Golden Desert Debate Tournament at UNLV 2020

2020 — Las Vegas, NV/US

Christian Bato Paradigm

1 rounds



4-time NDT Qualifier

Second year judging college debate


I believe that there is a great value to flow-centric, line-by-line debating. Though I don't claim to have the best flow in the country, I believe many debates can be simplified and made clearer by emphasizing the basics of lining arguments up and answering them accordingly. Not only will teams have a better chance to win my ballot by attempting some semblance of organization, but I believe the overall clash of argumentation that would result from this focus could yield more in depth scholarship and understanding of the topic being discussed.

Debaters should clearly flag pieces of evidence they want evaluated after the debate. Failure to do so will more than likely result in me evaluating the round sans calling for cards.


I believe that debate is an educational and competitive activity. It is my job to adjudicate and render a decision based solely on the arguments presented in the debate. That being said, I believe it is the burden of the debaters to effectively and clearly deploy their arguments if they feel they are critical to the outcome of the round. I will always do my best to match your level of effort from the other side of the podium (or tabletote), but if I can’t understand your argument, or you for that matter, any disagreements we may have about the decision after the round will be largely attributed to 'a failure to communicate’.


Framework/Performance—I believe that framework sets the parameters for the debate round. Debate is an educational activity and it is important to understand what purpose the debate round serves in order to maximize learning. I also believe that the resolution matters and that there are unique benefits to learning and debating about timely issues, but if you can sufficiently explain why there is a more productive and educational reason to view the round you will find yourself in better shape. For me, the central question in these debates relies mainly on scholarship and knowledge production. If you can win that your view of debate is ultimately beneficial in that way, I will default to that explanation.

Ks—I am not well versed in this literature, so I would prefer not to hear any "high theory" stuff. I believe that if you are able to clearly establish a link to the aff/plan mechanism you will be in a pretty good position. Alternatives should also provide a specific option or worldview that I can advocate as opposed to simply rejecting the aff. 

CPs—I’m not really a fan of process (condition or consult) CPs. I believe that competition is generated from the plan, not necessarily ‘immediacy’ or ‘certainty’. 

A)    Conditionality is fine if you’re reading 2 advocacies, anything beyond that gets a little iffy.

B)    Other CP theory arguments will generally not be a reason to reject the team.

DAs—The most important issue here is that your disad makes sense. If there are logical holes in your story, the affirmative doesn’t need to have a card to point them out. Comparative impact calculus goes a long way.

Case—My favorite kinds of debate generally involve case defense and a disadvantage/case turns. When extending case arguments, be sure to explain the warrants of your evidence and compare them to that of your opponent. The winner of these debates generally isn’t the team that reads more cards, but the one who can explain and apply the cards they read best.  

I’m happy to answer any other specific questions you may have.

Have fun. Be respectful. Compete.








Mike Bausch Paradigm

3 rounds

Mike Bausch

Director of Debate, Kent Denver

Please include me in email chains; my email is

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

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

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

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

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

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

Bridget Beckett Paradigm

6 rounds

University of Nevada, Las Vegas

2nd year Policy debater.

I prefer email:

Not familiar with the High School topic this year.


I will be a blank slate in every round.

I will evaluate any argument that you can execute and explain well.

I am not familiar with a lot of critical arguments but I will try my best to understand them. Therefore, make them clear and explain them well.


Always make sure you make sufficient arguments in the 2AC that will help you in the 1AR. I will not allow any new arguments after the 2AC except in response to new args made in the neg block. Make sure you do a great job on the 1AR to make the 2NR's life difficult. Always extend the warrants of your cards. Saying "Extend Johnson 16" is not enough. It becomes very difficult to vote aff without showing any relationship to the topic. Permutations should be made clear and explained how it functions.


Make sure you are splitting the block well. I do not want to hear the same arguments made by the 2NC in the 1NR. I am open to critical teams if they are explained and have specific links to the aff. If you do not extend your alt, I am most likely not vote for the neg. I am not familiar with all critical arguments, but this should not discourage you as I feel any critical arguments that might not be clear can be cleared up by explaining the alt well.

Other notes.

I am not as quick at flowing as some are in policy, don't let this stop you with cards but analytics that you want flowed need to be differentiated from cards and clear.

Clarity over amount of arguments.

Do not steal prep time.

Make sure you utilize cx well by asking relevant questions.

Clear and proper explanations are key to great speaker points

Please feel free to make analogies and jokes that are relevant to the round.

Be nice to your fellow debaters.

Do not hesitate to ask questions to me after rounds.

Jerrell Berrios Paradigm

2 rounds

I did policy debate at UNLV for four years. I'm in my last semester of law school at UNLV. While I read everything except pomo in my career, I ended my career focusing on traditional policy arguments. I am open to all types of arguments. I'm a bit pursuaded by t/fw, but ultimately i think it comes down the debating done in the round.

K's - I think the only thing worth mentioning is that I have a high threshold for the explanation of the alt (how it solves, what it does, etc). I believe that the best k's are the ones that genuinely interact with the aff. Debate is a game of clash. I think the threshold for alt solvency has dropped far too much in the past couple of years.

Negative strategy – I believe in preserving maximum strategic and theoretical flexibility for negative teams. I don’t believe contradictions are a bad thing early in the debate, as long as the negative block and the 2nr is consistent. Edit: I think k perf con often justifies perm do the alt, especially when the framing on the k is a question of epistemology / scholarship

CPs—The text of the CP (and all perms) should be written out, and I hold them to as high a standard as I do the affirmative plan. I do not think that a negative team should be afraid to CP in the 2NC (it is a constructive, aff gets a CX, and the risk of a straight turn in the 1AR should check any abuse). These 2NC counter plans could be used to make external impact turns or uniqueness takeouts go away.

T- I'm going to steal this from Matt Gomez because I agree with him:
IMPACT YOUR STANDARDS. Education, ground, and fairness are internal links. Decision-making, Advocacy, and research skills are impacts.
Affirmative team: Counter standards and tell me what affs they'd eliminate from the topic and why those affs are good.
Negative Team: What affs do they allow, why are they bad, what affs do you allow, why does that resolve their impacts.

DA's - DA's are awesome.

LD -- I really enjoy an in-depth value/vc debate. If you tell me to evaluate the debate a certain way and have offensive reasons for why that's good; i'll do it. I think it's strategic in framing out offense.

I feel like the best type of debaters to these things consistently:
a) Consistently compare evidence—“our evidence on X argument is better than theirs for the following reasons.” These reasons may include, but are not limited to qualifications, recency, history is on our side, more complete/better warrants, etc.
b) Saying things like, “even if you don’t believe that we are winning argument X, we still win the debate, because…”
c) Consistently engage in effective impact comparison
d) Remember that defensive arguments are still important
e) Be deep on offensive arguments. A few well developed arguments in the block are typically better than 7 or 8 shallowly developed arguments.
f) Are unafraid to make logical arguments forcefully, without necessarily using “cards” as evidence.

Joe Bradley Paradigm

6 rounds

I'm a Varsity Debater for UNLV

I believe in tech over truth. Meaning, I prioritize arguments that are explicitly stated in the round and I don't assume arguments are relevant in the round just because theyre written in evidence - OR vaguely existentially referred to. This means I'm prone to give very little weight to shallow extensions or poor analysis on evidence/arguments in the round. Plausible analytics are good and will earn you speaker points. Blatant falsehoods, the reverse. You're not expected to waste your entire speech perfectly explaining every ounce of every piece of evidence -- you need to prioritize your speech time and use analysis on key arguments to prove why you are correct and they are incorrect. Debate is an oratory activity, that values truth, education and critical thinking. Meaning: you have to say your argument and cleanly extend it for it to be weighed in the round. OR give me a clear voting issue that is worth weighing against their perfomance/advocacy.

Give me simple, technical reasons to give you the ballot.

I'm pretty middle of the road when it comes to voting. I think every formulated argument has a safe place to be discussed in a round, as long as it doesnt focus on adhoms, and it challenges both teams on what they advocate. This means I think that teams require clash on the neg and the aff. The Neg SHOULD link to and ENGAGE the Aff.

I will not vote on an argument that says "they should lose because they don't talk about X." That, in my opinion, is not productive, logical, or engaging. So make sure you have coherent links.

I'll vote for a K if it makes sense. I'm open to performances and changes in debate norms as long as they still advocate for their presence in the debate community(and reasonably follow speech times/norms). However, saying "Debate is Bad" is not a good idea in front of me(!!!WHICH is distinct from saying their form of debate is bad!!!). It's pretty hard to win that kind of argument considering you have submitted your own entry into the competition.

Be clear, early on in the round, about whether or not youre going for your alt, and make sure your alt solves some aspect within the context of the round. I am not okay with shifty reconceptions in the last rebutle because it is blatant lying and theoretically impossible for the opponent to develop a consistent answer. Stand your ground and say what you need to. Clash makes for good and warranted debates.

FW and T are voting issues. They are aprior questions that determine how judges should write their ballots.

Reorganize the debate if its confusing. Use the line by line and list things with structure to be as clear as possible.

There's a fine line between sassy and rude - just be mindful of it. There's nothing wrong with standing your ground but try to be courteous towards your opponents. It's a tense and competitive environment. I get it.

I will vote on Presumption if theres little to no risk of the aff.

CP's need a Net Benefit, otherwise they are just defense and I'm forced to weigh whether or not it's "inherently" competitive. They usually aren't.

Feel like post-rounding? I will end my RFD immediately.

Good luck, have fun and please take something to learn and grow from each round.

Do it to it. Play to win.

Go. Fight. Win.

Devon Cantwell Paradigm

6 rounds

** Updated for 2019-2020 Topic**


Evidence: Apparently I need to put this on here now, but evidence standards will always be an a priori issue to evaluation for me. If there is a procedural argument that is brought up on the standards for evidence (example: distortion, not being able to access source for evidence, clipped evidence, or non-existent evidence). I will default to NSDA evidence standards, regardless of it is an NSDA tournament. I will be open to other evidence standards, but you need to present that alt standard for evidence evaluation. I will also only evaluate evidence that has been brought up on an ethics violation. Once an evidence ethics argument has been made, I will stop the round and vote immediately on that issue before anything else in the round proceeds. I see evidence as a core ethics argument that impacts the ability to go through anything else in the round and impacts my ability to trust any evidence that has been read by a team with an ethics evidence.

General Background: I’ve been in the world of policy debate for about 15 years, ranging from participation to coaching. Way back in the day, I debated at both Topeka High and Washburn Rural HS. I also debated in the regional circuit for University of Kansas for a few years and coached in Kansas, Alabama, and Mississippi. I have a deep love for the activity. I am currently working on a Ph.D. in Political Science and study immigration surveillance as part of my research.

Topicality/Procedural Issues: I vote on these. While I default to competing interpretations, it's important that you are answering all levels of the argument-- including the impact level of the debate. If you are negative and hope to win the round on T, you need to make sure you have a complete argument out of the gate to vote on. I should see a definition, interp, link, and impact level to your argument and I should see the aff responding to these. Cross apply this to any procedural argument as well (such as ASPEC, condo bad, etc.)

Disads- There needs to be a terminal impact (or at least solid analysis as to why that impact outweighs aff impacts in the round), a risk/okay probability of the disad happening (otherwise, why does your UQ matter?), and a plausible link to the aff. Generic DAs are fine, but there needs to be a plausible link, even if just at an analytical level.

Counterplans-- I tend to be alright with CPs and lean negative. I think most are generally smart. However, that being said, the CP needs to be both rhetorically and functionally competitive. I think Affs can/should be held accountable for clarifications made on positions and that those links apply across both CP and DA grounds.

Kritiks-- I'm fine with these, however, keep in mind that I am studying political theory in a Ph.D. program, so if your whole knowledge of your K is from a long series of back files on the K or from reading a few paragraphs of Nietzsche, this might end badly for you. I tend to prefer Ks with wider reach (capitalism, feminism, racism, etc) and less so Ks of particular authors, mostly because they are generally done poorly. If you run a K, it is EXTREMELY important that you provide a clear narrative of a) the role of my ballot, b) the world of the alternative, and c) how I should prioritize impact calculus in the round.

General Notes:

- If you are going for more than 2 major things in your 2NR/2AR, there is a low chance you are going to win the round. Similarly, if you don't provide an impact calculus, you likely will not like the decision I make at the end of the round.

- Negative strategy-- there needs to be some sort of offense in the round. A defensive strategic approach has rarely won my ballot.

- Please don't be unpleasant during the round. I can almost guarantee that if you are, it's not aligned with the quality of your argumentation and it's just going to be a long round. For me this looks more like arrogance or intentional cruelness-- I'm fine with bluntness, anger, frustration, etc. If you are unsure what I mean by this, please ask.

- I pay attention to the rhetoric used in the round. Slurs and derogatory language will almost assuredly earn you lower speaker points.

- Both teams should start impact calc early, use this to frame your speeches and line by line, and use impact calc to prioritize voting issues and role of the ballot.

- I reward debaters who make an effort to deeply engage with the topic area and issues.

- Squirrel affs are rarely good affs. They generally have poor structure, poor solvency or advantage foundations, and generate poor debate. I would rather see a super mainstream topic that prompts a lot of clash in the round than an aff that is poorly written for an ambush factor.

- In more policy centered debates, I may err more on the tech aspect of the debate. In other cases, I may give some leniency on tech if the arguments are "true" (understanding that truth can be a subjective value).

- I'm starting to realize through my working social justice that I'm more easily effected by detailed narratives of sexism, racism, ableism (esp. invisible disabilities), and sexual assault. Trigger warnings aren't very helpful for me as a judge (I don't have a choice to opt out of them and I don't think that I would want to) but know that I may ask for a minute to just breathe or get some water between speeches, so I can have a clear head for the next speaker, if there is a particularly vivid or powerful speech. This is by no means a common thing that I do, but I did want to add this to affirm the value of self-care in this activity.

- Add me to the email chain:

- I flow on my computer, so please make sure you take a beat at the top of flows before jumping in and please slow down to about 70% for analytical arguments, especially if they are fewer than 5 words. I have physical pain with my joints, especially at the ends of long days of judging. This doesn't make my abilities to assess your arguments any less, nor does it impact my competency. I will do my best to say "slow" if my joints can't keep up.

- If you think you might want my flow of the round, I'm happy to send it. Please try to give me a heads up before the round starts, as I organize my flows a bit differently when they are being distributed. Also, send me an e-mail after the round to remind me to send it to you.

TL;DR: You do you. Have fun. Be a decent human in the round. Learn some things.

Joseph Chicvak Paradigm

6 rounds

I competed in Lincoln Douglas debate for four years in high school. In college I competed in policy debate for four years at the University of Richmond where I was a three-time participant at the NDT. Since graduating from law school I have spent the last five years working as a public defender in the New York state court system. Any argument preference or style is fine with me: good debate is good debate. It won't change how I evaluate arguments, but in case you are curious, I was primarily a 2A/1N and ran everything from hard right, to soft left, to ironic affs as well as a full range on the neg. My email is jchicvak at gmail dot com.

Jason Clarke Paradigm

6 rounds

Jason Clarke
Policy Debate Paradigm

3 years of high school CX debate
4 years college debate (One year CEDA, 3 years Parli – NPDA)
14 years high school debate coach (judged CX at nationals five years and LD three years)

I tend to default to a policymaker paradigm, although I am open to other paradigms if they are clearly articulated and defended. I expect clear framework and voters on procedural and non-policy arguments (i.e. kritiks, and T) so that I understand if they are pre-fiat or post-fiat and/or a priori. I also prefer impact framing for kritiks and DAs so that I know how you want me to weigh them against any other impacts in the round. I am not opposed to K, in fact I like really good kritiks (though sometimes I have found they are not run very well and hence are harder to vote for), but remember that in the absence of clear framework arguments on K or voters on T, I will weigh the policy impacts according to the time frame, probability, and magnitude of each impact and vote accordingly. If you are clear about how the impacts and voters should be weighed in your rebuttals, you are significantly more likely to win my ballot. Good 2AR and 2NR speeches tell me the story of the round and why I should vote for you. If you have an overview or under view, your goal should be to clearly articulate what my RFD should be, which makes my job easier.

I am OK with speed - I am pretty used to it by now - but don’t mumble or slur your words together – articulate and efficient speed can be a good strategy; inarticulate spread fails to communicate your arguments. Remember, I'm usually not reading along with you as you spread and I need to be able to hear what you are saying.

Cade Cottrell Paradigm

6 rounds

Updated September 2018:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

- Tech over Truth, but Logic over Cards

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

- Condo is generally good

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

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

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

- #Team1%Risk

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

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

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


A Few Notes You Should Know:

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



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

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

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

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

Last Notes:

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

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

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

- Brave (strategic) 1AR/2AR decisions

- Politics disads that turn each advantage

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

- Being unclear

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

- Toasted Coconut

Mac Cronin Paradigm

6 rounds

For e-mail chains and any questions:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Keith Eddins Paradigm

6 rounds

Mid-season Thoughts/Update on Arms Sales Topic: FWIW, I find my RFDs this year including a fair number of rounds where I'm pointing out that one side or the other ignored (or, at least, under-covered) case debate to their disadvantage when it comes to the decision. For example, I've seen multiple NEGs who started out very strong on the case flow essentially drop case and lose, when they were winning one or another potentially decisive case-side argument. And I've seen too many AFFs lose on the case side to solid NEG arguments because AFF over-covered weaker NEG off-case positions while not giving enough attention to much better NEG arguments vs. advantages/solvency. In other words -- and I don't think this gives either side a particular advantage -- there's a lot of very good debate ground being missed/avoided/ignored on case, and too much time being spent on (what I see as) pretty weak generic DAs, T arguments, and such. This topic -- to me, at least -- lends itself to good case-side positions and arguments.


After retiring from the U.S. Foreign Service, I returned to high school debate as a (volunteer) coach and frequent judge in 2013. When not coaching and/or judging debate, I teach international affairs and public policy at the University of Oregon.

CX Paradigm: My judging approach has evolved significantly over the past five-plus years. While I still consider myself more of a truth-over-tech/policymaking-paradigm judge, I don't believe -- as some would suggest -- that policymaker automatically equates with a simple util approach. Far from it. Essentially, I view the two teams as playing the role of competing actors within the government, each trying to convince me to endorse their policy option. But I remain open to whichever framework one of the teams can convince me should or best applies.

And while I have an inherent bias toward the realistic (particular as it involves global security issues such as nuclear weapons, NATO and Russia, and the nature and distribution of power and influence within the international state system), I'm fully open to Kritiks. That said, although I know my Marx/Engels/Lenin pretty well, if you want to run French post-modernist arguments -- or anything of that sort -- you'll need to explain it to me in terms I can understand and appreciate. And that may mean slowing down enough to make yourself more comprehensible and persuasive. I would also advise you against running any sort of performance AFF...I'll judge it if you run it, but it's hard for me to evaluate. For better or worse, I still view the resolution as the starting point of any policy debate, and I still believe that an AFF case needs some version -- however abbreviated -- of a case and a plan. And case matters. A significant percentage of the AFF ballots I write end up noting that NEG essentially conceded case...that shouldn’t be the norm. (And, yes, on the other side of that I still very much believe that presumption lies with the NEG...and that going for it is a legit approach that can win a debate.) Unless something is truly and grossly abusive, I am not particularly keen on RVIs or similar arguments for a behavior as opposed to a policy issue on the flow.

