Tournament of Champions

2019 — Lexington, KY/US

David Appelbaum Paradigm


My name is David Appelbaum. I am not a coach, nor experienced judge, but that doesn't mean I will be any less critical. My son has been competing in debate for 3 years and I have experience in public speaking and policy making. I graduated from Temple University with a bachelors degree in communications and a masters degree in education. Talk slowly, speak pretty, an say smart things, and you will probably be ranked. Say dumb, racist, sexist, etc. stuff and I will drop you and report such activities to tab and or your coach.

Your ranking will depend on if you can convince me of your argument. I could care less how crazy the argument is as long as you show me the links. Use quantified evidence and support you arguments with well though out analysis and impact.

Other than that, speak well and most importantly, have fun. Seriousness can ruin what is supposed to be a fun and educational activity. So don't be a jerk, loosen up, and have a good time.


Jordy Barry Paradigm

I am the Head Coach of Millburn High School in New Jersey. I have a bachelor's degree in Economics and Political Science and a master's degree in International Relations with a focus on International Law and Institutions.

I do my very best to be as non-interventionist as possible, but I know that students like reading judges paradigms to get a better sense of what they're thinking. I hope that the below is helpful :).

Here are some things to consider if I'm your judge in Congressional Debate:

- I am a sucker for a well-executed authorship, so please don't be afraid to give the first speech! Just because you don't have refutation doesn't mean it isn't a good speech. I will be more inclined to giving you a better speech score if you stand up and give the speech when no one is willing to do so.

- Bouncing off of the above bullet point, one of the things I really dislike while at national circuit tournaments is having no one stand up to give the earlier speeches (particularly in out rounds). You should be prepared to speak on either side of the legislation. You're there to debate, so debate.

- Asking the same question over and over to different speakers isn't particularly impressive to me (only in extreme circumstances should this ever be done). Make sure that you are catering the questions to the actual arguments from the speech and not asking generic questions that could be asked of anyone.

- Make my job easy as the judge. I will not make any links for you; you need to make the links yourself.

- If you are giving one of the final speeches on a piece of legislation, I expect you to weigh the arguments and impacts that we have heard throughout the debate. Unless there has been a gross negligence in not bringing up a particular argument that you think is revolutionary and changes the debate entirely, you shouldn't really be bringing up new arguments at this point. There are, of course, situations where this may be necessary, but this is the general rule of thumb. Use your best judgment :).

- Please do your best to not read off of your pad. Engage with the audience/ judges, and don't feel as though you have to have something written down verbatim. I'm not expecting a speech to be completely flawless when you are delivering it extemporaneously. I historically score speeches higher if delivered extemporaneously and have a couple of minor fluency lapses than a speech read off of a sheet of paper with perfect fluency.

- Be active in the chamber! Remember, the judges are not ranking students based upon who is giving the best speeches, but who are the best legislators overall. This combines a myriad of factors, including speeches, questioning, overall activity, leadership in the chamber, decorum, and active listening (i.e. not practicing your speech while others are speaking, paying attention, etc.) Keep this in mind before going into a session.

Let me know if you have any questions! :)

Here are some things to consider if I'm your judge in Public Forum:

- I am really open to hearing most any type of argument. Do your thing, be clear, and enjoy yourselves!

- It's important to me that you maintain clarity throughout the round.

- Take advantage of your final focus. Tell me why I should vote for you, don't solely focus on defensive arguments.

- Maintain organization throughout the round - your speeches should tell me what exact argument you are referring to the in the round. Sign posting is key! A messy debate is a poorly executed debate.

- I don't weigh one particular type of argument over another. I vote solely based on the flow, and will not impose my pre-existing beliefs and convictions on you. It's your show, not mine!

- I don't require front-lining in the summary, but if you feel as though it is necessary, do it.

- Be polite!

- Make my job easy. I should not have to (and will not) make any links for you. You have to make the link yourselves. There should be a clear connection to your impacts.

- Weighing impacts is critical to your success, so please do it!

Any questions, please feel free to ask!

Tyler Beusse Paradigm

I prefer clear, coherent introductions to bills and to arguments. Rhetorical openings are fine, but not at the expense of the bill or the framework of the argument.

Please do not approach the bill or the floor ironically - debaters who argue in favor of things like genocide or dictatorship to be cute will be dropped. Clash honestly and with detailed flow. Be awake and aware of the debate; rehash is the Devil.

Kathleen Bogen Paradigm

Kathleen Bogen

I am parent of a congressional debater at American Heritage in Boca/Delray Florida. I have judged local, regional and national tournaments. I judge primarily IE and Congressional Debate.


I like a good speaker and refutation is important. No spreading.
I prefer that debaters be strong in their conviction but not be abusive in their treatment of others.


I like the original intention of this event that it should be a debate that would take place in a public setting and would have ideas and delivery that any person off the street could understand. To this end, I don't want you to be a policy debater. While I do want structure to what you are saying and evidence to support your ideas, it is the PUBLIC approach that I prefer. Are you clear? Do your points make logical sense? Are you able to persuade me that your side is the side that is best for our current population?


Amol Bokil Paradigm

Not Submitted

Bilal Butt Paradigm

I am a Debate Coach at Charlotte Latin. Have been coaching all types of debate (except Policy), but most specifically Public Forum.

----Public Forum-----

- "Flow” judge I guess, can follow the fastest PF debater but dont use speed unless you have too.**

- If you arrive early, please flip the coin and be seated in the room.

- I am ok without handshakes at the end of the debate.

- I am not a calculator. Your win is still determined by your ability to persuade me on the importance of the arguments you are winning not just the sheer number of arguments you are winning. This is a communication event so do that, with some humor and panache.

5 Things to Remember…

Sign Post/Road Maps (this does not include “I will be going over my opponent’s case and if time permits I will address our case”)

After constructive speeches, every speech should have organized narratives and each response should either be attacking entire contention level arguments or specific warrants/analysis. Please tell me where to place arguments otherwise they get lost in limbo. If you tell me you are going to do something and then don’t in a speech, I do not like that.


I will evaluate arguments under frameworks that are consistently extended and should be established as early as possible. If there are two frameworks, please decide which I should prefer and why. If neither team provides any, I default evaluate all arguments under a cost/benefit analysis.


Don’t just extend card authors and tag-lines of arguments, give me the how/why of your warrants and flesh out the importance of why your impacts matter. Summary extensions must be present for Final Focus extension evaluation. Defense to Final Focus ok if you are first speaking team, but you should be discussing the most important issues in every speech which may include early defense extensions.


I would prefer if you DO NOT paraphrase. Tell me what your evidence says and then explain its role in the round.


Narrow the 2nd half of the round down to the key contention-level impact story or how your strategy presents cohesion and some key answers on your opponents’ contentions/case.


"30: Excellent job, you demonstrate stand-out organizational skills and speaking abilities. Ability to use creative analytical skills and humor to simplify and clarify the round.

29: Very strong ability. Good eloquence, analysis, and organization. A couple minor stumbles or drops.

28: Above average. Good speaking ability. May have made a larger drop or flaw in argumentation but speaking skills compensate. Or, very strong analysis but weaker speaking skills.

27: About average. Ability to function well in the round, however analysis may be lacking. Some errors made.

26: Is struggling to function efficiently within the round. Either lacking speaking skills or analytical skills. May have made a more important error.

25: Having difficulties following the round. May have a hard time filling the time for speeches. Large error.

Below: Extreme difficulty functioning. Very large difficulty filling time or offensive or rude behavior."

***Speaker Points break down borrowed from Mollie Clark.***

Martene Campbell Paradigm

Not Submitted

Nicole Castillo Paradigm

Not Submitted

Ashwin Chandan Paradigm

Not Submitted

Sunny Chandy Paradigm

I was an active member of my high school speech & debate team, under an amazing coach, Ms. Croley, who instilled in us the true joy of forensics and its deeper impact on the larger community.

I have been judging high school students, for several years at the local, district, regional and national circuit tournaments and TOC. I have judged various categories and have great admiration for students who invest their efforts in the category selected. I started serving as a volunteer coach for younger students, from my teens, in part due to the legacy left by my late Coach.

In Congress -

I value substance and substantiation, and overall active involvement in the Chamber, through an organized presentation and active questioning.

Regardless of my own stance on a bill, I welcome convincing arguments with reliable sources.

Drama, unnecessary questions simply to garner attention and loudness, does not make a good legislator.

As competitors, I expect proper and thorough preparation prior to the session.

I expect the PO to be fair, respectful to all in the Chamber, with knowledge of proper procedures.

Robert Chen Paradigm

I am a parent that did LD and policy debate in high school and loved it.

For Congressional Debate, my focus is on logic. The better I can understand your arguments, the more it clashes with arguments made by previous debaters, and the better you can explain why those should be the reason to vote for the position you're advocating, the better the score will be. For the question of content vs presentation I try to follow the 70-30 rule -- the focus is mainly on the content, but great presentation is appreciated.

In a round with a lot of great speakers and strong arguments and clash, I will tend to rank higher those that "raise the room" more. All things being equal, the tiebreaker for me will be those that are friendlier to others and have a more civil / respectful tone in their speeches and questioning.

Eugene Chung Paradigm

Please speak clearly, and try not to spread.

Please be respectful to your fellow competitors, especially during direct questioning.

James Cox Paradigm

I value well-supported, creative arguments - secondly clash and refutation. Knowledge of the topic is important, fluff is not. And at least you should sound like you really care.

Aubrey Davidson Paradigm

Not Submitted

Nancy Dean Paradigm

Nancy Dean- Director of speech and debate at Western High School in south Florida. I have been the head coach for 19 years, main interest is Congress

Speak clearly, do NOT spread. I look for well thought out arguments, no canned speeches. There must be clash or there is no debate. I stop listening when there is one-sided debate.

I read the bills so make sure you are on point with your arguments, refute and extend. Rehash will not be cool. Where you get your sources is important to me.

The PO will most certainly be considered.

Do not be rude, but again, clash is important. Look and play the part of a representative/senator. You are not a kid in high school, be well polished. I'm good with NO handshakes. :)

Srikanth Dharmavaram Paradigm

Not Submitted

Mike Du Paradigm

Not Submitted

Thomas Dunlap Paradigm

Tom Dunlap

Monte Vista High School, Danville, CA

Ten years judging Lincoln Douglas

Eight years judging other events

I'm an assistant speech and debate coach, a former English teacher with 18 years of experience, a substitute teacher, and a tutor.

I favor a moderate, measured speed of delivery--I detest spreading. I value an eloquent, coherent, well-supported argument over stylistic flash. I prefer the big picture to line-by-line analysis in summary speeches. Conventional arguments are more persuasive to me than kritiks, many of which seem contrived. I flow during the debate.

Ross Eichele Paradigm

I coach speech and debate at Eagan High School and am the librarian/media specialist there.

I enjoy debate, so I look forward to hearing your round!

In general you may want to know this about me:
I want to hear you debate about the resolution/legislation at hand. Theory is very rarely needed. I like to hear real world impacts, and I want to understand how your arguments will impact the lives of people. I have little interest in unique/trick/squirrel/non-topical arguments. Weighing is give me a clear way to weigh a round. Delivery is important, so speak well and avoid speed at all costs. Speaking of speaking, there have been five times when I've given a 30 in my life, and the lowest end I've given was 10. In all situations the speaker points were earned. My typical range is 26-29. I rarely disclose and there will be no orals after the round. Finally and most importantly, have fun and debate with class.

