D6 Qualifier CEDA SESEC Championship

2019 — Atlanta, GA/US

Natalie Bennie Paradigm

3 rounds

natalielbennie@gmail.com--yes e-mail chain, but know I do not follow along with docs during the debate and do not tend to read a ton of evidence afterwards.

Debated at Samford University.

Currently coaching as a graduate student at Wake Forest.

Top level stuff:

  • Do what you do best. Please do not try and change your debating to try and win my ballot-- chances are it won't help you out and you'll have less fun. I will listen to any argument and have experience running the gamut of them.
  • My default position is as a policymaker and that debate is a game (a very challenging one, often with legitimate real-world applications, but a game nonetheless). That said--if you want me to evaluate the round in any other way, be clear about what my role as a judge is and present a justification for that interpretation, and I will be happy to do so



  • I am often very compelled by a topical version of the aff.
  • Fairness is probably not an impact by itself, *update* but I find myself voting on it more often than I expect to.

Non-traditional affs:

  • Go for it
  • I don't think non-traditional aff necessarily need to be "topical," but I do think that the resolution ought to play a central role in your decision to run this affirmative.


  • Go for it
  • Specificity is always preferable to generics and will probably be rewarded
  • I am willing to no-link a disad
  • I am often very compelled by a good overview that includes a thorough turns case analysis.
  • Condo is fine and probably good. 3 CP's and a K are probably not. Cheater counterplans are probably cheating-- don't be afraid to take on this debate as the affirmative. I will vote on theory, but if there are other args you're winning, you should go for them instead.


  • Go for it
  • Specificity is preferable to generics and will probably be rewarded
  • While I may be familiar with your literature base, I will still hold you to a high threshold for explanation. I've seen a lot of k debates devolve into a battle of buzzwords with warranted analysis getting lost in the midst of it (to be fair, this is also true of a lot of policy debates). I will probably reward your ability to explain your own argument.

Tips for speaks:

  • Time efficiency— Have the 1ac ready to send before the start time/the 1nc to send asap. Stands should be set up before the round. Inefficient rounds = lower speaks and less decision time, which may either help or hurt you (if that’s a gamble you’re interested in making).
  • Assertiveness is not a license for disrespect or hostility.
  • say smart things! Be nice!
  • Make bold choices— trust your instincts.

Other stuff:

  • Be kind. Be conscious of the person you're speaking to and how your tone/language choices/body language could be coming off.
  • You are an intelligent and competent human being. Don't be afraid to use your brain and make some common-sense answers to arguments. I think a lot of what we say in debate is silly and could be taken down by a few good attacks, even without cards. Trust yourself to make smart arguments.
  • Do not clip cards.
  • Have fun! I love this activity and will put in as much effort judging your round as you did preparing for it.

Tiffany Dillard-Knox Paradigm

6 rounds

(1) I don't flow linearly, instead I evaluate the debate wholistically.

(2) I like big picture argumentation. Think about the implications that has for speed and argument extensions. You should be very clear in your extension of argument analysis. It is your responsibility to clearly communicate the arguments you need to win the debate. Don't assume that the tech advantages you get from the flow apply the same for me. This does not mean that I am not smart enough to follow debates but it does mean that I will not have a linearly constructed document at the end of the debate that will inform how I evaluate the debate.

Seth Fendley Paradigm

6 rounds

Fall 2019 Judging Paradigm

Please do add me to the email thread seth @ dgpt.com

I lean very heavily to the truth side in the truth over tech debate. I do vote for technical arguments but they need to be 100% justified.

I am the Director of Debate at the University of Central Florida. I am finishing my dissertation looking at the influence of native advertising into the public sphere. I like to consider myself a critical scholar, but that does not mean that I am not a good judge of policy rounds. I am a firm believer in debate as an educational tool and as such the manner in which you choose to approach the resolution should be more important than my take on the topic. I have a tabula rasa approach to each round so do not assume I know every warrant or have read all of the cards you are reading ahead of time. Work to convince me not only why your side is winning, but also why your side matters to the educational value that debate provides (substance is valued over quantity).

On the Neg

Counterplans and k's are both great ways to go after the case. I evaluate both equally but I have a hard time agreeing that you can run both arguments at the same time (one has to come before the other).

On the Aff

Be topical, make it to where the neg has no reason to run the T shell. This does not mean do not run K Affs, this means, make sure you have a clear link into the case and that you are not running a K just for the sake of not engaging the topic.

How to frustrate me as a judge

Post-rounding. Claiming things were dropped or not addressed by your opponent when they are clearly on the flow. Yelling unnecessarily (especially in CX). Saying kritiks are not educational and not warranted in a debate round.

How to lose speaker points

Being rude, starting rounds late, not being clear (not as significant as others)...

Debate History (if this matters):

Two years as a Parli Debater at Arkansas Tech University

One year coaching NPTE Debate at Arkansas State University

Three years coaching Speech & Debate at the University of Southern Mississippi

Two years of coaching policy debate at the University of Central Florida


Helplessness Blues - Fleet Foxes (2011)

I was raised up believing I was somehow unique
Like a snowflake distinct among snowflakes
Unique in each way you can see
And now after some thinking, I'd say I'd rather be
A functioning cog in some great machinery
Serving something beyond me
But I don't, I don't know what that will be
I'll get back to you someday soon, you will see

What's my name, what's my station
Oh, just tell me what I should do
I don't need to be kind to the armies of night
That would do such injustice to you
Or bow down and be grateful and say
"Sure, take all that you see"
To the men who move only in dimly lit halls and determine my future for me
And I don't, I don't know who to believe
I'll get back to you someday soon, you will see

If I know only one thing, it's that everything that I see
Of the world outside is so inconceivable
Often, I barely can speak
Yeah, I'm tongue-tied and dizzy
And I can't keep it to myself
What good is it to sing helplessness blues?
Why should I wait for anyone else?
And I know, I know you will keep me on the shelf
I'll come back to you someday soon myself

Ryan Galloway Paradigm

4 rounds

Ryan Galloway

Director of Debate

Samford University

Coached for 24 years

Note: I agree with pretty much everything Adrienne Brovero says in her paradigm.

Top-Level Stuff you probably want to know:

Non-traditional AFF's:

I am judging more and more framework debates and am voting negative more than I used to. I think this is because affirmatives are defending less and less. I think affirmatives would do better at defending that they are in the direction of the topic, their method is predictable, etc. I am increasingly bothered by 1ar framework blocks that are 100% pre-scripted, and feel the negative can take advantage of making more nuanced arguments that get around the general indictment. The last thing I will say is that I think negatives are too gung-ho on going for framework even through the wall of affirmative answers. I watched two elim debates at GSU on framework and feel the neg would have been better off going for their other arguments. Make tactical decisions based on the round. That's good advice for me anyway.

You can win on the NEG without a topical version of the AFF. A lot of ideas aren't topical--but that doesn't mean the AFF somehow automatically wins.

Other Kritik related news:

I'm a decent judge for teams with specific philosophical indictments of the affirmative they are debating. If you have specific links to the AFF and a well-grounded alternative, you'll be in good shape. I expect your links to be specific to the topic area that you are debating. I expect your impacts to be pragmatic indictments of the world-view in which the AFF operates.

I don't understand high theory very well. The vast majority of tags I saw from high theory teams at GSU were 100% incoherent to me. You have to explain things in terms of the tangible consequences they create. You are best off debating the K like a social movements disad. If you speak postmodern or post-structuralist gibberish, I have no qualms about voting for the other team and saying I have no idea what you said and I think the emperor has no clothes.

In my heart of hearts I'm a liberal pragmatist that thinks we need to adopt real-world solutions to make the world a better place. I don't think the perfect should be the enemy of the good, and I think that solutions that are too radical won't be accepted by society and thus are poor choices for social movements. That said, if the NEG can prove that the world is irredeemable in the system in which the AFF operates, I'm willing to roll the dice and look for an alternative.

The rest...

Topic Specific News:


I like the space topic more than I thought I would. I think it is a little narrow. I was surprised by the number of contrived T interps I saw at GSU. I am more about an interpretation being correct first, good for limits and ground second than most judges. I am more willing to vote against a bad T argument that is technically executed well than most judges. That said, a well evidenced topicality violation that makes affirmatives that skirt the margins of the topic not topical is perfect for me.

Disads and risk:

I tend to be more link-oriented than many of my colleagues. I'm willing to no link a disad down to zero. That said, having judged on many panels, I would give you the following advice:

1) You need to sell thumpers to me: You need to win what the implication of your thumper is. A fight is not the same as a big fight unless you prove so. Link differentials matter to me. I'm not sold that a small non-unique takes out the entire link to the disad when the link is much larger than the status quo thumper.

2) I'm very persuaded by disad turns the case. A credible link to a disad + disad turns the case combined with minimal defense vs. the internal link to the advantage is usually a winner for me. Usually NEG's are thin on their rationale for disad turns case, so answer it.

3) Don't just go for impact defense. Going for "economic decline not that bad" is usually a loser. Challenging internal links to advantages is incredibly important. Many advantages are contrived and can be taken out with analytic arguments against the evidence.

4) Be careful how you frame the debate. If you say "uniqueness controls the direction of the link" I will take you at your word. If you say "link direction controls uniqueness" I will take you at your word. Framing issues are very critical to me, I flow them and listen carefully and do not impose a pre-prepared belief on how I should evaluate risk. Matt Sessions, who debated for me, says the best way to win Galloway's ballot is to take whatever they say is the most important thing in the debate and turn it. He is not wrong.


1) International FIAT: I'm probably OK with one country/one actor (EU) international FIAT good. I am a bit concerned about contrived international FIAT definitions that have multiple actors who never work together working together.

2) I don't think most process counterplans compete. It's not a slam dunk, but you're in trouble if you only mess with the process of the plan. I can also be sold that they're just bad, even if you come up with a method of competition. Artificial competition is a thing, even without a perm.

3) I tend to think there is a residual link to the perm. When I sit out, I frequently sit out on this issue.

4) Advantage counterplans are powerful weapons. Use them.

5) A dropped internal net benefit to the counterplan is like dropping a disad. The fact that you weren't paying attention in the 2ac doesn't mean the 1ar gets to recover.

6) Conditionality. I'm less worried about the number of counterplans than how they function in the debate. I can be sold that contradictory positions make it difficult to be AFF, I can be sold that you only get one conditional counterplan, etc. That said, one conditional counterplan and a conditional K seems pretty reasonable to me, and two conditional counterplans without a K seems pretty reasonable to me. I'd rather decide the debate on substance than theory.

Debate norms:

1) It hurts me that anyone would clip. I believe the community relies fundamentally on a sense of trust. I trust you. When you take advantage of that trust, part of what binds the community together begins to fray. Don't cheat. Mark your cards. Be beyond reproach in what you do. Better to lose a debate honestly than win because you got away with one.

2) Civility. I strongly believe we are having a civil discussion. There is no point in yelling, screaming, ad hominem attacks, etc. Reasoned disagreement sometimes results in hurt feelings, but I feel these are best resolved through calm discussion. What many people consider humorous I consider to be rude and hurtful to the other person. Self-depricating humor is the best kind. I love our community and respect people even with whom I disagree.

3) Speaker points. I think speaker points are important. I think speaker points are designed to illustrate a measure of individual performance in a given debate. I want you to feel you earned whatever points I gave you based on your performance, and not a sense of ideological fidelity to a cause. As a coach, I use speaker points as a metric to determine the individual progress my debaters are making. Artificial inflation or deflation of such points hinders the goal of determining said progress.

4) I have grown more sensitive to norms in our community that marginalize female debaters.

5) I wish you would number your arguments.

6) I wish you would label your arguments: No Link, Turn, No impact, etc.

7) Most people would be better off going 80% of full speed.

8) I am now officially old.

9) If I'm on a panel with you and you aren't flowing because you are checking email, checking Facebook, cutting cards, etc, I will do my best to publicly out you. We owe an obligation to our students to give it our all in every debate.

Any other questions? Feel free to fire away at: rwlcgalloway@gmail.com.

Pablo Gannon Paradigm

3 rounds

Chain: Pablo.d.gannon@gmail.com

Undergrad: MSU
Grad: Wake Forest
Currently with George Mason

Arguments I am a bad judge for:

1. Counterplans that say we should not do something. Like, “Congress should declare that it will never escalate conflict over Syria.” Both theoretically and in terms of solvency, this is not persuasive.

2. When planks of a counterplan are kicked, even though it was initially one counterplan.

3. When answering T, saying that “we are in the direction of the topic.”

The following are what I thought about real situations I've judged in recent memory:

1. Let’s say the 2ac says “perm do both” on the counterplan. The 2nc says “it links to midterms because of x warrant.” The 1ar says the phrase “extend perm do both” and nothing else. The 2nr drops the perm and then the 2ar makes a big deal about it not being answered. In this situation the 1ar did not develop the argument any further and only repeated the 2ac. If the 2nc warrant for why it links to midterms is uncontested, then I don’t care that the meaningless standalone phrase “perm do both” was not directly addressed a second time. In another context, a lot of rfd’s on topicality start off by mentioning that the 2ar did not extend their counter-interpretation. If the 2ac and the 1ar are clear about it, then it does not really need to be repeated a third time.

2. If the neg block has 2 separate counterplans, and the 2nr combines them into one advocacy, this is pretty clearly introducing a new world. The 2ar would be allowed to make new theoretical arguments and would also be able to introduce new disadvantages based on how the two previously separate counterplans might interact.

3. Say the aff says “speed bad,” and the neg adapts and slows down. In the 2ar, the aff goes fast again, knowing that the neg can’t bring it back up. I vote neg.

Little annoyances:

1. Excessive use of body language during opponents’ speeches

2. When people crouch down and read incomprehensibly off of their partner’s laptop

3. Not seeing someone’s face because the stand is too high

4. The 2ar phrase that goes something like “to vote for them, you have to be able to look me in the eye after the debate and tell me that ...”

5. The whole angle of “x is inevitable, it’s only a question of its effectiveness.” It's not conceptually wrong, but is overplayed and often not true.

6. A 2ac "perm do the cp" in situations that obviously don't make sense.

Lincoln Garrett Paradigm

3 rounds

Yes email chain: lincolngarrett49@gmail.com


AFF on T

NEG on conditionality, but even I have my limit (more than 3, no evidence for a bunch of them, combining them later in the debate, amending and adding 2NC cps). NEGs are less good at defending their egregiousness in my recent experience.

I will kick the CP if I think it is worse than the status quo. A neg team doesn't have to say "judge kick" and the AFF isn't going to convince me I shouldn't do this.

I reject the argument and not the team for most every other theoretical objection to a CP.

Will vote on K's. Will care about if the plan is a good idea even if the AFF can't physially make it happen.

Don't have to read a plan, but merely saying the res is bad and dropping stuff will lead to L's.

I am not in the market to award AFF vagueness or poor explanations of cases until the 2AR

Evidence quality outweighs evidence quantity.

Donald Grasse Paradigm

3 rounds

i deleted lots of old stuff because it was too long, email is below if you want clarification about anything. make your best arguments, compare them with your opponent's arguments, have fun. i debated at homewood - floosmoor and kentucky, so i'm mostly familiar with disad and case versus a big aff or tricky counterplans.

1. email chain please: donaldgrasse93@gmail.com

2. data matters - arguments are not just claims, there needs to be evidence (not necessarily cards) that supports the idea. examples are generally a good start, and they are best when they are applied in context of the debate.