As for T, I am more than open to T arguments and will vote NEG on T if the AFF can't make a coherent topicality defense. But be aware that I have a very inclusive topicality threshold (to put it in 2014-15 oceans topic terms, if a case involved salt water I was ready to accept it as reasonable... provided the AFF made that argument).

I'm good with aggressive spreading, but recommend you slow down enough to allow me to hear and flow your tag lines and organizational structure; sign-posting may seem old-fashioned, but if you want me to flow your argument in the correct spot, intelligible sign-posting remains an important element in the process. Pet peeve addressed to 1NCs: LABEL YOUR ARGUMENTS, please. 'Next' is not a label. Off-case, tell me whether you're reading T, a DISAD, a CP, a K, or something else. Similarly, ‘case’ is not a label. Tell me where you want your argument flowed. It may seem 100% clear to you, but it may not be as clear to me (particularly if there's no email chain and I don't have your speech). If there is an email chain, I want to be part of it:

Tag-team CX is fine, but recognize that if the debater who is the designated questioner or respondent is overwhelmed by their partner, both team members will likely receive reduced speaker points.

LD and Parli Paradigm: I'm pretty much tabula rasa in both these formats, happy to judge the debate as it's presented and debated. I will always be a flow judge (who values line-by-line clash as much as possible). But I'm generally more 'progressive' in judging LD and Parli than I am in judging Policy. Go figure. In both LD and Parli, I very much appreciate theory/framework arguments. I also think both LD and Parli debates benefit from explicit plans/advocacies, which thus opens up the NEG option of CPs/counter-advocacies. Ditto K debate in LD and Parli...go for it, provided you know what you're doing (and can present the K clearly and coherently). Basically, the more LD and Parli resemble Policy, the better.

PF Paradigm: Follow the rules, of course, but I'm comfortable with pushing the limits (in terms of advocacies and counter-advocacies and such)...that said, I'm open to the other team pushing back. I will evaluate the debate off my flow, so line-by-line clash and full coverage of the key issues are important. That means spreading is fine with don't have much time in PF, so use what you have to the fullest. Ditto theory (to the extent it exists in PF). Again, PF is kinda/sorta Policy Lite, and I'll generally prefer a more Policy-like approach.

Timekeeping: In all forms of debate I expect competitors to keep their own time (including prep). Also, debaters should keep track of their opponent’s time (including prep). I will make an exception for novices at their first few tournaments, but otherwise time yourselves, please.

Michael Eisenstadt Paradigm

5 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:

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 (, 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.

Lansing Freeman Paradigm

6 rounds

If the facts are on your side, argue the facts. If the law is on your side, argue the law. If neither the facts nor the law are on your side, bang on the table. Don't bang on the table. I prefer substantive arguments, presented in a linear fashion, strongly supported by logic, and and backed up by well-sourced facts.

I don't know every arcane rule and style of debating, but as an AP Gov teacher for 18 years, I know the topics and recognize proper argumentation and reasoned position-taking.


Stephen Goldberg Paradigm

3 rounds

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Alan Goldfarb Paradigm

6 rounds

Alan Goldfarb

Debated at Georgetown Day

Debating for USC ('23)

I qualified to the ToC in policy if that's something you care about

Put me on the email chain:

Last updated for Berkeley 2020: Ethics violations are only to accuse a team of the following: clipping, reading evidence that has been fabricated, or reading evidence that has been modified. Falsifiability standards can be debated and thus are a theoretical violation, not an ethics violation.

I owe my debate career to jon sharp


Read whatever you want. Do good debating and I'll vote for you. I know paradigms are long so ask me questions before the round if you want.

Try not to assume I know what your acronyms mean: I'm not super familiar with all the topic-specific language this year.

Top Level

Tech>truth. I am willing to vote for most arguments provided they have warrants. Judge adaptation is overrated. You should go for what you are good at or what you want to go for.

Line by line wins debates but ethos gets speaker points. Because of this I expect to give low point wins with more frequency than most. If it isn't on my flow it didn't happen so slow down a bit during essential parts of the debate (such as topicality in the 1NC).

Time your own speeches and prep. Don't steal prep. Try not to call me judge.

Can I go for this argument in front of you?

Probably. All arguments can be deployed well, and all arguments can be deployed poorly. I've spent a decent part of my debate career focusing on kritikal arguments, but that doesn't mean I am unwilling to hear a politics DA. If that's your thing, explain your internal link chains and do impact calculus. Internal link comparison is often more persuasive than impact comparison. DA turns case arguments are awesome. Judge kick can maybe be a thing if the 2NR tells me it is.

I'm most familiar with specific veins of high theory (mostly Baudrillard and psychoanalysis) and the cap k. That doesn't mean you shouldn't explain your buzzwords to me because I will try to avoid drawing on outside knowledge to adjudicate debates. You should contextualize your links to the aff, otherwise i will likely be convinced that the permutation is a viable option. While k debates have the potential to be very interesting, debates in which you are unable to explain what the alternative does or how it relates to the aff will probably not result in me voting for you. In my opinion, usually not enough time is spent on the alternative and how it solves the k.

Topicality can be a persuasive argument. I default to in-round abuse but am easily be persuaded otherwise. If you give a good, warranted 2NR on t or theory, I will likely vote for you, not because I love topicality, but because affirmative teams have been getting worse at answering it. Perfcon+condo is persuasive to me.

I think case debate is the most underrated portion of any debate. Zero risk is a thing. If I don't think the aff solves I'll vote on presumption. If I feel like you know the aff better than the affirmative team, I'll probably vote for you. Impact turns are really good arguments.

T/FW vs k-affs

If you want to read a planless aff, go for it. If your strat against planless affs is 1-off topicality, you do you. I don't really care about the t/framework distinction and default to fairness as an internal link, not an impact, although I can easily be convinced otherwise. Contextualization will win these debates, which is why a 2AR that spits all their offense at me without explanation probably won't earn my ballot. Likewise, a 2NR that just repeats that debate is a game will also probably not earn my ballot. Do impact calculus and discuss aff solvency in these debates. TVAs are persuasive arguments which are an impact filter if I am not told otherwise.


Cross-x is a 3 minute speech which I flow. You should use it to explain complicated parts of your arguments. Don't yell.

Zero risk is a thing.

Evidence comparison wins debates. I might call for cards but only if they are explained in the round.

Presumption can flip aff.

Big picture framing is important: Try to tell me a story.

Embedded clash is cool.

There are some arguments I won't vote on: racism/sexism good or arguments centered around things that happened outside of the debate.

Post-rounding is fine, we all lose debates we don't think we should have, but don't be super aggressive.

Don't try to conform to much to me. I'll conform to you.

Joshua Gonzalez Paradigm

3 rounds

Joshua Gonzalez

Yes, add me to emails. gonza310 at gmail

New for 2018-2019:

High School Debates:

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


Rando stuff that I've added:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Nate Graziano Paradigm

6 rounds

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

> Please include me on email chains - <

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

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

1. Tech > Truth

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

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

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

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

2. Theory/Topicality/Framework

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

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

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

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

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

3. Debate is Story Telling

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

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

4. Critical Arguments

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

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

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

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

5. Speaker Points

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

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

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

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

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

Sam Gustavson Paradigm

4 rounds

Sam Gustavson
C.E. Byrd HS class of 2014

Debated at Baylor Univeristy 2014-2016, University of Iowa 2017-2019

Currently coaching Glenbrook South (2019)

Have coached: Caddo Magnet HS, Hendrickson HS, Little Rock Central, University of Chicago Lab

email chain - yes -

Random 2019 updates:

Taking two lines from Khalid Shareef's paradigm that I profoundly agree with:

"1.Clarity of thought is paramount. I often find myself voting for teams that can make complex arguments sound like common sense.

2. Good evidence is secondary to what a debater does with it. I really appreciate evidence interrogation in speeches and cross-examination. I don't like reading cards after the debate, please put the important spin and quotations of the card "on the flow."

I don't like reading a lot of evidence after rounds. If there is a dispute about what a piece of evidence says, sure I will read it. But I will not spend a lot of time reading through the docs and reconstructing the debate for you. There is a high chance I don't even open the email chain. I think that the debating should be done by the debaters on the flow and I should not need to read evidence to put together what you said. You should be unpacking that for me and using it to make arguments in the debate.

This is my first year not debating. I care even less about what you read in front of me than I did 5 years ago.

K on K debates when done well are the best debates to watch. When done poorly, easily the worst debates to have to watch. Take that however you will.

Being creative with topical versions of the aff and read-it-On-the-neg arguments on framework will get you a lot further in the debate than saying “you could read your K and defend a plan text”. That requires actually applying these things to the aff.

When answering framework, having a clear counter interpretation will help me filter your offense and defense. Not saying you have to redefine words in the resolution, but having an argument about what debate should look like is important.

No, you will not insert that re-highlighting into the debate. You will read it.

2018 Update (Immigration): Saying an argument is conceded is not the same thing as extending a full argument. Additionally, asserting that arguments have been conceded when that is not the case is not persuasive. It shows that you either aren’t flowing or that you’re just missing arguments that your opponent is making.

Go slower when reading really long counter-plan texts if you want me to get it

2014 Paradigm

I know most of the people who read these aren't looking to learn every thought I have about debate, most of you are reading this quickly before a debate or while doing prefs, so I'll keep this short.

Thesis: Say whatever you want in front of me. I think debate should be about the debaters. Don't debate differently in front of me, just do what you're best at. Of course I have biases that influence the way I evaluate debates, everyone does. But when judging, I will attempt to be objective and evaluate the round based on the arguments presented by both sides. Read a politics DA, an aff without a plan, topicality/framework, a large structural criticism, I don't care. If you debate it well, I will evaluate it as such. If you debate it poorly, I will evaluate it as such.

That said, here are some things I think:

Theory: I think most theoretical objections, with the exception of condo, are a reason to reject the argument not the team. I can be inclined to think differently if you can prove why the mere introduction of an argument into a debate is a reason the other team should lose. That will probably require substantial investment in the argument throughout the debate, and not just a blippy extension.

Clipping: If sufficient proof is presented to me that someone is intentionally clipping in a debate I will promptly vote against the offender and the lowest points the tournament permits.

Speed: it's good unless argued otherwise. Be clear. I would like to hear the warrants in your evidence as they're presented. I'm not saying I need to be able to repeat you word for word, but if all I hear is a tag and cite and can't decipher the internals of a piece of evidence, I'll say clear. I will say clear up to three times to any given debater. If the problem persists I will just simply not be able to understand your arguments, and you will probably lose and not have very good speaker points. This activity is based on persuasion, and it's hard for me to be persuaded if I can't figure out what you're saying.

Gibran Hassan Paradigm

6 rounds

Sonoma Academy '19. UCLA '23

I debated in the national circuit for 4 years and also did parli my freshman year. I cleared at a few national tournaments and won a few local touraments. I'm currently a freshman at UCLA. I was a 1A/2N until my senior year, when I was a 2A/1N or I was a double 2. Yes please add me to the email chain-

Speed is fine, but clarity over speed! If I don't understand what you're saying, I won't flow it. Also please disclose on the wiki. I'm all for fair debate with well-prepared opponents. Please let me know if there is anything I can do to make the debate more accessible for you. Emailing me or talking to me before the round totally works.

ask me as many questions before/after the round as you want.

Arguments are claims, warrants, and impacts -- means that "dropped" arguments are true only if you explain why they matter and the reasons they're true. I need more explanation than just "they dropped the DA- we win!"


Immigration topic specific: I am an immigrant, so I think this year's topic is amazing and having personal experiences with the immigration system, I might bring some more biases than usual on this topic than others. But I will try my hardest to not have my biases affect the debates I judge. AKA Don't read the terror DA in front of me, please. I'm brown and Muslim.


Do what you do best. Trying to adapt to me as a judge is a waste of time. I don't necessarily have an argumentative preference, but I'm really not the best judge for a high theory K debate.


I'm down to see a good T debate! I think T is vastly underused by 2Ns (including me). If your 1N is a killer T debater, use it to your advantage. I read one of the most untopical policy affs on the education topic (It was about educating students on how to clean their teeth!) and I only had one 2N go for T against me! Most affs to some extent are untopical, so make them stop cheating. Have a good interp/counter interp and give me some good clash on the standards debate. I don't defer to reasonability or competing interps, so I will be convinced by both.


I've gone for condo twice in my four years of doing debate, and it's still one of my favorite rounds. That being said, if condo is a legit strat for you it should be a big part of the 1AR and all of the 2AR. I will vote on condo, but there has to be in round abuse. If they read states and neolib, I will not be very convinced to vote on condo. And I definitely believe that neg should definitely have condo to test the aff. Other theory args aren't as convincing to me unless the other team completely drops it. That's the only time I might vote on it.


Probably my favorite debate argument. I love a good CP/DA neg start. If the DA turns case and squo solves the aff, neg doesn't really need much of a link to win the round. Especially if they have a sick counterplan. I love any and all DAs.

Aff- read addons in the 2AC so solve the DA impacts. Easy win if done right.


Also love these. A good advantage CP with a sick DA can be a killer neg strat. But have some good evidence on how and why the CP solves. Usually, 1AC evidence can be used as solvency advocates for ADV CPs! Also, the CP better be competitive, cause then I have no reason to vote for it. Please don't mess up writing CP texts. (It's really embarrassing, speaking from experience).


Yes, I will definitely still vote on the K even though I'm most familiar with policy arguments. I think Ks are very interesting and probably produce the most real-world change. But if you don't understand your K and can't explain it to your opponents, I will have a VERY hard time voting for it. Have some good links that you can explain. Also, the alt better solve or at least do something. If you can't explain what the alt does and what voting neg does, then please don't read that K. There's nothing more embarrassing than watching a K team not know what they are talking about in cross-ex. What K lit I know well (Cap, Set Col, Gnoseology, Security, Orientalism, Foucault). Bad K debates are worse than bad policy debates.

Policy Affs- literally just go for extinction first, and case outweighs and some sort of impact turn (If that's possible). You will most likely always win. Also, make sure to PERM!!!! Unless you lose FW of the K, I will vote on case outweighs the K.

K affs- PERM DAT!! There's no philosopher who will say you can't think two things at the same time.

Policy Affs

Do what you do best. Have solvency advocates, win the case solves something.

K Affs

Very much err neg in these debates. FW makes the game work!! I believe that teams should defend the USFG and have a plan text! If they don't at least they should be in the direction of the topic with a stable advocacy statement. I think these debates are interesting to watch, but I think FW is the only real option. This is where my judge bias comes in because I'm more likely to be lenient to neg teams in these debates. Make sure to impact it out. Like why should I prefer aff/neg FW? TVA is the negs best friend in these debates. But all that being said if you debate your k aff well I will DEFINITELY vote on it.


Destroy them on case. Nothing makes the 1AR harder than amazing case debate in the block. circumvention is probably a true arg if you're neg.

also if you're aff - add-ons are your friend and a good way of making neg offense go away - why do I care about disads if you just solve the impact


Don't steal prep. Flashing/emailing isn't prep unless it becomes an issue in the round. If you're very unclear, I will dock your speaks. Please don't clip. That's the last thing I want to deal with. You will lose the round, get a 0 and I will have to have a conversation with your coach. Also please don't make sexist, racist, homophobic, transphobic etc. comments. You will lose the round and get a 0. Don't be mean to the other team. A good dose of sass in cx and speeches is completely fine and encouraged.

Carlos Henry Sr. Paradigm

6 rounds

Email Chain or questions:

Speed: Any speed fine. If you are unclear I won't get what you're saying.

Experience: I debated for three years in high school policy debate and two years on the college NDT Circuit. I'm educated as a philosopher and am a criminal defense lawyer. My philosophical training means I care alot about logical fallacies and how arguments are posed and answered. Also I ponder and wonder about big questions so that translates into my debate thinking. I do think and read articles about what debate should be; yes I'm a theory hack. Professionally, I defend criminals so I've developed a very thick skin. My love is trying cases so I'm very focused on how folks decide and why. I dislike dogma which is now shockingly rampant on both sides of our current political cultures.

FLOW I flow the debate. Specifically on a scetch pad. Cross X too. If you do not take this into account I'll miss your arguments. That means give me time to turn the page when moving to new arguments and signpost clearly where you going next on the flow (e.g. "on the Allies DA" and give me time to get there.) Connecting arguments - the line-by-line - is essential unless you want me to put the debate together myself out of micro-arguments. 'I will feel zero remorse in the post-round if you tell me that I did not appropriately decode the word vomit on 2AC 5 subpoint C or the treatise you regurgitated about some vague "theory of power" in a 2NC overview. ..It would help me immensely if you used consistent, easily transcribable soundbites' (thanks Shree) and very clear signposting so I can make connections on the flow effortlessly. Long overviews are bad in this same way--put them in the line by line.

Judging Philosophy: Be yourself, because sincerity is transparent and convincing. No argument would cause me to automatically vote against any team, regardless of whether they are labeled politically incorrect, offensive or whatever (I hate dogma.) If a team thinks an argument is morally wrong tell me why I should not vote for it.

Wish List: I expect the debaters to tell me how to decide the debate. I don't want to determine which interpretation is better or whether human rights trumps extinction. The best teams will compare evidence, indict arguments (qualifications or warrants), and resolve debate questions.

I HAVE NO DEFAULT OR PREFERRED JUDGING PARADIGM. I'll follow what the round dictates. Nor have I any theory preferences that I apply to my evaluation. I like theory debates and listening to debate arguments about what debate or the theory should be and why. Alot.


Both policy and Kritik debates thrill me when there is strong clash and great intellectual battle. I'm current on most debate K literature but that is a double-edged sword. I'll probably understand your Kritik, but I have a higher threshold for what you must articulate. And I'll know when you superficially understand your authors or the literature base.

- - Poor DAs/Advantages/K links: More and more I see DAs and 1AC advantages with poor link evidence and then severe brink and obvious uniqueness issues. Often these go unchallenged by opposing teams in a rush to simply read their evidence blocks. A few analytics or even a well reasoned cross-ex questions could destroy some of these disadvantages. Solid analytics will be rewarded with higher speaker points.

- - Evidence Comparison: Great debaters evaluate, compare and attack evidence. There is good evidence and bad evidence; good sources and lousy sources. Quality of evidence is very important to me. I'll be reading along with your speech doc and reading evidence in your prep time.

- - Cross-x: It's not simply your partner's prep time or time to get the card you missed. It's another opportunity to make your arguments. You are welcome to do cross x anyway you want but best speaker points are awarded to those who answer their own cross x. And when you find a soft spot in their answers don't just stop and let them off the hook, go for the kill and savor it. It's a rare and beautiful close to a Perry Mason moment as you'll ever find because they don't happen in court, ever. In the 1994 CEDA finals, James Brian Johnston from UKMC as 2AC, questions 2NC Dave Devereux (KSU) and his questioning beginning around 51 minutes into the video is, for me, a perfectly executed aggressive and brilliant cross-examination.