Specifically, in terms of congressional debate: I'm probably going to vote for the best legislator. You should speak well...but not have canned speeches. You should show me you can speak in a variety of positions (author legislation, introduce arguments, refute arguments, and weigh/crystalize the round). You should advance your arguments through questions. You should use motions to advance/end debate when appropriate. You should play the role of a congressperson with the decorum it deserves. You are always on...even during recess. You should be a good person (don't be a jerk).

In terms of public forum: I'm probably going to vote for the team that does the best job of explaining the big picture of what happens in the pro and/or con world. Real world impacts are important. Weighing is important.

In terms of LD: I'm old school. I would gladly judge a value debate. I would gladly judge a round in which the criterions are debated.

In terms of policy: Good luck. Use everything written here to adapt your approach to me. I might not be the best judge for your typical approach. I do not want to have to vote on presumption.

Good luck!

Jackie Evrard-Vescio Paradigm

While I enjoy judging a variety of events and encourage students to have fun with competing, I do take judging events very seriously. I have been coaching a small, yet quickly growing team for almost three years and have been a middle and high school judge for almost six years. I judge consistently on both the local and national circuits, including the TOC and NSDA championships.

I strive to remain objective regardless of personal opinions and have often ranked students debating on the side of an argument I may not agree with personally because they were the most convincing or were able to poke holes in the arguments presented on other sides. I believe that as a coach and a judge it is my job to provide detailed critiques and solid feedback to all students, even those I rank highly, to best serve the hardworking students competing at these tournaments.

in general, my paradigms include strong evidence to back up claims, well-constructed and organized speeches and assertive, yet not too aggressive questioning. I expect courteous, respectful behavior at all times, both in and out of sessions, and frown upon negative facial expressions, comments, hand gestures and the like.

Specifically regarding Public Forum debate, I want the participants to be able to show me why the team won the round and each speech after the first constructive should have clash. That said, I am not a fan of spreading and look for a combination of persuasion, argumentation and reasoning in each round.

Regarding delivery, I will not mark down for speaking quickly, as long as I am able to follow what is being said. I look for debaters who make eye contact and are not simply reading a well-written speech. While voice projection and inflection are in no way valued over content and argumentation, they do go a long way with impact and keeping the attention of listeners.

Kale Fithian Paradigm


Kale Fithian—Erie (PA) McDowell Policy Paradigm


Background:   I competed in extemp in high school and speech/LD in college in the early to mid 1990s.  I never competed in policy debate.   I picked up judging after being trained 15 years ago.  I judge 15-20 rounds a year mostly at local tournaments in Western Pennsylvania/Eastern Ohio.  I occasionally judge circuit debate and have judged several times at NCFL Grand Nationals.


I would best be described as an experienced traditional judge with some exposure to circuit policy debate.   Speed is not something that I am philosophically opposed to but I can probably only handle about 65-70% of the fastest spreading.   Clear tags and direction on the flow will help.  I will say clear if needed.


I flow on legal pads and don’t access technology during the round.   It has to be on my flow for me to vote on it and not just in an email chain.  


I am reasonably well versed on current events but do not have any especially specific knowledge of this topic area. 


Round Procedure:   I will time just in case there is a dispute but otherwise you are welcome to time yourselves.   I won’t count any technology time such as flashing information against prep but it is your responsibility to let me know that you have stopped prepping. 


Open cross-ex is fine with me but I will not require any questions to be answered during anyone’s prep time. 


I am not overly concerned with formality of procedure but I will penalize heavily for clear unsportsmanlike or inappropriate behavior.   Treat the activity and your opponents with respect and this should not be an issue.


I will disclose and do a brief oral critique but I write most of my comments on the physical ballot.


General Philosophy:  My goal at the beginning of any round is to be as non-interventionist and tab rasa as possible.   It will be the debaters’ job to identify the key issues of the round, argue them and guide me by providing voting issues.  If there is a true breakdown of the round or lack of clash I will default to policymaker with an impact calculus as my preferred method of round evaluation.


Specific Arguments: 


T—I have a fairly high threshold for T.  I will tend to default to a reasonableness argument unless the Neg clearly wins the line by line.


FW—I am always open to either side framing the debate and setting up the importance of the arguments (as noted above in my tab rasa philosophy).    I will not vote specifically on FW but if you can show the specific reason your arguments win under a FW I agree with you will most likely win the round if your points truly match the FW.  If you can show what specifically you are missing out on if I accept your opponent’s framework that would go a long way.


CP—I am open to CP’s by the neg.  If your CP will lead to a better net benefit than the Aff plan then I am going to potentially vote for it as part of the impact calc in the round.    Likewise if the Aff plan has better net benefits then the Neg then I would be inclined to vote Aff at least on the plan portion.  I am however not opposed to the Aff running T, harms, DA, etc… against a CP.


DA—I will consider both the Aff and Neg running DAs against a plan or counterplan to be fair arguments relating to the effectiveness of those cases.  If the DAs outweigh the net benefits of either that can be a key voter in the round.


K—I am fine with Ks being run but it is up to the debater running it to make sure they explain the potential impact/consequences/reasons for the K to be accepted and to show why the topic or case is truly related to the K.


On Case—I am favorable to the Neg being able to attack the Aff case.   I am more likely to vote on some sort of harms but will vote stock issues if it is clearly won in argumentation.


Performance Aff/Aff K—I am not very familiar and hold a high threshold here.   If this is done it will need to be clearly explained as to why this is clearly better than running a traditional case.


Fiat—I will grant Aff fiat and any non-attacked plan gets full benefits as if it happened (granted harms etc.. could still be argued). 


Clark Foster Paradigm

k: 1

theory: 3/4

tricks: don't

larp: 2

more than 3 offs: 4

if you read more than 3 offs I will have a hard time evaluating the substance of the arguments, I don’t think any argument should be undeveloped in the 1nr and then suddenly have tons of impacting in the 2nr.This is specific to short offs that get extrapolation in the 2nr. I think this is horrible for debate and have no problem voting against these if they are made into shells. However I will most likely doc speaks for this type of argumentation


I have been a coach at evanston for 3 years, and have been judging for them for 5+

please be clear if spreading, very important that you pause and sign post during argumentation. I will defer to what I hear in speeches and use the speech doc sparingly. It is importance to change cadence when spreading in order to emphasize warrants and impacts in order to differentiate. I don’t want to have to read the cards to figure out what you are saying in your speeches, you should be clear enough so I can flow

Tricks are pretty annoying and don't really help people learn how to debate, It is on a case to case basis on how I will weigh tricks (long story short, id recommend NOT reading them in front of me)

Theory: theory is fine, but it is alot clearer to me if the warranting isnt spread.

The most important thing in the round is that your arguments are accessible, and inclusive to everyone. That being said, be inclusive to your opponent inside the round. If your opponent doesn't understand speed, slow down. If an argument is not clear and is hard to understand, explain it. If you don't do these things, I will have a hard time voting for these arguments. That being said, I am pretty much open to any argument (regardless of event) as long as it is warranted, and impacted (as long as it is not exclusionary or violent). This includes critical arguments in public forum. Don't lie about evidence. This is a very good way to automatically lose the round with me, and more often than not almost any other judge, or judge panel.



If you tell me to look at a certain framework and it is fair and reasonable, then I will do so. If I don't think it is fair I probably wont evaluate under it, but I will tell you why I think it's unfair, and how to make it fair. For LD, it is more about warranted framing. I don’t like/understand phil framing when it’s spread, and I literally have no idea how to evaluate it when it’s read at 200+ wpm

K's are cool.

Decorum: You should do what makes you comfortable in round, if you want to sit down for cx cool, stand up, cool. Sit down for speech, yeee, stand on your head. Let people know if there is anything you need to make the round more accessible or more comfortable for you.

Speaker points: Being kind in round is the best way to get 30's with me. Also, if I learn something new or interesting, you will probably get good speaks, or if you are black

winners get probably 28-30, then the losing team .5 less

30: you were cool in round

29.8-29.9 how is anyone supposed to measure the difference between these two?

29.7-29.8 seriously who does this distinction help?

29.5-29.6 no for real, someone tell me the difference between this and 30

I don't always remember to time, so please be honest and hold yourselves accountable.

Valaya Gaudet Paradigm

Not Submitted

Ursula Gruber Paradigm


If you seem like you are having fun and maintaining civility, I will listen to pretty much any argument that isn't intentionally obnoxious or repugnant (death good, racial equity bad, etc.). I prefer lines of argument that don't rely on nuclear war or extinction, but if your case is strong, go for it.

Clash and analysis are key. Use your case to analyze and refute your opponent's arguments. Don't just toss out cards; explain WHY and HOW. If your logic/reasoning is sound, you don't need to extend every card to win. I prefer strategic condensing over shallow line by line rebuttal.

I thoroughly enjoy critical debate. I think it fits super well with the intent of LD. Logic must be sound and you MUST use the conceptual framework of your K as the basis for your argumentation (i.e. don't read "We can't draw conceptual lines between people," and then respond to case with phrases like "those people")

Make sure you weigh your impacts for me. I may have a different perspective so if you don't make the weighing explicit, you are leaving it up to my interpretation. This includes ROBs, etc.

I expect timers and flashing to work without much delay. Having issues more than once in a round will lose speaks.

My speaks start at 28 for circuit tournaments. I'll dock a varsity debater more often for nonsense or rudeness than a JV debater. Making me laugh is a good way to bump up your points. Enunciation is also a bonus.

CX is important and ought to be used for more than just clarification questions. Don't be rude or talk over each other, especially if you are up against a less experienced debater. I will dock points for badgering novices.


I don't mind speed, as long as you are clear. I will only call "clear" twice in a varsity round. Taglines, authors, and card interp should be noticeably slower. It is up to the speaker to communicate their arguments and be aware of the audience's attention level.


I evaluate the full participation of the chamber, from docket maneuvers to quality and variety of questions. Successful legislators are those who drive the debate, present new/unique arguments, extend/refute/deepen previous arguments, choose sources carefully, and use parliamentary procedure appropriately. Debate on the merits/flaws of the specific legislation is given more weight than general issue arguments. Delivery style can enhance the persuasiveness of your analysis, but will not make up for canned speeches, poor supporting materials, or rehashed arguments.

POs are an essential part of the chamber. They set the mood, pace, and attitude of the chamber. It is a risk, and that is taken to account when I score. POs with a good pace and no major errors are very likely to be ranked.

Note on authorships/first pros: The price for establishing recency is that your speech must provide some background for the debate and at least one reason why this legislation in particular is/is not the answer.


The purpose of evidence in all forms of debate is to support your arguments with expert testimony, not to BE your arguments. I will only ask for cards if something sounds exceptionally wonky. Have some understanding of the bias of your sources (Are they all from conservative think tanks?, etc.). It is generally up to your opponent(s) to point out blatantly wrong evidence, but I will dock for egregious offenses.

Jeff Harkleroad Paradigm

8 rounds

I've been judging Congressional Debate at the TOC since 2011. I'm looking for outstanding statesmanship backed by a solid platform speech -- well-organized with good sourcing. No rehash & build upon the argumentation. I want to hear you demonstrate true comparative understanding of the advantages and disadvantages of the plan presented by the legislation. Don't simply praise or criticize the status quo as if the legislation before you doesn't exist.

Ron Hester Paradigm

Not Submitted

Davy Holmes Paradigm

Updated 2/23/20:

I've probably judged about 20-25 rounds on the topic. Most of them have involved a Saudi aff. I have judged very few K debates this year, but I have voted aff on the perm in every debate I have judged this year that had a K in the 2NR. Everything below is probably still true, but I thought this might be some relevant information to share.

