertain FW but that shouldn't be your only offcase. I am a fan of seeing actual abuse in the round so you should run a generic DA to get the "no link" argument. Also, root causing with a K is a good strat for me.

Performance/non-traditional debate: Despite what some would think coming from a Christian school, I actually like these kinds of debates and have voted up many teams including LGBTQ affs and wipeout-type arguments.

I try to be a tab judge but I know I tend to vote on more technical prowess. I believe debate should be a fun and respectful activity and I try to have a good time judging the round. I think debaters are among the smartest students in the nation and I always find it a privilege to judge a round and give feedback.

I would like to be on the email chain:

Lucia Scott Paradigm

She/her or gender neutral pronouns. Yes, I want to be on the email chain: lucia.scott at

Previous debating: K-State (2013-2016), Kapaun Mt. Carmel (2009-2013)

Coaching: Barstow (2018-Present), Baylor (2017-2018), Kapaun Mt. Carmel (2013-2017)

Meta things

I appreciate scrappy debate. Tech over truth with some exceptions as outlined below. However, the less true an argument is, the less tech you need to beat it. Quality over quantity; what constitutes quality is, of course, up for debate. Questions are not arguments. Don't ask what the aff does, explain that it doesn't do anything.

The rest of this paradigm is written in very certain terms to avoid confusion, but all of these are really just my defaults. My preferences won't keep me from voting any particular way.

Procedurals/ Theory

I get really grumpy about arbitrary interps of theoretical arguments (conditionality, ROB's, really anything).

With the exception of conditionality, theoretical objections are reasons to reject the argument or reasons that justify you also doing some theoretically illegit thing. I will vote on conditionality.

As far as topicality, you need impacts. You're saying this team should lose the debate. That's a pretty steep punishment. That means "predictability good" isn't an impact. Explaining why predictability is good is an impact. What aff's are now allowed that you can't prepare for? What arguments do you lose, and why do those arguments matter? I don't think there's such a thing as an "intrinsic good" in a debate.

Reasonability, to me, means that the neg had a reasonable amount of predictable ground, not that the aff is "reasonably topical," whatever that means.

Case Debate

My favorite part of debate. I can be persuaded to vote neg on presumption, but the work done needs to be specific. I'm more likely to assign a low or no risk of the aff if there's a compelling internal link debate than if the 1AR dropped the third impact D card that's non-specific and two lines long.

I also think a well-leveraged aff can do a lot on other sheets of paper, especially when comparative work with the neg's offense is done.


This is where "quality over quantity" and "the less true and argument is, the less tech you need to beat it" become really important. Affs can beat bad disads on defense if affs explain why that defense is more important than everything the neg is saying (same goes for the neg with bad aff advantages). In terms of impact calc, I think probability is generally the most important.


On balance, I think counterplans should be functionally and textually competitive. A 2A who's good at theory can win process counterplans just go away with enough work. I think counterplans should have solvency advocates. Not a fan of word PICs. If your word PIC has critical implications, I generally think you're better off just running it as a kritik. I don't kick the counterplan unless the 2NR tells me to. I am willing to vote aff on zero risk of a net benefit even if the counterplan solves 100% of the aff.


My threshold for a link here seems to be comparatively low. I think this "no reps links" argument people keep making is absolutely ridiculous.

My threshold for the alt is relatively high. Examples are good. I don't necessarily think you need to win the alt to win the k, but it's probably a good idea to have an alt.

Framework arguments that compare world-views (i.e. "extinction outweighs epistemology") are far more compelling than framework arguments about procedural fairness (i.e. "the K is cheating"). I can be persuaded not to weigh the aff, but usually I end up concluding that I should weigh the aff.

For the 2AC, stick to the things that are really important. Don't read things/ make arguments you'll never go for unless they're actually dropped. It's a waste of time you don't have.

K Affs

I think it's reasonable for K affs to say that all they have to do is prove their method is good; if the method is good, I should vote for aff. I am generally not persuaded by "winning is key to our method" arguments. Probably means you've got a bad method. Similarly, not of fan of consciousness-raising arguments. I don't know why that means I should vote for you.

I am more persuaded by T violations that deal with substantive parts of the resolution than framework violations about the fg. Both the aff and the neg should be doing some comparative work about how education and fairness implicate one another.