- - Speaker Points I won't give fewer than 26 for any reason and have given 30 for the best I have seen at any tournament. Wake Forest University devised a speaker point scale to attempt to universalize speaker points and I tend to follow it:

The best debaters I see don't simply bury their heads in their laptop and spread; they actually look at the judge periodically and persuade, particularly in 2NR and 2ar. Watch the 2002 Ceda Finals and see Calum Matheson's 2nc or Jason Regnier's 2ac or 2ar for great examples. I'm not sure why but the college debaters I watch do a much better job of this then the high school debaters.

Debate is about winning so be assertive even aggressive. Not rude or exclusive but go after your point with passion. We are in the persuasion business and enthusiasm is contagious. Have fun. A sense of humor is priceless (and rare) in a round.

Jeffrey Horn Paradigm

4 rounds

Green Valley HS (NV) '15

UNLV '19

Put me on email chains please -

Top Level

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

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

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

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

-No touching.

Neg Ks vs. Policy Affs

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

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

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

K Affs

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

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

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

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

Topicality (in policy debates)

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

-Impact comparison wins debates.

Michael Hunter Paradigm

6 rounds

Hello all!

My legal name is Michael Hunter but I go by Geo Hunter.
Yes, this is the correct spelling of my name, pronounced "Joe"

A little about me:
Competitively debated for George Washington High School in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. Participated only in CX for three years.
I've judged at a handful of Iowa/Illinois tournaments in CX, including the final panel for the Iowa Caucus.

I've helped the tab-room for three years at the Iowa Caucus tournament.

I'm currently attending Utah State University as a senior in Logan, UT with a major in Social Studies Composite Teaching.

I hope to coach or start a debate program somewhere.

I also speak Russian.


T- I feel T can be an interesting debate, if debated accurately. If the T is in the 2NR, you better be going for it. I won't vote on "What sticks" The Aff though has a responsibility to acknowledge it, though.

The K- I'm a traditional Policy person. I don't read up on philosophies/arguments beyond the general K's. I will vote on the K if the Neg does an exceptional job of explaining it and the Aff does poorly in arguing against it. I'm not too versed on abstract philosophies. I enjoy more Cap/FEM-IR/Sec K's if the link is explained. I will listen to framework and weigh impacts more than the typical judge. Aff cannot throw a hundred framework cards at the K and expect me to vote. Explain thoroughly.
Same goes for Critical Affs, explain as much as possible.

CP/DA- I enjoy clash! These are the best arguments to listen to. Politics is a +. Do a good link story please, and Aff should capitalize on a bad one.

Theory/Condo- I will have an Aff bias if the Neg runs 10 CP's, I think a K, CP, DA and ample Offense/Defense on-case is an ideal debate round. I will value framework/theory on the Neg side too in the event of a critical aff.

Speaker Points- I always give high speaks in Novice rounds. Varsity is based on your individual performance. If you act like you were engaged in the round, were courteous and threw in a joke or two, you'll get high 28's and low 29's. If you are a complete jerk, condescending to opponents and act like you are not engaged, your points will reflect that. I do not hesitate to give LPW's to jerk teams. I will make a note on the ballot and notify your coach if it was severe.

Prep- I expect Varsity teams to monitor their times. I will keep track, but will not notify you of speech time. If you say you are done prepping and are flashing, there should be no movement from anyone except the speaker. If people are prepping during flashing, I will doc those points. I will resort to flashing ends at the removal of flash-drive from computer if need be.

With that being said, ask me questions before the round!

Happy Debating!!

Счастливые дискуссионный!

Matthew Jallits Paradigm

1 rounds

Matthew Jallits

Debated 3 years @ Puyallup High School (08-11),

Debated 4 years @ University of Nevada Las Vegas (11-15)

Coached 2 years @ University of Nevada Las Vegas (15-17).

CEDA 2019 Update:

CEDA will be the first full college tournament I will have judged at this year, meaning I will have minimal knowledge about the topic.

I'm down for any form of argumentation as long as there's a reason to vote for it. Direct refutation of arguments is best over implied argumentation. This means I prefer technical, flow-centric line by line debate. I don't think every argument needs a card, but it certainly helps.

Other things:

-I flow on paper

-I don't have my laptop open and will not read any cards until after the debate (if the warrants of a card are in question). I want to be focused on what is being said in the speeches.

-I don't want to preside over accusations about what has or hasn't happened outside of the round I'm currently judging.

-If there's an email chain, I'll be on it: mmjallits[at]gmail[dot]com

Kyle Joseph Paradigm

4 rounds

1. Conflicts [as of 09/01/2019]

• No Chen & Weiss
• No D'Alessandro & Sharda
• No Univ Of Chicago Lab
• No Iowa City
• No Homewood-Flossmoor

2. Short Version

  • tech over truth
  • strong analytics/analysis can beat carded evidence
  • prioritize your impacts
  • have fun!

3. Some Detail

I've been meaning to do this for a while, but have not really had the time. My hope is that I end up judging better debates as a result of this updated philosophy. I am now changing to a more linear philosophy, it is my hope that you read this in its entirety before choosing where to place me on the pref sheet. I debated for four years at Homewood-Flossmoor High School in the south Chicago suburbs from 2007-2011. During that time I debated, Sub-Saharan Africa, Alternative Energy, Social services and substantial reductions in Military presence.

In college, 2011-2012 [space topic] I started out at the University of Northern Iowa, Where I debated the Arab Spring resolution while judging a few debate rounds throughout the midwest. After my freshman year I transferred to the University of Iowa, where I started coaching at Iowa City High School. This year, I will continue to coach the City High Debate team.

Framing, Issue choice and impact calculus are in my opinion the most important aspects of argumentation, and you should make sure they are components in your speeches. Late rebuttals that lack this analysis are severely.

I preference tech over truth. Your in round performance is far more important to me, as it is what I hear. I greatly attempt to preference the speaking portion of the debate. Increasingly, I've found that my reading evidence is not necessarily an aspect of close debates, but rather results from poor argument explanation and clarification. The majority of 'close rounds' that I've judged fall into the category of closeness by lack of explanation. In some limited instances, I may call for evidence in order to satisfy my intellectual fascination with the activity. Anything other than that--which I will usually express during the RFD--probably falls upon inadequate explanation and should be treated as such.

I feel my role as a judge is split evenly between policymaker and 'referee' in that when called to resolve an issue of fairness. I will prioritize that first. Addressing inequities in side balance, ability to prepare and generate offense is something may at times find slightly more important than substance. In short, I consider myself a good judge for theory, THAT BEING SAID, rarely do I find theory debates resolved in a manner that satisfies my liking - I feel theoretical arguments should be challenged tantamount to their substance based counterparts. Simply reading the block isn't enough. Though I was a 2A[≈ High power LED current, peak 2.7 A] in high school I have since found myself sliding towards the negative on theoretical questions. I can be convinced, however, to limit the scope of negative offense quite easily, so long as the arguments are well explained and adjudicated.

I consider reasonability better than competing interpretations, with the caveat that I will vote on the best interpretation presented. But topicality questions shouldn't be a major concern if the team has answered.

I have a long and complicated relationship with the K. I have a level of familiarity with the mainstream literature, so go ahead and read Capitalism or Neolib. Less familiar arguments will require more depth/better explanation.

Samin Kamal Paradigm

6 rounds

Pronounced : Suh-Mean yes add me to the email chain, much appreciated.

Green Valley c/o ‘19

UNLV ‘23

Constraints: Green Valley

Update for Meadows:

This is my first tournament judging on this topic, meaning I don't know all of the topic specific acronyms/abbreviations so explain things, especially in T debates. Also, since I haven’t been in a debate round in a couple months please don’t start off at full speed (60% and then work your way up).


I debated for Green Valley in Las Vegas for four years and qualified to the TOC with a couple bids my senior year. I was a 2A for my whole career which may explain some biases that I have that I’ll cover later on (i.e probably a lower threshold for certain aff theory arguments). I was mostly a “policy debater” (with the exception of 2 aff’s I read but those also had plan texts) so I’ll feel at home in a counter plan + disad debate, but that doesn’t mean that I won’t listen to other types of arguments, just that you may need a greater depth of explanation.

People who I think about debate like/my favorite judges:

- Cade Cottrell

- Debnil Sur

- Steve Pointer

- Anthony Winchell

- Jeffrey Horn

Decision making:

- I believe debate is a rhetorical game and as such I feel as if debaters should be able to explain and break things down without me having to sit and read through cards. This means that I will likely only read evidence post-debate if 1) I am explicitly instructed to do so by the debaters or 2) there are time sensitive issues that may play a role in my decision (i.e u/q questions on politics da’s).

- I’ll do my best to protect the 2NR from 2AR extrapolation, but I might have a higher threshold for what is considered “new explanation”. I believe that as long as the 1AR has a decent level of warrant and impact analysis the 2AR should be allowed some level extrapolation and cross application and it’s up to the 2NR to do gatekeeping. There’s a difference between new analysis and comparative analysis and good 2A’s tread the line carefully.

- I tend to think that my ballot rewards whoever did the better substantive debating, so I’ll award speaks based on stylistic presentation (ethos, pathos, logos, clarity, etc).

Certain biases/predispositions I have:

- Tech > truth but logic > cards

- Condo is great (can be persuaded otherwise but I have a pretty high threshold on this one)

- Commissions, impact assessment, delay, and consult counterplans are cheating

- You always get to weigh the aff…? even in K debates

- CP that mostly solves the aff + 1% risk of a DA à neg ballot

- I’ll judge kick unless told otherwise


- I default competing interps, meaning at the end of the round I’ll vote for whichever team I think has the best definition for what the topic should look like (this means that ev that has a clear intent to define terms of art in the resolution will probably help you).

- I think reasonability is a great aff argument and I went for it every aff debate vs. T. If you’re going for reasonability you need to frame it like offense and go for it with something like arbitrariness. I feel like aff teams that do this can easily win that the negatives interp is arbitrary and causes substance crowd out. This means that the substance crowd out caused by the negs definition outweighs any marginal difference in interp definitions.

- Impact and internal link analysis and explanation are very important in these debates i.e aff teams might have to explain why predictable limits, inculcated by their interp, is the key internal link to ground or whatever else the neg is going for

- The best way to think about T is like a cp/da debate: the interp is the CP and the impacts are DA’s to the other teams interp

- I think aff flex is great (more inclusive definition of what’s topical)—probably explains why most of the affs I read were borderline T/extra-T

Nontraditional Affirmatives:

- I will frame this section with the fact that I read policy aff’s my whole career with the exception of two faux policy affs that still had a plan text (until the 2AC haha) but I’m still down to listen to these types of debates.

- It will be easier for me to vote aff if the aff as some kind of inherent/unique relationship with the topic—I don’t get what this “we’re in the direction of the topic” stuff is

- I don’t necessarily presume that the aff gets perms in method debates so be sure to resolve this in the round

- For the neg: in these kinds of T debates I often find things like switch side, TVA’s, and skills impacts more persuasive than procedural fairness, but I can also be persuaded that procedural fairness is an impact in and of itself. If you’re going for switch side/skills, you need to win some form of defense to the aff.

Soft Left Aff’s:

- The following is taken word for word from Anthony Winchell, just because I agree with them so much in this case:

- “Honestly, they bore me. That doesn’t mean you won’t win if you read one, but I’m a strong believer that extinction outweighs any structural condition that has the potential to be improved upon in the future. Framing arguments in these debates typically just turn into “X structure is bad v util”, and if it turns out this way, I’m most likely defaulting to util.”

- Nuanced framing debates are just a thing that never really happens—feel free to prove me wrong, you’ll be rewarded with speaks


- I love ‘em. I went for politics 99% of my 1NR’s in high school so I’m very comfortable in these types of debates. With that being said there are still good ptx disads (midterms!) and bad ones (base).

- Turns case analysis is always nice, but I’d prefer a more link centric debate to an impact centric one

- Teams should always make impact turns case arguments along with risk of a link turns case args

- Specific links are good but generic links are fine if the team can control the direction of spin

- Link probably controls the direction of uniqueness, but I can be persuaded otherwise

- I feel as if aff teams should actively call out bad ev or generic ev (instead of relying on me to read it later and come to my own conclusion) and should either explicitly read lines in cross-ex or insert rehighlightings (if you insert a rehighlighting please read it unless you’ve read the lines in CX).

- Teams should do a lot of impact calc analysis and turns case analysis in the 2NR if judge kick is still a thing in the debate


- Explanation, not jargon, is very important in these debates. I won’t vote on anything I did not understand in the debate prior to reading evidence

- Please do line by line: I hate when teams read a 5 min overview and get to the line by line and just say “that was answered above”

- Specific links > generic links

- The aff team gets to weigh the aff

- You probably need an alternative—this is the weakest part of the K and I feel as if aff teams don’t push back against it enough. Most K alts seem like this to me: the magical wand of fiat is waved and all the problems in the land are solved…

- Don’t forget to use your aff…duh

- Love impact turns, my senior year we just impact turned most K’s—obviously there are some K’s you cannot impact turn


- Love me some CP’s, even generics if debated well (i.e non-enforcement on the immigration topic—super artificial CP but it gave ya a politics net benefit so whatever)

- Most CP’s are fine, but some are sketchy like process, consult, commissions, and delay (non-action CP’s are probably fine but I’m slightly aff leaning on this question)

- All CP’s don’t need solvency advocates, at least in the 1NC. Smart adv CP’s definitely don’t need advocates. If you have a 9 plank CP that claims to solve every bit of the aff you probably need an advocate (I’m partial to solvency advocate theory in particularly egregious cases).

- I love when neg teams use aff ev as an advocate

- I found it strategic to read adv CP’s on case, teams just seemed to mishandle them and would even forget to make perms

- SQUO is always a logical option, so I’ll judge kick the CP unless explicitly told otherwise—2AR’s that just blippily say “no judge kick” doesn’t fly with me—preempt this from the 2AC/1AR


- Generally, neg leaning on most theory args unless mentioned above

- I love when 2A’s terrorize the neg with theory but that does mean that I’ll give the neg leeway on certain arguments, meaning you don’t have to spend a whole minute answering a 15 second multi-plank CP’s bad argument from the 2AC. I was characterized by my former partner Anthony Winchell as a “terrorist with theory”.

- Most theory args are a reason to reject the argument, except condo

- Going for theory when its not necessary will result in lower speaks

- Theory debates are judged purely on in round technical concessions

- If the aff misses a one-line aspec arg I’ll likely give the 1AR leeway to answer it there

Random things:

- To get higher speaks make fun of Anthony Winchell or Cade Cottrell

- Enunciation/inflection is very important

- I’ll yell clear 2-3x but after that it’s on you—just be aware that if I say clear once and you clear up I still may have missed certain things before I said clear—read my facial cues

- I love sassy CX’s but there’s a difference between being rude and being sassy

- I don’t care whether you sit or stand for CX—it perceptually has no difference to me

- If you want me to remember something from CX bring it up in a speech or during CX explicitly tell me to “write this down”

- Eye contact is important—don’t just read into your computer you zombie

- I won’t submit my ballot till I’m done with the rfd—that doesn’t mean that my decision will change, just that speaks might depending on how you decide to handle yourself in the post-round

- Don’t speak over your partner (I get that sometimes this has to happen though)—especially if it’s in like the last 30 seconds of the 2AR—it just perceptually makes you look behind and makes your partner look incompetent (when they probably aren’t).

Grace Kuang Paradigm

5 rounds

Debate Experience:

4 years at Greenhill

Currently debating at USC

Please put me on the email chain. My email is

I went for policy arguments in high school. In terms of categories of negative arguments (i.e. k,cp,da,etc.), I have no overlying ideologies or overt preference to what categories of negative arguments you must make.

However, there are debates that i've noticed that i personally enjoy judging and are interesting to me, and debates that i've noticed i do not enjoy judging and are not interesting to me. so if you are at all interested in my enjoyment:

examples of debates i have enjoyed judging: counterplans and disads, occasionally security, psychoanalysis one time

examples of debates i did not enjoy judging: baudrillard, death good, identity arguments, no fiat/fiat bad

if you plan to do anything from the latter category, please spend more time explaining your arguments because im not as smart as you!

The rest of this paradigm is mostly biases I've noticed about myself when I judge.

Tech > Truth - dropped arguments are true arguments insofar as they are explained sufficiently. Dropped arguments don't necessitate the ballot.

Condo - its good. Unless condo is dropped, not really worth going for if I'm judging you. Generally I err neg on theory - states cps, process cps, international fiat and pics/word pics are all okay with me. Private actor fiat, floating piks and multi-actor fiat are the exceptions where I err aff on theory.

judge kick - i won't kick the counterplan for you if you don't tell me to in the 2nr. if you tell me to kick it and/or read it conditionally i will. if you are aff and want me to not kick the counterplan, you should start that debate in the 1ar at the very least.

Offense/defense - I think you can mitigate the risk of something to the point where it is inconsequential in my decision.

Framework/Topicality - I generally think of fairness as an internal link not a terminal impact but could be persuaded otherwise.

tag teaming in cx - its annoying to me but you do you

k affs – you shouldn't pref me. i don't like and don't often vote for these types of affirmatives.

If you have any questions, feel free to ask before the round or email.

Kevin Kuswa Paradigm

4 rounds

Updated 2019. Coaching at Berkeley Prep in Tampa. Nothing massive has changed except I give slightly higher points across the board to match inflation. Keep in mind, I am still pleased to hear qualification debates and deep examples win rounds. I know you all work hard so I will too. Any argument preference or style is fine with me: good debate is good debate. Email: kevindkuswa at gmail dot com.

Updated 2017. Currently coaching for Berkeley Prep in Tampa. Been judging a lot on the China topic, enjoying it. Could emphasize just about everything in the comments below, but wanted to especially highlight my thirst for good evidence qualification debates...

_____________________________ (previous paradigm)

Summary: Quality over quantity, be specific, use examples, debate about evidence.

I think debate is an incredibly special and valuable activity despite being deeply flawed and even dangerous in some ways. If you are interested in more conversations about debate or a certain decision (you could also use this to add me to an email chain for the round if there is one), contact me at kevindkuswa at gmail dot com. It is a privilege to be judging you—I know it takes a lot of time, effort, and commitment to participate in debate. At a minimum you are here and devoting your weekend to the activity—you add in travel time, research, practice and all the other aspects of preparation and you really are expressing some dedication.

So, the first issue is filling out your preference sheets. I’m usually more preferred by the kritikal or non-traditional crowd, but I would encourage other teams to think about giving me a try. I work hard to be as fair as possible in every debate, I strive to vote on well-explained arguments as articulated in the round, and my ballots have been quite balanced in close rounds on indicative ideological issues. I’m not affiliated with a particular debate team right now and may be able to judge at the NDT, so give me a try early on and then go from there.

The second issue is at the tournament—you have me as a judge and are looking for some suggestions that might help in the round. In addition to a list of things I’m about to give you, it’s good that you are taking the time to read this statement. We are about to spend over an hour talking to and with each other—you might as well try to get some insight from a document that has been written for this purpose.

