JV Novice Nationals at West Virginia University

2019 — Morgantown, WV/US

David Asafu-Adjaye Paradigm

7 rounds

Hey y’all. I’m David and I debated at Newark Science for 4 years on the state, regional, and national level.

My email for speech docs is dasafu-adjaye@hotmail.com

My influences in debate have been Chris Randall, Jonathan Alston, Aaron Timmons, Christian Quiroz, and Carlos Astacio in addition to a few others.



-Monta Vista RB, Monta Vista RR

-Newark Science

-DebateDrills Content Coach (conflict policy and roster available here)

Two primary beliefs:

1. Debate is a communicative activity and the power in debate is because the students take control of the discourse. I am an adjudicator but the debate is yours to have.

2. I am not tabula rasa. Anyone that claims that they have no biases or have the ability to put ALL biases away is probably wrong. I will try to put certain biases away but I will always hold on to some of them. For example, don’t make racist, sexist, transphobic, etc arguments in front of me. Use your judgment on that. Also don’t read skep. JUst because.


These are my favorite arguments to hear and were the arguments that I read most of my junior and senior year. Please DO NOT just read these because you see me in the back of the room. I do not want to see K’s messed up so I have a pretty high threshold for K’s. Please make sure you explain your link story and what your alt does. I feel like these are the areas where K debates often get stuck. I like K weighing which is heavily dependent on framing. I feel like people throw out buzzwords such as antiblackness and expecting me to check off my ballot right there. Explain it or you will lose to the kid going for US heg good. K Lit is diverse. I do not know your high theory K’s. I only cared enough to read just enough to prove them wrong or find inconsistencies. Please explain things like Deleuze, Nietzsche, Derrida, and Heidegger to me in a less esoteric manner than usual.


CP’s are cool. I love a variety of CP’s but in order to win a CP in my head you need to either solve the entirety of the aff with some net benefit or prove that the net benefit to the CP outweighs the aff. Competition is a thing. I do believe certain counterplans can be egregious but that’s for y’all to debate about.


Nah. If you were looking for this part to see whether you can read this. Umm No. Win debates. JK You can try to get me to understand it but I likely won't and won't care to either.

Just like people think that I love K’s because I came from Newark, people think I hate theory which is far from true. I’m actually a fan of well-constructed shells and actually really enjoyed reading theory myself. I’m not a fan of tricky shells and also don’t really like disclosure theory but I’ll vote on it. Just have an actual abuse story. I won’t even list my defaults because I am so susceptible to having them changed if you make an argument as to why. The one thing I will say is that theory is a procedural. Do with that information what you may.


Their fine. I feel like people love to read these crazy scenarios in order to magnify the impact. More power to you. If you feel like you have to read 10 internal links to reach your nuke war scenario and you can win all of them, more power to you. Just make the story make sense. I vote for things that matter and make sense.


YAY. Read you nice plans. Be ready to defend them.


I would rather not vote on presumption but have my own views on it. I think it’s a great tool if you realize the 1AR was 4 minutes of terminal defense against the off case and even though they don’t have any offense neither do you. I don’t like presumption triggers.

Speaker points

I’ll start at a 28 and move up or down from there. I like funny rounds. Debates can be so boring sometimes. Use CX effectively and make strategic decisions in order to increase your speaks. I’m tired and probably hungry so make the debate more tolerable.

Carlos Astacio Paradigm

3 rounds

I competed in LD at University High School in Newark New Jersey, I was nationally competitive for three years.. I also compete in policy debate for Rutgers University.

Presumption: I think it highly unfair for me to presume to any side when debaters have NO control over which side they are going to be debating. So I don't have any bias toward Aff or Neg.

Speed: I don't generally have an issue with speed, however I do have a problem with monotone speed, unclear speed. I will yell clear if I can't understand you, but it will only be maybe once or twice, if you don't become clear by then, my ability to properly evaluate the arguments may possibly become impaired. Also, your speaks probably won't be awesome if I have to keep yelling clear.

-I would like you to significantly slow down when reading tags/card names so I can have a properly structured flow, but while reading the card you are welcome to go at top CLEAR speed(a few caveats to be explained later)

-When making analytical arguments, please be clear, because it's difficult for me to follow analytics when they are weirdly phrased and also being spread.

-I don't like speed for the sake of being fast, I prefer when speed is used as a catalyst for an awesome case or a multilayered rebuttal with really nuanced responses on case.

Evidence: Despite what happened in the round, I may call for the cites for cards read in round, I'll specify which specific cites I would like to see. I do this for two reasons: to ensure that there was no miscutting of evidence, and because I believe in disclosure and am from the school of thought that everybody in the round should have access to all evidence read in the round. I don't appreciate a denial to share citations, if citations are not readily available, I may choose to disregard all evidence with missing citations(especially evidence which was contested in the debate).

Cross Examination: I don't know how much I can stress it...CROSS EX IS BINDING! I don't care if you present arguments for why it shouldn't be binding or why lying in CX is ok, or any arguments with the implication which allows dishonesty in CX, there is NO theory to be ran to change my mind. Nevertheless, I don't flow CX, so its up to the debaters to refresh my memory of any inconsistencies between speeches and CX answers. On the other hand, CX can be the BEST or the WORST part of a debate, depending on how it plays out. A funny yet not disrespectful CX will score big when I'm deciding on how to assign speaks, while a rude and boring CX will negatively influence how I assign speaks. Clarification questions during prep is fine, but I'm not cool with trying to tear down an argument during prep, if it was that important, it should have been in the formal CX, rather than during prep. Don't be afraid to refuse to answer a non-clarification question during your opponents prep time.

Critical/Weird Arguments: I love well explained critical positions. With the caveat that these critical arguments are logically explained and aren't insanely convoluted. I have no issue voting for the argument. But if I can't understand it, I won't vote on it. Also, I am a fan of interesting debate, so if you have a neat performance to run in front of me, I would love to hear it!

Theory: I don't presume to competing interpretations or reasonability. The justification for either one needs to be made in round. I don't like greedy theory debates, which means that I generally view theory as a reason to reject the argument rather than the debater. YES, this means you must provide reasons in or after the implications section of your shell, for why this specific violation is a reason for me to use my ballot against the other debater. I'm not persuaded by generic 12 point blocks for why fairness isn't a voter, I prefer nuanced argumentation for why fairness may not be a voter. RVIs have to be justified but I'm willing to vote on them if the situation presents itself, but its up to you to prove why you defensively beating theory is enough for me to vote for you.

Prestandard: I don't like having preconceived beliefs before judging a round, but this is just one of those things that I need to reinforce. I WILL NOT vote on multiple apriori blips, and winning a single apriori is an uphill battle, a serious commitment to advocacy is necessary(you devote a serious amount of time to the apriori position.)

Speaks: I average about a 27, I doubt I'll go lower than 25(unless you do something which merits lower than a 25) because I personally know how disappointing the 4-2/5-2 screw can be, nevertheless I am more than willing to go up or down, depending on the performance in that particular round. The reason I average around a 27 is not because I generally don't give nice speaks, its because the majority of tournaments, I'll judge only a few rounds that deserve more than a 28. It's not difficult at all to get good speaks from me. I reserve 30's for debaters who successfully execute the following: speak really well, good word economy, good coverage/time allocation, takes risks when it comes to strategy, weighs really well, provides AWESOME evidence comparison, and adapts well to the things happening in the round. I really enjoy seeing new strategies, or risky strategies, I.E. I am a fan of the straight refutation 1N, attempting something risky like this and pulling it off, gives you a higher chance of getting a 30. Another way to get high speaks is to be a smart debater as well as funny without being mean or making any kind of jokes at the expense of your opponent(this will lose you speaks)

Delivery: I need evidence comparison! It makes me really happy when debaters do great evidence comparison. Also, I would appreciate for you to give status updates as the rebuttals progress, as well as giving me implications for each extension. When extending arguments which rely on cards, in order for it to be a fully structured extension it must contain: The claim/tag of the card, author/card name, warrant from the card, and the implications of that extension (what does it do for you in the round).

Miscellaneous: You are more than welcome to sit or stand, I don't mind people reading from laptops or being paperless as long as it doesn't delay the round. Also, I don't care if you are formally dressed, jeans and a tshirt will get you the same speaks that a shirt and a tie will. :) I also believe its impossible for me to divorce my judging from my beliefs, but I'll do my best to attempt to fairly adjudicate the debate.

P.S. I don't like performative contradictions...(just felt like I should throw that out there)

Will Baker Paradigm

5 rounds

Updated 12/28/19 Please be mindful that you are an ambassador for your school and have a privilege to travel when others, perhaps even on your own squad, do not. Be worthy of that honor in your treatment of others and your partner.

General Approach: Debaters work hard so I will make every effort to be very thoughtful and conscientious as your judge. I strive for limited intervention. Whatever decision allows me to inject myself the least into the interpretations of issues is the one I will attempt to make. The ramifications are that a team should compare positions, evidence and tell a story in the 2NR and 2AR that puts the round together the way they want. Most debate rounds come down to impact assessment. While coaches remind debaters of this constantly, few realize it and fewer execute it effectively. If you are performing, make sure that the role of the ballot is articulated and extended and not a 2AR surprise (see below). You will get better points. Tech over truth is a myth not a value system. The specific application of each comes down to the skills of the debaters involved in the individual rounds. My voting record reflects more tech but that's more reflective of how truth is framed.

Email Chains: Don't follow them during the round, often do not choose to be on them except for scouting or competitive purposes. Reasons: 1) Causes judges to read ev in their own voice and often miss the inflections of the debaters in the round, or worse, inject their previous experience with the authors or the argument rather than the framing which was made in the debate 2) Increases inclination to read into the un-underlined portions when other team hasn't made an issue of it. 3) Reduces a sense of fiduciary obligation to listen to the actual debate because the speech docs serve as a crutch. Implications: 1) I don't evaluate inserted ev or re-highlightings of your opponent's ev unless you actually read the parts that you are inserting into the debate. 2) I flow on paper so I often write down more than tag, date and source including warrants for evidence, lyrics of poems and songs, & some internal link claims when arguments are initially made. This also helps when I drift during the middle of the round as you are passionately repeating the same argument for a fourth time on a 3rd flow as if I didn't hear it the first three. 3) Wasted or incompetent cross-examinations followed by claims like "this is vague" or "we can't answer this" hurt my soul in open rounds.

Topic Specific Update: Besides working on the E-2C Hawkeye and F-14, my Dad worked on Apollo missions at Northrop Grumman [back when it was Grumman]. It means I know stuff about space and NASA history that I shouldn't. It hasn't been an issue except in one round where someone said, "Will, use your judgement you know that NASA can't do that." Avoid that approach and you should be safe. T-sub-areas has proven to be a pretty unpersuasive argument in front of me [2AC: yep, we don't meet arms control but we are STM and probably SSA which they didn't read interps for has generally been true]. However, the neg arg that they're entitled to know why your plan is an NSP and distinct from just another directive or one-shot policy is legit.

The Aff: Do what you want in terms of policy, critical or performance affirmatives, I'm game. Set up a framework for interpretation prior to the 2AR so there is some level of predictability and discussion for the negative. There need to be advantages to interpretations of topics (why is it or is it not productive) the same as with substantive arguments. The evaluation will come down to offense on the framework flow based on long-term impacts identified by the debaters explained below in the tips section. It will come down to competing interpretations I've voted for West Va, Wake and Baylor as often as I've pulled the trigger for GMU, Dartmouth and Kansas so do what you want.

The Neg: Have a clever, tight strategy. Don’t whine. If you want to defend your right to a politics link or a certain interpretation, go for it. I’ll vote on T if you win it. I’ve voted before that politics protects debate and would do so again if someone won the argument. Happy to vote on theory, critical positions or whatever other standard you advance. Tell me where you think the locus of presumption is and why, preferably before the last speech. If you like to read cplans with lots of conditional planks, I am not the right judge for you.

Evidence: An author’s name is not an argument. Please don’t confuse the two. Please indicate actual reasons why your evidence is better than theirs. If you spend 8-15 seconds on a card, don't expect me to consider it for much longer than that when I'm making my decision. The common post-round practice of debaters asking, “did you consider this piece of evidence?” or “how did you weigh that card?” should be considered in the light of the microscopic amount of time you spent explaining or highlighting the card during the debate round. I’ll vote where you tell me to but if you have six different stories, you should put them together and not simply rely on my post-round construction based on reading evidence.

Time Management: Be organized, Be ready. Be considerate. Don't waste my time or your opponents. Decision time limits mandate better time management. You KNOW you will need an email chain, the start time for the round & I generally don't want to be on the chain. That means the 1A should have the chain set up and ready to send when it's time to start the debate including a test send if preferred. If I want to be added, I will tell you. Additionally, stop stealing prep time. It’s a nasty habit. You are taking time from my life that I will never get back.

Suggestions for Folks Hitting Non-traditional debaters in front of me: Some coaches/teams are still praying not to hit performance/protest teams or hoping that they have a judge who buys FW (due to poor pref choices by their opponents). Even when the judge has little or no bias to either traditional vs. non-traditional debate, by virtue of their "getting it", the non-protest team needs to be clued in so here are some tips (again only for rounds vs. pure performance teams):

a) Focus on where you clash not where they didn't clash. While drops is how most of us hard core tech debaters were taught, this approach fails for policy teams in these rounds because a) they haven't been trained in collective argumentation so what their mind/flow dismisses as FYIs or random hip hop lyrics or poetic lines are often 4-6 args for their opponents that the judge flowed. You see a dropped flow. I see you dropped 4 turns and still don't get it. Focus on where you clash and why your strategies, approaches, methodologies, whatever are better than theirs;

b) Feel free to run FW and T in front of me along with whatever strat you try. While I have voted on defending the USFG is violent, it is not my predisposition and I think there are excellent answers to that argument. Be prepared with internal impacts (to the debate space) and external impacts (to the larger world) on T and framework debates so you can compete with the straight-turns on fairness and education

c) Know who are you excluding If you don't have empirics to back it up and don't understand why it potentially appears sexist or racist, please don't impact your T/FW with "people will leave the activity".

Protest/Performance Teams--You deserve a bone as well. If your opponents don't heed these tips, feel free to leverage that as offense in the round. Additionally, I understand the difference between a Role of the Ballot argument and the Role of the Judge argument and have voted on positioning as the implications of my ballot as a black man when mishandled by the opponents on multiple occasions.

Pet Peeves: 1--DON’T CURSE EXCESSIVELY in your speeches. If someone slips up but is making an earnest effort I won't punish them. Also, I've been forced to make a distinction between advocacies where external sources include curses (films, music, poetry. etc) and statements of the debaters themselves. Folks who curse for no reason [ex. this arg is sh*t] are still at risk of getting their points tanked but sadly the commonality of the practice have led to far less tanks. 2--My biggest pet peeve goes like this: In the speech: “Read the Jones 10 evidence after the round!” but when I call for the evidence it becomes “I meant to say Roberts, not Jones,” or “Here are those 3 pieces of Jones evidence I referenced in my speech.” Know which ONE card you are referring to, know your authors and don’t be sloppy. Sloppy debaters get lower points.

Ellen Baker Paradigm

5 rounds

Hi! I’m the B in West Virginia BM. We qualified to the NDT for the second time this year, won Binghamton, Rutgers, and most recently JMU.

It’s your round- do what you want and I will judge accordingly (and off my flows). It's your aff, be proud of it and defend it. And if you’re neg, tell me why the aff is not as awesome as they think it is.

Policy teams- I’d personally pref me in the middle, its your aff and I will happily listen to whatever dissad/cp scenario you prefer. Do your impact calc and extrapolate on your offense and you’ll win. As far as reading f/w when you’re negative, by all means go for it. Fairness and education have to be abundantly clear impacts, not extended words with millions of standards. Impact framing and doing a lot of work outlining what an affirmative vote looks like is really what I like best.

K teams- I’d pref me higher. I’m a 2n who often goes for Dark Deleuze/communicative cap. My freshman year I was a die-hard materialism advocate. From high theory to debates about debate, I am at least familiar with your literature base and look forward to witnessing your spin and innovation. (We also read a performance affirmative, so k affs are welcomed as well.) the one thing I’ll say is I have a hard time weighing a k vs an aff when there are no case args coming from the neg. Do some case debate and impact calc!

Ben Biggs Paradigm

3 rounds

Four years of policy debate at George Mason University

Yes I want to be on the chain - Email: bbigbiggs1@gmail.com

General Notes

-Using all of your speech time will help you get higher speaks; targeted at the novice level.

-I flow straight down, it's in your best interest to keep it as organized as possible.

Policy Things

Condo - tend to be neg leaning though more than three starts to push it. More open to condo args if the CP's are abusive or if they've read multiple with no solvency advocates (especially if it's a core CP)

PICs - I'm fine with PICs out of specific portions the aff defends. Not the judge for word PICs (unless they say something absolutely egregious in their plan text)

Other theory - 9 out of 10 times, if it's not condo, it's a reason to reject the arg and not the team. You need a clear reason why they skewed the round to get me to drop the team.

T - Limits/ground should be the 2NR impact. Do not find precision, other impact args as persuasive. Will err on who has the better vision of the topic as opposed to whose definition card is better. That means weighing limits explosion vs over-limiting and a clear explanation of why aff ground is better than neg ground or vice versa is going to be crucial


K's v Policy Affs: Specificity of the link is going to be important. Generic state bad links aren't as persuasive as links to the specific action of the plan. Don't spread yourself too thin, try and pick just one link and really impact it out and how it implicates the aff's solvency. Being very organized and making sure to directly respond to your opponent's as opposed to reading blocks will be helpful in the 2NC but especially the 2NR.

F/W: Fairness is an impact, but I find it most persuasive when described as an internal link. When the aff is reasonably in the direction of the topic - I place a lot of weight on the TVA. When the aff is blatantly anti-topical or meant to be a personal strategy, just go for debate is good and they make debate impossible.

K affs v F/W: Unless it's dropped, going for we meet is definitely not the route to take with me. If you are an aff that has clear inroads to the topic, have counter-definitions for whatever their definition cards are. This is by far the best way to mitigate the negative's offense in my mind and definitely puts you in a much better spot to get my ballot than if you're anti-topical. If your aff is outside the scope of being able to do so, you need to impact turn their model of debate. I am not gonna be persuaded by a counter-interp that was clearly designed to include your aff - obviously extend your interpretation, but don't use it to try and mitigate their limits/ground offense, I won't buy it. Instead, simply say that their mode of education is bad.

K v K

I will be the first to admit that I am not as knowledgeable in K literature as either team is. The best thing you could do to get my ballot is to make the debate simple and to explain the complex theory portions of your kritik - I may not be familiar with a lot of your terminology and I am not going to vote on something I do not understand.


It is very important to note that I have a policy background. That means that I give very heavy weight to impacts so doing impact comparisons in final focus will help you immensely. Highlight what OFFENSE you think you are winning in final focus and make sure to answer you opponents key pieces of offense as well. Don't expect me to unilaterally apply arguments from other previous speeches or other portions of the debate to arguments that are not directly responded to.

Isaac Brown Paradigm

7 rounds

Issa Paradigm


I'd never worship a god that didn't know how to dance

For the brave:

I am not the gambling type but I do love a good joke, and a good joke deserves a reward of .2 to a .5 speaker point boost to your total speaker points, but there are limits as to what I will dub as funny enough to avoid having to judge rounds of last comic standing. The jokes I will reward are as follows,

1. The "Lt. Louis Armstrong" voice - get it right and you get a .5 boost, get it wrong and you lose .1

2. Strong pun game - puns get a bad for a reason, they are often terrible. Although anyone who knows me well knows I love well timed, expertly executed puns. Here's your opportunity to prove your pun game is strong. .4 boost if you make a pun and I enjoy it, fail you lose .2

3. Use the phrase "Omae wa mou shinderiu" correctly in a debate you get a .3 boost. Get it wrong you lose .3

These are the jokes I will reward; may the odds forever be in your favor.

Things you need know:

Yes, I would like to be in the email chain, my email is ibrown.gmu1@gmail.com

No, I do not believe that novice should have to debate K affs until the tail end of the second semester, these debates are often anti-educational hurt novice development. Which is to say I believe you must first learn debate before you can debate about debate. This is not to say that I won't judge these debates fairly, but rather a warning that I am incredibly sympathetic to the otherside of the argument. Although once it is the 2nd half of the first second semester my sympathies die out.

I always flow on paper so give me pen time when you're blazing through your analytics

I will not vote on comparing arguments to sexual assault in anyway shape or form, I think those debates are violent, anti-educational and only risk net harm to everyone involved.

I debated a total of 7 years

2 years in the Chicago UDL

5 years at George Mason 1-year policy 1 year flex 3 years critical. I went to the NDT twice and I broke into elims of CEDA twice. I debated off of my flow and I judge the same way. It really doesn't matter what your argument is, if you can communicate it to me and the other team cannot then simply put, you are ahead. It is your responsibility to get your arguments onto my piece of paper and I will do everything that is in my power to get the ballot to tab with your name as the victor but that's only if your opponent doesn't beat you to the ballot. All of this is to say, read what you want in front of me, the flow is the deciding factor.

What I want to hear:

This should never be the question you ask when you get me in the back of the round, I want to judge you at your best so read whatever it is that is your best. Be fast, be strategic, be smart and be effective. These are the traits that I look for in a good debater, which is to say I don't place a limit on the style of debate you do, if the argument you like going for involves telling me that Russia has got it out for the US and the only thing that can solve that is a single-payer health care system then DO THAT. Or if your best is telling me the world as I know it writ large is founded on a set of principles that require investigation and or just blanket rejection DO THAT. My job is not to actively seek confirmation bias by judging every Baudrillard/Afro-pess debate ever, I am here to take really fast notes and tell you what I think the best argument was at the end of the debate. So, do you in whatever form that may look.

The ways I evaluate debates:

1. As mentioned above I follow the flow to the T, but even this is debatable although even in debates that critique flowing in a normative fashion, I will continue to flow unless explicitly asked not to (this is for my benefit as I like to have a point of reference when deciding things.)

2. In particularly messy debates I will be annoyed and you will lose points if my flow becomes a random assortment of words. Line arguments up as best as you can, this is for my benefit as well as yours, debate is a communication activity and good line by line while hard to come by is extremely important when the debate comes down to a degree of nuance. You don't want me to have to do work for you by having to decipher the entire debate. You want to be clear, concise and ready to go. Line by line then while not necessary is preferred.

3. Tell me a story, but make sure this story has a claim warrant and impact. Reel me in with whatever necessary just make sure you have a complete argument.