3. i flow cross-x and make most of my decisions based on what was said in the debate. i don't follow along with the speech docs because i think it distracts me from what you are saying in place of what the cards are about. if you want me to look at particular cards, or if you think there is a disconnect between what your opponent is arguing and what their highlighted evidence says, make me aware of that in the speeches/cross-x. i reward good evidence, but first and foremost i want to reward good communication of facts in evidence into a comparative argument.

Allison Harper Paradigm

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

If you have any questions, feel free to ask.

Thoughts on Pf and LD:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Andrew Hart Paradigm

3 rounds


I have debated or coached for UGA since 2004 and debated for Stratford for 5 years before that. My knowledge and literature base exists largely on the policy side, but I am fairly ideologically neutral and well acquainted with K and K-ish args as well. After all, I have been in debate for nearly as long as many of the current high school debaters have been alive. That last sentence just hurt my soul, but it is true. My basic belief when judging is that as long as you clearly explain the argument and why it is more important than whatever the other side says, you will probably win the debate. I will do my best to evaluate all arguments fairly and without bias.

When it comes to assigning risk to an argument, I do not ascribe to an offense-defense paradigm. I can and will assign zero risk to an argument if defensive arguments are clearly won. If there is no link, there is no link. And no uniqueness if there is no uniqueness. For example, if your uniqueness evidence on a politics DA is 3-4 weeks old and the Aff has definitive evidence from a few days ago saying the opposite and cites a specific change, then there is zero risk to me. This also equally applies to advantages and solvency and pretty much all arguments. I’m perfectly willing to vote on only defensive arguments such as a perm, no link, and impact/uniqueness D, but it is still much easier to get my ballot by reading and going for offense.

I believe that debate is a communicative activity and not a judge reading comprehension test, which means I will not just call for all of the evidence at the end of the debate because it was read. I will pay attention to and flow the warrants of the evidence read if possible, so you should be clear when reading the text of the evidence if you want me to know what it says. I find that judges that just call for all of the evidence tend to reconstruct the debate in terms of evidence read instead of the arguments made. I will certainly call for evidence if necessary, typically if I did not get the substance of the evidence or if there is a debate over what the evidence actually says. Also, extend the warrants of the evidence in addition to extending the piece of evidence.

I keep a pretty decent record of the debate, but my pen does not move as fast as you speak. This means that you need to slow down when reading theory or other multiple analytical arguments in a row etc. If I do not have an argument on my flow, I cannot and will not vote for it. This also means that jumping around the flow can very quickly lead to flow chaos and potential missed arguments because I cannot just add in new cells or flow straight down and rearrange the flow during prep like on the computer.

As far as prep time goes for flashing speeches, I am reasonable if you are. You should be saving the speech when you say end prep and not continuing to copy and paste or compile the speech.

If you are caught clipping cards or cross reading or any other major ethics violations/cheating in a debate in front of me, you will immediately lose the debate. This is a very serious accusation with serious consequences, so there must be rather substantial/conclusive evidence of this occurring for me to be willing to end the debate. I have no qualms whatsoever dropping the hammer if it’s proven. If you believe that the other team has done this, speak up during C-X/prep, and we will resolve the issue before continuing the debate.

*Treat everyone in the round (and also outside the round) with respect and dignity. I understand that debate is a competitive activity that can lead to some heated arguments, but that is no excuse for being a complete jackass and a terrible human being.*

A couple of minor argument disclaimers/leanings/answer to pre round questions to note. These are clearly not strict rules and should not deter you from doing what you do best. I have voted for Condition/Consult CPs, ASPEC, non-topical Affs, and Affs that refuse to even engage the topic, and I believe that almost anything in the round is debatable with the exception of speech order and time.
1. The aff should at the very least discuss and be in the direction of the topic, so the neg at least has some reasonably predictable ground and the ability to have clash. Plans are often the best/easiest way to establish this, but they are not required – just preferred. I can and have voted for Affs that are neither in the direction of nor talk about the topic.

2. I, like most judges, do not want to have to wade through a big theory debate to decide a round. I much prefer the substance, but I will do it if needed. If you think it is your only option or that you are winning the argument and want to go for it, by all means go for it. I tend to default to reject the arg and not the team (except for condo/status) unless you can explain why the violation warrants that level of punishment. Even dropped theory arguments must be developed and explained as to why I should reject the team.

3. I tend to find the argument that counter-plans that result in the entirety of the plan, especially those with competition based off of certainty (condition, consult) are unfair/not competitive persuasive. You can certainly win the debate with these counterplans because they are strategic, and I do vote for them regularly. However the difference between strategic and unfair is a rather thin line in this area and that argument that can be won in front of me. As I said, I will evaluate the arguments based upon what happens in the debate and not my beliefs. Pointing out that this or other specific notes on arguments are in my philosophy as a justification for your argument is not an argument or reason for you to win. I wrote it. I do know what is in my philosophy. You must still effectively explain why these arguments are unfair and answer the neg arguments. There are still good reasons why these CPs should be allowed and good answers to the perm.

4. I’m not a big fan of most any spec argument. If you need to read A-SPEC to force/generate competition for an Agent CP, then by all means do it. At that point, there is a strategic value to this move. However, A-SPEC should probably not be the A-strat going into the round since it is difficult for me to envision a world in which the Aff must specify more than what the resolution demands. Occasionally, there is a good reason for a spec argument, but that is rather rare.

5. Topicality – I will vote on it if you win it and is well developed. Voting on T becomes easier if the argument is well developed beginning in the 1NC and extended with example case lists that each interp allows.

If you have any questions, feel free to ask.

James Herndon Paradigm

3 rounds

James H. Herndon - Director of Debate - Barkley Forum @ Emory University

[prefer to be called Herndon - pronouns are he/him/his. Email is jamesherndon3]

If I am judging you and you are freaking out about it, believe there is no way I would ever vote for you, or are just generally making assumptions about my world view, then I ask you to keep in mind that the following list are things I think I think. I have been wrong more often than I have been right. I will do my best to evaluate the debate neutrally. I view myself as an adjudicator first, and do my best to neutrally evaluate the arguments as defended in front of me. I will vote for anything

Though, like all educators I have biases, those follow.

These statements are things I believe to be true about my judging. They aren't rules. But, it is better to disclose:

1. Debate is a game. I view all theory arguments through this lens.
2. If I don’t understand it at the end of the round then I am not going to vote on it.
3. The Aff should have to defend a plan or advocacy statement that they can defend is topical.
4. Topic related critical literature should be debated.
5. I will deduct speaker points for rudeness.
6. I will reward good cross-x with speaker points.
7.. I tend to evaluate the strength of the link in tandem with uniqueness – neither exists in a vacuum.
8. Counterplans always switch presumption to the aff.
9. I will NOT kick counterplans for the negative. The 2nr is allowed to present me with a reason to vote for them, that is where the debating ended. If the neg says to kick the cp and the aff doesn’t answer it I will kick it. Absent that, I am not kicking arguments for one team. This applies to all speeches.
10. Dropped doesn’t mean you win. Dropped means that the other team has conceded that the premise of that argument is true. Your job is to explain the significance of that premise for the rest of the debate. This applys to everything.
11. literature shapes the topic. and what you get to do with it.
14. Telling me how to interpret your evidence versus their evidence is what speaker points are made of.
15. There is value to life.

16. I am not qualified to evaluate people in the round for or about things that happen outside of the round. Intentions are important & I give people the benefit of the doubt too often for my own good.

17. I feel like fiating the states + federal government might be a step too far. I haven't heard a great debate on this, but since this is for my biases, thought I'd include it. That being said, state fiat is probably okay if there are solvency cards for what you are doing.

18. limited condo is good. the neg's job is to disprove the aff or win a competitive policy option. That being said, if the aff can prove that conditionality was used in a way that undermined the value or competitive fairness of the debate, it is a voting issue.

19. topicality is under-utilized against policy teams and over-utilized vs K teams.

20. future fiat illegit.

Good luck.

Michael Hester Paradigm

4 rounds

Judging rounds at my 24th NDT and attending my 28th NDT this weekend...


i enjoy voting for teams that exhibit knowledge gained from researching that season's resolution.

i enjoy voting for teams who directly engage their opponent's arguments.

i enjoy voting for teams who display in-round awareness of strategic opportunities.


i loathe voting for teams whose speeches are incomprehensible due to speaking faster than one is capable.

i loathe voting for teams whose arguments are illogical within an actiivity in which individuals choose to represent their school in public interscholastic competition for which there are winners and losers of each round, absent an explicit explanation for why such illogical arguments warrant the ballot.

i loathe voting for teams whose arguments are presented as being 'politically realistic' but which blithely ignore actual politics as they exist in the 21st century.








Derek Hilligoss Paradigm

3 rounds

Boring stuff: Debated for too long at University of Central Oklahoma where we qualified to the NDT 4x, NDT octafinalist 2x, 1st round recipient, and other stuff. Currently a coach and grad student at Wake Forest. Go Deacs!

If you have any questions before or after the round/tournament you are more than welcome to email me DerekHilligoss@gmail.com

Also plz add me to the chain thanks! also add wfudbt@gmail.com for the 2020 NDT

The stuff you actually care about:

TL;DR do what you do and do it well. Don't let my arg preferences sway you away from doing what you want.

The biggest thing for me is that I value good impact framing/calc. It seems simple enough but if you aren't framing why your impacts matter more then you are leaving it up for me or the other team to decide. You don't want that.

Framework: Go for whatever version of framework you like but I tend to think it should interact with the aff at some level. If you give the 2NC/2NR and make no reference to the aff you will find it harder to win my ballot. The easiest way to go about this is to go for a smart TVA and Education based impacts. I'm not anti-fairness impacts I just find them harder to win than other impacts but don't let that dissuade you if that's your go to impact. For both sides it is critical to explain your vision for debate. You'll find it hard to win "no planless affs ever" in front of me because I do think their are benefits to them so you should be able to win why this specific aff/model is bad.

Planless affs: The one note I wanna make outside of FW notes is that you have to be able to answer the "what do you do" question no matter how silly it may seem. If I don't know what the aff does after the 1AC/CX that's gonna put you in a rough spot. I don't think this means you have to do anything but you should have a good justification for why you don't have to.

Theory: Not my fav type of debates mostly because I was never good at them. That being said if you think you are gonna roll a team on a given theory argument go for it. The only thing of note is I think condo to a certain extent is good and counterplans should probably have solvency advocates.

Topicality: Decided I needed a section here for the NDT- Don't judge many of these debates but the neg has a high burden to explain the violation- I'm usually in the clash world so the different types of STM or Arms Control mechs I slightly understanding but explaining those details will help me vote your way. Explain what your world looks like vs the other teams on the question of what types of affs are and aren't allowed under your interp.

Counterplans: Again have some sort of solvency advocate. Not all counterplans are created equal and there are certainly cheating Counterplans but it's up to the debaters to tell me why that matters.

Disads: The only thing I wanna note here is please dear god highlight your cards better. I don't wanna have to read 30 crappy cards to get the story of the disad and it makes it easier for the aff to win with a few solid cards.

Kritiks: Specific links go a long way. This doesn't mean it has to be exactly about the plan but your application will do better than a generic "law bad" card. Applying your theory to the aff's advantages in a way that takes out solvency will make your lives so much easier.

I tend to think mega-overviews are poorly done because teams assume they answer every arg in it. If that's your style please please don't just do a mega-overview and assume it answers everything. You'll find your points and wins go up when you apply your mega-overview to the line by line.

Case defense isn't a must but it does go a long way in helping your argument and making the aff do more work. For both sides either way you have to frame your impacts. So even if the neg doesn't have case defense they might be trying to frame out your impacts. This means doing better than reading a generic util card (jesus christ can we get rid of Issac?).

For the aff FW I'm less compelled by fairness impacts (like come on it's 2018 the aff gets to at some level weigh the aff against the K) but I think a well developed FW argument about legal/pragmatic engagement will do more for you than fairness/limits impacts.

Examples on both sides will help me a lot. This is more true in some debates more than others but if you have a control on historical examples of your theory (or in answering your opponents theory) you will win more in front of me.

Random things:

If you are unclear I'll yell clear twice before I stop flowing. I'll make it apparent I'm not flowing to let you know you need to adjust still.

If you clip you will lose even if the other team doesn't call you out. Unless argued otherwise I will more than likely be reading along with you so if I catch you I'll be more than happy to vote you down and give you zero speaks for it.

A good CX can go a long way. Use CX wisely because it could win or lose you the debate.

Asking what cards the other team did/didn't read is prep and or CX time and also lets me know you didn't flow the speech- I'll start the time for you :)

John Holland Paradigm

6 rounds

John Holland
Emory University

I haven't updated this in forever and I think my views have changed a fair bit.
I've judged only a handful of rounds on this topic so that may change how you debate T or some cp competition questions.

Short version:
-Ideal 2nr is some combination of impact turns, politics, case or an adv cp.
-Ideal 2ar is case/impact turns outweighs the neg offense.
-Tech over truth. Drops are true. I think of debate as a game.

-The aff should be topical, read a plan, etc. I think this creates the most productive debates and is necessary for the neg to have predictable ground.
-I think T is likely a question of competing interpretations. Usually the neg wins because the aff is light on an offensive reason for why their aff should be included (whether it be an education argument or because its the only aff that can beat the states cp).

-Conditionality- 2 is good. More than 2 is iffy. I think its pretty unlikely that I'd vote aff if the neg only reads 1 cp.
-Other theory arguments- reject the argument, not team solves everything but conditionality.
-CPs that compete off certainty/things not in the plan- bad, go for the perm.
-States- initially, I thought it terrible for debate, but I'm becoming more open to it. I think that is because no one is going for theory or because no one

goes for states because the aff has crafted a solvency deficit.
-pics- yes. read them. The aff should remember that the words "all" and "every" are not in the plan text and should utilize that for permutations.

-I went for the K 0 times vs policy affs while in college.
-In order to win this on the neg, I think you have to win a turns case argument or an argument for why the alt solves the case. The 2ar that is coming and that

I find persuasive is "we have a big advantage that the alt doesn't solve" so the 2nr has to be geared to beat that.
-Topic kritik (k of transportation infrastructure) > generic kritik (Nietzsche, Heidegger, etc).

-Impact turns. Yes. More of them. I like them and went for them a lot. A 1nr that is obscure impact turns to an addon (eg. water scarcity good or US-Russia relations bad) is great.
-1AR impact turns- There's been a discussion about whether the 1ar gets to impact turn after link turning in the 2ac. I think its legitimate.
-Most of my neg career involved a host of advantage cps and impact turns. Politics was most 1nrs. I would often concede a solvency deficit in the 2nc to make impact turns a net benefit.
-1AR shenanigans in general- usually encouraged. Kicking the case to straight a turn a disad. One caveat- you need to slow down if you're doing anything weird thats not super apparent.
-Ben Dean gives the best 2ars ever. If you've ever seen one, thats how to get high points from me.

