Tournament of Champions

2019 — Lexington, KY/US

Amar Adam Paradigm

1 rounds

Amar Adam
Chattahoochee Class 2014

University of Kentucky 2018/Assistant Debate Coach for UK 2018-2019

Emory law 2022 - put this one on the chain for high school debate - put this one on the chain for college debate. Label the subject line as: Tournament - Round # - Aff Team vs Neg Team


I find that while judging, if the debaters can isolate and clearly articulate the nexus questions of the round, it becomes easier to judge, regardless of any predilections. While I try to adopt the ideology of a 'tabula rasa' I find that it is not entirely successful. Some arguments can be more persuasive to me than others, and I will try my best to avoid any intervention on my part, and I feel that you as a debater should do what you feel is best. If you have good cards to substantiate your args that goes a long way and matters for me. Explain how you want me to evaluate the debate.


I like T when it is debated well. That means good impact analysis, good explanations of standards and how I should evaluate each team's vision of the topic.

Theory: I resolve these debates much like topicality, and I am admittedly a little neg bias on a lot of these theoretical questions. The impact level needs to be clearly articulated, especially by the affirmative if you want my ballot. I feel that counter interpretations are largely self serving (not a reason to not make one) and that interpretations on theory debates are much more persuasive when your offense is centered around your interpretation, which I feel has become largely lacking (ex. teams read the same conditionality block regardless if they have read one or four conditional options). I believe strongly in technical debating, but a conceded blimpy theoretical objection won't be a reason to reject the team, but will just reject the argument if the theoretical objection is well argued and explained. This is because most of these scenarios are where the theory "arguments" are not arguments. See ex. vague alternatives are a voting issue.

I think K affs tend to lose more of these debates when they adopt a middle ground perspective in which they try to do something with the topic but not affirm the entirety of the resolution. It makes it easier in my mind for neg teams to win that the resolution is compatible with the aff's offense and that resolutional debates are good as the aff is already half of the way there. I think teams are more successful at impact turning framework, and making reasons why only the aff's model of debate is beneficial than by making more defensive arguments like you could have read your aff against us on the neg, or that you get certain ks.

Common arguments that don't resonate with me a ton is that the aff is a prerequisite to topical engagement, or that it is a starting point. If that is true why not have 4 minutes of the speech explaining your prereq about how we should change our relationship/understanding of the resolution and then use that to inform a praxis? I think K affs tend to win more of these debates if they are about not a starting point to resolutional/topical debate, but rather if the aff is about prerequisites to how we understand debate as an activity and how we need to change that first.

I prefer these debates to clash about what model of debate is best, to conduct impact comparison, and to tell me what matters and how to evaluate certain arguments. Debate it like a t debate with violations, standards, and impacts.


Love them. The more specific to the aff the better and helps drive competition.


There is zero risk of a disad, and it happens. I feel that the impact level of disadvantages (as well as advantages) are way to often the focus of the debate, and I find that debates about a solid link defense/turn or internal link defense can win a round more often than other things.
With that being said, I feel that a disadvantage with alot of explanation of how it accesses case, why I should prefer it, and why it comes first are persuasive, but I don't feel that its an automatic negative ballot if the 1AR just drops them because they sat on another argument on the flow. The status squo I feel has become a debate that is less willing to be had and I think that a good case/disad debate can be very strategic at times.


Make the debate about the aff, and contextualize it, or I think it is easier for the aff to win a perm. Doing this doesn't necessarily mean reading new aff specific cards, but it does mean doing the work to contextualize your generic 1nc args to the specifics of the aff.

I am not entirely well versed in a very broad scope of the literature, but as long as you aren't too out there and can explain it I should be fine. You should be well versed enough in the literature to explain your argument to those not in the lit base, just like you should be able to explain a complex counter plan to someone who hasn't done the research on it.

Swapnil Agrawal Paradigm

3 rounds

Put me on the email chain:

I've debated CX for four years at Chamblee High School and four years at the University of Georgia. I will try to intervene as little as possible in debate rounds, so be clear and frame the debate. Don't be rude or offensive - I usually give pretty high speaks but this is one way to to hurt them. I have judged ZERO debates on the immigration topic so I likely have not heard your aff/DA/acronym before. I usually read along with the speech doc, so I will handle clarity/clipping issues.

FW - I think that debate is a game in which the affirmative defends hypothetical enactment of a policy and the other side argues that the policy is bad. I enjoy listening to kritikal affs and think they can be valuable, but I also think they engender a worse model of debate that is unfair to the negative. That being said, I will vote based on what happened in the round. I think you're in a much better position on framework if your aff is at least in the direction of the topic and you answer DAs.

Case/DA - I love these throwdowns. I will vote on presumption if there is no risk of the case, just as I am comfortable assigning zero risk of a link. Relevant impact differentials and turns case analysis are persuasive to me, especially in close debates. I also love a good impact turn debate. No one goes for dedev, heg bad, or china war good anymore... :(

Topicality - It's always a voting issue and outweighs theory unless told otherwise. I think this is an underutilized argument in debate - don't let affs get away with murder via small reforms. Providing a good view of the topic under your interpretation and defending that view is very persuasive, but I am also sympathetic to aff arguments about interp predictability. Lack of effective impact work is why I find myself voting aff on reasonability.

Counterplan - I can be persuaded that most counterplans are legitimate, but winning process or international fiat theory will be an uphill battle for the negative. I will not kick the counterplan for you under unless I'm told that's an option. Unlike some judges nowadays, I can be persuaded that conditionality is bad. Please slow down when you're spreading your theory block.

Kritik - I'm comfortable with some of the K literature that is read often in debate, specifically cap and afropess stuff. However, don't assume I know your specific Baudrillard evidence. Contextualized link analysis and turns case args often persuade me to vote negative. The framework debate is also very important for setting metrics for winning the round. I think a lot of negative teams get away with no solvency explanation on the alternative - aff teams need to press them on what the alternative looks like in practice/why that's relveant. Theory arguments against alternatives are underutilized in my opinion.

Carlos Astacio Paradigm

3 rounds

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Shree Awsare Paradigm

3 rounds

1/13/20 - Included Short Version, LD and PF Addendum added below

Current School Affiliations: NoBro (2016-), Emory (2019-)

Previous School Affiliations: JMU (2011-2016), Broad Run High School (2014-2016), Thomas Jefferson High School (2012-2014), Columbia University (2007-2011), Fordham University (2011), Monta Vista High School (2003-2007).

HS Topic Knowledge: Slightly above average. Led lab at DDI & actively cut cards for NoBro.

College Topic Knowledge: Below Average. I occasionally cut K answers and that's the extent of research. I need the topic disambiguated - topicality and complex topic mechanism-based counterplans will need more pentime and clarification.

Email Chain:

5 min version:

Line-by-Line x-------------------------------------- "Cloud Clash"/Overviews

Truth -------------------------------------------x-------- Tech

Insert Opponent Evidence-------------------------------------------x Read Evidence

Must Explain Cards ---------x------------------------------ Will Read Into Evidence

Judge Kick ----------------------x------------------------ Stuck w/ choice

Read Topical Affs ---------x-------------------------------- Free for All

Counter-Interpret Words -x------------------------------------ CI: "Discussion of Topic"

Aff Defends Model of Debate -x-------------------------------- T Impact Turns/RVI only

Limits/Fairness ------x-------------------------------------------- Skills/Other

No Ks on Neg -----------------------------------------x--- Yes Ks on Neg

Arguments about 1AC x------------------------------------ Personal Attacks

Cheaty CPs Good ------------------------x-------------------------- Aff Always Wins Theory/PDCP

Always a Risk -------------------------x----------- Zero Risk/Presumption

2010 Speaker Points -----x------------------------------------- 2020 Speaker Points

Long Version

No judge is tabula rasa, and I am no exception. My ideal debate involves two teams who read well-researched positions, engage in line-by-line refutation of their opponents’ arguments, and demonstrate strategic choice-making and vertical development of arguments. Not all debate is good debate. It is my firm belief that any model of debate (whatever the content) that disincentivizes any of the aforementioned qualities is an inferior product that is simultaneously less rigorous and less enjoyable. In the past, I have taken a more laissez-faire attitude towards judging rounds, but I’ve started to realize that I have been rewarding practices conducted by debaters on both sides of the artificial “traditional” and “critical” divide that are detrimental to the overall quality of debates – antics of which I was often guilty of pursuing as a competitor. As such, I will be making my biases transparent so that you can be more informed when you do your prefs. I’ve split this philosophy up into non-negotiables and preferences below.


(1) Only complete arguments will be evaluated. A complete argument consists of a claim, warrant, and data. This seems basic, but in the rush to construct 7+ off, scattershot 1NCs, some teams been encouraged to forward DA shells with poorly highlighted evidence without warrants, CP shells with just a text and no accompanying solvency cards, or cards tagged “extinction” (which is a word, not an argument) in hopes that they will get more words per minute out than the other team. You can miss me with that. Incomplete arguments will not be flowed, and in the event that an incomplete argument grows up to be a complete argument in a future speech, I will evaluate it as if you made the argument for the first time in that future speech, and I will give your opponents a new opportunity to respond with analytics and cards.

(2) You MUST be flowable. While I will try my best to keep up, I will feel zero remorse in the post-round if you tell me that I did not appropriately decode the word vomit on 2AC 5 subpoint C or the treatise you regurgitated about some vague "theory of power" in a 2NC overview. Not only should you limit your speed such that you maintain clarity at all times, but it would help me immensely if you used consistent, easily transcribable soundbytes so I can make connections on the flow effortlessly instead of speaking in large paragraphs with run-on sentences.

(3) Topicality is a voting issue, and never a reverse voting issue. The affirmative must defend the whole resolution or an example of the resolution. Nothing about this requirement is “the logic of genocide,” “psychologically violent,” nor a “will to mastery” that can be analogized to violence in “Abu Ghraib” or “drone strikes.” Ultimately, debate is a voluntary activity that you have the choice to not partake in, and to the extent that you've chosen to participate, it is only valuable insofar as the negative has an opportunity to anticipate and clash with your claims. That being said, I believe that critical affirmative approaches to the topic that may stray from traditional plan texts have immense value, but only if they creatively affirm the resolution in some way rather than being a negative argument or atopical. Here are some thoughts if you have me in the back of a K Aff v T debate.
(A) 2ACs should counter-define or prove they meet the words in the resolution to prove that the 1AC as presented is an example of the resolution, or they will have an extremely uphill battle in the face of a competently extended fairness violation. I am not persuaded by vacuous CIs like “discussion of the topic,” “only our aff is topical,” and others that are unsubstantiated by evidence interpreting words in the topic statement. None of those CIs would be acceptable in any other T debate (imagine if a human rights conditions afff responded to T – Reduce = No Conditions with CI: discussion of the topic – L 27.5). That being said, I don’t think this forecloses critical approaches beyond traditional interpretations of fiat – I think there are plenty of ways to creatively define “USFG” as an agent outside the 3 branches in DC (see Burch’s Performative Revolutionary Fiat or “we demand” style affs) or “direct commercial sales” as exceeding AECA context that could posit a broader but more inclusive limit on the topic. 2ACs can also make criticisms of expert based definitions, suggesting alternate, non-traditional definitions that are grounded in lived experience or social location, and make the case for why their definitions should be preferred. But, no definition at all = no model of debate, which implies that there is no equitable role for the negative team to anticipate their opponents' arguments and critically engage their scholarship
(B) The "impact" debate should be focused on a particular set of limits – the negative should defend the benefits of narrowing deliberation over a topic, and the affirmative should point out the myopia of such a curriculum. I think there is a defensible case to be made that a curriculum where the affirmative is limited to the 3 branches as an agent or a narrow subset of what “direct commercial sales” means distorts the cross-disciplinary literature over arms sales and is exclusive of particular bodies of thought which may have an impact that outweighs the convenience of negative researchers, in the same way that a definition of DCS that limits out the CCL might arguably be contrived, uneducational, and have an impact. However, impact turns that suggest the reading of topicality itself is a violent form of conditioning or that the negative should not be able to anticipate and engage your argument are significantly less convincing and don't require much to be refuted.
(C) I am annoyed by negative arguments read on the affirmative side. Positions that are pessimistic about the possibility of improving the status quo are negative arguments… by definition... and are reasons to vote for the negative team. Turns out there is a vast body of defensible literature in your area of the library that is hopeful about the propensity for change. Please be willing to research and defend more than 1 "theory of power."
(D) I am more in the "limits/fairness" camp than the "skills" camp. The latter opens the neg up arguments about why we should prefer aff impact claims that exceed the intrinsic competitive nature of debate, permutation arguments to teach different skills to different people through different genres of argument, and arguments about how the neg's skills cannot be universalized to all and can be used for evil. This is not to say that "skills" style impacts are unwinnable in front of me, but it is certainly more uphill.

(4) There are 2 speakers on each team who have an equal amount of time to speak, and I will cast a ballot in favor of one winning team. I don’t really care about ins and outs or alternative use prep time, but there should NOT be debates where students are “kicked out” or otherwise don’t participate in an entire debate. Calling for a double win, intentionally interrupting an opponent’s speech, soliciting outside participation in a speech or cross-x, breaking time limits, playing board games, or devolving the debate into a 2 hour long discussion is a recipe for a quick L for the team that initiates it.

(5) I do not feel comfortable making decisions in contest rounds about the unconfirmable personal behavior or character of minors or coaching staffs that occur outside of debates. That said, arguments about things that are observable within the debate are fair game, and I have no tolerance for racism, etc - which I think is prolific in debate despite its pretense of liberalism.

(6) Attempts to negotiate speaker points with me within a contest round (eg, "please give me a 30 because x") will backfire. The last time someone tried to negotiate speaker points, they received a 24. Would not recommend.


(1) I am not staunchly offense/defense, as I believe in the existence of terminal defense and believe presumption can decide debates. Much of this depends on the quality of debating, but I can be compelled that negligible solvency to an affirmative case should be treated as zero, or that there is no internal link to a DA, or that a K aff doesn't meet its role of the ballot and should lose on presumption.

(2) Line-By-Line > OV/Implicit Clash. My favorite debaters number arguments and reference those numbers as they debate, regardless of whether they are debating a DA, T, K or CP – but a “they say” approach that follows the arguments in the order that they are presented is also acceptable. Implicit clash would be okay if people flowed more carefully and answered arguments in the order that they were presented - oftentimes it is not. 1+ minute overviews frustrate me and said frustration will be taken out on your speaker points.

(3) Judge Instruction in DA/CP Debates = Key. Does UQ frame the link debate, or do the links frame a close UQ debate and why? Does the DA turns the case or the other way around, and why? Does the internal net benefit to a process CP outweigh the impact of a CP solvency deficit? None of these questions should be left up to me.

(4) I enjoy T and Theory Debates more than most, but you will need to slow down for your analytics and adequately impact your arguments. If you want to read new 2NC CPs to avoid impact turns, generic process CPs, etc, I'm all ears if you are proficient at debating theory and won't take it out on your speaker points.

(5) Plan (Aff) v K Debates Thoughts. These appear to be the majority of debates that I watch. For teams reading the K: My familiarity with your literature base will be above average, and I won't need long explanations of terminology to demystify concepts. I am more interested in you establishing specific links to the affirmative and concrete impacts that turn or outweigh it.

For teams debating against the K: I am more interested in arguments (analytics and cards) that substantively engage the K while having a robust defense of the case. The K's "greatest hits" are useful but at some point, you are going to have to answer their "K turns the case" and other tricks they may have by using your aff. I do not necessarily need carded evidence to overcome their characterizations, smart analytics are often enough to respond to contrived uniqueness, link, or case turn arguments. Debaters on the policy end of the spectrum that I've judged tend to say I evaluate K debates like a "checklist."

(6) I have little familiarity with economics. I understand economics at high speed even less. The last time I studied economics was AP Macro in high school, and I didn't do so well in that class. If you are committing to a strategy centered on business confidence, the economics of oil prices, etc, it would help if you slowed down and added more details about how the economy works than you might have otherwise - you probably don't want me to make guesses by reconstructing the debate from your evidence.

(7) New Affs Bad/Must Be Disclosed is not a compelling argument - I have never voted on this argument sans 1 or 2 times it was conceded by the affirmative team in 3 consecutive speeches. I think there is arguably a case to be made that new affs might justify leniency for negative conditionality or that new K affs prove debate is controlled more by competitive incentives than subject formation, but I am not as sold as some of my colleagues that new affs justify shenanigans across the board (I have no idea why a new affirmative makes process counterplans more competitive or theoretically legitimate, for example).


LD Paradigm: I respect the potential of LD as an valuable event but don't believe that potential is being reached. Some LD debates I've watched have featured impressive debaters that make complete arguments, flow, and respond to their opponents. Others deal with interesting moral inquiries from a literature base that isn’t present in policy debates which I think are productive. However, more often than not what counts as debate these days (especially "tricks debate") is disease inducing and often the round devolves to an intellectually lazy version of policy. If you would like to receive speaker points higher than a 28, you will need to do the following:

1 - Flowing and Line by line refutation is mandatory. Visibly not doing either will start you at a very generous 26. Trying to do "cloud clash" or just haphazardly reading your coach's blocks as "overviews" will get you somewhere between a 27.5-27.9.

2 - Arguments must be complete - a claim, warrant, and data. My threshold for "tricks" is high - your dropped "indexical" or "monism" or "aff never wins" theory argument will not receive my ballot or speaker points higher than 28 if you did not explain it in enough depth for me to understand it and for me to be able to explain to your opponent why they lost. That said, if you make a complete argument that is "tricky" and it is unanswered, I would not hesitate to vote for it. I was a philosophy major at an analytic philosophy focused department so these arguments aren't necessarily lost on me - that said, the versions of these arguments made in LD are often painfully bad.

3 - Both plan focused debates and K debates are fine. Theoretical objections to either are fine as well. I am open to thinking that a policy making paradigm is ill suited in LD despite policy being my primary activity, and that the nature of theoretical objections (conditionality, etc) may have different weight considering the way time limits in LD are construed.

4 - You need to extend arguments made in previous speech in their complete form. You can't just flag "they dropped the DA" and move on - you need to extend the relevant pieces of the DA for it to be evaluated.

5 - Using the terms "pre-fiat," "post-fiat," or "LARP" automatically starts you at a 28 or lower. No one roleplays, no one shows up in wigs and a gavel to roleplay as politicians. Pre-fiat and post-fiat is a vocabulary that died 2 decades ago. It's 2020. Please leave it in the past, or you will get speaker points from the past.

6 - Reading is essential. If you are reading Wilderson and can't answer the question "what does the phrase 'political ontology' mean" or are reading Kant and can't answer the question "what is the categorical imperative" it's time to pack your bags and hit the books. Embarassing CXes will receive embarassing speaker points.

7 - Personal attacks are not a winning strategy in front of me. "I know what you did last summer" "I know what you wrote on the wiki in December" "In X debate Y opponent said Z mean things to me" or worse "I know what your coaches did last summer" is neither confirmable nor a reason why your opponent did not do the better debating in this particular round. Instead, make K links to the arguments made in THIS debate to receive better speaker points and even a W.


PF Paradigm: I think there is merit to a style of debate that adapts to a less technical audience, and there is a version of this activity that is meaningful. That said, I am not a blank slate - as a policy critic, I have strong, negative feelings about some of the pedagogical choices made in the "flay" version of this activity. While there are exceptions, there seems to be an extremely low standard for responding to arguments in the order that they were presented, and an even lower standard for evidence quality (bordering on academic dishonesty). For you to receive speaker points higher than a 28, all of the following will be required:

(1) Do not paraphrase evidence. I expect that you include the full paragraph to include the context that your author is speaking in. You have not overcome the "no paraphrasing" standard if your "card" has 3 words highlighted and does not contain complete sentences. If you paraphrase evidence, I will evaluate your excerpt with the same force as an analytic or opinion asserted by a debater.
(2) Extensions of argument labels or claims without warrants will not be evaluated as arguments. "Extend the X Analysis" is not an argument. If no one manages to make a complete argument, I will intervene when making a decision. You will not like that.
(3) I expect the second rebuttal to respond to every argument in the first rebuttal. I will not be extending arguments from your grand crossfire (or crossfires in general). I steadfastly believe it is the second team's obligation to address both sides of the flow in the second rebuttal. A second team that neglects to attack both the opposing case and rebuild against the prior rebuttal will have a very low chance of winning my ballot because they have conceded large swaths of argument. A team that ignores this bit of adaptation should expect to see speaker points that reflect a performance that I see as half-complete.

Kevin Bancroft Paradigm

3 rounds

All post-structuralists are liberals.

Prep stops when I receive the email or have the usb in my hand.

The only thing I care about is clarity and clipping. If you skip a highlighted/underlined word I cannot vote for you.

If I am judging your round.

Then your traditional decision making calculus on how clear to be which looks something like: "Judges wait for the other team to call out clipping, but the other team is disincentivized from doing so by loss of speaker points and rep. This paradigm means I should push the envelope as much as possible in terms of clarity, because at worst I just lose a few speaker points" should be fully discarded.

Instead your decision making calculus should be: "This judge is not afraid to drop for clipping, pays close attention to it, and never waits for the other team to make the accusation. I cannot push the envelope on clarity, because I will auto lose the round and get my speaker points nuked if I skip a single word"

My intention is to be transparent in order to allow you a proper risk vs. reward analysis on clarity decisions in round.

Dan Bannister Paradigm

1 rounds

highland park (MN) '16
university of kentucky '20

put me on the email chain: danbann55 at gmail


--short version: bad for Ks, high threshold for T vs policy affs, author quals matter a LOT, best debates are DA vs case, condo is fine, you can't insert re-highlighting, "framing" contentions are not answers to DAs, i will never vote for death good

--i’m finding I care a lot more about truth over tech when an argument isn’t based in evidence or is facially stupid. tech is still almost always over truth - but don’t expect me to care about your “dropped” half sentence analytic that contravenes basic knowledge about the world/debate

--won't vote for any argument that promotes sedition

--both high school and college have this stupid thing where both sides read a million cards about revisionism at each other. this sucks. states aren't yes/no revisionist, revisionism is a strategy that actors within states sometimes use, and the only reason it would ever matter is in the context of a more specific link argument to explicate the scope of a state's revisionism in a given context. so instead of reading 6 "yes china is revisionist" cards, just read more links - it will be infinitely more useful.

--we all need be much more aware of the sharp decline in participation in college debate. at the 2012 wake tournament, there were teams from 71 schools participating in the open division. at the 2018 one, there were only 50 programs represented. it was even worse at GSU this year. that's 20 programs that decided they didn't want to have a policy debate team anymore. where will debate be in 10 years?


--i'd rather play in traffic than vote for "t: pearson". by the way, please stop referring to args by author names, it is like nails on a chalkboard


it will be nearly impossible to get me to vote against framework with a fairness impact. fairness is an impact -- saying otherwise is akin to saying eating food is just an internal link to not being hungry, which is just an internal link to not being dead... etc. absent a course correction, college debate is highly unsustainable given current trends. the activity would be in a much better place if everyone read a plan.

neg Ks need to have links to the plan OR invest heavily in framework arguments that make me think differently -- BUT, I will say that in an evenly debated round, I haven't heard a persuasive reason why i should disregard the plan yet.

not going to evaluate arguments about stuff that happened outside the round/in other debates.

I don't care that fiat isn't real.

POLICY STUFF: I'm way less ideological about policy things, but here's most of the things I think are worth mentioning.

--something i keep seeing 2acs say: "process CPs are a voting issue", "CPs that could result in the aff are a voting issue". neither of these are arguments. every CP is a process CP -- what's a CP that doesn't involve a process? and every CP except "ban the plan" COULD result in the aff. i wish neg teams would point this out more. you can make theory-based objections to CPs, aff teams, but you have to have a real interpretation.

--other CP theory: debating controls everything. BUT, in an evenly debated round (which almost never happens), here's the way i lean. pics out of topic words in the plan are great especially when functionally competitive, "ctrl+f the 1ac" word pics are ridiculously bad, states CP is fine, international counterplans bad, CPs that compete off "resolved" and "should" bad, consult probably bad, offsets CP probably good, lopez CP probably very bad

--conditionality almost definitely good but i'm starting to change my mind -- lots of CPs, amending stuff in the block, kicking planks, fiating out of straight turns... all of that makes me think condo can be bad, BUT, it has to be really egregious because it's really obvious when people go for conditionality just because they're losing substance, and that is stupid.

--I'm not very good for neg teams going for T against a policy aff (although I understand it’s sometimes necessary). we have so few debates about the topic these days, why waste them on having a T debate? again, if the aff really is ridiculous, I get it, but c'mon...

--1ar doesn't get new args without explicit justification of those args. If the block reads a new impact, you obvi get new answers, but you can't just read new arguments about the content of the 1nc without a reason why that's okay.

--framing contentions are silly when they're used to avoid answering DAs -- but neg teams need to devote some time to telling me why this is the case

--"insert this re-highlighting" is not a thing, you need to read it in the speech/in CX

--judgekick is default if the neg says their CP is conditional. however, aff teams are welcome to make judgekick bad arguments, I just am not going to stick them with the CP unless you say something.

--you'll get good points for debating the case -- it's an underdeveloped skill that seems to have sorta fallen by the wayside.

James Bathurst Paradigm

3 rounds

I am brand new to Public Forum. I look forward to learning the activity. That said, I spent thirteen seasons as a policy debate coach (1 year at Paul Robeson High School, 6 at Benjamin Banneker and 6 at Brooklyn Technical High School). In addition to coaching, I served as the Tournament Director for the NYCUDL, the Vice President for Policy Debate for the BQCFL, part of tab staff for NYSFLs, NYSDCAs, the New York City Invitational, and the Westchester Invitational, and in the residence halls for DDI.

What this means for PF debaters is that I am very flow-centric and expect good sign posts. If you give me a road map, I expect you to follow it. While I understand that you will not read evidence in-round, I do expect you to clearly cite your evidence and will listen to (and reward) good analysis of evidence throughout the round.

What this means for policy debaters is that I typically spend more time running tournaments than judging in them. My flowing skills are not what they used to be. You need to SLOW DOWN for your tags and authors or else they will not make my flow. You should also SLOW DOWN for the actual claims on any theory or analytic arguments (Treat them like cards!). My flow is sacred to me, if you want me to vote for you, your flow should look like mine. Lay it out for me like I am a three year-old.

As for arguments, I consider myself a stock-issues judge. Those are what I coach my novices, and I still feel they are the best arguments in policy debate. That said, I have voted on all types of arguments and performance styles in debate. If you want me to vote on something that is not a stock issue, you better explain it to me like I am a three year-old. Even if you want me to vote on a stock issue, you should explain it to me like I am a three year-old.

I do not typically ask for (or want to) examine evidence after the round. It is your job to explain it to me. There is no need to add me to an email chain. That said, if there is some contention about what a piece of evidence actually says, you should make a point of that in your speeches.

As for paperless debate in general, I like my rounds to start on time and end on time. If your technical issues are hindering that, I will start running prep.

Mike Bausch Paradigm

3 rounds

Mike Bausch

Director of Debate, Kent Denver

Please include me in email chains; my email is

Do what you do best and I will try to leave my predispositions at the door. I have voted for and against every kind of argument. How you debate matters more than what you debate.

I care most about your ability to successfully communicate and defend your arguments by flowing, doing line-by-line, speaking clearly, and thoroughly explaining your arguments throughout the debate. I do not follow along with the speech document and will tell you clear if I can’t understand you. The best tip I can give you is to go for less arguments as the debate develops and explain those arguments more.

Argument resolution is the most important part of debating. Making choices, explaining what issues are most important, identifying what to do with drops, answering “so what” questions, making “even if” statements, and comparing arguments (links, impacts, solvency, etc) are all examples of the kinds of judge instruction that winning rebuttals should focus on.

I value the research skills that debate fosters. I think a lot of teams get away with reading poor evidence. Please make evidence comparison (data, warrants, source, or recency) a significant part of the debate. Evidence that is highlighted in complete and coherent sentences is much more persuasive than evidence that is not.

The affirmative should present an advocacy that they can defend as topical. I prefer debates to be about topic related policy and critical literature and I think there is value to orienting our research around the resolution for both educational and competitive reasons.

The negative should clash with the affirmative. I am more persuaded by strategies that compete with ideas or positions the affirmative has actually committed to. I think many generic negative strategies, like process counterplans and “fiat not real” style critiques, are not automatically competitive.

David Bernstein Paradigm

3 rounds

Rowland Hall-St Mark's '17

Georgetown University '21

Coached Isidore Newman 2017-2018

Coaching Rowland Hall

Put me on the email chain:

I will add stuff to this philosophy periodically. If anything is unclear or confusing, email me.

Cliff Notes

--Probably a better judge in policy oriented debates. This is primarily because of my argumentative style and academic background and not because of any strong ideological predisposition.

--Not the most familiar with the high school topic (arms sales). I've done some reading but will need to catch up on acronyms, basic strategies, etc. Don't know what community norms are regarding T and generally don't care. Most of my academic work concentrates on international security, so I understand most of the central concepts/many of the international relationships discussed.

--Conditionality is good. Neg teams need to do a better job exploiting what that means. Counter interps such as "we get 3 conditional CPs" are arbitrary. I will still vote aff on conditionality bad if debated well and properly.

--Might be slightly better than most for "cheating CP's" (with the caveat that they are grounded in well researched evidence).

--As a 2a, I, generally, find that well explained permutations are a better route to deal with unfair CPs than theoretical objections. Limited intrinsicness can be very good

--If no one says a word about it at any point in the debate, I will judge kick for the neg.

--0 risk is very possible.

--Reasonability is incredibly persuasive in T debates if used offensively, but if articulated as "oh we aren't that bad give us a break," I'm most likely leaning neg.

--I will almost certainly read cards after debates. Even if the cards are not totally necessary, I will still read out of intellectual curiosity, and so I can reward high quality research. Clearly not an excuse for poor debating.

--Academic background. Majoring in International Politics at Georgetown, focused on Security Studies. Particularly enjoy research regarding nuclear strategy, IR theory, and US-Russia relations.

Operating Procedure

--I flow on paper. Would like to steal some

--Cheating is bad. Cheating will result in losses. That obviously includes clipping cards and misrepresenting evidence.

--I will not be following along closely enough with speech docs to enforce any sort of clipping violations by myself. This is mostly because I think my flow will be harmed substantially if I am flowing from your doc and not writing down full arguments. Debaters should record debates and provide that recording when accusing the other side of an ethics challenge

--Each debater must give 1 constructive and 1 rebuttal. If it is not your speech and you say something, it will not be on on my flow.

--I won't vote on arguments based on something that happened outside of the debate.

--No "inserting highlighting." You have to read it

No Plan/New Debate/K Affs

--I've read these before. I've gone for T against them even more

--I think fairness style impacts are more persuasive. I haven't judged enough of these debates to give the best guidance on what I think is the most persuasive aff strategy to me, but I'm betting I will enjoy it more when the aff has a robust defense of what debate looks like in their model rather than just impact turning everything. Debate bad is not a persuasive argument to me.

--Debate's a game. I think that means that the game should probably be fair. Debate, however, does likely have many external benefits to it. Different people find debate valuable for different reasons, but I generally find that a lot of that value derives from the inherent competitive nature of debate.

--If I struggle to find a clear articulation of what the aff team believes a ballot does in many of these debates, I could be amenable to voting neg on presumption, but I think that generally is a result of poor aff explanation

--Will not vote for or against someone because of their identity or subject position

--I'm uncomfortable with a ballot being considered necessary as a survival strategy


--I am very open to vote on an alternative that includes the plan or other K arguments that may be considered theoretically illegitimate by many. Just be up front about it so the aff can respond. It gives us better debates, and is net more strategic for you to not be too shady.

--I'll have a high threshold for counting many K tricks as "dropped" in the 1ar. If the 2nc articulates the alt as "we don't preclude the aff - just that we need to reorient politics first" and the 1ar drops the implied floating PIK, I will allow new 2ar answers.

--K's of aff solvency and internal links are probably better than K's exclusively focused on impact claims.

--Most K's I see in high school are not full arguments until after the block. I will give the aff leeway if the 1nc is unclear what they are critiquing

--I heavily prioritize framework in these debates

--Been getting frustrated that teams in some of these debates don't read enough cards. I want a qualified scholar explaining your theory of the world. Not your summary of what you think that author says.

--Familiar with most of the common K literature bases discussed in debate. That does not mean you can rely on me to fill in gaps.

Non-CP Theory Issues

--Conditionality is good. Unpersuaded by arbitrary counter interps

--Aff shadiness should be punished. Just because a plan is vague doesn't mean no CP is competitive.

--Disclosure theory may be a reason a team should lose. If an aff has been read before, it is not disclosed at all on the wiki, and the aff team refuses to tell the negative team with sufficient time before the debate what aff they will be reading, I will be open to the idea of the aff deserving to lose. Worst case scenario, I will be comfortable shredding aff speaks.


--I judge legitimacy of CP's on a case by case basis. In the magical world of fiat, it feels tough to categorically exclude specific varieties of CP's

--Please start techy perm debates sooner rather than later

--Limited intrinsicness can be good

--Literature determines predictability. If your "cheating" CP is clearly in the lit, I will be more likely to listen to it and allow it in the debate. That also necessitates the literature clearly distinguishing it from the plan, not just that you have 1 card that says "arms sales" while talking about reg neg

--Competition should generally be more than just certainty and immediacy


--No strong opinion for uniqueness or link first

--Probably more ok with sorting through a mountain of cards than most judges

--0 risk is very possible

--Impact defense is frequently the worst argument against many DAs


--Recent trend in high school debate to rely on framing contentions isn't my favorite. I think the collective debate tendency to focus solely on existential risks has issues, but that doesn't mean I will categorically vote against a team because they read multiple internal links. I also struggle to understand the generic “risk” framing (2 internal links makes your DA fake news style arguments, not more aff specific risk calculus arguments) when a CP is extended in the 2nr.

--Smartest affs are written based on the mechanism, not the impact


--I find most neg fear mongering regarding underlimiting to be pretty ludicrous (although that is usually a result of ridiculous fake affs being the only ones in a case list). Creative aff mechanisms should be rewarded, not excluded arbitrarily. Predictable limits matter more than limits for the sake of limits.

Rikki Bleiweiss Paradigm

3 rounds

Former debater at the University of Texas at Austin, former debater at The Kinkaid School

updated - april 2019

- I'm revising this to be less about how I feel about arguments and preferences and more about the general trend of the decisions that I make and how I make them. So what's below is about the general trend – not absolutes on how I evaluate arguments. It's how I typically think, and not universally applicable to every round – so if there's an argument the round that tells me to evaluate otherwise, I will.

Some things to know:

- Be good to each other

- Please don't read into my facial expressions too much. Something you said may be reminding me of something else which made me remember this other thing, etc. I'm not trying to cue you or give you secret clues – I don't want to control/influence/intervene/otherwise make the debate about me and not you.

- Controlling big picture questions of the debate is almost always more important than tech minutia. In other words, dropped arguments are true arguments, but not always important arguments. Identify which issues matter the most and invest your time there. Tech can certainly influence key issues, but rarely replaces them.

- Arguments don't "count" unless they have a claim, warrant, and impact. I typically don't call for evidence to decipher an argument that was under-explained, either. If you're asserting something without any warrant/explanation/impact, there's a good chance it won't matter a great deal to my RFD.

- I find myself usually filtering rounds by starting at the impact level and working backwards. What's the greatest harm, followed by who has the best chance at stopping it. I've noticed I use this frame /regardless of argument type/ - so take this into account even with T, Theory, and Framework debates.

some contextualization:

Theory - I think about theory debates much the same way I think about disads: there must be a clear link, internal link, and impact. Impacts should be weighed (does education outweigh advocacy skills or vice versa?) and internal links should be challenged. A pet peeve of mine is when debaters claim that minor theory arguments are a reason to reject the team - if you want to win this is true, you need to articulate a reason why the impact to your theory argument rises to that level.

-Framework/clash of civs debates – The questions I typically ask myself are: What's the worst thing that can happen to debate (/in debates)? Whose interpretation best prevents this? Prior questions like this – aka taking a stance on what is debate for – guide how I identify whose interpretation is best for debate.

In the interest of transparency: if you read a framework violation that relies solely on procedural fairness as the impact or collapses to only this impact, my track record leans not in your favor. To make this argument successful in front of me, you need to win the impact level – win why fairness matters most. Absent debating it out, relying on "because procedural fairness" full stop doesn't feel super different than "T is jurisdictional" full stop. For every version of framework: don't cede the impact debate. Tell me what debate should give us or what debate should be for us and why, and then why your interpretation promotes that.

Topicality, same vein, should also be about why your interpretation is best for debate and best for the topic. Impact out and weigh the standards of your interpretation against the counter-interpretation.

Counterplans - I appreciate creativity and I also appreciate really good theory debaters. Take the time to make the difference between the aff and the counter-plan clear and feel meaningful, and make sure your theory blocks don't feel like a wall of text thrown at me.

-Disad/case debates - I know I've ranted a lot about impacts mattering, but I also think I have a slightly above average tendency to be willing to say 0% risk. Try or Die framing / 1% risk is not compelling to me if a team has won defense to your impact - you only win in that scenario in front of me if you're the only one trying to extend an impact at all.

Also - I don't "weigh" case per se in framework debates, but I /do/ think the arguments pulled from the 1AC to answer framework are still relevant. I assume "don't weigh the plan" is a different argument than ignore the speech. If you win that my evaluation should shift to who's model of debate is best, and not a yes/no on the advocacy from the 1AC, the 1AC speech still had arguments that the 2A has applied to framework and that I'm assuming you'll answer or say why your stuff outweighs.

Kritiks - All my prior discussion matters here – what is the bad thing and how do you stop it. Or, not do it/ subvert it/ etc. I care about the thesis level here, a lot. Winning a sweeping K claim can control a lot of the round for me and color how I read every argument, and often make tech nuances fall into place depending on the debate. Losing the thesis level will complicate whether or not I think you can extrapolate that thesis into specific links/impacts. When I consider impacts, I'll also usually think about the "level" they happen on – are they about things happening in the round, who we learn to be, big picture political concerns, etc. So know that debating out which of these types of impact matters most is a big component of how I decide ... whose impact.... matter most... That's usually how I interpret the relevancy of framework debates, too. I don't find myself voting on "they shouldn't get Ks"-type arguments often, and I regularly feel too much time is invested here for no reward. The better time investment here for me is on why your framework arguments make your "level" of debate the important one. If you didn't just skip to the K section, you'll recognize this is basically my same spiel on arguments needing impacts relevant to the round.

One more K affs note – I'm not sitting on some secret arbitrary interpretation or bright line of what affs I think are kosher. The sections above on how I resolve debates also impact how I interpret your aff. I'm always looking for what is the worst thing and how do you solve it. I need clarity on that story.

Ask me questions.

You put in a lot of time and energy and care for this activity – I want to respect that.

Brian Box Paradigm

3 rounds

I am the debate coach at Blue Valley North. I previously coached at the University of Kansas. I was a policy debater at Wichita State University (2012) and Campus High School. I have taught camp at Kansas or Michigan every year since I graduated and typically judge 50-80 policy rounds per year, plus some pfd/ld/speech.

email chain: brianbox4 @ gmail

I care far more about your ability to send an email, speak clearly and respond to arguments than which aff you are reading. I am a "policy judge" in the strictest sense, but that has far more to do with my experience in debate than any desire to hold the line for a certain style of argument. I am too old, too tired and consider the stakes of a given high school debate too low to fight any kind of ideological battle. My most obvious and influential bias is that I am a neg judge.

The aff should be topical. The aff needs an offensive justification for their vision of the topic. Reasonability is meaningless and ultimately begs the question of the impact. I find the arguments for why the aff should be topical to be better than the arguments against it. If you are reading an aff that is not topical, you are much more likely to win my ballot on arguments about why your model of debate is good than you are on random impact turns to T.

Evidence matters a lot. I read lots of evidence and it heavily factors into my decision. Cross-ex is important and the best ones focus on the evidence. Author qualifications, histories, intentions, purpose, funding, etc. matter. Application of author indicts/epistemic arguments about evidence mean more to me than many judges. I find myself more than willing to ignore or discount poorly supported arguments. Kansas debate is particularly bad about filtering quality and I am probably more "interventionist" than what many Kansas debaters have become accustomed to from judges at local tournaments.

Either get good or get good at going for theory. Judge kick is the logical extension of conditionality. I am far more likely to be convinced by a qualitative interpretation than a quantitative one. Have yet to hear a good reason why 4 conditional is worse than 3 is worse than 2. I am more likely to vote aff on an objection to the competition of a counterplan than I am an argument about limiting the scope of negative fiat. Obviously the two are not entirely separable.

I cannot emphasize enough how much clarity matters to me. If you have dramatic tone changes between tag and card, where you can barely be heard when reading the text of evidence, you will get lower points from me and you should stop doing that. If I can't understand the argument, it doesn't count. There is no difference between being incoherent and clipping.

Lose the computer. Probably the single biggest thing that will cause your points to go up or down in front of me is the amount of time you spend reading into your computer screen at a rate that is impossible for me to flow vs. the amount of time you spend using your flow to identify and respond to arguments.

The link usually matters the most. I typically care more about the link than other parts of the argument. Framework or alternative solvency do not reduce the salience of the link. Evidence is important here. When in competition, you should spend more time answering the link than reading impact defense.

Daryl Burch Paradigm

4 rounds

Daryl Burch

currently the director of high school debate for the baltimore urban debate league (2007-present), also assist and aid in the development of argumentation for Towson University.

formerly coached at the University of Louisville, duPont Manual High School (3X TOC qualifiers; Octofinalist team 2002) have taught summer institutes at the University of Michigan, Michigan State, Emory, Iowa, Catholic University, and Towson University as a lab leader.

I debated three years in high school on the kentucky and national circuit and debated five years at the University of Louisville.

I gave that little tidbit to say that I have been around debate for a while and have debated and coached at the most competitive levels with ample success. I pride myself in being committed to the activity and feel that everyone should have a voice and choice in their argument selection so I am pretty much open to everything that is in good taste as long as YOU are committed and passionate about the argument. The worst thing you can do in the back of the room is assume that you know what I want to hear and switch up your argument selection and style for me and give a substandard debate. Debate you and do it well and you will be find.

True things to know about me:
Did not flow debates while coaching at the University of Louisville for two years but am flowing again

Was a HUGE Topicality HACK in college and still feel that i am up on the argument. I consider this more than a time suck but a legitimate issue in the activity to discuss the merit of the debate at hand and future debates. I have come to evolve my thoughts on topicality as seeing a difference between a discussion of the topic and a topical discussion (the later representing traditional views of debate- division of ground, limits, predictability etc.) A discussion of the topic can be metaphorical, can be interpretive through performance or narratives and while a topical discussion needs a plan text, a discussion of the topic does not. Both I think can be defended and can be persuasive if debated out well. Again stick to what you do best. Critiquing topicality is legitimate to me if a reverse voting issue is truly an ISSUE and not just stated with unwarranted little As through little Gs. i.e. framework best arguments about reduction of language choices or criticism of language limitations in academic discussion can become ISSUES, voting issues in fact. The negative's charge that the Affirmative is not topical can easily be developed into an argument of exclusion begat from predictable limitations that should be rejected in debate.

It is difficult to label me traditional or non traditional but safer to assume that i can go either way and am partial to traditional performative debate which is the permutation of both genres. Teams that run cases with well developed advantages backed by a few quality pieces of evidence are just as powerful as teams that speak from their social location and incorporate aesthetics such as poetry and music. in other words if you just want to read cards, read them poetically and know your argument not just debate simply line by line to win cheap shots on the flow. "They dropped our simon evidence" is not enough of an argument for me to win a debate in front of me. If i am reading your evidence at the end of the debate that is not necessairly a good thing for you. I should know what a good piece of evidence is because you have articulated how good it was to me (relied on it, repeated it, used it to answer all the other arguments, related to it, revealed the author to me) this is a good strategic ploy for me in the back of the room.

Technique is all about you. I must understand what you are saying and that is it. I have judged at some of the highest levels in debate (late elims at the NDT and CEDA) and feel pretty confident in keeping up if you are clear.

Not a big fan of Malthus and Racism Good so run them at your own risk. Malthus is a legitimate theory but not to say that we should allow systematic targeted genocide of Black people because it limits the global population. I think i would be more persuaded by the argument that that is not a NATURAL death check but an IMMORAL act of genocide and is argumentatively irresponsible within the context of competitive debate. Also i am not inclined to believe you that Nietzsche would say that we should target Black people and exterminate them because death is good. Could be wrong but even if i am, that is not a persuasive argument to run with me in the back of the room. In case you didn't know, I AM A BLACK PERSON.

Bottom line, I can stomach almost any argument as long as you are willing to defend the argument in a passionate but respectful way. I believe that debate is inherently and unavoidable SUBJECTIVE so i will not pretend to judge the round OBJECTIVELY but i will promise to be as honest and consistent as possible in my ajudication. Any questions you have specifically I am more than happy to answer.

Open Cross X, weird use of prep time (before cross x, as a prolonging of cross x) all that stuff that formal judges don't like, i am probably ok with.


Matt Cekanor Paradigm

3 rounds

Experience- This will be my first year coaching at Northview High School. Before moving to Georgia, I coached for 7 years at Marquette High in Milwaukee, WI and I debated there for four years.

*As I have gained more coaching and judging experience, I find that I highly value teams who respect their opponents who might not have the same experience as them. This includes watching how you come across in CX, prep time, and your general comportment towards your opponent. In some local circuits, circuit-style policy debate is dwindling and we all have a responsibility to be respectful of the experience of everyone involved in policy debate.*

Yes, add me to the email chain. My email is

Big picture “ideologies”

-Judging debates on the arms sales topic is most difficult for me when the negative strategy relies on winning an internal link or link turn to affirmative strategies in order to win an off-case position. Absent specific link or comparative sequencing analysis, I find it difficult to evaluate the distinctions between the China War advantage and the Deterrence DA, for example. I believe these debates are most successful at the highest level, but teams that are slower or might not have the strongest strategic vision often fail to win these negative strategies.

-I believe that rounds often lack comparative claims about the relative quality of arguments and how this impacts the interactions of arguments. Put another way, impact calculus does not only pertain to weighing the magnitude, timeframe and probability of impacts against each other but also pertains to comparing the way in which defensive arguments, claims about qualifications, evidence quality or other similar arguments impact how I should evaluate certain arguments within the round. When debating, always ask the question "Why?", such as "If I win this argument, WHY is this important?", "If I lose this argument WHY does this matter?". If you start thinking in these terms and can explain each level of this analysis to me, then you will get closer to winning the round. In general, the more often this happens and the earlier this happens it will be easier for me to understand where you are going with certain arguments. This type of analysis definitely warrants higher speaker points from me and it helps you as a debater eliminate my predispositions from the debate.

-For me to vote on a single argument, it must have a claim, warrant, impact, and impact comparison. This also applies to how I judge DA an CP debates.

A DA is not a full DA until a uniqueness, link, internal link and impact argument is presented. Too many teams are getting away with 2 card DA shells in the 1NC and then reading uniqueness walls in the block. I will generally allow for new 1AR answers.

Similarly, CP's should have a solvency advocate read in the 1NC. I'll be flexible on allowing 1AR arguments in a world where the aff makes an argument about the lack of a solvency deficit.

- Yes, terminal defense exists, however, I do not think that teams take enough advantage of this kind of argument in front of me. I will not always evaluate the round through a lens of offense-defense, but you still need to make arguments as to why I shouldn’t evaluate a debate through offense-defense. Again this plays into evidence questions and the relative impacts of arguments claims made above.

With those three main paradigmatic questions out of the way, here are my thoughts on particular arguments. This list is by no means exhaustive and if you have any questions about specifics, feel free to ask. Again, these are just predispositions that I would like to eliminate as much as possible while judging but I cannot shy away from the fact that they exist and will impact the way I think about rounds.


Case- Debates are won or lost in the case debate. By this, I mean that proving whether or not the aff successfully accesses all, some or none of the case advantages has implications on every flow of the debate and should be a fundamental question of most 2NRs and 2ARs. I think that blocks that are heavy in case defense or impact turns are incredibly advantageous for the neg because they enable you to win any CP (by proving the case defense as a response to the solvency deficit), K (see below) or DA (pretty obvious). I think that most affs can be divided into two categories: affs with a lot of impacts but poor internal links and affs with very solid internal links but questionable impacts. Acknowledging in which of these two categories the aff you are debating falls should shape how you approach the case debate.

DA- I most often evaluate the DA through a lens of probability. Your job as the aff team when debating a DA is to use your defensive arguments to question the probability of the internal links to the aff. Likewise, the neg should use turns case arguments as a reason why your DA calls into question the probability of the aff's internal link. I think that an interesting argument that is often not taken advantage of by the neg is DA is the prerequisite for the aff argument.

CP- While, when it is a focus of the debate, I tend to err affirmative on questions of counterplan competiton, I have grown to be more persuaded by a well-executed counterplan strategy even if the counterplan is a process counterplan. The best counterplans have a solvency advocate who is, at least, specific to the topic, and, best, specific to the affirmative. I do not default to judge kicking the counterplan and will be easily persuaded by an affirmative argument about why I should not default to that kind of in-round conditionality.

K- I think that the best critiques are critiques that directly engage the action of the affirmative, however, criticisms or the representations of the aff are also fair. Most rounds on the K are won in front of me when the 2N explains how the K turns the case or is somehow a prerequisite for the aff. I do find permutations persuasive when this sort of analysis is lacking, however. I also find that I will give higher speaker points to the team that explains links to specific lines in their opponents' evidence or to the logic within cross-x answers etc.

I will say that I think the strategy of going for the K with case defense is an argument combination that is rarely taken advantage of. I think that case defense allows you to provide substantive ways in which I can call into question the assumptions of the aff. I think that it is very difficult in high school debate for an aff team to come back from a block that consists of the K and case defense exclusively (NOTE: This is not me encouraging you to exclusively debate like this in front of me, I just think that it is an under used strategy).

More familiar bodies of literature: Queerness, security, Lacan, capitalism, anthro

Somewhat familiar: Afropessimism, settler colonialism

Less familiar: Baudrillard, Bataille, Deleuze

K affs- After having judged an increasing amount of debates between plan-less affs and framework, I have started to realize that my thoughts on this question are changing.

1.) Topicality is winning more debates in front of me- While I think that it is possible for teams to win debates vs. plan-less affirmatives without reading topicality, my thoughts on T as an effective strategy against these affs have changed to the point where I think this is a strategic position.

2.) The form vs. content distinction is persuasive- Teams that make arguments that distinguish between the content of the affirmative and the form of policy debate are generally persuasive to me. I think that the evolution in TVA and negative state action arguments have persuaded me that the content of the affirmative can be accessed through "topical" action. This, of course, does not mean that there isn't room for discussion here. Aff teams should be specific when making these arguments.

3.) Case in T debates- Regardless of the side you're on in one of these debates, I think that a lot of the debate comes down to whether or not the aff can access the affirmative and if this gives them offense on the T debate. I have been persuaded by "aff comes first" arguments in the past, particularly when the case is conceded. Negatives need to have arguments (preferably specific ones) about why the aff can't access their offense.

4.) I do think there are situations in which it is a fair expectation that the negative should have a specific answer to the affirmative that does not rely on a generic T, cap or disad shell. In particular, I tend to be persuaded by arguments about the predictability of “debate about debate” being a round for which the negative should have been prepared.

For reference, here is what I used to say about K affs (circa 2016-17):

I want to start out this section of my paradigm by saying that I have not judged many debates in which the affirmative has not read a plan text. I have openly coached teams that do not read plan texts and am open to the idea, however, I am not an experienced judge in this area of the debate. This means that if you are a team that does not defend resolutional action or does not read a plan text you must be clear as to how your advocacy statement or performative impact rectifies the impacts isolated in the 1AC.

I think that strong negative offense against these positions stems from kritiks or disads to the performative action/mechanism of the affirmative. In other words, I think the best answers to these affirmatives directly answer the thesis of the affirmative. I do not think that framework/T debates are the best answers to these arguments. Again, if framework is your response, that's fine but you will need to be making portable skills arguments that are contextualized to lack of access in debate, otherization in the debate space etc., to win my ballot in framework debates.

T- While I used to say that T is not necessarily my strong suit, I think that this has changed in the last year particularly given the lack of affirmative creativity on the arms sales topic. I think that portable skills are the best impact teams can make when they are engaged in T or theory debates. Comparative impact calculus and a discussion of how each team accesses their impacts will be important in winning my ballot in T debates. I find it incredibly problematic when there are multiple T interpretations in the round, especially when there are multiple definitions of the same word. However, as mentioned above, I think that an affirmative team can persuasively make arguments about why aff creativity outweighs predictability, particularly on this topic.

Theory- I debated on a team that engaged in a lot of theory debates in high school. There were multiple tournaments where most of our debates boiled down to theory questions, so I would like to think that I am a good judge for theory debates. I think that teams forget that theory debates are structured like a disadvantage. Again, comparative impact calculus is important to win my ballots in these debates. I will say that I tend to err aff on most theory questions. For example, I think that it is probably problematic for there to be more than one conditional advocacy in a round (and that it is equally problematic for your counter interpretation to be dispositionality) and I think that counterplans that compete off of certainty are bad for education and unfair to the aff. Again, portable skills are the most important to me in terms of my predispositions so you will need to do work in round to explain your arguments in this context.

Individuals who have most influenced my thoughts about debate/who's decision making calculus was (at least at one point) similar to mine: Tyler Thur (former partner), Ben Schultz (former coach).

Speaker point range on arms sales (for post-round reference):

Average- 28.2 (though teams I've judged that have cleared at circuit tournaments average ~28.7)

Range- 26.5-29.4

I recommend that you go to the bathroom and fill your water bottles before the debate rather than before a speech.

Gershom Chan Paradigm

4 rounds


Prep stops when email is sent.

Be clear!

You do you.

Clipping = loss & zero.

Yao Yao Chen Paradigm

3 rounds

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

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

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

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

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

Meta Issues:

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


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


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


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


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


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


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

Josh Clark Paradigm

3 rounds

Joshua Clark

Montgomery Bell Academy

University of Michigan - Assistant Coach, Institute Instructor

Past Schools:
Juan Diego Catholic
Notre Dame in Sherman Oaks

Jordan (UT) 96-98
College of Eastern Utah 99
Cal St Fullerton 01-04


Speaker Points
Points will generally stay between 27.5 and 29.9. It generally takes between a 28.6 and 28.7 to clear. I assign points with that in mind. Teams that average 28.65 or higher in a debate means that I thought your points were elimination round-level debates. While it's not an exact science, 28.8-28.9 mean you had a good chance advancing the elimination rounds, 29+ indicates excellence reserved for quarters+. I'm not stingy with these kinds of points and they have nothing to do with past successes. It has everything to do with your performance in THIS debate.

1. Jumping is no longer considered prep.
2. Please do your best to reserve restroom breaks before the opposing team's speeches and not right before your own.
3. Try to treat each other with mutual respect.
4. Cards MUST be marked during the speech. Please say "Mark the card" and please have you OR your partner physically mark the cards in the speech. It is not possible to remember where you've marked your cards after the speech. Saying "mark the card" is the only way to let your judge and competitors know that you are not intending to represent that you've read the entirety of the card. Physically marking the card in the speech is necessary to maintain an accurate account of what you did or didn't read.

My 20 years in the community has led me to have formulated some opinions about how the activity should be run. I'm not sharing these with you because I think this is the way you have to debate, but because you may get some insight about how to win and earn better speaker points in front of me.

1) Conceded claims without warrants - A conceded argument is only given as much weight as the warrant that supports it. You still must have a warrant to support your claim...even if the argument has been conceded. If no warrant has been provided, then it wasn't ever an argument to begin with. For theory arguments to rise to the level of an actual "argument", they have to be properly warranted. If your conditionality argument takes less than 5 seconds to read, it's probably not an argument. "Condo -strat skew, voter....I hope they drop it" very well might be dropped, and not voted on. Politics theory arguments and Permutations fall into this same category. A perm must describe how it resolves the link to the net benefit to be an argument. You can't win on "perm: do the cp" without a reason it resolves the aff and should be theoretically allowed. "Vote NO" and "Fiat solves the link" need to have warrants also. If you are the victim of a theory arg like this, vote no, or intrinsicness, or whatever short thought, do not give up on this argument. You should be honest about not having flowed the argument because of its absurd brevity. You should also make arguments about how the development of those arguments in the 1ar are all new and should be rejected and your new answers be allowed. Affirmatives should make complete theory args in front of me, and negatives shouldn't be afraid to point out that the argument lacked a credible warrant.

2) Voting issues are reasons to reject the argument. (Other than conditionality)

3) Don't make affirmative statements in CX to start your response to a CX question you disagree with. For example, if one is asked "Is your plan a bad idea?' You shouldn't start your response with "sure" or "right", and then go on to disagree with the question. If you need a filler word or phrase, find one that doesn't posit an affirming response.

4) Debate stays in the round -- Debate is a game of testing ideas and their counterparts. Those ideas presented inside of the debate will be the sole factor used in determining the winning team. Things said or done outside of this debate round will not be considered when determining a winning team.

Topicality vs Conventional Affs: I default to competing interpretations on topicality, but can be persuaded by reasonability. Jurisdiction means nothing to me because I see jurisdiction being shaped by the questions of predictability, limits, and fairness. Topicality is a voting issue.

Topicality vs Critical Affs: I generally think that policy debate is a good thing and that a team should both have a plan and defend it. Given that, I have no problem voting for "no plan" advocacies or "fiat-less" plans. I will be looking for you to win that your impact turns to topicality/framework outweigh the loss of education/fairness that would be given in a "fiated" plan debate. I generally think affirmative teams struggle with answering the argument that they could advocate the majority of their aff while defending a topical plan. I also think that teams who stress they are a pre-requisite to topical action have a more difficult time with topical version type arguments, then teams do who impact turn standards. If you win that the state is irredeemable at every level, you are much more likely to get me to vote against FW. The K aff teams who have had success in front of me have been very good at generating a reasonable list of arguments that negative teams could run against them in order to mitigate the fairness impact of the T/FW argument. This makes the impact turns of a stricter limit much more persuasive to me.

I'm also in the fairness camp as a terminal impact, as opposed to an emphasis on portable skills. I think you can win that T comes before substantive issues.

One note to teams that are neg against an aff that lacks stable advocacy: Make sure you adapt your framework arguments to fit the aff. Don't read..." you must have a plan" if they have a plan. If a team has a plan but doesn't defend fiat, and base your ground arguments on that violation.

Counterplans and Disads: The more specific to the aff, the better. There are few things better than a well-researched PIC that just blind sites a team. Objectively, I think counterplans that compete on certainty or immediacy are not legitimate. However, I still coach teams to run these arguments, and I can still evaluate a theory debate about these different counterplans as objectively as possible. Again, the more specific the evidence is to the aff, the more legitimate it will appear.

The K: I was a k debater and a philosophy major in college and you are welcome to run a criticism in front of me. I prefer criticisms that are specific to the resolution. If your K links don't discuss arms sales this year, then it's unlikely to be very persuasive to me. I think that impact comparisons usually become the most important part of a kritik, and the excessive link list becomes the least of a team’s problems heading into the 2nr. You need to win that either a) you turn the case and have an external impact or b) you solve the case and have an external impact. Root cause arguments are good, but rarely address the timeframe issue of case impacts. If you are going to win your magnitude comparisons, then you better do a lot to mitigate the case impacts. I also find most framework arguments associated with a K near pointless. Most of them are impacted by the K proper and therefore depend on you winning the K in order to win the framework argument. Before devoting any more time to framework beyond getting your K evaluated, you should ask yourself and clearly state to me, what happens if you win your theory argument. You should craft your "role of the ballot" argument based on the answer to that question. I am willing to listen to sequencing arguments that EXPLAIN why discourse, epistemology, ontology, ect. come first.

Conclusion: I love debate...good luck if I'm judging you and please feel free to ask any clarifying questions.

In an effort to promote disclosure at the high school level, any team that practices near-universal "open source" will be awarded .2 extra per debater if you bring that to my attention prior to the RFD.

Elyse Conklin Paradigm

3 rounds

i'm not currently coaching any teams (2018-19) but will be judging occasionally. i have a good base knowledge of the topics and i really don't care about trendy arguments or teams.

i recently graduated from the masters in comm program at wake forest where i coached for two years. i coached whitney young magnet hs 2010 - 2014, walter payton college prep 2014 - 2018. i worked as a research/data analyst for the naudl from 2012 - 2014 and am currently a writing/research specialist for a litigation firm in ann arbor.

i have judged quite frequently for the last six years and am well-versed in most areas and styles of debate. i tend to coach "high theory" teams (whatever that means), but i think in order to be good at debate you have to engage and understand what other people are saying. i am more dispassionate than dogmatic when it comes to substance. good research and sound argumentation matter to me more than anything, though your cap good args better be post-Obama and sound

judge philosophies are deceptive, i would advise you to utilize this page mainly as a stylistic tool, rather than strategic. by this, i mean most of the advice i'm writing will help you improve your speaks in front of me--this isn't here to coach you, dictate your arguments, or give you my thoughts on every type of argument or debate to be had.

i try to reward quality, up to date research related to the topic. i could easily be persuaded that evidence written by individuals who are also in the judging pool of that tournament should not be evaluated.

i'm more willing to vote on presumption because the other side has not given me a coherent, justifiable reason to vote for them. i flow straight down and figure out where arguments interact later in order to record as much content as possible. this works out well as i tend to judge debates with less sheets of paper and long overviews.

i tend to write as much as i can during the debate as i flow, and my deciding process involves identifying the main questions/issues of a debate, how the debate itself answers those questions, and why those answers mean an aff or neg ballot. it would behoove you to identify those questions for me in your final rebuttals. in rounds that aren't close, i can call a winner/loser easily. in close rounds i read the ev, evaluate the args, write an rfd for both sides, and pick the one that i can explain better/is a better decision. i tend to view the debate holistically - generally, your arguments build up to form a coherent ballot. i only pick one technical argument to center my decision around if you tell me to, even technical drops require an explanation of how it implicates the rest of the debate.

i like well-organized intellectually stimulating debates, whatever "category" they fall in. we all make choices. justify them.
don't let my presence deter you from the most strategic 2NR choice. the more aff-specific, the better. i loveeeeee impact turns, of all varieties, regardless of your stance on liberalism.

obligatory framework vs. planless aff section:

if i hear a k aff and am left wondering " do what?" i'm happy to vote neg, but you have to outdebate the aff (what a novel idea). i like framework debates that get to the heart of why we do this activity, what communication means, and epistemological questions about what good debates and research processes should look like. debate itself is not a terminal impact, so i am better for ground impacts than fairness impacts. just because "debate is a game" doesn't mean i want to play a bad one. this seems to scare people; while i think my own ethical standards implicate everything i do (pure form, pure content don’t exist!), i also think that means i hold people to high quality standards. meaning, i love voting against planless affs that attempt to avoid hard debates. i write planless affs designed to provide the negative with more than concessionary ground (i swear to goddess, i try), i dont like voting for affs that dont link to things. i like affs that facilitate good debates, not affirmatively biased arguments that no link to things or claim feelings outweigh. but i am also unwilling to fill in the gaps for what certain terms like procedural fairness mean. the procedure of debate now is much different than when i debated 2003-2007.

i think to make framework less bland you should engage some flavors of topicality beyond erickson 3, i think it gets you some more depth on why your model of debate is good.

i think of framework debates in terms of both external and internal offense. what is the meta-impact of the aff/neg in terms of this weird activity and people we interact with, as well as the implications of the resolution in terms of more traditional impacts. i generally find final rebuttals should address both in fw debates. k affs tend to focus too much on their offense and not how their aff implicates debate itself. your aff shouldn't win because it is right about everything and unanswerable, your aff should win because it has good answers to arguments - yes, hard debate is good debate. policy debate isn't necessarily hard or good if you read shitty cards, just like kritikal debate isn't always great either when you read the same card from 2010 every debate.

i could be persuaded by contextual and smart topical versions of affirmatives that don't defend government action, but they should be topical/solve the aff. i generally think affirmatives should have the ability to be impact-turned, but not that the consequences of a plan / policy necessarily always have to be that point of contestation. some affs just cannot be disproven, and these probably make negative strategy difficult. some neg debaters are too lazy to find the offense against say, a cap bad aff, and go one off framework. apparently debate-ability is the new hotness, so both sides should think about what their vision of a valuable debate should look like, and why it matters that i endorse it.

just an fyi, i would not recommend trying to gauge the round based upon my facial expressions. i tend to flow without really looking up or reacting, so just do your thing and i will evaluate it to the best of my ability because i respect the activity and people who work hard. i'm listening, i would prefer not to make a lot of eye contact with you.

i suppose the one type of argument that is an uphill battle for the neg are process counterplans. those rounds are the few i would prefer to vote on theory than "substance." but i have voted for process CPs in the past if you can justify why that particular procedural education is important and predictable for the aff to defend against.

i enjoy when people tell me what my RFD should look like during the last rebuttals. 2NRs that say "even if" and pre-empt the 2AR make me happy.

the words "i voted on the perm" only come out of my mouth if the 2AR spends a good amount of time on it. either really win the perm, or win the aff. it's not fair to the 2NR if you make the perm blippy throughout the debate and i just happen to think they're not mutually exclusive. i need to know the function of the perm, how it solves the links, and if there is a net benefit to the perm. not just that - hey - you could do both, next arg.

please do not read arguments about sexual violence or rape in front of me. gender matters and i'm happy to listen to arguments about feminism, etc. - but RAPE SHOULD NOT BE A COMPETITIVE IMPACT. i write this because i would not feel ok having to decide whether or not one rape outweighs another, whether "rape" outweighs "hegemony," etc. i appreciate discussions about sexual violence, just not in a competitive form that would force me to vote in a way that trivializes something so important. this would cause me extreme emotional distress to the point where i have considered walking out of a round 7 at the TOC and letting tab figure it out. strike me if your fundamental arguments relate to sexual violence, and take the cards out of the speech doc if you are putting together a strategy and i am judging you. ask me before the round if you are unsure (i.e. talking about gender is not the same as a death good debate that comes down to whether or not rape is a fate worse than death).

time your speech, your partner's speech, the other team, and prep. if suddenly it seems like you have given a 12 minute 2AC, i will become even grumpier than usual and dock everyone's speaks .1
if you have any questions, ask me before i actually judge you.

Gabe Cook Paradigm

3 rounds

Debated at Missouri State and graduated in 2004

Executive Director of DEBATE-Kansas City until 2017

Assistant Coach and then Head Coach at Barstow starting in 2018

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


29.6 – 30 – Approaching perfection to perfect.

29.1-29.5 – Excellent

28.5 – 29 – Above average to very good.

28.4 – Average

28.3– 27.7 – Slightly below average to below average

27.6 – 27 – Below average to well below average.

26.9 and below – Bad to potentially offensive.

Alyssa Corrigan Paradigm

3 rounds

Note during camp that applies to the season as well:

If you don't attend a Glenbrook 225 school, please call me Alyssa.

Pronouns are she/her

Update 5/2/19:

Yes chain,

That being said, I'm going back to flowing on paper/not reading speech docs during the debate.

I've deleted most of my philosophy because I found this year that the rounds where I was most confused about what on Earth teams were doing were the ones were people were trying to over adapt. Please don't do this. I find I'm much better at adapting to teams than teams are at adapting to me (no offense.) Here are just the absolute most important things.

-Won't judge kick for you automatically. You can make the arg that I should judge kick for you; it just won't be my predisposition to do so automatically.

-Clarity is very important to me. So is pen time.

-I often end up flowing straight down as an inevitable consequence of sloppy line by line. Email me for flows/written feedback if you'd like either.

-Zero risk is a thing. Love me some smart defensive arguments against silly arguments.

-Don't have many aff versus neg predispositions. I might have counted wrong but I believe my voting record was 44-44 aff neg on immigration.

-If you're making new args late in the debate you're likely to have to justify them to me. That doesn't mean don't do it, it just means defend your actions.

-No touching.

-Clipping = zero points and a hot L. Clarity to the point of noncomprehension that causes a clipping challenge constitutes clipping.