Updated 3/12/19:


I won't reject any argument or style of debate out of hand, but I have a preference for topical, plan-focused debate. I feel a lot more comfortable expressing this preference at tournaments that use mutually preferred judging. If your strategies only include kritikal arguments, you may not want to pref me. Util is probably my default decision-making paradigm, but I can be persuaded to adopt other impact frameworks. I think winning zero risk of something is pretty hard, but I suppose it is possible. I don't think I am very good at flowing, but I try my best. If I didn't catch something then you were probably going too fast for me, or you were unclear. If the tournament allows for it, I will assign speaker points to the tenth of a point. My usual range is 27-29.9. Yes, I want to be on the email chain (


Unless persuaded to evaluate using a different lens, I tend to base my decision on whether a world with the affirmative plan is better than the status quo or a world with a competitive policy option. If the aff plan improves the world, the aff generally wins. If not, the aff loses. I also tend to evaluate in the "offense/defense" paradigm. Generally, I think the negative needs offensive arguments to win unless they can somehow take out 100% of solvency. 99% of the time you will need a reason why the plan causes something bad to happen to win on the negative.

I don't require strict adherence to my preferences. You've prepped the arguments that you've prepped, and it probably isn't in your best interests to drastically alter your preferred approach to debate when debating in front of me. However, I think you should probably know that some arguments are an uphill battle in front of me.

First, I generally think the aff should defend the topic. If your aff doesn't link to topic-related generics, then you probably have some work to do if the neg goes for framework/topicality. I think clash is super important, and I don't like affirmative approaches meant to minimize topic-centered clash.

Second, I don't necessarily think that fairness has to be an internal link to something. I think fairness can be an impact. It will be hard to convince me that the neg shouldn't get a decent amount of predictable ground or that fairness is bad.

Finally, I can't say enough that I need to know what your k alternative does or how it functions. The less clear I am on what the alt does the more likely I am to vote for something like "perm do the plan an all non-competitive parts of the alt." I'm sure your argument isn't that this particular round or my ballot is key to breaking down or eliminating whatever it is that your are kritiking, so please be specific about what it is that you expect me to vote for. I am not familiar with or necessarily interested in a lot of kritik literature, so you probably need to do more thesis explanation than you might usually do. You should also do as much contextualizing as possible when talking about your links. If I am going to vote for an argument I need to be able to put in my own words what I am voting for. I think it is your job to make sure that I am able to do that.

I would recommend not going at your absolute fastest pace, and this is especially true when reading complex kritikal arguments or multi-point theory blocks. Other than that, have fun.


Same as Policy. Again, I'm probably not the best K judge. I'm also probably not good for arbitrary theory interps.


I don't judge a lot of PF. Despite my Policy background, I don't think PF needs to become more like Policy. I think PF should remain accessible to the general public, and the round should be debated at a reasonable pace. While I understand the advantage of speaking 2nd, I don't require the 2nd rebuttal speaker to address the 1st rebuttal. I will probably flow, but I don't intend to evaluate the round at a highly technical level.

Policy Debater from 1996-1998 for Gregory-Portland HS (Texas)

Assistant Policy Debate Coach from 1998-2002 for Gregory-Portland HS (Texas)

Debate Coach/Teacher at Sinton HS (Texas) from 2002-2003

Debate Coach/Teacher at Hebron HS (Texas) from 2003-2007

Debate Coach/Teacher at San Marcos HS (Texas) from 2014-2017

Debate Coach/Teacher at Dripping Springs HS (Texas) from 2017-present

Christine Hunschofsky Paradigm

Not Submitted

Mark Iannelli Paradigm

Not Submitted

Anitha Irakam Paradigm

I look for an interesting introduction, 2 or 3 areas of analysis with sufficient evidence especially latest events. Must be able to refute other senators. Be polite, involved and maintain the decorum in the chamber. Need to have a good presentation with eye contact, vocal variety and fluency of speech. End with a good conclusion.

Nick Klemp Paradigm

Public Forum


Coached PF and LD for the past 5 years at Phoenix Country Day School in Arizona where I also teach economics. PF and LD competitor in 2003. I have judged Public Forum and LD at all levels over the past 15 years.


I do believe that Public Forum should be accessible to all levels of judge experience, and I am less inclined to see arguments that serve to exclude the general public amicably. That being said, I hate intervening in rounds, so it is your opponents' job to explain why those arguments do not meet the spirit of public forum, are antithetical to the educational purpose of the event, and/or create levels of abuse that tip the balance towards one side or the other.

General Philosophy:

Tabula Rasa - I'll only intervene if something egregious or offensive occurs that an educator needs to step in and correct. Otherwise, I'll vote on the arguments in the round and weigh the impacts through the frameworks that are presented. If there are competing frameworks in the round, show me why you win through both of them.

Crawford Leavoy Paradigm

Crawford Leavoy, Director of Speech & Debate at Durham Academy - Durham, NC

Email Chain:

I am a former LD debater from Vestavia Hills HS. I coached LD all through college and have been coaching since graduation. I have coached programs at New Orleans Jesuit (LA) and Christ Episcopal School (LA). I am currently teaching and coaching at Durham Academy in Durham, NC. I have been judging since I graduated high school (2003).


- Speed is relatively fine. I'll say clear, and look at you like I'm very lost. Send me a doc, and I'll feel better about all of this.

- Run whatever you want, but the burden is on you to explain how the argument works in the round. You still have to weigh and have a ballot story.

- Theory - proceed with caution; I have a high threshold, and gut-check a lot

- Spikes that try to become 2N or 2A extensions for triggering the ballot is a poor strategy in front of me

- I don't care where you sit, or if you sit or stand; I do care that you are respectful to me and your opponent.

- If you cannot explain it in a 45 minute round, how am I supposed to understand it enough to vote on it.

- My tolerance for just reading prep in a round that you didn't write, and you don't know how it works is really low. I get cranky easily and if it isn't shown with my ballot, it will be shown with my speaker points.


- I'll give comments after every round, and if the tournament allows it, I'll disclose the decision. I don't disclose points.

- My expectation is that you keep your items out prior to the critique, and you take notes. Debaters who pack up, and refuse to use critiques as a learning experience of something they can grow from risk their speaker points. I'm happy to change points after a round based on a students willingness to listen, or unwillingness to take constructive feedback.

Kattie Leito Paradigm

School Affiliation: Plano West Senior High School - Plano, TX (2013-Present)

Competitive Experience: Policy Debate (at a small school in Texas) and very limited Policy Debate at the New School University

Judging Experience: I have been judging at local and national tournaments for eleven years. These days, I mostly judge PF, Extemp, and Interp. On rare occasions, I will judge Policy or LD.

I don’t have any overly specific preferences. Just tell me how to evaluate the round. A framework with proper extensions of arguments make it really easy for me to vote. If nobody provides me with those things, I will use a basic cost/benefit framework.

Speed of Delivery – I am comfortable with speed (as typically used in Public Forum). If I can’t understand you, I will tell you during your speech.

Flowing/note-taking – I will flow the round. If you are speaking faster than I can write, you run the risk of me missing something on my flow.

Pro Tip - I am not a lay judge, but I think we will all be happier if you act like I am.

If you have any questions, feel free to ask me before the round!

Alya Limayem Paradigm

8 rounds

Not Submitted

Colin Malinak Paradigm

Not Submitted

Becca Marks Paradigm

Updated for Emory 2020

If you have questions about anything here, just ask!


-I don't have a preference between early/mid/late round speeches - just give the best speech. I evaluate each speech for the role it needs to serve in the round. So, if you're sitting on a neg and we go to a 2-minute recess because you're insistent on doing a crystallization speech and no one else has a neg, I'll be annoyed. If you're able to show me multiple types of speeches throughout the session (especially if I'm the parli), that's great.

-Expectations for authorship/sponsorship/1st aff: problem/solution; identify a framework/burden/scope to evaluate debate; have a central narrative

-Expectations for mid-round speech: Refute; have a central narrative

-Expectations for late speech: Refute & boil the debate down to a main issue or 2; have a central narrative

-Have a clear, specific, and offensive thesis coming out of the introduction.

-Have clear warrants; if they stem from the legislation directly, even better. Particularly in mid/late speeches, weighing/clash is super important.

-No rehash.

-Neg speeches can't say the leg is bad because it doesn't do something unless that thing is mutually exclusive with the action of the legislation; if the leg is that we should all eat more bananas and your neg is no we should eat more apples, unless you can prove that we can't eat apples AND bananas the point doesn't work. I also don't love points about complacency - they generally feel stock to me. Both of these types of points (do x not y; complacency) feel like avoidance of engaging with the actual legislation - neg speeches must demonstrate the inherent harm(s) of passing.

-No stock intros/conclusions. I like an attention-grabbing intro of some kind and when the conclusion ties a bow with the opening.

-I don't have a preference for being in the simulation or avoiding it. If you start talking about your constituents and your office in D.C., I will likely roll my eyes. On the other hand, talking about your current high school Bio class doesn't work either.

-Stay involved throughout the entire session. If you give an A+ speech but ask zero questions, you'll get ranked below an A- speech and strong, well-spaced questions.

-I will rank you as the PO if you're a strong PO (fast & efficient, knowledgeable about RR, clear command of chamber). Being the PO is neither a guarantee of a rank nor of a drop for me - if you do an A job as the PO, it'll be ranked the same as if you did an A job as a speaker.


-I don't flow cross; if you want me to evaluate something out of CX, you need to mention it in a later speech.

-If you want me to evaluate something from FF, it also needs to appear in the summary.

-Make sure to identify moments of clash. Don't let the two ships just pass in the night; tell me where the boats crash and why yours stays afloat.

-Make sure to weigh arguments. Tell me what the key points of the debate are so that I don't have to determine them myself.

-I won't make a decision based on politeness, but being excessively rude/abrasive in cross annoys me and will negatively impact your speaker points.

-Unless there's true abuse in the round, I won't vote on theory.

Laura McAllister Paradigm

8 rounds

My paradigm boils down to four points:

1. Please provide me with a framework/weighing mechanism for the round.

2. Do not spread. I will put my pen down if you're going too quickly for me to understand.

3. Tag your points and subpoints––as a judge, I like to be able to strike through these points as the other team tackles them, or else to draw them through several speeches. That way, it's very clear who won and who lost, and little is left up to my own biases/personal paradigm.

4. Be nice to each other :)

Heather McPherson Paradigm

Not Submitted

Joshua Misrack Paradigm

Just a bit about myself, I debated for 4 years, doing mostly Congressional Debate, but occasionally Lincoln Douglas and Public forum. I also did extemporaneous speaking. Watched, flowed, and practiced judging in all types of rounds, I am able to understand most of what you throw at me.

Policy- not a fan of K's, only use theory to check back on genuine abuse, if i believe you are running it frivolously it wont end well. I am a fan of plans, counter-plans, and disads.

LD-Similar as above, I would add that good framework debate is something I really like to see. If you are employing an esoteric philosophy please explain it to me.

PF-strength of link is crucial. Also please be good about sources, i have seen some citation issues in my time and it doesn't end well.

Congressional Debate- You may talk very well, but if you don't have substance, dont expect me to up you. i also dont care if you try to stand up for both sides of the bill, we all have had to get that good precedence before, just stick to the side you get picked on if you are selected to speak. Good questions are crucial, both answers and responses, keep both short.