I conceptualize TVAs as counterplans (an alternate mechanism to solve the same impacts while avoiding the net benefit). That means I hold a TVA to similar standards; I think it should have to solve all or most of the aff and that the TVA should have a solvency advocate. 90% of the TVAs I hear aren't topical; not enough aff teams make this argument.

Other things:

Arguments about micro-aggressions - Fine as long as you explain the implication for this debate/ perhaps the community as a whole. Tell me what you want me to do about it.

Arguments that compare conditionality to structural privilege - Fine as long as you warrant them. Just saying, "This is the logic of..." isn't enough; tell me why.

So clipping. If you have somehow misrepresented what you have read/ if there is not a way to tell from the speech doc what was read, you have clipped. I've had some recent judging experiences that are moving me toward clarity being a clipping issue. If I can't understand any of the words in your cards, and it seems like this is to get in more cards, that's probably clipping. If I catch clipping, I will make sure I'm sure (usually during prep time), and then stop the debate. If a debater accuses someone of clipping, the debate stops right then. If the challenger is correct, they win. If they are not correct, they lose. I don't really know what to do with speaks here, tbh. I will give the person who clipped a 0, but everyone else is probably going to get somewhere between a 28.5 and a 29.5 depending on how much I like you.

Speaker Points

I start at a 28.5 and move up or down from there. If I think you should clear, I'll give you at least a 29. I will doc speaks if you combine the case pages at any point after the 1AC. Do real case debate.

Sam Shore Paradigm

8 rounds

Edited most recently in March 2018. I debated in high school at Greenhill School (2006) in Texas and debated in college at Michigan State (2010). I have been helping coach Greenhill since my graduation. A fair number of the assumptions that one would draw about me being affiliated with those institutions are probably true. In a given year, I will probably judge 60+ HS policy debates, ~5 HS LD debates, and under 5 college policy debates. There are a couple special notes at the bottom for the latter two groups.

Case Debates – Case debate is underutilized, there are few things that I am more impressed with than beating a team on their own aff. Although, too many teams gloss over the fact that there needs to be uniqueness for neg case turns.

Disads – Defensive arguments are important, and I am willing to assign zero risk of a disad if the affirmative has damning defensive arguments even if the affirmative lacks any offensive arguments. Negatives who rely on there always being a risk of a link will leave me unimpressed. That being said though, I often think that many times a lack of offense does result in a moderate probability of the disad.

CPs – I lean negative on most CP theory issues (more on theory below), although I’m not a fan of the consult cp. I also lean negative on legitimacy of the states CP. This does not mean that affs cannot win theory debates in front of me. Additionally I think some of the arguments that affs make as to why some counterplans are bad, tend to be much better when used as a reason why the permutation is legitimate. Negs should be sure to weigh what happens when there is a solvency deficit to the cp when making their impact calculus arguments. Conversely, affs need to have an impact to their solvency deficits.

Kritiks – Teams must articulate an impact to what happens if they win their framework arguments. I don’t think the negative must have an alternative but I find it hard for the neg to establish uniqueness for their links without one. Affirmatives need to find ways to leverage their aff against the implications of the kritik as well as making sure that they are still able to access their offense if they lose their framework arguments. Negs must also discuss why the aff in particular makes the squo worse. I’m certainly not well versed in much kritik literature so avoiding buzzwords and jargon can help my understanding. If you want me to vote on a kritik, it would benefit you to debate it very much like a CP/DA: turns the case, solves the case, xyz comes first, etc.

Topicality – I tend to view T debates in an offense/defense framework. Its all about competing interpretations, whomever creates the best world for debate should win, issues of abuse are not necessary but can be helpful. That being said, I’m also not a fan of the cult of limits, just going for your interpretation is more limiting will most likely lose to a broader interpretation that is more educational. Also, your K aff's impact turn of T does not amuse me – topicality is a voting issue.

Theory – I lean neg on most theory questions but this is not to be taken to mean that I like to hear your XYZ-Spec argument, your points will go down. Conditionality, or multiple conditional counterplans are both fine. The caveat to this is that I'm not sure if I'm a fan of conditional counterplans with half a dozen planks each independently conditional (ie 2nr could be planks 1-6, or 1-3, or 1&3, etc.). This doesn’t mean I won’t vote aff on theory though, whomever can make their trivial distinctions seem most important will probably win.

Non-traditional affs – I’ve debated at Greenhill and Michigan State, if that doesn’t provide some hint, I’ll break it down some more. The Aff should probably be topical, probably have a plan, and probably also have to defend the effects stemming from the hypothetical enactment of said plan - I've yet to be convinced by a reason as to why any of these things are bad.

