IHSSA State Debate Tournament

2019 — Ankeny, IA/US

David Basler Paradigm

POLICY PARADIGM FOR DAVID BASLER (Updated for 2019-20 season)

A QUICK SUMMARY (if you are accessing this on your iPhone as the round is starting):
Speed is OK.
T, theory, Ks and K Affs OK
I do not require you to take prep time for sharing/sending speech docs.
Be kind to your opponents, your partner and the judge.
I will not be on Facebook during c/x.

"Clearly, some philosophies aren't for all people. And that's my new philosophy!" - Sally Brown, You're A Good Man, Charlie Brown, 2012

I BE ME. I have recently left coaching after having been a high school policy debate coach for the last eight years, mostly at West Des Moines Valley (2010-2015, 2016-2019) and also at Dowling Catholic (2015-16). I typically judge between 70-100 policy rounds a year. The last couple of years were unusual in that I did not judge as many rounds and did not judge at all at Glenbrooks, Harvard, Blake, etc. I try and stay familiar with the arguments run by top regional and national teams and with the content being put out by the top policy debate camps. Some good teams even pref me.

I was a successful CEDA debater in college, but I did have a wicked mullet so that could explain the success.

U BE U. What kind of arguments do I like? I enjoyed watching Michael Jordan the basketball player more than Michael Jordan the baseball player. I want to see you do what you do best. My preferences in regard to certain arguments should not matter. I try to come into each round with no position on what the voting issues should be, although I do still believe in negative presumption. I also believe you can still rock in America. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nB3kQZJ2aLw

F/WORK. When it comes to framework, I will listen to arguments in support of any position, but if neither team wins the framework debate I will default to the question on the ballot- "I believe the better debating was done by ..." I will reject framework in favor of a K aff when the affirmative team gives me the more persuasive reasons why having a plan text, defending the state, etc. is bad. I will vote against a K aff on framework when the negative team gives me the more persuasive reasons why not having a plan text, not defending the state, etc. is bad. I will vote for teams that do not have a plan text and I will also vote against them.

MAKE ME LAUGH, GET GOOD SPEAKS. I really enjoy creative arguments. I appreciate humor. I respect debaters who can speak both quickly and clearly. I used to love doing c/x and I still love hearing a good c/x. I like debaters with cool nicknames like "Q" or "DanBan." I also like the words "kitchenette" and "flume."

POLICY TEAMS. Heg good. Heg bad. The government reads your email, so they know how you really feel, but I am cool with whatever. Because I am kind of a political junkie I love a good politics disad but that doesn't mean your link chain can stink.

WHAT ABOUT THE K? Bring it. Some of my absolute favorite debates I have judged have been K debates. However, reading dense philosophical texts at 350 words per minute is not helpful to comprehension. You know what else is almost always not helpful to comprehension? Super long taglines that are impossible to flow and lengthy overviews. Do it on the line-by-line. I would say I have heard just about everything but I am most familiar with economic theory, identity arguments, and Ks of consumption, technology and consumerism. I am less familiar with psychoanalysis but will always vote for stuff I think is persuasive (which means you just need to make me understand it). I am not a teacher (I am a lawyer) so I am only "in the literature" as a former debate coach whose teams sometimes gravitated toward and read Ks and Affs with no plan text.

As I try not to intervene as a judge, I am not going to give you the benefit of everything I know about a particular philosopher, legal argument, theory argument or a particular policy option. You always need to explain your arguments.

PERFORMANCE/"PROJECT"/NON-TRADITIONAL TEAMS. Sure. It is your community. I like the idea that you get to write the rules. Dance, sing or drum like there is nobody watching. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ItZyaOlrb7E

"I wanna go fast."- Ricky Bobby, Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby, 2006

SPEED. If you are clear, I will be able to flow you. However, though speaking quickly has become a community norm in policy debate, debate is still fundamentally about the quality of your oral advocacy and communication. I think it is my job as a judge to say who was winning when time expired. This means I will rarely call for cards unless there is a disagreement over what the card says or I don't know how else to decide the debate. As Big from Gonzaga says in his paradigm- "Making a decision after re-reading read evidence in a debate distances judges from the performance of the speech and increases the likelihood of interpretive hubris. I don’t think either of those things are desirable characteristics of a decision."

THEORY. I am sometimes fine with multiple conditional arguments, 50 state fiat, etc. I am sometimes not fine with it. Win offense to win your theory argument. Recall that it is harder for me to flow 8 points of theory than two pieces of tagged evidence and please slow down.Strategic use of theory is smart because it almost always takes more time to answer the argument than it does to make it, however, this also means I am going to cut the other team some slack in making their answers and evidence of actual in-round abuse is the easiest way to get me to vote on theory.