Nick Montecalvo Paradigm

I am a fifth year debate teacher and coach for the nationally ranked Cypress Bay High School debate team. I am a lover of the written and spoken word who fell hard for forensics. I received my BA in English from Florida Atlantic University, and have judged local and national debate tournaments including out-rounds at Harvard, The Glenbrooks, Emory, The Tradition, Bronx, Sunvite and The Cal Invitational (Mostly LD, but also scores of speech and other debate event rounds).

General Paradigm
I am open to whatever kind of position you would like to run, but clarity and weighing is essential in fleshing-out arguments and my decision-making process. That being said, I do appreciate when debaters explain complex theory arguments. I grasp and enjoy K debate. I also do not retain details of all the obscure literature I've heard about. Just because it is a commonly used concept in competitive debate, don't assume that I understand how it interacts with your position. Explain stuff!!!

I can follow most speeds.
I flow. Please slow down on authors and tags.

Speaker Points
I think that speaker points are unnecessarily arbitrary; I also know that giving every debater in a round 30s skews results. As such, I use speaker points as a rank. If you are the best debater in the round, you will get 29 points(30 will be reserved for a truly stunning performance), second best, 28.5 points, etc. I will only give you below a 26 in a round if I am offended about an argument or action in the round.


Policy Debate: I have only judged a handful of national policy tournaments. I understand the structure and basic principles, but much of the jargon is foreign to me, and explanation may be necessary to obtain my ballot.


Joseph Murgida Paradigm


I have developed a rubric that clearly outlines my paradigm for judging Congressional Debate. Granted, not all speeches or rounds can be categorized the same. Consider this paradigm, therefore, a general, albeit not perfect, guide for how I approach Congressional Debate rounds when judging:

Speakers will be considerably penalized for speaking on less bills than they should given the allotted time of the session. Usually sessions allow for two speeches. Depending on size and time this could differ.

If a speaker intended to speak on the bills but was unable to due to poor recency, they will NOT be penalized under this system.

----NOTE: If the chamber comes to a base-x bill agreement, I frown upon those who agree to it before the debate starts, and then proceed to abuse it. This activity was not intended to encourage deceptive legislative tactics. Such an action is not, however, against the formal NSDA rules. Thus, I will hear the speech with no penalty, but may deduct Parliamentary Points for poor legislative practice.

NOTE ABOUT RUBRIC – failure to execute criterion effectively counts as having not done it at all

e.g. – an impact that does not make sense based on the argument provided is as good as a failure to provide an impact

TOC-SPECIFIC NOTE – all morning session speeches on local issues will be treated in my system as authorships.


8 –

AUTHORSHIP - the speaker focuses their speech on introducing the Congress to a specific serious problem and its impacts, and explains how their bill effectively solves that problem…the speaker discusses the entire scope of the bill accurately…the speaker introduces arguments so impactful that the negation must refute effectively in order to win the debate

1STNEG - the speaker focuses the speech on how Congress could make a specific problem worse, not solve the problem at all or create other net harms not related to the problems (ideally, this should refer to the authorship speech) … the speaker discusses troubling elements of the bill in a way that is specific and compelling… the speaker introduces arguments so impactful that the affirmation must refute in order to win the debate, as they have muddied the foundation of debate set by the authorship

REFUTATION – the speaker discusses the strongest arguments that came up on the opposing side of debate, correctly mentions all who brought up that argument and effectively refutes them, advancing the debate, in a way that uniquely adds to the debate either by providing interesting new logic, evidence or context…the speaker presents strong impacts in extension of their claims

EXTENSION – the speaker expands upon old arguments by presenting new evidence, logic and, most importantly, new impacts that strengthen preexisting claims from speakers on the side of that speaker and accurately frames how the point has been been discussed before by the senators who stated that point (the specific names of senators who used these arguments should be mentioned in the speech) …they should be able to clearly explain how their information made the claim stronger or establish new/stronger impacts about that claim

CRYSTALLIZATION – the speaker weighs the debate, stating the main arguments of the affirmation AND negation and clearly explaining why a particular side won without adding new points…the speaker explains what voting issues the congressional representatives should consider in their vote, and why based on those issues and the information presented in the debate, their side wins…the speaker presents strong impacts in extension of their claims

6 –

AUTHORSHIP – the speaker effectively explains the net benefits of the legislation…the speaker discusses the most important portions of the bill accurately, but alludes to the bill rather than referring to specific sections… the speaker introduces arguments with few strong impacts

1STNEG – the speaker focuses the speech on the bad elements of the bill, but fails to weigh those impacts against those in the authorship effectively…the speaker discusses troubling elements of the bill in a way that is general and accurate… the speaker introduces arguments with few strong impacts

REFUTATION – the speaker discusses some of the strongest arguments that came up on the opposing side of debate, correctly mentions all who brought up that argument and effectively refutes them, advancing the debate, in a way that uniquely adds to the debate either by providing interesting new logic, evidence or context...the speaker presents few strong impacts in extension of their claims

(5 – the speaker refutes to one strong argument in the debate and effectively refutes it, in a way that uniquely adds to the debate either by providing interesting new logic, evidence or context)

EXTENSION – the speaker expands upon old arguments by presenting new evidence and logic strengthen preexisting claims from speakers on the side of that speaker and accurately frames how the point has been discussed before by the senators who stated that point (the specific names of senators who used these arguments should be mentioned in the speech) … they should have at least few strong impacts, even if they are not completely different but should be explained more effectively/clearly than prior speakers

(5 – all of the criteria above, but lacks strong impacts)

CRYSTALLIZATION – the speaker weighs the debate, stating the main arguments of the affirmation AND negation and explains why a particular side won the debate …the speaker presents few strong impacts in extension of their claims

4 –

AUTHORSHIP – the speaker refers to the net benefits of legislation that acts similarly to the one in question, but does not consider the specific details of the legislation being debated…the speaker talks about the bill generally, rather than what the specific legislation does… the speaker provides no strong impacts

1STNEG – the speaker refers to the net harms of legislation that acts similarly to the one in question, but does not consider the specific details of the legislation being debated…the speaker refers to what bills similar to the one in question do, rather than what it does specifically… the speaker provides no strong impacts

REFUTATION - the speaker discusses some of the arguments that came up on the opposing side of debate, correctly mentions all who brought up that argument and effectively refutes them, in a way that uniquely adds to the debate either by providing interesting new logic, evidence or context…the speaker provides no strong impacts

(3 – the speaker refers to the strongest arguments in the debate and attempts to refute them, but fails to do so effectively, in a way that uniquely adds to the debate either by providing interesting new logic, evidence or context…a speaker earning this score may give strong refutation points, but fails to successfully and effectively clash with what was said in the room)

EXTENSION – the speaker tries to expand upon old arguments by presenting new evidence and logic strengthen preexisting claims from speakers on the side of that speaker and accurately frames how the point has been discussed before by the senators who stated that point (the specific names of senators who used these arguments should be mentioned in the speech) … no strong impacts are given and the speaker fails to explain how their new information strengthen the debate

(3 – the speaker provides new evidence and logic but it fails to truly enhance the debate, or is only tangentially related to the claims of the speakers being referenced…a speaker may give a strong extension speech…a speaker earning this score may give strong extension points, but fails to successfully and effectively clash with what was said in the room)

CRYSTALLIZATION – the speaker attempts to weigh the debate, and while they may be able to explain compelling net benefits or harms brought up by their side, they fail to effectively

2 –

AUTHORSHIP – the speaker refers to an unclear problem OR the solutions of the speaker weakly works towards solving a problem… the speaker talks about the bill as if they only read the title and seems unaware of the bill’s specifics… none of the speaker’s arguments advance debate

1STNEG – the speaker refers to unclear net harms OR does not sufficiently explain how it makes the problem worse… the speaker talks about the bill as if they only read the title and seems unaware of the bill’s specifics… none of the speaker’s arguments advance debate

REFUTATION - the speaker discusses the weaker arguments or just tries to debate the rhetoric that came up on the opposing side of debate and does so ineffectively, in a way that uniquely adds to the debate either by providing interesting new logic, evidence or context

(1 – rehash of other speakers’ refutation arguments without providing new logic/impacts that change the debate)

EXPANSION – the speaker primarily rehashes old arguments, but there are moments of the speech in which they successfully add some new interesting evidence, logic or impacts to the debate, but not enough to constitute a successful expansion speech…

(1 – the speaker rehashes, rather than expands, old arguments…they add no new information to the debate)


8 - the speaker demands the attention of the room through using effective eye contact and vocal variation...the speech is clear and delivered with compelling and demanding authority/confidence

6 - the speaker speaks clearly and makes sufficient eye contact with the audience

4 - the speaker makes poor eye contact with the audience but doesn’t look at their pad excessively ...the speaker uses no vocal variety, is purely monotone

2 - the speaker looks at their pad a bit too much...the speaker’s rate of speech at times is difficult to follow...the speaker stumbles so much that it disrupts the flow of their speech at times
1 - the speaker only looks at the pad...the speakers rate of speech is impossible to follow...the speaker stumbles so much that the flow of the speech is nonexistent (if a speaker receives this score, they can never rank in a room - this score reflects an inability on my part to understand the speaker

8 - the speaker uses logic to support their claims that is clear, compelling, well organized and most importantly valid...the reasoning considerably sways the debate to strengthen the side of the speaker...all claims requiring additional support (which is not all but probably most) should have strong well-sourced evidence defending them

6 - the speaker used logic to support their claims that is mostly valid...all claims requiring additional support (which is not all but probably most) should have strong well-sourced evidence defending them

4 - the speaker indirectly connects all claims with prerequisite evidence or strands of logic that support it, even if they fail to connect them clearly...all claims requiring additional support have some evidence defending them, but possibly not enough to really support the claim

2 - the speaker makes considerable logical flaws in defending their claims...the speaker fails to use evidence to defend their claims that require support
1 - the speaker provides no component of logic that adds to the debate in a way that is compelling

8 - the speaker organizes their speech with an interesting intro that introduces the audience to the overarching themes/arguments of their speech, body consisting of usually at least two well-developed arguments (this can be in the form of introducing new arguments, refutations, extensions, or crystallizations -just don’t rest your entire argument on one contention unless you can definitively prove that it’s impacts alone are enough to sway the debate), and a conclusion that cleverly ties into the intro...the transitions are natural, allow the speech to make sense as a cohesive whole and each element of the speech works in combination with each other

6 - he speaker organizes their speech with an interesting intro that introduces the audience to the overarching themes/arguments of their speech and a body consisting of usually at least two well-developed arguments (this can be in the form of introducing new arguments, refutations, extensions, or crystallizations -just don’t rest your entire argument on one contention unless you can definitively prove that it’s impacts alone are enough to sway the debate)...the speaker has clear, albeit boring, transitions between the various aspects of their speech

4 - a body consisting of usually at least two well-developed arguments (this can be in the form of introducing new arguments, refutations, extensions, or crystallizations -just don’t rest your entire argument on one contention unless you can definitively prove that it’s impacts alone are enough to sway the debate)...the speaker has boring and at times unclear transitions between the various aspects of their speech

2 - the speaker presents a speech that is all over the place and difficult to follow...the speaker presents two arguments in their body but the organization of the logic makes it tough to follow their argument...the speaker lacks transitions between the various aspects of their speech causing the speech to lack cohesion

[NOTE – three points will be deducted from this category for speeches that go less than 15 seconds before the speech’s time limit or more than 10 seconds over the time limit…e.g. standard 3:00 speeches should be between 2:45-3:10]

4 - the speaker answers questions with clarity and confidence...the speaker stays on message and prevents questioners from deterring them
2 - the speaker answers at least half of their questions with clarity and confidence...the speaker stays on message and prevents questioners from deterring them for at least half of the questions
0 - the speaker answers no questions with clarity and confidence...the questioners successfully point out major holes in the arguments of the speaker

Presiding Officers will be addressed on a similar scale based on different criteria…this ensures they can be ranked as high as any speaker in the room – PARLIAMENTARY PROCEDURE (the explanation, knowledge and effective execution of parliamentary procedures); RECOGNITION (fair and efficient in recognizing speakers – follows speaker precedence and recency and avoids implicit/explicit bias based on race, gender, school, preexisting relationships, ethnicity, sexuality, etc.); CONTROL (leads in difficult situations, maintains decorum of delegates in chamber, uses good judgment in evaluating motions to ensure chamber efficiency); COMMUNICATION (explains rulings concisely and clearly); DECORUM (maintains a respectful precense in the room – this is only ranked on the scale of 0-4, but, as is the case for speakers, exceptionally bad decorum will result in reduction of Parliamentary Points)

To assess the abilities of competitors of legislators I have a category in my system called Parliamentary Points. These are usually 0-1 points that I either add or detract at a time based on how well legislators participate in the chamber outside of their designated speaking time through solving problems in the chamber, raising motions and asking questions.