General Notes: All of this being said – I will evaluate the arguments made in the round even if they are contrary to my beliefs, this is a guide of what I think and how I will default with a lack of argumentation. Evidence comparisons are important, Impact comparisons as well. There needs to be a decision calculus set up in the final rebuttals – i.e. you can still win the round even after admitting a solvency deficit to your CP. I do like being on the email chain of documents but will NEVER be reading the speech doc during the speech – you need to be clear. I’m only going to flow what the person who should be speaking says, if your partner yells out an argument during your speech, you have not made it.

College debate note: I will judge at one college tournament roughly every four years, this being said, please, please, please, assume I have next to ZERO topic knowledge (careful with acronyms too). I judge a ton of debates, just none on your topic.

Lincoln-Douglas debate notes: Well, you’ve read all of this which means two things: 1. I’m probably judging you. 2. Something has gone terribly awry for both of us. If possible, I’d basically prefer your LD debate to be policy-esque, I can obviously follow whatever but still have no idea what a criterion is. For some reason when I say this, people seem to think theory args are a good idea....most LD theory args seem to be asinine standards that the other team needs to follow…I will not vote on this, and will probably lower your speaker points. Also, if you intend to win due to a theory argument, you need a reason to reject the team – otherwise the obvious remedy is rejecting the argument.

Tommy Snider Paradigm


Director of Debate at Casady School

Debate is a unique activity that allows for a plethora of arguments, styles, and worldviews (that would traditionally separated by academic discipline or specialization) to clash against one another. Simply put, I love debate for its diversity. I've noticed I have a weird reputation in different parts of the country. National tournaments outside of Texas people assume I'm a K hack because I debated for the University of Oklahoma in college. Yet in Oklahoma and Texas people consider me a framework hack. The truth is somewhere in the middle.

Put me on the e-mail chain: snidert [at] casady [dot] org


General - When competing I had been coached by some of the best K coaches in the country and a common theme among them, which has been ingrained in my brain, has been:

“You are a debater, not a philosopher.”

This should be your guiding principle when reading and answering a kritik in front of me. Debaters seem to rely more on jargon than actually doing the work of explaining and applying their argument. Unnecessarily complex kritiks won't get good speaker points (90% of the time you could have just read the cap k).

No overviews on a separate sheet of paper.

Neg - Kritiks, typically, come from literature bases that have robust explanatory power for the way the world/power/violence works, which I don't see many debaters take advantage of. Instead of using this theory as a way to control large parts of the debate, debaters start and stop at "X is the root cause."

I'm not persuaded much by self-serving counter interpretations on framework. There needs to be a very compelling reason to not let the affirmative weigh the plan. That said, most of the reasons why I shouldn't evaluate the plan are typically offense against it. For example while I don't find the FW interpretation "Debate should be about epistemological assumptions" very convincing, I will definitely vote on "the affirmative's plan relies on a flawed epistemology, which results in serial policy failure."

Stop reading Antonio 95.

Affs - The easiest way to beat a kritik is to defend your aff. Don't force yourself to play the neg's game if you don't know what you're talking about.


Condo seems to be getting a bit excessive, but no one goes for condo anymore so I'm sort of stuck with it.

See “tech vs truth” and “On Evidence.” If your Adv/DA isn't logically consistent then I probably won't vote for it. You should interrogate evidence quality and author qualifications (applies to advantages too).

On Evidence

Evidence quality and consistency is really important to me. Teams should point out when evidence is really bad (looking at you politics DA).

Tech vs Truth

I think of this as more of a continuum as opposed to a binary. I lean more towards tech than truth, but I'm not going to pretend that I evaluate all arguments with equal legitimacy. For example, I have a higher threshold for arguments like “climate change not real” than “plan doesn’t solve climate change.” I traditionally evaluate the debate in offense/defense paradigm. There is a such thing as a 0% risk.

K affs/T-FW

I enter every debate with the assumption that the resolution is going to play a role in the round. What role it plays, however, is up for debate. I really enjoy “clash of civilizations” debates. I don’t have a preference between skills or fairness standards.

Common reasons I vote aff on FW:

The Neg goes for too many “standards”/"DAs"/whatever-youre-calling-them in the 2NR.

The Neg doesn’t even try to engage the aff’s 2AC to FW.