1. Have some energy, care about the debate. This goes without saying for most, but enthusiasm is contagious and we’ve all put in some work to get to the debate. Most of you will probably speak as fast as you possibly can and spend a majority of your time reading things from a computer screen (which is fine—that can be done efficiently and even beautifully), but it is also possible to make equally or more compelling arguments in other ways in a five or ten minute speech (

2. Examples win debates. Well-developed examples are necessary to make the abstract concrete, they show an understanding of the issues in the round, and they tend to control our understandings of how particular changes will play out. Good examples take many forms and might include all sorts of elements (paraphrasing, citing, narrating, quantifying, conditioning, countering, embedding, extending, etc.), but the best examples are easily applicable, supported by references and other experiences, and used to frame specific portions of the debate. I’m not sure this will be very helpful because it’s so broad, but at the very least you should be able to answer the question, “What are your examples?” For example, refer to Carville’s commencement speech to Tulane graduates in 2008…he offers the example of Abe Lincoln to make the point that “failure is the oxygen of success”

3. Argument comparison wins debate. Get in there and compare evidence—debate the non-highlighted portion of cards (or the cryptic nature of their highlighting). Debate the warrants and compare them in terms of application, rationale, depth, etc. The trinity of impact, plausibility, and verge analysis doesn’t hurt, especially if those variables are weighed against one another. It’s nice to hear good explanations that follow phrases like “Even if…,” “On balance…,” or “In the context of…” I know that evidence comparison is being done at an extremely high level, but I also fear that one of the effects of paperless debate might be a tilt toward competing speech documents that feature less direct evidence comparison. Prove me wrong.

4. Debates about the relative validity of sources win rounds. Where is the evidence on both sides coming from and why are those sources better or worse? Qualification debates can make a big difference, especially because these arguments are surprisingly rare. It’s also shocking that more evidence is not used to indict other sources and effectively remove an entire card (or even argument) from consideration. The more good qualification arguments you can make, the better. Until this kind of argument is more common, I am thirsty enough for source comparisons (in many ways, this is what debate is about—evidence comparison), that I’ll add a few decimal points when it happens. I do not know exactly where my points are relative to other judges, but I would say I am along a spectrum where 27.4 is pretty good but not far from average, 27.7 is good and really contributing to the debate, 28 is very good and above average, 28.5 is outstanding and belongs in elims, and 29.1 or above is excellent for that division—could contend for one of the best speeches at the tournament.

5. All debates can still be won in 2AR. For all the speakers, that’s a corollary of the “Be gritty” mantra. Persevere, take risks and defend your choices

( The ballot is not based on record at previous tournaments, gpa, school ranking, or number of coaches.

6. Do not be afraid to go for a little more than usual in the 2NR—it might even help you avoid being repetitive. It is certainly possible to be too greedy, leaving a bloated strategy that can’t stand up to a good 2AR, but I usually think this speech leaves too much on the table.

7. Beginning in the 1AR, brand new arguments should only be in reference to new arguments in the previous speech. Admittedly this is a fuzzy line and it is up to the teams to point out brand new arguments as well as the implications. The reason I’ve decided to include a point on this is because in some cases a 2AR has been so new that I have had to serve as the filter. That is rare and involves more than just a new example or a new paraphrasing (and more than a new response to a new argument in the 2NR).

8. Very good arguments can be made without evidence being introduced in card form, but I do like good cards that are as specific and warranted as possible. Use the evidence you do introduce and do as much direct quoting of key words and phrases to enhance your evidence comparison and the validity of your argument overall.

9. CX matters. This probably deserves its own philosophy, but it is worth repeating that CX is a very important time for exposing flaws in arguments, for setting yourself up for the rebuttals, for going over strengths and weaknesses in arguments, and for generating direct clash. I do not have numbers for this or a clear definition of what it means to “win CX,” but I get the sense that the team that “wins” the four questioning periods often wins the debate.

10. I lean toward “reciprocity” arguments over “punish them because…” arguments. This is a very loose observation and there are many exceptions, but my sympathies connect more to arguments about how certain theoretical moves made by your opponent open up more avenues for you (remember to spell out what those avenues look like and how they benefit you). If there are places to make arguments about how you have been disadvantaged or harmed by your opponent’s positions (and there certainly are), those discussions are most compelling when contextualized, linked to larger issues in the debate, and fully justified.

Overall, enjoy yourself—remember to learn things when you can and that competition is usually better as a means than as an ends.

And, finally, the third big issue is post-round. Usually I will not call for many cards—it will help your cause to point out which cards are most significant in the rebuttals (and explain why). I will try to provide a few suggestions for future rounds if there is enough time. Feel free to ask questions as well. In terms of a long-term request, I have two favors to ask. First, give back to the activity when you can. Judging high school debates and helping local programs is the way the community sustains itself and grows—every little bit helps. Whether you realize it or not, you are a very qualified judge for all the debate events at high school tournaments. Second, consider going into teaching. If you enjoy debate at all, then bringing some of the skills of advocacy, the passion of thinking hard about issues, or the ability to apply strategy to argumentation, might make teaching a great calling for you and for your future students ( note: debaters are definitely part of academia, but represent a group than can engage in Emdin’s terms). There are lots of good paths to pursue, but teaching is one where debaters excel and often find fulfilling. Best of luck along the ways.

Tim Lewis Paradigm

6 rounds

I am one of the Assistant Debate Coaches at Damien High School in La Verne, CA. I debated on the national circuit for Damien for four years (2009-2013). I graduated from Occidental College in Los Angeles with a BA in Critical Theory and Social Justice. I completed my Master's degree in Social Justice in Higher Education Administration at The University of La Verne. My academic work involves critical university studies, Georges Bataille, poetics, and post-colonialism.
I have judged 29 rounds on the Arms topic (2019-2020) so far (not including practice rounds without a decision rendered).
I judged around 25 debates on the Immigration topic (2018-2019) on the national circuit.
I judged around 50 rounds on the Education topic (2017-2018) on the national circuit.

Online Debating Preferences:
Each team gets 1 technology error flag. If your opponent's audio/video crashes, if something happens to your computer, if your partner's audio/video crashes, etc. Any other technology issues that might hinder you from completing your speeches are your responsibility. Signal me by either saying 'Tech Issue' or by waving your hands--using chat functions will be sufficient if we cannot rely on audio/visual.
a. The way that this will proceed is as follows: 1. Flag thrown 2.All prepping and debate round activity ceases 3. Speech act paused and tech issue communicated 4. Resolution pursued 5. Tech test with non-round content 6. Resume round
If I am having issues with audio/video, I will let you know via audio and/or chat text.

Technical Elements:
Please email ( me all of the speeches before you begin.
If you need an accommodation of any kind, please email me before the round starts.
I want everyone to feel safe and able to debate- this is my number one priority as a judge.
I don't run prep time while you email the speech doc. Put the whole speech into one speech doc.
I flow 1AC impact framing, inherency, and solvency straight down on the same page nowadays.
Speed is not an issue for me, but I will ask you to slow down if you are needlessly sacrificing clarity for quantity--especially if you are reading T or theory arguments.

I will not evaluate evidence identifiable as being produced by software, bots, algorithms etc. Human involvement in the card’s production must be evident unique to the team, individual, and card. This means that evidence you directly take from open source must be re-highlighted at a minimum. You should change the tags and underlining anyways to better fit with your argument’s coherency. Otherwise, I read all evidence as it is read throughout the debate. This can go well or badly for you, but only if you do not make the debate legible and winnable at the level of argument (which is the only reason I would have to defer to evidentiary details).

I privilege technical debating and the flow. I try to get as much down as I possibly can and the little that I miss usually is a result of a lack of clarity on the part of the speaker or because the actual causal chain of the idea does not make consistent sense for me (I usually express this on my face). Your technical skill should make me believe/be able to determine that your argument is the truth. That means warrants. Explain them, impact them, and don't make me fish for them in the un-underlined portion of the six paragraph card that your coach cut for you at a camp you weren't attending. I find myself more and more dissatisfied with debating that operates only on the link claim level. I tend to take a formal, academic approach to the evaluation of ideas so discussions of source, author intentions and 'true' meaning, and citation are both important to me and something that I hope to see in more debates.

The best debates for me to judge are ones where the last few rebuttals focus on giving me instructions on what the core controversies of the round are, how to evaluate them, and what mode of thinking I should apply to the flow as a history of the round. This means that I'm not going to do things unless you tell me to do them on the flow (judge kick, theory 'traps' etc.). When instructions are not provided or articulated, I will tend to use (what I consider to be) basic, causal logic (i.e. judicial notice) to find connections, contradictions, and gaps/absences. Sometimes this happens on my face--you should be paying attention to the physical impact of the content of your speech act.

I believe in the importance of topicality and theory. No affs are topical until proven otherwise.
Non-impacted theory arguments don't go a long way for me; establish a warranted theory argument that when dropped will make me pull the trigger. This is not an invitation for arbitrary and non-educational theory arguments being read in front of me, but if you are going to read no neg fiat (for example), then you better understand and be able to explain to me the history of the argument and why it is important for the debate and the community.

I believe that there is a case for in-round violence/damage winning the ballot. Folks need to be considerate of their behavior and language. You should be doing this all of the time anyways.

I find framework to be a boring/unhelpful/poorly debated style of argument on both sides. I want to hear about the ballot-- what is it, what is its role, and what are your warrants for it. I want to know what kind of individual you think the judge is (academic, analyst, intellectual etc.). I want to hear about the debate community and the round's relationship within it. These are the most salient questions in a framework debate for me. If you are conducting a performance in the round and/or debate space, you need to have specific, solvable, and demonstrable actions, results, and evidences of success. These are the questions we have to be thinking about in substantial and concrete terms if we are really thinking about them with any authenticity/honesty/care (sorge).

If you are going to go for Fairness, then you need a metric. Not just a caselist, not just a hypothetical ground dispensation, but a functional method to measure the idea of fairness in the round/outside the round i.e. why are the internal components (ground, caselist, etc.) a good representation of a team's burden and what do these components do for individuals/why does that matter. I am not sure what that metric/method is, but my job is not to create it for you. A framework debate that talks about competing theories for how fairness/education should be structured and analyzed will make me very happy i.e. engaging the warrants that constitute ideas of procedural fairness and critical education.

In-round Performance and Speaker Points:
An easy way to get better speaker points in front of me is by showing me that you actually understand how the debate is going, the arguments involved, and the path to victory. Every debater has their own style of doing this (humor, time allocation, etc.), but I will not compromise detailed, content-based analysis for the ballot.

CX ends when the timer rings. I will put my fingers in my ears if you do not understand this. I deeply dislike the trend of debaters asking questions about 'did you read X card etc.' in cross-x and I believe this contributes to the decline of flowing skills in debate. While I have not established a metric for how many speaker points an individual will lose each time they say that phrase, know that it is something on my mind. I will not allow questions outside of cross-x outside of core procedural things ('can you give the order again?,' 'everyone ready?' etc.). Asking 'did you read X card' or 'theoretical reasons to reject the team' outside of CX are NOT 'core procedural things.'

While I believe that high school students should not be held to a standard of intellectual purity with critical literature, I do expect you to know the body of scholarship that your K revolves around: For example, if you are reading a capitalism K, you should know who Marx, Engels, and Gramsci are; if you are reading a feminism k, you should know what school of feminism (second wave, psychoanalytic, WOC, etc.) your author belongs to. If you try and make things up about the historical aspects/philosophical links of your K, I will reflect my unhappiness in your speaker points and probably not give you much leeway on your link/alt analysis. I will often have a more in-depth discussion with you about the K after the round, so please understand that my post-round comments are designed to be educational and informative, instead of determining your quality/capability as a debater.

Do not read these types of arguments in front of me:
Arguments that directly call an individual's humanity into account
Arguments based in directly insulting your opponents
Arguments that you do not understand

Matthew McFadden Paradigm

3 rounds

matt mcfadden
ucla - 2020 - economics major - email chain - please put me on it

predispositions – if you accurately describe your evidence as phenomenal, i will reward you with extra speaks in proportion to how good your cards are. if you oversell your sub-par cards, i will be thoroughly disappointed. regardless of my biases, please just go for what you are prepared to execute and have the research on.

there are really only 2 things you need to take from this –

1 – do what you're good at
"i vote on dropped arguments that i don't believe" -ian beier

for ld – please spare me the kant.

things that bother me -

tag-team cx: fine for answering, not for asking.

prep: please have the 1nr emailed out before 2nc cross-ex is over. you can go get water for -.5 speaks or you can use prep to do it.

topicality – love it. please read a good amount of cards. if you've done the research to support a well-articulated t argument, i will be overjoyed to judge the debate. although i generally default to competing interpretations, after thinking about it, reasonability is compelling if the 2ar accurately articulates why the neg interpretation is unpredictable and overly burdensome for affirmatives, which outweighs 2nr offense – this is especially persuasive if you have aff-specific cards in relation to the topic literature or legal question of the resolution. negatives that 1 – do thorough impact calculus external to ‘they explode limits – limits are good’ and 2 – give overwhelmingly extensive lists of the absurd affs their interp justifies are crucial. limits is an internal link to the topic-specific expertise the resolutional question is designed to impart.

theory – can be tedious to resolve, but i'm intrigued. 1ar's do not extend this enough. 2ar's that do the impact comparison, turns case analysis, and offense/defense framing on theory as if it were a da are very enjoyable. if theory arguments aren't well-articulated and are overly blippy, i am fine with simply dismissing them.

must disclose judge prefs theory – no, thank you. i am not sympathetic.

kritiks – the most intricate debates or the most mediocre debates – i mean this sincerely. if you are good at making a real argument, yes please. specific link work with intricate turns case analysis and examples relating to the aff win debates. reading a new phenomenal critical theory card will make my day - ie if you have done the research to support your argument, let's go. the more generic your k is, the less inclined i am to vote for you. if you are a team that goes for the k like a disad (techy, line-by-line, interacts with the case) i'll be happy to judge the debate; the inverse is true as well.

cp – wonderful.

counterplans with long texts – my favorite.

pics – they're the best. HOWEVER – they should be substantively different than the aff and have a solvency advocate.

process cp's – you're probably cheating.

states cp – teams overestimate the impact of their solvency deficits and underestimate the efficacy of theory as an answer. aff – please go for theory.

da – yes, please.

well-researched link evidence works wonders. taking a minute of the 2nr to detail turns case analysis puts you in a great position.

if you don't have a da, you don't have a da. 1% risk calculus won't make your link for you.

impact turn – please go for these if your evidence is recent and of high quality. this means not spark. doing thorough comparison between the data and qualifications of your cards versus theirs is how these debates are won.
"people should impact turn.... everything" -ian beier

neg v. k affs – if you're neg and don't win these debates, you're the exception. these are the hardest 2nr's, so i'm willing to grant some leeway.

presumption – make this argument.

framework – yes. compare your impacts at the internal link level and do intricate turns case analysis. i enjoy institutional engagement arguments vs identity affs and truth testing/fairness against more abstract affs.

the k – though i think it is an admirable strategy, unless you have hyper-specific evidence about the aff or its mechanism, you are highly susceptible to the perm.

k affs – good luck.

aff v. the k – you have an aff; that's all you have to defend.

affs lose to the k when they don't answer offense that is embedded in link arguments, lose the framework debate, letting them get away with broad and absurd generalizations, and going for too much.

execution – evidence quality doesn't replace the necessity of good debating. but i really do love good evidence.

zero risk – it’s not possible strictly in the sense of ‘zero risk’, because there is inherently a possibility of all events but it is possible to diminish the risk of an advantage or da to such a degree that it is not sufficiently significant to overcome from the noise of the status quo. i think the new fettweis card is pretty devastating impact defense. lots of neg da's are utterly ridiculous.

cx – if their cards are awful, or their da is incoherent, pointing it out is fun. being strategic in the rhetorical method you use to get the other team to say what you want, then referencing their answers in speeches to warrant arguments is persuasive and gets you additional speaks if what they said is truly applicable.

"be snarky if you want" -grace kuang

judges/people i admire - dheidt, tallungan, khirn, tyler peltekci, dan bannister, grace kuang, spurlock, matt munday, tucker carlson, forslund, scott brown.

bad args – 'racism/sexism good' args are obviously non-starters. i won't immediately dismiss 'death good' but if this is really the position you're in, you have more immediate problems than my judging preferences.

Bennett McGraw Paradigm

6 rounds

Ben McGraw (they/them/he/him/his)


Juan Diego (UT) (2015-2017) 2A [soft left/k aff and k neg]

Rowland Hall (UT) (2017-2019) 2A/2N [soft left/big stick aff and flex neg]

University of Michigan (MI) (2019-) 2A [k/big stick aff and flex neg]

top level/tldr/prefs version:

my job is to listen, determine a winner and loser, speaker points, and give a reason for decision and pertinent comments. i strive to not distract myself during the round. i am solely a mediator of the round. my ballot does nothing more than what is outlined in the first sentence of this paragraph.

despite that formality, i am judging because i enjoy debate and want to have fun. just make the round fun without using the other team as cannon fodder and it will all end well. cannon fodder includes making fun of someone for being carried and forcing them to answer their own cx questions. tag team is fine, you being rude isn’t.

your debating quality overrides anything on this---i have no hard stances on any arguments. this paradigm is long because I am frustrated constantly by overly short paradigms that do not accurately pronounce personal biases. I have preferences on how things could be done, but by no means are those locked in. debaters should frame my ballot in the final rebuttals or you risk me intervening based on evidence/my own version of “truth”, which will not go your way.

tech over truth but truth determines tech. arguments require warrants to be legitimate, and those warrants need to be logical. if those warrants go dropped, they have a lower threshold of explanation needed to win them. that still means that those warrants need to be extended/explained. no argument is bad if it is warranted, including most theory args.

prefs version of k aff v. t/fw: will vote on t, will vote against it. affs win when debates are deep and technical, affs lose when debates are broad and overview-heavy. not good for “survival strategies”.

you do you but a debate between well-prepared opponents outweighs tricky, cheaty args.

ev quality outweighs ev quantity---i feel like this is a no brainer but 1 good card outweighs 10 bad ones, "outcarding" them is not the way to win my ballot.

don't say problematic things---also a no brainer but you can't impact turn everything

framing/framework controls the debate---win that and you probably win

pre-round/long version:

email chain---get me on (pocketbox is not an email chain)

PLEASE label chains with at LEAST the round, tournament, aff team vs. neg team in some easily readable format. if you are stuck, I use [Tournament Name Round Name] - Aff Team Code (Aff) v. Neg Team Code (Neg). an example: TOC r4 - Rowland Hall BM (Aff) v. Juan Diego BM (Neg). if you did not do this, both aff teams speaker points are at risk and i know you didn't read this.

k affs/must you defend a hypothetical governmental action:

top level: you should make an attempt to engage the aff even if you know you are going for t usfg. this does not mean I am a hack on either side, fw rounds in high school tend to be much more tech-based, which means its a round by round type of thing. i tend to vote negative when that team gets off of prewritten blocks, does line by line, and engages the arguments in the 2AC/1AR. i tend to vote affirmative when that team gets off of prewritten blocks, does line by line, and engages the arguments in the 1NC/Block. see a pattern?

aff teams who depend on debate as a "safe space" or attempt to paint any sort of engagement with the aff as an impact turn to framework frustrate me immensely. While I am glad debate is a space for you to form your subjectivity, that is not a reason why you should necessarily win a debate. This does NOT preclude things like music, dancing, performance etc---those should just be contestable on a substance level (i.e. outside of "pic out of music/performance/etc.)

if your plan is to go for one off t usfg, impact why the topic (not just the usfg) is good engagement AND make inroads to the case page, even if it is generic dml cards.

proliferating framework impacts makes a bad debate for the negative---you should condense to one or two impacts by the block and one in the 2NR.