Theresa Nicholson Paradigm

Not Submitted

Renuka Onteeru Paradigm

Not Submitted

Jennifer Owen Paradigm

Not Submitted

Tim O’Brien Paradigm

Not Submitted

Ashu Paul Paradigm

I look for good flow in a debate and am open to all types of arguments whether they be traditionalist or progressive. A debater should have clarity in their arguments. The clarity of the argument should be reflected in the framework and also should be extended throughout the debate. During the debate, clash and crossfire should be respectful. The winning argument should be well supported by evidence. My vote goes to the debaters with the best arguments, good flow of speech, and impactful evidence.

Alison Pearl Paradigm

Not Submitted

Jonathan Peele Paradigm

Jonathan Peele
Director of Speech & Debate
Charlotte Latin School

Updated: January, 26, 2020

Public Forum Debate Paradigm
Emory 2020 update: I will drop you with haste if you run theory in front of me.

TL;DR - Explicitly weigh and you can go kinda fast.

If you don't do it I'll try to vote on the arguments allocated the most time in the round, but I reserve the right to decide what's most important all on my own in the absence of arguments about which ones truly are. I'm a moderate on speed; doesn't have to be conversational, but my flowing definitely gets weak at top speed. If you won't think me an idiot for admitting what is true of every judge, my processing of a few, well developed arguments will be better than many underdeveloped ones.

Random thoughts on the state of the art:
- It doesn't absolutely have to have been in summary for it to be in final focus, but I definitely think that's best practice.
- Don't card dump in rebuttal. Don't read a new contention disguised as a response. If your opponents do this call them out for it and I'll drop the argument.
- I won't charge either team prep when cards are called for, but your prep time does begin once you're handed the evidence. Hand your opponent your device with the exact content they asked for displayed.
- Paraphrasing isn't the devil, but be ethical. It's essential you have the underlying text readily available (per the rules, ya know).
- I think case disclosure is ok. I distrust that this is really about enhancing education and suspect it's more often about enabling a school's war room to prep everyone out. Please don't read me disclosure theory in PF.
- I'd rather not shake your hand. It's just too much.

Public Forum lives in limbo between its Policy and Lincoln-Douglas counterparts. Frankly, one of the great things about being involved in the event right now is the lack of choking orthodoxy (which paradoxically really only tries to be as unorthodox as possible) to which our cousins in CX and LD have subjected themselves. (What a fun sentence!) Directly charged with neither the task of advocating a plan to execute a policy nor with advocating a particular value structure, as an emerging community we are only just now figuring out how to articulate what exactly debaters are supposed to be doing in Public Forum rounds. I certainly do not have the definitive answer to that question, but my best description of the event is that it is meant to be a policy-rationale debate. Public Forum debate at its best calls for a momentary suspension of the considerations of exactly how (i.e., a plan) to execute a policy and instead debating the rationale for changing/not changing the status quo. Allow me to qualify: I am not suggesting that Public Forum should systematically exclude all consideration of how policy would be executed (occasional assumptions about how the policy would unfold in the context of today’s America have a place in-round), but rather I am attempting to define appropriate parameters for Public Forum. If you've made it this far, you might also find some thoughts in my LD paradigm useful.

Lincoln-Douglas Debate Paradigm
I have remarkably low-self esteem as a Lincoln-Douglas Debate critic. I think I’m a good coach and possess somewhat above-average intelligence, but the gobbledygook that passes for “debate” in most circuit LD rounds I’ve seen is either A) so complicated and over my head that I should rethink those assumptions about myself or B) such a poor excuse for an intellectually honest discussion of the resolution that I’m glad to be an outsider in your realm. If I’m in the pool at a meaningful LD tournament it means that I’m doing a coaching friend a favor, failed to successfully hire out my commitment, or a terrible mistake of some kind has been made. I will almost certainly look miserable at the back of the room. Because I am.

As terribly negative as that sounds, I do on occasion find Lincoln-Douglas debates to be fulfilling and invigorating. What is it that can make me happy? Well, I suppose that’s what you’d like for me to attempt to articulate here. So here I go.

Speed – This is usually the only thing you ask about before you start debating. I do not believe that rate of delivery must be conversational and I will try to keep up with you. My pen can reasonably keep up, but since I don’t coach LD at a circuit-level full-time, and since I haven’t read the theory/critical literature that you want to throw at me at 500 words per minute, I’m probably not going to be very successful in evaluating it at the end of the round if you do go circuit-fast. You’ll see the frustration on my face if you ever look up. I can only vote on what I was able to process.

Framework – I do need you to articulate some weighing mechanism or decision-making calculus before you hit me with your case. I don’t care what you call it or what form it takes, but it does need to be clear, and the less variables you put into it the more comprehensible my decision will be at the end of the round. I tend to prefer specificity in criteria. If you never address this then what choice do I have but to arbitrarily decide? By that I mean don’t just put some nebulous, overly broad value at the top of your case and then never reference it. That’s just some vestigial relic from the way things were in LD 20 years ago. Then you’ll need to win why it’s preferable to use your weighing mechanism. Then just evaluate the arguments in the round (that’s “link back” I think in your vernacular) by that standard. If you do these things well and in a manner I can understand, you’re going to win.

Theory – I have opinions about what debate ought to be. You have opinions about what debate ought to be. Everyone has opinions about what debate ought to be. They differ wildly. I suppose then that I’m obligated to evaluating your arguments about how this activity should take place and to being open-minded about what best practices really are. But like everyone else, I have my personal biases and preferences and it’s going to be difficult to dislodge me from them. I prefer straightforward debate with comparison of the impacts in a world for which the resolution is or is not true. Now, you’re going to read that and think that I’m some sort of horrible “Truth seeker” judge. No. I just want to hear a debate of the resolution itself, not an advocacy primarily about what the educational value of debate is, some tenuous application of fringe academic theories, or some significant variation on the resolution that you wish to debate instead. That means I’m highly likely to accept some very simple topicality analysis as an answer when your opponent does any of these things. I like the way Joe Vaughan put it many years ago in an old version of his paradigm (I liked it so much I saved it), “I am open to a variety of different types of argumentation (kritiks, counterplans, et cetera), but only if such positions are linked specifically to a reasonable interpretation of the topic and are not an attempt to fundamentally change the focus of the issues intended by the framing of the resolution. Arguments that are only tangential to the conflict embedded in the resolution and shift the focus of the round to the validity of alternative philosophies are difficult for me to accept if challenged sufficiently.”

Disclaimer – While I deeply value winning as a worthwhile goal of debate, I am still also responsible for being a (albeit flawed) role model and an educator. If you are so profoundly rude or callous towards your opponent, or anyone in the community at any time for that matter, I reserve the right to drop you for that. I don’t have to accept all possible behaviors just because this is a game where we play with ideas.

Policy Debate Paradigm
I know the names of all the stock issues. I am a native speaker of English. I promise to try my best to be attentive and fair. Those are the only possible qualifications I have to be sitting in the back of your room (at least at any tournament important enough for you to be checking here for a paradigm). Go complain to the tab room immediately. I already tried and they didn't listen to me.

Past School Affiliations
Director of Forensics, Charlotte Latin School 2013-present
Director of Congressional Debate & Individual Events, The Harker School, San Jose, CA, 2009-2013
Director of Forensics, Manchester Essex Regional HS, Manchester, MA, 2007-2009
Director of Forensics, East Chapel Hill HS, Chapel Hill, NC, 2002-2007
Assistant Speech & Debate Coach, East Chapel Hill HS, Chapel Hill, NC, 2000-2002
Student (Primary Event: Congressional Debate), South View HS, Hope Mills, NC, 1996-2000

Camp Affiliations
Co-Founder & Co-Director, The Institute for Speech and Debate, Boulder, CO, Charlotte, NC & Fort Lauderdale, FL 2013-present
Director, Congressional Debate & Individual Events, University of California National Forensics Institute, Berkeley, CA 2012-2013
Director, Public Forum Debate, Capitol Debate Institute, Baltimore, MD 2011-2012
Instructor, Public Forum Debate, Harvard Debate Institute, Boston MA 2010
Instructor, Public Forum Debate, National Debate Forum, Boston, MA, 2008-2009
Instructor, Public Forum Debate, National Debate Forum, Fort Lauderdale, FL, 2009
Director, Public Forum Debate, University of Kentucky National Debate Institute, Lexington, KY, 2008
Director, Public Forum Debate, Florida Forensic Institute, Fort Lauderdale, FL, 2007
Instructor, Congressional Debate, Florida Forensic Institute, Fort Lauderdale, FL, 2006
Director, Congressional Debate, Research Triangle Forensics Institute, Cary, NC, 2003-2005

RJ Pellicciotta Paradigm

I am the Director of Forensics and head LD coach at Cary Academy. I would describe myself as a neo-traditionalist. I follow a traditional approach to LD with some notable exceptions. I am a typical traditionalist in that I prefer a debate centered on a common sense, reasonable, good faith interpretation of the resolution; and I believe speakers should emphasize effective communication and practice the habits of fine public speaking during the debate. I differ from many traditionalists in that I am not a fan of the value premise and criterion, and that I do not believe that LD arguments have to be based on broad philosophical concepts, but rather should be as specific to the particular resolution as possible. If you want to win my ballot you should focus on developing a clear position and showing how it is superior to the position put forth by your opponent. You should not attempt to make more arguments than your opponent can respond to so that you can extend them in rebuttal. In my opinion most rounds are not resolved by appeals to authority. The original analysis and synthesis of the debater is vastly more important to me than cards. For further insight on my views please consult these following articles I have written for the Rostrum:,'00.pdf

Aaron Pratt Paradigm

I have been coaching all four categories of debate for First Colonial High School for the past decade. I have judged hundreds of rounds of both LD and PF. I also moonlight as a congress judge when needed/called upon. I don't subject myself to Policy unless it is an absolute necessity.

Etiquette is important. While I may not vote down a debater for rudeness or lack of etiquette, it will affect their speaker points. Since debate is about education, dialogue, discussion, etc., I personally believe that lacking manners is a major problem (since people do not want to engage with those who do not know how to treat others properly). You can be assertive, and even aggressive, without being a condescending jerk. Maintaining one's composure and displaying self-control (even in a heated round) is critical to me as a judge.