Old Judge Philosophy
I’m a freshman at Emory and debate. I debated 4 years at Grady in Atlanta, Georgia.
Rounds on the hs topic- 35
General comments
1. 2NR/2AR comparisons are extremely important yet rarely done even at basic levels like impact calculus
2. I would love if every 2NR was a cp/politics or a case specific strategy. That’s what I like, but I know it isn’t always possible
3. Speed is fine, just be clear.
4. I can flow (mostly). This means I protect the 2NR from new arguments.
5. Offense/defense is king- it is possible to win “zero risk” of a disad, but that’s difficult so I think offense should always be extended in some capacity in the last rebuttal.
Specific issues
Theory- I err on the side of the team that risks losing. So for conditionality/pics, I err neg, severance/intrinsicness/perm theory I err aff. Theory debates are never pleasant for judges to resolve because the debaters generally do very little work and leave it in the hands of the judge to decide. This means if you want to go for theory in front of me, impact arguments. Consult and condition counterplans are probably cheating, but the neg can defend them.
States cp- probably not legit, but no one seems to go for theory against it. I think a well written text solves most affs on this topic.
Kritiks- not my favorite argument, but I have voted for them a few times this year. Framework debates are important, but never impacted. Pet peeve- the aff asks if they get to weigh case against the kritik, neg responds with “after you justify your representations.” I have no idea what that means. I also don’t think the neg should be allowed to sever representations without the aff being able to do so as well.
Topicality- I’m not quite sure what is or isn’t topical as I haven’t researched the topic. I default to competing interpretations. If you go for reasonability, you should have a reason why your aff should be read on this topic (whether it’s the heart of the literature or something along those lines). I think the neg wins T debates because the aff doesn’t extend offense or even write their blocks to include offense.

Nadia Hussein Paradigm

3 rounds

About Me:

I have debated for three years at Georgia State and did a mixture of debate in high school. Now I’m a graduate coach at Wake Forest

I want to be on the email chain; use gsupanther84@gmail.com


Slow down when reading your tag and author, or I won't be able to catch it.

If GSU debate has taught me anything, it's to be extremely open minded to a variety of arguments. If you want to run death good, afropessimism, deterrence das, no period plan flaw, K affs, traditional affs, feminist killjoy etc, go for it. Just be sure to explain why you should win with this argument. ROB will be who debated the best unless I'm given another ROB with reason to perfer it. I'm against judge fill in but will vote down oppressive/offensive language/arguments especially if the other team points it out.


Do whatever you're best at, stay topical (or be ready to explain why topicality doesn't matter), be organized, and extend your case and why it outweighs throughout. I tend to err aff on framework if they have and defend a plan text, but you have to lock in if you decide to do that, otherwise I'll be persuaded to neg's abuse claims.


I love a good k with a clear link and impact. Your alts have to be clearly explained. I'll buy links of omission but the neg has to defend why the aff can't simply perm. Negs really have to take time in the block to explain why the aff can't perm and why it's net better to do the alt alone. Affs have to explain why they can perm and why the perm is net better than aff alone or why the alt can't solve the case. Don't drop theory args, or I will have to vote the other way.


I’m good with das but there has to be work done on how it links to the aff, or I will agree with the aff on no link args. If you have a solid Nonunique arg and extend it and I will vote on that. Solid impact calc will seal the deal for me, but if the aff successfully turns the DA or explains why the case outweighs the DA, I will vote on that as well. Long story short the more clash on the DA the better.


Love a creative CP, but it needs to solve/have a net benefit (DA or a K) along with stealing aff ground; otherwise I will agree with aff's perm and theory args. Aff needs to clearly explain why CP can't solve case, beat the net benefit, and articulate why the perm is best. Don't drop theory or you lose my ballot.


I will vote neg on a T arg if you convince me the violation is clear, the aff's counter interpretation is unreasonable, and the impact is big. I will vote aff if they convince me that their aff is reasonable, counter interpretation is better or equal to the negs, and a benefit to their definition, but aff can chuck topicality and still win if they articulate why being topical doesn't matter or is worse for debate. If the aff locks in and says they're T however, they cannot shift or it's an auto win for the neg.


I lean aff in most cases unless the neg provides me with a clear violation, story, and impact. 2acs have to clearly explain why the aff is fair and/or better. Tech is important when arguing FW but explanation is key when you arguing framework. Truth always better than tech.


cross ex is binding, answer the questions honestly, don't ask why the aff should win during 1ac cross ex or generic questions like that.

Shunta Jordan Paradigm

2 rounds

**Updated pre-GSU 2019**

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

I will listen to all arguments, but a couple of caveats:

-This doesn't mean I will understand every element of your argument.

-I have grown extremely irritated with clash debates…take that as you please.

-I am a firm believer that you must read some evidence in debate. If you differ, you might want to move me down the pref sheet.

I have been a long-term fan of the great Shannon Sharpe. Now that he is the co-host of Undisputed, he often serves up Hot Dubs and Hot Ls daily. Please see ways below in which you or your team might earn one of these Dubs or Ls:

To Earn a Hot L:

1. You stumble, fumble or go silent on a fundamental series of CX questions related to your Aff, primary Neg position or issues germane to the topic.

2. You are blatantly racist, homophobic, sexist or are in any other way discriminatory in the debate space.

3. You decide that theory, skepticism or RVIs are more important than substance (specifically for LD).

4. You clip or cross-read.

To Earn a Hot W:

1. Debate well!

2. Be nice!

3. Don’t do any of the things in the Hot L section!

Note to all: In high school debate, there is no world where the Negative needs to read more than 5 off case arguments. SO if you say 6+, I'm only flowing 5 and you get to choose which you want me to flow.
In college debate, I might allow 6 off case arguments :/

Good luck to all!

Brian Klarman Paradigm

3 rounds

Judge Philosophy 

Conflicts: Dartmouth College, Emory University, Pace Academy, and North Broward 

Preferences: I don't really care about what argument you make. I tend to think bad arguments will lose. The debate things I think about the most are counterplans and topicality arguments. That being said, I cut everything and coach everything. I feel like I mostly judge K debates where no one agrees about anything at this point. In those, I generally am familiar with that set of arguments (I am completing my MA in cultural studies, focusing on questions of race & gender) but not how to fit them into a debate. I tend to be very comfortable with how DAs, CPs, T arguments, and case fit into debate, but I tend to do weird research so I might not know what all the technical stuff of the CP is. That also means that the purpose of a K argument (or answer to the purpose) might require more explanation than the purpose of another argument. The things I think you actually need to know about me are below. I tried to lay out what I do in most debates while they are happening and afterwords and be as honest as possible. 

Flowing: I will try to flow every argument in the debate. I expect that debaters will be doing the same thing. I could not possibly care less what the speech doc says or if you are "skipping a card" in the doc (that being said, I would like to be on the chain because I like glancing at cards after debates & trying to learn more about the topic/have informed discussions after the debates; also if you are doing some super annoying thing in the doc just to mess with the other team, I will likely be upset at you when I realize that in the post round/give points). When I flow speeches that set up argument structure (1nc on case, 2ac on off case), I will attempt to number the speech and will give higher speaker points to 1ns and 2as who set up that structure themselves (as well as be able to better understand their arguments; the 1nc that makes 4 analytics in a row without numbering is basically unflowable which means when the 2ac drops something I won't care). In subsequent speeches, I will go by the order of those numbers and will attempt to find what you are answering before I flow what you say. This means that if the 2nc starts on 2ac 4, I will mostly likely miss the first few arguments trying to figure out where to flow it (unless they say "2ac 4 - X - here's our answer" which would just be easily flowable but I might be confused about why the 2nc started on 2ac 4). If the 2nc starts on 2ac 1, I will not have an issue flowing. If the negative block (or 1ar) decides that the order is irrelevant, I am likely to be very grumpy; it is hard to vote on technical concessions or other things if the flow gets ruined and it makes it hard to tell a 1ar "you dropped X" when the block does not answer 2ac arguments. In addition to initial numbering, I will be able to better understand later speeches if you give me some idea (probably by number or argument) where the thing you are extending is on my flow. If you would like to only extend an impact turn or thumper or some no internal link argument in the 1ar that is 2ac 9 on my flow but don't tell me that you are starting at 2ac 9, it is going to take me a minute to find it on my flow. If, however, the 1ar goes to a flow and says "2ac 9 - they dropped X - here's what it is and why it matters" I will be able to immediately find it on my flow (it is easier to find numbers than exact arguments on a flow). 

CX: I love CX. It is maybe my favorite "speech." I often try to flow it or take some notes at the least. That means you should pick words carefully in CX. I will especially try to write down anything about the advocacy and frameworks for evaluating debates (meaning metrics for thinking about things, which is not always how debate uses the word). CX can be fun even when teams get heated, but when CX is just people yelling at people and it is clear that people are more upset than enjoying things, I tend to lose interest. I like when people answering questions are honest, explain things, etc. I sometimes have the docs open and if we are having a fight about some card, I will look at it. I am not yet entirely comfortable with this, but if I miss the answer to a question, I may re-ask for the answer after the timer (I will do this with things like status or clarification, I don't think I will with other things yet but I might). I am also not comfortable interrupting CX to say things, but if someone is intentionally saying something that isn't true to answer clarification questions or refusing to answer clarification questions I may do so. If I make any definitive judgement about these things, I will try to update my philosophy again.    

Look at me: I do not have a good poker face. I'd recommend looking for expression or other gestures. When I cannot flow people, I tend to look very confused. Same when an argument is bad. When I think an argument has already been explained and/or you are saying things that aren't arguments, I tend to sit there with my pen on my paper waiting for you to say something that needs to be flowed.   

How I make a decision: At the end of the debate, I try to figure out what arguments are going to decide the debate (there tend to be 1-3), parse those out, and figure out what happens from there. It is generally better if debaters tell me what those things will be either on the line by line or in an overview (this is the only reason I could really imagine having an overview unless it is to explain some super complicated thing). I tend to think the best speeches are the ones that both identify these key points, explain why they win and then what happens if they win those key things. If there is no discussion of key points (either implicit or explicit), it is highly possible that I will try to find a few points that are key and then explain my decision from there (I determined this argument was probably the most important, here's how I evaluated it, here's why it deals with lots of other stuff). Any decision like that just makes me grumpy, especially because it always ends with the judge CX forever about why I decided this way and my answer tends to be "I didn't know how else to decide"

Speaker points: I'm going to be honest, I don't know if I understand this entire speaker point thing. I think my points might be a bit low. I don't plan on just raising them; if you need higher points I get that I might not be the judge for you. At the moment, I don't think that raising points just to raise them is a great idea because it eliminates a lot of range and variation in points that I think signal improvement for debaters and help communicate about the debate. I might revisit this later on if people want. I don't really know what an "average" speech looks like. If I had to try and articulate some made-up scale, it would probably look something like this: if the speech you gave was the best it could have been and/or basically won you the debate, its in the 29.3+ space. If the speech kept things going and helped a bit but not as much as it could, its in the 28.7+ range. If the speech was fine but didn't have much value value, I tend to think its in the 28.2+ range. If the speech wasn't good and didn't help much, it in the 27.5+ area. If the speech is bad, we are in the like 27 or even 26.8+ range. I don't think I've given many points lower than 27 and if I did, something must have gone very wrong. I tend to find most speeches between that 28-29 range. I think I average in the low 28s but I don't really know or care. Only a few speeches have just crushed the debate for me. I tend to have a lot of issue judging debates when I feel that all the speeches were about 28.2s or something and I have to give people different points. I think my default is to make the thing I think the top end or top middle (so if it was 28.2, maybe i'd give 28.3-28 to everyone). That being said, I think I am more willing to use high range in points based on speeches. I am also happy to add points for well used CX, good numbering, clarity of cards and highlighting (like if I can understand all the warrants in the evidence while you are reading), partners who work well together and make each other look good (I think basically every bold move in debate could be characterized by the 2nr/2ar as a big mistake or a big efficiency gain; if you can convince me that the 1ar under-covering the DA was to trick them to go for it, I will likely think the 1ar choice was smart and hence deserves better points, same with other speeches), etc. If people have a better way of doing speaker points, I am happy to talk about it. 

Do not: Clip cards, lie, use something out of context, or do anything else unethical. These will result in loss of speaker points or loss of rounds.

Kaylee Kohlmaier Paradigm

3 rounds

Debated at Vanderbilt for 4 years, Current Law Student at Emory

As a debater, I generally ran policy arguments with some Kritiks on the neg, so that’s what I’m going to be more familiar with. Though I generally prefer topical plans, I’ll still listen to and vote for a nontraditional Aff. At the end of the day, its your job to tell me how to evaluate the round. Though I have not done a ton of research as of GSU on this years, I will be traveling to at least a handful of tournaments each semester.

That being said, here’s some general thoughts

Yes email chain, my email is kaylee.a.kohlmaier@gmail.com

T- I like T debates, but don’t just repeat your 1NC T-Shell and expect me to pull the trigger. Tell me why your definition is better, your interpretation is better, and give impacts.

Framework- It would be dishonest for me to say that I don't have a preference for topical plans enacted by the USFG, so T-USFG/Framework is an argument I will vote for. I generally find truth testing arguments to be most persuasive here and the topical version of the Aff is always your friend. You still need impacts here though for why I should prefer this version of debate to the one that the affirmative is proposing.

I do however still think nontraditional affirmatives provide for good debates and good discussions so long as you have a reason for me to prefer your Framework over the other teams.

I default to debate being a game and myself as a policymaker, so if I should view debate and my role differently, tell me what that view is and most importantly why I should have it.

Case/DA – Case specific DA’s are always going to be better than generics. Utilize attacks on all parts of these arguments (uniqueness, link, internal links, impact). At the end of the day I need to know why case/DA outweighs

K’s – I’m likely less familiar with the lit, so be sure to explain and warrant it out. In particular I need to know why your K links to this Aff and why your alt is better. Same concept for K/ Nontraditional affs, explain why your aff is important and why I should vote for you.

CP’s- run whatever you want, but I’m more likely to believe that some types of CP’s are more abusive than others (like consult CPs or if you run 8 conditional counter plans). Other than that, I’m open to listening to whatever CP or CP theory you got.

Framing is important to me. You probably aren’t winning every argument you’re making, so tell me why the ones you’re winning are more important.

Reach out if you have any questions.

Debate is competitive, but it’s a game. Have fun and don’t be rude.

Edward Lee Paradigm

2 rounds

Ed Lee

Judge Philosophy 

Emory University


 Revised:  November 2013(Remixed by KRS One)

My Philosophy

KRS-One (My Philosophy) Let's begin, what, where, why, or when / Will all be explained like instructions to a game / See I'm not insane, in fact, I'm kind of rational / When I be asking you, "Who is more dramatical?"

KRS-One (Stop The Violence) I want to be remembered as the ghetto kid to jump up for world peace, because the stereotype is that all ghetto kids want to do is sell drugs and rob each other, which isn’t fact. I came from the heart of the ghetto — there ain’t no suburbia in me.

1.      We are playing a game and there is nothing wrong with that. I love games.  I play a lot of board games with my partner.  It is our primary form of entertainment. Collecting board games has actually become a little hobby of mine.  Gaming teaches conflict negotiation, winning and losing with honor, and proper ways to respond to adversity.  However, all of that is lost if we unfair, disrespect others at the table and turn the game into something it is not.  Play hard. Play by the rules.  Ignore the wins and losses.  Do those three things and you got of a decent shot at your debate career and life turning out pretty well. 

2.      Competitive debate cannot be the cure all for everything that plagues us.  It has a very limited range of things that it can do well and its incentive structures can actually be quite harmful to creating productive conversations over our most intransigent social ills. 

I strongly believe that debate educators and students should use our skills to help move our communities to a place where we can engage difference without being divisive.  A large part of my job has become the facilitation of conversations on Emory’s campus that encourage students to civilly and civically engage controversy. I wholeheartedly support the effort of the Barkley Forum to provide every student on Emory’s campus with the opportunity to meaningfully engage.  Debate educators have the capacity to present an alternative mode of politics and deliberation that is not motivated crisis and inundated in vitriol.  Unfortunately, I do not think competitive debate with its uncompromising zero-sum outcomes and time limits will  serve us well in our attempt to negotiate interpersonal differences.  I see the current crisis in intercollegiate debate as proof of that. 