PREP. I do not require a team to use prep time to send their speech to the other team. Don't steal prep time while the other team is sending you their arguments. Also, if you still need to re-order all of your papers when you get up to the podium, you are still prepping.

"Gretchen, I'm sorry I laughed at you that time you got diarrhea at Barnes & Nobles." - Karen Smith, Mean Girls, 2004

MEAN PEOPLE SUCK. Even though I believe the sarcastic slow-clap to be an underutilized method of cross-ex, I expect you to be respectful and courteous to your opponents, your partner and to the judge. I can assure you that the best advocates out in the real world (whether they are trial attorneys, lobbyists, politicians, activists, writers, Comedy Central talk show hosts, etc.) understand the difference between vigorous disagreement in a debate forum and mutual respect and even admiration outside of that forum. I believe in a debate round we should all strive to disagree agreeably, and as soon as the round is over the disagreement should end. This is especially true given the divisive nature of modern day political rhetoric and/or many people's strong feelings about Taylor Swift.

It should also go without saying (but if it wasn't an issue I wouldn't be saying it) but you should not be touching or throwing things at anyone in the debate room. Always be mindful of the diversity of life experiences that debaters bring with them into the debate space and this includes, but is not limited to, an increased sensitivity to violence or violent imagery.

TECH OR TRUTH? If something is totally counter-intuitive and empirically false, telling me that (you have to speak the words) is probably enough to defeat an argument. However, I also like it when people take counter-intuitive positions and explain why they are true, even if our first instinct is to reject them. But yeah...try not to drop shtuff.

WELL DONE, YOUNG PADAWAN. I have nothing but respect for people who choose to use their free time developing their critical thinking skills and engaging in an academic exercise like debate. It will serve you well in life, whatever you choose to do, and this is why I place such a high value on the activity. I promise you I will do my best to be fair, constructive, encouraging and engaged. Hopefully that is all you would want from a judge. That and, during the winter, copious amounts of facial hair.

Michael Cho Paradigm

Korean-American born and raised in Iowa

Currently a Second-Year at the University of Iowa with a double major in Psychology and English and Creative Writing.

Graduated from Iowa City West High School.

cho3104026@gmail.com -- put me on email chain pls


I was a policy debater at West for 4 years. I loved Disad + Case. I honestly really miss a good Disad debate. I read a plantext. I went for framework. I read Cap, Biopol, Security, etc. I was a policy robot.

Now I am a debater for the University of Iowa and mainly run Bataille, Baudrillard, Post-Modern style arguments. My level of knowledge on these topics are Intermediate. I know more than the average judge, but less than what would be considered "well read."

I am willing to vote for any argument. I think if you debate it well enough, you deserve the ballot. This means I will always try my best to understand your argument and try to figure out how it works.


I'm of the firm mindset that debate is a performative act. Means you have to defend and justify the means of your performance.

I don't care what you do with your speech time. If you end cross-ex with 1 minute left, feel free to just use it as prep. If you end a speech with 2 minutes left, feel free to just use it as prep.

Things I'm Good At

I read evidence whenever I can and am able to understand most arguments if I read them during prep. It's easy for me to sort through evidence and warrants.

Things I'm Bad At

I'm not the best when it comes to super technical debates. I'm better at card comparison and arguments with a lot of depth.

I'm not super well versed in identity based literature. I understand how arguments like Afropess, Orientalism, and Queer Pess work. But, it's at a preliminary level at best. I need to get more into the literature and wish I knew more.

I'm not great when it comes to Theory debates. IE: Condo Bad, Vague Alts Bad, etc. I find myself very unwilling to vote for these arguments unless it was cold conceded. Teams need to prove clear in round abuse/severance.


I try my best to come off as happy and caring. I don't want my presence to cause deep fear. I want everybody to be happy and feel good. BUT, I'm pretty emotional and I'm visual about it. If I think an argument is dumb, you'll probably be able to tell.

Spencer Croat Paradigm

8 rounds

Background: debated CX in HS and in college at Iowa. Fine with anything, go wild, have fun!

Parker Day Paradigm

8 rounds

Graduated from West Des Moines Valley 2017

Currently debate for the University of Iowa

My email is Parker.day887@gmail.com - please add me to the email chain and feel free to hit me up with any questions

Clash of Civs:

This is why people read paradigms right?

I'm very experienced with these rounds, but have always debated on the kritikal side of the issue. I'll evaluate any argument that has an impact and a warrant attached to it - from "procedural fairness is a prior question" to "debate is structurally bad".

Thoughts on reading framework against K teams:

- Fairness doesn't seem to be an impact unless you win that a) debate is a game AND b) debate is good

- Impacts and solvency should be comparative to the other team's claims about what my ballot does/means

- Dropping 2AC disadvantages to your interpretation is a quick way to lose

Answering framework with a K aff:

- Utilizing the base of literature your aff comes from >>> generic framework bad args

- Reading impact defense to their standards helps to minimize their substantive offense

- Tell me what the ballot does for you

Believe it or not, I'm not a total K hack in these rounds. My record is split pretty even in framework v K debates and I definitely believe there are good arguments on both sides. For more info, see the framework section below.