-Please stop trying to classify me as a "K person" or a "policy person." This divide is exceptionally harmful for the community. Spoiler alert, you'll be a better debater if you're flex. I grew up in policy land but also debated in college on the left coast so when people try to classify me they're usually wrong. I get bored easily so I enjoy judging a wide range of debates. I like the topic and think taking action in the 1AC is important... I like even more when judges let the debaters do the debating and try to decide the round as objectively as possible. The times when my background and preferences come into play are only when the debaters don't resolve issues for me and I have no choice but to insert my own opinion.

I welcome any questions you might have and really quite enjoy talking about judging practices. Feel free to email me anytime.

Cade Cottrell Paradigm

7 rounds

Updated September 2018:

Yes I know my philosophy is unbearably long. I keep adding things without removing others, the same reason I was always top heavy when I debated. But I tried to keep it organized so hopefully you can find what you need, ask me questions if not.

For the few college tournaments I judge, understand that my philosophy is geared towards being of use to high school students since that is the vast, vast majority of my judging/coaching. Just use that as a filter when reading.

Seriously, I don't care what you read as long as you do it well. I coached Jeff Horn back when he read Nietzsche on both sides, and debated with him when he went for procedural fairness in most 2NR's. I really don't care if you argue that all K debaters should be banned from debate or argue that anyone who has ever read a plan is innately racist and should be kicked out of the community. If you win it, I'm happy to vote for it.

***Two Minutes Before A Debate Version***

I debated in high school for a school you've never heard of called Lone Peak, and in college for UNLV. I coached Foothill High School and now coach Green Valley High School. I have debated at the NDT, I have read, debated and judged arguments from all over the spectrum and on both sides. I genuinely don't have a big bias for either side of the ideological spectrum. I seem to judge a fairly even mix of K vs K, Clash of Civs, and policy debates. I can keep up with any speed as long as its clear, I will inform you if you are not, although don't tread that line because I may miss arguments before I speak up. If you remain unclear I just won't flow it.

Sometimes I look or act cranky. I love debate and I love judging, so don't take it too seriously.

My biases/presumptions (but can of course be persuaded otherwise):

- Tech over Truth, but Logic over Cards

- Quality and Quantity are both useful. Quality increasingly so as the debate progresses.

- Condo is generally good

- Generic responses to the K are worse than generic K's

- Politics and States are generally theoretically legitimate (and strategic)

- Smart, logical counterplans don't necessarily need solvency advocates, especially not in the 1NC

- #Team1%Risk

- 2NC's don't read new off case positions often enough

- I believe in aff flexibility (read: more inclusive interpretations of what's topical) more than almost anyone I know. That is demonstrated in almost every aff I've read or coached.

- I'll vote for "rocks are people" if you win it (warrant still needed). Terrible arguments are easily torn apart, but that's the other team's duty, not mine.


A Few Notes You Should Know:

Speaker Points: Firstly, I try to compare my speaker points yearly to make sure I'm about average with the community, even though I hate the inflation spiral, so I'm not a point fairy or a stickler. I have had a dilemma with speaker points, and have recently changed my view. I think most judges view speaker points as a combination of style and substance, with one being more valuable than the other depending on the judge. I have found this frustrating as both a debater and coach trying to figure what caused a judge to give out the speaks they did. So I've decided to give out speaker points based solely on style rather than substance. I feel whichever team wins the substance of the debate will get my ballot so you are already rewarded, so I am going to give out speaker points based on the Ethos, Pathos, and Logos of a debater. Logos implies you are still extending good, smart arguments, but it just means that I won't tank speaks based off of technical drops (like floating pics, or a perm, etc) as some judges do, and I won't reward a team's speaker points for going for those arguments if I feel they are worse "speakers", the ballot is reward enough. Functionally it means that I probably give more low-point wins than some judges (about one a tournament), but at least you know why when looking at cume sheets after tournaments.

Debate is a rhetorical activity. This means if you want me to flow an argument, it must be intelligible, and warranted. I will not vote on an argument I do not have on my flow in a previous speech. I am a pretty good flow (80th percentile?) so don't be too scared but it means that if you are planning on going for your floating pic, a specific standard/trick on theory, a permutation that wasn't answered right in the block, etc. then you should make sure I have that argument written down and that you have explained it previously with sufficient nuance. I might feel bad that I didn't realize you were making a floating pic in the block, but only briefly, and you'll feel worse because ultimately it is my responsibility to judge based off of what is on my flow, so make those things clear. Being shady RARELY pays off in debate.

I don't look at speech docs during debates except in rare instances. I read much less evidence after debates than most judges, often none at all. If you want me to read evidence, please say so, but also please tell me what I'm looking for. I prefer not to read evidence, so when I do after a round it means one of three things: 1. The debate is exceedingly close and has one or two issues upon which I am trying to determine the truth (rare). 2. You asked me to read the evidence because "its on fire" (somewhat common and potentially a fire hazard). 3. The debate was bad enough that I am trying to figure out what just happened.

Prep time: I generally let teams handle their own prep, I just ask that A. You stop time once the flash drive is out of your computer B. Don't be stealing prep (this goes for either team), this is especially prevalent now since people can be constantly pulling up evidence and typing out things, if you're blatantly doing this, it may affect your speaker points, waiting for the speech to start before continuing to type is not that difficult.


Neg: I am very much in favor of depth over breadth. Generally that doesn't affect how I feel about large 1NC's but it means I find myself thinking "I wish they had consolidated more in the block" quite often, and almost never the opposite. If you don't consolidate much, you might be upset with the leeway I give to 1AR/2AR explanations. Being shady RARELY pays off in debate. Pick your best arguments and go to battle.

DA's: I love in-depth disad debates.Teams that beat up on other teams with large topic disads usually have one of two things: A. A large number of pre-written blocks B. A better understanding of the topic than their opponents. If you have both, or the latter, I'll quite enjoy the debate. If you only have the former, then you can still get the ballot but not as much respect (or speaker points). Small disads very specific to the aff are awesome. Small disads that are small in order to be unpredictable are not. I am of the "1% risk" discipline assuming that means the disad is closely debated. I am not of that discipline if your disad is just silly and you are trying to win it is 1% true, know the difference.

CP's: I have a soft spot for tricky counterplans. That doesn't mean I think process/cheating counterplans are legitimate, that just means I'll leave my bias at the door more than most judges if you get into a theory debate. That said, theory is won or lost through explanation, not through having the largest blocks. Generally I think counterplans should be functionally and textually competitive, that doesn't mean you can't win of yours isn't, it just means if it is then you probably have some theoretical high ground. I also think if you have a specific solvency advocate for the counterplan (meaning a piece of evidence that advocates doing the counterplan, not just evidence that says the counterplan "is a thing" [I'm looking at you, Consult CP people]) you should utilize that both as a solvency argument and as a theoretical justification for the counterplan. I am neutral on the judge kick question. If you want me to judge kick, say so in the 2NR/2NC, and if you don't then say so in the 1AR/2AR, that's an argument to be had. However, if no one makes an argument either way, my default is if the 2NR is DA, CP, Case, then I think there is an implicit assumption in that strategy that the squo is an option. If the 2NR is only CP & DA, I think the implicit assumption is aff vs. CP. Advantage counterplans are vastly underutilized. Logical counterplans probably don't need solvency advocates. Many Trump impacts can be counterplaned out of with "executive restraint", yet not enough people seem to do that.

T: I think the way reasonability is construed is sad and a disservice to the argument. I perceive competing interpretations as a question of whose interpretation sets the best standard for all future debate, and reasonability as a question of whether the aff harmed the negative's fairness/education in this specific round. Under that interpretation (Caveat: This assumes you are explaining reasonability in that fashion, usually people do not). I tend to lean towards reasonability since I think T should be a check against aff's that try to skirt around the topic, rather than as a catch-all. T is to help guarantee the neg has predictable ground. I've voted neg a few times when the aff has won their interp is technically accurate but the neg has won their interp is better for fairness/limits/ground, but that's mostly because I think that technical accuracy/framer's intent is an internal link, rather than an impact, do the additional work.

Theory: This is a discussion of what debate should look like, which is one of the most simple questions to ask ourselves, yet people get very mixed up and confused on theory since we are trained to be robots. I LOVE theory debates where the debaters understand debate well enough to just make arguments and use clash, and HATE debates where the debaters read blocks as fast as possible and assume people can flow that in any meaningful fashion (very few can, I certainly can't. Remember, I don't have the speech doc open). I generally lean negative on theory questions like condo (to a certain extent) and CP theory args, but I think cp's should be textually, and more importantly, functionally competitive, see above.

Framework/T against Non-Traditional Aff's: I have read and gone for both the Procedural Fairness/T version of this argument and the State Action Good/Framework version of this argument many times. I am more than willing to vote for either, and I also am fine with teams that read both and then choose one for the 2NR. However, I personally am of the belief that fairness is not an impact in and of itself but is an internal link to other impacts. If you go for Fairness as your sole impact you may win, but adequate aff answers to it will be more persuasive in front of me. Fairness as the only impact assumes an individual debate is ultimately meaningless, which while winnable, is the equivalent of having a 2NR against a policy aff that is solely case defense, and again I'm by default #1%RiskClub. "Deliberation/dialogue/nuanced discussion/role switching is key to ____________" sorts of arguments are usually better in front of me. As far as defending US action, go for it. My personal belief is that the US government is redeemable and reformable but I am also more than open to voting on the idea that it is not, and these arguments are usually going straight into the teeth of the aff's offense so use with caution. TVA's are almost essential for a succesful 2NR unless the aff is clearly anti-topical and you go for a nuanced switch side argument. TVA's are also most persuasive when explained as a plan text and what a 1AC looks like, not just a nebulous few word explanation like "government reform" or "T-Visas to solve patriarchy". I like the idea of an interp with multiple net benefits and often prefer a 1NC split onto 3-4 sheets in order to separate specific T/FW arguments. If you do this, each should have a clear link (which is your interp), an internal link and impact. Lastly, I think neg teams often let affs get away with pre-requisite arguments way too much, usually affs can't coherently explain why reading their philosophy at the top of the 1AC and then ending with a plan of action doesn't fulfill the mandates of their pre-requisite.

K's: These are the best and worst debates. The bad ones tend to be insufferable and the good ones tend to be some of the most engaging and thought provoking. Sadly, most debaters convince themselves they fall into the latter when they are the former so please take a good, long look in the mirror before deciding which you fall under. I have a broad knowledge of K authors, but not an in depth one on many, so if you want to go for the K you better be doing that work for me, I won't vote for anything that I don't totally understand BEFORE reading evidence, because I think that is a key threshold any negative should meet (see above), so a complex critical argument can be to your advantage or disadvantage depending on how well you explain it. I also think the framing args for the K need to be impacted and utilized, that in my opinion is the easiest way to get my ballot (unless you turn case or win a floating pic). In other words, if you can run the K well, do it, if not, don't (at least not in the 2NR).

Edit: I think it usually helps to know what the judge knows about your critique, so this list below may help be a guide:

I feel very comfortable with, know the literature, and can give good feedback on: Nietzsche, Wilderson, Moten (& Harney), Security, Neolib, Historical Materialism, Colonialism (both Decoloniality and Postcolonialism), Fem IR, Deleuze and Guattari (at least relative to most).

I have both debated and read these arguments, but still have gaps in my knowledge and may not know all the jargon: Hillman, Schmitt, Edelman, Zizek cap args, Agamben, Warren, Ableism, Kristeva, Heidegger, Orientalism, Virillio, Lacan, Anthro

ELI5: Baudrillard, postmodern feminism arguments, Killjoy, Bataille, Bifo, Zizek psychoanalysis, Object Oriented Ontology, Spanos, Buddhism, Taoism, probably anything that isn't on these lists but ask first.



Non-Traditional Affirmatives: I'm fine with these. They don't excite me any more or less than a topical aff. I think the key to these aff's is always framing. Both because negatives often go for framework but also because it is often your best tool against their counter-advocacy/K. I often am more persuaded by Framework/T when the aff is antitopical, rather than in the direction of the resolution, but I've voted to the contrary of that frequently enough. This won't affect the decision but I'll enjoy the aff more if it is very specific (read: relevant/jermaine/essential) to the topic, or very personal to yourself, it annoys me when people read non-traditional aff's just to be shady. Being shady RARELY pays off in debate.

Answering K's: It is exceedingly rare that the neg can't win a link to their K. That doesn't mean you shouldn't question the link by any means, permutations are good ways to limit the strength of neg offense, but it means that impact turning the K is almost always a better strategy than going for a link turn and permutation for 5 minutes in the 2AR. I think this is a large reason why aff's increasingly have moved further right or further left, because being stuck in the middle is often a recipe for disaster. That said, being able to have a specific link turn or impact turn to the K that is also a net benefit to the permutation while fending against the most offensive portions of negative link arguments are some of the best 2AR's.

I'm more than willing than most to vote aff if case outweighs a dropped disad so you better make sure to defend the walls, that's where a lot of high school debates go wrong.

Bad aff teams wait til the 2AR to decide what their best arguments are against a position. Good aff teams have the round vision to make strategic choices in the 1AR and exploit them in the 2AR. Great aff teams have the vision to create a comprehensive strategy going into the 2AC. That doesn't mean don't give yourself lots of options, it just means you should know what arguments are ideally in the 2AR beforehand and you should adapt your 2AC based off of the 1NC as a whole. Analytical arguments in a 2AC are vastly underused.

Last Notes:

I prefer quality over quantity of arguments. If you only need a minute in the 2NR/2AR then just use a minute, cover up any outs, and finish, I believe in the mercy rule in that sense, rambling or being braggadocios won't help your speaker points. I've tried to keep up with community inflation of speaker points, and I think they're right near average. I will vote against teams that clip and give the culprit 0 speaker points, however I believe in the standard of "beyond a reasonable doubt", so be certain before levying accusations and make sure to have a recording.

I'll give you +.1 speaker points if you can tell me what phrase appears the most in my philosophy. Both because it shows you care, you want to adapt to your judge, and maybe because I'm a tad narcissistic.

Things I like:
- A+ Quality Evidence (If you have such a card, and you explain why its better than the 3+ cards the other team read, I accept that more willingly than other judges)

- Brave (strategic) 1AR/2AR decisions

- Politics disads that turn each advantage

- If you are behind, I'd much rather you cheat/lie/steal (maybe not steal, and cheat within reason) than give up. If you ain't cheatin' you ain't tryin'.

- Neg blocks that only take 1-2 flows and just decimate teams.

- Controlling the "spin" of arguments (I'll give a lot of leeway)

- Red Bull/Monster/M&M's (Bringing me any of these will make me happy, me being happy = higher speaker points)

Things I don't like:
- Not knowing how to flash evidence in a timely manner!

- Debaters that act like they are of superior intelligence compared to their partner/opponents

- Reading arguments with little value other than trying to blindside teams (timecube, most word pics, etc.) Being shady RARELY pays off in debate.

- Being unclear

- Horses (Stop acting like they're so goddamn majestic, they're disgusting)

- Toasted Coconut

Jason Courville Paradigm

3 rounds

For email chains and any questions, my email is

Speaking Style (Speed, Quantity) - I like fast debate. Speed is fine as long as you are clear and loud. I will be vocal if you are not. A large quantity of quality arguments is great. Supplementing a large number of quality arguments with efficient grouping and cross-application is even better.

Theory - Theory arguments should be well impacted/warranted. I treat blippy/non-warranted/3 second theory arguments as non-arguments. My threshold for voting on a punishment voter ("reject the team") is higher than a "reject the argument, not the team" impacted argument. I'm open to a wide variety of argument types as long as you can justify them as theoretically valuable.

Topicality - My topicality threshold is established by the combination of answers.

Good aff defense + no aff offense + solid defense of reasonability = higher threshold/harder to win for the neg.

Good aff defense + no aff offense + neg wins competing interps = low threshold/easy to win for the neg.

Counterplans - counterplan types (from more acceptable to more illegit): advantage CPs, textually/functionally competitive PICs, agent CPs, textually but not functionally competitive PICs (ex. most word pics), plan contingent counterplans (consult, quid pro quo, delay)

Disadvantages - Impact calculus is important. Especially comparison of different impact filters (ex. probability outweighs magnitude) and contextual warrants based on the specific scenarios in question. Not just advantage vs disadvantage but also weighing different sub-components of the debate is helpful (uniqueness vs direction of the link, our link turn outweighs their link, etc).

Kritiks - My default framework is to assess whether the aff has affirmed the desirability of a topical plan. If you want to set up an alternative framework, I'm open to it as long as you win it on the line-by-line. I most often vote aff vs a kritik on a combination of case leverage + perm. It is wise to spend time specifically describing the world of the permutation in a way that resolves possible negative offense while identifying/impacting the perm's net benefit.

I most often vote neg for a kritik when the neg has done three things:
1. effectively neutralized the aff's ability to weigh their case,
2. there is clear offense against the perm, and
3. the neg has done a great job of doing specific link/alternative work as well as contextualizing the impact debate to the aff they are debating against.

Performance/Projects - I’ve voted both for and against no plan affs. When I’ve voted against no plan affs on framework, the neg team won that theory outweighed education impacts and the neg neutralized the offense for the aff’s interpretation.

Other Comments
Things that can be a big deal/great tiebreaker for resolving high clash/card war areas of the flow:
- subpointing your warrants/tiebreaking arguments when you are extending,
- weighing qualifications (if you make it an explicit issue),
- comparing warrants/data/methodology,
- establishing criteria I should use to evaluate evidence quality,
- weighing the relative value of different criteria/arguments for evidence quality (ex. recency vs preponderance/quantity of evidence)

If you do none of the above and your opponent does not either, I will be reading lots of evidence and the losing team is going to think that my decision involved a high level of intervention. They will be correct.

Mac Cronin Paradigm

3 rounds

For e-mail chains and any questions:

About me - I debated for 8 years competitively, starting at Douglas High School (Minden, NV) before transferring to Sage Ridge (Reno, NV) where I debated with the incredibly brilliant Kristen Lowe. We were the first team from Northern Nevada to qualify to the TOC and had a pretty consistent record of deep elim appearances. I went on to debate at Wake Forest University (class of '17) with varying amounts of success on a wide range of arguments, finishing my career with Varun Reddy in semis of CEDA. I currently work as a legal assistant and lobbyist in Reno/Carson City when I'm not out and about judging and coaching debate.

I have also been published a couple times. I don't think any of it applies, but please don't read my work in front of me. That's just awkward.

Minor update 9/18/19 - What ever happened to impact calc? Ya know, magnitude, timeframe, probability? I will actively reward, with speaker points, debaters that can show me this isn't a lost art... especially with DAs.

Generally - YOU DO YOU!!! I cannot stress that enough. Be aware of my general thoughts on debate, but I want to judge the debate that you want to have!! I have increasingly found that my role as an educator and adjudicator in debate prioritizes the debaters themselves, whatever argument that they want to make, and providing them with the advice and opportunities to be better that I can. It is extremely unlikely (but not impossible) that you read an argument that is entirely new to me.

Whether the 1AC has a plan, an advocacy text, or neither, truly makes no difference to me. It is up to you to explain to me why I should care. I have become increasingly frustrated with the people so quick to say "no plan, no chance at my ballot". This is a pedagogical question.

I consider myself a hard working judge. I will flow, I will read cards, and I will take the time to make the best decision I can.

That being said, the following are my thoughts on certain arguments and some pointers on how to win my ballot.

The kritik - Really dig K debates. I'm pretty well read in a lot of different theories and genuinely enjoy reading critical theory, but I still prefer clarity in explanation. The less jargon you use, the easier it will be to win a K in front of me. Overall, I find that framework args are increasingly irrelevant to the way that I evaluate these debates. Both teams will (hopefully) always win why their conversation is good, so just do the impact calc. But also answer critical framing args about ethics/reps/ontology/etc. For the aff - I find that permutations are pretty underutilized when it comes to mitigating links and find myself voting aff in policy v K debates on permutations more than I would have anticipated. Alternatives are usually the weakest part of a K IMO so leveraging bits and pieces that may not be mutually exclusive, in addition to winning some offense/defense, will go a long way. I also think impact turning is something that is truly underutilized by affirmatives that are facing off with a kritik. Digging in on certain points of neg offense can work wonders. DO NOT say things like anti-blackness, sexism, ableism, etc. are good though. PLEASE explain why your aff outweighs the K, especially if you have big stick impacts that are basically designed for some of these debates... For the neg - framing is absolutely essential. I like 2NRs on the K that guide me through my decision in a technical fashion. Links should obviously be as contextualized to the aff as possible. I am frequently persuaded by teams that realize the alt is a dumpster fire and shift to framework for the same effect. I am more likely to vote negative when there is case debating happening in line with the K, as well. Whether that is impact defense or some sort of "satellite" K, well, that's up to you.

The flourishing of performance debate has really effected the way that I think about form and content in the debate setting. I think these arguments are extremely valuable to the activity and I thoroughly enjoy debates about debate as well.

The DA - I think these debates are pretty straight forward. Do your impact calc, win your link, answer uniqueness overwhelms, etc. I like power plays where the aff straight turns a DA, especially if the 1NC was a lot of off case positions.

The CP - don't judge as many of these debates as I would like. A good counterplan with a specific solvency advocate will impress me. I think these arguments are relatively straight forward as well. In terms of theory issues like PICs bad, condo bad, etc., I truly don't have much of an opinion on these issues, but that doesn't mean I will let you get away with shenanigans. I would prefer arguments to be contextualized to in round abuse claims and how the role of the affirmative became structurally impossible. Rarely do I judge a theory debate, but I would be interested to hear more of them.

I do not default to kicking the CP for the negative. I think the 2NR needs to make that choice for themselves and stick with it. That doesn't necessarily mean I cannot be persuaded otherwise, however. This question should be raised before the 2NR for it to be persuasive to me.

Topicality - I like T debates. Limits isn't an impact in and of itself, I want to hear more explanation on how limits effects what should be your "vision of the topic" holistically, what affs and ground exist within it, and why those debates are good. Education impacts that are contextualized and specific will go a long way for me, whether it be in the context of the aff or the resolution.

I am increasingly persuaded by teams that give me a case list and explain what sort of ground exists within that limited topic.

Framework - I am an advocate for engaging with the affirmative and whatever it is that they have to say. I don't think framework should be taken off the table completely, though, and if you do plan to go for it just know that I require a lot more work on a topical version of the aff and some sort of in-road to how you resolve the claims of the 1AC. There are a lot of framework debates I have judged where I wish the 2NR did some work on the case flow -- ex: aff is about movements, 2NR makes arguments about why movements are coopted or repressed, therefore state engagement is essential.... whatever.

Procedural fairness is becoming less and less persuasive to me. I would vote on it if I have to, but I likely won't be happy.

I believe that debate is a game, but a game that has unique pedagogical benefits.

I may seem "K happy" but I promise my judging record proves that I am more than willing to vote on framework. But like I said, there needs to be more interaction between the affirmative and a limited vision of the topic. I have found that a lot of teams give case lists (both on the aff and the neg) but there is little to no clash over what those affirmatives are and why they are or are not good for debate. If you are trying to make arguments about why your vision of the topic provides a better set of affirmations, whether policy or critical, then there must be some comparison between the two. And those comparisons must have some sort of impact.

Other things - if there is anything else, please feel free to ask me. I know that some of this is vague, but my thoughts tend to change based off of the argument that is being presented and how exactly it is explained. I probably lean more on the side of truth over tech, but that doesn't mean I will make a decision wholly irrelevant to what is said in the debate unless I feel that it is absolutely necessary and something terrible happened. Plus I like to think I keep a clean flow so obvi tech still matters. I have absolutely no qualms checking debaters that are being rude or problematic. That being said, I look forward to judging you and happy prep!

Aaron Davis Paradigm

3 rounds

My partner and I were the first UDL team to compete at the TOCs in 2005. Since then I have returned about 7 times to coach other UDL teams at the TOC as well as other top Chicago schools including GBS, Maineast, and Homewood Flossmor.

Overall, I see debate as a game of competing frameworks. Positioning the lens through which I view the round is essential to how I determine how arguments are weighed whether critical or policy.

Considering that however, most people know that I have a high propensity for critical arguments and I am well read in most philosophical positions including performative theory. Zoning in on the epistemology of these arguments, the method through which they are being asked to be evaluated, are key for me. I also enjoy, solid framework debates too.

All things policy, also bring much excitement to me. In high school, I ran all kinds of counter plans from Con Con to Consult Nato, and politics was a favorite back pocket item before I discovered the K. Competing impact claims, solid evidence, and impact turns the case arguments usually make me smile.

Finally, theory debates. These debates tend to go sour because people invest little time in comparative analysis and impacts are tangental and not specifically applied. To win one of these in front me, invest in applying it to the specific context of the debate you are in- with example, and clearly articulated impact whether in round or potential.

Liam Donnelly Paradigm

4 rounds

Be clear.

Make sense.

Arguments need warrants.

Arguments need implications.

How arguments are compared and framed guide my decision.

I don't want to read your cards.

T = voter. Framework = good in theory but not in practice.

Repeating catchphrases =\= arg.

No Tag team CX in my chambers.

Nevan Edwards Paradigm

3 rounds

Preferred Name “Nae” pls and thx :)

6 bids to the TOC senior year

3x NDT First Round

For Email Chains:

Update for 2019-2020 Season:

So I pretty much only get preffed for K v K debates (probably racist but *shrugs in I get paid regardless*). So for those debates I've found that my ballot is mostly decided on impact calculus in framing. I feel as if you are winning your conception of the world is true than the easiest way to turn that into a ballot in front of me is to turn that conception into how I should be framing the impacts and thus my ballots. Permutations w/ good cards are pretty good and I'm a sucker for them. Also a huge fan of creative/specific PICs the more you are doing to be creative with argumentation the more likely I'm willing to vote for you/reward you with speaker points. On the opposite end seeing affirmatives find creative ways out of these situations is extremely high-rewarding.

For those plan-based teams that either figured out I don't care what I'm voting on and am open to your arguments/for those plane based teams that got stuck with me in elims and are worried I have a bias against you:

- You are wrong

- The best way to win my ballot is proving you have knowledge beyond just your 2AC cards. If you can adequately explain how your world-view can incorporate alternative political formations or if you can just out impact frame/turn the K then we are on the same page. Impact framing debates are fun no matter who does them and I'm not as hard to win heg good in front of as you think.

- When reading framework the only (ONLY) bias I probably have is strategies that rely on 5 minutes of framework in the 2NR without winning a single case argument. The reason being I generally think it means it's hard to figure out how impacts should be weighed so you should either win convincing reasons why the case doesn't matter or convincing reasons why in a world where the other team gets their theory of power you still win.

Updated for Wake 2018:

Reflections from last year: I voted neg a lot of the debates I was in last year and I think it's because I am against the trends of affs just reading a load of cards or offense without ever talking about the 1AC they started the debate with. Neg teams that punish the aff for not extending and weighing it will have a pretty easy time for me in any kind of debate and I think aff teams need to read less cards and do more explaining of their aff and utilizing it in the debate. I also noticed that I am in a place in debate where I just kind of enjoy the competition of it all my ideological bias is pretty much gone unless you saying something that is racist, sexist, homophobic, etc. I voted for cap good last year, a CP + PTX DA against a Baudrillard aff and even more spicy takes so please feel free to do whatever you want in front of me.

Immigration: I REALLY REALLY LIKE THIS TOPIC so much so that I wish it was the college one (@Crimmigration wya?) I will definitely be inclined to award creativity with this topic because I think there are so many ways to discuss Immigration and reduce restrictions but I am also wary that depending on the interp of the topic there are versions of it that are way too big so I feel both sides of the T debate. Do something spicy!

Old Paradigm w/ some edits:

I am a young judge and I am still figuring out my ideas about debate so this paradigm will be an image of what I currently think about the activity. My favorite Judges: Shree Asware, DB, DSRB, Eli Smith, Rosie Valdez, Nicholas Brady, Sheryl Kaczmerick. Here's a list of what I think about certain arguments/ideas.

TLDR: I don't care about what you do just do it well. I can judge the 7 off CP/DA debate or the straight up clash debate. I'm down with speed but will yell "clear" if you're just mumbling. GLHF.

BTW: I make decisions quick it isn't a reflection of y'all I just think debates are usually pretty clear for me. I also have noticed I make a lot of faces and am pretty transparent about how I feel about stuff....take that as you wish.

Tech = Truth- i do believe technical debate is incredibly important to keep the flow ordered and to stop judge intervention BUT only if you are winning the meta-framing of the debate that makes your technical arguments true under your vision of the world. I'm also willing to throw the flow out the debate if compelling arguments are made by the debaters that it's a bad model for how I adjudicate. WARNING: This means you need to have a clear way for me to evaluate the debate absent the flow or I will default to it ie "flow bad" isn't enough.

Theory = Needs an interp not just xx is bad vote them down, but I'm always down to judge a theory debate.

DA- They're fine. I'm capable with judging them and have no problem keeping up with normative policy debate. I enjoy impact turns and I think the most important part of this debate is the impact calc/impact framing. I need reasons why your impact comes first and how it interacts with the other team's impacts. If you're both going for an extinction claim you need to win the probability and timeframe debate with some good evidence.

CP- I enjoy the theory debates here and I think they are important to set precedents for what debate should look like. I lean slightly aff on theory but I think I lean more neg against the permutation if it's well debated out. I think the affirmatives's best bet in front of me is to take out the net benefit unless the CP is just not competitive with the aff. NO JUDGE KICKING THE COUNTERPLAN NO NO NO EITHER GO FOR IT OR DON'T PLS AND THANKS.

K's- this is what I do and i'm most familiar with but this is a double edged sword because it means i expect you to be on point about how you articulate these arguments. Specific links are killer, but generic links applied directly to the aff are just as powerful when warranted. You can kick the alt and go for presumption but that usually requires you winning a heavy impact framing claim. Do your thing and make it interesting debate with your ideas and don't read me your generic Cap blocks (i do enjoy a good cap k though) that have nothing to do with what's going on in the debate. MORE EXAMPLES PLEASE!!!!

K AFF's- non-traditional affirmatives are also my bread and butter. I love how creative these affs can be and the educational benefit that these affs show. Be passionate and care about what you're doing and use your 1AC as a weapon against every negative strategy to garner offense as well as the permutation. Go for nuanced framing arguments and don't be scared of an impact turn. Having Roberto as my partner and Amber Kelsie/Taylor Brough as my coaches has forced me to learn a lot more high theory and I actually enjoy it if done right just know what you're talking about or I will be sad. :(

T - I actually like T against policy aff's a lot if you're gonna normatively affirm the topic you better do it right ;).

FW- this is where I feel like I get pathologized a lot on how I feel. The summer before my senior year my partner and I went for straight-up framework every round with fairness and limits arguments. I think this position run correctly combined with nuanced case engagement with the aff is actually a fantastic argument especially against aff's with weak topic links. I think arguments like dialogue, truth-testing, institutional engagement > fairness, limits, ground BECAUSE the latter group of impacts end up being internal links to the prior. There's a TVA to almost everything so get creative, but TVA with a card that applies to the aff is a killer. If you're aff in these debates you should either impact turn everything or have a model of debate with some clear aff and neg ground. There are a bunch of ways to debate framework but having offense is the key to winning any of those strategies. ALSO DON'T FORGET THE AFF. YOU WROTE IT FOR A REASON EXTEND IT EVERYWHERE.

SIDE NOTE: All pettiness and shade is invited if you make me laugh or throw a quick jab of quirky shade at the other team I will probably up your speaks. If you make fun of Roberto (my partner) I will up your speaks. Also, Naruto/Bleach/My Hero Academia references will be rewarded.

OTHER SIDE NOTE: I grow increasingly tired of people yelling at eachother in CX and the trend of white cis-men constantly interrupting and talking over black folk/poc/women/queer/trans folk. If you do this I will probably be less inclined to care about whatever you say in CX and I may slightly punish your speaks.

Anything racist, homophobic, sexist, etc. will cause me to stop the round and move on with my life

Everything is a performance.You can hmu on my email at the top for any questions. Good Luck!

Tim Ellis Paradigm

3 rounds

Tim Ellis
Head Coach - Washburn Rural High School, Topeka, KS
Debated at Manhattan High School
Updated 7/29/19
Email chain -

First thing is first, if anything in this paradigm isn't clear enough, feel free to ask me before the round, I'd be more than happy to clarify.

Tl;dr - I judge quite a bit, about 100 rounds last year, and am generally pretty familiar with the topic from coaching and working at camps. As a competitor I gravitated toward plan oriented affs and CP/DA strategies on the neg and have coached teams who debate similarly, but I am open to you debating however you would like to. I have literature deficiencies in some areas that make me less knowledgeable of certain strategies. I am also a teacher who believes in debate as an educational activity, so I am generally open to listening to you debate in whatever fashion you're the most comfortable.

If you would like to know more specifics, they are below.

Topicality: I feel like topicality is usually a question of competing interpretations, but just like anything else in debate, you can persuade me otherwise. I tend to think that debaters are not great at explaining the offense that they have on T flows, and particularly, how offensive arguments interact with one another. I have seen a lot of 2ARs recently where the aff doesn't extend a terminal impact to their counter interp. I pretty much always vote neg in these situations. All too often the neg will go for a limits DA and the aff will say precision, but no one will discuss which one has more value in creating a stable model for debate. Reasonability alone is not an argument that makes sense to me, absent an offensive argument. Good is good enough is nonsense - if you are close to beating a DA, I'm still going to vote neg. If you want to utilize a reasonability argument more persuasively, I would suggest that you frame it almost like sufficiency on the counterplan and have an offensive reason that inclusion of the aff is good. As far as spec debates, I usually find them quite dull. I am growing weary of affs that obviously defend a certain agent with their solvency advocate and advantages but will not defend that agent when debating an agent counterplan. Stop this and defend your arguments please.

Framework: I find that framework debates to me are usually an issue of fairness. I find myself generally not super persuaded by the value of topic education vs the value of whatever educational outlet the affirmative has chosen to discuss is. The aff usually has better evidence about the importance of their particular educational outlet anyway, especially given the fact that they know what it is and can adequately prepare for it. Fairness is a bit more contestable from the negative perspective, in my opinion. Central to convincing me to vote for a non-resolutionally based affirmative is their ability to describe to me what the role of the negative would be under their model of debate. K affs can gain a lot of leeway with me by being in the direction of the resolution and defending at least some links in the realm of topic literature. I am not a very good judge for affs that have no resolutional basis. Regardless, I also think that the aff has a better chance by focusing most of their time on impact turning framework and then using the directionality of the aff toward the topic in order to win some defense against the negs framework claims.

Theory: Most theory debates are people reading blocks back and forth and are totally useless. I usually default to rejecting the argument and not the team. Conditionality is a potential exception to that rule, but it has been a long time since I saw a team ready to debate condo very well.

Kritiks: I am not as familiar with the literature base for this style of argumentation. That doesn't mean I don't vote on the K, it simply means that you need a little more explanation for your argument than you otherwise might. I think that good K teams are able to contextualize their argument with the world of the affirmative. Recently I've judged a bunch of K debates where the links all seem to be descriptions of the status quo, but the affirmative is not very good at winning that the aff is in the direction of the alt. If the neg is going to try and go for just framework and a link/ethics argument, I think it is important that they focus a substantial amount of time on the framework debate, and try and have an interpretation of framework that is not completely arbitrary and should try and win that there is a unique link to the aff. If you are able to win framework and a unique link then you're probably good without an alt. If you are going to go for an alternative, it is probably important that you explain to me how the alternative functions and how the alt resolves the links to the K and probably portions of the affirmative, otherwise you will be susceptible to losing on the aff outweighs. Be descriptive of how the alt functions. I have also found myself recently voting for the aff in the vast majority of debates where the 2NR does not have a thorough contestation of the affirmative. You don't explicitly have to go to the case pages, but you should definitely be calling into question the truth of the 1ACs internal link chains or the efficacy of it to solve the problems that it seeks to solve.

Disads/Counterplans/Case: These are the types of debate I am most familiar with. I think the case debate is under utilized, and that the education topic may have been the worst thing in recent memory at teaching people to debate the case. I wish that more teams would focus on the internal links to the aff advantages instead of just reading impact defense and hoping that a DA outweighs. I think delay counterplans are cheating. Conditions and consult counterplans I can easily be convinced are cheating, but having a solvency advocate helps.

Things I like: Rebuttals that paint a clear picture of what an aff/neg ballot means. Evidence comparison. Debaters who don't read off their computer for the whole debate. Debaters who are funny/having fun. Warranted arguments/smart analytics. Well thought out strategies.

Things I dislike: Bluetooth speakers, must define all terms, running arguments you don't really understand, death good, topicality = genocide, general rudeness, stealing prep time, and clipping cards. If you enjoy doing these things, you probably don't want me to judge you.

Disclaimer: I love the activity of debate, and think that it is a place where all types of debate styles/debaters should be welcome. If you are excessively rude to the other team (laughing during speeches, being disrespectful in cross-x, etc) I will let you know. If the behavior continues, there is a strong chance that I will vote against you on principle.

Eric Emerson Paradigm

3 rounds

Greetings, by way of introduction, my name is Eric Emerson.

I coach debate (policy, LD and public forum) at the Kinkaid school. I am chair of the Board of the Houston Urban Debate League and have also directed the UTNIF.

As a judge, I evaluate arguments (claim, warrant, data and impact). I prefer arguments grounded in literature rather than regressive debate theory (take note LD). My preferences are flexible and can be overcome by persuasive, smart debaters.

I take notes, sometimes quite quickly. If I think you unclear, I will let you know in my facial expressions and on the occasion, hopefully rare, when I yell 'clear'.

If I find you/your arguments, unpleasant then your speaker points will reflect that. I disagree with judges who give out high speaker points to everyone. You gotta earn my points.

I am easily distracted and I prefer debaters to be both engaging and entertaining. If I appear distracted, it may be your fault.

Debate is a powerful educational tool that should be accessible to everyone. I try to approach all of my interactions with empathy and concern for others. I find unpleasant debates to be just that, unpleasant. I would ask that you avoid being unpleasant to your opponents, spectators, and me. Unpleasantness that threatens debate, to me, should be avoided.

Kurt Fifelski Paradigm

3 rounds

These are most of the predispositions I have about arguments that I can think of, these are not ironclad as my views on debate are constantly in flux. However, without being instructed otherwise, the below points will likely influence how I evaluate the debate.

Top Level:

-In 2019-2020, I cut fewer cards than what I have in past years and lack depth on many areas of the topic.

-Please add me to the email chain, and please make the subject something that is easy to search like "NDT 4 - Michigan DM v UCO HS."

-I read along with speech docs and prefer clear, relatively slow, and organized debates.

-I cannot emphasize enough how important card quality and recency should be in debates, but it requires debaters to frame arguments about that importance.

-If you break a new aff and you don't want to share the docs, I will chalk it up to academic cowardice and presume that the aff is largely a pile of crap.

-Evidence can be inserted if the lines were read in CX, but otherwise this act is insufficient. I will only look at graphs and charts if they are analyzed in the debate.

Thoughts on the topic:

-I know about the topic areas in the following rank order:

1) Trade – I researched trade policy for fun prior to the topic, and have spent 30 hours per week thinking about it since August

2) Nukes – I debated on the topic back in the days of paper, feel fairly competent in these debates

3) Treaties – things start getting shaky here, but I probably get most of the acronyms; complicated issues should be explained further

4) Surveillance – I coached on this topic back in the days of Obama but haven’t thought much about it. Some convoluted aspects of surveillance law might go over my head

5) Deference – Up until February I spelled this “deferrence.” The way this lit gets debated seems bastardized to me – explanation of the core concepts will go a long ways.

-I have not voted on ESR is cheating this year, but I could be convinced if the CP fiats future actions or becomes object fiat. I am more prone to evaluate aff solvency deficit than some just because I don’t think the economy/allies/anyone will trust Trump just because Trump has tweeted. The more controversial the CP is the more likely the CP links to the net-benefit.

-John Yoo is a war criminal.

How to sway me:

-More narrativization is better than less

-Ev quality - I think higher quality and recent ev is a necessity. Make arguments about the qualifications of authors, how to evaluate evidence, and describe what events have happened to complicate the reading of their evidence from 2012.

-The 2nr/2ar should spend the first 15-20 seconds explaining how I should vote with judge instruction. If you laid a trap, now is the time to tell me, because I’m probably not going to vote on something that wasn’t flagged as an argument.

-I can flow with the best of them, but I enjoy slower debates so much more.

-More case debate. The 2ac is often too dismissive of case args and the neg often under-utilizes them.

-If reading cards after the debate is required for me to have comprehension of your argument, I’m probably not your judge. I tend to vote on warranted arguments that I have flowed and read cards to evaluate particular warrants that have been called into question. That said, I intend on reading along with speech docs this year.

-I think internal links are the most important parts of an argument; I am more likely to vote for “Asian instability means international coop on warming is impossible” than “nuclear war kills billions” OR “our patriarchy better explains x,y,z” instead of “capitalism causes war.”

-I like when particular arguments are labeled eg) “the youth-voter link” or “the epistemology DA.”

-If you're breaking a new aff/cp, it's probably in your best interest to slow down when making highly nuanced args.

Things I don’t like:

-Generally I think word PICs are bad. Some language obviously needs to be challenged, but if your 1nc strategy involves cntl-f [insert ableist term], I am not the judge for you.

-Overusing offensive language, yelling, being loud during the other team’s speech/prep, and getting into my personal space or the personal space of others will result in fewer speaker points.

-If you think a permutation requires the affirmative to do something they haven’t, you and I have different interpretations of competition theory.

-Old evidence/ blocks that have been circulating in camp files for a decade.


-This topic is poorly written and lets the aff get away with murder. Given that, I want to see debates that have coherent stories for violations and interpretations. I voted neg frequently on the NHI topic on limits, which charts many of my views on this topic.

Critical Affs:

-I am probably a better judge for the K than most would suspect. While the sample size is small, I think I vote for critical args around 50% of the time they're the center of the debate.

-A debate has to occur and happen within the speech order/times of the invite; the arguments are made are up to the debaters and I generally enjoy a broad range of arguments, particularly on a topic as dull as this one.

-Too often I think critical affs describe a problem, but don’t explain what voting aff means in the context of that impact.

-Is there a role of the ballot?

-Often I find the “topical version” of the aff argument to be semi-persuasive by the negative, so explain to me the unique benefit of your aff in the form that it is and why switching-sides does not solve that.

-Framework: Explain the topical version of the aff; use your framework impacts to turn/answer the impacts of the 1ac; if you win framework you win the debate because…


-Links should be contextualized to the aff; saying the aff is capitalist because they use the state is not enough. I'm beginning to think that K's, when read against policy affs, should link to the plan and not just the advantages, I'm not as sold on this as I am my belief on floating pic/ks (95 percent of the time I think floating PIC/Ks aren't arguments worthy of being made, let alone voted on)

-Alternative- what is the framework for evaluating the debate? What does voting for the alternative signify? What should I think of the aff’s truth statements?

-I’m not a fan of high theory Ks, but statistically vote for them a decent percentage of the time.

-When reading the K against K affs, the link should problematize the aff's methodology.

Answering the K:

-Make smart permutation arguments that have explained the net benefits and deal with the negatives disads to the perm.

-You should have a framework for the debate and find ways to dismiss the negative’s alternative.


-Overviews that explain the story of the disad are helpful.

-Focus on internal links.


-Your CP should have a solvency advocate that is as descriptive of your mechanism as the affirmative’s solvency advocate is.

-Consult and conditions counterplans are probably illegitimate.


-Conditionality is cheating a lot like the Roth test: at some point it’s cheating, otherwise neg flex is good.

-Affs should explain why the negative should lose because of theory, otherwise I’ll just reject the arg.

-I'll likely be unsympathetic to args related to ADA rules, sans things that should actually be rules like clipping.

-I’m generally okay with kicking the CP/Alt for the neg if I’m told to.

Nathan Fleming Paradigm

4 rounds

I debate at Berkeley. Go Bears!

I will totally talk during your debate. I haven't judged on this topic since camp, so I might ask yall to clarify acronyms since those are big this year, or just skip bad arguments I'm not interested in (cough, new affs bad theory, cough cough).

Ks & Framework: I like clash. I think debate is special because of the depth of debate it allows. That means if your K aff is only for you, I'm not. If your K aff defends topic DAs and has a cool spin on the topic though, I'm your guy. I don't believe that heg good isn't offense, and people should feel comfortable going for impact turns against the K in front of me, because it's cleaner than T a lot of the time. Fairness is an impact, but it's way worse than skills.

Theory: rarely debated well, but gorgeous when perfected. With that in mind, I have some biases here:

Aff Biases: Ifiat.

Neg Biases: Condo. I'm a bad judge for going for Condo. Consider this the strongest opinion in this paradigm.

Nobody who understands debate dislikes hearing a debate about the case or go for a DA. They don't get their own section. Do it.

A few closing comments: unsorted

-I'm kind of an ev hack. I try not to read cards unless instructed, but if you read great ev, you should be loud and clear about telling me to read it, and if it's as good as you say, then speaker points may be in order.

-Sometimes recutting the other team's card to answer their argument is better than reading one of your own. If you want me to read their card on your terms, include highlighting in another color so we're on the same page on what part you think goes the other way.

-Creative strategies are great, and I love a new DA as much as the next person. With that in mind, politics rules, and sometimes if it ain't broke don't fix it.

-Arguments I won't vote for

-X other debater is individually a bad person for something that didn't happen in the debate

-saying violence to other people in the debate is a good idea

-speech times are bad or anything that literally breaks the debate

-new affs bad

Lincoln Douglas

I judge this now, but I'm still getting used to it, so go easy on me. So far, my policy debate knowledge has carried me through most of these debates just fine, but as far as I can tell these are the things worth knowing about how I judge these debates.

-Theory doesn't become a good argument because speech times are messed up. Dispo is still a joke. Neg flex is still important. That doesn't mean counter plans automatically compete off certainty/immediacy, and it doesn't mean topicality doesn't matter. It does mean that hail-marry 2AR on 15 seconds of condo isn't gonna cut it tho.

-Judge instruction feels more important than ever for the aff in these debates because the speech times are wonky.

-I generally feel confident w/ critical literature, but not all of the stuff in Policy is in LD and visa-versa. So if you're talking about like, Kant, or some other funny LD stuff, go slow and gimme some time.

-This activity seems to have been more-or-less cannibalized by bad theory arguments and T cards written by coaches. I will be difficult to persuade on those issues.

Chris Flowers Paradigm

3 rounds

Paradigm update WaRu: 9/17/19


Chris Flowers

Little Rock Central

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

Email -


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

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

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

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

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

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

Debaters should not do any of the following:

Clip cards

Steal prep

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

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

Misgender folks

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

Read identity arguments that you don't identify as.

Defaults when you forget to make warrants to your arguments

Education > Fairness

Shapes Subjectivities > Just a game

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

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

K’s don’t need to win an alt to win.

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

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

reasonable disclosure practices = should be followed.

Analytic > Low quality evidence

Heg = bad.

Cap = bad.

Grumpy things

We don’t need to shake hands.

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

Case debate is underutilized.

Analytics are underutilized .

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

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

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

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

I'd pref these teams at 1:



PV VG (ride or die)



NoBro MR

Lane Tech CG

Determining Speaks

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

30 = 100%

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

Execute a clear and cohesive argument strategy.

Delivery is dynamic, clear and organized.

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

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

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

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

Be yourself, don’t be flippant.

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

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

Strategy is cohesive and cool.

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

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

Argumentative Preferences

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

t/framework vs. k aff

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

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

T vs affs w a plan text that uses the usfg

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


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

Perf Con.

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

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

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

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

Counter Plans

If you have a solvency advocate, its legit.

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


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


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

Debate Philosophy

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

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

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

Eric Forslund Paradigm

3 rounds


Copied and Pasted from my judge philosophy wiki page.

Recent Bio:

13 years judging and coaching high school debate. First at Damien High School and most recently at Greenhill. Generally only judge a handful of college rounds a year.

Zero rounds on the current college topic in 2018.

Coached at the University of Wyoming 2004-2005.

I have decided to incentivize reading strategies that involve talking about the specifics of the affirmative case. Too many high school teams find a terrible agent or process cp and use politics as a crutch. Too many high school teams pull out their old, generic, k's and read them regardless of the aff. As an incentive to get away from this practice I will give any 2N that goes for a case-only strategy an extra point. If this means someone who would have earned a 29 ends up with a 30, then so be it. I would rather encourage a proliferation of higher speaker points, then a proliferation of bad, generic arguments. If you have to ask what a case strategy involves, then you probably aren't going to read one. I'm not talking about reading some case defense and going for a disad, or a counterplan that solves most of the aff. I'm talking about making a majority of the debate a case debate -- and that case debate continuing into the 2NR.

You'll notice "specificity good" throughout my philosophy. I will give higher points to those teams that engage in more specific strategies, then those that go for more generic ones. This doesnt mean that I hate the k -- on the contrary, I wouldn't mind hearing a debate on a k, but it needs to be ABOUT THE AFF. The genero security k doesnt apply to the South Korean Prostitutes aff, the Cap k doesnt apply to the South Korea Off-Shore Balancing aff - and you arent likely to convince me otherwise. But if you have an argument ABOUT the affirmative --especially a specific k that has yet to be read, then you will be rewarded if I am judging you.

I have judged high-level college and high school debates for the last 14 years. That should answer a few questions that you are thinking about asking: yes, speed is fine, no, lack of clarity is not. Yes, reading the k is ok, no, reading a bunch of junk that doesn't apply to the topic, and failing to explain why it does is not.

The single most important piece of information I can give you about me as a judge is that I cut a lot of cards -- you should ALWAYS appeal to my interest in the literature and to protect the integrity of that literature. Specific is ALWAYS better than generic, and smart strategies that are well researched should ALWAYS win out over generic, lazy arguments. Even if you dont win debates where you execute specifics, you will be rewarded.

Although my tendencies in general are much more to the right than the rest of the community, I have voted on the k many times since I started judging, and am generally willing to listen to whatever argument the debaters want to make. Having said that, there are a few caveats:

1. I don't read a lot of critical literature; so using a lot of terms or references that only someone who reads a lot of critical literature would understand isn’t going to get you very far. If I don’t understand your arguments, chances are pretty good you aren’t going to win the debate, no matter how persuasive you sound. This goes for the aff too explain your argument, don’t assume I know what you are talking about.

2. You are much better off reading critical arguments on the negative then on the affirmative. I tend to believe that the affirmative has to defend a position that is at least somewhat predictable, and relates to the topic in a way that makes sense. If they don’t, I am very sympathetic to topicality and framework-type arguments. This doesn’t mean you can’t win a debate with a non-traditional affirmative in front of me, but it does mean that it is going to be much harder, and that you are going to have to take topicality and framework arguments seriously. To me, predictability and fairness are more important than stretching the boundaries of debate, and the topic. If your affirmative defends a predictable interpretation of the topic, you are welcome to read any critical arguments you want to defend that interpretation, with the above stipulations.

3. I would much rather watch a disad/counterplan/case debate than some other alternative.

In general, I love a good politics debate - but - specific counterplans and case arguments are THE BEST strategies. I like to hear new innovative disads, but I have read enough of the literature on this year’s topic that I would be able to follow any deep debate on any of the big generic disads as well.

As far as theory goes, I probably defer negative a bit more in theory debates than affirmative. That probably has to do with the fact that I like very well thought-out negative strategies that utilize PICS and specific disads and case arguments. As such, I would much rather see an affirmative team impact turn the net benefits to a counterplan then to go for theory (although I realize this is not always possible). I really believe that the boundaries of the topic are formed in T debates at the beginning of the year, therefore I am much less willing to vote on a topicality argument against one of the mainstream affirmatives later on in the year than I am at the first few tournaments. I’m not going to outline all of the affs that I think are mainstream, but chances are pretty good if there are more than a few teams across the country reading the affirmative, I’m probably going to err aff in a close T debate.

One last thing, if you really want to get high points in front of me, a deep warming debate is the way to go. I would be willing to wager that I have dug further into the warming literature than just about anybody in the country, and I love to hear warming debates. I realize by this point most teams have very specific strategies to most of the affirmatives on the topic, but if you are wondering what advantage to read, or whether or not to delve into the warming debate on the negative, it would be very rewarding to do so in front of me -- at the very least you will get some feedback that will help you in future debates.

Ok, I lied, one more thing. Ultimately I believe that debate is a game. I believe that debaters should have fun while debating. I realize that certain debates get heated, however do your best not to be mean to your partner, and to the other team. There are very few things I hate more than judging a debate where the teams are jerks to each other. Finally, although I understand the strategic value to impact turning the alternative to kritiks and disads (and would encourage it in most instances), there are a few arguments I am unwilling to listen to those include: sexism good, racism good, genocide good, and rape good. If you are considering reading one of those arguments, don’t. You are just going to piss me off.

Chris Fry Paradigm

4 rounds

I debated at Blue Valley Southwest High School for 4 years and am currently debating at KU


I am heavily persuaded by arguments about why the affirmative should read a topical plan. One of the main reasons for this is that I am persuaded by a lot of framing arguments which nullify aff offense (TVOA, argument testing, etc). The best way to deal with these things is to more directly impact turn common impacts like procedural fairness. Affirmative teams would also be well served to offer a competing interpretation of debate, designed to mitigate the negative impacts.

Fairness is the most persuasive impact to framework.


I'm not great for the K. In most instances this is because I believe the alternative solves the links to the aff or can't solve it's own impacts. This can be resolved by narrowing the scope of the K or strengthening the link explanation (too often negative teams do not explain the links in the context of the permutation). The simpler solution to this is a robust framework press.


I really enjoy good T debates. Fairness is the best (and maybe the only) impact. Education is very easily turned by fairness. Evidence quality is important, but only in so far as it improves the predictability/reduces the arbitrariness of the interpretation. 


CPs are fun. I generally think that the negative doing non-plan action with the USfg is justified. Everything else is up for debate, but well developed aff arguments are dangerous on other questions.

I generally think conditionality is good. I think the best example of my hesitation with conditionality is multi-plank counter plans which combine later in the debate to become something else entirely.

If in cross x you say the status quo is always an option I will kick the counter plan if no further argumentation is made (you can also obviously just say conditional and clarify that judge kick is an option). If you say conditional and then tell me to kick in the 2NR and there is a 2AR press on the question I will be very uncomfortable and try to resolve the debate some other way. To resolve this, the 2AC should make an argument about judge kick.

Questions comments and concerns can be directed to

Don't send me comments

Alex Gazmararian Paradigm

3 rounds

-- I’m a coach at Emory.

-- Please add me to the email chain:

-- Process, consult, and conditions counterplans exist on a spectrum. If the only reason your CP competes is because of a tortured definition of "should," go home. If you're defining more substantive words in the resolution and have a good set of evidence, your arguments will be much more compelling.

-- In theory debates, interpretations are important. Explain what your model of debate looks like, why it is predictable, and why it is better than the other team's. In general, most debaters do not fully develop their theory arguments, even by the final rebuttal, which makes it challenging to render a decision.

-- The practice of conditionality is good in moderation, but most teams fail to defend it effectively, which sometimes makes it a strategic Aff option.

-- The arguments you make matter more than the card doc you send. This is not to devalue the importance of evidence. Research is one of the most important skills we take from debate. However, your ability to compare evidence and articulate positions matters more than your ability to read cards.

-- Your judge doc, if needed, should only contain relevant cards. Put the most important cards first.

-- I appreciate careful line-by-line, succinct overviews, and numbered arguments.

-- Reading the ConCon CP without a solvency card doesn't rise to the threshold of presenting a 1NC argument. If this is your idea of a Case Neg, prepare yourself for speaker points that make 2005 look generous.

-- Feel free to send me an email if you have any questions not addressed in this paradigm.

Colton Gilbert Paradigm

3 rounds


I competed in policy for three years in high school at Parkview Arts/Science Magnet High School; I did an additional year at the University of Kentucky. I am now on the coaching staff at Little Rock Central High School. I have a bachelor's and a master's in Communication Studies and a master's in Secondary Education. I said that not to sound pompous but so that you will understand that my lack of exposure to an argument will not preclude me from evaluating it; I know how to analyze argumentation. I have represented Arkansas at the Debate Topic Selection for the past few years (I authored the Middle East paper in 2018 and the Criminal Justice paper in 2019) and that has altered how I view both the topic process and debates, in a good way. I think this makes me a more informed, balanced judge.

Include me on all email chains, please


I find that many teams are rude and obnoxious in round and don’t see the need to treat their opponents with dignity. I find this mode of thinking offensive and disrespectful to the activity as a whole

I consider myself an open slate person but that doesn’t mean that you can pull the most obscure argument from your backfiles and run it in front of me. Debate is an intellectual game. Because of this I find it offensive when debaters run arguments just to be running them, do not run your arguments if you don’t think they can win you the round!

I don’t mind speed and consider myself an exceptional flower. That being said, I think that it helps us judges when debaters slow down on important things like plan/CP texts, perms, theory arguments, and anything else that will require me to get what you said verbatim.

Saying anything remotely racist, ableist, transphobic, etc will get you an auto loss in front of me. If that means you need to strike me then do us both a favor and strike me.

Short Version

My previous paradigm had a thorough explanation of how I evaluate most arguments. For the sake of prefs and pre round prep I have decided to amend it. When I debated I was mostly a T/CP/DA debater. That being said, I am open to just about any form of argumentation you want to make. If it is a high theory argument don’t take for granted that I understand most of the terminology your author’s use.

I will prioritize my ballot around what the 2NR/2AR highlights as the key issues in the debate. I try to start with the last two speeches and work my way back through the debate evaluating the arguments that the debaters are making. I don’t have to personally agree with an argument to vote for it.


I see framework as slightly different from T so I evaluate it differently as well. Too often debaters read a lot of blocks and don’t do enough engaging in these kinds of debates. The “Role of the Ballot” needs to be explicit and there needs to be a discussion of how your ROB is accessible by both teams. If you want to skirt the issue of accessibility then you need to articulate why the impact(s) of the aff outweigh whatever arguments the neg is going for.

These debates, for me, generally come down to an issue of fairness. K affs should be able to articulate what the role of the negative is under their model. If the aff is in the direction of the topic, I tend to give them some leeway in responding to a lot of the neg claims. Central to convincing me to vote for a non-resolutionally based affirmative is their ability to describe to me what the role of the negative would be under their model of debate. The aff should spend time on impact turning framework while simultaneously using their aff to short circuit some of the impact claims advanced by the neg.

Parting Thoughts

Don’t manipulate what you are best at to fit into my paradigm of viewing debate. Do what you do best and I will do what I do best in evaluating the debate.

Stephen Goldberg Paradigm

3 rounds

I am a coach at Nevada Union and C.K. McClatchy high schools.  My general philosophy is run whatever you want, do it as fast as you want, just be clear. I will vote on just about anything except racist, sexist, homophobic etc arguments. I see my job as a judge as evaluating the evidence in the round and deciding the debate based on what is said without my intervention to the greatest degree possible.

That said, I do have a few notions about how I evaluate arguments:

Topicality -- I vote on it. I do not have any "threshold" for topicality -- either the aff is topical or it is not. That said, for me in evaluating topicality, the key is the interpretation. The first level of analysis is whether the aff meets the neg interpretation. If the aff meets the neg interpretation, then the aff is topical. I have judged far too many debates where the negative argues that their interpretation is better for education, ground etc, but does not address why the aff meets the negative interpretation and then is angry when I vote affirmative. For me if the aff meets the neg interpretation that is the end of the topicality debate.

If the aff does not meet, then I need to decide which interpretation is better. The arguments about standards should relate 1) which standards are more important to evaluate and 2) why either the negative or affirmative interpretation is better in terms of those standards (for example, not just why ground is a better standard but why the affirmative or negative interpretation is better for ground). Based on that, I can evaluate which standards to use, and which interpretation is better in terms of those standards. I admit the fact that I am a lawyer who has done several cases about statutory interpretation influences me here. I see the resolution as a statement that can have many meanings, and the goal of a topicality debate is to determine what meaning is best and whether the affirmative meets that meaning.

That said, I will reject topicality on generic affirmative arguments such as no ground loss if they are not answered. However, I see reasonability as a way of evaluating the interpretation (aff says their interpretation is reasonable, so I should defer to that) as opposed to a general statement without grounding in an interpretation (aff is reasonably to--pical so don't vote on T).

I will listen to critiques of the notion of topicality and I will evaluate those with no particular bias either way.

Theory -- Its fine but please slow down if you are giving several rapid fire theory arguments that are not much more than tags. My default is the impact to a theory argument is to reject the argument and not the team. If you want me to put the round on it, I will but I need more than "voter" when the argument is presented. I need clearly articulated reasons why the other team should lose because of the argument.

Disadvantages and counterplans are fine. Although people may not believe it, I am just as happy judging a good counterplan and disad debate as I am judging a K debate. I have no particular views about either of those types of arguments. I note however that I think defensive arguments can win positions. If the aff wins there is no link to the disad, I will not vote on it. If the neg wins a risk of a link, that risk needs to be evaluated against the risk of any impacts the aff wins. Case debates are good too.

Ks: I like them and I think they can be good arguments. I like specific links and am less pursuaded by very generic links such as "the state is always X." Unless told otherwise, I see alternatives to K's as possible other worlds that avoid the criticism and not as worlds that the negative is advocating. With that in mind, I see K's differently than counterplans or disads, and I do not think trying to argue Kritiks as counterplans (floating PIC arguments for example) works very well, and I find critical debates that devolve into counterplan or disad jargon to be confusing and difficult to judge, and they miss the point of how the argument is a philosophical challenge to the affirmative in some way. Framework arguments on Ks are fine too, although I do not generally find persuasive debate theory arguments that Kritiks are bad (although I will vote on those if they are dropped). However, higher level debates about whether policy analysis or critical analysis is a better way to approach the world are fine and I will evaluate those arguments.

Non-traditional affs:  I am open to them but will also evaluate arguments that they are illegitimate.  I think this is a debate to have (although I prefer juding substantive debates in these types of rounds).  I tend to think that affs should say the topic is true in some way (not necessarily a plan of action) but I have and will vote otherwise depending on how it is debated.  I do remain flow-centric in these debates unless there are arguments otherwise in the debate.

Jacob Goldschlag Paradigm

3 rounds

Please add to the email chain

I have 8 years of policy debate experience: 4 years at the University of Michigan (class of 2019) and 4 years at La Costa Canyon HS (CA). Went to the NDT 3 times and cleared twice. Formerly an assistant coach at Cypress Bay HS (FL). Currently in law school at the University of San Diego.

I don't think I'm too washed, but fair warning: I'm not actively involved in debate anymore other than occasionally judging. ADA will be my first time ever judging college debate. Assume I know nothing about space (I truly know nothing about space).

In general I have few preferences on which arguments you read in front of me. More into judging slower debates with warranted presentation, quality evidence, and "truer" arguments than whatever the opposite of that is. During my time as a debater I mostly read "traditional" policy arguments and thus am most comfortable evaluating these kinds of debates. but, I have read and coached basically every kind of argument and try hard not to bring any predispositions with me.

Kritiks/Planless affs: I am comfortable with most common kritik arguments, but if yours is particularly esoteric you may need to invest some time in explaining your theory to me. Much more likely to vote for a K with specific links and clear clash with the aff than some "K trick" or whatever your best imitation of Michigan KM is. As far as planless affs, I judge a fair amount of "clash of civs" debates (in high school) and would guess my voting record is fairly even. As with everything else, I tend to vote for the side that has the best impact calc/largest point of offense. The biggest thing I notice in these rounds is debaters on both sides giving great, yet overly defensive speeches, and losing easily winnable debates. So be sure to explain your offense and the relevance of my ballot to solvency. In the interest of full disclosure, almost every time I was neg against a planless aff in college, I went for a T argument about procedural fairness. "It's T, not framework" is not meaningless to me.

Theory/CPs: I have a high threshold for most aff theory arguments. Usually, you are better off finding a different way to win the debate. I am not persuaded any arguments other than Conditionality are reasons to reject the team, and I am not persuaded by Conditionality unless the neg reads 3 or more. I find theory arguments to be most effective when explained as a reason to reject the argument against certain kinds of CPs (e.g. process CPs, International fiat, delay CPs, and more). If the CP is egregious theory can be very compelling. Judge kick fine by default, but persuadable the other way (I was a slow 2a, not a monster).

No "inserting this re-highlighting into the debate" - you have to read it.

Good luck!

Joshua Gonzalez Paradigm

4 rounds

Joshua Gonzalez

Yes, add me to emails. gonza310 at gmail

New for 2018-2019:

High School Debates:

0. I will, at my own discretion, treat evidence that is highlighted such that the remaining words still follow basic grammatical rules as necessarily superior to evidence that is not. If I have to read and/or search unhighlighted parts of the evidence to make sense of the parts that you *did* read, then *your* version of that evidence isn't very good, even if the full, un0highlighted card is quite good...


Rando stuff that I've added:

1. I will not automatically judge-kick conditional CPs. 2NR must signal to me to do it, in which case (absent a compelling aff response) I'm happy to do it, but I don't remember to do it every single time unless signaled, and it isn't fair for me to do it inconsistently.

The majority of what I've written below is of a positive/empirical nature, rather than normative/ideal. I obviously have opinions about debate, arguments, etc., but who doesn't? Every time a debate happens, the activity changes a little bit, as do my thoughts and opinions about it. If anything, what is below describes how I have voted in the past more than I how I intend to vote in the future.

That being said, there are a number of practices that have developed various degrees of normative force over time in our activity. Arguers who seek to overturn norms (not universally, obvi) are necessarily dealing with a task of overcoming presumption. I don't think that this is a particularly high bar (certainly not high enough that it should discourage you from trying); I just think it's the best explanation for my past voting behavior.

Speaker Points: who even knows anymore. I'll assign some.

Newest Complaint: 2NC/1NR - please don't group disparate parts of a flow and call it "the link debate" or "the uniqueness debate." While there are def. parts of flows that deserve grouping, this is a technique that is over-used and isn't very smart. There's a good chance you'll drop something the other team said.

Paperless addendum: Mark your cards during your speech. Save the speech doc from which you spoke, with marks. Be prepared to send it out after the speech if the other team requests that you do so. Regardless, I will expect to receive a post-round doc of all relevant cards WITH MARKS CLEARLY NOTED. If I don't, I will not consider the cards as part of my decision. If this document includes evidence that was not read in full (all portions that are highlighted) but is not marked as such, I will definitely blow up your speaker points and will may just vote for the other team on the spot. If you discover, after sending the document to me, that it is missing a mark, don't hesitate to correct it. Honesty and transparency are what we're aiming for here.

Clipping: Auto-loss, auto zero points for the debater. This is obvious.

SWEAR LESS: I didn't care about this nearly as much when I was younger, but as I've become older, I've increasingly become of the belief that all of you kids need to stay off my lawn. Let's try and cut down on the swearing during actual debate speeches, it's just not particularly becoming and it gets us in trouble with the higher ups. I'm sure there's any number of things you can say about this, but honestly, I probably disagree and this is one of those spots where I assign the speaker points and you'll just have to adapt. If this is a non-negotiable item for you, I take no offense to you moving me down the pref sheet, as is your perogative.

T/Framework/Etc. - I have rarely made the decision that topicality was not a voter. In all but the most extreme instances, I have typically decided that the affirmative should have to try and read a topical plan. I phrase this as an empirical statement rather than a normantive one, but I think it would be unfair of me to not let you know that I've been more likely than not to side with the negative when they make an argument to that effect. Here's the big catch: what the words that are configured into this “plan” (and the resolution) mean are significantly open to debate (or how they are best understood/interpreted) but it's plainly obvious what the directions of most topics are and what one would do to have some fidelity to that. I am inclined to think that people who claim that it is actually impossible to make arguments about social justice in the context of most any recent debate are, well, incorrect and really aren't trying very hard.

Theory – I don’t seem to vote on this much, but I’m probably just waiting to meet the right theory debater. I have an intuition that the multiplicity of worlds advanced in 1NCs these days are probably unfair, I just haven’t heard a team that has really made a good set of arguments as to why. Be careful with the words “logical policy maker”: logical policy makers might consider lots of different counterplans, but they probably think the politics disad is really, really stupid, too. I don’t have too much of a dog in the fight with regard to intrinsicness, etc. – I coach a lot of teams to go for politics, but I do also think that debate is probably worse off for it at the end of the day. I find most totalizing theories of CP competition pretty self-serving and stupid, particularly “textual competition.” I have not heard a compelling reason why it makes sense as a standard, rather than just something that conveniently excludes a number of undesirable counterplans. If those CPs are bad, there is likely plenty of good reasons to reject them on their own and we don’t need a counterintuitive competition standard to prevent them from being run.