Stop reading Antonio 95. Yes the second time was intentional.

Common reasons I vote neg on FW:

The Aff doesn’t have an offensive reasons why the TVA is bad.

The Aff doesn’t even try to engage the neg’s standards on FW.


I only flow what I hear, I won't use the doc to correct my flow. If I don't catch an argument/tag because you're too unclear then *insert shrug emoji*

Guaranteed 30 if you’re paper debate team #PaperDebate

My facial reactions will probably tell you how I feel about your arg.

I won't flow the overview on a separate sheet of paper. Bad.

Jason Sykes Paradigm

About Me

  • Director @ Coppell
  • Assistant Director @ Mean Green Comet
  • Debated NDT/CEDA at North Texas
  • sykes.tx @


  • This document offers insight to the process I use to make decisions unless directed to do otherwise.
  • Clarity is important. I'm working to adjust speaker points to keep up with inflation.
  • I won't claim to be perfect in this area, but I believe debate has strong potential to build community. Please play nicely with others.
  • I view all debate as comparison of competing frameworks. I was a flex debater, typically went for more critical (K) arguments, and am happy to evaluate policy arguments.
  • I will attempt to minimize intervention in the evaluation of a) the selection of framework and b) the fulfillment of the framework's demands.


  • I believe the topic should provide debatable ground, but I don't think that's exclusive of other arguments and approaches.
  • Consistent with my view of competing frameworks, there is no difference in my mind between "competing interpretations" and "abuse." Abuse is a standard for evaluating competing interpretations.


  • If the framework for evaluating the debate involves a disad, be aware that I generally determine the direction of uniqueness before the link, but these arguments together speak to the propensity for risk.
  • If forced by lack of comparison to use my own framework I will consider time frame, probability, and magnitude of your impacts as part of cost benefit analysis of endorsing the affirmative advocacy.


  • I don't believe I have strong predispositions related to counterplan types or theory. Be creative.


  • The division in the community between "kritik people" and "policy people" frustrates me. We should constantly seek more effective arguments. Questions of an academic nature vary from method to application.
  • A working definition of "fiat" is "the ability to imagine, for the purposes of debate, the closest possible world to that of the advocacy."

Rebuttals/How to win

  • You should either win in your framework and show how it's preferable, or simply win in theirs. This applies to theory debates and impact comparison as much as anything else.
  • I find that many debates I judge are heavily influenced by the quality, persuasiveness, and effectiveness of warranted explanation and comparison.

Lincoln Douglas

  • While my background in policy debate leads me to a more progressive perspective toward LD, I have evaluated many traditional debates as well. You do you.
  • I am open to theoretical standards in LD that are different than in CX, but understand that my experience here affects my perception of some issues. For example, I may have a predisposition against RVIs because there are vastly different standards for these arguments across events. I'll do my best to adapt with an open mind.

Public Forum

  • PF should transition to reasonable common expectations for disclosure, evidence use, and speech doc exchange.
  • Email chains and speech docs should be used to share evidence in advance of speeches.
  • Evidence should be presented in the form of direct quotes and accompanied by a complete citation. If you must paraphrase, direct quotations (fully cited with underlining that reflects paraphrased portions) should be included in the speech doc.
  • Time spent re-cutting evidence or otherwise conforming to these conventions should be considered prep time.

Aaron Timmons Paradigm

Aaron Timmons

Director of Debate – Greenhill School

Updated – April 2019

Please put me on the email chain –

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.

Sahil Vaidya Paradigm

Update for Longhorn classic:

Never judged a round on the topic. Do not assume I know what you are talking about.

First year out from LASA. Debated for 4 years, debating off and on for Texas. I coach LASA and Elkins.

Judged a lot of local circuit debates in Austin, less experience judging national tournaments.

Main thoughts:

Framework -- I lean in favor of framework against K affs but I have voted plenty of times both ways. In high school I was on both sides of the spectrum and will try to vote for the team that debates it better.

Truth vs Tech -- My stance on this can definitely be swayed in a debate with persuasive reasons to prefer one or the other, but I definitely prioritize tech over truth. I try to judge debates as objectively based on the flow as possible.

In the end I will try to vote for the team that does the better debating, whatever style that is.

Email is

Cameron Vaziri Paradigm

Debate Coach - Hebron High School 2015 - Present

Sure, I'll be on the email chain:


I'm extremely tired of framework v. K debates. I get why it happens but please...