I also think that people should debate T, well, like T. limits, ground, precision are all good internal links and are ways to pique my interest and make the round more interactive. I see T as a claim about what words mean in the topic, which means topic-specific interpretation cards against the aff are a must.

I think that affs should have a model of debate to access their offense, with impact turns as net benefits to your model of debate. Alternatively, I am game for a good we meet debate. see the T proper section.

When going for T, fairness is the impact I prefer (I'm game for a good topic specific clash or deliberation debate, but skills and jurisdiction are not persuasive to me at all.)---i'm going to enter in DHeidt's paradigm on this issue right here, it's great.

"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" (Heidt 2018).

aff teams, don’t think the dheidt paradigm insert means i’m a procedural fairness hack, because honestly as long as you can prove why the impact turns are resolved by the ballot, i’m probably aff leaning on that portion of the debate. despite this, most 2ar explanations never really get here in most high school debates.

lastly, "why did you flip neg" is not a good cross ex question. everyone knows why they flipped neg.

the k/baudrillard more like nodrillard:

I read identity ks and generic ks throughout high school and have read mostly foucault/cybernetics/kroker garbage in college so far. please explain what any jargon means. referring to args as "mich km" is bad for whichever team says it first.

examples on the k are important, and counterexamples on the aff. however, if you depend on argument by analogy to explain your theory of power, then I’m likely to not know what you are talking about.

i am growing tired of improperly structured, terrible “affs v. ks” in high school debates. either construct and utilize the 1ac better or read your aff v policy. likewise, “why did you change affs for us” is a terrible 1ac cross ex question.

if you read identity arguments outside your social location, they cannot contain broad claims about how people w/in that social location think/should act. however, that just lowers the bar for the opponents to make me skeptical of the k’s theory of power.

rejection alts about the 1ac need specific things to reject besides just the aff or it's just a non-uq DA and those usually lose the uniqueness debate.

in k v. k debates i lean that the aff doesn't get a perm if the theories are intrinsically tied. most scholarship (like gordon v. warren) agree on 90% or more of things but disagree on around 5% that just happens to get written about, and therefore affs usually can just blur that 5% with a perm. i lean this way because it incentivizes teams to go for not T in rounds. debating quality obviously overrides this.

indicts of baudrillard: yes your baudrillard. info dissuasive v. charity cannibalism: not your baudrillard.

t proper/the best argument in debate:

untopical affs should probably lose. This is my favorite 2NR and 2AR to give. a good t debate is the best debate I could watch. pearson defines two terms of art that are not in the resolution and also commas exist. stop reading it unless its for cp competition.

you aren't forced to go for offense in the 2AR to win my ballot on T. if you win a truth level we meet then go for that. However, this means that T is separated in my eyes for the aff:

side 1: we meet/defensive route. this is a yes-no question (with a small grey area) that is whether or not the aff meets the interpretation. ideally, this would include some sort of evidence. it does not have to. nuanced explanation in the 2AR about the intricacies of the affirmative can persuade me more than a bad piece of evidence. evidence plus nuanced explanation that meets a certain level of truth means the aff probably wins.

side 2: weighing offense. this means you must go for an interpretation, and probably reasonability. for the aff, this means either precision offense or other standards like overlimiting. please stop going for offense without an interpretation. this includes k affs.

Limits=Precision>Ground (if there are creative and new t standards, read them and explain them and speaks will be rewarded)

Competing Interpretations vs. Reasonability: I'm neutral, but it you think reasonability is solely "good is good enough" (that includes in the 2AC) then I probably vote neg.

theory/can we go for condo:

i believe that theory can be a substantive strategy and doesn't necessarily require the aff/neg to prove in round abuse. a good, developed theory debate is quite enjoyable to me and will never result in lowered speaks. all counterplans are legitimate until proven otherwise, but the threshold for their legitimacy is dependent on the counterplan. i feel that 2ARs should have more counterplan theory in them, especially for counterplans that are obviously pushing the limits of neg fiat. if they say reject the arg not the team, punish them. smart cross applications are often predictable to some extent, bad cross applications are not.

dropped theory: definitely a voter, but the amount of trickery determines how sad I will be. if you put aspec on the bottom of the T flow, had it in the doc, etc. then it's definitely not your problem that they dropped it; however, if it's egregious, then i will be very sad, and perhaps glare/look dead inside. however, it's still a voter, so don't let my deadness deter you, i would still enjoy an easy way to vote. (CAVEAT: if you are reading condo/other theory in a logical place and have it memorized [i.e. looking up at me during it] then the impetus is on the opponent to answer it and +.1 speaks.) if you are worried about this, i am generally for the question "reasons to reject the team?" as a 1NC/2AC cx question, because even if you do flow it's easy to miss blips.

judge kick: i'll do it unless the aff tells me not to; if the aff brings it up, ill default neg if it was in the block and has a warranted claim. "we said condo/cross apply condo" is not a warranted claim.

condo is about type, not number. 1, 2, 3, 4, 17, 26 condo are all the same. if they say dispo, punish them.


zero risk is possible, but rare---just explain why in the context of the round if you think you get there

you need an internal link---a reverse causal one---not a problem if it isn't pointed out, but minimal work from the aff needs to happen here if its unreasonable


i'll evaluate any cp with an internal net benefit as a uniqueness cp with the net benefit as a disad if they win a terminal solvency deficit and you don’t win judge kick.

i have noticed a trend in high school/college debate where debaters are afraid to go for solely a DA and case without a counterplan even when the counterplan only hurts the negative. i don't know what this means, but perceptually a poorly extended counterplan most likely implicates my bias to judge kick it for the neg.

case framing:

six minute long framing pages that don’t make it past the 1ac make me sad. use your cards and stop reading blocks on framing. despite almost exclusively reading soft left affs with big framing pages in high school these debates are becoming increasingly frustrating for me to see as legit, especially on a topic where they are not needed (like arms sales).

bottom level/floor:

no inserting rehighlightings, but charts are ok

doc sending---send analytics in constructives, it shows respect for your opponents. i won't be flowing off the doc.

swearing is fine---yes it is an educational activity but i genuinely couldn't care less. slurs =/= swearing.

if you need accommodations, let me know (details not required). however, any accommodation applies to you as well. for example: don't ask them not to spread and then go 400 wpm. otherwise, i’m open to whatever makes the round more enjoyable, accessible and fun for all. coaches should not interfere in the process of accommodations in debates in any way for a competitive incentive.

presumption is whoever changes the least

please disclose properly.

good open source gets you +.2 speaks, ill look.

if you want me to know something that happened before i got there, have proof of it (recordings w/ permission in necessary areas)

give me time between off, or i might miss the top 3 args you make (usually the maybe read? if i don't flow it i don't vote on it). this also means i flow on paper. i might need paper. preferably legal size.

visibly writing down answers to cx and using them in speeches is a power move, speaks will be rewarded.

prep ends when you finish making the speech doc, but that doesn't mean you can steal 45 minutes of prep by saying your wifi isn't working or that your "email is slow" while still typing/using ~. i have stolen prep before, i know how it works

i enjoy talking to people i am about to judge insofar that it isn't kissing up in some attempt to get higher speaks/the ballot. feel free to ask me about debating in michigan, debating in college, or anything that a normal human would talk about before screaming at each other for 2 hours.

speaker points: i give high points even compared to current point inflation. competitive varsity debates should expect mid-high 28s to mid 29s with me in the back. older ppl, sorry not sorry. earn EVEN MORE speaks by making fun of anyone on the michigan team, anyone on the rowland hall team, or tony johnson. if you know me, make fun of me, if you don't, don't. i enjoy self-awareness, especially if you have the knowledge to point out my personal biases.

decision process:

i will ask myself questions that are integral to the debate, answer those questions, and decide based on the resolution of those questions. read this post from the 3nr for more info:

i will type out my rfd and i will most likely take a while, regardless of how close the round is. this is to ensure i weigh arguments correctly. apologies in advance.


Heidt, David. "David Heidt Paradigm" Tabroom, 2018.

Brad Meloche Paradigm

3 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")

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: (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

Krishna Menon Paradigm

5 rounds

my email is

add me to the email chain if I'm about to judge your round.

TLDR: Say whatever you want to say- if you are passionate and enthusiastic about your argumentation, I am more inclined to be an enthusiastic and active Judge. I have little to say about argumentative preference besides the fact that I am probably not the person to have in the back of a room for a policy-policy T debate given that I have little topic knowledge, and I also hate unresponsive theory debates.

I am here first and foremost to listen to the things you have woken up early in the morning to come tell me about. Do not be afraid to talk to me during your speeches, do not be afraid to tell me which way to vote and why to do it, and do not be afraid of the LBL!

Tech over truth always unless a substantive argument is made by either side as for why debate techné should be reconsidered.

People that have influenced the way I think abt competition and debate: Kevin Kuswa, Dr. Reid-Brinkley, Daryl Burch, Amber Kelsie, Taylor Brough, Ignacio Evans, Jack Lassiter, and Nick Lepp.

Do not call me judge, or ask me to go to the bathroom/start prep/etc. !!!

About me: I debated for Berkeley Preparatory School and as a hybrid team in HS. I had 5 bids my senior year, and 2 my junior year. My senior year, I went to 6 tournaments and got to finals of 4, and got to a bid round and a top 10 speaker award at all 6.

I debated on the 2018-2019 college topic (executive authority) at Wake Forest, cleared at a couple national tournaments and got to Octafinals of CEDA before transferring to Columbia and choosing to no longer pursue collegiate debate.

In both high school and college I was primarily a performance and K debater, but this by no means indicates I lean towards a particular side of the argumentative spectrum- if anything, it means I have a higher burden for both sides in clash of civ debates given that I have been on both sides of that debate several times. I have also read plans, extended disads, gone for Framework, etc.

Things I appreciate regardless of what side of the spectrum you fall on:

- comparative impact calc- do not explain your impacts in a vacuum, explain them in the context of the impacts your opponents are going for! Which impact and TYPE of impacts should I prioritize more?

- I LOVE impact turns. These are some of my fave debates to judge.

- creative strategies and passion

FW debates:

for the love of god, please have external impacts to your model and describe the limits and ground provided by the model of debate you are forwarding.

This means: negative teams going for framework, please isolate why your model of debate is GOOD and what it provides for the community, not just arguments as for why they make your model of debate worse/unplayable.

Aff teams- don't just talk about why their model is bad/harmful- please talk about the minutia of your own model- what can the aff say under your model? what is predictable ground the neg can say in response? Why is this model of debate preferable to theirs?

Aff against the K:

if you have a plan-

- if you say extinction and are good at the util debate, by all means, go for it.

- please defend your aff and why it's a good idea instead of relying on arbitrary FW arguments. I am v inclined to give the neg the K and the aff their aff unless an argument as for why either should be excluded is repeatedly extended and dropped.

- if you're going for the perm, please answer the LBL from the negative team as for why you get the perm instead of making a series of compelling, common-sense perm arguments in the 2AR that should've been in the 1ar.

if you don't-

- big fan of either the link turn or the perm in K v K debates.

- please have a theory of competition!!! that makes these debates so much easier to resolve from my end.

- please do impact calculus- it is unbelievably frustrating to have to determine on my own which nebulous impact matters more or impacts solvency- tell me what to evaluate first and why I should evaluate it first.

Going for the K:

- the primary theory bases I read during my career: afropessimism, queer pessimism, quare theory, anything involving gender, and psychoanalysis- if you are reading anything outside of these literature bases, please be comfortable giving me a greater degree of explanation instead of dropping buzzwords.

- do not be afraid to be creative- a creative, well-thought-out, and well-executed strategy is always more interesting to listen to early in the morning.

- if you're kicking out of the alt, please explain why your link arguments still have uniqueness, especially in a world where your alternative was the only thing generating uniqueness for the K as a whole.

- much better for alts that question/change epistemology in the round or result in some form of praxis than a nebulous alt that never claims to resolve any of the impacts of the Kritik.

- sucker for external impacts and links that turn case.

- answer fairness and reciprocity arguments on the framework flow please


- If an argument is consistently extended and dropped as to why one team should get higher/lower speaks I will usually adjust speaks accordingly (assuming I feel comfortable w/ and understand the argument as for why that should be)

To get higher speaks in front of me:

- know what you're talking about

- package your arguments in a way that is both easy to flow and understand (this includes both short blippy theory args and 5 minute K overviews)

- make smart strategic decisions about what is going into your speeches and what you spend your time on

- drop relevant examples and explain/extend them consistently!

- make eye contact/be an engaging speaker that *pretends* to care what they're talking about

Joshua Michael Paradigm

4 rounds

Updated 2/13/2020

Debated for UWG ’15 – ’17; Coaching Notre Dame – ’19 – Present; Baylor – ’17 – ’19



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.

Kristi Morioka Paradigm

6 rounds

I am an old school policy debater.  The kind that used tape, scissors and highlighters to cut evidence.  I debated for Jeff Jarman at Wichita State University, went to the NDT twice and broke at CEDA Nationals at some point.  I debated with Jeremy Hathaway who I met at the World Debate Institute at the University of Vermont, debate nerds.  I coached at Chico State for two years when I was in grad school.  I am from Sacramento, California and debated in high school for 4 years for Kennedy High School.  I am currently a healthcare attorney and I have a daughter who is debating for West Campus High School, Hi Abby!

I don't judge a ton of debates every year.  I think I am a decent judge because I try really hard.  I was a 1A and 2N.  I expect a clean flow and lots of sign posting.  I dont like prep time stealing, be considerate of when you are prepping.  I am probably started running your clock already.  I flow on paper with two different colored pens, I am that old.  I try to keep up with what you are saying when you speak fast, thats fine with me.  I will tell you when to slow down or if I cant understand you, but I am not your mom, you need to listen and adapt.  I will make faces and give you some signs that I understand or I am listening or I have no idea where you are on the flow.  When I put my hands up like, where are you, i really mean, where are you, and at some point i will just start flowing on a new piece of paper, so i have your arguments, but that means that they are not getting applied correctly, and that is your fault, so if you dont like the decision that is your bad.

I like impact calculations.  I like topicality.  I like rules, I try and follow them in life and i think you should too.  I am one of the most liberal people you will ever meet, although I dont think you would ever know it.  I dont let that interfere with my judging but c'mon how can that not play into your decision calculus, its like saying that we are all colorblind, ridiculous.  I call it like i see it.  I dont understand framework arguments, but I am open to hearing them, if you tell me what to do with my ballot, I will do it.  I will entertain arguments that my ballot means something outside of the round, but honestly after seeing thousands of debates I understand that it is the totality of the experience and not the individual round that really matters.  I will never say that I wont listen to an argument, I will listen to anything that you have to share and you have researched.  And I will vote for things that I dont agree with because that is how the game is played.

I have been participating in debate for over 25 years and that gives me some perspective.  I love this activity, I love what it teaches and the hope that it inspires.  I have met my best friends in this activity and people who i think have changed the world for the better.  I believe in the goodness of people within this activity and I hope that you do to.  Treat each other kindly and dont be a jerk.  Life is a series of awkward moments strung together by eating and sleeping, embrace it, admit when you are wrong, and figure out how to get yourself out a jam in a debate round, you cant win everything, pick and choose what you can win and have the tenacity to go for it.  Good luck and dont be afraid to ask me any questions.  

Matt Munday Paradigm

3 rounds

Please add me to the email chain:

I am not the kind of judge who will read every card at the end of the debate. Claims that are highly contested, evidence that is flagged, or other important considerations will of course get my attention. Debaters should do the debating. Quality evidence is also important. If the opposing team's cards are garbage, it is your responsibility to let that be known. Before reading my preferences about certain arguments, keep in mind that it is in your best interest to do what you do best. My thoughts on arguments are general predispositions and not necessarily absolute.

T – Topicality is important. The affirmative should have a relationship to the topic. How one goes about defending the topic is somewhat open to interpretation. However, my predisposition still leans towards the thought that engaging the topic is a good and productive end. I tend to think implementation of the plan must be defended, but there is a debate to be had. I am most persuaded by topicality debates that focus on questions of limits. Competing interpretations typically makes more sense to me than reasonability.

Disads/Case Debate – Among my favorite debates to judge. Clash is built in and evidence comparison occurs naturally. Offense is important, but it seems like defense is often undervalued. I am willing to assign 0% risk to something if a sufficient defensive argument is made.

Counterplans – I lean neg on conditionality and PICs. Functional competition seems more relevant than textual competition. If the affirmative is asked about the specific agent of their plan, they should answer the question. Actual solvency advocates are important.

Kritiks – While I am not very deep on the literature base, I do think these are strategic arguments. I expect the negative to explain the impact of their argument beyond nebulous claims. It seems like the aff generally outweighs. However, good K debates usually control the key framing questions that make those concerns irrelevant. I tend to think of the alternative like a uniqueness counterplan. It benefits the aff to have clever perms as well as offense against the alt.

Theory – A quality theory argument should have a developed warrant/impact. “Reject the argument, not the team” resolves most theory arguments except for conditionality. It benefits both teams to slow down slightly when engaging in the theory debate. Making sure I am able to sufficiently flow the substance of these debates is important.

Speaker Points

Scale - Adjective - Description

29.6-30 - The Best - Everything you could ask for as a judge and more.

29-29.5 - Very, Very good - Did everything you could expect as a judge very, very well.

28.6-28.9 - Very Good - Did very well as a whole, couple moments of brilliance, but not brilliant throughout.

28.3-28.5 - Good - Better than average. Did most things well. Couple moments of brilliance combined with errors.

28-28.2 - OK - Basic skills, abilities, and expectations met. But, some errors along the way. Very little to separate themselves from others. Clearly prepared, just not clearly ahead of others.

27.5-27.9 - OK, but major errors - Tried hard, but lack some basic skills or didn’t pay close enough attention

27-27.4 - Needs Improvement – major errors/lacked effort - Major errors committed, effort questionable

Below 27 - Bad, and I intend for you to take it that way - Disrespected one’s opponent, the judge, or otherwise

Connor Munsinger Paradigm

6 rounds

Put me on the email chain:


-1st year judging

-Coaching at UNLV

-Debated at Michigan State

Judging defaults / Top-level notes

-Tech > truth when it’s dropped, tech ≈ truth when it’s messy, truth > tech when it’s really close.

-An argument that is conceded is 100% true. This makes me good for try-or-die when it’s relevant.

-An argument that is not conceded is almost certainly > 0%. This makes me bad for presumption in most cases.