ASPEC – this is my least favorite debate argument. New rule: 2ACs don’t have to spend any more time answering it than the 1NC spent reading it. If the block makes a big deal, I’m inclined to allow a TON of new 1AR argument—and you can still probably say “cross ex checks” and get out of Dodge. This is one of the only things I am actually willing to impose by judge fiat.

Consultation CPs – these are my second least favorite debate arguments. Any generic strategy that creates an incentive for the aff to read plans that would be vetoed by any relevant international actor is probably a bad argument. I still vote on them, just don’t expect great speaks, even if you think you gave the best speech of your life, which, by virtue of making it about a consultation CP, you have not.

Critiques – I used to be the guy that K teams struck. Now I seem to be a middle-of-the-road sort of fellow. Maybe even K-leaning. This is not because I think critiques are totally awesome and the past/present/future of debate. I actually think many, if not most of them are surprisingly shallow and silly, but most teams seem incapable of acquitting themselves as anything less than even more shallow and dumb. My research interests go vastly farther into the critical than do my debate interests, so there’s a good chance I know what you’re talking about. Don’t be afraid to make arguments that have some theoretical depth, but in so doing, do not fail to make them relevant to the question of the debate (theorizing biopower is totally fascinating, but you need to make it into a reason to not do the plan).

Decorum/Attitude/Behavior – ethos matters in a persuasive setting. Become comfortable with the fact that debate judges (this one in particular) are not logical robots. We are big, jiggly masses of flesh. This means that you should make some attempt at being likeable in debate rounds. I rarely find myself voting for teams that I do not like and yet I feel as if I make decisions on the basis of relatively objective criteria. This does not make much sense unless one understands that how judges feel about you effects (affect?) how they understand and evaluate every other facet of the debate. I have spent more than 20 years of my life in this activity and rarely regretted it (until recently). I still love almost every person I've met through debate, but I am having an increasingly hard time coming to grips with how many of us are behaving (myself included, from time to time). Make it the sort of place that other people want to be and not only will judges reward you, but you will likely reap an enormous number of other intangible benefits as well. Only one team wins the tournament – everybody else should have a pretty good reason that they came. Year after year, I find that the only good reason (and the best reason that I could imagine) is “everybody else.”

Emily Gordon Paradigm

3 rounds

Rowland Hall ‘16 

Harvard ‘20

Rounds on Education Topic: 0


Here are my thoughts about various debate arguments in the words of Taylor Swift’s “Look What You Made Me Do.” I will provide you with lyrics (poetry really) and then explanations about my debate thoughts relating to the song. Ask me if you have any questions (Taylor Swift related or otherwise)!

“Look what you made me do” – this lyric accurately sums up my feelings about judging – I will vote however you tell me to vote – Please make smart well-warranted arguments supported by evidence, and I will happily vote for you. I will vote on almost any argument (as long as it is not morally problematic), so don’t worry about me. That being said, here are my preferences:



“I don't trust nobody and nobody trusts me” – I don’t trust any aff to be topical (joking!). I really like T, but I don’t have a lot of experience with the education topic, so keep that in mind. I like competing interpretations but can be persuaded to vote on reasonability. I think small topics can be great but so can big topics. Paint a picture for me of the world of your interp like how Taylor Swift describes how she is rising up from the dead to come for her enemies. Evidence comparison is undervalued in T debates.



“You said the gun was mine” – Debaters often leave so much up to judges in these debates, which is often frustrating to all parties. Please compare your impacts to the aff’s. Turns case arguments that operate on multiple levels are very persuasive to me.



“The world moves on, another day, another drama, drama
But not for me, not for me, all I think about is karma” – I think that big silly impacts (drama) can easily be defeated with smart analytics (karma). I like logical internal link presses and find them very persuasive.



“I don't like your kingdom keys

They once belonged to me” – I went for the security K, settler colonialism K, ableism K, Death K, and probably some more. However, don’t assume I know your K lit. I enjoy K debates when links are highly contextual to the aff. Otherwise, K debates can be quite frustrating and harder to win if the aff can win that the neg hasn’t proven the aff is a bad idea. I can be convinced that the neg doesn’t need to win an alt, but I think that it’s super helpful to. I think affs get to weigh their impacts usually but maybe not always.  Please do not presume that everyone in the room knows K buzzwords and actually explain what they mean if you want me to vote on them.



“I don't like your perfect crime” – how I feel about CP’s that steal the aff. I’m not a huge fan of process CP’s. I think the states CP is fine to test the fed key warrant, but maybe it’s not.


“Honey, I rose up from the dead, I do it all the time” – I’ll kick CP’s for you if you tell me to. I don’t think that CP’s always need solvency advocates. The best CP’s are in aff solvency cards though.


“Isn't cool, no, I don't like you (oh!)” – generally how I feel about aff teams that go for condo – I’m just kidding. A little. I think 2-3 condo are fine. Being neg is hard and affs should be able to answer multiple CP’s with defenses of their internal links. Most theory arguments are a reason to reject the argument not the team.


No Plan Affs:

“I'll be the actress starring in your bad dreams” – if you don’t tell me how to vote in these debates! I believe debate is a game.  The role of the ballot is to vote for the team who did the better debating. I really like fairness as an impact (“Don't like your tilted stage”) if explained well, but I’m also a fan of arguments about the importance of research (“I've got a list of names and yours is in red, underlined; I check it once, then I check it twice, oh!”)

I think topical versions of the aff and switch side debate arguments are often persuasive and should be answered specifically by the aff rather than with sweeping claims like cross apply the case. When you are neg, I think you should answer the case and contextualize your impacts to the aff. When you are aff, if you make totalizing claims (ie "antiblackness is ontological") the burden of proof is on you, not the other team to prove that it's true.

“But I got smarter, I got harder in the nick of time” – I think engaging with critical affs is great and smart – It’s important to tie the aff down to something to generate competition though.


I err on the side of tech over truth.


If you are nice to the other team, explain your arguments, and compare impacts, I think that we will all enjoy the debate.  

Robbins Gray Paradigm

3 rounds

Not Submitted

Nate Graziano Paradigm

3 rounds

Policy Coach at Kent Denver School. HS Policy, NDT/CEDA, NPTE/NPDA Competitor.

> Please include me on email chains - <

TL;DR - I like judge instruction. I'll vote for or against K 1ACs based on Framework. Clash of Civilization debates are the majority of rounds I watch. I vote frequently on dropped technical arguments, and will think more favorably of you if you play to your outs. The ballot is yours, your speaker points are mine. Your speech overview should be my RFD. Tell me what is important, why you win that, and why winning it means you get the ballot.

Note to coaches and debaters - I give my RFDs in list order on how I end up deciding the round, in order of how I resolved them. Because of this, I also upload my RFD word for word with the online ballot. I keep a pretty good record of rounds I've judged, so if anyone has any questions about any decision I've made on Tabroom please feel free to reach out at my email above.

1. Tech > Truth

The game of debate is lost if I intervene and weigh what I know to be "True." The ability to spin positions and make answers that fit within your side of the debate depend on a critic being objective to the content. That being said, arguments that are based in truth are typically more persuasive in the long run.

I'm very vigilant about intervening and will not make "logical conclusions" on arguments if you don't do the work to make them so. If you believe that the negative has the right to a "judge kick" if you're losing the counterplan and instead vote on the status quo in the 2NR, you need to make that explicitly clear in your speech.

More and more I've made decisions on evidence quality and the spin behind it. I like to reward knowledgeable debaters for doing research and in the event of a disputable, clashing claim I tend to default to card quality and spin.

I follow along in the speech doc when evidence is being read and make my own marks on what evidence and highlighting was read in the round.

2. Theory/Topicality/Framework

Most rounds I judge involve Framework. While I do like these debates please ensure they're clashing and not primarily block reading. If there are multiple theoretical frameworks (ex. A RotB, A RotJ, FW Interp) please tell me how to sort through them and if they interact. I tend to default to policy-making and evaluating consequences unless instructed otherwise.

For theory violations - I usually need more than "they did this thing and it was bad; that's a voter" for me to sign my ballot, unless it was cold conceded. If you're going for it in the 2NR/2AR, I'd say a good rule of thumb for "adequate time spent" is around 2:00, but I would almost prefer it be the whole 5:00.

In the event that both teams have multiple theoretical arguments and refuse to clash with each other, I try to resolve as much of the framework as I can on both sides. (Example - "The judge should be an anti-ethical decision maker" and "the affirmative should have to defend a topical plan" are not inherently contradicting claims until proven otherwise.)

Winning framework is not the same as winning the debate. It's possible for one team to win framework and the other to win in it.

Procedural Fairness can be both an impact and an internal link. I believe it's important to make debate as accessible of a place as possible, which means fairness can be both a justification as well as a result of good debate practices.

3. Debate is Story Telling

I'm fond of good overviews - round vision, and understanding how to write a singular winning ballot at the end, is something I tend to reward. To some extent, telling any argument as a chain of events with a result is the same process that we use when telling stories. Being able to implicate your argument as a clash of stories can be helpful for everyone involved.

I do not want to feel like I have to intervene to make a good decision. I will not vote on an argument that was not said or implied by one of the debaters in round. I feel best about the rounds where the overview was similar to my RFD.

4. Critical Arguments

I am familiar with most critical literature. I also do a lot of topic specific research and love politics debates. Regardless of what it is, I prefer if arguments are specific, strategic, and well executed. Do not be afraid of pulling out your "off-the-wall" positions - I'll listen and vote on just about anything.

As a critic and someone who enjoys the activity, I would like to see your best strategy that you've prepared based on your opponent, rather than what you think I would like. Make the correct decision about what to read based on your opponent's weaknesses and your strengths.

Debate that includes narration, personal experience, or autobiographical accounts is fine. I've voted for it frequently in the past.

Don't hesitate to email me or ask my opinions on framework before the round if it's a concern of yours.

5. Speaker Points

I believe that the ballot is yours, but your speaker points are mine. If you won the arguments required to win the debate round, you will receive the ballot from me regardless of my personal opinion on execution or quality. Speaker points are a way for judges to reward good speaking and argumentation, and dissuade poor practice and technique. Here are some things that I tend to reward debaters for-

- Debate Sense. When you show you understand the central points in the debate. Phrases like "they completely dropped this page" only to respond to line by line for 3 minutes annoy me. If you're behind and think you're going to lose, your speaker points will be higher if you acknowledge what you're behind on and execute your "shot" at winning.

- Clarity and organization are appreciated. Numbered flows, references to authors or tags on cards, and word economy are valued highly. I also like it when you know the internals and warrants of your arguments/evidence.

- Judge instruction. I know it sounds redundant at this point, but you can quite literally just look at me and say "Nate, I know we're behind but you're about to vote on this link turn."

I will disclose speaker points after the round if you ask me. The highest speaker points I've ever given out is a 29.7. A 28.5 is my standard for a serviceable speech, while a 27.5 is the bare minimum needed to continue the debate. My average for this last season was around a 28.7-28.8.

Jyleesa Hampton Paradigm

3 rounds

Assistant Director of Speech and Debate at Presentation High School and Public Admin phd student. I debated policy, traditional ld and pfd in high school (4 years) and in college at KU (5 years). Since 2015 I've been assistant coaching debate at KU. Before and during that time I've also been coaching high school (policy primarily) at local and nationally competitive programs.

Familiar with wide variety of critical literature and philosophy and public policy and political theory. Coached a swath of debaters centering critical argumentation and policy research. Judge a reasonable amount of debates in college/hs and usually worked at some camp/begun research on both topics in the summer. That said please don't assume I know your specific thing. Explain acronyms, nuance and important distinctions for your AFF and NEG arguments.

The flow matters. Tech and Truth matter. I obvi will read cards but your spin is way more important.

I think that affs should be topical. What "TOPICAL" means is determined by the debate. I think it's important for people to innovate and find new and creative ways to interpret the topic. I think that the topic is an important stasis that aff's should engage. I default to competing interpretations - meaning that you are better off reading some kind of counter interpretation (of terms, debate, whatever) than not.

I think Aff's should advocate doing something - like a plan or advocacy text is nice but not necessary - but I am of the mind that affirmative's should depart from the status quo.

Framework is fine. Please impact out your links though and please don't leave me to wade through the offense both teams are winning in that world.

I will vote on theory. I think severance is prolly bad. I typically think conditionality is good for the negative. K's are not cheating (hope noone says that anymore). PICS are good but also maybe not all kinds of PICS so that could be a thing.

I think competition is good. Plan plus debate sucks. I default that comparing two things of which is better depends on an opportunity cost. I am open to teams forwarding an alternative model of competition.

Disads are dope. Link spin can often be more important than the link cards. But
you need a link. I feel like that's agreed upon but you know I'm gone say it anyway.

Just a Kansas girl who loves a good case debate. but seriously, offensive and defensive case args can go a long way with me and generally boosters other parts of the off case strategy.

When extending the K please apply the links to the aff. State links are basic but for some reason really poorly answered a lot of the time so I mean I get it. Links to the mechanism and advantages are spicier. I think that if you're reading a K with an alternative that it should be clear what that alternative does or does not do, solves or turns by the end of the block. I'm sympathetic to predictable 1ar cross applications in a world of a poorly explained alternatives. External offense is nice, please have some.

I acknowledge debate is a public event. I also acknowledge the concerns and material implications of some folks in some spaces as well. I will not be enforcing any recording standards or policing teams to debate "x" way. I want debaters at in all divisions, of all argument proclivities to debate to their best ability, forward their best strategy and answers and do what you do.

Card clipping and cheating is not okay so please don't do it.
NEW YEAR NEW POINT SYSTEM (college) - 28.6-28.9 good, 28.9-29.4 really good, 29.4+ bestest.

This trend of paraphrasing cards in PFD as if you read the whole card = not okay and educationally suspect imo.

Middle/High Schoolers: You smart. You loyal. I appreciate you. And I appreciate you being reasonable to one another in the debate.

I wanna be on the chain:

Kevin Hamrick Paradigm

3 rounds


I've been judging debates for a long time. I prefer listening to debates wherein each team presents and executes a well-researched strategy for winning. The ideological flavor of your arguments matters less to me than how you establish clash with your opponents’ arguments. I am open to most anything, understanding that sometimes “you’ve got to do what you’ve got to do” to win the debate.

At the end of the debate, I vote for the team that defends the superior course of action. My ballot constitutes an endorsement of one course relative to another. To win the debate, the affirmative must prove their course is preferable when compared to the status quo or negative alternatives. That being said, I interpret broadly exactly what constitutes a plan/course of action. An alternative is proven a superior course of action when it is net beneficial compared to the entirety of the plan combined with part or parts of the alternative. Simply solving better than the affirmative is not enough: the alternative must force choice. Likewise, claiming a larger advantage than the affirmative is not enough to prove the alternative competitive. A legitimate permutation is defined as the entirety of the "plan" combined with parts or parts of the alternative. Mere avoidance of potential or "unknown" disadvantages, or a link of omission, is insufficient: the negative must read win a link and impact in order to evaluate the relative merits of the plan and the alternative. The 2AC saying something akin to "Perm - do the plan and all noncompetitive parts of the counterplan/alternative" is merely a template for generating permutation ideas, rather than a permutation in and of itself. It's your job to resolve the link, not mine.

I believe there is an inherent value to the topic/resolution, as the topic serves as the jumping off point for the year's discussion. The words of the topic should be examined as a whole. Ultimately, fairness and ground issues determine how strict an interpretation of the topic that I am willing to endorse. The most limiting interpretation of a topic rarely is the best interpretation of a topic for the purposes of our game. The topic is what it is: merely because the negative wishes the topic to be smaller (or the affirmative wishes it bigger, or worded a different way) does not mean that it should be so. An affirmative has to be at its most topical the first time it is run.

I don’t care about any of your SPEC arguments. The affirmative must use the agent specified in the topic wording; subsets are okay. Neither you nor your partner is the United States federal government. The affirmative is stuck with defending the resolutional statement, however I tend to give the affirmative significant leeway as to how they choose to define/defend it. The affirmative is unlikely to persuade me criticisms of advocacy of USFG action should be dismissed as irrelevant to an evaluation of policy efficacy. I believe that switch-side debating is good.

All theory arguments should be contextualized in terms of the topic and the resultant array of affirmative and negative strategies. Reciprocity is a big deal for me, i.e., more negative flex allows for more aff room to maneuver and vice versa). Conditional, topical, and plan inclusive alternatives are presumptively legitimate. A negative strategy reliant on a process counterplan, consultation counterplan, or a vague alternative produces an environment in which in which I am willing to allow greater maneuverability in terms of what I view as legitimate permutations for the affirmative. I’ve long been skeptical of the efficacy of fifty state uniform fiat. Not acting, i.e., the status quo, always remains an option.

Debate itself is up for interrogation within the confines of the round.

I tend to provide a lot of feedback while judging, verbal and otherwise. If you are not clear, I will not attempt to reconstruct what you said. I tend to privilege the cards identified in the last two rebuttals as establishing the critical nexus points of the debate and will read further for clarification and understanding when I feel it necessary. Reading qualifications for your evidence will be rewarded with more speaker points. Reading longer, more warranted evidence will be rewarded with significantly more consideration in the decision process. Clipping cards is cheating and cardclippers should lose.

I value clash and line-by-line debating. Rarely do I find the massive global last rebuttal overview appealing. Having your opponent's speech document doesn't alleviate the need for you to pay attention to what's actually been said in the debate. Flow and, for god's sake, learn how to efficiently save/jump/email/share your speech document. I generally don't follow the speech doc in real time.

"New affs bad" is dumb; don't waste your time or mine. When debating a new aff, the negative gets maximum flexibility.

I believe that both basic civil rights law as well as basic ethics requires that debaters and judges conduct themselves in rounds in a manner that protects the rights of all participants to an environment free of racial/sexual hostility or harassment.

Allison Harper Paradigm

3 rounds

Associate Director of Debate at Emory University and Assistant Coach at North Broward Preparatory School. Previously Samford, George Mason University

Cosmetic rather than structural change- yes please put me on the chain for efficiency and scouting purposes. I am still unlikely to follow along with the doc or read cards I don't think are necessary to make a decision but spelling my first name is annoying and this was buried near the bottom. I know you didn't read my philosophy if you ask if I want to be on the chain.

I think I am a relatively middle of the road judge on most issues. I would rather hear you debate whatever sort of strategy you do well than have you conform to my argumentative preferences. I might have more fun listening to a case/da debate, but if you best strat or skillset is something else, go for it. I might not like an argument, but I will and have voted for arguments I hate if it wins the debate. I do have a pretty strong preference for technical, line by line style debate.

I am open to listening to kritiks by either side, but I am more familiar with policy arguments, so some additional explanation would be helpful, especially on the impact and alternative level. High theory K stuff is the area where I am least well read. I generally think it is better for debate if the aff has a topical plan that is implemented, but I am open to hearing both sides. To be successful at framework debates in front of me, it is helpful to do more than articulate that your movement/project/affirmation is good, but also provide reasons why it is good to be included in debate in the format you choose. I tend to find T version of the aff a pretty persuasive argument when it is able to solve a significant portion of aff offense.

I don’t have solid preferences on most counterplan theory issues, other than that I am not crazy about consultation or conditions cps generally. Most other cp issues are questions of degree not kind (1 conditional cp and a k doesn’t seem so bad, more than that is questionable, 42 is too many, etc) and all up for debate. The above comment about doing what you do well applies here. If theory is your thing and you do it well, ok. If cp cheating with both hands is your style and you can get away with it, swell.

I have no objection to voting on “untrue” arguments, like some of the more out there impact turns. To win on dropped arguments, you still need to do enough work that I could make a coherent decision based on your explanation of the argument. Dropped = true, but you need a claim, warrant, and impact. Such arguments also need to be identifiable in order for dropped = true to apply.

It’s rarely the case that a team wins every argument in the debate, so including relevant and responsive impact assessment is super important. I’d much rather debaters resolve questions like who has presumption in the case of counterplans or what happens to counterplans that might be rendered irrelevant by 2ar choices than leaving those questions to me.

I try my best to avoid reading evidence after a debate and think debaters should take this into account. I tend to only call for evidence if a) there is a debate about what a card says and/or b) it is impossible to resolve an issue without reading the evidence myself. I prefer to let the debaters debate the quality of evidence rather than calling for a bunch of evidence and applying my own interpretations after the fact. I think that is a form of intervening. I also think it is important that you draw out the warrants in your evidence rather than relying on me to piece things together at the end of the debate. As a result, you would be better served explaining, applying, and comparing fewer really important arguments than blipping through a bunch of tag line/author name extensions. I can certainly flow you and I will be paying attention to your speeches, but if the debate comes down to a comparison between arguments articulated in these manners, I tend to reward explanation and analysis. Also, the phrase "insert re-highlighting" is meaningless to someone who isn't reading the docs in real time. Telling me what you think the evidence says is a better use of your time

I like smart, organized debates. I pay a ton of attention and think I flow very well. I tend to be frustrated by debaters who jump around or lack structure. If your debate is headed this direction (through your own doing or that of the other team), often the team that cleans things up usually benefits. This also applies to non-traditional debating styles. If you don’t want to flow, that’s ok, but it is not an excuse to lack any discernible organization. Even if you are doing the embedded clash thing, your arguments shouldn't seem like a pre-scripted set of responses with little to no attempt to engage the specific arguments made by the other team or put them in some sort of order that makes it easier for me to flow and determine if indeed arguments were made, extended dropped, etc.

Please be nice to each other. While debate is a competitive activity, it is not an excuse to be a jerkface. If you are "stealing prep" I am likely to be very cross with you and dock your speaker points. If you are taking unreasonably long amounts of time to jump/email your docs or acquire someone else's docs, I am also not going to be super happy with you. I realize this can sound cranky, but I have been subjected to too many rounds where this has been happening recently.

If you have any questions, feel free to ask.

Thoughts on Pf and LD:

Since I occasionally judge these, I thought I should add a section. I have either coached or competed in both events. I still have a strong preference for flow-centric debate in both activities.

-You may speak as quickly or slowly as you would like. Don't make yourself debate faster than you are able to do well just because I can keep up

-You can run whatever arguments you are able to justify (see policy debate section if you have more specific questions)

-Too many debates in these events spend far too much time debating framing questions that are essentially irrelevant to judge decisions. Those frames mean little if you cant win a link. If you and your opponent are trying to access the same impact, this is a sign that you should be debating link strength not impact strength.

-Provide means of comparing arguments. It is not helpful if you have a study and your opponent has a study that says the opposite and that is the end of the argument. It is not helpful if everyone's authors are "hacks." With complicated topics, try to understand how your authors arrived at their conclusions and use that to your advantage.

-Stop stealing prep. Seriously. Stop. It is not cute. Asking to see a source is not an opportunity for your partners to keep prepping. If a speech timer or a prep timer isn't going, you should not be writing on your flows or doing anything else that looks like prepping. I see this in a disturbing number of PF rounds. Stop

-Give a useful road map or none at all. Do not add a bunch of commentary. A road map should tell a judge what order to put pieces of flow paper into and nothing more. Save your arguments for your speech time.

Tripp Haskins Paradigm

7 rounds

Tripp Haskins

Woodward Academy '17

University of Georgia '21

General Info

You do you. Do whatever you are good at.

If blocks don't even start with They Say: "X", what are we even doing here?

Why read a framing contention, when you could read a real advantage instead?

"Inserting highlighting into the debate" is wrong. You have to read the part of their card that makes an argument.


Most of the time, there's no good terminal impact calculus that happens in these debates. Debaters should envision T debates like a CP and DA, with the interpretation/counter-interpretation acting as a counterplan to solve most of the other teams offense and having a DA that outweighs the offense it doesn't solve. Most T debates only have internal links, and no terminal impacts that are never weighed against other impacts in the round. I personally don't understand the recent trend of policy judges not even entertaining the idea of a T debate, establishing a coherent topic is important.


Teams should redefine the words in the resolution to something that they meet. You need to be able to win that your model of debate is preferable to the negative's model of debate. Affirmative teams would be best impact turning something that the negative's model of debate results in, such as deliberative democracy or advocacy skills towards the political. Most of the impact turns to framework that get played out feel like negative ground at the end of the day, so explaining why the model of debate, not just reading a topical plan, is bad. Of course, the act of reading a topical plan is often an intrinsic part of the negative's model of debate. Impact calculus and relative internal link analysis separates winning from losing. Negative teams would be best served forwarding a robust defense of procedural impacts such as fairness combined with a mechanism to resolve a large portion of the affirmative's offense. Things like advocacy skills and topic education need examples of what they influence or create to become impacts. Becoming a better advocate begs the question of for what? Often times in these debates I decide that neither side wins a big risk of unique offense, so internal link and impact comparison is important for winning.


I do a large amount of critique research, so I am very familiar with most of the literature that will potentially be read in debates. The link debate and framework are the most important aspects for the negative to emphasize. Explain the links in the context of the affirmative, not just overarching structures. The weakest part of the kritik is always the alternative and that's where the aff should gain offense against. You need to be able to explain a specific internal link from the policy or discourse of the 1AC to something, rather than it being the logic of a system. Examples are good for giving context to certain arguments and proving a theory, but are not reasons for why the affirmative is bad. Alt causes are not offense against the 1AC either unless only the alternative and not the permutation solves it.

I find myself voting neg in rounds when the 2NR is the K when the negative wins that something is a prior question to pragmatism or the framework debate. I find myself voting affirmative when the aff wins that they get to implement the aff and weigh it against the alternative. The framework debate is basically the entire debate, it influences how the links, alt, and perm all function. As a result, the rebuttals need to explain how their interpretation solves the other offense, or why their offense outweighs. I am equally likely to disregard the plan in favor of debate's potential for subject formation as I am to exclude kritiks from debate because they are not a logical opportunity cost of the plan. That being said, framework claims are nothing more than lazy impact calculus claims that affirmative teams just accept because they are bad at debate. In the abstract it seems ridiculous that if the negative wins the rhetorical impacts should be privileged, it means that pragmatism should not be considered at all, however most affirmative teams are terrible at debating framework, and end up losing.


They have to be competitive both textually and functionally. Presumption goes to the team that advocates less change. Your solvency advocate for the counterplan needs to be as specific as the aff's solvency advocate. Sufficiency framing makes intuitive sense to me.

Mark Hernandez Sr. Paradigm

4 rounds


Y'all know me, still the same O.G. but I been low-key

Hated on by most these niggas with no cheese, no deals and no G's

No wheels and no keys, no boats, no snowmobiles, and no skis

Mad at me cause I can finally afford to provide my family with groceries

Got a crib with a studio and it's all full of tracks to add to the wall

Full of plaques, hanging up in the office in back of my house like trophies

Did y'all think I'mma let my dough freeze, ho please

You better bow down on both knees, who you think taught you to smoke trees

Who you think brought you the oldies

Eazy-E's, Ice Cubes, and D.O.C's

The Snoop D-O-double-G's

And the group that said motherfuck the police

Gave you a tape full of dope beats

To bump when you stroll through in your hood

And when your album sales wasn't doing too good

Who's the Doctor they told you to go see

Y'all better listen up closely, all you niggas that said that I turned pop

Or The Firm flopped, y'all are the reason that Dre ain't been getting no sleep

So fuck y'all, all of y'all, if y'all don't like me, blow me

Y'all are gonna keep fucking around with me and turn me back to the old me

Nowadays everybody wanna talk like they got something to say

But nothing comes out when they move their lips

Just a bunch of gibberish

And motherfuckers act like they forgot about Dre

Line by line:

Experienced former debater. Current Coach for CK McClatchy and Davis Senior in addition to the Head Coach and Executive Director of the Sacramento Urban Debate League (SUDL). I judge a bunch of rounds every school year and feel in-depth and informative verbal RFD's are key to debate education.

Tabula Rasa. I will adapt to you rather than you to me. It's not my place as a judge to exclude or marginalize any sort of argument or framework. On the neg, I will vote for K/K + case, T, CP + DA, DA + case, FW/FW + case, performance, theory.... whatever. I personally prefer hearing a good K or theory debate, not that I'm more inclined to vote on those genres of argumentation. I am down for the K, performance, or topical aff. Anything goes with me.

I'm big on organization. Hit the line by line hard. Don't just give me 4 min overviews or read a bunch of cards off the line, then expect me to conveniently find the best place on the flow for you. Do the work for me. I flow on paper OG style, so don't drop arguments. I don't flow off speech docs (neither should you), but put me on the email chain so I can read cards along with you and refer back to them. I can handle any level of speed, but please be clear and loud if possible.

I will work hard to make the debate accessible and a safe place for you and your arguments. If you have access needs during a debate, wish to inform me of your preferred gender pronoun, or if there is anything you wish to communicate privately, please let me know or send me an email.

My judging philosophy is very short for a reason. Its your debate, not mine. Do you. Just stay organized and tell me where and why to vote. Write my ballot in your 2NR/2AR.

Kevin Hirn Paradigm

3 rounds

Program Manager and Assistant Debate Coach, University of Michigan

Debate Coach, Whitney Young High School

Last updated: October, 2019 - before New Trier and Harvard (mainly new topic-specific stuff under the Topicality section, substantial revisions and additions to the Tech vs. Truth section, and some FW updates)

Philosophy: I attempt to judge rounds with the minimum amount of intervention required to answer the question, "Who has done the better debating?", using whatever rubrics for evaluating that question that debaters set up.

I work in debate full-time, so I attend a billion tournaments and judge a ton of debates, lead a seven week lab every summer, talk about debate virtually every day, and research fairly extensively. As a result, I'm familiar with the policy and critical literature bases on both the college space topic and the HS arms sales topic.

I’ve coached my teams to deploy a diverse array of argument types and styles. Currently, I coach teams at Michigan and Whitney Young that primarily read policy arguments. But I was also the primary argument coach for Michigan KM from 2014-16, I currently coach a team at Michigan that reads primarily "high theory" arguments, and I’ve coached many teams that focused primarily on critical theory and critical race literature (including multiple TOC qualifiers, TOC elims participants). I'm always excited to see debaters deploy new or innovative strategies across the argumentative spectrum.

Impact turns have a special place in my heart. There are few venues in academia or life where you will be as encouraged to challenge conventional wisdom as you are in policy debate, so please take this rare opportunity to persuasively defend the most counter-intuitive positions conceivable.

My philosophy is very long. I make no apology for it. In fact, I wish most philosophies were longer and more substantive. Frequently, judges espouse a series of platitudes, but I have no idea why they believe whatever it is they've said (which can frequently leave me confused, frustrated, and little closer to understanding how debaters could better persuade them).

What follows is a series of thoughts that mediate my process for making decisions. I've tried to be as honest as possible, and I frequently update my philosophy to reflect perceived trends in my judging. That being said, self-disclosure is inevitably incomplete or misleading; if you're curious about whether or not I'd be good for you, feel free to look at my voting record or email me a specific question (reach me at khirn (at) umich (dot) edu, although you may want to try in person because I'm not the greatest with quick responses).

1) Tech v. Truth

I attempt to be an extremely "technical" judge, although I am not sure that everyone means what everyone else means when they describe debating or judging as "technical." Here's what I mean by that: I attempt to flow everything that every speaker says in a speech. Even in extremely quick debates, I generally achieve this goal (although if a debater is going at max speed in a final rebuttal, it is virtually impossible to organize all of the words said by the rebuttalist into the argumentative structure they were intending). I will take Casey Harrigan up on his flowing gauntlet/challenge any day (he might be able to take me if we were both restricted to paper, but on laptop it's a wrap).

In addition, being "technical" means that I line up arguments on my flow, and expect debaters to, in general, organize their speeches by answering the other team's arguments in the order they were presented. All other things being equal, I will prioritize an argument presented such that it maximizes clear and direct engagement with its counter-argument over an argument that floats in space unmoored to an adversarial argument structure.

I do have one caveat that pertains to what I'll term "standalone" voting issues. I'm not likely to decide an entire debate based on standalone issues explained or extended in five seconds or less. For example, If you have a standard on conditionality that asserts "also, men with curly unkempt hair are underrepresented in debate, vote neg to incentivize our participation," and the 1ar drops it, you're not going to win the debate on that argument (although you will win my sympathies, fellow comb dissident). I'm willing to vote on basically anything that's well-developed, but if your strategy relies on tricking the other team into dropping random nonsense unrelated to the rest of the debate entirely, I'm not really about that. This caveat only pertains to standalone arguments that are dropped once: if you've dropped a standalone voting issue presented as such in two speeches, you've lost all my sympathies to your claim to a ballot.

In most debates, so many arguments are made that obvious cross-applications ensure precious few allegedly "dropped" arguments really are accurately described as such. Dropped arguments most frequently win debates in the form of little subpoints making granular distinctions on important arguments that both final rebuttals exert time and energy trying to win. Further murkiness emerges when one realizes that all thresholds for what constitutes a "warrant" (and subsequently an "argument") are somewhat arbitrary and interventionist. Hence the mantra: Dropped arguments are true, but they're only as true as the dropped argument. "Argument" means claim, warrant, and implication. "Severance is a voting issue" lacks a warrant. "Severance is a voting issue - neg ground" also arguably lacks a warrant, since it hasn't been explained how or why severance destroys negative ground or why neg ground is worth caring about.

That might sound interventionist, but consider: we would clearly assess the statement "Severance is a voting issue -- purple sideways" as a claim lacking a warrant. So why does "severence is a voting issue - neg ground" constitute a warranted claim? Some people would say that the former is valid but not sound while the latter is neither valid nor sound, but both fail a formal test of validity. In my assessment, any distinction is somewhat interventionist. In the interest of minimizing intervention, here is what that means for your debating: If the 1ar drops a blippy theory argument and the 2nr explains it further, the 2nr is likely making new arguments... which then justifies 2ar answers to those arguments. In general, justify why you get to say what you're saying, and you'll probably be in good shape. By the 2nr or 2ar, I would much rather that you acknowledge previously dropped arguments and suggest reasonable workaround solutions than continue to pretend they don't exist or lie about previous answers.

Arguments aren't presumptively offensive or too stupid to require an answer. Genocide good, OSPEC, rocks are people, etc. are all terribly stupid, but if you can't explain why they're wrong, you don't deserve to win. If an argument is really stupid or really bad, don't complain about how wrong they are. After all, if the argument's as bad as you say it is, it should be easy. And if you can't deconstruct a stupid argument, either 1) the argument may not be as stupid as you say it is, or 2) it may be worthwhile for you to develop a more efficient and effective way of responding to that argument.

If both sides seem to assume that an impact is desirable/undesirable, and frame their rebuttals exclusively toward avoiding/causing that impact, I will work under that assumption. If a team read a 1AC saying that they had several ways their plan caused extinction, and the 1NC responded with solvency defense and alternative ways the plan prevented extincton, I would vote neg if I thought the plan was more likely to avoid extinction than cause it.

2) General Philosophical Disposition

It is somewhat easy to persuade me that life is good, suffering is bad, and we should care about the consequences of our political strategies and advocacies. I would prefer that arguments to the contrary be grounded in specific articulations of alternative models of decision-making, not generalities, rhetoric, or metaphor. It's hard to convince me that extinction = nbd, and arguments like "the hypothetical consequences of your advocacy matter, and they would likely produce more suffering than our advocacy" are far more persuasive than "take a leap of faith" or "roll the dice" or "burn it down", because I can at least know what I'd be aligning myself with and why.

Important clarification: pragmatism is not synonymous with policymaking. On the contrary, one may argue that there is a more pragmatic way to frame judge decision-making in debates than traditional policymaking paradigms. Perhaps assessing debates about the outcome of hypothetical policies is useless, or worse, dangerous. Regardless of how you debate or what you debate about, you should be willing and able to mount a strong defense of why you're doing those things (which perhaps requires some thought about the overall purpose of this activity).

3) Topicality and Specification

Overall, I'm a decent judge for the neg, provided that they have solid evidence supporting their interpretation.

Limits are probably desirable in the abstract, but if your interpretation is composed of contrived stupidity, it will be hard to convince me that affs should have predicted it. Conversely, affs that are debating solid topicality evidence without well-researched evidence of their own are gonna have a bad time. Naturally, of these issues are up for debate, but I think it's relatively easy to win that research/literature guides preparation, and the chips frequently fall into place for the team accessing that argument.

Competing interpretations is potentially less subjective and arbitrary than a reasonability standard, although reasonability isn't as meaningless as many believe. Reasonability seems to be modeled after the "reasonable doubt" burden required to prove guilt in a criminal case (as opposed to the "preponderence of evidence" standard used in civil cases, which seems similar to competing interps as a model). Reasonability basically is the same as saying "to win the debate, the neg needs to win an 80% risk of their DA instead of a 50% risk." The percentages are arbitrary, but what makes determining that a disad's risk is higher or lower than the risk of an aff advantage (i.e. the model used to decide the majority of debates) any less arbitrary or subjective? It's all ballpark estimation determined by judges using whatever analysis debaters provides that persuades them. With reasonability-style arguments, aff can certainly win that they don't need to meet the best of all possible interpretations of the topic, assuming that they meet an interpretation capable of providing a sufficient baseline of neg ground/research ability. Describing what threshold of desirability their interpretation should meet, and then describing why that threshold is a better model for deciding topicality debates, is typically necessary to make this argument persuasive.

Arms sales: T - subs is persuasive if your argument is that "substantially" has to mean something, and the most reasonable assessment of what it should mean is the lowest contextual bound that either team can discover and use as a bulwark for guiding their preparation. If the aff can't produce a reasonably well-sourced card that says substantially = X amount of arms sales that their plan can feasibly meet, I think neg teams can win that it's more arbitrary to assume that substantially is in the topic for literally no reason than it is to assume the lowest plausible reading of what substantially could mean (especially given that every definition of substantially as a higher quantity would lead one to agree that substantially is at least as large as that lowest reading). If the aff can, however, produce this card, it will take a 2N's most stalwart defense of any one particular interpretation to push back against the most basic and intuitive accusations of arbitrariness/goalpost-shifting.

T - reduce seems conceptually fraught in almost every iteration. Every Saudi aff conditions its cessation of arms sales on the continued existence of Saudi Arabia. If the Saudi military was so inept that the Houthis suddenly not only won the war against Saleh but actually captured Saudi Arabia and annexed it as part of a new Houthi Empire, the plan would not prevent the US from selling all sorts of exciting PGMs to Saudi Arabia's new Houthi overlords. Other than hard capping the overall quantity of arms sales and saying every aff that doesn't do that isn't topical, (which incidentally is not in any plausible reading a clearly forwarded interpretation of the topic in that poorly-written Pearson chapter), it's not clear to me what the distinction is between affs that condition and affs that don't are for the purposes of T - Reduce

Space cooperation: Topicality is making a big comeback in college policy debates this year. Kiinda overdue. But also kinda surprising because the T evidence isn't that high quality relative to its outsized presence in 2NRs, but hey, we all make choices.

STM T debates have been underwhelming in my assessment. T - No ADR... well at least is a valid argument consisting of a clear interp and a clear violation. It goes downhill from there. It's by no means unwinnable, but not a great bet in an evenly matched ebate. But you can't even say that for most of the other STM interps I've seen so far. Interps that are like "STM are these 9 things" are not only silly, they frequently have no clear way of clearly excluding their hypothesized limits explosion... or the plan. And I get it - STM affs are the worst (and we're only at the tip of the iceberg for zany STM aff prolif). Because STM proposals are confusing, different advocates use the terms in wildly different ways, the proposals are all in the direction of uniqueness and are difficult to distinguish from similar policy structures presently in place, and the area lacks comprehensive neg ground outside of "fuck those satellites, let em crash," STM affs producing annoying debates (which is why so many teams read STM). But find better and clearer T interps if you want to turn those complaints about topical affs into topicality arguments that exclude those affs. And I encourage you to do so quickly, as I will be the first to shamelessly steal them for my teams.

Ironically, the area of the topic that produces what seem to me the best debates (in terms of varied, high-quality, and evenly-matched argumentation) probably has the single highest-quality T angle for the neg to deploy against it. And that T angle just so happens to exclude nearly every arms control aff actually being ran. In my assessment, both the interp that "arms control = quantitative limit" and the interp that "arms control = militaries just like chilling with each other, hanging out, doing some casual TCBMs" are plausible readings of the resolution. The best aff predictability argument is clearly that arms control definitions established before the space age have some obvious difficulties remaining relevant in space. But it seems plausible that that's a reason the resolution should have been written differently, not that it should be read in an alternate way. That being said, the limits case seems weaker than usual for the neg (though not terrible) and in terms of defending an interp likely to result in high-quality debates, the aff has a better set of ground arguments at their disposal than usual.

4) Risk Assessment

In front of me, teams would be well-served to explain their impact scenarios less in terms of brinks, and more in terms of probabilistic truth claims. When pressed with robust case defense, "Our aff is the only potential solution to a US-China war that's coming in a few months, which is the only scenario for a nuclear war that causes extinction" is far less winnable than "our aff meaningfully improves the East Asian security environment through building trust between the two great military powers in the region, which statistically decreases the propensity for inevitable miscalculations or standoffs to escalate to armed conflict." It may not be as fun, but that framing can allow you to generate persuasive solvency deficits that aren't grounded in empty rhetoric and cliche, or to persuasively defeat typical alt cause arguments, etc. Given that you decrease the initial "risk" (i.e. probability times magnitude) of your impact with this framing, this approach obviously requires winning substantial defense against whatever DA the neg goes for, but when most DA's have outlandishly silly brink arguments themselves, this shouldn't be too taxing.

There are times where investing lots of time in impact calculus is worthwhile (for example, if winning your impact means that none of the aff's impact claims reach extinction, or that any of the actors in the aff's miscalc/brinkmanship scenarios will be deterred from escalating a crisis to nuclear use). Most of the time, however, teams waste precious minutes of their final rebuttal on mediocre impact calculus. The cult of "turns case" has much to do with this. It's worth remembering that accessing an extinction impact is far more important than whether or not your extinction impact happens three months faster than theirs (particularly when both sides' warrant for their timeframe claim is baseless conjecture and ad hoc assertion), and that, in most cases, you need to win the substance of your DA/advantage to win that it turns the case.

Incidentally, phrasing arguments more moderately and conditionally is helpful for every argument genre: "all predictions fail" is not persuasive; "some specific type of prediction relying on their model of IR forecasting has little to no practical utility" can be. The only person who's VTL is killed when I hear someone say "there is no value to life in the world of the plan" is mine.

At least for me, try-or-die is often bizarrely intuitive based on argument selection (i.e. if the neg spots the aff that "extinction is inevitable if the judge votes neg, even if it's questionable whether or not the aff solves it", rationalizing an aff ballot becomes rather alluring and shockingly persuasive). You should combat this innate intuition by ensuring that you either have impact defense of some sort (anything from DA solves the case to a counterplan/alt solves the case argument to status quo checks resolve the terminal impact to actual impact defense can work) or invest time in arguing against try-or-die decision-making.

5) Counterplans

Counterplan theory is a lost art. Affirmatives let negative teams get away with murder. And it's getting worse and worse every year. Investing time in theory is daunting... it requires answering lots of blippy arguments with substance and depth and speaking clearly, and probably more slowly than you're used to. But, if you invest time, effort, and thought in a well-grounded theoretical objection, I'll be a receptive critic.

The best theory interpretations are clear, elegant, and minimally arbitrary. Here are some examples of args that I would not anticipate many contemporary 2N's defeating:

--counterplans should be policies. Perhaps executive orders, perhaps guidence memos, perhaps lower court decisions, perhaps Congressional resolutions. But this would exclude such travesties as "The Executive Branch should always take international law into account when making their decisions. Such is closer to a counterplan that says "The Executive Branch should make good decisions forever" than it is to a useful policy recommendation.

--counterplans should not be able to fiat both the federal government and additional actors outside of the federal government. It's utopian enough to fiat that Courts, the President, and Congress all act in concert in perpetuity on a given subject. It's absurd to fiat additional actors as well.

There are other theoretical objections that I might take more seriously than other judges, although I recognize them as arguments on which reasonable minds may disagree. For example, I am partial to the argument that solvency advocates for counterplans should have a level of specificity that matches the aff. I feel like that standard would reward aff specificity and incentivize debates that reflect the literature base, while punishing affs that are contrived nonsense by making them debate contrived process nonsense. This certainly seems debateable, but it seems like an even debate on both sides (and a better argument than many of the contrived and desperate solvency deficits that flailing affs teams extend against counterplans).

Competition debates are a particularly lost art. I'm not a great judge for counterplans that compete off of certainty or immediacy based on "should"/"resolved" definitions. I'm somewhat easily persuaded that these interpretations lower the bar for how difficult it is to win a negative ballot to an undesirable degree. That being said, affs lose these debates all the time by failing to counter-define words or dropping stupid tricks, so make sure you invest the time you need in these debates to win them.

Offense-defense is intuitive to me, and so teams should always be advised to have offense even if their defense is very strong. If the aff says that the counterplan links to the net benefit but doesn't advance a solvency deficit or disadvantage to the CP, and the neg argues that the counterplan at least links less, I am not very likely to vote affirmative absent strong affirmative framing on this question (often the judge is left to their own devices on this question, or only given instruction in the 2AR, which is admittedly better than never but still often too late). At the end of the day I must reconcile these opposing claims, and if it's closely contested and at least somewhat logical, it's very difficult to win 100% of an argument. Even if I think the aff is generally correct, in a world where if I have literally any iota of doubt surrounding the aff position or am even remotely persuaded by the the negative's position, why would I remotely risk triggering the net benefit for the aff instead of just opting for the guaranteed safe choice of the counterplan?

Offense can come in multiple flavors: you can argue that the affirmative or perm is less likely to link to the net benefit than the counterplan, for example. You can also argue that the risk of a net benefit below a certain threshold is indistinguishable from statistical noise, and that the judge should reject to affirm a difference between the two options because it would encourage undesirable research practices and general decision-making. You can likely advance an analytic solvency deficit somewhat supported by one logical conjecture, and if you are generally winning the argument, have the risk of the impact to that outweigh the unique risk of aff triggering the DA relative to the counterplan. But in the absent of any offensive argument of any sort, the aff is facing an uphill battle. I have voted on "CP links to politics before" but typically that only happens if there is a severe flaw in negative execution (i.e. they drop it) or a significant skill descripancy between teams or a truly ill-conceived counterplan.

I'm a somewhat easy sell on conditionality good (at least 1 CP / 1 K is defensible), but I've probably voted aff slightly more frequently than not in conditionality debates. That's partly because of selection bias (affs go for it when they're winning it), but mainly because neg teams have gotten very sloppy in their defenses of conditionality, particularly in the 2NR. That being said, I've been growing more and more amenable to "conditionality bad" arguments over time.

However, large advantage counterplans with multiple planks, all of which can be kicked, are basically indefensible. Negative teams can fiat as many policies as it takes to solve whatever problems the aff has sought to tackle. It is unreasonable to the point of stupidity to expect the aff to contrive solvency deficits: the plan would literally have to be the only idea in the history of thought capable of solving a given problem. Every additional proposal introduced in the 1nc (in order to increase the chance of solving) can only be discouraged through the potential cost of a disad being read against it. In the old days, this is why counterplan files were hundreds of pages long and had answers to a wide variety of disads. But if you can kick the plank, what incentive does the aff have to even bother researching if the CP is a good idea? If they read a 2AC add-on, the neg gets as many no-risk 2NC counterplans to add to the fray as well (of course, they can also add unrelated 2nc counterplans for fun and profit). If you think you can defend the merit of that strategy vs. a "1 condo cp / 1 condo k" interp then you should pass debate and go directly to Trump's Department of Justice, because they have some legal puzzles for you to solve that desperately require your input.

I don't default to the status quo unless you explicitly flag it at some point during the debate (the cross-x or the 2nc is sufficient if the aff never contests it). I don't know why affs ask this question every cross-x and then never make a theory argument about it. It only hurts you, because it lets the neg get away with something they otherwise wouldn't have.

All that said, I don't have terribly strong convictions about any of these issues, and any theoretical predisposition is easily overcame by outdebating another team on the subject at hand.

6) Politics

Most theoretical objections to (and much sanctimonious indignation toward) the politics disadvantage have never made sense to me. Fiat is a convention about what it should be appropriate to assume for the sake of discussion, but there's no "logical" or "true" interpretation of what fiat descriptively means. It would be ludicrously unrealistic for basically any 1ac plan to pass immediately, with no prior discussion, in the contemporary political world. Any form of argument in which we imagine the consequences of passage is a fictive constraint on process argumentation. As a result, any normative justification for including the political process within the contours of permissible argument is a rational justification for a model of fiat that involves the politics DA (and a DA to a model of fiat that doesn't). Political salience is the reason most good ideas don't become policy, and it seems illogical for the negative to be robbed of this ground. The politics DA, then, represents the most pressing political cost caused by doing the plan in the contemporary political environment, which seems like a very reasonable for affs to have to defend against.

Obviously many politics DAs are contrived nonsense (especially during political periods during which there is no clear, top-level presidential priority). However, the reason that these DAs are bad isn't because they're theoretically illegitimate, and politics theory's blippiness and general underdevelopment further aggravate me (see the tech vs truth section).

Finally, re: intrinsicness, I don't understand why the judge should be the USFG. I typically assume the judge is just me, deciding which policy/proposal is the most desirable. I don't have control over the federal government, and no single entity does or ever will (barring that rights malthus transition). Maybe I'm missing something. If you think I am, feel free to try and be the first to show me the light...

All that being said - most political capital DAs are self-evidently nonsense in the Trump era. We no longer have a president that expends or exerts political capital as described by any of the canonical sources that theorized that term. Affs should be better at laundry listing thumpers and examples that empirically prove Trump's ability to shamelessly lie about whatever the aff does or why he supports the aff and have a conservative media environment that tirelessly promotes that lie as the new truth, but it's not hard to argue this point well. Sometimes, when there's an agenda (even if that agenda is just impeachment), focus links can be persuasive. I actually like the internal agency politics DA's more than others do, because they do seem to better analyze the present political situation. Our political agenda at the national level does seem driven at least as much by personality-driven palace intrigue as anything else; if we're going to assess the political consequences of our proposed policies, that seems as good a proxy for what's likely to happen as anything else.

7) Framework/Non-Traditional Affs

Despite some of the arguments I've read and coached, I'm sympathetic to the framework argument and fairness concerns (especially in high school). I don't think that topicality arguments are presumptively violent, and I think it's generally rather reasonable (and often strategic) to question the aff's relationship to the resolution. Although framework is often the best option, I would generally prefer to see a substantive strategy if one's available. This is merely because I have literally judged hundreds of framework debates and it has gotten mildly repetitive, to say the least (just scroll down if you think me guilty of hyperbole).

My voting record on framework is relatively even. In nearly every debate, I voted for the team I assessed as demonstrating superior technical debating in the final rebuttals, and that will continue in the future.

I typically think winning unique offense, in the rare scenario where a team invests substantial time in poking defensive holes in the other team's standards, is difficult for both sides in a framework debate. I think affs should think more about their answers to "switch side solves your offense" and "sufficient neg engagement key to meaningfully test the aff", while neg's should generally work harder to prepare persuasive and consistent impact explanations. The argument that "other policy debates solve your offense" can generally push back against skills claims, and the argument that "wiki/disclosure/contestable advocacy in the 1ac provides some degree of predictability/debateability" can often push back against "vote neg on presumption b/c truth-testing- we literally couldn't negate it" but for some reason in many debates neg's completely blow off these arguments.

I'm typically more persuaded by affirmative teams that answer framework by saying that the skills/methods inculcated by the 1ac produce more effective/ethical interactions with institutions than by teams that argue "all institutions are bad".

Fairness is not necessarily an impact; it certainly may implicate the education that the aff produces, but calling fairness "procedural" doesn't bestow upon it some mystical external impact without additional explanation (i.e. without an actual impact attached to that). Fairness is an abstract value. Like most values, it is difficult to explain beyond a certain point, and it can't be proven or disproven. It's hard to answer the question "why is fairness good?" for the same reason it's hard to answer the question "why is justice good?" It is pretty easy to demonstate why you should presume in favor of fairness in a debate context, given that everyone relies on essential fairness expectations in order to participate in the activity (for example, teams expect that I flow and give their arguments a fair hearing rather than voting against them because I don't like their choice in clothes). But as soon as neg teams start introducing additional standards to their framework argument that raise education concerns, they have said that the choice of framework has both fairness and education implications, and if it could change our educational experience, could the choice of framework change our social or intellectual experience in debate in other ways as well? Maybe not (I certainly think it's easy to win that an individual round's decision certainly couldn't be expected to) but if you said your FW is key to education it's easy to see how those kinds of questions come into play and now can potentially militate against fairness concerns.

I think it's perfectly reasonable to question the desirability of the activity (we should all ideally be self-reflexive and be able to articulate why it is we participate in the activities we participate in). After all, I think nearly everybody in the world does utterly indefensible things from time to time, and many people (billions) make completely indefensile decisions all the time. The reason why these arguments can be unpersuasive is typically because saying that debate is bad very well may link to the debate saying "debate bad" because they're, you know, debating, and no credible solvency mechanism for altering the activity has been presented.

I know I just explained a rationale for potentially restricting your framework impacts to fairness concerns. But still it's nice and often more fulfilling from a judge's perspective to hear a defense of debate rather than a droll recitation of "who knows why debate's good but we're both here... so like... it must be." If that means "procedural fairness" is de-emphasized in favor of an explanation for why the particular fairness norms established by your topicality interpretation are crucial to a particular vision of the activity and a defense of that vision's benefits, that would be a positive development.

If you're looking for an external impact, there are two impacts to framework that I have consistently found more persuasive than most attempts to articulate one for fairness/skills/deliberation, but they're not unassailable: "switch-side debate good" (forcing people to defend things they don't believe is the only vehicle for truly shattering dogmatic ideological predispositions and fostering a skeptical worldview capable of ensuring that its participants, over time, develop more ethical and effective ideas than they otherwise would) and "agonism" (making debaters defend stuff that the other side is prepared to attack rewards debaters for pursuing clash; running from engagement by lecturing the neg and judge on a random topic of your choosing is a cowardly flight from battle; instead, the affirmative team with a strong will to power should actively strive to beat the best, most well-prepared negative teams from the biggest schools on their terms, which in turn provides the ultimate triumph; the life-affirming worldview facilitated by this disposition is ultimately necessary for personal fulfillment, and also provides a more effective strategy with which to confront the inevitable hardships of life).

Many aff "impact turns" to topicality are often rendered incoherent when met with gentle pushback. It's difficult to say "predictability bad" if you have a model of debate that makes debate more predictable from the perspective of the affirmative team. Exclusion and judgment are inevitable structural components of any debate activity that I can conceive of: any DA excludes affs that link to it and don't have an advantage that outweighs it. The act of reading that DA can be understood as judging the debaters who proposed that aff as too dull to think of a better idea. Both teams are bound to say the other is wrong and only one can win. Many aff teams may protest that their impact turns are much more sophisticated than this, and are more specific to some element of the topicality/FW structure that wouldn't apply to other types of debate arguments. Whatever explanation you have for why that above sentence true should be emphasized throughout the debate if you want your impact turns or DA's to T to be persuasive. In other words, set up your explanation of impact turns/disads to T in a way that makes clear why they are specific to something about T and wouldn't apply to basic structural requirements of debate from the outset of the debate.

I'm a fairly good judge for the capitalism kritik. Among my most prized possessions are signed copies of Jodi Dean books that I received as a gift from my debaters. Capitalism is persuasive for two reasons, both of which can be defeated, and both of which can be applied to other kritiks. First, having solutions (even ones that seem impractical or radical) entails position-taking, with clear political objectives and blueprints, and I often find myself more persuaded by a presentation of macro-political problems when coupled with corresponding presentation of macro-political solutions. Communism, or another alternative to capitalism, frequently ends up being the only solution of that type in the room. Second, analytic salience: The materialist and class interest theories often relatively more explanatory power for oppression than any other individual factor because they entail a robust and logically consistent analysis of the incentives behind various actors committing various actions over time. I'm certainly not unwinnable for the aff in these debates, particularly if they strongly press the alt's feasibility and explain what they are able to solve in the context of the neg's turns case arguments, and I obviously will try my hardest to avoid letting any predisposition overwhelm my assessment of the debating.

8) Kritiks (vs policy affs)

I'm okay for 'old-school' kritik's (security/cap/etc), but I'm also okay for the aff. When I vote for kritiks, most of my RFD's look like one of the following:

1) The neg has won that the implementation of the plan is undesirable relative to the status quo;

2) The neg has explicitly argued (and won) that the framework of the debate should be something other than "weigh the plan vs squo/alt" and won within that framework.

If you don't do either of those things while going for a kritik, I am likely to be persuaded by traditional aff presses (case outweighs, try-or-die, perm double-bind, alt fails etc). Despite sympathies for much poststructural thought, it's often hard to divorce my thinking from utilitarian cost-benefit analysis.

Kritik alternatives typically make no sense. They often have no way to meaningfully compete with the plan, usually because of a scale problem. Either they are comparing what one person/a small group should do to what the government should do, or what massive and sweeping international movements should do vs what a government should do. Both comparisons seem like futile exercises for reasons I hope are self-evident.

There are theory arguments that affs could introduce against alternatives that exploit common design flaws in critical arguments. "Vague alts" is not really one of them (ironically because the argument itself is too vague). Some examples: "Alternatives should have texts; otherwise the alternative could shift into an unpredictable series of actions throughout the debate we can't develop reasonable responses against." "Alternatives should have actors; otherwise there is no difference between this and fiating 'everyone should be really nice to each other'." Permutations are easy to justify: the plan would have to be the best idea in the history of thought if all the neg had to do was think of something better.

Most kritik frameworks presented to respond to plan focus are not really even frameworks, but a series of vague assertions that the 2N is hoping that the judge will interpret in a way that's favorable for them (because they certainly don't know exactly what they're arguing for). Many judges continually interpret these confusing framework debates by settling on some middle-ground compromise that neither team actually presented. I prefer to choose between options that debaters actually present.

My ideal critical arguments would negate the aff. For example, against a heg aff, I could be persuaded by security K alts that advocate for a strategy of unilateral miltary withdrawal. Perhaps the permutation severs rhetoric and argumentation in the 1ac that, while not in the plan text, is both central enough to their advocacy and important enough (from a pedagogical perspective) that we should have the opportunity to focus the debate around the geopolitical position taken by the 1ac. The only implication to to a "framework" argument like this would be that, assuming the neg wins a link to something beyond the plan text, the judge should reject, on severence grounds, permutations against alts that actually make radical proposals. In the old days, this was called philosophical competition. How else could we have genuine debates about how to change society or grand strategy? There are good aff defenses of the plan focus model from a fairness and education perspective with which to respond to this, but this very much seems like a debate worth having.

All this might sound pretty harsh for neg's, but affs should be warned that I think I'm more willing than most judges to abandon policymaking paradigms based on technical debating. If the negative successfully presents and defends an alternative model of decisionmaking, I will decide the debate from within it. The ballot is clay; mold it for me and I'll do whatever you win I should.

9) Kritiks (vs K affs)

Anything goes!

Seriously, I don't have strong presuppositions about what "new debate" is supposed to look like. For the most part, I'm happy to see any strategy that's well researched or well thought-out. Try something new! Even if it doesn't work out, it may lead to something that can radically innovate debate.

Most permutation/framework debates are really asking the question: "Is the part of the aff that the neg disagreed with important enough to decide an entire debate about?" (this is true in CP competition debates too, for what it's worth). Much of the substantive debating elsewhere subsequently determines the outcome of these sub-debates far more than debaters seem to assume.

Role of the ballot/judge claims are obviously somewhat self-serving, but in debates in which they're well-explained (or repeatedly dropped), they can be useful guidelines for crafting a reasonable decision (especially when the ballot theorizes a reasonable way for both teams to win if they successfully defend core thesis positions).

Yes, I am one of those people who reads critical theory for fun, although I also read about domestic politics, theoretical and applied IR, and economics for fun. Yes, I am a huge nerd, but who's the nerd that that just read the end of a far-too-long judge philosophy in preparation for a debate tournament? Thought so.

10) Addendum: Random Thoughts from Random Topics

In the spirit of Bill Batterman, I thought to myself: How could I make this philosophy even longer and less useable than it already was? So instead of deleting topic-relevent material from previous years that no longer really fit into the above sections, I decided to archive all of that at the bottom of the paradigm if I still agreed with what I said (there were some bad takes that got thrown into the memory hole).

ESR debates on the executive powers topic --- I think the best theory arguments against ESR are probably just solvency advocate arguments. Seems like a tough sell to tell the neg there’s no executive CP at all. I've heard varied definitions of “object fiat” over the years: fiating an actor that's a direct object/recipient of the plan/resolution; fiating an enduring negative action (i.e. The President should not use designated trade authority, The US should not retaliate to terrorist attacks with nukes etc); fiating an actor whose behavior is affected by a 1ac internal link chain. But none of these definitions seem particularly clear nor any of these objections particularly persuasive.

States CP on the education and health insurance topics --- States-and-politics debates are not the most meaningful reflection of the topic literature, especially given that the nature of 50 state fiat distorts the arguments of most state action advocates, and they can be stale (although honestly anything that isn't a K debate will not feel stale to me these days). But I'm sympathetic to the neg on these questions, especially if they have good solvency evidence. There are a slew of policy analysts that have recommended as-uniform-as-possible state action in the wake of federal dysfunction. With a Trump administration and a Republican Congress, is the prospect of uniform state action on an education or healthcare policy really that much more unrealistic than a massive liberal policy? There are literally dozens of uniform policies that have been independently adopted by all or nearly all states. I'm open to counter-arguments, but they should all be as contextualized to the specific evidence and counter-interpretation presented by the negative as they would be in a topicality debate (the same goes for the neg in terms of answering aff theory pushes). It's hard to defend a states CP without meaningful evidentiary support against general aff predictability pushes, but if the evidence is there, it doesn't seem to unreasonable to require affs to debate it. Additionally, there does seem to be a persuasive case for the limiting condition that a "federal-key warrant" places on affirmatives.

Topicality on executive power: This topic is so strangely worded and verbose that it is difficult to win almost any topicality argument against strong affirmative answers, as powerful as the limits case may be. ESR makes being aff hard enough that I’m not sure how necessary the negative needs assistance in limiting down the scope of viable affs, but I suppose we shall see as the year moves forward. I’m certainly open to voting on topicality violations that are supported by quality evidence. “Restrictions in the area of” = all of that area (despite the fact that two of the areas have “all or nearly all” in their wordings, which would seem to imply the other three are NOT “all or nearly all”) does not seem to meet that standard.

Topicality on immigration: This is one of the best topics for neg teams trying to go for topicality in a long time... maybe since alternative energy in 2008-9. “Legal immigration” clearly means LPR – affs will have a tough time winning otherwise against competent negative teams. I can’t get over my feeling that the “Passel and Fix” / “Murphy 91” “humanitarian” violations that exclude refugee, asylums, etc, are somewhat arbitrary, but the evidence is extremely good for the negative (probably slightly better than it is for the affirmative, but it’s close), and the limits case for excluding these affs is extremely persuasive. Affs debating this argument in front of me should make their case that legal immigration includes asylum, refugees, etc by reading similarly high-quality evidence that says as much.

Jeffrey Horn Paradigm

3 rounds

Green Valley HS (NV) '15

UNLV '19

Put me on email chains please -

Top Level

-Tech over truth, with two caveats: 1) dropped args aren't true if I don't understand them or they were never complete arguments. 2) The bar for explanation is higher the less intuitive the argument is.

-Specificity is crucial. This is true universally regardless of the type of debate. I am usually unpersuaded by the generic nature of framing pages. My tendency is to err on the side of contextualized, specific analysis of a war that could happen over general "no war" theory. Similarly, I don't know what to do with arguments like "util=genocide".

-I try to judge as objectively as possible. I'll vote for just about any argument. I'm very unlikely to be persuaded by "death/suffering/extinction" good.

-"insert rehighlighting" is debatable. I lean towards its allowed if the rehighlighting is summarized. To me, this is no different than a debater just making the argument that evidence in the un-underlined portion says "X", and then after the debate the judge might ask for the debater to point to the paragraphs they are referencing. I can also be persuaded that "insert rehighlighting" is infinitely regressive. If you just re-highlight all of the other side's cards and don't explain the arguments in the re-highlighting until the 2ar, I'm not considering it.

-No touching.

Neg Ks vs. Policy Affs

-It'll be difficult to convince me the Aff can't weigh the plan

-The key for me is explaining how the plan causes a unique increase in suffering that some metric can measure. I dislike tying the plan to some abstract theory and explaining why that abstract worldview is bad.

-Alts should do things and are often under-explained.

K Affs

-I'll vote for them. However, in the spirit of honesty, I am generally persuaded by topicality.

-This predisposition has the best chance of being overcome if the Aff 1) explains what the role of the negative and the judge is in their model of debate and why disagreement is necessary. 2) Focus on 1-2 well-explained offensive arguments. 3) Soundly defeat "do it on the neg" and any "topical versions".

-I think fairness can be an impact in and of itself. Variations of "skills" impacts can be too.

-I am more persuaded by the genre of "skills" impacts when the neg is less hyperbolic (read: topical debates solve global warming). Affs often don't dedicate enough time to dismantling hyperbolic impacts to topicality.

Topicality (in policy debates)

-Arbitrariness matters most to me. The question of whose interpretation is more limited/has better ground seems to fall secondary to whether the interpretation is a predictable one. This is where both sides should invest the most time.

-Reasonability is under-utilized. It's usually just explained "come on, we're close." I find the more persuasive version to be an argument about how high to set the ballot threshold for T. If the differences between the interpretations are very marginal, substance crowd out and the possible moral hazard for the neg to go for T seems like a legitimate concern.


-I default to thinking the status quo is always a logical option for the neg. Debating can reverse this. The neg should still flag the possibility of judge kick early and often. The aff should object to judge kick in the 1ar to increase the chances of sticking the neg with the CP.

-I'm usually persuaded the CP linking less than the plan matters. Links are probabilistic assessments.

-Lean neg on conditionality, states, solvency advocates, multi-branch fiat, self-restraint. Can be reversed but I'm generally skeptical of the arbitrariness of most theory arguments.

-Arbitrary conditionality interpretations are unpersuasive. The only logical limit seems to be one.

-Lean aff on international fiat, consult, conditions, delay, and combined federal and state fiat. Also can be reversed with debating.

-I'm very unpersuaded by theory arguments that devolve to "the CP is too good" or "they fiated out of our internal links or solvency deficits". Every CP should "fiat out of deficits", otherwise it wouldn't solve.


-"Turns case" and "solves case" are different and should be answered differently. Both these arguments are very important and both sides should be thorough in explaining/answering "turns/solves case".

-Better than most for politics, but most politics DAs have no defensible internal link. You still need good evidence.

-Impact comparison wins debates.

Lauren Ivey Paradigm

4 rounds

aka Lauren Donnenfeld.


2013- Present Co-Director of Debate at Alpharetta High School.

2012-2013-I was one of Vanderbilt's debate graduate assistants.

2007-2011-I debated for Emory University for four years. I started as a novice in college.

Approximate number of rounds judged per year: 50

Please add me to the email chain:

Most of the below notes are just some general predispositions/ thoughts. I firmly believe that debaters should control the debate space and will do my best to evaluate the round in front of me, regardless of if you adapt to these preferences or not.

1. General thoughts- I have tremendous appreciation for the value of debate and I am constantly thinking about debate. I'm likely to dock your speaker points for being a jerk or reading something offensive like wipeout or spark. I really don't want to judge death drive. I'm unlikely to vote on anything that happened outside the round , disclose your prefs type arguments etc. Be nice both to your opponents and your partner, even if your partner has substantially less experience than you. Don't be homophobic, sexist, racist, etc. Do not hurt yourself in a debate round, or encourage others to do so. Do not interrupt your opponent's speech time or clip cards. Don't organize your speech doc in a way that is deliberating confusing to the other team. I'll increase your speaker points +.1 if you make me laugh in the round.

2. Flowing- Make sure that you are flowing. I've noticed an increase in the amount of rounds I judge which include teams answering an argument (or sometimes an entire off-case position) that wasn't read or extended in the debate. Do not just flow off the speech doc. I am a very flow-centric judge and it makes me sad when debaters answer argument that aren't in the debate.