In LD, I do not want to be a part of the use of progressive tactics, as I strongly prefer more traditional LD debates. So absolutely no spreading, please no kritiks or counterplans (things will just get weird as there is just enough time in round to try and do it properly), and if you come into the round lacking a value and/or value criterion (because you plan to debate like an individual policy entry...) then you can pretty much count on me NOT voting you up. If you do not personally agree with this, please feel free to strike me (trust that I will not be offended).

In PF, there are couple notes I like to share. First, in the god awful periods of the round known as Cross-Fire, I do not flow anything that is said unless it is brought up in an actual speech afterwards. Just something to keep in mind. Also, see the brief paragraph on etiquette (cross-fire seems to make us forget about politeness in the heat of the moment). Second, (although this should go without saying) if you cannot produce a proper card or the article from which you base your evidence on during the round, then I wont flow it. I have this happen a few times in PF. Also, please have things organized to quickly pull up source info if it is requested. I wont make you use prep time to find cards unless we get way behind on time because it takes you all forever to find the requested info. I only bring this up because it has seemed to be an issue in at least half a dozen rounds this year. Lastly, (this is more of a personal preference) I do not find single contention cases to be very persuasive. While I have voted up teams with single contention cases on occasion, these types of cases tend to be gimmicks and lessen the overall quality of debate.

Most of all, I like debate and I love teaching, so I want you to know that I am still up for learning (and do not mind kids taking risks or chances in their tactics/strategy in rounds). I only give you the previous notes/comments to help you tweak your tactics and/or strategy if you feel it is necessary (and I like to give the LD debaters who only wish to do more progressive LD stuff a chance to strike me as a judge). I am fairly easy going, and I will always be happy to answer any clarifying questions before the rounds start.

I think I hit everything, if not... oh well (trust me, it will be okay).

Just because I like to end this with something you will likely think is weird, ambiguous (and possibly stoopid) --> In the end, everything and everyone that you have ever known, cared about, stressed over, etc. will be dust and will one day be forgotten by all others who will exist... so stop worrying and remember that everything is nothing, and nothing is everything. Live in the moment, and Godspeed to you all.

Oh yeah, remember that I will not be offended if you strike me as a judge. Just saying...

Ratan Ray Paradigm

I have judged Speech, Public Forum, LD and Congress debates. I participated in speech in High School long back and support speech and debate activities. My kids are active participants. I do not bring my own opinion while judging on the topic. I am very analytic and objective in my decision. I enjoy judging speech the most.

Dave Rose Paradigm

Not Submitted

Mark Royal Paradigm

Not Submitted

Aarushi Sahejpal Paradigm


I am the Congressional Debate Coach at the Harker School.

I debated in Public Forum, Extemp, and most prolifically, Congressional Debate for Presentation High School in San Jose, CA. I am now a first year at the School of International Service at American University in D.C studying International Development, Education, and Theology/Philosophy.

I ended my senior year with almost a dozen bids to the TOC, 9th at Nats 2017, Leadership Bowl at Nats 2018, 6th at TOC, and 2nd at Stanford and Berkeley.

What I like to see in rounds in simple:

1. Clash

It is very important that you interact with the round around you. If you are giving a rebuttal or crystallization speech, I need to hear you reference other speakers and engage in clash. It will be very hard for you to get my rank if this doesn't happen.

2. Impact Analysis

Later on in the round, tell me why each sides' impacts matter more than the other.

3. Args Matter

I think that Congress is a very happen medium for a NSDA event, representing both Speech and Debate, but it is very important that we do not forget the debate aspect of this event. I care more about argumentation than your speaking, but both still matter!

Quest Sandel Paradigm any and all questions are welcome


I have been the head coach of John F. Kennedy Speech and Debate since the 2016-17 season and was a competitor the previous 4 seasons. I primarily did congress and that is my team's main event so I'll be writing about that.

First off I believe this is a debate event before anything. That means you should be adapting to the round as it goes. Everyone from the sponsor to the closer has an equal shot at getting my one as long as they do their job. The job for the sponsor and first negative speaker is to set up the round for strong debate. The sponsor should state the problem, how this bill fixes the problem, give one or two impacts from solving it, and if you're a superstar give me a framework. The first negative should give us the main idea of what we should expect from a strong negation argument. This should take the problem the sponsor laid out and then give us the negative thought process on if this legislation fixes it. After that I should see an increasing amount of refutations and original arguments as to why this legislation is good or bad. Once we are 3/4 of the way through I should be seeing a lot of extensions as the debate is coming to an end. Still give an original POV but keep it within the frame of the debate. Lastly, I should see nothing but refutation and crystalized speeches. Once again I want your own original analysis but use it to end the debate through a refutation of the other side instead of individuals. (Side note: I love aggressive refutations)

Effective cross examination is when you attack your opponents arguments and shut them down. You can use your argument to help you with that but I hate seeing someone just ask questions to set up their arguments even if it doesn't have ANYTHING to do with the speech their opponent just gave. Defense in cross x is a little more straightforward because all I want to see is that you can defend your argument to the point where it is still standing strong after cross x. Overall, I tune out when both sides start over talking each other and I prefer calmer cross x over yelling.

When it comes to speaking I don't have a preferred style. I can respect all styles as long as it suits you. Picking a speaking style is like picking a batting stance in that there isn't a wrong way as long as you're doing what is best for you based on your natural voice, range, and variation. If you stick to that then I'll probably think you're a great speaker.

I do rank presiding officers pretty well as a scorer and if I'm a parli it can serve as a tie breaker between two kids that I'm picking between. As long as you do it well then it'll boost you but if you don't then it'll drop you pretty far.

This next part should go without saying but your arguments need to be backed by evidence at all times and have clear logic behind them. If they don't meet this criteria dont run them because I'll ignore them.

Lastly, be respectful and have fun. If you aren't having fun then you're doing this activity wrong. I can't wait to see y'all in round!!!

SamuelR Segrist Paradigm

For CONGRESSIONAL DEBATE: In addition to excellent delivery which is crystal-clear, strong, and well-paced, I am mostly interested in debaters who are able to demonstrate how they are paying attention to the threads of debate, both the affirmation & negation. I've judged at NSDA nationals, and while I am greatly impressed by the poise of debaters who have a passionately-memorized speech, it is always more impressive to me to see a debater respond to the arguments made by their fellow representatives in the chamber. I do expect a reasonable amount of professional decorum, but I am also okay with a sprinkling of humor and personality throughout your speeches.

For LD: When deciding on which debater did a better job debating a resolution, I seek to answer this question: Based on the evidence and arguments presented, which world would I prefer to live in? I expect clarity in explanations of evidence. If a debater rattles off three different theorists ("Look to my Svotsky, Ignateau, and Iglesias cards") but doesn't unpack what those ideas are, it's really difficult for me to weigh that in a round.

I am not a policy-style LD judge. Spreading usually doesn't do much for me because I can't flow it at all, and thus I can't weigh it. Have a solid framework and contentions which are related to your value criterion. Have a value. Respond to your opponents' case.

Alexandra Sencer Paradigm

Criterion only.

No spreading. If I cannot hear and flow the argument, it doesn't exist. 

Vote off framework. 

No disclosure.

No oral critiques. 

I believe there are worse things than extinction. 

Meghan Shreeve Paradigm

Quality over quantity. This not only applies to the number of speeches you give but also the amount of evidence you have and refutations you give. I would prefer deeply thought out refutation and clash rather than naming everyone who spoke before you. In so far as presentation I do not care about how you look or how your voice sounds, I care about mindful pacing and thoughtful presentation.

Kiran Sid Paradigm

Occupation: Software Development

School Affiliation: Dougherty Valley High School

Years of Judging/Event Types: 4th year of judging, PF, Congress, Speech, Traditional LD

Speaker Points: Fluency, voice inflection, passion, structured speeches (easy to understand in a logical order) I start at 28 and go up. Obviously I'll drop it if you're rude, racist, sexist, etc.

- Don't spread, speak at a moderate pace, NO JARGON. If I look confused or like i'm falling behind, probably slow down and explain a bit more.

I do take notes, but I will also try to just listen as much as possible to understand your arguments to the best of my ability. Don't sacrifice content just for "lay" appeal.

How heavily do I weigh the following (1 - not at all 5-somewhat 10- weighed heavily):

Clothing/Appearance: 1

Use of Evidence: 10

Real World Impacts: 10

Cross Ex: 5

Debate skill over truthful arguments: 5

Help me evaluate the round:

A cohesive narrative should start in Rebuttal. Explain why your impacts are really important and spend a lot of time on your warrants, convince me as to why your impacts will happen and to the extent that you claim. Don't just falsely claim DROPS or CONCESSIONS but do point them out if they actually happened, and why they mean I should vote for you. Explain your evidence well. Fluency and passion show me that you are confident in your research and argumentation.


Amanda Soczynski Paradigm

Amanda Soczynski’s Judge Philosophy

A little about myself; I have been involved with forensics for 15 years as a student, judge and coach. I am currently in my the congressional debate coach & Assistant Director of Speech and Debate at Edina High School. My background was originally in speech where I competed and coached. In High School, I learned policy debate as a class rather than competition on a local level. I have been judging debate for the last 10 years, in all categories. I primarily judged CX for the beginning years and the last 5 in LD, PF and Congress. I graduated with a Mass Comm degree from University of Minnesota and a J.D. graduate from William Mitchell College of law. I work at Thomson Reuters on legal software & research as a content expert.

I have a congress paradigm and CX,LD,PF one included in here.

Congress Paradigm:


One thing to remember - judging congress is hard! It's just as exhausting for us as it is for you. We're trying really hard to compare a lot of people who have vastly different styles! I try to write as much as I can, but I spend a lot of time listening, so sometimes my comments can be lite at times. I'm working on that, the three mins go so fast. I'm hoping this will help shed some light on how I evaluate debaters.

When it comes to national level tournaments, at this point, almost everyone is a proficient speaker, so I really focus on the quality of arguments. I really am looking for Clash - probably more than anything. There is a reason this is a debate category and not a speech event. Make sure you are listening and not rehashing, if you're doing a rebuttal make sure you are extending or further attacking an argument.

I REALLY APPRECIATE A GOOD AUTHORSHIP OR SPONSORSHIP. Nothing is worse than judging or watching a semi-final round where there is no first aff, and having to take an in house recess immediately. Come prepared, have one. Spend the rest of your time doing great questions and defending your position there. I feel like people don't like to do this because they feel like they will be dropped. Rebuttals and Crystals are great, but there's a lot of them. If you can do this well, we'll know. It comes with the most amount of questioning time that if you know a lot about the topic you can show boat.

Linking: This is a debate skill you should have, you should able to link your impacts with others, link arguments together for rebuttal. Most national level congress debaters are great at linking within their own argument, but make sure you link and contextualize to the round. I want to see that they go together rather be a stand alone. That being said, contextualizing by, I want to separate myself from the other AFF or NEG arguments, that's okay because you are still contextualizing within the round. Do not operate as an island in the debate, it's a good way to be dropped by me. Also remember, you can have great speeches, but if you don't ask questions, you're going to find your way to the middle of my ballot. It's a crucial part of debate.


THIS IS SO IMPORTANT. Again, at the national level, most people can impact to lives or economy etc. But what I find people aren't as good, is contextualizing the impact. Example: You tell me that thousands of lives are being lost in Yemen, take it one step further tell me what percentage of that population is being killed, or how that compares to another genocide for context. Make it hit home for all of us. Just giving generic #'s, sure it's the impact, but it doesn't show me the impact. Make sense? Remember I come from a policy background where pretty much everything leads to nuclear war. smile


Direct questioning is great, but make sure you're not too long winded or too brief, there's a nice sweet spot, where you have maybe a sentence or two question and answer. I've seen people basically run out the time by doing a really long answer, and I've also seen debaters ask such long questions that there's no way the opponent can answer. You only have 30 seconds, make it count.