-I’m open to alternative models of risk framing, but this is the default that I adopt when not guided by the debate.

-I will judge kick conditional counterplans and evaluate the squo unless the aff objects before the 2ar.

-Anything not specified in the plan is open to interpretation by either side.

-I will decide a debate on clipping if I’m sure that it’s happening, regardless of whether this is an issue in the debate.

-I won't decide a debate on events that happened outside of the round.


-Your evidence needs to pass a basic litmus test of credibility in order to be relevant. If your evidence obviously doesn’t make the argument that you have presented or is from a wildly unqualified source, I’m willing to dismiss it entirely.

-I try to strike a balance between rewarding well-researched positions and rewarding nuanced debate on an issue. The way that I try to implement this in my decisions is to read evidence through the lens in which it was debated. This means that a team that is significantly ahead on explaining/framing/tech will still win with bad evidence. Still, evidence quality on contested issues matters a lot in most close debates I judge.

-I tend to follow along with speech docs and read a lot of evidence after the debate, both for my own understanding and for resolving arguments.

-I will not evaluate unexplained rehighlightings. If you want it to matter for my decision, read it in the debate or verbally explain the argument that you are trying to make.

T vs planless / Framework

-I will try to judge these debates objectively, but I have certain default views about debate that make negative arguments for topicality persuasive to me.

-I tend to think about debate as a game. I can be persuaded otherwise, but to convince me to adopt an alternative model of debate requires an explanation of what aff/neg engagement and argumentation looks like in that model, not merely a critique of status quo debate.

-T impacts based on fairness are more persuasive to me than impacts about portable skills or education.

T vs plans

-I like these debates.

-Some teams are really pushing the limit on this topic.

-I default to competing interpretations. Reasonability makes some sense to me in certain situations, but I generally feel like aff teams should be able to defend their vision of the resolution.


-I tend to think conditionality is good

-If the aff is new and undisclosed, anything is fair game.

-Arg not team for anything except conditionality.


-I tend to be good for the aff on alts. If I don’t understand what meaningful action the alt takes to resolve the K’s links/impacts or the aff’s advantages, I’m likely to vote aff in the absence of an argument about why alt solvency doesn’t matter.

-It’s generally pretty hard to convince me that the debate shouldn’t focus on whether the hypothetical implementation of the plan is a good idea.

-I'm much more familiar with policy stuff, so err on the side of over-explaining terminology and concepts.


-Generally very good for the neg on theory and pretty good for the aff on competition. Evidence specific to the aff helps a lot with both of these.

-I generally like when teams make intuitive CPs based off of arguments in 1AC/2AC evidence and don’t feel like a solvency advocate or additional evidence is necessary for this strategy to be legitimate.

-Links to the net benefit is a sliding scale. If the CP links less than the aff enough for it to matter, the neg has offense.

-2NC CPs out of straight turns feel gross and lazy to me.


-Contrived, silly DAs are sometimes necessary but are still contrived and silly. Aff teams frequently do a poor job of reducing the risk of these DAs with smart analytics.

-I generally feel like the link matters more than uniqueness.

-Likelihood of your DA probably matters more than how much it turns the case.

Michael Obuchi Paradigm

6 rounds

UC Berkeley 2018

East Kentwood Highschool 2016

PF TOC 2019:

Threshold for theory is high, I'll vote on it if the abuse is egregious. Default to competing interps, no RVI, drop the arg (unless justified otherwise)

Speed is fine

I will call for evidence after the round has ended either when I have to intervene on evidence (which I hate doing by the way) or when there's a significant dispute throughout the round / asked explicitly in a speech to do so. If there is legitimate abuse of evidence, you're getting dropped and losing speaker points regardless of how hard you won. Don't make me do this.

Short Version:

I like:

warrants, line by line, effort, humor, examples, historicity, praxis, you telling me how to vote and why

I don't like:

Rudeness or over hostility

I do not have:

reservations about voting for any argument

the ability to adjudicate any disputes about what goes on outside of the debate

I don't want:

you to change anything about what you do just because you think it will appeal to my tastes. You do you

I will hold the line on:

speech times, evidence quality, clipping and cheating of any kind

As far as arguments go

Topicality- I'm for it. Compare how your interp affects aff/neg ground vs theirs. Compelling impact stories are awesome

DA's- I'm a sucker for flushed out turns case analysis and impact comparison

Case debating- please do

Counterplans- "Why debate the aff when you can steal it"- Miles Gray. I draw great inspiration from this line of thinking

K- near and dear to my heart. As such, I hold a high threshold for compelling link/impact analysis and will be displeased at shallow explanation of theory. I appreciate an Alt that is contextualized to the aff grounded in examples/history. If you're going to make a big fw push (which I highly recommend), develop robust arguments about how we should understand/utilize debate and how I should relate to your arguments

FW- Love these debates. I prefer external impacts to debate is a game but will vote on procedural fairness if you win its the only thing I can/should be concerned about. As with disads, sucker for compelling turns case analysis. Fw is not genocide unless this argument is dropped.

Theory-No strong feelings either way

Lily Ottinger Paradigm

6 rounds

Email chain:

Aaron Thomas Note: As of writing this I have judged 40 debates on the arms sales topic.


  • 4 years of high school policy debate at Shawnee Mission Northwest (2013-2017, Latin America, Oceans, Surveillance, China)
  • Current policy debater at the University of Kansas (2017-present, Healthcare, Executive Authority, Space)


  • Preemptive apology for smiling in cross-x. It's just really weird to be stared at.
  • Do not make me judge death/suffering/extinction good arguments. Do not ask me to vote based on something that happened outside the debate.
  • I will give you a 29 if you show me that you’re smart. I might give you a 30 if I think you're the best debater at the tournament.


  • I've been on both sides. I'm more likely to vote aff on impact turns than most policy judges, but I do see a lot of value in the preservation of competition. Procedural fairness is sometimes an impact but affs are usually on the side of truth. Clash is a better impact than fairness imo.
  • TVAs don't have to solve the whole aff. TVAs with solvency advocates are lit.


  • Speaker point boost if your 2NC has a grammar argument.
  • If you're aff and going for reasonability, "race to the bottom" isn't super compelling. Make arguments about debatability instead, and explain in the context of the violation.
  • Case lists are good.
  • The presence of other negative positions is not defense to a ground argument. The aff being disclosed is not defense to a limits argument.

Counterplans- I like them

  • When people refer to counterplans by saying the letters "CP" out loud it makes me wish I were dead.
  • Counterplan theory is really cool and I like judging it.
  • As a human I think counterplans that advocate immediate, indefinite, non-plan action by the USFG is legit, but as a judge I'm chaotic neutral on all theory questions if there's an argument made about it.


  • Much like my comment about counterplans, please don't refer to these by saying the letters "DA."
  • I like politics disads a lot. This isn't ideological- I just think they're fun. Speaker point boost if you make arguments about the math behind polls


  • Explain how the alt solves the links and why the perm doesn't.
  • Affs should explain why "moots 1AC" is a bad model. Negs should explain why the links justify mooting the aff.
  • Case outweighs 2ARs are very persuasive. The neg can beat this with discrete impacts to specific links+impact framing.
  • Speaker point penalty if the 1AR drops fiat is illusory.


  • If there is no net benefit to a counterplan, presumption flips aff. This is a community standard. If you want the debate evaluated differently, make an argument about why.
  • I do not think permutations are cheating.
  • An argument is a claim and a warrant. If you say something that does not contain a warrant, I will not necessarily vote on it even if it's dropped (due to discrepancy between aff and neg speech times). In the interest of preventing judge intervention, please say things that have warrants.
  • Most neg theory arguments I've watched would go away instantly if affs said "counter interpretation: we have to be topical."
  • RVIs do not make sense. Topicality is never a reason to vote affirmative. The fact that a counterplan is conditional is never offense for the negative.

Sonny Patel Paradigm

4 rounds

Updated: 8/31 Niles Township Invitational

- i view the speech act as an act and an art. debate is foremost a communicative activity. i want to be compelled.
- i go back and forth on t/fw vs kritik/performance affs, which is supported by my voting record.
- i'm open to voting on nearly anything you put in front of me. details below.
- academic creativity & originality will be rewarded
- clarity matters. i flow by ear, including your cards' warrants and cites
- tag team cx is okay as long as its not dominating
- don't vape in my round, it makes me feel like an enabler

i've been in 2 camp rounds + a handful of practice debates on the arms sales resolution and will have >50 rounds by the end of the season. i've assisted with coaching debate on the north shore for several years. i am currently the head coach for u chicago lab school. former policy debater at maine east (north shore, wayne tang gharana) with some college debating at iowa. i identify as subaltern, prefer he/they pronouns. my academic background is medicine. this means i haven't spent my summers deeply reading into the topic aside camp files. it also means you may be counseled on tobacco cessation.

how to win my ballot:
*entertain me.* connect with me. teach me something. be creative. its impossible for me to be completely objective, but i try to be fair in the way i adjudicate the round.

as tim 'the man' alderete said, "all judges lie." with that in mind...
i get bored- which is why i reward creativity in research and argumentation by being more forgiving in articulation. if you cut something clever, you want me in the back of your room. i appreciate the speech as an act and an art. i prefer debates with good clash than 2 disparate topics. while i personally believe in debate pedagogy, i'll let you convince me it's elitist, marginalizing, broken, or racist. i wish i could adhere to a paradigmatic mantra like 'tech over truth.' but i've noticed that i lean towards truth in debates where both teams are reading lit from same branch of theory. my speaker point range is 27-30, above 28.1 being what i think is 'satisfactory' for your division. do not abuse the 2nr. kindly put me on the email chain, even if im just observing:

i think debaters should be able to defend why their departure from (Classic mode) Policy is preferable. however i don't enter the round believing plan texts are necessary for a topical discussion. i enjoy being swayed one way or the other debate to debate on k aff vs t/fw. overall, its an interesting direction students have taken Policy. i used to be a HUGE t & spec hack. nowadays, the they tend to get messy. so some flow organization is much appreciated: number your args, sign post through the line-by-line, slow down to give me a little pen time. i do not enter the round with an assumption of the necessity of plan texts. argument of T through analogy, metaphor, exclusion/inclusion is just as valid as a discussion of voters; i tend to vote on analysis with specificity and/or(?) creativity.

kritiks, etc.
i enjoy performance, original poetry, rap, singing, moments of sovereignty, etc. i find most "high theory" and critical identity politics literature & debates enjoyable. i dont mind how you choose to organize k speeches/overviews so long as there is some way you organize thoughts on my flow. 'long k overviews' can be (though rarely are) beautiful. i appreciate a developed analysis (more specific the better, analogies help a lot). i default to empiricism/historical analysis as competitive warranting unless you frame the debate otherwise. i understand that the time constraint of debate can prevent debaters from fully unpacking a kritik. if i am unfamiliar with the argument you are making, i will prioritize your explanation. i may also read your evidence and google-educate myself. this is a good thing and a bad thing, and i think its important you know that asterisk.

theory and ethics challenges
i have no way to fairly judge arguments that implicate your opponent's behavior before the round, unless i've witnessed it myself or you are able to provide objective evidence. debate is a competitive environment which means i take accusations with a degree of skepticism. i think the trend to turn debate into a kangaroo court, or use the ballot as a tool to ostracize members from the community speaks to the student/coach's tooling of authority at tournaments as well as the necessity for pain in their notion of justice. a really good podcast that speaks to this topic in detail is invisibilia: the callout.
regarding traditional theory args, whatever happened to presumption debates? i more often find theory compelling when contextualized to why there's a specific reason to object to the argument (e.g. why the way this specific perm operates is abusive/sets a bad precedent). as someone who used to go hard on theory pimps, i think there's an elegant way to trap someone. and it same stipulations apply- if you want me to vote for it, make sure i'm able to clearly hear and distinguish your subpoints.

i always enjoy creative, case specific PICs. i like hearing good story-weaving in the overview. impact analysis, a thorough perm debate also key. i do vote on theory - see above.

NOVICES: Congrats! you're slowly sinking into a strange yet fascinating vortex called policy debate. it will change your life, hopefully for the better. focus on the line by line and impact analysis. if you're confused, ask instead of apologize. this year is about exploring. i'm here to judge and help. :)

Kiara Pengue Paradigm

3 rounds

Please include me on the email chain:

You’re also welcome to email me for whatever else as well.

pronouns: she/her


I debated three years at Copper Hills, currently on my first year at Weber State.

Mostly a K debater. Argument interests include: identity politics of any sort, fem rage and indigenous feminism. I'm open up to any type of new argumentation

(Conflicts: Copper Hills High School)

Shorter version:

though I prefer a K debate, I'd rather you run what you're good at. As long as you frame the world, you should be fine. I have a high burden on you explaining whatever argument you choose to run, I expect you to know what you're talking about. Write my ballot for me, please-it makes everyone's life easier. Also, please be passionate about what you're doing- I don't understand why someone would do an activity that they spend hours over running something they don't care about. (while I recognize my paradigm looks very K happy, most of the rounds I've judged this year have been policy so honestly, you do you)

For the Aff:

look in all honesty, the last time I ran a traditional policy aff was my junior year of high school for one tournament and then before that my novice sophomore year. With that in mind, no your aff doesn't have to have a plan text and no, it doesn't *technically* have to have any relation to the topic (though it is preferred).

K v K debates = :)

In FW debates, K affs need to prove why debate is necessary for your specific methodology as well as prove that the educational/etc impacts of the aff are the most important thing to weigh in the round.

For topical affs: I need some solid case debating, impact calc, etc. alt causes and good case turns are also favored.

For the Neg:





pics: if you're going to take the aff away from the aff, tell me why that's a good thing and something that I can vote on.


I think the best K debates are ones that are specific and that have a meaning to them. I don't particularly like generics such as cap and security, but if it's done well I'll still vote on them. But I feel the best part about K debate is that you get to specifically show your individualism and passion within the debate space. I don't have a high burden on alt solvency so long as the link is strong and clearly explained. But with all of that being said, I’d still rather see a traditional policy debate than a poor K debate.


I actually really like topicality debates, my only comment for this is to make sure in your last speeches to give me clear voters, don’t expect me to just extend what you already said in your previous speeches. (For FW, I feel the TVA is especially important as it's your job to prove that the aff makes debate impossible)


Yes, love this, read it, but that also means you have to explain it!! Make sure that the performance doesn’t get dropped in the debate.

other theory:

things I don't like: new affs bad, disclosure, speaks k, and prefs theory. I don't have any strong feelings about other theory args.

Speaker points:

I base a lot of my speaker points off of CX and your presence in the round. Everyone does debate for their own reasons, so let that show. If you are memorable and if you are passionate about what you’re talking about, you’ll probably get higher speaks. I think cross ex is valuable, I will be paying attention to it. This means that you could be losing the round but be getting better speaks.

(If you bring me blue Powerade (mountain berry blast) I'll up your speaks by .2)

I feel like this goes without saying but…

Please don’t be racist, sexist, transphobic, homophobic, etc. there’s also no need to be overly aggressive. This is a space where everyone is supposed to feel safe and comfortable, not a space where they feel that they aren’t welcome.

Christina Phillips Paradigm

3 rounds


Current Affiliation = Notre Dame HS (Sherman Oaks, CA)
Debates Judged on this topic: about 40 Rounds (UMich Debate Institute)
Prior Experience: Debated policy in HS at Notre Dame HS in Sherman Oaks, CA (1992-1995); Debated NDT/CEDA in college at USC (1995-1999); Assistant debate coach at Cal State Northridge 2003-2005; Assistant debate coach at Glenbrook South HS Spring of 2005; Director of Debate at Glenbrook North HS 2005-2009; Director of Debate at Notre Dame HS Fall of 2009-Present.

General Note

My defaults go into effect when left to my own devices. I will go against most of these defaults if a team technically persuades me to do so in any given debate.

Paperless Rules

If you start taking excessive time to flash your document, I will start instituting that "Prep time ends when the speaker's flash drive is removed from her/his computer."

Major Notes

Topic familiarity

I am familiar with the topic (4 weeks of teaching at Michigan at Classic and involved in argument coaching at Notre Dame).


Delivery rate should be governed by your clarity; WARRANTS in the evidence should be clear, not just the tagline.
Clarity is significantly assisted by organization - I flow as technically as possible and try to follow the 1NC structure on-case and 2AC structure off-case through the 1AR. 2NR and the 2AR should have some leeway to restructure the debate in important places to highlight their offense. However, line-by-line should be followed where re-structuring is not necessary.

Ideal 2AR Structure

Offense placed at the top (tell me how I should be framing the debate in the context of what you are winning), then move through the debate in a logical order.

2NR's Make Choices

Good 2NR strategies may be one of the following: (1) Functionally and/or textually competitive counterplan with an internal or external net benefit, (2) K with a good turns case/root cause arguments that are specific to each advantage, (3) Disadvantage with turns case arguments and any necessary case defense, (4) Topicality (make sure to cover any theory arguments that are offense for aff). My least favorite debates to resolve are large impact turn debates, not because I hate impact turns, but because I think that students lose sight of how to resolve and weigh the multiple impact scenarios that get interjected into the debate. Resolving these debates starts with a big picture impact comparison.

Evidence Quality/References

Reference evidence by warrant first and then add "That's [Author]." Warrant and author references are especially important on cards that you want me to read at the end of the debate. Also, evidence should reflect the arguments that you are making in the debate. I understand that resolving a debate requires spin, but that spin should be based in the facts presented in your evidence.

I have been getting copies of speech documents for many debates lately so I can read cards during prep time, etc. However, note that I will pay attention to what is said in the debate as much as possible - I would much rather resolve the debate on what the debaters say, not based on my assessment of the evidence.


Safer to go for offense, and then make an "even if" statement explaining offense as a 100% defensive takeout. I will vote on well-resolved defense against CP, DA's and case. This is especially true against process CP's (e.g., going for a well-resolved permutation doesn't require you to prove a net benefit to the permutation since these CP's are very difficult to get a solvency deficit to) and DA's with contrived internal link scenarios. Winning 100% defense does require clear evidence comparison to resolve.


I like a well-developed topicality debate. This should include cards to resolve important distinctions. Topical version of the aff and reasonable case lists are persuasive. Reasonability is persuasive when the affirmative has a TRUE "we meet" argument; it seems unnecessary to require the affirmative to have a counter-interpretation when they clearly meet the negative interpretation. Also, discussing standards with impacts as DA's to the counter-interpretation is very useful - definition is the uniqueness, violation is the link, standard is an internal link and education or fairness is the impact.


Word PIC's, process, consult, and condition CP's are all ok. I have voted on theory against these CP's in the past because the teams that argued they were illegit were more technically saavy and made good education arguments about the nature of these CP's. The argument that they destroy topic-specific education is persuasive if you can prove why that is true. Separately, the starting point for answers to the permutation are the distinction(s) between the CP and plan. The starting point for answers to a solvency deficit are the similarities between the warrants of the aff advantage internal links and the CP solvency cards. Counterplans do not have to be both functionally and textually competitive, but it is better if you can make an argument as to why it is both.


All parts of the DA are important, meaning neither uniqueness nor links are more important than each other (unless otherwise effectively argued). I will vote on conceded or very well-resolved defense against a DA.