I would prefer that we allow competitive debate to do the few things it does well and utilize our collective expertise to develop other forms of deliberation to address these vastly more important issues.  I look forward to talking to anyone who will listen about The Barkley Forums efforts to us debate in partnership with the content experts on our campus to address racism, sexual assault and religious intolerance and a myriad of other social ills.  I am sure that the other Emory coaches and students will appreciate it if I had a larger audience for this conversation.  

3.      One of the unique values of competitive debate is its ability to train students to quickly assess and evaluate information from various sources. I do not think there is a better pedagogical tool for providing this much-needed skill.   This has become critically important as the Internet has made information dissemination and access uncontrollable. 

4.      Competitive debate is a laboratory for experimenting with ideas and identities.  It can only function as long as we are not beholden to or damned by every idea we put forward to test.  I believe this type of space is essential for our personal and cultural development.


KRS-One (Know Thy Self) Sometimes you gotta go back to the beginning to learn.

KRS-One (My Philosophy) See I'm tellin', and teaching real facts / The way some act in rap is kind of wack / And it lacks creativity and intelligence / But they don't care 'cause the company is sellin' it

1.      While I am a huge fan of quality evidence, my decisions will privilege a debater’s assessment of an argument over my reading of a piece of evidence.  I do not believe that every argument needs to be evidenced.   I routinely vote on un-evidenced arguments that are indictments of the opposition’s evidence or a defense of one’s claims based on historical analogies, counterinterpetations of political theories, and assessment of an author’s qualifications. 

2.      Topicality exists to protect the guiding principles articulated above.  It will be very difficult to convince me that affirming the reading of 1acs that is outside the bounds of the resolution is more academically beneficial than topically affirming the resolution.  While I am not certain, I sense that I am less hesitant to vote on topicality than many others in the judging pool. 

I think that we should have topics where the Neg has the ability to and is incentivized to prepare a coherent set of argument strategies that are topic relevant.  I don’t think that a model of debate that encourages the AFF to defend truisms is a productive way to utilize this intellectual space. 

3.      Topic rotation is good.  We should encourage students to explore and unearth the unique set of arguments that are germane to each individual topic.  I strongly discourage argument strategies that that create disincentives for topic explorations.   Counterplans that compete based on immediacy and certainty and narrow interpretations of the topic that deny the Neg opportunities to generate offense are examples of the type of strategies that I find academically lacking. 

4.      2As need to reign in the Neg’s counterplan power.  They should be more aggressive about launching objections to certain types of counterplans.  I am particularly concern with those distort the literature base to such a degree that an informed debate can’t happen because scholars have never entertained the possibility of the counterplan.

5.      My weakness as a judge is my ability to flow very quick technical debates.  This is particularly true for theory debates that occasionally evolve into a string of unsupported claims with very little engagement with the opposition’s args.   Please keep in mind that cards provide enough pen time for judges to catch up even when they miss an arg.  We do not have that luxury with theory debates.   This also tends to happen in the 2ac on the case.  I am a huge fan of efficiency.  However, there are some forms of embedded clash that has has made it extremely difficult for judges (at least this one) to follow. 

I tend to make up for this shortcoming by paying close attention to every aspect of every debate judge, staying on top of the evolution of a topic and having a pretty decent memory of things even when I fail to write to them.  I will put in as much work listening and evaluating your arguments as you put in preparing and delivering them.

I will not vote on evidence/arguments I do not have explicitly extended through the block and contextualized in some way.  This tends to hurt some hyper technical tag-liney debaters.  


KRS-One (South Bronx) “Many people tell me this style is terrific/It is kinda different, but let’s get specific.”

KRS-One (Step Into A World) I'm 'bout to hit you wit that traditional style of cold rockin' / Givin' options for head knockin' non stoppin' / Tip-toppin' lyrics we droppin' but styles can be forgotten


1.      Topic anarchy is unproductive.  I truly believe we need some stasis in order to have a productive conversation.  To be honest, I am not sure if that means you have to defend the state or you gotta have a plan.  However, I do believe that it is much easier to encourage a clash of ideas when those things are present.   Debates can’t happen unless the AFF is willing to defend something. 

2.      The most limiting interpretation is rarely the best.  I can be easily persuaded that a larger topic is better because it incentivizes AFF creativity while preserving core Neg ground.   Far to often the AFF fails to push back on the limits debate and allows topicality to be a referendum on which team has the most limiting interpretation. 

3.      Topicality is about guiding future research endeavors.  That makes source qualification an important aspect of the discussion.   Who is defining and for what purpose is worth evaluating.  

4.      I tend to lean towards “competitive interpretations” over “reasonability” because it feels less interventionists.  However, I think there are ways to craft “reasonability” arguments to change the direction arrow on this. 


1.      I find some theory objections more persuasive than others.  It is hard for me to get overly excited about counterplan status debates.  While I have and will vote on conditionality, I just don’t consider it that great of an offense when there is only one counterplan.  I have some concern about multiple conditional counterplans because of their ability to pervert 2ac strategic choices.  It is such a rare occasion that a debate was improved with the addition of a 2nd or 3rd counterplan.  I will go on record to say that I have never seen a debate with multiple CPs that would not have been improved by reducing the number of CPs to 1.  

2.      I think counterplans that compete by excluding a part of the plan text is good for debate.  They encourage both the AFF and the NEG to research topic mechanism instead of focusing on impact debates that rarely change from one topic to the next.  They also create opportunities for a more nuanced impact framing that is not oriented towards maximizing one’s magnitude. 

3.      I think Perm “Do the CP” is persuasive against counterplans that compete off of things that are not written in the plan.  Neg research that supports the necessity of a particular action to do the plan will resolve this debate in their favor.  However, the bar is one of necessity and not possibility. 

4.      I am not a big fan of States or International Actor CPs.  They have each effectively narrowed the range of AFFs we can talk about to those that access US hegemony or a set of actions that can only be formed by the military.  I am occasionally persuaded by the arg that they are necessary to functionally limit the size of the topic.  Aff should keep in mind that topicality exist for that same reason.

5.      We need to do a better job telling judges what to do with theory objections.  The statement “vote against the arg – not the team” is not an argument.  It is claim.  Teams need to be more aggressive about telling me the impact of my decision in either direction. 

6.      My default is to stick the Neg with the CP if go for it in the 2nr.  I do not think it is fair to force the 2ar to have to do impact assessment for a world that includes the counterplan and one that doesn’t.   The “judge kick” model discourages the 2n from making choices, discourages the development of a coherent 2nr based on that choice and undermines the ability for the 2ar to properly compare relevant impacts. 

7.      I am starting to toy around with the notion that the AFF should be able to advocate permutations to compensate for the multitude of CP options we have created for the Neg. AFF needs to more creative.  The vast majority of argument innovation since I have been around has occurred on the negative.  


1.  The more germane you can make this set of arguments the better.  The major problem is that I rarely find the grand sweeping totalizing claims of inevitability and the necessity of radical response to social problems persuasive.  I am quite suspicious of claims that are grounded in an indictment of “all” or “every.”  I tend to opt for permutations that prove that the AFFs reformist pursuits are in the same direction as the alternative. 

2.     2.   What is that alt again?  I would be a much better judge for the neg if I understood what the alt was and its functionality.  AFFs that exploit this weakness by carving out solvency deficits for the case impacts and the squo tend to win these debates.  The best 2As highlight the internal links to the advantages and identify those as reasons the Alt can’t solve.  

3.      The Neg would get much more mileage with this category of arguments if they treated them like ethics/ontology/method DAs with an impact that was more important than the AFF utilitarian impacts. Many will think that is overly simplistic.  Keep in mind that I spend most of my life thinking that I am a simple man living in an overly complicated world. 

4.      4.     The Aff is too dependent on framework args.  The plea to weigh the 1ac is not a substitute for engaging the criticism.  I kinda agree with the Neg that Aff framework args are arbitrary in their self-importance and exclusion of the Negs link args.  A little research on the educational value of talking about your AFF gets you to the same place without appearing dogmatic. 

5.      The most persuasive critiques are those that challenge the way the 1ac encourages us to understand others and ourselves.  They challenge the pedagogical force of the 1ac.  These types of arguments are appealing to Ed Lee, the teacher.   


1.      My general dispossession is that most impact claims are highly unlikely and the block gives the negative a structural advantage in the competition of lies.  All other things being equal, I think a DA+Case strategy is the best path to victory.  Keep in mind that the amount of DA you need to win is directly related to the amount of the case that the AFF is winning.  You don’t have to win much of your DA if you are sufficiently beating up the case.  

2.      I believe uniqueness operates on a continuum where the terminal impact of the DA is more or less likely to occur in the squo.  Both sides should be more sophisticated in assessing the probability of whether or not the impact will happen and why gradual shifts along the continuum are worthy of a judge’s evaluation. 

3.      “Turns the case” rarely means turns the case.  Neg usually has uniqueness issues with winning this line of arument.  A better direction to go in is to explain why the DA impact short-circuits the ability of the Aff to solve the advantage.   It gets you to the same place and doesn’t have the uniqueness burden.  

4.      2a should invest more time in reading the Negs DA ev.  There are usually a goldmine of alt causalities, uniqueness args and impact takeouts.  This is a place where you can get a lot of mileage out of witty analytics.  I am wmore than willing to vote unevidenced assessment.  Don’t just read.  Debate. 

5.       Don’t ignore the internal link debate.  Most debates seem to boil down to a limited number of impacts – Hegemony, Trade, Climate, Economy.  The better teams will invest time winning that they have a stronger internal link to these impacts then their opposition.  

6.      1nc should generate some offense on the case.  Impact turns are useful because they force the 2a to read ev on the case and you usually have a counterplan (or 2) that makes this a risk free proposition for you. 




Speaker Points

KRS-One (Tears) While you lay the flowers on the grave, let's talk about how you behave. Do you come out the neighborhood or out of the cave?

KRS-One (Health, Wealth, And Self) I'll give you the gift, but use the gift to uplift.

Criteria - Things I Like and will give the gift of points

I will start this discussion by identifying some of the styles/skills I like and tend to reward with high speaker points.  It is easier for me to talk about specific people.  Some of these folks are still in our community.  Others you may find some videos of.  All were exemplary in one form or another of what I think great debaters do and what I want to honor them with high speaker points. 

Kacey Wolmers (Emory) – Fast, technical and clear.  I actually find some beauty in this presentational style.  Her 1ncs were artwork.  I must emphasize the clarity component.  She was one of the few extremely fast debaters that I had no problem following.  That had a lot to do with her clarity.  She also made arguments and not a random assertion of claims. 

Martin Osborn (Missouri State) – Efficient and driven.  Martin is a testament to fact that you don’t have to choose between being fast or being a "policy" debater.  He was one of the most efficient debaters I ever judged with superb in-round argument selection skills.  Words were never wasted and he rarely extended an argument in the final two rebuttals that were not necessary.  

Julie Hoehn (Emory) – Dedication to preparation.  I never judged Julie. I was her coach.  However, I saw how her dedication to prepare won numerous debates.  It created a situational awareness that was vast superior to most.  Julie was rarely caught off guard and it never happen twice.  She had the capacity to quickly diagnose and dismiss trivial and inconsequential arguments. 

Gabe Murillo (Wayne State) – Argument Explanation.  Some people ask me how they can get me to vote on critiques.  I tell them to debate like Gabe.  I know very little about most of his arguments.  However, Gabe was fantastic at identifying my limitations and biases and developing argument strategies that resolve them.  I distinctly remember the times that I voted against him and the post-round being a series of questions about repackaging the argument and ways to alter phrases.  Gabe was constantly trying to figure out ways to connect with me as a judge.  That was true even he disagreed with my decisions.  Most people would be extremely shocked by how often I voted for him. 

Naveen Ramachandrappa (UGA) – Research.  The stories about his evidence production are absurd.  Talk to Hays Watson about it.  Much more impressive was that he demonstrated it debate.  Naveen was a master at debating evidence and not just reading it.  He understood not only the strength and weaknesses of his evidence but his opponents.   

Seth Gannon (Wake) – Humor.  Humor can stand in for any gift of persuasion you have.  Be yourself.  Have fun. I never judged Seth and didn’t look like he was having fun.  Even during the stressful final round of the NDT, he looked like he enjoyed being there.  That makes judging so much easier and pleasurable.  The judge is your audience. Connect with them.

Debbie Lai & Varsha Ramakrishnan (Michigan State)  - Hard workers. This is my favorite debate team of all time.  They were two regional debaters who worked hard to become the best debaters they could be.  It was and honor and pleasure to watch them growth and develop.  I wanted to vote for them.  They were not a first round team and didn’t clear at the NDT.  However, they had a genuine love for the activity and were willing to invest a tremendous amount of time an energy to get better even though the odds were long and they started college debate at an experience deficit. I look forward to rewarding those who work hard and value the process. 

Criteria - Things I don’t like and will reduce points  

I implore you hold Emory’s debaters to the same standard.  They should be expected to play fair, be clear and conduct themselves with respect and humility even if you don’t expect it from other debaters. Help me help them to be better people and debaters. 

Cheating – Cross-reading, card-clipping, using disclosure/speech doc to gain an fair advantage.  Your honor and integrity is far more valuable than winning the game.  I don’t play games with cheaters and I will not reward them.  I am a guardian of the integrity of this activity and will not wait for others to ask me to perform that role. 

Lack of clarity – This is a communication activity.  If I don’t understand it, I will not evaluate it.  I don’t like the model of debate where students incomprehensibly read at me and then ask me to read a litany of cards after the round to determine who wins.  Debate. Persuade. Analysze.  Don’t just read.

Creating a hostile environment – Respect is a non-negotiable for me.  It always has been.  It is the primary reason I go out of my way to be civil and cordial to everyone I interact with.  I know that there is no chance that we will have a productive conversation unless you are willing to speak to me in a way that acknowledges my humanity.  I not only have that expectation for the way you communicate with me but the way you communicate with each other.  It is not healthy for me or anyone else in the room to watch you verbally assaulting your opponent.  If you are engaging your opponent in a way that you would not if you were in front of one of your professors or the president of your university then you should not do it in front of me.  I am more than willing to have a conversation with anyone about where this line should be drawn.  That conversation is long overdue.   

My scale

I will the scale established by the tournament.  Grandma taught me to never show up to someone's home and not eat the casserole.  that's just rude.  

29.6 -30:  I think you are debating like a Top 10 debater at a national tournament.