How I view the activity:

Nothing in debate is set in stone for me. If you have a reason why you singing, dancing, reading poetry, staying silent, recrafting subjectivity, etc. is good, go for it.

Give me an easy way out.

Dropped arguments are true, dropped claims are not.

However, if you think that anything that Ayn Rand has ever said is a good argument I'm not who you want in the back. If the only impact you extend is "states' rights" in your final rebuttal, you probably shouldn't pref me.

At this point in my coaching career, I have researched and advised almost exclusively about the theories of Afropessimism, Black Feminism, and Settler Colonialism. Just something to keep in mind.

The K

Very familiar with:

Nietzsche, Afro-Pessimism, Marx, Deleuze, Baudrillard, Queer Pessimism, Bataille, Queer Utopianism, Preciado, Puar, Negarestani, Foucault, Weheliye, Resiliency, and most "high-theory" or "po-mo" arguments

Pretty familiar with:

Settler Colonialism, Psychoanalysis, Cybernetics, Heidegger, Ableism, and Derrida

Not super familiar with: Irigaray, Hyperstition theory, Adorno, Badiou, and most of analytic philosophy

Even though I spend my free time reading critical literature, don't assume that I'll fill in the gaps for you. I have a fairly high standard for explanation of both your theory, the other team's theory, and how they interact.


Being a 2A who has only ever read K affs, I'm pretty familiar with framework and the different ways that it is deployed in debate. If you are only going to go for procedural fairness as an impact, make sure you flesh out why its an intrinsically good thing for debate/why it isn't just an internal link to education. If you're hitting an aff that links to framework, they've probably thought out a way to apply the theory of the 1AC to the form of debate. Use lots of examples of previous debaters who did good/bad things because of debate to drive your points home.

Just because I don't read framework doesn't mean that I won't vote on it. If anything, I have a high threshold for blatantly untopical affirmatives to explain why they don't have to be topical because that was the burden I had with critical positions.

Policy Stuff

If the K isn't your thing and you find yourself in front of me, you do you. I'm down for whatever as long as its contextual and well-explained.

Earlier in the season I voted multiple times on Trump tax reform good because trickle-down econ (even though that argument is factually incorrect)

Final Thoughts:

- I don't expect any particular decorum from the debaters I'm judging, I enjoy debates when they're sarcastic/aggressive. That being said, please don't be unnecessarily mean to your opponents.

- Have fun. I wouldn't have done high school debate if it wasn't fun for me, so I don't expect you to do things that make it not fun for you.

- If you're going to refer to me, call me Parker instead of "Judge"

- Sit/stand wherever you are the most comfortable

LD debaters:

Don't read 8 theory shells, and if you are going to read 8 theory shells don't spread through them.

You should also flash pre-written theory blocks.

I'll vote on theory, but I'll be sad while I'm doing it.

Kalen McCain Paradigm


I'm currently a policy debater at the University of Iowa, and by that I mean I haven't been to a tournament since like last year but I still cut cards for and am on good terms with the team.

Before college, I debated for all 4 years in HS, and also the Prestigious Iowa Junior High Debate Tournament.

TLDR: I'll vote on anything you can make me understand, be ready to defend your aff. Tech and truth are both important, which one I default to is highly contextual, but policy debate as an activity is tech oriented so I lean that way.

Detailed Paradigm:

1. When I debated, I typically went for policy arguments and simple Ks. (Cap.) As a judge, I'll vote on any argument I can understand. I try to be exactly as sympathetic to Ks as I am to framework arguments against them.

2. K affs are pretty neat. I've found them to be pretty engaging like 80% of the time, but if the neg reads framework, I expect the aff to have a reason why they do what they do. (Unless the neg doesn't read framework against you, in which case go off as you please.)

2.5. I can't emphasize this enough: I NEED to understand what you're saying to vote for you with confidence. I try to understand things that I can, but I lack the exposure and/or general vocabulary to understand a lot of high theory keywords and phrases. Please don't hesitate to use Layman's terms when I look confused beyond all reason. I try to approach every round neutrally, as though I know nothing that wasn't said in the round, but sometimes this is harder than others, for better or for worse.

3. My friends know me as a Cap and Politics debater and they're not wrong. That doesn't mean I'll auto-vote on these arguments, but it does mean these are the flows on which you'll probably get the best feedback. (Again: don't assume I'll vote you up just for reading cap or politics.)

4. Policy teams: just because you're topical doesn't mean you're ethically justified. You should be ready to defend your methods/ethics/whatever just as much as you expect untopical K affs to. AT THE SAME TIME, just because an aff is topical doesn't always mean it links. Careful K teams: I do still expect you to win a link to things.

