73rd National Debate Tournament

2019 — Minneapolis, MN, MN/US

.andy .montee Paradigm

1 rounds

I flow everything straight down on paper.

I actually think framework is a good argument, but in the way that I think it pushes K args to defend some of the fundamental aspects of their arguments - reform, legal solutions, the state, progress, liberalism, traditional forms of politics, etc. I think these are the important aspects of framework. Procedural fairness is an impact and not one that I love, but it's a means to an end. You still have to win some kind of terminal impact to framework, otherwise we're just playing a technical game of checkers. Give me a reason to care.

Affs get perms. You need a link to your K anyway. That should make it so the perm is unable to solve the impacts of your criticism. But they still get to make the perm argument so that that aspect of the debate is tested. I get it, it's a method debate. But I super want you to have a link that says why their method sucks.

Example: direct revolutionary praxis vs strategic, opaque resistance. There are a ton of flavors of these methods, but at their roots they are competitive and produce good debates.

"Performance" - All debate is a performance. This categorical distinction is arbitrary and I don't like it. Of course you can read a story to support your argument. People do that.

Evidence – I'm going to read cards. I like them. I think cards should be good and well warranted, and I hate calling for cards only to find a good argument was backed up with some lackluster ev.

Amar Adam Paradigm

1 rounds

Amar Adam
Chattahoochee Class 2014

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

Emory law 2022

amarzach@gmail.com - put this one on the chain for high school debate

debatedocs@googlegroups.com - put this one on the chain for college debate. Label the subject line as: Tournament - Round # - Aff Team vs Neg Team


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


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

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

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

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

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


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


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


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

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

Pirzada Ahmad Paradigm

1 rounds


Eight years of policy debate

2014-2018 Dartmouth

What you probably want:

1] Please add me to the email chain with adazrip (at) gmail.com.

2] I have experience with every type of argument. Read whatever positions you want.

3] For planless aff vs topicality/framework, I believe procedural fairness/competitive equity can be effectively explained as an impact. Aff kritiks of framework and limits are usually more effective when specific to the aff.

4] I am fine for topicality vs plan affs.

5] I probably lean more towards truth over tech compared to most, but cross-applications, even under-developed ones, are necessary to overcome concessions. For instance, a ten card slew of wishy-washy uniqueness cards can probably be beaten by two really good cards and a few smart analytics that seem to fall on the side of contemporary “truth.” However, dropping (zero cross-application on either case or the DA flows) lightly developed and somewhat silly turns case and solves case arguments on the DA in the 2AR is likely to not end well for the aff.

6] Please resolve argument interactions. I will make my decision by identifying what I think are the key points of contestation. If neither team writes a ballot for me by identifying these issues and explaining how I should resolve them, then the losing team is likely to be unhappy with my decision as they will probably have thought the debate came down to a different set of concerns.

7] Evidence quality is important. Evidence that is not highlighted to include a claim, warrant, and impact is not going to carry much weight for me. You’re better off reading one good card instead of seven two sentence cards. I love when debaters take the time to explain the merits of key quality pieces of evidence and why they matter in the larger puzzle of the debate.

8] I think I am moderately expressive.

9] Pick and choose arguments. For example, 2-3 well-developed case defense pushes in the 2NR will go way further than 8 shallow extensions.


1] I prefer limits arguments over ones about ground.

2] I like debates over interpretations on the basis of predictable definitions and research burdens. This includes comparative caselist arguments, as well as evidence qualifications.

3] For planless affs vs T/FW debates, please explain the competing arguments’ interaction with one another and how to evaluate the inevitably largely disparate standards/impacts. For example, the neg is likely to win some procedural fairness impact, while the aff is likely to win some educational and exclusion-based offense. Tell me how to resolve the debate and why I should prefer your way of resolving the debate over the other team’s proposed method.


1] DAs are most persuasive when the neg tells a story. Especially with the link, try to tell me a story that is tailored to the aff and/or its internal links.

2] Good impact overviews will put you in a great position to execute the DA to its fullest potential. This includes smart external offense, solves case, and turns case claims.

3] It is likely that the aff will have some game on some parts of the DA. Explain to me how I should evaluate the holistic risk of the DA, both at the level of the specific components of the DA (e.g. link frames uniqueness) and in comparison to the likely somewhat mitigated (by a CP, turns case/solves case, or case defense) aff.


1] I am okay for well-researched cheating CPs (distinct from a generic process CP like Consult X random agent without an aff-specific solvency advocate). If you can find a wonky process CP that is specific to the aff, more power to you. Evidence for the CP about the literature or topic expertise (note: this is distinct from just having a solvency advocate) is usually helpful/necessary to respond to theory.

2] That being said, I am probably pretty okay for the aff on CP and competition theory. Just debate it well and devote a fair amount of 1AR time to it.

3] The 1AR and 2AR should not include perm do both unless you can explain how one could do both and how that combination can shield the link. Absent explanation of the perm, a simple neg response of “perm do both links to the net benefit because it maintains the aff’s original link” is almost always sufficient. Smart, creative explanations will be rewarded. Silly perms that are well explained should be taken seriously by the neg - don’t just blow them off with “still links to the DA” if they explain how the combination could avoid the link. Even if the necessary response is only a sentence long - don’t just grandstand, explain the warrant against the perm. If the perm explanation is illogical, impossible, or unpredictable [interpretation of the plan], then just say so and explain why.


1] Debates are won and lost with the alt. This applies to both teams. The caveat to this is when the neg successfully goes for presumption, which I am probably pretty good for if the aff messes up k framework/role of the ballot/impact framing.

2] Specificity is important for both teams e.g. links for the negative, solvency deficit/DA explanations for the aff, etc.

3] I am probably better for aff inclusive kritiks than most. The aff should probably defend their advantages as opposed to going for theory because the neg is likely to have some great discourses + assumptions matter cards related to their k’s genre. That being said, theory is certainly a viable option, but I am not as put off by AIKs as many others.

4] Please don’t assume I know the kritik’s or the aff answers’ literature bases much at all. Both teams will do well to paint a coherent story and explain as much as possible. Historical examples tend to help both teams.

5] “Not our [insert primary author’s name]” is almost always a lie. Aff teams - please don’t fold in response.

6] I am okay for a big policy aff against a kritik. I promise.

Other things that I like and dislike:

1] Clarity. Start speeches slow. Read analytics and theory slowly. Take deep breaths in between arguments. Tag your arguments with a 3-7 word header. If you blip through an argument or don’t label it effectively, I am likely to either miss it on my flow entirely or misflow it. Emphasize important phrases and key terms in cards. Hard number 2AC arguments on off-case. Reference aff arguments in order (unless explicitly grouped or if you said you were starting in a different place). Most of all, explain your strategy at some point (usually 2NR/2AR).

2] Well executed cross exes are awesome. If you manage to find and poke at a weakness in the other team’s argument, please exploit it (e.g. if their advantage’s uniqueness is wack, read a card about it in the 1NC after poking at it in 1AC CX). Also, let each other talk in CX, please. There are many ways to effectively cut someone off after a while, but if you keep interrupting every two seconds, your CX will not seem that worthwhile to me.

3] I strongly dislike when people dodge questions in CX. Unless you’re reading some form of the opacity K, your speaker points will suffer if you seem to be avoiding CX questions, especially if the other team is asking you to explain your argument. If prompted for an explanation about an argument you made, then you should want to talk MORE, not LESS! Chances are, that if the other team didn’t get it, neither did I - if they’re going to let you explain your argument’s thesis, take advantage and wax poetic!

4] I dislike new 2AR arguments to the point where I scrutinize my flow after the debate to see if all of the aff’s potentially important arguments were in the 1AR in some way or form. The bar is not high for an argument to be considered to have been in the 1AR, but little 1AR development usually means the aff is likely to be limited to little further development in the 2AR before it becomes too new.

5] Don’t grandstand as substitution for extension please. Saying the other team “massively undercovered/dropped X” or that you “are way ahead” on something is not an argument. It is obviously okay and somewhat useful to sometimes point out concessions, my point is just that an extension must go further than just an assertion about coverage.

Andrew Allsup Paradigm

1 rounds

I. Biographical Information:

I am in the second year of a doctoral program in Communication and Rhetoric at the University of Pittsburgh. I helped coach at Kansas State University for two years while earning an MA. I debated for 5 years at the University of Missouri-Kansas City.


II. The Big Picture


First, this is a competitive academic activity and I expect the evidence you introduce into the debate to meet a certain level of intellectual rigor. This does not mean that every piece of evidence needs to be from a peer-reviewed source (although it is often preferable) but it should contain a coherent argument (i.e. claim and warrant). Hint: one line cards rarely (read: never) meet this standard.

Second, quality always trumps quantity. The “strategic” decision to read a bunch of cards that either come from questionable sources or fail to make a coherent argument will never beat one well-warranted card. This shouldn’t be controversial yet somehow debate has conditioned otherwise intelligent people to think otherwise.

Third, question your opponent’s sources. This is a quick way to get favorable speaker points from me. Do your opponent a favor and tell them that their sources are unqualified. Do me a favor and explain why I should disregard certain pieces of evidence because they aren’t academically credible and unfit for this academic community. Bottom line: read unqualified/bad evidence at your own risk.

Paperless Information: Prep time stops when you pull the flash drive/send the email. If you are doing an email chain then you should include me in it (my email is aallsup[at]gmail.com).  

Good Speaker Points 101:

  1. Make an complete argument (claim, warrant, and impact).
  2. Clarity: If I cant hear/understand your argument I will not flow/evaluate it
  3. “Extinction” or “Nuclear War” is not a tag. Tags include claims AND warrants
  4. Author name extensions are insufficient. Don’t do it. Make an argument and use the evidence to support it
  5. Cross-X is a speech and it will factor heavily in speaker point distribution. I reward good questions and responses.
  6. Get to the point: focus on the core issues of the debate

III. Argument Specific:


First, I am not the judge for you to stake the round on arbitrary interpretations. You need to be able to defend that your interpretation presents a useful norm that should be universalized within debate. That being said, I default to competing interpretations but have a decently low thresholds for critiques of topicality/theory when interpretations are wholly arbitrary.

Second, if you want to win a critique of topicality/theory you must prove that the exclusion of the affirmative is worse than the negatives ability to expect a fair, limited, or predictable debate.  

Third, I tend to side with the idea that conditionality is a beneficial and educational tool in debate. The affirmative will have to win a decisive and tangible impact in order to get me to vote against conditionality. That being said, there is a point at which conditionality can be abused and that abuse trades off with good scholarship. I’m not the person to read nine conditional advocacies in front of. At a certain point there is an inverse relationship between number of advocacies and good arguments that demeans the purpose of engaging each other in this competitive academic forum.

Fourth, you can read your agent/actor counter plans and I will evaluate them fairly but I certainly will not be happy about it. My belief is that the negative should only be allowed to fiat the agent of the resolution. I don’t think competition based on the “certainty” of the plan is productive or interesting.

Fifth, my default is that most theory is a reason to reject the argument and not the team. If you think you can win a reason to reject the team then go for it. I guess we will find out what happens.

Counterplans: I’m not a fan of conditions/consultation counterplans. I think they should be both textually and functionally competitive. The negative should only be allowed to fiat the agent of the resolution. If you’re affirmative, don’t be afraid to go for theory. However, as mentioned before, I often find theory to be a reason to reject the argument not the team. As a former 2a I am not even in the ballpark when it comes to word pics/floating pics. Reading it as a critique solves your pedagogical net benefit. QED.

Disadvantages: Higher risk almost always beats a higher magnitude. You should always make disad turns the case arguments. You must provide some sort of impact calculation in order to have me interpret your strategy favorably.


First, the story has to match. Please don’t make me listen to a scenario that doesn’t have matching parts. If the uniqueness and link evidence don’t assume the same politician/group of politicians then you lose.

Second, explain the implication of core defensive arguments. If Obama has no political capital or if the negative is missing a crucial internal link then you need to explain how that affects everything else they are saying.

Third, surprisingly I find myself enjoying politics debates more and more. Don’t hesitate to go for it when I’m judging. Just be smart about it – put your logical-analytic skills to work and make the debate worth listening to.

Critical Affirmatives and Framework:

First, I don’t think framework is a voting issue. Framework is a means by which I determine how to evaluate the round.

Second, topicality is absolutely essential to winning a framework debate when you’re negative.

Third, you need to prove that your interpretation can offer the possibility for the same education as the affirmative has provided to emerge. The best way to do this is to offer a topical version of the 1ac. Another way to do this is provide other topical examples that produce the same pedagogical effect as the 1ac.

Fourth, you also need to prove some competitive reason why the negative has been disadvantaged by the affirmative. More importantly, you need to prove why this violation of competitive equity impacts or implicates their education impacts.


First, the worst thing you can do is read a critique that you have little-to-no knowledge about or practice debating. Critiques are hard to win. I loved debating them. They’re all I debated. However, my experience has led me to conclude that I should have a high standard for those who wish to read critical arguments. It’s better for you (because you learn more about an absolutely fascinating literature base) and it’s better for me (because I don’t have to listen to bad scholarship).

Second, framework against the negative critique is rarely a winning strategy. Reading a bunch of cards is rarely a good strategy. Find the 2 or 3 crucial issues you need to win and win them with good arguments. For example, instead of telling the negative they need to provide a policy option, why not just win that policymaking is the best way to solve the impact to the critique?





Marquis Ard Paradigm

1 rounds

Will update again for Northwestern -with a longer paradigm

I think the game is best when students are comfortable and presenting arguments at a high level. I will try my best to adjudicate the debate in front of me. Here are some things to keep in mind:

1. I'm decently versed in anti-blackness literature. So if that is your thing, awesome. I'm excited to hear your particular work. Just know because of my background I have a high threshold for that argument set. If it's not, that's ok but just know I expect arguments to have a certain level of depth to them and won't just vote on arguments that I don't understand.

2. I haven't judge alot on this topic. So different topic phrasings have to be parsed out for me.

3. I'm all about the link and impact game

4. Not a fan of the overly confrontational approach

5. Slow down on analytics

6. I'm very expressive judging debates so pay attention to the non-verbals

7. FW is cool with me - has to be impacted well.

8. DA/CPs are cool if explained well.

9. Will vote on condo - not a fan of conditional planks

Hope this helps.

David Arnett Paradigm

1 rounds

Dave Arnett

Director of Debate, University of Kentucky

21st year judging

Updated September 2017

Go ahead and put me on the doc chain davidbrianarnett@gmail.com. Please be aware that I do not read along so clarity and explaining your evidence matters a lot. Many debates I will ask for a compiled document after the round. I reward clear line by line debating with mountains of points and wins.

Better team usually wins---X---------------------the rest of this

Team should adapt---------------X----------------judge should adapt




Hester-------------------------X---------------------Read all the cards

Conditionality bad-------------------------------X---debate should be hard

Nothing competes------------------------------X---counterplans are fun

States CP good--------X------------------------------States CP bad

UQ matters most----------------------X-------------Link matters most

Line by Line-X-----------------------------------------Flow Anarchy

Clarity-X------------------------------------------------Srsly who doesn't like clarity

Lots of evidence--------------------------------------X-lots of really good evidence

Reasonability--------------X---------------------------competing interpretations

29 is the new 28---X-----------------------------------grumpy old guy (true for other reasons but less so on this)

Civility-X-------------------------------------------------My Dean would cancel our program if they saw this

Lev Asimow Paradigm

Polytechnic School '14

Harvard College '18

Last Updated: February 2017

I believe judges should adjudicate debates based on the arguments presented, and I strive to judge in such a way that my preferences and predispositions make the minimum possible impact on my decision. No judge is a genuine tabula rasa, but I'm not interested in telling you what arguments to make or how to make them. Do what you do best and I'll adjudicate the debate as fairly and neutrally as I can.

As a debater, I primarily approach debate from a critical perspective. This does NOT mean that I will likely vote for the K, or even that I want to adjudicate K debates. It only means that I am well-versed in both sides of that literature, and am likely to render an intelligent decision in debates where a K is introduced. I enjoy well-researched and well-executed debating of all varieties, and as a judge I vote for both framework and critique arguments with regularity.

I'm a big fan of quality evidence. I typically let debaters decide what cards to show me after the debate, but I'll only look at evidence on key points of controversy and only when I need to do so in order to sufficiently evaluate the debate.

I will consult with tournament administrators about any instances of cheating and punish ethics violations with a loss and the minimum speaker points allowed by the tournament. Please just don't do it.

Carlos Astacio Paradigm

1 rounds

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Jarrod Atchison Paradigm

Revised: 3/20/14


My first year judging at the NDT I had an important conversation with Dallas Perkins that still impacts my thinking about judging today. I expressed to him a bit of my anxiety about judging and the possibility of ending someone’s career. I’m paraphrasing here, but he said something to the effect of “People should ask two things when determining who the good judges are: 1- Do they try their hardest? 2- Are they willing to vote for the team that won no matter who they are?” Over the years I have found that these characteristics are simple in theory and sometimes difficult in practice. If I have the honor of judging you then I will most assuredly make a mistake somewhere, but I will strive to try my hardest and vote for the team that won no matter who they are.


How do I determine who won?


Rather than prescribing a set of argument preferences, I think it may be more productive to articulate my decision-making process because I think that we are at a moment where my preferences are not as important to me as helping debaters understand how I evaluate debates. Here is how I generally try to decide a debate: 


1- I start by isolating the central questions of the debate: The second the debate is over I write a list of questions that I need to resolve. Sometimes I can do this without actually looking at my flows, but after I write the questions down I go back and check my flows to make sure I am not missing any major controversies. The key part of this stage is forcing myself to determine the issues that are essential to my decision versus things that *may* become relevant assuming certain teams win certain things.


2- Specific questions I tend to ask myself after almost every debate:

-Assuming both teams won all their arguments, who would win the debate?

-Is there a major execution error?

-Is there a team lacking offense on any given position?

-Has either team won an impact framing argument by virtue of execution or evidence?

-Is there significant argument interaction?


3- I determine which questions require reading evidence. Ross Smith taught me that starting with the evidence first can result in decisions that de-emphasize the important argument interactions that the debaters work hard at establishing during their speeches. There are lots of questions, however, where the quality of the evidence is an essential component of resolving a key question of the debate.


4- Dueling Banjos: After I figure out the issues that need evidence I create little duals on my flow between the relevant arguments in the mini-debate.  It is helpful when I read the evidence or examine the arguments to think of it in terms of a mini-debate so that I don't get caught up thinking about the potential implications of the evidence or argument for issues beyond the part that I am trying to resolve. If I don’t do this then I can get lost down the rabbit hole.


5- Devil’s Advocate: After I answer all the questions I have come up with right after the debate, I play devil's advocate with myself two times. This is something that I learned from David Heidt. Basically, I write a mini-ballot for the team I think has won the debate. Something super short like "I vote AFF because I think the case impacts happen faster than the DA." Then, I pretend I am the other team and cross ex myself on the "what abouts?" I often end up determining that the "What abouts?" are good arguments that are just not in the debate. Sometimes, however, the "What abouts" force me to look at something I may have overlooked. I would say that 85-90 percent of the time I vote the way I wrote the RFD but sometimes I realize I was overlooking something important.


6- I isolate issues in the debate that "test my judge philosophy" so that I can tell the debaters after the debate that other judges may vote on X but my personal philosophy is Y because _____. Here is an example: at our district tournament a couple of years back I was on the bottom of a 2-1 when the 2ar forgot to go to a sheet of paper where the Neg had extended an argument that the status quo solved all the aff so vote neg on presumption. The other two judges thought it was bad and didn't vote on it. I am still at the stage of my judging career where bad arguments need to be called bad arguments. So, I voted neg and explained that the aff was winning the rest of the debate, but that in my view of the debate was decided on something technical. Inevitably, this happens about once a tournament.


7- Preventing the RFD that never ends: After I make my decision, I sit down and write the first 45-60 seconds of my decision out so that I can read aloud the short synopsis of how I voted. This is something I learned from Will Repko. For panel debates, I tend to write out a good chunk of my RFD just in case someone takes longer to decide and to ensure that I keep my comments concise. I have found that often times the debaters want to focus on the central question(s) of the debate and my ramblings about other things turns out to be less interesting to them.


8- The Triad:  Sometimes it varies on the situation, but I try to give exactly three pieces of advice for both teams. Numbering the advice and limiting it to 3 helps me not wander around my RFD with random pieces of advice. I have found that the thing that really makes debaters angry is when I have voted against them and then flippantly say something like "you could have done X better" and the debaters freak out and say "Dude, this is my overview where I said X exactly like you just did!" The key to avoiding those interactions is for me not to venture into random musings on the fly.


9) Personal judging idiosyncrasies:


I usually decide any theory debate as an "option of last resort" for the team that needs it to win.


I usually decide a link debate first before worrying about uniqueness because of my belief that uniqueness is often a question of the direction of the link.


I usually wear head phones to try to minimize being influenced by other judges.


I usually go up to the debaters to call for cards and hand them a sheet of paper with list of cards I want so as to not influence the other judges. This isn’t as relevant if there is an email chain going.


I usually ask to go last (or later) if I am on the bottom of a big split (4-1) so I can get a sense of where I split with the majority of judges.


I usually go for a walk around the hall once before I come back and look at my whole list of questions and my thought process to make sure I am comfortable with it before I sign my ballot.


Thank you for the opportunity to judge you.




Charles-Anthony Athanasopoulos Paradigm

1 rounds

Paradigm: tldr Please don't pref me, I'd rather be doing my grad school work and I absolutely hate judging debates.
I don't know anything about this topic, and I will probably continue to avoid it. You don't want me in your framework debates. Fairness is not an impact. I also don't care to hear your space scenarios in general. On the flip side don't read an aff that is like "vote for me cuz I'm X identity and X identity can do no wrong". What I mean by this is I prefer arguments grounded in a structural theory of power that recognizes that power operates through even the most oppressed people instead of simply saying things like "you have a white partner, you lose" or something like that. Also please don't read afropessimism just because I'm in the back of the room. Nothing is worse than listening to someone butcher the theory that grounds your scholarly work for the purposes of "judge adaptation".

Kristiana Baez Paradigm

Debated: Norman High School (2005- 2009), University of Oklahoma (2009-2014)
Coached: University of Texas at San Antonio (2014-2015)
Caddo Magnet High School (2014-2015)
Baylor University (2015-2017)

University of Iowa (2017-present)

email: kristiana.baez@gmail.com

I am not too biased against any particular argument, it's your round so do what you do, but do it well.
I did however primarily read kritiks, but I have also done strictly policy debate in my career, so I have been exposed to a wide variety of arguments and I am not someone who will always vote for the k or for FW. I like to think that I am a favorable judge for either.

Kritiks: Although, I am familiar with some kritiks, I do not pretend to be an expert on all. There are still many kritiks that I have trouble understanding. That being said, I think that case specific links are the best. Generic links are not as compelling especially if you are flagging certain cards for me to call for at the end of the round. It seems that many times debaters don't take the time to really explain what the alternative is like, whether it solves part of the aff, is purely rejection, etc. If for some reason the alternative isn't extended or explained in the 2nr, I won't just apply it as a case turn for you. An impact level debate is also still important even if the K excludes the evaluation of specific impacts. It is really helpful to articulate how the K turns the case as well. On a framing level, do not just assume that I will believe that the truth claims of the affirmative are false, there needs to be in-depth analysis for why I should dismiss parts of the aff preferably with evidence to back it up.

Performance/Methodology debates- Since I debated for OU and I debated in the D3, I am not unfamiliar with these debates. I am in no way biased in one way or another. I think that arguments need to be competitive. The things you may talk about in your performance/methodology may be true, but there needs to be a clear link articulated to the argument that you are debating. Many times competing methodologies start to sound really similar to each other, so teams need to establish a clear difference between the arguments.

Clash of Civ. debates- I think that these debates can be really great because clash is kind of important. However, these debates tend to get really muddled, so you need to work extra hard to make things clear for me rather than just assuming I will lean one way or another. When it comes to K Affs v. FW, I think that you need to do a lot of work and don't just go for generic arguments like switch side without giving specific examples of things like in round abuse, etc. or interesting impact arguments. Ex: just saying roleplaying good/bad without a really good explanation is not going to be compelling.

CPs- I really like counterplans especially if they are specific to the aff, which shows that you have done your research. Although PIKs are annoying to deal with if you are aff, I enjoy a witty PIK. However, make it clear that it is a PIK and explain why it solves the aff. Generic cps with generic solvency cards aren't really going to do it for me. However, if the evidence is good then I am more likely to believe you when you claim aff solvency. There needs to be a good articulation for why the aff links to the net benefit and good answers to cp solvency deficits, assuming there are any. Permutation debate needs to be hashed out on both sides, with Da/net benefits to the permutations made clear.

DAs- I find it pretty easy to follow DAs. However, if you go for it I am most likely going to be reading ev after the round, so it better be good. If your link cards are generic and outdated and the aff is better in that department, then you need to have a good reason why your evidence is more qualified, etc. Make your scenario clear, DAs are great but some teams tend to go for a terminal impact without explanation of the scenario or the internal link args. Comparative analysis is important so I know how to evaluate the evidence that I am reading. Tell me why the link o/w the link turn etc. Impact analysis is very important, timeframe, probability, magnitude, etc., so I can know why the Da impacts are more important than the affs impacts. A good articulation of why the Da turns each advantage is extremely helpful because the 2ar will most likely be going for those impacts in the 2ar.

Theory- I generally err neg on theory unless there is a really good debate over it. Your generic blocks aren't going to be very compelling. If you articulate why condo causes a double turn, etc. specific to the round is a better way to go with it. I think that arguments such as vague alternatives especially when an alternative morphs during the round are good. However, minor theory concerns such as multiple perms bad aren't as legitimate in my opinion.

Topicality- Generic T shells are not something that hold my attention, however, a specific definition or a T in tandem with another position to get a link, is strategic. If you are going to go for T, then go for it starting in the block and make it a legitimate option and I will evaluate it.

Other notes: If you are unclear, I can't flow you and I don't get the evidence as you read it, so clarity over speed is always preferable.
Don't be rude, your points will suffer. There is a difference between being aggressive and being a jerk.
Impact calc please, don't make me call for everyones impacts and force me to evaluate it myself. I don't want to do the work for you.
The last two rebuttals should be writing my ballot, tell me how I vote and why. Don't get too bogged down to give a big picture evaluation.

Accomplish something in your cross-x time, keep me interested, have an agenda during your cx and use the answers you get in cx and incorporate them into your speeches. Cx is wasted if you pick apart the DA but don't talk about it in your speech.

Benton Bajorek Paradigm

1 rounds

If I am judging you, then please set up an email chain and include me (bentonbajorek@gmail.com). AFF should have their 1AC ready to send at the start of the round. I will not keep up with time and I expect debaters to keep each other accountable for speech and prep time. Any questions can be emailed to me.


This is my fifth season coaching and judging college policy and my first year coaching on the high school circuit. As an undergrad, I competed for four years at Arkansas State University primarily in American Parli on the National Circuit. I also debated in Lincoln-Douglas, IPDA, and Team IPDA.


I view debate as a medium of persuasion and judge accordingly. All too often, I feel debaters focus more on beating their opponent instead of trying to convince the judge on an advocacy position. I believe this model is narrow-minded and the most effective way to win my ballot is to use a combination of ethos, pathos, and logos.

I greatly appreciate if tag lines, plan and CP texts, K alts, theory blocks, and perms could be slowed down so I can get a chance to write them on my flow. If a debater becomes inarticulate, I will yell CLEAR and cross my arms if the speech continues in that manner. If I cannot hear you, then I cannot understand your arguments. If I cannot understand your arguments, then I cannot vote for you.

I will vote on any argument. I consider myself a tab judge and vote based on what arguments are made, not what arguments are stated. Just because you extend an author does not mean you have extended an argument. I have certain preferences and thresholds for arguments that I will do my best to articulate below, but clearly articulated warrants and analysis will make me vote against my predispositions.

2NRs/2ARs that have clear voters and impact calculus are preferred. If you want to make a role of the ballot argument, I need you to articulate what that means and specifically state how I should view particular arguments under that lens. If you just assert that my job is to vote under a specific framework but fail to clearly articulate what that means, then I will default to my personal standpoint of voting for the team that did the better job debating.

I do not tolerate poor sportsmanship. Every debater puts too much time, effort, and energy to arrive at a round and be belittled by their opponent(s). I love a competitive round where teams don’t back down and are assertive, but keep a level of decorum and respect. Ad hominem attacks and condescending behavior will not be tolerated and I will significantly lower your speaker points.


References to the Clippers = 0.2 speaker points

References to the NBA in general = 0.1 speaker point


I view debate as a game with rules that can change from round to round. The rules for debate should foster fairness and/or educational gain. I do not particularly favor one over the other.

Teams should slow down and clearly articulate standards for why I should favor their arguments on framework/T/role of the ballot/condo/etc. I really dislike teams that read directly from their blocks and fail to clash with their opponents’ standards and it makes my job difficult if there is not a direct response to specific arguments. In other words, teams that directly respond to their opponents’ arguments on ground loss will fare better than teams that just assert an argument on ground and make me do the work for them.

I am rarely persuaded by potential abuse arguments. I am strongly persuaded by in-round abuse arguments.


Topicality must have an interpretation, violation, standard, and voters. I really enjoy listening to T and I appreciate a good standard debate with specific and competitive reasons why your interpretation is better/superior to your opponent.

Voters are often overlooked, but are the most important part of a topicality. NEG needs to stress why I should vote on this issue. Refer back to my theory section for this one. I have never voted on a topicality that did not have some sort of education, fairness, and/or jurisdiction voter.

Reverse voting issues are not persuasive. I view topicality as a test of the affirmative case and NEG has the right to make this argument. Do not waste your time trying to convince me otherwise. However, I will say that trying to bury the AFF by running 10+ topicality arguments that are not relevant to the round will make me think poorly of you and I will happily vote for a time suck argument.


Disadvantages need to have a clear uniqueness, link, internal link, and impact scenario. DA’s are arguments that I feel everyone knows how to run, but there are some specific things that I prefer to see.

I want advantage and disadvantage debates to come down to impact calculus. Measure out magnitude, timeframe, probability, etc. If your impact is more meaningful, then tell me why and compare it other impacts in the round. Pull these arguments out in the 2AR/2NR.

I do not have an opinion on intrinsic perms, but I believe these arguments can be extremely abusive and AFFs choosing to run this will need to lay out some sort of explanation for me to consider it.

Counter Plans

A counterplan must be mutually exclusive with the AFF. If you want to run a plan-plus, consult, push back 3 months CP, etc., then you will need to convince me why your modification of the AFF’s plan is severance, mutually exclusive, and/or has a competitive net benefit.


I ran K’s frequently when I competed and I am very familiar with them. However, when you run a K, do not assume that I know the literature. Do not stick to your cards and be prepared to break down what you are trying to argue with your position. I will not vote for a K if I have no idea what your alt does.

As for specifics, I believe K’s need to win framework or alt solvency for me to vote on them. This goes back to needed to know what the alt does. Understanding how your method is key or has potential to work in the real world is important for me to vote on it.

I am rarely persuaded by links of omission. I do not believe that just because a 1AC doesn’t explicitly talk about a marginalized group means that they are committing violence. I have a very high threshold for links of omission and AFFs that read 1 card or make a smart analytical argument here are very likely to refute the link.

I prefer specific over generic links. Really prove the AFF team violated the ideas you are critiquing.

Performance in Debate/K AFF’s

I believe that AFFs that do not have a plan are untopical and should lose. I also believe that AFFs that run a plan text, but only garner impacts from their performance are extratopical and should lose.

That being said, I have voted for many K AFFs because they won on Framework and/or T. I do not have to be an auto-strike for you, but a framework block on how I should evaluate your position is necessary for you to win. If you fail to demonstrate and justify a framework for why the round should be seen through your performance then it is difficult for me to understand what my ballot should be doing. This allows me to hold you to a standard and have the other team either challenge you on that idea, or compete against you on it. Don’t be a moving target and state this clearly in your 1AC.

I think K AFFs that talk about education benefits of their position or justify their AFFs need within the debate space to counter hegemonic practices are strong arguments that have potential to convince me to vote for you.

Final note: Any team that uses music in their performance can use it, but it needs to be turned down substantially during speeches and CX. I have trouble focusing with loud music/distractions and this is intended to create access for myself in the debate space and not to silence your performance.

Will Baker Paradigm

1 rounds

Updated 12/28/19 Please be mindful that you are an ambassador for your school and have a privilege to travel when others, perhaps even on your own squad, do not. Be worthy of that honor in your treatment of others and your partner.

General Approach: Debaters work hard so I will make every effort to be very thoughtful and conscientious as your judge. I strive for limited intervention. Whatever decision allows me to inject myself the least into the interpretations of issues is the one I will attempt to make. The ramifications are that a team should compare positions, evidence and tell a story in the 2NR and 2AR that puts the round together the way they want. Most debate rounds come down to impact assessment. While coaches remind debaters of this constantly, few realize it and fewer execute it effectively. If you are performing, make sure that the role of the ballot is articulated and extended and not a 2AR surprise (see below). You will get better points. Tech over truth is a myth not a value system. The specific application of each comes down to the skills of the debaters involved in the individual rounds. My voting record reflects more tech but that's more reflective of how truth is framed.

Email Chains: Don't follow them during the round, often do not choose to be on them except for scouting or competitive purposes. Reasons: 1) Causes judges to read ev in their own voice and often miss the inflections of the debaters in the round, or worse, inject their previous experience with the authors or the argument rather than the framing which was made in the debate 2) Increases inclination to read into the un-underlined portions when other team hasn't made an issue of it. 3) Reduces a sense of fiduciary obligation to listen to the actual debate because the speech docs serve as a crutch. Implications: 1) I don't evaluate inserted ev or re-highlightings of your opponent's ev unless you actually read the parts that you are inserting into the debate. 2) I flow on paper so I often write down more than tag, date and source including warrants for evidence, lyrics of poems and songs, & some internal link claims when arguments are initially made. This also helps when I drift during the middle of the round as you are passionately repeating the same argument for a fourth time on a 3rd flow as if I didn't hear it the first three. 3) Wasted or incompetent cross-examinations followed by claims like "this is vague" or "we can't answer this" hurt my soul in open rounds.

Topic Specific Update: Besides working on the E-2C Hawkeye and F-14, my Dad worked on Apollo missions at Northrop Grumman [back when it was Grumman]. It means I know stuff about space and NASA history that I shouldn't. It hasn't been an issue except in one round where someone said, "Will, use your judgement you know that NASA can't do that." Avoid that approach and you should be safe. T-sub-areas has proven to be a pretty unpersuasive argument in front of me [2AC: yep, we don't meet arms control but we are STM and probably SSA which they didn't read interps for has generally been true]. However, the neg arg that they're entitled to know why your plan is an NSP and distinct from just another directive or one-shot policy is legit.

The Aff: Do what you want in terms of policy, critical or performance affirmatives, I'm game. Set up a framework for interpretation prior to the 2AR so there is some level of predictability and discussion for the negative. There need to be advantages to interpretations of topics (why is it or is it not productive) the same as with substantive arguments. The evaluation will come down to offense on the framework flow based on long-term impacts identified by the debaters explained below in the tips section. It will come down to competing interpretations I've voted for West Va, Wake and Baylor as often as I've pulled the trigger for GMU, Dartmouth and Kansas so do what you want.

The Neg: Have a clever, tight strategy. Don’t whine. If you want to defend your right to a politics link or a certain interpretation, go for it. I’ll vote on T if you win it. I’ve voted before that politics protects debate and would do so again if someone won the argument. Happy to vote on theory, critical positions or whatever other standard you advance. Tell me where you think the locus of presumption is and why, preferably before the last speech. If you like to read cplans with lots of conditional planks, I am not the right judge for you.

Evidence: An author’s name is not an argument. Please don’t confuse the two. Please indicate actual reasons why your evidence is better than theirs. If you spend 8-15 seconds on a card, don't expect me to consider it for much longer than that when I'm making my decision. The common post-round practice of debaters asking, “did you consider this piece of evidence?” or “how did you weigh that card?” should be considered in the light of the microscopic amount of time you spent explaining or highlighting the card during the debate round. I’ll vote where you tell me to but if you have six different stories, you should put them together and not simply rely on my post-round construction based on reading evidence.

Time Management: Be organized, Be ready. Be considerate. Don't waste my time or your opponents. Decision time limits mandate better time management. You KNOW you will need an email chain, the start time for the round & I generally don't want to be on the chain. That means the 1A should have the chain set up and ready to send when it's time to start the debate including a test send if preferred. If I want to be added, I will tell you. Additionally, stop stealing prep time. It’s a nasty habit. You are taking time from my life that I will never get back.

Suggestions for Folks Hitting Non-traditional debaters in front of me: Some coaches/teams are still praying not to hit performance/protest teams or hoping that they have a judge who buys FW (due to poor pref choices by their opponents). Even when the judge has little or no bias to either traditional vs. non-traditional debate, by virtue of their "getting it", the non-protest team needs to be clued in so here are some tips (again only for rounds vs. pure performance teams):

a) Focus on where you clash not where they didn't clash. While drops is how most of us hard core tech debaters were taught, this approach fails for policy teams in these rounds because a) they haven't been trained in collective argumentation so what their mind/flow dismisses as FYIs or random hip hop lyrics or poetic lines are often 4-6 args for their opponents that the judge flowed. You see a dropped flow. I see you dropped 4 turns and still don't get it. Focus on where you clash and why your strategies, approaches, methodologies, whatever are better than theirs;

b) Feel free to run FW and T in front of me along with whatever strat you try. While I have voted on defending the USFG is violent, it is not my predisposition and I think there are excellent answers to that argument. Be prepared with internal impacts (to the debate space) and external impacts (to the larger world) on T and framework debates so you can compete with the straight-turns on fairness and education

c) Know who are you excluding If you don't have empirics to back it up and don't understand why it potentially appears sexist or racist, please don't impact your T/FW with "people will leave the activity".

Protest/Performance Teams--You deserve a bone as well. If your opponents don't heed these tips, feel free to leverage that as offense in the round. Additionally, I understand the difference between a Role of the Ballot argument and the Role of the Judge argument and have voted on positioning as the implications of my ballot as a black man when mishandled by the opponents on multiple occasions.

Pet Peeves: 1--DON’T CURSE EXCESSIVELY in your speeches. If someone slips up but is making an earnest effort I won't punish them. Also, I've been forced to make a distinction between advocacies where external sources include curses (films, music, poetry. etc) and statements of the debaters themselves. Folks who curse for no reason [ex. this arg is sh*t] are still at risk of getting their points tanked but sadly the commonality of the practice have led to far less tanks. 2--My biggest pet peeve goes like this: In the speech: “Read the Jones 10 evidence after the round!” but when I call for the evidence it becomes “I meant to say Roberts, not Jones,” or “Here are those 3 pieces of Jones evidence I referenced in my speech.” Know which ONE card you are referring to, know your authors and don’t be sloppy. Sloppy debaters get lower points.

Brendon Bankey Paradigm

1 rounds

Director of Debate at the University of Texas

brendonbankey@gmail.com - please add me to your email chain

***New Paradigm***

Square up. Friday night lights. Fight night. Any given Sunday. Start your engines and may the best debater win.

My bias is that debate is competitive and adversarial, not cooperative. My bias is that debate strategies should be evidence-centric and, at a minimum, rooted in an academic discipline. My bias is that I do not want to consider anything prior to the reading of the 1AC when making my decision. My bias is that I will only flow one speaker in each rebuttal unless it is clearly and compellingly established in the constructives why I should flow both speakers in the same speech.

For me to vote on an argument it must have a claim, warrant, and impact. A claim is an assertion of truth or opinion. A warrant is an analytical connection between data/grounds/evidence and your claim. An impact is the implication of that claim for how I should evaluate the debate.

I think about permutations in a very precise way. I do not think it's the only way to think about them but I am unlikely to be persuaded to think otherwise. I think that a plan specifies a desired outcome. There are a set number of means to achieve the desired outcome. I also think that a counterplan or alternative specifies a desired outcome with a set number of means to achieve that outcome. A permutation asserts that it is theoretically possible for there to be a means of action that satisfies both the outcome of the plan and the counterplan or alternative. A permutation could be expressed as where the set numbers of the aff's and the neg's strategies overlap. Permutations are defense. Rarely do they "solve all their offense." It would behoove affs to know what offense they are "no linking" with the perm and what offense the perm does not resolve. This discussion should ideally begin in the 2AC and it must take place in the 1AR.

---"Perm do the counterplan" and "perm do the alt" are claims that are often unaccompanied by warrants. I will not vote for these statements unless the aff explains why they are theoretically legitimate BEFORE the 2AR. I am most likely to vote for these arguments when the aff has 1) a clear model of counterplan/alternative competition that justifies such a perm AND 2) an explanation for where the aff and the cp/alt overlap

I would prefer that debaters engage arguments instead of finesse their way out of links. This is especially awful when it takes place in clash debates. If you assert your opponent's offense does not apply when it does I will lower your speaker points.

In that vein, it is my bias that if an affirmative team chooses not to say "USFG Should" in the 1AC that they are doing it for competitive reasons. It is, definitionally, self-serving. Self-serving does not mean the aff should lose, just that they should be more realistic about the function of their 1AC in a competitive activity. If the aff does not say "USFG Should" they are deliberately shifting the point of stasis to other issues that they believe should take priority. It is reciprocal, therefore, for the negative to use any portion of the 1AC as it's jumping off point.

I think that limits, not ground, is the controlling internal link for most T-related impacts. Ground is an expression of the division of affirmative and negative strategies on any given topic. It is rarely an independent impact to T. I hate cross-examination questions about ground. I do not fault teams for being unhelpful to opponents that pose questions in cross-examination using the language of ground. People commonly ask questions about ground to demonstrate to the judge that the aff has not really thought out how their approach to the resolution fosters developed debates. A better, more precise question to ask would be: "What are the win conditions for the negative within your model of competition?"

***Old Paradigm (Still True)***

I judge debates based on execution. My decisions rarely come down to just 2NR v 2AR. They are strongly influenced by how ideas develop in CX, the block, and the 1AR.

The best rebuttals will isolate a unique impact and explain why their opponent's impact is either less important or impossible to resolve. The most persuasive rebuttals, to me, are those that explain how I should evaluate the debate given the available information. This is especially true in debates about debate where neither side agrees on a normative method for evaluation.

I can't stress how irritated I am by students that make sweeping claims about argument styles that they don't usually engage in. Debate is hard and everyone puts in an incredible amount of work. Oftentimes, people don't get credit for their effort. That stinks. That does not mean, however, that other folks' contributions are less valuable than yours because they approach the game differently.

I think there is an important role for philosophical arguments in debate, with caveats. Ks should disprove solvency. I think creatively interpreting the resolution is interesting. Affirmative teams that decide the resolution doesn't matter in advance of the debate and only impact turn their opponent's positions bore me. I would rather affs be deliberately extra-topical than anti-topical. Link arguments should be consistent with framework arguments. The terms used in speeches and tags should reflect the language of the literature base they are meant to represent. Not all Ks of humanism are the same. Not all Ks are Ks of humanism.

I think there is an important role for policy arguments in debate, with caveats. Vague plan writing does not equal strategic plan writing. Impact evidence is often outdated and/or includes multiple alt-causes. I perceive a degree of self-righteousness from debaters that have extensive experience going for T-USFG but have little experience going for T in other situations. I perceive a higher degree of self-righteousness from debaters who preach the merits of research when going for T-USFG while very obviously reading evidence they copy and pasted from other school's open-source documents.

What you should expect of me:

1) I will evaluate the debate and cast a provisional decision about which team did the better debating based on the content of the speeches and the cross-examinations.

2) I will flow your debate in an excel template and save a copy after the debate for scouting purposes.

How I think about debate:

I. The aff's burden is to prove that the 1AC is A) an example of the res and B) a positive departure from the squo. The neg should disprove the 1AC and can win by establishing that the aff is wrong about either A or B. The neg can also win by offering a counter-proposal that competes with and is net beneficial to the 1AC.

II. In order to accomplish A, the aff should be able to:

1) provide an interpretation of the resolution

2) explain how the 1AC meets their interpretation of the resolution

3) demonstrate that their vision of the resolution is superior to the neg’s

III. In the event that the aff argues they do not have to abide by the terms of the resolution, the aff should be able to:

1) provide sound reasoning for why the agreed upon point of stasis fails to address the agreed upon controversy area

2) explain the roles of the aff and the neg in their vision of debate

3) demonstrate that their vision of debate is superior to the neg’s

IV. The aff cannot win by simply flipping the burden of proof and indicting the neg’s interpretation of the resolution.* The aff must at all times defend a contestable proposition. If III (see above) occurs, the neg's burden is not to disprove the solvency and harms of the 1AC (B). Rather, all the neg should have to disprove is that abandoning A is necessary to solve/talk about B. If the neg can demonstrate that the original stasis point can accommodate the harms area then the aff has not proven that abandoning the res must occur.

*Exceptions to IV: language Ks, conditionality bad

Things I enjoy:

· When debaters express a nuanced knowledge of the resolution/controversy area

· Good jokes

· Bold choices

· Exposing specious arguments in C-X

· Solvency debates

· Links to the plan

· Supporting claims with high-quality research

· Final rebuttals that begin with a brief explanation of the key issues in the debate and why they have won given the arguments presented in earlier speeches

· When debaters prioritize answering the question, “What should debate look like?”

· Creative permutations—a perm says that there is a possible world in which both the 1AC and the counter-proposal can occur simultaneously, or that the counter-proposal is an example of how the aff’s proposition could be implemented—the aff should describe the permutation in both rebuttals and explicitly argue what elements of the neg’s strategy it mitigates/solves. Asserting the hypothetical validity of a perm and being intentionally vague until the 2AR does not an aff ballot make.

Things I don’t enjoy:

· When debaters compensate for dropping an argument by asserting that it is new

· When embedded clash becomes an excuse for not flowing

· When debaters make straw person characterizations of argument styles they do not personally engage in

· Trained incapacity

· “Death good”/ “death not real”

· Basic strats

· Recycled strats

· Recycled blocks

· K 1NC shells that I can find in my inbox from previous seasons

· “Procedural fairness”

· Teams that don’t take advantage if/when their opponent impact turns fairness

· Affs that don’t defend a substantial departure from the squo

· Affs that don’t specify the terms of the 1AC/backtrack on the terms of the 1AC for the purpose of permuting the neg’s counter-proposal

· Bad internal links

· C-X belligerence

· Hyperbolic impacts

· Counter-perms (honestly, it’s been 10 years and I still don’t get it)

· Asserting “perm do the counter-proposal” when it’s shamelessly severance

· When great CX moments don’t make it into the speeches

· Failing to capitalize on 2AC/block choices and settling for coin flip decisions

· “Point me to a line in the card where it says…” OR “I just ctrl F’ed that word in the document and it isn’t there”

Michael Barlow Paradigm

1 rounds

**If for any reason you ever don't wanna debate and both teams agree, we can flip a coin to determine the winner. Losing side speaks will be 29.1 and 29. Winning side speaks will be 28.5 and 28.6 :)

Experience: 4 years of college, Quarters of CEDA/Octos of NDT; 2 years out

Short and Sweet--I was a kritikal afropessimism debater that liked to also go for framework. Im willing to vote on a wide range of arguments, I have no predispositions. I'm very flow centric. I'll hear any argument just make sure its impacted well and INTERACTS with the other side's arguments. Lean toward competing interpretations, the aff doesn't necessarily need to defend the USFG (you can make the arg) but should at a minimum have some relationship to the Rez, condo is probably good, and advantage CPs are strategic.


With that said, I believe my job as a judge is to facilitate the exchange of ideas. Whether those ideas are connected to a policy option or a dance performance is entirely up to the debaters. Personally my debate strategies have ranged from Wilderson to Consult CP/Politics to Zizek. I am more than willing to hear whatever it is you're confortable with. See the issue specific stuff below.

Topicality--I think it should be a bigger deal on most topics. Too many neg teams are afraid to invest in it. A good T strat will make the violation apparent, along with the standards, AND a topical version of the aff. Anything less is probably not gonna get my ballot. If you're aff winning reasonability is probably an uphill battle.

Framework--Pretty versed in the techniques and strategies. I'll flow it like a disad but truth claims do have weight. Be clear, concise, and explain warrants. Neg without a topical version of the aff probably loses.

Counterplans--Admittingly I'm probably willing to entertain the most abusive of CPs. This isn't to say that you can't win theory against a reccommend CP, but I won't just assume you're right. You'll have to win the theory debate. As far as competition goes, I tend to lean more in favor of the aff when the way in which the CP generates a Net-Benefit is sketchy. I don't think that Politics is as clear of a net-benefit to XO as people may think. But again this is a debate to be had.

Kritiks--You should make the framework in which I consider the plan versus the alternative clear. In combination with this, you should make the alternative's interaction with the advantages clear i.e. does the alt solve the case or does the case just not matter? I think the aff has the same burden. Usually big K debates resolve around the clash of viewpoints so make your viewpoint clear in comparison to theirs.


Case Turns--Fine

Theory--For most blippy theory arguments I probably will default to any articulation of "reject the arg." By blippy I mean perf con or severence reps, etc. This sin't to say I won't vote on theory. If your blippy arg is conceded, I'll painfully vote on it. Also, I'm more than happy to hear a good theory debate via condo, or pics, etc. I probably lean more toward condo being good.

Natalie Bennie Paradigm

1 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.

Aron Berger Paradigm

1 rounds

Updated for October 2018.

Put me on the email chain - abdebate1@gmail.com

Note - I only check this email at debate tournaments, so if you are trying to contact me for some other reason, my response will be delayed.

Short version.

I've started to question the utility of these paradigm things. In short, do whatever you want. Read whatever you want to read. All styles of debate can be done well or poorly. My decision in any particular debate does not reflect a judgement on those styles but instead on the aptitude with which they are deployed in the given debate. Content matters less than strategy, unless the content of your argument makes it a bad strategy. I tend to make decisions quickly. This should not indicate to you whether the debate was close or not. Just because I go for or have gone for certain arguments does not mean I will automatically understand your arguments or do work for you. Similarly, it doesn't mean I will automatically discount any particular argument. I like clash. I dislike attempts to avoid clash. Perm do the aff is not an argument.

One thing I have noticed about debate is the proliferation of "cut the card there." When you stop reading before what your evidence indicates what you will read, you or your partner must mark the card in the speech doc and have a copy of those marks ready for anyone who needs them. To quote Andy Montee,
"If you just yell out "Mark the card at bacon!" you have to physically mark the card on your computer. It is not the responsibility of the other team or myself to do so."
Not marking evidence, and relying "cut the card there" to indicate where you stopped reading, is a form of clipping cards, and I will treat it as such. Since this seems to be an acceptable thing in debate at the moment, at the first occurrence of "cut the card there" I will ask for the marks, and if I notice you going through the doc to mark your cards post-speech, I will warn you about basically everything above.

Background info on me: I'm a first year out of college debate. I debated at the college level for 4 years at the University of Southern California. Attended the NDT four times, making it to doubles twice and octas once. I debated at the high school level for 4 years at Notre Dame High School. Qualified to the TOC 3 times. I was both 2A and 2N during my debate career.

Longer version.

Debate is a rhetorical game where debaters use a set of (ostensibly) mutually agreed upon scripts to persuade a judge. Scripts are rhetorical conventions that have been constructed in order for the game to make sense to all involved - impact calculus, uniqueness, etc. are examples of these scripts, convenient ways of describing a world that make the complexity of that world reducible to a (hopefully) less than 2 hour conversation. Debaters who can control how these scripts operate within the debate, either by implicitly agreeing to them and winning their set of contentions, or through the use of competing framing arguments, generally seem to win more debates. For example, many debates occur in which the value of life is never questioned - that is a script implicitly accepted in those debates for the purpose of brevity. This is not to say that I want to judge a bunch of death good debates, though I won't say the opposite either. Regardless, controlling the framing of the debate will serve you well.

I seem to be judging a lot of framework/T-USFG debates. I think quite a few of the commonly held framework predispositions are arbitrary, so I'll just say this: yes, you can read your K aff in front of me. Yes, you can go for framework in front of me. I don't really care, just make it a good debate.

Here are some of my reflections about FW rounds that I have judged.

-I find myself voting affirmative when the negative fails to explain their impact beyond "limits are important for negative ground" or "we won't learn stuff about immigration" or "fairness is important because otherwise debate isn't fair."

-I find myself voting negative when the aff fails to provide a workable vision of what debate would/should look like. T/FW/whatever we call it is a question of models of debate. That the neg could have read a particular strategy against your particular aff is not a defense of your model. In other words, "potential abuse" is important. You need a defense of your model of debate.

-Almost all of the K affs that I saw on the education topic were basically little more than a criticism of education policy. I did not hear a persuasive response to "do it on the neg" in these contexts.

-Topical versions of the aff are not counter-plans. They don't have to be perfect. They should, however, be well researched (though not necessarily evidenced in the debate) and explained. I would prefer 1 good TVA over 5 asserted TVAs.

-Asserting that debate is a game is fair enough, but does not on its own provide a reason to discount any of the aff's impact turns. I do believe fairness is an impact. I don't think it is an impact that automatically trumps all other impacts. As with all other things, impact calculus on the parts of the debaters matters most.

Case Debate
I would prefer to adjudicate a debate in which the negative reads less than or equal to 4 well constructed offcase positions and invests a good deal of time in taking apart the aff instead of a debate in which throwaway offcase positions are used as a timeskew and the case is addressed sparsely and with only impact defense. A diverse 1NC that attacks advantages at every level is helpful regardless of your broader strategy. Most affs are terribly constructed and have awful chains of internal links. Most affs wont solve the things they say they solve. Point it out.

You do not need a card to make a smart case arguments. In fact, the desire for cards to make an argument can often work to limit the vectors of attack you have against the case. Example: you do not need a card to point out a missing internal link, or that the aff's internal link evidence is about X and their impact evidence is about Y.

CPs and DAs
Not much to say here. If you have them, read them. Specificity is your friend. "DA turns case" arguments are invaluable.

Teams have found it difficult to convince me that the reading of any particular counterplan makes being aff impossible and as such is a voting issue.

At the same time, I find myself increasingly annoyed at the "use fiat as a battering ram" approach to counter-plans. Indefinite parole that is immune from deportation or cancellation, has full work authorization, all the benefits of LPR, etc. is just not something that exists in the literature base and is a ridiculous interpretation of what scholars in the field are actually talking about. All that being said, it is up to the debaters to figure this stuff out in the round.

I have voted for conditionality bad only once, in a debate where the 2NR spent about 15 seconds on it.

"Judge kick" is an inevitable element of conditionality. If the status quo is always an option, then a 2NR that includes a counterplan is not always and forever bound to that counterplan. In other words, if the counerplan is described by the negative as conditional, then my default is to also consider the status quo, and not just the counterplan. I can be persuaded otherwise.


Sure, why not. I've read them, I've debated against them. Just be specific about what your alternative does. If it is a pic, say that it is and what your pic removes from the aff. If you are debating against a K, defend your aff. Generic K answers like the Boggs card are far less useful than justifying whatever assumption that the neg is critiquing.

Permutations are tricky. All too often, the aff just kinda extends "perm do both" and leaves it there. Explain what parts of the criticism you are permuting, how that interacts with the links, etc.

"No perms in a method debate" is a bad argument. You can wish away the form of "permutation," but you cannot do away with the logic of opportunity cost. If your K doesn't actually link, find a better argument.

As said above, "perm: do the aff" is not a thing.

Generally speaking, I am not a fan of severance permutations or intrinsic permutations. A permutation is legitimate only if it contains the entire aff plan and some to all of the negative counterplan/alternative. At the same time, many alternative texts are not representative of everything that an alternative would do - in my opinion, any evidence included by the negative as descriptive of the alternative is fair game for permutations. Example - many alt texts are written as "The alternative is to vote negative" - but the alt card says that "interrogating tropes of security" is important. A permutation that does the plan and interrogates tropes of security is not intrinsic.

If you have a theory of power, explain it and its implications for the aff. Meta arguments such as these have broad implications for both the link and the alternative.

Speaker Points

Points are always arbitrary and I wont pretend that my personal scale is anything different. Average speakers get in the low to mid 28s. Good speakers get in the high 28s to low 29s. Mid to high 29s, good job. You wont get a 27 unless you consistently do something annoying, like telling your partner "faster!" over and over during their speech.

Other random thoughts.

--Puns translate directly to increased speaker points.

--Please don't call me judge.

--When reading evidence, I will only evaluate warrants that are highlighted.

--I hate word-salad cards.

--Arguments that are "new in the 2" - generally the bar for me is whether the opponent team could have expected this argument based on the content of the previous speech. This excludes new impact turns to a disad in the 2AR, but maintains the capacity for 2As to cross apply, say, an impact defense argument on the case in the 2NR (intervening actors check, for example) to a disad scenario. If an argument is made in the 2AC, conceded by the neg block, not mentioned in the 1AR (and thus not responded to by the 2NR), it would be 'new' for the 2AR to extend and elaborate on the argument. While this may seem arbitrary, and while dropped arguments are, in a provisional sense, true, it is the job of the debaters to jump on strategic mishaps, not me. However, if a completely new argument arises in the 2NR or 2AR, I am willing to strike it from my flow without a debater pointing out that it is, in fact new.

--Speed is good, clarity is better.

--Confidence in your arguments, your partner, and yourself is good, disrespecting your opponents is bad.

--Ethically repugnant arguments will not make me want to vote for you. At the same time, however, if you cannot defeat ostensibly "bad" arguments, then you are a bad advocate and you should lose.

--If a debate does not occur, I will either flip a coin or consult tab.

--Please, "settler colonialism", not "set col". similarly, "afro-pessimism" not "afro-pess" -- yeah, I'm grumpy.

--Just because I go for certain arguments does not mean I will either automatically understand your argument or supplement your lack of analysis with my understanding of the literature.

--Random buzzwords are not arguments. I don't care until you impact a statement.

--There can always be 0 risk of something.

--Ad homs about the other teams authors aren't arguments.

--A claim without a warrant is just that.

--Theory and T debates are not my favorite.

--No insults or general shenanigans.

--Binding and prior consultation with the North Atlantic Treaty Organization is probably pedagogically relevant.

Risha Bhattacharjee Paradigm

Yes put me on the email chain: Risha[dot]X[dot]Bhattacharjee[at]gmail[dot]com and I prefer this to pocketbox although you do you. I'd appreciate it if after the last corresponding rebuttal each side puts together a doc of all relevant cards and sends it to me even before I ask but no worries if you forget.

Philosophy last updated December 2016 (goal is to include trends I've noticed in my judging and also new opinions I've noticed myself start developing as I judge a lot, although some of these opinions haven't necessarily played out in my judging yet).

General Things 

TLDR: I don't really care what you do. I am most familiar with "policy" arguments and do research in high school and college more on the "policy"-side of things, but I judge a lot of different types of arguments, so my familiarity with those is growing quickly.

My own background: I debated at Coppell High School in Dallas for 4 years and then the University of Texas for 5 years, and am now coaching at Georgia State University and Wayzata High School. This will be my third year of judging college debate and eighth year judging high school debate. I typically judge a LOT of debate rounds every year. I was a 1A/2N for most of college, and most of my 2NRs were counterplan/politics or framework.  I did debate for UT/in D3, so I had my fair share of “K-debates". I found myself personally going a bit more “left” (with a particular interest in arguments about gender) in my last year of debate, but that was more in terms of opinion and not actually argumentative choices, and I still ended my career going for mostly "policy" arguments. I have generally viewed debate as a game, but can understand why others do not see it that way, and am open to alternate views of the activity. 

Top-level: You should do what you do best, and I'll reciprocate by trying my best to approach the debate with an open mind. I really don't care what kind/type of arguments you choose to make. I find that teams have much more success when their judge adaptation involves accounting for specific things a judge might think about a certain argument, instead of just choosing to make a different argument altogether. Do what you do best. The only caveat is you should not say things like "racism/sexism good". 

I think that racism and sexism (and other forms of exclusion) are problems in the debate community, but am uncertain as to what I think is the best way to combat forms of exclusion. I do think that debaters are required by the nature of the activity to contest arguments that their opponents make, and that there is value in that contestation. That being said, I think certain things are uncontestable - like I said above, impact turning a form of exclusion is not going to fly. I also dislike it when people try to dispute claims about debate as an activity being racist, sexist, ableist, etc. At this point, I honestly think it's violent to say a certain form of exclusion does not exist in debate, esp to people whose identity forces them to face that exclusion on a daily basis. That is different than, for example, contesting the claim that requiring a topical plan furthers those forms of exclusion.

I’ll ask to be included in any email chains, but I will not open the speech docs in most situations until the debate is over, because imo reading along lessens the impact that good communication would otherwise have on my decision. 

I generally don’t think it counts as prep when someone is saving a speech doc to a jump drive, etc. 

Pet peeves: “Always already” and “debate space” - i.e. redundancy. 

Card Clipping: Like I said above, I won’t open speech docs before/during a speech. So it’s impossible for me to follow along as a debater is reading. That’s just something to keep in mind if you want to call out another team for clipping cards. So, make sure there’s video if you want to make an accusation. I do think that card-clipping is absolutely unacceptable, and if an accusation is made, I will immediately stop the debate to resolve the dispute. If an individual is determined to have clipped cards, they will receive zero speaker points and the team will get an automatic loss. If it is determined that card-clipping did not occur, then I will assign speaker points based on what has happened in the debate so far, and assign the loss to the team who made the accusation. Purposefully being unclear just to get through a card faster is not much different from clipping cards. Since I obviously cannot decide intent, if you are unclear/it is hard to tell if you read a certain part of a card, I will err on the side of you did not.

I appreciate it when people tell me at the top of their last rebuttals what an RFD for them would look like.

I will not yell clear if I cannot understand you (I think that's just as interventionist as a judge yelling "smarter" and I do not share the same views as Dallas Perkins on that subject). So don't assume I'll let you know if I can't understand you....although the lack of typing should probably tip you off.

On a somewhat similar note, if I look confused, it is probably tech related or possibly just how my face usually looks. I rarely (knowingly) react physically when unconvinced by an argument. 

Asking a team what cards were or were not read in a speech doc is either cross-x time or prep time, unless their speech doc is egregiously terribad (a standard to be somewhat arbitrarily determined by me).

(Please note that this next thing is really not a big deal, I'm just letting you know in case it helps, but I don't expect any one to adapt in any way to this). -I don't really try to line things up from speech-to-speech while flowing. This is really just how things play out because of the kinds of debate I tend to judge. On that note, in almost any possible situation, no matter what you say, I will almost certainly just flow a speech on a specific argument straight down. Just to be clear, I will obviously still separate off case positions and 1ac pages onto separate pages. But if you're like "I'm going to start with the perm and then this thing and then blah" or whatever else, I'll probably ignore you. You can still say it for the purpose of the other team or your partner or out of spite etc., but just know that I will keep flowing straight down because roadmaps seem to be more like New Year's resolutions than actual truth. 

Links are not case arguments. Neither are random framework args. In a K or framework debate, please please please save us all the trouble and just read the links on the same page as the actual arg. I like case arguments but I like being honest about not having specific case args even more. I recognize that there are ways to interact with the aff that do not involve a case debate in the traditional sense. That's fine. What's less fine and substantially more annoying is arbitrarily splitting the K debate (or FW debate) onto two different flows which inevitably become combined in the last rebuttals and create more work for all us.

It is rarely successful in front of me for your only answer to a fully-developed arg by the other team to be that they don't have a card to back it up. By all means point this out if true, but also please substantively answer what is now a fully developed analytic (i.e. still an argument).

Lastly, please be respectful to your partner and your opponents. I don’t like excessively rude people and my speaker points will reflect that. I do enjoy snark if it's intelligent and furthers an argument and isn't just aimed solely at making fun of your opponent. It annoys me when people speak during their opponents' speeches in a way that is loud and/or makes it difficult to hear the speaker (or seems like it would bother the speaker), and is perhaps the only time I audibly intervene during a round (to shush the offender(s)). 

"Policy" vs "Policy"


-High school: I do a TON of high school topic research (along with already having done a ton because of last year's college topic) so generally speaking I know what's up. In the past I've judged a lot of clash and left-left debates in high school, but this year I've found myself judging quite a bit more of policy debates as well. 

-College: I don't judge many policy debates in college, although this year I've judged a few relatively speaking. I've done a fair bit of research on the topic and almost all of it is more "policy" oriented research. I would like to judge some more "policy" debates but whatevs not my job (or desire) to dictate what people say in front of me, and I certainly do not have anything against debate arguments that do not involve both teams agreeing from the get-go that the discussion should be oriented around the results of USFG-enacted restrictions on ghg emissions. 

Topicality: I love a good T debate. Don’t really care what the topicality argument is. If the interpretation is something "silly," then the aff should be able to beat it without help via me giving the interp less weight. That being said, I often think that good explanations of reasonability are often persuasive. The aff will probably lose if they don’t read a counter-interpretation. I also am generally not convinced by most precedence arguments, or arguments about an aff being read all year means that it’s topical. Frankly, I couldn’t care less what the rest of the community thinks about whether or not an aff is topical. Obviously if a precedence arg is conceded I'll evaluate it, but just know that the aff won't have to do much to beat it.
(High school specific: this topic is obviously terribly huge and also lacking good definitions for neg interps - perhaps a useful thing to note about me is that I think of T "definitions" as another standard for a T interp, albeit a rather important one, but I don't think having a definition exactly backing up your interpretation is as absolutely necessary as many seem to think. Sometimes I think the bigger problem with the more obvious or better (in some ways) interps for 'engagement' is their tendency to run into brightline problems).

Theory: I generally default to reject the argument not the team for most theory arguments other than conditionality bad, and have noticed in my judging that it is difficult to convince me otherwise.

Gut-check, I probably think that conditionality is good, 50-state fiat is bad, and international fiat is bad. But I also almost exclusively went for the states counterplan on the energy topic and the Turkey CP on the democracy assistance topic, so I can definitely be convinced by the other side. Trump probably also makes the states counterplan a more important/necessary discussion on the college topic now. Conditionality bad is probably harder to win in front of me, but I'm sure it's doable. Something that is important for me in counterplan competition debates is the question of literature/solvency advocates. The more evidence the neg has about their counterplan in comparison to the aff, the better off they are for the theory debate. That being said, counterplans that result in the aff are probably not competitive. 

Disads: I went for them a lot (especially politics) and enjoy these debates (topic disads>politics obviously). Comparative impact calculus and turns case arguments are always ideal. 

The risk of a disad can sometimes be so low that it should effectively be rendered zero for the purpose of making decisions. The existence of a counterplan in the debate obviously affects this calculus. 

Counterplans: I like them. I like counterplans that are cut from aff articles. I like smart, specific PICs, depending on competition issues and how much evidence there is in context of the aff. See theory blurb above for more details, but would like to reiterate as said above that counterplans that result in the aff are probably not competitive. 

If the 2NR doesn’t say anything, I will not revert to the status quo.