29.3 – 29.5: I think you are debating like an Octos debater at a national tournament

28.8 – 29.2:  I think you are debating like a 5-3 double octofinalist

28.5 – 28.7:  Debating like you are 4-4 and on the verge of clearing at a national tournament

28 – 28.4:  You are working to get better


Revised 2-16-94 
NAME __Ed Lee_____________________ INSTITUTION __University of Alabama ___ 
POSITION _Director of Debate ___ YEARS OF COACHING ___5__________ 
NUMBER OF TOURNAMENTS THIS YEAR ___10____________________ 
I am a very flexible critic. Win a link and explain why the impact is more important than what the other team is winning. This holds true 
regardless of what artificial box we decide to place the argument in - harms, critiques, disads, and theory. 
I consider topicality to be a discussion about the best way to interpret the resolution so that we create the fairest debates possible. I think about 
topicality the same way I think about a plan vs. counterplan debate. Each side needs to explicitly discuss the benefits of their interpretation that 
can not be co-opted by the counter interpretation. 
Solve for the case harms and win a disad. It sounds like a decent strategy to me. Affirmative needs to offensive in this debate. It is more likely 
that I will vote on a disad to the counterplan than theory. Don't take that to mean that you can't win the counterplan theory debate in front of me. 
I think this statement stems from the difficulties I some times have flowing quick blippy theory arguments. (Bydaway: Tell me what you want 
me to do if you when the theory debate and why. My default is that the line of argument should be evaluated. Winning theory is not an 
automatic victory.) Not only are grounded claims easier to flow but they make better arguments. The best affirmative theory arguments use the 
negative’s stance to justify a set of affirmative offensive arguments. I operate under the assumption that the negative must make a choice 
between advocating the status quo and or the counterplan(s) in the 2NR. I think that it is your argumentative responsibility to stabilize your 
position of inquiry. 
I do not believe in the risk of a link. One must first win a link and risk assessments are made when evaluating the probability of the impacts. 
What is the link and why is it more important than the affirmative? Why does it doom the entire affirmative's project (plan) just because one 
piece of evidence uses “nuclear” “terrorism” etc? The affirmative should force the negative to articulate how the criticism interacts with the 
1AC and why it is wholly cooptive. The negative needs to be explicit about the opportunity costs of not voting for the criticism. At times, I am 
at a lost for what the impact is to the criticism even after the 2NR. 
Affirmative needs to be more offensive at the impact level of these debates. Unlike disads, I think that the negative has an advantage at the link 
level of this debate and the best Affirmative attacks come at the impact level. The most persuasive 2ACs have been those who turned the 
alternative, counter-critiqued, and been generally offensive. 
Speaker points 
CX should be used for more than gathering cards and talking about tidbits of nothingness. CX is a powerful tool that can be used to setup future 
arguments and provide the critic with a filter for evaluating the debate. I listen to CX. 
My average speaker points are between 26-27. 28 is reserved for those performances that "wow" me. These debaters are usually able to make 
my decision easy even when there are no conceded voting issues. Arguments no longer exist as disparate, isolated blocks on a sheet of paper 
but live and interact. 28s are able to competently discuss argument relationships and consistently make link and impact comparisons. 29s are 
performances of brilliance. It is a presentation that allows me to forget that I am judging a debate round. The presenter is on and everyone 
knows it. I think that it is a measurement of near-perfection that I reserve for only the most amazing speeches. A 30 allows me to temporarily 
forget that another speech in the round was worthy of a 28 or 29. 
ed lee 
Director of Debate 
Alabama Forensics Council 
University of Alabama 

Sarah Lundeen Paradigm

1 rounds

Fall 2015 TLDR version

Debate is great. At its best it teaches amazing critical thinking, research skills, teaches us to engage and clash with others ideas. I'm pretty flexible on what counts as debate arguments, but pretty persuaded that prepared opponents produce better debates. I think affs are best off defending a debatable proposition that responds to resolutional prompt and negs need to answer the aff.

Aside from technical drops in a round, I am have not yet been persuaded to abandon competiion so negs going for counterplans, alts, etc  typically need to demonstrate forced choice or net benefits.

Role of the Ballot and Theory counterinterps are frequently arbitrary, self serving and not super hepful. Please develop these arguments.

The flow matters to me, even though I am worse at it now due to hand/wrist problems, probably still better than folks who rely too much on the speech doc. I expect you to answer major lines of argument from the other team at the first opportunity. I will take the speech docs but do not follow along during your speech and will not vote on arguments I can't understand/flow during your speech. 

Debates have decision time limits and coutesy to your opponents and judge necessitate not wasting time. Aside from legitimate need for a break, there sin;t really down time in debate. It's basically speech, cx or prep time, this includes clarifying what card or part of card someone read. It also includes getting your speech doc ready, prep time ends when you are ready to give it to the other team. 

I don't appreciate micro or maxcro aggressions in debates and will attempt to call them out, use speaker point deductions and open to arguments about the ballot as remedy. 


Previous Versions - 

Important NDT Note: I have had to limit my judging commitments recently due tosevere wrist problems. For years I have taken a transcription style flow, that is no longer possible. I will still be flowing, but may not be able to keep up at the fastest pace, I will also not be writing down as much and doing more active listening. This may mean you want to change where you pref me, it certainly means you want to factor that in to how you debate in front of me - top speed blippy theory is unlikely to work out well for you. 


This is basically just a copy paste from debateresults with this important addition - As the community transition to paperless continues I am finding it more and more important to reward good communication practices while discouraging poor ones. While I think paperless is obviously a fantastic tool to store your evidence, I believe debate at its best is a synthesis of your reasearch with your public speaking skills - the speech document is not the speech, As a result, I will not be following along on a doc during your speech, it is your responsibility to effectively communicate your evidence & arguments. While I have always felt this way, I believe it is becoming more important for judges to hold a line on flowability & speaking - I will reward those who accomplish it. I will not vote on or reconstruct after the debate evidence I cannot hear & flow in the speech. 

Email questions to lundeensb@gmail.com

Sarah (Holbrook) Lundeen – ***Fall 2011 Update**** 

Assistant Coach at West Georgia 
I’m pretty much willing to listen to whatever debate you prefer to have (K, policy, Other). You’re better off doing what you’re good at than trying to adjust to what you think I want to hear. I understand a lot of people say that, but I really do think the debate is for the debaters involved and I do not approach the debate with any curriculum I am trying to impose on the community or round. The flip side to being open to the debate you want to have is holding you accountable for doing the debating – when I read cards it is largely to fact check claims made about the card in the debate, etc. I am not a judge who reconstructs the debate afterwards and instead, I reward in round debating, analysis, etc. 

Timing the Debate & Paperless - Your prep time runs until you are finished prepping your speech - i.e. it is ready to email, saved to the jumpdrive, viewing computer, in the dropbox, whatever your method is. please figure before the debate starts how to use your computer, jumpdrive, etc. With tournaments putting strict limits on judge decision times it is in the interest of fairness to all parties that I enforce efficient time within rounds. 

CP – I love a good CP strategy. I lean a bit negative on theory debates, but that doesn¹t mean the aff can¹t go for theory (it just means they should develop the arguments) and certainly doesn¹t relieve the neg of defending their theoretical world. I lean less for the neg when the cp involves multiple, independently conditional planks or there are 14 counterplans in the debate – this should be an easier situation for the aff to describe why that strategy has made the debate worse. Permutations are a test of competition – this means they do not need net benefits, they merely need to demonstrate the cp/k is not competitive and aff, this means that if you have some idea you wish to advocate the perm in the 2ar even after they kick the cp/k you will need to have well developed warrants for that, preferably in the debate before the 2ar. 

K – I have sympathy for objections to unexplained alternatives, but these args seem to seldom be developed by the Aff, you¹re probably better off using the alternative to win your permutation. K affs need to be able to explain their framework/warrant to vote aff in a way which provides negative ground and debatability. 

Topicality – I lean a little aff here on question of reasonability and “most limited” vs. “best/reasonable limit”, but as with any argument, the burden to do the debating is on you, don’t assume you can blow it off and wait for me to conclude in your favor on reasonability. The claim that the aff makes it impossible for the neg debate is very rarely true & sets way too high a bar for the neg and is typically a shorthand that stands in for making real impact arguments. 

Theory/Framework – For the most part I judge Varsity college debate. As a result I am skeptical of most claims that the other team has made it impossible for you to debate – seriously, you have likely been at this for 5 – 9 years, if it is impossible for you to debate what they said I feel kinda sorry for you. Now, if you have some good arguments about why they make debater better/worse in that it makes us better informes/more ignorant, better or worse people, etc I am all ears. Your impact args to things like predictability & fairness need to rise above “but we wanted it to be easier for us to win”. This may be more applicable to large sweeping framework claims than modular perm/cp theory arguments. However, conditionality is complicated in that I think it can be used to make debate better or worse. Conditional strategies that allow the neg to focus the strategy as the debate advances, etc. are fine (it is hard to be neg), but conditional strategies that defend opposite or incompatible positions do not generally make for better debates. 

In General –I would rather vote on how y'all debated, meaning that I will not spend an hour reconstructing the entire debate based on a stack of unexplained evidence. Making fewer, smarter args will get you farther than speeding through some unexplained "more evidence". Impact assessment and evaluation of the debate in the last rebuttals are important. 

I don¹t enjoy listening to debates in which gendered/racist/ableist/exclusionary language is used. At the very least your speaker points will effected. 

Geoff Lundeen Paradigm

1 rounds

Geoff Lundeen

18 years judging


Philosophy last updated 1/28/17


If both teams opt not to hold a debate, I will award zero speaker points to all 4 debaters and either:

A. A double forfeit (if allowed by the tab room) OR

B. If forced to pick a winner, I will give the loss to the team who initially suggested not debating.

If you actively solicit outside participation in the debate, you will receive a loss and zero speaker points.


I will not read along with the speech doc during your speeches, but I would like to be included on any email chain.

The really important stuff:

I want to see you doing your best thing.  I have a strong preference for debates centered on the resolution (i.e., the affirmative’s relationship to the resolution is negotiable via debate, but I’m very skeptical of affirmatives that are not a response to the resolutional prompt at all).  I’m sometimes old-fashioned and grumpy about certain things (as listed below), but outside of the non-negotiables, I generally enjoy innovative arguments and I’m open to persuasion.  I enjoy well-developed theory debates more than most, but I strongly dislike the “competitive blippy list making” approach to theory debates as well as proliferation of trivial voting issues.  I like good cards.   Most debaters should slow down and speak more clearly.  “Do the counterplan” is not a permutation.  Probably the biggest change from previous years: I’m making an effort this year to try to bring my speaker points up just a bit in order to keep pace with overall inflation. 


Each debate will have one winner and one loser. 

Constructives are 9 minutes long.  Rebuttals are 6 minutes long.  Cross-x is 3 minutes long.  Somebody’s prep is running at all other times, within reason.  To be very explicit: Your prep stops when you email your speech or remove the flash drive from your computer and give it to your opponents.  While your opponent loads the document, you may set up your stand, give your order, etc.

Things that still count as prep: Marking cards (against the prep of the team that didn’t mark them ahead of time).  Asking flow clarification questions. Saving/Sending the extra cards you didn’t give your opponent before the speech started.  “Hold on, I just need to save it…  Does anybody have a flash drive?”

Debates are for robust disagreement, but that does not extend to personal attacks. 

There are a maximum of 2 debaters on each team.  You should not solicit outside participation or assistance in your debate. 

Failure to properly acknowledge your sources is plagiarism. 

Other Predispositions:

I generally lean affirmative against wholly plan inclusive counterplans (i.e. conditions, consult, commissions, etc.) in a theory debate that is equally well-developed on both sides.

My strong presumption is that a negative advocacy competes only if it is better than both the affirmative advocacy, and the hypothetical combination of all of the affirmative advocacy and all (or part) of the negative advocacy.  I find that alternative theories of competition are usually poorly justified and tend to lead to silly debates (because you can assert that there are “no permutations,” but you can’t wish away the logic of opportunity cost). 

I think topicality and framework have been unfortunately conflated with one another.  I strongly believe in the proposition that some limits on the affirmative’s advocacy are important to adequate preparation and fair debate.  I’m far less committed to the notions: 1. that this entails traditional understandings of fiat, 2. that there is only one universal standard of reasonableness, and 3. that only one model of debate gives the best training in deliberation.  My starting presumption is that the affirmative team should affirm an example of the resolution, but I’ve been convinced to vote for affirmatives that either begin the debate by explicitly negating the resolution, or criticizing the way the resolution frames the controversy, etc. several times over the years.  If you choose to do so, please show your work.  In other words, be explicit and consistent regarding what you think your aff’s relationship to the resolution is (beginning in the 1ac), and you have a much better chance of winning my ballot in these debates.

Having a superficial reference to the topic or a metaphorical connection to a single word of it probably doesn’t meet my bar for debates centered on the resolution. 

Both truth and tech matter.

I tend to dismiss evidence that has been highlighted down to word soup relatively quickly.  One longer card with well explained warrants > multiple cards highlighted into one word “dots.”

What some other coaches and former students have to say about me:

On my aff bias against poorly explained K alts: “At the end of the day, he kinda thinks hungry people should be fed.”

On how I’ve been judging the basically the same debate for about 10 years: “He has a lot of T and framework experience… he’s also good for case debates including smart args (not always requiring cards).”

On my low tolerance for nonsense: “He has a low tolerance for nonsense.”  

Jack Manchester Paradigm

3 rounds

Affiliation: College- Wake Forest '17, '19 High School- New Trier '13

Please add me to your email chains: jmichaelmanchester [@] gmail.com

This used to be a super long explanation of how I felt about debate, but given how little utility that has for many of you before a debate, here's the short version:

"I never was the smartest debater and I never will be, which means please do not make assumptions about argument understanding. Something could honestly just be over my head, this having happened multiple times in my debate career as a debater."- Lee Quinn hit the nail on the head. Don't assume that I'll know the in's and out's of your argument to the degree that you do. Regardless of argument type, explanation that contains an argument, claim, and warrant is essential.

Top shelf things for everyone:
Clarity- To quote the definition Jarrod Atchison has already beaten into my head: "Speed is the number ideas effectively communicated to the judge that the other team is held accountable to respond to." Slowing down on analytics and differentiating the tag from the rest of the card is a must.

Speaks- make fun of Duke and you'll be in a good place.

People on the right:
Do what you do well. Regardless of what you end up going for make sure you've got the "story" of your argument on lock. How does the aff's change from the squo cause the impact to the DA to be triggered? What affs are included under your interpretation of the topic? These narratives can be easily established in the overview of your DA/CP/T violation and go a long way in making sure I understand your argument as well as you want me to.

I tend to lean aff on most theory issues, though on most questions it isn't too far in the aff's direction (the exception to this is conditionality, I'm definitely in the you get one conditional option camp- that being said most people are bad at going for conditionality so that hasn't translated to any aff ballots on condo in front of me).

People on the left:
Do what you do well. I'll forefront that I'm not nearly as deep in the literature to the left as I am with the right but that doesn't mean I won't be interested in your arguments.

I think you probably should have some relation to the topic, whether that requires defending a normative action be taken by the state or simply discussing the implications of certain aspects of the topic is up for debate. If you're debating FW the question of reformism necessary v. unnecessary is super important.

If you're going for a K win framework and be good to go- though you should know I'll be inclined to let the aff weigh the 1AC if they put up a decent fight on FW.

Read links with clear impacts- just reading a wall of cards that says "the aff does the thing we are k-ing" without explaining how the interacts with the larger questions the alt/impact are getting at isn't super useful.

Eric Marcus Paradigm

4 rounds

Pine Crest (’14)

Emory University (’18)

ericmarcus24@gmail.com – Include me on email chains, and feel free to ask me questions about decisions or Emory Debate

General Things:

I think of debate strictly as a highly technical game. Part of my job as a judge is to reward teams that play the game well. Technical concessions, even small ones, may have more impact with me than most judges. I also am likely to disregard arguments, even truisms, that are first presented in the 1AR/2NR/2AR, unless an explicit response to an argument made by the other team that could not have been answered in an earlier speech.

The 1NR is not a constructive. New DA impacts are fine, but new CP planks or case arguments are not.

Cards that use robust statistical or expert analysis > cards from staff writers with strong rhetoric.