5. I'm always impressed with good, clean line-by-line. I'll give you speaks for being clean on the flow.

6. If you say "end speech" at the end of a speech, don't. There's not a reason for this, it's just my pet peeve, and if you do it but the other team doesn't, I'll give them like, 0.1 bonus speaks or something. (the exception is novices, who I'll tell not to do that thing, but won't take speaks from because it's objectively arbitrary and very nitpicky and def not the primary concern of a novice debater. JVs will receive no such mercy.)

7. Spreading is an impressive skill. Do it! This isn't PF, after all! But if you spread analytics, I'M GONNA MISS SOME. 300 WPM on analytical arguments is really pushing it. I know that some judges can flow that fast, but I am not one of them: my handwriting sucks and is capped at like, normal tagline pace. (This DOES NOT MEAN go slow in general. It just means that you should acknowledge that the concept of going too fast can sometimes exist in the context of analytics.)

8. Debate is a functionally a game (unless someone in the round tells me otherwise.) Even if it's not a game, also a community, so be nice!

Chase McCool Paradigm

Liberty University '04-'08
Policy Debate Coach @ Theodore Roosevelt High School `14-`18

Policy Debate Coach @ Dowling Catholic High School since `18
NFA-Lincoln-Douglas Coach @ Simpson College since '17

contact me via email at cpmccool at gmail dot com

Hello debaters, coaches, or other judges interested in my judge philosophy. I feel that the debate round is a unique environment where almost any argument can be utilized so long as it is justifiable. I say "almost any" because some arguments are highly suspect like "racism good" or "torture good". What I mean by "justifiable" is that the argument made, to me, becomes more persuasive when coupled with good evidence. What follows are my preferences on theory, Topicality, CPs, Kritiks/Performance, and Style.

I do not consider my mind to be tabula-rasa (i.e., blank slate). To me, the most persuasive theory arguments contain a claim, some support, and an impact. Just saying "voting issue" does not make it so - I need to be convinced that voting for your interpretation is justifiable, which means that I can cogently explain to the opposing team why they were deficient and should lose the round.

See my comments on Theory. I like it when Neg can show that the Aff's interpretation is bad for debate. Like many other judges, I am annoyed by messy T debates. The side that clashes the most, organizes the T debate, and shows why their interpretation is better for debate will most likely win my ballot.

I am a huge fan of creative and competitive CPs. If Neg can give a couple of reasons why the CP solves better/faster than the Aff, I feel more comfortable finding that the net-benefit outweighs case. The perm is a test of competitiveness. I will not consider the perm a legitimate policy option unless there is some good evidence read to support it as such.

I think that Aff should have a written plan text, but does not necessarily have to advocate for the USFG. Aff, if you think that USFG is bad, be ready to defend the theory onslaught by the Neg. I prefer the policy making framework, but understand the value of the K and Performance debate. The key for me is justification. Make sure you clash with opposing and show why voting for you is net-beneficial for debate.

I do have some preferences regarding style that you should consider in order to obtain one or two extra speaker points from me: 1) Clarity outweighs speed - it's ok to spread your opponent, just make sure you pick the arguments you are winning and go for them in the rebuttals 2) I lean negative - I believe that Aff must thoroughly defend the plan. My standard is that it should be more probable than not that the plan is a good idea in order to vote Aff. 3) Civility and charm go further for me than pretension and hate. Being classy and focusing on the arguments and generally making everyone feel good during round are skills that are valuable and actually useful in the real world. 4) Have fun and enjoy this amazing sport! Energy can be communicated through your arguments and when it does, it makes me want to listen.

Lauren Phalen Paradigm

My name is Lauren Phalen, and I am a senior at the University of Iowa. I debated for 4 years at West Des Moines Valley High School and have debated at the University of Iowa during my time at Iowa as well.

The most important thing for me is please make sure to slow down during analytics and make sure that you're clear. I am familiar with speed and both policy/critical args but no matter what you're arguing you need to make sure you're explaining it well (with warrants). Never assume I know what one of your authors says or what acronyms are - you need to explain them!

Organization is key as well - one of my biggest pet peeves is a debate that's so messy it's hard to even know what was said and where at the end of the debate.

Slow down at the end of the debate and tell me why you're winning and how I should view the round. Just because you think something is super important and a complete TKO doesn't mean the judge knows that - you need to communicate it as a priority.

Stephen Renzi Paradigm

8 rounds

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Spencer Roetlin Paradigm

I debated for four years at Iowa City West High School, qualifying to the TOC as a senior. I now debate for the University of Iowa, qualifying to the NDT as a freshman.


