Lake Highland 2019 LD Round Robin

2019 — Orlando, Florida, FL/US

Sam Azbel Paradigm

8 rounds

Ill keep this short:

This is my 9th year involved in LD. I qualled to the TOC my senior year, and have coached for the last 5 years as a private coach, assistant at a big program, and head of LD at a program.

I believe that debate is a game and you should play it however you want. Im fine with really any argument so long as it is obviously not racist/sexist/homophobic etc. I have usually found that its better for debaters to read what they are most comfortable with in front of me.

The only thing that I genuinely find harder to judge than other things are full on util v. util card-fests because Im not the best at flowing.

Slow down on tags and standards texts plz.

EDIT: Tricks debate is super boring and non innovating these days, so I am usually less impressed by those debates.

If you have anymore questions feel free to email me at

Ari Azbel Paradigm

8 rounds


I’m Ari. I debated for Lake Highland for 5 years. I qualified to the TOC my sophomore, junior and senior year, reaching outrounds my senior year.

As a debater, I did not have a preference on a certain type of argument. I tried to read a little bit of everything (high theory, performance, policy args, other Ks, theory/T, tricks, framework, etc.). I believe the only essential feature of debate that I should uphold as a judge is that an argument is characterized by having a claim, warrant, and impact. You should read whatever style argument you're most comfortable and I'll try to adjudicate as best as possible. In terms of argument type, I consider myself tabula rasa. If you have any more specific questions, just ask.

Some judges that influenced me: Tom Evnen, Sam Azbel, Becca Traber, Terrence Lonam and Rithvik Seela.

Grant Brown Paradigm

8 rounds

Grant Brown (He/Him/His)

Millard North ’17, Swarthmore College ’21 (Studying Philosophy)

Instructor at the National Symposium for Debate and the Texas Debate Collective

Assistant Lincoln-Douglas Coach at Lake Highland Prep


Conflicts: Millard North, Lake Highland Preparatory

Conflicts as per the TOC Rules... : Lake Highland SS, Lake Highland JW, Interlake MW, Scarsdale SB, West Linn DT, Success Academy TR, Westview RS.

A spreadsheet, for your reference, with my decisions can be found here.

Last Updates: 2019 TOC

The Short Version

As a student when I considered a judge I usually looked for a few specific things, I will answer those here:

1. What are their qualifications?

I qualified three times to the TOC, cleared twice, and reached semifinals my senior year. I have taught seven weeks of camp for two summers (about to be three) and am finishing my second year as an assistant coach at Lake Highland.

2. What will they listen to?

Anything - excluding discourses and practices which exclude other participants.

3. What are they experienced in?

I coach a wide variety of arguments and am fairly comfortable adjudicating any style of debate. I am most familiar with kritik based arguments, particularly those which are invested in critical-theory and continental philosophy. I find myself to generally be the least certain of my decisions in debates involving dense amounts of theory and tricks.

4. What do they like?

I don’t have any predetermined notion of what debate should look, act, feel, or sound like and I greatly enjoy when debaters experiment within the space of the activity. In general, if you communicate clearly, are well researched, show depth of understanding in the literature you are reading, and bring passion to the debate I will enjoy whatever you have to present.

5. How do they adjudicate debates?

I generally have a fairly systematic way of adjudicating debates. I begin by attempting to discern the priority of the various layers of arguments presented, examples include frameworks or weighing arguments which specify which types of impacts matter, a theory argument which contests the fairness or education of a position, a kritik which indicts the performance of the affirmative, etc. Once I have determined the priority of layers, I proceed to evaluating the different arguments on each layer, looking for an offensive reason to vote, accounting for defense, bringing in other necessary layers, and whatever else is necessary to find an adequate resolution to the debate.

Longer Version

General things to note:

I flow on a computer in an excel document.

Speed is great so long as you’re clear – I will call “clear” or “slow” a reasonable amount of times – I have a very high threshold for clarity.

I’ll do my best to be tabula rasa and be “tech over truth” but these concepts are vague at best. Smart technically work can make up for weaker truths and pinpointed truths can overwhelm technicalities.

I find the evaluation of embedded clash to be inevitable. This isn't to say I ignore the line-by-line of the flow, but that what I determine to be relevant parts of the flow for a particular portion of the debate - the pieces that make up the arguments I'm evaluating - tends to be based on a fairly holistic and interconnected view. This is not something I prefer, I'd rather not have to do any embedded evaluation, but I find it to be a necessity in many debates which have lackluster weighing and explanation by debaters.

There must be an explained and impacted warrant to an argument in order for me to vote on it. I have a high threshold for explanation. If they entirely concede a theory argument and you extend it with no warrants, I will happily refuse to vote on it. It is impossible to resolve a set of competing claims and I refuse to do that work for you – warrants are an unmovable threshold. I don’t care if the warrant is a misunderstanding or perhaps even false, for example: “Dogs can fly because they have legs which enable movement that could allow them to ascend vertically.” That is sufficient if it is conceded, but there must be some potential justification/reasoning for your claim.

I prefer not to have to use defaults to make important judgements about a debate, as hopefully they’ve been explained by the debaters, but in the cases where they are required, I’ve listed my general views here. I default to a comparative worlds paradigm in which I weigh the desirability of the affirmative versus the negative based on provided impact framing. I default to presuming negative, unless there is an alternative advocacy (counterplan, kritik) in the 2NR without the choice of the status-quo, in which case I presume affirmative. Furthermore, I presume that the status-quo is always an option for the negative, but I will only evaluate it as such if the 2NR explicitly does work on this question. Lastly, I default that layers can be weighed against each other on the same level (theory, topicality, kritiks).

I’ve decided that absent thorough explanation of what arguments such as “evaluate the theory debate after the 1AR/2NR” mean I am not going to evaluate them. If you can explain which layers and arguments in the debate this applies to when you extend it, feel free to go for it, but otherwise I’d recommend against it.

As my time in the activity steadily increases, I find myself more frequently compelled by arguments which are positionally defended, well researched, and grounded in educational content and less frequently compelled by arguments which are frivolous, poorly justified, and used entirely for technical advantage. This stands as a general rule of thumb, but in practice has led to a real distaste for cheap-shots, tricks, and frivolous theory arguments, as I find the ones that I frequently judge to be at least intuitively pointless, unnecessary, and unoffensive. After these types of debates, I almost always find myself asking “Why couldn’t they have just responded to the substance of their opponent’s argument?” Though I imagine I will still vote for those positions, this certainly effects my distribution of speaker points and threshold for responses to certain positions and is something to keep in mind. Practically, this just means that I’d prefer to see, regardless of your preferred style of debate, a few well-developed and defended positions, be it a theory interpretation, kritik, counterplan, or otherwise, rather than a random smattering of underdeveloped and justified ones.


I’m most familiar with this style of debating, usually from the poststructuralist and continental philosophy angle, and they are my favorite debates to judge when done well.

I really value clarity of explanation, especially in the context of dense philosophy. The most common concern I find myself raising to debaters is a lack of through development of a worldview. Working through the way that your understanding of the world operates, be it through the alternative resolving the links, your theory of violence explaining a root-cause, or otherwise is crucial to convey what I should be voting for at the end of the debate.

I find that a large number of alternatives are either not competitive or are poorly explained but the affirmative fails to articulate a solid permutation. Similarly, explain your permutations - one sentence in the 1AR and 3 minutes in the 2AR won't cut it.

"Kritikal" Affirmatives

I'm a fairly receptive judge to these positions. I don't really care if you defend the topic entirely, a little bit, or not at all. You should just advocate what you can justify and defend. It generally holds true that the further the affirmative is from the topic the more topicality’s concern for fairness becomes persuasive, but well developed arguments on either side can shift this greatly.

You should forefront an explanation of what you defend, be it a methodology, implementation of a plan, theory of approach or analysis, or otherwise. It is usually shiftiness in conjunction with a lack of clear story from the affirmative that results in sympathy for procedurals such as topicality and other negative objections in these debates in front of me.

I generally find negative tricks against these positions (switch-side debate, topical version, truth-testing, fairness first) to be fairly weak but I end up voting on them quite frequently due to lack of a forwarding of a different vision for the debate from affirmatives.


I am least comfortable adjudging intricate theory debates; however I enjoy these debates when there is a lot of clash and weighing on one or two shells. I do not enjoy these debates as much when there are multiple shells, meta-theory, or a lack of clash and weighing. A majority of my decisions on theory come down to either dropped arguments or weighing in an otherwise extremely messy debate.

I default to no RVI, drop the argument, and competing interpretations. I default to a pretty modest understanding of competing interpretations in which a risk of offense isn't "game over" - if you disagree you ought to explain your version.