Case debates: Obviously always appreciated. I think that zero risk of an aff can very much be a thing, and something that neg teams are often too hesistant to go for. Sometimes affs just doesn't make sense and/or are lying about what their evidence says. Don't be afraid to call them out. I'm not a huge fan of giving affs leeway just because certain things irl (like Trump's win) make it harder to solve while being topical. A good example for college folks is I also disliked judges giving affs an extra benefit of the doubt on the democracy assistance topic because the affs were all terribad and clearly didn't do anything (as may be fairly obvious, I was a 2N on this topic lol).

Criticisms versus Any Kinds of Args:

Criticisms: I explained my general proclivities above, but, things that are important for winning kritiks in front of me include: reducing the risk of the aff (how you go about doing this is up to you), having a clear explanation of what the alt is, and contextualizing link arguments in terms of the aff. Against race args especially, people seem to love going for some version of "only a risk we're better than the squo" and so it is useful for me as a judge if the contextualized link arguments include either an opportunity cost argument or a reason why that's a bad burden to have to meet (i.e. maybe presumption should stop flipping aff in these instances for whatever reason).

I think that role of the ballot claims are almost always not a real argument. They’re self-serving, arbitrary, and just a fancy way of saying that a certain impact should come first. The only role of the ballot imo is just to vote for the better debating. 

Performance: Most of my general stuff above also address my thoughts on this. Like I said, you do you. I did go for framework a lot in college, and at the beginning, it was because I really "believed" it. At the end of my career, and now, I see a lot of benefits in having a topic, but I also see a lot of reasons for why the way the topic is constructed and the way that debates occur, can be problematic. But just to be clear – when I debated, I viewed debate as a game. But I respect the fact that this isn’t how everyone approaches debate, and can be convinced that as a judge, I should also not view debate as a game. 

"Policy" Affs vs K's

As much as it saddens me to admit, I think (slash hope) we are all aware that I unfortunately do not have the power to actually enact federal government policy if I sign the ballot aff (as cool as that would be). So generally speaking, in front of me, neg teams should stop pointing this out like it's a big deal and if they do, affs should stop being jetti-mind tricked by it. 

I have never found an argument more silly (this is slight hyperbole but it makes me cranky) than the blanket statement that "discourse (or reps or whatever) doesn't shape reality", both because that just seems patently untrue (at least as a blanket claim) and also incredibly ironic to say in a communication activity of all things. There are much more nuanced ways of making a similar argument, i.e. perhaps keep in mind that on the aff you don't have to win that discourse/reps/whatever NEVER affect policymaking.

On a similar note to the above, I find almost all framework debates useless. Aff framework arguments on a theoretical level (we get to weigh our aff bc fairness or education etc) are meh to me - even if you win these arguments, that doesn't resolve the substantive arguments the neg will (hopefully) be making about why their links shape the way the aff's policy happens, which in turn affects the aff's ability to get to the impact they so dearly want to weigh, etc. Also everytime I hear "moots 8/9 minutes of the 1AC" I think "so what?". Seems like if the neg wins a link and an impact and those things moot your 1AC, then you should have picked a better 8/9 minutes of things to say. Much more useful than a theoretical fw debate is answering those link arguments on a substantive level and explaining why your offense still applies even if you don't get to weigh your impacts. Also I will probably never decide the neg doesn't "get" their K unless its a warranted argument made and somehow fully conceded by the other team in all the speeches or something. Tbh I appreciate it when affs don't ever try to forward the argument that the neg shouldn't get their k.
On a similar note, I think aff's often should get access to more of their offense than they realize even if the neg wins their "framework", and are often tricked into thinking otherwise. 

Judge choice is not an argument. Even when technically conceded by the neg team, there are usually 82930281390 other things said by them in the debate that implicitly answer it, and it's a safe bet that I'll do the "work" (is it even work?) for them.

K's vs K Affs

Dear gawd "method debates" are not a thing. Neg teams say "no perms because it's a method debate!" and all I hear is "maybe if we just arbitrarily call what is clearly still a K alt something different, we can jetti-mind trick Risha into thinking we no longer have to actually answer arguments and can, without any real justification, win that affs don't get perms anymore."  This doesn't mean I am just unconvinced by the arg that certain affs should not get permutations - I certainly think there are persuasive, debateable reasons for why affs that choose not to fall under the bounds of the resolution should not - so it just means that "it's a method debate" is not something I consider to be a justification for the claim that affs don't get perms. 

Framework Debates vs K Affs 

I judge a lot of these, so this is the longest section of my philosophy.

Imo non-fairness impacts are better than fairness impacts against affs that talk about various types of oppression in relation to the debaters' own identities - I think it usually hurts to allow these affs to read their impact turns to fairness and thus focus the debate on what was basically the core aff arg to begin with (and thus also likely their best offense). I do find fairness a much better impact against more high theory-ish affs (or ones that talk about oppression but less in relation to debate/personal identity) than the more social justice-y ones but I don't really have many thoughts on fairness as compared to other impacts against the more high theory-ish affs. 

Sort of related to my last point - I don't get this whole procedural vs structural fairness distinction people keep trying to make. Or rather, I get it, but imo it seems like a distinction without a difference, at least how I've heard it explained. Like sure there are different types of fairness and one maybe slightly more controllable than the other but the terminal impact to both (people quit, fun, other args for why ruining the activity matters) seems to be the same so esp when debating an aff talking about a type of oppression esp in relation to debate, the attempt to make a distinction seems not useful and also kind of the point of the impact turns/inevitability arguments the aff usually makes. 

2ARs for K affs against framework rarely have success in front of me if a counter-interp is not extended. I find that solely going for impact turns often devolves into having to defend basically that all clash is bad, and in an activity that (presumably, until proven otherwise really) seems to depend on clash in some form, that usually ends up a difficult position to defend. (This applies less to affs that are an impact turn to debate good from the get go, by which I mean the more high theory-ish affs that say the whole thing is bad, and not other affs that usually critique specific parts of it.)

I've found that people are often bad at explaining why debate is good and useful against high theory affs, esp the ones that explicitly say debate (the whole thing and not just like certain specific aspects) is bad/useless. I spend a great deal of my time doing things related to this activity, and I'd like to think it's not completely a waste, so it shouldn't be hard to convince me that debate has some value, yet I have found myself voting for the argument that it does not in the past. Negs need to make sure they tell me what that value(s) of debate is/could be, etc. when pushed by the aff. Or even just pointing out that while isolating certain values of debate is difficult, the fact that we all clearly spend some time doing the activity means something, etc. 

Truth testing has not been an argument with much success in front of me. By truth testing, I mean what people generally seem to say in front of me, which is some version of: if the aff is unpredictable and the neg wins they could not (or should not) have prepared for it, then since it could not be tested I should assume everything the aff says about the aff is false. Generally speaking when a team spends minutes of each speech explaining an aff and the explanation makes sense to me, I'm not just going to decide that the neg perhaps not having answers means all the plausible/convincing things the aff said are wholesale not true. To me this argument is really no different than saying new affs should also be presumed untrue if the neg isn't ready for one and thus the aff couldn't be tested, and that I think is generally considered to be a not-great arg by most people. I find truth-testing more persuasive when the impact is some version of the argument that it's key to searching for the best method to resist things, like the aff's impact(s). 

In a similar vein to my last point, a counter-interp for affs in these debates should be clearly explained - this means telling me what it is supposed to solve vs not, so this includes making sure it's clear why it doesn't link to your own offense. On a basic level, counter-interp explanations should include a description of the role of the neg in debates and (in most situations) also how you still allow for clash. Neg teams should point out when affs fail to do so, or do so unconvincingly (i.e. explain why the counter-interp doesn't actually solve any of your impacts and/or why it links to their offense). 

It makes zero sense to me when neg teams try to have squirrely interps to try and get out of aff offense when those interps involve basically saying the aff is beholden to meeting certain parts of the resolution but not others (seems to be kind of arbitrary and unpredictable and a great justification for the aff choosing to pick a different part of the resolution to not meet).

Affs should clearly explain the internal link between the neg's intepretation and their impact turns. Notice I said interpretation, and not just explain why *framework* causes the impact turns, i.e. be specific to the neg's interpretation instead of making generalizing claims about framework debates.

There have been many times the aff almost completely concedes the neg's topical version of the aff and it doesn't help the neg in any way. This is not to say that I hate topical versions of the aff lol, and PLEASE affs do not take this to mean you can just not answer them bc I'm sure that now that this is my philosophy, I will vote on a conceded tva the very next time I judge framework, but negs should try to understand the point of the aff a little more. Basically, if your tva and explanation of it against all affs that discuss race issues is the exact same, then it's probably not a great tva, at least for me.

I rarely find it convincing when neg teams try to go for the Lundberg card as a reason for why the aff's interp causes extinction or why the neg's interp solves it, due to having never heard a plausible causal internal link chain between a framework interp and extinction. I'm honestly pretty convinced that I will never hear one. This is like my version of all the philosophies that say something along the lines of "stop saying framework is genocide". Which btw is true but not something I've found necessary to include in my philosophy although I guess I kind of have now. 

Mia Bonitto Paradigm

1 rounds

I would like to receive the speech docs, please ask for my email before the debate.

I am currently an assistant clinical professor of education and psychology at Wichita State University. My research focuses on assessment for children with disabilities and mental health needs for diverse students in schools. I have judged at 3-5 college tournaments a year since graduating undergrad, 9 years ago. I also have judged regularly on the high school circuit. I am currently the assistant director of debate at Wichita State University, however, I still do limited topic work. The thing I find myself asking for more than anything else in decisions is more big-picture explanations.

I did policy debate in both high school and college, I graduated from Wichita State University in 2011. I have a wide background in debate arguments. I have a huge breadth of debate experience and have run almost every style of argument. I firmly believe that you will do best in debate by reading what you are best at and that is what I want to hear. I want this debate to be about you. I respect you and I value your education in debate. I will try VERY hard to listen to anything you have to say and to vote for whichever team did the better debating.

I choose to stay involved with debate because it matters to me. I care about being a good judge and a good coach. I view myself as a constant learner, and I enjoy learning about and thinking about all sorts of debate arguments. If I don't know something in a debate, I will usually try to learn about it by the next time I see you.

I think participation in debate is important for all marginalized groups and I believe in the importance of debate as a community of activists and a tool of empowerment. That being said, yes, I will still vote for your framework arguments, your T debates, your theory arguments, your CP's or your disads (really).

Don’t talk down to your partners or the other team. If you are being threatening it will be reflected in your points. I spend more than most people in this activity working with people with disabilities, many of whom are actively suicidal, depressed, and/or anxious. If you are someone who needs someone in your corner who has that experience during the tournament, I'm happy to try to be that person. If someone is visibly emotionally upset in a debate, before starting prep time, I will usually stop the debate to check-in, and may encourage a break. I care about people infinitely more than I care about who wins or loses. Also, I am likely not the best judge for death good, or arguments that encourage suicide or are explicitly violent.

Speaker Points: Norms keep changing with points and I'm trying to be attentive in giving points consistent with the community norms. I have been told that my points are both wildly too high and wildly too low at various points throughout the 9 years I have been around judging college debates. Know that I honestly am trying and I do apologize if I mess it up. This semester I'm going to generally start at 28.5 for what I perceive to be average in the division, 29 and up if I think you should clear.

Emily Bosch Paradigm

1 rounds

Updated – 2019
this update is an attempt to be more clear about how I have been judging debates/ changes I have gathered after judging for 6 years.


Yes I want to be on the email chain --> bosch.e2010@gmail.com

I FLOW ON PAPER. I judge debates much more effectively / think harder about the debate / give better comments when I flow on paper. This is the only thing that I wish debaters would more effectively adapt to – give me a little pen time when you transition from card to card / arg to arg and please consider that I have to flip sheets between arguments.

I believe judges should adapt to the debaters, not the other way around. I will do my absolute best to objectively and fairly judge your debate, regardless of the arguments you choose to read. I would much prefer that you read the arguments you’re interested in / are better at debating than attempting to adapt to what you interpret as my preferences based upon what I have written here.

I find myself to be a much more “technical” judge than I once thought, and by that I mean I tend to pay a lot of attention to the way arguments evolve as the debate progresses. That’s not to say that I don’t enjoy the 2NR / 2AR spin game, but that those “spins” need to be traceable to previous speeches. In addition, I have and will vote on technical concessions SO LONG AS there is an IMPACT to that concession – debaters concede irrelevant arguments all the time, as it turns out.

I evaluate debates in segments – I think each flow has compartmentalized “mini-debates” that take place within them that I evaluate piece by piece (for example, on a critique, the “link debate” “perm debate” “alt debate”etc etc, on a disad the “uniqueness debate” “link debate” “impact debate” “impact turn debate” etc etc etc). If you label these segments clearly and follow these segments throughout the debate, I will be a great judge for you and your speaker points will reflect your organization / flow tech.

WITH THAT SAID!! I do enjoy non-traditional flow and speaking styles, so do not be afraid to pref me if you debate with a different style – I judge these debates a lot and have no problem following / figuring out what needs to be evaluated.

I’m a very expressive judge. You will know if I am feeling your argument if you pay attention to my non-verbal communication. I believe debate is a communication activity and you, as debaters, should know how I’m vibing with your arguments throughout the debate.

Note about speed: Speed is fine, but please make your card / argument transitions clear with vocal inflection. If I miss an argument, 97% of the time it’s because I didn’t hear you say “and” and I thought you were still reading evidence. Your speaker points will reflect it if you SLOW DOWN on tags and don’t just read them like another piece of evidence. IMHO, debate is still a persuasive activity, and being persuasive gets you bonus points. I will always be fan of a slower, persuasive rebuttal.

I don’t think you will have an issue reading almost any argument in front of me, but since folks seem to just read philosophies to find out how people feel about K debate and framework, I guess I’ll say some stuff.

Affirmatives: I think affirmatives should, AT THE VERY LEAST, be in the direction of the topic (but being topical is so much better). I think the best K affs have a resolutional component and have literature that is inherent to the topic. I can and have been persuaded otherwise, this is just my baseline.

Affirmatives should have a solvency method - I don't particularly care if that's an instrumental affirmation of US(fg) action or not (see FW discussion below), but you've gotta have a method that you have solvency for - I really don't like affs that state a lot of problems and argue that the revelation of those problems somehow does anything - that's not negatable. This is along the same lines of "advocacy" statements that don't take an "action" (I use the word action very carefully - I think a lot of things are actions). Statements are quite difficult to negate.


I think topicality debates need to be SLOWER than other arguments - you want me to write down more, you need to give me more time to flow. In general, I DESPISE T debates that are read entirely off blocks and read at the speed of cards. I don't think this is helpful, I don't think this creates depth, I don't think this is good for education, and I'm probably flowing like 2 words / argument tbh.

I am significantly more persuaded by topicality arguments (ie: the affirmative needs to defend international space cooperation bc that’s key to limits) than framework arguments (ie: debate is a game, the affirmative needs to defend instrumental USFG action bc them’s the rules and and it's unfair and they are cheater cheater pants).

I think negative limits arguments have the capacity to be quite persuasive if teams go for the correct internal links based upon the aff / 2ac strategy. One of the biggest mistakes I see (primarily) 2Ns make is going for the wrong limits scenario. Just like any argument, some links are stronger than others, and you don't need every link to win in the 2NR, so pick the best ones that you think tell the most compelling limits story based upon the particular affirmative. Don't forget to contextualize limits arguments to the COUNTER-INTERPRETATION not (only) the aff itself.

Topical versions of the affirmative are important, but you have to actually explain WHY they are topical versions of the aff (ie how they meet your interpretation, even better if they also meet the counter interp) and how they address the affirmative team’s offense. Ev for TVAs is preferred. I don't think you need to have a TVA to win the debate.

Things that are not persuasive to me:

“People quit”
“Small schools XYZ”

I’ll default to competing interpretations unless you tell me otherwise. Reasonability – how do I decide what is reasonable and by what metric do I use?


To make a link argument, YOU HAVE TO TALK ABOUT THE AFF. The aff has to have DONE SOMETHING that you have linked to an argument. I don’t think links of omission are links. If the 2NR is explicitly going for a link of omission, you’re going to have a hard time.

I don’t think criticisms always need an alternative (critique IS a VERB, after all). Make sure you explain how the "alternative" interacts with affirmative solvency / how they are different / how the alt accesses the aff (beyond just a generic root cause explanation).

I'm a sucker for K tricks - affs: don't get bamboozled.

Aff fw v ks: Often is an argument made in the 2AC that is just repeated over and over and not advanced in any meaningful way. If you think framework is important for how I evaluate the K debate, you need to do better than that.

“Role of the ballot”:

I have significant problems with ROBs. I think "role of the ballot" is an empty and meaningless phrase. The "role of the ballot" is to let tabroom know who won and lost the debate. I don't think my ballot does anything for activism / changing the structures of debate / anything at all. I tend to think most ROB claims boil down to "ROB: Vote for me" which is silly af.

Now, this is different than telling me how to evaluate the debate, how I should filter impacts, how I should prioritize arguments, or in general, how I should make my decision. You can and must do that to win the debate.

Perm stuff:
Permutations are tests of competition, and that is all. That means if you read severance / intrinsicness - those are reasons to reject the perm, not the team (unless the negative team gives me a compelling reason for why the team should be rejected, tbh, haven't heard one yet.).

There is a lot of discussion about why competition standards for advocacies / methods should change when a K aff is read – eh, I’m unconvinced this is true. My default position is that your method should compete, which means, it has to withstand the permutation test. I could, perhaps, be persuaded that the affirmative shouldn't get a perm if the negative is willing to commit the time and energy to explaining why competition standards should change, how they should change, what debate looks like with those competition standards, how it applies in that particular debate, etc. Sound like a lot? Yeah, it kinda is... just beat the permutation with disads and solid link explanations.

You can be certain that I absolutely will not reject a perm on an assertion of "no perms in critical debates" or "no plan, no perm."

Case debate:
is highly under-appreciated. Oftentimes 2ACs just assume the neg doesn’t know anything about the aff and entirely mishandle case arguments. Punish. Them.
I have and will vote on case turns if they outweigh the aff or if the aff has such diminished solvency that they outweigh the aff.

Theory: most theory debates are garbage. Prove me wrong. If there is one conditional K, don’t waste your time. If the alt isn’t actually vague, make a different argument.

Jacob Bosley Paradigm

1 rounds

Current Affiliations: Indiana University (2016-)

Previous Affiliations: James Madison University, Broad Run High School, Grassfield High School

Education: BA (JMU '15), MPA (IU '18)

Last Updated: January 2020

I. Big Picture

Yes, put me on the e-mail chain: jacob.daniel.bosley@gmail.com

This tournament is my first of the season. Slow down and over-explain important details because I know nothing about the topic.

I am not a "blank slate," but my preferences are not immutable beliefs. I tend to judge clash debates, but enjoy a wider range. I lean closer to "truth" in terms of "tech vs. truth." I do not think in a strict "offense/defense" paradigm. Terminal defense, presumption, and negligible risk are possible, though I generally view issues in terms of relative risk.

The clearer the framing you provide to put the debate together, the better. I take the time when deciding to see if key arguments are intuitively answered elsewhere. However, what you consider intuitive or obvious may not appear the same to me.

Please send a compiled "judge doc" after the debate, grouped by issue and sorted by importance.

If you have any questions or comments about my judging, feel free to e-mail.

II. Judging and Debating Practices

I flow on a computer. You should still scale back your top speed. Like most, I find "speaking in paragraphs" and blippy bullet points difficult to follow. It will be obvious if I am having trouble.

I read evidence during debates, especially when I am unfamiliar with a topic. If evidence is contested in CX, I will likely jump to it. This inevitably influences how I hear and understand arguments. The lower quality of your evidence or highlighting, the more leeway I am likely to give your opponents in answering the argument, consciously or not.

The more latebreaking an argument, or the more barebones the initial presentation, the more open I am to new responses in later speeches. This is entirely based on how I understood the initial argument. Do not sandbag your opponents to the point that you are also sandbagging me.

I am fine with "inserting" charts into debates that are difficult to verbalize. You do not need to re-read out loud small re-highlightings of evidence to argue it's out of context, but do not expect me to read all the un-underlined portions of evidence to figure out if you are correct.

For "decorum," reasonable sass, snark, shade, or outbursts are fine. I understand you all are passionate about what you are debating. I am not the best judge for more hostile approaches, such as interrupting opponents.

I am also not a good judge for "alternative" practices such as calling for double wins, stealing ballots, kicking participants out, breaking time limits, etc. I will flow a debate and award a win.

III. Topicality

I enjoy good T debates rooted in quality evidence, warranted comparison, and concrete impacts. If asked outside of a debate, I think more focused topics are preferable.

I do not have any sense of what "the topic" is for the "international space cooperation" or "arms sales." I will need concrete examples of why particular affirmatives are better/worse for the activity, as I do not know how difficult it is to cut a particular case neg this year.

For specification arguments, I default to the middle ground: plan texts can be vague-ish to avoid the worst forms of PICs, but must be upfront about the most likely interpretation of "normal means" in practice. Vague CX responses make me grumpy.

"New Affs Bad" as a reason to reject a team is generally unpersuasive. However, new affirmatives may justify the neg getting argumentative leniancy.

I think in terms of competing interpretations. Even if asked to default to "reasonability," I have a hard time understanding what counts as "reasonable." This is best explained to me in terms of functional limits. You should not bank your strategy on me deciding what is "good enough" and should instead prioritize offense.

IV. Framework

Affirmatives should have some relationship to the topic, even if not traditional endorsement or hypothetical implementation of a policy. At the bare minimum, affirmatives should "affirm" something. I am much less sympathetic to affirmatives that are purely negative arguments or diagnoses.

These debates are generally frustrating. Teams should have a robust defense of what their model of debate/argument looks like and what specific benefits it would produce.

Teams tend to do better in front of me if they control the framing of what I should do with my ballot or what my ballot is capable of solving. Whether it signals endorsement of a particular advocacy, acts as a disincentive in a games-playing paradigm, or whatever else, my conclusion on what the ballot does often filters how I view every other argument. Generally teams have been more successful with me the more honest (or even nihilistic) they are about what a given debate or ballot can accomplish.

I used to be pretty strongly in the “fairness is just an internal link” camp. I am less so now. It is helpful to have a thorough defense of a games-playing paradigm for me to consider fairness an "intrinsic" good or primary concern independent of the content of the aff.

I am less persuaded by "truth testing" style arguments about "presuming" against the content of the 1AC. I am much more persuaded by arguments that the structure of debate produces polemical discussions or poor pedagogical opportunities that warps the content debated.

"TVAs" can be helpful, but need to be specific. I expect the block to actually provide an example plan text. Solvency evidence is ideal, but warranted explanation for how the plan text connects to the aff's broader advocacy/impact framing can be sufficient. If the 2NR is going to sit on a TVA, be explicit about what offense you think the TVA accesses or resolves.

I am generally unpersuaded by arguments that the reading of topicality itself is violent. The curriculum or debates produced by interpretations may very well be exclusive, bankrupt, unethical, etc. However, I am unlikely to think merely reading topicality is analogical to violence such as "stop and frisk," nuclear weapons testing, "a will to know," forced outing, etc.

V. Critiques

I am not actively reading critical theory as I used to. This makes clear explanation even more important. Buzzwords and author-names-as-arguments annoy me. Even if evidence is not specific, explanation of links, “turns case” arguments, permutations, etc. should be.

Uniqueness still matters. The neg needs reasons why the alternative actually resolves their link arguments or a reason why it does not have to. The aff should press poorly explained alternatives and link uniqueness.

I default to assuming the aff can test the mutual exclusivity of alternative advocacies and/or the efficacy of combining strategies. I am open to alternate standards of competition. The less the aff outlines a clear method or advocacy, the more I am persuaded by “no plan, no perm.”

I prefer permutation texts. I am sympathetic to the explanation shifting as the alternative morphs, but explanation must rise above “do both.”

“Counter-perms” are not a thing. Permutations are affirmative arguments. If you are wont to make these arguments, just defend a PIK or explain why portions of the aff should not be weighed as offense.

VI. Counterplans

CPs/PICs rooted in topic literature are awesome. CPs that compete solely based on “certainty,” “immediacy,” or “ban the plan” planks are less awesome.

Advantage CP planks that are logical or based in 1AC evidence generally do not need solvency advocates. 2NC CPs out of new impact turns or add-ons are generally reasonable.

I do not automatically judge-kick CPs. If asked the status of the CP, I understand the phrase “the status quo is always an option” to mean "the status quo is always an option for the 2NR." If you want me to separately evaluate the status quo versus the plan if I conclude the CP is a bad idea, you must make additional arguments.

VII. Disadvantages

Framing is everything: impact calculus, link driving uniqueness or vice-versa, the works. Smart arguments and coherent narratives trump a slew of evidence.

Most 2AC theory blips against Politics DAs do not rise to the level of an argument. “Fiat solves the link” or "The DA is not intrinsic" are incomplete.

VIII. Theory

Quality over quantity. Give me typing time. A “dropped” argument is only a true argument if it was properly explained and flow-able in the first place.

Limited conditionality is probably reasonable. It is difficult to persuade me that one conditional advocacy wrecks the activity. Two or more radically different advocacies raise more issues, but it is up for debate. I think there are substantially fewer issues when considering advantage CPs and conditionality. Negs should still be clear under what conditions, if any, they can kick individual planks.

Brett Bricker Paradigm

1 rounds

Associate Director of Debate @ KU

Last Updated: Pre-GSU 2016

Quick pre-round notes:

I would prefer speech docs while I judge. Please email them to bricker312@gmail.com.

The affirmative should read and defend a topical example of the resolution and the negative should negate the affirmative's example.

I reward teams that demonstrate a robust knowledge of the topic and literature concerning the topic.

More info:

1. The word "interpretation" matters more to me than some. You must counterdefine words, or you will likely lose. You must meet your theory interpretation, or you will likely lose.
2. The words "voting issue" matter more to me than some. I am not searching for cheap shots, nor do I especially enjoy theory debates. However, I feel that I would be intervening if I applied "reject the argument not the team" to arguments that debaters did not explicitly apply the impact takeout to. That said, proliferation of empty voting issues will not only hurt your speaker points, but can be grouped and pretty easily disposed of by opponents.
3. "Turns the case" matters more to me than some. Is it offense? Does the link to the advantage/fiat outweigh or prevent turning the case? Does it mean the aff doesn't solve? Questions that should be answered by the 1ar.

I believe that debaters work hard, and I will work hard for them. The more debaters can show they have worked hard: good case debates, specific strategies, etc. the more likely it is I will reward debaters with speaker points and higher effort. In the same vain, debaters who make clear that they don’t work outside of debates won’t receive high speaker points.

Argument issues:

Topicality – It is a voting issue and not a reverse voting issue. I have not yet been persuaded by arguments in favor of reasonability; however, the reason for this usually lies with the fact that affirmatives fail to question the conventional wisdom that limits are good.

Kritiks – It will be difficult to convince me that I should completely disregard my conceptions of rationality, pragmatism and my aversion to unnecessary death. As a general rule, I think of Kritiks like a counterplan with net-benefits. The more aff specific the better.

Counterplans – I am up in the air about textual vs. functional competition – they both have their time and place, and are probably not universal rules. The cross-ex answer “for your DAs but not your counterplans” has always made negative sense to me. I understand that there are MANDATES of the plan and EFFECTS of the plan; I find this distinction more understandable than the usual c-x answer.

Rundown of general thoughts about counterplans:

Conditionality – it's feeling like a little bit much at the moment
PICs – Good, especially if they PIC out of a part of the plan
Consult/Condition – Up in the air and context specific. Solvency advocates, aff stances, etc. can change my feelings.
Delay – Aff leaning, but might be more competitive based on the structure of the affirmative, or a cross-ex answer. For example, if the affirmative has an advantage that takes the position the advantage can only be solved if it happens before "X" date, then the counterplan to do it after that date seems competitive.
Word PICs – Aff leaning
Alternate non-USFG actors – Aff leaning

Demeanor issues:

Be respectful of your opponent, partner and judge. All types of discrimination are prohibited. Don’t clip cards, don’t cut cards out of context, etc. Don't misclose.

Finally, our community relies on host tournaments with classroom space - don't steal, defame or destroy it.

Any questions, ask.

Taylor Brough Paradigm

1 rounds

paradigm writing is confusing bc it ultimately will not tell u much abt how i evaluate debates.

i flow and pay attention to concessions (unless told not to by debaters AND offered an alternative system of evaluation). i wouldn't call myself a flow-centric judge but the flow is important for my decisions bc coverage and the interaction of arguments dictate who gets what offense. my decisions are almost always premised on an offense/defense paradigm (tho this can become complicated in models of debate where people don't 'solve' per se). 

i don't believe that judges get rid of all our preconceived assumptions (or any of them tbh) prior to entering the debate but that doesn't mean i'll refuse to listen to ur argument if it's different from how i feel abt debate or the world. 

framing and argument comparison is more important than (is also the same thing as) impact calculus-- ur blocks will not tell u much abt how arguments interact but u in the round can take note of their interaction. argument interaction is crucial for both aff and neg. how much of the aff does the alt solve, and vice versa? what disads to the aff/alt are u going for and how do they interact w the offense the aff/alt is winning? if u win ur theory of power, what does that mean for the debate abt aff/alt solvency? etc... 

i like good cx. have ur shit together, or at least look like u do. it doesn't happen often, but debates can be won and lost in cx. what does happen often is that arguments can be dismissed or proven in a good cx. strategize. if redirecting or diverting the question is ur style, do it, but please do it well. 


Adrienne Brovero Paradigm

1 rounds

Adrienne F. Brovero, Director of Debate, University of Mary Washington

24th year coaching


Please label your email chain subject line with Team names, tourney, round.

Updated 9-23-18


Current frustration and pertinent rant: Highlighting has become a disgrace. Highlighting should not result in anti-grammatical shards of arguments. Highlighting should not result in misrepresentation of the author's intent/ideas. Quite frankly, some highlighting is so bad, you would have been better served not reading the evidence. When highlighting, please put yourself in the judge's shoes for a moment and ask yourself if you would feel comfortable deciding a debate based on how you've highlighted that card. If the answer is no, reconsider your highlighting.




  • Qualifications - read them. Debate them.
  • Line-by-line involves directly referencing the other team's argument ("Off 2AC #3 - Winners Win, group"), then answering it. "Embedded" clash fails if you bury the clash part so deep I can't find the arg you are answering.
  • Overviews - overrated. Kinda hate them. Think they are a poor substitute for debating the arguments where they belong on the line-by-line.

Things that are prep time:

  • Any time after the official start time that is not a constructive (9 mins), CX (3 mins), rebuttal (6 mins), or a brief roadmap. Everything else is prep time.
  • Putting your speech doc together - including saving doc, setting up email chain, putting doc on a jump drive, etc.
  • Asking for cards outside of CX time.
  • Setting up your podium/stand.
  • Putting your flows in order.
  • Finding pens, flows, timers.

Debate like this: http://vimeo.com/5464508

Communication: I like it. I appreciate teams that recognize communication failures and try to correct them. If I am not flowing, it usually means communication is breaking down. If I am confused or have missed an argument, I will frequently look up and give you a confused look – you should read this as an indication that the argument, at minimum, needs to be repeated, and may need to be re-explained. I am more than willing to discount a team’s arguments if I didn’t understand or get their arguments on my flow.

Speaker points: Points are influenced by a variety of factors, including, but not limited to: Communication skills, speaking clarity, road-mapping, obnoxiousness, disrespectfulness, theft of prep time, quality of and sufficient participation in 2 cross-examinations and 2 speeches, the quality of the debate, the clarity of your arguments, the sophistication of your strategy, and your execution. I have grown uncomfortable with the amount of profanity used during debates – do not expect high points if you use profanity.

Paperless/Prep Time: Most tournaments have a strict decision time clock, and your paperless time cuts into decision time. Most of you would generally prefer the judges has the optimal amount of time to decide. Please be efficient. Prep runs until you are pulling the jump drive out of your computer or the email is sent. I will be understanding of tech fails, but not as much negligence or incompetence. Dealing with your laptop’s issues, finding your flows, looking for evidence, figuring out how to operate a timer, setting up stands, etc. – i.e. preparation – all come out of prep time.

In terms of viewing your evidence myself, I prefer email over flashing - my email address is adri.debate@gmail.com, so please include me on speech doc emails.

• I flow.
• Unless both teams instruct me otherwise, I will flow both teams.
• I evaluate the debate based primarily on what I have flowed.
• I frequently flow CX. I carefully check the 2AR for new arguments, and will not hold the 2NR accountable for unpredictable explanations or cross applications.
• I try to get down some form of tag/cite/text for each card. This doesn’t mean I always do. I make more effort to get the arg than I do the cite or date, so do not expect me to always know what you’re talking about when you solely refer to your “Henry 4” evidence.
• I reward those who make flowing easier by reading in a flowable fashion (road-mapping & signposting, direct refutation/clash, clarity, reasonable pace, emphasis of key words, reading for meaning, no distractions like tapping on the tubs, etc.). If you are fond of saying things like "Now the link debate" or "Group the perm debate" during the constructives, and you do not very transparently embed the clash that follows, do not expect me to follow your arguments or connect dots for you. Nor should you expect spectacular points.

• I appreciate efforts to evaluate and compare claims and evidence in the debate.
• I pay attention to quals and prefer they are actually read in the debate. I am extremely dismayed by the decline in quality of evidence (thank you, Internets) and the lack of teams’ capitalization on questionable sources.
• I don’t like to read evidence if I don’t feel the argument it makes has been communicated to me (e.g. the card was mumbled in the 2AC, or only extended by cite, or accompanied by a warrantless explanation, etc.).
• I also don’t like reading the un-highlighted portions of evidence unless they are specifically challenged by the opposing team.
• I should not have to read the un-highlighted parts to understand your argument – the highlighted portion should be a complete argument and a coherent thought. If you only read a claim, you only have a claim – you don’t get credit for portions of the evidence you don’t reference or read. If you only read a non-grammatical fragment, you are running the risk of me deciding I can’t coherently interpret that as an arg.
• I don’t like anonymous pronouns or referents in evidence like “she says” without an identification of who “she” is – identify “she” in your speech or “she” won’t get much weight in my decision.
• If you hand me evidence to read, please make clear which portions were actually read.

Decision calculus: Procedural determinations usually precede substantive determinations. First, I evaluate fairness questions to determine if actions by either team fundamentally alter the playing field in favor of the aff or neg. Then, I evaluate substantive questions. Typically, the aff must prove their plan is net beneficial over the status quo and/or a counterplan in order to win.

Topicality & plan-related issues:
• The aff needs to have a written plan text.
• It should be topical.
• T is a voter. Criticisms of T are RVIs in sheep’s clothing.
• Anti-topical actions are neg ground.
• Have yet to hear a satisfactory explanation of how nontraditional advocacies or demands are meaningfully different from plans, other than they are usually either vague and/or non-topical.
• On a related note, I don’t get why calling one’s advocacy a performance or demand renders a team immune from being held responsible for the consequences of their advocacy.
• In relation to plans and permutations, I value specificity over vagueness – specificity is necessary for meaningful debate about policies. However, please do not consider this an invitation to run dumb spec arguments as voting issues – absent a glaring evasiveness/lack of specificity, these are typically more strategic as solvency args.


Adjudicating critique or performance debates is not my strong suit. Most of these debates take place at a level of abstraction beyond my comprehension. If you have a habit of referring to your arguments by the author’s name (e.g. “Next off – Lacan”), I am not a very good judge for you. I don’t read very much in the advanced political philosophy or performance studies areas. This means, most of the time, I don’t know what the terms used in these debates mean. I am much more the applied politics type, and tend to think pragmatically. This means if you want to go for a critical or performance argument in front of me, you need to explain your arguments in lay-speak, relying less on jargon and author names, and more on warrants, analogies, empirical examples, and specifics in relation to the policy you are critiquing/performing for/against – i.e. persuade me. It also helps to slow it down a notch. Ask yourself how quickly you could flow advanced nuclear physics – not so easy if you aren’t terribly familiar with the field, eh? Well, that’s me in relation to these arguments. Flowing them at a rapid rate hinders my ability to process the arguments. Additionally, make an effort to explain your evidence as I am not nearly as familiar with this literature as you are. Lastly, specifically explain the link and impact in relation to the specific aff you are debating or the status quo policy you are criticizing. Statements like "the critique turns the case” don't help me. As Russ Hubbard put it, in the context of defending his demining aff many years ago, “How does our plan result in more landmines in the ground? Why does the K turn the case?” I need to know why the critique means the plan’s solvency goes awry – in words that link the critique to the actions of the plan. For example: Which part of the harms does the critique indict, with what impact on those harms claims? What would the plan end up doing if the critique turns its solvency? In addition, I find it difficult to resolve philosophical questions and/or make definitive determinations about a team’s motives or intentions in the course of a couple of hours.

I strongly urge you to re-read my thoughts above on “Communication” before debating these arguments in front of me.


I generally lean negative on CP theory: topical, plan-inclusive, exclusion, conditional, international fiat, agent, etc. Aff teams should take more advantage of situations where the counterplan run is abusive at multiple levels – if the negative has to fend off multiple reasons the CP is abusive, their theory blocks may start to contradict. Both counterplan and permutation texts should be written out. “Do both” is typically meaningless to me – specify how. The status quo could remain a logical option, but growing convinced this should be debated. [NOTE THAT IS A FALL '18 CHANGE - DEBATE IT OUT] Additionally, another shout-out for communication - many theory debates are shallow and blippy - don't be that team. I like theory, but those type of debates give theory a bad name.


I like DAs. I’m willing to vote on stock issue arguments like inherency or “zero risk of solvency”.

Shae Bunas Paradigm

1 rounds

Shae Bunas
Debated @ Oklahoma for 4 years.

Currently an Assistant Coach @ UCO.

Big Picture

In general, I don't have much of a preference for what people read in front of me. Despite having debated critiques throughout college I enjoy CP/DA/T debates and hope teams will be willing to read those arguments if they are more prepared to do so. Whatever strategy you choose, the more specific the strategy the better.

Specific arguments

Topicality: Generic T arguments don't get very far in front of me unless they are based in the literature and the negative can prove that the loss of core (generic) ground outweighs the affs education claims (e.g., why is the politics da/other generic da more important than the aff's particular education). If the aff doesn't read any offense they will very likely lose the debate.

Framework: Absent a T component it's not a reason to reject the aff. I have yet to hear a good reason why policy education is the only predictable education.

Disads: 'DA turns the case' is pretty important. I could be persuaded of 'no risk of the da' but it's unlikely. 

CPs: Well-researched PICs are enjoyable and I encourage you to read them. I tend to lean negative on theory but aff on questions of competition. Textual/functional competition is up for debate.

Critiques: In my experience, alternatives are under-debated. The aff needs offense against the alt and the neg needs a specific explanation of how the alt solves the case. Impact framing is important: don't stop at 'utilitarianism is key' or 'ethics first'. Tell me why you should still win even if you lose the impact framing debate (e.g., 'even if the neg wins that ethics comes first you will still vote aff because....'). Absent specific link analysis the permutation is pretty compelling. When deciding between reading the K you always go for and are comfortable with versus reading the K's you know that I read you should default to the K's that you are comfortable with. Don't read a huge-ass overview in the block, put it on the line-by-line.

Theory: Reading blippy blocks is a non-starter as are cheap shots. Just like every other issue in debate it needs to be well-developed before I will consider it. Conditionality is probably ok as long as the neg isn't reading contradictory positions.

Evidence: I prefer a handful of quality cards that are debated well over a stack of shitty cards that are read as fast as possible. As such, I'm persuaded by smart analytical arguments that point out the contrived nature of the case advantage/da/cp/k/whatever. You won't convince me that a card cut from a blog should be rejected if it has a warrant in it. I evaluate arguments, not qualifications with T debates being the exception to the rule: literature-based definitions hold more water than the definition given by merriam-webster or some other dictionary.

Paperless: Clock stops when the jumping team pulls the flash drive out of their computer.

Jeff Buntin Paradigm

1 rounds

Jeff Buntin
Northwestern University

Feelings----------------------------------------X--Dead inside



Read no cards-----------------------------X------Read all the cards

Conditionality good--X----------------------------Conditionality bad

States CP good-----------------------X-----------States CP bad

Politics DA is a thing-------------------------X----Politics DA not a thing

Always VTL-------x--------------------------------Sometimes NVTL

UQ matters most----------------------X----------Link matters most

Fairness is a thing-X------------------------------Delgado 92

Tonneson votes aff-----------------------------X-Tonneson clearly neg

Try or die--------------x---------------------------What's the opposite of try or die

Not our Baudrillard-------------------------------X Yes your Baudrillard

Clarity-X--------------------------------------------Srsly who doesn't like clarity

Limits--------------------X--------------------------Aff ground

Presumption---------------------------------X-----Never votes on presumption

Resting grumpy face---X--------------------------Grumpy face is your fault

Longer ev--------X---------------------------------More ev

"Insert this rehighlighting"----------------------X-I only read what you read

Fiat solves circumvention-----X-------------------LOL trump messes w/ ur aff

2017 speaker points---------------------X--------2007 speaker points

CX about impacts----------------------------X----CX about links and solvency

Dallas-style expressive----------X---------------D. Heidt-style stoic

Referencing this philosophy in your speech--------------------X-plz don't

Fiat double bind-----------------------------------------X--literally any other arg

AT: --X------------------------------------------------------ A2:

AFF (acronym)-------------------------------------------X Aff (truncated word)

"It's inev, we make it effective"------------------------X---"It'S iNeV, wE mAkE iT eFfEcTiVe"

Daryl Burch Paradigm

Daryl Burch

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Thomas Buttgereit Paradigm

1 rounds

2019 Update

Am adding some things I have learned about myself after a year of judging:

In framework debates, defense is pretty important to me. Both teams are usually doing a lot of work to put offense on the flow so the side that is able to use either the TVA or the Counter Interpt to absorb more of their opponent's offense often finds themselves ahead with me in the back.

I have a somewhat high threshold for 1AR-2AR consistency, so I am very conscious of not voting for arguments that based on my flow and understanding of the round are new.

I have realized that there are two different articulations of framework that are most persuasive to me 1) a ballot K version that frames out the ballot's ability to solve any of the aff's impacts 2) One that strongly defends the value of debate and a reason we would want a model that preserves it.

Basic Paradigm

Please put me on the email chain tbuttge1@binghamton.edu

I am a coach at Binghamton, where I debated for four years. I qualified to the NDT a few times, and have now been coaching Bing for two years.

I have deployed almost entirely critical/performance style of debate throughout my career but am familiar with most forms of argumentation in the activity and actively believe that whatever people want to defend/advocate belongs in the activity. So I'll treat your argument with the respect it deserves(and so should you).

Overall, debates usually come down to big picture framing for me. At the end of the debate, I tend to really be focusing on one or two big issues that are decided by the smaller arguments that are occurring on the flow. This doesn't mean that I don't value tech, but I need those concessions to really matter and frame the debate.

Framing is pretty important to me, a mix of impact calculus and explaining to me how I should view and evaluate the debate will go very well for you.

Teams that make smart arguments about the nature of debate, and garner offense around the nature of the activity and the kinds of norms and consequences it creates usually impress me and can earn higher speaker points. Debate isn't a blank or neutral space and I think recognizing that opens up powerful argumentative opportunities.

K Debate:

I've read K arguments basically my entire career and they've been a mix of theoretical and performative. So I have a lot of respect for these arguments. That being said, there's a few things K teams usually do wrong in my mind.

K Affs- K affs that have either a clear framing mechanism for the ballot or an educational solvency mechanism are good in front of me, but affs that merely state theories of power or a way the world operates are vulnerable to presumption strategies or being outweighed by the neg strategy. You can definitely win this debate by putting heavy amounts of offense on the alt or framework, or winning that the best theory of power should win, but it's a slightly harder path.

Ks- I think one problem Ks often have is knowing whether or not they need the alt in the 2NR. Not going for the alt can make it so that even if you win heavy offense against the aff, if your impacts are non-unique/unsolvable I may buy that they can resolve something else that outweighs. However sometimes 2NRs are spent unnecessarily going for an alternative when your time is better spent on impacts or framing my ballot in your favor. 2Ns should reflect on this as their preparing their 2NR.


On the impact level, I think fairness, limits, and predictability are more persuasive as links than impacts. Fairness has to be good for something(education, exportable skills, etc). I am much more persuaded by arguments that policy education is key because people in positions of upper education need to be able to use that position to make change. Again, explain to me why this activity has value, don't just assume it does. That being said, I will vote on a good fairness/limits debate(especially if conceded) so the affirmative should not take my view there for granted.

When giving a TVA explain how it could actually solve the impacts of the aff, don't just read the resolution back at the affirmative and say it solves. Engage with their impacts and you have a much better shot of winning TVA in front of me.

I think looser less strict interpretations can be useful to get out of a lot of the aff offense, but at the same time if you're going for predictability or limits you have to be able to explain how those concepts are preserved within your more liberal interpretation of debate.

Clash Debates:

Policy teams should really put more offense against the alternative rather than just defensive alt can't solve arguments. If you win your impact framing and then a few da's to the alt you can be confident in my ballot.

For the neg in these debates, case defense and solvency take outs are good touches, I also find that if you make smart ballot arguments and frame the affirmative out of getting their impacts I am usually persuaded to vote negative.

Final Thoughts:

Overall you really shouldn't adapt too much to me, good debaters can win anything in front of me, and my only goal is to give you a decision you can respect and be comfortable with. I will do my best to give you educational and meaningful rfds and encourage any and all questions after the decision.

Timothy Byram Paradigm

1 rounds

Email: timallybyram@gmail.com

First off, do you. If my judging philosophy meant that you were put at a disadvantage for any particular style of debate, that would be indicative of a larger problem.

I am a Junior at Liberty University. I have done traditional policy, critical, and performative debate, though recent experience has drifted heavily toward the latter end of the spectrum. I am decently well-versed in most forms of critical literature. However, my level of familiarity with a topic should be largely irrelevant to the way you debate. I view debate generally as a format established for the clash of pedagogies. This clash can take place on the macro level or the micro, and applies to both policy and critical debate. The key is to explain which premises of your opponent’s arguments are in contestation and why. In other words, it can be as broad as a discussion on the merits or demerits of proximate state action, or as specific as the effectiveness of China deterrence to maintain US hegemony. This principle can be applied to virtually all arguments:

Ks: Isolate what the affirmative has done, explain how their particular methodology/epistemology perpetuates structural violence, and give me a clear explanation of how to avoid those harms. In debate-speak, spell out the link/s, draw a story between that link and a particular impact, and explain to me how your alternative avoids said link/impact story. The debaters who do this best are the ones who can relate the structural to the specific (ie, the aff’s use of x term/methodology/analysis leads to y structural impact writ large through z process). K affs function similarly: Tell me what systems of behavior or thought are perpetuated in the status quo, how this is done, why it is bad, and what you do about it.

FW: Framework can be run in many different ways, and should be contested in accordance to the specific argument run. For the team running it: Tell me the specific violation of the affirmative, and give me palpable reasons why the aff perpetuates a model that is harmful for debate/why your model is relatively better. Central to this argument is an explanation of why your version of debate is good, or at least better than that of the affirmative. Contestability is important, but it must ultimately be tied to the specific impacts of the model you are offering. For the team answering it: tell me in what ways you meet their interpretation, or in what ways that interpretation is bad. On both sides of the debate, blanket statements are insufficient. Tell me specific reasons why your opponents’ framing is bad. This involves an interplay of tech vs. truth that I will attempt to balance depending on the arguments made in the particular round.

DAs & CPs: My assessment of the risk of the DA happening as a result of the aff is dependent on the specific details offered as part of the negative strategy. Give me a clear line of reasoning between that link and the impact. Specificity is also important for Counter Plans, in that you must show me how the Counter Plan is competitive with the aff. Don’t assume I am familiar with the jargon.

T: I like T but I am not particularly well versed in the area. Be creative, slow down a bit, and give me well-reasoned applications to the aff.

Christopher Callahan Paradigm

Glenbrook South 2014, Northwestern 2018, currently graduate student at Dartmouth (coaching for NU), he/him/his

Email chain: christophercallahan2018@u.northwestern.edu

General thoughts:

I fall on the "truth" side of the "truth vs. tech" dichotomy, such as it exists. This doesn't mean you can drop T and still win. It means that my perception of the strategic and technical value of an argument is heavily influenced by its fidelity to the truth. Most obviously, since I am a PhD student in climate science, you will not be able to convince me that climate change isn't real (though you can still read counterplans about it, impact defense, etc.). But more generally, if your strategy relies on evidence with shaky qualifications and arguments with little methodological grounding, I'll be a bad judge for it basically regardless of how well you debate. On the flip side, if you are able to clearly explain the methodological basis for your argument and why it is superior, I will find it very persuasive (e.g., what is the statistical evidence that allows us to attribute declines in violence to unipolarity, and why is that statistical approach preferable?). I can imagine that I would be more persuaded by those types of arguments than the average judge.

As a corollary to this, I have a hard time deciding debates based on little things divorced from a team's overall strategy. I care deeply about argument development and explanation, so I often find myself thinking that while Team A didn't answer an argument as well as they should have, Team B did not spend enough time explaining the argument and developing its implications for me to make it a central part of my decision.

K things:

I'm better for the critique than you might think based on my argumentative background. A well-debated security K is a joy to watch, and I've spent a lot of time thinking about K-related arguments. I do think, however, that objective truth is a real thing and that well-defined actions to improve the world are generally good, so while I'm quite good for security/neolib-style arguments, I'm not the best judge for more radical forms of political or philosophical nihilism.

I'm also willing to vote for teams that don't read plans. My biggest concerns in T/framework debates are the role of the negative and the kind of debates that would take place in an alternative vision of the topic. This means going beyond the typical "you could have read the cap K" and developing a coherent theory for how debate operates and why a topic without a resolutional focus would still promote clash and in-depth debate. Hence, playing link defense to the neg's limits/clash arguments is very important, for me at least; I find it hard to vote aff when the neg has won that the aff's interpretation makes debate shallow and prevents the specific testing of aff arguments.

It will be nearly impossible to convince me that I should listen to arguments about the individual debaters as people or things that happened before the 1AC timer started/outside of the debate round.


My general defaults are that conditionality is good and international/50-state fiat are bad, but I'm flexible (more so on intl/state fiat than conditionality). I will default to not kicking a CP for the neg absent argumentation, but I'm very open to arguments on both sides of that question.

The argument has gone out of style, but it's still important to note that I find "death good" morally repugnant and it will be impossible to convince me to vote for it.

You can't insert rehighlighting -- come on. We may as well be having speech-doc-only debates on cross-ex dot com.

Other random things that bother me more than they might bother other judges:

  • Referencing this philosophy in your speech
  • Using the word "miscalculation" as a stand-in for actually explaining war impacts
  • Any argument about the internet or memes or whatever
  • Excessive swearing

Ethics stuff:

Just so there's a clear record of my default practices in case this comes up in a debate: I would generally like to assume ignorance rather than malice when it comes to things like mis-citing or mis-cutting evidence. By this I mean cards being cited incorrectly, parts of cards not appearing in the original article, cards being cut in the middle of paragraphs, etc. If this kind of thing happens, I would prefer to just disregard a piece of evidence rather than deciding an entire debate about someone's card-cutting practices. Mistakes happen and people are people, and I would like to think that all debaters are here in good faith. However, if something is super egregious, I can be convinced that it should be a reason for a team to lose.

There needs to be a recording to accuse someone of clipping cards. This is a debate-ender; if you accuse someone of clipping, I will decide the debate on that issue. It has to be clear and repeated, not just missing a line or two. Note that I don't read along with speech docs during a debate.

Cecilia Cerja Paradigm

1 rounds

***Putting the word black in front of an argument does not make it a fundamentally different argument. Black fiat is no different than fiat. Black T is no different than T.***

I won't vote on things that happened outside of the round. Beef is meant for CPD dumpster fires and Twitter, so keep the timeline spicy and the round mild.

I did 4 years of policy debate at James Madison University. I am currently a Masters candidate at the University of Northern Iowa.

Yes I want to be on the email chain spookiedoo96@gmail.com. Also I carry a first aid kit, medicine, tampons, pads, and candy with me at all times so just let me know if you need one or all of those things.


Please slow down when reading theory. I can’t vote for you if I can’t understand you.

-Competition is based off of the plan text.

-I am down for a theory debate. However condo is a yes/no question, no I get x # of conditional advocacies before it is abusive.



Alt solvency is the most important portion of the K debate for me. Things that might help crystallize the alt for me: what movements/social justice groups is the alt similar to, what is the end goal of the alternative, do institutions exist in your alternative, what does the alt materially change about people's lives, what are revolutionary tactics the alt might employ, etc.

In short, I need to know what the world of the alt looks like, and if the alt description is vague then I am willing to give the aff a lot of leeway on what the permutation looks/functions like.

Case I have found that I have a difficult time evaluating the K when there are no arguments on case about why the aff is a bad idea.

Kicking the alt in front of me has had very little success with me this season. Without an alt you have a linear da, and it is likely that the aff ow.


I am more lenient towards spin over evidence here.


I think the discussion of what is T is always up for debate.

In a plan v plan debate

- I default to competing interpretations.

-I evaluate quality of evidence more in these debates.

-Explain what the world of debate looks like (what affs exist/what arguments do you lose).

In a planless debate

(Defending a non resolutional actor does not make you planless but it can implicate solvency)

-Fairness is an internal link to education. Fairness can be its own impact, but it is rarely debated well in a non-whiny manner.

-I am heavily persuaded by nuanced TVAs.


Here is my general range. I adjust based on division and tournament.

26 or lower: Yikes. Something offensive was said or no one had any clue what was happening in the round.

27-27.5: Major structural mistakes were made in-round and/or debaters were generally rude/unpleasant.

27.6-28.6: Average to above average understanding of the arguments and round. Some minor mistakes were made and/or debaters had trouble putting the entire round together.

28.7-29.2: Speeches were great, few errors were made, and/or the debaters deserve to be in out-rounds.

29-29.2: This team should be in late out-rounds or win the tournament.

29.3-30: One of the best speeches I have ever seen.


If it is a JV/Novice round I will do my best to type up notes about how I made my decision, specific feedback about each cx, speech, and speaking style for each debater. I think often people think JV/Novice debaters pretend to know what you are talking about and providing written feedback helps for redos and explaining debate jargon or concepts. I then reply all to the chain after attaching the coaches of each team and send the feedback. If that is something you want done in a varsity round just let me know, and I would be more than happy to do it.

Allie Chase Paradigm

1 rounds

please add me to the email chain: a.rae.chase@gmail.com


Competing interpretations are easier to evaluate than reasonability. You will have to explain to me how we determine what is "reasonable" if you are going for reasonability.

It's really important that I can understand and flow the 2AC.


Affirmatives should be about the topic. I will be fairly sympathetic to T-USFG arguments if I do not know what the aff means re: the topic after the 1AC. I would feel much better if your specific critique was clear from the very beginning.

I think teams are meming a bit on both sides of this debate. Phrases like "third and fourth level testing" and "rev v rev debates are better" are kind of meaningless absent robust explanation. Fairness is an impact that I will vote on. Like any other impact, it needs to be explained and compared to the other team's impact. I have also voted on arguments about ethics, education, and pedagogy. I will try my best to decide who wins an impact and which impact matters more based on the debate that happens.

I do not think the neg has to win a TVA to win topicality; it can be helpful if it happens to make a lot of sense but I don't think the negative is under any obligation to provide a way to solve the aff.


1. Links of omission are not links. Links of “commission” will take a lot of explaining.

2. Debating the case matters unless there is a compelling framework argument for why I should not evaluate the case.

3. If you are reading a critique that pulls from a variety of literature bases, make sure I understand how they all tie to together. I am persuaded by aff arguments about how it's very difficult to answer the foundation of 3+ different bodies of critical literature because they often have different ontological, epistemological, psychoanalytic, etc assumptions.

4. Aff v. K: I have noticed affirmative teams saying "it's bad to die twice" on k's and I have no idea what that means. Aff framework arguments tend to be a statement that is said in the 2AC and repeated in the 1AR and 2AR - if you want fw to influence how I vote, you need to do more than this. Explain how it implicates how I assess the link and/or alternative solvency.

DA’s - I would love to see you go for a disad and case in the 2NR. I get stressed when an aff's primary/only answer to a DA is impact framing.

CP's - If the CP is some random thing with evidence from the 80s vs. an aff that does a very specific thing and you don't have newer, better cards you plan to read in the block, I will be easily persuaded by solvency deficits.

I don't prefer to read and re-read overly complicated counter-plans especially when they are read with low quality and under-highlighted evidence, so while it might solve portions of the aff, I might also not give you much leeway. This is especially important for high school debates. There seems to be some groupthink that just decides certain counterplans solve certain aff's and there's no getting around it. I strongly disagree with this approach to debate and will think through the arguments on both sides of the debate because that is what debate is about.

Some people think it is auto-true that politics disads and certain cp's are terrible for debate. I don't agree with that. This matters for framework debates as well. A plan-less aff saying "their model results in politics DA's which is obviously the worst" will not persuade absent a warrant for that claim.

Love a good case debate. It's super under-utilized. It always shocks me how little some 2A's know about their aff and I think it's really impressive when a 2N knows more about the aff evidence than the aff does.

Theory – A lot of the time I don't flow it in the constructives both because people read it too fast and because some of these arguments are bad. If there is one conditional counterplan, don't waste your time; if the alt isn't vague, don't waste your time. The floating pik has gone rogue though so no judgement if you're throwing that in 2AC's.

Please don't be nasty to each other; don't be surprised if I interrupt you if you are.

Rishi Chebrolu Paradigm

1 rounds

My first name is pronounced with a short i. It is not pronounced “reeshi.” Here is a video that should help: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QhsYJmDWGbQ

I have my philosophy organized by general preferences and then different kinds of debates I judge: I would suggest jumping down to the specific debate that you think you’ll have.

I see judging as work that I sometimes enjoy because I like learning new things and debaters say things that spark ideas or lead me to citations, so thank you in advance.

I General Preferences

Yes I want to be on the email chain. It’s rishichebrolu at gmail.

I value clarity because my hearing is slowly getting worse, so please slow down during tags and analytics (especially 2NC overviews).

Labeling your arguments and sticking with those labels is helpful.

Use examples. Make things real. History is cool.

I judge all kinds of debates. I can be persuaded to go against my preferences if you put in the effort.

I'll read cards if text of the evidence matters significantly for the argument, or if I feel like I'm lost. The latter situation is not good for you.

If there isn't clear impact calc that makes sense to me in the last rebuttals, there is a good chance for judge intervention.

K v Policy

For me, these debates often come down to big impact calc type questions rather than nitty gritty flow questions.


I’m fine with whatever, but be clear about how you’re using jargon (both critical theory and debate related). I am most concerned with how you want me to evaluate what the aff is doing, and then how the aff does that thing. I like examples, but they need to be either a) from your evidence or b) specific and contextualized. Examples are not warrants. I don't mind a bit of theoretical inconsistency as long as there are shared thematic concerns that come together with a central argument.

Policy Neg

I am not an amazing judge for framework, but I think you can still win on it. I do not think fairness is an impact, but it can be a pretty persuasive internal link. You can’t just say “skills” and expect me to know what that means. Concretize why you think policy debate is good in terms of how it would implicate the formation of public opinion, demands, and legislation; it’s a bit of a leap to claim that policy debate automatically translates into state action. That’s not how historical change works. Also, you should attempt to significantly mitigate the aff’s impact or solvency to win framework. It doesn’t matter how much you win the limits DA if you haven’t mitigated the aff.

Impact turns are fine, just pick your battles. Make sure to read arguments that defend your epistemology/data gathering methodology in some way (gotta win threats are real before you win heg impacts), and please make this separate from impact calc arguments about ethics.

I’m sympathetic to cards on case that only tangentially answer the aff but if and only if you contextualize them to the language of the affirmative's tag and evidence. Case turns need a clear link argument.

Alternative policy based/state good strategies should clarify how I should evaluate the round and competition. Some kind of framework argument would be helpful.

K v K

I usually flow straight down in these debates.


I’m not a fan of the “our theory is our net benefit” 2AR, mostly because I think that the aff ends up disappearing by the end of the debate. Link defense is often undervalued. I mostly vote aff in these debates on the perm plus a couple of net benefits, but I’m open to strategies that are more based in alt offense or the impact turn.


I appreciate link arguments that use quotes from the 1AC that are recharacterized clearly rather than snippets of a gotcha cross-ex answer and that also articulate a specific impact argument separate from whatever you were spieling about in the overview. I don’t mind long overviews, but would prefer them shorter.

Policy v K

Policy Aff

Don’t lose the specificity of the aff in a sea of generic k answers, especially when it’s a middle of the road aff. I’m not as concerned with fairness arguments when it comes to framework as I’d rather that you articulate how advocating for the plan in this game is good pedagogically and politically, and I have higher standards for framework arguments than most.

K Neg

More likely to vote neg on substantive, impacted-out links, case-turns, and case defense than on tricks in the block that the 1AR didn't cover. I appreciate clever framework arguments as long as you take the time to explain them to me. Otherwise I'm pretty much okay with whatever.

Policy v Policy

DAs—go vertical rather than horizontal on the link debate. I’m more offense/defense-y in these debates, but I also am open to either side winning terminal defense. I’m not up on all my econ jargon so be nice to me on that end.

T—I’m usually not super familiar with the intricacies of the t debate on the topic, so be prepared to explain the case list and the ground arguments a little more thoroughly.

CP—err neg on condo, err aff on counterplan theory. Be clear about what you solve and how in the 2NR. Pretty please slow down for this part of the block!

Vida Chiri Paradigm

1 rounds

I’m currently a junior at Liberty University and debated in high school at University High School (Jersey Urban Debate League). This is approximately my 7th year in debate and as such I have engaged in both 'traditional' and now 'performance' style debate.  Ultimately, I have come to conclusion that debate is a game but this game also has real life effects on the people who choose to participate in it. Therefore, BE NICE, HAVE FUN, and DO YOU!!! 


I have found in my time debating that there are a few things that debaters are looking for when they read judging philosophies (including myself) so I’ll get straight to the point: 


K's: I’m fine with them and have run them for quite some time in my career. However, this does not mean run a K in front of me for the fun of it - rather it means that I expect you to be able to explain your link story and the way the alternative functions. I find that most teams just make the assumption that the Aff doesn’t get a perm because "it’s a methodology debate". That’s not an argument, give me warrants as to why this is true if this is the argument you are going to for. K Aff's are fine often times debaters lose sight of the strategic benefits of the Aff, So a simple advice I can give is DONT FORGET YOUR AFF!! 


DA's: In general I like strong impact analysis and good link story. Make logical argument and be able to weigh the impact story against the Aff.


CP’s:  I am open all types of CP’s you just have to prove the competitiveness of said CP and make sure it has a net benefit.


FW:  Again….Debate is a game but this game has real life implications on those who choose to engage in it. I think FW can be strategic against some Aff’s but don’t use it as a reason to not engage the Aff. Win your interpretation and weigh your impacts. Aff’s: don’t blow off FW answer it and engage it or tell me why you are not engaging in it.


Theory: Not a big fan of it, but make sure you slow down as to ensure I get all the arguments you are making. But do you! 


Cross X: I think this is the best part of debate and LOVE it. Don’t waste those 3 min, they serve a great purpose. I am ALWAYS paying attention to CX and may even flow it.


*** Please remember that I am not as familiar with the high school topic so don’t assume I know all the jargon ***



Last but not least, watch me!(take hints from the visual cues that I am sending) 

Coco Christophersen Paradigm

DON’T SPREAD. If you do, I WILL stop listening. You could talk as fast as Ben Shaprio but anything faster will annoy me.


Kevin Clarke Paradigm

1 rounds

Do what you do best and I will make a decision afterwards


How Ryanmalone makes decisions

I hope Whitehead is right, that even dimwits can make good decisions if they follow an appropriate procedure. It’s only fair then for me to give a general sense of how I make decisions, with as few platitudes as possible, though most of them still apply.

1. After the 2ar I review 2nr and 2ar arguments and their comportment with the block and 1ar. Unless there are arguments about how I should or should not flow, I appreciate when debaters are attentive to line-by-line, but I understand that strategy sometimes calls one to deviate from it. When that occurs, I am less likely to line up arguments in the same way as you may want me to.

2. While doing that I clarify shorthand and mark out errata and things that aren’t arguments. There is a difference between arguments and nascent things that purport to be arguments. We don’t need to talk about Toulmin; an argument is really anything that could inform a decision. This may seem arbitrary or kind of like question-begging, but I don’t think it’s capricious. I don’t do this because I have some ultra-strenuous “not buying it” threshold for what constitutes an argument. My concern is that there is a temptation to embellish not-quite-arguments, especially those that, if they had been full arguments, would be compelling, strategic, or make for an easy decision. Assessing, at the outset, what all on the flow are reasonably arguments is a way to ward off that temptation.

3. I then look to arguments the 2nr and 2ar say are the most important and other arguments that appear central to the debate or that may supplant opposing lines of reasoning. The last part may seem to imply a premium on the meta, but rarely are debates leveraged on Archimedean points.

4. If necessary, I read evidence. I don’t follow along in speech docs or look at speeches in more than a cursory way prior to the end of the debate, with perhaps the exception of interpretations and counterplan texts. I will read a piece of evidence if there is contestation about its quality, applicability, or illocution, if I am asked to compare two pieces of evidence or a piece of evidence and a countervailing explanation, or if some argument is dense and, despite good explanation, I’m just not following. My concern is that the more evidence a judge reads without specific reason, the more they reward good evidence read sloppily over clear, persuasive argumentation and are at risk of reconstructing the debate along those lines.

5. I hash out the above (it’s hard to adumbrate this process in a way that’s not super vague) and I get something resembling a decision. I run through a few even-if scenarios: what, if any, central arguments the losing team could have won, but still lose the debate, and what arguments the winning team would have had to lose or the losing team would have had to win for the losing team to win the debate. Finally, I review the flow again to make sure my decision is firmly based in the 2nr and 2ar and that there is nothing I’ve missed.

Note on Framework

Framework debates are better when both teams have some defense, in addition to offense.

Even if fairness is intrinsically value, by which I mean fairness is valuable regardless of relation, I’m unsure how valuable procedural fairness is, in and of itself. Because of that fairness arguments make more sense to me as internal links rather than impacts.

Similarly, impact turns to fairness are more persuasive when they are about the purported use of fairness as an impartial rule. Phrased differently, in explaining the way structural fairness informs procedural fairness as a difference in fairness-in-rule and fairness-in-practice, it may be worth thinking about fairness as the practice of appealing to rules.

Topical versions are under-utilized.

Things that do not concern how I usually make decisions

Some of the above is assiduously believed, but weakly held, however, the following points are immutable: I will comply with any tournament rules regarding speech and decision times, speaker points, etc. Any request not to be recorded or videotaped should be honored. If proven, clipping, cross-reading, or deceitfully manufacturing or altering evidence will result in a loss and zero speaker points. Unlike wit, sass, and tasteful self-effacement, bald-faced meanness will negatively affect speaker points.

My rfds are brief, which I’m working on. This reason for this is twofold. First, most of what I write down concerns how I make my decision, not how I intend to give it. Second, I don’t presume to act, even temporarily, as something like an arguments coach, nor as someone who can adroitly explain or find fault in an opposing team’s arguments. The last thing I want to do is say something that would lead you astray. At this point in my time judging I’m really just trying to be a good heuristic machine—anything more is just gravy. Obviously, to the degree to which I have insight I will give suggestions, clarifications, or share in your befuddlement.