If the teams aren't an actual clash of civilizations then please just let me have a K v. K round.

I don't mind what arguments are made in a round, there is almost no argument that I can see myself just not voting for. I will evaluate the arguments as they are ran, which means that explanation and analysis are more important than number. I have experience with policy, critical, theoretical, and stupid debate arguments and, as such, am willing to hear any of these. To win a round, all I think that can/needs to be done is for the team to explain their arguments, do the impact work, and be strategic (both in how their arguments interact and where the team's focus should be). A team that does this will have told me what to vote on and why (this should be the top of your 2NR/2AR).

A few notes:

1. Don't assume I know what your acronym means.

2. I'm fine with speed, I'll tell you if you are going too fast or are unclear.

3. Understanding your arguments is the key to a good debater. Don't run arguments you don't know. Misapplying an author annoys me. There is room for interpreting and using an author but there's a limit past which your evidence is no longer relevant.

4. Quality matters. Quantity is almost entirely irrelevant to good debate.

5. I don't care about the "community consensus." Your argument is acceptable and winnable based off of how effectively you utilize it.

6. Kritik probably should be spelled Critique except on flows where writing "K" is easier.


I am probably more willing to vote on topicality than most judges are now.

The best topicality debates and the ones I'm likely to vote on are those that have a depth of theoretical understanding. Nuances such as textual versus functional violations and how those specifically link to standards or the relationships between the various standards (limits key to ground or predictability outweighs) are key to a good topicality/theory debates that can devastate opponents.

I don't take "reasonability" to mean reasonably topical. I don't know what it means to be "reasonably" topical when there is a violation. "Reasonability" is a response to "Competing Interpretations," namely it is a framework for evaluating topicality and differing readings of the resolution. Thus, "Reasonability" is supposed to legitimize your reading of the resolution or your "Counter-Interpretation." Was the counter-interpretation a reasonable reading of the resolution? Does the counter-interpretation provide a reasonable expectation of debatability? If so, then under a "Reasonability" framework you will win your topicality violation. Only in this way does "Reasonability" solve the arguments against "Competing Interpretations" such as "Race to the Bottom" arguments.

If you wish to critique topicality, go ahead. However, explanation as to why this comes before the violation is required, do not assume it is a given. Also, a critique of topicality is a critique, as a result, it is not simply another analytical response that is used to counter a time-suck. If you want to critique topicality, then critique topicality. I will evaluate critiques of topicality as I would a critique, thus look below.


I evaluate theory similar to topicality. Having an interpretation of what is legitimate and justifying it via standards is better than just a 10 second spew of random claims to biases. I understand the utility of theory arguments as time-sucks, however, 10 seconds is probably not enough to leave that option open for later in the debate. Either way, I will initially evaluate theory arguments as a reason to reject arguments unless told to otherwise and provided a reason. Every theory argument can be made into offense except Aff/Neg Bias claims, doing so will show you take the argument seriously.


I evaluate disadvantages under an offense-defense framework. I interpret this to mean that defensive arguments primarily serve to effect the impact calculus rather than directly take-out the Disad. For example, no link claims can mitigate the probability of the 1AC triggering the DA's impacts meaning the case outweighs the DA.

I tend to err towards a risk of the DA rather than 100% defense takeouts so make sure you make impact calculus comparisons if you only have defense in the last speech that account for the mitigating defense arguments. However, "Fiat Solves the Link" and "Process" (i.e. congress links to a courts Aff) defense are obviously 100% takeouts.


I like debates involving very specific PICS and/or very unusual mechanisms. I don't think that a solvency deficit means that the counterplan is nullified, just that the 1AC's advantages are now risks of a DA to the CP so it would come down to impact calculus (see above). Permutations require more response than simply theory. If theory seems like your best/only way out on a permutation then don't make it a small argument (see above).

Critiques or Kritiks:

This is probably what I am most adept to judge because of my academic work. I prefer and am more experienced with "high theory" arguments than identity ones. I expect critique debates to focus on elucidation rather than the number of cards or arguments ran. Your understanding of the argument is essential to a critical debate. As such, I think critique debates that use less cards and focus more on elucidating the position are superior. I think that most critique literature is rich enough that any critique can find good enough evidence to merit not reading much more, if any, after the initial presentation and still be able to draw offense against the other team's responses. In short, card dumping on a critique is the opposite of efficient, smart, and strategic. Put another way, if you can explain a specific link story that ties back to the logic of your generic link evidence then you have a specific link.