I am profoundly unpersuaded by any claims that appeal to a constitutive nature of the activity/judge and jurisdiction claims. So unpersuaded that if it is anything less than dropped I'm unsure if I would vote for it. It seems logically incoherent.

The later in the round the shell is read the less likely I am going to feel comfortable voting on it. That's not to say I won't vote on 2NR or even 2AR theory, but I'd really prefer that I didn't have to, plus you're basically putting the debate in my hands in that point - it's a big risk.

I will vote on disclosure theory and brackets theory, though using either, especially increasingly specified interpretations, for purely technical gain is yucky.

I have a voting record that is fairly favorable towards theory, however I have become increasingly aware of my bias against theory "tricks". This includes things such as "must read a counter-interpretation," arbitrary independent voters (e.g. strategy skew, I'm fine with things such as resolvability), etc. These are usually extended without a warrant and are dependent on either intuition/prior interpretative beliefs about the nature of theory or a purely technical evaluation that will vote on mere claims - in these instances I am likely to refuse to vote on these arguments. I will however vote on these arguments when they actually have a warrant.


You should have a clear interpretation and violation that explains your vision of the topic. The affirmative should either defend the violation or have a counter-definition or competitive counter-interpretation.

You should isolate the ground that you lose, the limits that are broken - reference case-lists and be specific.

I enjoy T debates that include carded topic-lit evidence to support their impacts and interpretation.

Everything in the theory section applies here as well.

Policy Arguments

I enjoy these greatly and wish I judged them more.

Good analytics can be more effective than bad evidence - I'm a good judge for strong "spin" and extrapolation outside of the evidence itself.

Explain your scenarios in later speeches - advantage/disadvantage overviews are great.

I'm mostly neutral on multiple condo, though I suppose I slightly lean affirmative if its more than two or three.

Ethical Frameworks

I've gotten significantly better at judging these debates and I spend pretty much all my time in college reading, studying, and discussing philosophy.

I'd implore you to give overviews and slow down to explain the main points of clash in later speeches. These debates can get very messy with a variety of preclusion claims, hijacks, etc. and a clear explanation of the implications of your extensions and arguments can sway the debate in your favor.

I'm a fan of frameworks interacting with kritiks, theory, and otherwise.


I have voted on these arguments frequently when they are well explained in the context of the rest of the debate in terms of both their content (the claim and warrant) and function (their impact). You should therefore explain how your trick interacts with other layers and arguments in the debate if you want to go for it.

Being honest with your sketchiness is in your best interest - for both strategic reasons and for my own comprehension. I'm okay with voting for an argument I didn't see coming, but if I can't logically put together from the pieces you explain in the later speeches how the argument functions i.e. why it affirms, takes out theory, etc, I'm probably not going to vote on it.

Ethics Questions

If accusations of clipping/cross-reading are made I will a) stop the debate b) confirm the accuser wishes to stake the round on this question c) render a decision based on the guilt of the accused.

If I notice an ethics violation I will skip A and B and proceed unilaterally to C.

Questions of misrepresentation/miscutting should be addressed in the round - in whatever form you determine to be best.


I disclose speaks. I believe it helps students learn what they can do better and helps discourage bad practices.

A thirty requires an affective component – passion and exceptionality – that is what distinguishes it from a very high 29.

Here is a rough framework I will attempt to follow – I assign speaks relative to the pool so a 29.5 at a local tournament is different than a 29.5 at the TOC:

<25-26: Unethical; offensive, clipping of cards.

27-28: Significantly below average, unlikely to clear.

28-29: Slightly below, at, or slightly above average, potential to clear but won't make it far (I try to average a 28.5)

29-30: Significantly above average, most likely to clear and will be competitive in late elims.

Chris Castillo Paradigm

8 rounds

I am the LD coach at Strake Jesuit in Houston, Tx. I've been involved in debate since the year 2000. I judge a lot. Mostly on the national/toc circuit but also locally. Feel free to ask questions before the round. Add me to email chains. Jchriscastillo at gmail dot com.

I don't have a preference for how you debate or which arguments you choose to read. Be clear, both in delivery and argument function/interaction, weigh and develop a ballot story.

Theory: I default to competing interps, no rvi's and drop the debater on shells read against advocacies/entire positions and drop the argument against all other types. I'm ok with using theory as a strategic tool but the sillier the shell the lower the threshold I have for responsiveness. Please weigh and slow down for interps and short analytic arguments. D

Non-T affs: These are fine just have a clear ballot story.

Delivery: You can go as fast as you want but be clear and slow down for advocacy texts, interps, taglines and author names. Don't blitz through 1 sentence analytics and expect me to get everything down. I will say "clear" and "slow".

Speaks: Speaks are a reflection of your strategy, argument quality, efficiency, how well you use cx, and clarity.

Prep: 1. I prefer that you don't use cx as prep time. 2. It is ok to ask questions during cx. 3. Compiling a document counts as prep time. 4. Please write down how much time you have left.

Things not to do: 1. Don't make arguments that are racist/sexist/homophobic (this is a good general life rule too). 2. I won't vote on arguments I don't understand or arguments that are blatantly false. 3. Don't be mean to less experienced debaters. 4. Don't steal prep. 5. Don't manipulate evidence or clip.

Melissa Chau Paradigm

8 rounds

I debated for LHP and graduated in 2017.

I will evaluate the round as best as I can based off of the flow. My best advice to get my ballot is to tell me where to vote and weigh (the way to win is to weigh way more). I honestly just want the round explained well.

On another note, I think debate is whatever you make of it- if you want it to be a game, educational space, performance, whatever, it is up to you. Have fun, but please be kind to your opponent.

If you are spreading, please start off slowly, I haven't judged in a while so ease into your speed.

My level of comfort goes:

1. Ks (If you're reading high theory, you'll need to do explaining. I am not familiar with the literature base)

2. Philosophy


4. T/Theory

Don’t let what I put discourage you from doing what you like, just know that you’ll have to do more crystallization as you move down the list.

Matthew Chen Paradigm

8 rounds

put me on the email chain:

Strake '18

University of Chicago '22

toc 2019 updated -

I haven't judged in 4 months, so you'll prob need to start a bit slower - maybe around 80 percent of your top speed and build up from there.

Debate is a game. It can be intellectually stimulating, liberating, or a total meme depending on how you play it, but at the end of the day, a win or a loss doesn't actually mean anything. Don't over-invest into the ballot - it doesn't mean anything about you as a person or a debater - it just determines who won a particular round, so relax and try to enjoy yourself. Given this, I also expect that debaters are respectful to each other and everyone in the round. Additionally, feel free to tell me if i'm doing something/acting in a way that makes you feel unwelcome, either during the rfd or during a round.

Here's just a list of basic expectations I have -

1] Don't cheat - miscutting, clipping, strawmanning etc. It's an auto-loss with 0 speaks if I catch you. Ev ethics claims aren't theory arguments - if you make an ev ethics challenge, you stake the round on it and the loser of the challenge gets an L0. (this only applies if you directly accuse your opponent of cheating though - if you read brackets with an ev ethics standard that's different).

2] I'm not going to follow the speech doc, so signpost and be clear. I'll look after the round to verify evidence claims though, but generally debating evidence well is more important than shitting cards out.

3] weigh as early as possible - i.e. disad outweighs case in 1nc, t standards weighing in 1ar. The later you weigh, the lower my credence in your claims is

4] collapse to 1-2 things in your last speech please. split rebuttals are rarely a good sign for speaks.

5] I have found that many analytics get too short to qualify as arguments - especially on theory. At the point where your drop the debater arguments are literally "1) deterrence 2) rectify time lost on theory 3) sets good norms" and then nothing else, you haven't made an argument.

6] I will assume zero prior knowledge when going into a round on any subject, which means it's on you to make me understand your warrant purely from the speech itself. For example, even if I know what the warrant for something like gratuitous violence, if I don't think your explanation completes a logical warrant chain on why gratuitious is an accurate description of relationships, I won't vote for you.

7] then larger your claim is, the higher the threshold i have for a warrant. "there is no hope for progress ever" is a much larger, more broad claim than "this action can do something good", and as such, needs a stronger warrant to be won.

8] don't be offensive - going for "racism is ok", for example, is an easy way to lose

9] speaks are arbitrary tbh, but ill try to be objective. generally though, good evidence and good strategic collapses are what i reward most. I probably average around a 28.5-28.7 ish and 28.9-29.3 is what I give for people I think deserve to clear.