Please feel free to email me if you have questions or concerns.

David Cram Helwich Paradigm

1 rounds

David Cram Helwich
University of Minnesota
21 years judging, 40-ish rounds this year

Quick version: Do what you do best and I will try to check my dispositions at the door.

Topic Thoughts: I read a lot, so there is a pretty decent chance that I am familiar with your argument set. I am still waiting for negatives to establish a meaningful opportunity cost for "plans" that largely just re-state the resolution. Although I sympathize with claims that the topic feels "stale", I still enjoy rounds where teams double-down on the economy adv/da.

Evidence: I believe that engaged research is one of the strongest benefits of policy debate, and that judging practices should incentivize such research. I am a bad judge for you if your evidence quality is marginal—sources, recency, and warrants/data offered. I reward teams who debate their opponent’s evidence, including source qualifications.

Delivery: I will provide prompts (if not on a panel) if I am having trouble flowing. I will not evaluate arguments that I could not originally flow.

Topicality: I vote on well-developed procedurals. I rarely vote on T cheap shots. T is not genocide—however, “exclusion” and similar impacts can be good reasons to prefer one interpretation over another. Debaters that focus interpretation debating on caselists (content and size), division of ground, and the types of literature we read, analyzed through fairness/education lenses, are more likely to get my ballot. I tend to have a high threshold for what counts as a “definition”—intent to define is important, whereas proximity-count “definitions” seem more valuable in setting the parameters of potential caselists than in grounding an interpretation of the topic.

Critical Arguments: I have read quite a bit of critical theory, and will not dismiss your argument just because it does not conform to ‘traditional’ notions of debate. However, you should not assume that I am necessarily familiar with your particular literature base. I value debating that applies theory to the ‘artifact’ of the 1AC (or 1NC, or topic, etc). The more specific and insightful the application of said theory, the more likely I am to vote for you. Explaining what it means to vote for you (role of the ballot) is vitally important, for both “policy” and “K” teams. Absent contrary guidance, I view ‘framework’ debates in the same frame as T—caselist size/content, division of ground, research focus.

Disadvantages/Risk: I typically assess the ‘intrinsic probability’ of the plan triggering a particular DA (or advantage) before assessing uniqueness questions. This means that link work is very important—uniqueness obviously implicates probability, but “risk of uniqueness” generally means “we have no link.” Impact assessments beyond shallow assertions (“ours is faster because I just said so”) are an easy pathway to my ballot, especially if you have strong evidentiary support

Theory: I will not evaluate theoretical objections that do not rise to the level of an argument (claim, data, warrant). Good theory debating focuses on how the operationalization of competing interpretations impacts what we debate/research and side balance. Thought experiments (what would debate look like if the neg could read an unlimited number of contradictory, conditional counterplans?) are valuable in drawing such comparisons. I tend to find “arg not team” to be persuasive in most cases. This means you need a good reason why “loss” is an appropriate remedy for a theory violation—I am persuadable on this question, but it takes more than an assertion. If it is a close call in your mind about whether to go for “substance” or “theory,” you are probably better off going for “substance.”

Counterplans: The gold standard for counterplan legitimacy is specific solvency evidence. Obviously, the necessary degree of specificity is a matter of interpretation, but, like good art, you know it when you see it. I am more suspicious of multi-conditionality, and international fiat than most judges. I am probably more open to condition counterplans than many critics. PICs/PECs that focus debate on substantive parts of the aff seem important to me. Functional competition seems to make more sense than does textual competition. That being said, I coach my teams to run many counterplans that I do not think are legitimate, and vote for such arguments all the time. The status quo seems to be a legitimate voting option unless I am instructed otherwise.

Argument Resolution: Rebuttalists that simply extend a bunch of cards/claims and hope that I decide things in their favor do poorly in front of me. I reward debaters that resolve arguments, meaning they provide reasons why their warrants, data, analysis, sources etc. are stronger (more persuasive) than those of their opponents on critical pressure points. I defer to uncontested argument and impact comparisons. I read evidence on questions that are contested, if I want the cite, or if I think your argument is interesting.

Decorum: I believe that exclusive practices (including speech acts) are unacceptable. I am unlikely to vote against you for being offensive, but I will not hesitate to decrease your points if you behave in an inappropriate manner (intentionally engaging in hostile, classist, racist, sexist, heterosexist, ableist etc. acts, for example). I recognize that this activity is very intense, but please try to understand that everyone present feels the same pressures and “play nice.”

Paperless: Email chains are faster--establish one before the round, and please include me on it (cramhelwich@gmail.com) . Prep time ends once a jump drive is pulled from the speaker’s computer or the email is sent. My default is that debaters may use prep time during a speech to resolve “tech issues” (crashes, freezes, etc). I do not have a strong opinion on the acceptability of mid-speech prep for other purposes.

If you have specific questions, please ask me before the round.

Ben Crossan Paradigm

1 rounds

Debated for four years in high school in the NYUDL.
Debated for five years in college for SUNY Buffalo, SUNY Binghamton and finally Towson.
Currently the assistant director of debate at UC Berkeley. 

Just rewriting this and thought folk I judge would have a better perspective than me on whether or not you should pref me. To that end I'll be soliciting feedback and posting it here.

If I've judged you in the past, please feel free to fill out this form: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSdaNvPPvP3lgkcNzACI6qpeZbd3QsXCLzRaZ0dEOm0kKZE0LA/viewform and I will post the results here. 

Responses so far:

If you had to give advice to a team who had this judge in the back of the room, what would you tell them?

-I would tell this team to go with what they're comfortable with, make smart arguments and then impact out every argument you're going for in your final speech. It's more important to frame the round appropriately then worry about the techne on the line by line.

-This judge buys links of omission. (Not literally buys them, but gets, understands, appreciates, evaluates even in the presence of a perm).

-Ben is very intelligent and capable. He is more well versed in critical literature, but he will offer sound advice in any debate he adjudicates.

-Don't be average

-Debate the round and off the flow. This judge will listen to almost any argument and evaluate based on the debate. Warranted explanations are key, strategy is important.

-You can go for anything in front of him. Concretizing what your arguments mean for the rest of the debate is important.

-Ben tends to view debates holistically - will do cross-applications from other flows even if not explicit in the debate.

-he is great, even when he believes a "truth" to certain arguments he cares much more about analyzing what was actually said in the debate

-Do what you do, he'll follow you. Don't sacrifice smart arguments for the sake of techne, even though he'll follow the techne.

-Ben won't vote on contrived links and will vote for a perm when there is little risk of a link

On a scale of 1-10 with 1 being the least similar and 10 being the most similar, rate how you thought the round went down matched up to this judge's assessment of the round based on the RFD











What areas of scholarship do you feel this judge is familiar with?

-From the round I had him, he seemed fairly familiar with identity politics arguments along with an understanding of psychoanalysis

-I'm not exactly sure - k's definitely.

-Ben is well versed in critical literature. In my particular round he showed vast knowledge in critical Chicanx/Coloniality literature

-Our coach indicated Ben's familiarity with antiblackness. Ben seemed competent on the arguments floating in the round

-This judge is good at fairly evaluating all arguments introduced in the round, which makes me believe he is familiar with multiple types of scholarship. His comments and suggestions showed not only a knowledge of what happened in the round but also outside contextual knowledge about the style of arguments and strategic tips for the round.

-He seems to not be ideologicallly biased when assessing evidence, so I don't find it particularly relevant what scholarship they're familiar with because they will listen to most literature.

-Very knowledgeable about race/gender scholarship, persuaded by state bad args


-His RFD didn't indicate any particular academic preferences.

-he didn't really indicate an area

What areas of scholarship do you feel this judge is unfamiliar with?

-No idea.

-Probably the politics disad. But really the politics disad is terrible anyway.

-Ben seemed familiar with all of the topics discussed in the round/RFD

-Cj and I were unsure if ASU is reading Berlant properly, i would have much rather had a 2ac calling them out for (mis)reading berlant, but I wasn't sure if Ben would have that sort of techy/nerdy/scholarly knowledge of Berlant and queerness.

-uh based off the round and the RFD i do not believe the judge has an difficulty with any types of scholarship.

-You can go for anything in front of him. Concretizing what your arguments mean for the rest of the debate is important.

-Not entirely sure.


-don't know

-Nothing seems to be out of range.

-it's not so much that he is unfamiliar but he has a high threshold for scholarship

What was the quality of this judge's RFD?











What was the quality of this judge's post-round comments?











Do you have any additional comments?


-He's smart. Don't be unsmart.

-Ben is very helpful and will aid students find relevant information for the arguments they are reading. He helped me find some awesome cards!

-None, pleasant judging

-I wanted to type in my judge notes here, but rereading them is kinda embarrassing. We wont on a dropped case turn in the 1AR, so my evaluation of the judges evaluation of the theoretical parts of the debate might be limited.

-He gives good comments after the round so ask questions



-He was a great critic overall.

-he is a good judge



Cody Crunkilton Paradigm

1 rounds

A couple things before the round:

1. Add me to the email chain (email is my name (all one word) at gmail.

2. I probably will need flow paper from someone.

I debated five years at the University of Minnesota, graduated in 2015. I have always been a 2N.

Pre-round synopsis: Bad for Ks, conditionality is good, enjoys impact turns, dislikes aff vagueness, good for reasonable/less than extinction impacts, zero risk and presumption are things, better than average for the aff on theory vs questionable CPs.

**Extended Thoughts**


Topshelf: I find it very difficult to vote on something which is not an effect of the implementation of the plan. I have no idea how to compare things like ontology to the aff saving people. It is possible to convince me otherwise, but the amount of work you will have to do will be so high that nineteen out of twenty times you would be better off doing something else. I won't hold it against you if you like Ks, and am not going to feel like my time was wasted or you are destroying debate or anything - I am just genuinely very confused about how kritiks answer the aff. I recognize I am way outside of the community norm on this - something just doesn't click for me with kritiks and I want to make sure that no one is caught off guard.

Aff arguments I like:

- Theory: the neg only gets the status quo or fiat from the aff’s actor

- Perm double bind

- New arguments are OK because the neg changed their argument/explained the alt/stopped being vague in the block/2NR

Framework note: For whatever reason, I’m mildly friendlier to no plan affs vs framework than I am for kritiks on the neg.

Older K notes, saved here for posterity, can probably skip if prepping pre round:

For what it's worth, I am better for aff teams without a plan answering framework than I am when those teams are on the neg - I am definitely not better than the median judge in the pool, but I wouldn't read *too* much from my "K on the neg" thoughts into framework.

Pre-UMKC thoughts: I've realized that I am bad for them. I am liable to vote for things like the perm double bind or you don’t get an alt because you shouldn't be able to just wish away entrenched mindset. The silly compromise the community has reached where the judge compares the impacts of hypothetical adoption of a plan vs a fiated global mindset shift/something in round makes zero sense to me. I obviously can be persuaded otherwise and have voted for them before but if you have other stuff available you should read that instead. I also think that if you are being vague or confusing about what you're saying the aff gets new answers when your k becomes a real argument. If you can’t explain how the aff causes your k’s impacts I am definitely not a good judge for you. (i.e. reducing military presence --> cap and cap-->extinction doesn't mean removing a base from Djibouti will cause extinction). When I vote for Ks it has usually been when the neg says something like “we fiat everyone in the world rejects capitalism” and the aff drops that and forgets to make a perm.


People have finally picked up on the fact that I like it. It isn't impossible to get me to vote on, but one of two things need to happen:

1) the aff explains why something actually bad happened ("they read 6 counterplans" is an FYI, not an arg). For example - Harvard CM counterplaned out of straight turns to disads Wake MT could have read in doubles at Northwestern. That seems to hurt the aff’s ability to debate.

2) the aff goes into depth on why either the neg's model puts an undue burden on the aff, with many specific examples and hypotheticals, or why the neg's model produces a bad educational experience (i.e. depth on CPs > depth on the aff because topic-wide education > plan focused education). Both sides should talk about what the world of debate looks like under your interpretations. Being specific is really important.

The neg args I like the most are reasonability and testing the aff.

Judge kick I can go either way on, tell me what to do.


Impact calc is good. Cheap shots are bad. Reject the argument not the team for everything but conditionality. Severance perms will never be a reason to reject the team.

States, international fiat, and agent/process/consult/condition CPs are probably bad, despite my neg proclivities on conditionality.

All of these predispositions can be modified if the literature supports a debate over a counterplan

My ideal form of debate is aff reads a plan neg gets the squo and CPs with a resolutional agent.


I’m a bit friendlier to limits and lit/precision than the average judge


Link is more important than uniqueness. Winning a higher risk of your disad is better than turning the case.


is a real argument. I haven’t been in a situation where it has been the 2nr, but if what the aff does meaningfully affects neg strategy I will vote for it.

**Archive: Old/High School Stuff**

Conditionality is good: It isn’t impossible for me to vote on it but probably won’t happen. Judge kick I’m unsure about, so tell me what to do.

Extinction/high magnitude impacts: Most are silly (obvi) and I’m very open to voting on “less than extinction but really bad outweighs 1% risk of extinction). I’m less enamored with try or die than a lot of other judges. If you’re really into doing the high probability/low magnitude stuff you should look at the “K affs with a plan” section below.

Flowing: I flow on paper. I will miss things. Be sure to slow down on important things, and consider slowing down in general.

Wipeout: is not a good argument. However, it is a better argument than most K’s because at least it says the aff is bad and can’t be permed. Aliens wipeout is better than Schopenhauer wipeout.

Presumption: If there’s a counterplan/alt it goes aff and if there isn’t it goes neg but I can be persuaded otherwise. I also am willing to vote on zero risk of the aff/da if you set that framing up and are really beating them on their case/disad.

Offensive stuff: Don't be mean. But, being able to explain why things like imperialism are bad is something debaters should be able to do. There isn't any reason for you to use gendered/ableist/racist language so you should avoid it.

K’s: explain why the aff is bad. Saying “method first” without explaining why that matters is not sufficient. I am very receptive to the neg doesn’t get to fiat different actors than the aff. My problems with Ks are more with the form than with the content, so if you can make your k arguments into reasons why the aff is bad I am much more likely to vote for you.

K’s vs K affs: Read more into my section on K’s than my section on K affs without a plan. I tend to vote aff on the perm/alt does nothing in those debates, but that also might be because people haven’t been explaining links well. Despite going for Marx a lot in college I think that most identity arguments today are set up well to answer it and haven’t voted for it too much recently. Class is likely the most important thing, but other things matter too.

K v K debates: I won't know what your authors say - I'll be asking myself a) is the neg different/not perm-able by the aff and b) which is a better idea. It would likely help if you explained your stuff more than you thought you needed to, and going away from theory and towards examples would be better.

K affs without a plan: T is the path of least resistance. I think we choose topics for a reason and switching sides/some predictability is good. I don't know why reading plans requires teams to "roleplay" the USFG and also think that most of the arguments for why being forced to defend the federal government is bad are silly. The problem is how we do risk calc. If you don’t read a plan and are in front of me, the 3 scenarios where I vote aff tend to be either a. your version of debate gets more people from oppressed groups into debate and debate matters more to them than to others b. the neg team says something silly like if you win the state is bad you win and you technically win that arg, or c. there is a severe skill differential. If you are going for T against a not the topic aff, I am much more likely to be persuaded by limits/skills/stasis point than roleplaying the state makes us awesome policymakers.

K affs with a plan: I am not good for high theory k affs. I am good for affs with reasonable impacts who say they do something and say the neg’s arguments are silly. The best way to win is to take out the probability of their disads- you don’t have to read complexity/predictions cards, but make args why their stuff isn’t true/leaves stuff out. Nate Cohn’s risk calc stuff makes a lot of sense to me (http://www.cedadebate.org/forum/index.php/topic,5416.0.html) so take a look at that if you want.

**Archive: 2019 (Prez power) topic thoughts**

- T: I heard a couple of blocks on T subsets at Wake. I found them somewhat persuasive. The topic seems big.

- ESR theory: it is probably OK but I think I could be convinced to vote aff. I am concerned with the size of the topic, but prefer to limit via T than via counterplans.

- I haven't heard a very persuasive answer to "perm do both shields the link to politics" on ESR.

Brian DeLong Paradigm

1 rounds

Brian DeLong’s Judging Philosophy


Background: IU Director of Debate. This is the start of my seventh year as a judge in this community.


The road to high speaker points and the ballot

I reward debaters who have a strong knowledge of the topic. Those debaters who can articulate intricacies and relationships amongst topic specific literature will meet what I believe are the educational benefits of having a topic in the first place.


Using evidence to assist you with the argument you are trying to make is more important than stringing evidence together in hopes that they accumulate into an argument. “I have a card judge, it is real good” “pull my 15 uniqueness cards judge” are not arguments. Ex: Obama will win the election – a) swing voters, Rasmussen poll indicates momentum after the DNC b) Washington post “Romney has lost the election” the base is gone… etc. are good extensions of evidence.


Less jargon more eloquence. I get bored with repeated catch phrases. I understand the need for efficiency, but debaters who recognize the need for innovation by individuals in the activity will receive more points.


Speed: I expect I can digest at least 70% of your speech. The other 30% should be general human attention span issues on my part. I firmly believe debate is a communication event, I am saddened by that this has been undervalued as debaters prepare for tournaments. If I agree with X debater that Y debater’s speech on an argument was incoherent, I am more and more willing to just ignore the argument. Computer screens and Bayesian calculus aside, there is a human in this body it makes human decisions.


Should affs be topical?

Affs should have a relationship to the topic that is cogent. If there is no relationship to the topic, I have a high standard for affirmatives to prove that the topic provides no “ground” for a debater to adapt and exist under its umbrella. Negatives, this does not mean you don’t have a similar burden to prove that the topic is worth debating. However personally I think you will have a much smaller hill to climb… I find it disturbing that debaters do not go further than a quick “topical version of your aff solves” then insert X switch side good card… Explain why the topical version is good for debate and provides argument diversity and flexibility.


Policy debate is good: When I prep our files for tournaments I tend to stay in the policy-oriented literature. This does not mean that I am unwilling to cut our K file or K answers, I just have limited time and job related motivation to dive into this literature.


K Debate: Can be done well, can be done poorly. I do not exclude the arguments form the round but nebulous arguments can be overplayed and abused.


Conditionality: I tend to believe that one conditional advocacy is good for debate. Afterwards, I am torn by the plethora of examples of proliferating counterplans and critiques that head into, are developed, and then disappear in the negative block. If the strategy is to make thin arguments to score a victory, you may find your speaker points thinning as well. Nothing against getting the W, I just think teams who can have depth in their files and can take a stand on a consistent and smart strategy should be promoted.


Reading evidence:

I find myself more willing to judge the evidence as it was debated in the round (speeches and cx), and less willing to scan through piles of cards to create a coherent understanding of the round. If a debate is being had about the quality of X card, how I SHOULD read the evidence, etc. I will read it.


Sometimes I just have an interest in the evidence and I read it for self-educational and post-round discussion reasons.



I will work extremely hard to evaluate the debate as the debaters have asked me to judge it. 

Warren Decker Paradigm

One could probably gues when you look at me that I might be slightly more traditional than the regular run of the mill debate judge these days.  I would agree with your observation and reinforce that idea.  My flowing skills are not what they once were and that combined with the general incohrence of todays debates makes for tricky judging.  I have decided that I may start asking for the same downloads of your speeches that you provide the other team.  It seems to me that given that the render of the decision should be the one that has the best idea of what goes on in the debate that giving yor speeches to the judge might be good.  I certainly would prefer a clearly presented set of arguments but absent that reading them maybe better.

All of the above aside I prefer a compelling affirmative case that outweighs the disadvantages and if you counterplan you should have a compelling reason to vote for you other than the aff advantages.  I still believe that topicality is a legit argument and can be a round winner but I prefer a persuasive reason why there is a violation vs a bunch of whining on standards, etc.  Kritik arguments can be round winners if they a shown to be germane to the aff and have policy implications that are couched in the topic being discussed.  I do not prefer teams that sidestep the topic to discuss other things even if they are of critical importance.  Most debate should be topic centered.

I have been in  debate a long time and I think it is still one of the best things an undergraduate can do and so I will work as hard as possible to understand what goes on in any debate and hopefully make a defensible decision that is semi satisfactory to all concerned.

Kyle Deming Paradigm

Updated: GSU 2018. Some parts are taken from my old philosophy, and some are new.

Put me on your email chains - kyle.deming7@gmail.com.

In descending order of importance, some notes about my judging:

1 - I do my best to evaluate arguments as they are debated rather than how I feel about them. All told, you are probably better off doing what you do well than radically adjusting your style to fit my judging. I have voted for many positions I find typically unpersuasive, either because they were not answered or they were answered poorly. I will likely continue this practice.

2 - Remember: I need to hear, understand, and flow your arguments. Most debaters would benefit from being slightly slower and clearer. (GSU 2018 note: I have not judged a debate since March 2017, so as a bonus, my flowing will also be rusty.) On a similar note, rebuttals should frame the decision: tell me the preferred metric for evaluating the debate, and tell me why you win. Teams that fail to communicate their position - either stylistically or substantively - will struggle to get my ballot.

3 - Evidence quality matters. Qualifications, recency, and other attributes of evidence can and do make a difference, and teams that highlight their relevance and relative value in particular situations tend to come out ahead.

4 - Severely under-developed arguments are frequently incomplete even when dropped and may merit new responses after being actually explained.

5 - Affs without "plans" have sometimes won my ballot, but all other things being equal, I tend to find topicality-style negative arguments persuasive, particularly when they emphasize the benefits of switch-side debate and research on a stable resolution. I am still susceptible to voting on dropped or mishandled arguments: when I have voted for deliberately nontopical affs, it is usually because the neg inadequately debated an impact turn or did not articulate an impact of their own.

6 - Negative teams going for K-type arguments against policy affs should explain their vision of the debate; if I am not deciding the round on the basis of whether the plan averts more harm than it causes, negative teams should tell me what to do instead. If it is not obvious, affirmative teams are in a good position to make straightforward framing/case-outweighs arguments.

7 - Speaker points mostly reflect the degree to which you contributed to your team’s chances of victory. Other ways to get good speaker points include reading coherent and well-researched strategies, calling on historical examples, making CX matter later in the debate. Some ways to hurt your speaker points include being unclear despite prompting, wasting dead time, stealing egregious amounts of prep, and being unpleasant in CX (rude, mean, or extraordinarily unhelpful). Debate should be competitive, but it should also be fun.

Kiran Dhillon Paradigm

1 rounds

Director of Debate & Forensics at the University of Southern California

Past Debate Experience:

- Coached at the University of Northern Iowa

- Coached at the Milwaukee High School of the Arts

- Debated at the University of Iowa

- Throwback to debating at Celebration High School in Celebration, FL

Here are my initial thoughts on common questions:

Email chain: Yes, please add me to the email chain. My email is: kirankdhillon@gmail.com or kkdhillo@usc.edu.

Speed: Is fine so long as you are clear. Clarity is the most important thing.

Cross-X: Open is fine.

Decorum: Be kind and respectful to one another.

Fairness: Don’t cheat. My three pet-peeves are when folks steal prep, don’t mark their cards, and clip cards. My advice is don’t steal prep and mark your cards on whatever you are reading from, may it be paper or your laptop.

Argument issues: Topicality – I’ll vote on it and against it. It is the obligation of the debaters to tell me why topicality matters, why their interpretation is best for debate, and what cases their interpretation allows for and does not allow for.

Disads – Sure, read them.

Counterplans – Fine too.

Kritiks – Explain your link story. Now, I don’t mean a generic link story but explaining, in detail, how the aff’s discourse and framing are bad. In addition, if you claim to have an alternative tell me what it does and how it functions. It is not enough to say, “Reject the aff and vote for the revolution.”

Overall, tell me how I should evaluate the arguments in the round. After all, debate is an activity based on persuasion.

If you have any questions, feel free to ask. Other than that, have fun debating!

Tiffany Dillard-Knox Paradigm

1 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.

Izak Dunn Paradigm

1 rounds

I feel that a new tabbing website calls for a new judge philosophy.  That, and my other one was about to start kindergarten, so...  

Some things have changed, some things have stayed the same.  Looking back on my old philosophy, I could tell that it was the scribbles of youth and over-exuberance.  There were many foundations that I would have liked to shake with that little document, but it is a rare occurance that anything written changes anything acted.  And such a poorly written little document at that! 

Some things you should know about me: I'm a philosophy guy.  I've done all of my formal academic training in philosophy and the history of philosophy, and debate plus a few classes on the side are all I have in communications studies training.  I tend to think that fact-value and fact-theory distinctions are bogus in practice but conceptually useful.  So, for example, against an "ontology comes first" argument, I would much rather hear a defense of your ontology rather than an argument about why ontological questioning should subside in the face of mass death.  Despite all this, I am a believer in the incommensurability of theories (paradigms?), so make your comparisons relevant--I'm a big sucker for elegance on this front.

I'm not big on offense-defense, especially on debate theory arguments.  Thus I'm not particularly happy when someone banks a debate on "any risk of a _____" impact calculi.  I'll vote on we-meets, too.  Even worse than this quirk in the way I evaluate the logos of your claims is the fact that I'll let the ethos and pathos of your speeches play into my decision.  I will let myself be "persuaded" by arguments, and though this sounds unfair, I think it is better that I am up-front about it rather than in denial.  As much as anyone tries to exclude them, these factors play a role in every decision.

I no longer default to flowing you in paragraphs in Word.  I used to do this because I thought that it would help me see through the way that the line-by-line obfuscates larger narratives and commitments in the debate round.  Not a lot of people do the line by line effectively anymore, and I feel that this obscures larger issues in a debate round in a more fundamental way (bad line by line outweighs dangers of line by line-centrism).  So now I'm out to help you figure out how to make the line by line work for you.

I will time your prep until the flash drive is out of your computer.

I will not disclose my decision until you update your wiki.

Without getting into too many specifics, I think that this pretty much covers what might make me different from the majority image of a policy debate critic.  I would much rather discuss concerns or questions you have about the way I'll evaluate debates with you in person, so please feel free to approach me or email me questions.



New Pet Peeve (10/14/2012)

2ac says various things about the alternative throughout their speech.  In the block, you say "Now onto the Alternative debate" and just say a bunch of stuff about the alternative.  "Embedding" clash is not an excuse to forego comparison between arguments, and not going to the line by line is not license to not talk about your opponent's arguments.  If this is your style of debate, you'd better make sure you are EXTENDING arguments (i.e., comparing them, arguing for them, deploying and employing them) as opposed to REPEATING the constructive that happened before you spoke.

If you do this in front of me, I'm going to set a very high bar for your speaker points.  If you do not actually embed clash, you will not receive more than 27 points from me.

Not all of you are ready to "do" embedded clash.  In fact, you've got to be pretty good at making discriminations about the line by line before you can decide on what does and does not count as a responsible or responive argument--in a way, it's a prerequisite to doing competent embedded clash.

Point Inflation Adjustment (11/8/2013)

After reading a lot about speaker points this year, I realize that I am way behind the times regarding point inflation.  When I was a debater, "competent and winning" was a fast way to get a 27.5, which wasn't bad (wasn't great, but wasn't bad either).  If I were "competent and losing", I usually got a 27 or a 27.5.  Speaker points describing incompetence lived around 27 and below.

My scale to date has pegged "competent and winning" at a 28.  This, of course, is just a baseline--I've definitely given points higher than a 28 to all four debaters in a round.  But, as long as you aren't vomiting on yourself during your speeches and are making good enough strategic decisions to win the debate, I'll give you a 28.  

It seems like I need to bump my points about half a point overall considering 5-3 teams are averaging about a 28.5.  I'm going to try and give "competent and winning" a 28.5 starting at Wake, if only to prevent teams from preffing me in all of my educational glory from being unfairly penalized by my miserly nature.

Point Inflation Update (11/12/2013)

Two edits: (1) For Wake, I'll use their speaker point scale.  It already seems pretty close to my inflation adjustment.  (2) After Wake, I'm going to try and give "competent and winning" a 28.3.  Seems to capture what teams that are winning just over half of their debates are averaging in 2013.  Also, I used to have to work hard for my 28.5's and am besieged on all sides by a burning and childish need to feel better than all of you.

Michael Eisenstadt Paradigm

1 rounds

Michael Eisenstadt, Ph.D.

Director of Forensics, California State University Long Beach | Notre Dame High School

9th Year Judging College Debate | 14th Year Judging High School Debate

2014 CEDA Pacific Region Critic of the Year | 2018 "Top Critic Award" at the Las Vegas Classic (UNLV) | 2019 CEDA Pacific Region Critic of the Year

For questions of any kind, please e-mail me at: michael.eisenstadt@csulb.edu

Tournaments Judged This Season (2019-2020): CNDI 3-Week, Jack Howe Memorial Invitational (Long Beach), Aztec Invitational (SDSU), Meadows, Fall at the Beach, Glenbrooks, Alta, Cal Swing 1, Cal Swing 2, Golden Desert, D1 NDT Qualifier (Pacific Championships), ADA Nationals

Updated 9-17-19

***I would like to be on the e-mail chain (m.stadt89@gmail.com, not my Tabroom e-mail).***

I will not necessarily read along with your speeches, but I would like to have evidence in the case that particular cards are disputed in cross-x and/or to make reading them after the debate concludes quicker.

This judge philosophy is just that, a philosophy. I think I have become more ambivalent to what your argument is over the years and more concerned with how you argue it. My job is to evaluate the arguments made in a debate, your job is to tell me why and how I should vote for them. Therefore, I think the following information is more helpful for you than me telling you what arguments I "like." This is your debate and not mine. Every day is #GAMEDAY and I will work hard when judging your debate, the same way I appreciated those who worked hard to judge my own.

An important meta-theoretical note: I believe in a 'healthy diet' of persuasion. I perceive there to be a serious problem with communication in competitive debate. Debates are won by important communicative moments (see below). Whether they are fast, slow, passionate, or hilarious, they must happen. I believe Will Repko has called these "Moments of Connection." Reading into your computer screen with no emphasis or clarity would make having such a moment extraordinarily difficult.

Debate is a communicative activity. This means that to win an argument a) I have to understand it and b) I have to hear it clearly enough to know it was there. At the end of the round, if we have a disagreement about something, usually a failure to achieve those requirements will be my explanation. Reading directly into your computer during your speeches and/or making no attempt at eye contact drastically heightens the risk of a miscommunication.

I am deeply concerned about the trend of evidence quality in debate. Teams seem to frequently read evidence that either fails to make a warranted claim OR that is highlighted down into oblivion. I think that a team who reads fewer, better (read: warranted) cards and sets the bar high for their opponents has a much better chance of winning their nexus/framing arguments.

Debate is what you make it. For some, debate is a game of verbal chess that is designed to teach them about institutional policy-making. For others, it is a place to develop community and advocacy skills for the problems and issues they face on an everyday basis whether at school, within debate, or elsewhere. I believe that one of the best things about this activity is that it can accomplish so many different things for so many individuals and it serves a variety of purposes. I think either or any of these approaches teach us the transferable skills debate can offer. No matter the arguments presented in a debate, I will always recognize this and will always support you for what you do. Over the years I have found myself voting fairly evenly for and against "framework" arguments because I will evaluate the arguments made in the debate itself. My ballot will never be an endorsement of one form of debate over another, it will very simply represent who I thought did the better debating.

Framework. In 1984, Dr. David Zarefsky famously argued, "the person who can set the terms of the debate has the power to win it." Generally, the 2NR that goes for "Topicality + Case D to Aff Impact Turns" is more likely to win in front of me than the 2NR who only goes for "State Good/Inevitable," though that is typically suitable defense on the case when the affirmative criticizes governmental action. The negative wins in front of me going for this 2NR strategy most often when it includes some combination of the following 3 arguments:

1. An interpretation supported by definitional evidence (that is ideally contextual to the topic). I am uncertain why negative interpretations like "direction of the topic" circumvents affirmative offense. These softer interpretations typically hurt the negative's ability to win the limits DA without much payoff. I have found that negative teams have a more uphill battle in front of me when the only term in the resolution they have defined is "United States Federal Government."

2. A Topical Version of the Aff and/or Switch Side Debate argument - I think of "framework" as the intersection between Topicality and argument(s) about how I prioritize impacts, which impacts should be prioritized, and what the best strategy for dealing with those impacts is. So, having a "counterplan" that plays defense to and/or solves portions of the case (and/or the impact turns) can be a good way to beat the affirmative. I find myself voting affirmative in debates where the 2NR did not address the affirmative's substantive offense (so, you did not respond to internal links to impact turns, address impact priority arguments, etc.). I also think this sets the negative up to make arguments about potential neg ground as well as a switch-side debate argument.

3. An impact - I have voted on procedural and structural fairness, topic education, and argument advocacy/testing impacts. Ideally, the 2NR will be careful to identify why these impacts access/outweigh the affirmative's offense and/or solve it. I think that debate is generally more valuable for "argument testing" than "truth testing," since the vast majority of arguments made in a debate rely on assumptions that "the plan/aff happens" or "the alternative/framework resolves a link."

Conversely, the affirmative should point out and capitalize on the absence of these arguments.

Presumption: This is a legal term that I think folks are often confused about. Presumption means that the affirmative has not met their burden of proof (sufficient evidence for change) and that I should err negative and be skeptical of change. Although a 2NR should try to avoid finding themselves with no offense, I am increasingly compelled by arguments that an affirmative who has not chosen to defend a(n) change/outcome (note: this does not mean a plan) has not met their burden of proof. For instance, an affirmative that says "the State is always bad" but does not offer some alternative to it has not overcome the presumption that shifting away from "the State" would be inherently risky. Of course, a framework argument about what it means to vote affirmative, or whether the role of the debate is to advocate for/against change factors into how I think about these issues.

Flowing: is a dying art. Regardless of whether I am instructed to or not, I will record all of the arguments on a flow. You should flow too. Reading along with speech docs does not constitute flowing. I am frustrated by teams who spend an entire cross-x asking which cards were read and requesting a speech doc with fewer cards. In the days of paper debate (I am a dinosaur to the teens of 2020), you would not have such a luxury. There are clearly instances where this is not uncalled for, but the majority of cases appear to be flowing issues, and not "card dumps" from an opposing team.

Permutations: I am almost never persuaded by the argument that the affirmative does not get a permutation in a "method debate." Permutations are mathematical combinations and all methods are permutations of theories and methods that preceded it. I could [rather easily] be persuaded that if the affirmative has no stable advocacy or plan, then they should not get a permutation. That is a different case and has a different warrant (affirmative conditionality). "Perm do the aff" is not an argument, it is not a permutation and says nothing about how a counterplan or alternative competes with the aff. I have also found that teams seem to have difficulty in defending the theoretical legitimacy of permutations. Although I would have an astronomically high threshold for voting on an argument like "severance permutations are a voting issue," such arguments could be persuasive reasons to reject a permutation.

Risk: I find that I am mostly on the "1% risk" side of things when a team has [good] evidence to support a claim. However, I can also be easily persuaded there is a "0% risk" if a team has made too much of a logical leap between their evidence and their claim, especially if the opposing team has also indicted their opponent's evidence and compared it to their own. This is especially true of "Link->Internal Link" questions for advantages and disadvantages.

Tech and Truth: If all arguments were equal in a debate, I would err on the side of truth. However, that is rarely (and should not be) the case. When there is not a clear attempt by both teams to engage in line-by-line refutation, one team tends to miss important framing arguments their opponents are making that undercut the "impact" of their truth claims. This understanding is distinct from "they dropped an arg, judge, so it must be true," since that is not a warranted extension of an argument nor is it a comparison that tells me why the "dropped argument" (how do we know it was dropped if we aren't debating line-by-line and making these comparisons? Could an argument somewhere else or on an entirely different sheet answer it?) should affect the way I evaluate other portions of the debate.

Other important notes:

A) I will vote for the team who I found to do the better debating. This means if your framing argument is "your ballot is political because _______" and I vote for you, my ballot is NOT necessarily an endorsement of that politics. Rather, it means you won your impact prioritization and did the better debating, nothing more, nothing less.

B) I do not want to preside over accusations about what has or has not happened outside of the debate I am judging. In these situations, I will always defer to the arguments presented in a debate first and try to resolve the debate in that fashion, since I am often not witness to the events that are brought up about what may or may not have happened prior to a debate.

C) I am ambivalent about argument selection and theory and am willing to vote against my own convictions. E.G. I think the Delay CP is 100% cheating and unfair but I will not credit a 2AR on that position that does not defeat the negative's arguments about why the CP is good/legitimate or I think conditionality is generally good but would still vote that it is bad if the negative is unable to defend their 1NC strategy.

D) I am unwilling to "judge kick" a CP extended by the 2NR unless they have explicitly told me why I should. The affirmative should, of course, contest the claim that I can always revert to the status quo in the event that a counterplan is insufficient/unnecessary.

Stephen Ellis Paradigm

1 rounds

*Since I wrote the following in Feb. 2017, I have become the Interim Director of Debate at the University of Oklahoma. I still haven't judged much in a very long time; I have been working with OU debaters on arguments and strategies so I know a bit more than I did when I wrote this. The rest of it is still accurate.*

I debated at KU from 1983 to 1987. I was pretty good - 1st Round At-Large Bid to the 1987 NDT. I coached at KU from 1987 to 1989. I judged the final round of the NDT in 1988.

I judged very little from 1990 until the mid-2000s. (During that time I was getting a PhD in Philosophy and starting a career in the OU Department of Philosophy. I specialize in philosophy of social science, esp. philosophy of economics.) In the last decade I have judged something like 10 college rounds - mostly at the beginning of that period - and 40-60 high school rounds.

As a judge I see myself as an evaluator of arguments. My experience is mostly with arguments where the affirmative offers a topical plan and reasons why it would be good policy to adopt it and the negative advocates an alternative proposal, the reasons for which are supposed to demonstrate that the affirmative plan should not be adopted.

I am more than happy to evaluate arguments that take a different form, even arguments about which arguments I should be evaluating (or philosophical theories or non-discursive expressions of positions, etc.). *I now know more about what non-policy debates are likely to involve. The following is still true, however.* If you want to go in such a direction, however, you should probably be clear about what you think I should be doing - for prudential reasons. I might need a little more explanation in this regard than some other judges … I am intrigued by non-policy-oriented debate, but I am less familiar with it. *Better than "intrigued" now - I quite like it. It seems like a natural sort of self-reflection on the activity. I'm still up for a good policy debate, of course.*

Jonah Feldman Paradigm

1 rounds

I have not interacted with the college topic at all this year including judging, research, or anything else

I'm the Executive Director of the Bay Area Urban Debate League. I used to be the Director of Debate at the University of California, Berkeley. I debated at Oak Park River Forest high school and then the University of Michigan. I've been an assistant coach at Harvard, Texas, Dartmouth, and Northwestern.

Here are some tips I would give if I was coaching a team that was about to be judged by myself:

-Focus on quality over quantity. Debates almost always come down to 2 or 3 central arguments and the teams which can recognize those arguments and spend their time making sure they win those stasis points will generally fare better. I'm more likely to vote for a team making a smaller number of arguments that are well explained, with implications fully drawn out and comparisons made to the other teams arguments, than I am to vote for a team that makes a huge number of arguments with the hopes of getting the other team to drop some things. Dropped arguments matter, but only if you take the time to exploit the gap in coverage and make those arguments central to a coherent ballot.

-Author qualification seems to be more important to me than many other judges.

-Generic theory arguments like conditionality bad/pics bad do not have a very high success rate in front of me, but that doesn't mean that theory arguments are a lost cause. If the other team is doing something out of the norm sketchy, like fiating lots of different actors at multiple levels of government or getting fast and loose with international object fiat, then I may be strongly on your side. As with all things, the more contextual it is the better.

-Framework for Kritik Affirmatives: I am a good judge for you if you are defending a course of action that has some clear connection to the resolution, but does so in a new or creative manner that is distinct from traditional policy debate. I am not a good judge for you if you have no, or only a tangential, connection to the resolution and are largely relying on impact turns to framework while eschewing questions of debate logistics.

-Framework for Policy Negatives: I am a pretty good judge for you if you can articulate a well defined conception of the developmental goals that debate training should be providing for debaters with an explanation of how the mechanics of debate you are supporting connect to those goals. I am not a good judge for you if you believe that the best way to impact framework is to say "debate is a game." Yes, of course debate is a game, but it is a game with an educational purpose. If you think debate is no different than checkers or league of legends than you have a very myopic view of debate that I find profoundly insulting to what I have spent most of my life working on. Questions of fairness, limits, and predictability are all very important, but should be thought of as internal links and not impacts in and of themselves.

My judging should be fairly straight forward on most other issues. Like everyone else I have varying opinions on the quality of all sorts of arguments (example: link determines uniqueness makes no sense to me at all) but none of that should have a decisive impact on your strategic choices. Feel free to email me at jonahfeldman@gmail.com if you have more specific questions or would like additional feedback on a decision.

Kurt Fifelski Paradigm

1 rounds

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

Top Level:

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thoughts on the topic:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

-John Yoo is a war criminal.

How to sway me:

-More narrativization is better than less

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Things I don’t like:

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

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

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

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


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

Critical Affs:

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

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

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

-Is there a role of the ballot?

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

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


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

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

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

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

Answering the K:

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

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


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

-Focus on internal links.


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

-Consult and conditions counterplans are probably illegitimate.


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

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

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

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

Corey Fisher Paradigm

1 rounds

Who are you affiliated with?

I coach for Harvard. I attended UMKC.

Email for chain?

davonscope@gmail.com & harvard.debate@gmail.com

Do I care what you do?

IDC what you do.

Should I pref you?/How do you vote in clash debates? (Because thats honestly the section of paradigms people care about these days)

Whatever the debaters at hand find important in regards to framing, I will decide the debate through that lens. If the debaters happen to disagree on what lens I should prefer (because that never happens), then I will compare the pros and cons of both lenses and make a decision on which is preferable and thus filter the debate through that lens. In helping me make that decision in a way that benefits you, levy significant offense against the opposing team's lens, while supplementing your own with some defense and net-benefits. I'll give you a hint; education is the impact/net-benefit/tie-breaker. For me, It will never be fairness, ground, truth-testing, etc. I have and will likely always see those as internal-links to a much larger discussion about education. Which begs the question, "how do I view debate?" Debate is clearly a game. But this game grounds itself in a degree of realism that finds its value tethered to its capacity for us to maneuver within the world the game is set to reflect. Basically, debate is a game, life is a game, and we play this debate game because we think it can inform how we go about playing the life game. So yeah, sounds like education to me.

Other things

Ask a question if you desire an answer not covered by the above statements.

Daniel Fitzmier Paradigm

1 rounds

Hello - 

I haven't updated my judging philosophy in a while and thought this was a good time to do so.

I'll try to be fair; I think I am a good listener; I have a good attention span, but a prosaic memory.  My flow looks good from far away.  Up close it is another thing altogether.  It really depends on how unclear the speaker is.  I feel like I can't hear as well as I used to and have asked people to repeat themselves more than I did ten years ago. 

If you asked me to be candid, I'd say I think the Aff should present a topical plan.  For both strategic and doctrinal reasons.  

I find that in a close debate I often spend most of my decision time assessing evidence quality on the most important issues.  My favorite debaters over the years have tended to be excellent when it comes to introducing arguments about how one ought to interpret the key evidence in the debate.  That said, I tend to come to my own conclusions about evidence quality when left to my own devices.  I'm happy to do so because I value research & information competency.  

I don't disagree with any of the things I've said in previous judge philosophies, except perhaps that I find it easier to vote Aff on conditionality than I used to.  I don't think I've ever said this in a judge philosophy, so I might as well now - I strongly think resolutional meaning should precede, but not occlude, limits - insofar as it is a criterion for thinking about topicality.  Last couple of points, I can be stingy about what I consider to be a complete argument.  I don't like to vote for things that I don't understand, and I am probably a better judge for debaters that have studied and worked on arguments that I have a deep working knowledge of. 

I have not judged any debates on the 2015-16 topic. 

All things considered, assuming any of the above sounds objectionable, I'd prefer the dignified anonymity of your strike to the alternative.


Best of luck at the 2016 NDT!



Eric Forslund Paradigm

email: eforslund@gmail.com

Copied and Pasted from my judge philosophy wiki page.

Recent Bio:

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

Zero rounds on the current college topic in 2018.

Coached at the University of Wyoming 2004-2005.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Izak Gallini-Matyas Paradigm

1 rounds


Minneapolis Washburn/some judging for Minnesota

My email is izakgm [at] gmail.com, add me to the email chain before the round, please and thank you.

I regularly judge and do research on the high school topic and likely have familiarity with your stuff. Will need a bit more explanation for nuanced policy debates on the space topic.

Good debating overwhelms anything else on here. I've coached and judged teams of all styles. I will try my best to evaluate the round on your terms and not my own.

How I judge -

I appreciate explicit impact comparison, judge instruction, and when the 2nr/2ar starts in a place that helps me resolve the rest of the debate. I don't mean "they dropped my role of the ballot!!!!!!"

Zero risk and presumption exist, if you go for them. If internal links are missing and the other team points it out without reply, I'm not giving you 1% just for fun.

I think I used to be harder on the 1ar and 2nr. Now I give a bit more leeway if there was sufficient explanation earlier in the debate. I pay close attention to and often flow cross-x if its going somewhere.

I read less evidence than many judges at the end of the round. If your superior evidence quality is not explained, I might miss it. If you make comparisons with or raise questions about the quality of the other teams evidence, I will be happy and look at evidence with curiosity according to your instructions. I won't read along unless I suspect clipping.

I love strategic concessions and rehighlightings. If you are right and you read it in the speech, I will prioritize your analysis. It makes sense to insert things like charts. If its "a stake the round on it" kind of issue, please do not insert a rehighlighting, I need you debate it. If its just an FYI about a tertiary issue... go off I guess.

I'm flow centered, but not a fan of cheap shots or punishing small mistakes. I'm not a perfect flow. Slowing down 5% will probably help you. Late breaking and unforeseeable arguments may justify new responses. I do have 2n sympathyTM and will check the 2ar against arguments that weren't in the 1ar. 2nr line drawing or instruction remains helpful.

I'm pretty expressive and might intervene vocally to move you off a stale cx direction or motion to move on if you are repeating yourself in the speech. My resting face is rather stern, don't take it personally. I'm probably still vibing with you.

FW v K aff - Yes, I will vote either way. It comes down to links and impacts like any other debate and the best teams in these rounds have offense and defense

Neg teams: Fairness can be a terminal impact but it usually feels like a small one, so if that's your approach you'll need to be playing great defense or really filtering out aff offense somehow. Ignoring the questions posed by the aff or repeatedly mischaracterizing the aff's claims will likely result in an aff ballot.

Aff teams: Debate is debate is debate - much respect for a team that hardily defends a middle ground or counter interpretation. But given how invested so many of us are in offense/defense and how many links most neg teams will give you, I won't complain if you win the impact turn. Leaving me with no vision for debate will likely result in a neg ballot.

Ks on the neg - Love these debates. Explanation is vital on both sides. Aff teams that explain their internal links and solvency have the most success against ks in front of me. Aff framework arguments that exclude kritiks entirely will be a tough sell. If the alt is cheating, you can point that out tho ;) I've yet to hear a persuasive explanation for judge choice - I will only vote on benefits of your plan that you explain. Neg teams do well with strong links that implicate the case. You don't always need an alt in the 2nr, but you might be better off defending an imperfect alt instead of just the squo, especially if the 2ar is on to you...

Policy stuff - Yes. I like internal link and solvency presses. Impact defense can make sense, but "x doesn't cause extinction" might not get your there if the other team has a nuanced impact comparison. I have a loose attachment to the "link first" camp until you tell me otherwise. My time in Minnesota has left me with a love for impact turns, don't care how dumb it seems.

I struggled with Judge Kick for a while. I've come around. I still enjoy strategic and narrow 2nrs (i.e. not making me do this). If you explicitly (I guess saying "squo is always an option" in 1nc cx counts) flag this as an option by the end of the block I'm game. I am open to affs that ask me to stick the 2nr to the cp.

If you still have questions, please feel free to email or ask me before the round!

Ryan Galloway Paradigm

1 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

1 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

1 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.

Matt Gerber Paradigm

1 rounds

Dr. Matt Gerber 
Capp Chair of Forensics
Associate Professor of Communication 
Baylor University 

In General: There are many ways to make arguments. I guess that means I will listen to most anything you think is an argument, as long as you are making arguments. Another way to think about this: I was "born and raised" in D3 (Southeast Oklahoma, Baylor, Kansas, then back to Baylor). I have heard and seen it all, so you do you, do your thing, don't over-adapt to me. I strive to be a hard-working, objective critic. I really, truly don't care which team wins. I will vote for the team that does the better debating. 

Strategy: Have one. I reward debaters and debate teams who are opportunistic, and who exploit the mistakes made by the other team. The best debate teams are usually not the ones who overwhelm with speed or skillful persuasion, or a million cards; rather, the best debate teams are the ones who avoid making the big mistakes, and who have the ability to capitalize on the mistakes made by their opposition. I like debate teams that are decisive, and not afraid to go “all-in” if their opponents drop the ball. 

Theory: Be clear (in general), but especially in a theory debate. Slow down a little, because even the greatest flows in debate history can’t write down blippy theory jargon at 200mph. Even if it was flow-able, is that really good debate? I think not. That all being said, I tend to give the neg some leeway on the theory stuff as long as choices are made by the 2NR. 

A Few Specifics: Critical arguments and approaches to debate are fine, and appreciated. I prefer specifics over generics, as with most arguments. I also like crafty CP/DA strategies, and I like well-researched case debates. I think debating the case is a lost art. I reward debaters who make nuanced and sophisticated case arguments, and who actually go for them in the 2NR once in awhile. Topicality is an under-valued strategic choice. Framework can also be a valuable method to win a debate, but I think the implications/import of enforcing it are open to debate.

If you have questions just ask matt_gerber@baylor.edu

Rob Glass Paradigm

1 rounds

Affiliation: University of Houston

I’ve been judging since 2011. As of the start of the Space topic I had judged the second most College Policy rounds in the era of tabroom of any judge. Jackie Poapst was the only person ahead of me, close behind me were Armands Revelins and Daniel Stout. Take this how you will.

Yes, I want to be on the E-mail chain. Send docs to: robglassdebate [at] the google mail service . I don’t read the docs during the round except in unusual circumstances or when I think someone is clipping cards.

The short version of my philosophy, or “My Coach preffed this Rando, what do I need to know?”:

1. Debate should be a welcoming and open space to all who would try to participate. If you are a debater with accessibility (or other) concerns please feel free to reach out to me ahead of the round and I will work with you to make the space as hospitable as possible.

2. Have a fundamental respect for the other team and the activity. Insulting either or both, or making a debater feel uncomfortable, is not acceptable.

3. Debate is for the debaters. My job, in total, is to watch what you do and act according to how y’all want me. So do you and I’ll follow along.

4. Respond to the other team. If you ignore the other team or try to set the bounds so that their thoughts and ideas can have no access to debate I will be very leery of endorsing you. Find an argument, be a better debater.

5. Offense over Defense. I tend to prefer substantive impacts. That said I will explicitly state here that I am more and more comfortable voting on terminal defense, especially complete solvency takeouts. If I am reasonably convinced your aff does nothing I'm not voting for it.

6. With full credit to Justin Green: When the debate is over I'm going to applaud. I love debate and I love debaters and I plan on enjoying the round.

2019-2020 Update:

Empirically using prefs to fine-tune judge selection is a fool's errand. All evidence indicates that judge behaviour deciding rounds is effectively identical as long as strikes are in the mix. So, for your own sake you shouldn't spend too much time thinking about how to pref me. You probably have more important things to do in your life and more interesting things to read. If you want to talk to me about this please do, I'll gladly talk your ear off about the statistical work I've done with debate and what I think it reveals about the activity.

There's no kind of argument I find myself deeply opposed to*, and if won in round I'll vote on just about anything. I tend to lean 'left' on framework claims in K Aff vs. Policy debates and 'right' on substantive claims in round, including K Aff vs. Policy debates. I love in-depth debate and people who show genuine knowledge and passion for their args will be rewarded. While I view Politics DAs as being the educational ZP2theHC I have made my peace with their existence in this activity.

If you're still confused about this, you're overthinking this.

* PRE-UCO Update: I have started to see judge kick ooze its way out of High School debate and into College Debate. I think judge kick is an abomination and forces 2ARs to debate multiple worlds based on their interpretation of how the judge will understand the 2NR and then intervene in the debate. It produces a dearth of depth, and makes all of the '70s-'80s hand-wringing about Condo come true. My compromise with judge kick is this: If the 2NR advocates for judge kick the 2A at the start of 2AR prep is allowed to call for a flip. I will then flip a coin. If it comes up heads the advocacy is kicked, if it comes up tails it isn't. I will announce the result of the flip and then 2AR prep will commence. If the 2A does this I will not vote on any theoretical issues regarding judge kick. If the 2A does not call for a flip I will listen and evaluate theory arguments about judge kick as is appropriate.

Tom Gliniecki Paradigm

1 rounds

I'm currently the Assistant Director of Debate at UNLV. Yes, I'd like to be on the email chain: thomas.gliniecki at unlv.edu . Yes, I'll still make you compile a doc at the end of the round anyway.

I'm still not voting on "politics isn't intrinsic." I get it if you throw it out there out of force of habit, especially if I'm on a panel- but I will be happier if you don't. Negs, remember you don't need to waste your time answering it, though again, I'll get it if you do.


K/T in "non-traditional" debates- I think debate is at its best when there is a negotiated point of stasis that each side could predict, and when there is a legitimate opportunity for the negative to have a meaningful role in a contested debate. I generally think that if the aff did not defend a topical plan, that they've denied the negative a meaningful role, and have denied the necessary precondition for in-depth engagement.
Neg Ks against "policy" affs tend to propose that I consider one idea external to or somewhere within the 1AC to the exclusion of all else; I tend to think I shouldn't do that. A "K" with very well-articulated ties to the topic, the plan action, and the advantages might be persuasive to me, however, you will need to identify how your alt competes with the _plan_, how your links apply to the _plan_, and consider tying your alt to an alternative policy option. If that sounds too much like a “counterplan” and thus offends your sensibilities, we’re probably not on the same page.
The K has a very bad record in front of me, despite some valiant efforts. If you must do this, try to couch your argument as "mutually exclusive counterplan that solves inevitable extinction- try or die." The more it seems like a disad-counterplan strategy, the more likely I am to be receptive to your argument.

T in "policy" debates- While it's somewhat hard to forecast at the very beginning of a topic, I have historically been very good for the neg when they have high-quality evidence in support of a more restrictive interpretation of the topic. In these debates, I tend to have a lot of skepticism toward aff defense against limits explosion- for example, "functional limits" just seem like an invitation to a deluge of one-and-done affs with bad (but unpredictable and thus "good" for two hours) tricks vs. whatever generic is supposed to stop the aff from existing, and the lack of solvency advocate has never stopped anyone. This topic in particular strikes me as quite tough for the neg, so I may lack sympathy for some aff offensive args as well (e.g. overlimiting).

CP competition- CPs that are just rewritings of the plan or compete on something that doesn't appear in the plan will have problems. This also applies if your CP competes on a word that could be interpreted multiple ways; you will need to decisively win that it should be interpreted a certain way to win a competition arg.

Conditionality- I think we're past the point of no return on ever getting back to only reading 1 or 2 conditional advocacies. While I feel a certain unease in admitting it, I don't think there are a lot of circumstances where the aff could convince me the neg should lose because they crossed some line the aff drew on this issue.
I think that if you want me to consider the status quo as an option after the debate when you're going for a CP, that needs to be explicitly spoken to during the debate. The best way to ensure I remember that is to say it's a thing in the 2NR.

Other CP Theory- I’m rejecting the arg and not the team. Outside of what I discussed above, I probably strongly lean neg on most other CP theory questions, though particularly egregious examples (multi-actor international fiat, and also the US, for instance) could change that calculus. "Both federal and state action" strikes me as egregious.

DAs/Advantages- The CP/DA or DA/case throwdowns are very much what I would like to see. Impact calculus by both sides is important, as is making arguments why your impacts interact with the other side’s. Strength of link and internal link tend to be very important in deciding how much risk a given position gets, so comparison of link probability is also a critical component of a successful rebuttal.
A lot of terminal impacts can get pretty stupid and could be refuted by well-deployed analytics, but internal links, in my experience, can be a lot stupider. When people tag something as “X is key to” something, the card will probably just say “X has a marginally relevant implication” on it. Evidence comparison is extremely important in how I’ll assign risks; I have a very high threshold for what I consider quality evidence, and teams should be very aggressive in identifying weak or unqualified evidence and refuting it analytically. Debate should be about hard work and finding the best research about the topic- if I get the sense that you’ve done that, you will be rewarded, and punished if I sense you haven’t.
Also, I will under literally no sequence of events vote for the argument that the politics disad “isn’t intrinsic.” Actually develop reasons why there’s no link, or why political capital doesn’t exist conceptually/why it’s not key rather than relying on theoretical constructions which offend me.

Other stuff- I think of cross-x as a speech; while I won’t necessarily flow it, it’s critical in framing how I will think of a position throughout the debate, and exposing flaws in evidence. Cross-x is also a pretty important part of how I will make speaker point decisions.

Be respectful, have fun, work hard- any questions, feel free to ask.

Samantha Godbey Paradigm

1 rounds

Samantha Godbey, PhD

Director of Debate

West Virginia University


A note about my education-I started as a novice in 2004 (fossil fuels)- debated through college mostly in CEDA Northeast. My PhD is in Political Science, in particular my dissertatation is on the American public policy process in the area of human trafficking policy. I also have comped in International Relations and Comparative Politics- I have never taken a communications class in my life. All of that means literally nothing except that there are pretty good odds I have not read whatever it is you are reading (policy or k lit). It is your job to explain it to me and pursuade me, not assume that I already know what you are talking about.

How I feel about arguments

I want you all to do whatever it is you do best/ enjoy the most. There is nothing I won’t listen to/ vote on. I really like offense. It is very persuasive to me. I feel as if that is what I look for when I am making my decision at the end of the round, I also like when debaters tell me how they won. I don't like having to look for those reasons/ decide which is most important myself.

Im not crazy about judge intervention, I do my best to come in to every round as tabula rasa as possible. It is your responsibility to persuade me in one way or another to get my ballot.

I believe that I am extremely flow centric (unless you tell me not to be), also seems like I should note that I flow what you say not what is in your speech doc. I wont have your speech doc open at any time unless I am reading cards at the end of the debate. So, if its said in the round, it'll be on my paper. The round is therefore decided by my flow (again, unless told otherwise).

I vote for who wins the debate, I find all types of arguments persuasive from critical to straight up policy. I don't care what you do, just do what you do best (and impact it).

Matt Gomez Paradigm

1 rounds

Matt Gomez

Graduate Assistant @ UNLV

Assistant Coach @ Rowland Hall St Marks

Please include me in the email chains: mattgomez22@gmail.com

Top Level:

Hot take: The s is silent in debris.

I'll be honest. I really really really hate judging psychoanalysis. I would prefer not to judge these arguments. That being said, I'll still just evaluate the line-by-line....but just my preference

---Write the ballot in the 2NR/2AR

---The most reasonable argument usually wins in an equally debated round

---Risk is a sliding scale and arguments should be couched probabilistically since most of this isn't objective

---I prefer engagement over tricks. This applies in clash debates, k v k rounds, or policy throw downs. Speaker points will be higher in debates where you engage.

---Not interested in constant shifting explanations and dodging in cross-ex. Confident and direct answers show that you understand the weakness of your argument and are prepared to defend it.

---I generally lean neg on theory

---Affs can be vague in their plan but it makes circumvention and Say No harder to answer

---I will not give up my ballot to someone else. I will not evaluate arguments about actions taken when I was not in the room or from previous rounds. I will not vote for arguments about debaters as people. I will always evaluate the debate based on the arguments made during the round and which team did the better debating. Teams asking me not to flow or wanting to play video games, or any other thing that is not debate are advised to strike me. If it is unclear what "is not debate" means, strike me.

---Speech times are set. So is cross-ex and prep.

T vs Plans

Generally: Interps and definitions really matter. You need to counter-define words. Probably default to competing interps but I'm ok for reasonability combined with functional limits and indicts of neg evidence. But generally, aff's should be worried in front of me if they don't think their plan is T and negs shouldn't be afraid of going for T if they have good evidence. This is a big topic and I will have little sympathy for teams trying to make it even bigger.


An ESR counterplan that has the executive branch establish a policy is a core negative position that challenges the necessity of statutory and/or judicial restrictions on executive authority. An ESR CP that fiats Trump is intelligent or decides to resign or some other thing that is not necessarily an opportunity cost to statutory/judicial restrictions on executive authority are more questionable (though I lean neg on theory)

States is competitive (replace with ESR for college topic). Consult is most likely not. I'm not stoked about counterplans that do all of the aff but am a fan of smart PIC strategies. Textual vs Functional competition...both are probably good and each has its time and place... I still do not fully understand competition. If the aff has real solvency deficits they can make, I'm likely to not vote on theory.

I will kick counterplans for the neg IF the 2NR invokes the option. It is unlikely that I will care about new 2AR args for why thats difficult to answer if the 1AR didn't extend conditionality.


For God's sake please read impact defense

A DA is comprised of UQ, Link, Internal Link, and Impact arguments. I am not pleased with the recent trend that UQ is an argument for the block...

I'm willing to allow the 1AR to read cards based on 2AC analytics that actually have warrants.

---ok: No impact to proliferation---every empirical example like North Korea, India, and Pakistan disprove.

---not ok: No impact to prolif---empirics

Its arbitrary, but one is clearly a more complete argument than the other. Not saying I won't let the 1AR read a card in the 2nd instance, but you are much more likely to lose if the negative says that wasnt a complete arg in the 2AC and 1AR doesn't get to complete it.

Turns case arguments matter a lot to me. Make them and answer them. I can vote aff on a good risk of an advantage combined with a solid impact defense and internal link defense push. But I can also check out on turns case even if there is a large risk of the aff.

Policy Aff vs K

Totally open to it. These were my favorite debates as a 2A and offer some great opportunity for a smaller but more in-depth debate.

Affirmative teams should make sure to pre-empt the blocks attempt to not let them weigh the aff. Make impact framing arguments. And either no link or impact turn links. But the best focus is usually on the alternative. Most important, don't back down. Defend that things that matter actually do matter. Don't be the person who loses on "death good" or can't even answer the question "what is death." Think about why incremental progress matters, have a defense of it, and beat the ontology arguments. I find the most successful affirmative strategy is one that goes through the checklist of things every 2A needs to do against a K but also genuinely tries to understand the K and logically dismantles it/proves that is not the way the world works.

Negative teams are advised to generate links to the plan action. You can functionally disregard aff framework arguments if you do this because it proves the plan is a bad idea. If your strategy is to win links to discourse, epistemology, other "ologies" or things that are not the plan, the 2NC is advised to invest a substantial amount of time on framework. A well-devised framework argument, diverse links, impact framing arguments, and a decent alternative make for an extremely difficult 1AR. Combined with case defense and it becomes even harder. If you are feeling ambitious and can do both in the 2NC and have a DA in the 1NR, even better for neg flex.

---I generally find ways to think myself into believing structural/identity Ks do prove the aff is a bad idea if the negative wins their theory of power and am unlikely to vote on "plan action or gtfo" FW. The power of that arg is I have to weigh implications of the link vs implications of the plan, NOT that I throw out the K entirely.

I don't understand the trend of 1NR's "taking the perm" when the 2NC does the link debate. They are functionally the same and it doesn't take that much longer to put it in the 2NC and place some lower arguments into the 1NR to avoid messing up my flow.

The fiat double-bind is fundamentally unpersuasive. I do not enjoy K's that argue death isn't real/ is good.

K vs K

I've debated post-modernism and materialism. I read a lot. I watch a lot of different styles of debate. That being said, I very rarely participated in these debates. It will be important to identify points of disagreement and offense. For the aff, its important to identify actual link turns. Saying "the plan is anti-capitalist" is not a link turn or an answer to the link. Plenty of movements that didn't like capitalism ended up operating in a way that was beneficial to it.

Please say the alternative doesn't solve. And say the alternative does solve.

Please say root cause. And answer root cause.

Pick and choose links and consolidate as the round goes on.

Permutations need to explain why they solve the links and the negative needs to apply links to the permutation as well as the plan.

K vs T

I entirely believe debate is a game. I will vote otherwise if the argument presented as to why it is not a game or should be evaluated as something else is won by the affirmative, and that is because I believe it is a game... This can be an uphill battle if the affirmative does not present an alternate model for debate that has a well-conceived role for both the affirmative and negative and is able to weigh the benefits of that model against the negative's. It is easy to say what you are against, harder to say what you are for.

I do not have a preference for fairness or education (also called advocacy skills, mechanism education, etc.), but i do think the negative can persuasively argue that fairness is an impact in and of itself. Affirmative's must win that their educational benefits outweigh the negative's or that the cost of unfairness is worth the positive benefits of their model of debate.

I do not believe T is a weapon to exclude. I think it is an argument like any other and a core negative check against untopical affs (the states counterplan of clash debates). I believe that negative's who are overly rude, dismissive, or offensive in how they deploy T can lose to exclusion offense. Conduct yourself accordingly.

Topical version of the aff and Switch Side Debate are counterplans meant to prove the affirmative could access a large swathe of their literature base/education offense under the "traditional" model of debate. The negative should try to solve as much of the case as possible or prove that the TVA debates are better than the aff as is. The affirmative should argue that those debates are not educational, bad for their education, etc.

As always, these debates will become hyperbolic. That's fine. But when I vote on the silly hyperbole one team makes against the silly hyperbole the other team makes, that is just because it is what I was given to work with.

Logan Gramzinski Paradigm

1 rounds

I debated for Samford University and am currently a graduate assistant coach at the University of Georgia.  

Be clear.

The quick checklist:

1) I consider myself a “policy judge” who privileges the importance of the link over the impact

2) I love good theory debates and am willing and ready to vote against what most call “negative flexibility”

3) Debate is a game (truth is important, but tech first) and my ballot will only determine who wins the debate, not which political stance or movement I am aligned with.

My “biases” are not harsh rules for debate. You are certainly best off doing what you usually do in front of me – I will work hard to understand your arguments, flow, and evaluate the round with as little intervention as possible. 

T: Reasonability. In order to prove the aff/neg is being unreasonable – talk about what the world of debate would look like if I endorse their interpretation. Caselists and in depth impact calculus will go a long way here. 

Theory: I am more than ready to curtail the community norm of unlimited negative flexibility. I do not think a team has to win the debate has become “impossible” in order to win an abuse claim. Topic education is paramount.

CPs: I love counterplans that test the intrinsicness of the plan to the advantages of the aff. PICs are great. Word PICs are not. I am more than ready to reject the following CPs : consult, agent Cps, international fiat, process CPs, CPs that compete off the certainty or immediacy of the plan. 

Ks: What can I say? Grad school changes a person. After years of judging, coaching, and familiarizing myself with critical arguments, I feel like I am in place to better adjudicate these debates. Still, specific links to the aff are crucial. Generic criticisms, like generic policy strategies, are boring to watch and will get you bad speaker points (and a loss).