Debate operates on a sliding scale, and my job is to keep the scale in the middle. I am likely to vote for neither the most limiting interpretation of the topic nor the one that makes debate easiest for the aff. Limits/Grounds/Aff Innovation impacts couched in terms of a list of arguments available to the other side and why that preserves an equitable division of topic literature are more likely to win.

Reasonability makes more sense to me than competing interpretations. Minor modifications always exist that can create an incrementally better model of debate, but if I am unconvinced the aff interpretation creates a substantive strategic imbalance for the neg, I likely will vote aff.


“Always a risk” logic does not make much sense to me. Even past a conceded argument, well contested arguments that are either a yes/no question or that I decide conclusively in one team’s direction can reduce the risk of a DA to statistical noise.

I will reward aff teams that strategically undercover bad DAs in the 2AC. This means one or two well-reasoned analytic arguments, as well as maybe an impact defense card to cover your bases.

CP’s/CP Theory:

Conditionality is either good or bad. Interpretations/Counter-interpretations as “compromises” aren’t particularly compelling to me.

All debating equal, I probably lean neg on all theory issues with the exception of counterplans that compete based on immediacy/certainty.

Intuitive counterplans don’t need solvency advocates to be theoretically legitimate.

I think judge kick is bad. If it is an explicitly stated 2NR option not answered by the 2AR, I will judge kick, but with equal debating by the affirmative, I likely will not judge kick.


I am unlikely to vote neg if I do not believe that there are material bad consequences that happen as a result of the plan. If links are descriptive of the status quo, and I do not feel the alternative resolves those link arguments, I will almost assuredly vote aff at the end of the debate.

Given this, I am most likely to vote neg if I believe there is a problem with the plan/status quo larger than the impacts solved by the aff, the alternative resolves that problem, and the plan is mutually exclusive with a successful alternative.

If I believe the methodology used to defend the 1AC internal links and impacts are true, I will likely determine utilitarianism is the best moral framework.

Value to life does and always will exist.

Root causes and proximate solutions are not the same thing.

Links of omission are not links.

I do not believe someone’s personal identity and experience is independently sufficient to either prove or disprove any arguments made in the debate.


Yes, it’s a topicality argument. No, it’s not “Framework”.

Affirmatives should defend a topical plan. While whether the political efficacy of that plan determines who wins and loses is up for debate, the presence of a topical plan is a minimum necessity for debate to occur.

Debate is a game. You chose to play this game. Games should be fair.

Topical versions of the aff are compelling to me. TVAs don’t need to solve the aff, they simply need to be able to access the same type of discussion that the counter-interpretation allows.

If you are affirmative and not planning to read a topical plan, you are unlikely to win on arguments about debate impacting subjectivity. The most compelling aff ballots include a well-defined and limited counter-interpretation with a reason topical debate trades off with essential skills or education.

Lee Quinn Paradigm

5 rounds

Email: thelquinn@gmail.com I will give everyone a .1 point speaker boost if I walk in the room and ya'll already have an email thread set up with my email in it ready to send. It looks professional and saves the tournament time.

Titles: Assistant Director of Debate at Samford University (AL).

Head Coach at The Altamont School (AL).

Debate Background:

2x NDT Octofinalist and First-Round Bid at Wake Forest. 2x Kentucky Round Robin. Dartmouth Round Robin. Top Speaker at ADA Nationals.

3x TOC Qualifier in CX at Mountain Brook (AL). Greenhill and Harvard Round Robin Invitee. Winner of Emory's Barkley Forum. Winner of Woodward JV Nationals. Third Place at NSDA Nationals.

Policy Thoughts:

I’m not the smartest human. You’re maybe/likely smarter than me. Please do not assume I know anything you are talking about. And I would honestly love to learn some new things in a debate about arguments you invented.

To quote Jacob Hurwitz's judge philosophy, "the only thing worse than conditionality is the collapse of American hegemony."

Debaters are guilty until proven innocent of clipping cards. I follow along in speech docs. I believe it is judges job to police clipping and it is unfair to make debaters alone check it.

Research skills and persuasive speaking are the foundation of debate. The team that persuasively makes the most arguments backed by the Brookings Institute likely will win my ballot.

Debate is a public speaking activity. Please be loud, clear, make eye contact, have good posture, and do not speak with your hands. I can give great speaker points to debaters that follow these rules. Debate is not yelling at a laptop. That's trash. Trash!

Condo. 3 against a basic/big stick aff is about my ceiling. 3 contradictory condo and I can more easily be persuaded to vote on condo. For new affs, I think at most 5 condo is permissive. Anymore and I think you risk losing on theory.

Process/ Conditions/ consult CPs are the devil, unless you have a fire solvency advocate specific to their plan text which can prove its predictable and important for that area of debate. But I’m persuaded that a generic/predictable aff posted on the wiki can win a theory debate against a generic process/ conditions/ consult CPs. You just need an interpretation about a world of debate that excludes these CP’s. This is especially true with any Con Con CP. Con Con is the worst.

K debate is cheating in policy. Especially K affs (fact). Krtikal literature is obviously very relevant to being educated and ethical, but in debate this lit is bastardized for polemic positions that unfairly tilt debate in their favor for a litany of obvious strategic gains.

I hate judge kick. Do you want me to flow for you too? Maybe compose your speech doc while you're at it? I don't give the affirmative random permutations. Don't make me kick your trash counterplan for you. I won't be there to take your boards or bar exam saying "hey don't worry I got you if you make the wrong choice." And I do not recommend judge kick as a legal strategy to my debaters inquiring about the law.

PS- Please do not read global warming good. Global warming is real and will kill us all. And I am particularly persuaded by the argument that introducing these arguments in debate is unethical for spreading propaganda and should be deterred by rejecting the team. I'm way more persuaded by reasonable inevitability and alt cause args.

LD Paradigm

I am largely engaged with college policy debate levels of debate. I will flow every word you say. Speed is a weapon in debate. LD is often one big K debate which is fine in LD but I err towards util/consequentialism FW's. I can be persuaded pre-fiat impacts are extra-topical and can be rejected as such (likely not a reason to reject the team). But I do love me a good ol' fashioned value premise throw down from time to time, I must admit. It is the premise.

PF Paradigm

I'm increasingly frustrated with the liminal space public forum operates in. I'm so happy to see the progress made in terms of substance and clash, but am frustrated at the lack of norms that should accompany these progressive improvements. Here are my thoughts when judging a PF debate:

- Public Forum, if you're looking for your paraphrasing theory gatekeeper, you've found them. I will vote on paraphrasing bad theory ONLY IF the you read properly cited and highlighted cards that are sent out prior to your speech. Please dear god people, let's stop this spreading "Reuters '19" and "Forbes '19" non-sense. Atleast policy has to read long cards, that's WHY they have to spread. Paraphrasing makes debate impossible for both debaters and judge to genuinely test the veracity of evidence sources. This is an increasingly important issue too in our modern age of disinformation, fake news, and propaganda. Let's all work together to continue the progress being made in PF.

- I DO NOT CONSIDER URL/ARTICLES EVIDENCE. if you have to google/search for an article after I call for a card I will not evaluate the evidence and will treat it as an analytic. A CARD HAS TO BE CUT. There has to be some norm to reward actual research and preperation.

- I do not want to be a "policy judge" in PF. Please do not unload the canon and spread at 110%. If you want to do that, just come to policy debate and I'll be happy to judge it. I feel like my experience in policy debate/another debaters experience asymmetrical tilts the debate in a way that is unfair to debaters who do not have policy experience or experience spreading. You can make a ton of arguments while still going at 60-70% of your top speed. How do I plan to enforce this? I'm not entirely sure. It will definitely be reflected in speaks and will feel empathetic to the other team, but past that I'm not entirely sure. I have judged enough PF rounds now where debaters come in and spread that I feel like I am unfairly skewing the debate in one teams favor. Please do not make me feel like this! If you wanna spread, do policy/come do policy for me at Samford.

- Disclosure norm. I'm a BIG advocate of open source/wiki, but I'm not entirely sure I'm willing to vote down a small local school who maybe didn't know there was a wiki against a big school reading disclosure theory "to help small schools." It almost seems counter-productive. I think it can be an easy win if the other team drops it, or if its two big schools debating, I could consider it. But I literally judged a round where a team from a the reigning TOC policy champion school read disclosure theory against a small rural school with no coach and said it would help small programs. I'm not the biggest fan there.

Nathan Rothenbaum Paradigm

3 rounds

Nathan Rothenbaum

Oak Park River Forest – Debater 2008-2012

Trinity University – Debater 2012-2016

University of Georgia – Coach 2016 – Current

My favorite part of debate is that you, the debater, determines what debate is. I will do my best to evaluate the substance of your arguments. Three things to vastly improve your speaks when I am in the back: 1.) Recognizing arguments are rarely conceded. 2.) The first sentence of your 2ar/2nr should strive to be the same sentence I use when I tell the other team why they lost. 3.) Your CX strategy is better served by getting your opponent to say things and using those things in your following speeches than by posturing or trying to make them look foolish.

*I am more concerned with tech over truth, but also recognize that “good” tech needs to (at least) look true from afar.

*If it isn’t in the tag, then the 2ac didn’t “drop it”

*It is possible to win terminal defense – but usually even the most sympathetic read of an argument is far from terminal. Terminal defense is also significantly harder to sell me on if we are entering a "try or die" situation - not impossible, but much harder.

*A comment on the Kritik. Your "alt cause" Kritik, or "No solvency" kritik is not persuasive. It only matters if you win your alt solves it, but your alt usually isnt trying to solve your alt-causes to the affs method so these links are totally irrelevant. I find these kritiks a chore to listen to and find them completely uncompelling. Aff teams, tell me how you solve your specific impact and tell me how the neg has no chance of overcoming the alt causes they complain about and your good to go. Usually in these debates there is a lot of confusion for both teams that stem from the framework debate. If you win the framework debate, not only will it make the alt finally make sense, but it'll let you outweigh the aff. Vice versa for the aff. I don't really understand the "They get the K, we get our Aff" permutation. What does it mean you "get your aff" vs their K? What are you getting?

*Reading an untopical aff is not a death sentence. I generally find myself personally persuaded by framework, but find that when I vote aff the neg is shit at going for it or the aff gets away with murder in characterizing "what" the debate is about.

*Smaller debates are better. The more argumentative moving pieces, the worse the debate ends up being. Collapse down in your 2nr or 2ar to 3-4 arguments and you will make it way easier for me to vote for you and explain to the other team why I voted.

*Tell me what happens if you win your argument. Don't just assume I know. If you tell me explicitly, then I'll tell the other team that also in the RFD.

*Ev quality is great. Your explanation of that evidence is much more important. A good argument beats a bad card every time.

*I will only flow the debater whose speech it is. You are welcome to prompt your partner to say what you want them to say, but its their time to speak and this is a team activity, not a solo enterprise. So, if your style is to make arguments when its your partner's designated speech time, adjust accordingly.

*If you are wondering if a CP is cheating it probably is (my default position is that CP's must use the same actor as the aff)

*I think CX is very important for controlling the spin of a position

*I think of the 1ar as the same way I think of the 1NR – ideally a rebuttal, but capable of doing some quasi-constructive things.

*Condo is ok. I find myself more persuaded by the aff side of arguments but, unfortunately, not often enough to vote the neg down.

*I would greatly prefer it if you didn't make the debate *about* the other debaters, or tried to make my ballot a referendum on your competitors. Making them lose because of the things they did is fine, telling me that I should vote them down for the people that they are... I won't like nearly as much.

If you do not like my rfd, feel free to post-round me. I won’t take any offense. I was always a hot head as a debater, and it won't ever hurt my perception of you if you are equally(which is probably impossible) as hot-headed as me. If you help me understand how you saw the debate, there a more than zero chance it'll pay off in some non-quantifiable way sometime in the future.

Kate Scolaro Paradigm

2 rounds

Kate Scolaro

Current Policy Debater at UF

Former debater at North Broward Preparatory School (3 yrs LD, 1 yr policy)

General Overview/Random Thoughts

Put me on the email chain if there is one – kscolaro@ufl.edu

Feel feel to email me questions after the round too!

I started out doing LD then switched to policy where I almost exclusively debate Ks. I’ll judge the debate how I’m told to.

Debate however you want and enjoy it. It will make the community and everyone’s experience much, much better!


  • Aff- Do whatever you want to do. Seriously. I want to listen to anything you feel is important. That being said, you’re going to need to defend why what you’re doing is important/should be voted for just like any other position topical or not. Affs should probably defend something. What that “something” is can be decided during the round.
  • CPs and DAs – I like smart/true CPs and DAs. I also like interesting/fun CPs and DAs. I don’t usually run these but if it falls into either of these categories they you’re in a good spot. If you’re going to be running the conventional China/Russia/Politics DAs just remember it isn’t exactly my wheelhouse (though they may be common enough to everyone else) so try and explain more and avoid too much jargon.
  • K’s/performance/identity – Do it up. I’m used to one off K debates but still appreciate the strategic value of a short K to throw in the 1NC. If this is what you like debating, then I’m generally a decent judge for you. Whether this manifests as some post modern theory or comes from your individual social location, I’m down. While I’m usually good at understanding most K’s I still want you to explain it to me (and your opponent) in a productive way. Prove to me that I’m not just voting for you because you confused your opponent or repeated your tags over and over. Do your link, impact, and alt work early and sell it in the 2NR.
  • FW/T - I get it and I'll vote for it if you do the work. The important thing is to convince me. Tell me what debate looks like under your interpretation and why the aff's/neg's interps are bad. I generally like non-topical affs and manipulating the resolution to talk about broader topics than the resolution provides but if you demonstrate how that is unfair or how their model makes debate worse, then I have no problem voting for it.
  • Theory - I'm going to need you to seriously slow down when rushing through your blocks. Most of the theory debate I see just devolve into teams reading their blocks at each other and repeating their standards over and over. Make the theory debate at least sound like it isn't some canned block you're banking on your opponent dropping so you can win the debate and I won't mind it. If you do only read blocks then shallowly extend that the entire debate and I have to construct arguments and clash for you at the end of the round I'm not going to be very happy. All that being said, I appreciate some shifty or clever theory things but you'll have to be explaining how they function by the end of the debate ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
  • PICs/PIKs/other shifty things - I like these arguments. As long as you handle the theory debate well, I really enjoy listening to debates that have some sort of semi-cheating advocacy. Be clever about it and I'll appreciate you.
  • If you have specific questions feel free to ask me!!!


  • Here's my mini rant: I don't know how I feel about LD becoming a one person, shorter, shallower, version of policy. This isn't to say that I won't vote for you if your aff has a plan or your neg strat is three off... I'm just not sure if that is what LD should be about. However, I don't do LD and I'm not part of the process of LD changing into something else so if that is how you want to debate more power to you.
  • I like Ks so if you're going to use some policy type args, start with that one.
  • I'm not going to be a great judge for you if you enjoy frivolous theory debates or have tons of theory spikes or preempts to different frameworks. Engage with your opponent and don't use theory as a way to avoid topic research if you're going to do it.
  • Anything else is game. If you have specific questions please ask me!

Morgan Spicer Paradigm

1 rounds

Add me to the email chain and feel free to email me after the round morganwspicer16@gmail.com

Current policy debater at UF. Everything below is purely a preference thing - I can and will vote on arguments made during a debate that aren't properly responded to, even if I personally dislike the argument.

Update for Blue Key:

1. I've noticed an increasing tendency of debaters to read blocks directly from their computer for the entirety of the debate, including 2NR/2AR. While it's fine if you do this (although I would rather you not because you're probably missing the line by line) PLEASE slow down. If you make a fantastic argument but it wasn't on my flow, I won't vote for it.