10] just being a nerd now - i'll give +0.1 for each question that you can answer of these:

-find a differentiable function f(x) over the interval (-1,1) such that f'(x) > 0 but f is not monotone over any region containing 0

-find the maximum value of x^3 + xy^2 given x,y > 0 and x + y = 7

-what is the largest 6 digit prime for which the digits alternate in a pattern of prime and composite (for the sake of the problem, consider 1 as a prime even though it isn't)

Michael Corder Paradigm

8 rounds

Hey, I’m Michael I did LD for four years at Lake Highland graduating in 2016. I qualled to the TOC twice with 6 career bids making it to octos my senior year. I have no real preference for one type of argument, just do whatever you’re best at. The only arguments I won’t vote for are ones that are blatantly offensive (i.e. racism good) and ones that lack a warrant entirely. Also if no arguments for presumption are made by either debater I'll default to presuming aff. This default can easily be changed with in round arguments it only exists if literally no arguments are made by either debater about presumption. One thing to note is that I’ve been out of the activity for a while so it would be best to start at half speed in front of me if you choose to spread and then work up to your top speed. Other than that if you have any questions feel free to ask me before the round or email me at

Tiffany Dacheux Paradigm

Forensics Team coach for Dallastown since 2014

Speed and Decorum:

Send me your case. My email is I cannot overemphasize the necessity of doing this – it will help keep me focused, and generally just make me happier. (Please…and thank you!) If its an organized case, that’s just even better!

Spreading…I can follow it when I have the speech DOC, at least a skeletal outline (preferably written), or clear signposts which are different in emphasis/tone. Real talk time: this is key if you will be spreading in rebuttal.

I really do not care if you sit, stand, or perform yoga poses while you speak. I vaguely care that you remain in the room, and do not want you to touch me/your opponent but other than that pick your own position.

I don't time the debate or prep time, therefore you should. If need me to time, please tell me. Flex prep is fine if all debaters in the round agree.

I’d rather not touch…well…ANYONE, so can we NOT shake hands?


Arguments that are obviously racist, sexist, homophobic, transphobic, Islamophobic, Anti-Semitic, etc. are not OK. (Read: you will lose if you run them.)

I do not like theory. I find it unnecessarily complicated and usually designed to make debate inaccessible (especially to those who are likely already crowded out of this forum in some other way). Please don't run it unless there you see literally NO OTHER WAY to respond to your opponent's arguments. Even then, I may not evaluate it the way you want or expect. If you planning to run dense or tricky theory, you should find a different judge.

You have an absolute obligation to articulate your arguments. Even if I’m familiar with the literature or whatever that you might be referencing I *try* to avoid filling in any gaps.

Signposting = GOOD! Flipping back and forth from AFF flow to NEG flow then back to AFF Flow to NEG Flow....BAD.... VERY, VERY, VERY BAD!

Tricks = no. Thanks.

Above all, strive to make sense. I do not prefer any “style” of debate or any particular kind of argument over another. Similarly, there isn’t much that is “off limits” (other than that which is listed above…pay attention to that). Regardless of what you run, if your case relies on me to connect the dots for you or if it is a literal mess of crappily cut and equally crappily organized evidence sans warrants, you probably be sad at the end of the round.

Tom Evnen Paradigm

8 rounds

Current affiliations (for TOC 2019): NSD, TDC, Lake Highland Prep, Westview's Rohith Sudhakar.

I have coached and judged for various schools on the national circuit more or less since 2003. I am fine with whatever kind of debate you would like to have; I am more attached to the idea that you have the kind of round you would like to have, than that you debate in the ways I find most interesting. So, if you have a vision for how you would like me to judge a debate, then just argue for that vision in the round, and I will adjudicate it on the flow.

I have thought most about ethical framework debate, K debate, theory debate, and tricks. I think less about LARP debate, though I'm fine judging LARP debates.

Jayanne Forrest Paradigm

8 rounds

My name is pronounced “Jay” (like pay, hay, say) “anne” ... if you can’t pronounce it, call me Jay

My email is

**I should note here, that I get triggered by graphic depictions of anti-black violence (e.g. those very graphic examples of police brutality used to support afro pessimism).

Hello! I debated for Fort Lauderdale High School in Florida for 4 years in LD and Policy. I graduated in 2018 and I go to Columbia University if anyone is looking to hire judges in NY!

Anyways, I view debate as an educational and fun activity that has changed me for the better. I loved bringing my activism and philosophy I loved into debate. If you read a unique position well that will benefit your speaker points. Also if you bring food that I like that will boost speaks a few tenths of a point.

I won’t tell you what to debate or what to run in front of me. However, I’ll note that I am not the judge for any complex theory debates because I find them boring, messy, often poorly ran and hard to resolve. Any position being run should be explained well, and as long as your spreading is clear, I will 9/10 understand and flow and be good.

Last few things: if you say anything blatantly anti-black, xenophobic, racist, misogynistic, anti-queer, ableist, etc. and your opponent calls you out for the attack on them, I will drop you. Debate should be a home space for everyone and you are responsible for the things you say because it is a speaking activity.

I love performance (e.g. music, dance, art) and identity politics that are not just about Blackness (especially if you’re not black ;) ) and I encourage you to do whatever you are passionate about.

Have fun and be great!

Update, after Blue Key:

If you plan to read afro-pessimis, please read a trigger warning or simply take out those horrific examples of modern day gratuitous violence. Black violence as a spectacle should not be normalized in debate or ANYWHERE.

I also don’t think that non-black and ESPECIALLY white debaters should be reading radical black authors. Read your social and racial justice positions sure, but please leave the voices of our radical black authors out of your Offs.

This doesn’t mean I’ll drop you or lower your speaks for reading anti-blackness positions in front of me, but you need to know how to explain what you're reading, and if you say any racial slur written by the author (or just on your own whim) I will drop you and give you zero speaker points.

Thanks for coming to my TED Talk.

Sunil Gedela Paradigm

8 rounds

TOC 2019 Update

TL;DR: Third year natcirc LD parent judge. I am able to flow most common types of args (but not dense phil/Ks) delivered at normal speed. I value logical args/ rebuttals, even if purely analytical.

Spreading: I will likely miss some args but will do my best to follow along with any speech docs you share. I strongly recommend you slow down for your tags and crucial points, especially if extemporaneous. Do signpost.

Case Debate: I expect a basic level of case debate in addition to whatever else you may choose to run, especially since the TOC topic has been out for a while.

Theory: I am unlikely to view it favorably unless you can show a timely pre-round good faith effort to avoid citing the violation in question. Unless it is a completely unexpected/ egregious in-round violation, the burden is on you to have engaged in pre-round communications if it could have voided the need for a theory debate.

Warrants: Incontrovertible, objective, data based cards are more potent than opinions/ claims. If I call for a card, I am also checking the text you minimized/ did not read.

ROB/ ROJ: Unless proven otherwise, all args will be viewed as a strategy to win a HS debate round and not as an altruistic endeavor to effect societal/ policy change.

Neal Kapoor Paradigm

8 rounds

Not Submitted

Muhammad Khattak Paradigm

8 rounds

Lake Highland ’18

Stanford ’22


I debated for Lake Highland for five years. I qualified to the TOC my sophomore, junior, and senior year, clearing the latter two years.

I believe the only essential feature of debate that I should uphold as a judge is that an argument is characterized by having a claim, warrant, and impact. You should read whatever style argument you’re most comfortable with and I’ll try to adjudicate as best as possible. In terms of argument type, I consider myself tabula rasa. But for preffing reasons, here are some thoughts on evaluating specific debates:

Util (CP, DA, Plan, etc.):

  • I read util args very often my sophomore and senior year, so I consider myself reasonably comfortable on assessing these debates.
  • I'll try to evaluate these debates as cleanly as possible My general thought process through them is (1) isolating the primary impact filter (whether it be probability or magnitude or some other framing) (2) identifying the largest impact under that filter and (3) isolating who has the strongest internal link to that impact. I feel like impact weighing can be fundamental to making these debates clearer, and I'd subsequently treat them like layers in any other debate. Evidence quality comparison can be essential to winning any of these three components and is highly encouraged.
  • I believe in zero-risk of an impact occurring; if it is the case that an impact defense argument is conceded and other great defense is put on an advantage, a debater can’t stand up and claim some sort of “risk of offense.” 0.0001% risk is 0% risk.


  • I'm pretty familiar with a lot of K lit. I was most well-read in a lot of high-theory / philosophically-grounded Ks (Wynter, Wilderson, D&G, Foucault, Derrida, etc.) but I'm open to whatever you wanna read.
  • Performance is cool; I think my notes on T-Framework below touch on the only relevant (potential) caveat.
  • I'm very open to methods debates and believe these things can serve as offense / game winning parts of the debate if debaters win them as such (i.e. winning a Deleuzian model of the subject as the aff can be spun as offense against the Wilderson kritik the negative is reading if it's impacted as such). Not to say I’ll automatically treat these arguments as offense, but that I’m open to it. Many K debates I had as a debater came down to these methods questions, and I think they can turn out to be great debates.