Stolen from Patrick McCleary

“I give speaker points based on how effectively students articulate their arguments, regardless of the type of argument. Above a 29.5 deserves to contend for top speaker, 29-29.5 is a speaker award, 28.5-29 is good/should be clearing, 28.1-28.5 is on the cusp of clearing, 28 is average, 27.5 is below average, 27 needs work. Any lower and you are probably either in the wrong division or did something offensive. Given what I've seen from people who compile the data on this stuff, this seems to be somewhat close to the community norm.”

"Debaters who have used the opportunity afforded by annual resolutions to learn about the topic and are able to apply that knowledge in the round will be in position to receive higher points than debaters whose speeches are lacking in this category. Debaters whose speeches reflect little to no effort at having learned about this season's topic may win the debate, but will not receive good points.

This does not mean the AFF must read a plan text...nor that the NEG can only debate the case (rarely a wise strategy). It simply means I am listening for proof that debaters are taking advantage of the opportunity to learn about a different topic area each season."

Theory/T Debates:

Provide me an interpretation and defend it I’ll evaluate it.


Outside of what I read as a debater this is probably the argument I know the most about on both the AFF and NEG side of things and while I would impact turn this whenever I heard it that does not mean I am AFF leaning on FW. Simply put I will vote on what’s on my flow regardless of how I feel about it despite that I feel it necessary to disclose several arguments that I find more persuasive on both sides of the debate.


· Debate is a Game (This can be debated and if you win it on the flow I am amendable to change but it is my default setting)

· AFF’s should have to defend something (this does not mean they must have a plan)

· AFF’s should be testable (this doesn’t mean that a generic counterplan/DA is the best method to test the AFF)


· If you can do it on the neg they should be prepared (In that scenario they get to weigh their aff, making this not an argument alone you have to impact this argument to make it more offensive)

· K-affs inevitable (Doesn’t make those affs predictable)

· Fairness is often times arbitrary (But winnable, I think the move to deliberation over procedural fairness is silly, just tell them to get out of your house)


I am tech over truth appeals to my emotions gets you speaker points not ballots. Simply put I will do no work for you and I will judge the flow and only the flow unless an argument is made telling me not to.

Thomas Buttgereit Paradigm

4 rounds

2019 Update

Am adding some things I have learned about myself after a year of judging:

In framework debates, defense is pretty important to me. Both teams are usually doing a lot of work to put offense on the flow so the side that is able to use either the TVA or the Counter Interpt to absorb more of their opponent's offense often finds themselves ahead with me in the back.

I have a somewhat high threshold for 1AR-2AR consistency, so I am very conscious of not voting for arguments that based on my flow and understanding of the round are new.

I have realized that there are two different articulations of framework that are most persuasive to me 1) a ballot K version that frames out the ballot's ability to solve any of the aff's impacts 2) One that strongly defends the value of debate and a reason we would want a model that preserves it.

Basic Paradigm

Please put me on the email chain tbuttge1@binghamton.edu

I am a coach at Binghamton, where I debated for four years. I qualified to the NDT a few times, and have now been coaching Bing for two years.

I have deployed almost entirely critical/performance style of debate throughout my career but am familiar with most forms of argumentation in the activity and actively believe that whatever people want to defend/advocate belongs in the activity. So I'll treat your argument with the respect it deserves(and so should you).

Overall, debates usually come down to big picture framing for me. At the end of the debate, I tend to really be focusing on one or two big issues that are decided by the smaller arguments that are occurring on the flow. This doesn't mean that I don't value tech, but I need those concessions to really matter and frame the debate.

Framing is pretty important to me, a mix of impact calculus and explaining to me how I should view and evaluate the debate will go very well for you.

Teams that make smart arguments about the nature of debate, and garner offense around the nature of the activity and the kinds of norms and consequences it creates usually impress me and can earn higher speaker points. Debate isn't a blank or neutral space and I think recognizing that opens up powerful argumentative opportunities.

K Debate:

I've read K arguments basically my entire career and they've been a mix of theoretical and performative. So I have a lot of respect for these arguments. That being said, there's a few things K teams usually do wrong in my mind.

K Affs- K affs that have either a clear framing mechanism for the ballot or an educational solvency mechanism are good in front of me, but affs that merely state theories of power or a way the world operates are vulnerable to presumption strategies or being outweighed by the neg strategy. You can definitely win this debate by putting heavy amounts of offense on the alt or framework, or winning that the best theory of power should win, but it's a slightly harder path.

Ks- I think one problem Ks often have is knowing whether or not they need the alt in the 2NR. Not going for the alt can make it so that even if you win heavy offense against the aff, if your impacts are non-unique/unsolvable I may buy that they can resolve something else that outweighs. However sometimes 2NRs are spent unnecessarily going for an alternative when your time is better spent on impacts or framing my ballot in your favor. 2Ns should reflect on this as their preparing their 2NR.


On the impact level, I think fairness, limits, and predictability are more persuasive as links than impacts. Fairness has to be good for something(education, exportable skills, etc). I am much more persuaded by arguments that policy education is key because people in positions of upper education need to be able to use that position to make change. Again, explain to me why this activity has value, don't just assume it does. That being said, I will vote on a good fairness/limits debate(especially if conceded) so the affirmative should not take my view there for granted.

When giving a TVA explain how it could actually solve the impacts of the aff, don't just read the resolution back at the affirmative and say it solves. Engage with their impacts and you have a much better shot of winning TVA in front of me.

I think looser less strict interpretations can be useful to get out of a lot of the aff offense, but at the same time if you're going for predictability or limits you have to be able to explain how those concepts are preserved within your more liberal interpretation of debate.

Clash Debates:

Policy teams should really put more offense against the alternative rather than just defensive alt can't solve arguments. If you win your impact framing and then a few da's to the alt you can be confident in my ballot.

For the neg in these debates, case defense and solvency take outs are good touches, I also find that if you make smart ballot arguments and frame the affirmative out of getting their impacts I am usually persuaded to vote negative.

Final Thoughts:

Overall you really shouldn't adapt too much to me, good debaters can win anything in front of me, and my only goal is to give you a decision you can respect and be comfortable with. I will do my best to give you educational and meaningful rfds and encourage any and all questions after the decision.

Vida Chiri Paradigm

3 rounds

I’m currently a junior at Liberty University and debated in high school at University High School (Jersey Urban Debate League). This is approximately my 7th year in debate and as such I have engaged in both 'traditional' and now 'performance' style debate.  Ultimately, I have come to conclusion that debate is a game but this game also has real life effects on the people who choose to participate in it. Therefore, BE NICE, HAVE FUN, and DO YOU!!! 


I have found in my time debating that there are a few things that debaters are looking for when they read judging philosophies (including myself) so I’ll get straight to the point: 


K's: I’m fine with them and have run them for quite some time in my career. However, this does not mean run a K in front of me for the fun of it - rather it means that I expect you to be able to explain your link story and the way the alternative functions. I find that most teams just make the assumption that the Aff doesn’t get a perm because "it’s a methodology debate". That’s not an argument, give me warrants as to why this is true if this is the argument you are going to for. K Aff's are fine often times debaters lose sight of the strategic benefits of the Aff, So a simple advice I can give is DONT FORGET YOUR AFF!! 


DA's: In general I like strong impact analysis and good link story. Make logical argument and be able to weigh the impact story against the Aff.


CP’s:  I am open all types of CP’s you just have to prove the competitiveness of said CP and make sure it has a net benefit.


FW:  Again….Debate is a game but this game has real life implications on those who choose to engage in it. I think FW can be strategic against some Aff’s but don’t use it as a reason to not engage the Aff. Win your interpretation and weigh your impacts. Aff’s: don’t blow off FW answer it and engage it or tell me why you are not engaging in it.


Theory: Not a big fan of it, but make sure you slow down as to ensure I get all the arguments you are making. But do you! 


Cross X: I think this is the best part of debate and LOVE it. Don’t waste those 3 min, they serve a great purpose. I am ALWAYS paying attention to CX and may even flow it.


*** Please remember that I am not as familiar with the high school topic so don’t assume I know all the jargon ***



Last but not least, watch me!(take hints from the visual cues that I am sending) 

Aaron Clarke Paradigm

4 rounds

Aaron Clarke, former varsity debater at George Mason University (aaronclarke217@gmail.com, if you want feedback after the round and want to shoot me an email)

**HIGH SCHOOL/SPACE TOPIC: I haven't done any topic research for this topic so I'm not going to know any acronyms or anything like that.

Top-Level Stuff: I don't really care what you go for, but traditional policy debate was what I spent about 95% of my debate career doing. I typically went for traditional arguments but 1) I often read non-traditional arguments on the aff and neg AND 2) I want you to do what you want to do. Debate is only fun when you're doing what you like.If you want to go for a K, aff or neg, go for it.


It's usually in the 1NCs my partner reads and I'll definitely vote on it. Reasonibility should not be your A strat when debating T. It does not make sense when there are competing interpretations. I'm also down to hear framework against K affs. That's usually my strat because I don't know too much K lit to read a K against it (more below).


Condo is good up to two counter-advocacies. Once you hit three counter-advocacies, I'll start feeling heavy sympathy for the aff. That being said, if the neg drops condo, I'll vote on it. My stance on condo does not allow you to blow over it shallowly. I tend to reject the arg, not the team.


I'm gonna keep it real with you chief: I'm not the best judge for you on this. High theory lit is going to go over my head but other K lit I at least have a basic understanding of it.


I'm down for most CPs. I'm split on counterplan theory like process CPs and consult CPs, but hey, it's debate. If you can convince me they're not abusive, okay. If you can convince me it is abusive, okay. I'll vote either way.


I. Love. Disads. Being a former 2N, disads were my bread and butter. I love topic DAs and I love politics DAs. Once again, although I hold DAs close to my heart, if you lose a DA, you lose a DA. There can be zero risk of a link. I love impact turn debates as well.


This is my favorite debate as most of my 2NR's were DA and case.

Details of warrant extrapolation and depth in the 2NC are key. 2AC's tend to be blippy so take advantage.

Aff’s should choose and break down more in the 1AR. Choose your impact comparison to the DA or solvency deficit connected to an advantage in the 1AR. It is difficult when the 2ar breaks down and establishes a new lens such as time frame, of which there is no record for in the previous speeches and one the 2NR would likely have responded too.


See "Top-Level Stuff" I'm open to listening to theory and will vote on it. If you do go for a K aff, make sure it relates to the topic. I'll lean neg on Framework if your aff has no relation to the topic.


It flips neg when they don't go for a CP or K. Flips aff when they go for a CP or K

Tech vs. Truth:

This is circumstantial. I generally reward technical concessions and try to hold a firm line on new arg's in rebuttals. Though, I also think a silly advantage or DA can be demolished in cross ex

Cross Ex:

Cross ex can be the best moment of a debate if deployed correctly. I reward speakers that have a strategy and use their time wisely in cross ex.

Other notes:

Don't be a jerk. I find myself in too many debates where people equate being a dick to having a lot of ethos. Not only will it piss off your opponents, it'll put you in poor position speaker point wise. I don't have a problem if you rip someone's arguments apart in cross-ex, but there is a respectable way to do it.

If you show a fairly large amount of knowledge about the topic, that goes a long way in terms of speaker points.

The timer for prep stops once you stop making changes to the doc. Don't try and take advantage of this by saying you're "saving" when really you're typing up more stuff

I wouldn't consider myself a point fairy, but I think I give out pretty good speaker points.

Kassie Colón Paradigm

5 rounds

Hi there,

My name is Kassie Colón and if you're reading this I'm probably judging you or you're trying to decide if I should. A little about me, I was a policy debater for about six years (Fort Lauderdale and WVU) before deciding to leave the activity to focus on the mission of my grassroots organization La Resolana. I have a BA in Latin American Studies, Women's and Gender Studies, and Geography. I don't have any predispositions about debate other than, do what you want just don't be problematic about it. I don't believe in restricting debaters from what they're good at and I couldn't mean this more. This is YOUR debate, not MINE and I'm appreciative to be a part of it or not. If you have specific questions, feel free to ask me before the round or send me an email at kassdebates@gmail.com. My only request is that you put me on the email chain, be open to learning/growing, and give me enough pen time to flow everything (start speeches slow then speed up, take a second to breathe before switching flows, etc.). Debate is supposed to be a fun and educational activity, so show me what ya got and I'll do my best to adjudicate :)

Good luck!

Colin Dailey Paradigm

6 rounds

For email chain and post tournament questions: colind525@gmail.com.

Former debater and coach for George Mason University. Haven't judged or done work on the Coop topic (occasionally referred to as the Space topic from what I've been told), so don't fall into using topic specific jargon and abbreviations without defining it at some point.

This used to be a lot longer. But let's be honest, you just want to know the following:
- Read whatever you want.

- I think debate is a game, affs should defend the topic, and am fine with procedural fairness as an impact, but I'll vote on whatever argument wins. Warping/remaking the rules of the game can be just as much of a part of the game (Monopoly would be even more of a joyless slog without house rules for money in free parking).

- I aim to be as flow-oriented as possible. Even if I know what your argument is, I will only vote on how you articulate it.

General Things

-I don't read evidence as speeches are occurring to avoid making speech docs into a flowing crutch. I'll usually scan through docs during prep time.

-I will read all evidence relevant to the final rebuttals after the debate is over (and I mean actually relevant to the final rebuttals, not ALL of your padded card docs). How I evaluate a card in my decision is contingent on how it's extended.

-On a similar note, I think it's on the debaters to point out that evidence is bad or misrepresented. I'll take it at face value unless told otherwise.

-Explicit clash over implicit clash, you don't get a 3nr.

-I think it is on debaters to regulate time among themselves, especially pointing out prep stealing. Your speaks will suffer if I have to verbally keep the debate moving along.

-If you can't win that ridiculous, offensive, or immoral arguments are bad, then you have failed as an advocate. That said, I keep speaker points at my discretion; I will punish teams that take awful positions.

-Cross ex is pretty important. It's one of the most vulnerable areas when it comes to your knowledge of your evidence. It's also binding.

-I'm neg leaning on theory, but that doesn't mean theory isn't an option.

-Exception to the above: I'm not at all persuaded by "new affs justify x" or "they didn't disclose" when it comes to topical affs. You have a topic as a jumping off point to research and subsequently predict affs. You should have strategies against those affs.

-I won't judge kick unless told to in the 2nr.


Mostly stole this scale. I'm trying to apply this scale within each division at different tournaments.

Above a 29.5 deserves to contend for top speaker, 29-29.5 is a speaker award, 28.5-29 is good/should be clearing, 28.1-28.5 is average for your division, 27.5-28 is below average, 27.1-27.4 means you're likely in the wrong division. Any lower and you probably did something offensive.

Other things:

-Clarity should never be sacrificed for speed. I understand if you're short on time and you need to squeeze in a card, but unless you absolutely have to, prioritize clarity.

-If I'm not flowing something, you're likely being redundant.

-Make sure to pause a moment when transitioning between flows to make sure that I'm caught up and (forgive the pun) on the same page as you.

Grouchy speaker point notes:

-I don't care if you want a 30.

-Saying "cold conceded" auto-docks you .5

-Excessive cursing (With no real justification) will lower your speaks. I'm not against cursing, but an occasional word for emphasis is a far-cry from "f*ck" every other sentence. It's inefficient and a crutch from making real arguments.

Warren Decker Paradigm

7 rounds

One could probably gues when you look at me that I might be slightly more traditional than the regular run of the mill debate judge these days.  I would agree with your observation and reinforce that idea.  My flowing skills are not what they once were and that combined with the general incohrence of todays debates makes for tricky judging.  I have decided that I may start asking for the same downloads of your speeches that you provide the other team.  It seems to me that given that the render of the decision should be the one that has the best idea of what goes on in the debate that giving yor speeches to the judge might be good.  I certainly would prefer a clearly presented set of arguments but absent that reading them maybe better.

All of the above aside I prefer a compelling affirmative case that outweighs the disadvantages and if you counterplan you should have a compelling reason to vote for you other than the aff advantages.  I still believe that topicality is a legit argument and can be a round winner but I prefer a persuasive reason why there is a violation vs a bunch of whining on standards, etc.  Kritik arguments can be round winners if they a shown to be germane to the aff and have policy implications that are couched in the topic being discussed.  I do not prefer teams that sidestep the topic to discuss other things even if they are of critical importance.  Most debate should be topic centered.

I have been in  debate a long time and I think it is still one of the best things an undergraduate can do and so I will work as hard as possible to understand what goes on in any debate and hopefully make a defensible decision that is semi satisfactory to all concerned.

Fernando Gamboa Pena Paradigm

5 rounds

Please add me to the email chain: nfgp2014@gmail.com and wvucoaches@gmail.com

I use He/Him Pronouns

I'm a recent James Madison University Graduate; I debated for 4 years in college, as well as 3 years in high school. I started doing more traditional policy arguments in college and slowly moved into soft left and kritical arguments towards the end of my career.

For the most part I would prefer you do what you're comfortable with over what you think I'd like. If you don't understand what you're doing, there's a good chance I won't either. I have very little topic knowledge, so you will go far by slowing down and explaining what you're talking about outside of the context of debate.

Framing Issues: I want you to tell me how you would like me to start evaluating my decision – is it impact calc? a voting issue? Write my RFD for me. I don't think you're going to win on a role of the judge/ballot/round, etc. These are ineffective ways of expressing how you want me to start thinking about evidence, impacts, or debate; as such I will be very persuaded that the ROTJ is to adjudicate the round, ROTB is to decide a winner, etc. (but please make warrants as to why). FW should have an interp and standard(s), they shouldn't be self-serving or arbitrary.

Overviews: Please don't go over a few sentences. My flow (and my ability to piece your debate together at the end of the round) will suffer. If you feel you must tell me how much paper I need and slow down/check in with me to make sure I'm catching what you're saying.

Being nice: I can understand getting heated, but unless someone is being offensive you should treat your opponents with respect. If something offensive is said feel free to pause and collect yourself or you partner. Nothing should happen in the round that makes anyone upset or distressed – be a person first, before being a debater. Please let me know if I can help or if you'd like me to find someone to help.

Topicality: You don't have to be topical, just have a good reason why. I don't think you wanting to be untopical is reason enough. I think your aff should do something. You shouldn't shutter when the other team asks you for examples of what your aff is or does. Help me imagine the world of the aff. Please explain your TVA's and why they are topical. Don't just read a list of TVAs and assert they solve the aff. Explain the difference between the aff and the TVA. Explain why that difference matters and makes one topical and the other not.

Kritical Args: I probably don't know what your author means or what they are saying; it is your job to explain it to me. Tell me the story and I'll be with you. If you don't understand the K your opponent is reading, I probably don't either. Defend your aff and don’t just read the blocks your team gave you. Reading one card and making a few, thought out analytics will go much farther than you just reading your blocks and checking out.

If you aren’t part of an identity category tread lightly when choosing what arguments you want to read (Eg.Two white people or NBPOC probably shouldn’t be reading Wilderson like it’s the way, the truth, and the light or straight people probably shouldn’t be reading queer theory). I’ll be persuaded by arguments about credibility in instances like these. If your partner is not part of your Identity category, have no fear – just make sure you’re taking control of what is happening, it’s not a free pass for them to be making questionable race-related arguments.

DA/CP: Make sure I hear what the CP text is and know what the net benefits. I don’t think one conditional CP is abusive, but that doesn’t mean you can’t read theory.

Perms: You don't get to perm FW/T. You need to have a perm text (you gain nothing from listing off perms without having an explanation for what they do different than the aff or CP/K and why they don't link to the DA).

Theory: It’s useless without all the parts. Have and extend your interp, standards, voting issues, and impacts. ASPEC/OSPEC/Most Specs are silly, unless the topic makes it relevant (Eg. Regulation specs on the Legalization Topic). See fairness discussion above.

Other Notes: Please have fun! Make me laugh, be witty in CX, don’t be afraid to make banter with the other team. Don’t steal prep, if it becomes a problem I’ll run it. Deleting your analytics (or the ones you coach wrote) IS PREP and a turd move! You gain nothing except for my annoyance and a messy flow all over, so please don’t (odds are another one of your teams already sent it out and you’re just wasting everyone’s time).

Please ask me if you have any specific questions.

Rob Glass Paradigm

3 rounds

Affiliation: University of Houston

I’ve been judging since 2011. As of the start of the Space topic I had judged the second most College Policy rounds in the era of tabroom of any judge. Jackie Poapst was the only person ahead of me, close behind me were Armands Revelins and Daniel Stout. Take this how you will.

Yes, I want to be on the E-mail chain. Send docs to: robglassdebate [at] the google mail service . I don’t read the docs during the round except in unusual circumstances or when I think someone is clipping cards.

The short version of my philosophy, or “My Coach preffed this Rando, what do I need to know?”:

1. Debate should be a welcoming and open space to all who would try to participate. If you are a debater with accessibility (or other) concerns please feel free to reach out to me ahead of the round and I will work with you to make the space as hospitable as possible.

2. Have a fundamental respect for the other team and the activity. Insulting either or both, or making a debater feel uncomfortable, is not acceptable.

3. Debate is for the debaters. My job, in total, is to watch what you do and act according to how y’all want me. So do you and I’ll follow along.

4. Respond to the other team. If you ignore the other team or try to set the bounds so that their thoughts and ideas can have no access to debate I will be very leery of endorsing you. Find an argument, be a better debater.

5. Offense over Defense. I tend to prefer substantive impacts. That said I will explicitly state here that I am more and more comfortable voting on terminal defense, especially complete solvency takeouts. If I am reasonably convinced your aff does nothing I'm not voting for it.

6. With full credit to Justin Green: When the debate is over I'm going to applaud. I love debate and I love debaters and I plan on enjoying the round.

2019-2020 Update:

Empirically using prefs to fine-tune judge selection is a fool's errand. All evidence indicates that judge behaviour deciding rounds is effectively identical as long as strikes are in the mix. So, for your own sake you shouldn't spend too much time thinking about how to pref me. You probably have more important things to do in your life and more interesting things to read. If you want to talk to me about this please do, I'll gladly talk your ear off about the statistical work I've done with debate and what I think it reveals about the activity.

There's no kind of argument I find myself deeply opposed to*, and if won in round I'll vote on just about anything. I tend to lean 'left' on framework claims in K Aff vs. Policy debates and 'right' on substantive claims in round, including K Aff vs. Policy debates. I love in-depth debate and people who show genuine knowledge and passion for their args will be rewarded. While I view Politics DAs as being the educational ZP2theHC I have made my peace with their existence in this activity.

If you're still confused about this, you're overthinking this.