I understand critiques as Foucault describes them, "a critique is not a matter of saying that things are not right as they are. It is a matter of pointing out on what kinds of assumptions, what kinds of familiar, unchallenged, unconsidered modes of thought the practices we accept rest.... Criticism is a matter of flushing out that thought and trying to change it: to show that things are not as self-evident as one believes, to see that what is accepted as self-evident will no longer be accepted as such." However, that is not to say critiques attempting to do something else are illegitimate. This is just how I will understand your argument until told differently.

You do not win a critique because of your sweet jargon. Know what you're talking about.

I'm not inherently against a project team. However, I am against teams that make the argument that their opponents are inherently racist/sexist/ableist/heteronormative, etc. the moment they walk into the room.


This is what I judge most it seems and I'm just bored of it now. I evaluate the theory parts of framework as I would a topicality or theory argument meaning that you should read what I wrote above. Some notes:

TVA's should at least be viable as strategies to access the education claims that would come from having the topical debate. (I need to believe that there may be some form of solvency mechanism.)

Fairness as a voter is something I may view differently than most K-oriented judges. I think of fairness as a sort of morality claim, you harmed my ability to participate because your crazy K stuff is unpredictable or whatever and that's exclusionary. That can be weighed against the morality claims about good education, ethical subject formation, debate bad, or whatever. However, it most often doesn't single-handedly outweigh as the K team probably has a bunch of impact cards for their education claims.

This may date me a bit but I do think there are jurisdictional arguments that can be made to combat this. This may be a bit more of how policy teams tend to think of fairness now anyway but I tend to consider them separate as this is more of a Role of the Judge/Ballot argument. I don't think it's inherently problematic to say that I, as a judge, have to ensure that a debate is legitimate or viable before I fulfill whatever Role of the Judge the K team says I must fulfill (after all I can vote on alt theory that many K teams don't even critique). However, your framework arguments need to connect to this procedural voting mechanism (i.e. ground arguments apply but advocacy skills probably aren't a procedural issue). K teams need to critique the idea of a procedure or a gatekeeper that comes before ethics.

I say all this because when teams get on the fairness debate, I am sometimes forced into making assumptions about the relationship between these arguments because teams don't explain their internal link connections well. For example, when you are talking about debatability, I'm probably thinking jurisdiction claims. Or when you're talking about advocacy skills I'm thinking of fairness as an internal link to education. If you don't want me to make these assumptions then fill-in-the-blanks for me and explain which arguments are internal links and which are impacts and why.

Please make sure that you clearly explain your interpretation or counter-interpretation and repeat it throughout the debate when necessary. I think that too often teams assume the judge is clear on the nuances that their interpretations provide and how they avoid some bit of offense or something and I'm sitting in the back wondering how you expect me to type out 10-15 words verbatim without paraphrasing when you have already moved onto another analytic.

Any questions, feel free to ask or email the address above.

Good Luck!

Toby Whisenhunt Paradigm

Fundamentally I see debate as a game. I think it is a valuable and potentially trans-formative game that can have real world implications, but a game none the less that requires me to choose a winner. Under that umbrella here are some specifics.

1. Comparative analysis is critical for me. You are responsible for it. I will refrain from reading every piece of evidence and reconstructing the round, but I will read relevant cards and expect the highlighting to construct actual sentences. Your words and spin matters, but this does not make your evidence immune to criticism.

2. The affirmative needs to engage the resolution.

3. Theory debates need to be clear. Might require you to down shift some on those flows. Any new, exciting theory args might need to be explained a bit for me. Impact your theory args.

4. I am not well versed in your lit. Just assume I am not a "____________" scholar. You don't need to treat me like a dullard, but you need to be prepared to explain your arg minus jargon. See comparative analysis requirement above.

Side notes:

Not answering questions in CX is not a sound strategy. I will give leeway to teams facing non responsive debaters.

Debaters should mention their opponents arguments in their speeches. Contextualize your arguments to your opponent. I am not persuaded by those reading a final rebuttal document the "answers everything" while not mentioning the aff / neg.

Civility and professionalism are expected and will be reciprocated.

Keely Wilson Paradigm

8 rounds


I view myself as an offense/defense judge, meaning I weigh offense more highly than defense in the round. In doing so, please make sure your arguments do not contradict each other. I put a great value on impacts, and want to see a clear internal link scenario of how you get to said impact. I would be labeled a Policymaker.