  • I consider myself decently familiar in philosophy lit; I went for a lot of these positions as a debater so feel more than free to read them.
  • I default to ethical confidence in framework comparison, but I’m more than open to hearing modesty arguments.
  • I think generic framework defense arguments (beg the question, no warrant, fallacy of the X, etc.) have very little utility in framework debates and they never really turn out to be game changing issues. I’m far more likely to vote off these 1-sentence analytics if they are revamped with a more robust implication/explanation. This is probably best achieved by spinning these arguments as hijacks, which is especially useful in evaluating framework comparison (i.e., because X framework begs the question for reasons 1, 2, 3, you can only use my framework because of 1, 2, 3). Not to say I won’t vote off these arguments, just that I think they need to be better impacted.
  • I'm fine with tricks; just slow down on arguments you know are blippy because I don't feel comfortable voting on arguments I half-flowed.


  • Concerning T-Framework, I’m impartial on the issue of whether it’s true since I found myself on both sides of the debate. However, I think the debates ultimately come down to a question of TVA; this is the first place I’ll go in evaluating these rounds.
  • Please read a voter, otherwise I'll have to go to my defaults (fairness and education are voters, drop the debater, no RVI, competing interps), and I'll be sad.


  • They’re just an in-the-moment type of deal; I’ll try to average a 28ish.
  • Don’t be rude!

Hannah Koegler Paradigm

8 rounds

please give me paper n pens <333

I did debate from freshman year to senior year. I mostly read K's and phil.

You can read anything in front of me as long as you explain it well.

Don't be an asshole

My email is

Include me on the email chain

I haven't done any debate stuff since Harvard 2018, so I may need you to go a tad slower in rebuttals.

1 K

2 Phil

3 Larp

4 Theory/Tricks

Daiya Massac Paradigm

8 rounds

I competed for Bronx Science 2012-2014, coached Scarsdale 2014-2016, and am now entering my last year of being involved with this activity by coaching independently. Conflicts- Bronx Science, Scarsdale, Lake Travis, and a few others.

Go slower then your top speed, if I don't catch an argument I am not going to flow it. I honestly don't care what is run in front of me- just signpost well and explain your arguments. slow down on tags and analytics. I am cool with flex prep. flashing/emailing better not take over a minute or it eats your prep time. If you have any questions please feel free to contact me at (use email for your email chains.)

Edited for LHP RR and beyond: I honestly hate most of the arguments run this year. Don't get me wrong, I love this activity and think that it's awesome but it seems like a bunch of you on the national circuit have taken it upon yourselves to ruin this perfectly nice debate event to the point that I wish I could travel back in time and force myself to join Policy. I haven’t heard much that I thought was smart or creative aside for a few Ks, a couple plans, and a single framework shell. As I am forced to make a decision, I will do my best to adjudicate but I can’t promise you will like my speaker points nor my decision. I got a little better at flowing but being able to hear y’all’s arguments probably will just makes me dislike them a lot more. Best way to win my ballot is to establish a clear framing mechanism and offense back to it. The saving grace for your speaker points and my sanity is the way you present your arguments. Being funny, making gutsy strategic moves, reading interesting arguments, and/or being smart will be rewarded with really high speaker points. If you are a robot that just reads docs please strike me or just have your coach speak for you instead. If you have a coach that wants to waste my time please strike me. If you want to read a case full of analytic arguments that sounds like you are reciting the alphabet or practicing how to count please, for the love of god, strike me. If I judge you I apologize in advance cause if I do and you do not listen to my advice then chances are I am just going to be replaying an episode of "Entourage" in my head instead of paying attention to your boring/asinine arguments. If you want a free conflict, feel free to send me a couple bucks on Venmo and we can claim a financial relationship (just kidding). If you have any questions about my paradigm, feel free to ask me in person (please do not attempt to contact me) about my thoughts on debate.

My pronouns are He/him/his- let me know yours before the round to avoid any issue

Cameron McConway Paradigm

8 rounds

*Updated for UT 2018*

Note for the current and Nov/Dec topics: Given recent political events and their relevancy to debates, please be respectful and cautious if you choose to engage in discussions around sexual assault, particularly if they are narrative based or descriptive.

I debated for three years at Cy-Fair HS outside of Houston, Texas, qualifying to the TOC, TFA State, and NSDA nationals in LD. I work for McNeil HS in Austin while attending the University of Texas, and I teach at NSD and TDC.


I'd rather evaluate your style of debate than have you do things you're not comfortable with because you think it's what I want. I am willing to be persuaded against most defaults in my paradigm as long as you have offense and a mechanism for me to evaluate it under.

Feel free to ask me questions at


I will vote on pretty much any argument as long as it isn't morally objectionable or blatantly false. I will do my best to be tab, but I think there is a level of plausibility necessary for me to vote on an argument (for instance, I won't vote on an obviously false I-meet).

I was mostly a K/LARP debater, but I have also enjoyed judging good theory/tricks rounds and framework debaters. Feel free to engage in whatever style debate you prefer, just do good weighing and clear explanations of argument interaction.

Please add me to the email chain.

I strongly dislike the current trend of hostility in debate rounds. I'm fine with people being funny or sassy, but attacking each other makes everyone involved uncomfortable and at minimum I will dock your speaks. This means if you are rude to your opponent, or me, I will not hesitate to intervene however I feel is appropriate.


I'm fine with speed, just slow down on tags/author names and interps/advocacy texts. I will yell clear/slow/louder but I will give up if there is no change.


I am comfortable evaluating theory under whichever paradigm you prefer, so long as you justify it. I have found that I enjoy a good theory debate, where there is a lot of weighing and internal links.

I am not a fan of disclosure/theory debates where the violation is unverifiable. For instance, in a scenario where your opponent has a blank wiki or doesn't contest the violation and defends not disclosing I would feel fine voting on disclosure, but if they generally disclose and there was some wifi problem or the wiki was down and the violation is pictures your emails, I probably will not enjoy evaluating this debate.


I read high theory and identity politics and enjoy both of these debates. I feel comfortable evaluating most K debates but I strongly prefer debaters err on the side of overexplaining/not relying on jargon rather than assuming that I am familiar with the literature they are reading. These debates tend to either be excellent and enjoyable or my least favorite.

I liked K affs a great deal in high school, but I do think if you are nontopical you need to a) win that being nontopical is legitimate b) have an evaluative mechanism and c) have offense under that mechanism. I am happy to listen to unique/innovative K affs regardless of their topicality, though I do think you must defend your topicality or lack thereof.

Recent observation: I find positions that rely on premises like "performative contradictions good" or "debate itself bad" to be unpersuasive. Not positions that criticize the current iteration of competitive debate (I am fine with that), but rather I think there is inherent value to the act of debating. This doesn't mean I won't vote on high theory authors like Baudrillard, because I will and I have, but I do think your interpretation of these authors should be compatible with your performance.


I think that high level LARP debates tend to be more difficult to evaluate because a lot of debaters do not do sufficient weighing or impact calc. That said, I enjoy well done LARP debates, just please do good weighing.


I enjoy framework debate more the longer I judge. Slow down a bit on long analytic dumps and err towards overexplaining the dense philosophical warrants, because these things are difficult to flow at your top speed.


I start around a 28.5 and go up or down depending on in-round strategy and skill relative to the tournament. Speaks tend to be over-inflated and relatively arbitrary, so I try to give speaks with influencing who clears in mind. The further I think you can/should be in the tournament, the higher speaks I will give. Being rude or demeaning will negatively impact your speaks.

David McGinnis Paradigm

8 rounds

I am the head coach at Valley High School and have been coaching LD debate since 1996.

I coach students on both the local and national circuits.

I can flow speed reasonably well, particularly if you speak clearly. If I can't flow you I will say "clear" or "slow" a couple of times before I give up and begin playing Pac Man.

I'm most familiar with philosophical framework debating, but you can debate however you like in front of me, as well as you explain your arguments clearly and do a good job of extending and weighing.

Nelson Okunlola Paradigm

8 rounds

GBX 2018 Update

I know nothing about the topic.

Earl Warren '17

Northwestern '21

Email: [Add me to the chain]

I did LD and Policy in high school and was a 2N at Northwestern

I haven't read the topic lit. Don't assume I know the acronyms or that I know what's "common sense" in regards to the topic.