Good K debate should have applied links to the affirmative's or negative's language, assumptions, or methodology. This should include specific references to an opponent's cards. The 2NC/1NR should make sure to address all affirmative impacts through defense and/or turns. I think that making 1-2 carded externally impacted K's in the 2NC/1NR is the business of a good 2NC/1NR on the K. Make sure to capitalize on any of these external impacts in the 2NR if they are dropped in the 1AR. A team can go for the case turn arguments absent the alternative. Affirmative protection against a team going for case turns absent the alternative is to make inevitability (non-unique) claims.

Aff Framework

Framework is applied in many ways now and the aff should think through why they are reading parts of their framework before reading it in the 2AC, i.e., is it an independent theoretical voting issue to reject the Alternative or the team based on fairness or education? or is it a defensive indite of focusing on language, representations, methodology, etc.?. Framework impacts should be framed explicitly in the 1AR and 2AR. I am partial to believing that representations and language inform the outcome of policymaking unless given well-warranted cards to respond to those claims (this assumes that negative is reading good cards to say rep's or language inform policymaking).

Neg Framework

Neg framework is particularly persuasive against an affirmative that has an advocacy statement they don't stick to or an aff that doesn't follow the resolution at all. It is difficult for 2N's to have a coherent strategy against these affirmatives and so I am sympathetic to a framework argument that includes a topicality argument and warranted reasons to reject the team for fairness or education. If a K aff has a topical plan, then I think that framework only makes sense as a defensive indite their methodology; however, I think that putting these cards on-case is more effective than putting them on a framework page. Framework is a somewhat necessary tool given the proliferation of affirmatives that are tangentially related to the topic or not topical at all. I can be persuaded that non-topical affs should not get permutations - a couple primary reasons: (1) reciprocity - if aff doesn't have to be topical, then CP's/K's shouldn't need to be competitive and (2) Lack of predictability makes competition impossible and neg needs to be able to test the methodology of the aff.


I prefer substance, but I do understand the need for theory given I am open to voting on Word PIC's, consult, and condition CP's. If going for theory make sure to impact arguments in an organized manner. There are only two voting issues/impacts: fairness and education. All other arguments are merely internal links to these impacts - please explain how and why you control the best internal links to either of these impacts. If necessary, also explain why fairness outweighs education or vice-versa. If there are a host of defensive arguments that neutralize the fairness or education lost, please highlight these as side constraints on the the violation, then move to your offense.

Classic Battle Defaults

These are attempts to resolve places where I felt like I had to make random decisions in the past and had wished I put something in my judge philosophy to give debaters a fair warning. So here is my fair warning on my defaults and what it takes to overcome those defaults:
(1) Theory v. Topcality - Topcality comes before theory unless the 1AR makes arguments explaining why theory is first and the 2NR doesn't adequately respond and then the 2AR extends and elaborates on why theory is first sufficiently enough to win those arguments.
(2) Do I evaluate the aff v. the squo when the 2NR went for a CP? - No unless EXPLICITLY framed as a possibility in the 2NR. If the 2NR decides to extend the CP as an advocacy (in other words, they are not just extending some part of the CP as a case takeout, etc.), then I evaluate the aff versus the CP. What does this mean? If the aff wins a permutation, then the CP is rejected and the negative loses. I will not use the perm debate as a gateway argument to evaluating the aff vs. the DA. If the 2NR is going for two separate advocacies, then the two separate framings should be EXPLICIT, e.g., possible 2NR framing, "If we win the CP, then you weigh the risk of the net benefit versus the risk of the solvency deficit and, if they win the permutation, you should then just reject the CP and weigh the risk of the DA separately versus the affirmative" (this scenario assumes that the negative declared the CP conditional).
(3) Are Floating PIK's legitimate? No unless the 1AR drops it. If the 1AR drops it, then it is open season on the affirmative. The 2NC/1NR must make the floating PIC explicit with one of the following phrases to give the 1AR a fair chance: "Alternative does not reject the plan," "Plan action doesn't necessitate . Also, 2NC/1NR must distinguish their floating PIK from the permutation; otherwise, affirmatives you should use any floating PIK analysis as a outright concession that the "permutation do both" or "permutation plan plus non-mutually exclusive parts" is TRUE.
(4) Will I vote on theory cheap shots? Yes, but I feel guilty voting for them. HOWEVER, I WILL NEVER VOTE FOR A REVERSE VOTING ISSUE EVEN IF IT WAS DROPPED.

Who is a Good Debater

Anna Dimitrijevic, Alex Pappas, Pablo Gannon, Stephanie Spies, Kathy Bowen, Edmund Zagorin, Matt Fisher, Dan Shalmon, Scott Phillips, Tristan Morales, Michael Klinger, Greta Stahl, George Kouros. There are many others - but this is a good list.


Your Opponents, Your Teammates, Your Coaches, Your Activity.

Extra Notes CP/Perm/Alt Texts

The texts of permutations, counterplans, and alternatives should be clear. I always go back and check the texts of these items if there is a question of a solvency deficit or competition. However, I do feel it is the burden of the opposing team to bring up such an argument for me to vote on it - i.e., unless it is a completely random round, the opposing team needs to make the argument that the text of the CP means there is a significant solvency deficit with the case, or the affirmative is overstating/misconstruing the solvency of a permutation because the text only dictates X, not Y, etc. I will decide that the aff does not get permutations in a debate where the affirmative is not topical.

Technical Focus

I try to follow the flow the best I can - I do double check if 2AR is making arguments that are tied to the 1AR arguments. I think that 2AR's get significant leeway to weigh and frame their impacts once the 2NR has chosen what to go for; however, this does not mean totally new arguments to case arguments, etc. that were presented before the 2NR.

Resolve Arguments

Frame claim in comparison to other team's response, extend important warrants, cite author for evidence, impact argument to ballot - all of these parts are necessary to resolve an argument fully. Since debate is a game of time management, this means going for fewer arguments with more thorough analysis is better than extending myriad of arguments with little analysis.

Disrespect Bad

Complete disrespect toward anyone who is nice; no one ever has enough “credibility” in this community to justify such actions. If there is a disrespectful dynamic in a debate, I ALWAYS applaud (give higher speaker points to) the first person to step down and realize they are being a jerk. Such growth and self-awareness should rewarded.

Fear to Engage Bad

Win or lose, you are ultimately competing to have the best debate possible. Act like it and do not be afraid to engage in the tough debates. You obviously should make strategic choices, but do not runaway from in-depth arguments because you think another team will be better than you on that argument. Work harder and beat them on the argument on which she/he is supposedly an expert. Taking chances to win debates good.

Fun Stuff

And, as Lord Dark Helmet says, “evil will always triumph over good because good is dumb.”


Will Pregman Paradigm

6 rounds

I did Policy Debate for 6 years.
4 at Coronado HS in Las Vegas and 2 in college for UNLV.
I've judged policy debate intermittently in the past 5-6 years since then.

I think debate is a game. Have fun and keep an open mind. The research and advocacy skills debate affords students cannot be understated.

I'm open to voting for all types of arguments, as long as they are articulated in a way which makes sense and have an impact. My comfort zone lies with more traditional, policy-style arguments, but I have voted for the K somewhat often as a judge. That said, if a team isn't talking about the topic, you should read T.

I prefer to rely on the debaters to characterize evidence and arguments in the debate, rather than reading a bunch of cards after the round. I feel strongly that debate is as much a communication exercise as it is a research one, therefore controlling the "spin" is important. You should clearly emphasize and explain your warrants, as well as point out why your opponent's evidence falls short. You can include me on the email chain ( but I might not look at your docs until after the debate. Even then, I'd prefer it if you just show me the handful of cards I ask for, if need be.

Prep time stops when the flash drive leaves your computer/the email is sent. I try to give the benefit of the doubt to tech problems, but if it looks like you're not ready and stealing prep, I will start time again and be much harsher about it from that point on.

Lastly, be nice to each other. Assume positive intent. Respect pronoun preferences and other accommodations. Good luck!

Ryan Quintana Paradigm

3 rounds

Email: (yes, include me in the email chain.)

Graduated from Palo Verde High School
Now attending the University of Nevada, Las Vegas
I debated for two years in College Policy Debate

Meadows 2019:

It has been a year since I have actually debated, I’m not as quick with a pen as I used to be, but that is no excuse to change your normal strat. Play the game, go line by line, and it will be a good time for everyone.

Novice Policy at UNLV 2019:

Debate is a place to learn things, but policy makes it really easy to get lost in the world of thinking that saying debate jargon is the same as making an argument. Remember that no matter what position you are debating you are telling a story and using evidence to paint a convincing picture of a world that I should prefer.

I will attempt to be neutral and evaluate arguments independent of my own biases. Read arguments that you are comfortable with, but pretend that I know nothing about it beforehand. I won't punish you for overexplaining an argument, but under explanation could lose you the round.

--Tech overcomes truth

--Framing then substance

Competitors should be courteous to each other: I will not tolerate offensive/rude behavior.

Speaker Points- You should be clear and able to explain your arguments well. I enjoy jokes and clever analogies that are relevant to the round and arguments being made. Points are awarded purley on style (ie how well do you explain and extend arguments?). I'm not going to tank your speaks for dropping a technical argument. I will also not give you a 29.8-30 for simply winning.

Keep the line by line clean and I will award your speaker points.

I will attempt to be as neutral as possible and evaluate the arguments presented in the debate independent of my own opinions.

Negative strategy – I believe in preserving maximum strategic and theoretical flexibility for negative teams. Contradicting arguments early on in the debate are fine as long as it is narrowed down in the negative block and the 2NR is consistent. Though too many contradicting arguments (3+) will make me more sympathetic to the affirmative.

I'm probably not going to vote on condo if they read one conditional position; unless the block straight drops the argument.

Affirmative strategy -I think more affirmative teams should straight (link or impact) turn disadvantages. A good 1AR should attempt to make the 2NR job difficult by reading plenty of evidence, covering, and always using offense. For the 1AR and 2AR I think it is important to EXTEND WARRANTS inside your evidence. You should explain the importance/relevance/ implications of the evidence as well. Just saying “extend our Johnson ’12 card,” does not count as extending the evidence!

Aff- I am open to critical affirmatives that have a relationship to the topic. I have a difficult time voting on an affirmative without a clear relationship to the topic but good debating can easily convince me. I will not vote on T/FW just because it was read, it is the burden of the negative to prove to me why that affirmative is not topical or why it shouldn't be run.

Negative critical arguments: I am willing to vote on critical arguments, as long as it is well explained and specific to the aff. Your Kritik should have an alt and impact that is explained by the negative. I am not familiar with all critical arguments, but I have had experience with a wide variety, capitalism, ableism, and queerness, and anti-blackness are the arguments I am most familiar with. The affirmative should always permutate critical arguments, and explain how the permutation functions.

CPs—Huge fan of counterplans, feel free to run multiple if you would like. The text of the CP (and all perms) should be written out, and I hold them to as high a standard as I do the affirmative plan.

Disadvantages- Needs to be specific to the Aff and link story should make sense. Make sure to emphasize the way the aff links and the impacts it triggers.

Topicality- All for it, I feel that it is a very strategic argument to be made in debate. Needs to be well articulated with both sides submitting competing interpretations. T arguments should be extremely structured and organized to make it easier for me to see why this is a voting issue.

Few other things-

  1. Do not steal prep I don't count sending the doc as time, but when time is called all teams should stop until the speech begins
  2. I may call for cards after the debate, if it was not well explained in the debate or was a point of contention. I also appreciate debaters who take the time to send the cards they think are the most important at the end of the debate
  3. Only one person should be speaking per speech, unless it is a performative necessity or an accessibility issue. It is very difficult to flow more than one voice at a time.
  4. Debate should be fun; it is a game so be nice and courteous to everyone involved.

If you would like something explained further, please feel free to ask me some questions before the round.

Devon Reese Paradigm


-I vote for things that I don't like, the debate is yours to make what you will. That does not mean I have no opinions.

-T: Substantial means many things; compare evidence and impact T like a DA.

-I have a hard time understanding teams that run Neolib/Cap with a Spending DA (?). This does not make a lot of sense to me and I can be persuaded to vote on the performative contradiction (distinct from condo).

-Things I am unlikely to vote for: Inherency, "speed kills", claims without warrants, poorly debated T violations, "multiple perms are bad".

Read a topical plan----------------------X--------------------say anything


Usually some risk---------x---------------------------------Zero Risk

Conditionality Good--------------------X----------------------Conditionality Bad

States CP Good------X------------------------------------States CP Bad

Process CPs------------------X------------------------Ew Process CPs

Competing off immediacy/certainty---------------x---------------------------No

Politics DAs are a thing-------------------x-----------------------Good Politics DAs are a thing

Reasonability-----------------------------------x-------Competing Interps

Limits-----------------x-------------------------Aff Ground

Read every card----------x--------------------------------Read no cards

Lots of evidence--------------------------------------x----Lots of good evidence

Judge Kick---------------------x---------------------Stuck with the CP

Reject the Team--------------X----------------------------Reject the Arg

CPs need cards--------------------------------------x----Smart CPs can be cardless

Competition is based off the plan----x--------------------------------------Neg gets to define the plan

Fiat solves circumvention---------------x---------------------------Trump's President

K alts need to do something-------------------------------X-----------but you're asking the wrong question

K links about the plan---------------X---------------------------K links about a broad worldview

Not my Baudrillard-----------------------------------------X yes your Baudrillard

I will try to keep in these range for speaker points:

29.3+ — the top speaker at the tournament.
29.1-29.2 — one of the five or ten best speakers at the tournament.
28.8-29.0 — one of the twenty best speakers at the tournament.
28.6-28.7 — a 75th percentile speaker at the tournament; with a winning record, would barely clear on points.
28.4-28.5 — a 50th percentile speaker at the tournament; with a winning record, would not clear on points.
28.0-28.3 — a 25th percentile speaker at the tournament.
27.7-27.9 — a 10th percentile speaker at the tournament.

Have fun and be kind.

Katerina Rodriguez Paradigm

3 rounds

Position yourself so I can hear you. Don't speak into your laptop or stand on the opposite side of the room. Don't read typed-out things like they are the text of a card. Slow down and change the intonation of your voice when you're speaking.

I normally look to impact calc throughout debate

If I don't understand something, I will not vote on it even if it is conceded.

I am getting tired of multiple conditional cp's. Seriously, it is getting out of hand. The neg gets 1 conditional cp or Kritik.

I not only look for argumentation but also HOW you debate (aka how well you can convince me).

Clarity is key. If you are spreading and I can not clearly hear your arguments I will not flow them.

last speeches should start with telling me exactly what should be on my ballot.


Things I will not vote on:

Arguments that suggest students should engage in risky behavior.

Death is good.

Fear of death is bad



Nathaniel Saxe Paradigm

2 rounds

Basic Information

Nathaniel Saxe

UNLV Law Student

No Current Debate Role – Volunteer for UNLV Debate

Judging at the request of Jacob Thompson (Director of Debate UNLV)

Previous institutional affiliations and experience

High School Debater – The Meadows School (Las Vegas) 2008-2012

College Debater – UNLV – 2012-2014

In-round experience:

I debated exclusively in policy debate. I was a 2N/1A for most of my career.

Role of the judge

As a judge, my role is to assign value to each debater’s skills and abilities in the round I am watching based on their ability to win, be respectful, and provide sound intellectual contributions to the conversation.

Purpose of Philosophy

I hope debaters will take this philosophy and feel comfortable running the best strategy they have prepared for this round.

Evaluative Practices and Views on Debate Round Logistics

I am not a stickler on prep time unless it gets ridiculous, but for best practices, I prefer when prep time ends as the opposing team gets access to the evidence the speaking team expects to read. In terms of getting evidence to me,

I would rather be on the email chain and have anything I need if I need it at the end of the round. This is merely for convenience and so debaters do not feel the need to assign value to me asking for certain pieces of evidence at the end of the round. I do not use the speech document throughout the debate to help flow.

Speaker points

Barring a catastrophe, my speaker points typically range from 27-29. If someone was exceptional and vital to their victory in the debate, I typically give higher points. If someone is disrespectful or unclear consistently, I typically give lower points. If you are unclear, I will let you know. If I say it more than twice during a speech, I may not continue to say it.

Reading Evidence

I do not read evidence unless its contents are required to decide the debate. That means the better debating on the piece of evidence and its arguments usually prevail. Debaters must read the portions of the evidence they seek to evaluate. Debaters are welcome to point out arguments their opponents have failed to read.

Subect matter

I am comfortable with Topicality debates, theory debates, most kritiks I have heard of, and alternative interpretations on framework. My predispositions are less relevant because I have not debated for more than 5 years, but I used to read policy affirmatives and kritiks like security or cap.

John Shackelford Paradigm

6 rounds

John Shackelford

Assistant Coach: Rowland Hall, UT

Debated for: Bingham, UT

College: The University of Utah, UT

****TLDR IN BOLD*****

Please include me in email chains during the debate (rohodebatefiles[at]gmail / johnshackelf[at]gmail) please include both. I do not follow along with the speech doc during a speech, but sometimes I will follow along to check on clipping and to follow along with cross-ex questions about specific pieces of evidence

Here is what an ideal debate looks like. (Heads up! I can be a silly goose, so the more you do this, the better I can judge you)

- Line by Line (Do it in order)

- Extending > reading a new card (Your better cards are in your first speech anyway. Tell me how the card is and how frames the debate in your future analysis)

- More content >Less Jargon (avoid talking about the judge, another team, flows, yourselves. Focus on the substance. Avoid saying: special metaphors, Turns back, check back, the link check, Pulling or extending across, Voting up or down. They don’t exist.)

- Great Cross-examination (I am ok with tag team, I just find it unstrategic)

- Compare > description (Compare more, describe less)

- Overviews/Impact Calc (Focus on the core controversy of the debate. Offense wins)

- Engage > Exclude

- Clarity > Speed

- Making generics specific to the round

- Researched T Shells (Do work before reading T. I love T, but I have a standard on what is a good T debate)

- Arguments you can only read on this topic!!

Popular Q&A

- K/FW: More sympathetic to Ks that are unique to the topic. But I dig the 1 off FW strat or 9 off vs a K.

- Theory: Perfcon theory is a thing, condo theory is not a thing. I like cheating strats. I like it when people read theory against cheating strats too.

- Prep time: I stop prep time when you eject your jump drive or when you hit send for the email. I am probably the most annoying judge about this, but I am tired of teams stealing prep and I want to keep this round moving

- I flow on my computer

Want extra decimals?

Do what I say above, and have fun with it. I reward self-awareness, clash, good research, humor, and bold decisions. It is all about how you play the game.

Cite like Michigan State and open source like Kentucky

Speaker Points-Scale - I'll do my best to adhere to the following unless otherwise instructed by a tournament's invite:


29.5-This is the best speech I will hear at this tournament, and probably at the following one as well.

29-I expect you to get a speaker award.

28.5-You're clearly in the top third of the speakers at the tournament.

28-You're around the upper middle (ish area)

27.5-You need some work, but generally, you're doing pretty well

27-You need some work

26.5-You don't know what you're doing at all

26 and lower-you've done something ethically wrong or obscenely offensive that is explained on the ballot.