T -- 

I default to competing interps, reasonability isn't persuasive as it's usually debated (i.e. 'if ur gut says we're t vote aff')

Reasonability is supposed to be applied to interpretations, not the aff 

You should probably go slower on T and Theory than other flows because the relative percentage of the words you're saying that I have to write down is higher

K -- 

It's hard to convince me to adopt a framework that is not to evaluate the implementation of the aff vs the implementation of the alt -- that goes both ways, the neg gets k's but the aff also gets their aff

I probably won't vote neg on your k's impacts if the alt doesn't solve them.

K Affs -- 

Fairness is probably not an impact in it of itself, at least not one that would outweigh almost any common aff impact turns to framework

That being said, I'm much more persuaded to vote aff if it's made clear to me that there is valuable role for the negative team in their model of debate

"Perm"-ing framework is a pretty bad arg, but the neg has to say that at least

CP --

I love PICs, especially ones that compete positionally as per Brett Bricker's Positional Competition: More Than Just a Plan Text, The National Journal of Speech & Debate, Vol. 2, Iss. 1, September 2013

Process CPs are winnable, but aff theory args against them are persuasive.

Condo's good -- 2 is fine, 3 probably okay, 4 pushing it 

I will say that as a caveat to that the aff can make persuasive args about how the type of CP that the neg ran conditionally magnifies the reasons you're giving why conditionality might be bad

States CP -- 

Uniform fiat; see Process CPs

Non-uniform fiat; probably okay






Grace Rogers Paradigm

Updated 11/18/2019.


Policy Debate at Shawnee Mission West from 2009-2013 (social services, military presence, space, transportation)

Assistant Policy Coach/Judge for Des Moines Roosevelt 2014-2017

Judge for Dowling Catholic 2018-present

Marketing/Communications at the NSDA 2018-present

I judge policy debate 99.9% of the time. On the occasion that I'm in LD or PF, be fairly warned that I don't know your abbreviations or jargon, and I don't know your topic as well. Please explain your acronyms and any tech style arguments you're making. I want clear and specific impacts, and good analysis of your impacts vs. your opponent's.

To sum up my paradigm, I value good argumentation and clash. I default as a policymaker, so if you want me to vote on something different, you have to tell me. I can follow pretty much any speed with good signposting and clear tags, but you need to slow down on theory/T/analysis that is tougher to flow. I will answer any questions before the round, and I think you should ask me about things to make this a good experience for us both!

Disadvantages: I think DAs are great. I think they're some of the most real-world argumentation that happens in policy debate. I value great clash and specific link debate.

Counterplans: Go for it.

Kritiks: I have never been a K debater, and I consider my debate IQ on the K to be very low. If you decide to run a K anyway, and want to get my ballot, you need to drop the jargon and explain your argument extremely clearly. To be crystal clear: running a K in front of me is going to be tough. I have a high bar for clarity and understanding, and if I don't understand what is happening, it's going to be hard for me to vote for you.

If you've read all that and still want to run a K and win the round, you need to do a few things:

1. Explain clearly why passing the affirmative plan is bad.

2. Explain what action signing the ballot takes -- focus on solutions. What does the alternative do? What does it solve?

3. Drop the jargon/high theory args and talk to me like I've never heard of debate.

I have been on panels where teams decide to throw out my ballot because they love the K. I believe this is a poor strategic decision.

Topicality: Unless you give me a good reason otherwise, I won't evaluate potential abuse, so don't run T unless the aff is actually untopical.

Theory: If you're going to read theory args, go slow. I flow on paper and it's super hard to flow if you just rattle them off. I will likely just stop flowing. Like I said in the T description, I most likely won't evaluate potential abuse, so don't run theory unless it's actually unfair.

I will not tolerate any forms of harassment in rounds that I am watching. If something you do constitutes harassment in my eyes, I will give you the lowest speaks possible and end the round.

My email is thegracerogers@gmail.com. You can put me on the email chain if you want, but I won't be following along with your speech doc -- I'll only look at evidence if I need to call for it after the round.

Simon Sheaff Paradigm

Background: 4 years at Baylor University, 1-Time NDT Qualifier. Currently a Ph.D. Student in Government and Politics.

Yes I want to be on the email chain: Sheaffly@gmail.com. Also email me with questions about this paradigm.

TL;DR: I am a DA/CP/Case kind of judge. I am bad at understanding kritiks and I believe the topic to be good. I am not great at flowing, you should slow down a little on tags. I DO NOT FLOW STRAIGHT DOWN. YOU NEED TO SIGNPOST SO I KNOW WHERE TO PUT ARGUMENTS. Otherwise, I will spend time I should be writing deciding where to write and during that time I will miss something. Be nice.