I generally evaluate LD and Policy the same, correcting for obvious activity discrepancies. If something is specific to one event, ill label it as such.

Do what you want and do it well. If something isn't clear here, contact me or ask before the round


- Use an email chain or speechdrop or pocketbox. Prep time ends when the doc has been compiled and is ready to be sent. If you say "cease prep" and aren't ready to give your speech within 30 seconds, I'm starting prep up again. Get better at compiling speech docs.

- Debate can be whatever you want it to be, whether that's a game, a liberation strategy, or an activity you do just cause.

- Decision Calculus = "who's winning framing" "who's winning offense under that framing"

- Absent framing I'll presume util=trutil

- Tech > Truth

- I don't give credence to one lit base over another. Reading something just because you think i'd like it is probably not the way to go but do you I guess. Ill vote on pretty much anything that's warranted and impacted both generally and in the context of my ballot.

- Don't assume I've read your lit

- I'll call for evidence judiciously

[LD] Decision calculus: Whats the highest "layer"? I'll default theoretical positions unless otherwise contested (it should be). What's the winning framework, whether its a theory voter, ROB/ROJ, standard and then its pretty much offense defense from there. Of course as is everything, this isn't set in stone. If your strategy is contingent upon a different evaluative mechanism then make that clear.

Evidence Ethics

- Don't do it, if you do its an L0

- If you make a false accusation, its an L0

- I think brackets are only germane for questionable language, given that the word or phrase you change is not omitted from the text.


- Speed is chill but keep in mind I've never been the best at flowing

- Do not start at full speed, 8/10 times I'll miss the first 3 words

- Slow down considerably on tags/texts/analytics. You can speed through anything else

- Some speeds are just incomprehensible for me to flow so I will yell slow and/or clear. I won't dock speaks if you're too fast for me because that's not your fault, but if you are unclear it is my jurisdiction to dock speaks.

- The longer you take to adapt the angrier I get and that affects speaks

[LD] Pref shortcuts

K: 1

"LARP": 1

Theory: 2-3

Framework/Phil: 3-3

Tricks: 4

[LD] Framework

- Tell me how to evaluate the round. Absent framing, I'll assume util is true and adjudicate accordingly. You don't want me to do that.

- I'm not an analytic/dense phil guy. If this is what you do thats fine just please don't assume I've read your lit.


- CP theory is fair game

- Competition should be clear


- Impact framing and weighing is important and the lack thereof make these debates hard to evaluate


- I need to know what your alt and my ballot means/does

- Don't assume I've read your lit

- Make framing arguments, I don't like intervening

- Go all out, but warrant your arguments/practices


- I would much rather evaluate substance but theory is fair game. However, just like every other argument, the more bullshit it is, the lower my threshold for responses are but at the same time I won't make those responses for you

- Slow down on the interpretation and the standard/impact names (Predictability, Time Skew etc)

- Reasonability is very underutilized and can be compelling but deploy it effectively

[LD] If theory is your pre-meditated A strat, don't pref me. No one likes frivolous theory, it will make me sad and you'll be sad when you see your speaks

[LD] I shouldn't have to default on any theory paradigms, it's your job to have that debate but without contestation, I'll default competing interpretations and no RVI's. All this means is that if these aren't contested in the round, that's how i'm evaluating theory.

[LD] Theory does not have to be in "shell" format


- Do it well

- I need to hear your interpretation

- Slow down on the standard/impact names (Limits, Ground etc)

- Ngl I enjoy a good topicality debate

[LD] this isn't policy and there are not stock issues. T is probably not an intrinsic affirmative burden. You probably need a voter.

Kritikal Affs/Performance/Micropolitical/T - Resolution

- Warrant and defend your practice/speech act/performance

- Been on both sides of this debate, enjoy both sides of this debate. I'm just as willing to vote on T as I am to vote aff in these debates

- The negative could usually benefit from saying something about the case proper in these debates

[LD] Skep

- It's an argument. It can be worthwhile if read well, therefore if you plan on reading this do it well and defend your practice.

- 1 off skep probably won't get you too far but I'll evaluate it I guess

[LD] Tricks

- If your A-strat are tricks then I'm not the judge for you. I honestly don't really know how most of the shits function so you probably dont want me judging you anyways

- Ill still evaluate it, just err on the side of explanation of the utility of your argument.

Speaker points

- This changes depending on the caliber of the tournament

- I see speaks as a tiebreaker for seeding and I evaluate it accordingly

- General criteria: should you clear? strategy, in round persona, "are you good or bad at debate"

- I had a stuttering problem growing up, speech impediments won't factor into my evaluation of speaks

- I'll reward innovation by giving more speaks to debaters that teach me something new

- 29.6-30: You can win this tournament or be in late elims

- 29-29.5: Better than the majority of the pool

- 28-29: You'll probably clear

- 27-28: You'll probably not clear

- 26-27: Lots of room for improvement

- < 26: .........


- Content warnings are valuable

- Lay debate is chill, but I prefer faster debates over slower ones.

PF Paradigms Update 3/27 for TOC

- Everything in the Policy/LD section generally apply, I suggest reading that especially the TLDR/General section

- I prefer faster debates over slower ones

- The only hard and fast/objective rules that constrain me are those of the tournaments/whatever rule guidelines said the tournament is following. Everything else is up for debate (i.e theoretical arguments)

- I don't care what you read/how you read it (see note above)

- Don't assume I've read the topic lit

- I'm fine with "progressive" style arguments but if your opponents ask for clarification you better do some explaining.

Stephen Scopa Paradigm

8 rounds

I debated at Pines Charter on both the national and local circuit and went to TOC my senior year.

As per TOC’s absurd conflict rules, apparently my judgement is too clouded to judge the following people:

Robby Gillespie

Ethan Massa

Kumail Zaidi

Valley HS

Ronak Ahuja

Niko Battle

Rohith Sudhakar

Claire Liu

Daniel Shahab

Kevin Wang

Tej Gadela

Ishan Bhatt

Rex Evans

Asher Towner

Jason Chan

Kristen Arnold

Carolyn Zhou

Dylan Burke

General: I am very much a tech > truth person who will vote for any argument you make no matter how seemingly ridiculous or bizarre, all I need is a warrant. I also have a low threshold for extensions of conceded arguments but they need to be extended in each speech. My goal is to evaluate rounds with as little intervention as possible- that being said I was a debater too and understand when students disagree with my decision so feel free to grill me on the condition you aren’t hostile about it.

- I default to truth testing if no other RoB is read in the round.

- I am not exactly the best at flowing, so when you are making analytic arguments you should label them and sign post as clear as possible. Also maybe take half a second after author names.

- I don’t evaluate embedded clash unless there is an argument as to why I should or the round is irresolvable without it.

- I do not believe you get new 2n responses to AC arguments unless an argument is made for why you get those arguments in the NC- making an argument in the 2n that says something like “this was just a dumb blippy argument” is not sufficient. This goes for 2ar responses to NC arguments as well.

- Believe it or not, I will vote on disclosure theory. I would however, strongly advise against this strategy because I have an extremely low threshold for responses because I absolutely hate the argument. Honestly if you’re reading disclosure in front of me you should reevaluate your life because I can guarantee there’s a more strategic option.

- Don’t need to flash analytics to your opponent but I would like them J

-Even if something is labeled an independent voter, if there is no warrant for why it is one, I won’t evaluate it as such. This is becoming slightly annoying L

Theory: Go for it- this is probably one of the easier things for me to judge. Slow down on the interpretation a bit if it’s something more nuanced. I don’t “gut check” frivolous shells but obviously if you are winning reasonability then I will evaluate through whatever your brightline is. If neither debater makes arguments I default to the following:

- Drop the arg on theory, drop the debater on T

- Competing interps

- Norms creation model

- No RVI

- Fairness is a voter

Also, for counter inteprs “converse of the interp” is not sufficient, if your opponent says “idk what the converse is so I can’t be held to the norm” I will buy that argument, just actually come up with a counter interp.

Tricks: This is my favorite style of debate and I love a clever trick or a priori but that doesn’t mean I will instantly vote for you if you read them without winning why they are relevant (aka you are winning truth testing). The more clever your arguments are, the higher your speaks will be. Despite my love for them, I usually have a low threshold for responses since the arguments are usually fairly weak. If you obviously just included an a priori because I am judging you and don’t extend a conceded one, your speaks will probably suffer. I also prefer you be more up front with them in CX if your opponent catches them, I have a lot more respect for people who are straight up about their sketchiness. If you are not the best at answering these arguments I wouldn’t worry too much, I will be more than happy to disregard them if you are winning a role of the ballot that excludes them or a shell that indicts them. Also, calling something a trick doesn’t mean anything to me -- tell me what the implication of the argument is.