Participation in Round:

Leadership is important. Remember, I'm comparing a lot of kids, participation with motioning and making sure that all students get to talk is important. This can help make up for bad presidency etc.


I almost always P.O.s in the top 5. It's a hard job, and as a parli, we appreciate good POs. A good way to get to the top 1/2 of my ballot as a PO. The round runs so smoothly I barely know your there. You are able to solve issues of people not being prepared / docket issues. (This happens so often, time restrictions make things complicated. Especially since lots of tournaments have their own rules).

Mistakes happen, one mistake is not going to tank you. Continuous mistakes, or failing to help chamber resolve issues. This makes it harder.

Inclusiveness - especially on the local circuit. I don't like parliamentary procedure used to limit people talking. It is also important to encourage those who haven't talked to go. Do your best to make sure the chamber isn't inclusive.

DON'T ALWAYS PICK YOUR FRIENDS FIRST. I know this happens. And it's easier to pick up than you think it is. Presidency means a lot in congress. Make it fair.

There's a reason I love coaching congress, it's a fun event!

CX/LD Paradigm

General: As I’ve previously mentioned I come from a legal background. I am a “big picture” judge. I do appreciate the attention to detail, however, I don't like when it devolves into a debate that’s myopically focused on one thing. Make sure you take the time, especially in rebuttals to do a “birds eye view” of the debate. Remember, the rebuttal is the last time I hear from you before I make a decision, make it count. I appreciate good crossfire, and cross ex, specifically using information obtained in these for an argument.

Topicality: I like topicality, especially in varsity level debate. I think it makes a for a boring debate to have a non-topical aff. So it’s a pretty garden variety argument for the neg to make.

Critical Arguments: As I wasn’t a debater in high school, I don’t have the technical experience dealing with these arguments, however, I don’t mind critical affs on-face. Since I don’t have the technical experience, I appreciate all critical arguments to be understandable and explained properly. I catch on to arguments quickly, however I loathe having to have to fill in the gaps of an argument because its poorly argued. Make it logical, make it understandable. I generally dislike affs that are anti-topical or affs that critique the topic. I’m not saying I’ll never vote for a critical aff, whiteness aff, performance aff’s, etc, but its the one area where an affirmative is asking the most out of me as a judge. Again, I have less experience with these types of aff’s so extra explanation of sources and philosophies. For kritiks from the negative, I prefer ones that are topic-specific rather than K’s that are broad or philosophical. I’m pretty familiar at this point with cap k, neolib, fem, eco-k, anything outside of these again you’ll have to communicate more effectively as it is a bigger burden for me to decipher.

Theory: I don’t have the background in this, so this won’t be very successful with me as a judge. I overall prefer substantive arguments over theoretical or procedural arguments. My training in law, and my work, deals almost exclusively with substantive arguments, so I tend to prefer and understand those better. If you do decide to go this route, it must be very well done. My flow can’t be muddy, and the explanation must be very logical and understandable.

Speed: I have no problem with speed. I do ask two things. 1. Slow down enough on the tags so that I can understand them 2. Make your tags count. I dislike deciphering poor tags that do not tell me anything about the evidence. Keep tags like 5-8 words, long tags suck.

Post Round Discussion: Please be respectful, I don’t appreciate a “shake down” when I’m explaining my decision. I don’t do speaker points till after the round is over and all the debaters have left the room and I take decorum into account. I am a bit of a non-traditional judge and I do make a concerted effort to bring up constructive criticism and positive comments. Please take these comments as an opportunity to learn!

Chris Sprouse Paradigm

Don't lie.

Also important:

* Intros that are actually directly about the topic always beat generic intros.

* Quotations always beat paraphrase.

* Fully-cited evidence I can hunt down always beats "The New York Times tells us that . . ." (Remember: NSDA-minimum is name or publication and year. That's a ridiculously low standard many Congress debaters still fail to meet.)

* Giving the right kind of speech (constructive, rebuttal, summative/"crystallization") at the right time always beats giving the kind of speech you're best at without thinking about what the debate needs

* Rehash is a venial, not a mortal, sin. And if you're a novice, just give the speech.

* POs start at 1 on my ballot and lose ranks from errors. They can be pushed further down the ballot by truly excellent speakers. (The more people run for PO, the faster the winning PO loses ranks from errors, because you're claiming you're better than everyone else who wanted it.) The PO starts at 1 because the PO is the only indispensable contestant in the round. Can't have a round without the PO.

* Congress is speech *and* debate, so be sure you're listening and responding (debate) and keeping me focused on what you're saying (speech). The event is getting too fast and too laden with jargon.

Way, way more than anyone could want to know at

Brittany Stanchik Paradigm

Not Submitted

Courtney Stern Paradigm

I am a coach for a large team.

I'm fine with both progressive and traditional debate but prefer traditional V/C and I'm usually not a fan of counterplans in LD. Either way, be sure to make your arguments and be clear. I won't make them for you and guess at what your point was supposed to be. Make all impacts clear. List your voting issues. If you run a K, it should tie to the resolution. I will flow whatever you put out there during the debate.

Enunciate if you're going to spread. Spreading is a tool. If you can't make it work in your favor (and most debaters cannot) then don't use it. If I can't understand what you're saying then I can't evaluate it and I won't try.

I'm fine with aggressive debaters. I am not okay with rudeness. It will count against you mostly because it makes you look insecure in your arguments. Your arguments should speak for themselves. If they can't and you try to overcome lousy arguments with pettiness and eye rolling then prepare to lose.

Effective cross-x counts with me. Ask good questions. Answer questions effectively. Don't spend the entire time arguing over cards. A pet peeve of mine is debaters making statements or arguments during cross instead of asking questions.

Matthew Stewart Paradigm


HS Competitor at James Bowie High School in Arlington (LD, Congress - Both UIL focused), 2005-2007
Degree in Communication Studies from UNT, 2013 (Did college policy at a tournament, shame really, but gotta pay the bills ya know?)

Coaching History:

Byron Nelson High School (2018-Present)
Royse City High School (2013-2018)

(If you're gonna size me up on my qualifications before we start, we're not gonna have a good time. Why would you want to try and infer to me that I'm not qualified before we get started? That ain't it.)

Email chains are alright with me. My email for that would be

LD Philosophy:

The round really comes down to what you make of it. I prefer you debating at your best rather than trying to do something you think I will like best, but of course I'll specify some of my perspectives

There needs to be some genuine abuse in round for me to buy into a topicality argument. Frivolous T for the sake of having some time skew is not good. I'm gonna err truth over tech in that regard. In response to T counter interps are a good idea always, and I don't often vote on RVIs unless it's really ignored by the Neg.

Same as topicality. I think there can be some valid theory arguments in terms of things like PICs, multiple worlds, policy oriented, etc. but you need to make me understand why that has ruined the debate round. Debate should be educational, fair, and actually fun. People who ruin that by trying to game argument structure should probably need to answer why their approach doesn't ruin debate. I'm more inclined to accept an RVI on theory, but it's gotta be compelling.


I'm all for disclosure but I have a hard time voting people down for not doing so. Obviously if they have their own stipulations for disclosure and have run disclosure before and fail to do so, go for it. But i'd love for it to focus more on why disclosure is such an important part of the community, not just a "gotcha" type of argument.

If you don't have a framework, that's fine, but if your opponent provides framework, that's gonna become my standard for weighing impacts. Framework can be underappreciated a lot of the time. If you want to hit me with some dense framing, that's okay, but make sure you effectively use it to garner your offense. That's kinda the point.

Policy-styled arguments:
Go for it for sure. I genuinely enjoy those from a structured perspective and there's no reason why they can't be used in LD. Kritiks are good too! LD is supposed to focus on that kind of literature anyways. As with most Kritiks, be good with your analysis. It all gets pretty heady when you go all in on it and you'll want to be sure you're keeping me with you every step of the way. I'm not too inclined to enjoy "Reject aff, interrogate [blank]" alts because those are literally the bare minimum for an alt and I think those are easily perm-able. If we gotta burn the government down and start over, then I mean, that's what we gotta do.

Whatever you AND your opponent are okay with! Speed shouldn't be a barrier to debate. If you can win spreading, you should be able to win without it as well. That being said, I am completely open with whatever your preferred speed is, of course slow up for Taglines/Cites, give me a filler word ("and," "next," etc.) to let me know when you're moving to the next piece on the flow and be sure to give me some pen time on Theory/Topicality shells. I will not shout "clear" at you, you'll probably see it on my face anyways.

Performance Arguments:
All for it. Be sure you have some solid framing for why your performance is important and be ready to handle any Topicality/Theory that your opponent will run in response.

Round Conduct:
Don't be a butt. Debate should be an educational and enjoyable activity. CX is not an exercise in how rude you can be, don't be afraid to answer questions, you should have faith in your case and be willing to handle anything coming your way. Don't try too hard to dodge questions, I don't need you constantly asking for things rephrased or finding ways to feign confusion. Don't try to impact turn things like racism/sexism/nuke war, etc. That's just silly to try and explain to me how these terrible things are in fact good for us, bad strategy. Don't be afraid to be you in a round, debate is much more enjoyable to judge when you get your personality into it, you don't have to be a card spewing robot to win. If you don't agree with my decision after a round, you're entitled to that, but trying to argue with me about it will not get the ballot changed in your favor and depending on your post-round conduct it will further impact your speaker points. Don't be sketch about your evidence, don't abuse flash time, just be a decent human and enjoy yourself.

Flash Time:
Your prep ends when you tell me to cease prep. That means you need to have your files ready to send over when you end prep. If you "forget" or you just can't get it together, I'm starting prep again. Rounds take too long often because people are really slow about flashing. That's not okay.

Flex Prep:
Fine with me, but that should be established before we start so your opponent has equal opportunity to use it.

Speaker Points:
Gonna start at 27. I'm not gonna worry too much about what you're doing through the 1AC or 1NC unless you're cutting cards mid speech already. There's zero reason for that to be happening, so that won't fair too well. Most of my speaker point allocation is going to be based on your strategic decisions in the round and how well you engage with your opponent. There will be some adjustments based on your round conduct, and for sure if you've developed distracting physical ticks while spreading (stamping your feet, clapping, really really distracting hand movements) that will impact you as well because I'm gonna be super distracted by how silly you look. I'm only human.

Role of The Ballot:
Totally up to your interpretation. I'm gonna default to using my ballot as a means to "gatekeep." If I vote up certain arguments or strategies, that will inherently encourage you to keep using them, that's just a natural part of the process and I acknowledge it. In addition, my role as an educator will always take priority over that of a judge, so doing and saying awful things will probably cause you to lose my ballot. I try to consider myself a tab judge, but without any kind of explanation of how I'm voting, I'm gonna default to Policy Maker.