3. CPs- love 'em. I generally think conditionality is good, and is more justified against new affirmatives. PICs, Process CPs, Uniqueness CPs, Multiplank CPs, Advantage CPs etc. are all fine. Delay CPs- no, I tend to think they're pretty abusive. Consult CPs- meh, tend to lean aff but have voted on them before. All CPs are better with a solvency advocate. If the negative reads a CP, presumption shifts affirmative, and the negative needs to be winning a decent risk of the net benefit for me to vote negative.

4. Disads- love 'em. The more specific, the better. Yes, you can read your generic DAs but I love when teams have specific politix scenarios or other specific DAs. I'm super unlikely to vote on politix theory, I think the politix DA is an important and educational part of policy debate.

5. Topicality- Meh. I find T debates sometimes difficult to evaluate because they sometimes seem to require a substantial amount of judge intervention. A tool that I think is really under utilized in T debates is the caselist/ discussion of what affs are/ are not allowed under your interpretation. Try hard to close the loop for me at the end of the 2nr/ 2ar about why your vision of the topic is preferable. Be sure to really discuss the impacts of your standards in a T debate.

6. Framework- I tend to lean neg in most debates when the 2nr goes for framework. However, I'll vote for whoever wins the debate, whether you read a topical plan text or not, and frequently vote for teams that don't read a plan text.

7. Kritiks- I am more familiar with more common Ks such as security or cap than I am with high theory arguments like Baudrillard. You can still read less common or high theory Ks in front of me, but you should probably explain them more. I tend to think the alternative is one of the weakest parts of the Kritik and that most negative teams do not do enough work explaining how the Kritik functions.

8. If both teams agree that topicality will not be read in the debate, and that is communicated to me prior to the start of the round, any mutually agreed previous year's topic is on the table.

If you have any questions, feel free to email me at the email address above. Good luck!

Gabriel Jankovsky Paradigm

3 rounds

Northwestern 2020

Woodrow Wilson 2016

Email Chain: gabrielj348 (at)

Top Level

I will listen to any argument made and try my best to avoid letting personal bias influence the decision. When I feel that intervention is necessary to resolve the debate I will be as upfront as I can in my decision, explain where and why I intervened and direct you as to how to avoid it in the future. We all spend a lot of time traveling, researching, and thinking about debate. That said it should be fun and I take it seriously; if you think debate is bad, doesn’t have utility, or don’t value doing work and putting effort into the activity you should strike me. While I will listen to any argument and try to judge based solely on arguments in the debate, I am unpersuaded by death good, debate bad, and vote for us because we are X or did Y. I care a lot about research and evidence quality. Like a lot, a lot. Still tech over truth but I will reward good evidence with better speaks if it is applied in the debate. Speed is good, get faster if you can maintain clarity. Debate isn’t a courtroom, I won’t read “inserted evidence”.


Predisposition is that teams should defend the resolution. I will be very upfront; I am more truth over tech in these debates, not intentionally but it is what it is. I have a hard time believing that many aff arguments are made in good faith. I don’t think many arguments the aff makes are intrinsic to needing the ballot. If you are neg you should tell the aff to read it on the neg. Switch side solves is underutilized and it’s usually true, I have no idea why any one argument needs to be read in every debate, why a theory that is true merits the ballot, or becomes more or less true depending on how I vote or even should guide how I vote (that is until you tell me). To win framework debates you need to tell me more than “debate is a game”. I agree debate is a game, I’m not convinced that means it cannot have subjective and material impacts on us; I am skeptical as to how voting aff in your particular debate brings about those benefits so a combination of arguments about debates over the course several years and a push about how the aff solves their impact turns is the best way to capture the benefits of what you mean by “debate is a game”. Fairness isn’t an intrinsic impact, it can also be bad. Clash is good, more is better. Activism, advocacy, deliberation are all silly. I’m not interested in things that happened before I hit start round, I don’t want to make judgements about you as people because I don’t know many of you well and find it a bad use of time. Aff teams need to explain why topical debating is bad, framework as a tool is bad or some combination of both, I don’t want to vote about the other team as people, bad analogous about “isms” or things not happening in the round or events that are hearsay. Affs need to answer TVAs, I think they are a reasonable middle ground and when explained properly can solve large swaths of offense. I don’t see a point to extending a counter-interpretation that isn’t limiting that you claim solves limits while impact turning the impact to limits; pick a strategy in the 1AR.


Not my preference to judge these debates. If you get me in a debate and need to go for the K I’m familiar with the gist of most arguments but I’m not particularly deep in any literature base. This means I’ll want lots of examples, specific link debating that is contextualized to things in the 1AC. Links to the resolution are not always good links to the plan. Affs should get to weigh the plan, I’m not convinced fiat is bad and framework is usually a wash for both teams – be clear about what winning framework means and move on. Affs should also have to answer links to win the desirability of the plan. PIKs are fine, affs should figure them out as soon as possible. Alternative debating is often where I find negs the shallowest, burn it down sounds bad, not convinced you create mindset shift, what’s a prerequisite? Alternatives need to be as specific as possible and have some explanations as to how they do what they claim. The alternative can be a useful framework argument, let me know why. I don’t think permutations make sense against structural kritiks; you should turn the structural claim and/or alt. If your preference is to go for the K, go for it. I’ve found some of the best debates I’ve judged to be K debates, but that holds for some of the worst I’ve judged. Try to be as specific as possible and you’ll be fine if the K is your thing.


My preference is to hear debates about the resolution that include a defense of the federal government taking a policy action. Topics should be balanced and provide both sides adequate ground; I find that balance to lean slightly in favor of a smaller topic but not necessarily a “small” topic. Competing interpretations is a persuasive frame, but reasonability makes sense if the interpretation only limits one aff. I start topicality debates by stacking up interpretations and often am surprised by how bad topicality evidence is. You need to read definitions that actually define; if your interpterion does not define something in the resolution I will throw it out without hesitation as long as the other team points it out. Impact debating is necessary to win a topicality debate. Overlimiting might be bad but it isn’t a reason that you win the debate. Clash is good, more is better. Topic education can be persuasive, but debate is often silly and a race to impacts so explain why your interpretation leads to more or better education about the topic with specific examples of which arguments it incentivizes and why they’re important. Caselists are very helpful, give them.


Specific nuanced counterplan that was clearly written to answer a specific aff or type of affs are better than generics every time. Process CPs are sometimes necessary, and I often find that aff teams aren’t ready or willing to read the definitions they need to win the competition debate and I end up voting neg; that said I do not enjoy Process CP debates. Consult/Con Con/Reg Neg are trash but the aff gets theory so the neg gets the CP. I lean neg on whether theory questions are a voting issue but can be persuaded that bad CPs should be rejected. Conditionality is a voting issue because everyone thinks it is, but neg terrorism is good. Negs should read uniqueness CPs, 2NC CP, and aggressively advantage CP. I won’t set a “number” on how many are too many, but I draw the line somewhere around contradictory positions that the neg uses to generate cross applications. I will kick the CP if instructed to do so, but not unless I’m told to. Conditionality justifies judge kick but asking 2Ns to tell me under what circumstances to judge kick is such a low bar that I ask.


Specific link debating and contextualization that is preferably set up in CX will be rewarded. The disad probably doesn’t always outweigh and turn the case, stop saying it and find a better way to start your speech. Turns case arguments higher up in the chain are always better (link turns case > nuke war turns case). Aff teams shouldn’t be afraid to read impact defense, make some analytics and move on if the DA is bad but zero risk isn’t usually zero risk. Straight turns are fun and underutilized. Framing pages do not answer dropped impacts, they “frame” your answers to the DA which requires answering said DA. Affs should read tons of addons and try to get the aff to solve DA impact.


1ACs are often quite bad. More block time should be devoted to rebutting the case. The best mix is a healthy balance of lots good evidence with logical presses about the advantages and re-highlighting or explanation of the advantage. Advantage CPs are underutilized and often solve the case, I think reading them on the case is tricky and smart. Self-contained offense that gets to something external is always great and more convincing than vague turns that use words like “flexibility” or “implementation”. 2ACs get away with murder on the case, I will hold them to what they say, the block should punish them for it.

Jeff Joseph Paradigm

3 rounds

Contact info:

I coach debate so I am comfortable with most debate styles. I coach LD and am more familiar with LD, but also did policy in college and assist in coaching it now. I am qualified to judge both events.

Debate is fun. I value wit and humor. Debate is educational. I value scissor-sharp logic. Debate is a chance for high school students to make radical arguments for change. Don't be afraid to be yourself and express your opinion in any method you choose.

I like well-developed, persuasive and interesting cases with strong internal links and warrants and interesting and novel approaches to the resolution.

I believe that debate is, at its core, a thought experience. As a debater, you get to approach each debate round as your debate round. You get to set the rules. You get to debate what you find educational and valuable. To me that is the greatest thing about debate. To that extent, I like creative arguments and the arguments do not have to be conventional. However, you have to persuade me that there is a reason to vote for you, and you have to be prepared to justify that what you are debating is fair and educational to your opponent. To that extent, your opponent also gets to set the rules and play the game the way he or she wants to as well. That means that I am open to theory/topicality arguments on either side in order to set the ground rules for the debate.

I value cross-examination. It shows how a debater thinks on his or her feet, how well he or she understands the resolution and case and how well he or she uses rhetoric and logic. Use it effectively. I want you to answer your opponent's questions and not blow off cross ex. I flow cross-ex and consider statements made in CX as binding.

I will vote on textual arguments, Ks, policy arguments, theory, narratives and performative debate as long as you present an overall persuasive case.

In terms of layering, Theory/Topicality is evaluated as the first layer in debate. I have to first determine that the game is being played fairly before I consider the substance of the arguments. To that extent, I am open to theory arguments. If you are going to make theory arguments, please set forth an interpretation, standards and voters. Don't just claim your opponent is being unfair. If you are are arguing against the theory argument, please provide a counterinterpretation or show me that no counterinterpretation is necessary because you meet the interpretation and do not violate. I am open to RVI arguments and will evaluate those arguments, but only if you prove the theory is frivolous, time suck or strat suck. So RVIs will be considered but you have to show me that the theory argument, itself, was abusive. I will not consider an RVI just because you blip it out. Neg does not get reciprocity on RVIs.

After theory, I next evaluate ROTB, ROTJ and framework arguments. ROTB and ROTJ tells me that there is a role that I play that transcends the debate round. As such, I evaluate ROTB and ROTJ equally with other more traditional framework arguments. If you tell me what my role is, I will accept that as my role. That means the opponent has to come up with a counter ROTB, or show how he or she accesses your ROTB or how your ROTB is somehow bad or that your framework is superior. Same with arguments that you tell me are a priori, prior questions or decision rules. If you tell me there are, justify it, provide rationale. It is then up to your opponent to counter that. Your counter ROTB can be as simple as you should vote for the better debater, but don't just drop it because you assume that traditional framework (weighing case) comes first.

After framework, I will evaluate the contention level. Ks, narratives and performative arguments will be evaluated equally with other arguments but you have to provide the layering for me and tell me how to evaluate those arguments in the round.

Great weighing of arguments is your best route to high speaks. Don't just extend args. Please make sure it is clear to me how your arguments function in the round and how those arguments interact with the other side. I will evaluate all arguments that are not blatantly offensive. But it is up to you to tell my why those arguments are voters. The worst rounds are rounds where there is no weighing, or limited argument interaction. Please make the round clear to me. If an argument is dropped, don't just tell me it is dropped. Tell me why it matters. The more work you do telling me how arguments function in the round, the easier it will be to evaluate the round. I like extensions to be clearer than just a card name; you have to extend an argument, but I also value extensions that are highly efficient. Therefore, summarize your warrants and impacts in a clear and efficient way. Most importantly, please make sure you are very clear on how the argument functions in the round. And, don't go for everything. The best debaters are the ones who are able to succinctly crystalize the key issues in the round and collapse down to those key issues and tell me why they win the debate.

Kritiks: I love them and I love how they are progressing in debate. This includes narratives/performance arguments. Some of the best debates I have seen are good perfomative Kritiks. I will evaluate Ks equally with other positions. However, I have a few ground rules for Ks. First, if you are going to do a K, clearly explain your alt, ROTB and methodology and do not stray from it. It is a pet peeve when someone runs a K and then cannot justify it in CX or is snarky about answering questions about it in CX. If you are criticizing something, you have to be able to explain it under pressure. Second pet peeve: Your method/performance must go in the same direction as the K. If you are running Bifo (semiocapitalism) and then spread without giving your entire speech document to your opponent, I find that to be a performative contradiction. This will not end well for you. On a K explain whether you claim pre-fiat or post-fiat solvency and clearly how your discourse preempts other arguments in the round and weigh your discourse against your opponents framework. If you are doing a narrative or performative argument, you should be able to clearly articulate your methodology for your performance in the round. I know that I bring my own biases in the round, but I try my best to leave them at the door of the debate room and approach narratives and performative arguments with a blank slate. I appreciate hearing your voice in the round. If you are running fem rage or queer rage I want to hear it in the round. I want to hear your voice. That, to me, is the point of using the debate space for performance and narrative. So, I expect you to be able to clearly articulate your methodology and narrative and answer questions about how your opponent interacts with the methodology in the round. If you run a narrative but fumble over how that narrative and methodology works in the debate space, I find it less credible.

Policy arguments (Plans, CPs, DAs) are all evaluated. If you're running a DA, make sure the link debate and impacts are clear. Make sure you are doing good impact calculus on timeframe, magnitude, probability, reversability, etc. I will consider all impact scenarios. It is up to your opponent to tell me why those impact scenarios are outweighed.

Spikes, tricks and Other "Abusive" Arguments: I am not a fan of "tricks," spikes and blippy arguments and struggle to evaluate these strategies, so if your strategy is to go for underview blips and extensions of spikes and blips in your case that are barely on my flow to begin with, whether those arguments are philosophical or theoretical, I am going to have a lower threshold for responses. That means if your opponent has a halfway coherent response to them I am likely to drop the argument. I know that tricks are a new and sexy thing in debate. I just hate them.

Speed: I can flow speed. However, I like to be included in the email chain or pocketbox. Also if your analytics are not on the document, I will try my best to keep up, but don't blame me if you spread through them and I miss something. It is up to you to make the argument explicitly enough that I flow it and extend it. I like to review the evidence, so if you speed, I will follow along as I flow. Make sure the tags and card tags are are slightly slower and are clear. My issue is most often with enunciation, not actual speed, so please make sure you are enunciating as clearly as possible. No speed at the cost of understanding.

Points--(Note that these points have changed as of the ASU 2018 tournament)

30--You have a chance of winning this tournament and are one of the best debaters I have seen in a while.

29.0-29.5 - You are in the top 10% of the tournament and will definitely break.

28.5.-29.0 - You should break at this tournament.

28.0-28.5 - My default speaks. This is for a good and above average debater.

27.5-28.0 - You are average compared to other debaters in the tournament.

27.0-27.5 You are learning and have significant areas of improvement.

<27 This is the lowest I will go. You have done something unfair, offensive or unethical in the round.

Minha Jutt Paradigm

3 rounds

I debated at Blue Valley North in high school and at UMKC in college. I’ve been an assistant coach at BVN for three years now, led a lab last summer, and have judged about 50 debates on this topic. I don't have much of an ideological preference, and will evaluate all arguments. Here are some thoughts I have:

Evidence quality, comparative impact calc, and technical proficiency are important regardless of your arguments’ content. I dislike embedded clash.

Email chain: minhajutt1 @ gmail


Impact turning DAs/advantages is fine but you still have to do impact calc and evidence comparison for the turn, else the debate becomes difficult to objectively judge.

Responding to terrible internal links with impact defense seems less strategic to me than beating the internal link with alt causes/etc.


Conditionality is good, but the neg has to say judge kick is an option. Most cheating counterplans are fine if you can beat the aff on theory.


Impact calc still matters in T debates! Have defense to the other side’s standards, and explain why your offense outweighs/turns theirs. Be sure your interpretation resolves the offense you extend.

Your standards should be specific and impacted – list arguments their interpretation excludes and why they are good, explain which affirmatives their interpretation justifies and why including them in the topic is bad.

Critical Affs

Everything I’ve said about topicality applies here. I also think the aff typically has to win that debating the resolution is bad and that good debates would occur under their model to beat framework. Negatives need defense to aff impact turns to topic education and fairness. Fairness is an impact, but you need warrants explaining why it is.

You can win that critical affs shouldn’t be allowed perms with nuanced, impacted standards like you would in a standard theory debate


Each link should have an impact. Critiques of plan focus/consequentialism seem more strategic to me than critiques with causal links, but I'll vote for any argument if you win it. Winning framework lets you determine the threshold for the negative to disprove the aff. Explain why your interpretation provides the best model for debate and compare their offense to yours. Explain why you should still win under their interpretation. ROB arguments are arbitrary and usually deployed to avoid clash – do impact framing instead.

Jeffrey Kahn Paradigm

3 rounds

tl;dr - tech and speed good, but I'm not doing work for you. The resolution must be in the debate. Email chain: havenforensics (at) gmail - but I'm not reading along. I tab more than I judge, but I'm involved in research. Last update: 3/26/19


Head Coach of Strath Haven HS since 2012. We do all events.
Previously coach at Park View HS 2009-11, assistant coach at Pennsbury HS 2002-06 (and beyond)
Competitor at Pennsbury HS 1998-2002, primarily Policy


Update for TOC '19: it has been awhile since I've judged truly competitive, circuit Policy. I have let my young alumni judge an event dominated by young alumni. I will still enjoy a quality policy round, but my knowledge of contemporary tech is lacking. Note that I'm not going to backflow from your speech doc, and I'm flowing on paper, so you probably don't want to go your top speed.

1. The role of the ballot must be stable and predictable and lead to research-based clash. The aff must endorse a topical action by the government. For all of the flaws in the structure of debate and the debate community, this is the only way to have a productive debate. You cannot create a role of the ballot based on the thing you want to talk about if that thing is not part of the topic; you cannot create a role of the ballot where your opponent is forced to defend that racism is good or that racism does not exist; you cannot create a role of the ballot where the winner is determined by performance, not argumentation. And, to be fair to the aff, the neg cannot create a role of the ballot where aff loses because they talked about the topic and not about something else.

2. I am a policymaker at heart. I want to evaluate the cost/benefit of plan passage vs. status quo/CP/alt. Discourse certainly matters, but a) I'm biased on a framework question to using fiat or at least weighing the 1AC as an advocacy of a policy, and b) a discursive link had better be a real significant choice of the affirmative with real implications if that's all you are going for. "Using the word exploration is imperialist" isn't going to get very far with me. Links of omission are not links.

I can shift to other paradigms, however, I have never been able to get into abstract philosophy, especially at the speed of a policy round. I understand how critical arguments work and enjoy them when grounded in the topic/aff, and when the alternative would do something. Just as the plan must defend a change in the status quo, so must the alt - otherwise you've got a non-unique philosophical disad.

3. Fairness matters. I believe that the policymaking paradigm only makes sense in a world where each side has a fair chance at winning the debate, so I will happily look to procedural/T/theory arguments before resolving the substantive debate. I will not evaluate an RVI or that some moral/kritikal impact "outweighs" the T debate. I will listen to any other aff reason not to vote on T.

I like T and theory debates. The team that muddles those flows will incur my wrath in speaker points. Don't just read a block in response to a block, do some actual debating, OK? I definitely have a lower-than-average threshold to voting on a well-explained T argument since no one seems to like it anymore.

Public Forum

I like a quick, technical debate (due to my Policy background) - if I was starting debate today, I would be a PFer. Major difference from what I used to do is that in PF drops are not death because of the weird way speeches match up. But you should warrant and impact your claims throughout the debate so I don't have to! Speed is good when it gets us depth, not as much if it gets us breadth.

Rebuttal should be line-by-line on their case; responding to 1st Rebuttal is not required but is OK.

Summary is less LBL. I'll allow you to choose to follow the flow or create a new flow of voting issues; if you use contention numbers/titles, I can trace it back. It should be clear where you think the round will be decided in your favor.

Final Focus should tell me a story and refer to specific spots on the flow. I'll weigh what you say makes you win vs what they say makes them win - good idea to play some defense, but see above about drops.

With a Policy background, I will listen to framework, theory, and T arguments, though I really want a solid case debate. I do not believe counterplans or kritiks have a place in PF.

You win a lot of points with me calling out shady evidence, and conversely using good evidence. You lose a lot of points by being unable to produce the evidence you read quickly.

I don't care which side you sit on or when you stand, and I find the post-round judge handshake to be silly and unnecessary.

Lincoln Douglas

My LD experience is mostly local. Thus, I'm comfortable with traditional, value-centered LD and util/policy/solvency LD. If you are going traditional, value clash obviously determines the round, but don't assume I know your abstract philosophers. If you are going for a policy-lite debate, make sure you are still doing LD and not Policy. It's not like I'm going to be impressed because you read a nuclear war scenario, I'm still expecting some resolutional content to show up.

I do not have much experience with circuit LD. I know enough of it to know that a) I'd rather there not be a plan, but if you can justify the plan in a T debate (I like T debates) it is fine; b) absence of a plan means you are defending the resolution, not reading a K - that's just not my style; c) I don't mind a purposeful theory debate but really hate blippy, silly theory; and d) I do not know postmodern philosophy. My Policy background means the neg can read offcase arguments, but my traditional experience says you should still read your own case and not just disads.

Notes for any event

1. Clash, then resolve it. Clash is important. Don't structurally avoid clash. But you also have to resolve the issues of clash. The last rebuttals should provide all interpretation for me and write my ballot, with me left simply to choose which side is more persuasive or carries the key point. I want to make fair, predictable, and non-interventionist decisions, which requires you to do all my thinking for me. I don't want to read your evidence, I don't want to think about how to apply it, I don't want to interpret your warrants - I want you to do all of those things! The debate should be over when the debate ends.

2. Warrants are good. "I have a card" is not a persuasive argument; nor is a tag-line extension. The more warrants you provide, the fewer guesses I have to make, and the fewer arguments I have to connect for you, the more predictable my decision will be. I want to know what your evidence says and why it matters in the round. You do not, for example, get a risk of a link simply by saying it is a link. Warrantless arguments aren't worth a whole lot. Defensive arguments are good, especially when connected to impact calculus. I don't reject shaky evidence out of hand - but defense can win rounds.

3. Speed. Speed for argument depth is good, speed for speed's sake is bad. I hate voting on the dropped #14 or watching the 1AR get outspread with 8 blippy disads. Clarity is important. My threshold is that you should slow down on tags and theory so I can write it down, and so long as I can hear English words in the body of the card, you should be fine. I will yell if I can't understand you. If you don't get clearer, the arguments I can't hear will get less weight at the end of the round, if they make it on the flow at all. I'm not anti-speed, but I'm not reading the speech doc, I'm just flowing and listening.

4. Finally, I think debate is supposed to be both fun and educational. I am an educator and a coach; I'm happy to be at the tournament. But I also value sleep and my family, so make sure what you do in round is worth all the time we are putting into being there. Imagine that I brought some new novice debaters and my superintendent (she loves LD!) to watch the round with me. If you are bashing debate or advocating for suicide or other things I wouldn't want 9th graders new to my program to hear, you aren't going to have a happy judge. Don't take yourselves too seriously, but don't waste my time.

I am more than happy to elaborate on this paradigm or answer any questions in round.

Aidan Kane Paradigm

3 rounds

Add me to the email chain:

Pronouns They/Them

Northside CP Class of 2018

University of Michigan Class of 2022 (Currently Debating On and Off)



Second year university student studying philosophy and environmental sustainability.

If you care, I received multiple TOC bids throughout my career, and qualified my senior year.

No major dispositions to any style of debate, though I typically find myself in the back of mostly clash of civs and K v K debates. That being said, I have judged over 40 rounds on the topic, and am confident in my ability to judge policy rounds as well. Contrary to belief, I did do some policy stuff in my high school days (I have read a soft left corporal punishment aff and a school searches aff senior year, big stick biotech aff junior year).

I'm comfortable with nearly all kritiks, so go wild. My personal strength in debate has been primarily queer and gender theory (I've run Preciado, Halberstam, Spade, Stanley, Irigaray, Puar, and Marquis Bey) and then also high theory (I've run Foucault, Deleuze, Kroker, science fiction, generic Ks like Cap and Security, and sadly Baudrillard).

My voting record has been relatively 50-50 in clash debates.

This is now my second year of judging high school debate, and I've noticed overtime I have become stricter towards 2ARs, so what I'm trying to say is I'm not afraid to protect the 2NR in a lot of instances, and its been happening quite a bit recently. I need to be able to draw a claim and a warrant between the 1AR and the 2AR (and obv the block and 2NR but thats been less of an issue).


Clash of Civs

Aff (Policy) vs Neg (Kritikal)

Comfortable with mostly every K, identity or pomo are both fine in front of me.

I am a K debater myself, and typically go 1 off K at every tournament I compete at in college. This being said, this probably means I have a slightly higher expectation for K teams' explanation of their stuff.

If you are aff

[Big Stick Affs] I've seen a lot of debates this year of these types of affs just kicking the round against the K. It makes me sad. In these rounds I judge, the 1AC rattles off a shit ton of democracy/hegemony/war impacts and then after the K is read they, rather than defending utilitarian ethics, realism, etc, choose to move the debate farther left, and as such they move the ball in the neg's court, by going for a perm or boring "reform possible" evidence that doesnt help the aff whatsoever. When this is done, I tend to find myself voting neg. If you're reading a big stick aff against a K, defend utilitarianism, realism, IR, extinction, security reps, and make a large case outweighs push and youre in a very good position in front of me.

[Soft Left Affs] These types of affs can be very good against K teams but I do think soft left affs need better defense than "just because we use the state doesnt mean we are the state". You are defending the state tho. Own it. I think the real strategy against Ks is severe mitigation of the alt, a robust permutation coupled with extremely well-developed, ideally carded, link turns.

Generally other thoughts for the aff: The bulk of the 2AC should not be bad outdated pragmatism good cards. I also think if you intend to be going for framework in the 2AR, your interpretation needs to be more than one sentence in the 2AC.

If you are neg

Like I said, I am comfortable with whatever you read. However, this is not an excuse for you not to define buzzwords, explain jargon, etc. Debate is still an educational activity, and if your intention is to just confuse your opponents with philosophy then I won't be happy.

Ks need an external impact that outweighs the aff, or must win a massive turns case scenario. The only case this is not true is if the neg massively wins framework (ie, dont weigh the aff), but that hasnt occurred in front of me very often. I obviously think the best way to win offense against the aff is to pull lines from 1AC evidence. However, I have been saddened not to see this very much in high school debate, so if I see it not only am I likely to give greater weight to the argument, but will also probably boost your speaks.

I would say the biggest weak-point I've observed in rounds where I vote against these teams are when there is extremely little impact calculus. I'm sort of just left weighing ressentiment or gratuitous violence against the aff impacts. If theres substantial time dedicated to impact framing in the 2NR the neg will be way ahead.

I default to expecting K teams to do line by line, etc. That being said, I'm all good for non-traditional strategies however there needs to be a defense of why I should be viewing/evaluating the debate differently than I otherwise would.

I've gone back and forth on how necessary the framework debate is. I used to think it was largely useless, until Kevin Hirn sort of convinced me the other way. I've sort of just concluded that I don't really care either way.

Long overviews are fine in front of me, but are also probably unnecessary.

Aff (Kritikal) vs Neg (Policy)

Like I mentioned above, my voting record in these debates are currently around 50-50. I am very familiar with these rounds. I never went for framework on the neg, but I defend my aff against it at nearly every tournament I have been to in my most recent 4 seasons.

I'm fine with either a counter-interp/competing models of debate strategy or an impact turn strategy from the aff. I am also really fine with any style or impacts on framework, though I do have some preferences (that I note in a bit).

Aff teams please...

I strongly prefer if the aff has some type of method/defends something. I really dislike it when affs so blatantly change what the aff is throughout the course of the debate. Pick something to defend as early as the 1AC and go with it. Affs that have zero advocacy and are just A2: Framework cards will probably make me more incentivized to vote on framework.

Have a clear and organized framework block that are not just clumps of analytics. Maybe some cards too would be nice. Numbered blocks will get a boost in points. If the block is not organized, don't blame me for not picking up random disad number 7 on the flow.

Counterdefining words is probably useful, but not always necessary in my view, especially if the A-strat is an impact turn strategy to the framework standards. If you want me to be far more convinced by a counterinterp strat though, then defining words will help a lot.

In the same vein, dont intentionally attempt to confuse your opponents - debate is an educational activity, so if your reason for not defending a plan is so you can imbue debate with education/perspectives that otherwise could not be presented topically, then you should also be able to clearly communicate what that education/perspective is in a clear and concise manner.

Just to reiterate -- Go for *either* a counterinterp strategy or an impact turn framework strategy. Both can and should be in the 2AC block, but you should be focusing on ONE of these options in the 2AR-- not going for both at once.

Do I vote neg on framework?...

Yes. Like I said, the voting record is pretty even.

I will vote on any type of standard if you win it on a technical level. Fairness could maybe be an impact, but I need a warrant for why it matters unpacked in the block. Theres a lot of debaters I've judged who just say the word fairness and presume its this instantly miraculous impact that automatically comes before all else without any additional explanation. As such, I've observed teams who go for this strategy answer the line-by-line with "but debate is a game so fairness" with no further explanation of what that means or why it implicates the aff's offense. If a framework team can explain to me why debate being a game means procedural fairness comes first, and strongly impacts fairness out, I will certainly vote on it as an impact in itself. However, I think it is far more convincing and worth of the neg's time to attach an impact such as skills, education, agonism, etc as the impact attached to why fairness matters.

You should probably make either a good TVA (with a card ideally) or spend substantial time on a SSD claim. From experience, block strategies typically do a good job of reading and explaining a TVA, but don't spend nearly as much time on SSD arguments, which I think is a shame. "btw the aff could have been read on the neg" is not enough of an explanation in the block for me to consider it a full argument in the 2NR. The block should explain switch side in a way that says the aff could have been read on that neg, and explain why that still solves the aff's offense or solves some external impact of yours.

I think it is strategic to read multiple off against K teams in the 1NC. Either they no link out of it and it makes framework a lot more convincing OR they completely blow it off and you can go for something they have no ink on!


Kritikal vs Kritikal

These debates are awesome and are super useful to have in the community. *Anything goes here!* These were some of my favorite debates to have in high school and they are certainly my favorite to watch.

I think debate is a constantly transforming activity that should be experimented on in new and innovative ways. I'm totally down to throw out all norms and having the debate round how you all want to have the debate round, just tell me what the best way to adjudicate it is.

Regardless of whether this is still a tech above all else debate or something different, I need both sides to frame the round. What do I evaluate first? How do I weigh impacts? What should my decision center around? The debates are messy and muddled if done wrong - if one team remedies this for me and another team does not, the former team probably wins 99% of the time.

Do whatever style you want. Any well researched strategy that is well thought out as well as personal narratives and forms of self-expression, including poetry, music, etc have worked well in front of me.

I'm personally apathetic to the question of whether the aff gets a perm in these debates. This will just come down to the flow.

Alts are very big in these debates, the more explanation the better.

Not afraid to pull the trigger on floating PIKs in these rounds.


Policy vs Policy

I feel pretty confident in the back of these debates. For me, a lot of these debates come down to nuanced explanation in which I can draw a line through my flow for not only arguments, but warrants. This seems like a very obvious rule in debate, but more often than not, I have either found myself evaluating debates where there are a ton of arguments "dropped" but those arguments aren't warranted by the team who made them OR having a slight neg bias because of how blatantly new a lot of 2AR explanation is.

Essentially, I hold policy debates to the same level of nuanced explanation as I would a K debate. Take that as you will.

I've also noticed that both sides in these debates try to go for a ton of arguments at once in the final rebuttals, even top level TOC teams, and as such, there are many claims without warrants on my flow. Narrow the debate down to one or two DA links, blow up on one big solvency deficit, etc.

Additionally, If you don't read a rehighlighted card in your speech, I won't consider it.


Heavy evidence comparison on the definitions is good in front of me.

I default to competing interps, unless I am told otherwise.

Slow down in the last two rebuttals.

I don't know random names of policy affs on this topic, so explain to me what debate looks like under your model instead of just labeling a bunch of affs I'm not familiar with


I only judge kick IF the neg team says I can/should. I won't do that work for you unless you say I should.

I'll just be real, I'm probably terrible for over-the-top long process multiplank CPs, I need to know how your CP works and how it competes before I vote on it, even if the other team doesnt press on those questions.

Aff teams shouldn't be afraid to go for counterplan theory, I'm very willing to vote on it, especially in the instance of process CPs.


Dumb DAs with long contrived internal link chains can definitely be beaten in cross-exs calling out their ridiculousness if done right.

Maybe I'm in the minority, but if your uniqueness evidence is "heres a chart", I will be very upset. You should read cards.

Please. Do. Impact Calc.

Impact Turns

These are hella fun. Go crazy. Spark, Warming Good, or Wipeout for all I care. Anything cool will get the neg a huge boost in points if they go for it in the 2NR.

Theory Things

I think I'm more likely to pull the trigger on theory than most judges. Whether it be condo, counterplan theory, or any spec arguments, I'm all for it.



These are mostly in the context of around an octas level bid tournament. Speaks will be adjusted for smaller bid tournaments.

30-29.9 - probably within the top 5 speakers at the tournament

29.6-29.8 - probably within the top 20 speakers at the tournament

29.1-29.5 - will probably clear

28.6-29 - might barely miss clearing, but you still did something I liked

anything below 28.5 varies

Any racism/sexism/anti-queerness will make me give you the lowest points I can.


Want a 30?

So many debates I've judged are wayyy too serious and tense. I want some comedy! Its been almost two years and I've asked for a joke about the people listed below and haven't even gotten an attempt. If you can make one that makes me audibly laugh I'll genuinely consider the 30. No risk. Let's hear it.

Debate Inspirations

Wayne Tang, James Mollison, Aaron Davis, Pauline Esman, Adam Hausman, Robb Berry, Kylie Vera, and Luther Snagel have all mentored me and shaped how I think about debate.

Other people you can joke about include: Magi Ortiz, Talia Blatt, Kathy Martinez, KJ Reese, Hannah Wolfson, Joshua Harrington, Ben McGraw, Maria Sanchez, and Lukas Taylor.

But thats not fair! I don't know any of these people!

Fineeeee. Maybe not a 30 but definitely a point boost for any Drag Race, Parks and Rec, Big Mouth, or Pokemon (dont judge me>:[ ) references.

Viveth Karthikeyan Paradigm

3 rounds

I do want to be on the email chains: kviveth[at] and harvard.debate[at]


Dropped arguments and spin can be true/good to an extent. If you are not making a complete argument or going for a 2 line long card the other team dropped, you're going to be unhappy with the decision.

It's a communication activity. You have 4 speeches to explain to me why microfacism outweighs global warming. If you can't do that, you're going to lose despite the aff dropping the paragraph of a thousand plateaus you read in the 2NC.

CX ends after three minutes. You can take more prep time to ask questions, but it won't be "on the record"

One debater speaks during each speech - I will not flow/listen to the 2A speaking during the 1AC.

"Framework" -

I think some of the most meaningful things I've learned from my decade doing policy debate have come from debating, researching, and preparing arguments that are "not about the topic".

That being said, debate is a competitive activity and the resolution is the only non-arbitrary starting point from which to begin research and preparation.

Counterplans -

The plan is the focus of the debate and perms don't have to be topical.

If you have evidence that compares your CP to the plan, it's probably legitimate

I have a hard time seeing the neg winning on CPs that compete solely off of certainty and immediacy.

The "always a risk of the CP linking less than the plan" is silly.

You don't need solvency advocates especially for smart and intuitive advantage CPs and 2NC CPs out of addons.

I'll will kick CPs for the neg if the CP is conditional until told not to by the aff.

Critique -

Good critique debating is good case debating. If you aren't talking about the case while going for the K, you are likely going to lose.

Theory -

Most theory arguments are reasons to reject the argument, not the team.

Theory arguments are generally a tougher rebuttal strategy than substance.

Executive Action CP - Executive action CPs and even 'non-action' CPs are fine. The aff should be able to defend the necessity of a statutory/judicial restriction on executive authority.

Conditionality - I don't think conditionality is good, but in 80% of debates it's not really problem. Affs need to be better at defending the case against multiple negative strategies. That being said, neg teams are garbage at defending conditionality and the aff should capitalize.

States CPs - I'm persuaded by the aff theory argument that the states CP teaches a bad decision making model because the decision to prefer the states as an actor is not an opportunity cost to federal government action. I think most states CPs are bad for debate, but especially those that are uniform and abstracted from the lit about fed gov v. states.

Will Katz Paradigm

4 rounds

Yes email chain-- College: and

High School:

4 years debating and 4 years coaching at Washburn Rural High School, 4 years debating and 1 year coaching at KU

Compile a doc of all relevant cards and all relevant marks for me at the end of the debate.

I have been pretty involved in policy topic research for both the HS Arms sales topic and the College Space topic. I have judged almost 100 debates this year between the two (over 100 if you count camp tournament debates), and feel prepared to keep up with most innovations that occur.

Online Debate Updates

I, like you, have never done this before. Things that I want to emphasize/clarify as we transition:

-Don't be late to the round. There is literally no excuse. You are either at your own house or your own school or whatever- go to the bathroom before the debate, get water or mountain dew or whatever before the debate, show up to the round a little early, be ready to go. I anticipate these debates will just naturally progress slower than others, please don't add to that in completely avoidable ways.

-BE CLEAR. It has always been very important. It is now more important that it used to be

-Have structure to your arguments-- things like numbering/subpointing your arguments will make it easier for me to figure out where you are if the sound cuts out for a second

-Please don't make things harder than they are. That means don't stand so that you are out of distance from your mic, please do make sure your face is in the video when speaking, don't send two docs out before the speech and expect us to follow along,etc.

I reserve the right to ask clarification questions of the debaters immediately after speeches (before cx and prep time starts). I will only do this in instances in which communication fails because of technology, and will not do it when communication fails because of a debater. Some may see this as judge intervention, but I think those people would be mistaken

2020 Post-Season Updates

Let your partner talk in their cx, if you don't I'll unapologetically dock your speaker points

I don't think I've judged a topic T debate on the space topic, but I think a lot of affs are playing with fire on "cooperation" or topic areas

Specific K's > Generic K of cooperation > Generic K of space

Argument non-specific things

Debate off your flow, don't just read scripts

Evidence quality is important, and that includes how you highlight your evidence

I'm often compelled by teams that have a well-packaged narrative for their argument- this matters a decent amount for winning and a lot for speaker points

I will not evaluate arguments about an individual's intentions, character, or actions outside of the debate.

Policy thoughts

I'm probably not the best judge for affs that say they are basically the status quo so there's no da.

Turns case has been relevant in a lot of rfd's I've given

I am really bad for cp's that do not have topic-specific evidence (see: con-con on the space topic) or any evidence in the 1nc

I think I'm more persuadable than most on well explained defensive arguments to a cp like perm shields the link or cp links to the net benefit.

There are two types of soft left affs. Type 1 is "ignore DAs because they are improbable." Type 2 is "we are going to beat DAs on good specific defensive arguments and use our framing page to explain why offense/defense doesn't really make sense." Type 1 is much more common, type 2 is much more persuasive.

Theory is a winnable 2ar. I think I am just as persuadable that the neg should get 0 conditional advocacies as I am that they should get infinite. To me, it is entirely up to the debaters, which these days makes me a good judge for a team going for theory.

"Conditional" means judge kick but I can definitely be convinced to stick the neg with the cp they went for without wholesale rejecting conditionality

"New affs bad" is a waste of breath.

Framework vs K affs

Historically I am very good for the neg in these debates, I suspect more than most people who (semi)frequently judge these debates. I vote neg a lot because usually it is more clear to me how the negative team's model of debate produces a better season of debates. Aff's would be well served investing a lot of time into describing their model of debate as opposed to their own affirmative


Framework is important. I very rarely vote neg if the neg doesn't win framework. It isn't impossible to win without winning framework/consequentialism, but as the neg it makes your job much harder

I usually determine that negs beat the aff's "plan focus good" framework. This isn't for ideological reasons (honestly quite the opposite) but the block usually has several offensive arguments, cards, defense to aff standards, and the 1ar usually just says "moots the aff that's unfair debate is a game" and moves on.

Negs that do impact calculus, change the framework of the debate, and actually challenge core assumptions of the aff are usually in a good spot

Please do impact comparison, don't just list your impacts in the overview.

David Kilpatrick Paradigm

3 rounds

I am a coach at the University of Texas-Austin and Westwood High School. Conflicts: Texas, Westwood, Polytechnic, St Vincent de Paul, Bakersfield High School

Email Chain: yes,

2018-2019 Judging record: 84 total debates (excluding HS locals), AFF - 47 NEG - 37

UPDATE: TOC 2020 - 2As who respond to T-Pearson by saying "it overlimits" then giving a thumbs down will receive +0.1 speaker points and will be considered a sufficient response.

Debate is an activity about persuasion and communication. If I can't understand what you are saying because you are unclear, haven't coherently explained it, or developed it into a full argument-claim, warrant, impact, it likely won't factor in my decision.

While there are some exceptions, most debaters I've judged the last few years are pretty unclear, so its likely I will miss some arguments. Final rebuttals offer you a space to retrace the part(s) of the debate you think are most relevant to the decision. This both makes it much more likely I will understand your argument and will likely improve your speaker points.

The winner will nearly always be the team able to identify the central question of the debate.

Virtually nothing you can possibly say or do will offend me, if you can't beat a terrible argument you probably deserve to lose.

Everyone seems to have intense clashphobia these days - this isn't about policy or k debate, its across the board and going for the least covered option seems to be everyone's mantra. I get why you think that's strategic, but typically it results in shallow rebuttals, frustrating decisions, 1-1-1 panels and lower points. Specific AFF/NEG research that demonstrate the third and fourth level testing everyone seems to think is important wil be rewarded with higher points. All in on "not our ___" will not.

I flow CX, unless its some random clarification question you forgot I will stop flowing CX after 3 minutes. The "I'm going to ask a million questions while my partner preps their 2NC" has gotten ridiculous.

Framework-I find myself voting negative a lot on procedural fairness a lot. K affs seem to have a lot of trouble deciding if they want to go for the middle ground or just impact turn--pick a strategy and stick to it 1AC-2AR and you're more likely to be in a good place. The block is almost always great on T, the 2NR almost always forgets to do terminal impact calculus. Testing arguments become much more persuasive to me when you give specific examples for how those would occur. What neg args would you be able to read against a potential TVA? Why is it good for the 2AC to research those positions, how would you researching answers to their answers be beneficial? A lot of this stuff just gets assumed and I think that a lot of repetitiveness from most framework 2NCs can be substituted for this kind of depth early in the debate. 2NRs sometimes seem to spend so much time on why they access AFF lit base/impacts that they don't end up extending a terminal impact or external offense at all. I think it's difficult to win a debate when you basically go for a CP w/o a net benefit.

I'm a lot better for framework that sounds closer to T with a limits and clash as the primary impacts then the soliloquy on the most superior model for debate. Clash as the most important internal link to education/fairness/skills/game etc. is usually more persuasive to me than other arguments on T.


-If your CP competes based on the certainty or immediacy of the plan, it doesn't take a ton on theory for me to reject the counter plan.

HS topic - I think the arms sales topic might be one where conditions CPs are more legit. The amount of specific and good solvency advocates for conditions CPs this year is staggering so I think it's reasonable to expect the AFF to prepare for it. This being said, I'll be pretty hostile towards conditions CPs with terrible solvency evidence given how much good stuff exists.

-I won't kick it for you unless you tell me to. I'm pretty easily sold that judge kick is bad.

-"perm do both" or "perm do cp" with no explanation isn't a complete argument. I get that given negative off-case prolif sometimes this feels inevitable, but I'm confident results will improve if you give warrants for any permutation that you think it's likely will find its way into the 2AR.


-affs usually lose these by forgetting about the case, negs usually lose these when they don't contextualize links to the 1ac. If you're reading a policy aff that clearly links, I'll be pretty confused if you don't go impact turns/case outweighs.

-link specificity is important - I don't think this is necessarily an evidence thing, but an explanation thing - lines from 1AC, examples, specific scenarios are all things that will go a long way


-they should be intrinsic to the plan, with enough time investment affs can potentially win that agenda politics disads are not a logical opportunity cost.

-uniqueness controls the direction of the link typically makes the most sense to me, but you can probably convince me otherwise

Vikram Kohli Paradigm

7 rounds

Hello all!!

Most recently coached Northwestern (College) / Lane Tech (HS); gonna be working full time in Not Debate World, so likely won't be around much

Better to win ugly than lose pretty!! Ignore all of the below [slight] proclivities if they impede your route to victory

Procedural stuff:

- Please slow down esp. at the start of constructive speeches; wasn't great at flowing in the first place & now it's probably worse

- Not really a stickler for '1 speech, 1 speaker'; there's obvi a point where it gets egregious, but if your partner interjects with something short during your speech I don't think you have to parrot it

- I understand the value + necessity of heated indignation or anger at times; that said, all things equal, I'd rather everyone be friendly n gentle t/w each other. Snark/pompousness is rarely persuasive imo, just kinda uncomfy

- "Insert this rehighlighting into the round" is a no-no - just read it pls

Content stuff:

- Probably don't know the topic very well if at all, as such I beseech your mercy re: acronyms / "basic topic knowledge"

- Will do my best to decide based off of what I write down, but candidly almost all theory & T arguments kinda just sound like whining to me

- Exhausted with planless aff vs. framework debates, and the above still applies to them, but have voted/will vote either way

- 'Neg terrorism' is good: I like infinite conditionality + think the neg gets to do basically whatever they want re: CP legitimacy questions

gl hf

Eric Lanning Paradigm

3 rounds

Eric Lanning

University of Houston

Thesis: “There are many Lannings”


 I am *not* a blank slate – I’ll try to identify the issues, arguments and controversies that I feel strongly about and update this list throughout the season to reflect how and why I voted.


 Be Direct – I can’t really flow, I don’t really ‘call for’ evidence and if I can’t remember an argument after the debate without scouring my flow and your evidence – I’m very unlikely to vote on it or for you.


I think that ‘truth vs tech’ is a false dichotomy. You should generally make good arguments and specifically answer bad ones.


 I’m very expressive – try to pay attention to me! If you’re nuerodivergent or just don’t feel comfortable interpreting my body language or facial expressions – just let me know. I’m more than willing to work with you and/or provide direct physical cues (thumbs up, thumbs down) or verbal cues (Yes Lady Gaga, Not a winner). Dallas Perkins was my ordinal one for most of my debate career, both because I love him and because I liked getting feedback before the RFD.


I think ‘judge adaptation’ should work in *both* directions. Help me help you. If you want me to evaluate the debate (differently) that you think I usually would, make it an argument in the debate. I’m more committed to the idea of accessible debate and accessible judging than any specific preference in my judge philosophy.



 List of predispositions (last updated before UMKC 2015)


1)      Framework (Clash Debates) I’m generally more persuaded by claims about the necessity of ‘engaging institutions’ and ‘incremental reforms’ than ‘you broke the rules/norms’. I don’t mind judging these debates and I’ve found my voting record is less ideological than my posts on Facebook. That said, I think innovation and engagement are important and tend to reward debaters who take risks with strategies other than framework.

2)      Competing Methods (New Debate) I think these debates are about what you did, not what could have happened. That bias doesn’t translate into “no” or “yes” perms, but I think that question is really important for resolving these debates. What does competition mean? Why does my ballot matter? The more time you spend answering those questions the more likely you are to win my ballot. I think “x” outweighs “y” is a horrible way to frame and evaluate these debates – I’m much more persuaded by arguments about how your method resolves their offense and their method doesn’t resolve your offense.

3)      ‘Try or Die’ and ‘Risk of a Link’ (Old Debate) I’m not very persuaded by either. I vote on presumption a lot more than other folks. If you don’t solve or don’t have a link – I’m unlikely to calculate the “risk” in your favor. I vote on zero solvency. I vote on zero link. I really like “case” debates. I think the best impact comparisons are not a list of *every* metric, but picking one or two and explaining why they matter more than others.

4)      Theory – I default to ‘reject the argument not the team’, except for arguments about conditionality and contradictions. In the abstract, I think the negative strategy should be consistent and that multiple conditional advocacies lower the quality of debates. These debates are often frustrating to judge because people shout buzzwords back and forth faster than I can flow them – explanation >>> vocabulary.

5)      Counterplans – if at any point during the debate you describe your counterplan as “resulting in the entire affirmative” – I’m very unlikely to think it’s legitimate or competitive. Note – the AFF should make these arguments!!! Functional + Textual competition is better than either alone. PICS, Agent CPs, Advantage CPs >>> Process CPs, Condition CPs, Consultation CPs.

6)      Topicality – While I’m more in the “discussion of the topic” than “topical discussion” camp, I think more debaters should separate “framework” from “topicality”. I’m torn between a desire to preserve affirmative flexibility and predictable, sustainable and meaningful negative ground. I definitely think we should debate about legalization, but I’m skeptical of ideological interpretations that claim there is “only one way” to do that. Not sure how helpful this is, but it’s worth saying that I tend to vote affirmative more than negative in debates about the boundaries of the topic.



Beau Larsen Paradigm

3 rounds

Questions and email chains can be directed to: beau.a.larsen [@] My pronouns are THEY / THEM / THEIRS. I like snacks and water at almost all times. Trying to be better at keeping a /straight/ face while judging; don't over analyze my expressions though I'm typically just thinking about how an argument could/should develop.

***I'm a Grad Asst at Wake Forest completing my M.A in Communication and Rhetoric. If you would like to talk about Wake Forest or about attending RKS 2020, feel free to come up and talk to me or send an email! ***

Debated on the MN circuit, six bids to the TOC. Debated for the University of Southern California from 2014-2018, two first round bids to the NDT, Top Speaker of the 2018 CEDA Tournament, Baby Jo Debater of the Year.

I've defended and coached a wide range of argumentation - performance, critical theory, politics DAs, topicality, security ks, fiatted plans, etc. All of which I've developed meaningful education and skills from.


You do you, I'll do my best to evaluate your arguments. I prefer judging debaters who not /full speed/, clearer and make less but smarter and more in depth arguments. Fast debates are cool too but I will say clear if I can't flow what you are saying.

My biggest preference is to judge debaters who are engaged and enthusiastic. Please do not debate like you don't want to be debating. Persuade and communicate. Clarity is important. Greater the explanation, the better. Impact out your link arguments. Warrants, empirics, examples. These practices will increase your speaker points. Debate evidence. Cite their evidence in your link/internal link/impact scenarios, and vise versa.

- I really am not a fan of tag team cross ex

- I typically flow cross ex and find that it is often situating my ballot/where the debate goes


I like smart well thought out theory arguments - compare interps and respond to standards.


Probably more lenient than others on what I think CPs can do/fiat but that's still up for the theory debate.


Love them. Impact and turns case analysis are a must.

***K affs***

I judge a lot of debates where affirmatives do not read a fiatted plan text, I default to the belief that these affs should defend a method/mechanism/plan with a solvency claim, should be resolutional, have isolated harms, etc. Can be persuaded else wise, it's up for debate. The negative should have some engagement with aff argumentation and generate offense and turns case arguments against the aff. Offense can come in a multitudinous amount of ways. This could be a topicality or framework argument. The negative should make sure to respond to aff offense/impact turns and compare your models of debate in developing your offense. Case and framework arguments that engage in aff literature are clutch. Affs should be able to talk about their model of debate and the role of the negative alongside their offense.

KvK debate, think through competition and framing for the round. Delineations are important between the aff and the alt. The negative (and affirmative) should think through turns case arguments and external impacts.

- Ballot claims don't particularly grab my attention esp when that phrased about how x team seeks recognition

Teja Leburu Paradigm

3 rounds

Teja Leburu, Coach at Northwestern University, Toss Me on the Chain:

I removed most of the thoughts before, mostly because who wants to read a four-page paradigm. The short version is: I think Aff's need to defend a topical course of action. Based on previous rounds I've judged, it seems I'm not great for condo bad or "cheating" CPs. Have fun and don't take yourself too seriously.

Additional Notes:

---Rehighlighting is Fine

---Boo Bad Theory Args to "Reject the Team" e.g "Severance Perms" or "States CP"

---I'll Read The Cards

---I'll Hold Your Politics Ev to Same Standard As Any Other DA

---If you read an New Aff on Paper, you are a coward

---Introduction of a CP without explanation/card of how it solves in the 1NC justifies new 1AR answers

---NDT Note: the Aff/Neg must send out evidence in complete form with tags/highlighting read in word document (at some point, at latest after the speech), if accessible, to all participants in the debate, otherwise will receive a 27. I will also intervene to notify either side of this policy if possible during the debate.

Nick Lepp Paradigm

4 rounds

I am currently a graduate assistant/assistant coach at the University of Georgia. This is my 12th year in policy debate.

I use he/him pronouns.

Last updated: 3/16/2019

Please put me on the email chain & make me an ev doc at the end of the debate.

Top level things:

I think about debate in terms of risk (does the risk of the advantage being true outweigh the risk of the disad being true?). I am willing to vote on presumption, particularly when people say really ridiculous stuff.

I like nuance and for you to sound smart. If you sound like you've done research and you know what's going on, I'm likely to give you great points. Having nuances and explaining your distinctions is the easiest way to get my ballot.

I really feel like judge direction is a lost art. If you win the argument that you're advancing, why should it matter? What does this mean for the debate? What does it mean for your arguments or the other team's arguments? This is the number one easiest way to win my (and really anyone's) ballot in a debate. Direct your judges to think a certain way, because if you don't, your judges are likely to go rogue and decide things that make sense to them but not to you. So impact your arguments and tell me what to do with them. I think it's way more valuable to do that than include one more tiny argument.

How I decide debates:

First: who solves what?-- does the aff solve its impacts, and (assuming it's in the 2NR) does the negative's competitive advocacy solve its own impacts and/or the aff? In framework debates, this means the first questions I resolve are "does the aff solve itself?" and "does the TVA solve the aff sufficiently?"

Second: Who’s impact is bigger? This is the most important question in the debate. Do impact calculus.

Third: Whatever you have told me matters. Because I have started with solvency & impact calculus questions, everything else is always filtered along those lines (including framework/role of the ballot/role of the judge args).

Other misc things:

1. A dropped argument is a true argument but it needs to be a complete argument to begin with or I will likely allow people new answers. For example, this epidemic with high schoolers reading aspec on the bottom of T flows to hide it: if it’s so quick I didn’t catch it in the 1NC, the 1AR gets all the new args they want.

2. I am very flowcentric. Do not ask me to not flow, because I won't listen to you. Please do line-by-line. If you don't, I'll be frustrated and less likely to buy new extrapolations of arguments. Your speaker points will definitely drop if you don't do line-by-line. I'm not a huge fan of overviews at all. I am unlikely to yell clear at you if I cannot understand you.

3. Debate Decorum: I expect some civility and politeness between you and your opponent. This is an academic activity and a community where we clash of a variety of diverse ideas. If you forget this, it's likely to show in your speaker points. If things get particularly egregious (shouting racial slurs at your opponent, physically harming or intimidating your opponents, etc) I will intervene and you will lose. That being said, show me that you care. Show me that you know things, that you've done research on this topic, that you want to win, and that debate matters to you. I love this activity and if you also love it I want to know that.

"The existence of speech time limits, the assumption that you will not interrupt an opponent's speech intentionally, and the fact that I (and not you) will be signing a ballot that decides a winner and loser is non-negotiable." (taken verbatim from Shree Awsare).

I am incredibly uncomfortable adjudicating things that did not occur in the debate I am watching. Please do not ask me to judge based on something that didn’t happen in the round. I am likely to ignore you.

4. Judge kicking makes sense to me but I frequently forget about it, so if you want me to judge kick something you should tell me so in the block/2NR.

5. Teams should get to insert rehighlightings of the other team's cards, but obviously should have to read cards if they're new/haven't been introduced into the debate yet. Two offshoots of this-- 1. You should insert rehighlightings of other team's cards if they suck 2. You should read cards that don't suck.

6. Please highlight your ev so it reads as complete sentences. This does not mean that I need you to highlight complete sentences-- but if you are brick highlighting, I want to be able to read highlighted portions of your ev as complete sentences—it flows better to me. IE don't skip the letter "a" or the words "in" or "the". Just a random pet peeve.

7. Card Reading: I tend to not do a lot of it after debates unless things are highly technical or I think the debaters aren’t explaining things well. That being said, I’ll likely read at least some cards. Please put together a card doc for me.

8. Debaters parroting their partners: I usually just flow what the partner said. That, obviously, only exists within reason (you don’t get to give a third speech in a debate obvi, but you can interrupt your partner to say something and I will flow it).

9. New 2AR args are bad for debate. I consciously hold the line against them as much as I can. I as a 2N feel as if I got a few decisions where a judge voted aff on an arg that didn't exist until the 2AR and it's the most frustrating. You can expect me to try to trace lines between args in earlier & later speeches. However, if I think the argument they're making is the true argument or a logical extrapolation of something said in the 1AR, I'm more likely to buy it. 2As-- this means if you're gonna do some 2A magic and cheat, you should trick me into thinking that you're not cheating.

Some specifics:

Disads: I’m better for the smart DAs than the silly ones, but I understand the value of bad DAs and will vote for them. I will likely reward you with higher speaker points if I think I understand your story really well and/or you have some cool/unique spin on it. I am fine with logical take outs to DAs that don’t require cards (especially if there’s some logic missing internally in the DA). Don’t just read new cards in the block or 1AR, explain your args.

Theory, CPs, and K Alternatives: I put these pieces together because a lot of my thoughts on these three args blend together.

Competition is determined off the plantext, not off cross-x. PICs & PIKs are only competitive if they PIC/PIK out of something in the plantext. I do not believe that you get to PIC/PIK out of a justification or non-plantext based word. The only way I will ever be convinced otherwise is if the aff allows you to do so.

Condo: It’s good. I can be persuaded otherwise, but all things equal I’m very neg leaning here. “They should get one less CP” is an arbitrary interp and makes no sense.

Particular Theory: I’m way better for this than most judges. States theory, international fiat, consult/condition, vague alts, utopian alts, etc—I have gone for all of these and actively coach my debaters to do the same. My predisposition is to reject the arg not the team, but I can be persuaded to reject the team on non-condo theory args (you should introduce the arg as reject the team in the 2AC if you want this to be an option).

Theory can be a reason you get to make a cheating perm.

Counterplans/alternatives that use aff evidence as solvency advocates are awesome.

If the CP/alt links less I think it makes sense that I prefer it, but make that arg yourself because I won’t make it for you.

Case: "Where have all my heroes gone?"-- Justin Green

I love love love case debate. You should make logical extrapolations that take out the internal link chains and make me question how the advantage makes sense. The block should read more cards but feel free to make logical case take outs without cards. I don't think you should have to go for impact defense to beat advantages-- uniqueness and internal link take outs are almost always the easier place to attack advantages. I tend to prefer a well-developed take out to the death by a thousand cuts strategy.

Affs-- 2NR that don't do well-developed case debate are generally overwhelmed by your "try or die"/"case outweighs"/"1% chance of solvency" args.

Topicality: It's only ever a voter and not a reverse voter. I oftentimes feel like teams get away with bloody murder teams should just go for T against. That being said, I’m not great for silly/arbitrary T interps. That being said, I am a sucker for plantext in a vacuum and will vote aff on terminal defense.

Kritiks: I like Ks that care about people and things. I'm optimistic to a fault. I certainly believe that things are still terrible for billions of beings, but it's hard to convince me that everything in the world is so absolutely screwed.

Your long overview is actively bad for debate and you will not change my mind.

Make your K interact with the affirmative. I want your links to primarily be about the result of the aff as opposed to just the reading of the aff. Thus, for example, fiat bad links are pretty easily beaten in front of me, but reasons why x policy should not occur are much more persuasive.Don't just explain your theory of how power works, explain how the aff is bad according to your theory of power.

I have a masters degree in communication studies and am a PhD student. I primarily study queer theory (generally falling in the queer optimism/utopianism camp), theories of biopower, neoliberalism & capitalism (not the same thing), and humanism. Judith Butler and Michel Foucault are my favorite theorists. Grad school has taught me that theory is way more complex than I used to think it was. What this means for you: I have read some K literature, although I tend to read it academically rather than for debate nowadays. I am much better now for relatively complex theory arguments than I used to be but will get annoyed if I know that you’re deploying the theory wrong. I'm still not good for things like "death good," "meaning doesn't mean anything," or "language is meaningless" because I don't think those are questions even worth asking. I have not read a lot of literature about antiblackness academically, but I have read some of it from a debate standpoint. I am still unwilling to fill in those blanks for you if you are lacking them (ex-- just saying the words "yes antiblackness ontological, natal alienation proves" is almost not an argument in my mind).

I consistently find myself entirely ignoring the framework debate when judging a plan-based aff versus a K. I fundamentally believe I should weigh the aff & the neg should get access to a K. I will reinterpret your args as just “weigh the aff against the K.” For example-- if you say something like "the aff has to prove that their presentation of the 1AC is ethical", I think the way they do that is by me weighing the implications of the 1AC versus the implications of your criticism. Thus, when evaluating the debate through this framework, I will evaluate the merits of the 1AC versus the K (in other words, if you prove that the implementation of the 1AC is unethical then I vote for you, if you don't prove that it's unethical than I vote aff). I also start from the question "what does the action of the aff solve versus what does the action of the neg solve?" regardless of any framework arguments, so I don't even evaluate framework args first (which should also tell you how unpersuasive this style of argument is for me). Teams should spend less time on framework in front of me and more time winning the substance of their arguments. This also means that hardline “you don’t get a K” and “don’t weigh the aff against the K” style interps are completely unpersuasive to me. This also means that the role of the ballot/judge is only ever to vote for whoever did the better debating. I will not deviate from this, so, again, don't waste your time even saying the words "the role of the ballot/judge is x" in front of me.

“Perms are a negative argument” and “method v method debate means no perms” are both not arguments. I will not write these words on my flow.

Ultimately, I evaluate K debates just like I evaluate policy debates—explain your args well and put the debate together and I’m happy to vote on it. Technical line by line still matters and dropped args are still true args. If you want to win the debate on some metaframing issue, flag it as such and apply it on the line by line. Just be a good debater and I’m on board.

2NRs on the K that include case debate (with some level of internal link/impact defense; not just your security K cards on case) are substantially more persuasive to me.

Framework debates: you should also read my section on Ks (right above this one) as well.

Framework is a strategy and it makes a lot of sense as a strategy. Just like every other strategy, you should try to tailor it to be as specific to the aff as you possibly can. For example, how does this particular aff make it impossible for you to debate? What does it mean for how debate looks writ-large? What's the valuable topic education we could have had from a topical discussion of this aff in particular? Same basic idea goes for when you’re answering generic aff args—the generic “state always bad” arg is pretty easily beaten by nuanced neg responses in front of me. The more specific you are, the more likely I am to vote for you on framework and the more likely I am to give you good speaks.

Stop reading big-ass overviews. They’re bad for debate. Your points will suffer. Do line by line. Be a good debater and stop being lazy. The amount of times I have written something like "do line by line" in this paradigm should really tell you something about how I think.

I do not find truth testing/"ignore the aff's args because they're not T" very persuasive. I think it's circular & requires judge intervention.

I do, however, think that fairness/limits/ground is an impact and that it is, oftentimes, the most important standard in a T debate.

T and/or framework is not genocide, nor is it ever rape, nor is it real literal violence against you or anyone else. I am unlikely to be persuaded by 2AR grandstanding ("omg I can't believe they'd ever say T against us") against 2NRs who go for T/framework. Just make arguments instead.

I’m a sucker for a good TVA. Teams seem to want to just laundry list potential TVAs and then say "idk, maybe these things let them discuss their theory". I believe that strategy is super easily beaten by a K team having some nuanced response. It makes way more sense to me if the TVA is set up almost like a CP-- it should solve a majority or all of the aff. If you set it up like that and then add the sufficiency framing/"flaws are neg ground" style args I'm WAY more likely to buy what you have to say (this goes along with the whole "I like nuance and specificity and you to sound like you're debating the merits of the aff" motif that I've had throughout my paradigm).

I oftentimes wonder how non-topical affs solve themselves. The negative should exploit this because I do feel comfortable voting neg on presumption in clash & K v K debates. However, I won’t ever intervene to vote on presumption. That’s an argument that the debaters need to make.

Non-topical affs should have nuance & do line by line as well. Answer the neg’s args, frame the debate, and tell me why your aff in particular could not have been topical. The same basic idea applies here as it does everywhere else: the more generic you are, the more likely I am to vote against you.

Cross-ex: I am becoming increasingly bored and frustrated with watching how this tends to go down. Unless I am judging a novice debate, questions like "did you read X card" or "where did you mark Y card" are officially counting as parts of cross-x. I tend to start the timer for cross-ex pretty quickly after speeches end (obviously take a sec to get water if you need to) so pay attention to that. I'm really not much of a stickler about many things in debate, but given that people have started to take 2+ minutes to ask where cards were marked/which cards were read, I feel more justified counting that as cross-x time.

I pay attention & listen to CX but I do not flow it. Have a presence in CX & make an impact. I am listening.

Speaker points-- I do my best to moderate these based on the tournament I'm at and what division I'm in. That being said, I won’t lie—I am not a point fairy (seriously why do teams need a 28.9 to clear these days?).

29.7-- Top speaker
29-29.5-- You really impressed me and I expect you to be deep in the tournament
28.9-- I think you deserve to clear
28.3-- Not terrible but not super impressive
27.5-- Yikes
I will award the lowest possible points for people who violate the basic human dignities that people should be afforded while debating (IE non-black people don't say the N word).

I've also been known to give 20s to people who don't make arguments.

If you have any other questions, feel free to ask me before the debate begins, or send me an email. I also do seriously invite conversation about the debate after it occurs-- post-rounds are oftentimes the most valuable instantiation of feedback, the best way to get better at debate, and important for improving intellectually. I know that post-rounds sometimes get heated, and I think we all get defensive sometimes when we're being pressed on things we've said (or think we've said) so I will likely consciously try to take deep breaths and relax if I feel myself getting angry during these times. This also means that I may take a second to respond to your questions because I am thinking. I also might take slightly awkward pauses between words-- that's not because I don't think your question is important, I'm just trying to choose my words carefully so I can correctly convey my thoughts. I only post this here because I don't want anyone to feel like they're being attacked or anything for asking questions, and I apologize in advance if anything I say sounds like that.

Mark Little Paradigm

4 rounds

Updated for TOC 2019 and early tournaments of 2019-2020

Email chain:


Current: OES (Oregon Episcopal School) 6 years


- Cornell assistant coach (pre-merger)

- UW debater (pre-merger)

- Interlake debater (long time ago)


1. Open to any argument. There are comments below about three substantive positions: T, PoMo Ks, and Identity Ks.

2. Debate is a game. You get to set the rules, except for speech times, speech order, and prep time.

3. Tech > truth. I am deeply suspicious of truth claims in debate. I endeavor to be flow centric in my judging.

4. Don't steal prep.

5. Debate is a scholarly activity. Sharp use of excellent ev is compelling to me.

6. If I seem grumpy, it just means I'm engaged and interested.


The general rule is that T is great, subject to the exceptions below in the "Substantive arguments" section. Innovative interps or well carded args on T are refreshing.

Theory other than T

Vote for and against theory args.

- Condo / dispo: make no assumptions about the number of neg positions a team gets. Default to dispo (its ok to kick). Need justification for condo (its ok to contradict). Willing to change these defaults.

- Framework / T USFG: sure, but you will be more successful if you also engage substantively with the aff even if you don't ultimately go for those args in the 2NR.

- ASPEC, OSPEC, etc: if they are meaningful arguments, no problem voting for them.

- Novel or resurrected theory: explain it, win it, and the ballot is yours.


Straight forward. A couple of pet peeves:

- "Perm do both" is not an argument. Perms need an explanation of how they function and why they disprove competition.

- "Perms are severance and VI" is not an argument. As a default, perms are a test of competition and not an advocacy, barring an actual shift by the aff.


Mild preference for Ks grounded in the topic or with meaningful links to the aff. Links of omission are usually not persuasive.