Ks: I really enjoy a good K debate. Despite my reputation, I read Ks quite often because not all judges were good for my preferred style, so I know quite a bit of K literature and how interactions work. The one caveat is that I won’t vote for arguments I just cannot understand at all (Shout out to Grant Brown<3). Otherwise I am totally down to judge a K debate. I have read Deleuze, Butler, Wilderson, Heidegger, Nietzsche, Baudrillard, Edelman, etc in rounds before so I definitely think Ks like these are interesting and strategic. I occasionally enjoy judging these debates the most because of how interesting and unique the arguments are. However, I cannot stand unwarranted “this is just another link” arguments, you need to explain or give a warrant as to why what you say is a link actually is one. I also am not a huge fan of identity K's, and I may vote on some responses you disagree with, just as a fair warning. Additionally, I prefer to see line by line debate, and it seems as though a lot of Ks begin/consist of long overviews without much specific reference to arguments in previous speeches, which can be difficult to flow, so you may want to consider this when going for the K in the 2n/1ar/2ar. Ultimately if this is your favorite/ best style, you should go for it.

Larp: I was never a larper, never judged a high level larp round, and am probably not qualified to judge a really good DA v Util AC debate. I don’t particularly enjoy these debates, and you most likely will not enjoy me judging you but I will do my best to evaluate the round. If you can’t defend util against a dump or well justified framework you shouldn’t pref me, because “the aff is a good idea” will not get my ballot. (Update: For some reason people still stand up and larp and read disads in front of me so PLS don’t pref me or change up the strat, trust me it is best for both of us).

Fwk: I enjoy a good framework debate, and it is probably my favorite thing to judge, but it can become fairly difficult to follow at times. As long as you clearly label arguments and make sure to weigh I feel very comfortable evaluating these rounds. However, these debates can often become muddled and devolve into a chicken and egg debate, which makes it near impossible to resolve so be careful of that. My major has given me a new passion for interesting frameworks so I would love to hear whatever unique positions you got.

Speaks: I am generally high in my speaker point assignments for some reason, apparently I am pretty easy to impress. I average probably a 28.8. I like unique and clever arguments and well executed strategy- I would not advise you to go for a tricks aff if you are a larp debater just because I am judging you, do what you do well to get good speaks. I am also somewhat expressive when I think about how arguments interact so don’t mind my face. Also, if I can tell your 2n. is pre-written your speaks will probably suffer.

How do I get a 30?

I won’t guarantee a 30 based on these strategies but it will definitely increase your chances of getting one if you can successfully pull off any of the following

1) A trick I haven’t heard before

2) A good analytic PIC

3) Any unique fwk/K/RoB that I haven’t heard before or think is really interesting

4) A true theory shell or one I haven’t heard before

5) Execute Skep really well/ trigger skep

Lay debates: If you are clearly better than your opponent and it is obvious that you are winning the round, please, dear lord, do not use all of your speech time just because you have the time- win the round and sit down so we can have a discussion and make it more educational than just you repeating conceded arguments for 13 minutes.

Rikhav Shah Paradigm

8 rounds

I debated for Lake Highland for four years qualifying to the TOC my senior year.

Ultra-short version: I’m comfortable evaluating rounds that are K, framework, or theory heavy. I’m fine listening to util/LARP rounds, but I might not be the best judge to adjudicate them. Don’t forget about Hume.

Warrants: Unless you justify why I should accept something without a warrant (for example, oppression is wrong), arguments must have warrants. Fancy rhetoric != a warrant. Repeating the claim twice != a warrant. “My author says so” != a warrant (unless there’s a reason the author is an authority and is making a descriptive claim they are qualified to make). Arguments without warrants are just claims, as a result I will not vote on something that does not have a warrant. I will, however, vote on arguments with warrants that are clearly false and essentially nonsense so long as your opponent doesn’t point out the nonsense.

Ks: I'm familiar with a lot of K lit ranging from Wilderson to Heidegger so feel free to run whatever you have in front of me.

Theory: Offensive counter-interps are great. I might be a bit annoyed if you run a clearly absurd and obscure shell, but I’m fine evaluating theory rounds. I think education and fairness aren’t voters arguments are underutilized. I default CI until/unless reasonability is justified.

Extensions: If and only if the claim is uncontested, you don’t have to extend the warrant. I’ll be pretty lenient on 2ar extensions. You don’t have to extend theory interps or violations if no I-meets are made (still extend counter-interps).

Speaker points: Here is a list of things I think are awesome and will earn great speaks:

  • Science or mathematics used to justify positions (automatic 30 if original/unique/uncommon)
  • Hume’s inductive fallacy
  • Condo logic
  • Original/uncommon positions
  • Impact turns
  • Cleverly triggered permissibility

Speed: Start slow then ramp up speed. Your speed should be inversely proportional to the blipy-ness of your speech. If you want to emphasize something specific, slow down slightly for it.

If you have any questions, ask me before the round.

Martin Sigalow Paradigm

8 rounds

TOC updates are here.

2018 Conflicts:
Lake Highland Prep School, Millburn AJ, Millburn AW

I debated LD for four years for Lake Highland Prep (11'), won an octos bid, a semis bid, and a finals bid. If you have any questions, and I mean this in the most forward way possible, email me. I check my email constantly and will answer any questions you want.

I like arguments of all types. I was a philosophy major and did lots of phil debate, but I also did policy (Emory 2015) so I enjoy policy-style and k debate too.

There are five "technical-foul" sort of norms I will enforce against without any argument needing to be made.

  1. New arguments wont be evaluated.
  2. A debater is not allowed to make an argument that is the exact opposite of an argument they made earlier in the debate. For example, if the affirmative says cap is bad in the AC, the 1N reads link turns to cap, the 1AR cannot concede those and then read 4 cards about why cap is good (that happened in a debate I judged). For the same reasons, cross ex and past speeches are binding.
  3. If an argument is mislabeled in the ac, aka an argument is tagged as the second impact to a contention card but is in fact a theory argument against counterplans, then the negative is allowed to make new responses to that argument. In that case, the affirmative has lied about what their argument means. I could be very easily persuaded that this is probably a voting issue for academic integrity.
  4. No arguments contingent on the identity of the other debater will be evaluated.
  5. I will not a) abandon the flow and vote on truth or whatever, b) give people higher speaks because of some argument they made about why I should do that, or c) evaluate the debate at any point before its end.

To get good speaks in front of me:

  1. Be fast and efficient
  2. Be strategic
  3. Don't read stupid arguments (I will vote on stupid arguments, though)


  1. You don't have to extend your theory interps or plan texts or counterplan texts. In fact, please don't. I want those seconds of my life back.
  2. If a layer is dropped you can refer to it in passing and I'll count that as an extension.
  3. If warrants conflict the more developed and intricate extension will usually win out.

Theory Stuff

  • The 2AR of a 1AR theory argument is obviously not allowed to introduce new paradigm issues, although they can sort of respond to 2N arguments. Obviously if the first time I'm hearing "education is better than fairness" is during a speech in which the negative could not answer it, I can't evaluate it, on the very basic grounds that I'm sure the negative would have had something to say.
  • I default to competing interps if no one makes any arguments either way on the assumption that if no decision calculus for theory debate is introduced debaters would have wanted me to resolve the debate as mechanically as possible. This also applies when the first time a debater advances an argument for one paradigm or another is the 2ar.
  • In some rounds, a theory defender does not explicitly give a counterinterpretation text. In those rounds, I will assume a counterinterpretation that is the opposite of the interp.
  • I default to offense-defense.


  • Some of my favorite debates to judge these days.
  • I assume that affirmative fiat is durable unless otherwise stated. Negative rollback arguments probably need to say in the 1n why fiat isn't durable.
  • Permutations are tests of competition.
  • I believe that sequencing permutations are theoretically illegitimate, personally, because I believe that timeframe-based competition is bad for debate. I also believe that intrinsic perms are bad.
  • Severance perms aren't allowed at all because I believe that the aff can't go against something they've said earlier in the debate. No number of arguments will cause me to give that belief away.
  • Perms, on counterplans and Ks, do not need "net benefits." They can have net benefits, but they don't need them. If the perm is just as good as the alt or counterplan then the counter-advocacy is not competitive.


  • Like these.
  • If the first time the alt is mentioned as a floating PIC is the 2N, almost any aff 2AR argument will incline me to think it is not.
  • ROB stuff and framework maybe interact, but if no argument is presented either way I will assume they do not directly clash.