***UPDATE 2/18/18: It has become clear to me that I am not good enough at flowing for you to go full speed, especially on tags. I refuse to flow along with the speech document. I will try to become better, but in the meantime, you have to try to communicate with me.***

Basic stuff: I love creativity and learning from debate. Make it clear to me how much you know about the arguments you are making. If you only steal cards from the wiki I will be sad (but also, on most topics, I will have no idea because I don't judge often). I am only okay at flowing, Please slow down on tags so I can be sure I have the argument correct. I do not vote for things I do not understand. I believe in technical debate, but I also believe that debate is a place where truth is important. I don't care how many cards you have that say something, if the other team asserts it is not true and they are correct, they win the point.



...Which Defend the Topic - I ran very questionably topical policy affirmatives. I enjoy creativity. You should also read my thoughts on DAs as they apply to how you construct your advantages. Clear story is good.

...Which Do Not Defend the Topic - I am likely not a great judge for you. It is not that I don't sympathize, it is that I do not understand the argument structure. I am likely to default to framework because I understand it better and I think it makes strong educational claims. I have been convinced by non-topical affs before, but my bias is clearly to the topic.

Negative Strategies

Framework: Good strategy. Impact, impact, impact. Education is the best one. Skills is also good. Fairness is fine. Framers intent is not an argument.

Topicality: Good strategy. Impact, impact, impact. Case lists. Why that case list is bad. Affirmatives, you should talk about your education. I love creative interps of the topic if you defend them.

Disads: Absolutely. There is such thing as zero risk of a link. Politics DAs are a lie but also my favorite. Do not go for the politics DA without knowing what you are talking about, it hurts my soul. There is such thing as zero risk of an internal link. There is such thing as zero risk of an impact. Creative impact calc (outside of just magnitude, timeframe, probability) is the best impact calc. There is such thing as zero risk of just about anything.

Counterplans: Yes. Most are cheating (I'm a 2A, sue me) but most of the time you can get away with it, especially by justifying the educational benefit of the CP and giving a reasonable standard of debatability. 1 condo world is always okay, 2 is mostly okay but I'm wiling to be persuaded, 3 is bad but I'm willing to be persuaded, 4 is evil but I have been evil before. Theory debates are fun for me but for the love of god slow down.

Kritiks: Eh. Very basic Ks are fine. Realism is bad, heg is bad, capitalism is bad, I get. Get much beyond that and I get lost. It's not that I think you're wrong it's that I have always been uninterested so I never learned what you're talking about. I cannot emphasize enough how little I understand what you're talking about. If this is your thing and I am already your judge, conceptualize your K like a DA/CP strategy and explain it to me like I have never heard it before. Literally, in your 2NC say: "We believe that X is bad. We believe that they do X because of this argument they have made. We believe the alternative solves for X." I cannot stress enough how serious I am that that sentence should be the top of your 2NC and 2NR. Again, I am not morally opposed to kritiks, I just do not understand them and I will not vote for something I do not understand. I believe you need a good link. Yes, the world is terrible, but why is the aff terrible. You also need to make your tags not a paragraph long, I never learned how to flow tags that were that long.


Jacob Smith Paradigm

8 rounds


Outlines are extremely crucial for me

Give me specific links, I will almost never vote for generic links.

Don't be racist, homophobic, transphobic, etc.

Don't be overly cocky or i'll have to weigh your arguments at a disadvantage


Love it, run it only if you're clear and there is a true issue with the affirmative

RVIs will only work if it clear and ran correctly

Don't just assert 12 Topical versions of the Aff without explaining how it resolves the aff (make sure it meets your own interp)

Read definitions of the topic

Much more persuaded by Theoretical arguments about limits/clash and fairness that state good, theory is key for me with T

Less cards more explanation

aff has to be able to defend well with clear def and ran correctly. If you slip, you're probably going to be voted down.


Love them, this is my favorite neg argument.

Don't run them if you don't know what you're doing, and if you ran Cap it better be something that truly affects the capital markets(IE don't run Cap on a fem adv)

If you don't give me a role of the ballot I will not weigh your K against the aff

K affs are fun, I enjoy them. Again, know what you're doing and we'll be fine

DAs: Give me solid links

CPs: Only going to vote for it if it's ran perfect

Theory: The more out-there the better.

Vince Woolums Paradigm

8 rounds

Add me to the email chain:

I debated for Iowa City High 1989-1993 on the prisons, space, and homelessness topics then graduated early. I won lots of rounds and speaker awards. I didn't debate in college because life happened otherwise. I hold BA degrees in English and Political Science with a lot of incomplete Master's level work. I work a full time project management job in the aerospace industry, enjoy bicycling and spending time with my six year old son. Since 2009 I've been the Director of Debate at Iowa City High and enjoy coaching both casual and highly competitive teams. I am very familiar with the arms sales topic.

Not using the President's* given name in any form will slightly increase your speaks.


Policymaker by default. I vote on well constructed, true arguments presented in a technically proficient manner. I'm not the best judge for you if you're an advocacy, narrative, performance, or project team.