Substantive arguments: T, PoMo Ks, and Identity Ks

Normally, I don't have opinions on substantive arguments, but I have noticed two patterns in my judging which you might care about:

1. POMO positions with some relation to the topic win my ballot much more frequently than POMO with no relation to the topic.

2. Identity politics positions are challenging under two conditions:

(a) if the team running identity politics position cannot answer the question "How can the other team reasonably win the ballot?", then I will probably vote against the position, and

(b) arguments predicated on the other team's identity will get ignored. You are welcome to argue about your own identity or social position.

Zhane Lloyd Paradigm

3 rounds

Pronouns: she/her/hers

Yes, include me on the email chain.

Brooklyn Tech: 2011 - 2012 (those three novice UDL tournaments apparently count)
NYU: 2014 - 2018

I help coach for Brooklyn Tech and The New School.

Update 2019: I don't feel like deleting below the TL;DR because some things may still apply, but I'd like to add some new stuff that are probably most salient for debaters required to look at a paradigm 15 minutes before the round.

For monetary reasons primarily, I've begun judging PF. Points 2-5 below are probably most beneficial for looking at.

1). SPACE TOPIC SPECIFIC: I don't care whether or not you explicitly talk about China/Russia cooperation, but I think outer space itself is a cool topic and I do want to hear about it in round.

2). There is 75% chance I know something about what you're saying, but for debater's sake, I don't know anything and want it explained to me. Very well. I am a storyteller and I like storytelling. Tell me the story of your argument.

3). Impact framing matters SO much. I need the question "why should I care" to be answered by the debaters. The question "why should I care about your argument more than your opponents" should also be answered.

4). I don't have an argument or style preference. The creative in me loves a good performance though.

5). I can't believe I have to say this, but the 2NR and 2AR are the round winning speeches. This seems like a 'duh', but I've been questioned about arguments that were in the debate that I didn't evaluate and usually it's because it wasn't in the final two speeches. If debaters don't care enough to put an argument in their final speech, then I don't care enough to evaluate it.

TL;DR - Debating for NYU pretty much means I'll vote for anything argued reasonably well with very few exceptions.

Most of the affs I ran at NYU were soft left - government solvency w/structural violence impacts - so I think it makes me sympathetic towards most kinds of aff, irregardless of where they fall on the spectrum. Either that or my feeling that debate is a game so debaters are entitled to whatever argument they think is most strategic. Within reason of course.

My feelings on affs that do nothing is based on the topic. For something like education or immigration that effects the average person and not just fancy policymakers in $2,000 suits- I want an aff that interacts with those structures in some way (even if it's just an epistemic shift). If it's something like space exploration or executive authority - I'm less likely to care that the aff does nothing. Regardless of how I feel about the topic or the aff, I'll always vote for whichever team I think did the better debating.

I don’t mind speed, but when you read tags, slow down. I need to understand what you’re saying because it’s going on my flow. This is also true of analytics and theory arguments. If it’s not on my flow, I’m not going to evaluate it.

A White boy from Walter Payton joined the NYU team and read nothing but Baudrillard in his first year, so it's made me more sympathetic towards post-modernism (still doesn't rank high in my fave args though). With that being said, if you want a judge to help you argue it better, then I'm not the judge for you.

Yes, I will vote on T and Framework. I went for T a lot in my senior year and was also pretty sympathetic towards Framework. If the 2NR was popping or the 2AR was shit (or both), I will pull the trigger on Framework or T as I would a K, DA, or CP.

Even though I lean towards Ks (primarily ones centered around Blackness), I do not know all of the scholarship, so I expect that to be well explained in the debate. That should be a good rule of thumb regardless to be honest. Of course, there is nothing wrong with a traditional disad or counterplan – I am willing to vote on those as well.

Also, there's a 99% chance I will be wearing a WWE shirt. Make a reference and I'll give you higher speaks.

Most likely, if you've had me as a judge, then you know my timer. This is where I downloaded it from (and yes, it's wrestling-related):

Kristen Lowe Paradigm

3 rounds

I debated at Emory, I've since coached at Harvard and Northwestern. Currently @ Dartmouth.

Put me on your email thread, thanks:

TL;DR: Be smart and thorough, be attentive and invested in the debate, and be kind. My commitment to you as a judge is to do the same, and that commitment will always come before my personal opinions about your argument. I don't care what arguments you're prepping. I care that you debate in a way that reflects the quality and rigor of that preparation.

Other things to know about me:
- I value instructional arguments highly. I'll compare things the way I'm instructed to (given instruction + rationale). Otherwise I'll compare things the way I feel makes the most sense. Say which arguments were the most important and why if you're not confident you'll like the way I do it.
- I'm expressive and I can't really seem to help it.
- My hearing is in the B- to B+ range but it's definitely not an A. Maybe be a little louder than you usually are.

Clash debates
- Quick stats for ya (based on my past 2 years of judging 21 of these debates in college):
--- I've voted aff in 54% of debates where the policy team was neg
--- I've voted aff in 64% of debates where the policy team was aff
--- In a framework debate, I've never voted neg on an impact about solving global problems with our debate skills, and I've never voted aff on the argument policy debate functionally trains people to become evil operatives of the state.
--- In a K debate, I've never voted for the argument that the plan doesn't literally happen so it's irrellevant, and I've also never voted for the argument that the neg can only go for a policy option or the status quo.

Do with that knowledge what you will. I care about my flow, argument comparison, explanations over cards, descriptions of the mechanisms through which interpretations produce better debates/people/ideas, internal link defense, and debaters making a demonstrable commitment to thinking creatively and diligently about the other team's arguments.

In my heart-of-hearts I believe that there is profound value in being able to confront and grapple with ideas that you're not predisposed to and that the best form of debate is one that creates those encounters. By the same token, I feel no compulsion to reject arguments that I am not predisposed to if they're well debated.

- See the tl;dr section. Although in complete honesty, I have a soft spot for highly technical and creative speeches on the security K.
- The best link debating involves re-explaining the aff in a way that is illustrative of the broader theory advanced by the kritik and has a flagged impact.
- I'm a strong believer in the material implications of the scholarship you endorse. An inability to explain what those implications are or why they are good will make it a lot harder to win my ballot.

Disad + CP Things
- A disad cannot be low risk unless you've substantively demonstrated it is with defensive arguments. Describing the nature of conjunctive risk bias will not beat a disad. Put otherwise "Framing" arguments are exactly that.... arguments that frame the other substantive responses in place. If you've made no substantive responses, your framing args aren't defense.
- I don't know when impact calculus stopped being cool, but it's tragic. 2NRs should have overviews! Where you compare their stuff to your stuff! I feel very strongly about it!

Theory Things
- Conditionality is probably not great... but I've never voted aff in a debate about it, which is the more pertinent thing for you to know.
- I’m generally persuaded that if a prepared 2A could have anticipated the CP, the CP belongs in debate.

Best of luck.

Kevin Lu Paradigm

4 rounds

Lexington High School Class of 2018

I did 4 years of policy debate in high school.

Put me on the email chain:



I will vote on any argument as long as it is defended well

I appreciate good case debate

I am not well versed in the immigration topic, so you'll probably need to do a little more explaining on topic specific things (especially T)

Top speed is not always useful if you're not clear or efficient

Don't clip and don't steal prep.

Don't be rude of disrespectful to your opponents, partner, or me

Thoughts about LD:

I don't really understand Kant, and most other things that don't exist in policy that do in LD. Take that as you will. If you do try to go for something that I don't really know about please EXPLAIN it more than you would to most other judges. I tend to not vote on theory unless your opponent is actually abusive or it's just dropped (i.e. I will probably not vote on random theory arguments you throw in the NC to waste time).


KAffs/Framework - This is what everyone reads paradigms for so I'm putting this first. I read a K aff my junior year but also frequently went for framework so I've been on both sides of the debate. I really enjoy listening to a good clash of civs debate especially when impact calc is done on both sides. I think K affs can be strategic if deployed correctly. I prefer K affs that have some link to the topic, the stronger the better. I also prefer affirmatives that actually defend something. This can involve in round and/or out of round solvency but must be explained to the degree I think that the aff is a good idea.

Especially in clash of civs debates, I find that a lot of k aff teams aren't as proficient on the nitty gritty of the line by line, and thus get punished because they don't answer the nuances of the negatives arguments and spend more time focusing on the warrants of their impact turn. While winning your offensive arguments are important, generic answers to specific negative arguments is never a winning strategy. Additionally, counterinterpretations that set limits on the topic and avoids negative offense are very cool.

On the negative, I find that fairness is often the most persuasive impact 90% of the time. Arguments like predictable limits and ground are also especially persuasive to me. That being said, I do also think skills arguments can be persuasive, especially if they are used to internal link turn affirmative solvency/skills claims. Do it on the negative and topical versions of the aff are also very important pieces of defense that I think should be in most debates. Impact calc is very important. I find that in many debates when framework teams lose to a k aff, it is because there is not enough comparative impact calc done by the negative. This includes telling me why a more limited topic is preferable, EVEN if it may limit out more affs/be slightly more exclusionary.

Ks - I think a good K debate can be fun. I ran some Ks in high school, but my knowledge is mostly limited to setcol, positive peace/security, afropessimism and neolib. Outside of that I probably understand K lit a lot less than you so there is a higher burden on you to explain why your arguments are true and how it interacts with the aff. Links should be well explained and contextualized to the affirmative, not just prewritten blocks that you read every round. Each link should also have a clear impact to it. I also believe that a K should have an alternative that solves the impacts of the K (and link arguments if you're going for a PIK), otherwise the K is just a non-unique DA.

T - I default competing interpretations unless persuaded otherwise. Otherwise do what you want on T.

DAs - I like a good DA debate. Aff specific DAs are probably better but I'm never opposed to a good generic DA which you can spin to link it to the aff. Rehighlighting evidence on both sides in a DA debate is awesome. Smart analytics are good too, especially when a DA is just logically silly. Turns case is very important from both teams, and so is answering them. I find a lot of the time, one team fails to do so and it makes it very hard to vote for them.

CPs - I'm open to anything on this front. I do prefer counterplans with a solvency advocates and well articulated netbenefits. I'll evaluate any CP as long as you can win it's theoretically legit. That being said, I do lean aff on international fiat, process cps, word pics, and 2NC cps, and negative on most other theory arguments against counterplans.

Condo - I think 3 condo is ok, 4 is pushing it but this is all up for debate.

Miscellaneous Things

>29.5 for using less than 30 seconds of prep total

+0.1 speaks for any GOOD jokes about Rajeev Raghavan, Matthew Tan, Chris Jun, Eric Deng, Michelle Li, or Pacy Yan

Geoff Lundeen Paradigm

3 rounds

Geoff Lundeen

18 years judging


Philosophy last updated 1/28/17


If both teams opt not to hold a debate, I will award zero speaker points to all 4 debaters and either:

A. A double forfeit (if allowed by the tab room) OR

B. If forced to pick a winner, I will give the loss to the team who initially suggested not debating.

If you actively solicit outside participation in the debate, you will receive a loss and zero speaker points.


I will not read along with the speech doc during your speeches, but I would like to be included on any email chain.

The really important stuff:

I want to see you doing your best thing.  I have a strong preference for debates centered on the resolution (i.e., the affirmative’s relationship to the resolution is negotiable via debate, but I’m very skeptical of affirmatives that are not a response to the resolutional prompt at all).  I’m sometimes old-fashioned and grumpy about certain things (as listed below), but outside of the non-negotiables, I generally enjoy innovative arguments and I’m open to persuasion.  I enjoy well-developed theory debates more than most, but I strongly dislike the “competitive blippy list making” approach to theory debates as well as proliferation of trivial voting issues.  I like good cards.   Most debaters should slow down and speak more clearly.  “Do the counterplan” is not a permutation.  Probably the biggest change from previous years: I’m making an effort this year to try to bring my speaker points up just a bit in order to keep pace with overall inflation. 


Each debate will have one winner and one loser. 

Constructives are 9 minutes long.  Rebuttals are 6 minutes long.  Cross-x is 3 minutes long.  Somebody’s prep is running at all other times, within reason.  To be very explicit: Your prep stops when you email your speech or remove the flash drive from your computer and give it to your opponents.  While your opponent loads the document, you may set up your stand, give your order, etc.

Things that still count as prep: Marking cards (against the prep of the team that didn’t mark them ahead of time).  Asking flow clarification questions. Saving/Sending the extra cards you didn’t give your opponent before the speech started.  “Hold on, I just need to save it…  Does anybody have a flash drive?”

Debates are for robust disagreement, but that does not extend to personal attacks. 

There are a maximum of 2 debaters on each team.  You should not solicit outside participation or assistance in your debate. 

Failure to properly acknowledge your sources is plagiarism. 

Other Predispositions:

I generally lean affirmative against wholly plan inclusive counterplans (i.e. conditions, consult, commissions, etc.) in a theory debate that is equally well-developed on both sides.

My strong presumption is that a negative advocacy competes only if it is better than both the affirmative advocacy, and the hypothetical combination of all of the affirmative advocacy and all (or part) of the negative advocacy.  I find that alternative theories of competition are usually poorly justified and tend to lead to silly debates (because you can assert that there are “no permutations,” but you can’t wish away the logic of opportunity cost). 

I think topicality and framework have been unfortunately conflated with one another.  I strongly believe in the proposition that some limits on the affirmative’s advocacy are important to adequate preparation and fair debate.  I’m far less committed to the notions: 1. that this entails traditional understandings of fiat, 2. that there is only one universal standard of reasonableness, and 3. that only one model of debate gives the best training in deliberation.  My starting presumption is that the affirmative team should affirm an example of the resolution, but I’ve been convinced to vote for affirmatives that either begin the debate by explicitly negating the resolution, or criticizing the way the resolution frames the controversy, etc. several times over the years.  If you choose to do so, please show your work.  In other words, be explicit and consistent regarding what you think your aff’s relationship to the resolution is (beginning in the 1ac), and you have a much better chance of winning my ballot in these debates.

Having a superficial reference to the topic or a metaphorical connection to a single word of it probably doesn’t meet my bar for debates centered on the resolution. 

Both truth and tech matter.

I tend to dismiss evidence that has been highlighted down to word soup relatively quickly.  One longer card with well explained warrants > multiple cards highlighted into one word “dots.”

What some other coaches and former students have to say about me:

On my aff bias against poorly explained K alts: “At the end of the day, he kinda thinks hungry people should be fed.”

On how I’ve been judging the basically the same debate for about 10 years: “He has a lot of T and framework experience… he’s also good for case debates including smart args (not always requiring cards).”

On my low tolerance for nonsense: “He has a low tolerance for nonsense.”  

Jack Manchester Paradigm

3 rounds

Affiliation: College- Wake Forest '17, '19 High School- New Trier '13

Please add me to your email chains: jmichaelmanchester [@]

This used to be a super long explanation of how I felt about debate, but given how little utility that has for many of you before a debate, here's the short version:

"I never was the smartest debater and I never will be, which means please do not make assumptions about argument understanding. Something could honestly just be over my head, this having happened multiple times in my debate career as a debater."- Lee Quinn hit the nail on the head. Don't assume that I'll know the in's and out's of your argument to the degree that you do. Regardless of argument type, explanation that contains an argument, claim, and warrant is essential.

Top shelf things for everyone:
Clarity- To quote the definition Jarrod Atchison has already beaten into my head: "Speed is the number ideas effectively communicated to the judge that the other team is held accountable to respond to." Slowing down on analytics and differentiating the tag from the rest of the card is a must.

Speaks- make fun of Duke and you'll be in a good place.

People on the right:
Do what you do well. Regardless of what you end up going for make sure you've got the "story" of your argument on lock. How does the aff's change from the squo cause the impact to the DA to be triggered? What affs are included under your interpretation of the topic? These narratives can be easily established in the overview of your DA/CP/T violation and go a long way in making sure I understand your argument as well as you want me to.

I tend to lean aff on most theory issues, though on most questions it isn't too far in the aff's direction (the exception to this is conditionality, I'm definitely in the you get one conditional option camp- that being said most people are bad at going for conditionality so that hasn't translated to any aff ballots on condo in front of me).

People on the left:
Do what you do well. I'll forefront that I'm not nearly as deep in the literature to the left as I am with the right but that doesn't mean I won't be interested in your arguments.

I think you probably should have some relation to the topic, whether that requires defending a normative action be taken by the state or simply discussing the implications of certain aspects of the topic is up for debate. If you're debating FW the question of reformism necessary v. unnecessary is super important.

If you're going for a K win framework and be good to go- though you should know I'll be inclined to let the aff weigh the 1AC if they put up a decent fight on FW.

Read links with clear impacts- just reading a wall of cards that says "the aff does the thing we are k-ing" without explaining how the interacts with the larger questions the alt/impact are getting at isn't super useful.

Brian Manuel Paradigm

4 rounds

Director of Policy Debate @ Stanford University; Director of Debate @ Edgemont Jr./Sr. High School

(High School Constraints - Edgemont)

(College Constraints - Stanford, Harvard, and a crew of exceptionally talented college debaters I've had the pleasure to coach)

2017-2018 PF TOC Update: April 23rd, 2018

As you can see I used to have a very strong leaning towards how evidence needs to be presented during a debate. I've backtracked pretty substantially on this point. Therefore, I won't ask for your case ahead of time. However, I do still prefer evidence that is directly quoted and cited according to the rules of the tournament we are at. I do not like paraphrasing and will only accept paraphrasing as a logical argument to be made in the round and will not credit you for reading a qualified author.

I know a lot about debate, arguments, and the topics you are debating. I have an extremely competitive set of students that are constantly talking about the topic, I tutor students around the world in PF, and I generally like to be educated on the things that students will debate in front of me.

Beyond what I've said above, I'll give you an additional piece of advice: If you would strike Stefan Bauschard or Amisha Mehta than you'd probably want to strike me. I tend to fall somewhere in between where they are at in their philosophies.

Last but not least, I don't intend to steal your cards...we have more than we can use...however if it means you'll throw me up on a Reddit post that can get over 100+ responses then maybe I'll have to start doing it!

**Disregard the section about asking me to conflict you if you feel uncomfortable debating in front of me since I've judged minimally and don't have any experience judging any of the teams in the field more than once therefore, it doesn't apply to you**

2016-2017 Season Update: September 11, 2016

HS Public Forum Update: This is my first year really becoming involved in Public Forum Debate. I have a lot of strong opinions as far as the activity goes. However, my strongest opinion centers on the way that evidence is used, mis-cited, paraphrased, and taken out of context during debates. Therefore, I will start by requiring that each student give me a a copy of their Pro/Con case prior to their speech and also provide me a copy of all qualified sources they'll cite throughout the debate prior to their introduction. I will proactively fact check all of your citations and quotations, as I feel it is needed. Furthermore, I'd strongly prefer that evidence be directly quoted from the original text or not presented at all. I feel that those are the only two presentable forms of argumentation in debate. I will not accept paraphrased evidence. If it is presented in a debate I will not give it any weight at all. Instead I will always defer to the team who presented evidence directly quoted from the original citation. I also believe that a debater who references no evidence at all, but rather just makes up arguments based on the knowledge they've gained from reading, is more acceptable than paraphrasing.

Paraphrasing to me is a shortcut for those debaters who are too lazy to directly quote a piece of text because they feel it is either too long or too cumbersome to include in their case. To me this is laziness and will not be rewarded.

Beyond that the debate is open for the debaters to interpret. I'd like if debaters focused on internal links, weighing impacts, and instructing me on how to write my ballot during the summary and final focus. Too many debaters allow the judge to make up their mind and intervene with their own personal inclinations without giving them any guidance on how to evaluate competing issues. Work Hard and I'll reward you. Be Lazy and it won't work out for you.

NDT/CEDA Update: I'm getting older and I'm spending increasingly more hours on debate (directing, coaching, and tabulating at the HS and College level) than I used to. I really love the activity of debate, and the argumentative creativity being developed, but I'm slowly starting to grow hatred toward many of the attitudes people are adopting toward one another, which in turn results in me hating the activity a little more each day. I believe the foundational element of this activity is a mutual respect amongst competitors and judges. Without this foundational element the activity is doomed for the future.

As a result, I don't want to be a part of a debate unless the four debaters in the room really want me to be there and feel I will benefit them by judging their debate. I feel debate should be an inclusive environment and each student in the debate should feel comfortable debating in front of the judge assigned to them.

I also don’t want people to think this has to do with any one set of arguments being run. I really enjoy academic debates centered on discussions of the topic and/or resolution. However, I don’t prefer disregarding or disrespectful attitudes toward one another. This includes judges toward students, students toward judges, students toward observers, observers toward students, and most importantly students toward students.

As I grow older my tolerance for listening to disparaging, disregarding, and disrespectful comments amongst participants has completely eroded. I'm not going to tolerate it anymore. I got way better things to do with my time than listen to someone talk down to me when I've not done the same to them. I treat everyone with respect and I demand the same in return. I think sometimes debaters, in the heat of competition, forget that even if a judge knows less about their lived/personal experience or hasn’t read as much of their literature as they have; that the judges, for the most part, understand how argumentation operates and how debates are evaluated. Too many debaters want to rely on the pref sheet and using it to get judges who will automatically check in, which is antithetical to debate education. Judges should and do vote for the "worse" or "less true" arguments in rounds when they were debated better. Debate is a performative/communicative activity. Its not about who wrote the best constructives only. Its about how teams clash throughout the debate.

Therefore, as a result I will allow any person or team to ask me to conflict them if they feel uncomfortable debating in front of me or feel that the current system of judge placement requires them to prefer me since I'm a better fit than the other judge(s). I won't ask you any questions and won't even respond to the request beyond replying "request honored". Upon receiving the request I will go into my account and make sure I conflict you from future events. I feel this way you'll have a better chance at reducing the size of the judge pool and you'll get to remove a judge that you don't feel comfortable debating in front of which will narrow the number of judges available to you and might allow you to get more preferable judges. My email is Please direct all conflict requests to this email.

2014-2015 Season Update: September 2, 2014 (The gift that keeps on giving!!)

The following are not for the faint of heart!

Some days you just can't get ready in the morning without being bothered.Then you just need to be cheered up and it fails or someone threatens to eat your phone.
However, when it's all said and done you can at least sleep having sweet dreams.

**On a more serious note. Dylan Quigley raised a point on the College Policy Debate facebook group about what "competition" means when people are judging debates. Therefore, I'll go with this answer "Because this is an emerging debate with no clear consensus, I would encourage judges to let the debaters hash out a theory of competition instead of trying to create one for them. I think in an era were students are taking their power to mold the "world of debate" they debate in it is especially important for us judges to *listen* to their arguments and learn from their theories. No shade towards the original post, I just think it's worthwhile to emphasis the relationship between "new debate" (whatevs that is) and student's ability to create theories of debate on their own instead of choosing a theory that's imposed on them." However, in the absence of these debates happening in the round I will default to a traditional interpretation of "competition." This interpretation says the neg must proves their alternative method/advocacy is better than the affirmative method/advocacy or combination of the affirmatives method/advocacy and all or part of the negatives method/advocacy. Also in these situations I'll default to a general theory of opportunity cost which includes the negatives burden of proving the affirmative undesirable.

2013-2014 Season Update: December 25, 2013 (Yes, it's here are your presents!!)

If you love debate as much as Sukhi loves these cups, please let it show!!

If you can mimic this stunt, you'll thoroughly impress me and be well rewarded: Sukhi Dance

And you thought you had a sick blog!!

Also why cut cards when you can have sick Uke skills like these and these!!

To only be shown up by a 2 year old killing it to Adele

Finally, we need to rock out of 2013 with the Stanford version of the Harlem Shake by Suzuki and KJaggz

2012-2013 Season Update: August 22, 2012

Instead of forcing you to read long diatribes (see below) about my feelings on arguments and debate practices. I will instead generate a list of things I believe about debate and their current practices. You can read this list and I believe you'll be able to adequately figure out where to place me on your preference sheet. If you'd like to read more about my feelings on debate, then continue below the fold! Have a great season.

1. TKO is still in play, and will always be that way!

2. You must win a link to a DA - if you don't talk about it I'm willing to assign it zero risk. Uniqueness doesn't mean there is a risk of a link.

2a. "Issue Specific Uniqueness" IS NOT a utopian answer to all affirmative arguments.

3. You must defend something on the aff - by doing so it also implies you should be able to defend your epistemological assumptions underlying that advocacy.

4. T is about reasonability not competing interpretations. This doesn't mean every affirmative is reasonably topical.

5. Debate should be hard; its what makes it fun and keeps us interested.

6. Research is good - its rewarding, makes you smarter, and improves your arguments.

7. "Steal the entire affirmative" strategies are bad. However, affirmative teams are even worse at calling teams out on it. This mean they are still very much in play. Therefore, affirmatives should learn how to defeat them, instead of just believing they'll somehow go away.

8. There are other parts to an argument other than the impact. You should try talking about them, I heard they're pretty cool.

9. Your affirmative should have advantages that are intrinsic to the mechanism you choose to defend with the aff. Refer to #6, it helps solve this dilemma.

10. Have fun and smile! The debaters, judges, and coaches in this activity are your life long friends and colleagues. We are all rooting you on to succeed. We all love the activity or we wouldn't be here. If you don't like something, don't hate the player, hate the game!

Clipping/Cross-reading/Mis-marking: I hear that this is coming back. To prosecute cheating, the accusing team needs hard evidence. A time trial is not hard evidence. A recording of the speech must be presented. I will stop the debate, listen to the recording, and compare it to the evidence read. If cheating occurred, the offending debater and their partner will receive zero speaker points and a loss. I'd also encourage them to quit. I consider this offense to be more serious than fabricating evidence. It is an honor system that strikes at the very core of what we do here.

Additional caveat that was discussed with me at a previous tournament - I believe that the status quo is always a logical option for the negative unless it is explicitly stated and agreed to in CX or its won in a speech.

Newly Updated Philosophy - November 18, 2011

So after talking to Tim Aldrete at USC, he convinced me that I needed more carrots and less sticks in my philosophy. Therefore, I have a small carrot for those debaters who wish to invoke it. Its called a T.K.O (Technical Knockout). This basically means that at any point of the debate you believe you've solidly already won the debate, beyond a reasonable doubt, (dropped T argument, double turn, strategic miscue that is irreparable by the other team) you can invoke a TKO and immediately end the debate. If a team chooses this path and succeeds, I will give them 30 speaker points each and an immediate win. If the team chooses to invoke this but its unclear you've TKO'd the other team or in fact choose wrong, you obviously will lose and your points will be severely effected. Who dares to take the challenge?

Past Updated Philosophy - September 9, 2010

I am Currently the Assistant Coach @ Lakeland/Panas High School, College Prep School, and Harvard Debate. I’m also involved with Research & Marketing for Planet Debate. This topic will be my 14th in competitive debate and 10th as a full time coach. Debate is my full time job and I love this activity pretty much more than anything I’ve ever done in my life. I enjoy the competition, the knowledge gained, and the people I’ve come to be friends with and likewise I really enjoy people who have the same passion I have for this activity.

I last posted an update to my judge philosophy a number of years ago and think it is finally time I revisit it and make some changes.

First, I’ll be the first to admit that I probably haven’t been the best judge the last few years and I think a majority of that has come from pure exhaustion. I’ve been traveling upwards of 20+ weekends a year and am constantly working when I am home. I don’t get much time to re-charge my batteries before I’m off to another tournament. Then while at tournaments I’m usually putting in extremely late nights cutting cards and preparing my teams, which trades off with being adequately awake and tuned in. This year I’ve lessened my travel schedule and plan to be much better rested for debates than I was in previous years.

Second, since my earlier days of coaching/judging my ideology about debate has changed somewhat. This new ideology will tend to complement hard working teams and disadvantage lazy teams who try and get by with the same generics being ran every debate. Don’t let this frighten you, but rather encourage you to become more involved in developing positions and arguments. When this happens I’m overly delighted and reward you with higher speaker points and more than likely a victory.

Mason Marriott-Voss Paradigm

3 rounds

Yes I want to be on the email chain:

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

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

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

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

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

[MID SEASON UPDATE - 12/11/2019]

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


General Things:

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

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

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

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


Yes I want to be on the email chain:

General things:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Let me unpack those two things

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Now what you are probably here for:

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

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

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

Other thoughts on framework debates

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

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

Now the more specific things

Kritiks vs Plans –

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

Kritiks vs No Plans –

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

Disads –

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

Counterplans –

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

Case debate –

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

Topicality –

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

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

Kevin McCaffrey Paradigm

3 rounds

Updated 9-26-2013

Kevin McCaffrey

Assistant Debate Coach Glenbrook North 2014-
Assistant Debate Coach Berkeley Preparatory School 2010-2014
Assistant Debate Coach University of Miami 2007-2009
Assistant Debate Coach Gulliver Preparatory School 2005-2010

I feel strongly about both my role as an impartial adjudicator and as an educator – situations where these roles come into conflict are often where I find that I have intervened. I try to restrain myself from intervening in a debate, but I make mistakes, and sometimes find myself presented with two options which seem comparably interventionary in different ways, often due to underarticulated argumentation. This effort represents a systematic effort to identify the conditions under which I am more or less likely to intervene unconsciously. I try to keep a beginner’s mind and approach every debate round as a new learning opportunity, and I do usually learn at least one new thing every round – this is what I like most about the activity, and I’m at my best when I remember this and at my worst when I forget it.

My default paradigm is that of a policy analyst – arguments which assume a different role (vote no, performance) probably require more effort to communicate this role clearly enough for me to understand and feel comfortable voting for you. I don’t really have a very consistent record voting for or against any particular positions, although identity- and psychology-based arguments are probably the genres I have the least experience with and I’m not a good judge for either.

Rather, I think you’re most interested in the situations in which I’m likely to intervene – and what you can do to prevent it – this has much less to do with what arguments you’re making than it does with how you’re making them:

Make fewer arguments, and explain their nature and implication more thoroughly:

My unconscious mind carries out the overwhelming majority of the grunt work of my decisions – as I listen to a debate, a mental map forms of the debate round as a cohesive whole, and once I lose that map, I don’t usually get it back. This has two primary implications for you: 1) it’s in your interest for me to understand the nuances of an argument when first presented, so that I can see why arguments would be more or less responsive as or before they are made in response 2) debates with a lot of moving parts and conditional outcomes overload my ability to hold the round in my mind at once, and I lose confidence in my ability to effectively adjudicate, having to move argument by argument through each flow after the debate – this increases the chances that I miss an important connection or get stuck on a particular argument by second-guessing my intuition, increasing the chances that I intervene.

I frequently make decisions very quickly, which signals that you have done an effective job communicating and that I feel I understand all relevant arguments in the debate. I don’t believe in reconstructing debates from evidence, and I try to listen to and evaluate evidence as it's being read, so if I am taking a long time to make a decision, it’s probably because I doubt my ability to command the relevant arguments and feel compelled to second-guess my understanding of arguments or their interactions, a signal that you have not done an effective job communicating, or that you have inadvertently constructed an irresolveable decision calculus through failure to commit to a single path to victory.

In short, I make much better decisions when you reduce the size of the debate at every opportunity, when you take strategic approaches to the debate which are characterized by internally consistent logic and assumptions, and when you take time to explain the reasoning behind the strategic decisions you are making, and the meta-context for your arguments. If your approach to debate strategy depends upon overloading the opponent’s technical capabilities, then you will also likely overload my own, and if your arguments don’t generally “jive” with one another, then I may have difficulty processing them when constructing the big picture. I tend to disproportionately reward gutsy all-in strategic decisions. As a side note, I probably won’t kick a counterplan for you if the other team says just about anything in response, you need to make a decision.

Value proof higher than rejoinder:

I am a sucker for a clearly articulated, nuanced story, supported by thorough discussion of why I should believe it, especially when supported by high-quality evidence, even in the face of a diversity of poorly articulated or weak arguments which are only implicitly answered. Some people will refer to this as truth over tech – but it’s more precisely proof over rejoinder – the distinction being that I don’t as often reward people who say things that I believe, but rather reward fully developed arguments over shallowly developed or incomplete arguments. There have been exceptions – a dropped argument is definitely a true argument – but a claim without data and a warrant is not an argument. Similarly, explicit clash and signposting are merely things which help me prevent myself from intervening, not hard requirements. Arguments which clash still clash whether a debater explains it or not, although I would strongly prefer that you take the time to explain it, as I may not understand that they clash or why they clash in the same way that you do.

My tendency to intervene in this context is magnified when encountering unfamiliar arguments, and also when encountering familiar arguments which are misrepresented, intentionally or unintentionally. As an example, I am far more familiar with positivist studies of international relations than I am with post-positivist theorizing, so debaters who can command the distinctions between various schools of IR thought have an inherent advantage, and I am comparably unlikely to understand the nuances of the distinctions between one ethical philosopher and another. I am interested in learning these distinctions, however, and this only means you should err on the side of explaining too much rather than not enough.

A corollary is that I do believe that various arguments can by their nature provide zero risk of a link (yes/no questions, empirically denied), as well as effectively reduce a unique risk to zero by making the risk equivalent to chance or within the margin of error provided by the warrant. I am a sucker for conjunctive/disjunctive probability analysis, although I think assigning numerical probabilities is almost never warranted.

Incomprehensible value systems:

One special note is that I have a moderate presumption against violence, whether physical or verbal or imaginary – luckily for me, this has yet to seriously present itself in a debate I have judged. But I don’t think I have ever ended up voting for a pro-death advocacy, whether because there are more aliens than humans in the universe, or because a thought experiment about extinction could change the way I feel about life, or because it’s the only path to liberation from oppression. While I’d like to think I can evaluate these arguments objectively, I’m not entirely sure that I really can, and if advocating violence is part of your argument, I am probably a bad judge for you, even though I do believe that if you can’t articulate the good reasons that violence and death are bad, then you haven’t adequately prepared and should probably lose.

Email me:

I like the growing practice of emailing flows and debriefing at the end of a day or after a tournament – feel free to email me: kmmccaffrey at gmail dot com. It sometimes takes me a while to fully process what has happened in a debate round and to understand why I voted the way I did, and particularly in rounds with two very technical, skilled opponents, even when I do have a good grasp of what happened and feel confident in my decision, I do not always do a very good job of communicating my reasoning, not having time to write everything out, and I do a much better job of explaining my thinking after letting my decision sit for a few hours. As such, I am very happy to discuss any decision with anyone in person or by email – I genuinely enjoy being challenged – but I am much more capable and comfortable with written communication than verbal.

Ryan McFarland Paradigm

3 rounds

Ryan McFarland
Debated at KCKCC and Wichita State

Two years of coaching at Wichita State, 3 years at Hutchinson High School in Kansas, two years at Kapaun Mt. Carmel, now at Blue Valley Southwest.

email chain:

I have become increasingly frustrated at the recent debate trend where debaters just read pre-prepared blocks straight from their laptop at full speed with little contextualization to the arguments the other team is making. That frustration is magnified when the 2AR/2NR re-reads things from earlier speeches, at the same speed, while still not contextualizing those arguments to the other team. I appreciate debaters who debate from their flow and use their computers for reading evidence. Three things you should take away from this;

1. you could technically be winning a debate, but if I don't believe that you have clashed with the arguments presented by the other team, I will likely vote against you. Clash is not "they said perm, so insert generic perm 2NC block here". Clash is directly answering the nuances made by the other team.

2. I'm fairly expressive. I'm not going to say clear or tell you to slow down. If you think reading full speed in the 2NR/2AR is how you can convince me to vote for you, you're mistaken. If I'm not able to process the arguments you are making because you are reading full, card speed during a rebuttal, I'm not going to vote for you. I will either miss important things you want me to vote on, or I will spend my energy trying to make sure I can keep up with everything and not think about the arguments.

3. When I've given low speaker points in the last two years, it was because the things that I have mentioned above.

K v. FW - I'm pretty open to most arguments in the debate, but I will be up front and say that I believe the topic is good and important. This is not to say that I will never vote for a critical affirmative, but I am ideologically on the side of debating the topic is a good idea. With that said, I'm probably split pretty much down the middle on my voting record when it comes to K aff vs Framework. Most of the time when I have voted negative its because the affirmative does not adequately deal with the topical version of the aff. When I vote affirmative its because the negative spends most of its time establishing a link, but very little impact explanation and comparison. I do think that fairness is an impact, and don't find arguments about framework creating actual violence against people persuasive.

I don't find "debate bad" arguments persuasive. I've coached teams to say these things, but still don't find them valuable.

DA v. soft left aff - I don't think I've ever voted on the framing page takes out 100% of the disad. I've seen plenty of teams think that because they've read a framing page they don't need to engage the components of the DA and that will always be a losing strategy. Having specific critiques of disadvantages is more compelling to me. Likewise, negative teams reading a bunch of extinction first, util cards and generically extending them does little for me.

K's on the neg - I'm better for K arguments on the negative than K affirmatives. I might expect more link contextualization than some judges. I don't have a problem voting affirmative if I don't believe you have explained a link that makes sense with the aff.

An affirmative saying "duh" to "fiat isn't real" is sufficient, but you still need to defend your method of policy making.

Other things - I default to competing interpretations on topicality and other theoretical arguments. Conditionality is good but will vote on theory if it's well developed. Read disadvantages and counterplans. Case debate is underutilized and will increase your speaker points.

Judge kick - no idea why affirmatives just let negative teams get away with this. It forces the affirmative to give two different 2ARs. I'm not saying I'll just wholesale reject this, but affirmatives should get smarter.

I appreciate multi-plank counterplans that have some evidentiary support for all planks. I don't appreciate multi-plank counterplans that are used to fiat out of solvency deficits or offensive arguments.

More than 5 off case arguments - bad strategy. Makes me grumpy. Lowers your speaker points. Reading a bunch of bad arguments for the sake of reading more arguments is a bad debate trend.

Stop being scared of going for theory against cheating arguments.

Clipping is cheating no matter the intent.

I won't read or flow your inserted re-highlighting.

Valerie McIntosh Paradigm

3 rounds

Debate Coach - University of Michigan, Niles West High School
Institute Instructor - Michigan Debate Institutes
Michigan State University '13
Brookfield Central High School '09

I would like to be on the email chain - my email address is

A few top level things:

  • If you engage in offensive acts (think racism, sexism, homophobia, etc.), you will lose automatically and will be awarded whatever the minimum speaker points offered at that particular tournament is. There is zero room for discussion about that. This also includes forwarding the argument that death is good because suffering exists. I will not vote on it.
  • If you make it so that the tags in your document maps are not navigable by taking the "tag" format off of them, I will actively dock your speaker points.
  • Quality of argument means a lot to me. I am willing to hold my nose and vote for bad arguments if they're better debated but my threshold for answering those bad arguments is pretty low. I don't think this makes me a truth over tech judge but I am not willing to assume all "truths" are equally and neutrally "truthful." This is also true of the credibility of your authors.
  • I'm a very expressive judge. Look up at me every once in a while, you will probably be able to tell how I feel about your arguments.
  • I don't think that arguments about things that have happened outside of a debate or in previous debates are at all relevant to my decision and I will not evaluate them. I can only be sure of what has happened in this particular debate and anything else is non-falsifiable.

Ethics: I decided to put this at the top because it's something that is very important to me. Ethics challenges are something I take very seriously and so I want to make myself perfectly clear. If you make an ethics challenge in a debate in front of me, you must stake the debate on it. If you make that challenge and are incorrect or cannot prove your claim, you will lose and be granted zero speaker points. If you are proven to have committed an ethics violation, you will lose and be granted zero speaker points.
*NOTE - if you use sexually explicit language or engage in sexually explicit performances in high school debates, you should strike me. If you think that what you're saying in the debate would not be acceptable to an administrator at a school to hear was said by a high school student to an adult, you should strike me.

Cross-x: Questions like "what cards did you read?" are cross-x questions. If you don't start the timer before you start asking those questions, I will take whatever time I estimate you took to ask questions before the timer was started out of your prep. If the 1NC responds that "every DA is a NB to every CP" when asked about net benefits in the 1NC even if it makes no sense, I think the 1AR gets a lot of leeway to explain a 2AC "links to the net benefit argument" on any CP as it relates to the DAs.

Inserting evidence or rehighlightings into the debate: I won't evaluate it unless you actually read the parts that you are inserting into the debate. If it's like a chart or a map or something like that, that's fine, I don't expect you to literally read that, but if you're rehighlighting some of the other team's evidence, you need to actually read the rehighlighting. This can also be accomplished by reading those lines in cross-x and then referencing them in a speech.

Affirmatives should have a solvency advocate. What that looks like is up for debate. I think debates that stray too far from what a reasonable person would constitute an advocacy for a policy change distort the literature base in ways that make it impossible for the negative to respond to the aff. This is compounded by excruciatingly vague plan texts that enable the aff to "no link" out of what are obvious disads to the affirmative. If your style of debate is built around manipulating and bastardizing literature to create affs that say and defend nothing, I'm probably not the judge for you. I think this vision of debate disincentivizes in-depth negative research. If you refuse to specify what your aff does, I am probably not the judge for you. If you think that saying "a thing is bad" constitutes an aff without saying what your aff does about it, I am a bad judge for you.

Topicality: I enjoy judging topicality debates when they are in-depth and nuanced. Limits are an an important question but not the only important question - your limit should be tied to a particular piece of neg ground or a particular type of aff that would be excluded. I often find myself to be more aff leaning than neg leaning in T debates because I am often persuaded by the argument that negative interpretations are arbitrary or not based in predictable literature.

5 second ASPEC shells/the like that are not a complete argument are mostly nonstarters for me. If I reasonably think the other team could have missed the argument because I didn't think it was a clear argument, I think they probably get new answers. If you drop it twice, that's on you.

Counterplans: For me counterplans are more about competition than theory. While I tend to lean more neg on questions of CP theory, I lean aff on a lot of questions of competition, especially in the cases of CPs that compete on the certainty of the plan, normal means cps, and agent cps.

Over time I have gone from being somewhere in the middle on the question of "does the neg need a solvency advocate for the cp?" and I have found myself very strongly on the side of "yes." A lot of the debates I've judged over the past few years have had the scope of what the neg should get to assert with no evidentiary support go from semi-reasonable to impossible distortions of the literature and REALITY in ways that the aff could never reasonably answer. I DO think what constitutes a solvency advocate for the neg is affected by whether or not the aff has a solvency advocate. For affirmatives that do not have one, my threshold for what I expect the neg to have is much much lower.

I think that CPs should have to be policy actions. I think this is most fair and reciprocal with what the affirmative does. I think that fiating indefinite personal decisions or actions/non-actions by policymakers that are not enshrined in policy is an unfair abuse of fiat that I do not think the negative should get access to. For example: the CP to have Trump decide not to withdraw from NAFTA is not legitimate, while the CP to have Trump announce that a policy that he will not withdraw from NAFTA would be. The CP that has the US declare it will not go to war with China would be theoretically legitimate but the CP to have Trump personally decide not to go to war with China would not be.

Disads: I am not very sympathetic to politics theory arguments (except in the case of things like rider disads, which I might ban from debate if I got the choice to ban one argument and think are certainly illegitimate misinterpretations of fiat) and am unlikely to ever vote on them unless they're dropped and even then would be hard pressed. I'm incredibly knowledgeable about politics and enjoy it a lot when debated well but really dislike seeing it debated poorly. Politics DAs under Trump are 99% garbage.

Conditionality: Conditionality is often good. It can be not. I have found myself to be increasingly aff leaning on extreme conditionality (think many plank cps where all of the planks are conditional + 4-5 more conditional options). Conditionality is the ONLY argument I think is a reason to reject the team, every other argument I think is a reason to reject the argument alone. Tell me what my role is on the theory debate - am I determining in-round abuse or am I setting a precedent for the community?

Kritiks: I consider myself a policymaker unless you tell me otherwise, the implication of that being that if you want me to consider my ballot as something other than advocating a hypothetical policy that would be enacted, you need to explain to me what it is and why that is better than the framework the affirmative is providing. I generally am not persuaded by framework arguments that mean I should completely discount the fiated implications of the affirmative but am often persuaded that I should evaluate the links/impacts to the K against the impact of the aff.

I've gotten simultaneously more versed in critical literature and much worse for the kritik as a judge over the last few years. I think that often times teams who read exclusively critical arguments get away with asserting things as true with no evidence or explanation and judges treat it as a complete argument or incontrovertible truth. I'm not one of those judges.

Your K should ideally:

  • Be a reason why the aff is bad, not just why the status quo is bad. Specific links are good. Links of omission are not a reason to vote neg.
  • Defend an alternative. I tend to have pretty high standards for alternative solvency. Convince me that the world of the alternative would be better than the world of the plan or that the alternative solvency is less important than something unethical about the plan.
  • Not just be a framework argument.

Yes the aff gets a perm, no it doesn't need a net benefit.

Fiat double bind = thumbs down frowny face

Affs without a plan: I generally go into debates believing that the aff should defend a hypothetical policy enacted by the United States federal government. I think debate is a research game and I struggle with the idea that the ballot can do anything to remedy the impacts that many of these affs describe.

I certainly don't consider myself immovable on that question and my decision is likely to be governed by what happens in any given debate; that being said, I don't like when judges pretend to be fully open to any argument in order to hide their true thoughts and feelings about them and so I would prefer to be honest that these are my predispositions about debate, which, while not determinate of how I judge debates, certainly informs and affects it.

I would describe myself as a VERY good judge for T-USFG against affs that do not read a plan. I find impacts about debatability, clash, iterative testing and fairness to be very persuasive. I think fairness is an impact in and of itself. I am not very persuaded by impacts about skills/the ability for debate to change the world if we read plans - I think these are not very strategic and easily impact turned by the aff.

I generally am pretty sympathetic to negative presumption arguments because I often think the aff has not forwarded an explanation for what the aff does to resolve the impacts they've described.

I think when teams are aff against T-USFG in front of me, counter-defining words + offense that explains why I should prefer your interp is more persuasive than just impact turns.

I don't think debate is roleplaying.

I am uncomfortable making decisions in debates where people have posited that their survival hinges on my ballot.

Eric Melin Paradigm

3 rounds

Email chains are good. Include me

Coach stuff:

Debate Coach @ Coppell 9th Grade Center and Coppell High School (2018- )

Mean Green Comet Debate Institute -Director of LD (2019 - )

Previously coached teams: Grapevine and Colleyville (2017-2018), Law Magnet (2015-2017), Hockaday (2009-2014), Southlake Carroll (2006-2009), Colleyville and Grapevine (2005-2006).

I debated for Grapevine High School, graduating in 1997. I judged debate for a few years after that before taking some time off for grad school. In have been a classroom teacher and debate coach since 2007. I was an LDer in high school but competed in policy at some tournaments junior and senior year. I also debated for UT Austin for one year. While most of my time coaching has been spent focusing on LD, I began coaching policy debate regularly in 2015 when I worked at Law Magnet. I coached the policy kids at Grapevine last year and now (2018-2019)coach policy at Coppell and Coppell 9.

I think debate operates in a unique place in the high school experience, where it serves as a crucible for the development of advocacy skills and critical engagement that is not replicated anywhere else. I love this activity and want each successive generation to be able to enjoy it. As such, be good to one another! Take care of our space and leave it better than the way you found it. Come back and give back if debate has given you a space to develop yourself.

Paradigm stuff:

1. Please forward a well-developed ballot story.

2. Tell me what you want me to vote on.

3. Compare evidence - this doesn’t happen enough and it’s usually what close debates depend on to resolve.

4. K aff’s - I default to believing that K aff's should still be affirmative arguments. I think switch-side debate is good and develops a portable skill that other activities do not. K aff's should forward counter-interpretations as needed. I am willing vote on framework. That being said I am unimpressed with teams that run framework but never go for T in other debates.

5. Counterplans - when they are case specific they are great less specific is obviously less good. I am not thrilled by the 50 states cp or consult cp’s generally. PiCs are fine. The aff should have to defend their plan.

6. I prefer line-by-line debate more than long overviews. Too many rebuttals I’ve seen recently spend a ton of time explaining arguments in over views that should just be done on the flow. Numbering arguments and following the order of your opponents is preferable or at least be explicit when re-grouping the flow.

7. I cannot flow a string of unending analytics with no time to type even if its in perfect outline form in your speech doc. This means slow down on theory arguments, 2ac blocks of text that you have read a lot of times but I am hearing for the first time, etc. I will not vote on what I don't catch.

8. I will be following along with the evidence read in the debate on my computer. I will not be on Facebook or otherwise doing things that would take my attention away from the debate. I wish more judges would commit to paying attention to every debate.


LD specific (also see notes above)

Theory is over-used in LD. You will always have links of omission to generate violations. I have a high threshold for frivolous theory.

RVI's can be justified but not on topicality. That said ditching substance and going for 4 minutes of RVI in the 1ar is not the A-strat in most rounds in front of me.


PF specific:

You must email/flash/give a copy your cases (and evidence in later speeches) to your opponents prior to the beginning of your speech. Asking to see cards outside of prep time is a bad practice. We should either be in speech time, prep time or moving from prep time to speech time. The amount of time being wasted and prep being stolen is ridiculous.

You may not read paraphrased evidence and expect me to evaluate it.

I will listen to disclosure arguments and theory arguments about bad evidentiary practices.

Dustin Meyers-Levy Paradigm

4 rounds

Misc procedural things:

1. He/him/his; call me DML or Dustin, preferably not "judge;" if you call me Mr. Meyers-Levy I'll assume you think I'm old and I'll give you old-person points

2. Debated at Edina HS from 2008-2012, at the University of Michigan from 2012-2017, and currently coach at Michigan and GBN

3. Please include me on all email and/or jumping chains (but why would you use jump drives if email is accessible?)--my email is dustml94[at]gmail[dot]com. please no pocketbox or speechdrop or whatever the latest one is. Asking if I want to be added might suggest that you didn't take the time to read on. (thanks Kurt)

4. Nothing set in stone debate is up to the debaters go for what you want to blah blah blah argument is a claim and a warrant don't clip cards

5. I lied, this is what is set in stone: there are two teams of two debaters (excluding maverick situations), each debater gives one constructive and one rebuttal according to tournament speech times. I will flow, and I will only flow the words that the first debater who speaks in their assigned speech says (I won't flow prompting until the debater giving the speech says things). you can do whatever else you want during the debate, but I intend to judge a debate and will attempt to flow whatever does occur in the manner that I would a debate, and if one team is attempting to debate while the other one is not, I will unequivocally listen to the team attempting to debate and vote for them when the time allocated for the 2AR ends. if you need some part of this clarified in order to determine your strategy, I'm likely not the judge for you in the first place.

6. I talk in cross-x sometimes, usually it's just to resolve clarification questions, occasionally to check against obnoxiousness

7. Really, really not okay with cards written by current debaters (at the time of authorship). If you read a card that meets this standard, I reserve the right to pause the debate after the speech and give you 1 minute to decide on a new card (of your choosing) that you can retroactively insert into the speech to replace the original card. If I'm on a panel, I won't stop the round, but I will probably give you a really angry look and conspicuously refuse to flow the card, and every time you cite the card in a following speech to support an argument I will cross the argument out on my flow.

8. I will not even begin to consider evidence that is "footnoted" or "inserted into the record" unless it's a picture or chart or something that can't be converted into card format. this applies to rehighlighting of the other team's evidence. you have to read the entirety of a card for it to be considered. I have no idea why people think anything less than that is acceptable practice.

9. Speaks usually range from 28-29.5 (realistically more like 28-29.3 on average); below 28 and there are some serious deficiencies, above 29.5 (again, realistically above 29.3) you're going above and beyond to wow me. I don't really try to compare debaters across different rounds to give speaks; I assign them based on a round-by-round basis.

10. If you would enthusiastically describe your strategy as "memes" or "trolling," you should strike me.


Debate is a game and at the end of the 2 hours we spend together I will be obligated to make a decision as to who won and who lost. This implies a few things that are non-negotiable, mostly implied above, and entirely stolen from Joe:

1. There are rules in debate. Speeches have fixed times. The first partner to speak in a speech is the only one whose words count. This is non-negotiable.

2. I'm going to flow your speech. There is nothing you can possibly do to stop this short of concede. What's worse, I'm even going to decide the debate based on said flow and said flow alone.

--2.1. I'm going to flow your speech straight down on whatever page you've indicated you're going to. If you really think your overview needs a new sheet of paper, or that I should save space on my flow for framework/the perm in the 1NR instead of you just taking each arg in order and figuring out how to split the block more efficiently, then I guess I'll do it, but I've literally never been in a debate that was won because an arg was in an overview on a new sheet that couldn't have been made in a shorter overview/on the line-by-line, and I can't remember a time when saving space on my flow made things simpler and not messier (if only because I misjudge how much space to save basically every time). The more you deviate from the line by line and try to jump around between different parts of the debate (especially in K debates), the less I'm going to care about the order you're trying to give, because I'm just going to flow every argument in a row after you make it.

3. I apply a strict standard of technical refutation and argument framing to the final rebuttals. You will not win if you drop arguments. In practice, this means I vote against kritik teams more than I vote for them. It’s not personal.

Aside from these things, I’m overwhelmingly agnostic about any argument/argumentative style in debate. The only thing I’m concerned about is how certain I can be that one side won and lost. I think I am truth over tech in the sense that if I am uncertain about whether or not an argument is explained enough to merit a ballot, I am unlikely to vote on it even if it's technically dropped by the other side, because I believe arguments have a burden of proof to meet before they require rejoinder. Thus, I often make decisions in terms of relative certainty; that is, how certain (or uncertain) I am about any given argument. This is an arbitrary threshold, but one that's relatively easy to lower/raise based on framing your arguments in these terms ("they've conceded X, which means you can be certain voting aff solves Y but you can't be certain voting neg does, Y outweighs"). This is why well-developed presumption arguments will win many ballots and points from me; presumption is a way of minimizing relative uncertainty and telling me what to do if I'm uncertain about something. Using this framing explicitly in your 2NR/2AR will both make debates far easier for me to resolve and demonstrate that you’re adapting to my philosophy.

NDT 2020 updates:

Ideologically, I believe that I'm decidedly okay for K arguments, but I strongly prefer judging teams who attempt to innovate creatively within the bounds of the topic, and my voting record this year has largely reflected that. If your aff talks about China/Russia, then you're in a decent spot with me. If you defend the ramifications of cooperating with one/both of them over space activities in one of the topic areas, you're in a great spot. If your aff says "going to space is bad," I will likely be very persuaded by the argument that that is neg ground. Uniqueness and relative solvency matter overwhelmingly for me; I usually vote for whoever accounts for both of those things to a greater degree (which usually ends up being the team making policy args--see below re: cost-benefit analysis/opportunity cost).

The teams who win going for the K on the neg in front of me are those who creatively engage the substance of the aff and apply their theory in the context of specific turns case arguments which encompass as much of the aff's offense as possible while also forwarding a uniqueness argument. For me, the optimal block/2NR would elaborate why, if the K's theory is correct, the aff is more likely to cause their impacts than the squo/the alt would be, and why the K's theory means I can be more certain about that turns case arg than I can be about aff solvency.

The teams who win without reading a plan in front of me are those who proactively reckon with my predisposition that debate is primarily (though perhaps not exclusively) a competitive activity and commit to one of two strategies against framework: 1) impact turn, or 2) creative engagement with definitions. Option 1 is simpler to execute, but requires more explanation as to why considering debate as just a game is bad, and is something of a harder sell for me. I'm much more interested by option 2; I think affs that creatively redefine terms in the resolution with actual definition cards and defend a relatively limited interpretation of the topic are strategic and intriguing. However, this strategy is a lot harder to execute, and requires a well-thought-out plan for how you want to defend your definitions.

I do a lot of K work, but I've tried to maintain a healthy balance of topic work as well this year. That said, most of my policy work has been focused on process CPs and some space law stuff. I'm not super up on the arms control area beyond the K side, and while I'll catch on to the legal aspects of most SSA/STM affs pretty quickly, the technical aspects might take a bit for me to conceptualize. I'm not too familiar with the details of China's/Russia's space programs, or their governments in general. I don't know what asteroids are.

I'll go on the record to say that I'm a better judge for T than most. In general, on a topic this big I find myself caring less about the quality of evidence for an interpretation than I do about the vision for debate it espouses. I'm more persuaded by strict debatability args than args about the affs that people have collectively agreed are/aren't topical. This also means I'm more persuaded by ground (especially neg ground) as an internal link to debatability than limits.

I'm so serious about vague perms. I'm completely willing to discount an under-explained perm or give a lot of leeway to the neg, especially if the neg points it out, and I'd gleefully reject a vague perm purely on theoretical grounds if the neg tells me to. I've judged a decent amount of rounds, some of them elims in which I sat, in which the 2AR extended the perm for under 10 seconds as a tiebreaker and I voted neg despite the perm making intuitive sense because the aff never developed it. "Do both" is not an argument; "do the CP" is a waste of everyone's time. Say more in the 2AC. (Obviously the latter isn't true vs all CPs, but it's on you to explain why that's the case in any given debate.) See below for more explanation.

K/planless aff/T debates:

I emphasize my agnosticism at the top in order to indicate that I’m better for the K/planless affs in the abstract than previous iterations of my philosophy indicated; that said, in practice, I still find myself voting against it a lot. Maybe it’s the neoliberal bastard in me, but in my ten-plus years in debate (and not without trying), I haven’t been able to conceptualize a coherent way of making the determination of how certain I am outside of cost-benefit analysis and evaluating unique opportunity costs. Topical, plan-focused debate appeals to me because it's the only form of comparison that I've encountered in debate thus far which allows me to make that determination as objectively and fairly as possible and which enables both sides to evaluate unique opportunity costs in a relatively equitable manner. While I could be persuaded that other such metrics exist, I think it would take quite a bit of work, and I'm much more persuaded by creative we meet/counter-interpretations (preferably that counter-define the words that the neg defines). For Ks on the neg, this means that more often than not unique links are the most influential factor in my decision calculus. Whichever side more persuasively articulates why things will be uniquely better or uniquely worse than the status quo/aff/whatever usually wins. Framework arguments that attempt to minimize the relevance of unique links are not persuasive to me. Ks that are able to explain why the world is made measurably worse by me voting aff, and have a framework argument that give me a metric by which I can measure how much worse, are very persuasive.

Other things:

1. I’m skeptical of any totalizing theory of how the world/society/politics works. Saying that a counter-example to your theory is an exception that proves the rule or whatever just indicates to me that your theory lacks scholarly rigor. I prefer theories that direct me towards how to act/understand the world when I don’t have complete information about it, or how to determine which side's theory has more explanatory power when there are counter-examples to sort through from both sides.

2. Planless affs usually lose in front of me because of a disconnect between their impacts and what they claim to solve/how they claim to solve it. Proactively lowering that threshold as much as possible will go a long way for me. An easy way to do this is by explaining solvency/impact arguments in the context of me making a decision, not just what the 1AC offered.

3. I often vote neg in T debates because the aff fails to explain why debating the aff is valuable. Aff framework arguments that don’t explain the unique value of competition and negation are not persuasive; framework arguments that prioritize a role for competition/negation and the comparison of opportunity costs while attempting to use them in different ways than debate conventionally does are very persuasive to me.

4. This all said, "fairness is an intrinsic good" doesn't really make sense to me. Fairness isn't the intrinsic good of debate; contestation is.

5. I think that others should not suffer, that the cessation of mitosis is bad, and that contingent truth is possible and a better basis for action than nothing. If your K disagrees with any of these fundamental premises, I am a bad judge for it.

6. I don't get Ks of linear time. I get Ks of whitewashing, progress narratives, etc. I get the argument that historical events influence the present. I just don't get how any of those things are mutually exclusive with, and indeed how they don't also rely on, some understanding of linear time/causality. I think this is because I have a very particular understanding of what "linear time" means/refers to, which is to say that it's hard for me to disassociate that phrase with the basic concept of cause/effect and the progression of time in a measurable, linear fashion. This isn't as firm of a belief as #5; I can certainly imagine one of these args clicking with me eventually. This is just to say that the burden of explanation is much higher and you would likely be better served going for more plan-specific link arguments or maybe just using different terminology/including a brief explanation as to why you're not disagreeing with the basic premise that causes have observable effects, even if those effects aren't immediately apparent. If you are disagreeing with that premise, you should probably strike me, as it will require far longer than two hours for me to comprehend your argument, let alone agree with it.

7. Args about what another team did in another debate are not persuasive to me. I wasn’t there, I don’t know what happened, and there’s enough going on in the round at hand that I don’t feel compelled to make it my concern. Similarly, I will not vote for or against a team based on who they are--I vote based on arguments made, not who made them; random ad-homs against a debater or their schools aren't endearing and will probably lose you some speaker points. I really don't like homogenizing schools as all reading one specific type of argument; please don't do that in cross-x or speeches.

8. I'm not persuaded by "debate bad."

9. I do not know what the Iraq War is, nor do I know what the Vietnam War is, I have never heard of either of these events in my life, nor have I ever encountered any evidence of their existence, and in the context of debate they are fundamentally unpersuasive to me as examples, as it would take longer to explain to me what happened in these events than you have time for in a debate round

Policy debates:

I've actually been doing a lot more policy research this year than in past years, though I still do a lot of K/K answer research and almost exclusively coach teams who are having K debate during tournaments. That said, a lot of the policy research I do centers on process CPs and impact turns; this does mean occasionally I’m less on top of the topic in policy debates than I wish I were. I’m good at picking up on the tricks in your argument if I understand the subject matter, but I might need a bit more hand-holding than other judges for your super-specific strats.

Other things:

1. I'm not the best judge for most theory args as a reason to reject the team if the offending position is not in the 2NR (with the exception of conditionality, which is a context in which I fundamentally do not understand how I can reject the argument but not the team). In general, I tend to hold the 2AR to a high threshold for new arguments in theory debates that they usually do not meet, and I think the amount of time that would be required in the 1AR to avoid that threshold is almost universally better spent elsewhere. I'm much more persuaded by theory args about what happened in the debate than setting a model/precedent/whatever.

3. Apparently T against policy affs is no longer in style. Fortunately, I have a terrible sense of style. This resolution is very large, but in general, I think I'm better for the neg for T than (I guess) a lot of the pool; I wouldn't normally put myself in this place, but reading through some judge philosophies I find a lot of people who say they don't like judging T or don't think T debates are good, and I strongly disagree with that claim.

4. I think judge kick makes intuitive sense, but I won't do it unless I'm told to. That said, I also think I have a lower threshold for what constitutes the neg "telling me to" than most. There are some phrases that signify to me that I can default to the status quo by my own choosing; these include, but aren't necessarily limited to, "the status quo is always a logical policy option" and/or "counter-interp: the neg gets X conditional options and the status quo."

5. "Perm do both" is not an argument! Neither is "perm do the counterplan/alt!" I'm very easily persuaded by neg vagueness args against perms like these, and I've started voting neg in situations where I can imagine other judges voting aff because the perm was like 10-15 seconds in every speech starting from the 1AR. I hate giving decisions where I have to decide that because there's a perm, there must be some world in which the aff and counter-advocacy aren't competitive, even if I can't possibly explain what that world is. If the neg gives me reason not to, or the aff explains that world for me, I'll be much happier. This doesn't mean you have to write out full perm texts--and "perm do both" can be okay, as long as you say more than just that--the 2AC should include at least an explanation of what actor does what action when and how it's net beneficial.

6. I would gleefully welcome a nuanced, developed intrinsicness debate with substantive amounts of time invested starting in the 2AC.


A lost art.

Misc judging quirks:

· I don't think memes are funny.


· I usually take until decision time; I like to write out as much of my decisions as I can. Sorry for being thorough.

· I'm usually pretty expressive, especially when I'm not feeling an argument. I'm interested in making debates the best they can be--if you're confused about why I'm shaking my head for some reason during an argument, I think I'd be open to answering if you asked what you're doing wrong during the speech.

· You do you, but I rarely find myself persuaded by excessive posturing. I've always thought the debaters with the most ethos were those who kept above the fray and stayed cool, who had fun and treated their opponents with respect rather than trying to prove how much more they know.

· I have a lot of distaste for canned speeches. I notice this a lot more on the neg than on the aff, but if you're obviously reading pre-written stuff for the majority of your final rebuttal, you won't get very good points. I will subtract a full point for a 2NR/2AR that rereads significant portions of earlier speeches.

· Please don't make a big deal about reading a card that I cut in front of me. It's just kind of uncomfortable both for myself and the other team.

Josh Miller Paradigm

3 rounds

Me in a nut-shell: I debated for four years at Michigan State University from 2008-2012. I coached at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas (UNLV) from 2012-2014. After that, I went and got my PhD in Communication Studies from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee (UWM). I coached at Marquette off and on while at UWM. Now, I am an Assistant Professor at Texas State University.

Update Texas 2020: I have not judged on the space topic, so my familiarity with the topic (and accompanying communal norms/beliefs) is likely *very* poor. I will work very hard to follow your arguments, but you will likely need to spend more time explaining them.

The Basics:

I have judged off and on for the past few years--not as much as I used to. I usually flow on pen and paper, so you might want to slow down a tad for theory, topicality, long tags.

Less is more -- one of the most common comments I make at the end of the round is "I think you tried to too many arguments and did not develop them"

Assumption-centered debate is bad. Do not assume I know or understand your argument; do not assume I know or understand how your argument interacts with other arguments in the debate. Explain it, substantiate it, defend it. Classic example: "this was answered in the overview" -- my typical thought, "how so?"

Technical concessions significantly affect my decisions. Even if the "thesis" of your position answers an argument, you should be explicit about how it does. I will likely think you dropped something if you overuse implicit clash.

Defense matters, but offense is critical. Another common theme in my decisions is "I thought you did an excellent job playing defense to 'x,' but you did not really extend your offense." This has been especially true in the framework and topicality debates that I judged in the past.

Paperless – I’ll stop prep when the jump drive is out of your computer.

Mark cards as you read them.

If someone is caught cheating (clipping cards/fabricating evidence), that person will receive zero speaker points and the team that the person was on will receive a loss. If you make a challenge, have evidence (recording). I will stop the round once a challenge is started.

Racist, sexist, homophobic, transphobic, and ableist language and arguments lower speaker points and can result in a loss. Please, just don't.

Case Debate: Yes, please. Impact defense has its place, but I would hope you would have more to say on the case.

Disads: Yes, please. I did a lot of politics work back in the day, and I still follow politics very closely. Winning uniqueness doesn’t mean that you have won a link. Winning a link doesn’t mean that the DA is unique. If you go for a disad and the case, note that I have historically voted affirmative on try-or-die (if the conditions for try-or-die are actually present). The negative should have some sort (even if it is minimal) of harms related defense or explicitly set up another way for me to evaluate impacts in the 2NR. Conversely, I find it very difficult to vote aff if they do not respond well to DA solves or turns the case.

Counterplans: Reject the argument, not the team is my default for all theory arguments besides status of the counterplan questions. Having said that, I still think the negative needs to flow, notice theory arguments, and say RANT.

I’m fairly affirmative on a lot of competition questions (ie certainty counterplans). Lately, I have found that more teams need to be willing to at least introduce the permutation to do the counterplan in the debate. Although, I certainly have voted for these counterplans in the past and will likely continue to do so.

I usually default to not kicking the counterplan for the negative if the negative does not explicitly say that I have this option in a speech or in cross-examination.

Conditionality: I’m pretty neg if there is only one conditional counterplan. I would say that I am neutral with two conditional counterplans. Three or more, I am pretty aff.

Critiques: In most judging pools, there are usually a good number of judges who are better for the critique than me. Have I voted on the critique? Yes. Am I as familiar with most critique literature as other judges? Likely not, and I feel like I lean aff in a lot of nexus questions involved in these debates.

Obviously, the more specific the critique to the plan, the better. When I vote for the critique, it is usually because the negative as done a lot of specific link work and/or a solid job of extending "the tricks" (alt solves the case, ethics first, root cause) and the affirmation has done a comparatively poor job of responding to those tricks or challenging the alternative. The affirmative is typically a good spot if they (1) don't forget about their aff, (2) challenge the alternative, and (3) respond to "the tricks."

I am a poor judge for positions based on the view that suffering or death are good or are inevitable. I am also a poor judge for Baudrillard and friends.

No-Plan Affs: I generally enter a debate thinking that it will involve a discussion of a plan, and I have much more experience judging debates that center on plans. Have I voted for affs without a plan against framework? Yes, a few times. Have I voted for framework against a aff without a plan? Yes, a few more times.