Framework debate

  • I can judge tricks and framework rounds.
  • I will allow new 2N responses to Aprioris in the AC. Whether an argument is an apriori, for this purpose, is up to my discretion. This doesn't apply to spikes that aren't aprioris, and it doesn't apply to neg aprioris. An apriori is an argument that wins the round immediately on substance, prior to the framework.
  • Slow down for tags so I'm very clear on whats responsive and what's not.
  • I'll assume that the aff defends implementation unless they say they don't in the AC or CX. The 1ar is too late to say they don't. That's normal means for being aff.


  • Bullying is bad. Ad hominem attacks are bad. Although that may be controversial in Policy debate, I hope that it will never be in LD.
  • "I'm inserting these graphs into the document" - you can insert lists to save some time sometimes, but don't insert random tables. This is a speaking event. That's literally all that's required. Stuff that can't be translated into the spoken word are not allowed.
  • Poorly tagging arguments is awful. If your tag starts with "military aid does..." and then your card is not about military aid? I could be convinced that's a voting issue for academic integrity.
  • If someone says in cross examination that they do not know what a kind of argument is, they are not allowed to magically learn in the middle of the debate. It is okay to say "what is an apriori to you?" as a response, but if you say "I do not know what an apriori is" you are not allowed to explain anything as a apriori later in the debate, especially if it is obvious that you are lying for a tactical advantage.
  • Document compilation is prep. Flashing and emailing is not, but any time putting things into one document is prep time.
  • Any card from a current or former LD coach relying on some asserted fact, about debate or otherwise, will be treated as analytics.
  • If you run theory or a K on a novice or a local debater who won't get it, I will treat the argument as not existing for the purposes of the decision. Also, if you are mean to novices or local kids in other ways, I will tank your speaks. What you can do: go a little above conversational speed and read an nc and turns to the aff. At least then the debater you are hitting understands the terms under which they lost. When you're aff, it can be dense but not too fast. Beat your opponent by making arguments against them that they understand the form of, at least, if not the content.
  • Claiming that fairness not being a voter or skepticism or determinism or something means you can do whatever you want and attempt to sign the ballot or smash your opponent's laptop (Berkely 2011) is unacceptable. Physically coercing your opponent, or threatening to, will result in a loss.
  • If you make fun of or insult someone's debate background, school, or personal appearance, with an argument or otherwise, I will tank your speaks, or, if things are serious enough, I will drop you.
  • If you argue directly that a certain identity group of debater should not make arguments or should lose on the spot or something like that, I will not vote on it/might consider more drastic steps.

Trigger Warnings (TW: mental health, violence, and sadness):

  • If a debater wishes to read a debate arguments about suicide, severe depression/specific mental health issues, sexual violence, or any similarly situated issue, I expect debaters to ask before the debate for their opponent/spectators/judges permission to read the stuff. If a spectator wants to leave, they have that option, but otherwise if another judge, perhaps, or opponent has a trigger-warnings based reason against those sorts of issues, then the expectation is that you will read something else if you have it. If you feel affected by such an issue, raise the issue before cross ex and after the speech, but if it gets really bad you are allowed to interrupt your opponent, in which case I will, if I am the only judge in the room, stop the debate and take appropriate steps. I will not enforce a genuine-ness standard for whether it really has affected you, but I will enforce a restriction on the content of what you can object to in order to discourage frivolity. In the cases where a debater does not raise an objection on the basis of their own personal well-being, those issues do not warrant interruptions or pre-cross ex appeals for my ballot: instead, those must be initiated in the form of theory arguments.

(preharvard) Arguments I hate (I'll try not to intervene against these but boy do I dislike them):

1. "Switch-side debate solves because you can just do something in a different debate" - what?

2. Contentions in deontological cases that are obviously consequentialist, if they are labeled to not be.

3. Nitpicky disclosure interps like "Oh you disclose everything but refused to post the lined down version? Shame on you!" I don't want to have debates at major tournaments come down to random pre-round nonsense because then the debate isn't about anything real.

4. Arguments that are so poor that it is clear they could literally only be won if dropped. Example: "Right is a direction and reporters can't have that so negate." These arguments are intellectually dishonest.

5. Arguments that are confusingly worded to hide what their simple (always bad) argument. Example: "There is a continental contiguous distinction" which means "How do I know if the US contains Alaska?" These arguments are also intellectually dishonest.

6. "Grammar is racist." This argument is false and specious in a terrible way. "Grammar can be racist" does not mean "Grammar must be racist." Example: "this word has an s at the end and so is plural" does not fall prey to the "How dare you?! Racist!" objection.

7. The truth testing good "all roles of the ballot collapse to truth testing" argument (Frege). This is based on a conflation. Truth testing means testing the truth of the resolution. Just because everything is true or false obviously doesn't require that the question of the debate center on the truth value of the resolution.

8. "White uncomfortability is good." Since when did we get to a place where we thought that consciously being violent to a child is a good idea?

9. Positions so uncontroversial that there is no negative position. This includes incredibly specific topical affirmatives and unchallengable non-topical affirmatives (such as "my advocacy is that I should feel better"). I believe, in a related way, that if there are no articles written criticizing a position that it is bad for debate.

10. "Philosophy bad" arguments.

11. Arguments that confuse the pre-fiat post-fiat distinction, such as "well you need freedom to make arguments so my framework comes before theory."

12. "Topicality is psychological violence." It isn't.

13. Psychoanalysis. Psychoanalysis at any deep roughly scientific level is discredited gibberish.

14. "All theory interps must be weighed against side bias" - that's impossible. "Well it's a good thing I was 2% disadvantaged, but then they gave me 2% points by giving me presumption."

15. "My framework solves oppression because if we fiated it as a policy oppression wouldn't exist." Disobeying the Hobbesian state one time will not trigger the "total anarchy" oppression disadvantage.

16. Affirmatives that "don't defend implementation." That sentence is meaningless. "I believe this action would be good if we did it but, uh, am not considering the action happening." ???

17. "Jurisdiction is a voter because the ballot says you have to vote on the resolution" - no it doesn't. It doesn't say that. This is a lie. It is a successful lie, but it is a lie. A literal, actual falsehood.

18. "The role of the ballot and the role of the judge are distinct." What do you think "the ballot" means in "role of the ballot?" Judges literally don't anything else except fill out a ballot and give comments. They mean the same thing.

19. "I'm only defending a subset of the topic, so that subset doesn't have to be topical." Incorrect. In order to be a subset of something it has to be a topical version of that thing.

20. "CX checks is an I meet." No. It's an "I could have met." Arguments for CX checks in an interp or counterinterp that say "if I would have met" is obviously absurd. Are we supposed to just take your word for it? How do we know that you would have just met? I'm skeptical.

21. "Must weigh between role of the ballot and theory." Theory voters are role of the ballot arguments. They do not caterogically outweigh each other.

22. "Truth testing comes before theory" - only if "policymaking/comparative worlds" also comes before theory - which it doesn't. Theory voters coexist with and side constrain role of the ballot arguments.

23. "If I couldn't debate the aff, how do I know whether it is true?" This is a very wonky view about truth and falsity.

24. "Metaphors and poetry are bad for people with disabilities" - this is offensive and demeaning to people with disabilities.

25. Parameters without a definition. This argument hilariously proceeds "Theory constrains definitions of words which includes frameworks. [sic]. My framework is best for fairness." You need to actually have a definition of ought in there, or your "reasons to prefer" aren't "reasons to prefer" anything.

26. Arguments that appeal to warrants people don't actually read in the debate. You can't reference warrants in someone's wider literature they didn't actually read in the debate. This applies to appeals to Wilderson's psychoanalytic theories that don't make it into the speeches.

27. "This is ontological because it has happened a bunch of individual times I can name in the past.

I may add more later.

Policy Debate: assume I'm generally consistent with policy norms most of the time because I did the activity for awhile, but haven't done it few years. I went to Emory, so Policy-style arguments are probably what I'd be best at. Making the debate very difficult for me is not in your best interest. LD predispositions that probably affect the way that I will judge:

1. It is probably much easier than you are used to with judges to convince me to drop the debater on a CP theory argument like PICs bad.
2. I'm worse at flowing on average than most policy judges for organizational reasons. For that reason, being abundantly clear where you are at any given point in the debate is very important. Signpost lots.
3. Although I'm way closer to Policy on this than LD, be aware that in LD arguments won are often treated as won or lost according to a yes/no focus instead of a "risk it is true" focus. Some of this bias may seep into what I'm judging.
4. I am more tab than a lot of policy judges, in the sense that I will vote on arguments about, say, religion, or zeno's paradox, or random skeptical stuff without an air towards intervening. I am probably more likely to vote negative on presumption in the case where I think the neg is decisively ahead on an issue like this.
5. I will probably treat conceded warrants as being more important than policy judges. That is to, the burden of rejoinder for arguments is significant. Evidence can matter to those arguments and how much they matter, of course. And, of course, evidence can diminish the importance of the factors cited by the conceded card. But people need to be responsive to specific stuff.
6. Unless it's something like Framework, I think it would be unwise to get involved with a huge T debate in my case. I always found policy T debates really complex. (LD T debates I've been totally good with me for some time). There are just lots of definitions floating around and some counterdefinitions and some not and basically ugh. It may be wise in this scenario to be the initiator since I'm more inclined to pull the trigger on this rather than use intuitions? I really think you would be better off not putting it in the block and doing stuff I actually did in college at Emory, which was almost never to go for T.