Before the Round - VCX:
I'm primarily a policymaker, but I also think stock issues are important. It's my deeply held belief that policy debate requires a plan text and that Affirmative teams should employ the USFG through its subsidiary agencies as actors, as directed by the resolution. My preferences are case debate, counterplan/disad debate, solvency mechanism debate, core K debates.

There is a place for every argument and story, but I'm not convinced that the following belong in policy debate: narratives, performance, personal advocacy, and/or projects. I'm open minded, and don't disinclude the aforementioned out of hand, but if it helps assist in your selection of judge strikes then I don't think I'm very well qualified to judge these debates.

I'm fine with core kritiks, including but not limited to cap/neolib, colonialism, gender, and security, but stray into the margins of philosophy, psychology, semiotics, sociology, etc in front of me at your peril.

I demand in-round decorum. Rudeness and ad hominem fallacy will NOT be tolerated. Debaters who militarize their identity to the point of excluding others will not do well in front of me.

I suppose I'm at odds with the community in that I favor of 'truth over tech', as you will need to win the technical side of debates with truthful arguments to gain my ballot. I can't in good faith hang a ballot on evidence that may be several years old and is no longer a factual representation of the status quo, which is particularly important on this years topic.

You should ask me for clarifications of this entire judge philosophy AND ask any other questions before the round. Absent your questions, I will assume that you have read and understood this philosophy. For example, if you have to ask me "do you take prep for flashing speeches" anytime after the start of the 1AC, well, just don't do that. If you ask me during 1AC CX "hey do you allow tag team CX" then expect your points to suffer. Always ask questions before the round begins. Always. This includes specific questions about my voting threshold etc for any particular arguments you wish to deploy that aren't discussed below.

I prefer you ask and answer your own questions. I require politeness during cross ex. Cross-ex isn't Crossfire. I flow CX and consider your answers to be binding in all forms. CX is the most important and underrated speech in policy debate.

K's and Framework:

We are participants in policy debate; hence, policy debate briefs -- similar to those that are written to assist theoretical policymakers in making critical policy decisions for the United States federal government -- provide the stasis point for our arguments, which requires scenario analyses geared toward solving real world problems and not simply rejecting or refusing to engage the topic.

That said, I'm fine with kritik debates as long as you articulate the finer points of your argument -- like alternative solvency -- in a way that makes sense without relying on debate jargon. For example, if you stand up in a 1NC and read an IR Fem shell but can't answer any questions about it in cross-ex, then I will not be impressed. If you are taking a theoretical or philosophical/critical approach to the topic, then I find it more engaging when you explain your position in clear, non-debate terms. It demonstrates a level of understanding about the criticism that extends well beyond the debate space, and I support that as an educational endeavor.

Similarly, with framework debates, highlight the advantages or disadvantages to competing methodologies in a clear concise way (no cloud/overview clash, use actual line-by-line) and it becomes a lot easier to vote on framework and/or separately evaluate aff and neg impacts. I'm better with discourse, ethical scholar, reps, and that kind of framework and less okay with meta, ontological, or psych frameworks, the latter mostly outside my studies.

Regurgitating debate jargon on complex academic topics that are (sometimes merely at best) tangential to substantive policy debates does not demonstrate to me that you grasp the underlying issues; instead, it tells me you primarily want to win debates and have selected an esoteric critical and/or theoretical position that other debaters aren't as familiar with in order to do so.

I've seen some fantastic, well organized T debates, and ones that make my head hurt. Go for T, I will vote on it, but keep the refutation and line-by-line clean. I don't have a clear default to competing interpretations or reasonability, so be persuasive. Explain why you meet, or why you're losing ground and exploding limits. I am not persuaded by arguments that disqualify T as a voter or attempt to impact turn T. It's a STOCK ISSUE and always a voter.

Yes please!, but be invested in them. They need solvency advocates that compete with and test the Aff's solvency mechanism. Perms, likewise, test the competitive structures of the counterplan and are therefore legitimate. I'm not persuaded by severance theory because the Aff doesn't garner offense from the perm. Instead of reading severance, spend time actually addressing the competition between the plan and counterplan. Finally, I don't default to any theoretical objections either aff or neg on counterplans, but cheaty counterplans do exist. For example, is your process counterplan part of normal means? If so, then perm probably solves. Is States counterplan bad? Probably not, because devolution of powers is a thing. Have country x do the plan? Tricky ... there are a lot of countries and likely an unfair burden to the Aff to prepare for all of them. Etc, see below.