Miscellaneous Stuff
You can sit or stand when you're speaking. It doesn't bother me. Standing is probably better for your clarity and breathing tho.
Evidence comparison is awesome and doesn't happen enough. You wrote a case, use it to defend arguments against you
I tend to be super facial expressive in round while I'm processing what you're saying. So if you say something that confused me, I'll probably look at you weird. If you're really killing an argument or you said what I really wanted you to say, I'm probably gonna nod my head and be excited for you. Non-verbal communication is just as important in reading your judge as is making sure they understand your speech. Maybe people don't like the non-verbal aspect, but I mean, if I'm down with what you're saying, you'll see it, so pay attention to your judge.
If by some chance, you're debating a novice, and you know it, I know it, and the novice knows it, be gentle. There's no need to spread a first timer out of the room and scare them away from the activity forever. Know when you're winning. If you fold a kid in round for no reason other than to massage your debate ego, I'm gonna dock some speaker points (see "Don't be a butt" in the round conduct section)
Don't assume I've read all the same topic literature as you, it's never good to assume that.
Offense is great, Defense doesn't really give me a reason to vote for you.
Oh! I almost forgot. Good lord, road maps. They are not a secret bonus speech you get before you start. Just tell me the order to put my paper in and go.
A drop doesn't automatically mean you've won the argument. Do some extension and analysis of why that drop matters and smash your opponent with it, otherwise they're still in the game
The phrase "Cold Conceded" makes me want to puke
I'll ask for cards if I have a genuine question about what the card means and if I find it important to the round. If you're doing legit evidence comparison, this might happen. That being said, don't worry about asking me if I want to see them.
I'm not flowing CX, but I will be listening. It is binding. If you goof in CX because you don't know your case or advocacy, you need to be accountable for that.
Remember to advocate your story in the round. You're selling me on what's happening. Don't forget that!

Policy Philosophy:
I think most of my LD philosophy can be applied here since the difference between the two events is growing ever smaller. But do ask questions if you have them!

At the end of the day, I want the round to be what you're making of it. I don't intend to interfere and I want to see you doing the work for me, not the other way around.

Also, have fun! Make connections! Enjoy the fact that you're participating in an activity that almost literally no one understands outside of the community. It's pretty rad.

PF Philosophy [Included for 2k18 TOC]


I'm okay with whatever speed you're comfortable with in round. As with my philosophy with other debate formats, I would like for you to give me pen time for taglines/cites, and standards if you're doing a Theory/Topicality shell of any sort. I'd also prefer you give me an "AND" or "NEXT" between cards to give me some help separating on the flow.

I will NOT shout clear at you, but I'm pretty nonverbal so if I'm not with you, you'll see it.

Summary Speech

I feel like the summary speech is still something that needs a traditional line-by-line approach, but it's the beginning of your team's strategic choice to collapse down to a couple of arguments you really want to dunk on in the final focus. I won't be annoyed if you do a straight down the flow response, but I think you'll better serve yourself by focusing on your offense and answering back critical arguments

Final Focus

Should be a collapse down here to just a couple of arguments and why you've won them and why that gives you the ballot. You'll need to do the warrant analysis and justification to close off those arguments as clear wins at this point and then impact it out to getting my ballot

Extensions in speeches

You can do those pretty much the whole time, that would be great. Just like any other debate format, if you're going to continue to use an argument, you should extend the warrant. Don't just tell me to extend something on the flow, give me implications, hold my hand, ya know? If you're trying to pull a card back that you forgot about three speeches ago, that's a bit dicey, but if it generally wasn't responded to, I'll allow it.

Policy arguments in PF

Wild. If you can make it work, go for it. I'm not inherently against those things and assuming they're fully-formed arguments with warranted implications, I can definitely vote on it.

Prompting-ish Stuff

I'm not super against some things that could be construed as prompting, but definitely don't get to the point where I can't tell who is giving what speech because you're overdoing it. If you're looking at me to explain an argument for your partner, I'm definitely not going to flow that. Acknowledge who is supposed to be giving the speech.

Rebuttal Speech

Second speaking team should definitely answer their opponent's case and if time allows, go down the flow and respond to arguments against their own case the first speaking team has made in their rebuttal speech. I don't think it is required, but it's advantageous in terms of giving the first team more to cover in the summary.

Crossfire Stuff

I'd prefer you sit for grand cross, four people standing and staring at me and getting yelly at each other just kinda makes me uncomfortable. You can sit or stand if you want during the individual crossfires though. Arguments in crossfire aren't going to be flowed by me unless they are brought up as arguments in the later speeches. You can use those answers to set up your arguments though and that's definitely binding

Other Stuff

Just be chill. Debate the way that is most comfortable for you...hopefully that isn't a really yelly and rude style because I'd prefer you not. Respect each other, do your thing, and we'll all have a good time!

[Entry current as of the 10/25/18]

Jay Stubbs Paradigm

Name: Jay Stubbs

School Affiliation: Bellaire High School

Number of Years Judging Public Forum: Since the event was introduced

Number of Years Competing in Public Forum: PF did not exist when I competed

Number of Years Judging Other Forensic Activities: 38 years

Number of Years Competing in Other Forensic Activities: High School and College

If you are a coach, what events do you coach? Public Forum, Congress, Extemp

What is your current occupation? Debate Coach

Please share your opinions or beliefs about how the following play into a debate round:

Speed of Delivery Clarity for understanding is most important

Format of Summary Speeches (line by line? big picture?) Line by line on most important issues along with big picture to guide the way the debaters want me to vote.

Role of the Final Focus Final resolution of key issues along with framing the decision for the judge.

Extension of Arguments into later speeches Essential for key arguments in the round.

Topicality Can be run if there are blatant violations…anything can be found to be non-topical via definition…that is a waste of time.

Plans This is a function of the wording of the resolution. Acceptable when the resolution suggests a specific action.

Kritiks Are not going to persuade me.

Flowing/note-taking Is a function of the clarity of debaters in the round. Clarity makes it much easier to keep all issues organized on the flow.

Do you value argument over style? Style over argument? Argument and style equally? Clarity is most important to me. Just because a debater makes an argument doesn’t mean that I understand it or know how to weigh it in relation to other arguments without intervention. Clarity brings meaning to important arguments…clarity explains how to weigh arguments against other issues. Providing clarity early in the round is essential when it comes to evaluating arguments as the evolve throughout the round. Waiting until the end of the round to provide clarity can be too late.

If a team plans to win the debate on an argument, in your opinion does that argument have to be extended in the rebuttal or summary speeches? Yes

If a team is second speaking, do you require that the team cover the opponents’ case as well as answers to its opponents’ rebuttal in the rebuttal speech? Yes

Do you vote for arguments that are first raised in the grand crossfire or final focus? No…new arguments should have been introduced earlier in the round. An extension of a key argument is a part of argument evolution.

Travis Summers Paradigm

Tabula rasa. 4-year competitor and former coach (14 years). Interested in clean rounds with little to no nonsense. Ok with some speed, but clear communication and effective analysis will weigh heavily.

Eugene Tarasyuk Paradigm

Not Submitted

Sanil Torani Paradigm

Not Submitted

Chunbo Wang Paradigm

Not Submitted

Lily Warner Paradigm

Not Submitted

Neal White Paradigm

I'm a full-time teacher and debate coach in the North Texas circuit. I have experience coaching and competing in OO, Info, EXT, PF, LD, and Congress. I've been involved in Speech and Debate, as either a competitor or a coach, for 12 years.


I'm open to hearing policy-type arguments, such as CPs, Plans, kritiks, etc., but also believe strongly that PF cases and arguments should be presented in a style that is understandable to an "average" listener. Practically, this means that any "progressive" arguments needs to be read slowly (not spread) and should refrain from using debate-specific terminology. If the in-round abuse really is egregious, then you should be able to talk about it without resorting to terms like "standards" and "prep-skew."

Speaking quickly is okay but please do spread. Teams that do the best in front of me tend to spend lots of time in summary and final focus picking a few quality arguments they want to go for and explaining why those arguments outweigh other issues in the round. Avoid excessive line-by-line in the summary or, god forbid, the FF.

The second speaking team can defend their case in rebuttal but by no means needs to. Offensive arguments and/or voters should be present in both the summary and the final focus in order for me to consider them. If you say something about the opposing case in rebuttal and your opponents never respond to it, you don't need to keep bringing it up (unless it's a turn that you really want to go for or something like that).


The question I get asked most often at tournaments when judging LD is "are you okay with speed?" The answer is yes-ish. You'll probably find that I understand your case/arguments better if you slow down during any analytics (interpretation, plan text, standards, spikes, etc.) that you expect me to write down. You'll also probably find that unless you don't really spread much, I won't achieve 100% comprehension of your "top speed." And I'm big on this one - if your opponent doesn't understand spreading, don't spread.

Another question I get asked a lot is "are you okay with policy-style arguments?" Again, the answer is yes-ish! (Seeing a trend? The more ToC-oriented among you might consider me a flay judge). Here is a list of things that confuse/annoy me and that I won't vote for if the person arguing against it makes even a little bit of sense:

-Theory unless the abuse is actually insane


-Non-topical stuff (performance affs, non-topical Ks, etc.)

I think the modern convention of emailing your entire case to your opponent before you read it is unfortunate. Debate is an oral communication activity, right? Not an essay-writing contest? For this reason, I have no interest in being included in your email chain, and will reward debaters that don't engage in this practice with higher speaks.

I do not disclose speaker points.


I generally include the PO in my ranking of a round, although not as highly as the best speakers in a round. Expect a rank in the 3-6 range unless you screw up often, are an exceptionally good PO, or are POing a round full of very bad speakers. This obviously does not apply to tournaments that task me with merely selecting the best PO in a given session and not ranking them against everyone else in the room.

A few other particulars:

-It's a good idea to break down the what exactly a piece of legislation says and does as the first negative and first affirmative speaker. Never assume that the judge has read the item you're discussing (unless it was literally read to them before debate started).

-Refuting or extending the argument of at least one specific person in your speech is mandatory if you're the fifth speaker on an item or later.

-From the second you step foot into a Congressional Debate chamber, my expectation is that you are IN CHARACTER as a member of the United States House of Representatives or Senate. Breaking character (even during recess, or AGDs) and acting like a high schooler will disappoint me.

-I care about how good your best speech was much more than how many speeches you gave.

-I am rarely impressed with three (or, God forbid, four) main point Congress speeches. Unless you're in a round that has four minute speech times, this is a bad idea.

Hannah Wilson Paradigm

Yes to the email chain:

!If you're using a bunch of acronyms don't assume I know what you mean! Don't start your speeches top speed. Slow down a little when reading blocks if you want me to know what you're saying (especially on theory and framework args)

Jian Xi Paradigm

Not Submitted

Harry Yu Paradigm

PF Paradigm:
My background is in CX and LD, and I use a similar lens to weigh arguments in PF. In my mind "Framework" is similar to how it is used in LD. Without clear frameworks in PF, I usually will default on a Util standard, however, I am open to other "role of the ballot" argumentation. I'm a flow judge that is looking for big picture impact narrative. If you're trying to weigh impacts, tell me the story as to why your impact is more important. I will not check cards after the round, so be sure you're not strictly relying your entire argument on a piece of evidence.

I have a high threshold for theory arguments in general. There is not enough time in PF for theory arguments to mean much to me. If there is something abusive, make the claim, but there is no need to spend 2 minutes on it. I'm not sure if telling me the rules of debate fits with the idea of PF debate.

LD/CX paradigm:
Traditionalist. Will vote on Progressive/kritiques arguments 7/10 times if there is a clear link to the Aff, but will only vote off topicality 2/10 times. Speed is not an factor. I need weighing mechanisms. I will not extend arguments that I don't understand.

Congress Paradigm:

I'm looking for analysis that actually engages the legislation, not just the general concepts. I believe that presentation is very important in how persuasive you are. I will note fluency breaks and distracting gestures. However, I am primarily a flow judge, so I might not be looking at you during your speeches. Being able to clearly articulate and weigh impacts (clash) is paramount.

I'm used to LD and CX, so I prefer some form of Impact Calculus/framework. At least some sense as to why losing lives is more important than systemic violence. etc.

Shaul Zislin Paradigm

Not Submitted