Becca Traber Paradigm

8 rounds

My email is beccatraber (at) gmail (dot) com

TOC'19 conflicts (from coaching LHP & Success TR, NSD hiring, TDC hiring:

American Heritage RG
Appleton East MM
Cambridge Rindge and Latin AG
Greenhill School AM
Hunter MN
Interlake MS
James Bowie TW
Kamiak NB
Lake Travis BL
Marcus KL
Princeton DS
Quarry Lane SK
Southlake Carroll SM
Strake JH
Stuyvesant CL
Success Academy TR
West Broward EM
Valley CT
Westview RS

Accessibility note: If you don't flash the exact text of your speech, please do not play any additional sounds underneath your speaking. If there is sound underneath your speaking, please flash the exact text of what you are reading. I do not want to undermine the performance you want to engage in and whichever option you prefer is fine for me. It is fine to have part of your speech be on paper with music underneath and then turn the music off when you go off paper. I struggle to understand what is being said over noise and I'm uncomfortable being unable to know what is being said with precision. (Dec2018)

Jan2019: Feel free to run these arguments if you want, but know that my threshold is extremely high for "evaluate debate after [speech that is not the 2ar]." It is very difficult to persuade me to meaningfully do this. A better way to make this argument would be to tell me what sort of responses I shouldn't permit and why. For instance, new paradigm issues bad, cross-apps bad, no embedded clash, no new reasons for [specific argument] -- all fine and plausible. I just don't know what it means to actually stop evaluating later speeches. Paradigmatically, speech times are speech times and it makes no sense to me why I should obviate some of your opponents time for any in round reason. If you have a specific version of this argument you want to check with me, feel free to do so before round.

I debated on the national circuit for the Kinkaid School, graduated 2008. I've been coaching and teaching on the national circuit since. I currently am the assistant coach for Lake Highland Prep.

I try to be as tab as possible, but we all know, that a truly tabula rasa judge is impossible. Just know that everything I'm about to say is simply a preference and not a rule; given a warranted argument, I will shift off of just about any position that I already have or that your opponent gave me.

Speed: I have no problem with spreading -- all I ask is that you are still clear enough to follow. What this means is that you need to have vocal variation and emphasis on important parts of your case, like card names and key arguments.

I have a slightly higher threshold for extension of warrants than most judges. If the full argument and warrant is not extended, than it does not exist.

I prefer an explicit ROB defended as a framework for evaluating the round. I do not have a preference as to what the ROB is, as long as it capable of filtering offense. I am willing and able to judge tricks debate or k debate. When civilizations clash, I regularly vote in both directions.

Cross-X is really important to me, please use it. You have very little chance of fantastic speaker points without a really good cross-x. I would prefer if y'all don't use CX as prep, although I have no problems with questions being asked during prep time. That being said, please do not be unnecessarily mean. It is not very persuasive.

Theory: I'm willing to listen to either reasonability or competing interpretations. I don't assume either fairness or jurisdiction as axiomatic voting issues, so feel free to engage on that level of the theory debate. I do really enjoy a well-developed theory argument, just make sure you are holding to the same standards of warranting here that I demand anywhere. Internal links between the standards and the interpretation, and the standards and the voter, are both key. Make sure you have a robust interpretation that isn't simply the same thing as the violation, particularly if you are going under competing interpretations paradigm. It is meaningless for me to vote for a norm that is simply "x bad."

Last: I don't default any particular way. I am willing to listen to presumption arguments which would then make me default, given the particular way the round shakes down, but my normal response to a round where no one meets their burden is to lower my standards until one person does meet their burden. Now, I hate doing this and it makes me grumpy, so expect lower speaker points in a situation where nobody meets their burden and nobody makes an argument about why I should presume any which way. This just points to the need to clearly outline my role and the role of my ballot, and be precise as to how you are meeting it.

Reed Weiler Paradigm

8 rounds

Hey, I'm Reed. I did LD for four years at Lexington High School ('14-'18), went to TOC my junior and senior years, and reached elims at a bunch of bid tournaments & round robins along the way. I taught at NSD flagship over the summer and currently attend American University.

I don't want to waste your time with a huge, comprehensive explanation of every opinion I have regarding debate rounds, so if it helps, I try to model my judging after people like Chris Castillo, Sam Azbel, Jack Wareham, and Kaushal Balagurusamy.

I'll try my best to be tabula rasa and will evaluate pretty much any argument as long as it is properly warranted and implicated, with the exception of arguments that are actively exclusionary/racist/homophobic/ableist/etc.

I primarily debated policy and theory my senior year, but also read a good amount of phil and K positions throughout my career. That being said, I don't think my preferences as a debater carry over into my preferences as a judge. I'll be just as happy evaluating a dense deleuze v. kant debate as I will be judging plan v. counterplan debates. Regardless of the content of your positions, all I really care about is whether you can execute your arguments well, demonstrate strategic vision, and explain things in a clear & understandable way.

*note: I have recently decided that I will not make a decision that procedurally excludes any of the 5 LD speeches. What this means is if you ask me to "evaluate the debate after the 1ac/1nc/1ar/2nr", i will most likely ignore it, as I've found that doing so would create an incredibly arbitrary decision procedure that I don't feel would benefit anyone in the way they are hoping.

Do your best, have fun, and please ask questions if you have them. I am always willing to discuss my reason for decision/give comments after the round. If you feel the need to ask me anything before the round, shoot me an email:

Lawrence Zhou Paradigm

8 rounds

University of Oklahoma '19

Bartlesville, OK '14

Affiliations: The Harker School

Conflicts: Apple Valley, Norman

Last updated: 1/22/2019 for Emory

Email for the chain: (Yes, I want to be on the chain, if you don't put me on the chain, I just assume you haven't read the paradigm)

Any questions, just ask.

If it is right before the round, just look at the "Answers to Common Questions" section. If you are doing prefs before the tournament or have more time before the round, you should begin at the "Prefs Overview" section in my paradigm in full paradigm linked below.

Full Paradigm here.

Emory Update

See full paradigm

Answers to Common Questions

Q: Should I shake your hand?

Q: What's your paradigm?
A: ... the way I evaluate rounds? More specifically?

Q: Are you okay with speed?
A: If I wasn't, do you think anyone would hire me?

Q: What experience do you have as a judge?
A: Too much.

Q: Do you care if we stand/sit?
A: Nope, but it's better for you if you can stand

Q: Preference of seating?
A: Nope.

Q: Will you yell clear/speed?
A: Yes, 2 times.

Q: Are you okay with theory?
A: I suppose.

Q: What do you default on theory?
A: Competing interps, drop the arg, RVIs fine, but need to be justified.

Q: How about policy arguments?
A: I suppose.

Q: What about kritiks?
A: I suppose.

Q: What about performance?
A: I suppose (see below)

Q: What if I read a blatantly non-topical aff?
A: Meh (see below)

Q: Are there any arguments you don't want me to make?
A: Yes, bad arguments. Again, I'll vote on them, but I'd rather not.

Q: Do you disclose speaks?
A: Not anymore

Q: What does it take to get the 30?
A: You probably won't get one, but knock my socks off and you'll get close.

Q: Should I pref this guy?
A: Good question.

Paul Zhou Paradigm

8 rounds

Can't Judge: Stuyvesant, Lexington

Background: I debated for 4 years at Lexington and competed almost exclusively on the national circuit.

I coached for Stuyvesant from 2014-2017 and also helped out some former students for TOC 2018. I haven't judged since that tournament and have 0 content knowledge about the topic.

I think part of what makes debate great is its incredible openness. Given that fact, I am fine with speed, theory, policy-style argumentation, dense framework arguments, kritiks, performance, tricks, and pretty much anything else you can think of. Debate is your game. Play it how you want to.

Feel free to message me with any questions at

Some judges that influenced me: Sam Azbel