2. My background is pretty much entirely in policy debate (I did traditional LD for about a year). This means that I am significantly less experienced with the theory/tricks debates that seem to be more common in LD. As I mention below, I have a pretty high threshold for dropping a team on theory if there's no abuse occurring in the round (if the other team's arguments are abusive - by all means, run theory). What I mean by this is, if your strategy is to turn a blippy spike into a 2A/2N speech, I am probably not the judge for you.

3. Please tell me how to vote in your final speeches. I know next to nothing about the high school topic, and am not likely to be super well-versed in the kritik you are reading, so please avoid high level jargon. I am not afraid to not vote on an argument because I didn't understand it, and am similarly not afraid to explain that in my RFD.

Top Level

- Have fun and be nice to each other, we are all here because we love the activity! (If you are rude, you can expect low speaks).

- I think judges should adapt to debater's preferences, not the other way around, so please make arguments that you like and care about and I will do my best to evaluate the round.

- I default to a util framing so if that is not what you want please offer me another way to evaluate the round.

- Both tech and truth matter but I lean tech > truth, unless the arg is blatantly offensive.

- I am willing to vote on solely defensive arguments (i.e. presumption or 0 risk of a DA).

- Totally fine with speed, but if you aren't clear and I don't get something on my flow I won't vote on it. I will say "Clear" as many times as necessary during a round but your speaks will begin to drop after the second time.


I tend to think that affs should have some relation to the resolution, but how and to what extent is up for debate. If you are non-t, be prepared to defend why you have chosen to not defend the resolution and show me how your aff does something.


I like them, the more specific (and ideally the more true) the impact the better. Be prepared to do impact calc throughout the round, and tell me why the impacts of the DA mean I shouldn't risk voting aff.


Again, I like them. I like smart, interesting, and specific CPs but please make sure that you are explaining how it solves the aff, or how it solves sufficiently to avoid risking the DA. A net benefit is crucial, and if it's not in the 2NR I won't vote on the CP. Affs - don't be afraid to call a CP out on being abusive. At minimum, they probably justify cheater perms.

If you have multiple planks please explain all of them - or just don't read spend the time reading them in the 1NC.

I'm fine with judge kick if I am asked to do it but you need to explicitly tell me it's an option. Affs - once again, don't be afraid to call this out as abusive.


I really enjoy these debates, but please do not assume I am well-read on whatever literature you are reading. Also, please don't continue to use jargon without explaining to me (or the other team) what that means. I also really want to know how the K interacts with the impacts of the aff, and the more specific the link the better.

I'm fine with kicking the alt, but tend to get frustrated when that is done in the block with no attempt to justify/defend the alt.


As someone who reads a non-t aff and fw on neg, I like to think I don't have as little bias as possible in FW debates. Things I need from either side: continuous extension of your interpretations, advantages to your interpretation, and offense as to why the other teams understanding of debate is bad. TVAs are very persuasive, and I do tend to view out of round impacts as more important/persuasive than in round impacts (i.e. big fan of fairness as an internal link to education).


I like T debates when they consist of more than debaters just speeding through their blocks. PLEASE slow down when reading T shells. Just saying the word "fairness" is not a sufficient impact, tell me why the other team is making debate uniquely bad.


I love love love a good case debate. Affs are generally really bad and I really enjoy seeing the aff being pushed back against. Don't be afraid to go for a case only 2NR if you have the args.


I think pretty much all theory violations are reasons to reject the argument and not the team. If the argument "reason to reject the team" isn't made and defended I default to reject the arg. I am unlikely to vote on theory if there isn't actual abuse.

Condo is pretty much the only theory arg that I think is a reason to reject the team. HOWEVER, I am very unlikely to vote on condo if the team is reading three or fewer conditional advocacies, but feel free to make the arguments to convince me otherwise. Four isn't necessarily a threshold for me, but the neg should be ready to spend a substantial amount of time defending condo if they choose to read that many conditional advocacies.

David Steinberg Paradigm

3 rounds

Update (2/12/2019): I am in the novice/JV judging pool for the upcoming D6/SECEDA tournament. Except for the Miami Dade Urban Debate League, I have not judged a policy debate this year, and only a handful last year, so please take it easy on me! Be slow, clear and organized. The rest of this judging statement reflects my thoughts when I was judging policy tournaments regularly and is fairly accurate.

I will vote for the team that in my opinion wins the debate, even if inconsistent with my predispositions. But if you adapt your arguments and presentation to me, you have a much better chance of winning. Keep in mind that I do not hear many policy debates and I am not researching the topic as you are. I still enjoy debate, and I believe in it. There are as many ways to do debate as their are debaters, and I appreciate creativity.

I believe that the focus of the debate is the proposition. And if (as with the current CEDA Resolution) that is a policy proposition, it is impingent upon the affirmative to offer and defend a topical plan. Affirmative advantages and negative arguments should have unique links to the affirmative plan, and policy comparison is my default decision framework. I also believe in the burden of rejoinder, the expectation that you offer on-point answers to your opponent’s arguments, and so, the flow matters. But, my flow is not great, especially in a very fast debate, so you should work to keep a clear and clean flow with references to the specific arguments to which you are responding and which you are extending. Computer debating has diminished the direct clash in debate. Debate is defined by clash. You should reference and respond to each other's arguments and track the linear progression of arguments as they evolve horizontally across my flow. Debate requires reading (of evidence), but reading is not debating. I believe that debate is an oral communication activity requiring some reading, but at its best, also offering spontaneity, wit, and creativity.

I believe that debaters should adapt to their audience (i.e., the judge, ME), NOT the other way around. So I am pleased to offer my thoughts about debate in hopes that you will respect them. And feel free to ask me for more detail. Also, I will at times offer some nonverbal feedback during the debate. Pay attention.

Moral, ethical and critical considerations are not only relevant in debate; they are essential components of policy analysis. But the link to the proposition and the plan advocacy do matter to me. I focus on the topic or the topical plan. So negatives, run counterplans, disads, case turns, solvency arguments, and relevant Kritics that link. Run topicality not as a technical violation based on the game, but as a genuine difference in interpretation or definition based in the world. Don’t assume that I know what you know. Please start with clear explanations and definitions. It is your job to identify points of clash or decision criteria for me.

I have no problem admitting that I didn't get it or understand it if I didn’t. It is your responsibility to help me understand the evidence and position during the debate, not after.

I enjoy style and creativity in debate and I support the effort to expand what is considered acceptable proof. But your time is better spent making arguments than playing music during the round, and profanity does not belong in debate. I appreciate style, humor and wit in debate. On the other hand, I am somewhat uncomfortable with excessive self-disclosure and emotion in debate (and, probably, in most contexts outside debate as well).

For years, I have identified myself in the role of debate judge as an educator and evaluator of argument. I am not a referee. Debate is a subjective activity and there is generally not an absolute winner. Rather, it is my job to express my inherently biased perception of which side did the better job of defending or opposing the proposition based on the content of their arguments. I try to minimize my intervention, but to suggest that I can operate outside of my own perceptual screens and personal history is unrealistic.

I look forward to hearing debates, and I enjoy and believe in the process. I hope I will be able to promote a learning environment and a comfortable experience.

Please enjoy the experience and don’t take it too seriously! It is a game in which we are priviledged to participate. It should be enjoyable. And treat your opponents and me with respect and courtesy.

Rebecca Steiner Paradigm

3 rounds

current PHD student at University of Georgia. Previously coached at Wake Forest & University of Florida.

Create an email chain for evidence. Put me on it. My email address is lace.stace@gmail.com also add georgiascoutingdocs@gmail.com . If you are debating in high school, you do not need to add the second email address.

First team to trivialize or deny the Holocaust loses.


Is there an overview that requires a new sheet of paper? I hope not.

Does the DA turn the AFF?

Impact calculus is necessary from both sides.

Impact turn debates are fine with me (ex. heg good/bad).


What are the key differences between the CP and the plan?

Does the CP solve some of the aff or all of the aff?

If you are reading multiple DA's, be clear about which one/s you are claiming as the net benefit/s to your CP.

"Solving more" is not a net benefit for me.

Although I generally lean negative on international fiat, PICS, and agent CP theory arguments, I do not think the neg should get multiple conditional planks on a counterplan. I am more aff leaning on multiple conditional advocacy s are bad for our activity. I hate when the neg reads a 1nc full of arguments in great tension with/clearly link or are clearly a double turn to other things in the 1nc.


I will flow the entire debate and judge based on what I have flowed.

I prefer when debaters make flowing easier for me (signposting, identifying other team’s argument and making direct answers, clarity).

I prefer when debaters answer arguments individually rather than “grouping”.

Tech > truth


"What cards did you read" and "What cards did you not read" definitely count as cross-x time.

Avoid intervening in your partners cross-x time, whether asking or answering.

Speaker points:

Speaking clarity, argument clarity, disrespectfulness to partner or other team, stealing prep time, sophistication of strategy, and in-round argument execution all matter to me when determining points.

"Cut the card there" is not sufficient. Mark any cards you do not finish. Give a new speech document that reflects the marked cards to your opponents.

Locating pens, flows, timer/s, and evidence all count for prep time.

Clay Stewart Paradigm

5 rounds

Note: This is my Policy paradigm. For my LD paradigm, see the JudgePhilosophies Wikispaces.

Disclaimer: I am partially deaf in my left ear. While this has zero impact on my ability to flow in 99.9% of debates, exceptionally bad acoustics may force me to be closer than usual during speeches. In less exceptional circumstances, I may ask you to make minor adjustments (e.g. changing the angle of your laptop). I apologize in advance for the inconvenience.

***Debate Experience***

Lincoln-Douglas: 3 Years (Local/ National Circuit)
Policy Debate: 4 Years of College Policy Debate, Georgia State University (Starting with the 2011-2012 Democracy Assistance Topic)
2015 NDT Qualifier (WOOT!)
Coached By: Joe Bellon, Nick Sciullo, Erik Mathis
Argument Style: I read primarily kritikal arguments my Freshman/ Sophomore year; I switched to primarily policy arguments my Junior/ Senior year.
Caselist Link (I was a 2N my Senior year): http://opencaselist14.paperlessdebate.com/Georgia+State/Stewart-Nails+Neg

***Coaching Experience***

Lincoln-Douglas Debate: 4 Years (Local/ National Circuit)
Policy Debate: 3 Years (Graduate Assistant At The University of Georgia)

***General Preferences***


Debate is a game; my strongest belief is that debaters should be able to play the game however they want to play it. I remain committed to Tabula Rasa judging, and have yet to see an argument (claim/ warrant) I would not pull the trigger on. The only exception to this is if I could not coherently explain to the other team the warrant for the argument I'm voting on. Unless told otherwise, I will flow the debate, and vote, based on the line-by-line, for whomever I thought won the debate.

What follows are my general thoughts about arguments, because for some reason that's what counts as a "judging paradigm" these days. Everything that follows WILL be overridden by arguments made in the debate.


Not my strongest point as a judge. That does not mean that you should not run theory if that's your thing/ there's actual abuse/ it's the most strategic way out of the round. The easiest thing you can do to win my ballot on theory is to slow down and give an overview that sets up a clear way for me to evaluate the line-by-line. I have no default conception of how theory functions, it could be an issue of competing interpretations, an issue of reasonability, an RVI, or a tool of the patriarchy. Frame it the way you want it evaluated.

***Warning***: My LD background, where theory is much more common, means that I probably have a much lower threshold for pulling the trigger than you're used to. Defaults such as X is never a reason to reject the team, RVIs Bad, and a general disregard of Spec arguments aren't hardwired into me like the vast majority of the judging pool.

Shenanigans/ Weird Stuff:

I'm fine with whatever you choose to do in a debate round. Given my debate career, I've probably put myself in Death Good/ Omega Point-land for the rest of my life.


Not a judge to reconstruct debates after the 2AR. Substantial deference will be given to in-debate spin. If that's not enough for my decision, then I'll start reading more into card quality/ warrants.

Computer Issues/ In-Round Issues:

I'm an understanding person. We'll stop the clock, resolve the issue/ wait an appropriate amount of time.

***Policy Preferences***


Read 'em. While I'm personally a big fan of process CPs/ PICs, I generally default to letting the literature determine CP competition/ legitimacy. If you have a kickass solvency advocate, then I will probably lean your way on most theoretical issues. On the other hand, as a former 2A, I sympathize with 2AC theory against CPs against which it is almost impossible to generate solvency deficits. 2ACs should not be afraid to bow up on CP theory in the 1AR.


Specific DAs/ links trump generic DAs/ links absent substantial Negative spin. Love DAs with odd impact scenarios/ nuanced link stories.


I functionally never read this as a debater, but my time coaching at UGA has brought me up to speed. Slow down/ clearly flag key points/ evidence distinctions in the 2NR/ 2AR.


Read it. Strategic tool that most 2Ns uderutilize. Rarely hear a nuanced argument for reasonability; the T violation seems to prove the 1AC is unreasonable...


I do not personally agree with the majority of Kritiks. However, after years of graduate school and debate, I've read large amount of Kritikal literature, and, if you run the K well, I'm a good judge for you. Increasingly irritated with 2ACs that fail to engage the nuance of the K they're answering (Cede the Political/ Perm: Double-Bind isn't enough to get you through a competently extended K debate). Similarly irritated with 2NCs that debate the K like a politics DA. Finally, 2ACs are too afraid to bow up on the K, especially with Impact Turns. I often end up voting Negative on the Kritik because the 2AC got sucked down the rabbit hole and didn't remind there was real-world outside of the philosophical interpretation offered by the K.

Framework (2AC):

You're better off reading this as policymaking good/ pragmatism offense to prefer the plan versus the alternative than a reason to exclude the K entirely. Generally skeptical of 2ACs that claim the K isn't within my jurisdiction/ is super unfair.

Framework (2NC):

Often end up voting Negative because the Affirmative strategically mishandles the FW of the K. Generally skeptical of K FW's that make the plan/ the real-world disappear entirely.

***Non-Traditional Preferences/ Clash of Civilization Debates***

Clash of Civilization Debates:

Enjoy these debates; I will probably judge alot of them. The worst thing you can do is overadapt. DEBATE HOWEVER YOU WANT TO DEBATE. My favorite debate that I ever watched was UMW versus Oklahoma, where UMW read a giant Hegemony advantage versus Oklahoma's 1-off Wilderson. I've been on both sides of the clash debate, and I respect both sides. I will just as easily vote on Framework/ the Community PIC, as use my ballot to resist anti-blackness in debate.

Traditional ("Policy" Teams):

DO YOU. Traditional teams should not be afraid to double-down against K 1ACs,/ Big K 1NCs either via Framework or Impact Turns.

Framework (As "T"):

Never read this as a debater, but I've become more sympathetic to arguments about how the the resolution as a starting point is an important procedural constraint that can capture some of the pedagogical value of a Kritikal discussion. As a former 2N, I am sympathetic to limits arguments given the seemingly endless proliferation of K 1ACs with a dubious relationship to the topic. Explain how your interpretation is an opportunity cost of the 1ACs approach, and how you solve the 2ACs substantive offense (i.e. critical pedagogy/ our performance is important, etc.).

Non-Traditional ("Performance"/ "K" Teams):

As someone who spent a semester reading a narrative project about welcoming veterans into debate, I'm familiar with the way these arguments function, and I feel that they're an integral part of the game we call debate. However, that does not mean I will vote for you because you critiqued X-ism; what is your method, and how does it resolve the harms you have isolated? I am greatly frustrated by Kritik Teams that rely on obfuscation as a strategic tool---- even the Situationist International cared deeply about the political implications of their project.