Performance: While my experience is in policy debates, I am more than willing to listen and evaluate arguments here just as I do in those policy debates. I generally think the role of the ballot is decide who won or lost a debate (did the best debating, made the best arguments), so asking me to use my ballot to send a signal or align with a particular movement will need a strong defense. 

DAs: I will vote on zero risk of the link – you don’t need offense to beat the DA to zero. Talk about how your impact interacts with the opponent’s.  

Speaker Points: I will reward debaters for specific strategies, (good) jokes, and not stealing prep. 

Speaker point scale:

27-27.5: Did some good things, but needs a lot of improvement. Typically includes a lot of technical drops. Will not clear at a national tournament, will probably go 2-6 or worse if you debate like this every round.

27:5-28: Answered all the important arguments, but didn't do evidence comparison, sufficient impact calculus, or give me a clear way to vote for you. Will likely go 3-5. 

28-28.5: Did a lot of things right, but didn't wow me.  4-4 debating. 

28.5-29:Excelled in the cross-ex, has a positive ethos throughout the round, did evidence comparison, impact calculus, and made smart arguments and connections. You should be 5-3 or better.

29-29.5: Outstanding debating all around. You belong in the elims. No missing on points for you!

29.5-30: Rare. Reserved for the best speeches i've seen all year. 

Misc: Be aggressive. Have fun. Learn something. 

Paperless: I’m lenient. Don’t take advantage of it. 

Donald Grasse Paradigm

1 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.

Justin Green Paradigm

1 rounds

Justin Green

Head Coach - Wake Forest University

27th season in 2v2 Debate

I'm going to clap when the round is done; I plan to enjoy your debate!

ARGUMENT PREFERENCE: The good ones about the topic; I've spent a lot of time reading/cutting cards about it - let's do space coop discussion or Arms Sales for h.s.! Nearly all of my research this year is on the policy side; lucky enough to be around smart critical thinkers in our squad room.

T/FRAMEWORK - The aff should validate an example of the resolution/topic - that means China and/or Russia as well for college. My voting record is not very good for those that simply impact turn topicality without a solid defense of a counter interpretation. Procedural Fairness is not an intrinsic impact, it can be a successful internal link. The Aff should describe what predictable ground the negative should prepare based on their interp.

CP THEORY - Legitimacy increases with more specific advocates. Competition purely on certainty, likely suspect. Conditionality most likely OK - go beyond 2 or 3 or 2nc CP out of all impact turns; less likely to be ok. If its in your plan, defend it.

CASE DEBATES - Where have all my heroes gone?

Policy Aff v the K - Specificity is crucial for both sides. Winning the world is ordered by an oppressive structure is not enough. Affs should defend what they said both in the plans and advantage construction. What comes first is up for debate.


- Cross Ex Matters! – I listen, flow, and those who reference answers from the CX are likely to get higher points. I'll referee, by gesturing, even on panels, to make sure those asking are in control and those answering actually answer the question. When the timer goes off, it's judge prep. I'll likely pull out my phone or walk out the room even if the debaters are talking or continuing cross ex in prep time.

- Pointing out flaws does not require evidence. Aff internal links and K alts should both be especially questioned.

- Quality of Evidence+Quality of Explanation+Quality of comparison=weight of argument

- Non-verbal interactions - My expressions will likely tell you how I feel about an argument. Look up!

- Words you speak not the speech doc determines comprehension - I don't understand it, it doesn't count, even at the NDT. I find very few need to slow down, but some might have to care more about how they sound than normal.

- No shenanigans policy - I expect a 2v2 debate. No three person teams, no 3rd party speakers, no one person taking all the speech time, etc. These are round-stoppers for me. Two people speaking in the same speech, ok if part of a pre-scripted performance early in the debate. Afterwards, only one person's words count.

- 2 Tips for last rebuttals - Give your partners credit explicitly. Acknowledge where the other side might be correct.


- What happened outside of the debate (coin flips, previous debates, what their coach did)

- Vagueness as independent VI - Vague methods usually don't work - point that out, don't whine.

In the words of the immortal EJ the DJ, "WoHoo Debate!"

LaToya Green Paradigm

1 rounds

If it matters to you, I used to make critical and performance based arguments. I have coached all types. I generally like all arguments, especially ones that come with claims, warrants, and are supported by evidence.

Do you (literally, WHATEVER you do). Be great. Say smart things. Give solid speeches and perform effectively in CX. Win and go as hard as it takes (but you dont have to be exessively rude or mean to do this part). Enjoy yourself. Give me examples and material applications to better understand your position. Hear me out when the decision is in. Dassit.

Add me to the email chain- lgreenymt@gmail.com

My "high" speaker points typically cap out around 28.7/28.8 (in open debate). If you earn that, you have delivered a solid and confident constructive, asked and answered questions persuasively, and effectively narrowed the debate to the most compelling reasons you are winning the debate in the rebuttals. If you get higher than that, you did all of those things AND THEN SOME. What many coaches would call, "the intangibles".

Thank you, in advance, for allowing me to observe and participate in your debate.


Mitch Hagney Paradigm

1 rounds

email: mitchellhagney@gmail.com

I think debate has lots of epistemological value, though I have voted that it is bad and should be destroyed more than once. I competed at the TOC and NDT, but eventually stopped debating to work in sustainable farming. Today, my day job is operating a hydroponic farm and coworking kitchen space called LocalSprout (www.localsprout.com), and pushing local policy change to advance a sustainable and equitable food system through the Food Policy Council of San Antonio (www.fpcsa.org). I made these choices as a direct result of a decision-making style that I got from debate.

Evidence quality is important to me, but to emphasize debate's verbally communicative nature, I will not read speech docs until the round has ended. +.1 speaker points if you mention a methods section in your or their articles.

The ongoing culture war within debate between federal policy proposal teams and identity/cultural pessimism teams is a relatively recent development I'm still adapting to. For me, teams that admit to being outside of the resolution need to describe what content and arguments debates would feature if their interpretation were adopted wholesale. It's best if that sounds like a version of debate where both sides stand a chance and is pedagogically valuable. There need to be strong answers to a topical version and reasons why awarding the ballot in a certain direction is good.

I miss the diversity of structural Ks debate used to feature. For those critiques, I like to know what the alternative looks like or why the details aren't important.

For counterplan theory, in each round there is an amount of conditional negative advocacies that is beyond the reasonable amount of testing the aff, which then degrades the quality of the discussion. Use your judgement on what that limit is. I don't like permanent/recurring inaction or attitudinal fiat. Solvency advocates are the best response to accused CP illegitimacy. If it was impossible to find a solvency advocate for a widely discussed aff, that's usually a bad sign. Multi-actor, international, and delay counterplans rarely seem to challenge the aff or the topic. They often put judges in a strange place between choosing between things no human has the authority over.

For politics DAs, I have a higher threshhold for the link debate than the community at large. I find fiat solves the link arguments persuasive if the aff requires that congresspeople change their mind. If it's normal means that the president expends capital to persuade them, I need reasons why that's normal means or why we should interpret the world that way. Delay, direct horsetrading, or focus links are different from usual political capital arguments and are often times more intrinsic to the aff.

Defense matters - No internal link, uniqueness overwhelms the link, empirically denied, impact inevitable - these arguments are some of the most persuasive to me and I am more likely to think you are smart if you say them.

I am likely to dismiss 2AR arguments entirely if I think they are new.

I usually make decisions based on comparative impact assessment. Relative to other judges, it seems like I pay more attention to impact uniqueness, which are often influenced by arguments like those that have been kicked earlier in the debate and turns case arguments. This is as true for critical debates as it is for policy ones.

Ben Hagwood Paradigm

1 rounds

Benjamin Hagwood, Assistant Coach, Liberty University


About me:

I debated for five years at Liberty University. This will be my third year judging. Since trading places (debater to judge) my view of debate has matured and my perspective has become more open to views that I currently did not have. To begin I will say that I understand that debate is a game, with that being said I realize that some people use it as a place to protest, advocate and discuss their political, social, religious and individual ideas. I used my time as a debater to stretch the rules and practices of an activity that I viewed as net –beneficial to the growth of academics and potentially policy-makers. As a critic I enter a round with my predispositions just like everyone else but I don’t want to limit the discussion that can take place in any round.


The stuff you need to read: (do you pref me or not)


1. I think everything in debate is debate-able. I tend to enter the debate believing that I will vote for the team that persuades me that their argument is the superior to their opponents. I will say that I am not amused by offensive language or jokes (you should call people out on what they do though). So if someone does something that I think is offensive and you don’t call them out on it they could potentially still win the round if you don’t say something they will just also have a 0.


2. Not reading a plan text doesn’t necessarily equal a loss in my book. I think great discussions can emerge from different ideas or strategies. This however does not mean that there is no way I would vote against you. If you are reading an argument that magically seems to shift out of every link in the debate that’s probably bad (again that is up for debate, also I think there is a large difference between not having a link and only having bad links).


3. I absolutely love DA and case debates. I tend to believe that people don’t have good defenses of their case anymore because they just believe that no one argues inherency or solvency anymore, just CP’s and K’s. I think a formidable strategy is to completely deconstruct a case and go with a simple DA.


4. I think critical theory is interesting. I have to admit graduate school stretched the theory that I would generally read but it has introduced me to new arguments and helped me grow. But my base knowledge is still critical race theory. This is generally my area of interest but I am definitely interested and reading other forms of critical theory. I will admit Baudrillard is still collecting dust on my “electronic” bookshelf. I intend to start reading more of if soon but so far I have only dabbled in his theories.


5. I think that a well-placed theory violation can change the entire direction of a debate. I think that you can do whatever you want but you probably should be able to justify doing it. Being negative is not enough to be able to run four conditional positions that contradict each other. Those worlds are not hermeneutically sealed…sorry. Actually I am not sorry just don’t run bad strategies.


6. Performance debate is growing and here to stay. That is not to say that you are not making important points, it’s just that generally (and most people won’t admit this) judging a team that executes a good performance is tough because you generally want to watch and enjoy and then remember that you also have to evaluate. Needless to say I am a fan of performance, but only if you do it well. Bad performances…please don’t do it in front of me.


7. Clash of civilization – I haven’t actually judged many of these. I don’t know if I will or not in the future. I will say that if done well I think that framework can be a great strategy against a lot of teams. My particular opinion is that there is probably a better option to run against most teams (that don’t defend tradition notions of debate) but if that’s what you want to roll with then that’s what you should roll with. 


8. CP’s do it.


9. Speaker Points: (ways to gain and lose them janks)

 a. A tasteful bowtie will definitely increase your overall speaker points. (Max .5 increase)

 b. A joke that is actually funny will also increase your speaker points. (Max .5 increase)

 c. Bad jokes (Max 1.0 decrease)

 d. Offensive language or actions (Max 30.0 decrease)

 I am rather easy to talk to if you have any questions. Have fun and be smart when you think of your strategy. Do what you do and I shall tell you if I love it or not.



Sherry Hall Paradigm

1 rounds

Sherry Hall, Harvard, Judging Philosophy, East Region
Judged at GA State, Vermont, KY, Wake,

Recently, when judging at a high school tournament, one of the debaters asked me about my judge paradigm. I said that I viewed my role as a critic of argument. He looked puzzled and asked, "Does that mean you are good for the kritik or bad?" Unfortunately, for more and more debaters the answer to this question seems to be the only one that matters in assessing judge quality.

To say that I view my role as a debate judge as a "critic of argument" means that I think the closest analogy to what I do when I judge rounds, is act as an educator grading a class presentation. But Collegiate debate is not just an educational activity, it is also a competitive activity. Therefore, the judge has the additional role of acting as a "referee" or official who keeps time, and resolves disputes over the "rules". In resolving debates that focus on the "rules" - is topicality a voting issue, are PICs legitimate, must the negative provide an alternative - I tend to evaluate those questions based on the impact that they have on education and competitive equity.

I consider clash against the opponent’s ideas as one of the most important standards by which to evaluate whether or not a particular argument or practice is “good” or “bad” for debate. I do think that for the activity to continue to progress, creativity in arguments and debating styles is a good thing that should be encouraged. I do think that teams which are attempting innovations, such as the “performance is all that matters” strategy, will do better with me if the debaters can isolate what standards I should use to evaluate rounds in this new way, and/or what ground is left to the other team. A strategy or performance that leaves nothing for the other team to respond to undermines the goal of competitive equity.

I have a few theoretical preferences, though none is so strong that I cannot be convinced to set it aside despite the arguments in the round. I will list some of these preferences, but the debaters should keep in mind, that these issues still need to be argued, and the side that plays into my preferences, still needs to articulate the reasons why a particular argument should be accepted or rejected.
1. I strongly believe that if asked, the affirmative must specify who does the plan. The fact that the topic does not lock the affirmative into a particular actor, means that the affirmative gets to choose. The whole purpose of having a debate where the negative can clash meaningfully with the affirmative case is lost, if the affirmative can say what their plan does after they have heard the negative strategy.
2. I think that plan inclusive counterplans are bad for the goal of promoting meaningful clash. I coach my teams to run them. I write them. I vote for them every weekend. I am partial to the arguments against them though, and will vote on them.
3. Almost all negative teams these days reflexively declare that the counterplan is conditional. I have seen many rounds this year where that unthinking choice has cost the neg the round. If you have a legitimate reason for your arguments to be conditional and you are prepared to defend it, go for it, but I think it is a bad idea to say that your arguments are conditional when they don’t need to be – you just open yourself up to more ways to lose. My preference is against conditionality. For the same reason that I think the affirmative has to say what their plan does for the negative to meaningfully clash with that plan, the affirmative needs to know what their plan and case is being compared to, in order to effectively clash with the negative’s arguments. It is not enough that the negative will pick one strategy by the end of the round, because too much time has been wasted on arguments that are irrelevant. More importantly, the presence of a counterplan in the round changes how the affirmative answers disadvantages and case arguments. If the negative can drop the counterplan later in the round, the affirmative cannot go back and re-give the 2AC. I think that the debate is better if both sides clearly stake out their ground and their positions from the beginning and the rest of the debate focuses on which is better.

In addition to the theoretical preferences, I do have some views regarding decorum in the round.
1. As I mentioned above, I view myself as an educator and consider the debate round to be a “learning environment”. I believe that both basic civil rights law, as articulated in the 1964 Civil Rights Act and subsequent state laws, as well as basic ethics requires that debaters and judges conduct themselves in rounds in a manner that protects the rights of all participants to an environment free of racial/sexual hostility or harassment. I am inclined to disallow language and performances that would be considered harassment in a regular class-room setting. I have no problem with discussions that include sexual issues, but if the incorporation of pornography, sexual simulation, sexual threats against the other team, nudity, etc., creates a hostile environment for the other participants in the round, then it should not be presented. If you think your debate performance potentially crosses the line and could constitute sexual and/or racial harassment, your safest bet is to warn the other team before the round and ask if they have any objections. I consider a request from the opposing team or me to not use explicit language/material/performance to be a signal of their/my discomfort and deserving of your respect. I view the intentional decision to create a hostile environment without respecting the feelings of the opposing team to be an unethical practice that will be treated the same way as other ethical violations such as fabricating evidence – loss and zero speaker points.
2. I detest rudeness, especially in cross-examination, or in comments directed at one’s opponents.
3. Anytime that someone refers to a male debater’s arguments as “she said” or a female’s arguments as “he said” I notice it, and it distracts me from the substance of the argument. I am not sure that I could be convinced that this is a voting issue. I usually will shout out the correction. If the practice seems flagrant, I will give lower speaker points. I am also sensitive to use of the generic “he”, especially when debaters are speaking about what “the judge” should do with a specific argument in the round. Whether or not a particular round is judged by a male or a female, I take offense at having “the debate judge” referred to as “he.” Again, I am not sure that I would be convinced that this is a voting issue, since I have never heard a round in which anyone has attempted to do that. I do think that some people may be taking this concern to an extreme. I do not think that a debater who reads a card with the word “blackmail” in it, or reads cards from Kant, is automatically branded a racist or sexist and should therefore be punished with a loss or lower points.

Joe Hamaker Paradigm

Experience: 4 years of NDT-CEDA/2 years of NFA-LD at Missouri State, mostly reading policy arguments.

Currently: Graduate assistant at Missouri State seeking an M.A. in Communication

Contact: joehamaker [at] gmail.com. I'd like to be on the chain. If you have questions about an RFD or my judging philosophy, feel free to reach out.

I'm new at this and will update as my philosophy develops.

My goal is to resolve arguments made by debaters to form a coherent decision about the issue that the debaters have decided upon. I have predispositions but I will try hard to evaluate the debate outside of those because debate is for debaters. I list preferences below, but nearly all of them are contingent.


When I evaluate debates, I first identify nexus questions which the debaters have decided upon in the 2NR/2AR. Then, I determine arguments both sides have made on each nexus point and check my flow to assess whether they are sufficiently represented in previous speeches. Next, I evaluate the strength of the arguments of both sides. Often at this step, I will think through the implications of voting for both sides and the complications involved. Sometimes, this will cause me to reevaluate who I think is winning the debate. Finally, I determine who I think won the debate and write a paragraph (or more) of explanation.

It is difficult for me to decide debates which do not clearly identify nexus questions. When I have to determine them, it might work in or against your favor. This is a recipe for frustration for all involved; clear identification and engagement with the nexus questions is the best way to resolve that problem. I should also be able to explain, using language similar to that which is present in the 2NR/2AR, why I should vote for you and vote against the other team. If I cannot make that explanation, it will be more difficult for me to vote for you.

Incomplete list of advice/preferences/thoughts

- I (usually) flow cross-ex because it is binding

- Slow down on overviews and theory

- Tech > truth, but truth is important and doesn't always require a card

- "No perm in method v method debates" requires more explanation than most offer

- Zero risk of an impact is very rare but not impossible

- Stop taking prep outside of speech/prep time

- Make the implications of arguments and cross-applications clear, especially when they span multiple sheets. I should not have to do that work for you.

- Be swift with paperless

- Be caring of your partner and the other team

Jyleesa Hampton Paradigm

1 rounds

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I wanna be on the chain: jyleesahampton@gmail.com

Allison Harper Paradigm

1 rounds

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

Cosmetic rather than structural change- yes please put me on the chain for efficiency and scouting purposes. 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.

Casey Harrigan Paradigm

1 rounds

Casey Harrigan

Associate Director of Debate, University of Kentucky

13th year judging

Updated September 2019

Please add me to the doc chain: charrigan@gmail.com

-- I enjoy all types of debate and have spent a significant amount of time recently working on K stuff on both sides. I also have been deep in the space topic lit and feel ready to judge a technical debate on most of the core mechanics of the topic. It is said often by many, but I really think it is true for me: do your thing, don’t over adapt to me, don’t think that I have strong immutable beliefs about debate/argument based on what you know about me. I, like everyone, do have preferences and prior assumptions about lots of things. They are easily overridden by good debating. I have often voted for arguments that I personally believe are terrible because one team debated better than the other. If you lose to a bad argument, that means you should debate better, not that I should correct for you by suggesting to the other team that their argument is actually bad.

-- I like my paragraphs breaks uncondensed, font to be Times New Roman, highlighting to be blue, and dashes to be tripled. I prefer A2: over AT: out of habit, though it is probably a little too cool-kid-Y2K to be actually correct.

-- I am probably not who you think I am. I was the only person at MSU who enjoyed reading the T.A. McKinney DRG article on Intrinsicness, the only person who wanted to write 2NR blocks on the Fromm 64 Death K, and the only person who wrote ‘growth is bad because diversionary war against North Korea is good’. I am sure that I have opinions about debate that no one else at UK shares. People are more than the name of the school that follows their name and more than what debate’s 4-year-long institutional memories pigeonhole them to be.

-- I prefer to be on the doc chain during the debate and do read docs occasionally during speeches and especially during CX. Yes, I still flow (and I think I flow pretty well since transitioning to using a laptop – would be willing to have a flow-off with anyone. Flowing gauntlet thrown down). No, I don’t let the cards do debating for you even though I have read them. I can both know things are facts and simultaneously know what arguments were and were not made well in debate. I read all the cards in the debate because I want to provide feedback that is as helpful as possible and I want to see if you have good cards that I should go cut later, not because I need to see all the cards to decide who won or lost.

-- I prefer that plans contain a degree of specificity. To me, a plan that simply says ‘the USFG should cooperate with China on X’ does not convey enough information about the mechanism of action to produce a debate of the highest quality on this topic and I would prefer that the plan state how that cooperation should occur or by what means it would be induced. If teams do not choose to specify in the plan or CX, it seems reasonable to allow that matter to be determined by evidence that describes normal means, which either team can introduce. I believe this introduces a strategic cost that is real and should be exploited by more negative teams and could counteract trends toward non-specificity better than relying on Vagueness as a theory argument.

Scott Harris Paradigm

1 rounds

Harris, Scott (University of Kansas)


Please add me to the email chain.

I am a critic of arguments and an educator not a policy maker. I view my role as deciding who did the better job of debating and won the arguments based on what was said in the debate. I have voted for and against just about every kind of argument imaginable. I will read evidence (including non highlighted portions).

I expect debaters to be comprehensible and I have no qualms about telling you if I can’t
understand you. I try my best to resolve a debate based on what the debaters have said in
their speeches. I try not to impose my own perspective on a debate although there is no such thing as a tabula rosa judge and some level of judge intervention is often inevitable to resolve arguments in a debate. Any argument, assumption, or theory is potentially in play. The purpose of my ballot is to say who I think won the debate not to express my personal opinion on an issue. You make arguments and I decide to the best of my ability who won the arguments based on what you said in the debate. I prefer to follow along with your speech docs to double check clarity, to make sure you are reading all of your ev, and to enhance my ability to understand your arguments.

My speaker points tend to reward smart creative arguments and strategies, smart choices in the debate, high quality evidence, the use of humor, the use of pathos, and making the debate an enjoyable experience. My points rarely go below 28 but you need to really impress me to get me into the 29-30 range. I am rarely impressed.

I have judged lots of debates on the topic and have done a fair amount of research related to the topic.

Absent arguments in the debate that convince me otherwise I have some default assumptions you should be aware of:

The aff should be topical and topicality is a voting issue. What it means to be topical is open for debate and for anyone who wants to build their strategy on framework you should know that I often vote aff in framework debates.

The affirmative must win a comparative advantage or an offensive reason to vote affirmative.

Presumption is negative absent a warranted reason for it to shift.

The affirmative does not need a net benefit to a permutation. The negative must win that a counterplan or critique alternative alone is better than the plan or a combination of the plan and counterplan/alternative.

Permutations are a test of competition and not an advocacy.

Teams are culpable for the ethical implications of their advocacy. This means that framework arguments on K's that say "only consequences matter" have an uphill climb with me. Means and ends are both relevant in my default assessment on critical arguments.

Andrew Hart Paradigm

1 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.

David Heidt Paradigm

David Heidt

Carrollton School of the Sacred Heart

NDT 2019 notes:

I have no rounds on the topic and have not done topic research, so please keep that in mind.

Some education topic specific thoughts:

1. I'm ambivalent about the states counterplan. I could easily see myself voting against it on theory, but I think there's a debate to be had and I could also easily see myself voting for it as well. I'm a lot more likely to vote against it the further it gets away from topic literature or a respectable solvency advocate, and a lot less likely to vote against it if the evidence defending it is of high quality.

2. I think critiques are decent on this topic largely because I see critiques as competing strategies for social change, and I think there's pretty good education-topic literature that supports criticism from this perspective and *defends alternatives*. If you can't go for a critique without making it a critique of fiat or saying the word Baudrillard, then I'm unlikely to be the judge for you. But if you research critiques of education policy and defend an alternative method, then I'm very likely to be receptive. My view of critiques depends heavily upon evidence quality, and there were several that were turned out at camps this year that I think were pretty good. How specific is your argument to education reform? If it's about the topic and you have an alternative, you're probably good to go. If it's about cybernetics, you're probably not.

3. While I would like to see a good federalism DA, I have yet to hear one that I did not start at 0% risk and I don't think the 2ac even requires evidence to answer it. It seems pretty bad on this topic, despite being one of the core objections to federal education policy. I don't think this DA is even runnable in the 1nc; at least not the versions I've heard.

4. I like the education topic quite a bit - I think the federal education reform literature is outstanding and I think affirmative teams should defend it. I'm aff-leaning towards my view of the topic as a whole - the literature is pretty heavily aff-biased and the quality of negative generics is much lower than in previous years. But that has two pretty important implications.

First, I'm pretty unsympathetic to aff claims along the lines of "this topic is terrible for the aff; we need an expansive topicality interpretation to be creative". Broad topics are the enemy of education. Broad topics mean the neg goes for garbage like consult. That's not what I want my students to get from debate.

Second, if you're reading an aff without solvency evidence or with internal links that you just made up by mistagging evidence - I'm probably going to think that you haven't met your burden of proof and I'm likely discount it entirely. I think that the risk of both advantages and disadvantages can be - and frequently is - zero. I don't think the judging philosophy that says there's always a small risk of something is very well thought out. Presumably, it would mean that if I carded my own judging philosophy, and flagrantly mistagged the cards to represent an education tradeoff DA, someone subscribing to the 'any risk' view would assign the DA some risk and vote neg on it if it was read as a net benefit to a CP that solved the whole case. While this example might seem absurd, it's not more absurd than some of the aff advantages that were broken at Greenhill this year. It's not more absurd than some politics DAs. Mistagged cards from this very paragraph would probably be of higher quality and represent the source material more accurately than some of the things that people have called advantages and disadvantages over the years.

I don't know why judges assume there's a risk of anything - the whole point of the burden of proof is that it's a BURDEN and the judge needs to be convinced that you're right - we don't just give you the benefit of the doubt. If the standard is merely "they presented some words verbally so there's a risk because the neg didn't have offense", then we've all really failed at our jobs. If you're going to win a risk of an advantage or disadvantage, the minimal burden is (1) it has to make sense, and (2) it must be supported with evidence reflects expertise, data or logic, and does not misrepresent the author.


Generally I try to evaluate arguments fairly and based upon the debaters' explanations of arguments, rather than injecting my own opinions. What follows are my opinions regarding several bad practices currently in debate, but just agreeing with me isn't sufficient to win a debate - you actually have to win the arguments relative to what your opponents said. There are some things I'll intervene about - death good, behavior meant to intimidate or harass your opponents, or any other practice that I think is negative for a high school student classroom setting - but just use some common sense.

Thoughts about critical affs and critiques:

Good debates require two prepared teams. Allowing the affirmative team to not advocate the resolution creates bad debates. There's a disconnect in a frighteningly large number of judging philosophies I've read where judges say their favorite debates are when the negative has a specific strategy against an affirmative, and yet they don't think the affirmative has to defend a plan. This does not seem very well thought out, and the consequence is that the quality of debates in the last few years has declined greatly as judges increasingly reward teams for not engaging the topic.

Fairness is the most important impact. Other judging philosophies that say it's just an internal link are poorly reasoned. In a competitive activity involving two teams, assuring fairness is one of the primary roles of the judge. The fundamental expectation is that judges evaluate the debate fairly; asking them to ignore fairness in that evaluation eliminates the condition that makes debate possible. If every debate came down to whoever the judge liked better, there would be no value to participating in this activity. The ballot doesn't do much other than create a win or a loss, but it can definitely remedy the harms of a fairness violation. The vast majority of other impacts in debate are by definition less important because they never depend upon the ballot to remedy the harm.

Fairness is also an internal link - but it's an internal link to establishing every other impact. Saying fairness is an internal link to other values is like saying nuclear war is an internal link to death impacts. A loss of fairness implies a significant, negative impact on the activity and judges that require a more formal elaboration of the impact are being pedantic.

Arguments along the lines of 'but policy debate is valueless' are a complete nonstarter in a voluntary activity, especially given the existence of multiple alternative forms of speech and debate. Policy debate is valuable to some people, even if you don't personally share those values. If your expectation is that you need a platform to talk about whatever personally matters to you rather than the assigned topic, I encourage you to try out a more effective form of speech activity, such as original oratory. Debate is probably not the right activity for you if the condition of your participation is that you need to avoid debating a prepared opponent.

The phrase "fiat double-bind" demonstrates a complete ignorance about the meaning of fiat, which, unfortunately, appears to be shared by some judges. Fiat is merely the statement that the government should do something, not that they would. The affirmative burden of proof in a debate is solely to demonstrate the government should take a topical action at a particular time. That the government would not actually take that action is not relevant to any judge's decision.

Framework arguments typically made by the negative for critiques are clash-avoidance devices, and therefore are counterproductive to education. There is no merit whatsoever in arguing that the affirmative does not get to weigh their plan. Critiques of representations can be relevant, but only in relation to evaluating the desirability of a policy action. Representations cannot be separated from the plan - the plan is also a part of the affirmative's representations. For example, the argument that apocalyptic representations of insecurity are used to justify militaristic solutions is asinine, given the plan includes a representation of a non-militaristic solution. The plan determines the context of representations included to justify it.

Thoughts about topicality:

Limited topics make for better topics. Enormous topics mean that it's much harder to be prepared, and that creates lower quality debates. The best debates are those that involve extensive topic research and preparation from both sides. Large topics undermine preparation and discourage cultivating expertise. Aff creativity and topic innovation are just appeals to avoid genuine debate.

Thoughts about evidence:

Evidence quality matters. A lot of evidence read by teams this year is underlined in such a way that it's out of context, and a lot of evidence is either badly mistagged or very unqualified. On the one hand, I want the other team to say this when it's true. On the other hand, if I'm genuinely shocked at how bad your evidence is, I will probably discount it.

Scott Herndon Paradigm

Scott Herndon

University of Texas at Dallas, District 3

15 years college judging

Debate is a game. While there are a lot of ways to play the game, it is still just a game and as a fan of the game I like to see it played well. I’m pretty open to most arguments, styles, etc. I’d prefer to see you do what you do well than watch you struggle to adapt to what you perceive to be a style of debate I prefer. With all of that said, below are some general defaults and biases that might hopefully guide your preference making.

Topicality – Is good. AFF’s should be topical or at least tied to the resolution. I’m all for the topical AFF. Of course, I’ve been convinced that topicality is bad or that some very liberal interps of topicality are good. It’s about the debate itself and less about what I might actually think about the nature of your AFF.

Disadvantages / CP – Yes, of course, thank you. I love to hear a specific CP + DA or Case + DA debate. Debate the impacts, frame the issues, tell me how things interact, etc.

Theory – Begins and ends with the AFF/NEG interpretations and the relative desirability of adopting, one or the other, as a lens for resolving questions of competition, fairness, best educational practices, etc. There are some theory objections that are very hard to win with me, for example: PICS Bad, multiple perms bad, are both tough sells.

K’s – Good debate outweighs argument choice. I have no problem voting for K arguments. Honestly, I don’t evaluate most K’s much differently than DA’s or a CP. Compare the impact, make the links explicit, draw on specific link examples, explain how the alternative interacts with the AFF solvency and uniqueness, etc.

Paperless – If you are paperless I ask that you jump or email me your speeches as you are sharing them with the other team.

Evidence – Good evidence is important. I don’t tend to read as many cards as I used to so make sure you are giving me a reason to read your best cards after the debate. Talk about why evidence matters. Compare evidence and qualifications and weigh distinctions. I know. It’s an old fashioned notion.

Please have fun. Please be respectful to each other. Funny can’t hurt. 

James Herndon Paradigm

1 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

1 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.








Al Hiland Paradigm

1 rounds

Debated: UNI 2007-2011

Coached: University of Minnesota 2011-2017

Currently Coach: James Madison University

When evaluating debates I try to privilege the arguments made by debaters in the debate, and attempt to resolve the debate based on those arguments as much as possible.  Which is to say, I attempt to resolve debates to the greatest of my ability by evaluating competing claims rather than relying on my own assumptions.  I do not have any aesthetic or political investment in defending a particular model of debate in how I render decisions, but instead seek to render a decision that reflects my subjective perception of which side did the better debating.  Read: I am as comfortable with debaters who choose to pursue critical lines of argumentation as I am with policy debate.  Where these differing styles meet I decide the debate on the merits of the argument advanced.  The description below is an attempt to sketch my process for deciding which side advances the better argument.

When rendering a decision I begin by evaluating arguments that establish a framework for comparing the impacts advanced by both sides during the debate.  This can be as abstract (from the resolution) as determining whether the arguments in favor of a more fair debate format is more important than a particular kind of education derived from changing the norms of debate, or as concrete as determining whether or not the magnitude of a disadvantage should outweigh the probability of an advantage.  Debaters who emphasize comparing impacts in a manner that is clear, helpful, and grounded in a combination of evidence and the nature of the arguments advanced tend to have more success debating in front of me.

After determining what impacts ought to be prioritized I evaluate whether or not those impacts are valid based on the arguments provided.  This means determining whether a team has sufficiently proven the constituent elements of the individual argument (for instance, the uniqueness/link/impact of a disadvantage) for me to give the argument credence.  One predilection that I have which is unlikely to change is that I do believe that it is possible to win 100% defense against an argument, so debaters should not presume that there is “always a risk” to any claim entered into the debate.

When evaluating individual arguments I usually apply two criteria.  First, is the argument is internally consistent?  Meaning, the argument should have a consistent logic and avoid internal contradictions.  Second, is the argument externally coherent?  Meaning, the argument should be consistent with other claims advanced in the debate and has an (arguably) factual correspondence with reality.  In both of these criteria I emphasize the way the argument is explained by debaters as well as the quality of evidence provided to support that explanation.  Arguments without evidence have value for me, but many claims need evidentiary support in order to satisfy the criteria described above.

Ultimately my decision tends to reflect which team provides the best way to evaluate competing claims where both sides have won at least parts of the position they have advanced.  This almost never reflects an absolute view of the value or validity of the arguments advanced.  Instead, it reflects a contingent decision based on the debate which has taken place in my view based on the process described above.

Other things that debaters should know about me as a judge:

Clarity is important.  While I can flow most speeds I will admit that I am not the fastest around. This is made worse by a lack of clarity. When judging a debate I flow on paper, I do not follow along on speech docs, and I do not look at them during prep time (although I often am on my computer to make comments on the ballot).  I will look at evidence after the debate if necessary to make a decision, but my predisposition is to do so as little as possible. Usually when I do look at evidence it is because of a flowing error on my part or the need to do my own interpretive work due to an error on the part of the debaters.  Debaters are best served to be clear about how I should read a piece of evidence and its significance rather than relying on me to sort it out after the debate.  The more clear that debaters are, both in terms of their speech and the explanation of their argument, the more predictable and consistent I am as a judge.

Cross examination matters for me.  I will take notes, and I will be attentive.  I consider questions asked and answered to be binding pending an explanation or argumentation to the contrary.

I do have a minimum threshold for argument explanation.  Uttering “permutation do both” without any elaboration over the course of the debate is not sufficient, nor is saying “permutation links to the disadvantage.”  I am open to debaters giving more thorough explanations over the course of the debate, but simply relying on the fact that a claim has been uttered is not sufficient, as it is not a complete argument. 

I will follow the directions provided by debaters on how to treat arguments.  For example, if a theoretical objection is raised as “reject the team” I will treat it as such unless it is challenged.  Additionally, in keeping with my minimum threshold for argument, an instruction should come with a justification for why that direction makes sense. Similarly, I will not “judge kick” an argument for a team unless directed to do so, and that instruction is not challenged. 

I believe that presumption follows from the burden of rejoinder.  The affirmative has the burden to respond to the resolution, and I presume to vote negative unless the affirmative succeeds in responding.  Subsequently I presume affirmative until the negative has provided a competitive option. 

Debaters should not presume that I know anything of substance about goings on in the debate community.  That is to say, if the community has decided that a particular argument is a bad one, or that an affirmative is decidedly not topical, that I am unlikely to be clued in to that decision. 

Speaker points are at my discretion.  That said I modulate the scale quite a bit to account for division and the size/norms of the tournament.  I do very occasionally use them as a way to indicate my displeasure, usually at how a debater treats their peers (I think I’ve done this all of three times in as many years).


Derek Hilligoss Paradigm

1 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 :)

David Hingstman Paradigm

David B. Hingstman, University of Iowa, 28 years coaching


I am UNLIKELY to do the following things that other judges sometimes do to decide close rounds, with the exception of particularly egregious situations: (A) completely accept or ignore one side's story on judge role, links, link turns, uniqueness, and risk assessment; (B) discount one side's story on these issues on the grounds that I didn't understand it sufficiently; (C) assume that each side wins "some" link or "some" link turn to their arguments in spite of very strong uniqueness or argument thesis challenges and then weigh the personal importance of a priori considerations or the size of the impacts for empirical arguments or the in a rough fashion; (D) apply strict standards of "newness" to discount arguments in rebuttal speeches other than 2AR; or (E) vote on an argument with an underdeveloped warrant (“one line cheap shot”) because the other team may have undercovered it, especially if an argument elsewhere in the debate takes it into account.

I am LIKELY to resolve close debates by using two steps: (I) devising an overarching story on major issues or on subsidiary parts of major issues that gives some credence to both sides' final positions on that issue but shows why one side's position ultimately becomes more relevant to drawing a particular conclusion on that issue; (II) if necessary, checking the relationship between particular claims and the evidential and argumentative support for those claims when that relationship is contested. You can increase your chance of winning my ballot if you make a special effort to: (a) understand the other side's arguments [ALL OF THEM]; (b) use labels that explain your arguments or give one sentence of explanation between label and card; (c) figure out what both sides agree on for any issue or argument you want to extend and use that agreement to coopt the other side's position; (d) assess issues in the last rebuttal under the worst-case assumption that I will give the other side's position on each issue some consideration and be willing to concede those arguments that are not critical to a favorable assessment for you; and (e) explain why an argument made in 1NR, 1AR, or 2NR is illegitimately new and then answer the argument anyway. If you do not provide me with explanations on subissues that subsume and reconcile the opposing arguments, I will look for that explanation by thinking about the arguments or by looking at the evidence.

TOPICALITY: I treat it like other issues in the debate, by synthesizing the competing stories. I am a little less likely than the average judge who vote negative on topicality to vote on debatability problems alone. I prefer topicality standards that focus on grammatical or jurisdictional arguments. I think affirmatives can do themselves a favor by having a counterinterpretation of the terms at issue or a critique of topicality. To me, this is offense, and offense is good.

COUNTERPLANS AND KRITIKS: I try to avoid voting on predispositions about the legitimacy of counterplan strategies (agents, PICs, international fiat, conditionality, etc.) and critique strategies (performance, epistemological objections, actional alternatives, forum arguments, etc.). Be sure to make the arguments about why I should abandon the default decision-making paradigm below if it is necessary to make your strategies work (that is, what is my revised role as a judge under your worldview). In the last four years, I have voted quite often for well-developed critiques and critical affirmatives.

DECISION-MAKING PARADIGM: The default paradigm is traditional policy-making, unless you ask for and ultimately better defend theoretical justification for some other paradigm in the debate. I am familiar and comfortable with functioning in different paradigms, however, including critical paradigms. Both teams can increase their chances of winning debates considerably by emphasizing “offense” in their responses whenever possible.


NEW ARGUMENTS: I am not as strict as some judges about possibly “new” arguments in the 1AR or 2NR, given that the other side has a chance to respond. 2AR is a different story. I am unlikely to accept a 2AR concession or cross-application not forecasted in the 1AR unless there is NO reasonably conceivable response the negative could have made to undercut the shift. The same standard applies to new arguments in 2AR.

STYLE AND CROSS-EX: I penalize stylistic excesses and rudeness in speaker points, not in the decision. Evidence misuse penalties vary according to the seriousness of the distortion. The significance of cross-x answers should be developed in the speeches, although I listen to and flow cross-ex to check for possible concessions.


Kevin Hirn Paradigm

1 rounds

Program Manager and Assistant Debate Coach, University of Michigan

Debate Coach, Whitney Young High School

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

1) Tech v. Truth

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

2) General Philosophical Disposition

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

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

3) Topicality and Specification

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

4) Risk Assessment

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

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

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

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

5) Counterplans

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

6) Politics

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

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

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

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

7) Framework/Non-Traditional Affs

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

8) Kritiks (vs policy affs)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

9) Kritiks (vs K affs)

Anything goes!

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

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

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

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

10) Addendum: Random Thoughts from Random Topics

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

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

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

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

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

John Holland Paradigm

1 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

1 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.

Josh Imes Paradigm

1 rounds

Updated March 2019

New School Debater 2007-2010 / New School Coach 2010-2014 / WVU Coach 2014-2019

Please feel free to do what you are most comfortable with. I have a reputation for being very critically oriented, but I feel as if I vote for policy arguments more and more. I am still pretty far left of center, but not as far left as I was when I first started. I will not, however vote for arguments that I find morally repugnant. If you don't know what those things might be, then "better safe than sorry" might be a good strat.

Some general comments that will help you understand how I feel about certain parts of the debate. I think that a compelling, developed argument without cards will often beat a highly carded, poorly explained argument in almost every case. If you can make smart arguments and analytics, then I am probably going to be persuaded by you. I don't think that every arguments needs to have a card to be true, and I don't think an unwarranted card makes a bad argument true.

A few technical things: I vote more and more on my flow than on my overall perception of a debate. If I don't know what you're saying, then you should probably be clearer or slow down. I don't want to read a lot of cards after the round, but I will read important ones that you tell me to if you explain why I have to read that card. Tell me that it directly answers their important cards, or that it is the best piece of evidence that shows why you win, or that it's written by an author I like, and then I'll probably read it. When it comes to the end of the debate, give me specific ways to vote for you. The easier you make it on me, the more likely I'll be to vote for you.

T- I used to be very biased towards T arguments, but I am less so now. I think that T arguments can devolve into blippy extensions of a three word definition. Those are the kinds of T debates I dislike. If there is a specific reason why an interpretation changes the way an aff functions, then I am open to that debate. I think that an argument over "how much is substaintial" is not particularly useful. I am completely fine with non-topical affs, in fact I like them a lot. With that having been said, with great power comes great responsibility and that responsibility is often answering T and FW. For me, “T is fascist” is not enough. You need to explain why you need to be non-topical and why a topical version of your plan is a bad idea. I am more likely to buy abuse stories that involve education in a coherent way, saying non-topical plans kill education is not enough, explain how that type of education is bad, and why a topical version might work better, or just a modified version. If you are going for the "topical version" argument, then you should probably have an example of what a topical version would be.

FW- I default to the framework of the aff unless the neg on face challenges it, but the aff also has to defend their framework and answer the other team’s objections with substantive answers, “aff choice” isn’t enough. If they want to use USFG policy to do something, then so be it. If they want to use themselves as agents, then that is good too. You have to defend which option you choose. I feel that debates about debate can be important and useful, but only if they are substantive and meaningful (I don’t find the Shively “Euthanasia” card falls into those categories).

DA’s- As a debater, I never read DAs, but I am becoming more comfortable with them. I don't do tons of policy research every day, so I may not know every scenario currently being read. That only means that it is the neg's responsibility to explain the story of the disad and the warrants of the cards. This is the bare minimum for any argument. I am sympathetic to K’s of DA’s, so be warned. That doesn't mean that I have an aff bias on disads, but that I am more familiar with the literature critiquing them than the uniqueness card you cut last night. Just one thing that might help you out, I am pretty willing to buy a “try or die” situation against a DA if there is not enough impact work done. This is especially true absent a CP. If it comes to Plan v. DA, I’m probably going to pick plan unless you explain to me why I can’t. If you make it seem like the plan action will certainly lead to the demise of the entire world then there should be some seemingly factual warrants to why this is the case (remember this doesn't have to be a card, see above).

CP’s- Competition is key. Explaining it is even better. There needs to be a clear discussion to how the CP competes and is net beneficial to the aff. I need a clear net benefit and why that is more important than plan action. I also need clear explanation on the Perm debate. Each Perm should be answered individually or group for some logical reason. Do not make a Perm argument on one perm, drop the others and then pretend you answered them all. I flow your answers on the specific Perm you mention. Be clear and be precise on the Perm debate. I will get to theory below.

K’s- I said at the top I was a K debater, so if you are a K team, this is a blessing and a curse. I will be automatically more attracted to these arguments, but will also hold them to a higher standard. Don’t expect that I know what you’re talking about even if I do. I try my best to only evaluate the arguments made, not what I know about the philosopher/philosophies you are citing. You will win easily if you explain how your arguments function in relation to the other team’s arguments. You will lose easily if you throw out high theory jargon and expect me to connect the dots.

Theory- I don’t particularly like it because it always seems to be lacking. Are multiple perms really that detrimental to anybody? Does it really skew your time that much to answer “do both” and “do the plan, then the alt?” I’ve never seen a really good theory debate and I don’t want to see a lot of bad ones to find a good one. If it’s something you like to do, then do it, but you’re really going to have to sell me on why your scripted block beats their scripted block. One way to do this is give specific examples to the debate you're in. I will be much more likely to buy your theory argument if you make it seem like X thing is bad always, but in this round it is just egregious.

Non-Topical Affs- These are the affs I have the most experience with and what I am used to judging. If you are the team that is looking for the straight up policy debate judge that just finished spending his Friday night cutting politics updates, I am not the judge for you. If you are the K team that is looking for the person that won't automatically vote them down for not being topical, then I am the judge for you.

I think that debate should be much more of an open space than it is. Just because something isn't what you do, doesn't make it automatically wrong and if you debate in front of me with that mentality, you will probably lose. Engaging arguments is the most important part of debate for me.

William Jensen Paradigm

1 rounds

Judge Philosophy – Will Mosley-Jensen

Edited 9-19-12


1.            Win an impact. (If you can’t do that, join the band)

2.            Compare that to the impact you think they win.

3.            Compare evidence in steps 1 & 2.

4.            If you are fast repeat steps 1-3. If not focus your efforts on steps 1-2 with a sprinkling of step 3.

5.            Have Fun! Clarity, Humor, and Civility all help your speaker points.

6.            Specificity > Generality



General Comments

When making a decision there are three factors that precede other considerations first, the status of direct counter-arguments, has an argument been dropped; second, the quality of evidence supporting an argument, is the evidence superior, average or inconclusive; and third, the correspondence of an argument to reality (or the relative “truth” of an argument).

It is important to note that none of these factors is fixed prior to any given debate, but rather that the debate itself determines them. I should also hope that it is clear that my ordering of these factors represents merely my fallback position if there is no re-ordering argued for in a debate. Some of the factors, such as evidence quality could, and should, be a part of the ways that debaters compare their arguments and establish the relative priority of their argument. If this is not done in a debate, then I will evaluate the debate utilizing the order that I have established.

Specificity is important in all debates. If you say that your disadvantage “turns the case” because Romney will destroy hegemony, then it is probably important to compare this warrant to the affirmative warrant for why they solve for US credibility abroad. The best debates are a comparison of warrants; the worst debates a battle of claims, with most debates falling somewhere in the middle.


Topicality debates-

Against Non-traditional (not topical and proud of it) teams

I find that I have a very strong bias that affirmatives should be topical. Most of the reasons that teams advance for why they do not need to fulfill this most central of affirmative burdens pre-suppose several problematic propositions. First, that there is some value that is external to the debate community that can be gained from not affirming the topic. Second, that participation in debate trades-off with other types of activism, rather than occupying a supplementary role. Third, that the value of debate is not intrinsically tied to the identification of a common topic of discussion. Finally and most heinously, that debate is sustainable without the minimum of fairness that is provided by having a shared topic. These assumptions seem to me to be easily answered by a team that is properly prepared.

Against traditional (ostensibly topical) teams

A well-executed topicality argument is one of the most enjoyable debates to judge or watch in my opinion. If it is thoroughly researched and considered by the negative, topicality can represent a strategic tool in a wide variety of debates.

That said, I think that the negative needs to clearly articulate the method of evaluating topicality, and avoid statements in other parts of the debate that question the assumption of the competing interpretations framework. It is not unusual to hear a negative argue that “hard debate is good debate” on conditionality and then extend a topicality argument that is based on some trivial loss of ground.  Affirmative teams should capitalize on such inconsistencies when arguing that their interpretation does not make debate impossible but improves it by creating strategic bottlenecks for the negative.

 Framework debates-


I find that these debates usually come down to what the role of the critic should be. Namely, should the role of the critic be that of an impartial observer that evaluates the relative advantages and disadvantages of government action versus the status quo or a competitive policy option or should the role of the critic be something else? I can be persuaded that this role includes things not traditionally associated with the assumption that I am an impartial observer, but it helps if you provide some specific articulation of the benefits of deviating from the accepted norm. I enjoy policy debates and am sympathetic to a well-argued defense of the educational and fairness benefits of this approach. I will say that most of the time if the affirmative defends a topical plan that is usually enough to facilitate a productive debate, and in that case it is generally wise to question the solvency of the affirmative. In other words, if the affirmative team has read a topical plan text and the crux of your negative framework argument is “they are not policy enough,” I am likely to vote affirmative.


I am pretty firmly rooted in a Western metaphysics of presence and the value of enlightenment rationality. I am also of the mind that adjudicating debates requires assumptions of rationality and so if you want me to adopt a different framework of evaluation it will require some pretty solid reasons on your part. That is not to say I do not enjoy critical debates, there are some fine criticisms that are firmly grounded in modernity. If you are going for a criticism in front of me, it is likely that I have at least a passing familiarity with the foundational literature of your argument (I got my B.A. in philosophy and my M.A in rhetoric) but that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t go out of your way to explain the specific application to the affirmative. Similarly if you are reading a critical affirmative you should be careful to explain the reasons that your affirmative renders parts, or all, of the negative’s strategy irrelevant. For example if you are arguing that epistemological considerations precede policy considerations you should explain the nature of that relationship.



In most circumstances when negatives read counterplans that are questionably competitive/legitimate (process, consult, conditioning) I find that aff teams are unwilling to engage in a protracted procedural debate and so become competitive/legitimate by default. Usually going for a permutation is a time intensive process, but can be rewarding if you spend the time to work through the competition theory that purportedly supports the negative’s counterplan. Advancing theory on a counterplan should always include controlling not only the specifics of the theory debate, but also the meta-questions. For example, a robust defense of competing interpretations is generally necessary for the affirmative to win that multiple conditional counterplans are a voting issue. Most affirmative teams tend to simply spot the negative that it is not a question of competing interpretations but rather a question of whether the counterplan makes debate impossible for the affirmative (which almost no counterplans, save fiating the object of the resolution, do).

Speaker Points

Although debate is a competitive activity that doesn’t mean that people can’t be civil with each other. Your comportment during a round can easily affect your speaker points as much as the quality of your arguments. Debate is a fun, rewarding activity and the people that I regard with the most respect are not only great debaters but great people as well.


Korey Johnson Paradigm

1 rounds


BY Audre Lorde


The difference between poetry and rhetoric

is being ready to kill


instead of your children.


I am trapped on a desert of raw gunshot wounds

and a dead child dragging his shattered black

face off the edge of my sleep

blood from his punctured cheeks and shoulders

is the only liquid for miles

and my stomach

churns at the imagined taste while

my mouth splits into dry lips

without loyalty or reason

thirsting for the wetness of his blood

as it sinks into the whiteness

of the desert where I am lost

without imagery or magic

trying to make power out of hatred and destruction

trying to heal my dying son with kisses

only the sun will bleach his bones quicker.


A policeman who shot down a ten year old in Queens

stood over the boy with his cop shoes in childish blood

and a voice said “Die you little motherfucker” and

there are tapes to prove it. At his trial

this policeman said in his own defense

“I didn't notice the size nor nothing else

only the color”. And

there are tapes to prove that, too.


Today that 37 year old white man

with 13 years of police forcing

was set free

by eleven white men who said they were satisfied

justice had been done

and one Black Woman who said

“They convinced me” meaning

they had dragged her 4'10'' black Woman's frame

over the hot coals

of four centuries of white male approval

until she let go

the first real power she ever had

and lined her own womb with cement

to make a graveyard for our children.


I have not been able to touch the destruction

within me.

But unless I learn to use

the difference between poetry and rhetoric

my power too will run corrupt as poisonous mold

or lie limp and useless as an unconnected wire

and one day I will take my teenaged plug

and connect it to the nearest socket

raping an 85 year old white woman

who is somebody's mother

and as I beat her senseless and set a torch to her bed

a greek chorus will be singing in 3/4 time


“Poor thing. She never hurt a soul. What beasts they are.”

Willie Johnson Paradigm

1 rounds

I feel the need to fix this huge communication issue in the debate community it will start with my judging philosophy. If you are a debater who say any of the following "Obama is president solves for racism" or "we are moving towards less racism cause of Obama or LBS" and the opposing team reading a racism arg/advantage or colorblindness I will instantly vote you down with 25 points for the debater who said it.

Jumping: Novice please don't but if you must which you all will you have 20 seconds after you call for prep to be stop till I consider it stealing prep and instead of restarting prep I will just measure it by the ticker timer in my head (which you do not want). I suggest that you carry a debate jump drive, viewing computer or the cloud system. For Open debaters I get even more angry with the lack of competence you guys have with being responsible when it comes to jumping files and card. I have a soft warmness for debaters who are mostly paper and may involve me smiling like a boy with a crush don't be alarmed it is just me remembering my old days.

Speaking: I believe that clarity comes before all other ideals of what we often fantasize a good speaker to be, a debater has to be clear so that I spend more time analyzing and processing what is said then trying to comprehend what the hell is being said. This helps in the rebuttals when there is more cross applying of arguments instead of me sitting there trying to ponder what argument reference is being made. Speed is something I can adjust to not my general forte yet if you are clear I can primarily make easier adjustments (look I sound like a damn metronome). I tend to give hints towards the wrongs and rights in the round so I won’t be put off if you stare at me every now and then. Debates should be a game of wit and word that upholds morals of dignity and respect do not be rude and or abrasive please respect me, the other team, your partner and of course yourself

The Flow: My hand writing is atrocious just incredibly horrible for others at least I generally flow tags, authors and major warrants in the world of traditional debate. Outside of that with all the other formats poetry, performance, rap, theatricals and so forth I just try to grasp the majority of the speech incorporating the main idea

The K: yeah I so love the K being from a UDL background and having running the K for a majority of my debate career, yet don't let that be the reason you run the K I believe that a great K debate consist of a in-depth link explanation as well as control of the clash. There should be Impact calculus that does more then tell me what the impact is but a justification for how it functionally shapes the round which draws me to have a complete understanding of the Alt versus the plan and there must be some idea of a solvency mechanism so that the k is just simply not a linear disad forcing me to rethink or reform in the status quo (K= reshape the Squo)

The T debate: First I find it extremely hard to remember in my entire debate career where I cast a ballot for topicality alone yet it is possible to get a T ballot you must have a clear abuse story I will not evaluate T if there is not a clear abuse story. Voters are my best friend and will become a prior if well explained and impacted, yet I do believe education and fairness have extreme value just want to know why.

The D/A: Well I actually find myself voting more on the Disad then the K I just think that the disad debate offers more tools for the neg then the K yet it is the debater who optimize these tools that gain my ballot, link debates should contain at least a specific link as well as a an established Brink generic links are not good enough to win a D/A ballot and any good aff team will destroy a a generic link unless there is some support through a link wall. Impact debates must be more than just nuke war kills all you have to place comparative value to the status quo now and after plan passage. Yet a disad is an easier win with the advantages of solvency deficits and the option of competitive counter plans.

The Counter Plan: Competition is key if there is no proof that the end result is not uniquely different from the aff plan it is less likely to capture my ballot. So C/P solvency and competition is where my voter lies on the C/P flow this involves establishing and controlling the clash on the net benefit. PIC's usually rely on proving that the theoretical value of competition is worth my jurisdiction.

Theory: cross apply T only thing with a theory debate that is different is you must be able to show in where the violation actually happens yet I find theory to be easy outs to traditional clash.

Framework: this is where my jurisdiction truly falls and it is the teams’ job to not only introduce the functioning framework but to uphold and defend that their framework is worth singing my ballot towards. I have no set idea of a framework coming into the round your job is to sell me to one and by any means my job is not to look at what framework sounds good but which is presented in a manner that avoids judges intervention (really just the team that prevents me from doing the bulk of the work if any).

In general: I love a good old debate round with tons of clash and where there is an understanding and display of your own intellect I find it hard to judge a round where there is just a display of how well a team can read and make reference to evidence, usually I hope that ends or is done less coming out of the 1AR. I'm a man who finds pleasure in the arts and execution of organic intellect and can better give my decision and opinion based mainly on how one relates back to competitive debate, if debate for you is a card game then it forces me to have to make decision based off my comprehension of the evidence and trust me that is never a good thing, yet a round where the discussion is what guides my ballot I can vote on who upholds the best discursive actions.

Anthony Joseph Paradigm

1 rounds

I think specific development of argumentation is good debate and how that is evaluated by adjudicators is important.

What that means is that I think that every debate/r/r(s) must make complete arguments, not to say that you shouldn’t pref me if you aren’t going to make an incomplete argument but that you should try your best to include a claim a warrant and an impact for your arguments.

the claim is what you are trying to say, the specific argument that you want me to understand
the warrant being a reason for why that point is being made, where is the claim being made?
the impact – what about that makes the status quo worse, what about that specific claim is uq to your impact story.

without pinpointing in the affirmative or the negatives model for [x y z/ CP, T, DA, K FW, Case] you will most likely already be behind.

I need you to know the evidence you are reading, too much debaters are just reading evidence and reading new

evidence I don’t know why that is, I think that if you started actually teasing out arguments instead of relying on your

coaches blocks debates would go a lot further in the long run. I think that you also need to be able to refute and defend

an arguments against the opponents best arguments at the end of the day,

if you are confused about why your strategy didn’t work in front of me its probably because

you spoke too fast in your computer at lightning speed,
you didn’t catch my side cues about being oddly annoyed at you not recognizing my cues, or its because
you didn’t frame how I should evaluate arguments.

All good debate requires CLASH – you cannot win debates by just extending your own arguments you must make responsive arguments to very hyper specific arguments that the other team is extending as well you must use the same formula for making your own arguments in order to respond to the other teams arguments.

If you are not doing this then even if you read performance arguments, identity politics, etc – you are already behind because debate is about models and its about testing, so even if your aff or alternative or model or anything else is independently being debated then you are losing the debate already –

T/fw Aff – I think that critical affirmatives if you aren’t going for a general impact turn story, I need you to tell me what the aff and the neg ground looks like under your interp, I need reasons to prefer your counter interp over their interp and I need you to tell me why the affirmative needed to be read on the aff specifically outside some tautology about the overrepresentation of framework itself. If you don’t do those things and you say- “they could have read Baudrillard, feminism, k links” and only go for K debate is good then you are already behind in the debate. Iterative testing has to be answered, why does your aff not have to be tested if its in debate, and also you have to answer what type of debates the affirmatives interp preserves what type of education if any is necessary to preserve on your side. Also you have to impact turn the mechanism of their education as well, whatever that might be.

T /fw Neg – I am starting to be persuaded by the argument that the affirmative shouldn’t be the only version / we should have more debates over the affirmative/ testing args more and more, however actually nuanced discussion about the types of debates that your tva preserves would be good. It need to be actually engaging with the brim surface of the K lit so it needs to be more inclusive of just the aff against a really good critical team, it needs to be about the other types of affs you include and the types of debates you preserve as well.
Fairness isn’t really my thing, although, whatever.

DA – PTX is really the only DA I am having trouble getting when read against K teams – like I get the theoretical necessity of it, but its never really debated about the merits of the internal link between the aff and maybe an example of how the affirmative itself links to the da if you choose to go for it, if that makes any sense. Who knows. Besides that I think the 2nr usually ends up losing to the aff o/w because of a lack of impact comparison.

CP – love CP’s need more of them. Theory on the CP is always again debated too fast and so it ends up losing to impact turns/ aff o/w

K- I really am starting to hate the K, meaningless debates happening all around.. Stop reading overviews, you don’t use them ever again. Its annoying after the seventeenth time. The most interesting thing that never is discussed is the permutation debate – also a lot of shallow debating happening – 13 second links are das to the perm aren’t actually das to the perm, or combined is just 1 da to the perm, maybe.. without an impact story.
I like good alt work, I don’t know if teams are even good at going for the links in the 2nr as linear da, so if you kick the alt have a good reason.
FW is super important, so you should probably spend more time using your overview to indict the affirmatives ethics/ model of action

The link debate – somehow you all have forgotten how to extend links on the k – you can use the same formula at the top for making an argument here, except I also need to know at the end for the claim warrant impact about why it turns the affirmative, you must also label the links and also keep up with the arguments that other teams are making under specific links, it just would make for better debates if the vast amount of arguments were being debated out instead of having me sort through it with no framing and then the subsequent frustration that results becomes an echo chamber for worse dialogue and argument development.

If you are not making substantive link arguments in the 2nr, and you did a great job in the 2nc and you lose, don’t ask me why. If you said we don’t have to re-spin the wheel, but you didn’t answer the 2ac argument on the K, the 1ar argument they made to link turn the k, but they didn’t answer the link and you have no framing for how to resolve either of those things, im most likely going to vote aff unless something horrific happens I’m down for any argument if explained well.

I enjoy thorough debating, so if the merits of the debate were framed in a more digestible way, for me that is critical. Im down for most things, except for like high speed debates without blocks where debaters believe that judges get every word on their paper and then have the audacity to get upset in the post round – Please come correct, do something to ease the judges inevitable lack of translating every word on the paper, and maybe it would help you in the long run.

im giving speaks based on how well you debate- it has everything and nothing to do with your speaking in the 1ac and 1nc – that speech is hard but instead of walking around with your friends maybe you could be warming up because that’s what you came here to do.
And CX is really a waste of time these days – you don’t even extend it in the speech

I will not judge kick arguments based on my own preference, sorry that seems like the ultimate line to cross.
Can we start writing our prep on the board from now on, the stealing prep isn’t even being done in high fashion, if you want to steal from the academy can you at least not get caught. Ffs

Theory – if you speed through your theory without giving the blocks and you are looking at me for some response – please see my emails: I have two;


- abolitionistjoseph@gmail.com

Please come to the debate to have fun, with the desire to win the debate, or have fun.

Jacob Justice Paradigm

1 rounds

Debated in high school for Dexter High School. Debated 5 years at Wayne State University. Masters student at the University of Kansas.

Put me on the email chain, please. jakejustice65 at gmail. 

First things first:

1) Do what you're best at. As a judge, I should adapt to you and not the other way around.

2) Arguments should have a claim, warrant, and implication. Any argument that contains a claim, data (this doesn't mean carded), warrant and implication is fair game for my ballot.

3) A dropped argument is almost always a true argument. The most common exception is if the original argument did not include the requirements in #2, in which case I might give the team that dropped the arg some leeway in hedging against an entirely new warrant or implication. Tech creates "truth". What is "truth" is contingent on arguments made (and won). I often find myself voting for arguments that I disagree with or find silly when one side executes better. 

4) This is a communication activity, so clarity is important to me. I like being able to hear the text of evidence as it is being read. Enunciate! Don't talk into your laptop or read like a robot.

General Notes:

Context always matters. Controlling the contextual framing almost always requires hard pre-round work, and usually wins the round. I value teams that demonstrate robust knowledge of their arguments and the topic.

Clash matters a lot to me. I'm not a good judge for teams whose strategy is built around avoiding a debate. This is true regardless of which side of the K/policy spectrum any given argument falls on.

Impact comparisons are critical, no matter what flavor of debate you engage in. Does negative flexibility outweigh 2AC strategy skew? Are the 1AC’s methodological assumptions a prior question to its pragmatic implications? Does a long term warming impact outweigh a quick nuclear war scenario? In a close round, the team that provides the clearest and most well-explained answer to questions like those usually wins my ballot.

In general, it is better to a develop a small number of arguments in an in-depth manner than to develop a large number of arguments in a shallow manner, although there are certainly exceptions to this rule. Selective rebuttals are typically the most effective. That being said, I recognize the strategic benefit of the 1AR pursuing a handful of lines of argument to give the 2AR flexibility to pick-and-choose.

After judging a year of college debates, I think my biggest pet peeve is vagueness -- be that a vague plan, vague CP, or vague alt. Being clear and detailed is helpful to me as a judge.


See: my previous thoughts about clash.

Teams should defend an example of the resolution. I don't think being topical is an unreasonable expectation when the resolution does not force you to take a conservative or repugnant action (i.e., when legalizing pot or closing military bases is topical).

It is important for affirmatives to demonstrate that their advocacy is germane to the controversy of the resolution and contestable. Affirmatives should explain what type of ground they make available to the negative, and not just by referring to random author names. In other words, it's much more helpful when the affirmative frames the ground debate in terms of: "our affirmative relies on *X* assumption, which *Y* literature base writes evidence refuting" rather than just saying "you can read Baudrillard, Bataille, etc."

Teams should articulate a clear vision of what debate would look like under their interpretation. Ideally, teams should present a clear answer to questions like: "what is the purpose of debate?" Is it a game? A site for activism? Somewhere in between?

I don't think reading topicality is a means to evade clash with the substance of an affirmative -- in many instances it calls core assumptions of the affirmative into question. 

Interacting with your opponents' argument is critical. It's important to isolate a clear impact to your argument and explain how it accesses/turns your opponents. Often times I find these debates to be irreconcilable because the arguments advanced by either side have disparate premises. It can be helpful to not conflate procedural justifications for topicality with normative ones, though the internal links to these things often become messy.

I am disinclined to view debate as a role-playing exercise.


I will definitely vote on it, and I have done so often. I am not a good judge for "should = past tense of shall", "reduce =/= eliminate" and other contrived interpretations negatives read against obviously topical affs. For instance, it will be difficult to convince me that an affirmative which removes the Cuban embargo is untopical, absent a massive technical error. That being said I am willing to vote on T, given that an interpretation, violation, standards, and voters are well articulated. Affirmatives should always make and extend a counter-interpretation.

Theory –

It will be tough to persuade me that two conditional advocacies is egregious and unmanageable for the 2AC. Beyond that is pushing your luck.

Basically every other theoretical objection is a reason to reject the argument, not the team.

I haven't formed a solid opinion on "judge kicking" CPs, but since the aff has the burden of proof in most theory debates, I think I am comfortable putting the burden on the aff to prove why the 2NR can't simultaneously go for a CP and the SQ.

-Consult/Condition/Delay CPs – I tend to consider these types of CPs uncompetitive, and am thus receptive to perm arguments. That being said, there is a big difference in my mind between “Consult Japan on the plan” and well-evidenced CP’s that are comparative between doing the plan unconditionally, and using the plan as leverage. The latter brand of condition CP’s are few and far between.


Given my disposition to view things within a cost-benefit paradigm, I am likely to frame the critique as a disad / counterplan. This basic calculus will be different based upon the framework arguments advanced by the negative regarding ontology, epistemology, method, etc.

When indicting an affirmative's knowledge production or epistemology is imperative that you reference quotes or phrases from the 1AC which you think are flawed. It is also imperative that affirmatives defend the truth value of their 1AC's claims from these types of epistemological attacks.

I feel most comfortable in K rounds that involve a lot of interaction with the plan, the advantages, or explicit 1AC claims. There should be a coherent link, impact, and alternative. Don't assume I know what you are talking about.