* PRE-UCO Update: I have started to see judge kick ooze its way out of High School debate and into College Debate. I think judge kick is an abomination and forces 2ARs to debate multiple worlds based on their interpretation of how the judge will understand the 2NR and then intervene in the debate. It produces a dearth of depth, and makes all of the '70s-'80s hand-wringing about Condo come true. My compromise with judge kick is this: If the 2NR advocates for judge kick the 2A at the start of 2AR prep is allowed to call for a flip. I will then flip a coin. If it comes up heads the advocacy is kicked, if it comes up tails it isn't. I will announce the result of the flip and then 2AR prep will commence. If the 2A does this I will not vote on any theoretical issues regarding judge kick. If the 2A does not call for a flip I will listen and evaluate theory arguments about judge kick as is appropriate.

Samantha Godbey Paradigm

Samantha Godbey, PhD

Director of Debate

West Virginia University


A note about my education-I started as a novice in 2004 (fossil fuels)- debated through college mostly in CEDA Northeast. My PhD is in Political Science, in particular my dissertatation is on the American public policy process in the area of human trafficking policy. I also have comped in International Relations and Comparative Politics- I have never taken a communications class in my life. All of that means literally nothing except that there are pretty good odds I have not read whatever it is you are reading (policy or k lit). It is your job to explain it to me and pursuade me, not assume that I already know what you are talking about.

How I feel about arguments

I want you all to do whatever it is you do best/ enjoy the most. There is nothing I won’t listen to/ vote on. I really like offense. It is very persuasive to me. I feel as if that is what I look for when I am making my decision at the end of the round, I also like when debaters tell me how they won. I don't like having to look for those reasons/ decide which is most important myself.

Im not crazy about judge intervention, I do my best to come in to every round as tabula rasa as possible. It is your responsibility to persuade me in one way or another to get my ballot.

I believe that I am extremely flow centric (unless you tell me not to be), also seems like I should note that I flow what you say not what is in your speech doc. I wont have your speech doc open at any time unless I am reading cards at the end of the debate. So, if its said in the round, it'll be on my paper. The round is therefore decided by my flow (again, unless told otherwise).

I vote for who wins the debate, I find all types of arguments persuasive from critical to straight up policy. I don't care what you do, just do what you do best (and impact it).

Alexandra Green Paradigm

4 rounds

Yes, please, to the email chain: greenalexandra7@gmail.com
Former Varsity Debater at Liberty University - 2N

~ DO YOU - seriously. If you have to adjust your style to debate in front of me, that implicates a very real and very large problem within the debate community. I was taught by a pretty large squad with a variety of debate backgrounds and I will genuinely attempt to vote off the flow.

~ Tech over truth but framing influences tech. You can win line by line and absolutely take the L on a poorly handled framing argument that a good 2N/2A cross-applies in their final speech. K teams, the best tech is truth - there's nothing harder to beat than a K team with a plethora of examples.

~ Organization and explanation are key. Warrants, warrants, warrants. Keep the flows neat and it's easier for me to vote. Don't go for too many links.

~ Evidence matters -particularly between two policy teams. But a strong, unanswered, warranted analysis can, like I said, flip the ballot. At the end of the debate, if the embedded clash is strong, I'll err on the side of whoever reads the best (most recent and most detailed) piece of evidence for that argument.

~ Speed-Reading is Fine - final speeches should be a combination of both big picture at the top/bottom and line by line

~ Extensions - Shallow extensions like "Extend my case from the last speech" are not extensions. If you want me to evaluate it, explain it. If it goes conceded, do a light explanation of why it takes out/comes before the NEG's arguments. All arguments need to be claim + warrant + impact. That includes extensions.


Things I love: a good counterplan, a strong case debate, a clear DA, small and technical 1ACs, impact turns.

- On the aff, I always read small, technical affirmatives so I'm perfectly fine with your questionably-topical 1AC. Just be ready to defend it.

- If you read more than 3 conditional advocacies, it's probably easier to persuade me you're doing something abusive than in other rounds. I'm pretty neutral in terms of how I view theory - if you do something "abusive" but can defend it on the line by line than you do you (especially with PICS).

- 2AR framing should explain to me why my ballot starts with the AFF's impacts then go from there.

Versus K Teams

- If you're going for the perm, go for the perm. (You should also almost always go for the perm)

- "Util outweighs" is not an argument. Give me warrants and contextualization. You can't just win your aff you also have to beat the K. Best place to start is the Alternative debate.

- I ran and will vote on Framework but I am not emotionally attached to framework as an argument. If you don't explain to me why framework is a pre-req to the knowledge production of the round you will lose. If you don't engage the affirmative, you will lose. Framework is best won when coupled with an intense case debate - do your research.


On the AFF:

- go for the impact turns versus framework. "We meet" might be a fair, even true, argument but 9/10 times the impact turn is harder to beat and more persuasive.

- fairness makes the most sense to me as an internal link to education. That being said, you should explain how every facet of the debate space ties back to how and what we learn - this is the strength of the K.

- Great K teams beat policy teams on the framing and drop that framing down into the tech in the rebuttals. Framing is how I interpret the flow - you should do that line by line reinterpretation for me through the lens of the K.

- Against a K, go for exclusion arguments against the alternative as a justification for the permutation. Perm you do you, we do us.

On the neg:

- Most K teams I have debated/judged aren't the best at convincing me not to weigh the aff. I don't even think you have to win "don't weigh the aff" so much as "this is how you weigh the aff." That's the framing debate and should be prioritized.

- Ontology arguments are most persuasive to me when coupled with an abundance of historical examples. Truth is the best tech.

- The more particular the links, the better. The specifics of how the aff makes x link worse should be fleshed-out thoroughly in the block.

- Treat the perm like a counterplan - explain what solvency deficits it has, what the impacts to those solvency deficits are, and try to garner external offense to the permutation.

- I'm an English major who spends most of my time reading, writing, and researching critical theory. That being said, I find myself genuinely irritated when debaters attempt to mash together authors who would fundamentally disagree on how the world and violence operates. If you know the backgrounds of theorists and theories well enough, you can absolutely hash that out on the perm debate as a reason why the AFF doesn't capture the alternative.

CX: it's binding and I'll flow it/pay aggressive attention to it. CX is my favorite speech - take advantage of it and save time.


1. I will absolutely raise your speaks if you make me laugh. Sidenote: I love bad puns.

2. Lower your speaks with: card clipping, stealing prep, being racist, sexist, ableist, or overtly offensive in rhetoric or actions, making CX a shouting match.

Heather Hall Paradigm

3 rounds


Heather Hall

Heather Holter Hall
Liberty University

A plan should be the focus of debate.  The “big question” in a debate should be “Is the plan a good or bad idea?”  The answer to that question can be based in substantive policy, philosophical arguments, questions of representations, etc. as long as the debate is grounded in a plan.  

There are no arguments that I will off-hand reject but there are definitely some that are harder sells. I especially dislike the trend towards multiple conditional advocacies. And this is mostly because those debates are rarely executed well. I am not an expert in the topic so I come to a debate to learn.The more you teach me, the better the debate will be.If you assume I am an information-processing machine who can process your research and strategic decisions and spit a scientific answer of correctness back to you, you will probably lose.

For performance debates, I have very strong feelings about preserving some of the fundamentals of debate. I believe things like responsiveness, time limits, "fiat", plan texts, and even clear speed have enormous educational value and teach skills not available in other forums. I am in favor of making debate more inclusive and including other types of evidence as long as there is still clash and topic related education in the round. Most importantly, I like consistent, creative, well thought out arguments.

Topicality requires well-explained, specific examples of ground or educational loss. I am not a huge fan of spec arguments.

Counterplans can be conditional and plan-inclusive but I can also be persuaded that they are abusive, given the right explanation. I really dislike multiple conditional CPs. I really love a good case debate.

Kritiks require very specific and concrete links. The more you explain the K in non-philosphical jargon terms, the more persuaded I will be. You must have an active alternative. There are only a few instances in which the "resist the aff" alternative is persuasive. Fiat is imaginary for both the aff AND the neg. You don't get magical powers to pretend that resistance will immediately reshape the entire world's perspective on critical issues. Be real about how reistance works and I can vote for you. I think kritiks of epistemology are circular in the context of debate.

I tend to like substantive debates over theoretical ones. I think that meta debates should be a part of a debate that also contains topic related arguments. Just winning your framework but failing to use this new methodology to say something about the topic misses a huge part of debate--our ability to learn about this topic and I value the educational aspects of debate very highly.

I give good speaker points to debaters who are clear, smart, and kind. I will not read a lot of evidence in order to recreate the round because it was so unclear that I couldn’t get it the first time. Clarity and good arguments are way more important than speed and if I can’t understand you, you lose. The more concrete explanations offered to me, especially in the last two speeches, the better off you are.

I love the activity of debate and especially the people I am blessed to know through the activity. Whatever arguments you run, just remember that each individual debate is about more than just that round. There have been thousands who have debated before you and many more will follow so please respect the activity and all the people involved. It is not just about your own ego or simply winning a ballot.

Have fun!


Faizan Hussain Paradigm

7 rounds

Faizan Hussain NYU Class of 2020

Affiliation – Edgemont, Stuyvesant

Experience- 3.3 years debating in High School Policy Debate. 0.7 years debating in High School LD. Currently debating for NYU. Tangential experience in coaching Policy and Public Forum

TLDR: Fairly middle of the road  coming from a kritikal background, but open to any arguments you make.


Rules that cannot be changed when I judge

1)    No Transbigotry good, racism good, ableism good, other morally reprehensible arguments, etc.

2)    The debate cannot go over time if the round is time pressured. Changes in time structure that have mutual consent can go through unless they conflict with my deadline to make a decision

3)    Misrepresenting the record of your argument through unethical methods like card clipping, cross reading and other similar methods is prohibited. If a team challenges another team for such misrepresentation, the debate will be stopped and decided on the validity of the accusation. If the accusation is deemed true, the accused team will lose, and they will be docked speaker points. If the accusation has insufficient evidence to back it up or is deemed false, the accusing team will lose, and they will be docked speaker points.

4)    I will not allow for alternative use time if the tournament doesn’t specify that cross examination time can be substituted for preparation

Strong Preferences

1)    I am uncomfortable with arguments or debating styles that make the debate space inaccessible

2)    A person’s request for an accommodation to ensure the fairness of the round or the health of the participant should be respected

3)    Use gender neutral pronouns unless you know the pronouns of the person you are referring to.

4)    I do not care whether or not you use the entirety of speech or prep time, and do not find it impressive to give a stand up rebuttal

5)    I would prefer that you flash evidence and analytics to your opponents and me. I will delete the latter component after the round.

Weak Preferences

1)    Prep ends when you’re done prepping, but time after prep should be devoted solely to flashing documents or starting the speech

2)    I consider prep to be documenting arguments and organizing the speech, which includes copying and pasting.

3)    Would prefer disclosure unless there’s a strong reason for it otherwise, including new affs

4)    Don’t necessarily think that you have to mention an argument directly to answer it (i.e Saying that the aff and alt are mutually exlcusive attacks the perm), although your arguments still need to be specific to whatever nuanced critique the other team is making

5)    If you’re unintelligible to me, I will exclaim clear, give you 2 more chances, then drop my pen


1)    I’m not that stringent on requiring you to put most of arguments on the line by line. Overviews to me can be used for extending dropped arguments, but also answering arguments that you need to answer

2)    Generally favor offense/defense paradigm

3)    Impact Calc/ Role of the Ballot is nice when started early

4)    You should strive to make me sign my ballot within the first 30 seconds of your 2NR/2AR and push me towards the path of least judge intervention

Counter plan

1)    Generally a fan of the CP and DA strategy

2)    I don’t believe that all CPs require a solvency advocate, although an advocate certainly helps and there are certain case impacts that need a solvency advocate.

3)    That being said, a solvency advocate really helps on some of the more abusive CPs (Process, Delay, etc.). In these sorts of the debates, the aff and neg should tussle over whether or not the debate that the CP entails is germane to resolutional discussion


1)    Make sure to explain the terminology and theory behind your criticism. There may assumptions behind your argument that you assume I will get, but I probably won’t, and I won’t do extra work for concepts that I could not reasonably expect your opponents to understand.

2)    Specificity in the links is crucial, and generic links make me more likely to lean aff on the perm

3)    Make sure to articulate how the alt resolves the links and their associated impacts when going for the alt

4)    I slightly prefer kritikal debate


1)    I do view the politics DA as legitimate, and I like this DA

2)    Make sure to specify the direction of the Politics DA and who needs to be convinced.

3)    I prefer Topic DAs over other DAs, although I do appreciate other DAs with specific links to the DA

4)    Make sure to weigh the DA against the case , or vice versa

Framework/Performance Affs

1)      Don’t have a concrete definition of how I view these debates. On one hand I think that debate grows from the pedagogical diversity of these last few years, but on the other hand I find that people use generally abusive affs that don’t really promote an educational paradigm to debate

2)      The Neg should articulate why their interpretation creates a model of debate that is pedagogically useful and preferably resolves the aff. The latter doesn’t need to happen all the time, because if some instances the aff may be something that cannot and should not be included in debate.

3)      The aff should value a strong counter-interpretation, and link the framework to the criticism of the aff or go for the permutation.

4)      Don’t necessarily believe that affs have to be tied to the resolution at all, but these affs should have better reason than the resolutional performance affs

5)      Again, generally willing to vote on anything



1)    I am biased towards to the aff on conditionality

2)    Don’t be blippy on a violation, and make sure to clearly articulate the standards and voters

3)    Love Topicality

Speaker Points

1)    I will try to ensure that I don’t discriminate against disabilities when using speaker points (i.e docking points for stuttering or giving points for a stand up 1AR).

2)    References to pop culture, even if it’s a miss for me I’ll likely try to give some bump

3)    I base speaker points on whether you adopted good strategies against your opponent and how good your responses were to the opponent.

Philosophies that I find similar to mind

Vikram Kohli, Matt Malia

May Adjust this paradigm later as I continue judging, but for now just make sure to have fun debating and learn

Josh Imes Paradigm

3 rounds

Updated March 2019

New School Debater 2007-2010 / New School Coach 2010-2014 / WVU Coach 2014-2019

Please feel free to do what you are most comfortable with. I have a reputation for being very critically oriented, but I feel as if I vote for policy arguments more and more. I am still pretty far left of center, but not as far left as I was when I first started. I will not, however vote for arguments that I find morally repugnant. If you don't know what those things might be, then "better safe than sorry" might be a good strat.

Some general comments that will help you understand how I feel about certain parts of the debate. I think that a compelling, developed argument without cards will often beat a highly carded, poorly explained argument in almost every case. If you can make smart arguments and analytics, then I am probably going to be persuaded by you. I don't think that every arguments needs to have a card to be true, and I don't think an unwarranted card makes a bad argument true.

A few technical things: I vote more and more on my flow than on my overall perception of a debate. If I don't know what you're saying, then you should probably be clearer or slow down. I don't want to read a lot of cards after the round, but I will read important ones that you tell me to if you explain why I have to read that card. Tell me that it directly answers their important cards, or that it is the best piece of evidence that shows why you win, or that it's written by an author I like, and then I'll probably read it. When it comes to the end of the debate, give me specific ways to vote for you. The easier you make it on me, the more likely I'll be to vote for you.

T- I used to be very biased towards T arguments, but I am less so now. I think that T arguments can devolve into blippy extensions of a three word definition. Those are the kinds of T debates I dislike. If there is a specific reason why an interpretation changes the way an aff functions, then I am open to that debate. I think that an argument over "how much is substaintial" is not particularly useful. I am completely fine with non-topical affs, in fact I like them a lot. With that having been said, with great power comes great responsibility and that responsibility is often answering T and FW. For me, “T is fascist” is not enough. You need to explain why you need to be non-topical and why a topical version of your plan is a bad idea. I am more likely to buy abuse stories that involve education in a coherent way, saying non-topical plans kill education is not enough, explain how that type of education is bad, and why a topical version might work better, or just a modified version. If you are going for the "topical version" argument, then you should probably have an example of what a topical version would be.

FW- I default to the framework of the aff unless the neg on face challenges it, but the aff also has to defend their framework and answer the other team’s objections with substantive answers, “aff choice” isn’t enough. If they want to use USFG policy to do something, then so be it. If they want to use themselves as agents, then that is good too. You have to defend which option you choose. I feel that debates about debate can be important and useful, but only if they are substantive and meaningful (I don’t find the Shively “Euthanasia” card falls into those categories).

DA’s- As a debater, I never read DAs, but I am becoming more comfortable with them. I don't do tons of policy research every day, so I may not know every scenario currently being read. That only means that it is the neg's responsibility to explain the story of the disad and the warrants of the cards. This is the bare minimum for any argument. I am sympathetic to K’s of DA’s, so be warned. That doesn't mean that I have an aff bias on disads, but that I am more familiar with the literature critiquing them than the uniqueness card you cut last night. Just one thing that might help you out, I am pretty willing to buy a “try or die” situation against a DA if there is not enough impact work done. This is especially true absent a CP. If it comes to Plan v. DA, I’m probably going to pick plan unless you explain to me why I can’t. If you make it seem like the plan action will certainly lead to the demise of the entire world then there should be some seemingly factual warrants to why this is the case (remember this doesn't have to be a card, see above).

CP’s- Competition is key. Explaining it is even better. There needs to be a clear discussion to how the CP competes and is net beneficial to the aff. I need a clear net benefit and why that is more important than plan action. I also need clear explanation on the Perm debate. Each Perm should be answered individually or group for some logical reason. Do not make a Perm argument on one perm, drop the others and then pretend you answered them all. I flow your answers on the specific Perm you mention. Be clear and be precise on the Perm debate. I will get to theory below.

K’s- I said at the top I was a K debater, so if you are a K team, this is a blessing and a curse. I will be automatically more attracted to these arguments, but will also hold them to a higher standard. Don’t expect that I know what you’re talking about even if I do. I try my best to only evaluate the arguments made, not what I know about the philosopher/philosophies you are citing. You will win easily if you explain how your arguments function in relation to the other team’s arguments. You will lose easily if you throw out high theory jargon and expect me to connect the dots.

Theory- I don’t particularly like it because it always seems to be lacking. Are multiple perms really that detrimental to anybody? Does it really skew your time that much to answer “do both” and “do the plan, then the alt?” I’ve never seen a really good theory debate and I don’t want to see a lot of bad ones to find a good one. If it’s something you like to do, then do it, but you’re really going to have to sell me on why your scripted block beats their scripted block. One way to do this is give specific examples to the debate you're in. I will be much more likely to buy your theory argument if you make it seem like X thing is bad always, but in this round it is just egregious.

Non-Topical Affs- These are the affs I have the most experience with and what I am used to judging. If you are the team that is looking for the straight up policy debate judge that just finished spending his Friday night cutting politics updates, I am not the judge for you. If you are the K team that is looking for the person that won't automatically vote them down for not being topical, then I am the judge for you.

I think that debate should be much more of an open space than it is. Just because something isn't what you do, doesn't make it automatically wrong and if you debate in front of me with that mentality, you will probably lose. Engaging arguments is the most important part of debate for me.

V Keenan Paradigm

4 rounds

This is not a change in philosophy; it’s a clarification for those who lack the literary interpretation skills for the haikus and those who don’t quite feel I’ve written enough about my particular lens on debate.

I do not WANT to be on the email chain/what-not; however, I SHOULD* be on the chain/what-not. Note the critical ability to distinguish these two things, and the relevance of should to the fundamental nature of this activity. Email for this purpose: vikdebate@gmail.com .

(Do not try to actually contact me with this address - it’s just how I prevent the inevitable electronically transmitted cyber infection from affecting me down the road, because contrary to popular belief, I do understand disads, I just have actual probability/internal link threshold standards.)

Things I am cool with:

Tell met the story

Critical Args

Critical Lit (structural criticisms are more my jam)

Performative strategies

CP fun times and clever intersections of theory

A text. Preferable a well written text. Unless there are no texts.

Not half-assing going for theory

Case debate


So many things about SPACE!!!

You do you

Things that go over less well:

Blippy theory

Accidentally sucking your own limited time by unstrategic or functionally silly theory

Critical lit (high theory … yes, I know I only have myself to blame, so no penalty if this is your jelly, just more explanation)

Multiple contradictory conditional neg args

A never ending series of non existent nuclear wars that I am supposed to determine the highest and fastest probability of happening (so many other people to blame)

Telling me a proper “international treaties” topic predicated on international law is not part of the “legal topic” rotation year and then making them a plank of something that doesn’t seem to be able to teach the basics of test cases in judicial restrictions.

Not having your damn tags with the ev in the speech doc. Seriously.

As a general note: Winning framework does not necessarily win you a debate - it merely prioritizes or determines the relevancy of arguments in rounds happening on different levels of debate. Which means, the distinction between policy or critical or performative is a false divide. If you are going to invoke a clash of civilizations mentality there should be a really cool video game analogy or at least someone saying “Release the Kraken”.

Don't make the debate harder for yourself.

Try to have fun and savor the moment.


*** *** ***


*Judges should be on the chain/what-not for two reasons: 1)as intelligence gathering for their own squad and 2) to expedite in round decision making. My decisions go faster than most panels I’m on when I am the one using prep time to read through the critical extended cards BEFORE the end of the debate. I almost never have the docs open AS the debaters are reading them because I limit my flow to what you SAY. (This also means I don’t read along for clipping … because I am far more interested in if you are a) comprehensible and b) have a grammatical sentence in some poor overhighlighted crap.) Most importantly, you should be doing the evidence comparisons verbally somehow, not relying on me to compare cards after the debate somehow. If I wanted to do any of that, I would have stayed a high school English teacher and assigned way more research papers.

I’m taking the time to explain this bit in detail because 1) I don’t have an actual team here and 2) I wrote some of this last year for the NDT**. SIGH**. That also ALL required hedging your bets competitively on a panel, so I recognize that I may not be the person your strat is ideally geared towards, which is fine, and can be a strategically smart choice. But that means understanding what I do and do not care about on the flow in that case will matter more. I’m old, so I really have no compunction identifying that I didn’t get something because you failed to flag it well, or yelling “clear” when you start to mumble through your 8th uniqueness card I don’t care about.