AT: Framework

The closer you are to the topic/ the clearer your Affirmative is in what it defends, the more I'm down with the Affirmative. While I generally think that alternative approaches to debate are important discussions to be had, if I can listen to the 1AC and have no idea what the Affirmative does, what it defends, or why it's a response to the Topic beyond nebulous claims of resisting X-ism, then you're in a bad spot. Explain how your Counter-Interp solves their theoretical offense, or why your permutation doesn't link to their limits/ ground standards.

Fairness/ Education:

Is important. I am generally confused by teams that claim to impact turn fairness/ education. Your arguments are better articulated as INL-turns (i.e. X-ism/ debate practice is structurally unfair). Debate at some level is a game, and you should explain how your version of the game allows for good discussion/ an equal playing field for all.

Ethics Violations:

After being forced to decide an elimination debate on a card-clipping accusation during the 2015 Barkley Forum (Emory), I felt it necessary to establish clarity/ forewarning for how I will proceed if this unfortunate circumstance happens again. While I would obviously prefer to decide the debate on actual substantive questions, this is the one issue where I will intervene. In the event of an ethics accusation, I will do the following:

1) Stop the debate. I will give the accusing team a chance to withdraw the accusation or proceed. If the accusation stands, I will decide the debate on the validity of the accusation.

2) Consult the Tabroom to determine any specific tournament policies/ procedures that apply to the situation and need to be followed.

3) Review available evidence to decide whether or not an ethics violation has taken place. In the event of a clipping accusation, a recording or video of the debate would be exceptionally helpful. I am a personal believer in a person being innocent until proven guilty. Unless there's definitive evidence proving otherwise, I will presume in favor of the accused debater.

4) Drop the Debater. If an ethics violation has taken place, I will drop the offending team, and award zero speaker points. If an ethics violation has not occurred, I will drop the team that originally made the accusation. The purpose of this is to prevent frivolous/ strategic accusations, given the very real-world, long-lasting impact such an accusation has on the team being accused.

5) Ethics Violations (Update): Credible, actual threats of violence against the actual people in the actual debate are unacceptable, as are acts of violence against others. I will drop you with zero speaker points if either of those occur. Litmus Test: There's a difference between wipeout/ global suicide alternatives (i.e. post-fiat arguments) and actually punching a debater in the face (i.e. real-world violence).

Patrick Waldinger Paradigm

3 rounds

Patrick Waldinger 

Assistant Director of Debate at the University of Miami

Assistant Debate Coach at the Pine Crest School 

10+ years judging 


Yes, please put me on the speech doc: dinger AT gmail


Updated 9.2.14


Here are the two things you care about when you are looking to do the prefs so I’ll get right to them:


1. Conditionality: I think rampant conditionality is destroying the educational aspects of debate slowly but surely. You should not run more than one conditional argument in front of me.


Reading a K without an alternative and claiming it is a “gateway” issue doesn’t count. First, it likely contradicts with your CP, which is a reason that conditionality is both not educational and unfair. Second, there are no arbitrary “gateway” issues – there are the stock issues but methodology, for example, is not one of them the last time I read Steinberg’s book.


I also think there is a big difference between saying the CP is “conditional” versus “the status quo is always an option for the judge”. Conditional implies you can kick it at any time, however, if you choose not to kick it in the 2NR then that was your choice. You are stuck with that world. If the “status quo is always an option” for me, then the negative is saying that I, as the judge, have the option to kick the CP for them. You may think this is a mere semantic difference. That’s fine – but I DON’T. Say what you mean and mean what you say.


The notion that I (or any judge) can just kick the CP for the negative team seems absurd in the vein of extreme judge intervention. Can I make permutation arguments for the aff too? That being said, if the affirmative lets the negative have their cake and eat it too, then I’ll kick CPs left and right. However, it seems extremely silly to let the negative argue that the judge has the ability to kick the CP. In addition, if the negative never explicitly states that I can kick the CP in the 2NR then don’t be surprised when I do not kick it post-round (3NR?).


Finally, I want to note the sad irony when I read judge philosophies of some young coaches. Phrases similar to “conditionality is probably getting out of hand”, while true, show the sad state of affairs where the same people who benefited from the terrible practice of rampant conditionality are the same ones who realize how bad it is when they are on the other side.


2. Kritiks: In many respects going for a kritik is an uphill battle with me as the judge. I don’t read the literature and I’m not well versed in it. I view myself as a policymaker and thus I am interested in pragmatics. That being said, I think it is silly to dismiss entirely philosophical underpinnings of any policy.


Sometimes I really enjoy topic specific kritiks, for example, on the immigration topic I found the idea about whether or not the US should have any limits on migration a fascinating debate. However, kritiks that are not specific to the topic I will view with much more skepticism. In particular, kritiks that have no relation to pragmatic policymaking will have slim chance when I am judging (think Baudrillard).


If you are going for a K, you need to explain why the PLAN is bad. It’s good that you talk about the impact of your kritik but you need to explain why the plan’s assumptions justify that impact. Framing the debate is important and the frame that I am evaluating is surrounding the plan.


I am not a fan of kritiks that are based off of advantages rather than the plan, however, if you run them please don’t contradict yourself. If you say rhetoric is important and then use that same bad rhetoric, it will almost be impossible for you to win. If the 1AC is a speech act then the 1NC is one too.


I believe that the affirmative should defend a plan that is an example of the current high school or CEDA debate resolution. I believe that the affirmative should defend the consequences of their plan as if the United States or United States federal government were to actually enact your proposal.


The remainder:


“Truth over tech”? I mull this over a lot. This issue is probably the area that most judges grapple with, even if they seem confident on which side they take. I err of the side of "truth over tech" but that being said, debate is a game and how you perform matter for the outcome. While it is obviously true that in debate an argument that goes unanswered is considered “true”, that doesn’t mean there doesn’t have to be a logical reason behind the argument to begin with. That being said, I will be sensitive to new 2AR arguments as I think the argument, if logical, should have been in the debate earlier.



Topicality: Topicality is always a voting issue and never a reverse voting issue. I default to reasonability on topicality. It makes no sense to me that I should vote for the best interpretation, when the affirmative’s burden is only to be good. The affirmative would never lose if the negative said there is better solvency evidence the affirmative should have read. That being said, I understand that what “good’ means differs for people but that’s also true for what “better” is: both are subjective. I will vote on competing interpretations if the negative wins that is the best way to frame the debate (usually because the affirmative doesn’t defend reasonability).


The affirmative side has huge presumption on topicality if they can produce contextual evidence to prove their plan is topical. Specific examples of what cases would be/won’t be allowed under an interpretation are important.


People think “topical version of the aff” is the be all end all of topicality, however, it begs the question: is the aff topical? If the aff is topical then just saying “topical version of the aff” means nothing – you have presented A topical version of the aff in which the affirmative plan is also one.


Basically I look at the debate from the perspective of a policy debate coach from a medium sized school: is this something my team should be prepared to debate?


As a side note – often times the shell for topicality is read so quickly that it is very unclear exactly what your interpretation of the topic is. Given that, there are many times going into the block (and sometimes afterwards) that I don’t understand what argument you are making as to why the affirmative is not topical. It will be hard for me to embrace your argument if I don’t know what it is.


Counterplans: It is a lot easier to win that your counterplan is theoretically legitimate if you have a piece of evidence that is specific to the plan. And I mean SPECIFIC to the plan, not “NATO likes to talk about energy stuff” or the “50 states did this thing about energy one time”. Counterplans that include all of the plan are the most theoretically dubious. If your counterplan competes based on fiat, such as certainty or timeframe, that is also theoretically dubious. Agent counterplans and PICS (yes, I believe they are distinct) are in a grey area.  The bottom line: the counterplan should not be treated as some throw away argument – if you are going to read one then you should defend it.


Theory: I already talked a lot about it above but I wanted to mention that the only theoretical arguments that I believe are “voting issues” are conditionality and topicality. The rest are just reasons to reject the argument and/or allow the other side to advocate similar shenanigans. This is true even if the other side drops the argument in a speech.


Other stuff you may care about if you are still reading:


Aspec: If you don’t ask then cross-examination then I’ll assume that it wasn’t critical to your strategy. I understand “pre-round prep” and all but I’m not sure that’s enough of a reason to vote the affirmative down. If the affirmative fails to specify in cross-examination then you may have an argument. I'm not a huge fan of Agent CPs so if this is your reasong to vote against the aff, then you're probably barking up the wrong tree. 


**Addendum to ASPEC for "United States"**: I do think it is important for the aff to specify in cross-ex what "United States" means on the college topic. The nature of disads and solvency arguments (and potentially topicality) depend on what the aff means by "United States". I understand these are similiar arguments made by teams reading ASPEC on USFG but I feel that "United States" is so unique and can mean so many different things that a negative team should be able to know what the affirmative is advocating for. 


Evidence: I put a large emphasis on evidence quality. I read a lot of evidence at the end of the debate. I believe that you have to have evidence that actually says what you claim it says. Not just hint at it. Not just imply it. Not just infer it. You should just read good evidence. Also, you should default to reading more of the evidence in a debate. Not more evidence. More OF THE evidence. Don't give me a fortune cookie and expect me to give the full credit for the card's warrants. Bad, one sentence evidence is a symptom of rampant conditionality and antithetical to good policy making. 


Paperless: I only ask that you don’t take too much time and have integrity with the process, e.g., don’t steal prep, don’t give the other team egregious amounts of evidence you don’t intend to read, maintain your computers and jump drives so they are easy to use and don’t have viruses, etc.


Integrity: Read good arguments, make honest arguments, be nice and don’t cheat. Win because you are better and not because you resort to cheap tricks.


Civility: Be nice. Debate is supposed to be fun. You should be someone that people enjoy debating with and against – win or lose. Bad language is not necessary to convey an argument.

Whit Whitmore Paradigm

6 rounds

LD Specific Business:

I am primarily a policy coach with very little LD experience. Have a little patience with me when it comes to LD specific jargon or arguments. It would behoove you to do a little more explanation than you would give to a seasoned adjudicator in the back of the room. I will most likely judge LD rounds in the same way I judge policy rounds. Hopefully my policy philosophy below will give you some insight into how I view debate. I have little tolerance and a high threshold for voting on unwarranted theory arguments. I'm not likely to care that they dropped your 'g' subpoint, if it wasn't very good. RVI's aren't a thing, and I won't vote on them.

Policy Business:

add me to the email chain: whit211@gmail.com

You should debate line by line. I continue to grow frustrated with teams that do not flow. If I suspect you are not flowing (I visibly see you not doing it; you answer arguments that were not made in the previous speech but were in the speech doc; you answer arguments in speech doc order instead of speech order), you will receive no higher than a 28. This includes teams that like to "group" the 2ac into sections and just read blocks in the 2NC/1NR. Also, read cards. I don't want to hear a block with no cards.

Debate the round in a manner that you would like and defend it. I consistently vote for arguments that I don’t agree with and positions that I don’t necessarily think are good for debate. I have some pretty deeply held beliefs about debate, but I’m not so conceited that I think I have it all figured out. I still try to be as objective as possible in deciding rounds. All that being said, the following can be used to determine what I will most likely be persuaded by in close calls:

If I had my druthers, every 2nr would be a counterplan/disad or disad/case.

In the battle between truth and tech, I think I fall slightly on side of truth. That doesn’t mean that you can go around dropping arguments and then point out some fatal flaw in their logic in the 2AR. It does mean that some arguments are so poor as to necessitate only one response, and, as long as we are on the same page about what that argument is, it is ok if the explanation of that argument is shallow for most of the debate. True arguments aren’t always supported by evidence, but it certainly helps.

I think research is the most important aspect of debate. I make an effort to reward teams that work hard and do quality research on the topic, and arguments about preserving and improving topic specific education carry a lot of weight with me. However, it is not enough to read a wreck of good cards and tell me to read them. Teams that have actually worked hard tend to not only read quality evidence, but also execute and explain the arguments in the evidence well. I think there is an under-highlighting epidemic in debates, but I am willing to give debaters who know their evidence well enough to reference unhighlighted portions in the debate some leeway when comparing evidence after the round.

I think the affirmative should have a plan. I think the plan should be topical. I think topicality is a voting issue. I think teams that make a choice to not be topical are actively attempting to exclude the negative team from the debate (not the other way around). If you are not going to read a plan or be topical, you are more likely to persuade me that what you are doing is ‘ok’ if you at least attempt to relate to or talk about the topic. Being a close parallel (advocating something that would result in something similar to the resolution) is much better than being tangentially related or directly opposed to the resolution. I don’t think negative teams go for framework enough. Fairness is an impact, not a internal link. Procedural fairness is a thing and the only real impact to framework. If you go for "policy debate is key to skills and education," you are likely to lose. Winning that procedural fairness outweighs is not a given. You still need to defend against the other team's skills, education and exclusion argument.

I don’t think making a permutation is ever a reason to reject the affirmative. I don’t believe the affirmative should be allowed to sever any part of the plan, but I believe the affirmative is only responsible for the mandates of the plan. Other extraneous questions, like immediacy and certainty, can be assumed only in the absence of a counterplan that manipulates the answers to those questions. I think there are limited instances when intrinsicness perms can be justified. This usually happens when the perm is technically intrinsic, but is in the same spirit as an action the CP takes This obviously has implications for whether or not I feel some counterplans are ultimately competitive.

Because I think topic literature should drive debates (see above), I feel that both plans and counterplans should have solvency advocates. There is some gray area about what constitutes a solvency advocate, but I don’t think it is an arbitrary issue. Two cards about some obscure aspect of the plan that might not be the most desirable does not a pic make. Also, it doesn’t sit well with me when negative teams manipulate the unlimited power of negative fiat to get around literature based arguments against their counterplan (i.e. – there is a healthy debate about federal uniformity vs state innovation that you should engage if you are reading the states cp). Because I see this action as comparable to an affirmative intrinsicness answer, I am more likely to give the affirmative leeway on those arguments if the negative has a counterplan that fiats out of the best responses.

My personal belief is probably slightly affirmative on many theory questions, but I don’t think I have voted affirmative on a (non-dropped) theory argument in years. Most affirmatives are awful at debating theory. Conditionality is conditionality is conditionality. If you have won that conditionality is good, there is no need make some arbitrary interpretation that what you did in the 1NC is the upper limit of what should be allowed. On a related note, I think affirmatives that make interpretations like ‘one conditional cp is ok’ have not staked out a very strategic position in the debate and have instead ceded their best offense. Appeals to reciprocity make a lot sense to me. ‘Argument, not team’ makes sense for most theory arguments that are unrelated to the disposition of a counterplan or kritik, but I can be persuaded that time investment required for an affirmative team to win theory necessitates that it be a voting issue.

Critical teams that make arguments that are grounded in and specific to the topic are more successful in front of me than those that do not. It is even better if your arguments are highly specific to the affirmative in question. I enjoy it when you paint a picture for me with stories about why the plans harms wouldn’t actually happen or why the plan wouldn’t solve. I like to see critical teams make link arguments based on claims or evidence read by the affirmative. These link arguments don’t always have to be made with evidence. I think alternative solvency is usually the weakest aspect of the kritik. Affirmatives would be well served to spend cross-x and speech time addressing this issue. ‘Our authors have degrees/work at a think tank’ is not a response to an epistemological indict of your affirmative. Intelligent, well-articulated analytic arguments are often the most persuasive answers to a kritik.