Affs are best answering the K at the alt and impact level as the neg will almost certainly win a link. Articulating why the alt doesn't solve the case and why the case outweighs the K impacts is usually the best strategy. I am also a fan of the impact turn.

K links should ideally establish that the 1AC/plan is undesirable, not merely that it doesn't account for every foreseeable harm. I.E. links that say: "the plan makes racism worse" are more persuasive than "the plan does not address other instances of racism."

Aaron Kall Paradigm

1 rounds

Director of Debate at The University of Michigan

General Judging Paradigm- I think debate is an educational game. Someone once told me
that there are three types of judges: big truth, middle truth, and little truth judges. I would
definitely fall into the latter category. I don’t think a two hour debate round is a search for
the truth, but rather a time period for debaters to persuade judges with the help of
evidence and analytical arguments. I have many personal biases and preferences, but I try
to compartmentalize them and allow the debate to be decided by the debaters. I abhor
judge intervention, but do realize it becomes inevitable when debaters fail to adequately
resolve the debate. I am a very technical and flow-oriented judge. I will not evaluate
arguments that were in the 2AR and 2AC, but not the 1AR. This is also true for
arguments that were in the 2NR and 1NC, but not in the negative block.

Counterplans/Theory- I would consider myself liberal on theory, especially regarding
plan-inclusive counterplans. Usually, the negative block will make ten arguments
theoretically defending their counterplan and the 1AR will only answer eight of them- the
2NR will extend the two arguments that were dropped, etc. and that’s usually good
enough for me. I have often voted on conditionality because the Aff. was technically
superior. If you’re Aff. and going for theory, make sure to answer each and every
negative argument. I am troubled by the recent emergence of theory and procedural
debates focusing on offense and defense. I don’t necessarily think the negative has to win
an offensive reason why their counterplan is theoretically legitimate- they just have to
win that their counterplan is legitimate. For the Aff., I believe that permutations must
include all of the plan and all or part of the counterplan. I think the do the counterplan
permutation is silly and don’t think it’s justified because the negative is conditional, etc. I
do realize this permutation wins rounds because it’s short and Neg. teams sometimes fail
to answer it. On the issue of presumption, a counterplan must provide a reason to reject
the Aff. Finally, I think it’s illegitimate when the Aff. refuses to commit to their agent for
the explicit purpose of ducking counterplans, especially when they read solvency
evidence that advocates a particular agent. This strategy relies on defending the theory of
textual competition, which I think is a bad way of determining whether counterplans

Topicality- When I debated, I commonly ran Affirmatives that were on the fringe of what
was considered topical. This was probably the reason I was not a great topicality judge
for the negative my first few years of judging college debate. Beginning this year, I have
noticed myself voting negative on topicality with greater frequency. In the abstract, I
would prefer a more limited topic as opposed to one where hundreds of cases could be
considered topical. That being said, I think topicality often seems like a strategy of
desperation for the negative, so if it’s not, make sure the violation is well developed in
the negative block. I resolve topicality debates in a very technical manner. Often it
seems like the best Affirmative answers are not made until the 2AR, which is probably
too late for me to consider them.

Kritiks- If I got to choose my ideal debate to judge, it would probably involve a politics
or other disadvantage and a case or counterplan debate. But, I do realize that debaters get
to run whatever arguments they want and strategy plays a large role in argument
selection. I have probably voted for a kritik about a half of dozen times this year. I never
ran kritiks when I debated and I do not read any philosophy in my free time. Kritik
rhetoric often involves long words, so please reduce your rate of speed slightly so I can
understand what you are saying. Kritiks as net-benefits to counterplans or alternatives
that have little or no solvency deficit are especially difficult for Affirmatives to handle.
Evidence Reading- I read a lot of evidence, unless I think the debate was so clear that it’s
not necessary. I won’t look at the un-underlined parts of cards- only what was read into
the round. I am pretty liberal about evidence and arguments in the 1AR. If a one card
argument in the 1NC gets extended and ten more pieces of evidence are read by the
negative block, the 1AR obviously gets to read cards. I think the quality of evidence is
important and feel that evidence that can only be found on the web is usually not credible
because it is not permanent nor subject to peer review. I wish there would be more time
spent in debates on the competing quality of evidence.

Cheap Shots/Voting Issues- These are usually bad arguments, but receive attention
because they are commonly dropped. For me to vote on these arguments, they must be
clearly articulated and have a competent warrant behind them. Just because the phrase
voting issue was made in the 1AR, not answered by the 2NR, and extended by the 2AR
doesn’t make it so. There has to be an articulated link/reason it’s a voting issue for it to
be considered.

Pet Peeves- Inefficiency, being asked to flow overviews on separate pieces of paper, 2NRs that go for too much, etc.

Seasonal voting record:

Viveth Karthikeyan Paradigm

1 rounds

I do want to be on the email chains: kviveth[at]gmail.com and harvard.debate[at]gmail.com


Dropped arguments and spin can be true/good to an extent. If you are not making a complete argument or going for a 2 line long card the other team dropped, you're going to be unhappy with the decision.

It's a communication activity. You have 4 speeches to explain to me why microfacism outweighs global warming. If you can't do that, you're going to lose despite the aff dropping the paragraph of a thousand plateaus you read in the 2NC.

CX ends after three minutes. You can take more prep time to ask questions, but it won't be "on the record"

One debater speaks during each speech - I will not flow/listen to the 2A speaking during the 1AC.

"Framework" -

I think some of the most meaningful things I've learned from my decade doing policy debate have come from debating, researching, and preparing arguments that are "not about the topic".

That being said, debate is a competitive activity and the resolution is the only non-arbitrary starting point from which to begin research and preparation.

Counterplans -

The plan is the focus of the debate and perms don't have to be topical.

If you have evidence that compares your CP to the plan, it's probably legitimate

I have a hard time seeing the neg winning on CPs that compete solely off of certainty and immediacy.

The "always a risk of the CP linking less than the plan" is silly.

You don't need solvency advocates especially for smart and intuitive advantage CPs and 2NC CPs out of addons.

I'll will kick CPs for the neg if the CP is conditional until told not to by the aff.

Critique -

Good critique debating is good case debating. If you aren't talking about the case while going for the K, you are likely going to lose.

Theory -

Most theory arguments are reasons to reject the argument, not the team.

Theory arguments are generally a tougher rebuttal strategy than substance.

Executive Action CP - Executive action CPs and even 'non-action' CPs are fine. The aff should be able to defend the necessity of a statutory/judicial restriction on executive authority.

Conditionality - I don't think conditionality is good, but in 80% of debates it's not really problem. Affs need to be better at defending the case against multiple negative strategies. That being said, neg teams are garbage at defending conditionality and the aff should capitalize.

States CPs - I'm persuaded by the aff theory argument that the states CP teaches a bad decision making model because the decision to prefer the states as an actor is not an opportunity cost to federal government action. I think most states CPs are bad for debate, but especially those that are uniform and abstracted from the lit about fed gov v. states.

Will Katz Paradigm

1 rounds

Yes email chain-- College: willkatz54@gmail.com and debatedocs@googlegroups.com

High School: willkatz54@gmail.com

4 years debating and 4 years coaching at Washburn Rural High School, 4 years debating and 1 year coaching at KU

Compile a doc of all relevant cards and all relevant marks for me at the end of the debate.

I have been pretty involved in policy topic research for both the HS Arms sales topic and the College Space topic. I have judged almost 100 debates this year between the two (over 100 if you count camp tournament debates), and feel prepared to keep up with most innovations that occur.

2020 Post-Season Updates

Let your partner talk in their cx, if you don't I'll unapologetically dock your speaker points

Be respectful of everyone's time. In online debates, things will go wrong and take "tech time." That means you have to be more on top of your game than usual with regards to things like setting up the email chain, going to the bathroom, etc.

On arms sales, I have seen a lot of 2ac's really mess up answering circumvention but I've seen very few 2nr's care about that.

Argument non-specific things

Debate off your flow, don't just read scripts

There are some things I care about more than most judges and some things I care about a lot less. I care about everyone being respectful of each other, debates being educational, engaging good arguments and dismissing bad arguments, evidence quality (including highlighting quality), strategic vision, and narrative/argument packaging. I really, really don't care about arguments anybody outside of this debate has made, making judgements about the character or intentions of the debaters as people, how "embarrassing" cross-x was, or the quantity of cards read on a particular issue (I much prefer to hear arguments about quality).

I am not likely to be impressed by your run and gun strategy. I generally think teams are not flippant enough at responding to incomplete, terrible arguments (cp's that are only text, da's with missing uq and internal links, advantages with no solvency evidence, 1 card k's with no link or alt in the 1nc). If a complete argument hasn't been presented, you are not expected to answer a complete argument. My advice? 1. Read complete arguments 2. Be correct about what is and isn't a complete argument. 3. Be bold with your choices

Policy thoughts

I'm probably not the best judge for affs that say they are basically the status quo so there's no da.

Turns case has been relevant in a lot of rfd's I've given

I am really bad for cp's that do not have topic-specific evidence (see: con-con on the space topic) or any evidence in the 1nc

I think I'm more persuadable than most on well explained defensive arguments to a cp like perm shields the link or cp links to the net benefit.

There are two types of soft left affs. Type 1 is "ignore DAs because they are improbable." Type 2 is "we are going to beat DAs on good specific defensive arguments and use our framing page to explain why offense/defense doesn't really make sense." Type 1 is much more common, type 2 is much more persuasive.

Theory is a winnable 2ar. I think I am just as persuadable that the neg should get 0 conditional advocacies as I am that they should get infinite. To me, it is entirely up to the debaters, which these days makes me a good judge for a team going for theory.

"Conditional" means judge kick but I can definitely be convinced to stick the neg with the cp they went for without wholesale rejecting conditionality

"New affs bad" is a waste of breath.

Framework vs K affs

Historically I am very good for the neg in these debates, I suspect more than most people who (semi)frequently judge these debates. I vote neg a lot because usually it is more clear to me how the negative team's model of debate produces a better season of debates. Aff's would be well served investing a lot of time into describing their model of debate as opposed to their own affirmative


Framework is important. I very rarely vote neg if the neg doesn't win framework. It isn't impossible to win without winning framework/consequentialism, but as the neg it makes your job much harder

I usually determine that negs beat the aff's "plan focus good" framework. This isn't for ideological reasons (honestly quite the opposite) but the block usually has several offensive arguments, cards, defense to aff standards, and the 1ar usually just says "moots the aff that's unfair debate is a game" and moves on.

Negs that do impact calculus, change the framework of the debate, and actually challenge core assumptions of the aff are usually in a good spot

Please do impact comparison, don't just list your impacts in the overview.

V Keenan Paradigm

1 rounds

This is not a change in philosophy; it’s a clarification for those who lack the literary interpretation skills for the haikus and those who don’t quite feel I’ve written enough about my particular lens on debate.

I do not WANT to be on the email chain/what-not; however, I SHOULD* be on the chain/what-not. Note the critical ability to distinguish these two things, and the relevance of should to the fundamental nature of this activity. Email for this purpose: vikdebate@gmail.com .

(Do not try to actually contact me with this address - it’s just how I prevent the inevitable electronically transmitted cyber infection from affecting me down the road, because contrary to popular belief, I do understand disads, I just have actual probability/internal link threshold standards.)

Things I am cool with:

Tell met the story

Critical Args

Critical Lit (structural criticisms are more my jam)

Performative strategies

CP fun times and clever intersections of theory

A text. Preferable a well written text. Unless there are no texts.

Not half-assing going for theory

Case debate


So many things about SPACE!!!

You do you

Things that go over less well:

Blippy theory

Accidentally sucking your own limited time by unstrategic or functionally silly theory

Critical lit (high theory … yes, I know I only have myself to blame, so no penalty if this is your jelly, just more explanation)

Multiple contradictory conditional neg args

A never ending series of non existent nuclear wars that I am supposed to determine the highest and fastest probability of happening (so many other people to blame)

Telling me a proper “international treaties” topic predicated on international law is not part of the “legal topic” rotation year and then making them a plank of something that doesn’t seem to be able to teach the basics of test cases in judicial restrictions.

Not having your damn tags with the ev in the speech doc. Seriously.

As a general note: Winning framework does not necessarily win you a debate - it merely prioritizes or determines the relevancy of arguments in rounds happening on different levels of debate. Which means, the distinction between policy or critical or performative is a false divide. If you are going to invoke a clash of civilizations mentality there should be a really cool video game analogy or at least someone saying “Release the Kraken”.

Don't make the debate harder for yourself.

Try to have fun and savor the moment.


*** *** ***


*Judges should be on the chain/what-not for two reasons: 1)as intelligence gathering for their own squad and 2) to expedite in round decision making. My decisions go faster than most panels I’m on when I am the one using prep time to read through the critical extended cards BEFORE the end of the debate. I almost never have the docs open AS the debaters are reading them because I limit my flow to what you SAY. (This also means I don’t read along for clipping … because I am far more interested in if you are a) comprehensible and b) have a grammatical sentence in some poor overhighlighted crap.) Most importantly, you should be doing the evidence comparisons verbally somehow, not relying on me to compare cards after the debate somehow. If I wanted to do any of that, I would have stayed a high school English teacher and assigned way more research papers.

I’m taking the time to explain this bit in detail because 1) I don’t have an actual team here and 2) I wrote some of this last year for the NDT**. SIGH**. That also ALL required hedging your bets competitively on a panel, so I recognize that I may not be the person your strat is ideally geared towards, which is fine, and can be a strategically smart choice. But that means understanding what I do and do not care about on the flow in that case will matter more. I’m old, so I really have no compunction identifying that I didn’t get something because you failed to flag it well, or yelling “clear” when you start to mumble through your 8th uniqueness card I don’t care about.

** Collins, Suzanne (2009-09-01). The Hunger Games. Scholastic Press. Kindle Edition

The rules of the Hunger Games are simple. In punishment for the uprising, each of the twelve districts must provide one girl and one boy, called tributes, to participate. The twenty-four tributes will be imprisoned in a vast outdoor arena that could hold anything from a burning desert to a frozen wasteland. Over a period of several weeks, the competitors must fight to the death. The last tribute standing wins. Taking the kids from our districts, forcing them to kill one another while we watch — this is the Capitol’s way of reminding us how totally we are at their mercy. How little chance we would stand of surviving another rebellion. Whatever words they use, the real message is clear. “Look how we take your children and sacrifice them and there’s nothing you can do. If you lift a finger, we will destroy every last one of you. Just as we did in District Thirteen.” To make it humiliating as well as torturous, the Capitol requires us to treat the Hunger Games as a festivity, a sporting event pitting every district against the others. The last tribute alive receives a life of ease back home, and their district will be showered with prizes, largely consisting of food. All year, the Capitol will show the winning district gifts of grain and oil and even delicacies like sugar while the rest of us battle starvation. “It is both a time for repentance and a time for thanks,” intones the mayor.

Brandon Kelley Paradigm

1 rounds

Background: Debated four years at Georgetown (2013-2017), where I'm now the assistant coach.


--Standard Operating Procedure

--General Thoughts

--How I Judge

--Argument-Specific Thoughts

--Clash of Civs


Standard Operating Procedure (lifted from Mikaela):

1. Please include me on the email chain: brandon@bjbk.org. Whether/how much I will look at the cards during the debate will vary wildly depending on the debate.

2. After the debate please compile all the ev that *you believe* to be relevant to the decision and email it to me. I will sort through to decide which ones I need to read. A card is relevant if it was read and extended on an issue that was debated in the final rebuttals.

Speaks: My guide is the WFU scale (http://collegedebateratings.weebly.com/points-scale.html). Preparation, smart strategic decisions, and effective use of CX will be rewarded.

General Thoughts

-- Debate is hard, debaters work hard, and judges owe it to debaters to work hard too. As a result, I take judging seriously as a responsibility, one part of which is doing my best to evaluate arguments in isolation from my own predispositions. With only a handful of exceptions, which will be made explicit, nothing below is close to set in stone, nor should you write off the viability of any genre of argument because of any preconceptions you might have about me, the school I attended, or who my coaches were. Do your thing, do it well, win debates.

-- Debate should be a safe space. As an educator, as someone who cares about debate and debaters, and as a decent human being, there are certain things that are utterly unacceptable, and warrant (at a minimum) a loss and zero speaks. This includes, but is not limited to, things like racist or sexist slurs. What might be a useful litmus test for how I feel about this, if things bordering on personal attacks constitute part of your argument, is that I feel that the 1NC from the 2017 NDT Finals is pretty clearly in-bounds, but portions of the 1NR were just as clearly not. If you would like further clarification, or simply would like to gain a better understanding of where that line falls for me and why, I am happy to discuss it further.

-- Cheating is unacceptable. I hope never to have to deal with this, but just to be clear -- David Stoecker-Strauss's paradigm sums up my take on clipping. Also, obviously, don't steal prep etc -- don't be shitty.

-- I/we are not wasting our time. Given the amount of time, money, and emotional energy that we collectively sink into the activity, persuading me that debate is devoid of value will be a *very* uphill battle. Note: this is different from saying that there should be changes to how the activity is currently constituted.


How I Judge

1. Hard work, great evidence, and strategic thinking are important to me, and that's likely to affect how I evaluate debates. Debaters should cut and read good cards. Lots of in-depth research + clever strategery are key parts of what makes the activity valuable (and fun!), and should be competitively incentivized and rewarded. This does NOT mean I will not vote for a process CP or T or w/e. It DOES mean that I am likely to read a significant amount of evidence after debates, and that such arguments will be a much easier sell if supported by smart, well-researched arguments & good ev. Note: this applies just as much to the Aff, and it's worth noting that the ev quality of many affs is dismal -- something that the neg can and should exploit to dramatically reduce the risk.

2. "Smart arguments win. The minimum standard for a relevant argument is a claim, warrant and impact. Smart and intuitive analytic arguments can easily meet this threshold and evidence often doesn't meet this threshold. Evidence that is over-highlighted may not constitute “evidence” in any meaningful definition of the term." --Kevin Kallmyer

3. Execution is key. High quality evidence matters a great deal--but only if you make it matter. It can never substitute for poor debating. I keep returning to my flow throughout making a decision and am very paranoid about making a decision that does not reflect the debating in the final rebuttals. Debaters will benefit greatly from making well-warranted comparisons backed by evidence, and warranted appeals to evidence quality (or lack thereof -- many "cards" are no more credible than an analytic).

4. Dropped arguments are true - that does not make them impactful. It's your job to explain why it matters. Also, absent a warrant there is no argument, whether they respond to it or not - see #2. If you don't want them to have a second chance, make complete arguments.

5. Risk: I am likely to think of things in term of relative risks - few things are yes/no, and even those that are are typically only probabilistically that way. That said, I can be persuaded that the risk is so low that a rational policymaker should consider it to be negligible. Such arguments that get at the risk comparison/decisionmaking process more holistically rather than being boxed in by traditional taxonomies of impact comparison are underutilized.

6. "Debaters should recognize when they are losing certain arguments/parts of the debate and incorporate that understanding into their rebuttals." -- Jackson Erpenbach

7. "Be comprehensible. Aside from it having a huge impact on how I assign speaker points, I’m far more likely to vote for arguments that I can understand." -- JP. I would add that ethos & a strong command of your argument matter a great deal for how it's received and processed. I'm not a robot.


8. Dumb arguments are dumb. You know it, I know it, your opponent knows it. Tell me so, say why, move on.


Argument-Specific Thoughts


I default to competing interpretations.

Reasonability should be framed as an argument that accepting the Aff's interp is best even if the Neg wins that theirs is marginally better.

T is a disad, a question of which view is better for debate. Win the link, then win the impact, and win that it outweighs.

A well-researched T interp backed by a stack of high-quality contextual evidence can make for sweet, core-of-the-topic, highly educational and fun debates. This is far rarer than it should be.

T also obviously serves an important purpose as a functional limit on the topic--but be aware that winning that the topic should be small is a very up-hill battle in front of me, though certainly not unwinnable.

All things being equal, precision & predictability, determined according to contextual evidence (ideally with a clear intent to define), will be decisive in my determination of what interpretation is best. The literature base determines what is predictable, and limits and ground absent predictability are essentially meaningless.



My favorite debates are high-tech counterplan debates--whether specific, well-researched PICs or smart shenanigans.

"If debated equally, I am prone to thinking that counterplans which are desirable because they result in the affirmative, are, generally speaking, not competitive and make for worse debates.  At a fundamental level, I don’t believe they express disagreement with the affirmative plan, which I sort of think is the whole point of debate.  That said, I’ve written many of these counterplans, and voted on many of these counterplans.

I lean heavily neg on all other counterplan theory questions." -- Coach Dave

The States CP is good, and so is uniformity. I would rather that be the functional limit on the topic than a generic K or T-subs 10 times out of 10. That relies on the neg winning that that's the case, though, and for some reason in debates that I witnessed last year the Aff was often ahead on the issue.

Note: Fiating fed + states is murkier territory, and all things being equal, the aff should be able to decisively win that it's illegitimate. That said, many teams won't--in which case do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the law.



Conditionality - it's probably good. With 1, 2, probably even 3 winning it's bad is close to a non-starter absent the neg screwing up. More than that and you're in murkier waters. None of this should be taken to mean I won't vote for a conditionality bad 2AR if the neg screws it up, or will intervene on the Aff's behalf if they go for theory poorly no matter what the neg gets up to. As a sidenote, I find the logical equivalent of "reject the arg" for conditionality to be sticking the neg with it - and that to be an intuitively persuasive remedy, assuming you explain why that's the case.

My default assumption, if neither team speaks to the issue, is that 'conditional' means 'the status quo is a logical option for the judge' even if the CP is in the 2NR. This is easily changed with arguments by either side. Obviously, if the neg says ‘we’ll only go for one policy’ / '2nr choice checks' as an argument to defend conditionality, then I will only consider the option they select.

The vast majority of other theory arguments are a reason to reject the arg. Thus:

"You will do far better on theory arguments if they inform my decision rather than making it for me. Maybe that means “rejecting the argument.” Maybe that means getting a ruling from me along the way: I am happy to pause the CX for a 30-second intervention on agent specification or conditionality, and we can use the remaining 90 minutes for an entertaining and educational debate." -- Seth Gannon



Impact comparison is essential, but so is a holistic comparison of risk (esp. vis-a-vis links) and *internal links*.

Turns case arguments are strategic, but far more so if made at the internal link level. These can be quite powerful, even game-changing, if well-warranted. Far more often, I think DA t/case args made in the block don't pass the test of even being an argument.

Unless the DA is linear or one of a subset of probabilistic things like elections, direction of uniqueness probably determines whether the link is possible. If this is not the case, explain why. Note that even when this is true, 1.) a large link vs a close UQ debate logically produces a risk assessment that prioritizes the link over UQ, and 2.) it does not preclude the link being so decisively one direction that it functions as functionally 'absolute' defense -- ergo, "UQ controls L" and vice-versa are frequently not real arguments as deployed, but can/should be.


The K

Critiques are a tremendously powerful tool in the toolbox. At their best, they combine high-quality, specific evidence with well-explained and well-warranted arguments. That is rarer than it ought to be.

I'm likely to be a better judge for the K, done well, than some might expect given my background. I'm fairly well-versed, though if you're saying something new, it would behoove you to make sure you're being understood.

Teams that use the critique as a crutch to substitute for doing work are unlikely to do well in front of me, provided the Aff effectively exploits the resultant weaknesses. However, the flip side of this is true as well: affs relying on backfile answers to K's, when their opponent is well-prepared and ready to roll, are likely to have a bad time.

Theories that deny life value or say that death is desirable are, understandably, a tough sell. This also applies to Wipeout.


"Clash of Civs"

I will do my best to fairly adjudicate any argument you make in front of me. However, here are my defaults (again: always subject to the arguments made and how they evolve):

1. Debate is political - but it is not THE political. It does have important implications for the way we think, and what we say and do, but that's true of both “traditional”, policy analysis oriented debate, and other approaches. That means that: (a) I agree that debate affects us; (b) I will listen to whatever you have to say, and am totally open to debates that question the traditioanl understanding of what debate is or should be; (c) by the same token, I think that going for topicality and framing things in terms of a limited, predictable stasis point with an equitable division of ground to facilitate a good debate - and why that's good - puts you in a great spot.

Stasis stuff alone, done well, is sufficient to win the debate. Also including a component about the importance and value of learning about this particular topic in a nitty-gritty way is often useful and strategic, as are more "substantive" process/skills arguments when the LINK & INTERNAL LINK are well-explained. I find Lomborg-style articulations of T much less compelling.

2. "T not Framework" is a distinction with a difference. The former is a claim about a stasis point within the rez; the latter about how one ought to debate. Those are very different claims.

3. I agree the world is structurally unfair, and wish my ballot would somehow affect that -- I have yet to hear an explanation for why it would.

4. One can have opinions about something that someone or something else ought to do or not do, without either a. thinking that entity is good or b. somehow identifying with that entity. To wit: Bush should not have invaded Iraq. I'm no more a Bush fan for saying so, nor do I think I'm Bush.

5. It is a tough sell to convince me that having such opinions, or the process of doing rigorous research and engaging in argumentation to form and test them, is either a. inherently violent or b. useless.

6. Nobody in the history of debate has ever been "roleplaying". If I missed the memo and that's a thing we're doing now, I want my costume.






Amber Kelsie Paradigm

1 rounds

I am a graduate student of Communication at Pitt, currently coaching Towson, debated at Dartmouth

Paradigm writing is the worst.  It's also a farce. 


I see debate as a performance, and I vote for the better performance.  That performance can include any number of kinds of arguments.  A performance has stakes for an audience both immediate and abstracted elsewhere.  That performance should involve the endorsement (or no) of a certain politic.

I tend to evaluate debates based on comparative advantage, unless told to evaluate competing methodologies, or unless (in the context of performance debate usually) the debaters seem to think we all agreed that they are debating "competing methodologies."

Debate how you can, the best you can. 

Swag is good.  Complexity. Concretization.  Examples. Comparison. 

I don't tend to call for evidence, since it often overdetermines how I then piece together the debate.

I'm probably understanding your kritik, but it means I also probably have a higher threshold for what you must articulate.

For the time being, I will not be using my AA speaker point policy.

Sean Kennedy Paradigm

1 rounds

Sean Kennedy - Debated at: University of Kansas

Coaching for: University of Kansas and Shawnee Mission South High School

In general I would prefer to judge based upon the perspective presented by the debaters in the debate. Framing issues are very important to me, and I think debaters should make it clear what they believe those issues are through tone, organization, or explicit labeling (ie "this is a framing issue for the debate" or some similar phrase). Embedded clash is fine, but I think that concept carries some limitations - there is only so far that I am willing to stretch my reading of a (negative/affirmative) argument on X page/part of the flow, that does not reference Y (affirmative/negative) argument on another page/part of the flow. Some of my more difficult decisions have revolved around this point, so to avoid any ambiguity debaters should be explicit about how they want arguments to be read within the debate, especially if they intend a particular argument to be direct refutation to a specific opponent argument.

Beyond that I will try to keep as open a mind about arguments as possible - I have enjoyed initiating and responding to a diverse set of arguments during my time as a debater, and I have had both good and bad experiences everywhere across the spectrum, so I think as a judge I am unlikely to decide debates based on my personal feelings about content/style of argument than the quality of execution and in-round performance.

As a caveat to that - I do think that the affirmative has an obligation to respond to the resolution, though I think whether that means/requires a plan, no plan, resolution as a metaphor, etc is up to the debaters to decide during the round. However, I am generally, although certainly not always, persuaded by arguments that the affirmative should have a plan.

I am also willing to believe that there is zero risk or close enough to zero risk of link/impact arguments to vote on defense, should the debate appear to resolve the issue that strongly.

Whether or not I kick a counterplan/alt for the 2nr (what some people call "judge conditionality" or "judge kick") depends on what happens in the debate. I will always favor an explicit argument made by either team on that score over some presumption on my part. I have similar feelings about presumption when there is a counterplan/alt. The reason for this is that although there may be logical reasons for kicking advocacies or evaluating presumption in a certain light, I think that debate as a pedagogical activity is best when it forces debaters to make their choices explicit, rather than forcing the judge to read into a choice that was NOT made or requiring that both teams and the judge have an unspoken agreement about what the logical terms for the debate were (this is probably more obvious and necessary in some cases, ie not being able to answer your own arguments, than I think it is in the case of advocacies).

Please be kind to your competitors and treat their arguments with respect - you don't know where they come from or what their arguments mean to them, and I think this community can only work if we value basic decency towards others as much as much as we do argumentative prowess. In that vein, jokes are good, but I'm certainly much less amused by personal attacks and derision than I am by dry humor or cheekiness.

Patrick Kennedy Paradigm

1 rounds

I spend most of my time doing economics and law analysis now. I am heavily invested in public policy analysis.

I would like you to read a topical plan.

I can't (won't? either way) vote on arguments that I don't understand. I will try to understand your arguments, but you also need to present them in a coherent and persuasive manner. I do not have significant familiarity with critical theory.

I will affirmatively enforce clipping rules. I frequently watch documents to see if debaters are clipping. Skipping more than one or two words that you have highlighted (in the whole speech) without affirmatively offering a marked document or a proper highlight of your evidence immediately after the speech is clipping. I will also not tolerate any form of hate speech or open disrespect of your competitors.

Roman Kezios Paradigm

1 rounds

I do want to be on the email chain: rkezios@gmail.com

tl;dr version: Currently a GA at Baylor. I debated mostly policy argument for 4 years in high school at Notre Dame under Christina Phillips, and 5 years in college at UNLV under Jacob Thompson reading only critical arguments. My view of debate is heavily influenced by Tyler Snelling and Darrian Carroll. I have dabbled in most areas of critical literature, but tended to lean towards the postmodern. I also enjoy good framework debates, but if you have me in a policy v policy round you have done your prefs incorrectly. I was a 2N my entire career.

Long version:

I'm here to see good debates. I can't imagine ever giving a 30 to someone who followed my paradigm to the letter, and as such didn't change my view in some way. With that being said, these are the positions I find myself generally inserting myself most as a judge:

Framework in general - I think both sides are always cheating. I think debate is and has always been a game of who cheats best. If you are on either side of a K aff v framework debate do not assume I am your friend. To be clear I do draw the line of rhetorical cheating at the point at which you actively impede your opponent ability to debate that rise to the level of ethics challenges, such as but not limited to clipping.

Framework impacts. I think both fairness and education are things that can be articulated as impacts, but neither are in and of themselves. I tend to assume fairness is an internal link to education because I am more likely to buy education as an inherent impact. On the same note I think if the affirmative impact turns these questions it makes most of the flow irrelevant for me, and would expect a strategy to put substantial depth here.

Permutation debates. I don't know what a permutation is anymore when a K aff is involved, and I haven't for a long time. At this point I consider its existence in the 2ac a placeholder for a real argument that will come forth in the 1ar. Because of this I grant an amazing amount of leeway to the 2nr in answering it. I hate that this creates late breaking debates, so developing standards for competition and explicit definitions of the permutation early in the debate is more likely to earn you higher speaker points and make me more likely to hold the line on the later speeches.

I try to make sure I can draw lines between 2ar and 1ar arguments before submitting each decision.

I've probably both left out and unintentionally lied about things so definitely look at my actual judging record.

David Kilpatrick Paradigm

1 rounds

I am a coach at the University of Texas-Austin and Westwood High School. Conflicts: Texas, Westwood, Polytechnic, St Vincent de Paul, Bakersfield High School

Email Chain: yes, cardstealing@gmail.com

2018-2019 Judging record: 84 total debates (excluding HS locals), AFF - 47 NEG - 37

UPDATE: TOC 2020 - 2As who respond to T-Pearson by saying "it overlimits" then giving a thumbs down will receive +0.1 speaker points and will be considered a sufficient response.

Debate is an activity about persuasion and communication. If I can't understand what you are saying because you are unclear, haven't coherently explained it, or developed it into a full argument-claim, warrant, impact, it likely won't factor in my decision.

While there are some exceptions, most debaters I've judged the last few years are pretty unclear, so its likely I will miss some arguments. Final rebuttals offer you a space to retrace the part(s) of the debate you think are most relevant to the decision. This both makes it much more likely I will understand your argument and will likely improve your speaker points.

The winner will nearly always be the team able to identify the central question of the debate.

Virtually nothing you can possibly say or do will offend me, if you can't beat a terrible argument you probably deserve to lose.

Everyone seems to have intense clashphobia these days - this isn't about policy or k debate, its across the board and going for the least covered option seems to be everyone's mantra. I get why you think that's strategic, but typically it results in shallow rebuttals, frustrating decisions, 1-1-1 panels and lower points. Specific AFF/NEG research that demonstrate the third and fourth level testing everyone seems to think is important wil be rewarded with higher points. All in on "not our ___" will not.

I flow CX, unless its some random clarification question you forgot I will stop flowing CX after 3 minutes. The "I'm going to ask a million questions while my partner preps their 2NC" has gotten ridiculous.

Framework-I find myself voting negative a lot on procedural fairness a lot. K affs seem to have a lot of trouble deciding if they want to go for the middle ground or just impact turn--pick a strategy and stick to it 1AC-2AR and you're more likely to be in a good place. The block is almost always great on T, the 2NR almost always forgets to do terminal impact calculus. Testing arguments become much more persuasive to me when you give specific examples for how those would occur. What neg args would you be able to read against a potential TVA? Why is it good for the 2AC to research those positions, how would you researching answers to their answers be beneficial? A lot of this stuff just gets assumed and I think that a lot of repetitiveness from most framework 2NCs can be substituted for this kind of depth early in the debate. 2NRs sometimes seem to spend so much time on why they access AFF lit base/impacts that they don't end up extending a terminal impact or external offense at all. I think it's difficult to win a debate when you basically go for a CP w/o a net benefit.

I'm a lot better for framework that sounds closer to T with a limits and clash as the primary impacts then the soliloquy on the most superior model for debate. Clash as the most important internal link to education/fairness/skills/game etc. is usually more persuasive to me than other arguments on T.


-If your CP competes based on the certainty or immediacy of the plan, it doesn't take a ton on theory for me to reject the counter plan.

HS topic - I think the arms sales topic might be one where conditions CPs are more legit. The amount of specific and good solvency advocates for conditions CPs this year is staggering so I think it's reasonable to expect the AFF to prepare for it. This being said, I'll be pretty hostile towards conditions CPs with terrible solvency evidence given how much good stuff exists.

-I won't kick it for you unless you tell me to. I'm pretty easily sold that judge kick is bad.

-"perm do both" or "perm do cp" with no explanation isn't a complete argument. I get that given negative off-case prolif sometimes this feels inevitable, but I'm confident results will improve if you give warrants for any permutation that you think it's likely will find its way into the 2AR.


-affs usually lose these by forgetting about the case, negs usually lose these when they don't contextualize links to the 1ac. If you're reading a policy aff that clearly links, I'll be pretty confused if you don't go impact turns/case outweighs.

-link specificity is important - I don't think this is necessarily an evidence thing, but an explanation thing - lines from 1AC, examples, specific scenarios are all things that will go a long way


-they should be intrinsic to the plan, with enough time investment affs can potentially win that agenda politics disads are not a logical opportunity cost.

-uniqueness controls the direction of the link typically makes the most sense to me, but you can probably convince me otherwise

Judd Kimball Paradigm

1 rounds

Judd D. Kimball, Assistant Coach, University of Mary Washington

Article I. Communication Approach to Debate 
Section 1.01 The following are brief explanation of what I envision when I think of the highest quality debate. These are items that can factor in both positively and negatively for you in my determination of who did the better debating. 
(a) A primary goal should be to present your ideas and arguments in a communicative fashion. What factors influence the effectiveness of your communication? 
(i) Rate of Delivery. You should not present ideas at a rate that interferes with the effectiveness of sharing those ideas with another human being. You must analyze your audience to determine the rate at which they can absorb ideas, and you must evaluate (fairly) your own abilities to speak rapidly which not losing clarity/enunciation or normal tone inflection that signals the beginning and ending of sentences, and is critical to judges understanding concepts and ideas, not just individual words. 
(ii) Clarity/Enunciation. Each word should have a beginning and an ending. Each sound should be pronounced, and not mumbled through. 
(iii) Interpretation/Tonal inflection. It is a personal belief that the way we normally communicate with other people involves a lot of vocal interpretation and tonal inflection. It’s a way to communicate phrases and ideas, rather than just leaving each word hanging out by itself, merely surrounded by other words. With interpretation the audience has an easier time comprehending, understanding the processing the idea, as they don’t have to put the sentence together from the individual words, and then discover the meaning of the phrase or sentence themselves. Interpretation, by my definition, is the attribute of communication that helps provide understanding to the audience of the ideas being presented through the way the ideas are presented. It has been my experience that most debaters are very interpretative speakers when they are not debating from prepared scripts. It is during this time that the communication skills you have honed since you began talking are on display. Yet when it is time to read evidence, or a prepped theory block, they shift communicative gears and start just reading each individual word, rather than presenting ideas for the consideration of the judge. I am very unlikely to read evidence after the debate if it was not read in a comprehensible manner, or the warrants and reasons of the evidence were not discussed as being important ideas. 
(b) A primary focus of your speeches and cross-examination period should be information sharing. This goes beyond your personal motivation to communicate with the judges, and includes a responsibility to present your arguments in a fashion that facilitates your opponent’s comprehension of your position. 
(c) Clash. You should seek to create class in your debates by interacting with not only your opponent’s tag lines, but with the warrants for those claims. In essence, clash is explaining to me why I should prefer/believe your arguments over your opponents. In order to effectively do that, you must be making comparisons that take your opponents argument into account. You must clash. 

Section 1.02 Effective implementation of these points will most likely result in higher speaker points, and a greater understanding of your arguments by me as a judge. That will help you in winning the debate, as I will hold the other team responsible for answering your arguments, and if they fail toy,your superior communication will be a determining factor (as a process) of your victory. 

Article II. Debate Evaluation 
Section 2.01 I recognize objective standards and processes are probably impossible, as the subjective creeps into everything, I just desire and strive for objectivity. 
(a) I have a default judging perspective, which evaluates the net benefits of a policy proposal, and answers the question of whether the government should take a particular course of action. I prefer a framework which strives to include as many voices and perspectives as possible, and provides a framework in which different perspectives can be compared, contrasted and weighed. I like my decision to be grounded in the arguments made in the debate. I strive not to bring in “baggage” with me, though I recognize the final futility of that effort, and I will make every effort to explain my decision by reference what was actually communicated in the debate 
(b) If you wish the debate to be evaluated from an alternate perspective, you will need to provide a well-defined set of criteria for me to apply when evaluating and weighing arguments. The question of controversy needs to be defined, and discussed in order to provide me the necessary framework to avoid subjectively deciding the debate. Now mind you, I don’t mind subjectively deciding a debate, just be prepared to be frustrated by my statement that I can’t explain why I voted for a particular position, just that that was what I wanted to do at that moment of time, or frustrated by the fact that what I voted on wasn’t an argument or part of the debate that you had a chance to answer. That will happen when I find myself stalled out in the decision making, finding no way to decide other than adding in factors that were not included or discussed in the debate. 

Section 2.02 I find questions of autonomous action and personal belief difficult to decide in the context of debate competition. I have found myself perplexed by arguments advanced on the basis of exercising personal autonomy, and then be expected to evaluate them without the inclusion of my opinions, my autonomy, in the process. This is difficult when I find that my personal approach to life contrasts with the approach to individual decision making advocated by one team. If the ballot is my endorsement of your idea, then I would be denying my own autonomous position by being constrained by debate conventions of judging (i.e., you did a better job against the opponents objections, but I wasn’t persuaded to change my personal beliefs). Defining your framework for debate evaluation with this in mind will ease my difficulty. I have been close to taking the action of including my position on the question, in the last few debates I’ve had when this situation arose. Questions of Autonomy and personal belief are difficult questions for me to resolve 

Section 2.03 I will be very resistant to deciding debates where the character of the participants is the foundation for the decision. I do not like to cast judgments on people and their behavior without having gathered as much information as is possible. I do not feel that in the high pressure competition of debate is the best forum for investigating those issues, or in seeking to engage the other individual in a dialogue about their behavior. Am I totally unwilling to decide a debate on such a question? I’m not willing to say that either. But I would have to be convinced that not only was this an egregious act, but that malevolent intent was involved. 

Article III. Other Issues: 
Section 3.01 Topicality I think topicality debates hinge on the question of whose interpretation provides for a better debate topic/experience. If your violation and argumentation does not provide an answer to that question, then figure the answer out. You must also be sure to be complete in your argumentation about why the affirmative violates your interpretation. Do not leave issues of plan interpretation vague, or hinge your argument on a vague cross ex question or answer. Make clear and concise arguments about why the affirmative plan doesn’t meet your interpretation. 

Section 3.02 Counterplans. I’ll evaluate any counterplan presented. I begin from a bias that "net benefits" is the most meaningful competition standard, and perhaps only standard. But you can argue other standards, and you only have to defeat your opponent’s arguments, not mine. As to other theory questions with counterplans, it will depend on who does the best job defending/indicting a particular theoretical practice used in the debate. 

Section 3.03 Kritiks I need to understand what you are saying from the beginning on all arguments, but especially these. Please communicate your ideas to me when you present this type of argument. I won’t go back later and try to figure out what you were arguing about. I need to know what the affirmative does that is bad, and why it is bad enough that I should either vote negative, or not affirmative, or however I should vote. 

Section 3.04 Debating and Evaluating Theory Issues. Theory issues are difficult to evaluate, because they are a yes/no question. If you wish to win a theory objection, you must deal with all of your opponent’s defenses, and provide reasoning explaining why a particular theory position is destructive to quality debate. This is not meant to scare you off of theory debates, just to encourage you to be thorough and complete when discussing this issue. 

Brian Klarman Paradigm

1 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.

Natalie Knez Paradigm

1 rounds

Georgetown 2018

Debate has been more useful to me in my (very young) professional life than anything I've ever done. New debate has been at least, if not more, useful than old debate. I think all argumentative styles are critical to a productive activity. I also think debate should be an argumentative activity with ample opportunities for contradiction.

I really believe that it is judges’ jobs to decide debates based on what students say, rather than their predispositions or own experiences. In case I fail at this task, here are a few of my own feelings that might sneak in:

Conditionality: Good

Topicality: Relevant

Other Theory: Silly

Fairness Impact: Real

Permutations: Encouraged

Dropped = True: False

Inserting Cards: Bye


Christopher Kozak Paradigm

1 rounds

Experience: 4 years high school policy, 4 years college policy, 4 years coaching college and high school. Current director of debate at Rutgers-Newark. 

My judging philosophy/preference is simple. Make arguments. That includes a claim, a warrant and why in a world of competing claims does your claim matter. I don't have a judging "paradigm" and to say that I am a tablarasa is as naive as it is stupid. I am going to split the difference and just explain to you what kinds of arguments I am familiar with.

I debated the K for most of college. I value K's that are nuanced, well explained, and clearly applied to a specific context. I like original thinking in debate and will try my best to adapt to any performance style that you wish present in the round. Just be aware to all teams when debating framework on these issues that I do not consider appeals to "objective rules" persuasive in the context of determining debate norms. Debate is a rare activity in which students are allowed to define the conditions of their own education. I take this aspect of debate very seriously. This does not mean I am hostel to "policy debate good" arguments, it just means that I am holding both teams to a high stander of explanation when evaluating framework arguments.

I was mostly a straight up debater in high school so I am also familiar with the other side of the fence. I love a good straight up policy round. I am a current events junkie and find that form of debate extremely valuable. I would just say that the only thing you need to worry about in front of me in a straight up round is that I have a hard time flowing quick blipy analysis (who doesn't?). Again, not really my style of debate, but honestly if you just make sure you pause for a breath or something between arguments I will get everything you need me to get on my flow.

It may sound like I have a lot of "biases" but I do honestly try to evaluate arguments exactly as debaters tell me to. These preferences mostly come into play only when debaters are not doing their jobs.

Avoid having to adapt to me at all and just tell me what you would like my preferences to be and we will be straight.

I welcome you to ask any specific questions you may have about my philosophy before the debate considering I don't have much of an idea about what to put in these things.

Joe Krakoff Paradigm

1 rounds


NDT 2019



01. I strive to be equally bad for everyone. I don’t identify with this, that, or the other ideological current in debate.

02. There are rules in debate. Speeches have fixed times. The first partner to speak in a speech is the only one whose words count. This is non-negotiable.

03. I'm going to flow your speech. There is nothing you can possibly do to stop this short of concede. What's worse, I'm even going to decide the debate based on said flow and said flow alone.

04. I'm frankly uninterested in watching teams who object to engaging in debate as a competitive speech activity at this point in my life. If you want to play N64, or a card game, or whatever, that's fine, I won't judge you personally, but I will judge you professionally. I'll almost certainly vote against you and probably won't pay much attention to the so-called debate at hand. You've been warned. None of this should be taken to say that non-traditional forms of evidence or expertise are poor choices in front of me. In fact, the opposite is true.

05. I apply a strict standard of technical refutation and argument framing to the final rebuttals. You will not win if you drop arguments. In practice, this means I vote against kritik teams more than I vote for them. It’s not personal and has nothing to do with the content of their arguments. In fact, the very most important thing you can know about debating in front of me is that I believe debate has dangerously, pathetically, and illogically moved way from direct, technical refutation. I cannot emphasize this enough. If you think that flowing is bad, strike me. But this matters for policy teams as well. The vast majority of teams that I have seen debate would have been better off submitting their speeches in writing in advance to the judge and calling it a day. If your speech is only going to marginally change given the speeches of the other team, I am not a good judge for you. The value of debate is derived from spontaneous technical strategic decision making and impromptu tactical maneuvers, both which occur over the course of a debate. This is true irrespective of style: it is as true of policy teams reading pre-scripted overviews in the final rebuttals as the exegesis on the nature of ontology that K teams (for some reason, and with no application) choose to read against every team, irrespective of their arguments. I do not care and have never really cared about the content of arguments in debate; what I care about is rigorous technical execution - that is, the form of argumentation employed by either team.

06. The problem in American society that compounds all others, making base-level solutions to common social ills appear absolutely intractable, is information balkanization and resulting social atomization. Our everyday lives are curated to pre-existing world views, producing extreme stagnation and angst. To that end, I am uninterested in watching you “debate” if you do not leave your bubble and engage.

07. I approach all arguments introduced with extreme skepticism and suspicion. Debaters should compare the relative accuracy of claims rather than approaching persuasion as synonymous with platitudes and truisms. “Nothing is true; everything is permitted.” This is debate.

Policy v. Policy

I have judged more of these debates and have received questions about proclivities in them. It probably matters to debaters to know that I have been doing a lot more research and coaching in this context than I have before in my my time in college debate. For the most part, the above philosophy applies: tech over everything, tech is what matters. Below are some minor preferences that ought not inform how I judge much, but may be worth knowing.

In a perfect world, counterplans should test the aff scholastically: demonstrating a rigorous, literature-based debate about a questionably legitimate counterplan is an excellent way to win that it is important to discuss. Of course I understand that the neg doesn't always have the luxury of evidence to justify their position, so this shouldn't scare anybody off more cavalier strategies. Just defend it. Defend everything.

I'm not sure I have heard a persuasive argument in my life that any aff theory argument other than conditionality should be a voting issue, but, as I mentioned, technique trumps all else.

Theoretical objections to the politics DA have never made much sense to me. The reason why most important legislation never is enacted into law is due to political gridlock. It intuitively seems important that we include this in our curriculum. That being said, the neg does not have a right to the politics DA: some weekends, it is absolute garbage and some weekends, it's great.

Much as I may try to resist it, try or die does become an alluring option in some circumstances, especially when left to my own devices in the absence of clear decision calculus by one or both teams. Either control it or frame your away out of it, or don't drop impacts.

T - that is, T, when both teams agree that the aff should be topical - should be about the overlap of predictable limits and ground for both the aff and the neg, not either of these in isolation. I don't have strong feelings about the executive authority topic on topicality.

Presumption goes to less change unless adequately framed otherwise or if the aff advances a perm (in which case the aff is, logically, advocating greater change, but people often don't seem to understand this).

Young Kwon Paradigm

1 rounds

Young Kwon

George Mason University

Email for speech docs (please include both):




1. Tech > truth, granted that you pass the "does it make sense" test.

2. Depth > breath. One devastating blow is better than death by a thousand cuts.

3. Cards/Clarity. I tend to read less than more, and I reward teams who err on the side of more explanation. Previously I said that you may not insert re-highlighted cards unless the parts you re-highlighted were physically read before (like in CX). Looks like 99% of the time, people re-insert anyways and the debates continue as if the practice is justified. I do not want to be in a position where I have to scratch those cards from my flow, so from now on, I will let you all debate out whether re-inserts are justified or not.

4. Flowing. I flow all speeches, including CX. If I am not writing things down when you think I should be writing things down, I'm not understanding it. I switched to flowing on laptop instead of paper because my handwriting is not as good as it used to be and my wrist hurts when I write really fast. I'm still working out the kinks but I found that my comprehension is better if I'm looking at what I'm typing as I'm flowing compared to watching you speak while typing, so don't you worry if I'm not looking up during the speeches.

5. Impact calc. This often is the reason for me sitting out, so please be careful. A good impact calculus can make a somewhat mitigated DA matter more than a conceded advantage (and vice versa). Compare risks, so you won't be frustrated with the way I resolved things. Try or die can be a useful tool but it requires you to win that there's a reasonable chance of success with trying.


Topicality It is a voting issue, not a reverse voting issue, and comes before theory. More people should do internal link comparisons (eg, debatability vs precision, predictable limits vs functional limits). Reasonability can be useful if you can win a large defense to neg limits impact and used to frame how I evaluate relative aff offense vs limits.

-SPEC Rarely persuasive as a reason to reject the team. Aff needs to defend aspects of the plan that they positionally committed to defending, and clarification of the plan in the speech/cx/solvency evidence can become the basis for the negative's link or competition arguments.

Disadvantages I rarely vote on 100% defensive strategies without an offense for the either side. Most of the time, I tend to think there's always a risk to something, so you will be in better position by comparing relative risks of different positions, rather than pushing for presumption.

Counterplans Less I understand the CP, more I buy the whatever 2ar spin on solvency deficits or the perm. Things are getting sketchy when you start adding 1259 planks that fiat out of solvency deficits and/or defining words like "should" for your perm block. Presumption flips aff when negative introduces CP/K even if they advocate less changes than the plan. Judge kick is not an option without 2NR instructing me to do so.

Kritik Is not my strong suit...I'm usually thinking about these arguments from policy side of things, so if you can frame it in such a way I will understand it better. I apologize if I didn't get it, but I will try my best. I think analysis matters more than evidence in these debates. I don't think permutation needs a net-benefit because it's merely a test of competition. I am unlikely to vote for a PIC that prevents the aff from using the plan as an offense to the K.

Theory I will probably not vote on cheap-shot theory arguments. I default to rejecting the argument, not the team. I can be persuaded that conditionality is bad when 1) conditional advocacies contradict, or 2) a specific combination of conditional positions is introduced that really impeded aff's ability to test the negative's positions, or 3) there's an unreasonable number of conditional positions (anything beyond 2-3 is pushing your luck, and will probably fall in category 2). If you have to go for it, commit to it.

Framework Don't really have an agenda here. This space is for you, and it is your prerogative to approach the topic from whatever angle you choose and I don't hold anything against you for not defending the topic in a traditional sense. I feel pretty agnostic about whether fairness is an impact or not. I think most of these debates come down to in-round execution in terms of resolving certain meta-level arguments about what debate is and what it should be (such as, Is debate a game? What is the role of the ballot? Does the TVA have to solve the aff? Can you read the aff on the neg? How should I compare the benefits of discussing the topic vs addressing exclusionary norms?). As I stated previously, my understanding of critical literature is definitely lacking, but I will try to judge as close to the flow as possible.

Have fun!

Teja Leburu Paradigm

1 rounds

Teja Leburu, Coach at Northwestern University, Toss Me on the Chain: tejaleburu@gmail.com

I removed most of the thoughts before, mostly because who wants to read a four-page paradigm. The short version is: I think Aff's need to defend a topical course of action. Based on previous rounds I've judged, it seems I'm not great for condo bad or "cheating" CPs. Have fun and don't take yourself too seriously.

Additional Notes:

---Rehighlighting is Fine

---Boo Bad Theory Args to "Reject the Team" e.g "Severance Perms" or "States CP"

---I'll Read The Cards

---I'll Hold Your Politics Ev to Same Standard As Any Other DA

---If you read an New Aff on Paper, you are a coward

---Introduction of a CP without explanation/card of how it solves in the 1NC justifies new 1AR answers

---NDT Note: the Aff/Neg must send out evidence in complete form with tags/highlighting read in word document (at some point, at latest after the speech), if accessible, to all participants in the debate, otherwise will receive a 27. I will also intervene to notify either side of this policy if possible during the debate.

George Lee Paradigm

1 rounds

Do you. Do what you do and do it well. I've been apart of the debate community for 6 years and come to the conclusion that all debates are a series of competing dramatic performances that I could be perusauded on anyday, any performance. With that being said, if rap, poetry or storytelling is not your thing.. Dont do it just because your in front of me. I value clash and big picture focus, however #LineByLineMatters. 

"Power is the ability to define phenomena, and make it act in a desired manner. " - Huey P. Newton


“You can spend minutes, hours, days, weeks, or even months over-analyzing a situation; trying to put the pieces together, justifying what could've, would've happened... or you can just leave the pieces on the floor and move the f*ck on.”  â€• Tupac Shakur



Chris Leonardi Paradigm

1 rounds

Modern problems require modern solutions.

P.S. I have never and will never evaluate a judge kick argument as if it were valid. If you make a 2NR decision, you've made it. You can't unmake soup. I'm not going to intervene into the debate to fix your 2NR mistakes.

Nick Lepp Paradigm

1 rounds

I am currently a graduate assistant/assistant coach at the University of Georgia. This is my 12th year in policy debate.

I use he/him pronouns.

Last updated: 3/16/2019

Please put me on the email chain & make me an ev doc at the end of the debate. NJL1994@gmail.com.

Top level things:

I think about debate in terms of risk (does the risk of the advantage being true outweigh the risk of the disad being true?). I am willing to vote on presumption, particularly when people say really ridiculous stuff.

I like nuance and for you to sound smart. If you sound like you've done research and you know what's going on, I'm likely to give you great points. Having nuances and explaining your distinctions is the easiest way to get my ballot.

I really feel like judge direction is a lost art. If you win the argument that you're advancing, why should it matter? What does this mean for the debate? What does it mean for your arguments or the other team's arguments? This is the number one easiest way to win my (and really anyone's) ballot in a debate. Direct your judges to think a certain way, because if you don't, your judges are likely to go rogue and decide things that make sense to them but not to you. So impact your arguments and tell me what to do with them. I think it's way more valuable to do that than include one more tiny argument.

How I decide debates:

First: who solves what?-- does the aff solve its impacts, and (assuming it's in the 2NR) does the negative's competitive advocacy solve its own impacts and/or the aff? In framework debates, this means the first questions I resolve are "does the aff solve itself?" and "does the TVA solve the aff sufficiently?"

Second: Who’s impact is bigger? This is the most important question in the debate. Do impact calculus.

Third: Whatever you have told me matters. Because I have started with solvency & impact calculus questions, everything else is always filtered along those lines (including framework/role of the ballot/role of the judge args).

Other misc things:

1. A dropped argument is a true argument but it needs to be a complete argument to begin with or I will likely allow people new answers. For example, this epidemic with high schoolers reading aspec on the bottom of T flows to hide it: if it’s so quick I didn’t catch it in the 1NC, the 1AR gets all the new args they want.

2. I am very flowcentric. Do not ask me to not flow, because I won't listen to you. Please do line-by-line. If you don't, I'll be frustrated and less likely to buy new extrapolations of arguments. Your speaker points will definitely drop if you don't do line-by-line. I'm not a huge fan of overviews at all. I am unlikely to yell clear at you if I cannot understand you.

3. Debate Decorum: I expect some civility and politeness between you and your opponent. This is an academic activity and a community where we clash of a variety of diverse ideas. If you forget this, it's likely to show in your speaker points. If things get particularly egregious (shouting racial slurs at your opponent, physically harming or intimidating your opponents, etc) I will intervene and you will lose. That being said, show me that you care. Show me that you know things, that you've done research on this topic, that you want to win, and that debate matters to you. I love this activity and if you also love it I want to know that.

"The existence of speech time limits, the assumption that you will not interrupt an opponent's speech intentionally, and the fact that I (and not you) will be signing a ballot that decides a winner and loser is non-negotiable." (taken verbatim from Shree Awsare).

I am incredibly uncomfortable adjudicating things that did not occur in the debate I am watching. Please do not ask me to judge based on something that didn’t happen in the round. I am likely to ignore you.

4. Judge kicking makes sense to me but I frequently forget about it, so if you want me to judge kick something you should tell me so in the block/2NR.

5. Teams should get to insert rehighlightings of the other team's cards, but obviously should have to read cards if they're new/haven't been introduced into the debate yet. Two offshoots of this-- 1. You should insert rehighlightings of other team's cards if they suck 2. You should read cards that don't suck.

6. Please highlight your ev so it reads as complete sentences. This does not mean that I need you to highlight complete sentences-- but if you are brick highlighting, I want to be able to read highlighted portions of your ev as complete sentences—it flows better to me. IE don't skip the letter "a" or the words "in" or "the". Just a random pet peeve.

7. Card Reading: I tend to not do a lot of it after debates unless things are highly technical or I think the debaters aren’t explaining things well. That being said, I’ll likely read at least some cards. Please put together a card doc for me.

8. Debaters parroting their partners: I usually just flow what the partner said. That, obviously, only exists within reason (you don’t get to give a third speech in a debate obvi, but you can interrupt your partner to say something and I will flow it).

9. New 2AR args are bad for debate. I consciously hold the line against them as much as I can. I as a 2N feel as if I got a few decisions where a judge voted aff on an arg that didn't exist until the 2AR and it's the most frustrating. You can expect me to try to trace lines between args in earlier & later speeches. However, if I think the argument they're making is the true argument or a logical extrapolation of something said in the 1AR, I'm more likely to buy it. 2As-- this means if you're gonna do some 2A magic and cheat, you should trick me into thinking that you're not cheating.

Some specifics:

Disads: I’m better for the smart DAs than the silly ones, but I understand the value of bad DAs and will vote for them. I will likely reward you with higher speaker points if I think I understand your story really well and/or you have some cool/unique spin on it. I am fine with logical take outs to DAs that don’t require cards (especially if there’s some logic missing internally in the DA). Don’t just read new cards in the block or 1AR, explain your args.

Theory, CPs, and K Alternatives: I put these pieces together because a lot of my thoughts on these three args blend together.

Competition is determined off the plantext, not off cross-x. PICs & PIKs are only competitive if they PIC/PIK out of something in the plantext. I do not believe that you get to PIC/PIK out of a justification or non-plantext based word. The only way I will ever be convinced otherwise is if the aff allows you to do so.

Condo: It’s good. I can be persuaded otherwise, but all things equal I’m very neg leaning here. “They should get one less CP” is an arbitrary interp and makes no sense.

Particular Theory: I’m way better for this than most judges. States theory, international fiat, consult/condition, vague alts, utopian alts, etc—I have gone for all of these and actively coach my debaters to do the same. My predisposition is to reject the arg not the team, but I can be persuaded to reject the team on non-condo theory args (you should introduce the arg as reject the team in the 2AC if you want this to be an option).

Theory can be a reason you get to make a cheating perm.

Counterplans/alternatives that use aff evidence as solvency advocates are awesome.

If the CP/alt links less I think it makes sense that I prefer it, but make that arg yourself because I won’t make it for you.

Case: "Where have all my heroes gone?"-- Justin Green

I love love love case debate. You should make logical extrapolations that take out the internal link chains and make me question how the advantage makes sense. The block should read more cards but feel free to make logical case take outs without cards. I don't think you should have to go for impact defense to beat advantages-- uniqueness and internal link take outs are almost always the easier place to attack advantages. I tend to prefer a well-developed take out to the death by a thousand cuts strategy.

Affs-- 2NR that don't do well-developed case debate are generally overwhelmed by your "try or die"/"case outweighs"/"1% chance of solvency" args.

Topicality: It's only ever a voter and not a reverse voter. I oftentimes feel like teams get away with bloody murder teams should just go for T against. That being said, I’m not great for silly/arbitrary T interps. That being said, I am a sucker for plantext in a vacuum and will vote aff on terminal defense.

Kritiks: I like Ks that care about people and things. I'm optimistic to a fault. I certainly believe that things are still terrible for billions of beings, but it's hard to convince me that everything in the world is so absolutely screwed.

Your long overview is actively bad for debate and you will not change my mind.

Make your K interact with the affirmative. I want your links to primarily be about the result of the aff as opposed to just the reading of the aff. Thus, for example, fiat bad links are pretty easily beaten in front of me, but reasons why x policy should not occur are much more persuasive.Don't just explain your theory of how power works, explain how the aff is bad according to your theory of power.

I have a masters degree in communication studies and am a PhD student. I primarily study queer theory (generally falling in the queer optimism/utopianism camp), theories of biopower, neoliberalism & capitalism (not the same thing), and humanism. Judith Butler and Michel Foucault are my favorite theorists. Grad school has taught me that theory is way more complex than I used to think it was. What this means for you: I have read some K literature, although I tend to read it academically rather than for debate nowadays. I am much better now for relatively complex theory arguments than I used to be but will get annoyed if I know that you’re deploying the theory wrong. I'm still not good for things like "death good," "meaning doesn't mean anything," or "language is meaningless" because I don't think those are questions even worth asking. I have not read a lot of literature about antiblackness academically, but I have read some of it from a debate standpoint. I am still unwilling to fill in those blanks for you if you are lacking them (ex-- just saying the words "yes antiblackness ontological, natal alienation proves" is almost not an argument in my mind).

I consistently find myself entirely ignoring the framework debate when judging a plan-based aff versus a K. I fundamentally believe I should weigh the aff & the neg should get access to a K. I will reinterpret your args as just “weigh the aff against the K.” For example-- if you say something like "the aff has to prove that their presentation of the 1AC is ethical", I think the way they do that is by me weighing the implications of the 1AC versus the implications of your criticism. Thus, when evaluating the debate through this framework, I will evaluate the merits of the 1AC versus the K (in other words, if you prove that the implementation of the 1AC is unethical then I vote for you, if you don't prove that it's unethical than I vote aff). I also start from the question "what does the action of the aff solve versus what does the action of the neg solve?" regardless of any framework arguments, so I don't even evaluate framework args first (which should also tell you how unpersuasive this style of argument is for me). Teams should spend less time on framework in front of me and more time winning the substance of their arguments. This also means that hardline “you don’t get a K” and “don’t weigh the aff against the K” style interps are completely unpersuasive to me. This also means that the role of the ballot/judge is only ever to vote for whoever did the better debating. I will not deviate from this, so, again, don't waste your time even saying the words "the role of the ballot/judge is x" in front of me.

“Perms are a negative argument” and “method v method debate means no perms” are both not arguments. I will not write these words on my flow.

Ultimately, I evaluate K debates just like I evaluate policy debates—explain your args well and put the debate together and I’m happy to vote on it. Technical line by line still matters and dropped args are still true args. If you want to win the debate on some metaframing issue, flag it as such and apply it on the line by line. Just be a good debater and I’m on board.

2NRs on the K that include case debate (with some level of internal link/impact defense; not just your security K cards on case) are substantially more persuasive to me.

Framework debates: you should also read my section on Ks (right above this one) as well.

Framework is a strategy and it makes a lot of sense as a strategy. Just like every other strategy, you should try to tailor it to be as specific to the aff as you possibly can. For example, how does this particular aff make it impossible for you to debate? What does it mean for how debate looks writ-large? What's the valuable topic education we could have had from a topical discussion of this aff in particular? Same basic idea goes for when you’re answering generic aff args—the generic “state always bad” arg is pretty easily beaten by nuanced neg responses in front of me. The more specific you are, the more likely I am to vote for you on framework and the more likely I am to give you good speaks.

Stop reading big-ass overviews. They’re bad for debate. Your points will suffer. Do line by line. Be a good debater and stop being lazy. The amount of times I have written something like "do line by line" in this paradigm should really tell you something about how I think.

I do not find truth testing/"ignore the aff's args because they're not T" very persuasive. I think it's circular & requires judge intervention.

I do, however, think that fairness/limits/ground is an impact and that it is, oftentimes, the most important standard in a T debate.

T and/or framework is not genocide, nor is it ever rape, nor is it real literal violence against you or anyone else. I am unlikely to be persuaded by 2AR grandstanding ("omg I can't believe they'd ever say T against us") against 2NRs who go for T/framework. Just make arguments instead.

I’m a sucker for a good TVA. Teams seem to want to just laundry list potential TVAs and then say "idk, maybe these things let them discuss their theory". I believe that strategy is super easily beaten by a K team having some nuanced response. It makes way more sense to me if the TVA is set up almost like a CP-- it should solve a majority or all of the aff. If you set it up like that and then add the sufficiency framing/"flaws are neg ground" style args I'm WAY more likely to buy what you have to say (this goes along with the whole "I like nuance and specificity and you to sound like you're debating the merits of the aff" motif that I've had throughout my paradigm).

I oftentimes wonder how non-topical affs solve themselves. The negative should exploit this because I do feel comfortable voting neg on presumption in clash & K v K debates. However, I won’t ever intervene to vote on presumption. That’s an argument that the debaters need to make.

Non-topical affs should have nuance & do line by line as well. Answer the neg’s args, frame the debate, and tell me why your aff in particular could not have been topical. The same basic idea applies here as it does everywhere else: the more generic you are, the more likely I am to vote against you.

Cross-ex: I am becoming increasingly bored and frustrated with watching how this tends to go down. Unless I am judging a novice debate, questions like "did you read X card" or "where did you mark Y card" are officially counting as parts of cross-x. I tend to start the timer for cross-ex pretty quickly after speeches end (obviously take a sec to get water if you need to) so pay attention to that. I'm really not much of a stickler about many things in debate, but given that people have started to take 2+ minutes to ask where cards were marked/which cards were read, I feel more justified counting that as cross-x time.

I pay attention & listen to CX but I do not flow it. Have a presence in CX & make an impact. I am listening.

Speaker points-- I do my best to moderate these based on the tournament I'm at and what division I'm in. That being said, I won’t lie—I am not a point fairy (seriously why do teams need a 28.9 to clear these days?).

29.7-- Top speaker
29-29.5-- You really impressed me and I expect you to be deep in the tournament
28.9-- I think you deserve to clear
28.3-- Not terrible but not super impressive
27.5-- Yikes
I will award the lowest possible points for people who violate the basic human dignities that people should be afforded while debating (IE non-black people don't say the N word).

I've also been known to give 20s to people who don't make arguments.

If you have any other questions, feel free to ask me before the debate begins, or send me an email. I also do seriously invite conversation about the debate after it occurs-- post-rounds are oftentimes the most valuable instantiation of feedback, the best way to get better at debate, and important for improving intellectually. I know that post-rounds sometimes get heated, and I think we all get defensive sometimes when we're being pressed on things we've said (or think we've said) so I will likely consciously try to take deep breaths and relax if I feel myself getting angry during these times. This also means that I may take a second to respond to your questions because I am thinking. I also might take slightly awkward pauses between words-- that's not because I don't think your question is important, I'm just trying to choose my words carefully so I can correctly convey my thoughts. I only post this here because I don't want anyone to feel like they're being attacked or anything for asking questions, and I apologize in advance if anything I say sounds like that.