On the one hand, I prefer not voting on theory; however, if the abuse is egregious, or the claim particularly compelling, then I will vote on it. I have a high threshold for "abusiveness" claims. On the other hand, I can easily be persuaded that Condo is bad if, for example, a 1NC reads six+ off, of which three are conditional counterplans/kritiks, and then the 2N has the audacity to whine about a 'blippy 2AC'. I have, in fact, voted Aff on Condo! Otherwise, no memorable RFD's on theory. While the Aff carries the burden of winning their case, the Neg has a similar burden to shape the discussion. It's my opinion we learn more by digging deeper into a smaller set of arguments rather than learning very little about many.

Speech and Prep time:
Set up an email chain before the round.

I run a speech and prep timer.

Cross-ex starts when the speech stops, unless either team asks for prep before CX. Prep starts immediately following CX ends unless the next speaker indicates they're ready and a speech has been sent. Otherwise, I stop prep when you have sent the speech.

I'm going to get on a soapbox here. If you use Gmail, then be sure the "Undo Send" feature is off. Then, during the time we're all waiting for the speech to arrive - unless you are the speaker setting up a stand for your laptop, taking a drink of water, etc - everyone in the room should be DOING NOTHING. No looking at your flows/backflowing, no typing on the computer. No separating out your 'card doc' from speech doc. There is a terrible amount of mental prep time stolen between starting CX after getting flows together and waiting for emails, etc.

Further, I support tournaments moving forward with "decision time" because these small minutes of delay really drag a tournament. At any tournament with decision time, I will begin the round promptly at the start time regardless of whether a team is present or not.

Generally, I'm fine with speed. I flow on a laptop and type ~80wpm. I'm okay with most things speech-related provided I can audibly differentiate your tags, cards, cites, and analytic arguments. This is particularly true of overviews and 2NR/2AR (see below), but also of any complex argument like Theory or T. The speech act, for all our outside the round research and preparations, is the purpose of debate. Organizing your speech is vitally important to its persuasiveness.

As other paradigms I've recently read point out: 'cloud clash is not a thing' and 50% or more of your speech spent on an overview is just clumsy and unrefined. Do your work on the line-by-line answering the other team's arguments.

Furthermore, I come from a time in debate when people used numbering systems and "line by line" meant answering all the opponents arguments in order. If you use numbering systems, such as on 1NC case "1. No impact: ...", and the 2AC says "off 1NC 1", then I will be mightily impressed and your speaks will increase dramatically. It's so much easier to flow because the Synergy template auto numbers, which is a beautiful thing.

If I need you to speak more clearly, enunciate, slow down, or emphasize your tags, I will call out for it verbally in-round. You get one call out and after that your partner needs to be watching me to make sure I'm capturing what you want me to capture. It's up to you to crystallize your arguments in a meaningful, rhetorical way.

Lastly, judges aren't AI bots, so don't get mad at us when we don't flow every single word of your gale-force word salad overview. Yeah, I type fast, but if your Rate of Delivery is 300 and I'm at ~80wpm, do the math. Especially true if you aren't slowing down your tags and cites.

The RFD:
Now that you've read this far, in-round experiences account for more than my preconceived notions of debate as stated above, including K's, debate theory, framework, and the topic in general provided you make your case or arguments compelling and don't make me do any of the work on the flow for you.

All things considered, I will render a decision on any well-developed argument.

If you have questions about the RFD, please ask them politely.

29+ speaks:
you should definitely break and probably blew my mind somehow;
you did NOT exaggerate, powertag, under-highlight your evidence, including its warrants;
you made cogent link, internal link, and impact calculus arguments;
you properly refuted the nexus question(s) in the round;
you were really easy to flow, with great intonation, inflection, and cadence;
you focused on speaking coherently instead of technically;
you told a compelling story using well-honed rhetorical devices and true arguments, presented persuasively;
you were polite yet assertive in CX and during your speeches and answered/asked your own questions.

27.5-28.9 speaks:
you did a pretty good job answering all the arguments, but you may have dropped some stuff;
you were too fast or too unintelligible, and didn't adapt to me flowing you;
you didn't do as good a job analyzing arguments as you could have;
you exaggerated your evidence beyond what the author intended, or beyond the warrants you read;
you didn't persuade me, you were snarky or needed your partner's help in CX, etc.

25-27.5 speaks:
you did a poor job refuting arguments, or you dropped whole arguments;
you were unintelligible;
you didn't analyze the arguments or perform a cogent impact calculus;
you used ad hominem arguments or were aggressive either in your speech or CX;
you needed a lot of help answering/asking CX questions.

0-25 speaks
you did something I found egregiously offensive (racism, sexism, other bigotries);
you used fraudulent evidence;
you clipped cards;
you forfeit, or left the debate for any of your own personal reasons.

Pet peeves:
I really don't like when a team interferes with their opponents speech or prep by requesting evidence and/or asking for your flash drive back, or by whispering to your teammate so loudly I can't hear the speaker, or by throwing backpacks, laptop cords around, etc. If these are a problem, then your speaker points will assuredly suffer.

Good luck to all!