I usually find topicality/framework arguments persuasive, especially if they emphasize the benefits of research and switch-side debate on a predictable and stable status point. If you decide against reading a plan, you are better served defending why that choice is good instead of solely arguing why topicality/framework is bad. The more concrete the advocacy of the 1AC the better. The clearer the tie to the topic the better. When I have voted for no-plan affs, the aff did an excellent job justifying their aff and used their aff well to link or impact turn the negative's position. The easiest way for teams advancing topicality/framework to lose is by forgetting their impacts or failing to respond to an impact-turn of their position. In the debates that I have judged involving no-plan affs, the teams that did the best job framing and articulating a metaphor for what debate is generally did better (examples: "debate is a game," "debate is a training ground for activism," "debate is an educational activity where we can explore and develop views of the world and how it works"). I will say this: I am better for affs without plans that focus on exclusion/marginalization in society and/or debate than I am for high theory Ks (either on the aff or neg).

Topicality: If the aff is at the core of the topic and literature, I am pretty good for the aff against a contrived T interpretations. That said, on large topics, I can be persuaded that a limited vision of the topic is necessary, especially when one's interpretation is supported with strong evidence.

If you still have any questions, please ask before the round starts OR email me at If I can tell that you enjoy debating, I will probably enjoy judging the debate.

Aly Mithani Paradigm

4 rounds

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Frank Montano Paradigm

3 rounds

I have been involved with debate for a long time. Probably longer than you have been alive. I am not going to go into to much detail because my paradigm has changed as often as debate has through the decades. i have not been involved with debate on a regular basis for over 5 years and only judge 1 or 2 tournaments a year. Just some random things.

1. I only judge 1 or 2 debate tournaments a year my flow and my hearing won't be used to the super fast robotic delivery that top POLICY debaters are known for. Only judged a handful of Parli debatees, but haven't had any parli debaters that I couldn't keep up with yet.

2. I have voted for plans, counterplans, interpretations, FW, T, performances, alternatives, permutations, presumption, theory and even on a SPEC argument once or twice.

3. There is judge intervention in every round. Making the judge intervene so it benefits you is for you to figure out.

4. If you aren't winning the thesis of your argument, why does the line by line matter?

5. You don't need to win every argument to win a debate. If you try to win every arg, you probably need more coaching. I know some really good coaches that do private tutoring.

6. If my RFD doesn't make sense, it is probably because I was confused during the round. That is never fun and I like to have fun.

7. "We are winning the (insert argument here) which wins us the debate. Even if they win (insert opponents arg here)....." is probably a good way to win most judges ballots.

8. I am pretty obvious with my nonverbals. Sometimes even verbal. In very extreme situations I might stop a round.

9. I've been labeled a K hack recently. Not sure why and don't care really. Policy vs Policy rounds are so much easier to judge IMO.

Anything else, just ask.

Roberto Montero Paradigm

3 rounds

Roberto Montero, Bronx Science ’16, Binghamton ’20. I debated 4 years in high school and broke at the ToC if that means anything to you.

There are two types of arguments in debate (and their inverses): smart arguments and good arguments. Some arguments happen to be both but most of the time they are neither (thus either a bad argument or a not-so-intelligent argument). A smart argument is well-researched, nuanced, and interesting. Good arguments are strategic and effective at winning debates. For example, the politics disad is a ‘good argument’ in that it wins a lot of debates and can be executed and deployed to perfection in the correct hands. That doesn’t make it a smart argument because every novice can tell you that it doesn’t reflect real politics outside of a basic uniqueness claim (which half the time is cut out of context because news articles aren’t written as conclusive as cards are purported to be). A smart argument isn’t always good however. If you have a critique that you’ve put a grad thesis amount of work into, it might make some interesting observations about the world/aff but may not be the most strategic.

Understanding the distinction between these two types of arguments is a recipe for combining them and developing the most well rounded arguments and a higher quality of debates. However, it isn’t my job to sit behind my laptop and mock the quality of your arguments, rather it is up to you as debaters to develop and articulate your arguments as such. When judging I do my best to let debaters do the debating so regardless of what my opinions/thoughts on your arguments are, as long as they are warranted, impacted and clearly extended throughout the speeches. This is also important for understanding how I judge debates—framing your rebuttals with important technical concessions on the line by line is valuable in making my decision easier and not make me sift through dropped arguments on both sides.

The biggest problem in most debates starts with that whole line by line thing. Teddy Albiniak taught me that one of the ways that high schoolers develop bad habits is through imitating prominent college debaters. The thing that bothers me the most is the reliance on 7/8 minute overviews. While this may be something that works for some very talented college debaters, generally it shouldn’t be a tactic employed by most. There is a place for an overview, and it serves a valuable and strategic function but there is such a thing as excessive. This is one of the biggest tradeoffs with engaging in the line by line in general which is pretty important.

*This last portion, like most of my paradigm, assumes a basic model of debate. This means that if you present an alternative model of debate and a different metric for evaluating arguments I will accept that. To quote Alain Badiou It’s only a principle, it’s not a programme. Debate isn’t standard and that is one of the things that makes it such an enjoyable and valuable activity, so take this with a grain of salt.

The second biggest problem is case debating. ~~Newsflash~~ most affs are bad. Not even most, definitely all of the affirmatives are bad. One of the best way to satisfy judges (and me) is by exploiting that on the case page. The threshold for smart 1nc case analytics is a little high but by the block some smart engagement with the warrants and internal links of the 1ac, especially at a basic, logical level, can only help you in the long run. This is particularly important for me as a judge because I can easily justify pulling the trigger on a presumption/0 risk of the aff type argument if mishandled by the affirmative and well-articulated/nuanced by the negative. This is not to say it’s impossible to be aff or that even that the standard is higher but that you should be prepared to defend the 1ac against larger level solvency questions.

We also need to talk about presumption. It is important, especially versus critical affirmatives. If your aff cannot answer the question of why the ballot is key or implicate it in any sense, you have abdicated my role as an adjudicator. All I can really do is enter a team that is victorious on a ballot, just saying that this is obvious does not mean the issue goes away. Perhaps this contradiction is too much to overcome in 8 minutes of a 1ac, and maybe is a problem with how we construct affirmatives but something persuasive needs to be said that doesn't amount to "You're right nothing we said or do matters but you should vote for us anyways" in 1ac cross-x.

Tl;dr please debate the case. Just do it. Like cigarettes and overviews it’s not cool just because the big kids do it.

As for specific arguments I don’t have much to say on all the ~nuances~ of agent counter plans or the intricacies of politics disad theory. I think the go through every issue thing is cliché and generally just a waste of time. If you have any specific questions about my thoughts on some random thing I’d be happy to answer it but I won’t bother to write down an arbitrary opinion on the 7th subpoint of some condo block from 2006. The only issue worth addressing (and what I’m almost confident is the only thing people look at) is framework.


The biggest problem with framework is that a lot of 2nr’s seem to forget to extend an impact. And when they do remember to extend an impact it turns out to just be a really bad impact. Although I’m willing to vote on a dropped fairness argument I’m still skeptical that the age old phrase ‘Debate is a game so fairness you broke the rules you lose’ meets the necessary threshold of an argument. If you plan on going for this impact in front of me make sure it is clearly articulated and not the same circular claim without a warrant.

What I think the so called ‘intrinsic’ value of debate is can be loosely understood as clash. The ability for two teams to debate the merits of competing positions seems valuable not only for education but is just plain fun. Not to say that clash is an impact in it of itself because at some level it’s fundamentally inevitable, but it’s a question of what that clash looks like. This should structure how you articulate a framework impact (or answer one for that matter) most likely to get my ballot. If framework is a question of competing models or visions of debate then you just have to prove comparatively that your model produces better debates, skills or education.

The second biggest problem with framework debates is that negative teams let affs get away with too much. If the 2ar gets to stand up and weigh the entirety of the 1ac versus framework it puts you way behind. The easiest way for an affirmative to defeat framework is to complicate and problematize the way they have constructed the world. This means if you win some truth claims about your aff and the way the world operates through your theory or interpretation then it nullifies a lot of their arguments. For example if you read an affirmative that says the global system of capitalism is bad and the 2nr doesn’t answer the case debate, then what do their skills matter if they can only reproduce a system of capital you have critiqued. This, like any good framework rebuttal, requires a lot of framing and contextualizing the line by line through these bigger picture questions.

The best way for negative teams to check back against this is to just reduce the risk of the aff. You can look back up to that whole portion about case debating, it applies to K affs as well. The other necessary piece is a topical version of the aff. Obviously not helpful against an anti-topical aff but in a majority of framework debates a persuasive and nuanced topical version of the aff goes a long way in resolving a lot of their offense. It still requires a larger impact in conjunction because at the end of the day it is still a defensive argument.

Tl;dr don’t waste time, make good arguments, do line by line, debate the case, extend a framework impact, don’t say talks about how.


Ben Morbeck Paradigm

3 rounds

Benjamin Morbeck

Updated 1-22-2020

Debated 2 years of policy at Strath Haven HS

Currently in my 3rd year of policy at the University of Rochester

Was the main policy coach for Strath Haven last year (2018-19), but i don't coach as much this year

Yes, add me to the email chain:

Top level stuff:

As a debater and a coach, I live pretty exclusively on the policy side of things. This reflects my research interests and my competence in judging more than deeply-held beliefs about debate.

I evaluate the round probabilistically -- comparing the risk that each team accesses their impacts, regardless of whether it is a DA, K or T debate. Good defense is often as important as offense in my decisions, but there is very infrequently "zero risk".

Condo/most forms of neg flex are good -- please run wild with CPs. Affs -- you can still win this debate, you'll just need to devote a lot more time to get me to vote on condo than for other judges.

I find I have an increasingly low tolerance for non-substantive arguments in policy rounds---things like ASPEC, frivolous T arguments, plan flaws, or even very generic impact turns (e.g. spark) etc. My threshold for affs answering these is incredibly low. I think there are almost no situations where negatives would be better served by going for these instead of a DA/CP strategy in front of me.

Evidence quality is very important to me. I'm trying to read more evidence after debates not because I like to needlessly intervene but because I think that it makes my decisions more informed. It is very much to your advantage to influence how I look at evidence after the round by pointing out where your own evidence is great and your opponents' is trash during the debate. This also means I am hesitant to vote on, for example, disad stories that are contrived and supported mainly by "spin" rather than quality evidence.

Some specific stuff:

T-USFG/Framework: I tend to err negative in these debates. I very rarely hear a compelling answer to arguments such as "topical version of the aff" or "read it on the neg" when they are well-executed. Also -- the fact that I view debate as a game has substantial bearing on how I judge these debates. Even if the role of debate is debateable, it's still an uphill battle to win that the ballot affects subjectivity or the world outside of debate, and likewise tough to convince me that we should ignore things like procedural fairness.

Topicality: I have a strong preference for substance over T. Ground is generally more important than limits -- if you can prove you lost your core topic arguments this debate will be easier for you, but that also cuts the other way against larger affs -- if you can't convince me of that I'll probably never vote on T no matter how good your ev is. Reasonability is way overrated -- just win your vision of the topic is better.

Kritiks: they must indict the ability of the case to solve its impacts, otherwise i'll probably vote affirmative.

Disads: I love these. I value specificity and recency of research over anything resembling a generic DA block -- args like "past immigration policy thumps" will not get you very far. I'm also a great judge for politics (I think there's almost always a risk) and an even better judge for spotting the neg links to politics. Unless your plan text explicitly identifies an actor that isn't congress, you probably link to politics and need to actually answer the DA.

Counterplans: Lean decently neg on CP legitimacy, aff on competition -- which just means I want to see more people go for "perm do the CP". International CPs are probably the one area I lean aff on -- I don't really think they disprove the aff or resolution. I'm happy to judge kick in the 2NR, but you need to tell me. All theory that is not condo is a reason to reject the argument and not the team.

I'm a real hack for voting negative on the combination of poor impacting of solvency deficits in the 2AR and the undercovering of turns case arguments by the 1AR and 2AR. Affs: make sure you quantify the impact of a solvency deficit in the 2AR, and i probably have a higher threshold on this than most other judges.

Impact framing debates -- don't find them very persuasive. They're tough to judge and I fall back on my predispositions. Answer the DAs and CPs substantively instead of relying on framing -- your aff probably doesn't link to them anyway!

Other stuff:

With the email chain, please try to avoid putting cards you are reading in the body of the email. I'd much prefer if they were in a separate doc (even if it's just 1 or 2 cards).

Disclosure is very important to me and I'm not sure why disclosure practices are so poor in high school debate: I strongly believe open source format is beneficial to the debate community. I'm hesitant to see this debate played out in the round (i.e. disclosure theory), but would love to use some carrots to encourage good disclosure practices. Let me know your wiki page is dope (read: fully open source) before I submit my decision and I'll bump your speaks .3. Is that a little too much? maybe, but it's 2019 now and drastic actions are necessary.

Similarly, in the interest of disclosure, if you would like the docs from a round that i judged, feel free to email me.

Matt Munday Paradigm

4 rounds

Please add me to the email chain:

I am not the kind of judge who will read every card at the end of the debate. Claims that are highly contested, evidence that is flagged, or other important considerations will of course get my attention. Debaters should do the debating. Quality evidence is also important. If the opposing team's cards are garbage, it is your responsibility to let that be known. Before reading my preferences about certain arguments, keep in mind that it is in your best interest to do what you do best. My thoughts on arguments are general predispositions and not necessarily absolute.

T – Topicality is important. The affirmative should have a relationship to the topic. How one goes about defending the topic is somewhat open to interpretation. However, my predisposition still leans towards the thought that engaging the topic is a good and productive end. I tend to think implementation of the plan must be defended, but there is a debate to be had. I am most persuaded by topicality debates that focus on questions of limits. Competing interpretations typically makes more sense to me than reasonability.

Disads/Case Debate – Among my favorite debates to judge. Clash is built in and evidence comparison occurs naturally. Offense is important, but it seems like defense is often undervalued. I am willing to assign 0% risk to something if a sufficient defensive argument is made.

Counterplans – I lean neg on conditionality and PICs. Functional competition seems more relevant than textual competition. If the affirmative is asked about the specific agent of their plan, they should answer the question. Actual solvency advocates are important.

Kritiks – While I am not very deep on the literature base, I do think these are strategic arguments. I expect the negative to explain the impact of their argument beyond nebulous claims. It seems like the aff generally outweighs. However, good K debates usually control the key framing questions that make those concerns irrelevant. I tend to think of the alternative like a uniqueness counterplan. It benefits the aff to have clever perms as well as offense against the alt.

Theory – A quality theory argument should have a developed warrant/impact. “Reject the argument, not the team” resolves most theory arguments except for conditionality. It benefits both teams to slow down slightly when engaging in the theory debate. Making sure I am able to sufficiently flow the substance of these debates is important.

Speaker Points

Scale - Adjective - Description

29.6-30 - The Best - Everything you could ask for as a judge and more.

29-29.5 - Very, Very good - Did everything you could expect as a judge very, very well.

28.6-28.9 - Very Good - Did very well as a whole, couple moments of brilliance, but not brilliant throughout.

28.3-28.5 - Good - Better than average. Did most things well. Couple moments of brilliance combined with errors.

28-28.2 - OK - Basic skills, abilities, and expectations met. But, some errors along the way. Very little to separate themselves from others. Clearly prepared, just not clearly ahead of others.

27.5-27.9 - OK, but major errors - Tried hard, but lack some basic skills or didn’t pay close enough attention

27-27.4 - Needs Improvement – major errors/lacked effort - Major errors committed, effort questionable

Below 27 - Bad, and I intend for you to take it that way - Disrespected one’s opponent, the judge, or otherwise

Nicole Nave Paradigm

3 rounds

Nick D Nave

Baylor University

2017 Crowns United Boo!

enough said

Theo Noparstak Paradigm

1 rounds

Niles West High School '14
University of Kentucky '18

Coach at Northwestern University

Put me on the chain

I don't consider personal biases when judging policy or k debates. Debates hinge on link, impact, and solvency questions that have to be argued whether its plan/cp, perm/alt, fw/advocacy.

I decide debates by re-organizing my flow around the issues prioritized in the 2nr and 2ar, going back to chart the progression of the argument, then resolving that mini-debate. Tell me what I should care about in the final speeches.

I'll read evidence during and after the debate. Evidence quality influences my perception of the argument's strength. Bad evidence means there's a lower bar for answering the argument and vice versa.

Have an appropriate level of respect for opponents and arguments.

D'Angelo Oberto-Besso Paradigm

3 rounds (please add me to the email chain and email me if you have questions). When you start speaking, I will be flowing. There's no need to ask if I'm ready. If I am out of the room, send the doc and I'll be there shortly.

Niles North High School 2011-2015. University of Iowa 2015-present.

Debate is a game. It can be more than a game, too. I think fun is an impact. I do recognize risk-taking and reward it accordingly. A 2NR with either a DA or impact turn and case gets higher speaker points from me because case debate has fallen off.

Impact calculus is the way to get my ballot. It doesn't matter what kind of impact you have - putting it in a conversation with the other team's impact is necessary. I haven't heard the terms "timeframe," "magnitude," or "probability" in rebuttals for a long time - do that and I will give you higher speaker points. Make sure your impact turns the other team's impact. Seriously, do some impact calc.

Specific things:

If the neg says "the status quo is always an option," I will kick the CP in the 2NR if I think it's worse than the SQ. Aff should explicitly start this debate in the 2AC/1AR.

I like some K's on the Neg. Most are obnoxious, though. A lot of people lose the K in front of me because they go for "tricks" without a real explanation or impact. Bold 2ARs that impact turn and go hard on Alt Fails are fun.

T (not framework) is hit or miss for me. I don't like sifting through legal jargon at the end of the round - it's your job to have a. impacts b. a caselist c. a TVA that is clearly different than the Aff.

Love DA's. Generally a 1% risk kind of judge, but that can change.


I judge a lot of "clash" debates. Try to be creative - these debates can be incredibly boring.

Still not sure which approach is better on the Aff - try to mitigate a lot of Neg defense and win a small risk of the Aff, or just impact turn everything. As of now, I like the former approach. Be reasonable, have some good defense of your Aff on this topic, and call the other team out for having silly impacts.

Neg just wins on better models of debate or fairness tricks. You can win without a TVA.

Anthony Ogbuli Paradigm

3 rounds

TL;DR: Do your thing as long as you do it well.

I debated for Homewood Flossmoor in High School for three years.
I debated for Illinois State University for two years
I debated for the University of Texas at Dallas for three years.

I have a more than decent grasp of debate in general. I judge a good amount of tournaments a year so I have an okay understanding of the topic but don't assume I know every detail and nuance of it. Needless to say you should probably explain your arguments regardless.

I will evaluate all arguments. I think like most judges I like to believe that I evaluate debate from an unbiased position...but like all judges I do have some predispositions

If you tell me to star, double star, flag, or read a card and it's trash I dock speaker points 10 out of 10 times.

I don't like to read a lot of evidence at the end of debates, but I definitely reward good cards.


Framework: I judge a ton of these debates. To be honest I couldn't care less about either sides arguments so play ball. These debates are almost always decided by impact calculus, and whether or not the negative is able to absorb some of the affirmative's offense, whether through topical version of the aff, switch side debate, etc..

You should just debate this however you wish, but if you want to know some of my personal feelings about these debates........

  • The aff almost always gets to weigh the aff against Framework.
  • The aff doesn't get to perm interps, framework should be about what competing models of debate look like. That being said if you allow the aff to finesse you in this fashion, you're probably going to lose.
  • Fairness is an internal link more than it is an impact, but with sufficient work it can be an impact, this is work missing from the vast majority of framework debates. It's probably not the best impact against teams making identity based arguments, against all other teams it should make an appearance.
  • Substantive framework impacts such as cede the political, agonism, deliberation, etc are generally more persuasive especially against identity based arguments
  • T versions of the aff are like perms, why not make several of them?

Counterplans: I think counterplans are a fundamental part of debate. Well thought out specific counterplan are one of the strongest debate tools that you can use. If you're gonna run a counterplan make sure you can theoretically justify it. If counterplans that compete off resolved, should, etc are at the top of your box, it will not be warmly received, but rarely do affirmative's invest enough in the theory debate on these counterplans for that to deter you.

DAs: DAs are also a core debate argument. I am a big fan of politics DA. Specific DAs are always a plus. Contrived DAs are contrived for a reason...and I'll leave it at that.

Kritiks: I have a pretty good grasp of a lot of the popular Kritiks, but that isn't an excuse for a lack of explanation when reading your argument. I refuse to do that work for you regardless of my previous knowledge. That being said, I'm down otherwise. I think that the framework debates on these are stale and usually worthless. The aff should get to weigh the aff, the neg obviously get their kritik, can we start from here or make these debates more innovative.

Case: You should read it. Lots of it. Its good, makes for good debates, and is generally underutilized.

Topicality: I enjoy good T debates......not like T substantial. Unfortunately T debates are normally really messy, so the team to really put the debate into perspective and be very clear on how the two worlds interact first generally wins. If you're looking for a judge willing to pull the trigger on T, I'm probably a good judge for you.

Theory: In accordance to popular belief I like theory. I enjoy good theory debates. I honestly believe affirmative teams let the negative get away with a ton of bullshit, and shouldn't be afraid to not only run theory but to go for it and go for it hard. And to a lesser extent the negative in respect to the affirmative. I honestly believe debaters respond to a win-loss record paradigm so I believe the ballot can be used to punish them. That being said I am by no means an aff theory hack, but if you're going to do something abusive on the neg you should take the time to cover your ass on theory. Also I think everything about topicality above applies.

Things that are good and you should probably have/do
Impact Comparison
If...then statements
Flagging important issues in debate
Good/Strong CX questions and answers

Things I kinda believe
Tech over Truth
Smart Analytics can beat evidence
Uniqueness probably decides the direction of the link
Uniqueness can overwhelm the link
New 1AR arguments are probably inevitable and good to some extent
Prep time stops once you save the speech to your flashdrive
Debate is a game.
Global Warming is real.

Martin Osborn Paradigm

3 rounds

My judging paradigm has evolved a great deal over time. These days, I have very few set opinions about args. I used to think I had a flawless flow and a magnet mind but now I can't follow each little detail and/or extremely nuanced or shrouded arguments with 101% accuracy like once upon a time. Still pretty good tho lol. And that said, I believe I've come to prioritize debaters' decisions more than ever and try harder than ever to base my decision on what debaters are trying to make happen in the round, and how well they do it, as opposed to how I logically add up what occurred. No judge can totally eliminate their process of sorting things out or their lived personal experience but I try to judge rounds as the debaters tell me to judge them, and with the tools they make available to me. I do think debate is about debaters, so I try to limit my overall judge agency to an extent. But sometimes my experience with traditional policy debate matters and favors a team. Sometimes my lived experience as a brown dude effects my encounter of an argument. These things happen and they are happening with all of your judges whether they admit it or you know it or not. I competed with "traditional policy arguments" (which, frankly, I am unsure still exist #old) but by now I have voted for and coached stupidly-traditional, traditional, mildly-traditional, non-traditional, and anti-traditional arguments in high-stakes rounds for a ton of programs in high school, college, internationally, in different eras, dimensions, all kinds of shit. If you think your reputation matters, don't pref me. If you or your coaches are used to attacking in the post-round, you're gonna play yourself because I'll either be 101% and crush you or I won't be and I'll mock you. Debate's a game but we are people so we should treat each other with respect. Self-control is one of the hallmarks of critical thinking and a disciplined intellect; if you cannot make peace with results in a subjective activity, you are simply not an elite debater, imho. Take it or leave it. Good luck to all debaters, seriously, it's a hell of a thing.

Tom Pacheco Paradigm

3 rounds

Email:; also on debatedocs if that matters.

***2019 NDT/TOC Update***

1) Background

A) College- I have judged fewer than 15 college debates on the executive powers topic. I have done some research on it.

B) High school- I have judged fewer than 20 high school debates on the immigration topic. I have done significant research on it.

C) I have legal knowledge as a background. Rarely has it made any difference in a debate. It has helped in cutting cards in providing a context I would not otherwise have regarding legal processes.

2) Debaters should be better at resolving debates and providing relative comparisons at a meta-level. Tell me why you have won a particular portion of a debate AND why that matters relative to the remainder of the debate.

3) Specificity matters to me. I have found over the course of judging that debates in the abstract are the most difficult to judge. Whether it is the specificity of a disad link or an explanation of limits on T, specificity to the context of a particular debate is critical in terms of how you contextualize your arguments.

***Old Update***

So I thought about my previous philosophy, and I didn’t think I would like it if I were a debater and read it. So I will try to provide (hopefully) more useful insight into what I think about debate. I have no idea what situations will occur and what defaults I may have given my limited amount of judging, but I think explaining what I thought about debate as a debater will help.

I just graduated from college, having debated for 4 years in high school at Loyola Blakefield and 4 years in college at the University of Mary Washington.

The way to get me to vote for you is to tell me what to vote on and how to evaluate it. Force my hand, think about the debate from a holistic perspective. Compare arguments. Make even if statements.

What did I really value that I got out of debate?

Fun- I thought debate was a ton of fun. Thinking quickly on my feet, trying to predict what people would say, cutting a ton of cards. I loved debate.

Critical thinking- I do not think anything ever made me think as hard and as complexly as debate. Limited prep time, strategic decisions needing to be made. Thinking about the best arguments to be made against a certain team or with a certain judge. Thinking the way debate teaches has helped me in undergrad, law school, and in life. It teaches a certain way of thinking that is invaluable.

Advocacy- debate taught me how to make an argument, and how to win it in front of anyone. Strip debate of the jargon, and you know how to make an argument in any context. It enhanced my paper writing and has helped me in a lot of situations I think.

How did I get this out of debate?

Rigorous testing. Equitably difficult debate where both teams rigorously test each other’s arguments produces an activity that I found fun, helped me to think critically in quick and strategic ways, and taught me how to make arguments efficiently. I fundamentally think that debate is about rigorously testing positions. You can have debates about anything, but I think this is how I would describe it to people outside of debate and is what debate should be in my normative world.

Why does this matter?

It shapes what I think about debate positions, or is my default for evaluation. This is one of many possible frames I could use. But this is where I start, and it shapes my perception of topicality, to CP competition, to Ks, to theory, to speaker points.


I do think I am open to listening to alternative constructions of debate, but what that is and looks like needs to be tangible to me for me. The team that answers the question- what world of debate is most equitably rigorous wins. My presumption about rigorous testing can be challenged, and I do not know what I will think once I start judging. It is my default though. I think the topic has value insofar as it sets a stasis for argumentation from which rigorous testing commences. Topical version of the aff arguments are good, but not necessary for the neg. For the aff (saying debate bad), I think uniqueness arguments about exclusion are persuasive. I think the closer the aff is to the topic, the more persuasive reasonability becomes.


Topicality debates should be grounded in the literature. I tend to think limits are a controlling issue in T debates because they determine whether the neg has the opportunity to rigorously test the aff. Caselists are useful for either side.

I think arguments contextual to the topic are useful. I think T is important on the oceans topic given its enormity and the lack of unified negative ground. For the aff, I am compelled by aff flex arguments like its and generic CPs make the topic awful.


For most CPs, I probably default to reject the argument not the team. I do think there are arguments that can be made that bad CPs are a reason to reject the team, but it is not my default presumption. There are two questions that I think are important to answer- does the CP rigorously test the aff AND how critical is the CP in the literature? I do think that most CP theory debates are invariably shallow which makes evaluating them difficult.

Conditionality does not differ for me from other CP theory in that the question is about rigorous testing. I do think conditionality is rampant. I think contradicting positions are bad, but can also have different implications in debates- does using the same reps you k’ed mean that perm- do the alt is legit, or that the alt fails? Probably. Contextualizing conditionality to the specific practices done in the debate makes the argument very persuasive.

My presumption is against intervening to kick the CP for the 2nr. If I am told to do it, I might if the aff drops the argument. If they don’t, I probably won’t.

College teams – Pics- I am not completely sold that all/nearly all is the death knell for pics on the college topic. My presumption for pics being good makes me think this is a debatable question, even if the resolution tries to write this out of debates.


I think topic-specific critiques can be interesting because they rigorously test the aff. Whichever team controls the role of the ballot typically wins, and neg teams should invest more if the role of the ballot is distinct from my presumption of testing. I also do not think it is strategic for K teams to not answer the aff explicitly – dropping the 1ac usually means I vote aff – meaning my bar is higher on voting for “x comes first”/ “x means the whole aff is wrong” args. Generalizations do not test the aff. Dropping the 1ac does not test the aff.

I think try or die is how I think about ks. Ks that are the strongest in persuading me control the impact uniqueness of the debate. I find aff arguments about trends in the status quo more important than other people because of that (for example, if the environment is sustainable, winning a consumption k becomes much harder). Affs should focus on alt solvency and how to evaluate impacts.


I tend to think the link controls the direction of the DA, but can be persuaded that uniqueness does.

I think zero risk is possible.

I think turns case arguments really help the neg. I think unanswered turns case arguments by the block in the 1ar are difficult for the aff to come back from.


You will receive a bump in speaker points if you read quals.

I flow cross-x.

Demonstrate topic knowledge.

I like specific arguments better than general ones.

I think long overviews are overrated and are a way to avoid clash.

Start impact calculus early.

Indict specific evidence- the quals and the warrants.

Explain to me why I should prefer your evidence over your opponents.

Tell me when an argument is new or dropped.

Be comprehensible.

2as should not blow off arguments on the case.

Smart arguments matter, as long as they are complete. An argument is a claim and warrant.

Clipping is a problem in the activity. Don’t do it. Don’t allege that someone else has done it without evidence via recording – you will not win otherwise. The debate community relies on shared trust. Breaking that trust or accusing someone of doing this is of the utmost seriousness.

Be organized- with yourself in the debate as well as your arguments.

Do not steal prep.

Minimize the amount of time paperless debate causes.

***Previous philosophy***

Short version

I just graduated from college, having debated for 4 years in high school at Loyola Blakefield and 4 years in college at the University of Mary Washington. I have not judged so much that there is a predisposition that is so strong not to be able to be overcome. You do you, most things are up for debate. I prefer specific strategies over general strategies regardless of what those strategies deploy. I prefer CP/Politics or Politics/Case debates. I think the real way to being happy with a decision from me is to tell me what to do and how to assess arguments in the debate. The team that tells me what to do at the end of the debate and has the best reasoning for it will win.

I like hard work. Debaters that work will hard will be rewarded for doing so. I will also work my hardest to give every debater the credit they deserve while I am making a decision.

Coaches who have had a formative impact on me – Adrienne Brovero, Daryl Burch, Tom Durkin.

Judges I liked that I would like to be like – Lawrence Granpre, Scott Harris, Fernando Kirkman, Sarah Sanchez, Patrick Waldinger. I promise I will not be as good as these people, but I use them as a model for how I want to judge.


I was a 2a and a politics debater in college, and a 2n that relied on the cap k and topicality in high school. I have done significant research on the oceans topic, and a little on the college topic.


I default policymaker. I think the topic is set up to be instrumentally affirmed. Again, not so much so that I will not listen to other arguments or perspectives. For the neg, I am strong believer in fairness as well as the skills that debate teaches. I think predictability is necessary for debates to happen. Topical version of the aff arguments are good, but not necessary for the neg. For the aff (saying debate bad), I think uniqueness arguments about exclusion are persuasive. I think the closer the aff is to the topic, the more persuasive reasonability becomes.


Topicality debates should be grounded in the literature. I tend to think limits are a controlling issue in T debates. Caselists are useful for either side.

I think arguments contextual to the topic are useful. I think T is important on the oceans topic given its enormity and the lack of unified negative ground. For the aff, I am compelled by aff flex arguments like its and generic CPs make the topic awful.


For most CPs, I probably default to reject the argument not the team. That does not mean that I think that all CPs are good OR that I would be unwilling to vote on a cheating CP. I do think that most CP theory debates are invariably shallow which makes voting on them difficult. Most teams get away with bad/illegitimate CPs because the aff is terrible at executing, or the neg has some trick. I also think the more contextual a CP is within a set of literature, the harder it is to beat on theory questions. I have no predispositions on CP theory – I am willing to listen to it.

Conditionality is different than other CP theory args for me. It is certainly excessive most of the time. It gets egregious when positions contradict. Contextualizing conditionality to the specific practices done in the debate makes the argument very persuasive.

College teams – Pics- I am not completely sold that all/nearly all is the death knell for pics on the college topic. My presumption for pics being good makes me think this is a debatable question, even the resolution tries to write this out of debates. I think what is “nearly all” is what the literature says it is. I am also compelled that maybe the topic is so bad that these pics are important for the neg.


I think topic-specific critiques can be interesting. The more specific to the topic, and the more specific to the aff, the better. Whichever team controls the role of the ballot typically wins. I also do not think it is strategic for K teams to not answer the aff explicitly – dropping the 1ac usually means I vote aff – meaning my bar is higher on voting for “x comes first”/ “x means the whole aff is wrong” args.


I tend to think the link controls the direction of the DA, but can be persuaded that uniqueness does.

I think zero risk is possible.

I think turns case arguments really help the neg. I think unanswered turns case arguments by the block in the 1ar are difficult for the aff to come back from.


I think long overviews are overrated.

Start impact calculus early.

Be comprehensible.

Smart arguments matter, as long as they are complete.

Clipping is a problem in the activity. Don’t do it. Don’t allege that someone else has done it without evidence via recording – you will not win otherwise. The debate community relies on shared trust. Breaking that trust or accusing someone of doing this is of the utmost seriousness.

Be organized.

Do not steal prep.

Minimize the amount of time paperless debate causes.

Have fun – that’s why I do this.

Jazmine Pickens Paradigm

3 rounds

Hey I’m Jazmine.

Debated for the University of Oklahoma for 3 years. Was a 3x qualifier to the NDT and 2019 1st Round At-Large Bid Recipient. 2018 Quarterfinalist and 2019 Octafinalist and 2019 CEDA National Champion. Cool Flex but the world outside of debate cares 0 about these things so keep that in mind and let it be perspective on what the "skills” and "education" you are garnering are for and how you are best utilizing them to serve your personal and professional endeavors.

Yes I want to be on the email chain:

Had a long paradigm from 3 years ago most of it word vomit so I’ll keep it simple.

I know I’ll be in clash debates as I should. Most will think I lean on one side of the "fight" which is probably true but anyone who claims neutrality is lying to ur face. So I’ll say that I have predispositions HOWEVER, I DO NOT AUTO vote on the K or vote against fwk since as a coach I develop arguments on both sides. Don’t believe me? Well check the wikis;). MY Rule of thumb is if your logic is circular and self referential with no application to what is happening in the debate or how these competing theories (Debate as a game, state good, etc. are theories so you’re not out of this comment) structure how I should be evaluating top level framing and the ballot then yea I’m not your judge [FOR BOTH SIDES]. Point out the tautology and implicate it with some defense to solvency or have it lower the threshold for how much you have to win your competing interpretation (or interpretation) and let’s debate it out.

K on K, I’m smart and pick up on levels of comprehension BUT make it make sense. The buzzword olympics was cool but I want to see where the LINKS or POINTS of difference where ever you are drawing them from so I know what does voting AFF mean or What does voting NEG mean.

like I said simple. I appreciate the linguistic hustle and am into the game, but play the damn game instead of stopping at intrinsic statements of "Debate is a game and that presumption is valid because that’s just the way it has to be because MY DA’s! :/" or "This theory of the world is true and since I entered it into the chat I win..." IMPLICATE THE PRESUMPTIONS with solvency thresholds, framing thresholds PLEASE!

THanks for coming over.

Stephen Pipkin Paradigm

3 rounds

Glenbrook North

The role of my ballot is to vote for the team who does the better debating on whether a topical plan is better than the status quo or a competitive alternative. That means the aff has to defend a topical plan and the neg has to prove the plan is a bad idea or there's no risk the plan is a good idea. I will ignore any other framework or role of the ballot args. I think people don't believe me when I say I'm not voting on a kritik or a k aff but please don't test this. This is a change in how I've judged from the past. This isn't a "he's open to it, we just have to out-tech the other team" situation, this is a "there is no technical victory that's possible because I don't care what the other team says" situation. If the kritik is a necessary part of your neg strategy, you should strike me.

For everything else, flow and respond to what the other team says. Tech over truth, tech over offense.

Slow down and explain more. Voting on what you said requires understanding both the actual words and the substance of the arguments you are making. Do things that make it easier for me to flow. Position yourself so I can hear you. Don't speak into your laptop or stand on the opposite side of the room. Don't read typed-out things like they are the text of a card. Slow down and change the intonation of your voice when you're speaking. Sign-post. Be clear when you are transitioning between cards and sheets. Give me time to switch sheets. Be explicit about what you're answering.

Other things that may differ from what you consider norms:

I'm in charge of timing.

Asking the other team questions counts as cross-x.

I stop flowing when the timer goes off.

You can't take less than 10 seconds of prep. Every time you restart prep, you're taking at least 10 seconds. The constant starting and stopping is getting excessive, get your stuff together.

Everything needs to be in one speech doc. Getting everything together in one speech doc is prep. I stop prep when you've sent the doc.

If you steal prep, I'll take a punitive amount of prep time from you. If you read one or two extra cards, sending it after the speech is fine. If it becomes excessive, I'll also take a punitive amount of prep time from you.

There's no situation in which I'll vote for death is good.

No reinserting highlighting

I don't pay attention to questions after cross-x time is up.

Steve Pointer Paradigm

3 rounds

Updated Round 3 at St Mark's:

Please include undertheorized and warrantless blips about settler colonialism in my list of things I do not want to unpack for you. Needing to read whole articles to attempt to establish a connection that makes sense in my mind between the 6 words you said that constitute an "argument" seems like an unreasonable task. Please explain some stuff.

Put me on your email chains:

Note: If you ask me whether I want to be on the email chain, or for my email address, I will give your speaker points the same level of consideration and respect that you have given my judging philosophy.

Someone once described my judging philosophy very accurately as follows: "Pointer votes on 'The Stupid DA' - He really wants to vote against the team that is doing the dumbest stuff."

I haven't yet fully decided the most egregious way we've set ourselves up for failure with the arms sales topic. More thoughts forthcoming.

I've deleted most of the record of debates on the immigration topic from both my judging philosophy and (hopefully) my memory, but I'll leave this part of the rant up since I suspect it will be almost as true on this topic:

This topic has a terrible literature imbalance in favor of the aff in terms of disads. The fundamental problem is that while the aff gets to enjoy reading hypothetical and prescriptive claims about the world in their solvency contention, while the neg is limited to descriptive claims about the status quo in order to research link and uniqueness questions. Nobody would possibly write good link cards about things that would never happen outside the realm of fiat, so the neg is forced to rely on some spin to make their disads links seem like actual things. So I have a high degree of sympathy for negative teams that make link arguments based off of literature that interprets how particular actors would respond to hypothetical plans, provided they actually do the work to make that spin make sense. We've accepted doing this with worse evidence for the political capital DA for at least a decade, I'm not sure why we as a judging community are pretending like we don't want to do this during the Trump Administration.

A different rant - Debate is better when claims come from some form of evidence. This expanding trend of taking the K in the 2NC, not reading any cards (or 1-2 max) and asserting claims like "the state is always bad" and "humanism is always bad" is not really appealing to me. I don't start the debate with a predisposition to think those arguments are already decided, and I don't find your assertion persuasive. You need some evidence to back up those claims. That being said, I'm pretty open to alternative forms of evidence and will do my best to evaluate them, but there has to be something there.

I've been coaching debate for quite a while now, and I've coached teams that run just about everything. I've judged debates about most things as well, so the odds are that you won't be doing anything that I'm not somewhat familiar with. That being said, I find myself less willing than I used to be to unpack your buzzword-laden cryptic statements about continental philosophy or psychoanalytic concepts. If your strategy revolves around obfuscation or deferral, I am not the most sympathetic judge for you. If you are talking about Lacan, I have a higher burden of explanation than you are probably meeting. I also find rejection as an isolated concept to be a generally uncompelling alternative absent some development.

Debate is a game, but it is a game that needs to have some value. Therefore, any good debate practice should be both fair and educational, but the content of such education and the neutrality claims of procedural fairness become internal links, not terminal impacts, once contested. In other words, be able to defend the value of your model of debate, and you'll have a much better chance in front of me when the opponent offers a different model of debate.

Most of you would be better off slowing down, especially on tags and analytics and overviews. Seriously, most of you read them like they're cards, which just makes them unflowable. Typing time and mental processing time are real things that judges need. I know you are just flowing the speech doc, but please don't make me do that too. Be slow enough that you can be clear.

Now to the stuff you actually care about:

Can I read the K? Yes. But please have a better link than the state or civil society. The more germane you are to the topic, the better.

Can I read a K aff? Yes

Does that K aff have to be about the resolution? It should be. I've been persuaded that it doesn't matter in some debates, but I think a good minimal standard is that your aff should be about why arms sales are bad. Questions of process or implementation, or defending state action are generally up for debate.

Will you vote on framework/T against K affs? Yes. However, you probably need to make inroads against the aff's structural fairness claims about the world to have a shot. I am generally more persuaded by engagement/institutions arguments than fairness arguments, but have voted for both. I think the value of fairness in debate often begs a larger question about the value of the model of debate that particular claims to procedural fairness would preserve, and I'm open to hearing that debate.

Conditionality? It's good. Contradictory conditional advocacies, however, are probably not. Note that a K that links to the CP as well as the plan probably does not meet this threshold of being a contradiction in this sense. Your 3-4 counterplans in the 1NC are probably not complete arguments, and likely haven't made a solvency argument worth comparing to the case, so those might be better arguments than conditionality. Conditionality only allows you to jettison an advocacy statement and default to the status quo or another advocacy, not the series of truth claims made on a page.

Theory arguments? Be clear when you present them. Everything other than conditionality bad is probably a reason to reject the argument, not the team.

Judge kick? Not by default. If you make the argument and win it, sure I'll kick the CP for you. Otherwise, you made your choice and I won't default to giving you a second 2NR in my judging.

I like smart, strategic debate and quality evidence. I give pretty clear nonverbals when I can't understand you, either because of clarity or comprehension. I'm not above yelling clear if I have to. Policy teams, your highlighting is bad. K teams, your tags are unflowable.

Despite our best efforts to avoid it, sometimes clash accidentally occurs and a debate breaks out. Be prepared.

Anirudh Prabhu Paradigm

3 rounds

Bellarmine ‘16

Stanford ‘20

Most of what I know about debate comes from Debnil Sur. I stole parts of this philosophy from his. If I articulated something poorly here, you can probably check his philosophy for a better articulation.

To quote Debnil, “tech >>>>>>>>> truth.”

General Experience: I debated at Bellarmine in San Jose, CA, where I currently coach. I was double 2’s my junior/senior year but am a 2A at heart. I travelled on the national circuit my junior and senior year reading a planless aff and kritikal strategies on the neg. I qualled to the TOC my senior year and went far at NFL’s my junior and senior year. At tournaments like state/NFL’s, I read policy strategies (my most common 2NR at NFL’s my senior year was the terror DA). I debated for a year and a half as a 2A at Stanford and qualled to the NDT my first year. I have exclusively coached teams who read primarily policy strategies.

Topic Experience: I have moderate familiarity with the arms sales topic, but the Glenbrooks will be my first tournament judging this year.

Deciding Rounds: Tech matters far more than truth, but use persuasion (eye contact, expression, etc.) to your advantage.

Make it clear what issues matter - I will start at what each team said mattered the most and progress from there.

I prefer final rebuttals that have substantial overviews to frame the debate (substantial does not mean inefficient).

Smart analytics can take out silly internal links - don't waste your time reading 3 worthless 'no impact to hegemony cards' when you could say military sequestration thumps and education doesn't help deterrence.

I will protect the 2NR if explicitly asked to - as mkoo puts it, “specific brightlines and warranted calls for protections (anytime) will be zealously adhered to,” but 2N’s shouldn’t assume I’m going to totally disregard new 2AR impact analysis.

I’ll probably ask for speech docs. I generally believe that in-round explanation is more important than evidence quality, but I will read cards if I need to decide a time-sensitive issue, if debaters ask me to with warranted explanation, or if it’s difficult for me to decide without the cards.

I try to line up arguments on my flow despite flowing on a laptop. Please keep that in mind. Specificity in roadmaps is appreciated when needed (e.g. if you're about to spend 3 minutes on the perm in the 2NC, let me know beforehand so I can add more cells).

I’ll probably flow CX.

Speaker Points: I’ll roughly follow this scale.

29.4+ — the top speaker at the tournament.

29.2-29.3 — one of the five or ten best speakers at the tournament.

28.9-29.1 — one of the twenty best speakers at the tournament.

28.7-28.8 — a 75th percentile speaker at the tournament; with a winning record, would barely clear on points.

28.5-28.6 — a 50th percentile speaker at the tournament; with a winning record, would not clear on points.

28.1-28.4 — a 25th percentile speaker at the tournament.

27.8-28.0 — a 10th percentile speaker at the tournament.

Be clear including on card text. Cheating means you will get the lowest possible points. You need a recording to prove clipping. If you mark a card, say where you’re marking it, actually mark it, and offer a marked copy before CX.

In general, debaters who do good line-by-line will get higher points in front of me. It’s not the only way to debate, but I find it tougher to resolve debates where there is less direct clash, and I think only a few debaters can effectively create clash without lining up arguments. If you think you’re up to the challenge then go for it.

Flashing isn’t prep but don’t take forever.

T: I like watching T debates.

I default to competing interps. The articulation of reasonability that will persuade me is that the substance crowdout generated by T debates outweighs the difference between the two interps. Note that reasonability is about the interps, not the aff.

Link comparison and impact comparison are the key in rebuttals.

Make your impact claims as specific as possible, and make sure to demonstrate knowledge of the topic in these debates.

The neg doesn’t have to win in-round abuse, the T debate is about interpretations.

Theory: (from Debnil) “Other than conditionality, default that violations are a reason to reject the argument not the team. To reject the team, provide well-warranted analysis of how it irreversibly damaged the rest of the debate, with examples of alternate, in-round strategies that would have otherwise been read.”

I’m probably more willing to listen to a theory debate than most judges.

CP: The more theoretically illegitimate your CP is, the more uphill the theory debate is. That being said, if you can defend them well, feel free to reading cheating counterplans. As Debnil puts it, “Literature proving a substantive difference between the plan and the counterplan will strongly help your case.”

Some specific thoughts (obviously up for debate) - non-enforcement is generally fine, process CP debates are best when the technicalities are explained early on and not saved for a block trick, multiplank CP’s are only bad when they allow the neg to take multiple contradictory positions that they use to squirm out of all aff offense in the 2NR. ASPEC is a tough sell as an individual voter, but the neg can sometimes use it to generate CP competition.

Presumption goes to less change - debate what this means in round. Otherwise, it goes aff in the event of an advocacy.

Decide in-round whether I should kick the CP.

DA: Case-specific disads are obviously good.

Generics are fine.

There is such thing as zero risk.

Make sure that turns case arguments actually are turns case arguments.

I like substantial impact turn debates. The big thing to watch out for is organization - it’s best if the debate is clearly grouped early on. Obviously down for heg/econ/etc., but if you’re amazing at China war good then feel free to pull it out.

K: I’m fairly well-versed in most common K’s in debate.

One common reason affs lose these debates is by being too defensive. Think about how your heg advantage interacts with a settlerism K.

I prefer small overviews, but if big overviews is your style and you can do it really well, then feel free to - but as Albert Li says in his philosophy, “don’t lie to me about how long your goddamn overview is.”


Nontraditional Affs: My main aff my junior and senior year was a planless aff. That being said, I also went for framework my senior year. I don’t have a particular bias to either side - there are good and bad arguments on both sides, and arguments I might consider “bad” (like dogmatism) can easily be viable if executed well. Affs should make smart defensive arguments against standards with silly internal links. One good piece of aff offense and a lot of defense can often beat framework.

For negative teams reading framework

  • Read it the best way you know how. Collapse down in the 2NR - go for 1-2 impacts max. In terms of standards, I'm generally fine with the common ones, as long as there's a coherent story. For example, I prefer a debate where the negative consistently argues that I should prioritize procedural fairness because debate is a game over one where they shotgun a bunch of different arguments like "learning technical details of the law key" and "decisionmaking k2 solving extinction from climate change" with the hope that something will stick.

  • You don’t have to engage the case, but if you choose to invest time into it, make it something more substantive than a bunch of generic case cards. If you’re reading biopolitics defense cards about Agamben against a Foucault aff, and you don’t know the difference between the two, you’re better off just investing more time on framework. That being said, don’t concede thesis claims of the aff that apply really well to framework.

  • Impact comparison is very important - if the aff’s model makes it substantially harder for the neg to engage but the neg’s speech act was problematic, which way do I vote?

  • Warrant internal links - don’t just jump to hyperbolic impacts

  • “TVA solves” doesn’t answer every aff arg, especially if they have a K of your performance.

For negative teams reading kritiks

  • Don’t let the aff get away with an unclear articulation of the perm, force them to clearly articulate what it means and how it functions. I default to giving the aff a perm but am open to competition theory arguments.

  • The more quotations from the 1AC, specific contextualization to the story of the affirmative and negative, and similar 1AC-focused debating that occurs, the more likely you are to win. Crystallize the points of clash between your theories as applied to the 1AC, as opposed to giving me a philosophy/literature/critical studies lecture.

If you correctly use the term "nchtr" in round, you will get a 0.2 speaker point boost. Don't use it unless you're gonna do it properly.

Email ani dot prabhu98 at gmail dot com if you have questions

Also, please put me on the email chain and send cards in a Word doc (not in the body of the email).

Robbie Quinn Paradigm

3 rounds

Robbie Quinn, coach at Montgomery Bell Academy, mucho judging on this topic, which is the one with ASPEC, Consult NATO, and the Death K.

I have no prejudices toward any argument type. I do have prejudices to people who don't have fun. You have to have fun. I'm a librarian, so at the very least you can have fun making fun of that.

I determine which way to evaluate any argument based on who most convinces me of the superiority of a certain way to evaluate it.

I like humor, stories, and creative uses of historical examples. Cross-ex is very important to me and I watch it closely. I think it sways my thinking on key issues. What judge won't admit to actively monitoring who seems to be winning? Cross-ex, to me, is a powerful barometer of that.

Things I've been telling debaters lately that make me feel like I am incredibly awesome but are really just things that everybody knows that I rephrased into something snappy and I'm taking credit for:

1. Don't unnecessarily cut people off in CX. The best CX questions are the ones they can't answer well even if they had all 3 minutes to speak.

2. Be a guardian of good debate. Yes, debate's a changing network of ideas and people, and winning a debate on bad arguments isn't a crime punishable by death. But I reward debaters who seek to win on good arguments. I love good debates. I don't like making "easy" decisions to vote on bad arguments, even though I often do.

3. The most sensible kritik alternatives to me are the ones that defend the idea of a critical-political resistance to the assumptions of the plan and how that idea works in real-world situations. Even if an alternative isn't as cleanly recognizable or linear as the passage and enforcement of a piece of legislation, that doesn't mean that it can't be something concrete. I watch so many bad kritik debates that are bad because both sides never give the alternative any sensible role in the debate. I will reward debaters that give up on gimmicky and irrelevant defenses and attacks of kritik alternatives.

Reasons why my judging might mimic the real world:

1. I might be consciously and unconsciously swayed against your arguments if you're a mean person. Humans are good judges of sincerity.

2. I appreciate style. Rhetorical style and the style of your presence. There's a big difference between going-through-the-motions and having presence in a debate.

3. I like endorsing and praising passionate debaters. Lots of people who articulate that "this debate and the discourse in it matter" don't really energize their discourse to make me feel that. On the other hand, lots of people who don't think that "this debate round matters" often sway my thinking because they speak with urgency. I love listening to debates. If you want to speak, I want to hear you.

Me and cards: I'm very particular about which cards I call for after the debate. If there's been evidence comparison/indicts by one side but not the other, that's usually reason for me not to ask for either side's evidence on that question since one team did not engage the evidence clash.

Advait Ramanan Paradigm

3 rounds

Advait Ramanan
Atholton ‘15
Georgia ‘19

Coaching at Harvard in 2019-20.

Put me on the email chain -- advait.ramanan (at) gmail (dot) com

You do you and I'll do my best to keep up.

Please don't insert evidence. Read it in a speech or CX.

T/Framework vs. Planless Affs -- Generally lean neg. The best neg teams, in my opinion, invest in no linking the aff's offense via framing arguments (do it on the neg, read it and lose, T affs can access X lit base.)

Ks vs. Policy Affs -- The aff gets to weigh the plan, barring major technical concession. Plan good/bad is most predictable and weighing links vs. the case tends to solve the neg's O.

T vs. Plans -- All about predictability and evidence comparison. Limited topics are great, but who cares if they're arbitrary.

Theory -- Condo's generally good, but judge kick is silly. I lean aff on most other theory arguments; consult/conditions/delay are all generally not gonna fly. I'm persuaded by the argument that non-USFG actor CPs aren't opp costs to the aff. Topic CPs are great; If a 2A can predict the CP, I'm inclined to think it's legitimate. Predictability stems from the lit, not from community norms.

Devon Reese Paradigm

3 rounds


-I vote for things that I don't like, the debate is yours to make what you will. That does not mean I have no opinions.

-T: Substantial means many things; compare evidence and impact T like a DA.

-I have a hard time understanding teams that run Neolib/Cap with a Spending DA (?). This does not make a lot of sense to me and I can be persuaded to vote on the performative contradiction (distinct from condo).

-Things I am unlikely to vote for: Inherency, "speed kills", claims without warrants, poorly debated T violations, "multiple perms are bad".

Read a topical plan----------------------X--------------------say anything


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

Conditionality Good--------------------X----------------------Conditionality Bad

States CP Good------X------------------------------------States CP Bad

Process CPs------------------X------------------------Ew Process CPs

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

Politics DAs are a thing-------------------x-----------------------Good Politics DAs are a thing

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

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

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

Lots of evidence--------------------------------------x----Lots of good evidence

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

Reject the Team--------------X----------------------------Reject the Arg

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

Competition is based off the plan----x--------------------------------------Neg gets to define the plan

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

K alts need to do something-------------------------------X-----------but you're asking the wrong question

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

Not my Baudrillard-----------------------------------------X yes your Baudrillard

I will try to keep in these range for speaker points:

29.3+ — the top speaker at the tournament.
29.1-29.2 — one of the five or ten best speakers at the tournament.
28.8-29.0 — one of the twenty best speakers at the tournament.
28.6-28.7 — a 75th percentile speaker at the tournament; with a winning record, would barely clear on points.
28.4-28.5 — a 50th percentile speaker at the tournament; with a winning record, would not clear on points.
28.0-28.3 — a 25th percentile speaker at the tournament.
27.7-27.9 — a 10th percentile speaker at the tournament.

Have fun and be kind.

Madeline Reese Paradigm

3 rounds

My name is Max, I use they/them pronouns only


Experience: Policy debate - 4 years at Robert McQueen HS; 2 year at UNLV

I am very open to hearing any arguments at any speed. I am willing to vote for nearly anything. Do what you do best.

Specific updates (Last update: 11/3/19)

- If you put your hands on another debater without their permission, I do not care if it is part of the argument. I will stop the round, you will get an automatic loss and 0 speaks.

- I am very unlikely to vote on "death good" even if it is dropped.

- If you want to do something in round besides debate (color, play supersmash, etc.) that's great, but I am in the back to judge a debate. If you do not make arguments, it will be very hard to win my ballot.

- Topicality needs an impact. If a team is not topical, but there is no impact, there is no reason to care and I'm more likely to vote on reasonability if being untopical does nothing. This includes T-USFG (Framework)

- Kritikal affs need specific explanations of offense, and what the aff does, by at very least the 2AR -- if you do not know what the aff does, then I don't either, which makes it harder for me to weigh any of your offense.

- I will not vote on something just because the other team dropped it. I need an explanation of why it matters that the other team dropped it, and (if you're gonna go for it as the A-strat in your last speech) why it outweighs any of their other arguments.

- Similarly, I will not do work for you to explain why you win. Explicit explanation and contextualization is necessary; you control the direction of the debate and I would prefer to intervene as little as possible

Some other minor things to note:

- My brain and ears aren't really friends with one another, so if you're unclear I might miss something. I will yell clear twice -- that's it.

- Be a decent human being! Debate is competitive, but that doesn't mean you should make someone feel bad about themselves as a person.

Shanara Reid-Brinkley Paradigm

3 rounds

In college, my debate style was left of center, but I was trained at Emory which means as much as I lean toward critiques and performance debates as my personal preference, I am equally as qualified to judge straight up policy debates. In debates where the policy framework meets the critical framework I vote for the team with the better argument even if I find the opposing teams position more interesting or entertaining, I can reward that with speaker points.
I don’t have any preconceived ideas about debate theory, so I tend to vote directly on the flow. If you win the theory argument and it has implications that you explain, I’m more than willing to vote there.
I am open to and willing to engage alternative stylistic practices and choices for debates.
I hate reading evidence after a debate because it means that the debaters have been sloppy and inefficient in explaining and defending their arguments. Thus, I only read cards if you have not done your job. That being said, if there is evidence you would like to be a part of my consideration because if I need to read evidence, I will only call for what has been directly referenced by you.
Important things to know about debating in front of me. I like smart asses, in general, but I think to many people cross the line in debate. So be forceful and aggressive, but watch the rudeness factor with the other team. It gets under my skin. But, more importantly, watch your attitude with me. I am infamous for arguing with teams after a decision. I will be respectful toward you initially, the more disrespectful and confrontational you become, the more of the same you will get. I’m a 5ft 2in. black woman from inner-city Atlanta. I may be older and wiser, but I will still get at ‘cha. That being said, I’m always willing to calmly and rationally discuss a decision, you can often learn what is likely to win my ballot and that can be a serious advantage for you throughout the year. I can be very supportive and will offer suggestions both for improving debate skills, but also in improving arguments, and pointing to interesting directions for more evidence. If your research pertains to any of the following subject matters, I might be a particularly useful judge for you: feminist theories (particularly women of color), critical social theories of race, poststructural theories of race, gender, class, and sexuality; globalization; hip hop; cultural studies, etc.

Miloran Robinson Paradigm

3 rounds


I don't get to judge much due to helping run tournaments in the state. Did 4 years HS policy, 2.5 years at Georgia State. Came back to coach in the Milwaukee Urban Debate League, at Rufus King for 2.5 years, and now starting my 2nd year coaching at Marquette University HS. I am in my 9th year of coaching and judging. I have seen and have heard alot of args.

I love policy debate overall.

My threshold for voting on T and if you are claiming potential abuse is low to none. It hasn't happened in the last year or so.

Any questions, just ask.

Brian Roche Paradigm

3 rounds - always put me on the chain, don't ask

gbs '16 michigan '20

most important/tl;dr: if your speaking style involves reading large (>1/2 page) blocks of prewritten text as fast as you would read the text of a card, you should strike me. if you don't do line by line, which means making arguments in a logical order and responding to your opponents' arguments in the order that they made them, you should strike me. i will give extremely high speaker points to debaters who give final rebuttals competently without the use of a laptop. debate is an activity based on persuasive communication and yelling into your laptop is not that.


- currently a senior at michigan majoring in political science

- debated on four topics at glenbrook south (transportation, latin america, oceans, surveillance) and two at michigan (healthcare, executive authority)

- tara tate taught me how debate works, and jon voss was the argument coach i worked with most closely

- 2n for 3 years, 2a for three years

- most of my 2nrs were some combination of a counterplan, da, and case arguments. I also went for ks a fair amount

- i always read affs with plans as a 2a, but usually not anything near the core controversies of the topic literature

things you should know

- haven't judged on the arms sales topic since camps were happening, but i read a nukes aff on the executive authority topic and the majority of my research was focused on deterrence and allied prolif arguments. those das were my favorite part of the topic and i've taken some classes about deterrence theory in college

- i imagine i will be very good for the aff in t-substantial debates. apparently this is a core topic argument? unless i am missing something, this worries me immensely about the state of the activity

- in constructives + the 1nr and 1ar i would prefer if you do not give impact overviews, or really any kind of overview. if the other team does not answer a significant component of your argument, you should start with it and explain its implication, regardless of whether it's an impact claim. if they answer all the relevant components of your argument i would prefer if you just do line by line. ideally, 2nrs and 2ars would have a short, "here's why we win" type overview on whatever piece of offense they're going for, and then lbl for the rest of the speech. i realize that this is abnormal, so I won't be upset if you still give typical overviews, but i've found that speeches that are given in the way i describe make it significantly easier for me to give a decision that is satisfactory to both teams

- excessively interjecting in your partner's cx is a major pet peeve of mine and will result in lower points in nearly all instances

- better than average for neg k teams that do line by line. mostly because affs often allow the neg to turn a basic claim about how the world operates into a reason the aff is a bad idea. affs should focus on reasons the aff is still a good idea despite reasons that the world might be bad

- will not reject certain variants of death good on face -- won't vote on arguments that support genocide but am ok with arguments grounded in negative utilitarianism, although it would probably be a depressing two hours

- average for aff k teams that do line by line, significantly worse than average for ones that do not. affs without plans either need to win that their vision of debate/the topic is better than the neg's or that the neg's vision is so irredeemable that it's preferable to have no topic at all

- don't really have any hot takes about counterplans or das. if it's clear that you've thought through and worked hard on your strategy, i will want to vote for you. if it's clear that you haven't, the opposite is true

- no idea what topicality arguments are common on this topic, if you think the argument is silly you should explain in more detail than you normally would why that is the case

- agnostic about all theory arguments, with the following exceptions:

- neg fiat is always good

- rider das are always legitimate - you can make arguments that the plan doesn't go through congress

- vote no/fiat solves the link: if these aren't dropped and you go for one (or both) and win, you get 30s. If you lose, 25s

- if you want me to judge kick a counterplan, you have to say that at some point during the debate

- anything beyond 1 cp + 1 k makes me fairly willing to vote on conditionality, this is especially true of a multi-plank advantage counterplan with kickable planks


- i try to adjust speaker points based on the tournament. i base them on ethos, technique, and strategic vision

- i'm a big chicago sports fan so i'll probably appreciate related references

feel free to email with questions

Nathan Rothenbaum Paradigm

3 rounds

Nathan Rothenbaum

Oak Park River Forest – Debater 2008-2012

Trinity University – Debater 2012-2016

University of Georgia – Coach 2016 – Current

My favorite part of debate is that you, the debater, determines what debate is. I will do my best to evaluate the substance of your arguments. Three things to vastly improve your speaks when I am in the back: 1.) Recognizing arguments are rarely conceded. 2.) The first sentence of your 2ar/2nr should strive to be the same sentence I use when I tell the other team why they lost. 3.) Your CX strategy is better served by getting your opponent to say things and using those things in your following speeches than by posturing or trying to make them look foolish.

*I am more concerned with tech over truth, but also recognize that “good” tech needs to (at least) look true from afar.

*If it isn’t in the tag, then the 2ac didn’t “drop it”

*It is possible to win terminal defense – but usually even the most sympathetic read of an argument is far from terminal. Terminal defense is also significantly harder to sell me on if we are entering a "try or die" situation - not impossible, but much harder.

*A comment on the Kritik. Your "alt cause" Kritik, or "No solvency" kritik is not persuasive. It only matters if you win your alt solves it, but your alt usually isnt trying to solve your alt-causes to the affs method so these links are totally irrelevant. I find these kritiks a chore to listen to and find them completely uncompelling. Aff teams, tell me how you solve your specific impact and tell me how the neg has no chance of overcoming the alt causes they complain about and your good to go. Usually in these debates there is a lot of confusion for both teams that stem from the framework debate. If you win the framework debate, not only will it make the alt finally make sense, but it'll let you outweigh the aff. Vice versa for the aff. I don't really understand the "They get the K, we get our Aff" permutation. What does it mean you "get your aff" vs their K? What are you getting?

*Reading an untopical aff is not a death sentence. I generally find myself personally persuaded by framework, but find that when I vote aff the neg is shit at going for it or the aff gets away with murder in characterizing "what" the debate is about.

*Smaller debates are better. The more argumentative moving pieces, the worse the debate ends up being. Collapse down in your 2nr or 2ar to 3-4 arguments and you will make it way easier for me to vote for you and explain to the other team why I voted.

*Tell me what happens if you win your argument. Don't just assume I know. If you tell me explicitly, then I'll tell the other team that also in the RFD.

*Ev quality is great. Your explanation of that evidence is much more important. A good argument beats a bad card every time.

*I will only flow the debater whose speech it is. You are welcome to prompt your partner to say what you want them to say, but its their time to speak and this is a team activity, not a solo enterprise. So, if your style is to make arguments when its your partner's designated speech time, adjust accordingly.

*If you are wondering if a CP is cheating it probably is (my default position is that CP's must use the same actor as the aff)

*I think CX is very important for controlling the spin of a position

*I think of the 1ar as the same way I think of the 1NR – ideally a rebuttal, but capable of doing some quasi-constructive things.

*Condo is ok. I find myself more persuaded by the aff side of arguments but, unfortunately, not often enough to vote the neg down.

*I would greatly prefer it if you didn't make the debate *about* the other debaters, or tried to make my ballot a referendum on your competitors. Making them lose because of the things they did is fine, telling me that I should vote them down for the people that they are... I won't like nearly as much.

If you do not like my rfd, feel free to post-round me. I won’t take any offense. I was always a hot head as a debater, and it won't ever hurt my perception of you if you are equally(which is probably impossible) as hot-headed as me. If you help me understand how you saw the debate, there a more than zero chance it'll pay off in some non-quantifiable way sometime in the future.

Brian Rubaie Paradigm

3 rounds

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


There are three versions below: TLDR (5 second read); Short/Pre-Round version (1 min), and Long/Pre-Tourney version (2-3). The short/long versions are an "either/or" thing, they're more or less identical besides length.

The paradigms of recent college debaters Primavera Martinez and Johnnie Stupek stand out to me as more modern/well-written versions of a lot of what I'm trying to communicate below. I love learning from yall and look forward to judging.


TLDR - 10 second version

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


Short Pre-round - 1 min

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

K or policy? Why not both? I think the community's rough divide is mostly silly. I love great K debates and I love great policy debates. I'm more experienced at sorting policy/policy than K/K, but I'm equally interested in judging whatever.

What I will vote on: I have a lower quality filter than most. I'm not really proud or ashamed of that, it's just a fact. I lean much more heavily tech than truth. I often vote on things I don't agree with and sometimes on ones I don't feel great about. If it isn't racist, sexist, or harmful to a participant, it's probably in-bounds (as are critiques of it). I have very little ability to assess things from events outside the debate. Like most everyone, I would rather evaluate arguments than mediate disputes.

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

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

What the neg can get away with: You can probably get away with more in terms of CP theory, K alt evolution, etc. in front of me than most. My tech-leaning ways tend to make me a good judge for bold 2Ns of any kind. I'm not heavily policy or K biased, but the data suggests I'm at a bit friendlier to the neg lifetime (though only 18-16 for the neg so far on the space topic). I'm about the tech, and the aff too often just drops stuff early without fighting back enough late in an attempt to recover. Speaking of...

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

If I were coaching a team that was neg to go for framework: I'd probably tell them to: a) Nail down the violation. What is this particular aff's designed role of the neg and why is it unfair or sub-optimal? Don't assume the 1AC defends that the aff can just do anything. Start with the thing they specifically defend and you'll be in much better shape. b) Pick an impact to frame the 2NR around. Though I aim to be agnostic, a fairness/limits 2NR has a higher overall success rate with me than a skills/deliberation/education-oriented 2NR. I don't have any aversions here, it just seem trickier to win the internal to radical space activists, movement lawyers, etc. than fairness/limits. c) Don't half-ass the TVA. If you've got a good one, make it count. A TVA can go a long way. If you don't, don't force it, and don't waste time with a 15 second 2NR blip if it won't move the needle.

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


Long pre-tournament version

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

Up for debate, but I prefer that affs:

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

(b) Display consistency and clarity, and

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

2. Constructing the 1NC

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

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

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

You will gain points if:

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

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

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

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

You may lose points if:

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

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

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

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

4. Evidence

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

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

5. Docs

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

6. Early topic thoughts

Space -- I like it better than the haters say but my most optimistic projections are getting tough to maintain. There aren't a large number of solvency advocates, and I think a lot of aff teams are going to read what I'd consider to be CPs on the aff, especially in areas like arms control. My early inclination is still to give the aff a bit of a break on T given the paucity of solvency advocates and the neg a lot of latitude to test the voracity of internal links (is US-China or US-Russia space coop really the best way to solve....anything?), but I could switch in either direction.