** Collins, Suzanne (2009-09-01). The Hunger Games. Scholastic Press. Kindle Edition

The rules of the Hunger Games are simple. In punishment for the uprising, each of the twelve districts must provide one girl and one boy, called tributes, to participate. The twenty-four tributes will be imprisoned in a vast outdoor arena that could hold anything from a burning desert to a frozen wasteland. Over a period of several weeks, the competitors must fight to the death. The last tribute standing wins. Taking the kids from our districts, forcing them to kill one another while we watch — this is the Capitol’s way of reminding us how totally we are at their mercy. How little chance we would stand of surviving another rebellion. Whatever words they use, the real message is clear. “Look how we take your children and sacrifice them and there’s nothing you can do. If you lift a finger, we will destroy every last one of you. Just as we did in District Thirteen.” To make it humiliating as well as torturous, the Capitol requires us to treat the Hunger Games as a festivity, a sporting event pitting every district against the others. The last tribute alive receives a life of ease back home, and their district will be showered with prizes, largely consisting of food. All year, the Capitol will show the winning district gifts of grain and oil and even delicacies like sugar while the rest of us battle starvation. “It is both a time for repentance and a time for thanks,” intones the mayor.

Joey Konrad Paradigm

3 rounds

Experience Currently a debater for James Madison University, attended the NDT twice while debating in college.

Yes I would like to be on the email chain: jrad729@gmail.com

If you only have a few seconds to look this wiki over, then the most important thing you should see is do whatever you are comfortable with and impact out everything. Every judge has some bias in which arguments they find persuasive or not, but I think it’s a judges responsibility to limit their bias and judge the debate in front of them. That being said, your argument should have clear links and impacts, or why it matters for me to evaluate it. Even if it’s a small voting issue or larger warrant, do not forget to impact it out. Dropped arguments are true arguments IF impacted. What follows are my general thoughts about debate:

Tech > truth with limitations. I judge based on the flow, but some cards do not even get close to the claims being made and I am very hesitant to vote on garbage evidence just because there isn't the most robust answer. I think this is distinct from "spin", which if you have a justification for why I should extrapolate the claims of a piece of evidence, I am much more open to hearing that.

Clarity > speed. I will say clear 1 or 2 times and if I still do not understand what you are saying I will clearly stop flowing.

Argument and evidence distinctions > "our cards are better read them".

Quality > quantity of evidence.

New 1AR arguments are inevitable and probably good.

Framework/Topicality for the Aff: I default to competing interpretations unless told otherwise. I think education impact turns are underutilized because the negative rarely has a good defense of why plan focused debate is educationally valuable or even interesting. While it is always true that affirmatives can get swamped by process counterplans and politics DAs, your offense should indict the whole of the topic and explain why those debate practices edge out your content or render it unimportant. Strongly suggest you have a warrant for affirming your particular method because I find generic "refusal" to be susceptible to "do it on the neg" style arguments. You should also make sure you win your aff when debating topicality, because I don't think you can solve the impact turns on framework if you don't win your aff. Defensive arguments about the negative's interpretation are also underutilized.

Framework/Topicality for the Neg: The negative does not get enough mileage out of their predictability arguments. Debate is a game that allows participants a constant refinement of arguments and pushes debaters to critically engage not only a literature base but also the interactions between arguments, which is always more suited around a stable point of clash. Having equitable opportunity to engage and clash with arguments is the most important part of debate, and implicates the affirmative's claims about education/overlimiting. Many critical argument used to respond to framework or topicality are patently absurd, so your time is best spent making clear and quick distinctions to push through the bad arguments and to settle in on your impact and what debates should look like.

Aff things/Case debate: Solvency and internal links are always more important than impacts. Both sides underdebate these points and they are often the weakest and most crucial parts of an affirmative. Topical critical affirmatives are very strategic and I am inclined to give better speaker points to teams that can play with both critical and policy aspects of an affirmative.

Disads: Not the biggest fan of politics because I think thumpers, especially in the current political climate, are more persuasive than the link. Internal links are often jokes so affirmatives should capitalize and instead of reading another uniqueness card should invest in proving their absurdity.

Counterplans: Should be textually and functionally competitive. Sufficiency is thrown around and often needs more work explaining what parts are sufficiently solved (using aff cards is really helpful here because they almost never say ONLY the plan can solve this particular issue). Unless the add-on has a good internal link, the aff is much more suited to dig in on solvency deficits and permutation distinctions. The ESR counterplan is a dirty, cheating trick and should be called out as such.

Kritiks: Love them. While it is fantastic to have plan specific links (which I will reward with higher speaker points), I don't think they are at all necessary to win the K. Taking more generic indicts and creatively applying them to how the affirmative defends their plan and how that implicates solvency and the world of the affirmative is a valuable skill and is the best parts of debating the K. I do not default to util and affirmatives should not be lazy in this part of the debate. Affirmatives should defend their epistemology and representations rather than trying to permute away the kritik. I often find that affirmatives who focus in on defending the plan rather than trying to dodge links are much more likely to win. Policy-option frameworks are ridiculous and I am not persuaded by them.

Condo/Theory: Somewhere in the middle on conditionality, but I lean negative. The minute an affirmative team has a counter-interpretation for condo, they have implicitly conceded defense to their strongest offensive claims about strategy skew and argument irresponsibility, and those counterinterpretations are always the most arbitrary. Just defend it sucks because it kinda does. Other theory arguments are under debated and I generally

Random thoughts:

-- Don't be rude. There is a difference between being aggressively smart and rude.

-- Laundry list impact cards are trash and I am highly persuaded by arguments that I shouldn't count them as impact cards.

-- internal links > impact defense always. The cult of impact defense is a detriment to debate. Time pressured 1AR's are better served investing in fewer but more developed internal link takeouts than reading a bunch of impact defense.

-- If your partner types things up for you on a separate laptop, remember to be clear when reading through it. Debaters often get mush mouth when trying to spread through other people's language.

Finally, do not say anything racist/sexist/homophobic/transphobic/ableist etc. or you can expect to get 0 speaker points and arguably a loss. Debate is an educational and fun activity, not a space where people come to be marginalized.

Please ask me questions if my rambling here is confusing, and have fun!

Christopher Kozak Paradigm

3 rounds

Experience: 4 years high school policy, 4 years college policy, 4 years coaching college and high school. Current director of debate at Rutgers-Newark. 

My judging philosophy/preference is simple. Make arguments. That includes a claim, a warrant and why in a world of competing claims does your claim matter. I don't have a judging "paradigm" and to say that I am a tablarasa is as naive as it is stupid. I am going to split the difference and just explain to you what kinds of arguments I am familiar with.

I debated the K for most of college. I value K's that are nuanced, well explained, and clearly applied to a specific context. I like original thinking in debate and will try my best to adapt to any performance style that you wish present in the round. Just be aware to all teams when debating framework on these issues that I do not consider appeals to "objective rules" persuasive in the context of determining debate norms. Debate is a rare activity in which students are allowed to define the conditions of their own education. I take this aspect of debate very seriously. This does not mean I am hostel to "policy debate good" arguments, it just means that I am holding both teams to a high stander of explanation when evaluating framework arguments.

I was mostly a straight up debater in high school so I am also familiar with the other side of the fence. I love a good straight up policy round. I am a current events junkie and find that form of debate extremely valuable. I would just say that the only thing you need to worry about in front of me in a straight up round is that I have a hard time flowing quick blipy analysis (who doesn't?). Again, not really my style of debate, but honestly if you just make sure you pause for a breath or something between arguments I will get everything you need me to get on my flow.

It may sound like I have a lot of "biases" but I do honestly try to evaluate arguments exactly as debaters tell me to. These preferences mostly come into play only when debaters are not doing their jobs.

Avoid having to adapt to me at all and just tell me what you would like my preferences to be and we will be straight.

I welcome you to ask any specific questions you may have about my philosophy before the debate considering I don't have much of an idea about what to put in these things.

Joe Leeson-Schatz Paradigm

7 rounds

Updated for 2014-2015 debate season.


I am no longer awarding points for people taking the veg pledge. However, I still strongly believe that if you care about the environment, racism, or injustice that you should register at tournaments vegetarian or vegan. Tournaments will provide for your nutiritional needs and you will have abstained from using your registration fees paying for the slaughter of sentient creatures whose death requires abhorent working conditions for people of color, massive greenhouse gas emissions, and the death of individuals. 

Meet Your MeatView From AboveDeforestation of Animal AgricultureRunoff from Hog Farm


What people decide to consume is a political act, not a personal one. Deciding to consume flesh at debate tournaments continues the pattern of accepting violence and discrimination. This happens for workers, for people living in food deserts, people living in countries across the world, and for the non/human animals sent to slaughter. Tournaments are not food deserts. Your choice to consume differently can make a tangible impact on debate as a community and beyond. Your choice has global and local ramifications. I urge you to make the correct choice in registering your dietary choice even if it has no impact on your speaker points. Several people said that they didn't want to be coerced into making the decision to go vegetarian or vegan at tournaments for speaker points. Now is your chance to make that choice without the impact of speaker points.


All that being said, how you choose to debate is a political choice as well. You can debate however you like but you should realize that the methodology and the content you put forth are not neutral choices. Whatever choices you make you should be ready to defend them in round. “As Stuart and Elizabeth Ewen emphasize in Channels of Desire: The politics of consumption must be understood as something more than what to buy, or even what to boycott. Consumption is a social relationship, the dominant relation-ship in our society – one that makes it harder and harder for people to hold together, to create community. At a time when for many of us the possibility of meaningful change seems to elude our grasp, it is a question of immense social and political proportions.” (hooks 376).


If it is not already clear, I will say it outright: I view debate as a space for education, activism, and social justice. This does not mean I won't vote on framework or counterplans. What it does mean is that the arguments that I will find most appealing are those arguments that speak to how traditional approaches to debate are beneficial to us as individuals to create a better world. It is not that fairness is irrelevant, but that fairness is relevant only to that extent. Fairness plays a part in constructing meaninful education and activism but is not the sole standard to enable good debate. Concepts of fairness are not value-neutral but it is a debate that can be defend and won in front of me since I do not think fairness is irrelevant either. For teams breaking down such structures, you still must win the debate that your approach to debate is better for advacing causes of social justice. If you like policymaking and are running counterplans you merely need to win that your counterplan is a better approach. The same applies for theory violations. I will vote on them if you win that the impact to the violation is important enough for me to pull the trigger. The same is also true for kritiks and other styles of debate. Win that your approach and your argument deserves to win because of the impact that it has.


Again, to be clear, this does not mean that I intend to abandon the flow or vote based upon my personal beliefs. My belief is that debate is more than a game and that the things we say and do in it are not neutral-choices. This does not necessarily mean that so-called traditional policy debate is bad but that the way it should be approached by those teams should not be assumed to be neutral.


Whether it is what you eat, or what you debate, your choice is political. Our world can change. It is up to all of us to make it happen. Movements are already happening all around us. Don't let the norms dictate what you debate or what you consume. Debate should be at the forefront of these initiatives. Use the education you gain in debate to say something and to do something meaningful both in round and beyond.


Vines Gardens

Urban Farming




Chris Leonardi Paradigm

7 rounds

Modern problems require modern solutions.

P.S. I have never and will never evaluate a judge kick argument as if it were valid. If you make a 2NR decision, you've made it. You can't unmake soup. I'm not going to intervene into the debate to fix your 2NR mistakes.

Ian Lowery Paradigm

4 rounds

Ian "Bishop" Lowery, 4 years of policy debate at George Mason University. I'm currently a second-year coach/judge for GMU.

Please strike me. PLEASE! Even if you think I'm a good judge, Imma need you to take this L for me.


Tabula Rasa. I believe that my role as judge is to absorb the information provided within the round and decide who wins based on the debater's ability to explain and defend their position. Do whatever you were going to do before you saw my name on the pairing. Treat the following as proclivities that may make my decision easier or increase your speaker points.

I'm not very familiar with the current topic, so it probably isn't wise to assume that I know all the policy techne or kritical link stories to the topic or specific affs. I mostly ran kritical arguments during my time as a debater, in my earlier years I ran traditional policy but most of my relevant experience is with the K. That said, I believe that all arguments should be made palatable for the judge, so if I don't understand what i'm voting for, i'm not likely to vote for it.

General Stuff:

Conduct - Don't be a jerk. It's alright to be aggressive, but have a point. Don't be malicious. At it's core, debate is a game, so everyone should have fun. Keep it playful.

Time - Prep ends when the document is saved. Debaters should keep track of their own and opponents speech times.

E-mail Chain? - Yes, I would like to be on the email chain: ilowery@gmu.edu.


Theory - One of the most interesting parts of debate is that it the players can make rules as they play the game. For that reason, I love theory. However, I don't like listening to two teams read pre-written blocks at one another with no clash. The more technical team gets their way. I can be persuaded to reject the arg not the team. Potential abuse is not a voter unless well impacted. Please, no reverse voters.

Counterplans - I'm fine with most CPs. Not a huge fan of process and conditional multiplank CPs. Judge kicking isn't really my thing (I will if the neg says I should and the aff doesn't respond, but don't expect me to on default). A large part of the 2nr should be explaining why this position is uniquely better than the Aff and explaining what that world looks like.

Kritiks - I prefer alts that actually claim to do something. I don't like links of omission. Argue your position well and prove that you have an understanding of your literature base = I will probably want to vote for you.

Kritical Aff's/Framework - I am willing to vote on alternative interpretations of debate or turns to framework. I don't consider "fairness" an impact by default, but certainly can be convinced to vote for it if well impacted in the round. If the Aff doesn't have any clear bridge to the topic/resolution, I'll be sympathetic to fairness arguments. Novices should read a plan.

The Gamble - If you successfully do the following, you will get a .2 boost in speaker points. If you try and fail at the following, you will lose .2 speaker points (hence the gamble). Incorporate the words: Boneless, Clout, or Deadass into your speech in a manner that makes me laugh. If it doesn't make me laugh, you lose the gamble. You can try as many times as you wish, but you can only win once per debate.

If you have any questions, hmu at ilowery@masonlive.gmu.edu. I will try to answer them to the best of my abilities. If your league doesn't allow RFD disclosure, it might be in your interest to reach out to me.

Lauren Luciani Paradigm

3 rounds

I debated for Cornell University from 2014-2019 and was primarily a 2A reading K affs.

General Information

Yes, I want to be on the email chain: lll52@pitt.edu

Please tell me ahead of time if you plan to read arguments describing sexual assault or suicide in detail.

Racism, homophobia, transphobia, ableism, sexism, etc will cost you based on the severity of the situation.

If you willfully choose not to honor reasonable access requests, you will lose. I am open to discussions of what a reasonable request is and why the request is/was not reasonable.

Most of the arguments I have run have been kritikal, but I’ve also gone for framework and topical affs. Please don't read a K you aren't familiar with just because you think I will like it, run arguments you are comfortable going for - if you aren't prepared to go for it in the 2NR, it shouldn't be in your 1NC.

Absent an extenuating circumstance, each partner should give one constructive and one rebuttal - this doesn't mean you can't talk during your partner's speech, but interruptions should be kept to a minimum.

Tech over truth, but well thought out logical arguments will beat an avalanche of cards and blocks anyday. If you ask me not to flow, I am not the judge for you - flowing is how I process the debate and make my decision.

Speed is okay as long as it is clear. You should slow down on tags, long overviews, or other arguments you want me to highlight on my flow.

I would rather not read a ton of evidence after the round, but I really care about evidence quality in the cards I do read. It's better to read a handful of good, well highlighted cards than a ton of incoherent sentences.

I won't judge kick.

Clash Debates

K Affs:

I don’t care whether you read a plan or not, but affs should have a specific tie to the resolution and be a departure from the status quo that is external from the reading of the 1AC. Impact turning framework is more strategic than counter-defining words or reading clever counter-interps, but you should have a clear model of debate and what the role of the negative is.


Too often, framework debates don't have enough framing and clash on the impact level and neglecting the case debate entirely will make framework an uphill battle. I don't think procedural fairness in and out of itself is an impact, but I can be persuaded otherwise and do believe it is an impact link. Similarly, limits are not an impact (and you can't persuaded me otherwise), but are an important internal link to most impacts. Most of us won't become policy makers anytime soon, so contextualize your impacts to this space and the round. Concretize why your model of debate is better than the one that would result from the aff's model. I am growing increasingly annoyed by the double standard where K teams are held responsible for every abusive K team, but policy teams aren't accountable for the other policy teams reading the same framework shell - make sure to tease out why your model of debate is different from the one the aff is criticizing. TVAs are important and should be tied to both the aff's stakeholders and theory of power. The absence of a well developed TVA in the 2NR makes your claim that you don't exclude the aff difficult to take seriously.

Ks (vs policy affs):

I'm familiar with most of the K literature read in debate, but that doesn't mean I will automatically understand your argument. If I can't explain the K in your words after the round or articulate how it solves, I will probably end up voting for the other team - jargon is not a substitute for historical and material examples. Make sure to tell me why the impacts of the K come first and weigh the impacts of the K against that of the alt. Absent serious investment in the framework portion of the debate/massive concessions, the aff will most likely get to weigh the aff's impacts against the K so impact comparison and framing is vital. Framework arguments should not only establish why the aff's framework is bad, but also establish what your framework is so that my ballot is more aligned more closely with your framework by the end of the debate. K's don't have to have an alt and you can kick out of the alt and go for the links as case turns.

Policy Affs (vs K):

Don't lose the specificity of the aff in favor of generic K answers. Reading long framing contentions that fail to make it past the 1AC and 2ACs that include every generic K answer won't get you as far as taking the time to engage the K and being intentional about your evidence. You should clearly articulate an external impact and the framing for the round. I'm more likely to buy framework arguments about how advocating for a policy action is good politically and pedagogically than fairness arguments.

K vs K

Affs should have an advocacy statement and defend a departure from the status quo. Affs don't have to have a clear method coming out of the 1AC, although I am more likely to vote neg on presumption absent a method. I have a higher threshold for perms in debates where the aff doesn't defend a plan, but just saying "K affs don't get perms" isn't sufficient for me to deny the perm. Perm: do the aff and Perm: we do us, you do you don't make sense to me and I have yet to hear a good reason as to why I should vote on them.

Policy vs Policy

I will read a lot more evidence in these rounds than I otherwise would.

T: I enjoy a good T debate and think T is very underutilized against policy affs. Make sure you are substantively engaging with the interpretation and standards and aren’t just blitzing through your blocks.

DAs: DAs should have a specific link to the affirmative, a clear internal link chain and impact. I will disregard the DA is you are winning the risk of the DA is infinitesimally small, but you are probably unlikely to do so.

CPs: Ideally your CP should have a solvency advocacy and be competitive with the affirmative, although I can be persuaded the former is not necessary. I really enjoy clever PICS and an in-depth debate on solvency deficits and net benefits.

Theory: I will grudgingly vote on theory but would prefer to make my decision on substance, absent an concession or egregious abuse.

Isabella Minter Paradigm

7 rounds

I am an Army West Point Debater, 2016 JV/Novice National Champion, 2017 and 2018 NDT Participant, CEDA DoubleOcta Finalist, and Black Girl Magician.

This is my fourth year debating w/ Collegiate Policy Debate.

I will listen to Ks or Policy; just make sure it's warranted. Ultimately, my flow will determine who wins the round, so being efficient and orderly would be beneficial. I flow cross-ex. I enjoy, in the last rebuttals, each side telling me what to look for when determining who wins the round in the overview.

I enjoy good K debates, as I am a K debater! I am very familiar with black studies.

With that being said, whether or not it comes down to methodology or framework debates, it is up to the debaters to explain their evidence.

I won't connect the arguments for you and I expect to hear great articulations to win my ballot. Impact Calculus is always good.

I may or may not vote on T; depends on the answered and unanswered questions.

Speaker Points vary starting at 25. Not in favor of jerks, love comedy. PLEASE make me laugh :)

If you really want me to hear something you say, slow down and tell me so I can flow it. Remember, slow and steady can win races too.


ROB is crucial. It is a framing question of how I should view the round. Explain your link story, how it turns the aff, how your alt functions (EXPLAIN your alt-give me something to weigh with the aff and its impacts of the aff), and how it interacts with the aff. If not, i'll have to vote on "perm solves, case outweighs" and other aff solvency claims. For aff, explain what the perm is and what is wrong with framework or whatever. Both sides: Make sure to interact with the other team's evidence. NOT generic blocks.


Counterplans are okay. AFF should make any theory arguments that apply.


Disads should apply to the AFF. If it is a tricky disad, explain it. Trickiness does not win rounds if I don't understand. Always try to answer case.

Performance/Non-Traditional Debate:

You should explain why your performance is important, how it relates to debate, the resolution, the other team, and me. Don't just dance, sing, play tracks, or whatever and expect me to vote for you.


Make your arguments as needed.

Brooke Modestita Paradigm

5 rounds

Honestly you do you. I'm just here to judge the round - I don't care what the aff is , or neg strat.

I’m an expressionate judge. So you should know based off my expressions that either does or doesn’t make sense ... I try to control it but sometimes it’s an unconscious reaction

I judge off my flows

My email is: brookemodestita@gmail.com

i am a sophomore at WVU

If this matters, I am the M in West Virginia BM, We won Binghamton, Rutgers, Quarters of UNLV (I got first place speaker) just recently won JMU and qualed to the NDT second year in a row. This might matter based off how you pref me I don't know.

Policy Teams: I'd pref me mid -- listening to a policy aff v 10 off really not fun lol, I have judged policy v policy rounds on a panel and I did not sit lol so i do know what I'm doing, and i've voted on fw go for the impacts you want to and do impact calc tell me why you win and why their offense doesnt matter and my ballot is easy.. same goes to k aff's on fw ... fairness and education are impacts that still need to be flushed out and explained in relationship to offense on aff side and aff can impact turn this but again has to be flushed out and explained for me to vote in either side of the arg

*you can ask me how i view certain args before the round and pref me however you want if you think i should be higher or lower then do so this is just my opinion*

K Teams: I'd pref me high to high - I am good with super high theory i read dark deleuze, and super materiality stuff I have read materiality fw against high theory as well. I read a performance aff and know the lit really well.

*you can ask me how i view certain args before the round and pref me however you want if you think i should be higher or lower then do so this is just my opinion*

Andres Monclut Paradigm

7 rounds

I've debated policy debate 4 years in high school and 3 years in college as a part of the Rutgers Newark Debate Team. I have used all kinds of arguments; I am familiar with both traditional and critical forms of debate. I willing to vote for any argument provided that it is warranted. I really value responsiveness, if an argument is dropped a team could spin that into a victory, but there needs to be a clear explanation of all the steps to impact and explain why said impact is something I should vote on. I willing to vote on T or Theory but if you want to win on those arguments, there has to be a bigger emphasis on clear-cut definitions, examples, and overall impact of violations. I'm comfortable with both traditional and k affs.