Adam Lipton Paradigm

1 rounds

Assistant Coach at the University of Texas

Put me on the chain: debate.emails@gmail.com, typically do not look at the documents other than some cursory glances during prep time. I still may ask for a card doc at the end of the debate to maximize decision time, I appreciate it in advance.

I believe that debate is a communication activity with an emphasis on persuasion. If you are not clear or have not extended all components of an argument (claim/warrant/implication) it will not factor into my decision.

I flow on paper, which means I would appreciate yall slowing down and giving me pen time on counterplan texts and theory arguments. If there is a specific way you would like me to flow give me that instruction and I will do my best to follow it.

The most important thing in debates for me is to establish a framework for how (and why) I should evaluate impacts. I am often left with two distinct impacts/scenarios at the end of the debate without any instruction on how to assess their validity vis-à-vis one another or which one to prioritize. The team that sets this up early in the debate and filtering the rebuttals through it often gets my ballot. I believe that this is not just true of “clash” debates but is (if not even more) an important component of debates where terminal impacts are the same but their scenarios are not.

While I think that debate is best when the affirmative is interacting with the resolution in some way I have no sentiment about how this interaction need to happen nor a dogmatic stance that 1ac’s have a relation to the resolution. I have voted for procedural fairness and have also voted for the impact turns. Despite finding myself voting more and more for procedural fairness I am much more persuaded by fairness as an internal link rather than terminal impact. Affirmative’s often beat around the bush and have trouble deciding if they want to go for the impact turn or the middle ground, I think picking a strategy and going for it will serve you best. A lot of 2NRs squander very good block arguments by not spending enough time (or any) at the terminal impact level please don’t be those people.

Prep time ends when the email has been sent (if you still use flash drives then when the drive leaves the computer). In the past few years so much time is being spent saving documents, gathering flows, setting up a stand etc. that it has become egregious and ultimately feel limits both my decision time and my ability to deliver criticism after the round. Limited prep is a huge part of what makes the activity both enjoyable and competitive. I said in my old philosophy that policing this is difficult and I would not go out of my way to do it, however I will now take the extra time beyond roadmaps/speech time into account when I determine speaker points.

Feel free to email or ask any questions before or after the debate. Above all else enjoy the game you get to play and have fun.

Chris Loghry Paradigm

1 rounds

Clarity note:

I have tinnitus and hearing loss and both have gotten worse over the 2019-2020 season. What this means for you is that I have a hard time getting tags and transitions when everything is the same volume and tone, so please try to make those portions of the debate clear. I also have an extremely hard time hearing the speech when people talk over it, so please make an effort to speak quietly to your partner during the other team's speeches. If you're worried about this stuff, honestly, just slow down and you'll be fine.

"Straightforward" list part:

Here's the stuff I'm guessing you want to know about the most:

1. Please add me to the email chain. My Gmail is just my last name. Additionally, please add kurtfifelski@gmail.com for a few tenths of a speaker point.

2. I do not generally follow along with speech docs, but have started doing it more to help me make faster decisions.

3. Yes, I will vote on framework. Yes, I will vote on impact turns to framework. Along these lines, Affs can have plans or not.

4. Nobody probably remembers this about me, but I love CP/DA debates. I'm generally open to most CPs too, except for conditions CPs. I really hate conditions CPs. I vote on them, but it's usually because no one knows what artificial competition is anymore. But, yes, please CPs. Veto cheato, con-con, national ref, consult, unilat, etc. But beware of...

5. Read more theory. Go for theory more. No one expects it. You win because of theory and sometimes you even win on theory.

6. Impact turns > Link turns

7. I think there's such thing as "no risk of a link."

8. I try really hard to vote on what happens in the debate, and not on what I know or think I know. I am generally very expressive, so you can often tell if I understand a thing or not. When in doubt, throw in an extra example.

Note about points: I'm trying to give more consistent points, I think speaker points are arbitrary and not actually a great way of determining breaks, so I have found myself at the upper end of points-givers in the past, however, I am currently trying to correct that. Unless I tell you in the post-round that you did something worth getting bad points for, my points aren't actually an attempt to punish you or send a message or anything like that.

Rambling Part:

I view my role in the debate not as arbiter of truth, but critic of argument, as such I attempt to divorce myself from relative "truth" values of arguments. Counter-intuitive arguments can be persuasive, if an argument is bad it should be relatively easy to answer. You should have fun and do things that are fun to do.

If you fail to speak more clearly after I yell "clear" I will most likely not evaluate the evidence read unclearly. I like it when debaters do the arguing instead of simply invoking a citation and assuming it fills in for argument.

I like it in big K/Performance/Whatever debates when there is a clear metric for evaluating competing truth claims (or some other way of comparing methods/strategies/etc). You will probably be much happier with my decision if you put in the time to explain why your method/strategy/etc is good/better and their method/strategy/etc is bad/worse.

I find that I tend to first figure out how big the disad is and then determine how much of the aff needs to be left to outweigh it. For counterplans I tend to first figure out how much of the aff the cp solves and then determine how much of the net benefit needs to be left to outweigh any solvency deficit.

I think I generally default negative on most theory questions, but I will definitely vote aff on theory (or because of theory). I think in many instances affs let the neg get away with WAY too much and need to correct this with a hearty theory debate. I'm finally willing to admit that conditionality is (mostly) good, but there are (perhaps, many) instances in which it is bad.

I really like impact turn debates. I really like a nice cp/da debate too. I hear a lot of high theory K debates and I don’t always hate them, but Baudrillard is dead. Remember that. I like theory debates that are slower so I can flow them, most teams just read off their computer like they’re reading a card. I love it when teams capitalize on mess-ups by their opponents.

To reemphasize: analytics read off your computer at the same speed you read evidence are simply a waste of time. This is especially true if you’re just reading directly into your screen. So SLOW DOWN on these parts of the debate.

Some tips:


A lot of times your evidence isn’t nearly as good as you say/think it is.

Do not assume I can anticipate every possible application of your argument.

Assume your opponents might be winning some of their arguments and make responses contingent on this assumption.

And, most importantly, have fun.

Ezra Louvis Paradigm

1 rounds

Georgetown '17

Stuyvesant '13

You should debate what you're best at. To me, the game of debate is more important than any particular argument. I think it's most important that debaters try to write the ballot in their final rebuttal and leave as few issues unresolved as possible. 

While I am doing work for Georgetown this year, I'm probably somewhat less familiar with the topic than you are, so please try to be clear and explain specific terms/acronyms. 

Be respectful of your opponent, partner, and judge. 


I'm aff leaning on most competition questions - if you have doubts about whether your counterplan is competitive, make sure you are very confident in answering the perm. Conditionality is probably good and I'm generally OK with states. Theory debates on those questions are winnable, but should not be your first resort. 


"Turns case" and "turns disad" arguments are usually under-explained, however, I'll reward thoughtful versions of these arguments even if analytical. 


Try to provide a clear picture of what debates will look like under the various interpretations in the debate. Negative teams will be best served by reading evidence that clearly substantiates their desired limit. Successful affirmative teams will have well thought out arguments about the intrinsic benefits of including their affirmative in the topic. 


Specificity is a must, if not in evidence, then in application. I won't hesitate to vote on more generic or tricky arguments if they're dropped, but the bar is higher when the affirmative has a cogent answer. Affirmative teams should be ready with a good defense of they say and do in the debate. Negative teams will benefit greatly with even a few well thought out case arguments. 

Performance/Plan-less/Other Labels

As above, do what you are best at and I will give the attention and thought I would any other argument. That being said, if you want to completely dispense with the plan-focused vision of the topic, you need a very compelling reason for doing so. In topicality/framework debates clear links and clash at the impact level is most important. Simply saying the negative is denied disadvantages or the affirmative is denied ground is not sufficient. 

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.”  

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. 

Flynn Makuch Paradigm

1 rounds

*******YES, I WOULD LIKE TO BE ON THE EMAIL CHAIN.**************** My email is flynnmakuchATgmail.com. (my first and last name at gmail.)

My name is pronounced FLINN MACK-oo - the CH is silent. Just tryna get the word out.

Rewrote October 2019, and took out my debate resume. Ask me if you would like to know more about what qualifies me to be graced with your presence. (It's a lot of years of debating at places -- GBN, then Texas and then a lot of years of coaching at many places, Emory currently)

Even though I read as arguments and studied in college critical literature about race, gender, colonialism, and sexuality, my HS background was exclusively "policy," and I continue to do research and coach in both areas.

If you wanna ask questions in the post round to seek advice or try to improve or get my ballot in the future or try to understand my decision, I am super down! If you are into post-rounding as some weird ego thing where you need to demonstrate that you couldn't possibly have lost a debate, I do not enjoy that, and I reserve my right to shark tank my way out of there. (For those reasons, I'm out.)


Things I am interested in:

--evidence comparison

--impact/il comparison

--framing arguments and judge instruction

--even if arguments

--beginning the 2XR with what you want the RFD to be


If you decide to not do any of these things, you are making the debate far more difficult to judge, and it's going to turn out poorly for you.

Things I am not interested in:



I will probably say clear 1-2 times if I can't understand you, but after that you're on your own, and I'll just do my best to flow whatever words I can pick out, to your detriment. If I don't have an argument flowed, then I will not hold the other team responsible for answering it.

Going a little bit slower and attempting persuasive speaking will also help speaker points/winningness. Monotonous tone and failure to vocally differentiate between arguments makes it real tough to flow.

This is something that has become irritating to me: when cx time is over, both teams need to stop talking unless someone wants to take prep.

Please, please flow. Asking the other team to send another document after the speech that only includes the cards they read IS YOUR OWN PREP because you should be able to flow. There is not dead time while they send you a doc with only the cards they read.

Pointing out that something was conceded is not the same as extending that argument. Author names or claims without warrants are not arguments. I think I have a higher standard than most for this. A conceded assertion is still not an argument. Yes ofc, your burden of explanation is substantially reduced, but there's gotta be something.


I almost always flow CX and write down important clarifications/concessions. It's usually a pretty good time.

This is the best cx I've ever seen and a very important video to me:


If you ask the other team if they like skateboarding or reference this video in any way, automatic 1000 speaker points.


These are the majority of the debates I judge, though sometimes I judge debates with substantive arguments. I used to vote aff far more often, and probably disproportionately. If I have voted neg, it is usually increasingly on arguments that the aff is not contestable, and I should be concerned with the neg's inability to engage the aff in depth about the details of their advocacy, and the impact is well explained.

Things I am interested in:

--the solvency mechanism of the aff, whatever solvency means in the context of the affirmative

--clash impacts in the context of skills gained from debate

--a good ol' topical version of the aff that addresses impact turns

--impact framing arguments

--line by line refutation

--well developed impact turns to the neg's interpretation that don't apply to a counter interpretation

Things I am less interested in:

--affs that are descriptive but not prescriptive -- it's easy to say something is bad, even in a very theoretically dense way. the more interesting and difficult question is determining the best method for addressing or approaching the problem described.

--clash/fairness as an impact in and of itself -- it's an internal link to an impact (in my default view)

--long, pre-written "overviews" where you address none of the line by line (both sides are very bad about doing this)


I can't think of an issue about which NATO should not be consulted.


See plea for impact comparison above. Zero risk is winnable situationally. That said, I have often voted for 1% risk of extinction outweighs.

Please make more smart, warranted analytics about why the DA is nonsense. So many DAs don't pass the test of being a complete argument if the full text of the cards are read.

It's pretty fun to judge these debates.


!!!!!!!!!!SPECIFICITY!!!!!!!!!!! in your explanation of the aff. Highly specific cards to the aff are not necessary, though helpful, to make specific links, alt solves, turns case, root cause arguments etc. Reference the aff's 1ac ev maybe. Use historical examples maybe. Make logical arguments maybe. All important things. What is the impact to the link in the context of turning the aff? The more contextual your explanation of every facet of the k is to the aff, the more likely you will win that part of the debate and the higher your speaker points will be.

Against policy affs, you will likely win a link, so focus your attentions on defeating the impact turns/case outweighs arguments from the 1nc. Opposite for k affs - focus on how the links turn the case and the alt solves better than the aff, as well as DAs to the perm.

Let me save you time:

You: "What did you think about [x argument/author name]"???!?!?!?!?!?!?!?

Me: "I didn't think about it that much because you didn't tell me to/you didn't speak about it enough or in a way that made it relevant to my decision making process."


I do try to be thorough. Debaters have worked hard to get here, so it's my obligation to work hard to assess the debate.

Mikaela Malsin Paradigm

1 rounds

**standard operating procedure: 1) yes, if you are using an e-mail chain for speech docs, I would like to be on it: mikaela.malsin@gmail.com. The degree to which I look at them varies wildly depending on the round; I will often check a couple of cards for my own comprehension (because y'all need to slow down) during prep or sometimes during a heated cross-ex, but equally often I don't look at them at all. 2) After the debate, please compile all evidence that *you believe* to be relevant to the decision and e-mail them to me. I will sort through to decide which ones I need to read. A card is relevant if it was read and extended on an issue that was debated in the final rebuttals.

updated pre-Shirley, 2013 

Background: I debated for four years at Emory, completed my M.A. in Communication and coached at Wake Forest, and am now in my 2nd year of the Ph.D. program at Georgia.

global thoughts: I take judging very seriously and try very hard to evaluate only the arguments in a given debate, in isolation from my own beliefs. I'm not sure that I'm always successful. I'm not sure that the reverse is true either.  In the limited number of "clash" debates that I've judged, my decisions have been based on the arguments and not on predispositions based on my training, how I debated, or how my teams debate. 

speaker points: I will use the following scale, which (while obviously arbitrary to some degree)  I think is pretty consistent with how I've assigned points in the past and what I believe to represent the role of speaker points in debate. I have never assigned points based on whether I think a team "should clear" or "deserves a speaker award" because I don't judge the rest of the field in order to make that determination, I judge this particular debate. EDIT: I think the scale published for the Shirley is very close to what I was thinking here.

Below 27.5: The speaker has demonstrated a lack of  basic communication. 

27.5-27.9: The speaker demonstrates basic debate competency and argumentation skills. Some areas need substantial improvement.

28.0-28.4: The speaker demonstrates basic argumentation skills and a good grasp on the issues of importance in the debate. Usually shows 1-2 moments of strong strategic insight or macro-level debate vision, but not consistently. 

28.5-28.9: Very solid argumentative skills, grasps the important issues in the debate, demonstrates consistent strategic insight.

29-29.5: Remarkable argumentative skills, understands and synthesizes the key issues in the debate, outstanding use of cross-ex and/or humor.

29.6-29.9: The speaker stands out as exceptionally skilled in all of the above areas.

30: Perfection.


Critical arguments: My familiarity is greater than it used to be but by no means exhaustive.  I think  that the "checklist" probably matters on both sides.

Topicality: I believe in "competing interpretations" with the caveat that I think if the aff can win sufficient defense and a fair vision of the topic (whether or not it is couched in an explicit C/I of every word), they can still win. In other words: the neg should win not only a big link, but also a big impact. 

CP’s: Yes. The status quo is always a logical option, which means the CP can still go away after the round. (Edit: I am willing to stick the negative with the CP if the aff articulates, and the neg fails to overcome, a reason why.) Presumption is toward less change from the status quo. 

DA’s: Big fan. At the moment, I probably find myself slightly more in the “link first” camp, but uniqueness is certainly still important. There CAN be zero risk of an argument, but it is rare. More often, the risk is reduced to something negligible that fails to outweigh the other team's offense (edit: this last sentence probably belongs in the all-time "most obvious statements" Judge Philosophy Hall of Fame). 

Theory: RANT is the default. Probably neg-leaning on most issues, but I do think that we as a community may be letting the situation get a little out of control in terms of the numbers and certain types of CP’s. I think literature should guide what we find to be legitimate to the extent that that is both possible and beneficial. 

Good for speaker points: Strategic use of cross-examination, evidence of hard work, jokes about Kirk Gibson (edit: these must be funny) 

Bad for speaker points: Rudeness, lack of clarity, egregious facial hair.

Jack Manchester Paradigm

1 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.

Katie Marshall Paradigm

I just graduated University of Georgia (December 2018), where I debated and am now helping judge/coach.
If you have any questions that aren't answered here, email me at kat53mar@gmail.com and, yes, plz put me on the chain :^)

- I like debate because it is fun and serves as a place to test/clash ideas.
- Death is definitely bad, don't talk about suicide in front of me, do not perform/describe/play a sex act of any kind, and anything that is racist, sexist, homophobic, antisemitic, etc will not be tolerated
- I'm expressive during debates because those are my favorite types of judges to have; look at me and notice if I'm bored, uncomfortable, nodding, whatever.
- Don't cheat. Don't be as ass. You'll lose.

I have more experience in traditional policy debate, but I'll adjudicate whatever happens to the best of my abilities.

- There is inherent value to fairness
- I default to competing interpretations generally; I've never heard of a compelling reason the prefer reasonability -- prove me wrong.
- I want to see a case list and a topical version of the aff.

- Usually a reason to reject the arg, not the team.
- Unless its condo.. anything more than 2 conditional worlds, I can be persuaded to pull the trigger.
- Slow down - I flow as much as I can, but I'm not perfect.

- I do believe in zero risk of a disad aka absent a link.
- Politics DA - big fan! The internal link is usually absurd and a good 2ac/1ar will frame it as such.
- Ev comparison and a reasonable amount of spin will be rewarded.

- As a 2a, I find perm do the counterplan persuasive against Process CPs
- I love clever PICs & advantage/grab bag CPs.
- I won't judge kick the counterplan unless you tell me/give me a reason why I should.

- My knowledge base is limited to critiques of gender and neoliberalism. The literature isn't my wheelhouse so you'll probably have to explain your arguments/theories rather than assume I understand x concept.
- Contextualize the link to the 1ac and don't forget the value of the case debate
- I will pull the trigger on K tricks, but they need a thorough explanation; don't throw buzz words at me
- I think of the permutation as link defense
- I'm more persuaded by policy making good/pragmatism as an offensive reason to prefer the aff as opposed to weigh the plan vs the alt.
- Tell me what the role of the ballot is, what my role as the judge is, and how I should evaluate the round.

Non-traditional teams/clash of civs:
- You should defend an unconditional change from the status quo
- I don't think using the USFG nor the resolution is inherently racist, sexist, homophobic or ablest.
- I'm sympathetic to teams that try to engage affs that are not relevant to the resolution/don't have a plan text and the shadier the aff is, the more likely I'll be to think the neg's strategy is competitive/links
- I generally think the aff should get perms, unless they do not defend a plan text
- Do what you do best and do not over adapt. Like I said, I'll do my best.
- Links of omission are silly and not persuasive

Other thoughts:
- I'm more persuaded by tech over truth
- Presumption goes neg unless there's a counterplan or kritik
- Risky moves (that are well executed) will be rewarded and be reflected in your speaker points
- So will jokes about any UGA debater/my friends

Shauntrice Martin Paradigm

1 rounds

Include me on the evidence email: ShauntriceMartin@gmail.com

Be on time to your round

I won't give the RFD until the room is cleaned

Impact calculus key

Validate claims with both qualitative and quantitative research


Q: How do you feel about K debate?

A: I do not care for it, but K teams seem to pref me. I like old school debate with claims, warrants, impacts, etc. I will not weigh a narrative or poem or other creative performance unless there is evidence to support its relevance (unless the opposing team concedes).

Q: How much debate experience do you have?

A: I debated open college policy for 2 years. That was a decade ago. I have coached winning college teams. I ran two different debate leagues and taught at Cal this summer on the arms topic. I occasionally coach/judge on the college circuit.

Q: Do you vote for T?

A: Yes

Q: Are you a theory expert?

A: Depends on what theory, but 75% of the time the answer is no.

Calum Matheson Paradigm

1 rounds

Updated October 10, 2016.

Either defend it, or don’t say it. Defend everything.

The appeal of debate for me is in chicanery and sophistry. Arguments are refined by endless friction, like gems in a tumbler…or at least, turds with a good coat of polish. It is a mistake to limit out a class of arguments because they’re “stupid,” “offensive,” or “something no one will ever say”—if they’re bad, then beat them, don’t complain about them. Nothing is too dumb to appear in public discourse. Evil things get said. They flourish when no one engages them; they metastasize when they are labeled taboo and off-limits. That only adds to their appeal. If something is so vile that it would not survive exposure to the light, then be the one to bring it there. Victory in debate rewards good argument. If you can’t beat some argument, then you don’t deserve to win—doubly so if the argument is “bad”—because you’re not a good advocate of your cause if you cannot respond to your opponents. It’s as simple as that. Nearly every supposed benefit of debate is easy to replicate, but this environment of ruthless inquiry is not, and neither is the crucible of high-level competition.

Does that mean I might vote on “warming good because it solves ice age” against a critical aff about object oriented ontology and the Anthropocene? No. It means I will especially do that. Where there’s a link, there’s a way.

Do as thou wilt shall be the whole of the law. I don’t care what kind of argument you make. All kinds of debate can be done well or done poorly. If you can explain why it’s important, then do it. If you cannot, then I cordially request that you do not. One caveat for the college topic: I am more interested in the policy aspects and science of this topic than I usually am, and my favorite debates are likely to be about that. The argument that we should learn about these things is more compelling to me than it normally would be, although that hardly means I’ll ignore the counterarguments. See above.

You have to communicate arguments clearly. The baseline requirement of this activity is that you communicate with the person you’re trying to persuade—that is, after all, how you persuade them. My hearing is not very good, but I will compensate for that without you needing to do anything. I will not yell “clear.” I will not read your stupid card that you slobbered through. I will simply ignore you without feeling, much less remorse.

I am not an unusually emotional person, and as a result, pathetic appeals are not particularly effective for me. I tend to disassociate when people get very emotional. It’s especially obnoxious when debaters scream at each other or generally perform overaggressively. This isn’t a matter of respectability—it’s just boring and tedious to watch a bunch of people I usually don’t know get live about something I don’t usually care about. Saying that you’re upset about something is fine, of course, but you can’t beat an argument by reporting on your brain chemistry. Concentrating on readjusting the dopamine levels of your enemies through losses.  

Here are some ways that I think about debate. None of them are immutable; I have changed my mind before and intend to do so frequently in future. I’ll ignore all of these things if you’ve made and won an argument to the contrary in a specific debate. I’m writing this because people make decisions within sets of unquestioned normative parameters all the time (e.g. “human life good” even if no one explicitly says that), so here are some of mine:

--“Any risk” is just objectively wrong. A small enough signal is overwhelmed by noise, which means not only that we can’t establish its magnitude with precision, but if sufficiently small, we can’t establish its sign either. Similarly, “this is 100% true” is almost never the case, even with conceded causal arguments, because the full weight of most things is radically overclaimed. “X will cause Y” almost invariably (there are exceptions) means “X is highly likely to cause Y” because even in well-established relationships r seldom equals 1. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, you should—I mean that because it will make you a better (policy) debater.

--Uniqueness does not determine the direction of the link. Deep reflection suggests that the, uh, link determines the direction of the link. If X thing prevents Y thing, the occurrence of Y does not make this relationship less likely to be true. In most situations, there should be some residual link turn, because uniqueness tends to be a projection of future likelihood which, although possibly almost certain, is very, very rarely actually certain. If X prevents Y, and Y is almost certainly not happening now, that doesn’t mean that X might cause Y. It means that X would prevent Y if Y was not in fact going to occur, which is possible, although unlikely. “Y happening now” doesn’t change the issue of whether X would cause Y. Those probabilities are calculated separately. Yes, “Y happening now so anything you do might change the outcome” is possible, but it relies on the same sloppy thinking as “any risk.”

--Fairness is usually an internal link, not an impact. Fairness is important to preserve a kind of debate, which needs an impact, or maintain the quality of competition, which needs an impact, etc. If debate was perfectly fair in an argumentative sense (not in an acceptance-of-difference sense), it wouldn’t necessarily be a good model for the world. If we need to learn to debate to overcome warming deniers (or whatever), wouldn’t those skills only be sharpened by unequal odds? Maybe, maybe not, but make an impact argument anyway.

--“The identity of this author is X so this argument is bad” doesn’t typically compel me. It’s not that I don’t think it matters, but rather that people usually don’t make a complete argument. If their identity influenced this argument and so it’s bad, make that link claim specific about what they said. That’s probably more helpful to you anyway.

--“Critical” or identity-based debate has evolved beyond the point where the theoretical language of policy debate still analogizes easily to it. What I mean is that concepts like “permutation,” “opportunity cost,” “intrinsicness,” “net benefit,” “mutual exclusivity,” and so on, most of which are the products of game-theoretical modeling or RAT economic thought, don’t track very well. That’s perhaps good—make the argument you want to make and explain (if necessary) why that’s okay. We should be innovating here, trying to figure out what works in a newer style of debate assessment, not fixating on false analogies. For example, I don’t think “permutations” make sense in debates without plans, but that doesn’t mean that an argument about why two strategies are complementary is necessarily bad.

--Points don't really make any sense to me anymore, but I've gone back to assigning them based on how well a particular speaker fulfills their position's role; i.e., 1Ns get points for being "good 1Ns," so I've been giving them somewhat higher points relative to other debaters that the average (I think). Speaker points are still arbitrary and best used as an expression of praise or disdain, so that's what I'm doing.

--Unless you have an argument otherwise (and I do think these exist), the person designated to give a particular speech is the only one whose arguments "count." If Joe Siegmann could've given all my speeches, there would have been a statue to him on the National Mall already.

--Garrett Hardin. But, Thomas Ligotti. However, Georges Bataille. Ultimately, Attila the Hun, and sometimes Harald Hardrada; always Belisarius.

Erik Mathis Paradigm

1 rounds

So I really dont want to judge but if you must pref me here's some things you should know.

Arguments I wont vote on ever

Pref Sheets args

Do no add me to any ballot deals made in rounds

Things outside the debate round

Death is good

General thoughts

Tl:Dr- do you just dont violate the things i'll never vote on and do not pref me that'd be great.

Clarity over speed if I dont understand you it isnt a argument.

Only the debaters debating can give speeches.

I catch you clipping I will drop you. So suggest you dont and be clear mumbling after i've said clear risk me pulling the trigger.

ecmathis@gmail.com for email chains... but PLEASE DONT PREF ME

Longer thoughts

Can you beat T-USFG in front of me if your not a traditional team.... yes... can you lose it also yes. Procedural fairness is a impact for me.

Aff's that say "Affirm me because it makes me feel better" I'm not a huge fan of this.

Alts that have unrealistic explanations have a high threshold for me to vote on. The more unrealistic the easier it is for affs to beat it.

Reading cards- I'm finding myself more and more voting for the team that my flow says who won, I dislike reading cards because I do not fell like reconstructing the debate for one side over another. I will read cards dont get me wrong but rarely will I read cards on args that were not explained or extended well.

K- Saying the links are turns to the aff vote neg on presumption is not a thing unless you explain it. See the reading cards part. Also, hard to win the K if there basically no alt UNLESS you win the link take out the entire aff. It can be done but you have to explain it.

In round behavior- Aggressive is great being a jerk is not. This can and will kill your speaks. Treat your opponents with respect and if they dont you can win a ballot off me saying what they've done in round is problematic. That said if someone says you're arg is (sexist, racist, etc) that isnt the same as (a debater cursing you out because you ran FW or T or a debater telling you to get out of my activity) instant 0 and a loss. i'm not about that life.

Samuel Maurer Paradigm

1 rounds

Samuel Maurer
Director of Debate at WSU

Yes I want to be on the speech doc. samuel.maurer@gmail.com

I recently broke my flowing hand and its still a little stiff/sore so I'll probably be using the speech doc a lot more than I usually do and ample pen time is appreciated.

I’ll talk about some more specific proclivities that may be useful for your strike-sheet since, if you are reading this, you’re probably filling it out.

Speaker points/CX: I believe that debaters give 4 “speeches” in a debate: C, R, CX, and Being CXed. My speaker points are based on all 4. If you don’t answer/ask a CX question, your speaker points will suffer dramatically. If you’re an jerk or don’t answer simple questions or are simply obstructionist, speaker points suffer. Don’t neglect CX. I will diligently flow cross-examination but if you take prep to ask questions, I consider it to not be part of the debate. Don't be offended if I leave while you go into overtime.

Know when its better to slow down

-- if I’ve never judged you before, give me time at the beginning of a constructive to get used to your voice.

-- complex/tricky CP texts – please slow down during these. I’m not going to look at the speech doc and CX won’t always clear it up. Clearly emphasize the differences (supreme court, different language pic, etc.)

-- Judge instruction helps me -- big picture moments in rebuttals -- "if we win this, we win the debate", etc. Crucial moments of impacts/evidence comparison.

Evidence: Quality over Quantity – I know this is almost a cliché in judging philosophies but I don’t just mean lots of bad cards are worse than 1 good card. That is obvious. I also mean that you should consider focusing on fewer cards in front of me than you might otherwise.

-- Indexing – judging debates where last rebuttals (more often 2NR’s) mention every name of every card and say how it interacts with an argument concept (“McCoy means we turn the link”, “Smith is the impact to that”) is very frustrating for me. I thrive on the big picture. I don’t view your evidence as that or even an argument unto itself – I view your evidence as a tool. You have to explain how it works and why.

-- highlighting – I find myself increasingly choosing to ignore or assign very little weight to evidence because scant highlighting leaves a lot to the imagination. In front of me, it might be wise to select a few important cards in the debate that you would read a longer version of (crucial internal link card for elections, link to the PIC’s net benefits, alt cards, etc.).

-- I read evidence after debates to confirm its function in your speeches, not so that it can “make an argument” to me in some disembodied fashion 15 minutes after the round ends.

I prefer narrower, deeper debates: Not going to lie, when debates get horizontally big and stay that way through rebuttals, I’m less comfortable making a decision. I think this has to do with how I read evidence (above) in that often times debates that stay horizontally big require the judge to do a lot of inference into conclusions made in cards they read as opposed to speeches they evaluate. I’m okay with debates on several sheets of paper but just make sure you are identifying what you think are the strategic bottlenecks of the debate and how you are winning them. “they can’t win X if we win Y because the following impact comparison wasn’t answered…”

Links/UQ: I think debaters too often think of link direction in purely binary terms. In addition to winning links, debaters need to explicitly create mechanisms for evaluating link direction. don’t just put “this thing key” cards in my hands and expect me to ref an ev fight. Tell me why this internal controls the other or vice versa.

Framework: I’ve voted for either side of this debate plenty of times. If it’s a choice between an engaging strategy against a critical aff and T, the former is a preferable strategy in front of me. I will vote on impact turns to topicality even if the negative doesn’t go for it (provided, of course, the affirmative makes a valid argument for why I should). I find myself often frustrated in debates that lack concrete nouns and instead choose arguments/strategies where abstractions are posited in relationship to one another, concretizing through examples helps a lot. I think 'fairness' is an internal link that, when well-developed with method for debate that is academically engaging and balanced, can have a large impact on my decision. By itself, a fair game is just stable, could be good or bad. I think negs running framework are best when talking about dynamics of the debate, not just complaining about how much/many affs there are. I'm not one who believes in the "procedural fairness or education" dilemma, good framework execution involves both I think. TVA's and SSD's are defense/counterplan type arguments that I think both sides are wise to not just address but frame in my decision.

Theory: Seems dead. Seemingly fewer and fewer affirmatives even make a meaningful press on theoretical objections to the CP. I still appreciate theory on the aff and not just as an “independent voter” but rather a good way to strategically dictate the landscape of the debate. This by no means implies that I’m a hack for any affirmative theory argument. But it does mean aff’s that hear a 3 cp’s in the 1NC and don’t make more than a 10 second conditionality block and don’t mention that there were 3 counterplans are giving up on some production. I think it goes without saying that very blippy theory debates are terrible. Slowing down and being more thematic and explanatory is almost always a better approach the theory execution in front of me. In the end, I'm pretty old school and think theory needs to make a comeback (mostly so aff's can not give their cases away to disposable 15-plank hydras every debate) but it seems perfunctory in execution anymore.
Finally, please make sure to mark evidence as you read it.

Brian McBride Paradigm

1 rounds

For starters, I should admit a bit of my recent self. After experiencing my left arm go numb this last June, I was diagnosed with DDD – degenerative disc disease. I was involved in a horrendous debate van accident in the mid 90s and another bad car crash last year. In short, it hurts me to flow. I can’t really take anything for it at tournaments because it makes me too foggy to judge and coach. As such, I don’t really feel like I’m as good at flowing as I used to be. I try to correct for it by revisiting my flows during prep time.

I give speaker points on the basis of what happens in debates, not on the basis of who should clear. I don’t give speaker points because of the existence of a plan or a policy. I do not give speaker points on the basis of whether or not I agree with your arguments. I do change my speaker points for tournaments and within divisions. If it’s a JV debate, I try to give points on the basis of the division. I have very rarely looked at the other points that other judges give except when the ballots come in for my own debaters. I guess I’m behind the times.



Hunter McCullough Paradigm

1 rounds

For me, the idea that the judge should remain impartial is very important. I've had long discussions about the general acceptability/desirability of specific debate arguments and practices (as has everybody, I'm sure), but I've found that those rarely influence my decisions. I've probably voted for teams without plans in framework debates more often than I've voted neg, and I've voted for the worst arguments I can imagine, even in close debates, if I thought framing arguments were won. While nobody can claim to be completely unbiased, I try very hard to let good debating speak for itself. That being said, I do have some general predispositions, which are listed below.

T-Theory - I tend to err aff on T and neg on most theory arguments. By that, I mean that I think that the neg should win a good standard on T in order to win that the aff should lose, and I also believe that theory is usually a reason to reject the argument and not the team.

- Conditional advocacies are good, but making contradictory truth claims is different. However, I generally think these claims are less damaging to the aff than the "they made us debate against ourselves" claim would make it seem. The best 2ACs will find ways of exploiting bad 1NC strategy, which will undoubtedly yield better speaker points than a theory debate, even if the aff wins.

- I kind of feel like "reasonability" and "competing interpretations" have become meaningless terms that, while everybody knows how they conceptualize it, there are wildly different understandings. In my mind, the negative should have to prove that the affirmative interpretation is bad, not simply that the negative has a superior interpretation. I also don't think that's a very high standard for the negative to be held to, as many interpretations (especially on this space topic) will be hot fiery garbage.

- My view of debates outside of/critical of the resolution is also complicated. While my philosophy has always been very pro-plan reading in the past, I've found that aff teams are often better at explaining their impact turns than the neg is at winning an impact that makes sense. That being said, I think that it's hard for the aff to win these debates if the neg can either win that there is a topical version of the affirmative that minimizes the risk of the aff's impact turns, or a compelling reason why the aff is better read as a kritik on the negative. Obviously there are arguments that are solved by neither, and those are likely the best 2AC impact turns to read in front of me.

CPs - I'm certainly a better judge for CP/DA debates than K v K debates. I particularly like strategic PICs and good 1NC strategies with a lot of options. I'd be willing to vote on consult/conditions, but I find permutation arguments about immediacy/plan-plus persuasive.
- I think the neg gets away with terrible CP solvency all the time. Affs should do a better job establishing what counts as a solvency card, or at least a solvency warrant. This is more difficult, however, when your aff's solvency evidence is really bad. - Absent a debate about what I should do, I will kick a counterplan for the neg and evaluate the aff v. the squo if the CP is bad/not competitive

- I don't think the 2NC needs to explain why severence/intrinsicness are bad, just win a link. They're bad.
- I don't think perms are ever a reason to reject the aff.
- I don't think illegitimate CPs are a reason to vote aff.

Disads - Run them. Win them. There's not a whole lot to say.
- I'd probably vote on some sort of "fiat solves" argument on politics, but only if it was explained well.
- Teams that invest time in good, comparative impact calculus will be rewarded with more speaker points, and likely, will win the debate. "Disad/Case outweighs" isn't a warrant. Talk about your impacts, but also make sure you talk about your opponents impacts. "Economic collapse is real bad" isn't as persuasive as "economic collapse is faster and controls uniqueness for the aff's heg advantage".

Ks - My general line has always been that "I get the K but am not well read in every literature". I've started to realize that that statement is A) true for just about everybody and B) entirely useless. It turns out that I've read, coached, and voted for Ks too often for me to say that. What I will say, however, is that I certainly focus my research and personal reading more on the policy side, but will generally make it pretty obvious if I have no idea what you're saying.
- Make sure you're doing link analysis to the plan. I find "their ev is about the status quo" arguments pretty persuasive with a permutation.
- Don't think that just because your impacts "occur on a different level" means you don't need to do impact calculus. A good way to get traction here is case defense. Most advantages are pretty silly and false, point that out with specific arguments about their internal links. It will always make the 2NR easier if you win that the aff is lying/wrong.
- I think the alt is the weakest part of the K, so make sure to answer solvency arguments and perms very well.
- If you're aff, and read a policy aff, don't mistake this as a sign that I'm just going to vote for you because I read mostly policy arguments. If you lose on the K, I'll vote neg. Remember, I already said I think your advantage is a lie. Prove me wrong.

Case - Don't ignore it. Conceding an advantage on the neg is no different than conceding a disad on the aff. You should go to case in the 1NC, even if you just play defense. It will make the rest of the debate so much easier.

- If you plan to extend a K in the 2NR and use that to answer the case, be sure you're winning either a compelling epistemology argument or some sort of different ethical calculus. General indicts will lose to specific explanations of the aff absent either good 2NR analysis or extensions of case defense.
- 2As... I've become increasingly annoyed with 2ACs that pay lip service to the case without responding to specific arguments or extending evidence/warrants. Just reexplaining the advantage and moving on isn't sufficient to answer multiple levels of neg argumentation.

Other notes -
- Really generic backfile arguments (Ashtar, wipeout, etc) won't lose you the round, but don't expect great speaks. I just think those arguments are really terrible, (I can't describe how much I hate wipeout debates) and bad for debate.
- Impact turn debates are awesome, but can get very messy. If you make the debate impossible to flow, I will not like you. Don't just read cards in the block, make comparisons about evidence quality and uniqueness claims. Impact turn debates are almost always won by the team that controls uniqueness and framing arguments, and that's a debate that should start in the 2AC.

Paperless debate - I don't think you need to take prep time to flash your speech to your opponent, but it's also pretty obvious when you're stealing prep, so don't do it. If you want to use viewing computers, that's fine, but only having one is unacceptable. The neg needs to be able to split up your evidence for the block. It's especially bad if you want to view their speeches on your viewing computer too. Seriously, people need access to your evidence.

Clipping - I've decided enough debates on clipping in the last couple of years that I think it's worth putting a notice in my philosophy. If a tournament has reliable internet, I will insist on an email chain and will want to be on that email chain. I will, at times, follow along with the speech document and, as a result, am likely to catch clipping if it occurs. I'm a pretty non-confrontational person, so I'm unlikely to say anything about a missed short word at some point, but if I am confident that clipping has occurred, I will absolutely stop the debate and decide on it. I'll always give debaters the benefit of the doubt, and provide an opportunity to say where a card was marked, but I'm pretty confident of my ability to distinguish forgetting to say "mark the card" and clipping. I know that there is some difference of opinion on who's responsibility it is to bring about a clipping challenge, but I strongly feel that, if I know for certain that debaters are not reading all of their evidence, I have not only the ability but an obligation to call it out.

Finally, here is a short list of general biases.

  • - The status quo should always be an option in the 2NR (Which doesn't necessarily mean that the neg get's infinite flex. If they read 3 contradictory positions, I can be persuaded that it was bad despite my predisposition towards conditionality. It does mean that I will, absent arguments against it, judge kick a counterplan and evaluate the case v the squo if the aff wins the cp is bad/not competitive)
  • - Warming is real and science is good (same argument, really)
  • - The aff gets to defend the implementation of the plan as offense against the K, and the neg gets to read the K
  • - Timeframe and probability are more important than magnitude (because everything causes extinction anyways)
  • - Predictable limits are key to both fairness and education
  • - Consult counterplans aren't competitive. Conditions is arguable.
  • - Rider DA links are not intrinsic
  • - Utilitarianism is a good way to evaluate impacts
  • - The aff should defend a topical plan
  • - Death and extinction are bad

If you have questions, feel free to email me at mccullough.hunter@gmail.com

Hunter McFarland Paradigm

1 rounds

2019-2020 Update

Email Chain:hunterm@staff.harker.org


--Assistant Debate Coach at The Harker School (2018-current) & previously UC Berkeley (2018-2019)

--Sixth-year coaching/judging high school policy debate

--M.A. in Communication, University of Wyoming (thesis was on the rhetoric of settler colonialism and urban homonationalism)

--Policy debater for the University of Wyoming (B.A. in American Indian Studies & Political Science) and Twin Falls High School in Southern Idaho

ACCESS REQUIREMENTS: Do not relentlessly post-round me. If you want to disagree with my decision and argue with me about it then send me an email and we can have a constructive dialogue that way. Please let me know if there is anything I can do to make the space accessible for you before the round begins.

To Note:

--Flowing: I am not opposed to arguments that challenge how I flow, but here are my default mechanics: I use my laptop and I can type pretty fast, but you should still slow down on tags, analytics and most importantly, theory. I flow CX. I attempt to line up every argument so I expect you to debate line-by-line. Tell me if you have an overview on each page. I will only flow the speaker who is supposed to be giving the speech unless instructed otherwise for performative reasons.

--Paperless Debate: I will not count emailing as prep time unless you are being unreasonable. Your doc needs to be saved and ready to be uploaded by the time you end prep. I am not afraid to arbitrarily deduct time from your prep clock if you are stealing prep (trust me, we all know it is happening). You are likely to get higher speaker points if you are ready to give your order and speech the second your prep clock ends.

--Clarity: I tend to value clarity more than most judges. I need to be able to hear each word you read. I will yell "clear" three times and if you do not correct your clarity I will stop flowing (same with "louder" or "slower").

--Clipping: Zero-tolerance policy so MARK YOUR CARDS as your speaking (I flow the marks). If I think you clopped with malicious intent I will stop the round and award the individual who clipped zero speaker points and the team with the L. If you know it occurred and I don't, it needs to be on film for verification.

--Evidence Standards: I prefer that every argument made in policy debates have evidence attached to them unless the observation is obvious. I am less strict in kritical debates, but evidence on questions of ontology, theory, and your alternative would help your arguments greatly. I tend to read in-between highlighting to ensure the description of your evidence is accurate (this is why my decisions take a while sometimes). If you want to point out that your opponents read evidence out of context you should read a re-highlighting of it not just insert it into the debate.

Argument Preferences:

Tech > Truth

I am agnostic on content, but not on form. Your arguments need to be well-warranted (i.e. you should not merely present a conclusion, but you should present logical reasons for why I should accept that conclusion as true or I will presume it false because you have not presented a complete argument).

Kritical/Planless Affirmatives--- Affs should be debatable and, at the very least, your 1AC should have a solvency mechanism attached to a stable advocacy statement. I am willing to vote neg on presumption if you don't solve your impacts unless your interpretation of presumption is better than the negs.

Topicality (Kritical affs)---

Affirmative advice: You have to have a compelling competing model of debate to win my ballot (i.e. a counter-interpretation that sets limits on the topic). I agree that the best debates are ones that generate the most clash so if you can prove you were debatable you will be in a good spot for my ballot. I can be persuaded that breaking some rules of the game are good. However, I'm increasingly frustrated by arguments about debaters as people rather than theory. I will never be persuaded that reading framework in and of itself is violent, and I am not compelled by pre-requisite arguments or impact turns that are based on metaphors or syllogisms (claiming that "plan debate is genocide" is trivializing). Instead, you should critique the neg's substantive model of debate. Framework alone can outweigh the affirmative even without a TVA or solvency answers, but either of those greatly diminishes affirmative offense. I don't think TVAs need to solve perfectly, just access a similar discussion so I will rarely vote for aff teams that do not have an offensive reason to reject the TVA.
Negative advice: Make sure you are accurately describing policy debate, not an abstract deliberative process. I am likely to conclude that the educational content both policy debate and kritical debate give you are equally valuable so it is better to ground your offense in the form of iterative argument refinement and rigorous contestation around a predictable stasis point to demonstrate why your model of debate is preferred (this means you have to win a predictability internal link and prove the aff is un-debatable). Fairness is an impact but you should still tell me why it outweighs the aff's offense. Case defense helps minimize the risk of the aff's impact turns. TVAs better be topical, but they don't have to solve the aff just access the 1AC's educational value.

Topicality (Policy affs)--- I don't think teams go for T enough. Quality and context of evidence matter. You should provide a detailed picture of what the topic should look like. Reasonability framing only makes sense if you are winning that your interpretation of the topic is reasonable (i.e. extend a counter interp). I am highly unlikely to vote aff if you only have an education impact.

Case Debating--- I want more of it unless you are going for a CP that clearly solves the aff. I love impact turns (no matter how absurd; thanks TCram).

Kritiks--- I'm down with any K you want to read, but I am less familiar with continental philosophy so you need to clearly explain your theory. I am not willing to reward you for my prior knowledge so define complex terms. Don't just assert the impact and assume I know what it is, you need to explain it and tell me why it outweighs. The neg should present an opportunity cost to doing the affirmative, even if the alternative is a superior method or I will likely vote on a permutation. Roll of the ballots/judges are only important if you impact them out or I will always just vote for the team who I think did the best debating. I tend to agree that affs should justify their epistemology before getting to weigh their impacts (but you need to prove their impacts false first so go for case defense).

Disadvantages--- I prefer topic DAs, but also enjoy a tricky election or agenda DA. The quality of evidence matters, but spin is also critical. I will vote on zero risk, but it is unlikely. Good impact calc can easily switch my ballot in a close debate.

Counterplans--- Consult, conditions, and process CPs are not very compelling, but I enjoy predictable PICs. I tend to agree that solvency advocates matter for each plank. My default is to kick the CP if it doesn't solve but the DA still outweighs the aff (unless the aff proves the CP links to the net benefit).

Theory--- People cheat. Don't let them. Your block should be fully developed and read slowly. Theory arguments are only reasons to reject the team when you have proven the other team has changed your ability to engage in the substance of the debate (even if the argument was conceded).

Conditionality--- Conditionality is good (contradictory truth claims are not, but for substantive reasons rather than theoretical).



All of my policy preferences above apply. I recommend making way fewer arguments so you can develop them more. I have a little more sympathy for the aff's theory arguments due to the format of the activity, but it'll be hard to convince me to vote on an RVI.

Valerie McIntosh Paradigm

1 rounds

Debate Coach - University of Michigan, Niles West High School
Institute Instructor - Michigan Debate Institutes
Michigan State University '13
Brookfield Central High School '09

I would like to be on the email chain - my email address is valeriemcintosh1@gmail.com.

A few top level things:

  • If you engage in offensive acts (think racism, sexism, homophobia, etc.), you will lose automatically and will be awarded whatever the minimum speaker points offered at that particular tournament is. There is zero room for discussion about that. This also includes forwarding the argument that death is good because suffering exists. I will not vote on it.
  • If you make it so that the tags in your document maps are not navigable by taking the "tag" format off of them, I will actively dock your speaker points.
  • Quality of argument means a lot to me. I am willing to hold my nose and vote for bad arguments if they're better debated but my threshold for answering those bad arguments is pretty low. I don't think this makes me a truth over tech judge but I am not willing to assume all "truths" are equally and neutrally "truthful." This is also true of the credibility of your authors.
  • I'm a very expressive judge. Look up at me every once in a while, you will probably be able to tell how I feel about your arguments.
  • I don't think that arguments about things that have happened outside of a debate or in previous debates are at all relevant to my decision and I will not evaluate them. I can only be sure of what has happened in this particular debate and anything else is non-falsifiable.

Ethics: I decided to put this at the top because it's something that is very important to me. Ethics challenges are something I take very seriously and so I want to make myself perfectly clear. If you make an ethics challenge in a debate in front of me, you must stake the debate on it. If you make that challenge and are incorrect or cannot prove your claim, you will lose and be granted zero speaker points. If you are proven to have committed an ethics violation, you will lose and be granted zero speaker points.
*NOTE - if you use sexually explicit language or engage in sexually explicit performances in high school debates, you should strike me. If you think that what you're saying in the debate would not be acceptable to an administrator at a school to hear was said by a high school student to an adult, you should strike me.

Cross-x: Questions like "what cards did you read?" are cross-x questions. If you don't start the timer before you start asking those questions, I will take whatever time I estimate you took to ask questions before the timer was started out of your prep. If the 1NC responds that "every DA is a NB to every CP" when asked about net benefits in the 1NC even if it makes no sense, I think the 1AR gets a lot of leeway to explain a 2AC "links to the net benefit argument" on any CP as it relates to the DAs.

Inserting evidence or rehighlightings into the debate: I won't evaluate it unless you actually read the parts that you are inserting into the debate. If it's like a chart or a map or something like that, that's fine, I don't expect you to literally read that, but if you're rehighlighting some of the other team's evidence, you need to actually read the rehighlighting. This can also be accomplished by reading those lines in cross-x and then referencing them in a speech.

Affirmatives should have a solvency advocate. What that looks like is up for debate. I think debates that stray too far from what a reasonable person would constitute an advocacy for a policy change distort the literature base in ways that make it impossible for the negative to respond to the aff. This is compounded by excruciatingly vague plan texts that enable the aff to "no link" out of what are obvious disads to the affirmative. If your style of debate is built around manipulating and bastardizing literature to create affs that say and defend nothing, I'm probably not the judge for you. I think this vision of debate disincentivizes in-depth negative research. If you refuse to specify what your aff does, I am probably not the judge for you. If you think that saying "a thing is bad" constitutes an aff without saying what your aff does about it, I am a bad judge for you.

Topicality: I enjoy judging topicality debates when they are in-depth and nuanced. Limits are an an important question but not the only important question - your limit should be tied to a particular piece of neg ground or a particular type of aff that would be excluded. I often find myself to be more aff leaning than neg leaning in T debates because I am often persuaded by the argument that negative interpretations are arbitrary or not based in predictable literature.

5 second ASPEC shells/the like that are not a complete argument are mostly nonstarters for me. If I reasonably think the other team could have missed the argument because I didn't think it was a clear argument, I think they probably get new answers. If you drop it twice, that's on you.

Counterplans: For me counterplans are more about competition than theory. While I tend to lean more neg on questions of CP theory, I lean aff on a lot of questions of competition, especially in the cases of CPs that compete on the certainty of the plan, normal means cps, and agent cps.

Over time I have gone from being somewhere in the middle on the question of "does the neg need a solvency advocate for the cp?" and I have found myself very strongly on the side of "yes." A lot of the debates I've judged over the past few years have had the scope of what the neg should get to assert with no evidentiary support go from semi-reasonable to impossible distortions of the literature and REALITY in ways that the aff could never reasonably answer. I DO think what constitutes a solvency advocate for the neg is affected by whether or not the aff has a solvency advocate. For affirmatives that do not have one, my threshold for what I expect the neg to have is much much lower.

I think that CPs should have to be policy actions. I think this is most fair and reciprocal with what the affirmative does. I think that fiating indefinite personal decisions or actions/non-actions by policymakers that are not enshrined in policy is an unfair abuse of fiat that I do not think the negative should get access to. For example: the CP to have Trump decide not to withdraw from NAFTA is not legitimate, while the CP to have Trump announce that a policy that he will not withdraw from NAFTA would be. The CP that has the US declare it will not go to war with China would be theoretically legitimate but the CP to have Trump personally decide not to go to war with China would not be.

Disads: I am not very sympathetic to politics theory arguments (except in the case of things like rider disads, which I might ban from debate if I got the choice to ban one argument and think are certainly illegitimate misinterpretations of fiat) and am unlikely to ever vote on them unless they're dropped and even then would be hard pressed. I'm incredibly knowledgeable about politics and enjoy it a lot when debated well but really dislike seeing it debated poorly. Politics DAs under Trump are 99% garbage.

Conditionality: Conditionality is often good. It can be not. I have found myself to be increasingly aff leaning on extreme conditionality (think many plank cps where all of the planks are conditional + 4-5 more conditional options). Conditionality is the ONLY argument I think is a reason to reject the team, every other argument I think is a reason to reject the argument alone. Tell me what my role is on the theory debate - am I determining in-round abuse or am I setting a precedent for the community?

Kritiks: I consider myself a policymaker unless you tell me otherwise, the implication of that being that if you want me to consider my ballot as something other than advocating a hypothetical policy that would be enacted, you need to explain to me what it is and why that is better than the framework the affirmative is providing. I generally am not persuaded by framework arguments that mean I should completely discount the fiated implications of the affirmative but am often persuaded that I should evaluate the links/impacts to the K against the impact of the aff.

I've gotten simultaneously more versed in critical literature and much worse for the kritik as a judge over the last few years. I think that often times teams who read exclusively critical arguments get away with asserting things as true with no evidence or explanation and judges treat it as a complete argument or incontrovertible truth. I'm not one of those judges.

Your K should ideally:

  • Be a reason why the aff is bad, not just why the status quo is bad. Specific links are good. Links of omission are not a reason to vote neg.
  • Defend an alternative. I tend to have pretty high standards for alternative solvency. Convince me that the world of the alternative would be better than the world of the plan or that the alternative solvency is less important than something unethical about the plan.
  • Not just be a framework argument.

Yes the aff gets a perm, no it doesn't need a net benefit.

Fiat double bind = thumbs down frowny face

Affs without a plan: I generally go into debates believing that the aff should defend a hypothetical policy enacted by the United States federal government. I think debate is a research game and I struggle with the idea that the ballot can do anything to remedy the impacts that many of these affs describe.

I certainly don't consider myself immovable on that question and my decision is likely to be governed by what happens in any given debate; that being said, I don't like when judges pretend to be fully open to any argument in order to hide their true thoughts and feelings about them and so I would prefer to be honest that these are my predispositions about debate, which, while not determinate of how I judge debates, certainly informs and affects it.

I would describe myself as a VERY good judge for T-USFG against affs that do not read a plan. I find impacts about debatability, clash, iterative testing and fairness to be very persuasive. I think fairness is an impact in and of itself. I am not very persuaded by impacts about skills/the ability for debate to change the world if we read plans - I think these are not very strategic and easily impact turned by the aff.

I generally am pretty sympathetic to negative presumption arguments because I often think the aff has not forwarded an explanation for what the aff does to resolve the impacts they've described.

I think when teams are aff against T-USFG in front of me, counter-defining words + offense that explains why I should prefer your interp is more persuasive than just impact turns.

I don't think debate is roleplaying.

I am uncomfortable making decisions in debates where people have posited that their survival hinges on my ballot.

Alex McVey Paradigm

1 rounds

Alex McVey -

Yes Email chain - j.alexander.mcvey at gmail

I flow on paper. I need pen time. Clarity is really important to me. I'll always say "clear" if I think you're not being clear, at least 1-2 times. If you don't respond accordingly, the debate probably won't end well for you.

I find myself increasingly making decisions on the basis of the quality of rebuttal warrant explanation and impact comparison. It's really important to me that you're not just extending your evidence, but explaining the internal warrants of your evidence, telling a clear and compelling story, and telling me why these things matter. I find that the more I judge debates, I'm reading less and less evidence, and relying more and more on 2nr vs 2ar explanation and impact calculus. If there are cards that you want me to pay attention to in particular, you should call the card out by name in the last rebuttal, and explain some of its internal warrants. Debaters who make lots of "even if" statements, who tell me what matters and why, who condense the debate down to the most important issues, and who do in depth impact calculus seem to be winning my ballots more often than not.

I have always leaned toward the K side of things, and almost exclusively cut K cards, but have also coached very policy oriented teams, again, mostly helping them to answer K stuff.

Run what you're good at. Despite my K leaning tendencies, I’m comfortable watching a good straight up debate. I’ve seen a number of debates where the block focused on a kritik that the aff thoroughly covered and left behind what seemed to be a good undercovered disad/cp strat in order to adapt to me as a judge. Didn't think it was necessary.

Theoretical issues: Blippy, scatter-shot theory means little, well-developed, well-impacted theory means a lot. Again, pen time good.

I have no hard and set rules about whether affs do or don't have to have plans, and am open to hearing all types of affs and all types of framework arguments for/against these affs. Against planless/non-topical affs, I tend to think topicality arguments are generally more persuasive than framework arguments. Or rather, I think a framework argument without a topicality argument probably doesn't have a link. I'm not sure what the link is to most "policy/political action good" type framework arguments if you don't win a T argument that says the focus of the resolution has to be USFG policy. I think all of these debates are ultimately just a question of link, impact, and solvency comparison.

I tend to be expressive when I judge debates. I don't really try to have a poker face. Nodding = I'm getting it, into your flow, not necessarily that it's a winner. Frowny/frustrated face = maybe not getting it, could be a better way to say it, maybe don't like what you're doing. But please, don't let that deter you from your strat because I vote for plenty things that frustrate me while I'm hearing them executed, and vote down plenty of things that excite me when first executed. All about how it unfolds.

I tend to err on truth over tech, with a few exceptions. Dropping round-winners/game-changers like the permutation, entire theoretical issues, the floating PIC, T version of the aff/do it on the neg, etc... will be much harder (but not impossible) to overcome with embedded clash. That being said, if you DO find yourself having dropped one of these, I'm open to explanations for why you should get new arguments, why something else that was said was actually responsive, etc... It just makes your burden for work on these issues much much more difficult.

Be wary of conflating impacts, especially in K debates. For example, If their impact is antiblackness, and your impact is racism, and you debate as if those impacts are the same and you're just trying to win a better internal link, you're gonna have a bad time.

I intuitively don't agree with "No perms in a method debate" and "No Plan = No Perm" arguments. My thinking on this is that these arguments are usually enthymematic with framework; there is usually an unstated premise that the aff did something which skews competition to such a degree that it justifies a change in competitive framework. It makes more sense for me for the neg to just win a framework argument. That being said, I vote for things that don't make intuitive sense to me all the time. I'm interested in hearing arguments about how competition shifts in response to various conditions of aff and neg argumentation, I just tend to think those are arguments about the permutation rather than reasons the aff doesn't get one.

I like debate arguments that involve metaphors, fiction, stories, and thought experiments. What I don't understand is teams on either side pretending as if a metaphor or thought experiment is literal and defending or attacking it as such. I think there's value to recognizing the rhetorical and philosophical work of a metaphor, story, or fictional thought experiment and its capacities to affect us in round, and treating it as such. I feel like the perceived need to externalize debate politics pushes people to literalize metaphors which takes away from the powerful intervention into thought that those metaphors otherwise could perform.

A nested concern with that above - I don't really understand a lot of these "we meets" on Framework that obviously non-topical affs make. I/E - "We're a discursive/affective/symbolic/psychoanalytic restriction on Presidential Power" - Nope. You're really not. You aren't restricting pres powers, and I'm cool with it, just be honest about what the research and academic labor in the 1ac actually does. I think Neg teams give affs too much leeway on this, and K Affs waste too much time on making these nonsensical (and ultimately defensive) arguments. If you don't have a plan, just impact turn T. You can make other args about why you solve topic education and why you discuss core topic controversies while still being honest about the fact that you aren't topical and impact turn the neg's attempt to require you to be such.

RIP impact calculus. I'd love to see it make a comeback.

I think affs are a little shy about going for condo bad in front of me. I generally think Condo is OK but negatives have gotten a bit out of control with it. I don't think condo is an all or nothing debate - i/e I disagree intuitively with the claim that "If any condo is good, all condo is good." I think the more specific the aff's condo bad story is, the more likely I am to vote for it - I/E I could easily see myself being persuaded by arguments like contradictory condo uniquely bad, multiple plank condo uniquely bad, condo consult/conditions CP's uniquely bad, neg gets 1 CP, 1 K, and the squo, etc... I do think there's a difference between 5 conditional CP's and one conditional CP, even if it's an arbitrary one. I guess I know it when I see it? Or rather, I know it when affs highlight specific abuse scenarios. Not like any of these are auto winners - I'm happy to vote for flagrant condo proliferation if the neg justifies it. I just don't think affs are making negs work hard enough on these debates.

Be kind to one another. We're all in this together.

Brad Meloche Paradigm

1 rounds

quick note for pf/ld teams reading this - as I most commonly just policy, most of the below is about that. don't overadapt by going fast or using policy lingo. the only PF/LD-specific things that are important to me: 1) don't shake my hand after the round and 2) evidence must be quoted, not paraphrased.

Brad Meloche (my last name rhymes with "Josh" not "brioche") https://www.nameshouts.com/names/all-languages/pronounce-brad-meloche

he/him pronouns

Affiliations: Wayne State University, Niles West High School, Seaholm High School, Birmingham Covington School, the School of Hard Knocks, the School of Rock, a school of fish

Email: bradgmu@gmail.com (I ALWAYS want to be on the email chain)

The short version -

Tech > truth. A dropped argument is assumed to be contingently true. "Tech" is obviously not completely divorced from "truth" but you have to actually make the true argument for it to matter. In general, if your argument has a claim, warrant, and implication then I am willing to vote for it, but there are some arguments that are pretty obviously morally repugnant and I am not going to entertain them. They might have a claim, warrant, and implication, but they have zero (maybe negative?) persuasive value and nothing is going to change that. I'm not going to create an exhaustive list, but any form of "oppression good" and many forms of "death good" fall into this category.


Non-traditional – Debate is a game. It might be MORE than a game to some folks, but it is still a game. Claims to the contrary are unlikely to gain traction with me. Given that, I'm a good judge for T/framework. One might even say it makes the game work. I don't think the correct palliative for inequalities in the debate community is to take a break from debating the topic. Approaches to answering T/FW that rely on implicit or explicit "killing debate good" arguments are nonstarters.

Related thoughts:

1) I'm not a very good judge for arguments, aff or neg, that involve saying that an argument is your "survival strategy". I don't want the pressure of being the referee for deciding how you should live your life.

2) The aff saying "USFG should" doesn't equate to roleplaying as the USFG

3) I am really not interested in playing (or watching you play) cards, a board game, etc. as an alternative to competitive speaking. Just being honest.

Kritiks – Scientists predict that we will begin to see the catastrophic impacts of climate change within the next three decades and I would really prefer I don't waste any of that time thinking about baudrillard/bataille/other high theory nonsense that has nothing to do with anything. If a K does not engage with the substance of the aff it is not a reason to vote negative. A lot of times these debates end and I am left thinking "so what?" and then I vote aff because the plan solves something and the alt doesn't. Good k debaters make their argument topic and aff-specific.

Unless told specifically otherwise I assume that life is preferable to death. The onus is on you to prove that a world with no value to life/social death is worse than being biologically dead.

I am skeptical of the pedagogical value of frameworks/roles of the ballot/roles of the judge that don’t allow the affirmative to weigh the benefits of hypothetical enactment of the plan against the K.

I tend to give the aff A LOT of leeway in answering floating PIKs, especially when they are introduced as "the alt is compatible with politics" and then become "you dropped the floating PIK to do your aff without your card's allusion to the Godfather" (I thought this was a funny joke until I judged a team that PIKed out of a two word reference to Star Wars. h/t to GBS GS.). In my experience, these debates work out much better for the negative when they are transparent about what the alternative is and just justify their alternative doing part of the plan from the get go.

Theory – theory arguments that aren't some variation of “conditionality bad” aren't reasons to reject the team. These arguments pretty much have to be dropped and clearly flagged in the speech as reasons to vote against the other team for me to consider voting on them. That being said, I don't understand why teams don't press harder against obviously abusive CPs/alternatives (uniform 50 state fiat, consult cps, utopian alts, floating piks). Theory might not be a reason to reject the team, but it's not a tough sell to win that these arguments shouldn't be allowed. If the 2NR advocates a K or CP I will not default to comparing the plan to the status quo absent an argument telling me to. New affs bad is definitely not a reason to reject the team and is also not a justification for the neg to get unlimited conditionality (something I've been hearing people say).

Topicality/Procedurals – By default, I view topicality through the lens of competing interpretations, but I could certainly be persuaded to do something else. Specification arguments that are not based in the resolution or that don't have strong literature proving their relevance are rarely a reason to vote neg. It is very unlikely that I could be persuaded that theory outweighs topicality. Policy teams don’t get a pass on T just because K teams choose not to be topical. Plan texts should be somewhat well thought out. If the aff tries to play grammar magic and accidentally makes their plan text "not a thing" I'm not going to lose any sleep after voting on presumption/very low solvency.

Points (updated 10/13/17 because inflation is reaching Weimar Germany levels) - My average point scale is consistently 28.2-29.5. Points below 27.5 are reserved for "epic fails" in argumentation or extreme offensiveness (I'm talking racial slurs, not light trash talking/mocking - I love that) and points above 29.5 are reserved for absolutely awesome speeches. I cannot see myself going below 26.5 absent some extraordinary circumstances that I cannot imagine. All that being said, they are completely arbitrary and entirely contextual. Things that influence my points: 30% strategy, 60% execution, 10% style. Saying "baudy" caps your points at 28.7.

Cheating - I won't initiate clipping/ethics challenges, mostly because I don't usually follow along with speech docs. If you decide to initiate one, you have to stake the round on it. Unless the tournament publishes specific rules on what kind of points I should award in this situation, I will assign the lowest speaks possible to the loser of the ethics challenge and ask the tournament to assign points to the winner based on their average speaks.

I won't evaluate evidence that is "inserted" but not actually read as part of my decision.

A high school specific note -

I am employed by a public school district. If you plan on introducing arguments that would violate anti-harassment codes or rules banning the introduction of sexually explicit materials in the classroom, you should either strike me or not read those arguments in front of me. If I think a round is getting close to a point where I would not be able to explain my decision to stay in the room to a disciplinary board/school administration, I reserve the right to remove myself from the round and make a decision accordingly.

Inspired by Buntin

Doug Bandow ------------x-------------------------------------------- Doug Husic

multiple condo-------------x-------------------------------------------Marie Kondo

pounders/"X pounds the DA"-----------------------------------------------------x--- thumpers/"X thumps the DA"

thumpers/"X thumps the DA" ----------------------------------------------------x---- yeeters/"X yeets the DA"

Eleanor/Chidi --------------------------x------------------------------ Eleanor/Tahani

untropical affs ---x----------------------------------------------------- untopical affs

pigs ---x----------------------------------------------------- the average human

buttercream fillin' --x------------------------------------------------------ russia fill-in

free market of ideas ------------------------------------------------x-------- farmers market of ideas

dinner roll ------x-------------------------------------------------- role of the ballot

timecube -------------------------------------------------------x- Jeremy Bearimy

Cats -----------------------------Bats--------------------------- Insects

Monster Zero Ultra x-------------------------------------------------------- every other liquid

Dustin Meyers-Levy Paradigm

1 rounds

Misc procedural things:

1. He/him/his; call me DML or Dustin, preferably not "judge;" if you call me Mr. Meyers-Levy I'll assume you think I'm old and I'll give you old-person points

2. Debated at Edina HS from 2008-2012, at the University of Michigan from 2012-2017, and currently coach at Michigan and GBN

3. Please include me on all email and/or jumping chains (but why would you use jump drives if email is accessible?)--my email is dustml94[at]gmail[dot]com. please no pocketbox or speechdrop or whatever the latest one is. Asking if I want to be added might suggest that you didn't take the time to read on. (thanks Kurt)

4. Nothing set in stone debate is up to the debaters go for what you want to blah blah blah argument is a claim and a warrant don't clip cards

5. I lied, this is what is set in stone: there are two teams of two debaters (excluding maverick situations), each debater gives one constructive and one rebuttal according to tournament speech times. I will flow, and I will only flow the words that the first debater who speaks in their assigned speech says (I won't flow prompting until the debater giving the speech says things). you can do whatever else you want during the debate, but I intend to judge a debate and will attempt to flow whatever does occur in the manner that I would a debate, and if one team is attempting to debate while the other one is not, I will unequivocally listen to the team attempting to debate and vote for them when the time allocated for the 2AR ends. if you need some part of this clarified in order to determine your strategy, I'm likely not the judge for you in the first place.