Arms Sales -- I enjoyed teaching this topic. Most of the HS work I do is K-focused in either direction (lab that goes for it, HS team that answers it). The Ks on this topic are great. I also really enjoyed the policy v policy debates I judged at the tournament and felt very comfortable with most technical details since I have done a lot of previous research on Israel, Saudi Arabia, and Taiwan. I could see myself being very persuaded in soft left policy aff vs. K debates by teams that say we need to learn about and challenge arms sales/the alt wouldn't eliminate arms sales.

7. Neg v K affs

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

10. All the framework all the time

Answering framework

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

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

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

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

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

Going for framework

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

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

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

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

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

Rafael Sanchez Paradigm

3 rounds

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

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

Topicality: I enjoy T debates. If you're looking for a judge willing to pull the trigger on T, I'm probably a good judge for you.

DAs: DAs are also a core debate argument. Specific DAs are always a plus, but obviously that's not always possible. I tend default to an offense/defense paradigm.

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

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

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

Lucia Scott Paradigm

3 rounds

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

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

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

Meta things

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

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

Procedurals/ Theory

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

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

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

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

Case Debate

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

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


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


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


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

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

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

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

K Affs

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

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

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

Other things:

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

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

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

Speaker Points

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

Ezra Serrins Paradigm

3 rounds

Ezra Serrins

LASA ‘17

MSU ‘21


Good luck, be kind, have fun, and learn something.

Judge rarely. Worked SDI this summer. Did not cut cards during regular season.

Less young now. Still very bad. Still working hard to compensate.

Cultural studies/sociology major.

Logistics: titled email chain with me on it - ezraserrins @



Reads No Cards------------------X-Reads All Cards


Decision Time-X--------------Auto-Vote

Shit Nuggets--------------X-Actual Args

Line-by-line-X--------------Flow Anarchy

"Insert This Rehighlighting"X--------------Poor Evidence Practice

Feelings--X-------------Dead Inside

Too cool for school--------------XActually Trying

Impact Calculus------------Relative RisXk

-The team that has thought through more rounds of argument-and-response on the central issue of the debate and executes on it correctly is usually the team that wins my ballot. Teams should try to shift the central question of the debate to terms that favor them. Advanced thinking about strategy - e.g. how to shift the question of the debate - and arguments - e.g. how and why you win that question - is what I reward with speaker points.

-Old at heart, which means: line-by-line; paper flowing; reading evidence; clarity.

-The aff gets to fiat the plan. CPs compete on the plan, not the resolution, or "position" of the 1AC. Vagueness in the plan carries strategic costs for the aff in terms of DA links and circumvention arguments. Specification avoids those DA links/circumvention args, but means CPs compete.

-Substantive Aff hack (DAs are silly, case usually big, everything is T, perms on CPs). Theory Neg hack (conditionality, states, no solvency advocate, multiplank, I'm usually game).

-I evaluate arguments in terms of comparative risk. If the Aff starts from the point of a relatively unmitigated advantage almost no amount of "impact calculus" will convince me to vote Neg if there is mitigation to the DA.

-please don't "bro" at, on, or near me.

-my custom is to send my written decision and briefly (5-10 mins) verbally explain my decision. If you'd like any modifications to that, let me know - via email or verbally - and I'll comply. You are free to circulate my written decision, please do not audio record my verbal decision.


Clash/Testing Impact--X---------------Fairness Impact

Neg FW Impacts-X----------------Aff Impact Turns

Aff gets to weigh aff-X---------------Anything Else

Neg Gets Link to Anything------------X---Only Links to Plan

-I'm not ideologically very good for the K.

-if the Neg going for T wins the following argument and explains how they apply to the aff, I think it's highly likely I'd vote for them: Neg interp is key to limited and predictable topics, those topics produce greater depth of argument refinement and clash, argument refinement and clash a) produce valuable skills and b) turn the case. Aff probably needs a piece of strong defense to at least 1-2 of those claims in the 2AR in addition to some risk of external offense. "fairness" is often "for whom?" and doesn't have an impact anyways.

-Neg Ks should disprove the Aff.


Everything competes--------------X--Nothing Competes

Neg Can Fiat Everything-X-------------Neg Can Fiat Nothing

Textual and Functional-X--------------Consult NATO

S Deficit "Here's Our X Key Advantage"-X--------------S Deficit "it's kinda key to advantage 2 ya know?"

-Conditionality is good. I will always judge kick including parts of the CP. Do not even read this in the 2AC - I'm not voting on it, even if it's dropped usually, in part because your 2AC block doesn't mean anything.

-Well written advantage CPs often solve the Aff.

-CPs must be functionally competitive. Probably textually competitive. Positional competition is a no.

-best aff theory arg for me is no neg fiat. If the neg gets fiat, I probably think they get condo/multiplank/no solvency advocate/etc.

-I lean that presumption goes Aff if I'm voting on a CP. Just reading one does not flip presumption.


PrecisionX---------------Limits/Ground/Anything Else

Read all the cardsX--------------Whatever else?

The resolutional wording defines affirmative ground. Topicality arguments that speak to a predictable and precise definition of the topic, and teams that win their definition is a more literature supported, predictable definition of the topic will have success with me judging. These arguments carry a burden of proof only that one definition is better than the other definition.

Topicality arguments that speak to the debatability of the resolution — the "limits" or "ground" under each interpretation — carry an exceedingly high burden of proof if these topicality arguments are not also the most predictable and precise definition. Abandoning the authentic meaning of the assigned topic in order to create a "better" topic begs the question of why we did not pick a different topic.

Haven't judged a lot - don't know what "community consensus" is/means.

Not voting on ASPEC/vagueness. Not voting on New Affs Bad.


Link Card About Plan--X--------------Neg Spin

Death By A Thousand Cuts----------X---Read Good Cards on 1-2 Args

-Not a turns case/"impact calc" cultist.

-Not an impact turn cultist. I get in high school this was my jam. I often have difficulty with a) the totalizing nature of the neg's uniqueness arg; b) the Alt working/solving Neg impacts. If presented with a pre round choice between Dedev and the SQ or a Topic DA and the SQ, in 99.99% of cases you're probably better with the DA.

-if one team introduces a framework for how I evaluate risk that stipulates that I shouldn't take claims as givens, instead I should evaluate the evidence and support for an argument and assign it a risk from zero, then I'm highly likely to use that framework.

Final note: I appreciate it when debaters take arguments seriously but you shouldn't take yourself too seriously, it'll just piss me off.


Mike Shackelford Paradigm

3 rounds

Mike Shackelford
Head Coach of Rowland Hall

Do what you do best. I’m comfortable with all arguments. Practice what you preach and debate how you would teach. Strive to make it the best debate possible.

Key Preferences & Beliefs
Debate is a game.
Literature determines fairness.
It’s better to engage than exclude.
Critique is a verb.
Defense is undervalued.

Judging Style
I work hard to be objective.
I flow on my computer. If you want a copy of my flow, just ask.
I think CX is very important.
I reward self-awareness, clash, good research, humor, and bold decisions.
Add me to the email chain: mikeshackelford(at)rowlandhall(dot)org

Feel free to ask.

Want something more specific? More absurd?

Debate in front of me as if this was your 9 judge panel:

Ian Beier, Maggie Berthiaume, Daryl Burch, Yao Yao Chen, Malcom Gordon, Jyleesa Hampton, Nicholas Miller, Christina Philips, jon sharp

If both teams agree, I will adopt the philosophy and personally impersonate any of my former students:

Andrew Arsht, Madison Barker, David Bernstein, Madeline Brague, Julia Goldman, Emily Gordon, Elliot Kovnick, Will Matheson, Ben McGraw, James Steiner, Corinne Sugino, Caitlin Walrath, Sydney Young (these are the former debaters with paradigms... you can also throw it back to any of my old school students).

LD Paradigm

Most of what is above will apply here below in terms of my expectations and preferences. I spend most of my time at tournaments judging policy debate rounds, however I do teach LD and judge practice debates in class. I try to keep on top of the arguments and developments in LD and likely am familiar with your arguments to some extent.

Theory: I'm unlikely to vote here. Most theory debates aren't impacted well and often put out on the silliest of points and used as a way to avoid substantive discussion of the topic. It has a time and a place. That time and place is the rare instance where your opponent has done something that makes it literally impossible for you to win. I would strongly prefer you go for substance over theory. Speaker points will reflect this preference.

Speed: Clarity > Speed. That should be a no-brainer. That being said, I'm sure I can flow you at whatever speed you feel is appropriate to convey your arguments.

Disclosure: I think it's uniformly good for large and small schools. I think it makes debate better. If you feel you have done a particularly good job disclosing arguments (for example, full case citations, tags, parameters, changes) and you point that out during the round I will likely give you an extra half of a point if I agree.

Zahir Shaikh Paradigm

3 rounds

Blake '16

Emory '20

Email chain:

Tech over truth, insofar as an argument has a claim and warrant.

Speed is the number of ideas communicated effectively (and clearly), not words per minute. With that in mind, go as fast as you can.

I am a very flow-centric judge, doing line-by-line would be to your benefit.

I enjoy case debating a lot, it's what speaker points are made of.

I think condo bad is an underutilized argument.

I have trouble wrapping my head around impact turns to fairness, predictability, clash, etc.

Jon Sharp Paradigm

3 rounds

jon sharp

Director of Debate @ GDS (the actual GDS, not the camp, not the affinity group, not the cultural phenomenon...well, maybe the cultural phenomenon...)

(Relevant) Background: Debated in HS (program doesn't exist any more) and college (Emory); coached at Emory, West GA, USC, New Trier, Kentucky, and GDS; taught around 75 labs (including, but not limited to the Kentucky Fellows, SNFI Swing Lab, Berkeley Mentors, Antilab, and the forthcoming Quantum Lab). This is what i do - i teach, coach, and judge debate(s). This is both good and bad for you.

This is Good for You: One could say that i have been around, as it were. If you want to do something that people do in debates, i got you. If you want to do something that people don't do in debates, i won't freak out.

This is Bad for You: This ain't my first rodeo. If you want to do something that people do in debates, i have seen it done better and worse. If you want to do something that people don't do in debates, i probably remember the last time that somebody did it in a debate.

Are You For Real? Yah, mostly...i just don't think judging philosophies are all that helpful - any judge that is doing their job is going to suspend disbelief to as great an extent as possible and receive the debate in as much good faith as they can muster...but almost nobody is upfront enough about what that extent looks like.

Well, that's not especially helpful right now. OK, you make a strong point, imaginary interlocutor. Here are a few things that may actually help:

1 - Flow the Debate - I flow the debate. On paper. To a fault. If you do not take this into account, no matter how or what you debate, things are going to go badly for you. Connecting arguments - what used to be called the line-by-line - is essential unless you want me to put the debate together myself out of a giant pile of micro-arguments. You Do Not Want This. "Embedded clash" is an adorable concept and even can be occasionally helpful WHEN YOU ARE MANAGING THE REST OF THE FLOW WITH PRECISION. There is no such thing as "cloud clash."

2 - Do What You are Going to Do - My job isn't to police your argument choices, per se; rather, it is to evaluate the debate. If debaters could only make arguments that i agreed with, there would not be much reason to have these rounds.

3 - If you are mean to your opponents, it is going to cause me to have sympathy/empathy for them. This is not an ideological position so much as an organic reaction on my part.

4 - "K teams," "identity teams," and non-traditional/performance teams pref me more than policy teams - Make of that what you will.

5 - Stop calling certain strategic choices "cheating" - This is one of the few things that just sends my blood pressure through the roof...i know you like to be edgy and i respect your desire to represent yourself as having no ethical commitments, but this is one of the worst developments in the way people talk and think about debate since the advent of paperlessness (which is essentially The Fall in my debate cosmology). Reading an AFF with no plan is not cheating; reading five conditional CPs in the 2NC is not cheating; consult NATO is not cheating. Clipping cards is cheating; fabricating evidence is cheating, consulting your coach in the middle of the debate is cheating. An accusation of an ethics violation (i.e., cheating) means that the debate stops and the team that is correct about the accusation wins the debate while the team that is wrong loses and gets zeroes. This is not negotiable. Ethics violations are not debate arguments, they do not take the form of an off-case or a new page and they are not comparable to anything else in the debate.

Also - just ask.

Jacob Shelton Paradigm

3 rounds

Chattahoochee High School 2015
University of Michigan 2019
Assistant Coach --- Wayzata High School (2015-Present)

Personal Information

I debated for four years at Chattahoochee High School on the national circuit, and three-ish years at the University of Michigan. As a debater, most of my experience involved reading policy-oriented arguments (my most frequent 2NRs included DA/Case or DA/CP strategies, T, and the Security K). As a judge, I've voted for arguments at pretty much every point on the argumentative spectrum. Judging is a privilege, and I'll work hard to make the best decision I possibly can.

Thoughts About Debate

I reward smart debaters who control the spin of the debate with quick, technical comparisons and intuitive analytics because, as a debater, I've always disliked judges that I felt were overly interventionist or reppy. I penalize debaters who tell me to "read 'X' flaming hot card" instead of comparatively explaining its warrants during their speeches. It's your job to make arguments within the debate, not mine to do so during the RFD.

With that said, I (like all judges) have some personal preferences about specific arguments that are likely to shape my decisions at the margins:

Counterplans: Obviously I prefer them to be specific, but I'm better than most judges for process CPs because most affirmative teams are bad at contesting their theoretical legitimacy or competitiveness.

DA/Case Debate: It's your job as debaters to tell me how I should weigh different components of these debates. Is winning the link more important than winning uniqueness? How does turns case analysis impact aff solvency? The team that better responds to these kinds of general framing questions within their speeches tends to be the one I end up voting for in close rounds.
Well-developed case defense is an incredibly under-utilized weapon, especially when people read bad affs that can be beaten with logical analytics.

Kritiks: The best critique debaters I've seen contextualize their links to the specificity of the aff and it's advantages and don't rely on random dropped K tricks. When I was asked "how far left is too far left" before a debate, my response was "if you can't explain your argument in a coherent fashion, you've gone too far". Take that as you will.

Theory: The most likely theoretical violation to result in me rejecting the team is conditionality. Many theory debates are difficult to adjudicate because they lack impact analysis. Explain why what your opponents have done is a reason to reject the team and explain the consequences of not doing so in a persuasive manner. I'm not likely to vote on blippy theory arguments like vague alts or multiple perms that are minimally articulated early in the debate, but these are useful as reasons to reject arguments.

Topicality: I generally default to competing interpretations. Many 2N's lack impact analysis or comparison between interpretations, which makes general aff arguments for their interpretation relatively convincing. Caselists for your interpretation and your opponent's are useful for helping me conceptualize and compare competing visions of the topic.

Planless Affirmatives: My voting record reflects a fairly even split of aff and neg ballots in framework debates, which some may find surprising given my personal inclinations towards reading plans and defending American hegemony. Maybe this just means teams are really bad at going for framework, but I hope it's more of a reflection of the fact that I care a lot more about what you say in the round than what I personally believe. Teams that win these debates in front of me tend to control the overarching framing of the round --- while technical debate is important, don't miss the forest for the trees. Impact-wise, procedural fairness has historically been more successful in front of me than skills and education-based arguments, but it requires better defense given the inherently smaller scale of the impact.

Sam Shore Paradigm

3 rounds

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Bee Smale Paradigm

3 rounds

Bee Smale

They/Them pronouns

4 yrs - East Kentwood High School

4 yrs - Indiana University

Grad Coach @ Minnesota

Yes on the email chain:

New Stuff Pre Shirley 2019

Here's some quick updates for yall - I see all types of debates now so I got some more stuff I gotta say

Generally Relevant Stuff

1) Shorter round times means I'm going to read less evidence after the debate - I spend judge prep reading cards or going outside to vape. Please only send max 7-8 cards in the doc at the end of the debate, I have been reading during the debate and I want the doc to save me time not to have to search your entire 1AC to find the card you reference throughput the debate.

2) I would prefer if the first 30-45 second of the second rebuttal are meta-commentary about what went on the debate rather then content - in other words, literally say the thing you want me to say at the beginning of my rfd if I vote for you.

3) I am saddened that I have yet to judge a debate about aliens. Do with this what you will.

4) I'm pretty disengaged from topic literature, both critical and policy. Ill judge a technical debate, but I can promise you I haven't delved deep into the relationship between outer space and critical theory, and I don't know the differences between missile defense systems so your going to have to explain some of the space stuff to me.

5) NEW PRONOUNS POLICY - Don't be an ass. Please respect pronouns. Using first names in speeches is usually a good way to avoid this problem. I understand debate is taxing and we speak fast and it is rarely intentional - doesn't change the fact that being misgendered makes it harder to debate effectively. I'm trying to be less invested in punitive paradigms, so I will now approach this issue by factoring affect and dysphoria into my evaluation of the argument and performance of the person that was misgendered (by being more lenient), rather than punishing the person that made the mistake. If the incident is triggering to the point of disrupting the debate, presumption will fall with the person that was misgendered. Trust me, trans people in debate would rather have a substantive debate than squeak a W out of a moment of trauma. We should all work to make this activity less traumatic than it already is. We can all do better.


1) I have found incredible value in all forms of debate (except public forum). As a result, I don't presume any particular model is better than any other. I can be persuaded that a model focused on the plan is preferable, but the team defending that model must establish some external value to plan focus debating beyond its perceived intrinsic value. That doesn't mean fairness isn't an impact, but it does mean I need some reason to preserve a fair game (and require the affiramtive to conform to that model) beyond its virtue of being fair. Similarly, the affirmative team should have some conception of what they would like debate to center around, if not the plan. I need some reason to prefer the types of debates that happen with no plan present, and a clear justification for requiring the negative to conform to that model.

2) TVA don't have to solve the aff, just 2AC offense against framework. Some offense (critiques of the state, critiques of prediction, critiques of debate/topic process) won't be resolved by the TVA. Others (critiques of literature access, critiques of content, critiques of exclusion) can be. The TVA and SSD are defense, not offense. They can be very important, but you still gotta win offense.

3) Framework is engagement, not policing. All non-plan based affirmative contain some advocacy for a shift away from a plan-focus model of debate. Defending that model is not excluding the aff argument, but taking it up on a core assumption.

Policy Aff v. the K

1) I would rather hear a defense of realism/liberalism/positivism/humanism/ect than a procedural argument about framework. Your 1AC does, in fact, contain epistemological, ontological, methodological, and theoretical assumption and representations that you are responsible for defending. The plan is only a good idea because of these assumptions. If you can't defend them, the plan probably isn't a good idea.

2) I personally think impact turning links rather than reducing the scope and importance of the aff to avoid the link is a better strategy. It is a bad look to debate from a position of fear.

3) The negative MUST engage the plan, unless your argument is about style or debate form. If your argument is not about debate specifically, then the only other way for me to understand it is by filtering it through the plan. All claims of advocacy spilling out from debate are just as illusory as fiat, so unless your position is "its bad to have plans" the aff gets to weigh the plan by leveraging a defense of the assumptions of the 1AC. "Fiat is illusory" doesn't beat "Russia is revisionist", but "security epistemology bad" might.

Plan Focused Debate

1) Do more risk calculous - not just impact calc, but contextual and comparative analysis between the solvency deficit to the CP and the risk of the NB.

2) I need better explanations of what I'm supposed to do with say no - it unlikely you will win 100% say no, so how does a risk of say no affect how I understand the risk of Aff solvency in relationship to their impacts.

3) Condo - too much condo is like porn. I can't define it but I know it when I see it. The quality and type of conditional advocacies should matter more than the number. I'm down to vote on condo, but am far more persuaded by arguments about how the particular 1nc you faced made giving a competitive 2AC impossible, rather then generic thoughts from the last 15 years about conditionality as a practice.

4) Other theory - is only reason to reject the arg. Ill judge kick unless the aff contests conditionality through the 2ar or says no judge kick before the 2ar. If there is a debate about judge kick I can go either way. All else being equal, I find it difficult to imagine a scenario where the 2NR invests substantive time in the cp, I judge kick it, and the 2NR still has enough on case and the DA to win. 2NC CPs legit if condo is uncontested or the neg wins its good. On questions of theory in a debate where the plan is the focus, I am 1000% more concerned about fairness and strategy than education. Debate is a game friendos.

5) T - can be a really important tool, Im likley to interpret it though a framework type lens only because I'm far more familiar with FW than T. Again, way more concerned with strategy than education here.

6) Affs need to kick advantages/scenarios sooner and more often, thats why we got add-ons and 1AR impact turns.

K v. K

1) Negative teams need to hold affirmative teams more accountable to what the affs advocacy actually is. this should happen in cross ex and speeches.

2) The affirmative should be as invested as the negative team in describing differences between the aff and the alt. The perm is defensive, so the Aff still needs an offensive NB.

3) Affs get perms, but the less specific the aff is about what they do the less likley the perm is to generate a net benefit. If the alt is so compatible with the aff, then it is likley that it solve huge portions of the aff. Aff need to be specific about what they are permuting (theories, methods, advocacies, ect). The negative should take advantage of vague aff perms b describing what they are permuting for them. See point 2.

4) Neg strategies that center presumption or pessimism need clear offensive args to beat the affective attachment to change we feel generated by the affirmatives description of the violence of the squo. These positions are super winnable in front of me, but I have found this question to be at the nexus of almost every debate of this type I have judged.

5) Debate is already traumatic as fuck. We are all here to win. Please presume good faith from others who are speaking their truths, unless they prove to be problematic. I dislike judging debates about the character of individual debaters, but will obviously do so if thats what the debate comes down to. My decision will ultimately rest on who did the better debating, and any judgement rendered is not final nor is it a judgement on the character of individual debaters.

Jacob Smith Paradigm

3 rounds

Debated at OU for 4 years. (Top 5 team my senior year)

These are mostly rationalization's for past decisions that have been made, but useful for judging relative persuasion by different arguments.


Framework is a checklist in my eyes. The debate usually comes down to one of the FW Tricks, so i'll put them in my orders of preference

Iterative testing as an impact


Topic Education

anything else in the world

Iterative testing means no aff

LD Addendum

I was trained as a debater in policy debate, but have been coaching LD for the last few years. Not particularly persuaded by Frivolous theory but relatively confident in my ability to fairly evaluate the rest of LD. All of debate, K and Policy, is just a question of what epistemic questions i center as the basis of my decision, so make sure to politicize which questions you think i should be be asking.

Daniel Stanfield Paradigm

3 rounds

Updated for 2018 CEDA/NDT

Dan Stanfield

2 Years at Los Rios Community College

1 Year at CSU Fullerton

1 Year at UNLV

2 Years Coaching at UWG

Currently Graduate Coach @ Baylor University

Coached for CKM on TI topic

Coached for Juan Diego on Surveillance

Current Coach for SLC West

Add me to your email chain

"I am a firm believer that debate is for debaters. I had my time to make others listen to whatever (and I do mean absolutely whatever) I wanted to say, and its my turn to listen to and evaluate your arguments, whatever they may be. While I'm sure I have my limitations make me adapt to you instead of the other way arouund" -- Lindsay VanLuvanee

I will attempt to limit the amount my predispositions will influence how I evaluate a debate round. Don't feel as if you need to change your strategy to debate in front of me, do what you do best, because the alternative is usually subpar debate. The final two rebuttals should write my ballot for me, teams that accurately break the round down and are reasonable about what they are and are not winning will usually be rewarded with increased speaker points.I enjoy a high level of specificity and nuance broad sweeping claims will get you nowhere. I place importance on how pieces of evidence get debated, as opposed to simply constructing debates based on the pieces of evidence that have been introduced. While I also place a premium on quality evidence (which, I would like to be able to hear during your speech), I believe that a smart analytic argument has the potential to gain equal traction to a solid piece of evidence. Quality always trumps quantity.

I find cross ex to be the most important part of debate its one of the few times I feel I get to connect with the individual debaters, while I don't flow it I pay very close attention to it, and what happens here will inform how I see large portions of the round.

Theory needs to be well executed. Debates in which theory blocks do the arguing almost always favor the neg.

I don’t like cheap shots.(This does not mean I won't vote on them, I'll just be cranky about it) I like arguments to be well developed. Most cheap shots are not reasons to reject the team and significant time would need to be spent in order to convince me otherwise. However, it is your burden to point out how irrelevant many theory arguments that are advanced in debates are, as a concession may force my hand.

Nearly all theory questions I end up siding in favor of the negative, I think conditionality is fine, any potentially abusive CP is checked by quality of evidence. 50 States Fiat is one arg where an affirmative could convince me this is a reason to reject the team it is likely to still be an uphill battle.

Judge Kick: I think this deserves its own section, when the 2nr goes for a CP I believe the debate is solely a question of plan versus the CP. While a 2nr can instruct me to to kick the cp for them if the 2r wins offense against the counterplan an affirmative can respond that I shouldn't kick the counterplan for the negative and I am likely to side with the affirmative. If the 2nr contains a counterplan I have a very strong predisposition that if the affirmative wins substantive solvency deficits to the counterplan or other offense against it that outweighs the net benefit than I should be voting aff. And that I then shouldn't decide to then evaluate the status quo (i..e the net-benefit) vs. the plan.

Separate from the framework section, I really enjoy evidentiary T debates that aren't clash of civ debates. I find these are some of the most nuanced debates about what the resolution means which is always compelling to me. I evaluate topicality like a DA offense v defense. For affirmatives here do not place all your eggs in the basket of reasonability, I think only reasonability is only a question of the interpretation and not the aff or plan itself. Any other interpretation of reasonability I don't think constitutes an actual argument.


First contrary to popular belief I do not hack for framework, however this year I have noticed myself voting for framework more often than I don't vote for framework. For me there are a few ways the framework debates break down in terms of impact, primarily between procedural and education based impacts. By procedural I mean those impact arguments that result from things such as limits, or grounds internal links to impacts like clash, fairness, debatability. The second form of framework are those arguments about decision making skills, topic education, deliberative democracy.

If you are negative reading framework I cannot stress how much I would rather see the version of framework that couches its arguments in terms of the procedural side, ie. limits , ground, etc. I believe this is the most strategic form of the argument. I believe debate is a game and impacts that make the game unable to be played by one side or the other constitute a reason to vote negative. Explanations of the impact that have been compelling to me is that I strongly believe there should be a negative path to victory, a negative that couches their impacts like this will have greatly increased my likelihood to vote for framework. For affirmatives debating this style of framework if you win a counter interpretation that provides a limit on the topic and can explain why that limit on the topic mitigates some portion of the negative offense regards to limits or debateability, then that is the best route for getting me to vote affirmative. I will also say YOU NEED OFFENSE, playing the middle ground will not get my ballot I need impact turns big disads to their interpretation of the topic with well explained impacts. If affirmative I do not need 5-10 barely explained disads to FWI need 1-4 well explained and warranted DA's to the negative interpretation.

Conversely it is much harder to win my ballot exclusively going for arguments about topic education, decision making skills, or deliberative democracy. I believe any affirmative that is even close to knowing what they are doing will be able to easily impact turn these arguments. This isn't to say you shouldn't read these arguments at all they can be excellent external impacts to your interpretation, but instead you should use these arguments as a supplement to the more game-playing/ procedural versions of the argument.

For negatives who have framework as their go to strat THE CASE STILL MATTERS , the reason for this is the case determines the weight I give to affirmative impact turns / disadvantages to framework. If the affirmative solves 100% of their aff then I gave 100% of the weight of their impact turns to framework, conversely if the aff solves maybe 1% of their aff then the strength of the disadvantages or impact turns will be drastically reduced.

Topical version of the aff: You don't have to have one to win but it can help. They also don't have to solve the entire aff instead they are a test to show that the content of the aff is not precluded by the resolutional prompt. For affirmatives the topical version of the aff doesn't solve our aff not very persuasive to me. However, an argument that the topical version of the aff is not in fact topical under the negative's interpretation of the topic is persuasive. Similarly an argument that the topical version of the aff in fact does not allow for the content of the aff to exist. Form based arguments from affirmatives are also compelling to me in response to topical versions of the aff, how the content may exist but the form of it would not be, can be an extremely persuasive argument against both the topical version, as well as also acting as offense against the negatives interpretation.

Beyond counter interpretations it can be incredibly helpful for an affirmative to have a counter model of what debate looks like, which can act as a filter for a variety of the negatives arguments as well as acting as a type of uniqueness for your own impact turns to a negatives interpretation of the topic.

Something I've told to a few debaters this year may help further contextualize what I've said here -- "If both affirmative and neg execute absolutely perfectly I probably lean slightly negative" -- however it should be noted that I have never seen this perfect execution take place.

The K:
I will do my best to limit my predispositions from giving explanation or advancing arguments for the other team. Specificity and spin are important for both sides of the debate. I don’t like generic explanations of meta theory with no tie to the affirmative. Similarly, I don’t like generic responses to critical theory outside of the context of the aff. Generic evidence does not force generic explanation.

Disability k's -- Due to how I spent my last two years in debate , this is obviously a body of literature that I am extremely familiar with however if you are not familiar with it trying to pick it up just because I am in the back of the room is a terrible decision, and one you will almost certainly regret. Secondarily I thought I should include my thoughts on the various ableist language arguments. Essentially most of the time I believe these arguments in and of themselves don't constitute a great argument unless its an especially violent piece of language this doesn't mean what you say doesn't matter what it does mean is that the negative needs to explain to me why the language warrants a negative ballot and not just punitive measures like maybe lower speaker points or not evaluating certain pieces of evidence. I'm happy to explain this further if there are questions.

Recent years I have found I have a tendency to enjoy arguments described as "high-theory" IF THEY ARE EXECUTED WELL. I have coached teams to read all variety or arguments from the cap k to baudrillard, so if the death K is your jam then you should go for it. A lot of my current academic work revolves around disability and psychoanalysis so take that as you will.

If you ask anyone at Baylor they will tell you (and are correct) in that I really enjoy hearing arguments about psychoanalysis I find this to be an incredibly interesting area of argumentation and always enjoy when the affirmative or negative has to do with these questions of psychoanalysis.

I love a good, well-researched, specific strategy. The more generic your strategy becomes, the greater the chance of me assigning an extremely low risk to these arguments. Sometimes there is simply no link. Absolute defense does exist.

The last thing I will say is that debates that I have fun in will be rewarded by higher speaker points. I have fun when I see well thought out and deployed strategy.. Make me laugh and you will be rewarded. Be nice.

Also, I adore good puns (well maybe bad ones even more) make some clever puns in your speeches and you will be rewarded with speaker points.

Change in 2014

excessive / intentional use of racial slurs, jokes in bad tase, misgendering, ableist slurs will result in much lower speaker points. Note: an ableist slur is the R word , or derogatorily referring to someone as a cripple. It is not saying the word stand in your plan text/advocacy statement.

Jordana Sternberg Paradigm

3 rounds

Director of Debate at Westminster, former lawyer, college debater before that -- but slow it down a little if you want your arguments to make it to my flow, which is usually on paper.

I know VERY LITTLE about the arms sales topic, and I don't know the nuances of any T arguments. Don't assume, and explain well.

Put me on the email chain at

Quick thoughts:

1) Make your speeches flowable. I can listen and flow as fast as you can speak but not if you are reading pre-written blocks at top speed with no breaks or changes in inflection. If you're going to read blocks, try to at least pretend you're not reading blocks by having breaks between arguments, emphasizing tags, slowing it down a little on analytics, etc. You are also a lot more likely to hold my attention to details and help me not miss stuff that way. I will reward your speaker points if you do a good job of this.

You would be shocked at how many "good" judges think the same thing about block-reading and the above advice, and how little some judges are flowing, or even catching, of what you think you said.

2) I disagree with approaches that make the personal identity of the debaters in the round relevant to the decision in the debate, especially for high-school-aged students, and I am also not a good judge for these debates because I often do not understand what the judge is being asked to vote for. This does not mean you can't read K arguments or arguments about race or identity, in fact there are many K arguments that I think are true and make a lot of sense, I just don't think a teacher should in the position of ratifying or rejecting the personal identity or experiences of a teenager.

3) "Death good" arguments can be a reason to reject the team.

4) There needs to be a fair stasis point in order to have good debates. Debate is good.

5) Theory: You are really taking your chances if you rely on a sketchy CP that requires winning a lot of theory, because I do not spend a lot of time outside of debate rounds thinking about theory. I can't tell you which way I will come down on a particular theory issue because it usually depends on what is said -- and what I flow -- in that particular round. This applies to T debates and other theory debates too.

6) If it is pretty close between the CP and the aff (or even if it isn't close), you need to give some really clear comparative explanations about why I should choose one over the other -- which you should do for any judge but make sure you do it when I'm judging.

7) I really dislike high theory and post-modernism in debate.

8) Reading cards to decide the debate: For many years I tried to judge without looking at the speech documents during the speeches, but I have recently concluded that is unrealistic because there is an entire additional level of the debate that is happening between the debaters in the speech documents. I don't think it should be that way, but I understand why it is happening. However, if the claims made about a card or set of cards are uncontested by the opponent, I am likely to assume when deciding the debate that the cards say what their reader claimed they say rather than reading both sides' cards or any of the cards.

9) I am not at all deep in the files and evidence especially for most neg arguments, so I am really judging the debate based on what you say and what your cards say as you present them in the round.

9) Links and impact calculus are really, really important, especially in the last rebuttals. However, I think lengthy pre-written overviews are not as good as 2NR/2AR (and prior) explanations based on what actually happened in the particular debate.

Chris Stinson Paradigm

3 rounds

Name: Chris Stinson
Affiliation: Minneapolis South
Pronouns: he/him/his

My Background:

I debated in High School for Rapid City Central in South Dakota in the late 90s
I debated in College for Concordia in Moorhead Minnesota in the early 2000s
I started coaching in college and have actively coached ever since
I judge more than 50 rounds on any given topic

What you need to know:

I’m trying to be fully present in debates. When I was younger I allowed myself to be distracted by how my teams were doing, social media, etc. I don't think that's fair for you so I'm doing my best to break my bad habits.

I will try to judge the round without inserting my personal biases. Again, I want to be fair and honor the work that you've put into the activity.

I’m trying to keep up with point inflation. I know a lot of coaches my age are trying to hold the line. I don't think that's fair to you. My scale is at the bottom.

I think that for most debates that should be enough. Of course, you’re not doing your prefs for the easy debates. Below are some additional things that you should know about me in close debates.

My (self reported) bias:

I'm very liberal in real life. I've made my living fighting, full time, for racial, economic, and queer justice. I identify as gay. Capitalism, racism, patriarchy (including hetero and cis patriarchy), agism, ablism, and christian hegemony form an interlocking system of oppression that benefits very few, the primary feature of which is it's ability to divide us against one another. Most people would describe me as a K judge.

I also believe the state can be reformed and that those reforms can be transformational. I had the great honor to work on campaigns to win the freedom to marry, combat bullying, and allow transgender high school students to participate in school activities as their full authentic selves. I cried tears of joy when those policies were implemented. The Paul Wellstone quote, "politics is not just about power and money games, politics can be about the improvement of people's lives, about lessening human suffering in our world and bringing about more peace and more justice," pretty much sums up why I do politics.

I'm the education lobbyist for a lefty labor union (SEIU) in Minnesota.

What you probably want to know:

Comparisons: I will give more weight to warrants that were in 2NR and 2AR than to warrants that I only read in evidence after the debate.

Theory: In my default framework I evaluate theory/framework first, followed by discourse followed by traditional policy making impacts. I'm not locked into this framework but "theory is a gateway issue" and "discourse shapes reality" seem true so that's where I start.

Evidence: I read less than I used to and a lot less than other judges but I still want to be on the email chain.

Prep: Don't steal it. Prep time ends when you save the speech doc. I also expect your partner to stop prepping. I have no interest in policing your bathroom behavior.

Perm Double Bind / Perm All Other Instances: I have not yet heard a debater explain these arguments in a way that is persuasive to me. "Do the Plan and the non competitive parts of the Alt" doesn't make sense to me as a test of competition, since it simply asserts that there are parts of the Alt that don't compete with the Plan. If you want me to evaluate the perms as an advocacy that I can vote for at the end of the debate I will need you to invest time describing the world of the perm.

Bad debates are always bad so do what you like, what you're good at, and have fun.

I'm happy to answer more specific questions. Just ask.

The scale I intend to use (lifted from jonahfeldman on the CEDA forums):
29.5 - 30: One of the greatest debate speeches I have ever seen
29 - 29.4: Should be one of the top 5 speakers at the tournament
28.7- 28.9: Should be one of the top 15 speakers, but not top 5.
28.4 - 28.6: Should be in the top 25 speakers. Should clear if 5-3 and elims start at octos.
28 - 28.3: Good, but needs improvement. Should not get a speaker award. Should clear if 5-3 and elims start at doubles
27.5 - 27.9: Some things that were good, but also some areas of major improvement needed.
27 - 27.4: Areas of major improvement needed
Below 27: Was offensive/rude/dangerous. Needs to be told after the round what they did that caused a large drop in speaker points.

Margaret Strong Paradigm

3 rounds

Quick Q&A:

Yes, include me on the doc chain –

No, I am not ok with you just putting the card in the text of the email

Idk if the aff has to read a plan. I would obviously prefer it, but I also would prefer if I were in for zero rounds, so…

Quick note: (2020 Spring Semester)

I have judged very few rounds on this topic due to illness. Please pretend I am someone with not a lot of topic knowledge.

The longer version:



-I’ve never judged a planless debate where the neg has not gone for framework.

-I generally went for framework against planless affirmatives when I debated, and therefore am a bit deeper on the neg side of things.

-I don’t think topicality, or adhering to a resolution, is analogous to rape, slavery, or other atrocities.

-I don’t think that not being topical will cause everyone to quit, lose all ability to navigate existential crisis, or other tedious internal link chains.

-I would really prefer if people had reasonable arguments on topicality for why or why they don’t need to read a plan, rather than explaining to me their existential impact to voting aff or neg.

-I find myself persuaded that the case can not outweigh topicality. Arguments from the case can be used to impact turn topicality, but that is distinct from “case outweighs limits” in my mind.

-if you choose to pref me, that’s on you. Blow me up and I might blow back.

Neg K v plans:

-Generally, the alt won’t solve

-Generally, the alt doing the plan is a reason to reject the alt/team

-Generally, contradictions justify severance

-Generally, the neg is allowed to read Ks

K v K debate:

Wow, you might be the first to be judged by me in this situation. Congrats! Also sorry! I have no clue what if I’m supposed to judge differently, but I tend to find myself thinking of things in terms of causality, so if that’s not your jam you gotta tell me not to think in that way.

K stuff in general:

-My degree is in math. While y’all were reading a lot of background lit, I was doing abstract algebra. You might have to break it down a bit.

-I am more persuaded by identity or constructivism than post modernism.

-I do not recommend reading Baudrillard, Bataille, etc.



-Tell me if I can (or can’t!) kick it for you. I may or may not remember to if you don’t. I may or may not feel like you are allowed to if you don’t.

-Reading definitions of should means the perm or theory are in tough shape. Its not unwinnable, but I was a 2A…

-Links to the net benefit is usually a sliding scale. But sometimes links have a certain threshold where it doesn’t matter which links less. Please consider this nuance when debating.


-TBH – y’all blaze through theory blocks with no clarity and then get confused when I have no standards written down. These debates are bad. Be more clear. Speak at a flowable pace. Maybe make your own arguments. Idk.

-It is debatable whether an argument is a reason to reject the argument or team. Except conditionality…that makes no sense.


-Yes, there can be zero DA. No, it’s not as common as you think.

-answer turns case!!!


-There is a lot uncovered here… at least I finally updated it from 2012 ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Johnnie Stupek Paradigm

3 rounds

Mount Vernon Presbyterian School '15

University of Georgia '19

This is my 1st year coaching for Dartmouth

Top Level:

- Tech over truth, but with some moderation. Evidence quality matters to me a lot and I'll hold your positions with some degree of skepticism if I don't think the evidence fully substantiates a complete argument.

- Won't vote on arguments about things that occurred outside of the debate (coin flips, the pref sheet, previous debates, associations, etc.)

- Everything listed below is merely a predisposition. Feel free to debate how you want!

Planless Affirmatives:

Yes, you can read these in front of me. Yes, I vote for topicality more often than I vote against it.

I'm significantly better for aff's that are closer to the resolution and craft their strategy around well-developed counter-interpretations that capture as much neg offense as possible. I think it's important for the affirmative to tell me what their model of debate looks like. What positions do negative teams introduce and what is the value of that discussion? 2AC's often contain a line about "rev v. rev debates," but what exactly that is and why it's good is often under-developed.

For the neg, I'm much more in the "procedural fairness is a good in and of itself" camp than not. In front of me, fairness-based impacts are probably more strategic than topic education arguments because those education-based arguments rarely have a reason why debate is key.

The neg wins T debates in front of me when they demonstrate that the aff's impact turns are not intrinsic to their model of debate. I don't think the burden of the topical version of the aff is to "solve" in the same way the aff does, rather I think the TVA merely needs to demonstrate that there is a debate to be had over the aff's literature base under the neg's model.

For non-topicality strategies, I've never been persuaded by the "no perms in a method debate" argument. I don't know why I should abandon the logic of rejoinder and opportunity cost just because the aff didn't read a plan.

Topicality v. Policy Affs:

I enjoy these debates a lot!

Intrinsic offense is important for both sides. For example, I'm unlikely to be persuaded that I should reject an topicality interpretation because the aff would have a hard time constructing solvency deficits to the states counterplan under said interpretation. That argument seems to be more a reason why the states counterplan is bad, than a reason why the interpretation is bad.

The neg wins when they construct a strong limits story with a specific caselist and terminal impact work. I'm way less persuaded by negative ground standards than I am by predictable limits standards.

I'm rarely persuaded by aff "education" standards because that argument is almost always resolved by reading the aff as a counterplan or some topical version of the aff. I think the best aff standard is aff innovation/flexibility. In front of me, I think the 2AR is better served substantiating why their counter-interpretation is good for debate, rather than the "c'mon judge" reasonability arguments that work for much of the judge pool.


Impact interactions and turns case arguments matter a whole lot less to me than the relative risk of the position as a whole.

Always been a fan of agenda politics, probably always will be.

If you're reading a framing aff, I'd prefer developed answers to the disad rather than pre-written blocks about how disads are complex.


Conditionality is good

I have a fairly strong presumption towards judge kick. It's always made sense to me that I should have the option of doing nothing if that's the best option.

Counterplans that compete off of immediacy/certainty are likely not competitive.

Kritiks On The Neg:

I vote neg when the neg wins some framework interpretation that mitigates aff offense OR the neg wins that the impacts to the kritik outweigh and/or turn the case (a disad).

I lean heavily aff on framework. I've yet to hear a neg framework standard that isn't either incredibly arbitrary or solved by weighing the impacts to the links vs. the plan.

In situations where I resolve the framework debate in favor of the aff, I'm a very good judge for the perm double-bind. Alternatives that fiat some sort of movement or mindset shift seem to vastly overwhelm the links and alternatives that do nothing seem nothing.

Alt causes aren't links.

Jason Sykes Paradigm

3 rounds

About Me

  • Debate Director @ Coppell
  • Assistant Director @ Mean Green Comet
  • PhD, Information Science ('16)
  • Founded/Directed UNT Mean Green ('03-'15)
  • Debated NDT/CEDA at North Texas ('02)


  • Please include me in the email chain: sykes.tx AT
  • I aim to avoid speech docs during the debate. Clarity is important.
  • I'm working to adjust speaker points to keep up with inflation after too many years in tab rooms.
  • I won't claim to be perfect in this area, but I believe debate has strong potential to build community. Please try to play nicely with others.


  • This document offers insight to the process I use to make decisions unless directed to do otherwise.
  • I view all debate as comparison of competing frameworks.
  • I will attempt to minimize intervention in the evaluation of a) the selection of framework and b) the fulfillment of the framework's demands.
  • Everything is open to debate. I have reluctantly voted for positions with which I disagree.


  • I believe the topic should provide debatable ground.
  • Consistent with my view of competing frameworks, there is no difference in my mind between "competing interpretations" and "abuse." Abuse is a standard for evaluating competing interpretations.
  • I am generally more interested in thinking about how substantive (literature-based) arguments interact than I am in determining who won a theory debate.


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


  • I have no strong predispositions related to counterplan types or theory.


  • The division in the community between "kritik people" and "policy people" frustrates me. We should constantly seek more effective arguments. Questions of an academic nature vary from method to application.
  • A working definition of "fiat" is "the ability to imagine, for the purposes of debate, the closest possible world to that of the advocacy."
  • I am admittedly more intrigued by the quality and complexity of critical research than 2-3 sentence politics cards.

Rebuttals/How to win

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

Raam Tambe Paradigm

3 rounds

Raam Tambe

Peninsula High '17 

Dartmouth '21

I judged at the Cal camp tournament and my first official tournament will be the Sophomore Hoe down at St Marks. 

I was a 2a for all of high school, and still am in college. I'm fine with most everything. 


I don't think of things as yes/no, but "risk of". There's a chance of the advantage, and a chance of the DA. 

Analytics are good arguments. I'm obviously partial to evidence, but smart arguments are smart.

Please be organized and flow. I don't flow "straight down", I line things up. If things get messy, go in 2ac order, not the order of the block.

I'm okay with "inserting stuff into the debate"  only if it wouldn't make sense to read it (i.e. they forgot to highlight the word "not" in a card.) If you logically could read it, do so. 

I'm more lenient on allowing both teams to reexplain and spin arguments later in the debate. Try to at least hint at this before the 2ar though. 

I don't mind a large 1nc, but if there are huge gaps in explanation and internal link stuff, I'm letting the aff say whatever they want in the 1ar. 


Extinction! is a fine impact, but lots of other things matter too. Winning a lower magnitude impact doesn't require a framing contention with a bunch of K cards. The best way to prove some impacts are low probability is rarely by asserting that on face a genre of events are just unlikely to happen, but instead by proving, through debating, that they are indeed unlikely. Similarly, if you really don't solve a "smaller" impact and there are other good presses against it, just asserting "probability first" won't get you anywhere. All of this is by way of saying, the strength of your internal link matter to me more than the strength of your impacts.  As a rule of thumb, don't be preposterous. 

I care more about link than uniqueness. 

I care a little more about having a coherent story than I do about concessions. It should make sense after the debate. How much needs to be explained in rebuttals is inversely proportional to how much was made understood during constructives. Having longer tags/being audible during the text of cards during the first few speeches will help here.  


*Coherent* net benefits are preferable. 

If you use the same actor, you can probably do whatever you want. Not immediately persuaded by object fiat bad. If I'm correct, the neg isn't in a great spot, so I think I'd be pretty lenient on letting the neg get away with murder theory wise. 

K stuff:

Long overviews are rarely useful. Put what you can on the line by line.

I'm familiar enough with most mainstream stuff, but still, if you can, do a little more explanation. If your K is something uncommon. 

Framework -- I won't really be convinced to entirely exclude the k, or to disregard the aff entirely. Substantive arguments are more persuasive than theoretical ones. 

Links -- you need them. The aff gets a perm. Your link needs to be more than an analogy, metaphor, or thought on something related to the aff. Chances are you shouldn't read the same link wall in every debate. I care a lot about having a coherent story for links arguments that connect link to impact. 

Alt -- should be something other than just "question things!". It should generate uniqueness for your links. 


If you go for a procedural like new affs bad or spec, you need to actually go for it, and should be well ahead of the other team to win. I could see myself voting on these arguments, but only if they're genuinely extended and developed. They dropped "intrinsicness is a reverse voting issue" or "they dropped truth testing! neg on presumption" can probably be answered with a shrug. 

For affs with a plan -- 

I don't know much about the topic, please explain stuff. 

Its all about limits. I'm on the train that a large risk of a limits impact outweighs and turns pretty much every impact, and I'd be a tough sell to convince otherwise. If you don't put a lot of game on mitigating the size of your interpretation, having a defense of why the number of affs you allow isn't all that different, it isn't predictable etc. you'll probably lose. 

Reasonability needs to be explained in way other than an auto aff ballot. 

For affs without a plan --

Neg - Limits, procedural fairness, clash etc. are impacts I'd prefer to hear from the neg. Dialogue, roleplaying etc. less so. 

Against affs without a plan, the neg should probably go for T, and if they don't, should feel 150% confident the aff wont win no link perm. 

Aff -- Chances are you have some impacts that matter more than limits do. Leverage them. 

Kind of in line with above, you need a counter-interpretation on T, and it needs to be something other than "in the direction of the topic". 

You should have offense other than "debate bad". 

Wayne Tang Paradigm

3 rounds

Name Wayne Tang School - Northside College Prep, Preclusions- Maine East, IL

General Background:
Former HS debater in the stone ages (1980s) HS coach for over many years. I coach on the north shore of Chicago. I typically attend and judge around 15-18 tournaments a season and am sometimes placed (for whatever reason) in upper end rounds at national tournaments. However, I am not a professional teacher/debate coach, I am a patent attorney in my real (non-debate) life and thus do not learn anything about the topic (other than institutes are overpriced) over the summer. I like to think I make up for that by being a quick study, being forced to look at the files produced by my teams, and through coaching and judging past topics, knowing many recycled arguments.


Intelligent story telling with good evidence and analysis is something I like to hear. I generally will vote for teams that have better comparative impact analysis (i.e. they take into account their opponents’ arguments in their analysis). It is a hard road, but I think it is possible to reduce risk to zero or close enough to it based on defensive arguments.


I vote on T relatively frequently over the years. I believe it is the negative burden to establish the plan is not topical. Case lists and arguments on what various interpretations would allow/not allow are very important. I have found that the limits/predictability/ground debate has been more persuasive to me, although I will consider other standards debates. Obviously, it is also important how such standards operate once a team convinces me of their standard. I will also look at why T should be voting issue. I will not automatically vote negative if there is no counter-interpretation extended, although usually this is a pretty deep hole for the aff. to dig out of. For example, if the aff. has no counter-interpretation but the neg interpretation is proven to be unworkable i.e. no cases are topical then I would probably vote aff. As with most issues, in depth analysis and explanation on a few arguments will outweigh many 3 word tag lines.


Not a fan, but I have voted on them numerous times (despite what many in the high school community may believe). I will never be better than mediocre at evaluating these arguments because unlike law, politics, history and trashy novels, I don’t read philosophy for entertainment nor have any interest in it. Further (sorry to my past assistants who have chosen this as their academic career), I consider most of the writers in this field to be sorely needing both a dose of the real world (I was an engineer in undergrad, I guess I have been brainwashed in techno-strategic discourse/liking solutions that actually accomplish something) and a fundamentals of clear writing course. In order to win, the negative must establish a clear story about 1) what the K is; 2) how it links; 3) what the impact is at either the policy level or: 4) pre-fiat (to the extent it exists) outweighs policy arguments or other affirmative impacts. Don’t just assume I will vote to reject their evil discourse, advocacy, lack of ontology, support of biopolitics, etc. Without an explanation I will assume a K is a very bad non-unique Disad in the policy realm. As such it will probably receive very little weight if challenged by the aff. You must be able to distill long boring philosophical cards read at hyperspeed to an explanation that I can comprehend. I have no fear of saying I don’t understand what the heck you are saying and I will absolutely not vote for issues I don’t understand. (I don’t have to impress anyone with my intelligence or lack thereof and in any case am probably incapable of it) If you make me read said cards with no explanation, I will almost guarantee that I will not understand the five syllable (often foreign) philosophical words in the card and you will go down in flames. I do appreciate, if not require specific analysis on the link and impact to either the aff. plan, rhetoric, evidence or assumptions depending on what floats your boat. In other words, if you can make specific applications (in contrast to they use the state vote negative), or better yet, read specific critical evidence to the substance of the affirmative, I will be much more likely to vote for you.

Also not a fan, but I have voted on these arguments in the past. I am generally not highly preferred by teams that run such arguments, so I don't see enough of these types of debates to be an expert. However, I judge a number of Chicago Debate League tournaments where teams run these arguments and also for whatever reason, I get to judge some high level performance teams each year and thus have some background in such arguments from these rounds. I will try to evaluate the arguments in such rounds and will not hesitate to vote against framework arguments if the team advocating non-traditional debate wins sufficient warrants why I should reject the policy/topic framework. However, if a team engages the non-traditional positions, the team advocating such positions need to answer any such arguments in order to win. In other words, I will evaluate these debates like I try to evaluate any other issues, I will see what arguments clash and evaluate that clash, rewarding a team that can frame issues, compare and explain impacts. I have spent 20 plus years coaching a relatively resource deprived school trying to compete against very well resourced debate schools, so I am not unsympathetic to arguments based on inequities in policy debates. On the other hand I have also spent 20 plus years involved in non-debate activities and am not entirely convinced that the strategies urged by non-traditional debates work. Take both points for whatever you think they are worth in such debates.

Case specific CPs are preferable that integrate well (i.e. do not flatly contradict) with other negative positions. Clever wording of CPs to solve the Aff and use Aff solvency sources are also something I give the neg. credit for. It is an uphill battle for the Aff on theory unless the CP/strategy centered around the CP does something really abusive. The aff has the burden of telling me how a permutation proves the CP non-competitive.

POINTS – In varsity debate, I believe you have to minimally be able to clash with the other teams arguments, if you can’t do this, you won’t get over a 27.3. Anything between 28.6 and 29 means you are probably among the top 5% of debaters I have seen. I will check my points periodically against tournament averages and have adjusted upward in the past to stay within community norms. Unfortunately for you, I have judged a lot of the best high school debaters over the years and it is difficult to impress me. Michael Klinger, Stephen Weil, Ellis Allen and Stephanie Spies didn’t get 30s from me (and they were among my favorites of all time), so don’t feel bad if you don’t either.

I dislike evaluating theory debates but if you make me I will do it and complain a lot about it later. No real predispositions on theory other than I would prefer to avoid dealing with it.

Tag team is fine as long as you don’t start taking over cross-ex.

I do not count flashing time (or general tech screw ups) as prep time and quite frankly am not really a fascist about this kind of thing as some other judges, just don’t abuse my leniency on this.

Speed is fine (this is of course a danger sign because no one would admit that they can’t handle speed). If you are going too fast or are unclear, I will let you know. Ignore such warnings at your own peril, as with Kritiks, I am singularly unafraid to admit I didn’t get an answer and therefore will not vote on it.

I will read evidence if it is challenged by a team. Otherwise, if you say a piece of evidence says X and the other team doesn’t say anything, I probably won’t call for it and assume it says X. However, in the unfortunate (but fairly frequent) occurrence where both teams just read cards, I will call for cards and use my arbitrary and capricious analytical skills to piece together what I, in my semi-conscious (and probably apathetic) state, perceive is going on.

I generally will vote on anything that is set forth on the round. Don’t be deterred from going for an argument because I am laughing at it, reading the newspaper, checking on my laptop, throwing something at you, etc. Debate is a game and judges must often vote for arguments they find ludicrous, however, I can and will still make fun of the argument. I will, and have, voted on many arguments I think are squarely in the realm of idiocy i.e. [INSERT LETTER] spec, rights malthus, the quotations and acronyms counterplan (OK I didn’t vote on either, even I have my limits), scaler collapse (twice), death good (more than I would like to admit), Sun-Ra, world government, etc. (the likelihood of winning such arguments, however, is a separate matter).

I will not hesitate to vote against teams and award zero points for socially unacceptable behavior i.e. evidence fabrication, threats of violence, racist or sexist slurs etc., thankfully I have only been faced with such issues twice in my 25 + years of judging.

Oskar Tauring-Traxler Paradigm

3 rounds

Updated - 10/3/19

Background: I debated in high school at Minneapolis South and in college at the University of Minnesota '17. I've coached policy debate for 6 years, and am currently a varsity coach at Minneapolis South high school. I am also a scrub

If you have any questions about my paradigm/rfd/comments, feel free to email me at: & also use this to put me on email chains, please and thank you.

I tend to give a lot of non-verbals (facial expressions, nodding, etc...) - if you look at me while you're speaking, you will have a better chance of winning the round. In the past 3 years, the team I coach has defended a wide range of Policy and Critical arguments. I want to judge good debates, the specific content is less important to me. I will vote for and against framework. I will evaluate the arguments made in the debate and render a decision based on who I think won key arguments. I'm not a blank slate, I have predispositions/preferences/my own thoughts about debate - but I will make an effort to evaluate the round as objectively as possible.

I will enforce the tournament rules (speech times/prep/winner and loser, etc.), but the content of the round as well as how I evaluate the content is up to the debaters. One other thing that you should be aware of is that I will end a round, assign a loss, and give the lowest speaks possible to a team/debater if I think that you have done something offensive or that constitutes harassment. I haven't had to do this yet, so don't be the first.

xtra speaks for dog pics

Terrell Taylor Paradigm

3 rounds

Terrell Taylor

Debated at Mary Washington from 2007-2011

add me to doc chains: terrell taylor at gmail dot com. No punctuation, no space, no frills.

Debate is an intellectual activity where two positions are weighed against each other. A part of this is making clear what your position is (plan, cp, alt, advocacy, status quo etc.) and how it measures up against the other team’s position. Arguments consist of a claim (the point you want to make), warrant (a reason to believe it), and an impact (reason why it matters/way it functions within the debate). Evidence is useful when trying to provide warrants, but is ultimately not necessary for me to evaluate an argument. Debates get competitive and heated, but staying polite and friendly and remembering that the name of the game is fun at the end of the day makes for a more enjoyable experience for everyone involved.

Disads/Case and Advantages

These arguments should be stressed in terms of a coherent story of what the world looks like in terms of the status quo, affirmative plan or alternative option. These positions should be attacked from a variety points including the link and internal link chain, impact and uniqueness level. When it comes to link turning, my default thought is that uniqueness determines the direction; if you have an alternative understanding that is particular to a scenario, be sure to explain why it is that the direction of the link should be emphasized or what have you. Impacts should be compared not only in terms of timeframe, probability and magnitude, but in terms of how these issues interact in a world where both impact scenarios take places (the popular "even if.." phrase comes to mind here). Also, keep in mind that I have not kept up with the trends in disads and such within the topic, so explaining specifics, acronyms and otherwise is useful for me. I prefer hearing case specific scenarios as opposed to generic politics and similar positions. This does not mean I will not vote for it or will dock your speaker points, just a preference.

Counterplans and Counterplan Theory

Counterplans should be functionally competitive; textual competition doesn’t make a whole lot of sense to me (see later section on theory). I think that perms can be advocated, but am more than willing to hear reasons why they shouldn’t be and why that is a bad way to frame debates. When it comes to agent counterplans, I tend to think that topic specific education should trump generic presidential powers or judicial independence debates. Consult and condition cps just make the logician inside my head painfully confused (not sure why a reason to talk to X country is also a reason why the plan is bad). International fiat is suspect to me, and I tend to think that limiting the discussion to US policy (including its international relevance) is a good thing.

All of this being said, I am open to voting for any of the above arguments. These are merely my general theoretical leanings, and I will certainly flow, listen to, and evaluate arguments from the other side.


I haven’t seen many debates on this topic, so if a debate comes down to T, don’t be surprised if you see me googling to find the resolution to check the words. In general I think Topicality is important for two reasons. One is the general reason that most people think it’s good, being that we need to be prepared/have set limits and parameters for debate. The second is that I think each year presents an opportunity to gain in depth education on an issue, even if it's not a policy perspective of that issue. I feel that competing interpretations is generally the default for T, but I am open to defenses of reasonability and in fact, think that there are cases where this is the best means of evaluation. Standards should be impacted in terms of education and fairness, and the debate should come down to the best internal links between the standards and these terminal values. If you are the type to critique T, your critique needs to come down to these terms (education and fairness). RVIs don’t make sense to me. If you want to take the challenge of trying to make one make sense, be my guest, but it’s an uphill battle.

General Theory

As mentioned, I am not wedded to any particular frame or “rulebook” for debate. Part of the beauty of debate to me is that debaters get to be both the players and referee. As such, I enjoy theory and think that such discussions can be fruitful. The flipside to this is that most theory debates devolve into tagline debating, shallow and repetitive arguments, and a race to see who can spit their block the fastest. These debates are 1) hard to flow and 2) not really a test or display of your ability so much as a test of your team’s theory block writer. I reward argumentation that is clear, comprehensible and complete in terms of theory debates, and urge debaters to these opportunities seriously.

I’ve laid out most of my theoretical dispositions in the counterplan section. Conditionality to me is like siracha sauce: a little bit heats up the debate, too much ruins it. I don’t know why three or four counterplans or alternatives along with the status quo is key to negative flex or good debating (one is good, two is ok). Also, if you want to use a status other than conditional or unconditional, (like the imaginary “dispo”) you should be ready to explain what that means. Again, I think that it is okay to advocate permutations as positions in the debate.

In terms of alternate frameworks for the debate (i.e. anything other than policy making) I’m honest when I say I’m not extraordinarily experienced in these areas as I’d like to be. I’ve seen a decent few of these debates and think that they provide some nuance to an otherwise stale activity. That being said (and this is true for all theory positions) you should try and weigh the educational and competitive equity benefits of your position versus the other teams proposed framework the debate. I debated for a squad that saw framework as a strategic and straightforward approach to most alternative forms of debate, so those arguments make sense to me. On the other hand, especially when it comes to arguments concerning structural issues in society/debate, if argued well, and with relevance to the topic in some way, I am willing to listen and evaluate.

Critical arguments (Kritiks/K-affs)

Much of what I just said applies here as well. I had the most success/felt most comfortable debating with these types of arguments as a debater (I did, however, spend most of my career debating with “straight-up” affs and disads that claimed nuclear war advantages). I studied English and Philosophy in undergrad and am pursuing a MA in English with a focus on critical theory, so there’s a decent chance that my interests and background might lean more towards a topic oriented critique than a politics Da.

I will avoid following the trend of listing the genres of critiques and critical literature with which I am familiar with the belief that it shouldn't matter. Running critiques shouldn't be about maintaining a secret club of people who "get it" (which often in debates, is construed to be a club consisting of the critique friendly judge and the team running the argument, often excluding the other team for not being "savy"). In other words, Whether I've read a great deal of the authors in your critique or not, should not give you the green light to skimp on the explanation and analysis of the critique. These debates are often about making the connections between what the authors and literature are saying and the position of the other team, and hence put a great burden on the debater to elucidate those connections. A shared appreciation or research interest between a team and a judge does not absolve you of that burden, in my opinion.

I agree with many recent top tier collegiate debaters (Kevin Kallmyer, Gabe Murillo, etc.) that the difference between policy and critical arguments is overstated. An important piece of reading critical arguments with me in the back of the room is explaining what your arguments mean within the context of the aff/da. If you read a no value to life impact, what about the affs framing makes it so that the people involved see their lives differently; if the critiqued impact is a merely constructed threat, reveal to me the holes in the construction and explain how the construction came to be. Doing that level of analysis (with any argument, critical or policy) is crucial in terms of weighing and relating your arguments to the other teams, and engaging in a form of education that is actually worthwhile. This probably entails removing your hypergeneric topic link and replacing with analysis as to the links that are within the evidence (and therefore, the assumptions, rhetoric, methodology, so and so forth) of your opponents. In terms of vague alts and framework, I have mixed feelings. The utopian fiat involved in most alts is probably abusive, but there is something to be said for making the claim that these arguments are vital to thorough education. On the framework question, gateway issue is probably a poor way to go. I don’t understand why the fact that your K has an impact means that you get to suck up the entire debate on this one issue. Instead, a framing that opens the door to multiple ways of critiquing and evaluating arguments (both on the aff and the neg, or in other words, doesn’t hold the aff as a punching bag) is preferable.


I didn’t do a whole lot of handling with this genre of argument, but have debated semi-frequently and enjoy the critical aspects of these arguments. I think that there is a difference between the type of critical debater that reads a couple of disads along with a K and case args, and a team that reads a indictment of the topic or reads narratives for nine minutes. If you read a poem, sing, recite a story or anything of that nature, I will be more interested in observing your performance than trying to flow or dictate it on my flow (my reasoning for this is that, unlike a speech organized for the purpose of tracking argument development and responses, I don't think flowing a poem or song really generates an understanding of the performance). More importantly, framing should be a priority; give me a reason why I should look at the debate through a certain lens, and explain why given that framing you have done something either worth affirming your advocacy. I think that these types of debates, especially if related to the topic, can be fruitful and worthwhile. Performance affirmatives should try to find some in road to the topic. If your argument is pervasive and deep enough to talk about, I generally think it probably has a systemic implication for the resolution in some way, even if that doesn’t manifest as a topical plan or even agreeing with the resolution.

For teams going against performance strategies, Framework based arguments are options in front of me. A good way to frame this argument is in terms of what is the best method to produce debates that create the most useful form of education, as opposed to just reading it like a procedural argument. I do think it is important to engage the substantive portion of their arguments as well, (there are always multiple dimensions to arguments of these forms) even if it happens to be a critical objection to their performance or method. Many policy based strategies often want to avoid having to engage with the details involved, and in doing so often fail to rigorously challenge the arguments made in the debate.

Good luck, and have fun. I spent a great deal of my debate career stressing out and losing sleep, instead of experiencing the challenge and fun of the activity; Enjoy your time in the activity above everything else.

Tyler Thur Paradigm

3 rounds

*Updated October 2018*




I debated for four years at Marquette University High School in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Go Packers/Brewers/Bucks! In college, I debated for four years at Michigan State University, earning three first round bids and a semifinals appearance at the NDT.

I taught at the SDI this summer, and I've researched both the college and high school topics. That said, any given debate can get in-depth quick, so you should be careful with acronyms/intricacies if you think that your strategy is really innovative or requires a deep understanding of your specific mechanism. Teams sometimes get so deep in the weeds researching their business that they forget to provide basic explanation for the argument's context/history/background. Instead, they jump into the most advanced part of the topic. If something is creative, that's an issue because it's likely the judge's first time hearing it.

Everyone says it and almost no one means it, but I think that you should debate what you care about/what interests you/what you're good at doing. In other words, put me in the "big-tent" camp. All of the stuff below is too long and shouldn't impact your debating (maybe besides the meta issues section). It really is just my thoughts (vs a standard), and is only included to offer insight into how I see debate.


1. Assuming equal debating, I'm *really* bad for the K on the neg/as planless aff. I find my self constantly struggling with questions in decision-time like: Does the neg ACTUALLY have a link to the plan's MECHANISM or even their SPECIFIC representations? What is the alternative? How does that advocacy change the extremely sweeping and entrenched problems identified in the 1NC/2NC impact evidence? If it's so effective, why doesn't it overcome the links to the plan? If the alt is just about scholarship/ethics/some -ology, how does that compare to material suffering outlined by the 1AC? In the end, when I vote negative on it/for planless affs, it's generally because the losing team dropped a techy ballot like ethics first, serial policy failure or we're a PIK. I normally don't like footnoting philosophies, but I love what Cody Crunkilton has to say when he comments that "I won't hold it against you if you like Ks, and am not going to feel like my time was wasted or you are destroying debate or anything - I am just genuinely very confused about how kritiks answer the aff" and that "it is possible to convince me otherwise, but the amount of work you will have to do will be so high that nineteen out of twenty times you would be better off doing something else."

2. College debate made me more oriented to tech than truth. In my experience as a debater and judge, ignorance of tech resulted in a callous dismissal of arguments as “bad” and increased judge intervention to determine what is “correct” instead of what was debated in-round and executed more effectively. That said, truth is a huge bonus, and being on the right side makes your task of being technically proficient easier because you can let logic/evidence speak a little for you.

3. Despite my inclinations to tech, I still care a lot about evidence quality (namely because it demonstrates hard work and provides some insight into the relative truth of arguments). This idea has a couple of implications: a strong analytical argument can defeat bad evidence, one good card is better than 5 meh ones, and part of my role in judging is comparing evidence *when it's contested/debated*

4. Every round could use more calculus and comparisons. The most obvious example of this thesis is with impact calc, but I think there are a laundry list of other examples like considering relative risk, quality of evidence, and author qualifications. As a format, any of these comparisons should have a reason why your argument is preferable, a reason why that frame is important, and a reason why your opponents’ argument is poor/viewed in a poor lens. In the context of impact calc, this framework means saying that your impact outweighs on timeframe, that timeframe is important, and that while your opponent’s impact might have a large magnitude, I should ignore that frame of decision-making. Engaging your opponents’ arguments on a deeper level and resolving debates is the easiest way to get good points. Beyond that, making a decision is functionally comparing each teams’ stance/evidence quality/technical ability on a few nexus questions, so if you’re doing this work for me you will probably like my decision a lot more than if I’m left to sort through a pile of cards.