John Nagy Paradigm

3 rounds

Please include me in your speech doc thread. My email is johnfnagy@gmail.com

I enjoy coaching and judging novice debates. I think the novice division is the most important and representative of what is good in our community. That being said, I opposed and still oppose the ADA Novice Curriculum Packet. It's an attempt by some in the community, who don't even have novice programs, to use the novice division to further their vision of what debate "should" look like. I don't like that.

I really like judging debates where the debaters speak clearly, make topic specific arguments, make smart analytic arguments, attack their opponent’s evidence, and debate passionately. I cut a lot of cards so I know a lot about the topic. I don’t know much about critical literature.

Framework debates: I don’t enjoy judging them. Everyone claims their educational. Everyone claims their being excluded. It’s extremely difficult to make any sense of it. I would rather you find a reason why the 1AC is a bad idea. There’s got to be something. I can vote for a no plan-text 1AC, if you’re winning your arguments. With that being said, am not your ideal judge for such 1AC’s because I don’t think there’s any out of round spill-over or “solvency.”

Topicality: Am ok with topicality. Competing interpretations is my standard for evaluation. Proving in-round abuse is helpful but not a pre-requisite. If am judging in novice at an ADA packet tournament, it will be very difficult to convince me to vote on topicality. Because there are only 2-3 1AC's to begin with, there's no predictability or limits arguments that make any sense.

Disadvantages: Like them. The more topic specific the better.

Counterplans: Like them. The more specific to the 1AC the better. Please slow down a little for the CP text.

Kritiks: ok with them. I don’t know a lot about any critical literature, so know that.

Rate of Delivery: If I can’t flow the argument, then it’s not going on my flow. And please slow down a little bit for tags.

Likes: Ohio State, Soft Power DA’s, case debates

Dislikes: Michigan, debaters that are not comprehensible, District 7 schools that cut and paste evidence from other schools and present it as their own without alteration. Do that in front of me and I might vote against you automatically.

Joe Patrice Paradigm

1 rounds

Joe Patrice


Paperless Policy: I'm at joepatrice@gmail.com. Or I can do the situational dropbox thing. Whatever. Regale me with your evidence. I don't read it during round, I just want it all for post-round evaluation and caselist obligations. I still flow based on what you SAY so don't cut corners on clarity just because I have your speech docs in my inbox.

Everything Else: I listen to everything, but I characterize myself as a critic of argument. Basically that’s a kind of pretentious way of saying that I listen to everything, but realistically note that in evaluation, all else equal, certain things are more compelling than others.

NOTE: Do not necessarily interpret any of my preferences as bans on any kind of arguments, or even guides to how to select down. It's a threshold of believability issue.

Policy Debates: Compare your impacts, weigh them, and tell me a story of the world of voting Aff vs. voting Neg.

I prefer fewer positions with longer evidence, clearer scenarios, and more analysis of impact probability rather than harping on the massive size of the impacts. If I hear that an increase in spending will collapse the world economy and trigger a nuclear war, you may as well tell me aliens are invading. Don’t get me wrong, I’ll vote on it, but I’ll die a little inside and there’s frighteningly little of my soul left to kill – I’m a lawyer.

Counterplans are cool. In the world of Agent CPs I prefer topic specific agent fights over broad generic agent shifts, but I’ll vote on them because, hey, it’s the world we live in. I’ve been more demanding of CP/Perm theory arguments. I think these arguments are akin to T, yet unlike T people don't feel compelled to explain the abuse story. I do not think "the Perm is severance" is a link...I need to know why it severs and preferably a reason why that is uniquely disadvantageous. That said, if that's in the debate I'm more than willing to vote on these args because people all too often don't answer them well enough, probably because they don't know how to flow anymore. But who am I to judge! Oh right... I'm the judge. Kinda my job.

In other words, if you're going the policy route, you’ll make me so happy teeing off with specific arguments tied to the real policy debate of the subject.

And if you’re reading this harsh criticism of policy debate with a smug look on your face, slow your roll there K debater...

Kritik Debates: Kritiks challenge the advocacy of the other team in salient ways that could be lost in a pure utilitarian analysis. Issues of exclusion and oppression ingrained in the heart of a policy proposal or the representations of the other team can be called out with kritiks ranging from simple “-ism” args to a postmodern cavalcade.

It is NOT an excuse to say random pomo garbage that sounds cool but doesn’t bear upon what’s happening in the round. Esoteric ramblings from some dead German can – and often do – have as little to do with the debate round as the hypothetical global nuclear wars that have killed us a million times over in this activity. Look, I actually KNOW what most of that garbage means, but that's not a reason for you to not make sense. Make the K relevant to the specific policy/issue discussion we’re supposed to be having and I’ll be very happy.

Again, I vote on this stuff, but see above about killing me inside.

When it comes to K/Performance Affs, I’m pretty open to however you justify the Aff (metaphorically, as activism, as some kind of parable), so long as deep down you’re advocating that all things equal, “current space policy bad.” Take whatever tack to get there you want, but basically be the direction of the topic, folks. With all these caveats, if you outright refuse to "affirm" anything in the "topic," that's all well and good, just be a really good T debater. I'll vote for a compelling justification — I’ve recently been told that according to Tabroom, I’m almost exactly .500 in these debates over the last few years. I don’t know if that’s true, but it sounds right. Frankly, I'd rather hear "we can't be Aff because the resolution is broken and we'll win the T/Framework debate" than some squirrely "we're not topical, but kind of topical, but really not" thing.

An honest pet peeve (that I can be talked out of, round-by-round) is that I don't think “performance” means doing this stuff in-round. For example, Dadaism is an argument, not a reason to answer every question with “Fishbulbs!"

Every time you steal prep time will also kill me a little more inside. But you’re going to do it anyway.

Jackie Poapst Paradigm

1 rounds

About me:

Assistant Director of Debate at George Mason University.
Former varsity debater at Liberty University (Middle East 2007-Immigration)

I know you work hard at debate so I will work hard to be your judge. I know the rest of this is long, but I really hated when judges didn’t have in depth philosophies when I was a debater.

I vote neg more than aff.

Paperless or questions: japoapst@gmail.com

Top level Space Topic thoughts:

-Say no = best neg case arg on the topic.

-It's really hard to be neg, so I will probably lean neg on CP theory issues.

-I will normally not open docs during the debate. I will edit this, however, if both teams request that I follow along while cards are being read. In debates where I am asked to follow the doc, my speaks will reflect a formula of 60% Clarity, Persuasion, Presence and 40% Strategy and Cross-ex effectiveness. In debates where I do not follow along in the doc, my formula will be 40% Clarity, Persuasion, Presence and 60% Strategy and Cross-ex effectiveness.

Update Wake 2019: Random Things that Annoy me:

1. It's U.S.M.C.A., new nafta, or Nafta 2. Not YOU-SMACK-UH. I will dock speaks.

2. Don't put cards in the body of the document.

3. Yelling over each other in cx - everyone will lose speaks.

4. Interrupting your partner in cx - I am seriously close to saying I want closed cx, I am so annoyed at how egregious this is becoming. I will deduct speaks from both partners.


I evaluate the round in the paradigm that is provided to me by the debaters. If none is provided, I default to consequentialism. If you win an argument I will vote on it. However, one thing you have to keep in mind is that winning may be harder if I don’t understand what you are talking about, so explanation and analysis is key.

I have been having a kind of difficult time determining if I am a more tech over truth judge when the situation demands that I make a pedagogical choice. I will be honest and say that sometimes it really depends on my mood. With that in mind, framing my ballot earlier on for how I should view decision making between those two philosophies is probably a good idea.

Cross ex note: I stop listening after the 3 minutes of cross ex ends. Sometimes I will leave the room in protest of you attempting to use cross ex to ask more questions. You get clarification questions once cx is over. That's it - and I'm actively not paying attention to the responses.


Space note: I am 100% ok with an interpretation eliminating broad swaths of this topic

I love topicality debates. My voting record leans much more neg than aff in topicality debates. Couple framing issues for me on topicality debates:

Competing Interpretations > Reasonability

Predictable Limits > Ground/Education

Debate-ability > Framer's Intent (I'm okay with voting that certain parts of the topic should not have been included if the topic committee just fucked up the wording.

If cross ex actually checked for specification questions (i.e. "who is the actor" - and they tell you "Congress") - that is the only argument the 2ac needs to make against a 1NC spec argument.

NOVICE NOTE: I think it is ridiculous when novices read no plan affs - do whatever you want in other divisions, but these kids are just learning how to debate, so providing some structure and predictability is something I think is necessary. I err heavily on framework in those debates for the negative in the first semester.


Besides conditionality, theory is a reason to reject the argument and not the team. Anything else is an unwinnable position for me. One or two conditional options is probably good for negative flexibility, anymore is pushing it a little. Granted, conditionality theory is all debateable.


Are awesome. The trickier, the better. I’m okay with most of them, but believe that the action of the CP must be clearly explained at least in the 2NC. I don’t vote on something if I don’t know what my ballot would be advocating. I shouldn’t have to pull the CP text at the end of the round to determine what it does. I err to process/agent/consult cp’s being unfair for the aff (if you can defend theory though, this doesn’t mean don’t read them). Also, I think that perm do the cp on CPs that result in the plan can be rather persuasive, and a more robust textual/functional cp debate is probably necessary on the negative's part.

**Delay and consultation cp’s are illegit unless you have a specific solvency advocate for them. Agenda DA Uniqueness cp’s are too – I’m sorry that the political climate means you can’t read your politics strat on the negative, but that doesn’t mean you should be able to screw the aff’s strategy like that. Have other options.

**ESR CP - I have heard persuasive reasons that they are both unfair and fair. At the beginning of the year, I thought I would 100% side with "can't fiat Executive restraint" - but I think I'm now at about 60% can't fiat restraint.


Wonderful. Disadvantages versus case debates are probably my favorite debates (pretty much every 2NR my partner and I had). I love politics disads (RIP the trump administration ruining the best DA strat), I think they are educational in many ways. However, I can be very persuaded by no backlash/spillover answers on the internal link – in so many situations the internal link just makes NO sense. Offense is always preferred against da’s, but I think that there is such a thing as 100% no link (LOVE thumpers btw). Like elections DA's - not a huge fan of impact scenarios relying on the democratic candidate doing something once they get in office. Think shorter term impact scenarios are necessary. Also, will probably be persuaded by the affirmative arg that we don't know who the candidate for the dems is yet, so predictions are too early.


I wrote my thesis on queer rage and my research now focuses on a Derridian/Althusserian analysis of Supreme Court rhetoric - but that does not mean I will automatically get whatever random critical theory you are using. Due to who I coach and what I research for academics, I am most familiar with identity theories, biopower, Marxism, any other cultural studies scholarship, Baudrillard, Derrida, and Deleuze. If your K isn't one of those - hold my hand through your shit. I think the most persuasive kritik debaters are those who read less cards and make more analysis. The best way to debate a kritik in front of me is to read slower and shorter tags in the 1NC and to shorten the overviews. I find most overviews too long and complicated. Most of that work should be done on the line-by-line/tied into the case debate. Also, debating a kritik like you would a disad with an alternative is pretty effective in front of me. Keep it clean. Unless your kritik concerns form/content - be organized.

Update: due to dissertation research monopolizing a large portion of my scholarly reading time, I have been unable to keep up with the newest writings of afro-pessimist/indigenous scholars. If you are reading anything from 2018-2019, assume I have not read it.

Note for policy v K regarding the "weigh the affirmative or nah" framework question - basically no matter how much debating occurs on this question, unless the affirmative or negative completely drops the oppositions' arguments, I find myself normally deciding to the affirmative gets to weigh the affirmative's advantages but is responsible for defending their rhetoric/epistemology.

Critical Affirmatives:

Space note: Not really sure what the TVA is this year, so I would recommend impact turning as primary strategy to FW in front of me for critical affs.

Overall Framework update: Procedural fairness IS an impact, but I prefer clash key to education. I find it difficult to vote for impacts that preserve the game when the affirmative is going for an impact turn.

Generic Case Update: I find myself voting neg on presumption often when this is a large portion of the 2nr strategy. I recommend affirmatives take this into account to ensure they are explaining the mechanism of the aff.

Your aff must do something. Deferral is not a strategy for me. I am not a fan of teams that just wait to get links until the 1NC occurs. I find performance debates some of the most fun rounds that I have debated in/seen, but I do like when critical affs engage the topic somehow. I find that interesting and usually a happy medium. Don’t get me wrong, I vote on who wins the argument so framework v. critical aff that engages the topic is still an option for the negative. Look at my Kritik views to get more ideas, but once again go slower on the tags so I can get what you are talking about. There is nothing worse than figuring out what the affirmative does in the 1AR-2AR.

I find judging non-black teams reading afro-pessimism affirmatives against black debaters an uncomfortable debate to decide, and my threshold for a ballot commodification style argument low.

Individual survival strategies are not predictable or necessarily debatable in my opinion (i.e. "This 1AC is good for the affirmative team, but not necessarily a method that is generalizable). I enjoy critical methods debates that attempt to develop a praxis for a certain theory that can be broadly operationalized. For example, if you are debating "fem rage" - you should have to defend writ large adoption of that process to give the negative something to debate. It is pretty difficult for a negative to engage in a debate over what is "good for you" without sounding incredibly paternalistic.

Overall Sound:

I am partially deaf in my left ear. It makes it difficult to decipher multiple sounds happening at the same time (i.e. people talking at the same time/music being played loudly in the background when you are speaking). I would recommend to reduce the sound level of background music to make sure I can still hear you. Also means you just have to be a smidge louder. I'll let you know if sound level is an issue in the debate, so unless I say something don't let it worry you.


I love flowing. I now flow straight down in columns in an excel document, and have found it has made my decisions much more cohesive. I do my best to transcribe verbatim what you say in your speech so I can quote portions in my RFD. If you ask me not to flow, the amount I pay attention in the debate probably goes down to 20% and I will have mild anxiety during the round.

Your Decorum:

Debate should be fun - don't be assholes or rhetorically violent. This includes anything from ad homs like calling your opponent stupid to super aggressive behavior to your opponents or partner. Speaker points are a thing, and I love using them to punish jerks.

My Decorum:

I am extremely expressive during round and you should use this to your advantage. I nod my head when I agree and I get a weird/confused/annoyed face when I disagree.

<3 Jackie

Moriah Rader Paradigm

3 rounds

I am a GSA for Liberty's debate team and debated for four years previously at Liberty. I primarily ran non-traditional affirmatives on the aff and k's on the neg, but I am not opposed to policy arguments when I judge. The most important thing for me is that you do you in debate rounds and have fun. I believe at the end of the day that debate is a game, but I also believe that the "game" is full of very real in-round and out-of-round implications for debaters and that those implications matter.

Don't read a k just because you read this and see that's what I read as a debater, read what you want to read/will enjoy and I will follow along.

Here are my notes on the things you're probably scanning this for :)

K's are fine with me, just be sure that your link story is strong, you weigh it against the aff's impacts (or explaining how you solve them) and the alternative is clearly explained. But don't assume I know what you're talking about just because I read k's often, I am likely not as familiar with your lit base as you are.

When you're aff debating a k, don't lose your aff!! It's probably your strongest offense and needs to be weighed against the k. Be careful not to get behind on the framework debate and please answer the k with more substance than just framework arguments and theory. I will need warrants and examples of how the perm could function, not just the word "perm."

CP's are neat - explain what parts of the aff they solve for and be clear about what it does. I think CP's can be a super smart option for negative teams, even against non-traditional affs. Also be sure to highlight any net-benefits at least by the block so I get a good picture of what you do.

DA's are fine, but not my favorite if there isn't a strong and well-articulated internal link story. Don't just blitz through blocks or card-dump, but explain your impact scenario clearly and how it out-weighs the aff. With a DA, the impact analysis is probably most important to me followed by the strength of the internal link chain.

Framework vs. Non-Traditional Affirmatives: I enjoy the discussion framework creates about why we debate, the purpose of debate, and whether or not its good. But I don't like framework when I get the sense that it is being used to control the conversation or to avoid the discussion the affirmative has proposed. Keep the flow organized for me, keep your impact scenarios in front of everything, and make smart arguments about a tva and/or ssd solving the aff's impacts.

Non-Traditional Affirmatives vs. Framework: Don't lose your aff! Framing is key throughout the 1ar/2ar. Do your best to explain to me via your counter-interpretation what your model of debate looks like in the debate community and weigh that against framework. Framework has a lot of moving parts, but make sure you're garnering strategic offense wherever you can to win.

This is not totally inclusive, but should give you a bit of an idea of how I think through debates. If you have any questions at any point feel free to reach out to me at wierschemdebate@gmail.com

Also, I'd appreciate being added to the email chain ahead of time at the same address that's above!

Lastly, I will dock speaker points for using hateful and oppressive speech in any form, even if the other team doesn't call you out on it, I will deduct speaker points as I see fit (max -30 if its seriously awful). I have no issue voting down a team on performance issues if that becomes part of the debate, but I think its up to the debaters in the round to make those arguments and let me know that's where you're taking the debate.

Pavan Reddy Paradigm

4 rounds

Put me on the doc chains: pgreddy411@gmail.com

Currently a varsity policy debater at GMU in my fourth year of debate.

Top Level Things:

I default to util unless told otherwise

I try to focus on tech more than truth

Claims without warrants will not be evaluated unless dropped. Even then, I tend to give the arg less weight and the other team more wiggle room in mitigating the dropped claim.


I prefer affs to be topical, but I default to competing interpretations. If you are reading a policy aff that has little relevance to the topic, or a very small portion of it, you should have good defenses for doing so.

CPs/CP Theory:

Slow down while reading theory/CP texts. I think 1 condo is about as far as I lean neg. Anything more is when I start agreeing more heavily aff on theory.

You need to provide a detailed explanation of how the CP solves all of the aff's internal links starting in the 2NC. If it does not claim to solve 100%, there needs to be a lot of explanation coming out of the block explaining why I shouldn't care about the solvency deficit as part of your sufficiency framing. You need to disprove perms well. Multiplank CPs with a plank to solve various internals are fun, though they should be unconditional. My favorite CPs to hear are creative advantage CPs. CPs should definitely have solvency advocates.

I've seen this format in several places and have decided to incorporate it with my theory thoughts.

Conditionality Bad--X---------------------------Hard Debates Good

PICs Good-----------------X-------PICs Bad

Condo Planks Magnify Abuse-X----------------------Condo Planks Are Fine

50 State Fiat Good---------------------X-----------States CP is Awful


Priority for me is link over uniqueness. If you're going to group sections, answer each argument made against that section, don't just read a generic link wall and assume that I'll connect everything on the line-by-line.


Case debates are great. Impact defense is the most important argument to get on these flows. I will vote neg on presumption, but you need to spend a lot of time on it. Disads on case are very fun. Impact turns are my favorite arguments in debate, but think that teams don't typically expand them well in the block.

Top Level: I'm much more of a policy judge than a K judge just because most of the time I've put into debate has been spent with policy or at most clash rounds. Due to this, I am unfamiliar with most of the lit bases being read on the topic or the greater nuances of them. I will try to judge as fairly as possible but I need you to do a very good explanation on all levels of the debate.

Most Ks are explained with specific terminology from their authors, and while I understand why you may do this, I don't really want to hear it. Don't assume that saying words that end in “-ology” is an automatic reason to vote neg or that I know what you're talking about. You have to justify what that means in the context of the debate, and why it should be valued. PLEASE avoid tag-line extension, especially with your alternative. I also like to hear more concrete examples in explanations of the alternative. Your kritiks should have specific links to the plan or its actions, and not be based around generic state bad links or links of omission.

I think the aff gets a perm. It's up to the aff to explain to me why the kritik is not mutually exclusive. For the neg, I can be convinced that the aff doesn't get the perm if you explain why it's bad.

Outside of something that was blatantly offensive, I personally believe that language is contextual and words only mean as much as the meaning attached to them. Thus, args like "we didn't use it in that context" are convincing to me. I can be persuaded to vote them down, but I am going to be more biased the other way.

K affs/framework:

Framework is a good option. I think that the aff should at least be tied to the resolution. Fairness is an impact. I tend to prefer limits and iterative testing as standards.


-Clarity should never be sacrificed for speed, though I make exceptions if you're trying to squeeze out one last card. I'll say clear once if you get incomprehensible, and afterwards will stop flowing until I can understand you again.

-Be respectful to other debaters. I encourage humor and small quips, but there is a fine line between sarcasm and being a jerk. Don't cross it.

Armands Revelins Paradigm

5 rounds

my email for email chains is arevelins@gmail.com

Quick update 2018 - some years ago I drafted the rubric for speaker points that you see below. Since then I have monitored developments in the debate community on typical speaker point distribution across all judges/tournaments, as discussed online by people who keep track of such things. I don't really dwell on this data much, but I do try to be mindful of community tendencies. Also, I notice how my own debaters read judge philosophies in crunch-time right before a round, and realize debaters reading this want a tl:dr.

Therefore, note that I probably now give speaker points that inch higher than what I initially suggested. This means in most cases I'm giving 28 and above, for debaters who seem to be doing elim-level debate it's usually 28.5 and above, and for especially impressive debate it's 29 and above. I do still dip into the mid-to-high 27's in occasional instances where I want to make it clear that I think the particular speeches really could use some work. At the time of writing (Jan 2018) my average speaker points are about a 28.5.

*******Paradigm Edited 11/10/13, prior to Wake Forest 2013 *******

** Scroll past speaker point scale to get a shorter philosophy explanation **

Speaker point scale:

0 = the debater committed some sort of ethics violation during the round (e.g. clipping cards)

26 to 26.9 = one or both of the following things happened: a) the debater made some kind of major tactical mistake in the debate, such as a completely dropped off-case position, without any attempt to address how they might still win the debate even if that argument is charitably given the full weight that the opposing team prefers. (more leeway on this is given to novice debates) b) the debater was hostile or rude towards competitors in the debate such that opportunities for respectful discourse concerning different ideas devolved into a breakdown of communication. Debaters have different personalities and approaches and I encourage you to explore ways of comporting yourself that express these personalities and approaches (be proud, indignant, cunning, provocative, etc), but please at all times also communicate with each other as students from different schools who respect each other for taking the time to have a lengthy debate round, in whatever part of the U.S. where you may presently have journeyed for such an encounter.

27 to 27.4 = the debater's overall strategy made sense, but various parts of the debate could have used more depth when instead those parts were fairly 'paint by numbers' (e.g. addressing certain arguments with generic/block answers instead of dealing with them more specifically). Evidence comparisons were fairly sparse, but the basic story on a given sheet of flow paper was clear enough.

27.5 to 27.9 = the debater did a solid job of debating. A coherent strategy was executed well. For certain key issues, initial clash advanced into higher forms of assessment, including a charitable understanding of why your opponent's arguments might be good yet your argument is ultimately more important/relevant.