6. I talk in cross-x sometimes, usually it's just to resolve clarification questions, occasionally to check against obnoxiousness

7. Really, really not okay with cards written by current debaters (at the time of authorship). If you read a card that meets this standard, I reserve the right to pause the debate after the speech and give you 1 minute to decide on a new card (of your choosing) that you can retroactively insert into the speech to replace the original card. If I'm on a panel, I won't stop the round, but I will probably give you a really angry look and conspicuously refuse to flow the card, and every time you cite the card in a following speech to support an argument I will cross the argument out on my flow.

8. I will not even begin to consider evidence that is "footnoted" or "inserted into the record" unless it's a picture or chart or something that can't be converted into card format. this applies to rehighlighting of the other team's evidence. you have to read the entirety of a card for it to be considered. I have no idea why people think anything less than that is acceptable practice.

9. Speaks usually range from 28-29.5 (realistically more like 28-29.3 on average); below 28 and there are some serious deficiencies, above 29.5 (again, realistically above 29.3) you're going above and beyond to wow me. I don't really try to compare debaters across different rounds to give speaks; I assign them based on a round-by-round basis.

10. If you would enthusiastically describe your strategy as "memes" or "trolling," you should strike me.


Debate is a game and at the end of the 2 hours we spend together I will be obligated to make a decision as to who won and who lost. This implies a few things that are non-negotiable, mostly implied above, and entirely stolen from Joe:

1. There are rules in debate. Speeches have fixed times. The first partner to speak in a speech is the only one whose words count. This is non-negotiable.

2. I'm going to flow your speech. There is nothing you can possibly do to stop this short of concede. What's worse, I'm even going to decide the debate based on said flow and said flow alone.

--2.1. I'm going to flow your speech straight down on whatever page you've indicated you're going to. If you really think your overview needs a new sheet of paper, or that I should save space on my flow for framework/the perm in the 1NR instead of you just taking each arg in order and figuring out how to split the block more efficiently, then I guess I'll do it, but I've literally never been in a debate that was won because an arg was in an overview on a new sheet that couldn't have been made in a shorter overview/on the line-by-line, and I can't remember a time when saving space on my flow made things simpler and not messier (if only because I misjudge how much space to save basically every time). The more you deviate from the line by line and try to jump around between different parts of the debate (especially in K debates), the less I'm going to care about the order you're trying to give, because I'm just going to flow every argument in a row after you make it.

3. I apply a strict standard of technical refutation and argument framing to the final rebuttals. You will not win if you drop arguments. In practice, this means I vote against kritik teams more than I vote for them. It’s not personal.

Aside from these things, I’m overwhelmingly agnostic about any argument/argumentative style in debate. The only thing I’m concerned about is how certain I can be that one side won and lost. I think I am truth over tech in the sense that if I am uncertain about whether or not an argument is explained enough to merit a ballot, I am unlikely to vote on it even if it's technically dropped by the other side, because I believe arguments have a burden of proof to meet before they require rejoinder. Thus, I often make decisions in terms of relative certainty; that is, how certain (or uncertain) I am about any given argument. This is an arbitrary threshold, but one that's relatively easy to lower/raise based on framing your arguments in these terms ("they've conceded X, which means you can be certain voting aff solves Y but you can't be certain voting neg does, Y outweighs"). This is why well-developed presumption arguments will win many ballots and points from me; presumption is a way of minimizing relative uncertainty and telling me what to do if I'm uncertain about something. Using this framing explicitly in your 2NR/2AR will both make debates far easier for me to resolve and demonstrate that you’re adapting to my philosophy.

NDT 2020 updates:

Ideologically, I believe that I'm decidedly okay for K arguments, but I strongly prefer judging teams who attempt to innovate creatively within the bounds of the topic, and my voting record this year has largely reflected that. If your aff talks about China/Russia, then you're in a decent spot with me. If you defend the ramifications of cooperating with one/both of them over space activities in one of the topic areas, you're in a great spot. If your aff says "going to space is bad," I will likely be very persuaded by the argument that that is neg ground. Uniqueness and relative solvency matter overwhelmingly for me; I usually vote for whoever accounts for both of those things to a greater degree (which usually ends up being the team making policy args--see below re: cost-benefit analysis/opportunity cost).

The teams who win going for the K on the neg in front of me are those who creatively engage the substance of the aff and apply their theory in the context of specific turns case arguments which encompass as much of the aff's offense as possible while also forwarding a uniqueness argument. For me, the optimal block/2NR would elaborate why, if the K's theory is correct, the aff is more likely to cause their impacts than the squo/the alt would be, and why the K's theory means I can be more certain about that turns case arg than I can be about aff solvency.

The teams who win without reading a plan in front of me are those who proactively reckon with my predisposition that debate is primarily (though perhaps not exclusively) a competitive activity and commit to one of two strategies against framework: 1) impact turn, or 2) creative engagement with definitions. Option 1 is simpler to execute, but requires more explanation as to why considering debate as just a game is bad, and is something of a harder sell for me. I'm much more interested by option 2; I think affs that creatively redefine terms in the resolution with actual definition cards and defend a relatively limited interpretation of the topic are strategic and intriguing. However, this strategy is a lot harder to execute, and requires a well-thought-out plan for how you want to defend your definitions.

I do a lot of K work, but I've tried to maintain a healthy balance of topic work as well this year. That said, most of my policy work has been focused on process CPs and some space law stuff. I'm not super up on the arms control area beyond the K side, and while I'll catch on to the legal aspects of most SSA/STM affs pretty quickly, the technical aspects might take a bit for me to conceptualize. I'm not too familiar with the details of China's/Russia's space programs, or their governments in general. I don't know what asteroids are.

I'll go on the record to say that I'm a better judge for T than most. In general, on a topic this big I find myself caring less about the quality of evidence for an interpretation than I do about the vision for debate it espouses. I'm more persuaded by strict debatability args than args about the affs that people have collectively agreed are/aren't topical. This also means I'm more persuaded by ground (especially neg ground) as an internal link to debatability than limits.

I'm so serious about vague perms. I'm completely willing to discount an under-explained perm or give a lot of leeway to the neg, especially if the neg points it out, and I'd gleefully reject a vague perm purely on theoretical grounds if the neg tells me to. I've judged a decent amount of rounds, some of them elims in which I sat, in which the 2AR extended the perm for under 10 seconds as a tiebreaker and I voted neg despite the perm making intuitive sense because the aff never developed it. "Do both" is not an argument; "do the CP" is a waste of everyone's time. Say more in the 2AC. (Obviously the latter isn't true vs all CPs, but it's on you to explain why that's the case in any given debate.) See below for more explanation.

K/planless aff/T debates:

I emphasize my agnosticism at the top in order to indicate that I’m better for the K/planless affs in the abstract than previous iterations of my philosophy indicated; that said, in practice, I still find myself voting against it a lot. Maybe it’s the neoliberal bastard in me, but in my ten-plus years in debate (and not without trying), I haven’t been able to conceptualize a coherent way of making the determination of how certain I am outside of cost-benefit analysis and evaluating unique opportunity costs. Topical, plan-focused debate appeals to me because it's the only form of comparison that I've encountered in debate thus far which allows me to make that determination as objectively and fairly as possible and which enables both sides to evaluate unique opportunity costs in a relatively equitable manner. While I could be persuaded that other such metrics exist, I think it would take quite a bit of work, and I'm much more persuaded by creative we meet/counter-interpretations (preferably that counter-define the words that the neg defines). For Ks on the neg, this means that more often than not unique links are the most influential factor in my decision calculus. Whichever side more persuasively articulates why things will be uniquely better or uniquely worse than the status quo/aff/whatever usually wins. Framework arguments that attempt to minimize the relevance of unique links are not persuasive to me. Ks that are able to explain why the world is made measurably worse by me voting aff, and have a framework argument that give me a metric by which I can measure how much worse, are very persuasive.

Other things:

1. I’m skeptical of any totalizing theory of how the world/society/politics works. Saying that a counter-example to your theory is an exception that proves the rule or whatever just indicates to me that your theory lacks scholarly rigor. I prefer theories that direct me towards how to act/understand the world when I don’t have complete information about it, or how to determine which side's theory has more explanatory power when there are counter-examples to sort through from both sides.

2. Planless affs usually lose in front of me because of a disconnect between their impacts and what they claim to solve/how they claim to solve it. Proactively lowering that threshold as much as possible will go a long way for me. An easy way to do this is by explaining solvency/impact arguments in the context of me making a decision, not just what the 1AC offered.

3. I often vote neg in T debates because the aff fails to explain why debating the aff is valuable. Aff framework arguments that don’t explain the unique value of competition and negation are not persuasive; framework arguments that prioritize a role for competition/negation and the comparison of opportunity costs while attempting to use them in different ways than debate conventionally does are very persuasive to me.

4. This all said, "fairness is an intrinsic good" doesn't really make sense to me. Fairness isn't the intrinsic good of debate; contestation is.

5. I think that others should not suffer, that the cessation of mitosis is bad, and that contingent truth is possible and a better basis for action than nothing. If your K disagrees with any of these fundamental premises, I am a bad judge for it.

6. I don't get Ks of linear time. I get Ks of whitewashing, progress narratives, etc. I get the argument that historical events influence the present. I just don't get how any of those things are mutually exclusive with, and indeed how they don't also rely on, some understanding of linear time/causality. I think this is because I have a very particular understanding of what "linear time" means/refers to, which is to say that it's hard for me to disassociate that phrase with the basic concept of cause/effect and the progression of time in a measurable, linear fashion. This isn't as firm of a belief as #5; I can certainly imagine one of these args clicking with me eventually. This is just to say that the burden of explanation is much higher and you would likely be better served going for more plan-specific link arguments or maybe just using different terminology/including a brief explanation as to why you're not disagreeing with the basic premise that causes have observable effects, even if those effects aren't immediately apparent. If you are disagreeing with that premise, you should probably strike me, as it will require far longer than two hours for me to comprehend your argument, let alone agree with it.

7. Args about what another team did in another debate are not persuasive to me. I wasn’t there, I don’t know what happened, and there’s enough going on in the round at hand that I don’t feel compelled to make it my concern. Similarly, I will not vote for or against a team based on who they are--I vote based on arguments made, not who made them; random ad-homs against a debater or their schools aren't endearing and will probably lose you some speaker points. I really don't like homogenizing schools as all reading one specific type of argument; please don't do that in cross-x or speeches.

8. I'm not persuaded by "debate bad."

9. I do not know what the Iraq War is, nor do I know what the Vietnam War is, I have never heard of either of these events in my life, nor have I ever encountered any evidence of their existence, and in the context of debate they are fundamentally unpersuasive to me as examples, as it would take longer to explain to me what happened in these events than you have time for in a debate round

Policy debates:

I've actually been doing a lot more policy research this year than in past years, though I still do a lot of K/K answer research and almost exclusively coach teams who are having K debate during tournaments. That said, a lot of the policy research I do centers on process CPs and impact turns; this does mean occasionally I’m less on top of the topic in policy debates than I wish I were. I’m good at picking up on the tricks in your argument if I understand the subject matter, but I might need a bit more hand-holding than other judges for your super-specific strats.

Other things:

1. I'm not the best judge for most theory args as a reason to reject the team if the offending position is not in the 2NR (with the exception of conditionality, which is a context in which I fundamentally do not understand how I can reject the argument but not the team). In general, I tend to hold the 2AR to a high threshold for new arguments in theory debates that they usually do not meet, and I think the amount of time that would be required in the 1AR to avoid that threshold is almost universally better spent elsewhere. I'm much more persuaded by theory args about what happened in the debate than setting a model/precedent/whatever.

3. Apparently T against policy affs is no longer in style. Fortunately, I have a terrible sense of style. This resolution is very large, but in general, I think I'm better for the neg for T than (I guess) a lot of the pool; I wouldn't normally put myself in this place, but reading through some judge philosophies I find a lot of people who say they don't like judging T or don't think T debates are good, and I strongly disagree with that claim.

4. I think judge kick makes intuitive sense, but I won't do it unless I'm told to. That said, I also think I have a lower threshold for what constitutes the neg "telling me to" than most. There are some phrases that signify to me that I can default to the status quo by my own choosing; these include, but aren't necessarily limited to, "the status quo is always a logical policy option" and/or "counter-interp: the neg gets X conditional options and the status quo."

5. "Perm do both" is not an argument! Neither is "perm do the counterplan/alt!" I'm very easily persuaded by neg vagueness args against perms like these, and I've started voting neg in situations where I can imagine other judges voting aff because the perm was like 10-15 seconds in every speech starting from the 1AR. I hate giving decisions where I have to decide that because there's a perm, there must be some world in which the aff and counter-advocacy aren't competitive, even if I can't possibly explain what that world is. If the neg gives me reason not to, or the aff explains that world for me, I'll be much happier. This doesn't mean you have to write out full perm texts--and "perm do both" can be okay, as long as you say more than just that--the 2AC should include at least an explanation of what actor does what action when and how it's net beneficial.

6. I would gleefully welcome a nuanced, developed intrinsicness debate with substantive amounts of time invested starting in the 2AC.


A lost art.

Misc judging quirks:

· I don't think memes are funny.


· I usually take until decision time; I like to write out as much of my decisions as I can. Sorry for being thorough.

· I'm usually pretty expressive, especially when I'm not feeling an argument. I'm interested in making debates the best they can be--if you're confused about why I'm shaking my head for some reason during an argument, I think I'd be open to answering if you asked what you're doing wrong during the speech.

· You do you, but I rarely find myself persuaded by excessive posturing. I've always thought the debaters with the most ethos were those who kept above the fray and stayed cool, who had fun and treated their opponents with respect rather than trying to prove how much more they know.

· I have a lot of distaste for canned speeches. I notice this a lot more on the neg than on the aff, but if you're obviously reading pre-written stuff for the majority of your final rebuttal, you won't get very good points. I will subtract a full point for a 2NR/2AR that rereads significant portions of earlier speeches.

· Please don't make a big deal about reading a card that I cut in front of me. It's just kind of uncomfortable both for myself and the other team.

Joshua Michael Paradigm

1 rounds

Updated 2/13/2020

Debated for UWG ’15 – ’17; Coaching Notre Dame – ’19 – Present; Baylor – ’17 – ’19

email: joshuamichael59@gmail.com


I prefer K v K rounds, but I generally wind up in FW rounds.

K aff’s – 1) Generally have a high threshold for 1ar/2ar consistency. 2) Stop trying to solve stuff you could reasonably never affect. Often, teams people want the entirety of X structure’s violence weighed yet resolve only a minimal portion of that violence. 3) v K’s, you are rarely always already a criticism of that same thing. Your articulation of the perm/link defense needs to demonstrate true interaction between literature bases. 4) Stop running from stuff. If you didn’t read the line/word in question, okay. But indicts of the author should be answered with more than “not our Baudrillard.”

K’s – 1) rarely win without substantial case debate. 2) ROJ arguments are generally underutilized. 3) I’m generally persuaded by aff answers that demonstrate certain people shouldn’t read certain lit bases, if warranted by that literature. 4) I have a higher threshold for generic “debate is bad, vote neg.” If debate is bad, how do you change those aspects of debate?

Special Note for Settler Colonialism: I simultaneously love these rounds and experience a lot of frustration when judging this argument. Often, debaters haven’t actually read the full text from which they are cutting cards and lack most of the historical knowledge to responsibly go for this argument. List of annoyances: there are 6 settler moves to innocence – you should know the differences/specifics rather than just reading pages 1-3 of Decol not a Metaphor; la paperson’s A Third University is Possible does not say “State reform good”; Reading “give back land” as an alt and then not defending against the impact turn is just lazy. Additionally, claiming “we don’t have to specify how this happens,” is only a viable answer for Indigenous debaters (the literature makes this fairly clear); Making a land acknowledgement in the first 5 seconds of the speech and then never mentioning it again is essentially worthless; Ethic of Incommensurability is not an alt, it’s an ideological frame for future alternative work (fight me JKS).


General: 1) Fairness is either an impact or an internal link 2) the TVA doesn’t have to solve the entirety of the aff. 3) Your Interp + our aff is just bad.

Aff v FW: 1) can win with just impact turns, though the threshold is higher than when winning a CI with viable NB’s. 2) More persuaded by defenses of education/advocacy skills/movement building. 3) Less random DA’s that are basically the same, and more internal links to fully developed DA’s. Most of the time your DA’s to the TVA are the same offense you’ve already read elsewhere.

Reading FW: 1) Respect teams that demonstrate why state engagement is better in terms of movement building. 2) “If we can’t test the aff, presume it’s false” – no 3) Have to answer case at some point (more than the 10 seconds after the timer has already gone off) 4) You almost never have time to fully develop the sabotage tva (UGA RS deserves more respect than that). 5) Impact turns to the CI are generally underutilized. You’ll almost always win the internal link to limits, so spending all your time here is a waste. 6) Should defend the TVA in 1nc cx if asked. You don’t have a right to hide it until the block.

Theory - 1) I generally lean neg on questions of Conditionality/Random CP theory. 2) No one ever explains why dispo solves their interp. 3) Won’t judge kick unless instructed to.

T – 1) I’m not your best judge. 2) Seems like no matter how much debating is done over CI v Reasonability, I still have to evaluate most of the offense based on CI’s.

DA/CP – 1) No special feelings.


All of my thoughts on policy apply, except for theory. More than 2 condo (or CP’s with different plank combinations) is probably abusive, but I can be convinced otherwise on a technical level.

Not voting on an RVI. I don’t care if it’s dropped.

Most LD theory is terrible Ex: Have to spec a ROB or I don’t know what I can read in the 1nc --- dumb argument.

Phil or Tricks (sp?) debating – I’m not your judge.

Matthew Moore Paradigm

1 rounds

Matthew Moore

Judge Philosophy- Update Sept ‘16

 Important questions:

Will you vote on framework? Yes

Will you vote for an aff that is not topical against framework? Yes

I am about 50/50 in these debates because I leave it up to the debaters. The aff usually wins these debates when they have substantive impact turns to the framework impacts. The neg usually wins when a topical version can access most of the aff’s offense. For affs: T version of the aff does not solve is not very persuasive to me when the solvency argument is functionally it does not solve as well as the aff.

Neg goes for a K versus a policy aff:

At the ’16 Texas tournament, negs going for K’s versus policy affs were 3-0 in front of me. Why? The aff only said weigh the aff, it is true, and then had no substantive answer to the K beyond the aff impacts. You should have offense to the alt that is not just the aff.


      After hearing multiple rounds where the 2AR goes for conditionality bad and  not voting on it once, it is highly probable that affs will not win on condo bad in front of me. Not impossible, just highly improbable. This is especially true is the argument is less than five seconds in the 2AC, 30 seconds in the 1AR, and then six minutes in the 2AR. If you think the neg is cheating, tailor specific theory arguments to the situation (i.e. this conditional pic is uniquely bad). That will be more persuasive to me and garner you better points than "Condo is bad, strategy skew and time skew voter for fairness." I will not vote on perm theory. The aff shouldn’t lose for making a perm no matter how bad it is. The more a counterplan/alt cheats, the more lenient I am to theory arguments against it. Cheating is a relative term here, but affs that can demonstrate the cheating in concrete terms will win my sympathy. You should make the arguments.


·         The aff can win there is no link to the DA if they win their link turns. Uniqueness does not make the link magically only go in one direction. 

·         Paperless sharing of speech documents is not an excuse for being unclear. Presentation matters for points. 

·         For K Debaters- saying the aff results in violent interventions like NATO missions in Libya is not an impact. Last time I checked bombing Libya protected civilians from being massacred. At best you have an intervention internal link to something else, not a terminal impact. 

·         Point scale- I will try my best to follow the data Regnier posted in August ’16 for the purpose of points. 29 is the mark for teams that are performing at a level that should be represented in the outrounds (not barely clearing). I tend to adjust my scale at the tournament using the points I have given in previous rounds as a guide for future debates. I am going to try harder to distinguish points between debaters in the round, I feel I have been giving too many points at the .1 difference between all four debaters. Be professional and respectful to each other. Shut up during the other team’s speeches. I will be pretty honest with you after rounds about what I thought was rude/not professional and what was good. These things really do impact your points. 

Don’t read to much into subtle nonverbal cues from me. I have had multiple rounds where I ask a team why didn’t you go for X and they will respond with you looked like you did not like the argument. Judging can be a miserable and uncomfortable experience, usually that look of disgust on my face is the result of a weekend of bad food, lack of sleep, and being stuck in an uncomfortable chair for hours at a time hunched over. I will do my best to make any nonverbal communication that may matter obvious. If I am grimacing because I do not like your argument, that is up to the other team to call out.






Will Morgan Paradigm

1 rounds

Some Thoughts Regarding Topics Past and Present:

Space: "I want to be buried in an anonymous crater inside the moon. I want to build miniature golf courses on all the stars. I want to prove that Atlantis was a summer resort for cave men. I want to prove that Los Angeles is a practical joke played on us by superior beings on a humorous planet. I want to expose heaven as an exclusive sanitarium filled with rich psychopaths who think they can fly. I want to show that the Bible was serialized in a Roman children’s magazine. I want to prove that the sun was born when God fell asleep with a lit cigarette, tired after a hard night of judging. I want to prove once and for all that I am not crazy."

Executive Authority: "Scientists always said there is no such thing as a soul. Now they are in a position to prove it. Total Death. Soul Death. It’s what the Egyptians called the Second and Final Death. This awesome power to destroy souls forever is now vested in farsighted and responsible people in the State Department, the CIA, and the Pentagon. Governments fall from sheer indifference. Authority figures, deprived of the vampiric energy they suck off their constituents, are seen for what they are: dead empty masks manipulated by computers. And what is behind the computers? Remote control. Of course. Don't intend to be here when this shithouse goes up. Nothing here now but the recordings. Shut them off, they are as radioactive as an old joke."

NHI: "Incredible nervous state, trepidation beyond words: to be this much in love is to be sick (and I love to be sick)."

Emissions: "Already many of the surrounding buildings had disappeared beneath the proliferating vegetation. Huge club mosses and calamites blotted out the white rectangular faces, shading the lizards in their window lairs. Beyond the lagoon, the endless tides of silt had begun to accumulate into enormous glittering banks, here and there overtopping the shoreline like the immense tippings of some distant goldmine. The light drummed against his brain, bathing the submerged levels below his consciousness, carrying him downwards to warm pellucid depths, where the nominal realities of time and space ceased to exist. Guided by his dreams, he was moving back into his emergent past, through a succession of ever stranger landscapes centered on the lagoon, each of which seemed to represent one of his own spinal levels."


Some things that I, a judge of college ~policy~ debates, find myself desirous of on the eve of the 2019-2020 debate season:

1. I want to know what the central question of a given debate is and what the criteria for its evaluation are.

2. I want to be impressed by your debating. Failing that, I will settle for being mystified.

3. I want to experience moments of creativity, intellectual, artistic or otherwise (!?).

4. I want the above to proceed from within the space of debate's rules (someone will speak, someone will lose, no one will touch and so on and so forth).

5. I want for the poems and stories you read that they should not become so burdened by the impresses of reality at the end of your debates.

6. I want that debate itself should become a little bit less convinced of its own reality. Where has play gone off to? I would like to know.

7. I want debate to be fun. If you are having fun debating, share. Please.

8. I want you to know what my email is. williammorgan1015@gmail.com


Then: Michigan

Now: UC Berkeley

Eric Morris Paradigm

1 rounds

Eric Morris, DoF - Missouri State – 29th Year Judging

++++ NDT Version ++++ (Updated 10-22-2019)

(NFALD version: https://forensicstournament.net/MissouriMule/18/judgephil)

Add me to the email ermocito@gmail.com (For Wyoming Online, use mostatedebate@gmail.com)

I flow CX because it is binding. I record rounds to deter clipping.

Please be nice to others, whether or not they deserve it.

I prefer line by line debate. People who extend a DA by by grouping the links, impacts, UQ sometimes miss arguments and get lower points. Use opponent's words when refuting them.

Assuming aff defends a plan:

Strong presumption T is a voter. Aff should win you meet neg's interp or a better one. Neg should say your arguments make the aff interp unreasonable. Topic wording or lit base could justify extra or effects T, particularly with a detailed plan advocate.

High threshold for anything except T/condo as voting issues*. More willing than some on dismissing CP texts, K alts, or even DA links on theory. Theory is better when narrowly tailored to what opponent did. 3x Condo makes sense to me, but have voted on any range of interps.

Zero link, zero internal link, and zero solvency are possible. Zero impact is rare.

Large-scale terminal impacts have comparable magnitude unless you prove otherwise. Lower scale impacts also matter, particularly as net benefits.

Evidence is important, but not always essential to initiate an argument. Respect high-quality opponent evidence when making strategic decisions.

If the plan/CP is vague, the opponent gets more input into interpreting it. CX answers, topic definitions, and the literature base helps interpret vague plans, advocacy statements, etc. If you advocate something different from your cards, clarity up front is recommended.

I am open to explicit interps of normal means (who votes for and against plan and how it goes down), even if they differ from community norms, provided they give both teams a chance to win.

Kritiks are similar to DA/CP strategies but if the aff drops some of the "greatest hits" they might be in bad shape. Affs should consider what offense they have inside the neg's framework interp in case neg wins their interp. K impacts, aff or neg, can outweigh or tiebreak.

Assuming aff doesn't defend a plan:

Many planless debates incentivize exploring important literature bases, but decades later, we should be farther along creating a paradigm that can account for most debates.

Impact turns are presumed relevant to kritikal affs. "Not my pomo" is weak without a warranted distinction. I prefer the negative to attempt direct engagement (even if they end up going for T). It should be easier to win the ballot this way when the aff overcovers T. Affs which dodge case specific offense are particularly vulnerable on T (or other theory arguments).

Topicality is always a decent option for the neg. I would be open to having the negative go for either resolution good (topicality) or resolution bad (we negate it). Topicality arguments not framed in USFG/framework may avoid aff offense.

In framework rounds, the aff usually wins offense but impact comparison should account for mitigators like TVA's and creative counter-interps. An explicit counter-interp (or model of debate) which greatly mitigates the limits DA is recommended - see example below. Accounting for topic words is helpful. TVA's are like CP's because they mitigate whether topics are really precluded by the T interp. Here is a good example of detailed counter-interps (models of debate). http://www.cedadebate.org/forum/index.php/topic,2345.0.html

If I was in charge of designing a format to facilitate K/performance debate, I would propose a season-long list of concepts with significant literature bases and expect the aff to tie more than half into an explicit 1AC thesis.

This was too short?

Older, longer version is available here: http://bit.ly/1gchPYx

* Some ethical issues, like fabrication, are voting issues, regardless of line by line.

Devane Murphy Paradigm

1 rounds

FOR COLLEGE TOURNAMENTS: rundebate@gmail.com

email: devane.murphy@gmail.com

My name is Devane (Da-Von) Murphy and I'm a former debater for Rutgers-Newark. My conflicts are Newark Science, Pace Academy, University High School and Rutgers-Newark. I debated 4 years of policy in high school and for a some time in college, however, I've coached Lincoln-Douglas as well as Public Forum debaters so I should be good on all fronts. I ran all types of arguments in my career from Politics to Deleuze and back and my largest piece of advice to you with me in the back of the room is to run what you are comfortable with. Now to get to the specific kinds of debate arguments. Also, i stole this from Elijah's philosophy and agree with

"If you are a policy team, please take into account that most of the "K" judges started by learning the rules of policy debate and competing traditionally. I respect your right to decide what debate means to you, but debate also means something to me and every other judge. Thinking about the form of your argument as something I may not be receptive to is much different from me saying that I don't appreciate the hard work you have done to produce the content"

Also, don't assume because of my appearance that I'm going to like or dislike certain arguments. I jumped for joy SO HARD when someone ran midterms in front of me this season and have cried because of terrible structuralism debates.

***2/9/2020 Edit***

I'm good on flowing now. thanks for being patient with me :)

****11/22/19 Edit*****

for all those doing prefs for the Shirley.

Due to a recurring hand injury I won't be able to flow debates as a I normally have in the past. I'll be using a different style of note-taking throughout the weekend and will provide feedback from there. Good luck to you all!

****10/27/18 Edit*****

So something has been up with my writing hand over the past few months going back to the summer and it has honestly affected how quickly I can flow. So if you're preffing me at least for the near future, please make sure that you aren't going blazing fast because i just won't be able to keep up sadly.

***2018 edit***

The current trend in debate of coaches and judges just flat out not listening/evaluating the ideas of competitors because it doesn't align with you ideologically is disheartening to say the least. So, I'm gonna be upfront about which arguments I don't want to hear and then everything else is on the table:

- Weird frivolous theory (i.e. can't read with two different highlights, spikes, etc)

- skep

- metatheory

- constitutivism/truth testing (for the LD folks)

***Emory LD Edit***

I'm a policy debater in training but I'm not completely oblivious to the different terms and strategies used in LD. That being said, I hate some of the things that are supposed to be "acceptable" in the activity. First, I HATE Theory debates, particularly "metatheory" debates (whatever that means). I will vote for it if I absolutely have to but I have VERY HIGH threshold. Second, if your thing is to do whatever a "skeptrigger" is or something along that vein, please STRIKE me. It'd be a waste of your time as I have nothing to offer you educationally. Please compare impacts and tell me why I should vote for you. Other than that, everything else here is applicable. Have fun and if you make me laugh, I'll probably boost your speaks.

DA's: I like these kinds of debates even though alot of folks don't utilize them anymore. My largest criticism is that if you are going to read a DA in front of me please give some form of impact calculus that helps me to evaluate which argument should be prioritized with my ballot. And i'm not just saying calculus to mean timeframe, probability and magnitude rather to ask for a comparison between the impacts offered in the round. (just a precursor but this is necessary for all arguments not just DA's)

CP's: I like CP's however for the abusive ones (and yes I'm referring to Consult, Condition, Multi-Plank, Sunset, etc.) I'm hella persuaded by theoretical objections. I'm not saying don't run these in front of me however if someone runs theory please don't just gloss over it because it will be a reason to reject the argument and if its in the 2NR the team.

K's: I like the K too however that does not mean that I am completely familiar with the lit that you are reading as arguments. The easiest way to persuade me is to have contextualized links to the aff as well as not blazing through the intricate details of your shit. Not to say I can't flow speed (college debate is kinda fast) I would rather not flow a bunch of high theory which would mean that I won't know what you're talking about. You really don't want me to not know what you're talking about. SERIOUSLY. I will lower your speaker points without hesitation

FW vs. K-Affs: Even though I'm usually debating on the K side of this, I will vote on either side. I go with the flow and if the negative is winning and impacting their decision-making impact over the impacts of the aff then I would vote negative. On the flip side, if the aff wins that the interpretation is a targeted method of skewing certain conversations and win offense to the conversation I would vote aff. This being said, I go by my flow. Also, i'm honestly not too persuaded by fairness as an impact, but the decisionmaking parts of the argument intrigue me.

K-Affs/Performance: I'm 100% with these. However, they have to be done the right way. I don't wanna hear poetry spread at me at high speeds nor do I want to hear convoluted high theory without much explanation. That being said, I love to watch these kinds of debates and have been a part of a bunch of them.

Theory: I'll vote on it if you're impacting your standards. If you're spreading blocks, probably won't vote for it.

Steven Murray Paradigm

1 rounds

10 years in debate, currently coaching at UGA.

EDIT for 2018-2019 (and onward): There is a huge gap between "burn it down" as a concept-metaphor and literally advocating assassination. I am an employee of the state. Please do not tell me you want to, plan to, or otherwise advocate a plan to assassinate the President. I cannot hear your plan to kill politicians. Not only is that a laughably bad idea, you threaten my job security by simply being in the room with you as you discuss your plan.

Overview: I vote for framework as often as I vote against it. I think the best debates occur when the 1NC answers the 1AC and the worst debates happen when theoretical abstraction substitutes link arguments. Here theoretical abstraction can equally be read as "should means immediate" and/or "competing methods." I think the best theoretical abstraction occurs when it assists the examination of objects instead of denying an object's uniqueness.

I take scholarship seriously, I often make comments in the middle of a round, and I have been told I give high speaker points but I don't believe that.

The best rebuttals occur when both teams identify the nexus points of the debate and engage in the other teams arguments while advancing their own. I tend to reward framing arguments and meta claims. When extending arguments, I think debaters should start with a claim, then a warrant, then comparison to their opponent's counter-arguments. I strongly dislike the trend (greatly assisted by paperless debate) to jump right into the comparison. Numbering 1NC and 2AC arguments is an underappreciated artform.

Minor proclivities: "Reject the arg" is sufficient in most cases (T and conditionality excluded), the word "permutation" is not a complete argument (nor is "permutation do both"), "do the counterplan" is not a permutation it's a concession unless otherwise explained, and "squo or a competitive policy option" is the dumbest meme left in debate. "Plan focus", however, can often be compelling if adequately developed.

Obligatory: PICs good, neg fiat good, DAs good, case debate good, sometimes topicality IS the strategy.

Andrew Myers Paradigm

1 rounds

Andrew Myers a.k.a. "Big" or "Big Mead"

Current Assistant Director of Debate for Gonzaga University and Former Assistant Head Coach at Mead HS.

BA- Phil/Poli-Sci GU '12, MA- Phil SUNY Buffalo '14

4 Years Debating for Mead HS, 3 Years for Gonzaga. 5 Years Assistant Coach Mead HS, 5 Years ADOD at GU.

Email: andrewrossmyers@gmail.com

Final NDT Update – Minnesota NDT 19 (3-19-19)

To paraphrase Ryan Wash, this shit here is like a novel – it’s long and a lot to read. Fair, so I stole the “philosophy for the Twitter generation” idea from Adam Symonds for those that don't want to read it all:

TLDR: I have voted for and against Framework, Antiblackness, ESR + Flex, Nuclear Deterrence, Storytelling, and the State. Boo untopical policy Affs and abusive ESR CPs. Hater's Guide: Strict about highlighting, thinks Logic is real, votes for caring about people, Education > Fairness, thinks Debate isn’t just a game, hates agenda politics disads, votes for identity arguments.

My Decision Making Process:

My Vote means I think Team A wins and Team B loses. The final rebuttals most likely to win my ballot are clear on why my vote should declare their Team the winner, but the final rebuttal isn’t the only thing I will consider.

The Process of deciding which Team wins

1. General Impression – What is my first intuition about which team won the debate and why?

2. Check the Record – Did I miss something? Did I undervalue an Argument? Is there a critical concession?

3. Casting a Vote –

A. What are the “voting” issues?

B. Which, if any, arguments were decisively won or lost?

C. How do those arguments relate to the voting issues raised?

4. Determination and Decision – How will I explain the decision? Why Do I accept one of Team A’s or Team B’s voting issues over the other, i.e. Why not vote the opposite way?

This, quite simply, is how I make a decision. For why I make my decision, the rest of my judging philosophy is committed to continued debates where the voting issues are familiar. Debate is more exciting when the ground is unfamiliar, but that doesn’t mean classic debates are not interesting. Note that what constitutes a “classic” debate has more to do with intensity than ideology.

I cannot express anymore so clearly than this: Debate should not be a violent exercise, but it should be competitive, performative, and reasoned activity.

Arguments I will not likely ever vote for


A. Make debate a violent activity


B. Refuse Competition, Performance, or Reasoning.

(See below: Ethos, Pathos, Logos)

Examples of Arguments I will likely not like voting for:

1. No K’s ever judge, philosophy is too hard! If making sure when we act we do the right thing is hard for you, I have no sympathy.

2. Debate is Bad because it’s competitive! If your argument is right that winning is bad, why should you win? Clearly debate can take the competitive spirit too far and into the realm of toxicity (see: Either, A.). That violence forgets that part of playing a game is that you play with others.

3. The Circular Logic of Intrinsicness – There is a difference between what I think is intrinsic to the activity, a.k.a. what is to be done while judging, and the assertion of something being intrinsically good. The remnants of theory debates recirculating invoke too fondly paramount truths that are evidently not so self-evident.

4. The Argument as You experienced it/know it – My role here is to consider how we experience you making that argument in relation to others.

Finally, Debating about a Topic is language gaming. There are various language games we play, but we do so competitively at the intersection of thought and performance.

The 2018-2019 CEDA-NDT Topic headache:

I’ll evaluate the debate in front of me. I don’t think this resolution makes sense, and worse, is the bad kind of language game. I miss resolutions that were a statement, not a matrix.

If y’all are intent on having an ESR/Flex debate, that’s fine. Aff’s should be able to answer those core generics, some CPs are more abusive than others. I just don’t find that debate interesting.

I don’t get why Framework teams read not-topical Affs and not-topical TVAs, but especially on this topic (where the floodgates are clearly open). Aim Higher! K teams should not be afraid to read T in front of me against policy Affs. Policy Negs should be ready to defend the topic if your Framework argument is that the topic is good.

No Exec Authority to First Use Nuclear Strike =/= No First Use

Affs should specify the restriction(s)

I don’t think the Act of students debating simultaneously does anything about Trump in the moment. I do think I have seen debating by students on this topic that could effectuate change out of the round. I don’t know if this means anything in regards to presidential power.

I’m really not cool with War Criminals or Fascists.

NDT 16 Judge Philosophy Update 3-25-16

This will by my second year judging and coaching at the NDT for Gonzaga, and I feel compelled to comment on my continually developing disposition(s) as a judge.

I’ve had 52 rounds on this topic, varying in all styles.

I implore you to read what I’ve written here. I take this part of my job seriously and want to demonstrate how my thinking (philosophy) changes and stays the same.

If you don’t read it, ask Michigan KM how that went.

I prefer my role as a judge to be a primarily nonverbal communicative partner – including me in the round, making eye contact (when appropriate), reacting to how I am understanding you, is not merely a narcissistic request: it’s a recognition of a preference for active learning and teaching, for all of us.

I have previously written here that I prefer to be an educator, but frankly that won’t be the case for certain content or experiences. I can, however, offer some academic advice on the structure of your arguments, rhetoric and speaking style. Thus, being an educator is a preference based on comfort, but my comfort isn’t my preference with exception to the following uncomfortable (enough to vote you down) scenarios:

  • Making jokes about rape, or responding to issues of sexual violence with jokes. It’s not funny to me. You know who you are.
  • Sex, Gender, Orientation, Race or Ability discrimination
  • Being willfully ignorant about Race. Racial naiveté isn’t always a reason to lose a round, but being unwilling to admit fault, mistake or responsibility for certain behaviors is not, at the very least, a persuasive way to get my ballot.

As a quick aside on education, the question of what a university should be for often causes me consternation. After all, for someone who valued education as an excuse not to go home, my growing pessimism in the academy (whether from the expected bitterness of graduate school or from the contemporary conversations of the occupy and black lives matter generation) makes me receptive to some cynical positions. I’ve seen some pretty indefensible things condoned in the University. That said…I still believe this activity can be good for students and as such my responsibility is primarily to them. The second I don’t believe that, I won’t be here. Without students we coaches don’t have a job. See Below: Commitment to Educational Debate.

And so I return to my reason for posting: I felt compelled because of my position to comment on some topics pervading the debate community right now:

- If I’m on a panel and someone wants to replace me, I won’t be offended as long as I can cover the rounds I am obliged to so my students can debate.

- If there is a recording, I don’t really want to be on it… So I understand the concern with being recorded against your will. I know states differ on their local laws and the NDT Committee has put forth polices on it. If both teams have to be on video, then I will also have to be on video for the space to be fair(er). I think there are interesting privacy arguments in support of extending protections against being recorded in debates, but I also think accountability is important. In the end I just want to judge the debate.

- I think speech times have to be rigid. I am fine with flex prep, and am honestly lax about prep in general, but at some point fairness and timeliness is a concern.

- I once judged a debate where a Bifo team hit a Buddhist team and they deconstructed the round, reconstructed it, and gave final speeches after dialogue. It was different but not uncomfortable, on time, mutually agreed upon, and productive.

- The only things I will say about civility concerns: a) Before the debate starts I don’t expect much other than if I’m asked I’ll answer questions. b) When the timer starts for the 1AC it’s all performance – that’s a necessary space to express some seriously challenging thoughts c)When the timer stops I prefer some quiet to make a decision, but I often will go smoke or put my headphones in anyway d) At no point should you physically harass anyone. Consent for me applies equally well to unwanted intentional physical touching e) Other issues are probably not my fight and I don’t poke around in them unless beckoned to – either by the ballot or as a community member and academic employee.

As a child Hip Hop made me read books,

And Hip Hop made me wanna be a crook

And Hip Hop gave me the way and something to say

And all I took in return is a second look

- Slug, Party for the Fight to Write

An Admission of Hubris –

“I probably have read the primary sources your authors are talking about.”

Turns out I don’t know much about many contemporary primary source debate authors, even if many of them I do (Given my previous disclosures of my education, expected authors would include stuff like Foucault and Fanon, but exclude stuff like Berlant and Bifo). Either way, you could plausibly predict what I’ve read merely given the MA and BAs in Political Science and Philosophy from a Jesuit Liberal Arts School. Ah how the tables have turned!

To Finish, another nod to Z-Lowe..

Ten Things I Like and Dislike

1. Terrible highlighting -

Honestly a lot of the “evidence” students are reading into the round has become unrecognizable by academic standards of clarity and integrity. Examples of things that irk me: sentence fragments, highlighting parts of a word as a word (i.e., deforestation becomes “defo,” proliferation becomes “prolif,” nuclear weapons becomes "nucs" ). A good way to understand my expectation: highlight your evidence as if you were quoting your sources in an academic paper. Anything else is the privileging debate norms over educational standards of scholarship.

2. Reading a Pile ‘O’ Cards -

In almost every entry here I bring this up. I still will read a bunch of evidence after the round given certain circumstances, but it’s my least favorite thing to do. Given the complexity of debate and the relative short times to make decisions, I don’t want to spend my time adjucating reading evidence I should have heard as part of your “speech.” Making a decision after re-reading read evidence in a debate distances judges from the performance of the speech and increases the likelihood of interpretive hubris. I don’t think either of those things are desirable characteristics of a decision. My novel idea for debate would be for judges to hear evidence read, the first time its read. I also think this is possibly a reason why I often find affective modes of communication persuasive – what they lack in depth they make up in clarity. I don’t think debate is a research competition.

A minor quip on the subject of speech documents: sending a speech doc for your opponents and judges that is 100 pages is both annoying and unrealistic. It makes it hard for everyone and borders on obfuscation. For my philosophy on obfuscation, See: Baudrillard.

3. Affs That Do Things –

I was more often a 2A than a 2N throughout my career. I loved the challenge of changing the status quo. Debate is one of the few spaces you can advocate things we would otherwise be shutdown for: ideas being politically unlikely, socially difficult or subject to academic inertia. If you aff decides to do nothing, I am very likely to buy presumption/pessimism arguments in response. If your aff does something, I am more likely to filter the debate through that proposed change. On a somewhat related note, my proclivity for opacity arguments is almost always as a neg strategy. I do think there are instances in which an opacity Aff makes sense, but given my biases here, it may be best to explain opacity as somehow a strategy to change the SQ, instead of merely retreat from it.

4. Violence, Nebulas… not Stirred

Too many debates I’ve seen have debaters using violence as an ultimate impact, without explaining intricacies or giving frameworks for understanding what violence means. How am I supposed to adjudicate different claims of violence against each other? Or what about violence against some tangible traditional impact (War, Environment, Disease)? Ethics can’t function if everything is axiologically leveled to “violence,” and thus questions of what I should vote for is very likely to be arbitrary in the minds of participants, even if inevitable given the level of analysis in the debate.

5. Demarcating Points of Contestation

Similar to my respect for taking on the challenge of the SQ, I reward debaters who clearly demarcate points of contestation in the round and focus on those matters of debate. Too often debaters run away from arguments rather than engage them. In the college policy debate community this can be discouraging, because we are supposedly a model for deliberation and dialogue. Those latter realities only exist if you’re willing to admit where the debate is, admit that you may not necessarily be right, but debate out the issues.

6. Lost Art of the Case Debate

I am by no means a stock issues judge, but I do think that every argument, every aff should be responsible for these questions. A lot of the time case debate devolves into alt causes and impact defense. While those are good arguments to have, especially in the 2nr, not debating the case is almost always an important forgone opportunity. This is particularly true for K affs – put up a fit and you will be in a much better position than simply ignoring the case. Because of my expectations of an affirmative, I can be persuaded to not vote for an aff based on solvency alone.

7. Joshua Greene on Deontology and Util –

I feel it’s important to disclose this bias, and I have to a few teams. Here’s the thing, when you spend a year on a masters thesis and one of the opponents of your thesis becomes a large focus of effort, time and intellectual investment…it’s nearly impossible to remove that bias. Joshua Greene’s arguments in favor of a moral realist/essentialist account of utilitarianism and deontology invariably raises my blood pressure and leaves a bad taste in my mouth. Read a different defense of utilitarianism in front of me – I’m not persuaded FMRI’s prove how people think morally.

8. Flex Time –

I think there is enough to be gained in cross-examination, the most lively and engaging part of debate, that using prep time to ask and answer questions has almost no downside for me. That said, I think the other team has the right to not consent to questions of content (instead of clarification questions: theory, technical or flow) after the normal 3-minute cx period has expired.

9. Conflating Topicality and Framework –

The more persuasive arguments for me center on the content/object of the resolution (military presence) rather than on implementation/actor questions. For one, I think a resolution without “federal government” makes traditional Topicality arguments that turn into framework arguments very duplicitous. Framework should be the debate about what that Aff and Neg should have to do to meet a good interpretation of debate. If an aff makes an ethical statement that US Military Presence is bad, you have the grounds to say its good. You don’t need USFG action to do that. An Aff that doesn’t engage in the question of military presence, or some interpretation of that, isn’t being topical and I can find it a reason to vote Neg. I have voted on different conflations of Framework and T, but I increasingly find it important to delineate the two.

10. Being Big

I am still working on my pronoun usage and am myself unclear about my thoughts on many issues of identity, but I do think my persona in debate, while always authentic, is somewhat reserved. I am not particularly motivated to be extroverted in an activity that often reminds me how stuck up academics can be, and how they think that just because of my appearance they can crack jokes I find distasteful. As a result, I want to be known by who I am when I’m in the debate community. Calling me Andrew is a sign you haven’t given me the courtesy of reading this. Big is always the best way to refer to me.

2015-16 (Military Presence) Preseason Update:

I still endorse my philosophy as written below. Just a few quick updates as we begin this year:

- I am probably not the best judge for Baudrillard debates. Sue me. (Or Forget Baudrillard)

- I still like watching CPs and DAs, much to the dismay and/or shock of my fellow judges and coaches.

- I have a fairly low threshold for what is reasonably topical, but I prefer a reasonability argument on T to make an interpretation of the topic and give me a claim as to why the Aff (and other Affs) could engage the topic under that interpretation.

- Teams that escape jargonism, fashionable witticisms, and oversimplified argument explanation will do well in front of me. I like creative and unique debaters (which can be accomplished in any style - it's usually a matter of dedication, effort and presentation).

- Please explain Acronyms early in the year. Not everyone is going to get what your particular subdivision affirmative is on first hearing it.

- If you didn't read my judging philosophy before round, expect no pity for ignoring my preferences and/or committing offenses I find particularly blameworthy.

- If you can't debate technically, debate thuroughly. I am just flowing in excel columns anyway.

- Random but non-negligble pet peeve: students who start lists and never finish them (e.g., Debater says "There are Three Impacts to the K" then explains only two impacts).

- I value Cross-Examination like a speech. You can win and lose a round in one of those 3 min segments.

- Finally, I proscribe to this ridiculous notion that Debate is a Communicative Activity where Debaters try and Persuade me to Vote for them. See below for what persuades me and what doesn't.

2015 NDT Update:

I decided to post an update to my judging philosophy for the upcoming NDT (2015). Hopefully this is with enough time (a couple of weeks) for everyone to review it.

By far the most important thing: While I've judged 40-45 rounds on this topic, I have done so primary here out west. I don't think that disqualifies any of the debates I've watched - there were some terrific debates I had the privilege to judge this year. Still, full disclosure: I am more familiar with some teams than others, in the sense I've judged them debate before. Then again, with mutual pref judging, this seems like an inevitable outcome - you will always have seen certain parts of the debate community, hardly ever the whole field.

I decided to update what I've written so far for my judging philosophy primarily because I know the preceding to be compelling case for further disclosure of how I adjudicate debates. I stand by much of what I've already written. To expand, I decided to give a "Top Ten Things I Like and Don't like" (primarily an influence of reading Zach Lowe/Simmons Inc... also playing liberally with "Like" and "Don't Like," substitute "find persuasive" and "don't find persuasive" if you wish) in debate rounds.

Top Ten Things I Don't Like (In no particular Order):

1. Clipping

My First round back in debate came down to a clipping call out. Where I come from this is a "no-brainer" ethics question, but I do feel strongly that some rules in debate are necessary. One of those is you must read what you submit as evidence in speeches, particularly when in the form of cards. You will lose if you clip in front of me, but I need video/audio evidence and speech docs to determine this. Please, for everyone involved, do a better job of digitally "marking" your cards - don't leave things to chance.

Because I view clipping this way, it's important to note that while I'm not willing to vote for a team that clipped evidence, not all infractions are alike. I will not always simultaneously reduce speaker points to zero, or some other tanking number, and vote a team down. I believe mistakes can be made, but I also believe people can be malevolent.

Just don't do it, slow down and you'll probably sound better anyway.

2. Automization

I mean this somewhat sarcastically, but nothing about you reading into a computer screen is persuasive to me. I will always believe in the value of files, evidence and research, but those are neither absolute ideals nor the only means to win a debate round. Arguments, for instance, are not something I'm willing to vote on because it was written somewhere - explanation of evidence is key. I feel the prevalence of paperless debating is a evil necessity, primarily because debaters lose something of their ability to speak otherwise. Look up at me occasionally?

3. Avoidance

Call this my inverse justification for Clash being a thing I like. Debaters who avoid issues in debate/debate rounds are usually being: (1)selfish, (2)cowardly, (3)strategic or (4) unknowing/naive/unwilling. Only two of those states become problematic for a debate round, for two produce clash and argumentation, and the other two make the debate messy and needlessly complicated. Don't avoid a point of contestation with me, but also don't feel like I have a preferred set of points from which all arguments should begin.

4. Reading Evidence After the Round

I still dislike this practice, and I wrote about it previously below. However, I should make something clear: I really, really dislike debates where reading a pile of cards is the way to come to a decision. This, I understand, can be the natural outcomes of both good and bad debates. However, I want to stand by my statement:

"I will check evidence for accuracy/truth in representation if another team claims it doesn't support its intended use (i.e. your card that says the sky is purple actually claims the sky is blue). If an argument wasn't clear to me, and you were supposed to win a round on it, you probably should have made it clearer than a mumbled 15 seconds."

I have read multiple pieces of evidence in the post-round this year. I will admit that evil necessity paperless debate has this charm, and having the evidence in an email chain seems like not only good academics, but also a modicum of professionalism. I can't say I haven't been more compelled to read because I can get entire speech docs. This is a particularly helpful part of adjudicating that I won't ignore. However, if I can't get what you want me to get out of evidence in the post round (particularly if it's under-highlighted, which happens too frequently and is frankly discouraging) you will likely have dissuaded me more than had I not, and that matters for close NDT Debates.

The easy way to avoid all of this is to read evidence clearly, and draw the necessary warrants out of it. I think it's lazy to collapse an evidenced argument into a Authors last name (excluding titling a flow). Yes, technically there could be a "line" there, but is a bad practice of rhetoric and I find it unpersuasive. I also am always willing to check on factuality rather than persuasion. If you provide reasons why the other team's evidence is misread/doesn't support their argument, I value that style of argumentation equally as much as I dislike having to interpret evidence for/against speeches. I do not have a problem reading evidence, especially at the NDT, on the basis of these arguments. Ultimately, I am not going to read every piece of evidence submitted for review like that was all you did in the debate round - submitting evidence for review. I have other portions of the debate to think about.

5. Victim Blaming

I have no desire to vote for any argument that implies this ethos. This is both an ethos and a logos question. For example, Psychoanalysis K's can run dangerously close to blaming rape victims. I am not cool with that frame of mind and will flush your expensive euro-trash with a L.

6. Rude Partners

This is the sneaky dark-horse for my ideal in debate: the best debate occurs when partners work together, not individually.

Crazy right? Those who chose 2 person CX debate at some point chose to work with others. I reward debaters who embrace that aspect more than the sound of their own voice. A smart team is almost always two individuals working hard for each other, rather than two smart debaters working for themselves.

Don't be destructive to each other. Agonistic partnerships can be very successful, but they can also hurt your chances at winning. By far the best indictment of your argument, in any round, comes from your partner. Don't belittle, unnecessarily interrupt, or look upset/uninterested during your partner's speech. I ultimately give my ballot to a team, not an individual.

There is also a way to be kind/authentic in criticizing the arguments of your opponents (if you need a primer, see Dennett's "How to compose a successful critical commentary" in Intuition Pumps. I am by no means a fan of Dennett, but that process is one every debater should think about). Make sure, as much as one can, to do this as a team.

7. Tagless Taglines

A bit of 4 and 2 in this one, but I am also old school in how evidence is tagged. I am fine with short tags for evidence that requires no explanation. "Extinction," however, is neither a claim nor statement of fact. In fact, many cards read and tagged in such a manner frequently have little to make me believe the argument is even that strong. On the opposite end of the spectrum are K teams who read 3-4 paragraphs and don't introduce the evidence, or make it clear what part of their argument is supported by some fragment of analysis. Taglines in K debates I have a higher threshold on, but those issues irk me as much as badly tagged evidence that is then read unclearly anyway. Make claims, support them with evidence (or as I told many of my students in the past: evidence is a tool, not an argument).

8. Speaker Point Inflation

Mostly because I couldn't avoid it and my judging philosophy no longer represents my scale well. For the NDT:

26 and Below - You were punishably rude.

26.5. Incomplete, your speech ended with large gaps, whole flows dropped, no persuasiveness

27. Poor, you made a crucial error, were completely disorganized or had gaps in your speeches

27.5 Below Average, you provided no momentum for the ballot

28 - Average, you proved you should be here

28.5 - Above Average, you have the power to win some more ballots here

29.0 - Excellent, you should break at the NDT.

29.5 - Elite, you will be debating on Monday.

30 - Asymptotic, per my experience, these are so infrequent you can't predict them happening.

9. Debaters who don't Check Themselves

It's important to know when you're crossing a line from competitive to exclusionary, confident to obtuse. It's also important to act in a manner that produces a meaningful debate experience (whatever that may be). If that becomes impossible because you're not willing to discuss things like privilege, it seems you've failed at a basic test of self-skepticism that makes arguing possible. When debaters know they can lose on things like "Your evidence doesn't say Econ declines" and don't agree with decisions made through that framing, that to me is on par with refusing to answer the claim that "Your experience should be recognized as privileged in this analysis" and losing because they weren't open to how experience can be interepreted. We can't have debates if we don't purport to have some level of skepticism, arguing would cease to function educationally. That said, these are questions that implicate arguments, and almost completely arguments, rather than individual debaters.

10. Coaches that Degrade, not Support, their Students

I can deal with coaches making fun of each other, but how you treat the students in debate tells me more about you than how you treat the your fellow coaches. I am very intolerant of this in all forms - the students are paying to do this, not us. Treating any student in a defamatory or rude manner, that's a major turn off and I would prefer we don't speak.

Top Ten Things I Like (In no particular Order):

1. Analytic Arguments

I don't know if this a function of my experience with speech and debate growing up, but debaters who can't make arguments without evidence almost certainly are at a disadvantage in front of me. I will not simply dismiss a logical argument because you have a piece of evidence that argues, rather than proves/demonstrates, the opposite. Analytic arguments quality check the cohesiveness of the debate, bring issues to light in the block often foregone, and demonstrate a level of understanding and willingness to argue. Analytic arguments in debate almost always function on an a-posteriori basis and rarely a-prior unless that "K-Word" comes back into play. You should be able to argue, for instance, about connections between evidence, without needing another piece of evidence. This demonstrates a higher level of skill in debate that I reward. I do this not only selfishly as a lover of argumentative analysis, but also as someone who knows this skill can be, and often is, rewarded by graduate school, job opportunities and other sectors of life.

2. Proof by Example(s)

Though I like analytic arguments, and find a-priori claims persuasive, most often the fruitful discussions in debate occur when teams give concrete examples to explain, (sometimes seemingly) abstract concepts, connections or arguments. This process of concretion demonstrates to me a level of sophistication and understanding, and also a tangible hook to hang my hat on during post-round decisions. Obviously metaphors, poems, scripted-performances, etc. could all be examples of proof by example, not just history. Consider my preference here to be a testing question:

Basic Argument Necessities:

1. Do you have a Claim?

2. How is that Claim supported?

3. Proof by example: how does your argument operrationalize in different parts of the debate? How might it explain other questions in the debate?

4. Impact in/for the Round

3. Confidence/Willingness to Make Mistakes

I believe the qualities we associate with great debaters usually include fearlessness, confidence, complete attention, etc. These can manifest in different ways, and those ways in different people. The confidence that impresses me is the willingness to try, and be willing to fail to win a debate round. I think sometimes debaters are too worried about losing to focus on winning. As long as that focus doesn't result in other harmful mannerisms, attitudes and actions, I reward debaters for trying to win the round with with a cool confidence.

4. Round Awareness

Somewhat piggybacking of of 3, Debaters who are aware of details during a debate round can always make more strategic persuasive connections. There is a difference, for instance, in debating in the out rounds of the NDT and the Prelims. The way you construct your speech should be wary of that. The composition(s) of the people in the round is not ignorable, the audience included. There is also an awareness of how arguments function, when to stop belaboring, and when to reword and reclarify those arguments. These skills develop with time, but they should be easier to excersise with me because I am a fairly expressive judge. I am no Dallas, alas, but I do nod my head, smile, frown, laugh...you know, those things that make most of us feel human. I find this to be the most honest practice. Mostly, however, I am just very bad at Poker...so I will not try to be a stone-faced judge.

Debaters should also be aware of time. I don't reward teams with more than completing a sentence when the timer ends. I don't reward desperate shadow extensions in the last few seconds. I do reward speeches that end on or before time, or speeches that properly allocate time. I do reward good use of prep and CX time. Speaking time is the most valuable aspect of debate you can somewhat control, and everyone has the same access to the same time. Utilizing time well is a very good indicator of in round awareness.

5. Commitment to Educational Debate

This is an academic community (it includes mostly people employed and/or enrolled in the academy) that should primarily be focused on the Students. As such, students who understand where the pedagogical value of their arguments lie have a greater chance of winning in front of me. This is partly a question of logos (what have you learned, how did you learn it, what are we to learn?) and commitment your fellow students. Granted: not all students are alike, nor do they have the same experience. These two facts should be treated as advantageous: because you all are not alike and share different experiences, a commitment to learning together is probably the best possible praxis for debate. How does the debate round, per your framework or role of the ballot, promote learning? If learning is not all that important to you, that's fine. But understand I value this part of debate more than fairness or love of the game. I refuse to believe that debate doesn't help students - if that's your explicit goal I will likely be dissuaded. If you don't think debate is important, don't be in debate.

6. Humor

Judging very stressful debates can build up a lot of pressure. Humor is a great release valve. That being said, it's not in everyone's repertoire. Do what makes you comfortable, self-depreciation is almost always humbling but also potentially lighthearted.

7. Clash

Debate can be frustrating when neither team argues about the other teams arguments. The worst debates to judge, for me, have been ones where the Aff only talks about aff evidence, the Neg about the neg evidence. I think this is primarily a function of three practices:

A. Horizontal proliferation of arguments. I am persuaded by claims about 4-5 conditional options as weighing heavily against in depth clash from the 2AC. Part of me believes that this is inevitable in a competitive activity, part of me believes that it is also a defensible tactic. That said, if a team is "pushing pieces" but not arguing well, I do value theoretical objections on the basis of what positons move away from clash and what positions move toward it.

B. Fear of Impact Turning arguments. Too many times arguments become needlessly unwound without a point of disagreement. Your solvency/framework/kritik cards may poke many a whole, but the best evidence takes a stance in the opposite direction. Do I believe all impact turns are the same, ethically speaking? No: see Victim Blaming, above. That being said, in front of me, you can "Impact Turn" a methodology as much as you can a value claim. Why teams don't do this more often is strategically puzzling. They said Science was Bad? Maybe there are arguments that Science can be Good, or Useful? "Impact Turn" strategies make an obvious point of contestation that makes creative clash possible. However, Impact turning is merely a sufficient but not necessary means achieve that clash.

C. Debaters hate being wrong. Probably for good reason - most have been trained not to argue wrong things. Still, without trying out different arguments that produce a response from your opponent, debate kind of becomes oratory research reports, rather than engaging discussion.

8. ROTB's that Both Teams can Access

I do not find a "Role of the Ballot" claim that is to "vote for us" to be persuasive. I think its dishonest and transparently one sided to interpret the role of a ballot through one team's participation. Strictly speaking I think the role of my ballot is always to vote for the team that did the best debating, but if you have an argument otherwise, I would be more persuaded by a functionality/interpretation of how my vote works if both teams get a chance of receiving that vote. Otherwise its a meaningless piece of debate jargon substituting comfortable rhetoric for good impact framing.

9. Balance of Pathos, Ethos, Logos

Old-School Comm in this sense. Good public speaking requires a balancing all three. Excelling in one or more is ideal, but an above average accounting for each aspect is more valuable than any one on its own.


You could be completely correct on a knowledge question, but did not impact that access to truth, nor argue for it with any passion. That is less persuasive than someone who may have lost a few questions of truth, but can still access impacts and passionately argue for them.

You could be full of passion, emotion and making an ethical case without an explanation of how your argument functions or why it should be believed (reasoning, logos).

Put another way:

If you are right on a question, that means you can win that part of the debate (Logos). You do not win for being right in places.

If you are passionate on a question, that means you can string together good arguments persuasively. Without arguments, you won't be persuasive, just passionate.

If you win an ethics question, that means you can frame the debate and win it. You could be right that violence is bad, but not provide a means to resolve it, analyze it or persuade me that its a reason to vote for you.

10. Round Framing in Final Rebuttals

Almost universally, this is what separates elite from above average debaters. Many of the Coachs and People Who Teach Labs I've talked to aree this is one of, if not the most important skill thats difficult to polish. The difficulty of the 1AR/2NR/2AR notwithstanding, the best speeches, and thus the easiest to vote for, frame how to make a decision regarding particular arguments and strategies as a whole. Not doing this puts it in my hands, which is not a bad thing per say, but it's always more strategic to tie together your arguments and show how they win the round. Old-school Voting Issues are important to me. What is most important, what could you do without? Even/if statements in the last rebuttals are supremely helpful.

Fall 2014 Judging Philosophy**

First, I should mention: I left College Debate before my senior year at Gonzaga. This did not play well with many in the community, after all I was abandoning an activity I had previously spent so much time on.

After graduating from Gonzaga, I enrolled SUNY at Buffalo's PhD in Philosophy program. I recently received my Masters and left UB to pursue other things in life.

I mention these things only to say, if I appear bitter, I really am not. But I do believe there are more important things than debate, and all of what I have been reading - on various media and social media platforms - about debate rings true about academia as a whole.

All of that said, I still think debate is an important activity, especially for students. As a judge, I have always preferred to act as an educator. This can include simply listening and giving the reflections of an average citizen - any debate is still ultimately a two-way street of communication for me. Thus, the primary importance of debate, for me, is that it is a speech activity emphasizing persuasion skills. I have no stylistic preferences, but I have been out of the game for about 3 years so I might be a bit rusty with speed, and might need some expanding of abbreviations, jargon and/or acronyms. Clarity and rhythm are crucial either way, and I'll announce "clear" several times before giving up flowing. Frankly, speed reading ultimately trades off with clarity, and I'd rather hear your argument than guess. Because I know I'm rusty I figured I should be clear with that warning - I'm not going to flow theory real well at 400wpm, let alone cards.

The other ultimate difference between myself and my peers: I detest reading a pile of evidence after a round. With few exceptions, most debates come down to a decision about a few issues. If this were quarters at the NDT, I would definitely join this practice insofar as my due diligence for the activity is concerned. If you think a piece of evidence is important, remember that I heard you read it once, and you have multiple opportunities to explain why the evidence is crucial. The obvious caveat to all of this is that I will check evidence for accuracy/truth in representation if another team claims it doesn't support its intended use (i.e. your card that says the sky is purple actually claims the sky is blue). If an argument wasn't clear to me, and you were supposed to win a round on it, you probably should have made it clearer than a mumbled 15 seconds.

I suppose in many ways my academic traits mirror that of my debate tastes. I tend to be a generalist - arguments of many shapes and varieties can peak my interest. In terms of my degree, my AOS is in metaphysics, and my AOCs are in Ethics, Ancient Philosophy and Continental/Social Philosophy. That being said, I spent the last few years being too weird for both the analytic and continental schools of philosophy - I find Baudrillard and Dennett equally intolerable. I probably have read the primary sources your authors are talking about. Just because you think repeating "Dasein" or some other term over and over is going to get a win, the reality of things often disagrees. Be clear and concise and don't rely on jargon to win your criticisms, make them apparent with evidence comparisons and concise link work. I love a good kritik debate, but despise a bad one. I debated all kinds of arguments in my career, and found many of those debates enjoyable for different reasons. I am comfortable with most anything, but don't tolerate any physical or mental abuse, discrimination or hate. Those are the easiest paths to make my ballot simple.

I'll accept any framework if it's argued for well. Performance, Identity etc. are all important elements in thinking about arguments. As I said, I like debate rounds that are aware of the activity as a communicative one. When I make expressions during your speeches, they usually are done intentionally. It's nice to be talked to as more than a transcriber.

If you have questions about typical jargon stuff, ask before the round. Frankly you should be able to convince me of something regardless of my biases - though I admit that my worst bias is openness to arguments. So I'm probably not going to reject a team for reading a K. Sorry.

Other housecleaning: I'm always a fan of being included in the debate if I'm judging, thus if you are paperless and are emailing, include me (andrewrossmyers [at] gmail [dot] com). I'll time prep as finished when the email is sent or flash drive is ejected. My main mentors, though I have had many, were Steve Pointer and Izak Dunn.

Speaker Points - My speaker points for an "average" debater is a 27.5. If I ever give someone a 30, it's probably going to be the last time I do.