5. I hold debaters to a high standard for making an argument. Any claim should be supported with a warrant, evidence and impact on my decision. Use early speeches to get ahead on important questions. For instance, I won’t dismiss something like “Perm do Both,” but I think the argument would be bolstered by a reason why the perm is preferable in the 2AC (i.e. how it interacts with the net-benefits) instead of saving those arguments for the 1AR/2AR. By the way, you should consider this point my way out in post-rounds where you're like "but I said X...It was right here!" For me, if something is important enough to win/lose a debate, you should spend a significant amount of time there, connect and make sure your claim is *completely* and *thoughtfully* warranted.

6. All debates have technical mistakes, but not all technical mistakes are equal or irreversible. Given those assumptions, the best rebuttals recognize flaws and make “even if” statements/explain why losing an argument does not mean they lose the debate. I think debaters fold too often on mistakes. Just because you dropped a theory argument doesn’t mean you cannot cross-apply an argument from another theory argument, politics or T to win.

7. I think offense-defense is a poor way to view debates as it can be an overly rigid while most issues are relative. Consequently I’m a decent judge for “terminal” defense and reasonability. Likewise, I’m not the best judge for arguments like CP Yes/No links to politics.

8. Favorite Critics (Not 100% match in ideology, ask if interested): Leah Moczulski, Eric Morris, Will Mosley-Jensen, David Cram Helwich, Jonathan Paul, and David Heidt. They all work hard judging debates, care about their role as educators, and offer detailed feedback every round. That's what I will try to do in the round.

9. Things people don't do enough:

a) Start with the title for their 1NC offcase positions (i.e. first off TPP)

b) Give links labels (i.e our "docket crowdout link" or "our bipart link"

c) Explain what their plan actually does - For instance (in college), how does the plan restrict executive authority? Who does it? What is the mechanism? What, specifically, is covered? I've decided that if the aff is vague to an egregious extent, I'll be super easy on the negative with DA links, CP competition, and T. Aff vagueness is also a link to circumvention and explains why fiat doesn't solve definitional non-compliance.

d) Call out new arguments - I don't have sympathy if you *wish* you said no impact in the 2AC. There are times that I wish it existed, but there isn't and can't be a 3AC. I will say that for mostly pragmatic reasons, I'm not to the point of reviewing every new 1AR argument. I'll protect the 2NR for the 2AR, but you have to do the work before that.

10. Random (likely to change) college topic thoughts:

a) ESR (when written with extra planks to create aff-specific internal restraints, spur public perception, and fiat out of practice-bad advantages) is an absolute monster. It would be really tough to get me on ESR theory in an equally-debated round, I think most affirmative evidence says that the aff's mechanism is good (not that it is necessary or that executive-action would not be sufficient), and I think most aff perception arguments about Trump tweeting/flip-flopping/lacking credibility take out the affirmative. I'm hoping that teams skip ahead to the part of the War Powers topic where affs had a practice AND authority advantage (even if it's imperfect against the squo) instead of just a bunch of arguments why tariffs/treaty exit/surveillance/etc are bad.

b) The negative state action part of this topic will likely make it very difficult to win K links (sans legalism/Rana-type stuff). As always, negative specificity matters. In the end, you have to explain why the affirmative's particular action/scholarship/reps are problematic

c) The "Trumper" is both overrated and underrated. In terms of it applied to solvency/open non-compliance, expect that the aff will get leeway with durable fiat/implementation is robust. Given that approach, it's a non-starter. In terms of it applied to advantages, I would be worried. If you read climate/free trade/relations, you just need some specific twist OR great evidence that Trump will backdown.

d) Be careful your UQ CP doesn't overwhelm the link to your DA. Sometimes the neg goes a bit too far.

e) There doesn't seem to be a very good topic DA. Trump's bad, spillover links lose to thumpers (or just no spillover), and Yoo and friends are still war criminals. Given that, I imagine I'll be better for signal/politics/midterms-based DAs than prez powers, etc.


Planless affirmatives – The affirmative would ideally have a plan that defends action by the United States federal government (Least important). The affirmative should have a direct tie to the topic. In the context of the college resolution, this means you would have a defense of restricting executive authority on one of the topic areas (Pretty important). The affirmative MUST defend the implementation of said "plan" - whatever it is (MOST important). While I will NOT immediately vote negative on T or “Framework” as a procedural issue, if you don’t defend instrumental implementation of a topical plan *rooted in the resolutional question*, you will be in a tough spot. I’m especially good for T/Framework if the affirmative dodges case turns and debates over the question if presidential restrictions are good or bad. In particular, I am persuaded by arguments about why these affirmatives are unpredictable, under-limit the topic, and create a bad heuristic for problem solving (though procedural > political offense especially given Trump). Short version is that you can do you and there is always a chance I’ll vote for you, but I’m probably not an ordinal one for teams that don’t want to engage the resolutional question.

I do want to say that at tournaments with relaxed prefs, I will do my absolute best to keep an open mind about these assumptions. That shouldn't be read as "Thur says he's open to our planless aff - let's move him up to push down 'policy' people." It should be read as if I come up at one of these tournaments, you might as well do what you're most comfortable with/what you've practiced the most instead of over-adapting.

Critiques—Honestly, just read the first point in the "meta issues" section. I understand neolib/deterrence/security pretty well because they were a big part of my major. If you want to push against my confusion on the K (as a concept), you need to have specific links to the plan’s actions, authors, or representations. Again, trying to be honest, if you're itching to say Baudrillard, Bataille, Deleuze, death good, etc., I'm not your guy. On framework, the affirmative will almost surely be able to weigh their 1AC (unless they totally airball), and I'm pretty hesitant to place reps/scholarship/epistemology before material reality. One other thing - substitute out buzzwords and tags for explanation. Merely saying "libidinal economy" or "structural antagonism" without some evidence and explanation isn't a win condition.

In terms of being affirmative against these arguments, I think that too often teams lose sight of the easy ballots and/or tricks. The 1AR and 2AR need to “un-checklist” those arguments. In terms of disproving the critique, I think I’m pretty good for alternative fails/case outweighs or the permutation with a defense of pragmatism or reformism. Of those 2 - I'm best for your alt does nothing...we have an aff...

Case- I’m a huge fan. With that, I think that it’s very helpful for the neg (obviously?). I believe that no matter what argument you plan to go for, (excluding T/theory) case should be in some part of the 2nr. In the context of the critique, you can use case arguments to prove that the threats of the 1AC are flawed or constructed, that there are alternative causes to the affirmative that only the alternative solves, or that the impacts of the affirmative are miniscule and the K outweighs. For CPs, even if you lose a solvency deficit, you can still win because the net benefit outweighs the defended affirmative. Going for case defense to the advantage that you think the CP solves the least forces me to drop you twice as I have to decide the CP doesn’t solve AND that the case impact outweighs your net-benefit. That seems like a pretty good spot to be in.

CP- My favorite ones are specific to the 1AC with case turns as net benefits. Aside from that, I think that I am more inclined than most to vote aff on the perm when there is a trivial/mitigated net benefit vs. a smallish solvency deficit, but in the end I would hope you would tell me what to value first. I had a big section written up on theory, and I decided it's too round-dependent to list out. I still think that more than 2 conditional positions is SUPER risky, functional > textual competition, competition is dictated by mandates and not outcomes (i.e. CPs that are designed to spur follow-on are very strategic), judge kick is good, consult/condition/delay/threaten generally suck, and interpretations matter A LOT.

Topicality- I default to reasonability, but I can be convinced that Competing Interpretations is a decent model. The negative does not need actual abuse, but they do need to win why their potential abuse is likely as opposed to just theoretical. That is, I'll be less persuaded by a 25-item case list than a really good explanation of a few devastating new affirmatives they allow. If I were to pick only one standard to go for, it would be predictable limits. They shape all pre-round research that guides in-round clash and ensure that debates are dialogues instead of monologues. Finally, as a framing point, I generally think bigger topics = better.


They're totally broken. I'll try to follow the below scale based on where points were at GSU.

29.3 to 29.6 – Speaker Award - 1 to 10

29.1 to 29.2 – Speaker Award - 11 to 25

28.8 to 29 – Should break/Have a chance

28.5 to 28.7 – Outside change at breaking to .500

28.1 to 28.4 – Not breaking, sub-.500

27 to 28 – Keep working

Below 26 – Something said/done warranting a post-round conversation with coaches

Anthony Trufanov Paradigm

1 rounds


Email chain

Add me:

College people, add:

Please put useful info about the round in the subject of the email.


I will flow and vote on things you said. NEGs can say whatever but the less it says the plan is bad the more annoying it is. Conditionality and judge kick are good. Ks are good if there are DAs hiding inside them. AFFs should be T and are likely to lose if they aren't. If you say death good you lose.


Tech determines truth unless your argument is an affront to obvious reality or it's death good. If you tell me to embrace death because life is bad I will vote against you even if you do not go for the argument.

I will also do everything in my power to avoid indiscriminately killing people. If this sounds like your ALT, reconsider.

Otherwise, unless my role as a judge is changed, I will attempt to write the least interventionary ballot. This means:

1. What is conceded is absolutely true, but will only have the implications that you say it has. I will not assume stuff that is not obvious - for example, I will not cross apply arguments from one flow to another, will not assume impact D applies to impacts you didn't say it applies to, will not assume a CP solves something you didn't say it solves, etc.

2. I will intervene if I have to.

3. When something is thorny or annoying I have often found myself starting the decision by looking for ways to vote without resolving that thing. With proper framing and argument choice you can rig this process in your favor.

For whatever reason I have voted NEG slightly more than AFF.

The following are my inclinations - if you don't like them you can change them.

Misc Quirks

If you start prep, you take a minimum of 10 seconds. None of that start stop nonsense.

I am not really a small talk guy.

Please merge your speech docs before the speech if prepping separately is a thing you do.

High schoolers - if you think your wiki is good (has cites/open source for every card you have read OR detailed descriptions of arguments that are not card reliant) tell me after the debate and if I agree you each get +1 speaker point.


I like when the NEG says the opposite of the AFF. How much I enjoy your DA depends how much of the AFF it clashes with. But also, both high school and college seem like they are stuck with some slim pickings here, so if something stupid finds its way into a 2NR I get it.

However I still do not care where Rubio or Romney are spending PC or what the House science committee is focusing on but it's on the brink. The politics DA is a barren wasteland.

Relatedly, the more I think about intrinsicness the more it makes sense to me. I dunno what will happen if someone actually debates this out in front of me but I am curious to find out.

I care about the DA turning the case a lot.

"Framing pages" are dumb. Maybe they could be smart? I have yet to see a proof of concept for this that I care about.

Case offense is strategic and funny.


My default is judge kick. It is very hard to use theory to stop me from thinking about the status quo.

The AFF should be able to win a process CP doesn't compete if they are competent and don't drop things. Granting competition makes the theory debate more difficult because it enhances the narrative that the CP is a germane opportunity cost.

Good for the NEG on theory, especially condo. I care the most about clash as a theory impact. Nothing but condo is a voting issue.

Intrinsic perms can be ok depending on the counterplan.


Vagueness in all its forms probably not a VI but can implicate internal links and solvency.

Argue by analogy and comparison to other affs, especially in CX. I think this is one of the best way to find inconsistencies in neg interpretations which you can exploit to your advantage in rebuttals.

Cards matter - all else being equal, if you read more cards supporting/fleshing out your interpretation and demonstrating why the aff doesn't meet I will be more likely to vote for you. I am unlikely to care about a cardless T 2NC.

I am a pedant myself so I am more sympathetic to pedantic T arguments than most.

Ks/Planless Affs

OK for specific Ks on the NEG, bad for random backfile trash, bad for K AFFs, death good = L.

If your K is closer to a DA I am more likely to care about it. So - links should be specific, causal, and about the plan.

AFFs' path to victory is proving that the K does not do these things. Therefore, reductionism DA + perm is the most persuasive approach to answering most K arguments.

Same thing if there is no plan text - in a FW debate, the AFF wins by demonstrating that engaging in resolutional debate/being forced to do so intrinsically causes something bad, the NEG wins by demonstrating that the AFF's offense is not intrinsic to resolutional debate and theirs is.

The fad of spotting that the K AFF links to topic DAs to make it look more benign is not really getting it done for me. While it is very considerate of the AFF not to make link answers against DAs that demonstrably have nothing to do with the 1AC it is intellectually nonsensical and relying on AFFs' good faith in this area does not seem like a sustainable arrangement.

I am open to different understandings of what it means for things to compete if there is no plan.

If the AFF has negated the resolution and the NEG responds with a topical proposal, shouldn't the NEG be the one that gets perms? Isn't that already how we evaluate TVAs? Just a thought. Be creative.

The only effect of my ballot is to decide the winner.

Speaker points

Most of my points have been between 28.4 and 28.9. This seems to be below the 2019 curve so I am adjusting.

Wrong strategic choices, being stupid about substance, CXs annoying/pointless, arguments were bad, being needlessly mean, being a mumbler... = lower speaks. The opposite of that/being awesome = higher speaks.

Other arg stuff

Evidence ethics (out of context? straw-person? lied about quals? cut in middle of paragraph?) should be debated out like any other theory argument. Claiming you said words you did not say is an L.

Being racist, sexist, violent, etc. in a way that is immediately and obviously hazardous to someone in the debate = L and 0. My role as educator > my role as any form of disciplinarian, so I will err on the side of letting stuff play out - i.e. if someone used gendered language and that gets brought up I will probably let the round happen and correct any ignorance after the fact. This ends when it begins to threaten the safety of round participants. Where that line is is entirely up to me.

Rosie Valdez Paradigm

3 rounds

-Director of Debate at Little Rock Central High School
Yes, email chain and sure, questions:


Do what you do and do it well. I will vote for who wins. Over-adaptation is probably not a great idea with me in the back (I can smell your soft-left add-ons a mile away). Be clear, be concise, be economical. I coach primarily K teams, so it is immaterial to me whether or not you read a plan.


I care about quality of evidence. I would much rather hear you read a few well-warranted cards than a wave of under-highlighted evidence. Same goes for redundant evidence; if you need six cards that “prove” your claim with the same words interchanged in the tag, your claim is probably pretty weak. Evidence does not (alone) a (winning) argument make. I like to be on email chains.


Neg teams lose when they don’t demonstrate how their arguments interact with the 1AC. Winning that the affirmative is “flawed” or “problematic” does not guarantee a neg ballot. In my mind, there are two ways to win the k versus a policy aff: either win that the effects of the plan make the world significantly worse OR win framework and go for epistemology/ontology links. Know when framework is important and when it’s not. Give analysis as to how your links implicate the world of the aff. This is where case mitigation and offense on why voting affirmative is undesirable is helpful. These debates are significantly lacking in impact calculus. Also - the alt needs to solve the links, not the aff - but if it does, great! If you win framework, this burden is lessened. Don’t spread through link explanations. I am seeing more debates where teams kick the alt and go for the links as disads to the aff. This is fine, but be wary of this strategy when the alt is what provides uniqueness to the link debate.

Conversely, affs typically lose these debates when there is little press on what the alternative does and little analysis of perm functions. However, some teams focus on the alt too much and leave much to be desired on the link debate (especially important for soft-left affs). Not sure why teams reading HSI are making perms on the cap k. Defend your reps. Your framework shell should also include a robust defense of policymaking, not just procedural fairness. The 1AR should actually answer the block’s framework answers. More impact turning rather than defensive, no-link arguments.

Also, running to the middle will not save you. Some Ks are going to get a link no matter what, and tacking on a structural impact to your otherwise straight policy aff will likely only supercharge the link. So. Read the aff you'd read in front of anybody in front of me. You're probably better at that version anyway.

K Affs vs. FW

For affs: I’m good for these although I do think that oftentimes the method is very poorly explained. Neg teams should really press on this and even consider going for presumption. Side note: I absolutely do not think that critical affs should have to win that the ballot is key for their method. Against framework, I most frequently vote aff when the aff wins impact turns that outweigh the neg’s impacts and have a counter-interp that resolves the majority of their offense. I can still vote for you if you don’t have a counter-interp in the 2AR but only if the impact work is exceptional. I prefer affs that argue that the skills and methods produced under their model inculcate more ethical subjectivities than the negative’s. The best aff teams I’ve seen are good at contextualizing their arguments, framing, and justifying why their model and not their aff is uniquely good. I am most frequently preffed for K v K debates. Judge instruction is extremely important here as these debates can become muddled extremely quickly. I would rather evaluate those rounds based on whose method is most relevant to the debate rather than k tricks.

For neg teams: I like to see framework deployed as debate methodologies that are normatively good versus debate methodologies that are undesirable and should be rejected. Framework debates should center on the impact of certain methodologies on the debate space. “Your argument doesn’t belong in debate” is not the same thing as “your argument is hindered by forum” or “your argument makes it functionally impossible to be negative.” (fun fact: I read a lot of judges' paradigms/preferences..."debate is a game" does not = debate is a good game, and participation in that "game" does not = can't say the game is bad). I prefer more deliberation & skills-based framework arguments rather than procedural fairness, but I will vote on either as long as you have warrants and comparative impact analysis. If going for skills & research impacts, the internal link debate is most important. TVAs are great as defense against the aff’s impact turns. They do not have to solve the aff but should address its central controversy.

I feel similarly about theory debates in that they should focus on good/undesirable pedagogical practices. Arguments that explain the role of the ballot should not be self-serving and completely inaccessible by a particular team.


Topicality is a voting issue and never a reverse voting issue. T debates are won and lost on the standards level. If the affirmative wins that their interpretation solves the impact of topicality, then I see no reason to vote negative. Thorough T debates are about more than fairness. The idea that you have no game on an aff in this era is just not as persuasive as the idea that the aff’s interpretation negatively impacts future debates. For the immigration topic: I agree with the general consensus that topical affs must provide legal permanent residence.


No real issues here. Specific links to case obviously preferred to generic arguments. Give me good impact analysis. As a debater, counterplans weren’t really my jam. As a judge, I can’t say that I get to vote on CPs often because they are typically kicked or are not competitive enough to survive an affirmative team well-versed in permutations. A CP should be something to which I can give thoughtful consideration. Don’t blow through a really complicated (or long) CP text. Likewise, if the permutation(s) is intricate, slow down. Pretty sure you want me to get these arguments down as you read them, not as I reconstruct them in cross. I vote for theory as much as I don’t vote for theory. No real theoretical dispositions.

Arkansas Circuit

1. I’m not going to bump your speaks for thanking me and taking forever to start the round because you’re asking “opponent ready? judge ready? partner ready? observers ready?” for the first 20 minutes.
2. If you do not take notes during my RFD, I will leave.
3. Don’t clip. Why do debaters in Arkansas clip so much? Answer: Because I don’t judge very much in Arkansas.
4. Keep your own time.

Thomas Van Bibber Paradigm

3 rounds

Thomas Van Bibber

Position: Assistant Director of Debate, Marquette University High School (2015-Present)

Experience: National Circuit Policy Debate, Marquette University High School (2011-2015)

For what it's worth, I am currently a senior at Duke University studying Public Policy, Physics, and Marxism & Society.

Throw me on that email chain:


I vote on winning arguments. This means two simple things:

1. Debate what you are best at/like debating.

2. The burden is on you to convince me that your argument is a winning one.

I know this paradigm is rather curt and painfully cliche (and for many judges untrue/misleading), but anything else would misrepresent how I approach judging.

More specific meta thoughts: I default to tech over truth, comparisons/calculus win or lose debates, "even if" statements are your best friend, terminal impact defense is possible, oftentimes "case outweighs" misses the point of the K, sometimes it doesn't, and one good card can beat five okay cards.


I welcome questions before and after the round, and never hesitate to email me:

Lauren Velazquez Paradigm

3 rounds

Name : Lauren Velazquez

Affiliated School: Niles North


General Background:
I debated competitively in high school in the 1990s for Maine East. I participated on the national circuit where counterplans and theory were common.

I debated for one year in college at DePaul University.

After college, I coached and supported several teams in Chicago. I ran the debate program at Juarez High School for 4 years (also teaching a debate class in addition to my other classes). My teams were competitive in the Chicago debate league and frequently qualified for elimination rounds and speaker awards.

After leaving classroom teaching, I continued to work with teams and judge for the Chicago Debate League on an Ad Hoc basis for 2 years.

Recently I have stepped back into national circuit debate through helping teams first at Solorio HS then at OPRF in the Chicagoland area.

I now run the policy team at Niles North in skokie where we compete in national tournaments and I work with and am familiar with current arguments including critical affs, framework arguments etc.

When deciding to vote on disadvantages and affirmative advantages, I look for a combination of good story telling and evidence analysis. Strong teams are teams that frame impact calculations for me in their rebuttals (e.g. how do I decide between preventing a war or promoting human rights?). I should hear from teams how their internal links work and how their evidence and analysis refute indictments from their opponents. Affirmatives should have offense against disads (and Negs have offense against case). It is rare, in my mind, for a solvency argument or "non unique" argument to do enough damage to make the case/disad go away completely, at best, relying only on defensive arguments will diminish impacts and risks, but t is up to the teams to conduct a risk analysis telling me how to weigh risk of one scenario versus another.


I will vote on topicality if it is given time (more than 15 seconds in the 2NR) in the debate and the negative team is able to articulate the value of topicality as a debate “rule” and demonstrate that the affirmative has violated a clear and reasonable framework set by the negative. If the affirmative offers a counter interpretation, I will need someone to explain to me why their standards and definitions are best. Providing cases that meet your framework is always a good idea. I find the limits debate to be the crux generally of why I would vote for or against T so if you are neg you 100% should be articulating the limits implications of your interpretation.

Over the years, I have heard and voted on Kritiks, but I do offer a few honest caveats:

I read newspapers daily so I feel confident in my knowledge around global events. I do not regularly read philosopy or theory papers, there is a chance that I am unfamiliar with your argument or the underlying paradigms. I do believe that Kritik evidence is inherently dense and should be read a tad slower and have accompanying argument overviews in negative block. Impact analysis is vital. What is the role of the ballot? How do I evaluate things like discourse against policy implications (DAs etc)

Also, I’m going to need you to go a tad slower if you are busting out a new kritik, as it does take time to process philosophical writings.

If you are doing something that kritiks the overall debate round framework (like being an Aff who doesnt have a plan text), make sure you explain to me the purpose of your framework and why it is competively fair and educationally valuable.

I am generally a fan of CPs as a neg strategy. I will vote for counterplans but I am open to theory arguments from the affirmative (PICs bad etc). Counterplans are most persuasive to me when the negative is able to clearly explain the net benifts and how (if at all) the counterplan captures affirmative solvency. For permutations to be convincing offense against CPs, Affs should explain how permutation works and what voting for perm means (does the DA go away, do I automatically vote against neg etc?)


Tag team is fine as long as you don’t start taking over cross-ex and dominating. You are part of a 2 person team for a reason.

Speed is ok as long as you are clear. If you have a ton of analytics in a row or are explaining a new/dense theory, you may want to slow down a little since processing time for flowing analytics or kritkits is a little slower than me just flowing the text of your evidence.

I listen to cross ex. I think teams come up with a lot of good arguments during this time. If you come up with an argument in cross ex-add it to the flow in your speech.

Alex Velto Paradigm

3 rounds

I debated for UNLV and Damien High School. Now I coach for McQueen High School. I participated in policy debate only, but, I have judged a few LD and Parli rounds.

Simply, debate is a very fun game that I used to play and enjoy watching. Do what you do best. I will vote for you if I think you win. And please be nice to your opponents.

As far as preconceived notions of debate go, here are a few of mine:

(1) I think the topic should be debated.

(2) I enjoy case debates and plan specific counterplans.

(3) Few things the neg does are voting issues.

(4) I enjoy T debates because a word's meaning is important.

(5) The neg has to win a unique reason the aff is bad to win the debate.

(6) I am a lawyer, so naturally I think think that law and the state can be used for good.

(7) I usually don't have speech docs open during the debate so your clarity is important to me.

Questions? Ask me before the round.

Here are some of my favorite judges. Their judicial philosophies can help you understand mine:

Dr. Ryan Galloway

Dr. Jacob Thompson

Hays Watson

Ryan Cheek

Omar Guervera

Teddy Albiniak

John Roberts

Ruth Bader Ginsburg

Simon Cowell

Aaron Vinson Paradigm

3 rounds

Aaron Vinson

Debate Coach, New Trier High School, Illinois

Formerly, Head Coach, Princeton High School, Ohio

Glenbrook North Alum, Miami University of Ohio Alum

==Updated 2/22/16==

Debate is about having fun - you should read arguments that you enjoy regardless of my past debate background or what arguments my students may or may not read. 

Debate is about communication, response, and oral argumentation - if it wasn't in the debate or if it was not clear to me in a debate, it's not a thing. All arguments should have some level of engagement with what the opposing team is saying or they are just floating statements. 

Debate should be a safe space - be respectful to your partner and opponents; if your "thought experiment" includes trivializing genocide, suicide, x identity, you should consider the impact that that argument might have on your opponents and anyone watching the debate. If this is egregious I will feel compelled to intervene.      

Alaina Walberg Paradigm

3 rounds

Updated 10/27/19

4 years in Kansas in high school, 4 years at Baylor University, now a grad student and coach at KU and Barstow.

She/Her or gender neutral pronouns.

Add me to the email chain:

Top Level

Do what you do best, I think it is the burden of the judge to adapt to what the debaters want to do and will do my best to be unbiased when evaluating arguments.

Judge instruction/telling me how to write my ballot is really important, points will be higher and you'll be more likely to win if you put the pieces together in the 2NR/2AR, are actually honest about the parts of the debate you're winning and losing, make even if statements, etc.

I think I have a higher than average expectation of the 1AR. Because of this, it's helpful for me if 1ARs flag where/why the 2AR should get new explanations and if 2ARs justify new args or try to tie new explanations to a specific 1AR argument.

If you prompt your partner please don't both talk at the same time - when both of you are talking at once it's really really hard for me to process and I'll end up getting none of what you're saying.

***Note for high school: if someone reads Red Spread against you, for the love of god just say cap is bad please.


Basically everything but condo is a reason to reject the arg not the team.


Slow down some. Impact it out in the 2NR. Don't forget to explain what winning competing interps or reasonability actually means for you.

DAs and CPs

I don't do a lot of topic research, so it'll be helpful for both of us if you do a little more explanation on topic specific things like link stories/solvency mechanisms/etc.

Good analytics can definitely beat a crappy DA. Floor time links on politics make me sad. I like cheating CPs.


Explain why winning framework matters for you and how you still win the debate even if you lose framework.

I don’t think you need an alt to win but a well-explained one will make it much easier to do so.

2ACs should explicitly answer each of the link arguments even if it's just by explaining that it's a link to the status quo, a block that can impact out a dropped link argument well is likely to get my ballot as long as they are somewhat ahead on the framework or impact framing debate.

K Affs

Good. I do think it is possible to vote neg on presumption, so specific analysis about aff solvency or method is important. I find myself voting overwhelmingly aff in debates where the negative concedes the aff in the 2NR, so I strongly recommend extending your best 1 or 2 case arguments regardless of what else you're going for.


For the neg: 1) You need to answer the case – their theory is wrong, reform is possible, etc. A 2NR that has no way to cut back the aff’s ability to impact turn fairness or topic education is in a rough spot. Presumption can be a good arg. 2) I default to fairness is not an impact but is an internal link to debatability, clash, topic education, etc. This doesn’t mean don’t go for it as an impact, just that you need a warrant. 3) Framework is about the model of debate the aff justifies, it’s not an argument why K affs are bad. If you’re going for framework as a way to exclude entire critical lit bases/structural inequalities/content areas from debate then we are not going to get along.

For the aff: 1) You need a counter interp or counter model of debate, it's really helpful if you can explain what debate looks like under this model. 2) I am not a huge fan of the 2AC strategy of saying as many disads to framework as possible without explaining or warranting any of them out. 3) Leverage your aff as an impact turn to framework. The more effectively voting aff can resolve the impact turn, the easier it will be to get my ballot.

Luc Walkington Paradigm

3 rounds

Background: Currently coaching at MSU and assistant coach at Niles North High School


Do what you do best.

Tech>Truth. Evidence quality is important.

Slower = better. Don't assume I know every single acronym.

Our community suffers from a clipping epidemic that often flies under the radar. Clipping voting issues will be enforced regardless of whether or not it's an argument made in round. I will militantly follow along speech docs and if I believe you to be clipping, I will drop you without hesitation. Please do not put me in this situation.

There are many competing views on whether or not teams should be allowed to insert re-highlightings of their opponent's evidence without having to read the new highlighting. I encourage teams to insert re-highlightings because I believe it to be necessary in order to deter bad card cutting practices. That being said, there are qualifications to this. You can't just say "Smith concludes AFF".... there must be a warrant for why Smith concludes AFF. You also can only insert re-highlightings of evidence if the part that you are inserting was part of the original card that your opponent read. Inserting a re-highlighting of a part of the article three paragraphs after your opponent stopped cutting the card is NOT acceptable.

Don't steal prep. If you do, it'll be reflected in your points.

Don't bother asking me, always just put me on the email chain. lucwalkington [at] gmail

Speech times are static. No partner speeches after the 1AC/1NC.


Needs impacting out in any context. Case lists are often underutilized. I typically view topicality as a question of competing interpretations.

Go slower here - topicality/theory can be hard to flow.


I don't particularly enjoy some critical debates but I will not insert my own predispositions into my judging. I am much more interested in hearing a case-specific critical debate, not your same old Baudrillard/D&G/Bataille nonsense that gets read from year to year.

The best type of kritiks are ones that impact turn central components of the 1AC.

Weakest part of most kritiks is the alt. A clear articulation of how the alt functions and how it resolves the link claims is important in front of me.


Case-specific CP debate is better than your generic process CPs.

I'm AFF leaning on questions of competition regarding CPs that compete off of the certainty/immediacy of the plan. The more that your CP is well supported by topic literature, the less likely you are to lose to theory/competition args.

Non-Traditional AFFs:

AFFs are more persuasive when they have a tie to the topic. I'm very transparent - my proclivities are that debate is often better when the AFF defends the hypothetical implementation of a topical plan. If going for framework in front of me, it's important that the NEG clearly articulate their impact because teams often conflate internal links for impacts (i.e. predictability, deliberation, limits are internal links and NOT impacts). Framework debates favor the NEG when they explain how their method better resolves the structural impact claims outlined by the AFF.

Caitlin Walrath Paradigm

3 rounds

Debate History:

Juan Diego Catholic: 2011-2014 (1N/2A and 1A/2N)

Rowland Hall-St. Marks: 2014-2015 (1A/2N)

University of Michigan: 2015-2019 (1A/2N)

University of Kentucky: Present (Assistant Coach)

*Please put me on the email chain: - NO POCKETBOXES OR WHATEVER PLEASE AND THANK YOU*

TL;DR: You do you, and I'll flow and judge accordingly. Make smart arguments, be yourself, and have fun. Ask questions if you have them post-round / time permits. I would rather you yell at me (with some degree of respect) and give me the chance to explain why you lost so that you can internalize it rather than you walk away pissed/upset without resolution. An argument = claim + warrant. You may not insert rehighlighted evidence into the record - you have to read it, debate is a communicative activity.

General thoughts: I enjoy debate immensely and I hope to foster that same enjoyment in every debate I judge. With that being said, you should debate how you like to debate and I’ll judge fairly. I will immediately drop a team and give zero speaks if you make this space hostile by making offensive remarks or arguments that make it unsafe for others in the round (to be judged at my discretion). Clipping accusations must have audio or some form of proof. Debaters do not necessarily have to stake the round on an ethics violation. I also believe that debaters need to start listening to each other's arguments more, not just flowing mindlessly - so many debates lose potential nuance and clash because debaters just talk past each other with vague references to the other team's arguments. I can't/won't vote on an argument about something that happened outside the debate. I have no way of falsifying any of this and it's not my role as a judge. This doesn't apply to new affs bad if both teams agree that the aff is new, but if it's a question of misdisclosure, I really wouldn't know what to do (stolen from DML and Goldschlag). *NOTE - if you use sexually explicit language or engage in sexually explicit performances in high school debates, you should strike me. If you think that what you're saying in the debate would not be acceptable to an administrator at a school to hear was said by a high school student to an adult, you should strike me. (stolen from Val)

General K thoughts:

- AT: Do you judge these debates/know what is happening? Yes, its basically all I judge anymore (mostly clash of civs)

- AT: Since you are familiar with our args, do we not have to do any explanation specific to the aff/neg args? No, you obviously need to explain things

- AT: Is it cool if I just read Michigan KM speeches I flowed off youtube? If you are reading typed out copies of someone else's speech, I'm going to want to vote against you and will probably be very grumpy. Debate is a chance for you to show off your skill and talent, not just copy someone's speech you once saw on youtube.

K (Negative) – enjoyable if done well. Make sure the links are specific to the case and cause an impact. Make sure that the alt does something to resolve those impacts and links as well as some aff offense OR have a framework that phases out aff offense and resolves yours. Assume I know nothing about your literature base. Try not to have longer than a 2-minute overview

K (Affirmative) / Framework – probably should have some relation to the resolution otherwise it's easy to be persuaded that by the interp that you need to talk about the resolution. Probably should take some sort of action to resolve whatever the aff is criticizing. I think FW debates are important to have because they force you to question why this space has value and/or what needs to change in said space. Negative teams should prove why the aff destroys fairness and why that is bad. Affirmative teams should have a robust reason why their aff is necessary to resolve certain impacts and why framework is bad. Both teams need a vision of what debate looks like if I sign my ballot aff or neg and why that vision is better than the other side’s. Fairness is an impact and is easily the one I'm most persuaded by, particularly if couched in terms of it being the only impact any individual ballot can solve AND being a question of simply who's model is most debatable (think competing interps).

T is distinct from Framework in these debates in so far as I believe that:

- T is a question of form, not content -- it is fundamentally content neutral because there can be any number of justifications beyond simply just the material consequences of hypothetical enactment for any number of topical affs

- Framework is more a question of why this particular resolution is educationally important to talk about and why the USfg is the essential actor for taking action over these questions

Case – Please, please, please debate the case. I don’t care if you are a K team or a policy team, the case is so important to debate. Most affs are terribly written and you could probably make most advantages have almost zero risk if you spent 15 minutes before round going through aff evidence. Zero risk exists.

CPs – Sure. Negative teams need to prove competition and why they are net beneficial to the aff. Affirmative needs to impact out solvency deficits and/or explain why the perm avoids the net benefit. Affs also must win some form of offense to outweigh a DA (solvency deficits, theory, impact turn to an internal nb/plank of the cp) otherwise I could be persuaded that the risk of neg offense outweighs a risk a da links to the cp, the perm solvency, etc.

DAs – Also love them. Negative teams should tell me the story of the DA through the block and the 2nr. Affirmative teams need to point out logical flaws in the DA and why the aff is a better option. Zero risk exists.

Politics – probably silly, but I’ll vote on it. I could vote on intrinsicness as terminal defense if debated well.

Topicality – You need a counter-interp to win reasonabilty on the aff. I default to competing interpretations if there is no other metric for evaluation.

Theory – the neg has been getting away with murder recently and its incredibly frustrating. Brief thoughts on specific args below:

- cps with a bunch of planks to fiat out of every possible solvency deficit with no solvency advocate = super bad

- 3+ condo with a bunch of conditional planks = bad

- cps that fiat things such as: "Pence and Trump resign peacefully after [x] date to avoid the link to the politics da", "Trump deletes all social media and never says anything bad about the action of the plan ever", "Trump/executive office/other actor decides never to backlash against the plan or attempt to circumvent it" = vomit emoji

- commissions cps = still cheating, but less bad than all the things above

- delay cps = boo

- consult cps = boo (idk if these exist on the immigration topic, but w/e)

- going for theory when you read a new aff = nah fam (with some exceptions)

- 2nr cps (yes this happened recently) = boo

- going for condo when they read 2 or less without conditional planks = boo

- perf con is a reason you get to sever your reps for any perm

- theory probably does not outweigh T unless impacted very early, clearly, and in-depth

Bonus – Speaker Point Outline – I’ll try to follow this very closely (TOC is probably the exception because y'all should be speaking in the 28.5+ category):

(Note: I think this scale reflects general thoughts that are described in more detail in this: - Thanks Regnier)

29.3 < (greater than 29.3) - Did almost everything I could ask for

29-29.3 – Very, very good

28.8 – 29 – Very good, still makes minor mistakes

28.5 – 28.7 – Pretty good speaker, very clear, probably needs some argument execution changes

28.3 – 28.5 – Good speaker, has some easily identifiable problems

28 – 28.3 – Average varsity policy debater

27-27.9 – Below average

27 > (less than 27) - You did something that was offensive / You didn’t make arguments.

Allegro Wang Paradigm

3 rounds

Bloomington Jefferson HS ’17, U of MN ’21

Last updated: November '19

Please include me on email chains/contact me if you have questions: [at] gmail

Coached Wayzata '17-'18, current coach at Minneapolis South since '18

Top Level

I have experience in both policy and critical debate and have coached teams going for a wide range of arguments as well. Most of my HS experience consists of K debate, predominately queer theory, trans/gender studies, and args about whiteness. In college, this has expanded to include Baudrillard, set col, Dark Deleuze, etc. However, I've generally been more flex and policy leaning in college and will judge each round as objectively as possible. Doing what you do best is more likely to win you the debate than reading arguments you think I'll "enjoy" listening to.

Tech > truth

Ev quality > quantity

An unwarranted claim isn’t an argument

I worked at the SDI this summer, so I have some knowledge about the arms sales topic. I have not judged at many tournaments since then, though, so don't assume I'm familiar with specific mechanisms/acronyms

Please don’t call me “judge,” call me by name

Slightly less dead on the inside than Buntin (though at this point, it's a very slim margin)

In terms of language in rounds, using problematic language (i.e. saying something racist, trans/homophobic, ableist, misgendering someone, etc.) will result in docked speaks.

Below are some random thoughts about specific arguments if it helps

Framework and K Affs

I don’t really have predispositions in a framework round – I’ve both read K affs and gone for framework. That being said, I generally find clash and fairness the most persuasive impacts to framework. TVAs can be useful for the neg, but I don't think they're necessary to win the debate.

Switch side solves is underutilized by the neg.

I think case should be grappled with in some way in the 2nr, either by directly going to case or telling me why your impact on FW turns case.

Don’t really have a specific opinion on truth or arg-testing as impacts. I think at best this is generally a defensive filter for how I should evaluate the aff's offense, not a reason to vote on presumption.

I'm most compelled by critical affs that have a counter-interpretation and can describe how it resolves at least some of the negative's offense. The further the aff is from the resolution, the more compelling I find procedural arguments by the negative. I do think affs should talk, in some way, about the resolution.

Ks and K Affs

Controlling the link debate is probably the easiest way to win for either side.

“No perms in a methods debate” – not super persuaded by the arg on face

If going for the perm, it's helpful if the aff contextualizes what the world of the perm looks like in comparison to the alt alone, and what the net benefit to the perm is. The opposite applies for the neg---explaining what the alt looks like and how it solves/interacts with the aff helps a lot.

Theory/“Ethics”/Speaker Points

I’m pretty neg leaning on theory unless there’s substantial in-round abuse

Condo is usually the only reason to reject the team (though, as I've debated and judged more, I've realized I still have a very high threshold to voting on condo)

Clipping ev is a reason to drop a team and award minimum speaker points but the side raising the violation should have a record

I flow CX and will reward smart CX execution with higher speaks

I will not make decisions based on events that happened outside of the debate


I have familiarity with most lit bases, both in identity arguments and postmodernism/high theory, but you should still avoid being overly reliant on buzzwords and make sure to contextualize arguments/links. Don't assume I've read your lit in-depth.

Experience in K debate means I tend to have a higher threshold for explanation, especially on the link debate.

I don’t think the alt is necessary in the 2NR for the neg to win, but if you aren’t going for it, the links and impact/impact framing need to be well developed and contextualized.

If going for the perm, articulate what the world of the perm looks like in relation to the alt and why it’s preferable. The perm on the K often seems to be articulated like the perm on the CP – solely a question of competition, which is different from the method of the K and whether or not they're compatible.

I'm also definitely down to judge an aff that goes all on on deterrence, heg good, etc. to turn a K - it seems like teams are too willing to read an unfamiliar aff to try and avoid links, which often results in worse explanations. If you're more comfortable going for a hard-right impact on the aff, it will likely result in a better debate - don't over-adapt.

If possible, try to keep overviews short and stick to the line by line. If there's a long overview, let me know I need space for it.

I have an *extremely* high threshold for voting on the death K (as in, must be functionally dropped by the affirmative) - if that's your thing, you probably shouldn't pref me very high.


I don’t have much topic knowledge for the HS topic – that’s probably good for the negative because it means I don’t have a predetermined vision for what the topic should be, but also means I don’t have much knowledge on the nuances of what affirmatives look like under particular definitions.

I lean towards competing interpretations as a framing to evaluating T - if the aff is going for reasonability, it helps to articulate what your vision of a “reasonable” resolution looks like and why it’s good for debate/sufficient to resolve the neg's offense.

*The next part on the impact to T is shamelessly stolen from Ezra Serrins because he sums up my thoughts so well*

"The resolutional wording defines affirmative ground. Topicality arguments that speak to a predictable and precise definition of the topic, and teams that win their definition is a more literature supported, predictable definition of the topic will have success with me judging. These arguments carry a burden of proof only that one definition is better than the other definition.

Topicality arguments that speak to the debatability of the resolution — the "limits" or "ground" under each interpretation — carry an exceedingly high burden of proof if these topicality arguments are not also the most predictable and precise definition. Abandoning the authentic meaning of the assigned topic in order to create a "better" topic begs the question of why we did not pick a different topic."


CPs should probably be both functionally and textually competitive. Pure textual/functional competition tends to be a slippery slope to bad counterplan debates. Not knowing a ton about the topic means I have less knowledge about specific mechanisms for arms sales which might affect competition.

I default to judge kick (including individual planks) unless told otherwise.

2NC CPs/modifications to solve solvency deficits are underutilized (I also do tend to err towards 2NC modifications and new 2NC CPs to solve add-ons are legit).

In terms of CP theory specifically, I tend to err neg unless the neg has done something uniquely abusive in the debate. If you think theory is your best way to win in the debate, go for it.

DAs/Case Advantages

I love a good topic DA and case debate, and deterrence is one of my favorite arguments to go for.

Card quality > quantity is especially relevant on DA/case debates. I also think rehighlighting opponent's evidence is underutilized in high school debate (inserting rehighlighted ev does not count---it needs to be read out loud at some point---CX counts)

Presumption/zero risk arguments exist, including through the use of smart and well-warranted analytics (i.e. disconnect between the opponent’s evidence, missing internal links on the DA/advantage, etc.)

Impact turn debates are one of my favorites to judge (since I go to Minnesota) and are severely underutilized. That being said, arguments like “racism good” and “misogyny good” aren’t real arguments and will severely hurt your speaker points.

Connor Warshauer Paradigm

3 rounds

About me:

I debated for 4 years at New Trier High School. I have currently judged 3 debates on the arms sales topic.

About my philosophy:

Everything I say here is simply a reflection of my preferences as a debater, which may or may not be useful to you in debating in front of me. I will always attempt to evaluate the arguments on the flow irrespective of my personal opinions, but as a human being I feel it’s useful to inform you of any predispositions I may unwittingly retain.

Things I believe about debate:

Tech over truth. Dropped arguments are true assuming a claim and a warrant. The implication of the argument is up for debate unless there is also a dropped, warranted implication to the initial argument.

I probably won’t evaluate inserted rehighlighting - read it.

Card quality matters a lot, but only if you explain why. I don’t want to do evidence comparison for you. One great card is usually better than five okay ones, but like anything this is debatable.


Outside of round, I believe that teams should read topical advocacies and went for Framework all the time in high school.

Is fairness an impact? I don’t really even know what this question means. Economic decline is an impact, but despite this classification its desirability is still up for debate. Fairness is “an impact” but that doesn’t mean it’s intrinsically good and I generally think other impacts are more strategic.

T vs. Plans:

I think the desirability of an extremely limited topic is more debatable than most judges.

I generally believe in competing interpretations.

CP Theory:

As a debater, I thought CP’s competing off certainty and immediacy were cheating and not competitive.

I hated textual competition, loved PIC’s, and enjoyed taking advantage of teams’ unwillingness to go for conditionality.

I presume theory is a reason to reject the argument not the team absent an explicit warrant otherwise.

Kritiks: Quite a few of my favorite and least favorite debates as a debater involved a kritik. Kritiks that critically engage an affirmative are often very effective strategies, but many kritik debates turn into blobs of incoherent philosophy babble vs. policy relevance. Contextualization and examples will probably win you the debate.

Affirmatives will be granted a lot of leeway when the block extrapolates or alters the thesis of the kritik unpredictably based on the 1NC. Line by line will be rewarded and long overviews will not.


Zero risk is definitely possible.

As a debater, I hated most variations of politics/elections DA’s but read them anyway.

Most DA’s and advantages are terrible and should lose to smart analytics.


I love plan flaws and thought structural inherency was a great arg on the China topic.

Ryan Wash Paradigm

3 rounds

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

Who should I be when evaluating the debate?

What is the main question/issue of the debate?

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

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

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

Maggie Wells Paradigm

4 rounds

Emory, 2017-Present

Edina HS 2014-2017

Put me on the email chain:

I don't have any strong predispositions about how you should debate and will evaluate whichever arguments you choose present to me. That being said, please tell me how I should evaluate arguments in the final rebuttals so I'm not left to figure things out on my own.

I will reward in-depth research, clash, and evidence comparison. I care about evidence quality and will probably ask you for a card doc after the debate is over.

If you decide to go for a K in front of me, please explain the relationship between your K and the outcome of the plan.


I generally believe that the aff should defend hypothetical USFG action. Debate is a valuable communicative activity and fiat is a good mechanism for generating clash.

I believe that fairness is an impact. If you are aff, please connect the dots between your offense on t and how you solve it via your method or your aff.

I place a high burden on the affirmative proving an internal link to their impacts on case - if you are negative, please make arguments about this, it is so frustrating to watch neg teams just auto grant the aff solvency.


If you’re looking for a sign not to go for T-subs in front of me, this is it.

Please don't subject me to a shallow topicality debate. If you would like to go for this argument, do a lot of impact calculus in the 2NR/2AR. It is essential to compare evidence in topicality debates, if you do not I will be forced to make a decision based on how I interpret the evidence myself.

If you are a 2N trying to go for T, consider where your ev comes from and what it says. Is it an arbitrary defense of whatever word you are suggesting the aff violates? Is your evidence only tangentially related to the topic? Does it provide a good metric for predictable limits? If the answer is no, I most likely will not be persuaded. I will not vote for limits for the sake of limits unless the aff drops T.


Conditionality is probably good, that doesn't mean I cannot be compelled otherwise.

Other CP theory stuff is open for debate, probably only a reason to reject the team.

Have fun...

... but don't be a bad person, I will give you low speaker points and will be persuaded by arguments to vote against you if you are

David Weston Paradigm

3 rounds

Updated: December 2017

*Update = I prioritize line by line debating when evaluating the comparison of arguments. Teams who decide not to debate in a line by line fashion will have a more difficult time winning my ballot. I think that line by line debating is essential for me to remain objective in the debate. Presuming that an argument in one portion of speech automatically responds to an argument that is somewhere else requires me to use my own inferences in applying argumentation. That is something that I should be avoiding as a judge. I find that this mostly happens in large K debates, where the NEG explains the thesis of their K for several minutes, then groups the debate in ways that aren't logically coherent with the 2AC, and expects me to understand why an argument made at the top/in the overview answers the #10 2AC claim without the NEG stating some comparative application.* 

I'm currently a head coach at New Trier Township High School outside of Chicago, IL. 

Here are some insights into the way I tend to evaluate arguments. Obviously these are contingent upon the way that arguments are deployed in round. If you win that one of these notions should not be the standard for the debate, I will evaluate it in terms of your argumentation.

*Offense/Defense - I'm not sure if I'm getting older or if the quality of evidence is getting worse, but I find myself less persuaded by the idea that there's "always a risk" of any argument. Just because a debater says something does not mean it is true. It is up to the other team to prove that. However, if an argument is claimed to be supported by evidence and the cards do not say what the tags claim or the evidence is terrible, I'm willing to vote on no risk to a negative argument.

*I prefer tags that are complete sentences. The proliferation of one word tags makes it difficult for me to understand the connection between arguments.

*Evidence should be highlighted to include warrants for claims. I am more likely to vote on a few cards that have high quality warrants and explained well than I am to vote on several cards that have been highlighted down to the point that an argument cannot be discerned in the evidence.

*Avoid ad hominem attacks. I would prefer that students attack their opponent's arguments as opposed to their opponent. General rudeness will probably cost you speaker points.

*Arguments require claims and warrants. A claim without warrant is unlikely to be persuasive.

*Performance/Non-traditional Affirmative - I would prefer that the debate is connected to the resolution. My ultimate preference would be for the Affirmative to defend a topical plan action that attempts to resolve a problem with the status quo. I think that this provides an opportunity for students to create harms that are tied to traditional internal link chains or critical argumentation. Teams should feel free to read critical advantages, but I would prefer that they access them through a topical plan action. For example, reading an Affirmative that finds a specific example of where structural violence (based on racism, sexism, heteronormativity, classism, etc.) is being perpetuated and seeks to remedy that can easily win my ballot. Debaters could then argue that the way that we make decisions about what should or should not be done should prioritize their impacts over the negative's. This can facilitate kritiks of DA impacts, decision calculus arguments, obligations to reject certain forms of violence, etc.

Teams who choose not to defend a topical plan action should be very clear in explaining what their advocacy is. The negative should be able to isolate a stasis point in the 1AC so that clash can occur in the debate. This advocacy should be germane to the resolution.

I am not wedded traditional forms of evidence. I feel that teams can use non-traditional forms of evidence as warrants explaining why a particular action should be taken. An Affirmative that prefers to use personal narratives, music, etc. to explain a harm occurring in the status quo and then uses that evidence to justify a remedy would be more than welcome. I tend to have a problem with Affirmative's that stop short of answering the question, "what should we do?" How a team plans to access that is entirely up to them.

*Kritik debates - I like kritik debates provided they are relevant to the Affirmative. Kritiks that are divorced from the 1AC have a harder time winning my ballot. While I do not want to box in a negative's kritik options, examples of kritiks that I would feel no qualms voting for might include criticisms of international relations, economics, state action, harms representations, or power relations. I am less persuaded by criticisms that operate on the margins of the Affirmative's advocacy. I would prefer links based off of the Affirmative plan. Kritiks that I find myself voting against most often include Deleuze, Baudrillard, Bataille, etc.

*Theory - Generally theory is a reason to reject the argument not the team. The exception is conditionality. I find myself less persuaded by conditionality bad debates if there are 2 or less advocacies in the round. That is not to say I haven't voted for the AFF in those debates. I am willing to vote on theory if it is well explained and impacted, but that does not happen often, so I end up defaulting negative. Avoid blips and theory blocks read at an incomprehensible rate. 

*CP's CP's that result in the plan (consult, recommendations, etc.) bore me. I would much rather hear an agent CP, PIC, Advantage CP, etc. than a CP that competes off of "certainty" or "immediacy."

*Case - I'd like to see more of it. This goes for negative teams debating against nontraditional Affirmatives as well. You should engage the case as much as possible.

Other things
*If your strategy is extinction good or death good, genocide good, racism good, patriarchy good, etc. please do all of us as favor and strike me. These arguments strike me as being inappropriate for student environments. For example, imagine a world where a debater's relative recently passed away and that student is confronted with "death good" for 8 minutes of the 1AC. Imagine a family who fled slaughter in another part of the world and came to the United States, only to listen to genocide good. These are things I wouldn't allow in my classroom and I would not permit them in a debate round either. Since I can't actually prevent people from reading them, my only recourse is to use my ballot. 

Scott Wheeler Paradigm

3 rounds

1. Offense-defense, but can be persuaded by reasonability in theory debates. I don't believe in "zero risk" or "terminal defense" and don't vote on presumption (though technically i guess I do in debates where the aff goes for "perm do the CP" and wins that it isn't severance, but not in any other instance). 

2. I'll submit the ballot that is most persuasive to me, and will try to think through the story of each ballot before choosing (of course, in good debates, that's what the final rebuttals do). I won't simply point to an argument on my flow and say "I voted on this," nor will my RFD lead with technical advice in lieu of an actual decision. Substantive questions are resolved probabilistically--only theoretical questions (e.g. is the perm severance, does the aff meet the interp) are resolved "yes/no," and will be done so with some unease, forced upon me by the logic of debate. 

3. Dropped arguments are "true," but this just means the warrants for them are true. Their implication can still be contested. The exception to this is when an argument and its implication are explicitly conceded by the other team for strategic reasons (like when kicking out of a disad). Then both are "true."

1. Conditionality bad is an uphill battle. I think it's good, and will be more convinced by the negative's arguments. I also don't think the number of advocacies really matters. Unless it was completely dropped, the winning 2AR on condo in front of me is one that explains why the way the negative's arguments were run together limited the ability of the aff to have offense on any sheet of paper.

2. I think of myself as aff-leaning in a lot of counterplan theory debates, but usually find myself giving the neg the counterplan anyway, generally because the aff fails to make the true arguments of why it was bad.

1. I don't think I evaluate these differently than anyone else, really. Perhaps the one exception is that I don't believe that the affirmative needs to win uniqueness for a link turn to be offense. If uniqueness really shielded a link turn that much, it would also overwhelm the link. In general, I probably give more weight to the link and less weight to uniqueness.

2. On politics, I will probably ignore "intrinsicness" or "fiat solves the link" arguments, unless badly mishandled (like dropped through two speeches).


1. I like kritiks, provided two things are true: 1--there is a link. 2--the thesis of the K indicts the truth of the aff. If the K relies on framework to make the aff irrelevant, I start to like it a lot less (role of the ballot = roll of the eyes). I'm similarly annoyed by aff framework arguments against the K. The K itself answers any argument for why policymaking is all that matters (provided there's a link). I feel negative teams should explain why the affirmative advantages rest upon the assumptions they critique, and that the aff should defend those assumptions.

2. I think I'm less techincal than some judges in evaluating K debates. Something another judge might care about, like dropping "fiat is illusory," probably matters less to me (fiat is illusory specifically matters 0%). I also won't be as technical in evaluating theory on the perm as I would be in a counterplan debate (e.g. perm do both isn't severance just because the alt said "rejection" somewhere--the perm still includes the aff). The perm debate for me is really just the link turn debate. Generally, unless the aff impact turns the K, the link debate is everything.

3. Many of these debates seem to involve one team discussing a nuanced critique and the other side arguing "state bad" or "state good." Not surprisingly, I'm generally going to side with the team doing the former. 

Nontraditional affirmatives:

Versus T:
1. I usually vote neg in these debates, because the aff never has a defensible interp (to be honest, I think the current model might be what they want--these affs require a boogeyman to rail against). Some people seem to view these debates as a plan/counterplan debate where the 1AC is weighed against the "topical version of the aff." I don't subscribe to that view. The affirmative has to defend an interp. If I do vote aff, one of two things has happened. Most often, the aff successfully impact-turned the impacts the negative went for. The other time I vote aff is when the neg doesn't have an external impact--their offense is simply "we're the better version of the discussion you want to have." In those debates, "TVA doesn't solve" does become offense against their interp.

2. I've noticed that some judges tend to dismiss T impacts that I take seriously. I've seen this with not just fairness, which I think is the truest T impact, but others run less often (like "moral hazzard") that were in the 2NR and then not in the RFD at all. I think a lot of things can be impacts to T, so aff teams might want to spend more time on them. 

3. To be honest, I enjoy judging K affs with plans, and wish teams ran them more. With judges voting on nonsense like PIC out of fiat and Schlag, I can see why teams don't. And of course you also still have to answer politics/util and regular T (which you might not be used to debating), but I think those are pretty doable and you'd be in better shape in front of me if you are a team that is at all flexible.

Versus the K:
1. Affs are in much better shape here because, for me, it's not up for debate whether planless affs get to perm. They do. I have yet to hear a convincing argument as to why there is such a thing as a "methods debate" for which theories of debate competition no longer apply. If the negative has a better methodology or starting point, I will vote aff, provided the aff methodology or starting point is good. I wouldn't vote for a counterplan that solves warming better than the aff without a link to a disad, and I don't believe competition theory goes out the window because it's a performance aff. If the aff doesn't get a perm, there's no reason the neg would have to have a link.


Topicality versus plan affs:
1. I used to enjoy these debates. It seems like I'm voting on T less often than I used to, but I also feel like I'm seeing T debated well less often. I enjoy it when the 2NC takes T and it's well-developed and it feels like a solid option out of the block. What I enjoy less is when it isn't but the 2NR goes for it as a hail mary and the whole debate occurs in the last two speeches.

2. Teams overestimate the importance of "reasonability." Winning reasonability shifts the burden to the negative--it doesn't mean that any risk of defense on means the T sheet of paper is thrown away. It generally only changes who wins in a debate where the aff's counter-interp solves for most of the neg offense but doesn't have good offense against the neg's interp.

LD section:
1. I've been judging LD less, but I still have LD students, so my familarity with the topic will be greater than what is reflected in my judging history.

2. Everything in the policy section applies. This includes the part about substantive arguments being resolved probablistically, my dislike of relying on framework to preclude arguments, and not voting on defense or presumption. If this radically affects your ability to read the arguments you like to read, you know what to do.  

3. If I haven't judged you or your debaters in a while, I think I vote on theory less often than I did say three years ago (and I might have already been on that side of the spectrum by LD standards, but I'm not sure). I've still never voted on an RVI so that hasn't changed.

4. The 1AR can skip the part of the speech where they "extend offense" and just start with the actual 1AR.

Darius White Paradigm

3 rounds

My name is Darius White and I debated at C.E. Byrd High School for 4 year and debate for the University of Oklahoma currently.

Speaker Points: I generally give fairly high speaks, and I understand that their is going to be some rudeness in the debate, but try not to over-do because that will be a speak-point decrease. Also stealing prep, and speaking CONSTANTLY during your partners speech will drop your speeches quite a bit, but I usually try to be generous with the speaks.

Cross-X: I defer c-x being binding (unless told otherwise but they need to be nuanced, not tag line extensions of theory shells) and tend to flow c-x

After-round evaluation of evidence: I will try as best as possible to not call for evidence unless you are highly reliant on one piece of evidence in your last speeches, and/or evidence is into question (i.e. if you call for me to look at a piece of evidence after round), but other than that I tend to try to judge the debate on the actually speeches given by the debaters.

Theory: I have a high threshold for theory arguments and hate when teams spray through your theory blocks; I usually default to reasonability and reject-the-arguments-not-the-team
unless you win the abuse story i.e. I don't think one conditional advocacy destroys aff ground so just try to be reasonable and very persuasive when going for theory.

Disads/CP's: Impact calculation is always a good idea, and even though I am more on the K side of debate, I am down to listen to a really technical CP/DA as a net-benefit debate, so don't be shy to run these arguments in front of me. But, I feel that the CP does need a net-benefit for me to vote for it, so if the 2NR is just CP with no net-benefits, I will have a hard time finding reasons why I should vote for the CP. Turns case arguments on the DA are always tight.

Impact Turns: I really enjoy these types of debates, and they are very persuasive in my opinion, so if you got any in your files, I am down to listen.

Kritiks: I hate when teams read a random K that they have no idea what it means or says, and that is always a pet peeve. Don't run a K in front that you are not comfortable going for, but if you are very well at going for a specific criticism then do your thing because I am more familiar with this side of the debate. I feel that the alternative portion of the K is very under utilized and would like to be a debate I would want to see, but if your thing is going to turns case, then do your thing.

Framework: This is the argument I least agree with but if will listen and flow if required.

Flashing: I don't count flashing as prep unless you are taking hella a lot of time in which I will inform you that I am about to start your prep time; PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE, do not steal prep.

Random shit: I like jokes, and making me laugh usually gets you some where speak point wise. Using historical references is always a good idea and paints a better picture on the impact calc. Remember to jump your cards over before the speech, and if you read any new cards that aren't on the flash, flash them before c-x or before the next speech is about to start, this is not prep time.

If you have any other questions feel free to email me:

Tom Woodhead Paradigm

4 rounds

Very experienced judge and coach for Saint Francis high school. I will consider pretty much any arguments that are not blatantly sexist, racist or crudely discriminatory (blatant is the key word here, much of this stuff is debatable and I will try not to punish you for my general feelings about your arguments).

It is important to me that debaters be respectful and polite to each other, this puts the spotlight on the arguments themselves and I am not a fan of extra drama.

I try hard to be fair and the following things help me do that:

- I rarely call cards. I like to focus the debate on the analysis given by the debaters (of course I will usually give more weight to analysis that is taken from qualified sources). I do not like to decide debates on random parts of a card that neither debater really focused on. I will call cards if I forget what they said, if there is a conflict about what they say and I can not remember, or if I am personally interested in the card.

- I try to judge on the flow in the sense that I evaluate the debate on the arguments presented, explained and extended into the rebuttals. I will occasionally do the work to weigh impacts or decide framing if the debaters are not doing that for me.

- I will not yell "clear", so mumble and slur at your own risk (I don't yell clear because I don't want a team to find that sweet spot where I can understand them but their opponents can not). I will also not evaluate arguments that I can not hear. I do not read speech documents during the debate rounds, sometimes I will look at them after the round (see calling cards stuff above).

Argument preferences:

I am cool with critiques on the aff and neg.

I am cool with framework (I like the debaters to work this out and I am pretty neutral on this question).

I like clarity (both in speech and arguments). I am not impressed by things that are "too complex" for me to understand but I will do my best to try to make sense of it. I am confident enough to not pretend I know your position and I will not fill in the blanks for you.

I am cool with policy arguments.

I have a wide breadth of knowledge but little depth on certain positions, don't assume I know your literature.


I give high speaks for clarity, efficiency, a pace that I can flow, respectfulness and occasionally speaking style.

I feel like the speaker point range I give is pretty close to average (I am not a reliable source of high speaks for everyone, but I will reward excellent debate with high speaks).

Contact info

mail all speech documents to:

anything else (if you want me to read the e-mail or respond):

Chaz Wyche Paradigm

3 rounds

I reserve the right to end the debate due to anti-blackness

Ashley Yan Paradigm

3 rounds

Put me on the email chain:

about me: i debated for brooklyn tech from 2013-2017, qualing to the TOC my senior year. i went for afropess for every 2nr/2ar for 3 years. i am more familiar with K lit but have no predispositions about what debate should look like and will try my best to stick with my flow.

top level stuff:

1) I always default to my flow, however absent a claim, warrant, and impact to every argument-I will have trouble adjudicating.

2) Please properly explain your positions. I find that the best debates are ones with material examples and not reliant on K jargon.

3) The 2nr/2ar should write my ballot and tell me why you win. I find myself increasingly frustrated by defensive 2nr/2ars that are more of an FYI then telling me how I should frame my ballot/prioritize things. I love an easy way out so that means go for theory cheap shots, under covered arguments, etc

4) 7 minute long overviews in the 2NC upset me. You should strike me if you plan on doing that or send me your entire speech doc and not give a 2NC...I will give both partners an auto 30 but drop you.

t vs k affs

Affs should have a clear relationship to the topic-if your aff doesn't mention the words "immigrant", "borders", or "immigration", my threshold for framework is going to be pretty low for the neg to win. I also think a stable advocacy is important for educational debates, if the aff is shifty-you should call them out on it.

For the aff:

1) the aff should impact turn the neg's model of debate and win why normative policy debate is bad for X, Y, Z reason

2) Provide a counter interpretation with net benefits for why your own model of debate is better for in round education or spillover claims. Both teams should be explaining to me what your model of debate looks like: what's the neg's role, what affs are included/excluded, etc

For the neg:

1) I view fairness as an important impact and think every team should enter the round with a 50/50 shot of winning. I can be fairly easily persuaded that K-affs make debate less fair but I find that the neg often times neglect to answer aff arguments about how fairness is bad/unimportant. However fairness arguments that have a clear internal link to topic education, clash, and your model of debate are more persuasive for me.

2) Defend your model of debate. I default to competing interpretations unless you tell me otherwise.


I'm pretty familiar with a good portion of contemporary critical literature, however that does not mean that you can get away with not explaining the argument/jargon outside of the literature base it comes from.

If you are reading a K vs a policy aff, it is the burden of the negative to prove the undesirability of the implementation of the plan. The 2NR must extend framework, link, and do impact calc or I will vote aff on presumption if there is no alt extended.

K vs non-traditional affs, again please DO NOT read an overview for 8 minutes with "embedded clash" and never get to the line by line. I will NOT draw any lines for you. Please explain how the aff/neg theories compete and do a lot of framing. I'm skeptical of a permutation in method vs method debate but if the neg doesn't explain how their theory of power is incompatible with the aff/perm theory then it's a really easy aff ballot for the perm. I think the 2NR should have an alt because I generally default to viewing a K vs K debate as a question of competing methods and who has a better orientation towards resolving the impacts presented in the round.


I'm honestly not great for these debates but a good DA debate with solid links is cool. Have a counterplan text with net benefits. I'm a fan of smart, strategic, and weird CPs.

Austen Yorko Paradigm

3 rounds

*add me to the email chain:

High School: Wooster High School ~ College: Trinity University ~ Coach: MBA


-A "dropped" theory arg means nothing if the original arg was a 1-line, incomplete thought. If you extend it and give it the Cadillac treatment, I allow new answers.

-Fairness is an impact. Impact turns to T rarely make sense to me. They have to impact out why the process of debating the topic is bad. Not why the topic is bad.

-Kritiks are making me grumpy. How do I quantify the impacts in the context of relative alt solvency? Why are links offensive if they're not about the 1ac?

-Condo is just another argument. Win it or beat it.

-Probability framing is meaningless if you don't indict the disad.

-"Ethics" first is meaningless if I don't know what the ethic is or what it impacts.

-Everything should have an impact (k links, disad overviews, solvency arguments). If this isn't happening, you're wasting time.

-A negative ballot on presumption exists, but not on impact defense.

-If you go for T, read a lot of cards and describe the world under your interp.

-Process counter plans are good if they are grounded in the core topic literature. The neg should be reading ev on the theory debate.

Matthew Zhu Paradigm

3 rounds for email chains.

Arguments have to pass the sniff test.


I am a very good judge for the con on topicality. I think it’s very important that affirmatives prove inherency for topicality.

Other than that, I tend to place less importance on evidence quality and more on how healthy they are for the topic.


I like a good disad, but its very important that you prove solvency for your harms.

I’m okay with the mainstream politics disad mainly since they’re a valuable functional limit, but I have less patience for fringe politics disads.

Please refrain from reading Xi DAs in front of me, as they will lower my social credit score. Affs, if the neg reads a Xi Good DA, you may only answer the link. I will not hesitate to leave the room and report you to the CCP if necessary.


Counterplan inherency is not as important as many think, but it can be relevant especially if you choose to “kick” the counterplan.

I am less okay with negative cheating than most, but this requires an aff team that is equally committed to procedurally constraining the negation. “Cplans must have solvency advocates that match the aff” seems like a reasonable interp.


I am admittedly not a great judge for K affs. Impact turning, or having a very well thoughtout counterinterp that can ensure some clash is probably the best strategy if you’re aff.

On the neg, the two neg ballots I am most likely to deliver are “plan does something bad that prevents alt solving something important” or “subject formation most important and plan makes us bad people”. If you’re trying to go for something that could not call into either of these, you should invest time in outlining how I should decide the debate, and what offense is and isn’t relevant.

Jared Zuckerman Paradigm

4 rounds

Contact Info-

Current School:
Assistant Coach, Glenbrook North

Past Schools:
Blue Valley Southwest, 10-18, Blue Valley West, 09-10, Blue Valley North, 03-09

The topic:
I believe that debating the topic is pedagogically valuable and find myself unqualified to render decisions that don't center around hypothetical government action.

Random Thoughts:
-Please include me on the email chain.
-Please respect my time.
-Please slow down.