28 to 28.4 = the debater did a solid job of debating across all the flows that were alive in the round. The debater focused on what mattered, was able to swiftly discount what did not ('closing doors' along the way), and took initial clash on key points to highly advanced levels. Given what I just witnessed, I would not be surprised if a debater with points like this advanced to early elimination debates (e.g. double octo's)

28.5 to 28.9 = the debater did everything from the previous scale, but was also able to do this with incredible organization: the most important things were in rank order, the crucial arguments were made without repetition/with cogent word economy, and I felt that the debater's communication seemed to guide my flow along with me. If cards/evidence are in question, you're able to speak of the overall ideologies or motivations driving a certain scholarship/movement, thus "getting behind" the card, in some sense. If a point is made without evidence or without a traditional claim/warrant structure, the debater does so in way that requires translation/interpretation on my part, yet the manner in which I should translate/interpret is also elicited from me/taught to me over the course of the debate. Given what I just witnessed, I would not be surprised if a debater with points like this could advance past early elimination debates.

29.0 to 29.4 = the debater did everything from the previous scale, but approached a sort of fluency that amazed me. The debater not only did what they needed to in order to match or outclass their opponents, but I furthermore felt that the debater was connecting with me in such a way where your arguments trigger understanding almost as a gestalt phenomenological experience. Given what I just witnessed, I would not be surprised if you did well in any of your other debates, prelim or elim.

29.5 to 30 = If memory serves, I have rarely if ever given speaker points that inch this close to 30. This is because 30 is perfection, without any umms, ahhs, odd turns of phrase, instances where you just lost me or where, given a rebuttal redo, you yourself would probably have done that part of your speech differently. If you are this close to 30 then you have perfect command of your opponent's position, of whatever gap you have to bridge in order for things to 'click' with me, and you are able to talk about your research and core arguments in a way where you yourself are clearly ready to push the scholarship/performance that you draw upon to its next heights, if you are not doing so already.

Objectivity and consistency is an elusive ideal: the reality is that subjectivity and some variability is inevitable. I think a good judge should be attentive in debates and vigiliant with self-assessments, not solipsistically but in light of evolving encounters with others. One of the biggest lessons I got out of my philosophy work was the extent to which all humans are prone to habits of self-deception, on many levels.

***** Debate experience

- Debated policy 4 years in high school (won the TOC)

- Debated policy 4 years at University of Southern California (4-time NDT qualifier, elims in my senior year)

- I was away from debate while in graduate school for philosophy

- I have coached Policy and PF debate at two high schools (Notre Dame and Millburn)

- I have coached Policy debate at two universities (Binghamton and Cornell)

- I am currently Assistant Director of Forensics/head debate coach at Cornell University

***** Some views on certain arguments

Any kind of argument is fine by me: I wait to see how debaters respond to what happens in the round and try not to import any predispositions concerning the default way that I should evaluate things. There are various harms/impacts that can orient a given side’s concern, plus various meta/framing/sequencing arguments that grant, reorient, or block my access to consideration of those harms/impacts, depending on how these issues play out in a debate.

Various kinds of challenges to the resolution and norms of the community are fine by me.

Kritiks: I ran them often in high school/college. I studied philosophy in graduate school.

Counterplans can take various forms: bring it on. See below about having full cp/permutation text for the entire round (to check against ‘morphing advocacies’).

Topicality debates: if an affirmative is trying to present a topical example of the resolution being true, but the negative thinks the aff is not topical then it is the negative’s right to go ‘all in’ on such an argument.

I debated policy advantage/da/impact debates almost as often as kritiks. Any politics link and link turn debates need to be laid out pretty clearly for me - mind your jargon please. The same goes for impact scenarios: who, what, against what country, etc.

For any asserted advocacy or test of competition, the plan text, permutation, etc needs to be clearly articulated in the round and written down so that it can be evaluated. For any card that you want me to read in last rebuttals, you should be telling me what I will find when I read that card and why it matters for the debate. I won't sift through a series of cards if you have just mentioned them/rattled off the citations without making use of them.

***** final notes

I have an aversion towards 'cloud clash', i.e. rattling off 2-3 minutes of overview and then basically hoping that the judge plucks out whatever applies towards some later part of the debate. Line-by-line debate and the elegance of organization that it offers is in decline lately. This has a lot to do with recent norms and computer-debating. This is at the cost of clash and direct refutation, and can come across as being aloof/wanting the judge to do the work for you. So, overviews should be short and then get on with actually responding to individual arguments.

I prefer the email chain over jumping flash drives, when possible. One click of ‘send’ and there is no longer the agonizing wait of flash drive driver installation, throwing jump drives around, etc.

Please communicate with each other, instead of yelling at each other (see my speaker point scale above for the under 27 range).

At the end of any round, I will vote for one team over the other and indicate this with my written ballot. This will be the case for any debate round that I can presently imagine.

That is all I can think of. Feel free to ask me more questions in person.

Kathryn Rubino Paradigm

Kathryn Rubino
Put me on the chain: kathrynrubino@gmail.com

I dislike intervening in debate rounds. I would much rather apply the criteria the debaters supply and work things out that way. As a result the final rebuttals should provide me with a clean story and a weighing mechanism. If only one side provides this I will default to their standards. If neither side does this, I’ll use my own opinions and evaluations of the round.

Simply put the debate is about impacts- weigh them, their likelihood and magnitude and we’re doing fine.

I think it is the debater’s responsibility to explain the analysis of their cards, particularly on complex positions. However, I recognize the time constraints in a round and will read cards that receive a prominent place in rebuttals. But I do not like to read piles of cards and being forced to apply my analysis to them. As a side note, I rarely flow author names so don’t just extend the author’s name- also be clear to which argument the card applies to.

I’ll listen to whatever people want to say- but you should probably know my dispositions ahead of time. Be warned however, I have voted against my preferences many times and anticipate doing it again in the future.

I like kritik/advocacy debate. That being said, I do not have a knee-jerk reaction when I hear them. Part of what makes kritiks interesting is the variety and depth of responses available. To get my vote here I generally need a clear story on the link and implication levels.

I enjoy framework debates- debating about debate is fun- and as a bonus I don’t think there are any right or wrong answers- just arguments that can be made.

I rejoice the return of topicality! And I have no problem voting on topicality, even if I don’t agree with a particular interpretation, but I do think a T story needs to be clear and technically proficient.

DAs are great, and the more case specific the better. Make sure you have a clear story and try to create distinctions between multiple end of the world scenarios if that's your thing.

I don’t mind listening to PICs or other interesting CPs, and I often feel they’re good way to test the validity of a plan. However, I am open to theoretical debate here and I’m willing to vote on it.

I will vote on the easy way out of a round- I don’t try to divine the ultimate truth of what the debaters are saying. I’m just adjudicating a game- a fun game that can teach stuff and be pretty sweet- but still a game. So enjoy your round, do your job and I will too.

Nick Ryan Paradigm

Philosophy Updated 9-5-17

Nick Ryan – Liberty Debate – 10th year coaching/Judging

Please label your email chains “Tournament – Rd “#” – AFF Team vs Neg Team” – or something close to that effect. I hate “No subject,” “Test,” “AFF.” I would like to be included “nryan2wc@gmail.com”

Too often Philosophy’s are long and give you a bunch of irrelevant information. I’m going to try to keep this short and sweet.

1. I spend most of my time working with our “Policy teams,” I have a limited amount of working with our “K/Non traditional” debaters, but the bulk of my academic research base is with the “traditional” “policy teams;” don’t expect me to know the nuances of your specific argument, debate it and explain it.

2. Despite this I vote for the K a fair amount of time, particularly when the argument is contextualized in the context of the AFF and when teams aren’t reliant on me to unpack the meaning of “big words.” Don’t rely on me to find your “embedded clash” for you.

3. “Perm Do Both” is not a real argument, neg teams let AFFs get away with it way too often and it shifts in the 1AR. Perms and Advocacy/CP texts should be written out.

4. If neither team clarifies in the debate, then I default to the status quo is always an option.

5. These are things that can and probably will influence your speaker points: clarity, explanations, disrespectfulness to the other team, or your partner, stealing prep time, your use of your speech time (including cx), etc.

6. Prep time includes everything from the time the timer beeps at the end of the lasts speech/CX until the doc is sent out.

7. I think Poems/Lyrics/Narratives that you are reading written by someone else is evidence and should be in the speech document.

ADA Novice Packet Tournaments:

1. It is hard to convince me that AFFs aren’t reasonably topical when there are only two affs that you didn’t get to choose.

2. Evidence you use should be from the packet. If you read cards that weren’t in the packet more than once it’s hard to believe it was a “honest mistake.”

If you have any questions about things that are not listed here please ask, I would rather you be sure about my feelings, then deterred from running something because you are afraid I did not like it.

Shara Safer Paradigm

6 rounds

I would like to be on the email chain. sms569@cornell.edu

I think that debate is an amazing educational space, and I always want debaters to have a good time and learn something, regardless of whether they win or lose. I think competition is an important aspect of debate, and I always appreciate some good snark in round, but please do not be rude. If you are excessively rude or dismissive towards your partner or opponents, your speaker points will reflect that.

I have not been very involved in debate this year, and I am not familiar with specific arguments related to this resolution. Please keep that in mind if you're using topic-specific shorthand in front of me.

My thoughts on specific arguments:

Case: case debate is the best kind of debate. I will always like you better if you can talk about why the specific plan and evidence of the aff is bad, and not just das. I won't read evidence unless I need to after the round, so if you take the time to compare the warrants of your evidence you will always be better off. I think a lot of affs are poorly written and internal link chains can be very sketchy, pointing that out can be a very effective strategy. I am also not entirely persuaded by "try-or-die for the plan" type arguments, you need to win that your internal link chain is at least somewhat likely.

DA: DA debates are fun, just make sure that you tell a complete story in every speech. I will vote on 0 risk of a link.

CP: CPs are a great strat when you don't have a lot of offense on case. Please read some kind of solvency advocate for your CP, I'm not a huge fan of theory, but that doesn't mean I like multi-conditional-plank, 10-plank CPs.

T: I am not usually a huge fan of T, and I really don't like cheap shots, but I am open to voting on it if you have a good abuse story.

K: Ks should have a specific link to an affirmative. If it's a link of omission I will almost always vote that the perm solves. I think many k's tend to fall apart when it gets to alt solvency, and aff teams should press alt solvency. When reading a k in front of me you should make sure to include some kind of explanation of how your alt solves your impacts, and what my ballot means in the context of your K.

ROB: I think ROBs tend to be self-serving and I am very unlikely to vote on them. That said, if you are kritiking norms within debate, please include some kind of explanation of how my ballot interacts with those norms.

K affs: all affirmatives should have some kind of advocacy statement. K affs are fine, but you should have a clear explanation ready for how you engage with (or reject, etc.) the topic, and you need to advocate for something. You should also have a clear explanation of neg ground. FW is not neg ground.

Performance affs: again, all affs should have an advocacy statement. If you're neg vs. a performance aff, ask in the cx of the 1AC how you should engage with the aff. Aff teams should be prepared to answer this question.

FW: FW is a good argument against K affs. Fairness is an internal link, not an impact, and you should have fleshed out examples of to education. TVAs are your best friend, and aff teams need to answer why the TVA doesn't solve their disads to FW. The TVA does not need to solve the entirety of the aff.

Theory: I am not very knowledgeable about theory arguments, and I am not a huge fan of cheap shots. Spreading a single sentence and calling it a voter is insufficient for me to vote on that issue. You should dedicate large portions of multiple speeches to a particular theory argument if you really want me to vote on it.

Michael Souders Paradigm

2 rounds

Mick Souders

James Madison University

17th years judging NDT/CEDA debate


*Lengthy note at end.

**Additional procedure note on evidence at end.

Mea culpa

I believe that I’m out of step with contemporary debate. I feel it almost every time I judge. It’s not about the type of arguments that are made, it’s about how I judge them. I try to be even-handed and fair to both sides, but compared to most debaters’ expectations: I’m too opinionated about what constitutes adequate support, I’m too willing to dismiss badly supported arguments, I have too high of standards of engagement between two teams, I expect extra-ordinary claims to have at least decent proof, I don’t think repeating a prior block is a respectable extension of an argument even if the other team didn’t respond, I don’t think 2-3 sentences is usually enough to win a major argument. I do think you need to explain the claim, warrant, data for arguments in rebuttals, even when dropped. I don’t think a dropped assertion is necessarily true for the purposes of debate. I will ignore arguments I cannot understand and I have a coherence standards for positions and arguments. I think lots of ‘defensive’ arguments end up being terminal for positions.

Which is all to say that I am probably far too opinionated and interventionist for most debaters’ tastes. I like to think of it as being a principled critic of argumentation, but call it what you will. Does that make me a bad judge? Probably, if the concept of good/bad are culturally determined. But I certainly don’t think I’m what deabters want. I don’t know. But I am this way because I feel like these principles matter and I find them impossible to ignore.


My perspective on debate is grounded in the idea that debate is the kiln in which ideas and minds are fired and strengthened into ever better forms. The goal of each debate is not necessarily to find the right answer to a question, but an exploration of ideas and an experiment with concepts, enabled by the unique forum of debate that protects us from the full consequences of the ideas we advocate. It is the freedom of debate which enables it to be so effective. Hence, debate is a political project as well as an educational one. It is a democratic experiment, wherein we declare our freedom to advocate for idea—and to oppose them—in the spirit of putting our minds to work on a wide set of problems.

As a judge, I try to evaluate the quality of ideas and argumentation that debaters present. I do not have a preference for policy debate, critique debate, non-traditional debate or whatever any wishes to call their format. I do ask that ideas are presented coherently, cogently, and be well-supported by epistemologically-appropriate evidence.

I do have some argument biases (charted, per others):

Killing/letting die on purpose good--------------------------X--Killing/letting die on purpose bad.
Children are good-X--------------------------------Children are bad.
Ha funny debate only stupidity good!------------------------X-Ha funny debate only stupidity bad!
Topic ------X------------------No Topic.
Conditionality Good--X------------------Bad
ESR good for debate--------------------X---ESR is nonsense.
Offense/defense paradigm yes----------------X----no.
Alt-less Ks yes-----------------------X---no.
Stupid contrived fiat on CPs yes!-----------------------X--no.
Asserting another person has no role in debate: YES good strat-------------------------X---no.

Ok, I got bored of that. Here's that in another form.

I tend to dislike misanthropic arguments that ask me to kill people or increase suffering. If you read any argument says people dying is irrelevant, mass suffering is good for people or that children should not exist or be killed, you simply do not want me as a judge.

I tend to dislike arguments that rely on ideas almost everyone knows are wrong or originate out of dubious sources.

I tend to dislike arguments that attempt to stop rather than promote the development of ideas.

I tend to think the concept of a resolution is good and affirmatives should be topical, although I vote for non-topical affirmatives when it seems warranted by the debate (see note).

I tend to err negative on many theory questions, except when it comes to fiat.

In that, I believe that international fiat, state fiat, and object fiat are unfair to affirmatives. That does not mean I automatically vote on these issues. None of them seem like voting issues anyway.

I do not believe your assertion alone constitutes an argument that I am required to respect.

I tend to place great weight on cross-examination and I consider it roughly equivalent to a speech.

I tend to dislike arguments or positions that indicate that the other team may not speak or has no place in the conversation, although there are some exceptions.

I’ll limit how much I inject my own ideas into decisions but I will not prohibit my evaluative skills from the debate. I demand greater argumentative power from counterintuitive arguments. Yes, in debates I judge I do happen to be arbiter of what’s “counterintuitive.” I try to be reflective about my biases but I will not defer to other persons to make decisions for me—the freedom to choose is the essential human quality.

I fundamentally believe in standards of decency and respectful treatment of colleagues and a sporting attitude toward competition. I understand that debate is serious. And as a former political activist, I realize that civility is sometimes a policing standard and there are limits to its application. But I persist in believing debaters should be free to make their arguments free from undue personal insults, discriminatory remarks, interruption, intimidation, or slurs regarding their race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, sex, sexual behavior, religion or socioeconomic standing. I am quite willing to step in and object or refuse to continue to participate in debates in which such activity continues.

Speaker Point Scale (novice doesn't follow this scale):

29.5-29.9 Very to extremely high quality speeches that I would consider very good even for Copeland/Top 5 plaque competitors.

29-29.4 Excellent speeches that significantly advanced your team's chances of winning. Good to very good speeches for First Round-level competitors.

28.6-28.9 Above average speeches that I would expect to see out of clearing teams. Good to very good speeches for competitors at the NDT qualifier level.

28.1-28.5 Average to somewhat above average speeches that contributed to your team's chances of winning. Slightly above to somewhat below average speeches for the NDT qualifier level.

27.6-28 Mediocre to average speeches that only moderately advanced your team's position toward winning the debate.

27.1-27.5 Fairly poor speeches that did not significantly advance your teams position in the debate and likely did not sound good.

26.5-27 Poor speeches that had a negative impact on your team's chances of winning.

< 26.4 You did something very insulting and/or turned a near-certain win into a certain loss via your speech

**I am moderately hearing impaired. This should not affect you except that it helps if you enunciate clearly and project your voice. Rooms with echoes or ambient noise pose particular problems for me. If you see me moving around the room to hear, it's not necessarily you, it may be me trying to get a better angle to hear you.

*Lengthy Notes for Critical Identity Teams, originally written in 2014

I find it a nearly undeniable fact that the growth of critical identity arguments has dramatically increased the inclusiveness of our community in the past ten years. This is meaningful change. So I’m taking the time to write this extensive addendum to my judging philosophy because I think it’s important to recognize that there are terminological differences and stylistic differences in debate right now and I want to help the teams that are helping make our community more inclusive feel more comfortable in front of me.

Teams that make critical identity arguments are widely varied and so I’m reluctant to comment on them (or define them), except that I have noticed that those I think of *provisionally as critical identity teams are sometimes surprised by my decisions (for and against them). After some thought, I think it is because of a certain divergence in the judging pool. Critical identity teams, roughly speaking, share a common judging pool that emphasizes certain things, takes others for granted and has certain expectations. My background in traditional critique and policy debating has emphases and vocabularies different from this pool. In a few decisions that a few teams have not liked, I’ve explained my perspective and it’s sometimes been rejected or received push back and even dismissal. That’s regrettable. I want these teams (you, if you’re reading this) to see me as pointing them to the path to victory with me as the judge and I encourage these teams to see me as an opportunity rather than as a barrier.

So, rather than wait until a post-round to translate my views—which is too late—I’m going to post them here. It’s long, yes, but I put some effort and thought into this.

Overview over, here are my notes:


It’s probably true that it’s easier for you to win on the negative because there’s no topical barrier for you. There’s a huge exception to this, noted in the affirmative section. Here’s my hints:

-Argue the alternative. This is the number one point of difference between myself (and judges like me) and the pool of judges I’ve noted above. Winning a link and impact isn’t enough. You’re going to need to focus on extending, arguing, and explaining how your alternative solves your link arguments, how it solves the case and/or how it is the ‘better’ choice in the face of affirmative case arguments. If your alt solves the case, explain how. If it doesn’t solve the case, explain why that doesn’t matter. Your alternative needs to solve the link to the case, because if not, there’s simply no uniqueness to your arguments against the affirmative—they are true whether I vote affirmative or negative. That doesn’t mean that you need to solve the WHOLE link. For example, if the law is fundamentally anti-black, then even if the alternative doesn’t solve the law being anti-black it might provide us with a path to a non-law based perspective or something of that sort. When I’ve voted AFF against critical identity teams, there’s often been a post-round attempt at a gotcha question: “So, you just voted for a law you agree is anti-black/queer/ableist?” And I’ve answered: “No. Voting for an anti-black/queer/ableism law was inevitable because the alternative didn’t solve any bit of anti-blackness/queerness/ableism.” I will say that 90% of the time I’ve come to the conclusion NOT because I evaluated a contested debate about the alternative but because the negative barely extended the alternative or did not do so at all. I'm generally unpersuaded by "reject" arguments without some value to the rejection.

-Argue the case. Affirmatives often solve impacts—and those impacts can outweigh. If you don’t just let that slide, the fact that they CAUSE another impact cannot be easily dismissed. I watched a debate at the NDT where the critical race team just slayed the policy affirmative by reading phenomenal cards that indicating the structural, racist roots of climate change and consumption patterns. It was excellent. However, that doesn’t happen very often. Being anti-queer is bad…but so is climate change that kills millions, particularly vulnerable populations. It’s easier to pick which one I must address first if the chances of the cases chances of solving climate change are either mitigated or critiqued in a fashion that undermines its solvency.

-Frame the impact. A certain group of judges might think that if you win “social death now” that means basically all the impacts of the case are irrelevant. I don’t think it’s nearly that easy. Think of it this way—you, the debater, are often in the population that your argument says is socially dead. Yet I think that your life matters. And I want to stop bad things from happening to you despite your state of partial or total social death. So, you must say MORE than social death. You may explain, for example, that social death perpetually PERMITS radical violence at a constant or increasing rate; that massive real violence is a terminal and immutable consequence of social death. This does not, by the way, mute the entirety of offense gained by an opponent’s policy action, but in combination with a won alternative provides a nice pairing of a systemic impact with strong empirical grounding and very high future risk with a method of addressing that risk. Some framing evidence helps here.

-Fiat is illusory isn’t a real argument (nor is the affirmative argument that the “The plan REALLY happens!”). I get the plan doesn’t happen but it’s a worthwhile thought experiment that enables us to discuss the merits of the plan. I don’t AUTOMATICALLY assume this, but if the affirmative team frames their case as an representative anecdote of how we can learn to engage in politics, or how this kind of debate informs politics, either in general or in specific, I tend to agree that’s reasonable since that is the whole reason I think debate is educational. THUS! The KEY is is not to argue, “Fiat is illusory, they lose on presumption”—which is a bad argument—but to argue that given that they are teaching a BAD politics and that you present a better one. Your better framework may include arguing for the abandonment of plan-based politics.

-Frame the meaning of winning a key premise. To some extent, I find that to be true of anti-blackness or anti-queerness or anti-intersex, etc. If you win that blackness is an ontology and anti-blackness is a political ontology (although, to be honest, I’m not sure I understand what a political ontology is) you’ve won a premise that gets you a long way in the debate. However, you haven’t WON the debate, per se (nor does losing this premise necessarily lose you the debate). If society is anti-black, does that means politics is irrelevant? My presumption is NO. If you are black and live in anti-black civil society, I still presume that it would be better to do things that blunt the force of anti-blackness with ‘liberal’ policies. Now, you have a huge advantage if you win your premise because in a larger sense you’re winning that liberalism is doomed—but you need to make that clear. Finally, you should work at backstopping this argument. I’ve seen teams go all-in on winning queer is ontological without looking at how they could win if they did not win this premise. I saw a team at the NDT nicely win a debate where they lost that blackness is ontological by arguing that even if its socially constructed, its so deeply embedded that it can’t be extracted and that the alternative resolved it best. Well done.