Crafty-ness and Tactics

Persuasion and Interpersonal Speaking

Clarity, Calmness, Confidence

Effective and Engaging CX's




Unintelligibility/Marble Mouths


Unbearable/boring CX's

Tunnel Vision


Why you gott be so rude? Don't you know they're humans too? Actually, being a little bit rude is what makes the activity fun, but there's a difference between joking/confidence/pressure and being distracting/harmful/obtuse. Please respect the thin line.

** Weber Update: I will vote teams down for clipping. This includes skipping words. I will only do so with video evidence in combination with the speech doc. I don't think this is always malicious, so my reduced speaker points will vary with the severity of the offense. (For instance, if you skip entire lines, I will give you a zero).

Nicole Nave Paradigm

1 rounds

Nick D Nave

Baylor University

2017 Crowns United Boo!

enough said

Theo Noparstak Paradigm

1 rounds

Niles West High School '14
University of Kentucky '18

Coach at Northwestern University

Put me on the chain theonoparstak22@gmail.com

I don't consider personal biases when judging policy or k debates. Debates hinge on link, impact, and solvency questions that have to be argued whether its plan/cp, perm/alt, fw/advocacy.

I decide debates by re-organizing my flow around the issues prioritized in the 2nr and 2ar, going back to chart the progression of the argument, then resolving that mini-debate. Tell me what I should care about in the final speeches.

I'll read evidence during and after the debate. Evidence quality influences my perception of the argument's strength. Bad evidence means there's a lower bar for answering the argument and vice versa.

Have an appropriate level of respect for opponents and arguments.

Anthony Ogbuli Paradigm

1 rounds

TL;DR: Do your thing as long as you do it well.

I debated for Homewood Flossmoor in High School for three years.
I debated for Illinois State University for two years
I debated for the University of Texas at Dallas for three years.

I have a more than decent grasp of debate in general. I judge a good amount of tournaments a year so I have an okay understanding of the topic but don't assume I know every detail and nuance of it. Needless to say you should probably explain your arguments regardless.

I will evaluate all arguments. I think like most judges I like to believe that I evaluate debate from an unbiased position...but like all judges I do have some predispositions

If you tell me to star, double star, flag, or read a card and it's trash I dock speaker points 10 out of 10 times.

I don't like to read a lot of evidence at the end of debates, but I definitely reward good cards.


Framework: I judge a ton of these debates. To be honest I couldn't care less about either sides arguments so play ball. These debates are almost always decided by impact calculus, and whether or not the negative is able to absorb some of the affirmative's offense, whether through topical version of the aff, switch side debate, etc..

You should just debate this however you wish, but if you want to know some of my personal feelings about these debates........

  • The aff almost always gets to weigh the aff against Framework.
  • The aff doesn't get to perm interps, framework should be about what competing models of debate look like. That being said if you allow the aff to finesse you in this fashion, you're probably going to lose.
  • Fairness is an internal link more than it is an impact, but with sufficient work it can be an impact, this is work missing from the vast majority of framework debates. It's probably not the best impact against teams making identity based arguments, against all other teams it should make an appearance.
  • Substantive framework impacts such as cede the political, agonism, deliberation, etc are generally more persuasive especially against identity based arguments
  • T versions of the aff are like perms, why not make several of them?

Counterplans: I think counterplans are a fundamental part of debate. Well thought out specific counterplan are one of the strongest debate tools that you can use. If you're gonna run a counterplan make sure you can theoretically justify it. If counterplans that compete off resolved, should, etc are at the top of your box, it will not be warmly received, but rarely do affirmative's invest enough in the theory debate on these counterplans for that to deter you.

DAs: DAs are also a core debate argument. I am a big fan of politics DA. Specific DAs are always a plus. Contrived DAs are contrived for a reason...and I'll leave it at that.

Kritiks: I have a pretty good grasp of a lot of the popular Kritiks, but that isn't an excuse for a lack of explanation when reading your argument. I refuse to do that work for you regardless of my previous knowledge. That being said, I'm down otherwise. I think that the framework debates on these are stale and usually worthless. The aff should get to weigh the aff, the neg obviously get their kritik, can we start from here or make these debates more innovative.

Case: You should read it. Lots of it. Its good, makes for good debates, and is generally underutilized.

Topicality: I enjoy good T debates......not like T substantial. Unfortunately T debates are normally really messy, so the team to really put the debate into perspective and be very clear on how the two worlds interact first generally wins. If you're looking for a judge willing to pull the trigger on T, I'm probably a good judge for you.

Theory: In accordance to popular belief I like theory. I enjoy good theory debates. I honestly believe affirmative teams let the negative get away with a ton of bullshit, and shouldn't be afraid to not only run theory but to go for it and go for it hard. And to a lesser extent the negative in respect to the affirmative. I honestly believe debaters respond to a win-loss record paradigm so I believe the ballot can be used to punish them. That being said I am by no means an aff theory hack, but if you're going to do something abusive on the neg you should take the time to cover your ass on theory. Also I think everything about topicality above applies.

Things that are good and you should probably have/do
Impact Comparison
If...then statements
Flagging important issues in debate
Good/Strong CX questions and answers

Things I kinda believe
Tech over Truth
Smart Analytics can beat evidence
Uniqueness probably decides the direction of the link
Uniqueness can overwhelm the link
New 1AR arguments are probably inevitable and good to some extent
Prep time stops once you save the speech to your flashdrive
Debate is a game.
Global Warming is real.

Austin Oliver Paradigm

1 rounds

Add me to the chain - OliverLanier@gmail.com.

Coaching history:

Gilman School - 2019-Present

George Mason University - 2018-Present

Recently graduated from George Mason University where I debated for 5 years. Before that I debated for half of high school in southeast VA. I qualified for the NDT twice and had so. much. fun.

I'm just going to give my opinions on things that I always scroll down to when reading people's paradigms:

Topicality: It's in the neg's interest to explain clearly why the dynamics of the topic mean I should err neg on limits, and/or why debatability outweighs aff offense. Absent that kind of common-sense impact framing deciding between a limited neg-leaning topic and a relatively unlimited aff-leaning topic is too intervention-y for my comfort. I see reasonability as a schema through which to evaluate competing interpretations, not an exclusive paradigm. I can be convinced to apply reasonability in an alternative fashion, but I am unconvinced by "arguments" that use reasonability as a stand-in for impact comparison (do not repeat that you are reasonable without explanation in the hopes that my gut-approach to the topic includes your aff).

Theory: I'm open to anything but my threshold for voting aff on delay cps bad is quite different from my threshold for voting aff on vague alternatives bad. If you're negative and reading something that is obviously pushing it it would be helpful for you to have arguments as to why reading your horribly unfair argument is distinct from every other time said horribly unfair argument has been read or is warranted by the topic/specific affirmative.

Condo: I don't care but see above.

DAs: I believe there can be zero risk of one. Having a diversity of arguments does not have to and shouldn't trade off with smart framing arguments. Spending time winning a single damning argument with certainty is more helpful to me than reading a block your 1A wrote that extends every piece of UQ/Link/Impact ev in the debate. "Link determines direction of uniqueness" is generally more intuitive to me than the inverse.

Ks: If you read it one off I understand if your speeches don't reflect normative organization and think it's in your interest to mix things up. I'll flow straight down. If you're affirmative in one of these debates it's your job to use that to your advantage and reconstruct things for me.

Framework: I often vote for non-topical affirmatives in part because framework debates are unnecessarily complicated. Simplifying things will substantially increase your chances of winning a ballot. For the neg this means picking an impact in the 2NR; fairness is one and is often (in my opinion) a better 2NR choice than decision-making/delib (explanation of which tends to be very nebulous and vulnerable to aff link/impact turns). If you go for an education impact, explain why your interp/model solves it or just explain why the aff precludes it. It doesn't take much to convince me that you should get topic education as an impact turn against affs that are explicitly anti-topical, but outside of that context this will require work for me. I say that fairness is often a better option because I generally believe that fairness is required for debate to have internal consistency/meaning, and teams whose strategy on T line up with that will put themselves in a good position in debates that I am judging. As explained above, I am partial to fairness/competitive equity impacts and so it is in the aff's interest to explain why they produce/justify reasonably fair debates/affirmatives OR spend a lot of time impact turning fairness instead of repeating that it's infinitely regressive/doesn't have a brightline/is just an internal link to education/shadow extending another sentence-long 2AC arg.

These statements represent my feelings and quite likely my proclivities in judging; they do not, however, represent any hardline stance that I will take regardless of the context supplied by a debate. I flow a lot and will use it more than anything else to make a decision if I am judging you.

- Austin xoxo

Thomas Pacheco Paradigm

Email: tapachecolbdb8er@gmail.com; also on debatedocs if that matters.

***2019 NDT/TOC Update***

1) Background

A) College- I have judged fewer than 15 college debates on the executive powers topic. I have done some research on it.

B) High school- I have judged fewer than 20 high school debates on the immigration topic. I have done significant research on it.

C) I have legal knowledge as a background. Rarely has it made any difference in a debate. It has helped in cutting cards in providing a context I would not otherwise have regarding legal processes.

2) Debaters should be better at resolving debates and providing relative comparisons at a meta-level. Tell me why you have won a particular portion of a debate AND why that matters relative to the remainder of the debate.

3) Specificity matters to me. I have found over the course of judging that debates in the abstract are the most difficult to judge. Whether it is the specificity of a disad link or an explanation of limits on T, specificity to the context of a particular debate is critical in terms of how you contextualize your arguments.

***Old Update***

So I thought about my previous philosophy, and I didn’t think I would like it if I were a debater and read it. So I will try to provide (hopefully) more useful insight into what I think about debate. I have no idea what situations will occur and what defaults I may have given my limited amount of judging, but I think explaining what I thought about debate as a debater will help.

I just graduated from college, having debated for 4 years in high school at Loyola Blakefield and 4 years in college at the University of Mary Washington.

The way to get me to vote for you is to tell me what to vote on and how to evaluate it. Force my hand, think about the debate from a holistic perspective. Compare arguments. Make even if statements.

What did I really value that I got out of debate?

Fun- I thought debate was a ton of fun. Thinking quickly on my feet, trying to predict what people would say, cutting a ton of cards. I loved debate.

Critical thinking- I do not think anything ever made me think as hard and as complexly as debate. Limited prep time, strategic decisions needing to be made. Thinking about the best arguments to be made against a certain team or with a certain judge. Thinking the way debate teaches has helped me in undergrad, law school, and in life. It teaches a certain way of thinking that is invaluable.

Advocacy- debate taught me how to make an argument, and how to win it in front of anyone. Strip debate of the jargon, and you know how to make an argument in any context. It enhanced my paper writing and has helped me in a lot of situations I think.

How did I get this out of debate?

Rigorous testing. Equitably difficult debate where both teams rigorously test each other’s arguments produces an activity that I found fun, helped me to think critically in quick and strategic ways, and taught me how to make arguments efficiently. I fundamentally think that debate is about rigorously testing positions. You can have debates about anything, but I think this is how I would describe it to people outside of debate and is what debate should be in my normative world.

Why does this matter?

It shapes what I think about debate positions, or is my default for evaluation. This is one of many possible frames I could use. But this is where I start, and it shapes my perception of topicality, to CP competition, to Ks, to theory, to speaker points.


I do think I am open to listening to alternative constructions of debate, but what that is and looks like needs to be tangible to me for me. The team that answers the question- what world of debate is most equitably rigorous wins. My presumption about rigorous testing can be challenged, and I do not know what I will think once I start judging. It is my default though. I think the topic has value insofar as it sets a stasis for argumentation from which rigorous testing commences. Topical version of the aff arguments are good, but not necessary for the neg. For the aff (saying debate bad), I think uniqueness arguments about exclusion are persuasive. I think the closer the aff is to the topic, the more persuasive reasonability becomes.


Topicality debates should be grounded in the literature. I tend to think limits are a controlling issue in T debates because they determine whether the neg has the opportunity to rigorously test the aff. Caselists are useful for either side.

I think arguments contextual to the topic are useful. I think T is important on the oceans topic given its enormity and the lack of unified negative ground. For the aff, I am compelled by aff flex arguments like its and generic CPs make the topic awful.


For most CPs, I probably default to reject the argument not the team. I do think there are arguments that can be made that bad CPs are a reason to reject the team, but it is not my default presumption. There are two questions that I think are important to answer- does the CP rigorously test the aff AND how critical is the CP in the literature? I do think that most CP theory debates are invariably shallow which makes evaluating them difficult.

Conditionality does not differ for me from other CP theory in that the question is about rigorous testing. I do think conditionality is rampant. I think contradicting positions are bad, but can also have different implications in debates- does using the same reps you k’ed mean that perm- do the alt is legit, or that the alt fails? Probably. Contextualizing conditionality to the specific practices done in the debate makes the argument very persuasive.

My presumption is against intervening to kick the CP for the 2nr. If I am told to do it, I might if the aff drops the argument. If they don’t, I probably won’t.

College teams – Pics- I am not completely sold that all/nearly all is the death knell for pics on the college topic. My presumption for pics being good makes me think this is a debatable question, even if the resolution tries to write this out of debates.


I think topic-specific critiques can be interesting because they rigorously test the aff. Whichever team controls the role of the ballot typically wins, and neg teams should invest more if the role of the ballot is distinct from my presumption of testing. I also do not think it is strategic for K teams to not answer the aff explicitly – dropping the 1ac usually means I vote aff – meaning my bar is higher on voting for “x comes first”/ “x means the whole aff is wrong” args. Generalizations do not test the aff. Dropping the 1ac does not test the aff.

I think try or die is how I think about ks. Ks that are the strongest in persuading me control the impact uniqueness of the debate. I find aff arguments about trends in the status quo more important than other people because of that (for example, if the environment is sustainable, winning a consumption k becomes much harder). Affs should focus on alt solvency and how to evaluate impacts.


I tend to think the link controls the direction of the DA, but can be persuaded that uniqueness does.

I think zero risk is possible.

I think turns case arguments really help the neg. I think unanswered turns case arguments by the block in the 1ar are difficult for the aff to come back from.


You will receive a bump in speaker points if you read quals.

I flow cross-x.

Demonstrate topic knowledge.

I like specific arguments better than general ones.

I think long overviews are overrated and are a way to avoid clash.

Start impact calculus early.

Indict specific evidence- the quals and the warrants.

Explain to me why I should prefer your evidence over your opponents.

Tell me when an argument is new or dropped.

Be comprehensible.

2as should not blow off arguments on the case.

Smart arguments matter, as long as they are complete. An argument is a claim and warrant.

Clipping is a problem in the activity. Don’t do it. Don’t allege that someone else has done it without evidence via recording – you will not win otherwise. The debate community relies on shared trust. Breaking that trust or accusing someone of doing this is of the utmost seriousness.

Be organized- with yourself in the debate as well as your arguments.

Do not steal prep.

Minimize the amount of time paperless debate causes.

***Previous philosophy***

Short version

I just graduated from college, having debated for 4 years in high school at Loyola Blakefield and 4 years in college at the University of Mary Washington. I have not judged so much that there is a predisposition that is so strong not to be able to be overcome. You do you, most things are up for debate. I prefer specific strategies over general strategies regardless of what those strategies deploy. I prefer CP/Politics or Politics/Case debates. I think the real way to being happy with a decision from me is to tell me what to do and how to assess arguments in the debate. The team that tells me what to do at the end of the debate and has the best reasoning for it will win.

I like hard work. Debaters that work will hard will be rewarded for doing so. I will also work my hardest to give every debater the credit they deserve while I am making a decision.

Coaches who have had a formative impact on me – Adrienne Brovero, Daryl Burch, Tom Durkin.

Judges I liked that I would like to be like – Lawrence Granpre, Scott Harris, Fernando Kirkman, Sarah Sanchez, Patrick Waldinger. I promise I will not be as good as these people, but I use them as a model for how I want to judge.


I was a 2a and a politics debater in college, and a 2n that relied on the cap k and topicality in high school. I have done significant research on the oceans topic, and a little on the college topic.


I default policymaker. I think the topic is set up to be instrumentally affirmed. Again, not so much so that I will not listen to other arguments or perspectives. For the neg, I am strong believer in fairness as well as the skills that debate teaches. I think predictability is necessary for debates to happen. Topical version of the aff arguments are good, but not necessary for the neg. For the aff (saying debate bad), I think uniqueness arguments about exclusion are persuasive. I think the closer the aff is to the topic, the more persuasive reasonability becomes.


Topicality debates should be grounded in the literature. I tend to think limits are a controlling issue in T debates. Caselists are useful for either side.

I think arguments contextual to the topic are useful. I think T is important on the oceans topic given its enormity and the lack of unified negative ground. For the aff, I am compelled by aff flex arguments like its and generic CPs make the topic awful.


For most CPs, I probably default to reject the argument not the team. That does not mean that I think that all CPs are good OR that I would be unwilling to vote on a cheating CP. I do think that most CP theory debates are invariably shallow which makes voting on them difficult. Most teams get away with bad/illegitimate CPs because the aff is terrible at executing, or the neg has some trick. I also think the more contextual a CP is within a set of literature, the harder it is to beat on theory questions. I have no predispositions on CP theory – I am willing to listen to it.

Conditionality is different than other CP theory args for me. It is certainly excessive most of the time. It gets egregious when positions contradict. Contextualizing conditionality to the specific practices done in the debate makes the argument very persuasive.

College teams – Pics- I am not completely sold that all/nearly all is the death knell for pics on the college topic. My presumption for pics being good makes me think this is a debatable question, even the resolution tries to write this out of debates. I think what is “nearly all” is what the literature says it is. I am also compelled that maybe the topic is so bad that these pics are important for the neg.


I think topic-specific critiques can be interesting. The more specific to the topic, and the more specific to the aff, the better. Whichever team controls the role of the ballot typically wins. I also do not think it is strategic for K teams to not answer the aff explicitly – dropping the 1ac usually means I vote aff – meaning my bar is higher on voting for “x comes first”/ “x means the whole aff is wrong” args.


I tend to think the link controls the direction of the DA, but can be persuaded that uniqueness does.

I think zero risk is possible.

I think turns case arguments really help the neg. I think unanswered turns case arguments by the block in the 1ar are difficult for the aff to come back from.


I think long overviews are overrated.

Start impact calculus early.

Be comprehensible.

Smart arguments matter, as long as they are complete.

Clipping is a problem in the activity. Don’t do it. Don’t allege that someone else has done it without evidence via recording – you will not win otherwise. The debate community relies on shared trust. Breaking that trust or accusing someone of doing this is of the utmost seriousness.

Be organized.

Do not steal prep.

Minimize the amount of time paperless debate causes.

Have fun – that’s why I do this.

Dallas Perkins Paradigm

1 rounds

     By far the most important thing you need to understand in order to successfully debate for me is that I am not going to follow along with your speech document in order to try to understand what you are saying.  If you cannot deliver your arguments and read your evidence in a fashion that is comprehensible, I am not a good judge for you.  I read a very limited amount of evidence after debates, always and only to decide arguments where the two sides have advanced detailed disagreements about what the evidence in question actually says.  I only hold teams responsible for answering arguments after I have understood them:  calling 1AR answers to a kritik new will not avail if I only understood the basics of your argument after the block.  I am not saying this is an oratory contest, but it is oral advocacy.

     When I do read evidence, I am increasingly suspicious of cards that consist of a few words highlighted here and there over several pages of text.  If you can't find a single sentence from you author that states the thesis of your argument, you may have difficulty selling it to me. 

     My "paradigm:"  I try to judge as if I were at a town meeting or other public forum where the audience would listen to a discussion and then each person would vote their opinion.  I deviate from the real world as little as possible, mostly to exclude my own predispositions and decide based on what is said by the contestants.  If weighty matters are at stake, I would hope that I would not be persuaded to vote for bad ideas because the advocates of better ideas had committed some argumentative indiscretion.  (This is a fancy way of saying that I am a tough sell for "discourse kritiks"--you'll do much better to attack your opponents' thinking than their language.)  I generally do not accept arguments that urge me to "punish" a team for advancing an ill-considered position in the debate.

    I do believe that both sides should stick to one policy system to defend.  This requires that they eschew "conditional" advocacy, whether that is vague plans or multiple counterplans.  I see both of these strategies as needlessly diluting the advocacy in what is already a short time to discuss even one policy comparison.  I see the attempt to discuss multiple comparisons in a single debate as far more motivated by nefarious strategy than any sort of truth seeking.

     My voting record on kritikal arguments is far better than my reputation suggests.  Solid, topic-specific attacks on the logic and worldview of the opposition, with specific links and impacts I can understand, frequently succeed om winning my ballot.

Mathew Petersen Paradigm

(1) How you win: My overall philosophy is pretty simple: You need to win an argument and a reason why that argument means that I should vote for you. While, virtually all arguments are on the table, I prefer them to be smart and well-reasoned. An assertion without a justification and explanation is not a winner, just because the other team has dropped it.

(2) Argument preferences: My answer is pretty simple: good ones. Although, I primarily debated policy arguments and the neolib DA, I will vote on almost any argument in any particular debate, as long as it is explained and compelling. I would much rather see you debate your best going for an argument you like and feel comfortable with than try to adapt to my argumentative proclivities.

(3) Framing is important: Tell me how you would like me to evaluate arguments. Make comparisons and distinctions. Framing the debate controls how I go about making my decision. The more you do it and the better you are at it, the better place you will be in. Engaging the other team’s arguments and guiding how I should evaluate them in comparison to yours makes my decision really easy. I would like to make my decision based solely on what was said in speeches, so the more you can incorporate the warrants and explanations into your speeches the easier it will be more me to vote for you.

(3) Debate is a speaking activity

(a) Speed and clarity – Speed is fine, mumbling is not. Clarity is your friend. I like to think that I am able to keep up with even the fastest debaters. But distinguishing between arguments and fully explaining them is a must if you expect me to keep a fair record of what happened in the debate. In addition, the body of you evidence matters. I expect to be able to hear what it says, otherwise the activity would just read a tag and turn in the body of the evidence later.

(b) Evidence – I will read your evidence, but you need to do more than simply reference that you HAVE evidence in the rebuttals. Don’t expect me to extract warrants from your cards that are not highlighted in rebuttals. If you think it’s important enough for me to base my decision off of it, then it should probably be in the speech. In addition, having evidence is not the end all be all. Having a clear line of reason that answers the other teams arguments can be sufficient, and often times it is more persuasive that just reading five cards back at the other team.

(4) Kritiks/arguments that don’t involve plans:  most relevant things I have to say are covered in the sections above. Nevertheless, I will say that if you are making an argument that doesn’t involve or rely on a pure, reductive USFG-centric approach to fiat then it would be in your best interest to very clearly articulate what the role of the ballot is and why that should be the role of the ballot. What is my decision supposed to accomplish and what should I evaluate in making that decision.

(5) Speaker points: I will follow any guidelines that tournaments provide me. Beyond that, I will assign speaker points based on a holistic evaluation on how I think the debaters in the debate did. I don’t think that I can really mechanistically list all of the factors that I will use beyond this: if you sound good and do smart things in debates you will be rewarded.

(6) Presumption: I am willing to vote negative on presumption. I think the aff has to construct a strong case for a departure from the status quo. I don't think the aff can say that a counterplan's mechanism is normal means and then say it doesn't solve and still win the debate. Affirmatives that don't have an explanation for how we should depart from the status quo should be losing every debate on presumption.

Scott Phillips Paradigm

1 rounds

Scott Phillips- for email chains please use iblamebricker@gmail in policy, and ldemailchain@gmail.com for LD
Coach@ Harvard Westlake/Dartmouth

2018 Updates

My general philosophy is tech/line by line focused- I try to intervene as little as possible in terms of rejecting arguments/interpreting evidence. As long as an argument has a claim/warrant I can explain to your opponent in the RFD I will vote for it. If only one side tries to resolve an issue I will defer to that argument even if it seems illogical/wrong to me- i.e. if you drop "warming outweighs-timeframe" and have no competing impact calc its GG even though that arg is terrible. 90% of the time I'm being postrounded it is because a debater wanted me to intervene in some way on their behalf either because that's the trend/what some people do or because they personally thought an argument was bad.

Old Stuff
Rounds Judged on the topic- a lot
My Ideal affirmative- 2 well constructed advantages
My Ideal 1NC- 5 off and case

Cliffs Notes-Top 10 Things you should know

1. I vote on arguments commonly considered "bad" frequently because a team mishandles them, it is my belief belief that most bad arguments can be defeated by making a thumbs down motion, so if you fail to meet that minimum threshold I will be qualmless voting against you. The overarching principle of my judging is "least intervention"-Much like Harrison Ford in Ender's Game under no circumstances will I help you with bad arguments, I believe in self help.

2. I vote on kritiks a lot because the team answering them reads a lot of bad generic answers instead of making analytic arguments based on the specific arguments they have made in that debate. To clarify this sentence - what I mean is an analytic based on your 1AC- ie "tradable permits empirically don't cause commodification and extinction since we already have them for SO2". In general I think most debaters have no idea what they are saying when reading a K and that affirmatives SHOULD win about 80-90% of the debates in which the negative goes for one.

3. No plan affs- 100% of the time when I vote against you on framework its because the other team won theory was a trump card over issues like education/K impacts and you didn't advance theory offense for your interpretation. I end up voting for no plan args frequently because the neg collapses/has no idea what to do.

4. Theory needs to come back with a vengeance

A. Entirely plan inclusive counterplans- I have never heard a theory argument to defend them that passes the minimum threshold explained above. That being said, winning a solvency deficit against them is basically impossible.

B. More than 2 conditional counterplans is just you being a chazzer

C. K frameworks/roles of the ballot that stack the deck absurdly are worse than entirely plan inclusive counterplans

D. Reject argument not team produces terrible debates with very bad strategies. Voting on theory doesn't fix this, but it improves it substantially.

5. I believe you have a choice
A. Clearly articulate your ground/say as much in CX
B. Because your position is vague you are susceptible to a reduced credibility modifier that taints many of your arguments. Plan vagueness affects plan solvency, alternative vagueness affects.... etc.

6. IMO there are, in fact, risks of things. Debaters should be aware of this and make arguments about how I should resolve risk. The plan may be popular with 5 people and unpopular with 6, should I place more emphasis on the number of people or maybe are those 5 more important? Very few link cards establish such a clear threshold that you can say with certainty (when contested) yes definite link. (this point is largely irrelevant now as the tides of history have turned and no risk people have been successfully marginalized)

7. I will always defer to debater argument resolution if one side does it and the other doesn't-no matter how bad or illogical I think the argument is. This is to me, the most important part of debate.

8. I try really hard to flow well. Teams who willfully ignore line by line/structure - I will not do work for you to figure things out if the other team does line by line barring some argument why I should.

9. I often call for lots of evidence after a debate, most of the time this is just out of curiosity. When making my decision evidence is only a factor when it is a point of contest or someone has made an argument for why it should be a part of the decision. I am not a judge who reads every card from both sides and makes a decision based on the evidence.

10. Evidence quality in debate is in terminal decline. If you have good evidence and you make an issue of it in the debate (talk about quals, or recency for uniqueness) you will most likely crush.

Making a decision:
Everything is debatable but speech times: The role of the ballot, whether evidence or analytic arguments are more important, is it acceptable for the other team to read off their computers, who gets presumption and why etc. If neither team makes an argument on the issue, the following are my defaults:

1. Evidence and analytic arguments are treated equally- I will look at the total sum of explanation offered for an argument, from any form. So if a well explained analytical will beat a poorly written piece of evidence. If one teams reads qualifications and the other doesn't, the team who read quals will receive a slight bump in the level of quality I assess to their explanation (assuming all other factors are equal). Treating them as equal until told otherwise is my way of encouraging debate.

2. Presumption, in the case of a tie or too close to call resolution of an argument, goes to the team advocating the least change. I would use presumption in the instance where each team had an advocacy and an offensive argument, and each team dropped a terminal defense argument to their own offense such that the net risk in either direction of presented offense was exactly zero. In that instance the "hidden disad" of change makes sense as a decision making tool. In no other circumstance I can think of would I use presumption unless explicitly instructed by the debaters.

3. If an argument is unresolveable (or tough to resolve) I will use a "needs" test- the burden of explanation will be assessed to the team who NEEDS the argument to win. So for example
-on a CP permutation, if the neg would win the debate without the permutation, then the aff needs it to win- so the burden of explanation is on them
-for CP solvency, if the neg would lose if the CP did not solve the case, then the neg needs to win solvency- so the burden of explanation is on them

4. Concession= truth. If you drop epistemology comes first/is a side constraint, then it is. You can drop that framing issue and still win as long as you beat the link (that your epistemology is flawed), but you will not be allowed new answers to the impact. I use a reasonable person standard- if I was unaware that the 1NC presented a epistemology first argument (based on what was said in the 1NC, not my prior knowledge of the negative team), then if the aff says "they didn't say this, therefore our answers aren't new" I would allow it. But remember, everything is debatable. If the 2NR comes back and asserts it was clearly stated when they said XYZ, the aff has to disprove that.

5. The threshold for how good a response to an argument has to be is directly related to the quality of the initial argument. Saying "RANT" is sufficient to beat a lot of voting issues. If the other team answers RANT in their 2NC sever perms are a VI block, and thats all you say, you will be in trouble. Similarly, many counterplans (consult, recommendation, delay, lopez) are easily defeated by theory arguments but almost impossible to beat on substance. A well rounded debater should avoid trying to ice skate uphill.

6. I spend a lot of time on debate. Other than eating and playing video games, basically all of my time is spent cutting cards, coaching, writing and reading about debate. A lot of judges say "I'm not a very good flow". I'm a very good flow, I may even go as far as to say probably one of the best. All that being said, it is very possible that you could say a string of words, or utter a quote from an article I have written that fully conveys your argument to me, but would leave a less experienced/judge with a life with no idea what you were saying/what your argument was. I try to temper this fact by using a "reasonable person" standard for what makes a complete argument. I feel this is essential because otherwise any student who was in my lab, had emailed me a question, or had just read a lot of the 3NR would have an absurdly unfair advantage vs a similarly skilled student. So if I made a joke in lab about saying "purple monkey dishwasher" and that meaning "we do the whole plan minus the reps", so you say that in a debate and expect me to vote on it, I won't. Unless you are debating someone else from the lab who had equal access to that information. Similarly, even if I flowed an argument/got the jist of what you were saying, but feel that the other team is being reasonable when they say your argument was poorly explained/did not constitute an argument I will be open to that and you need to respond.

Speaker points:

1. I like fast debate. That being said, some people give fast debate a bad name. You can be fast only after you are clear and efficient. I should be able to understand every word you say, not just the tags. If you are stammering (or displaying other verbal missteps) excessively you are going faster than you are capable of going imo.

2. Points are determined by how well you perform your function, which depends on what speeches you give. A 1AC should be perfectly smooth because you can practice it as much as you want. A 2NC assembled on the fly vs a new case can be excused a few missteps on the other hand. I think auto giving the 1N low points because they could be replaced by a robot in most debates is a bit unfair- a blazing fast 1NC and devastating 1NR can be game changing. That being said, rarely do people perform up to that level.

3. Points are assessed relative to the field in which you are competing. The same speech can be a 29 at a local, but a 27.5 at St Marks.


What is your threshold for T?
The threshold is established by the other teams answers- if they make good defensive arguments and argue reasonability well than my threshold will be high. If they don't it will be very low.

What are you favorite kinds of debate?
Ones in which there are clash, since that is not really a thing anymore its usually impact turn debates- heg bad, de-dev, CO2 ag and warming good- loved to go for these when I debated and love to see them debated now. CO2 ag is the upper limit of stupid I think is acceptable.

Did you run kritiks when you debated?
Not as much as Bricker would want you to believe. My senior year in HS and my senior year in college I went for K's about 30% of the time, in the other years of my debate less than 5%.

Did you ever read a critical aff?
By today's standards no- I always had a plan, though sometimes the advantages were not nuke war.

You bash the politics disad a lot, will you still vote for it?
Yes, almost always because the affirmative never does anything of the things that highlight the problem with politics.

Are you OK with speed?
Yes, if anything I dislike slow debate. However this is a double edged sword- if you do fast debate terribly I will punish you for it.

Is Fem IR beatable?

What race do you play in SC2?
Usually random, but if I pick -zerg.

If you were in Game of Thrones, which house would you belong to?

Random Gripes

A note on jumping:

I want to see good debates. I'm not interested in charging you 10 seconds of prep to jump your speeches. If, however, you show total technical incompetence at jumping/severely delay the round your speaks will suffer. A good jump is like a good road map- its not hard, so get it over with quickly.

Standards for sharing should be reciprocal, and as such are established by the team willing to do the least. If Team A doesnt jump speeches as a policy that is fine by me, but then Team B is under no obligation to let Team A see any of their evidence. If Team A doesn't jump analytics, Team B doesn't have to etc.

A note on quality:

I generally believe that there are certain "norms" in debate- don't steal prep time, don't clip cards etc. These norms are not rules, and as such as a judge I don't think its my job to enforce them. In fact, I think it SHOULD be the burden of a good team to be on top of is the other team stealing prep, are they clipping cards etc. Encouraging students to take responsibility for this is the best model imo. However, there are debates where there is a huge mismatch in terms of the quality of the teams involved. I no longer think it reasonable to expect novices entered in their first varsity tournament to check to see if the Baker Award winning team they are debating is stealing prep. I also don't really care to argue with you about whether or not you are stealing prep. So my solution is that for all things that could be considered a violation of good sportsmanship I will severely jack your points if it is a debate where I subjectively decide the other team should not be responsible for checking you.SO

-If I think you are clipping cards/stealing prep/misquoting evidence/lying in cx in the finals of the TOC vs another excellent team I would expect the other team to catch you
-If I think you are clipping cards/stealing prep/misquoting evidence/lying in cx during a preset vs a vastly inferior team I will severely dock your speaker points

Jackie Poapst Paradigm

1 rounds

About me:

Assistant Director of Debate at George Mason University.
Former varsity debater at Liberty University (Middle East 2007-Immigration)

I know you work hard at debate so I will work hard to be your judge. I know the rest of this is long, but I really hated when judges didn’t have in depth philosophies when I was a debater.

I vote neg more than aff.

Paperless or questions: japoapst@gmail.com

Top level Space Topic thoughts:

-Say no = best neg case arg on the topic.

-It's really hard to be neg, so I will probably lean neg on CP theory issues.

-I will normally not open docs during the debate. I will edit this, however, if both teams request that I follow along while cards are being read. In debates where I am asked to follow the doc, my speaks will reflect a formula of 60% Clarity, Persuasion, Presence and 40% Strategy and Cross-ex effectiveness. In debates where I do not follow along in the doc, my formula will be 40% Clarity, Persuasion, Presence and 60% Strategy and Cross-ex effectiveness.

Update Wake 2019: Random Things that Annoy me:

1. It's U.S.M.C.A., new nafta, or Nafta 2. Not YOU-SMACK-UH. I will dock speaks.

2. Don't put cards in the body of the document.

3. Yelling over each other in cx - everyone will lose speaks.

4. Interrupting your partner in cx - I am seriously close to saying I want closed cx, I am so annoyed at how egregious this is becoming. I will deduct speaks from both partners.


I evaluate the round in the paradigm that is provided to me by the debaters. If none is provided, I default to consequentialism. If you win an argument I will vote on it. However, one thing you have to keep in mind is that winning may be harder if I don’t understand what you are talking about, so explanation and analysis is key.

I have been having a kind of difficult time determining if I am a more tech over truth judge when the situation demands that I make a pedagogical choice. I will be honest and say that sometimes it really depends on my mood. With that in mind, framing my ballot earlier on for how I should view decision making between those two philosophies is probably a good idea.

Cross ex note: I stop listening after the 3 minutes of cross ex ends. Sometimes I will leave the room in protest of you attempting to use cross ex to ask more questions. You get clarification questions once cx is over. That's it - and I'm actively not paying attention to the responses.


Space note: I am 100% ok with an interpretation eliminating broad swaths of this topic

I love topicality debates. My voting record leans much more neg than aff in topicality debates. Couple framing issues for me on topicality debates:

Competing Interpretations > Reasonability

Predictable Limits > Ground/Education

Debate-ability > Framer's Intent (I'm okay with voting that certain parts of the topic should not have been included if the topic committee just fucked up the wording.

If cross ex actually checked for specification questions (i.e. "who is the actor" - and they tell you "Congress") - that is the only argument the 2ac needs to make against a 1NC spec argument.

NOVICE NOTE: I think it is ridiculous when novices read no plan affs - do whatever you want in other divisions, but these kids are just learning how to debate, so providing some structure and predictability is something I think is necessary. I err heavily on framework in those debates for the negative in the first semester.


Besides conditionality, theory is a reason to reject the argument and not the team. Anything else is an unwinnable position for me. One or two conditional options is probably good for negative flexibility, anymore is pushing it a little. Granted, conditionality theory is all debateable.


Are awesome. The trickier, the better. I’m okay with most of them, but believe that the action of the CP must be clearly explained at least in the 2NC. I don’t vote on something if I don’t know what my ballot would be advocating. I shouldn’t have to pull the CP text at the end of the round to determine what it does. I err to process/agent/consult cp’s being unfair for the aff (if you can defend theory though, this doesn’t mean don’t read them). Also, I think that perm do the cp on CPs that result in the plan can be rather persuasive, and a more robust textual/functional cp debate is probably necessary on the negative's part.

**Delay and consultation cp’s are illegit unless you have a specific solvency advocate for them. Agenda DA Uniqueness cp’s are too – I’m sorry that the political climate means you can’t read your politics strat on the negative, but that doesn’t mean you should be able to screw the aff’s strategy like that. Have other options.

**ESR CP - I have heard persuasive reasons that they are both unfair and fair. At the beginning of the year, I thought I would 100% side with "can't fiat Executive restraint" - but I think I'm now at about 60% can't fiat restraint.


Wonderful. Disadvantages versus case debates are probably my favorite debates (pretty much every 2NR my partner and I had). I love politics disads (RIP the trump administration ruining the best DA strat), I think they are educational in many ways. However, I can be very persuaded by no backlash/spillover answers on the internal link – in so many situations the internal link just makes NO sense. Offense is always preferred against da’s, but I think that there is such a thing as 100% no link (LOVE thumpers btw). Like elections DA's - not a huge fan of impact scenarios relying on the democratic candidate doing something once they get in office. Think shorter term impact scenarios are necessary. Also, will probably be persuaded by the affirmative arg that we don't know who the candidate for the dems is yet, so predictions are too early.


I wrote my thesis on queer rage and my research now focuses on a Derridian/Althusserian analysis of Supreme Court rhetoric - but that does not mean I will automatically get whatever random critical theory you are using. Due to who I coach and what I research for academics, I am most familiar with identity theories, biopower, Marxism, any other cultural studies scholarship, Baudrillard, Derrida, and Deleuze. If your K isn't one of those - hold my hand through your shit. I think the most persuasive kritik debaters are those who read less cards and make more analysis. The best way to debate a kritik in front of me is to read slower and shorter tags in the 1NC and to shorten the overviews. I find most overviews too long and complicated. Most of that work should be done on the line-by-line/tied into the case debate. Also, debating a kritik like you would a disad with an alternative is pretty effective in front of me. Keep it clean. Unless your kritik concerns form/content - be organized.

Update: due to dissertation research monopolizing a large portion of my scholarly reading time, I have been unable to keep up with the newest writings of afro-pessimist/indigenous scholars. If you are reading anything from 2018-2019, assume I have not read it.

Note for policy v K regarding the "weigh the affirmative or nah" framework question - basically no matter how much debating occurs on this question, unless the affirmative or negative completely drops the oppositions' arguments, I find myself normally deciding to the affirmative gets to weigh the affirmative's advantages but is responsible for defending their rhetoric/epistemology.

Critical Affirmatives:

Space note: Not really sure what the TVA is this year, so I would recommend impact turning as primary strategy to FW in front of me for critical affs.

Overall Framework update: Procedural fairness IS an impact, but I prefer clash key to education. I find it difficult to vote for impacts that preserve the game when the affirmative is going for an impact turn.

Generic Case Update: I find myself voting neg on presumption often when this is a large portion of the 2nr strategy. I recommend affirmatives take this into account to ensure they are explaining the mechanism of the aff.

Your aff must do something. Deferral is not a strategy for me. I am not a fan of teams that just wait to get links until the 1NC occurs. I find performance debates some of the most fun rounds that I have debated in/seen, but I do like when critical affs engage the topic somehow. I find that interesting and usually a happy medium. Don’t get me wrong, I vote on who wins the argument so framework v. critical aff that engages the topic is still an option for the negative. Look at my Kritik views to get more ideas, but once again go slower on the tags so I can get what you are talking about. There is nothing worse than figuring out what the affirmative does in the 1AR-2AR.

I find judging non-black teams reading afro-pessimism affirmatives against black debaters an uncomfortable debate to decide, and my threshold for a ballot commodification style argument low.

Individual survival strategies are not predictable or necessarily debatable in my opinion (i.e. "This 1AC is good for the affirmative team, but not necessarily a method that is generalizable). I enjoy critical methods debates that attempt to develop a praxis for a certain theory that can be broadly operationalized. For example, if you are debating "fem rage" - you should have to defend writ large adoption of that process to give the negative something to debate. It is pretty difficult for a negative to engage in a debate over what is "good for you" without sounding incredibly paternalistic.

Overall Sound:

I am partially deaf in my left ear. It makes it difficult to decipher multiple sounds happening at the same time (i.e. people talking at the same time/music being played loudly in the background when you are speaking). I would recommend to reduce the sound level of background music to make sure I can still hear you. Also means you just have to be a smidge louder. I'll let you know if sound level is an issue in the debate, so unless I say something don't let it worry you.


I love flowing. I now flow straight down in columns in an excel document, and have found it has made my decisions much more cohesive. I do my best to transcribe verbatim what you say in your speech so I can quote portions in my RFD. If you ask me not to flow, the amount I pay attention in the debate probably goes down to 20% and I will have mild anxiety during the round.

Your Decorum:

Debate should be fun - don't be assholes or rhetorically violent. This includes anything from ad homs like calling your opponent stupid to super aggressive behavior to your opponents or partner. Speaker points are a thing, and I love using them to punish jerks.

My Decorum:

I am extremely expressive during round and you should use this to your advantage. I nod my head when I agree and I get a weird/confused/annoyed face when I disagree.

<3 Jackie

Lee Quinn Paradigm

1 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:

2011 Winner of Emory's Barkley Forum in Policy Debate. 3x TOC Qualifier. Greenhill and Harvard Round Robin Invitee. Winner of Woodward JV Nationals. Third Place at NSDA Nationals.

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

Hope Reamer Paradigm

1 rounds

I would like to be included in the email chains (hope.lana22@gmail.com). Feel free to email me with any questions post round as well.

I am a graduate student at Indiana University studying environmental management. I debated at Samford Univerisity during my undergrad.


I am ok with critical affs but prefer that they are germane to the resolution. Frame my ballot as why I should prefer critical impacts over policy impacts or framework impacts that the neg is making.

Policy affs: If you’re not topical make sure you’re really good at debating topicality.



Totally down with DAs just make sure you explain your link. Impact calculus is your best friend.


I prefer CPs that are functionally competitive with the affirmative. I think theory should always be a response but I’m unlikely to vote on it unless it’s been dropped or you’re going all in on it. I will not kick the CP for you unless you tell me to.


Again, fine with them just explain them well. Explain what your alt does and why I should prefer your impacts over policy impacts. Don't assume that I know/have read all the lit on your K, I probably haven't. Therefore, make sure you're explaining the warrants of the args well. I need good articulation of what the alternative actually does either within the debate or spillover claims and why is mutually exclusive with the aff.


Make sure you’re engaging in the actual line by line and not just reading blocks. I need competitive arguments between the t interpretation and the affs counter interpretation. Listing what affs their interpretation excludes/allows and what ground is lost in round is good.


Make sure you’re doing good impact work and why I should prefer that in the realm of the debate space.


1. Don’t be rude.

2. I’m fine with speed just make sure you’re clear. If I can’t understand you I can’t flow.

3. Respect people’s preferred pronouns.

4. I don't have time to sit through and read ever card you tell me is awesome. If a card is important to a round I'll read it after but clear articulation of the warrants of the card are important and how it functions as an argument in the debate.

Tripp Rebrovick Paradigm

1 rounds

Tripp Rebrovick

Director of Debate, Harvard University.

BA, Harvard, 2009.

PhD (political theory), Johns Hopkins, 2016.

Updated Sep 2018

In most cases, the team that gets my ballot has done a better job of (a) identifying the most important arguments in the debate and (b) persuading me that in evaluating those particular arguments I should believe them. Similarly, I've found that in most of my decisions I end up telling the losing team that they have failed to persuade me of the truth of their most important argument. Occasionally this failure of understanding is due to a lack of clarity on the part of the speaker(s), but more often it is due to a lack of detailed explanation proving a particularly significant argument to be correct.

As a judge, I am usually skeptical of anything you say until you convince me it is correct, but if you do persuade me, I will do the work of thinking through and applying your argument as you direct me. It is usually easy to tell if I am persuaded by what you are saying. If I’m writing and/or nodding, you’ve probably succeeded. If I’m not writing, if I’m giving you a skeptical look, or if I interrupt you to ask a question or pose an argument I think you should answer, it means I’m not yet convinced.

In close debates, in which there are no egregious errors, I tend to vote for the team that articulates a better strategic understanding of the arguments and the round than for the team that gets lucky because of a small technical issue. My propensity to resolve arguments in your favor increases as you communicate to me that you understand the importance of some arguments relative to others. I am usually hesitant to vote against a team for something they said unless it is willful or malicious.

A few other tidbits:

1. I will not read the speech doc during your speech. The burden is on you to be comprehensible. Part of me is still horrified by this norm of judges following along.

2. If what you have highlighted in a card doesn’t amount to a complete sentence, I will most likely disregard it. Put differently, a word has to be part of a sentence in order to count.

3. CX, just like a speech, ends when the timer goes off. You can’t use prep time to keep asking questions or to keep talking. Obviously, this doesn’t apply to alt use time.

4. Please number your arguments. Seriously. Do it. Especially in the 1NC on case and in the 2AC off case.

5. Pet Peeve Alert. You have not turned the case just because you read an impact to your DA or K that is the same as the advantage impact. For example, saying a war with china causes poverty does not mean the DA turns a poverty advantage. It simply means the DA also has a poverty impact. In order to the turn the case, the DA must implicate the solvency mechanism of the affirmative, not simply get to the same terminal impact.

Jason Regnier Paradigm

1 rounds

Gonzaga University
Judging Experience: 16 years
Email: jregnier@gmail.com

Overview: There is no one right way to debate. Of course we all have our biases and preconceptions, but I try to approach the round as a critic of argumentation & persuasion. Make your argument more effectively than your opponent and you will be in good shape. Your adaptation to the stylistic/technical comments below is far more important than your adaptation to any particular type of argument.

Stylistic/Technical Issues: I must be up front about the fact that I'm not a terrific flow. My ear for hearing extremely fast speech is not particularly great, and my handwriting is pretty slow. This means that debaters who strongly rely on the technicalities of the flow may not want to prefer me very highly. There seems to be a pretty clear cut inverse relationship between the speed at which you speak and the amount that I get written down on my flow. This greatly rewards debaters who give fewer, but more fully developed and explained, arguments. I will probably not read very many cards at the end of the debate, so don't rely on your evidence to make your arguments for you. Draw out and explain the warrants in your speech and you will be rewarded.I categorically *do not* want to be forced to reconstruct a debate round by rereading all of the evidence at the end of the round. This means that explanation in the final rebuttals weighs more for me than it might for others. Attend to the big picture, make direct comparisons showing why your arguments are better than your opponents', and most importantly, find the "hook" that allows you to frame the debate in your favor.

Theory Debates: I have found that I have a pretty high threshold for voting on theory issues. My general tendency is to congratulate the team that creates a strategic competitive advantage for themselves. This translates into a sort of "anything goes" attitude. For me, theory debates (and this applies to topicality and framework debates as well) come down to the depth of the impact explanation. If your argument is that the other team is being unfair, I want to hear all the gory details. What do they take away from you? What do they leave for you? What do they justify? And so on. If you don’t make me feel it, then odds are I won't vote on it.

Framework Stuff: I have regularly voted both ways in Framework debates. I evaluate these debates much like I would a debate over the "substance" of the case. Both sides need to play offense to amplify their own impacts while also playing defense against their opponent's impacts. In most cases where I have voted against critical affirmatives, it is because they have done a poor job answering the negative's "fairness" impact claims. In most cases where I have voted against traditional policy frameworks, it has been because they have done a poor job defending against the substantive critiques of their approach. My general set of biases on these issues would be as follows: critical (and even no-plan) affirmatives are legitimate, a team must defend the assumptions of their arguments, critiques don't need (and are often better served without) alternatives, debate rounds do not make sense as a forum for social movements, and most of the evidence used to defend a policy framework does not really apply to policy debate. Also, my new pet theory is that a large portion of framework debates can probably be "permed." However, to state the obvious, each of these biases can be overcome by making smart arguments.

Speaker Points: I think that I might tend to use a bit more range of the scale than some judges, and I've recently been trying to nail down more precisely how I assign points. Here are the things that I value in a good speaker. I love debaters that use ethos, logos AND pathos. Technique should be a means of enhancing your arguments, not obfuscating or protecting them. Look like you're winning. Show that you are in control of yourself and your environment. Develop a persona that you can be comfortable with and that shows confidence. Know what you're talking about. Answer your own cross-ex questions. Use an organizational system that works for you, but communicate it and live up to it (if you do the line-by-line, then *do* the line-by-line). I am now making a bigger effort to prioritize clarity in my points. By clarity, I do not just mean articulation & enunciation. I also include in that category the ability to understand the content of your evidence. If I can't follow what your evidence is saying, it will have as much weight in my decision as the tagline for that evidence would have had as an analytic. Debaters who make well thought out arguments with strong support will out-point debaters who just read a lot of cards every time.

Shanara Reid-Brinkley Paradigm

1 rounds

In college, my debate style was left of center, but I was trained at Emory which means as much as I lean toward critiques and performance debates as my personal preference, I am equally as qualified to judge straight up policy debates. In debates where the policy framework meets the critical framework I vote for the team with the better argument even if I find the opposing teams position more interesting or entertaining, I can reward that with speaker points.
I don’t have any preconceived ideas about debate theory, so I tend to vote directly on the flow. If you win the theory argument and it has implications that you explain, I’m more than willing to vote there.
I am open to and willing to engage alternative stylistic practices and choices for debates.
I hate reading evidence after a debate because it means that the debaters have been sloppy and inefficient in explaining and defending their arguments. Thus, I only read cards if you have not done your job. That being said, if there is evidence you would like to be a part of my consideration because if I need to read evidence, I will only call for what has been directly referenced by you.
Important things to know about debating in front of me. I like smart asses, in general, but I think to many people cross the line in debate. So be forceful and aggressive, but watch the rudeness factor with the other team. It gets under my skin. But, more importantly, watch your attitude with me. I am infamous for arguing with teams after a decision. I will be respectful toward you initially, the more disrespectful and confrontational you become, the more of the same you will get. I’m a 5ft 2in. black woman from inner-city Atlanta. I may be older and wiser, but I will still get at ‘cha. That being said, I’m always willing to calmly and rationally discuss a decision, you can often learn what is likely to win my ballot and that can be a serious advantage for you throughout the year. I can be very supportive and will offer suggestions both for improving debate skills, but also in improving arguments, and pointing to interesting directions for more evidence. If your research pertains to any of the following subject matters, I might be a particularly useful judge for you: feminist theories (particularly women of color), critical social theories of race, poststructural theories of race, gender, class, and sexuality; globalization; hip hop; cultural studies, etc.

William Repko Paradigm

1 rounds

Audio-Visual version - (very concise) :

...because this might be where these things are headed:


Yes, email chain:

repkowil AT msu.edu

(there is one "L")

--------------- Written version starts here - it is longer --------------------------------

1. Opening:

Policy Debate is increasingly neither... I do not mind when it is both.

2. Space specifics

There are two genres of far-fetched space-related impact calc. I am ok for one - and very bad for the other:

A - Highly improbable, but inevitable events (asteroid, comet, get off the rock) can be defended with impact calc designed to downplay the value of TF and the unique manner in which space debates arguably should privilege longer-term thinking. Debated correctly, I am better for this than one might suspect.

B. Some event based on Sci Fiction - zombie aliens exist, Star Trek villains are real because our very thoughts created alternate realities in the space/time continuum (paired with warrants based on critical theory, not hard math). Pass.

3. True non-starters:

A - Teams that joke-y or playful about death or trauma - esp as part of some high-theory attempt to illustrate a point. I was early to this train - but I think a lot of people in the community are ready to close this chapter.

B - Consult Cplan in almost any variety - it's quasi comeback is surprising.


I'm overwhelmingly Aff on "contrived" interps bad. In general, I think I am more Aff than most on T in policy rounds - but I think the Neg has a legit gripe that the topic = potentially enormous.

5. Just be honest, please

In an evenly matched-debate where all the best args are on the table (two important caveats), rate yourself on the following items relative to the field of possible policy judges:

A - CPlan competition theory.... Aff (esp vs. "resolved", "should", etc).

B - Kritik - even the flex variety - Aff by a considerable margin.

C - Truth or tech.... truth by a decent amount..

D - Are you lying - lots of judges just lie in these philosophies ?..

Not really... I'm pretty ardent - but I will say that anything is possible in the land of wildly-disparate in-round execution. I did vote on PICs bad (dropped) last season.

-------------- old philosophies start here -------------

I wrote this a few years ago - it still holds:

Often, the K struggles on the alt... and can be a little over-reliant on the checklist for someone (like me) that's a bit of a truth-seeker and post-round ev reader.

To give a concrete example:

Suppose a (policy) Aff said "a Small Modular Rector will *solve* for a nuclear accident". Further suppose that the Neg did not engage this claim in any way.

Then suppose the Neg said "interrogate our relationship to neolib -- as it may *solve* neolib". Suppose the Aff was comparably inattentive to that alt.

I would start the post-round evaluating competing solvency claims. Both teams 100% won their original statement -- but the word *"solves"* in both sentences does not get at questions of magnitude/likelihood. "Solve" was not posited as a 100% affair in either the ev, the tag, or under any standard of logic.

So, yes, both teams "solve", but the degree to which an SMR could prevent an accident is miles ahead of the degree that individual interrogation might solve neolib. I acknowledge that not everyone judges these args in this manner -- in part because they fear being labelled "interventionist". I happen to feel it "intervenes" to impose magnitude onto either team's claim (as stated).

I can imagine a future time where the K more assertively attempts to have Alts that inform policy praxis or generates non-institutional collectives... And if you think your arg is novel in that regard, then I might be a better judge for you... But, the odds are that you've learned to run the K based on the prevalent community norms that have developed over the previous 15 years... Over that time, your predecessors did an exceptionally mediocre job of helping the K inform praxis and be PART (not all) of negating an Affirmative.



- I rarely think "literature" alone makes a cplan competitive. I consider the two as wholly unrelated and I struggle to grasp this line of thinking. Some are aghast if the two options that are compared by a think tank article are somehow not auto-competitive. This borders on laughable - as there's lit that defends plan-plus cplans....Sometimes I have judged literature that demonstrated that the perm severs - that might be germane.

- I think "judge kick" needs to be flagged early and often - not merely implicitly as part of a conditionality answer in cx - for it to be a presumptively strong arg for the Neg. I consider "conditionality" to be a question of whether multiple strategies can/should be carried through the middle of the debate - and *not* whether the Neg should ultimately be afforded multiple choices at the end of the debate. I will assume that you went for the one damn strategy that you did extend in the 2NR unless you play your "multiple options" card earlier in the debate.

If you have specific questions about how I'd evaluate an item, feel free to ask. I'll strive to respond with candor.



Armands Revelins Paradigm

1 rounds

my email for email chains is arevelins@gmail.com

Quick update 2018 - some years ago I drafted the rubric for speaker points that you see below. Since then I have monitored developments in the debate community on typical speaker point distribution across all judges/tournaments, as discussed online by people who keep track of such things. I don't really dwell on this data much, but I do try to be mindful of community tendencies. Also, I notice how my own debaters read judge philosophies in crunch-time right before a round, and realize debaters reading this want a tl:dr.

Therefore, note that I probably now give speaker points that inch higher than what I initially suggested. This means in most cases I'm giving 28 and above, for debaters who seem to be doing elim-level debate it's usually 28.5 and above, and for especially impressive debate it's 29 and above. I do still dip into the mid-to-high 27's in occasional instances where I want to make it clear that I think the particular speeches really could use some work. At the time of writing (Jan 2018) my average speaker points are about a 28.5.

*******Paradigm Edited 11/10/13, prior to Wake Forest 2013 *******

** Scroll past speaker point scale to get a shorter philosophy explanation **

Speaker point scale:

0 = the debater committed some sort of ethics violation during the round (e.g. clipping cards)

26 to 26.9 = one or both of the following things happened: a) the debater made some kind of major tactical mistake in the debate, such as a completely dropped off-case position, without any attempt to address how they might still win the debate even if that argument is charitably given the full weight that the opposing team prefers. (more leeway on this is given to novice debates) b) the debater was hostile or rude towards competitors in the debate such that opportunities for respectful discourse concerning different ideas devolved into a breakdown of communication. Debaters have different personalities and approaches and I encourage you to explore ways of comporting yourself that express these personalities and approaches (be proud, indignant, cunning, provocative, etc), but please at all times also communicate with each other as students from different schools who respect each other for taking the time to have a lengthy debate round, in whatever part of the U.S. where you may presently have journeyed for such an encounter.

27 to 27.4 = the debater's overall strategy made sense, but various parts of the debate could have used more depth when instead those parts were fairly 'paint by numbers' (e.g. addressing certain arguments with generic/block answers instead of dealing with them more specifically). Evidence comparisons were fairly sparse, but the basic story on a given sheet of flow paper was clear enough.

27.5 to 27.9 = the debater did a solid job of debating. A coherent strategy was executed well. For certain key issues, initial clash advanced into higher forms of assessment, including a charitable understanding of why your opponent's arguments might be good yet your argument is ultimately more important/relevant.

28 to 28.4 = the debater did a solid job of debating across all the flows that were alive in the round. The debater focused on what mattered, was able to swiftly discount what did not ('closing doors' along the way), and took initial clash on key points to highly advanced levels. Given what I just witnessed, I would not be surprised if a debater with points like this advanced to early elimination debates (e.g. double octo's)

28.5 to 28.9 = the debater did everything from the previous scale, but was also able to do this with incredible organization: the most important things were in rank order, the crucial arguments were made without repetition/with cogent word economy, and I felt that the debater's communication seemed to guide my flow along with me. If cards/evidence are in question, you're able to speak of the overall ideologies or motivations driving a certain scholarship/movement, thus "getting behind" the card, in some sense. If a point is made without evidence or without a traditional claim/warrant structure, the debater does so in way that requires translation/interpretation on my part, yet the manner in which I should translate/interpret is also elicited from me/taught to me over the course of the debate. Given what I just witnessed, I would not be surprised if a debater with points like this could advance past early elimination debates.

29.0 to 29.4 = the debater did everything from the previous scale, but approached a sort of fluency that amazed me. The debater not only did what they needed to in order to match or outclass their opponents, but I furthermore felt that the debater was connecting with me in such a way where your arguments trigger understanding almost as a gestalt phenomenological experience. Given what I just witnessed, I would not be surprised if you did well in any of your other debates, prelim or elim.

29.5 to 30 = If memory serves, I have rarely if ever given speaker points that inch this close to 30. This is because 30 is perfection, without any umms, ahhs, odd turns of phrase, instances where you just lost me or where, given a rebuttal redo, you yourself would probably have done that part of your speech differently. If you are this close to 30 then you have perfect command of your opponent's position, of whatever gap you have to bridge in order for things to 'click' with me, and you are able to talk about your research and core arguments in a way where you yourself are clearly ready to push the scholarship/performance that you draw upon to its next heights, if you are not doing so already.

Objectivity and consistency is an elusive ideal: the reality is that subjectivity and some variability is inevitable. I think a good judge should be attentive in debates and vigiliant with self-assessments, not solipsistically but in light of evolving encounters with others. One of the biggest lessons I got out of my philosophy work was the extent to which all humans are prone to habits of self-deception, on many levels.

***** Debate experience

- Debated policy 4 years in high school (won the TOC)

- Debated policy 4 years at University of Southern California (4-time NDT qualifier, elims in my senior year)

- I was away from debate while in graduate school for philosophy

- I have coached Policy and PF debate at two high schools (Notre Dame and Millburn)

- I have coached Policy debate at two universities (Binghamton and Cornell)

- I am currently Assistant Director of Forensics/head debate coach at Cornell University

***** Some views on certain arguments

Any kind of argument is fine by me: I wait to see how debaters respond to what happens in the round and try not to import any predispositions concerning the default way that I should evaluate things. There are various harms/impacts that can orient a given side’s concern, plus various meta/framing/sequencing arguments that grant, reorient, or block my access to consideration of those harms/impacts, depending on how these issues play out in a debate.

Various kinds of challenges to the resolution and norms of the community are fine by me.

Kritiks: I ran them often in high school/college. I studied philosophy in graduate school.

Counterplans can take various forms: bring it on. See below about having full cp/permutation text for the entire round (to check against ‘morphing advocacies’).

Topicality debates: if an affirmative is trying to present a topical example of the resolution being true, but the negative thinks the aff is not topical then it is the negative’s right to go ‘all in’ on such an argument.

I debated policy advantage/da/impact debates almost as often as kritiks. Any politics link and link turn debates need to be laid out pretty clearly for me - mind your jargon please. The same goes for impact scenarios: who, what, against what country, etc.

For any asserted advocacy or test of competition, the plan text, permutation, etc needs to be clearly articulated in the round and written down so that it can be evaluated. For any card that you want me to read in last rebuttals, you should be telling me what I will find when I read that card and why it matters for the debate. I won't sift through a series of cards if you have just mentioned them/rattled off the citations without making use of them.

***** final notes

I have an aversion towards 'cloud clash', i.e. rattling off 2-3 minutes of overview and then basically hoping that the judge plucks out whatever applies towards some later part of the debate. Line-by-line debate and the elegance of organization that it offers is in decline lately. This has a lot to do with recent norms and computer-debating. This is at the cost of clash and direct refutation, and can come across as being aloof/wanting the judge to do the work for you. So, overviews should be short and then get on with actually responding to individual arguments.

I prefer the email chain over jumping flash drives, when possible. One click of ‘send’ and there is no longer the agonizing wait of flash drive driver installation, throwing jump drives around, etc.

Please communicate with each other, instead of yelling at each other (see my speaker point scale above for the under 27 range).

At the end of any round, I will vote for one team over the other and indicate this with my written ballot. This will be the case for any debate round that I can presently imagine.

That is all I can think of. Feel free to ask me more questions in person.

Samantha Rippetoe Paradigm

Sammi Rippetoe

University of Georgia, PhD candidate 

Communication Graduate Student, Assistant Debate Coach, Wake Forest University '15-'17

I competed for Humboldt State University in Worlds style (or Brittish Parlimentary) for 4 years.

Please add me to your email chains (as proof that you read these things)- sjrippetoe@gmail.com


Top level things

I will reward debaters with better speaker points for a good cross-x that helps their overall strategy in the debate.

If you describe graphic violence (sexual or otherwise) a trigger warning would be greatly appreciated by me, and the other debaters.

Rebuttals are for story-telling, if I'm not interested in buying what you're selling I'm probably not voting for you.

I don't feel personally responsible to read all of your evidence after the debate.  Your job is to explain to me why certain pieces of evidence should be considered/read, if you don't do that, I won't take the time to read them.  This is debate, not Sammi's research hour.




Love em, read some cards, make some args.  I am pretty persuaded by reasonability, especially when the aff has a community norm argument behind them, but I'm not wedded to the concept enough that you can't persuade me otherwise.  If we can avoid spec-type violations, that would be nice (but hey you do you).

Counterplans and Disads

Love em.  The more specific they are to the aff, the more I am willing to buy negative spin/negative sufficiency framing arguments.  Impact calc is super important, but don't confuse the timeframe or probability of your impact with that of your internal links.  Most teams do, and that's not fun.  Make sure you don't lose sight of your disad (and conversely, your aff) by the end of the debate, it's not only about comparing terminal impacts so don't lose the story for what you're selling me.


I don't have a strong preference on any particular theory arguments, but I will vote on them if well impacted and debated beyond the annoying re-reading of blocks in the 1ar and 2nr.  The caveat to this, however, is that I will not kick a CP for the negative if it is extended in the 2nr.  You forfeited your right to the status quo, deal with it.  I'm not against multiple counterplans being read in the same debate, but I do believe the enjoyment of a debate correlates to how well crafted (wink-wink) the negatives strategy is.  Do not see what sticks.

The K

Most of my thoughts from the next two categories apply here.  I will say, have links specific to the plan, with impacts to those link arguments.  Root cause arguments aren't super persuasive to me, unless you can prove that the root cause prevents the aff's specific internal link from solving whatever impact is in question.  

Non-Traditional Affs

My general feelings about them is that they should be in the direction of the topic, and they should change something in the status quo. While this doesn't necessitate a plan text, the aff should have a method that defends some action/change.  I am not a fan of affs that don't do anything, or believe that just pontificating is enough to win the round. You have to prove that your aff is important and creates positive change, not just that it analyzes something (what does that analysis do? And why should I vote for it as a positive change to status quo?). I am very persuaded by presumption when the aff hasnt proven that they do anything.  



These debates can often can be good, but generally are not.  You all read blocks like it's your job, and they are way too generic.  I'm really persuaded by specific link arguments for things like limits or ground da's that point to in round examples to validate them, and TVA's that are well developed and actually specific to either the aff's method or the impact the aff is attempting to resolve.  I do not believe fairness is an impact on it's own, it's an internal link to variety of other impacts.  


Language Args

These are persuasive, you should not be violent with your language. If you go against a team that you feel has been violent with their word choice, you should make it an argument in the round. Performative consistency is important. You do have to be clear about what the impact of their bad language is, and why I should care about it. You can't just say "this is offensive" with no impact and expect me to fill in the blanks. 






Collin Roark Paradigm

1 rounds

Updated Pre-Emory 1/9/2020

Email chain please: croark@trinity.edu

Professor and Assistant Director of Debate at Trinity University, Coach at St. Mark's School of Texas

I view my role as judge to be an argument critic and educator above everything else. As part of that, you should be mindful that a healthy attitude towards competition and the pursuit of kindness and respect are important.

Biases are inevitable but I have been in the activity for +10 years and heard, voted, and coached on virtually every argument. I genuinely do as much as possible to suspend my preconceived beliefs and default to explanation/comparison.

Quality > quantity – 1NC’s with a high volume of bad arguments will have a hard ceiling on speaker points & I will generously allow new 1AR arguments.

Speed is the number of winnable arguments you can communicate to your judge. I will usually say “clear” twice before I stop flowing your speech. If you can't flow or comprehend your partner that's a problem. If you don't sign-post I am likely to give-up on flowing your speech.

I try to flow CX so please make reference. CX is about LISTENING and responding – let your opponent finish their answer/question, acknowledge it, and then move to the next point. Be polite if you have to interrupt.