I have a high threshold for Topicality, but please impact out your voters in the debate space (how this impacts education/fairness as a whole). Theory and Kritiks are fine with me, but make sure they are formatted correctly. I am not well versed in k literature, so take some time to explain your argument and the world of the alternative. I prefer traditional policy arguments. Moderate spreading is fine, just be clear. I will put down my pen if there is a clarity/speed issue.


The Majority of my debate experience tends to revolve around traditional policy arguments. If you want to run those I am fine with them, but I expect some structure. I vote by what debaters put on the flow, don't expect me to vote on dropped arguments simply because they were dropped. I need you to do the work. I tend to vote for the debater that extends the most offense in the round. I prefer real world arguments over philosophy, but if you feel the need to run philosophical arguments then clearly explain those warrants. Although I was a policy debater, I am continuing to learn about LD so I ask that you slow down on the tags and warrants in your cards so I can flow them and properly evaluate the round.

My email for the chain is

ian miller Paradigm

8 rounds

Ian Miller

I debated at Grapevine and now OU.

General Information:

Tech over truth

I try to judge with little argumentative bias. I am a fairly flexible and read all types of arguments. I'd prefer that you do what you are good at instead of trying to adapt too much.

Evidence needs to be highlighted enough to form a cohesive argument. If someone points out that an opponent just read 12 words in a card I will have a much lower threshold for a refutation of it. Evidence written by debaters for debaters is given much less weight.

Respect matters - if you are debating people who may be a lot worse than you are make an effort to be nice.



I'm good with this - limits and ground aren't impacts - only internal links to education, fairness, research, ect.

RVIs are bad

Caselists are good.

T is a question of what the topic should look like which means that in round abuse matters much less than potential abuse and is also a reason why T arguably comes before theory. I think "setting a precedent" specifically is not a good argument nor is it an impact

plan flaws and other procedurals are fun but aren't a super reliable 2nr option


They're good. Specific DAs are better and I will reward good research. Turns case should be contextualized as specifically as possible.

Including risk analysis framing when going for a DA is super helpful in rebuttals. 1% risk of extinction is kinda silly risk analysis but you'll have to explain why in the debate.

Read a complete shell in the 1nc - that means include uniqueness.


They're good. Smart advantage CPs and PICs are my favorite. Process/consult/delay CPs I like much less - unless it has a specific enough solvency advocate. I will vote for anything though - just make sure to explain why it solves the aff and is theoretically legitimate. Solvency advocates help a lot in making something theoretically legitimate.


Framework is pretty important

I have a somewhat high threshold for link explanation - please make it about the aff and make it substantive part of the 2nr. Super generic Ks about the "state" or "fiat" aren't very persuasive to me.

Specific links are especially important when facing a soft-left aff that is in the direction of the alternative

i've found that a part of the k that really matters is its theory of power/how the world works. if the aff wins that those assumptions don't make sense then they will probably win. same for the negative, winning that the world works in a particular way makes me more likely to vote for you

If you are going to include a performance explain why it matters

if you advocate for suicide or death literally being good you'll probably catch an L

K Affs:

K affs are fine but please have a clear position you take on the resolution and a reason why the ballot is key. Shifting out of different negative positions makes me sympathetic to FW arguments.

A lot of judges think that TVAs are necessary every FW debate - I disagree. Having persuasive arguments that frame the ballot in relation to the impacts you are going for is sufficient.

I really value creative forms of engagement with K affs. Pull out those CPs and DAs. You should not be afraid to go for some variant of heg good, cap good, or liberalism good in front of me in conjunction with some case defense. If you have a strategy that contests a core thesis of the affirmative, go for it.

K affs will almost always get a permutation - if you think it is unfair why not just go for fw?


Internal link defense, even if not supported by evidence, is often more persuasive than the generic impact defense that every team reads.

I am a fan of impact turns.

Some affs get away with bad solvency arguments - don't let them do this.


In order to make it a reason to reject the team explain why it impacts your ability to debate different flows. Otherwise it is probably just a reason to reject the argument. I don't really have a ton of biases here. Make sure you do things like answer their specific counter interp/standards instead of just reading the same generic block.

Speaker points:

My average is a 28.5. If you get below a 27 you did something offensive. If you get a 30 you are one of the best speakers I have ever seen.

have fun!