Most of this is about topicality because once you’re beyond that barrier you’re just in regular debateland and the above guidelines apply.


First hint with me on this overall—persuade your opponent not to go for topicality. When negative teams don’t go for topicality against blatantly non-topical teams, I have a ridiculous affirmative voting record. The reasons are obvious: Links and competition are hard to generate when you’re not topical. That’s why topicality is vital for those teams. But let’s ignore that for a moment.

-Topicality: First hint: Be topical. I think it’s possible. I particularly think it’s possible to defend the topic from the outside—I think it’s possible for queer victims of police violence to argue police who harass queers should be arrested by the state without being or endorsing the state. I think you can be topical and argue that you shouldn’t need to answer process arguments. As the coach of repeated, successful topical K teams I don’t think topicality automatically means role-playing in the strong sense. I also think these debates are essential. Surely it can’t be the case that all critical identity positions of value require non-topicality and I’m very interested to hear the ways critical queer, race, gender, intersex values can be met with a topical plan. ***HOWEVER, if you have me as a judge and you’re NEVER topical, it’s probably a bad idea to just toss a plan in. It’s bad because you haven’t thought through how to defend yourself against arguments.

-Ok, so you’re not topical. Let’s talk about my presumptions on that. The main barrier for you here is that I don’t believe that any state action 100% pollutes any action. That doesn’t mean the state is good. Far from it. But considering the fact that many of the teams that refuse to ever agree with the topic attend STATE UNIVERSITIES with coaches receiving paychecks from THE STATE it’s hard for me to understand why talking about state action is impossible. That’s not a killer argument, but it does seem to hint that SOME state actions are not entirely poisonous. This is my own view and while it does color my T arguments, it’s not insurmountable. Here’s how you overcome that.

-Don’t be anti-topical. It’s a lot easier for me to vote for you if you’re not anti-topical. If you are anti-topical, say, your affirmative says (last year’s topic) that prostitution is bad (and implies shouldn’t be legal) then it’s going to be much harder for you to win in front of me. The reason is simply that you’ve staked out negative ground. You’ve admitted there’s a debate to be had on something and chosen NOT to take your assigned side. You refuse to take up the affirmative side yet you functionally attempt to force the other team to do just that.

- Being PRO-TOPICAL still requires you to be smart. The problem is that the other team will ask, “Why NOT be topical?” You need an answer to that question that isn’t just “State messed up, yo.” You CAN argue that. You CAN win that argument. But I’m going to want nuanced reasons that are specific to a particular to a place and time. Saying, “The US government is messed up and did bad things” seems to me to beg the question of what it SHOULD do to change. So, to overcome that you’ll need to explain why it’s better to debate about your adjacent discussion of topical things rather that government action AND you’ll need to explain why that’s an AFFIRMATIVE argument and not a negative argument.

-Answer their offensive arguments on T. Limits, ground, fairness, predictability, education—these are real things in debate and they matter. You will do well to answer these arguments with both offense and defense. I often see all offense (limits debate protect white folks) without any defense. PARTICULARLY answer their arguments about why topical/legal debating is good, in addition to the regular T argument set. These cards tend to be pretty good so your responses need to be good as well. “Fairness for who?” is a good question—but it needs to be answered rather than just leaving it open ended. On your education arguments you need to move beyond “All our arguments are educational” to explaining why you lead to good, predictable debates that are relatively fair and deeply educational. I am in agreement with the point that critical identity arguments are intrinsically educational (see my intro to this whole thing) but the bigger question is how do they create good debates where both sides explore issues in depth? There are really good reasons that this is the case—you need to make those arguments.

-Address topical version of the affirmative and understand that the legal debates good is a net benefit to this argument. A good team T will argue that you do not have a right to the perfect affirmative, just one that lets you discuss similar key issues. Also understand that “State bad” isn’t necessarily an answer. If can be, but even the anti-statist needs to understand the state. As a former anti-capitalist advocate, I still needed lawyers to get me out of jail and I still needed knowledge of the law to protect myself from the police as much as could be managed..

-Realize that “No Topical Version” is a trap. If you say no topical version, you are setting yourself up to link to the “this is anti-topical” argument, i.e., that your aff is wholly unpredictable and in the reverse direction of all of the regular topic negative arguments. The “no topical version of the aff” made by the 2AC sounds like, “Our whole affirmative advantage is illegitimate.” If you say “yes, topical version” then obviously you’ve also set yourself up. At the very least, so don't assert the 'no topical version' and set yourself up for this debate intentionally.

-Have an answer for the topical research burden argument. Critical identity teams are fond of arguing that there are many different versions of their arguments—TRUE! Which for teams going for T just shows how large the research burden becomes to prep for every single iteration—every different case is its own topic area. You need offensive and defense arguments. The argument that “You just don’t want to answer/research queer/black/feminist/trans/ableism arguments” is a good starting point but it’s not enough (and solved by topical version of the affirmative). “Case list” is also not answer to this argument, because research burden isn’t a question of predictability. Don’t fall into the trap of listing off a bunch of crappy positions you refuse to defend (state good, cap K) as neg ground.

-Find A CERTAIN TOPICALITY. Optimally, a strategic team will find a way to be topical, yet not defend the state. FYI, I absolutely do not think that having a plan that mentions what the US or USFG should do obligates you to defend “the State”. I think it obligates you to defend that particular state action. However, I think you can go beyond that. I think you can defend the plan as a critical intervention, as an imaginative starting point, as epistemological experiment etc. without defending state action in other ways. Now, you’ll have to defend your plan (or a topical advocacy statement—you need not have a PLAN, per se) in SOME ways but probably not a lot of different things.

-Impact turn topicality. If all else fails, impact turn and be extremely offensive against it. Disallow me from voting for T—you can complete this tactic by providing defense against their impact arguments while working on your own. Defense wins championships.

Hints not related to topicality

Once you’re past the topicality gate, you’re in the realm of normal non-procedural arguments and I have few suggestions in this area to avoid common errors (certainly not universal errors) I see in debates in front of me:

-Back up outrage with arguments. Excellent critical identity teams do this…but younger/lesser teams seem to struggle with this. Don’t get so wound up in your position that it stops you from making your argument.

-Antagonizing your opponent won’t sway me. There are reasons that you may choose to antagonize your opponent, some of which may be strategic, some not, some both. But as for how I view the debate, it will not contribute to me voting for you. See note in original philosophy about respectful behavior toward colleagues.

-Make the history lesson pay. Sometimes these debates collapse into scattered historical anecdotes that are only lightly tied together—get full credit for your analysis of history by investing time in explaining its application in this case.

-Don’t rely too heavily on enthymeme (don’t rely on me filling in the blanks for you). Too often, I hear judges (on MANY sides) say, “I guess I just know what they’re talking about.” No. You have an explanatory burden to help me cognitively grasp the situation. I grasp the frustration that comes with my lack of cultural connection to your argument, but I’m doing my best. If you think, “I’m tired of explaining myself to straight people, white people, cis gender people, able-bodied people, etc” and then don’t explain, it becomes really hard for me to vote for you (as well as making a bunch of assumptions that may or may not be accurate, depending on your judge). I won’t vote on what I can’t explain.

FINAL NOTE: You might be thinking, after reading this, ‘WOW, we’re NEVER preferring him. Look all the things he wants us to do—his presumptions are just too high. What a T hack.’

Maybe. But what I’ve tried to do is review almost every argument I find persuasive on T and flag it for you and send you in the right direction in answering it. In REAL DEBATES, teams won’t make all these arguments and they won’t always make them well. I ALWAYS evaluate the debate in front of me. But I wanted to flag all these so you could think through your answers and win my ballot. I wanted to flag these because winning my ballot is possible, not impossible.

I also think this can serve as a primer for winning in front of judges that are like me. To succeed in the big picture, you need to expand your judging pool. At the NDT and in national circuit elimination debates, you can’t hide from all the judges who think topicality is a thing or who have a grounding in traditional critique or policy debate. In my ideal world, you’d see me (or someone like me) on a panel against a non-critical identity team and think, “Good. Mick is a fair judge who sees the value of our arguments. He cares about our role in debateland and the world and even though he might not be our wheelhouse judge, we know the route to win with him.”

And, in the ideal world, your opponent would think the exact same thing.


1. I am worn out of looking through 6 different speech documents for cards. I am implementing a policy of asking that cards on positions that have been gone for in the 2NR/2AR be conslidated and sent to me). You don't need to sort out WHICH cards you went for, it's easier if I pick through what matters. Just consolidate them, organized by SUBJECT and SPEECH and send them to me. If you are paper team, you're are a cruel person who wants trees to die, but, on the other hand you make judging much easier :).

2. Most CX answers that given outside the 3 minutes of designated CX are not relevant to my decision. You want to get your argumentative question in? Fit it and the opportunity to answer into the CX time. You don't get to use some prep time to cover the argument you dropped, so you don't get to used prep time to ask the questions you forgot. Exception A: Filibustering to run out the clock will cause me to ignore this rule. CXer, you'll know you are free to keep asking because I will keep paying attention instead of getting up or walking away. Exception B: While answers might be non-binding, deception is misconduct foul, auto-loss. If the Cx-ee answers a clarifying question in prep like, "What's the status of the counterplan?" and then CHANGES it and thinks that's a clever trick, I see that as misconduct. Exception C: I think clarifying questions are fine in CX. Examples: What was your third argument on the DA? What's the status of the CP? Which card did you read? Answering these questions are matters of courtesy and fair play. Of course, they might just answer: "We didn't take a position on CP rules in the 1NC." And you'll be out of luck in arguing with them.

Brianna Thomas Paradigm

3 rounds

Email: brithomas1412@gmail.com

Currently a coach for GMU, former debater at Liberty University, 7 years debating experience overall, been to the NDT twice, and have judged all the tingz. After doing both policy and performance debate, I have learned that the most important thing for me is to create a space for myself and the arguments I want to read. Even though I think this is an educational and competitive activity that pays the bills (#schmoney), I still think it should be fun! That being said, my hope is that you will run what you are passionate about! If that's the Econ DA, Anti-blackness K, Fem K, or USFG, then let's get it! DO YOU BOO! This also means that yes debate is a game, but its full of real people and real consequences so we should keep that in mind as we play.

Now I know some debaters still like to worry about what the person in the back of the room thinks so I'll break down some key points.


-Spreading is fine, but be clear and pace yourself as necessary cause if you don't, then it may not get on my flow

-Organization is key. Even if the other team is messy, it puts you in a better position to clear things up for the judge so line by line can help, but final focus should be a balance of line by line and big picture framing

-I'm a very expressive person so look at my face cause my visual cues might help you out (and I oop...)

-I'll listen to whatever style of argumentation you like and whatever makes you passionate as long as you got warrants.

-At the end of the debate, be sure to summarize why I should vote for you.


I love running the K and the moment I was able to get into critical literature in my debate career, I dived right in. That being said, two important conclusions: One, I understand the foundations of most literature bases so feel free to run them if that is the style of argumentation you prefer. Two, I have a larger threshold for the K because I expect you to explain the link story and the alternative with warrants so don't assume that just because I know the theory means you don't have to put in the work for the ballot. I would also warn against just running a K because you think I'm only a K debater. Again, DO YOU BOO! If your heart is in the K, go for it! If its not, don't force yourself.

I love performative links not personal attacks so if you are unsure what that line is, talk to your coaches or email me before you dive in. With performative links, just make sure to give a warranted analysis as to why I should vote on it and what the impact is.

K aff's:

I do prefer K aff's to be in the direction of the topic or make some attempt to include a discussion of the resolution, but if you are not, then at least give me a warranted explanation as to why you have chosen that route. For those that are in the topic of the resolution, have a clear impact and solvency story. Many times, debaters will get so caught up in the negative arguments that they lose sight of what is important...their aff! So make sure to keep a story line going throughout the entirety of the debate. I also think you need a clear reason why you are not topical if you get into fmwk debates in front of me.


It's a strategy that is read against K aff's, it's a strategy I have won against, a strategy I have lost to, a strategy I have voted on and against. My personal outlook - debate is a game but it has real impacts that can help or harm certain individuals. While it is a competitive strategy, I do not think it is an excuse to not engage the affirmative because most of the time, your lack of engagement is what the aff will use to link turn the performance of reading fmwk (hint hint to K debaters reading this). I like the impact of education a lot more the fairness because it has better spill over claims, but in any case, make sure you have a clear impact and story from your internal links and links. I find it most compelling when you prove in round abuse so be on the lookout and don't miss opportunities. I also don't think you need a role of the ballot because I think fmwk is a counter RoB, but you should probably indicate that. Don't be shifty with your interp, but I believe a capable 2N will be able to accurately counter the 2AC shift and reframe the debate through the same interp in the 1nc. Please have a TVA! No, it does not need to solve the entirety of the aff because that is neg ground, but it should be able to solve the main impacts they go for. Lastly, defend your model of debate and explain why it would be better for the debate community writ large. If you are only focusing on the one round, then explain why that is better.


I don't have a preference meaning I am open to all types of CPs. What I do ask is that you have a net benefit and explain how your CP solves the aff. It's also nice if your CP is competitive...


I'm down for some good old throw downs on the DA flow, but make sure you have a clear and warranted link story and awesome impact calc for ya girl.


I think theory is procedural just make sure you explain very clearly and slowly what the violation is and why that matters...if you are going to go for theory, I expect the 2n or 2a to spend a good amount of time on it which means not just 30 sec or 1 min.

Policy Affs vs K:

Engage the K! Too many times policy teams just write over the K with their fmwk thinking that is the only work they have to do but it's just like debating a DA or CP. Do the link work and the more specific answers you have to the alt, the better position you are in. Don't just say Perm DB or Perm aff then alt, but really explain what that means and looks like in the world of the aff. I think you do need fmwk to get to weigh your aff but that is all the fmwk will get you which means don't forget to extend your aff and the impact story. A really good way to engage the K is to prove how the plan not only outweighs but resolves the specific impacts.


I think cross-ex is a really good place to assert your arguments and point out key flaws in the other team's arguments. This means you should take advantage of the time to really prove to me why the entire speech they just gave don't matter. While I think cross-ex is binding, you still have to bring it into a speech to explain why that moment was so important and the impact of it.

Nicholas Tilmes Paradigm

6 rounds

I debated for Cornell University and Georgetown Day School. While I almost exclusively ran Ks, I'll vote on anything. Run whatever you're good at and I'll adapt to you.

Please add me to the email chain - my email is ntilmes@gmail.com.

General Info:

Racist, sexist, ableist, homophobic, transphobic, etc. behavior will result in a loss and zero speaker points.

I am a technical, flow-centered judge and attempt to intervene as little as possible. The more I have to explain, extrapolate, and cross-apply your arguments, the less likely I am to vote for you. Tech over truth, but a handful of well-developed, warranted arguments often beat even the largest piles of blippy evidence and blocks. While this is the default way I evaluate debates, you can convince me to do so differently.

When coming to a decision, I first write down the central questions that frame the debate, which often are: do I weigh both teams' impacts and how do I weigh those impacts. Then I look at how the final rebuttals responded to those questions and how those responses correspond with previous speeches. Finally, I look to the quality of evidence, historical examples, and contextualization when comparing the relative truth of those responses.

I assume that 28.7 is average for national tournaments and 28.5 for regional ones, while low 28's mean that I expect you not to break. High 28's to low 29's signifies that I think you will break to early elims. Mid 29's mean that I think you belong in late elims.

The K vs. Policy:

Don't go for a K just because you think I'll like it, since I have a higher bar for arguments I'm familiar with.

In-depth knowledge of your theory is not a substitute for historical examples. Tailor your offense to specific lines from your opponents' evidence instead of relying on jargon. If I cannot explain the K in your words after the round or articulate how it solves, I will likely presume for the other team.

It's fine to jettison the alt and just go for framework and a link or two, but then you really need to devote time to them and flesh out the links as case turns.

Policy vs. The K:

Long framing contentions in the 1AC which don't get extended into later speeches and 2ACs that include every generic K answer are disappointing to watch and a blow to your credibility.

K teams often assume that their impacts inherently come first and don't do nearly enough impact comparison or framing. I'm a good judge for the standard policy tricks of pragmatism, extinction outweighs, framing, etc. as well as clever impact turns.

Too many Ks contain multiple divergent literature bases, so exploit those tensions. I think that internal non-contradiction is a low bar, but failing to clear it is devastating.

K Affs v. Policy:

I don't care if you're topical or not, but you should have some relation to the topic. The more that your aff looks like it could be read on any topic with a few minor changes, the more likely I am to vote on framework.

You either need to flesh out your impact turns to framework standards or explain why your aff is contestable and articulate a model of debate with a clear role for the neg. Reading definitions based on lived experience or metaphors can be a good starting point; saying "only our aff is topical" or "counter-interp plus our aff" is not.

Generic 2ACs against framework and cap are often redundant and lack a warranted explanation for why the topic is totally irredeemable. Develop a couple of DAs on each flow and cross-apply them instead of making a ton of blippy arguments that get lost by the rebuttals.

Policy v. K Affs:

Debate might be a game, but also has aspects that go beyond the room. As such, fairness can be an impact, but policy teams often don't do enough impact comparison and clash. We won't become policymakers anytime soon, so contextualize your impacts to the room, activism, organizing, etc.

It is very difficult to convince me not to evaluate the impacts of the aff against framework, so don't neglect the case page, especially because most K affs don't solve their impacts. Similarly, you should devote time to developing TVAs that don't just speak to the aff's stakeholders, but also to their theory of power.

Don't make the "small schools" argument unless you actually come from a small program.

K v. K Debates:

Affs should have an advocacy statement and defend a departure from the status quo. While refusing to defend a clear method on the aff can be strategic, it can also make you more vulnerable to presumption.

I have a high threshold for the perm in debates where the aff doesn't have a plan. Additionally, "perm do the aff" and "perm we do us, you do you" are not real arguments, so don't make them.

These debates are often decided by concessions in the first CXs, so plan for them like you would a speech. Evidence quality also matters far more to me in these debates than any others.

Policy v. Policy:

I will read a lot more evidence than I otherwise would after the round in these debates.

If you persuade me that the risk of the DA is infinitesimally small, I will disregard it. However, this seems like an unnecessarily difficult way to answer arguments.

Solvency advocates are ideal but not necessary for CPs and you should not just have purely theoretical justifications for competition. I don't have strong opinions about what constitutes an abusive amount of PICs, so convince me.

I dislike voting on theory over substance, but will do so given in round abuse or concessions. The one exception is disclosure theory, which can be evidence for links or abuse claims, but is never a winning strategy on its own.

Misty Tippets Paradigm

3 rounds

Debated 4 years at Weber State University (2013-2017)

Four time NDT Qualifier, 2017 NDT Octa-Finalist, 2015 CEDA Quater-Finalist

Currently a Graduate Assistant at James Madison University

I believe debate is for the debaters, I am happy to listen to whatever your argument is and will do my best to adapt to you so you don’t have to change the way you debate. I would much rather you do what you are comfortable with than read an argument just because you think it is something I would prefer to hear. I debated for 8 years and have read and coached all different kinds of arguments, so you should feel comfortable doing whatever you want in front of me. Everything else I’m going to say is just my preference about debate arguments and doesn’t mean that my mind can’t be changed. The last thing I'll say here is the most important thing for me in debates is that you defend your arguments. You can read almost anything in front of me as long as you can defend it. I decide the debates based off of what is on my flow, and nothing else.

Critical Affirmatives – I believe affirmatives should have a relation to the resolution, but I think there are many different interpretations as to what that can mean. To get my ballot with a non-traditional affirmative you must justify why your discussion/performance is a better one for us to have than talking about the resolution or why the resolution is bad. I am sympathetic to arguments that the negative needs to be able to engage the affirmative on some level, and I don't think that "they could read the cap K" is good ground. Counter interpretations are important on framework and will help me frame your impact turns. To win your impact turns to any argument I think the affirmative should have some mechanism to be able to solve them. Overall, I think it is important for any affirmative to actually solve for something, having a clear explanation starting from the 1AC of how you do that is important, and that explanation should stay consistent throughout the debate.

Framework – I think negative framework arguments against critical affirmatives are strategic and love to listen to thought out arguments about why the resolution is an important form of education. Fairness and ground are also impacts I will vote on and I perceive them as being important claims to win the theory of your argument. I am easily compelled that the negative loses ground when a non-topical affirmative is read, and having a list of what that ground is and why it is important is helpful when evaluating that debate. Even if you don't have cards about the affirmative it is important that you are framing your arguments and impacts in the context of the affirmative. If your FW 2NC has no mention of the affirmative that will be a problem for you. I view topical versions of the affirmative and switch side arguments as an important aspect to win this debate.

Kritiks – As I reached the end of my debate career this is the form of debate I mostly participated in which means I will have a basic understanding of your arguments. My research was more in structural critiques, especially feminism. I have dappled in many other areas of philosophy, but I wouldn’t assume that I know a lot about your Baudrillard K, so if that is your thing explanation is important. If you have an alternative, it is important for you to explain how the alternative functions and resolves your link arguments. I would prefer links specific to the affirmative over generic links. I am not a huge fan of links of omission. You will do better in front of me if you actually explain these arguments rather than reading your generic blocks full speed at me. In method v method debates I think you need to have a clear explanation of how you would like competition to function, the sentence "no permutations in a method debate" doesn't make sense and I think you need to have more warrants to why the permutation cannot function or wouldn't solve.

For affirmatives answering critiques, I believe that impact turns are highly useful in these debates and are generally underutilized by debaters. I don't think permutations need to have net benefits, but view them as just a test of competition. However just saying extend "perm do both" isn't an acceptable extension in the 1AR and 2AR, you should explain how it can shield the links. As for reading framework on the aff against a critique, it will be very hard for you to convince me that a negative team doesn’t get the critique at all, but you can easily win that you should be able to weigh the impacts of the 1AC.

Counterplans – Please slow down on the text of the CP, especially if it is extremely long. I am fine with anything as long as you can defend it and it has a clear net benefit. If I can't explain in my RFD how the counterplan solves majority of the affirmative or its net benefit then i'm probably not going to vote for it, so start the explanation in the block.

Disadvantages – I enjoy a good disad and case debate with lots of comparison and explanation. I would much rather that you explain your arguments instead of reading a bunch of cards and expecting me to fill in the holes by reading all of that evidence, because I probably won’t.

Topicality - I really don't have a strong opinion about what it is and isn't topical and think it is up to you to explain to me why a particular aff makes the topic worse or better. I tend to have a pretty low standard of what it means to be reasonably topical.

Theory - I generally think conditionality is good. Other than that I really don't care what you do just be able to defend your arguments.

Finally, as I becoming older and more grumpy I am getting increasingly annoyed about stealing prep and random down time in between speeches. That doesn't mean you aren't allowed to use the restroom, just be respectful of my time. I will reward time efficiency between speeches with better speakers points. Especially if you can send the email before prep time is over. These are my preferences

--If a speaker marks the speech document and the other team wants the marked document that should happen after CX during prep time. If the other team cannot wait until after CX then they can take prep time to get the cards

--If a speak reads a cards that were not in the speech document and needs to send them out the speaker will take prep time before CX to send out the necessary evidence.

--CX ends when the timer is over. Finish your sentence quickly or take prep time to continue CX

I would like to be on the email chain – misty.tippets9@gmail.com

A.J. Warne Paradigm

5 rounds

Judging Philosophy of AJ Warne

I debated 3 years at WVU, I was a critical debater, but I think that I am much more moderate when evaluating rounds. I enjoy the execution of arguments more than their substance most times. Any team can get up and read blocks; good debaters interact with each other and make the activity about having fun and engaging the judge and your opponents.

Do whatever gives you the best chance of winning. With that being said if being morally repugnant is part of your best chance of winning, I’m probably not a good judge for you 

When I evaluate a round I have a default for evaluating the round that you should be aware of. In my mind ever debate has four levels, and I’m not saying I can’t evaluate it in a different order, but you’re going to have to sell me on it because I strongly believe that this is the best order for debate.

1.      You have to be a decent human being. If you’re being sexist, racist, homophobic, or ableist, and the other team makes a compelling case for this as a reason you should lose the round, you’re probably going to lose. With that being said, if they don’t call you on it, you’ll still lose credibility and speaker points. This does not mean that unwarranted instances of the before mentioned -isms should be brought up because you think I’ll vote for them. If you aren’t comfortable with these debates its really easy to avoid them,… don’t do or say anything offensive, if you do it by accident, and explain and apologize for this, you’re going to be in a lot better shape than trying to impact turn racism or lie about what you said.

2.      The second level is framework. My default is to be a utilitarian policymaker, but I am happy to give up that default at the drop of a hat because frankly it’s a bad place to start. More likely though, is that one team or the other will win the way that the round is framed. If you want me to evaluate the round a certain way, tell me, the sooner the better. If both teams are decent human beings, I will then decide the framework debate and evaluate the round from there. It is also important to note that I think framework is seldom a place you can win or lose a round, unless you can win that the other teams interpretation of the framing of the round is bad for you, a group of people, or debate in general, otherwise, its just the forum for making the rest of the decisions in the round.

3.      The third level is theoretical objections. Here is where I’ll weigh theory violations and topicality. It’s important to understand that T comes after Framework in my mind, and you’ll have to convince me otherwise if you want to win that debate. Also keep in mind that the winning framework may preclude theoretical violations. If you have any questions about this, feel free to ask. Theory wise, condo is normally good, but often a reason that the negative’s arguments are going to come up short. A conditional revolution isn’t very convincing in my mind. Perm theory is almost never a reason to reject the team, save your breath and tell me why it means the perm doesn’t work.

4.      The fourth level is the substance of the debate. This is where you talk about the issues, and ultimately where the majority of the debate should take place. Substantive impact analysis will steal my heart and ballot on this flow. Spend time extending and explaining your impacts, I won’t do much work for you here.

A couple quick notes about argumentative styles that should help you out:

Affirmatives don’t have to have a plan text but they should have some sort of advocacy and a reason that I should vote for them. Teams should have some relation to the subject matter of the topic, but I’m very open to interpretations that limit them to USFG action per the resolution and affirmatives that are less so engaged with the resolution as long as you can justify their presence in the debate space and the negative has some way to negate you without saying something that is definitely false (like racism good).


CPs and DAs are very interesting and the best way to win them is to explain the nuances of your link and uniqueness evidence better than the other team. Competition is very important to me in a CP debate.


Ks should have a very strong link. I’m rarely persuaded by a generic state bad link. There should be firm link analysis in the block that explains it more than just a 1NC card extension. I like Ks a lot, but bad Ks are worse than no Ks.

Speed is fine, but you MUST be clear. I will only say clear once pre debater, after that I will make it clear that I am not flowing you.

Be nice, debate is a competitive activity but you don’t get to be rude or inconsiderate to your opponents.

Don’t be a shady debater, give your opponents your evidence in the order you read it in. You shouldn’t need to confuse your opponents in order to win, that isn’t cool.

Paperless debaters should understand how a jump drive works, how to load them onto a viewing computer, and how to get on with life. A paperless debate shouldn’t take any longer than a paper debate. I will stop prep time when the jump drive comes out of your computer, but you should still let me know when you're ending for the most accurate reflection of you prep time usage. 

Ryan Wash Paradigm

2 rounds

Do not attempt to appease me. I do not want you to debate to me but rather persuade me to believe you. Stay true to your argument set and do what got you here. That being said, who cares what I personally believe, this is your activity. Below is my process for making a decision in a debate:

Who should I be when evaluating the debate?

What is the main question/issue of the debate?

Who best answered/addressed that question/issue? Note: The characteristics of best should be determined by you and not me.

Are their reasons why their approach is dangerous or insufficient that overwhelms its positive potential.

Speaker Points: I give points based on how clear, efficient and engaging you are. What happened to debaters being able to be serious, funny, personable and entertaining simultaneously? You will be awarded of quality speaking even if you do not win the debate.


Tommye Weddington Paradigm

7 rounds

Hey, so apparently sending evidence without tags is a thing now. Don't do it in front of me. I'll cap your speaks at 28.


I don't want to be on the email chain. If I want to, I'll ask. You should debate as if I'm not reading a speech doc.

I'm currently a phd candidate and I view debate as an educator and also activist/organizer. This is to say that I ground much of what I think is important in debate in terms of how skills critical thinking in debate rounds adds into a larger goal of pursuing knowledge and external decisionmaking.

i've been in debate since fall 2008. at this point i'm simultaneously more invested and less invested in the activity. i'm more invested in what students get out of debate, and how I can be more useful in my post-round criticism. I'm less invested in personalities/teams/rep/ideological battles in debate. it's entirely possible that I have never heard of you before, and that's fine.

you should run what will win you the round. you should run what makes you happy. don't run what you think I want to hear.

Impact scenarios are where I vote - Even if you win uniqueness/link questions, if I don't know who's going to initiate a war, how an instance of oppression would occur, etc. by the end of the round, I'll probably go looking elsewhere to decide the round. The same thing goes for the aff - if I can't say what the aff solves and why that's important, I am easily persuaded by marginal negative offense.

Prep time ends when you email the file to the other team. It's 2020, you've likely got years of experience using a computer for academic/personal work, my expectations of your email prowess are very high.

Competing methods debates don't mean no permutation, for me at least. probably means that we should rethink how permutations function. people/activists/organizers combine methods all the time.

I don't think I've ever voted a team down b/c theory. an arg yes, but not a team:

I've found myself especially unwilling to vote on theory that's on face not true - for example: if you say floating PICs bad, and the alternative isn't articulated as a floating PIC in the debate, I won't vote on it. I don't care if it's conceded.

I think fairness is an independent impact, but also that non-topical affs can be fair. A concession doesn't mean an argument is made. your only job is to make arguments, i don't care if the other team has conceded anything, you still have to make the argument in the last speech.

Affs I don't like:

I've found myself increasingly frustrated with non-topical affs that run philosophically/critically negative stances on the aff side. The same is true for non-topical affs that just say that propose a framework for analysis without praxis. I'm super open to presumption/switch-side arguments against these kinds of affs.

I'm frustrated wby non-topical affs that do not have any sort of advocacy statement/plan text. If you're going to read a bunch of evidence and I have to wait until CX or the 2AC to know what I'm voting for, I'll have a lower threshold to vote on fw/t/the other team.

Finally, I have limited belief in the transformative power of speech/performance. Especially beyond the round. I tend to think that power/violence is materially structured and that the best advocacies can tell me how to change the status quo in those terms.

Negs I don't like:

Framework 2nr's that act as if the affirmative isn't dynamic and did not develop between the 2ac and the 1ar. Most affs that you're inclined to run framework against will prove "abuse" for you in the course of the debate.

Stale politics disadvantages. Change your shells between tournaments if necessary, please.

Theoretically inconsistent/conflicting K strats.

I don't believe in judge kicking. Your job is to make the strategic decisions as the debate continues, not mine.

if you have questions about me or my judge philosophy, ask them before the round!


Rob Wimberly Paradigm

6 rounds

Rob Wimberly
Debated for 4 years at Dominion High School, 2 years at the University of Mary Washington, 2 years judging/coaching

I would like to be on the email chain. My email is robert.wimberly95@gmail.com. If I had to direct you to my paradigm to get my email and you're just now reading this, know that I'm disappointed that you didn't read my philosophy before the round.

Please label the subject of the email chain with both team names, the tournament, and the round


Big Stuff:

Debate is a communicative activity, and it's your job to make sure that I understand the arguments that you're making. I'm a pretty expressive judge, so if I'm not understanding your argument, I will probably give you a weird look. If clarity is a problem I won't yell clear, but my face will show it - it's your and your partners' job to make sure that you are communicating clearly. I don't like trying to put together poorly explained arguments at the end of the debate, and in the post-round I'm more than willing to tell you that I didn't understand your argument based on how it was presented in the round. 

Beyond building communication skills, I think debate's other big benefit is exposure to a wide variety of literature bases (international relations, critical theory, public policy, economics, etc.). I like it when teams are experts on the research they're presenting, and if I feel like I've learned something new, it will show in your points. 

Organization: Line by line matters. I'm happy when my flow is kept clean. I reward efforts to help me keep my flow clean with speaker points. Please name your flows in the 1NC. I'm not a huge fan of overviews. Debate like this and I'll reward you with points http://vimeo.com/5464508

Quals matter. I would prefer it if you read the qualifications to enter them into the debate before you argue that your author's qualifications are better than your opponent's. Remember that qualifications aren't necessarily based on education alone - relevance of experience to the substantive argument in question is also a factor.

Truth matters. "Alternative facts" are not facts. I reserve the right reject evidence that is blatantly out of context or arguments that are particularly morally repugnant (i.e. "racism good"). I will read the unhighlighted part of your evidence to assess "truth," but I do my best to separate that from how your argument was explained in the debate. Ev comparison is welcome.

Prep starts at the end of speech time and ends once the email is sent/the document is saved.


Specific Arguments

T - I'm not really sure where reasonability begins and ends, so I tend to favor competing interpretations. I think vagueness and specification arguments are important and worth evaluating, but this should begin in cross-ex

Advantage/Disadvantage debate - Impact comparison is important and necessary. I am frustrated by 

Uniqueness shapes the direction of the link. If you're hoping to go for link shapes uniqueness, refer me to parts of the uniqueness debate that you think proves that uniqueness is close.

Counterplans - 2nr should be explicit in weighing the risk of a solvency deficit against the risk of the net benefit. Affs should be specific when making permutations. Most counterplan theory is a reason to allow cheaty perms or reject a counterplan altogether rather than a reason to reject the team.

Conditionality - I'm OK with the community consensus of 1 CP 1 K, but that can be changed by good debating. Convince me that your interpretation is better for accomplishing the big picture issues I noted at the top, and you'll do well. Affs should capitalize on strategies that are abusive for a combination of reasons (floating piks with a conditional alternative for instance). 

Critiques (and critical affirmatives) - I'm open to them. I'm not super familiar with all but the most basic parts of the lit base. I tend to be much better at concrete (rather than abstract) thought, so use lots of examples. Long overviews should be discouraged (see above). Root cause arguments don't make a ton of sense to me logically - if a carbon tax solves global warming by making renewable energy comparatively more economical than fossil fuels, why does it matter that capitalism caused global warming? Likewise, "alt solves case" arguments tend to fall victim to timeframe problems. The best way to win in front of me is to go for scholarship related arguments - if you prove that the scholarship of the 1ac leads to faulty conclusions that implicate solvency/the 1ac scenarios. 

Case - Presumption is a thing. Most 2nrs should address the case

Feel free to email me with questions!

David Michael Woodward Paradigm

5 rounds

***Short Version + General Notes***

I debated for five years for George Mason University, 5th year judging

I do want to be included on e-mail chains if they happen, my e-mail is dwoodward92@gmail

More tech over truth, biases are below but unless you say something offensive good debating > my preferences. Read what you're best at.

Have questions? read specific sections below or feel free to ask/email me.

*** Post-Bing Update: Don't troll in debates.*** IF you want to forfeit just tell me. Doesn't preclude off the wall strategies versus affs- if there's good faith involved points will be normalized. IF it's an obvious joke/waste of time then you + partner get a 15/15.1: If you make me laugh enough even after wasting that time then you'll get a 25/25.1 instead.

***End Short Version + General Notes***

***Novice Division Specifics***

Still not fan of packet but since GMU's following it yall should too (when the tournament mandates it)

Still want people to be nice/friendly in debates

Still am ok with non topical affs in novice but again keep them simple/to the point. general brightline for framework is MUCH lower than what it is in JV/Open debates.

Still giving full attention in novice debates

Still think it's the division that deserves a the largest amount of investment and support in college debate


Always a voting issue- can't change this

T comes first. Aff could win theory/other arg comes first but unlikely

Competing interpretations generally better than Reasonability

Affs should have a counterinterp

***Executive Authority After Wake Note***

Topic's in a good place


I reward negative teams who correctly punish aff teams for lack of defenses to portions of their aff, or topic literature of alternatives to the aff, so things like "x portion of your plan is actually good/bad so do the rest of it other than the good/bad part." OR "the main author for your solvency advocate says do x thing instead, so do x".

I respect the hustle but do not reward teams who interpret this as "the aff doesn't have a congress/federal/immediate action key card" in the 1AC.

I don't kick the counterplan for the negative if extended in the 2nr

Theory specifics

I believe in you can do what you can justify. Theory is easily the most common place where good debating will beat my preferences. At the same time I think a lot of counterplan things that exist are more likely cheating than not. I don't think permutation theory is a reason to reject the team, but all other theoretical reasons are. Also NDT/New Aff/GSU etc. isn't an excuse to read ridiculous CP things. As for conditionality, 2 IF old aff, 3 if new is where i'd give the 50/50 odds for both teams. Obviously fewer/more would shift my aff/neg bias there.

I think the ESR counterplan in certain forms is cheating on the current topic, though the fewer planks and fewer unrealistic hoops you have trump jumping through the better. Used to be far more it's unacceptable other than being a generic but between judging and wiki searches i've found there's both ok versions and ones that are very theoretically illegitimate.

Also borrowed this scale because i've seen many other people do this and it draws lines a lot better than I explain them.

Conditionality Bad------X-------------------------Negs can read as much/whatever they want

PICs Good-X------------------------PICs Bad

Condo Planks Magnify Abuse-X----------------------Condo Planks Are Fine

50 State Fiat Good------------------------------X---States CP is Awful

ESR Good --------------------X------ESR Cheat

Aff stuff

Read above. I want you to go for theory to punish the neg for questionable CP practices. This does not mean I want you to go for theory IF you are winning on substance, but it's an option.

Solvency deficits go a long way as does good permutations

CP specific offense definitely gets you some speaker point boost.


Not much to say, turns case args are good.

Midterms/Politics: I will vote on it. At the same times these DA's have made very little sense/haven't been a thing since 2010 except maybe SKFTA/sometimes debt ceiling. Logical arguments based on current events are super persuasive in front of me. I'm not saying don't read midterms/politics in front of me but analytics about gridlock/current congressional problems (they're in a recess currently, etc.) are more persuasive than you'd think.

***Critiques/Critical Affs***

I'm fine with them, read what you're best at. All I ask is that you explain things to me.

***Issues that apply to both the aff/neg***

Explanation is incredibly important. As I said above I mostly work with JV/Novice kids. Sometimes I cut cards/read critical lit but this is far and inbetween. I have general knowledge based on rounds i've judged and conversations but I don't read a lot of it in free time even though I find it interesting. I won't put things together for you at the end of a debate so don't assume I will.

I'm more familiar with identity based args than dense philosophy, still needs a lot of explanation though

Defend something. This matters more to the aff than the neg but the main point of the argument should be doing something. Doing nothing to do nothing doesn't read as an argument.

Specificity is better than generics- contextualizing your links/solvency to the topic/aff is fantastic- the more you are able to articulate how the aff causes/the aff fixes the problem in society makes things MUCH easier for you.

Tricks are encouraged but don't hide them from the judge as well. Pretty much if there's a trick to the aff/neg spring it early. In fact 2AC/2NC reveals or explanations are far better for you and me voting on it than 2NR/1AR tricks.

Defend what you say, don't be vague/shifty for no reason. Like IF the other team lets you get away with being shifty then exploit that but don't do it just to do it- i still need to know what to do at the end of the debate.

***Critical Affs w. Plan/Defending Implementation***

Do it or don't. 2AC's who shift one way or another irratate me. Makes winning against T/Framework arguments much harder. Best example, IF you say if the 1NC reads x DA and it links and the neg takes you up on that you should have that debate. If you spike out then T is much harder for you to beat.

Make sure I understand how the aff solves + use the aff to your advantage to get around CP's, DA's, etc. Offense is very important

Framing also important- easiest way to help me figure out who should win.

***Critical Affs w/o Plan/Defending Implementation***

Do it or don't- see above

Do something

Defend the topic

make sure you can explain/defend why your aff solves whatever you try to solve

specificity towards framework/critique/DA answers goes a long way.

specifics are good when it comes to dealing with framework/critiques/case args - not a fan of "not our x" to get out of case args.

***Aff vs. Critiques***

Defend your aff

Fine with either perm strat or case OW's

Alts very susceptible to whether it matters or not- needs to solve something

Perm should be specific but also if the neg lets you you can do what is needed.

***Neg vs. Critical Affs***


Limits/Fairness more persuasive than Delib/Portable Skills

T version can be very persuasive

Answer the specifics of the aff- the more specific your framework is to the aff the better.

take a hardline stance- either be very left wing framework or right wing. toeing the line doesn't help you.

Framework is a T arg- I don't count it as a conditional world


try and be specific to the aff, don't let perm cheat, explanation key

***Neg vs. Policy Affs***

Specific Links to the aff = good

K tricks encouraged

Links of Omission = not real args

Framing arguments help a lot

IF alt is relevant to winning the debate/solving your impacts then this should be made clear + explain how alt resolves your links/impacts

Don't let the aff cheat with the perm but also IF they let you get away with weird alt stuff then do it. But keep it stable.

All parts of the K should be in the 2nr and very extensive/understandable.

***Other Notes***

I dislike embedded clash

Clarity over speed

Don't clip- if you think someone is clipping/cheating, have audio evidence. Round will stop. if accused is guilty, they get a 0, the loss and everyone else gets average points. If accused is innocent, team who made the challenge gets a 0 + loss, others get averaged speaks.

Be nice, we have to see each other for 4-5 years, being nice is not being a doormat, similarly, being sassy is not the same as being hostile.

I don't take time for prep unless it's blatantly being stolen. And at that point i'll start running the clock without telling you. so don't steal prep.

I like spin over evidence dumps. explaining your evidence and the warrants clearly and in a way where it sticks with me helps. Spin will beat a card unless the quality difference is massive.

I don't read cards unless necessary. It makes me question my decisions/RFD's in ways that I later question how I determine debates. I feel more secure when debaters take the time to not only explain the warrants and arguments within the evidence to persuade me why I should prefer them. If the debaters make it part of the debate with a warrant larger than just "read the cards at the end judge", I'll happily read them or if it is a vital point to determine the debate. I am less happy if I am forced to read cards because the original presentation was not clear or comprehensible.

Jefferson Yahom Paradigm

4 rounds

I did LD for 4 years, then I did college policy for 4 years. Now I'm the assistant director of debate at the University of Rochester. Now I've been coaching debate at the University of Rochester for 5 years. I like critical theory, especially the works of Sylvia Wynter.

A few things I think are generally good:

- I don't like disclosure theory.

- I don't like it when people ask for high speaker points.

- Plans, no plans, there are good reasons to have them and good reasons to not have them. Policy debate existed before plan focus debate, policy will continue even without the plan.

- If you see me flowing on a computer, hand me paper and a pen and you'll get my full attention.

- Neg flex is theoretically justifiable, but I value smaller debates because I like it when people paint me a picture of the debate and their scenarios. Go 7 off at your own risk because those sorts of debates get in the way of storytelling. (I get it someone broke new and you gotta go do what you gotta do)

Speaker points:

I'm still trying to figure these out. I think I'm closer to what they should be than I was in the Fall.

Debaters that I would consider giving a 30 to with how I think about points now:

Rashid Campbell, John Spurlock, Gabby Knight, Brad Bolman, Kaine Cherry, Quaram Robinson

Types of debates I'm in and my thoughts:

K v K: in these a lot. Please don't assume I've read everything or agree with your interpretation of texts. I'm not always up-to-date on the coolest in the K, a lot of K arguments that are new are really just repetitions of previous types of debates, please flag it as a newer version of that type of debate so that I'm thinking about it in that manner.

A lot of folks don't really properly frame arguments so I'm not sure which arguments do and don't matter. The newer your argument is, and less framing I'm given, the more arbitrary my decision will sound.

Clash: in these a lot. Clash and debatability are pretty persuasive impacts to me since, I, like many coaches love debate and the process of going through tournaments, going to the lab afterwards to tweak and repair blocks/constructive speeches.

That said, I do think some K teams shoot themselves in the foot for trying to meet teams in the center. Y'all should be theoretically consistent at the risk of harming clash and debateability that disavow elements of structural violence. If that sounds like buzzwords, I'm saying that if you're telling me we gotta have an ontological that says we're on turtle island, T USFG should be grounds for you to want to throw ideological hands.

Policy v Policy: in these occasionally. A clever PIC/disads with uniqueness, and I'll be swooning. But please don't assume I know all the foreign policy shorthand and buzzwords, I may have cut a card about A2AD/BMDs in the past, but I don't honestly know what that means, so you gotta walk me through that or else I'm gonna get lost.

Also, I strongly suggest y'all check out Keiko Takemiya's To Terra. It's really good. Especially for this year's space topic.