All in all, debate in front of me if your panel was Mike Bausch, Mike Shackelford, Hannah Shoell, Catherine Shackelford, and Ian Beier

If you have any questions, then I would be more than happy to answer them

Mike Shackelford Paradigm

1 rounds

Mike Shackelford
Head Coach of Rowland Hall

Do what you do best. I’m comfortable with all arguments. Practice what you preach and debate how you would teach. Strive to make it the best debate possible.

Key Preferences & Beliefs
Debate is a game.
Literature determines fairness.
It’s better to engage than exclude.
Critique is a verb.
Defense is undervalued.

Judging Style
I work hard to be objective.
I flow on my computer. If you want a copy of my flow, just ask.
I think CX is very important.
I reward self-awareness, clash, good research, humor, and bold decisions.
Add me to the email chain: mikeshackelford(at)rowlandhall(dot)org

Feel free to ask.

Want something more specific? More absurd?

Debate in front of me as if this was your 9 judge panel:

Ian Beier, Maggie Berthiaume, Daryl Burch, Yao Yao Chen, Malcom Gordon, Jyleesa Hampton, Nicholas Miller, Christina Philips, jon sharp

If both teams agree, I will adopt the philosophy and personally impersonate any of my former students:

Andrew Arsht, Madison Barker, David Bernstein, Madeline Brague, Julia Goldman, Emily Gordon, Elliot Kovnick, Will Matheson, Ben McGraw, James Steiner, Corinne Sugino, Caitlin Walrath, Sydney Young (these are the former debaters with paradigms... you can also throw it back to any of my old school students).

LD Paradigm

Most of what is above will apply here below in terms of my expectations and preferences. I spend most of my time at tournaments judging policy debate rounds, however I do teach LD and judge practice debates in class. I try to keep on top of the arguments and developments in LD and likely am familiar with your arguments to some extent.

Theory: I'm unlikely to vote here. Most theory debates aren't impacted well and often put out on the silliest of points and used as a way to avoid substantive discussion of the topic. It has a time and a place. That time and place is the rare instance where your opponent has done something that makes it literally impossible for you to win. I would strongly prefer you go for substance over theory. Speaker points will reflect this preference.

Speed: Clarity > Speed. That should be a no-brainer. That being said, I'm sure I can flow you at whatever speed you feel is appropriate to convey your arguments.

Disclosure: I think it's uniformly good for large and small schools. I think it makes debate better. If you feel you have done a particularly good job disclosing arguments (for example, full case citations, tags, parameters, changes) and you point that out during the round I will likely give you an extra half of a point if I agree.

Catherine Shackelford Paradigm

2 rounds

Please include me on the email chain:

Do what you do best. I’m comfortable with all arguments. Practice what you preach and debate how you would teach. Strive to make it the best debate possible. I reward self-awareness, clash, good research, humor, and bold decisions. I will not tolerate language or behaviors that create a hostile environment. Please include trigger warnings for sexual violence. Feel free to ask me any questions you have before the round.

Specific things:

Speed - I'm comfortable with speed but please recognize that if you're reading typed blocks that are not in the speech doc at the same speed you are reading cards, there's a chance I will miss something because I can't flow every word you're saying as fast as you can say them. Slow down just a bit for what you want me to write down or include your blocks in the doc. I will say "clear" if you are not clear.

Topicality- I enjoy good topicality debates. To me good topicality debates are going to compare impacts and discuss what interp of the topic is going to be better for the debate community and the goals that are pursued by debaters.The goals and purpose of debate is of course debatable and can help establish which impacts are more important than others so make sure you're doing that work for me.

Counterplans- I enjoy creative counterplans best but even your standard ones will be persuasive to me if there is a solid solvency advocate and net-benny.

Theory - In-round abuse will always be far more persuasive to me than merely potential abuse and tricksy interps. I expect more than just reading blocks.

K- I really enjoy a good critical debate. Please establish how your kritik interacts with the affirmative and/or the topic and what that means for evaluating the round in some sort of framework. Authors and buzzwords alone will not get you very far even if I am familiar with the literature. I expect contextual link work with a fully articulated impact and alternative. If your K does not have an alternative, I will weigh it as a DA (that's probably non-unique).

Performance - All debate is a performance and relies on effective communication. If you are communicating to me a warranted argument, I do not care how you are presenting it.

Khalid Sharif Paradigm

4 rounds

Experience: 9 years of policy debate

HS: Highland (SLC)

College: University of West Georgia- NDT 1st Round

Coach @ Juan Diego (UT)

Add me to the email chain

Please appropriately title emails

[Tournament/Round#/ Aff Team Code vs Neg Team Code]


Warrants > Tech > Truth

If you don't fluctuate tone and annunciate but read blocks at top speed, I am not the judge for you. You are doing yourself a disservice when you spread through blocks faster than I can flow.

I don’t care what style of debate you prefer. Instead, I’m interested in your ability to defend and advance the advocacies and arguments you find important and/or strategic. I will do my best to adapt to you unless your spreading is incomprehensible, then I won't even look at the speech doc. Some additional thoughts.

  1. Line-by-Line > Long generic overviews
  2. Clarity of thought is paramount. I often find myself voting for teams that can make complex arguments sound like common sense.
  3. Good evidence is secondary to what a debater does with it. I really appreciate evidence interrogation in speeches and cross-examination. I don't like reading cards after the debate, please put the important spin and quotations of the card "on the flow."
  4. If there is an “easy” way to vote that is executed and explained well, I’m very likely to take it.
  5. I’d prefer to judge the text of the round in front of me rather than what debaters/teams have done outside of that round.
  6. I appreciate technical execution and direct refutation over implied argumentation.
  7. Well explained meta-framing arguments usually control my ballot but aren’t a substitute for substantive impact comparison.
  8. Less is more. The earlier in a debate that teams collapse down to lower quantities of positions and/or arguments, the more of a chance I have to really latch onto what is going on and make a decent decision.
  9. Identifying what I have to resolve behooves you. Most debates are won or lost on a few primary debatable questions. If you are the first to identify and answer those questions thoroughly, you will likely be ahead in my mind.
  10. Minimizing downtime is important. Go to the bathroom and jump/email the 1AC before the round start time.
  11. If you are a very fast debater who lacks clarity, turn it down slightly otherwise I may miss important arguments. Flowing/info processing time is real, if you are speak at top speed with little vocal inflection, I may miss a whole lot.

Jon Sharp Paradigm

5 rounds

jon sharp

Director of Debate @ GDS (the actual GDS, not the camp, not the affinity group, not the cultural phenomenon...well, maybe the cultural phenomenon...)

(Relevant) Background: Debated in HS (program doesn't exist any more) and college (Emory); coached at Emory, West GA, USC, New Trier, Kentucky, and GDS; taught around 75 labs (including, but not limited to the Kentucky Fellows, SNFI Swing Lab, Berkeley Mentors, Antilab, and the forthcoming Quantum Lab). This is what i do - i teach, coach, and judge debate(s). This is both good and bad for you.

This is Good for You: One could say that i have been around, as it were. If you want to do something that people do in debates, i got you. If you want to do something that people don't do in debates, i won't freak out.

This is Bad for You: This ain't my first rodeo. If you want to do something that people do in debates, i have seen it done better and worse. If you want to do something that people don't do in debates, i probably remember the last time that somebody did it in a debate.

Are You For Real? Yah, mostly...i just don't think judging philosophies are all that helpful - any judge that is doing their job is going to suspend disbelief to as great an extent as possible and receive the debate in as much good faith as they can muster...but almost nobody is upfront enough about what that extent looks like.

Well, that's not especially helpful right now. OK, you make a strong point, imaginary interlocutor. Here are a few things that may actually help:

1 - Flow the Debate - I flow the debate. On paper. To a fault. If you do not take this into account, no matter how or what you debate, things are going to go badly for you. Connecting arguments - what used to be called the line-by-line - is essential unless you want me to put the debate together myself out of a giant pile of micro-arguments. You Do Not Want This. "Embedded clash" is an adorable concept and even can be occasionally helpful WHEN YOU ARE MANAGING THE REST OF THE FLOW WITH PRECISION. There is no such thing as "cloud clash."

2 - Do What You are Going to Do - My job isn't to police your argument choices, per se; rather, it is to evaluate the debate. If debaters could only make arguments that i agreed with, there would not be much reason to have these rounds.

3 - If you are mean to your opponents, it is going to cause me to have sympathy/empathy for them. This is not an ideological position so much as an organic reaction on my part.

4 - "K teams," "identity teams," and non-traditional/performance teams pref me more than policy teams - Make of that what you will.

5 - Stop calling certain strategic choices "cheating" - This is one of the few things that just sends my blood pressure through the roof...i know you like to be edgy and i respect your desire to represent yourself as having no ethical commitments, but this is one of the worst developments in the way people talk and think about debate since the advent of paperlessness (which is essentially The Fall in my debate cosmology). Reading an AFF with no plan is not cheating; reading five conditional CPs in the 2NC is not cheating; consult NATO is not cheating. Clipping cards is cheating; fabricating evidence is cheating, consulting your coach in the middle of the debate is cheating. An accusation of an ethics violation (i.e., cheating) means that the debate stops and the team that is correct about the accusation wins the debate while the team that is wrong loses and gets zeroes. This is not negotiable. Ethics violations are not debate arguments, they do not take the form of an off-case or a new page and they are not comparable to anything else in the debate.

Also - just ask.

Eric Short Paradigm

3 rounds please add me to an email chain.

previous coaching: Niles West (2016-present), Walter Payton (2014-2016), Wayzata (2009-2013), Moorhead (2007-2009), University of Minnesota (2011-2015, plus various tournaments since), Concordia College (2006-2009).

I generally judge 75+ debates on the high school topic.

updated September 2019

I'm updating my philosophy not because of a meaningful change in how I evaluate debates, but because I think the process of how I decide debates is more important than how I feel about individual arguments.

I judge debates in the way they are presented to me. This means you control the substance of the debate, not me. As such, the team that will win is the team that is best able to explain why their arguments are better than their opponent's arguments.

I start deciding a debate by determining if I need to read evidence. I often read very few cards at the end of a debate. In many debates, the quality of evidence, its qualifications and even warrants or conclusions go uncontested. I'm not the judge to reconstruct the debate for you. Then, I assign "risk" to the positions forwarded in the last rebuttals. The type of "risk" is determined by the debate--anywhere from "does the DA outweigh the aff" to "do the representations lead to a unique impact" to "does the performance actively resist forms of oppression". Link and impact analysis is therefore extremely important. You probably won’t like the decision if I decide what is most important.

Most of my topic research revolves around critiques. I have also worked at a summer institute almost every year since 2005. Chances are I am familiar with your literature base, no matter which side of the library it's housed in. However, you still need to explain your arguments for me to consider voting for them.

If you want me to consider the status quo as an option, you should tell me in the 2NR: I will not default for you. Outside of conditionality, I default to rejecting the argument, not the team unless instructed otherwise.

Note on decision times: the longer it takes to finish the debate, the less time I have to adjudicate, so it is in your best interest to be efficient.

Speaker points are influenced by a variety of factors. While I do not have a specific formula for integrating all the variables, your points are reflected by (in no particular order): argument choice, clarity, execution, participation in the debate, respect for others, strategy, and time management. I tend to reward debaters for specific strategies, humor, personality and speeches free of disposable arguments.

Jada Stinnett Paradigm

6 rounds

Last Updated: 03-05-2020 for ADA Nats

Conflicts: Palo Verde HS, Woodlands HS, University HS, UNLV

I would like to be on the email chain

Number of Rounds I judged this year (HSPD): 6

Number of Rounds I judged this year (CPD): 8

*Over all Ideas that I have about debate*

I like all styles of debate.

I believe that debate is a fun game we play.

Why we play the game is different for everyone.

I believe that everyone should have fun playing it.

This is especially true for novice debate. I think sometimes we forget we all had a first day.

What this means is that I will make it a priority to keep the spaces I'm involved in safe.

I will acknowledge the material implications of some bodies in certain spaces, so I will not police the debate space or conform to respectability politics of ANY tournament.

I will try my best to make this space accessible for you. Let me know what I can do (this can include an email before the round).

Technical debate is good debate.

A true argument can beat a bunch of silly arguments.

An Argument is a claim with a warrant. I will only flow claims with warrants.

I will not listen to impact turns of oppression. I will stop the round and leave. Your speaker points will reflect this.

Don't use slurs outside of your social location. I will stop the round and leave. Your speaker points will reflect this.

I don't want to judge a debate based off of what happened outside of the round. It becomes really awkward for everyone. And I can't adequately attest these truth claims. Just don't do it. Please.

I flow on paper- you will never be "too fast", you might be unclear.

I will try to adjust my positioning in the room- like moving closer, before I ask you to become clearer. So don't get worried if you see me moving my seat.

Spreading is a strategy used to create Layers to an argument in a small amount of time. If you are just fast without adding dimension to your argument then you are dong it wrong and should stop.

I am very expressive, you can tell if I like your argument or if you are winning an argument.

This is an experience for me just as much as it is for you so I like to feel involved in the space.

I understand adapting to judges, but from personal experience you can win in front of any critic doing what you do best.

I am open to adjusting my judging style/practice in nearly anyway that is asked of me.

I will not be offended if you ask me about my familiarity with topic specific acronyms/specific arguments. PLEASE DO SO. I want to know what you're talking about.

Other things:

AFF: You should be "topical", what that means is up for debate. Does that mean in the direction of the topic? Does that mean USFG action? IDK you tell me. But criticizing the "norms" of debate without relation to the topic is iffy for me and in my opinion a negative argument. If you have a justification for it go ahead because I will be evaluating the debate based off my flow anyway, but I am sympathetic to T/Framework Arguments. But don't be discouraged I have read/do read/coach teams to read "non-topical" affirmatives and understand the strategic choice behind doing so. That non-topical affirmative MUST do something.

Case Debate:

The status squo is always an option. Please don't forget the art of case debate. This goes beyond just impact defense. Don't be afraid for a good Impact Turn debate I'm all for a warming good, econ decline good, bio D loss good, ect debate.


I wholeheartedly believe that you can say the state can do a particular policy action, and that single instance is good for x amount of people, without defending the other terrible shit the state has done. Example, Welfare is probably a good thing. Yes there is problems with who gets it, but a world with out it is probably worse. I also believe that wiki disclosures is good defense against predictability claims. I also believe that some teams don't even make an attempt at engagement and some framework shells are written with the intent to never have k debates exist. That's probably a fucked up thing to defend. Don't let that be you. Nonetheless, T debates are dope. I default to competing interpretations unless told otherwise. It will never be a reverse voter. It will never be genocide. You have to have a TVA. Your standards need to be impacted out or else they are just internal links and idk what to do with that. I will not vote on potential abuse. I want to see the blood on the flow. Where did they make the game unfair for you. I think the more specific the evidence/examples the better.


Impact framing and comparisons are major key. I'm cool with Generics DA's as long as your links are baller, but the more unique the DA the better. I believe in a 1% risk of a link. I also believe in a 0% risk of an impact.


I'm all for a good counterplan. 2nc counterplans are cool. 2nc amendments are cool. For me to vote on a CP you need to be super good on the case debate and differentiating the perm. Be clear on the CP text so I can flow it and also establish competition and better evaluate the argument. The states counter plan is definitely a legitimate strategy and should be protected at all cost.


I'm most familiar with argumentation in critical race theory, gender and sexuality args and identity/performance based arguments but this doesn't mean I won't listen to what you have to say if those things aren't your jazz. Reading is Fundamental. I read a lot so I will most likely know what you are talking about. I expect college debaters to also be well read. My patience increases with hs debaters learning about different arguments, none the less you should still be reading. I cannot stress this enough. Reading is imperative. My hs kids have taken a liking to old french dudes so I have tried by best as an educator to familiarize myself with that field of literature to be a better coach. I will give you that same respect as an adjudicator if I don't understand your criticism. I believe engagement and contextualizing your theory with your opponents arguments gets you a long way. Explain what the alt does. I think far too often this explanation is missing from the debate. I don't believe in just voting on links (I say this, but as I think about it you can go for links as disads to the case...idk convince me). You have to find a way to resolve those for me. Also "root cause" arguments are not links, they are just alt solvency evidence.

I don't believe in Fem IR criticisms or other white fem bullshit.


Don't read theory args as a time skew. The aff gets a perm unless you say why. Conditionality: The neg can do whatever they want as long as the positions don't contradict, and they make a decision in the 2nr. I will not judge kick for you. You need to make a decision. Not here for cheap shots. I really don't want to have to judge a theory debate but I understand abuse and am willing to vote on it. If you plan on going for a theory argument, a substantial amount of time needs to be spent on it in the rebuttal. SPEC arguments are the worst thing to happen to debate and I will buy anything the 2a says if its remotely responsive. SPEC arguments are also the shittiest thing to lose on and I will vote on it if asked in cross x to spec something reasonable and you are a dick about it. As said before, I don't like performative contradictions. This also just applies to the rounds that i'm in. I don't care that the person reading framework against you also reads a k aff. It's a game. they picked a strategy that's going to win them the game.


Is binding. Is a speech. I'll write notes during this time. Please Answer questions. Don't be sketchy, I'll know it. Don't be afraid to point out if your opponents are being sketchy.


Do not Fabricate evidence. It's inexcusable. Do not clip cards. its inexcusable.

Challenges of card clipping will result in stopping the debate if material evidence is provided that proves beyond a reasonable doubt in my mind that card clipping has occurred. the offending team will receive a loss and the offending speaker will receive 0 speaker points. however if i conclude that the speaker is not guilty of clipping cards the challenging team will receive a loss and both challenging speakers will receive 0 speaker points.

***clipping cards is not a slurring of words or clack of clarity***


I'm from the school of thought that everybody in the round should have access to all evidence read in the debate. Denial to share citations or disclose is a bitch move. Prepared debate is good debate. Don't get this confused with breaking new, that's all fine.

Prep/Speaking Times:

MY TIME IS THE RIGHT TIME AND THE ONLY TIME THAT MATTERS. I don't count flashing or emailing as prep. Flex prep is not a thing(you cannot use cross-x as prep or time to give another speech). Speak in your assigned time slots (interpret this vaguely. It just means 1 constructive and 1 rebuttal. idc the order) unless for some performative or ethical reason that you can't (For example, if both debaters speak during the 1AC cool. There was a reason for it. Probably performative. In the rebuttal to continue the performance? Cool. Have a debater take over the line by line? Not Cool. This is a clear shift in the competitive aspect and nature of the game. Unless for some reason a debater disappears/goes missing...why would this happen? shit idk, but unusual things happen all the time)

Clarification questions during prep is okay. But don't try to make "a point". If you happen to be a team on the receiving end of someone trying to tear down your argument during prep, please refuse to answer.


I'll hook everyone up with speaks #PointFairy

I understand the joy of speaker awards and I will do my best to help y'all out.

I evaluate speaks of by delivery>argument choice. the team with the better Argument choice will most likely win win the round.

You'll get a 30 if you are just baller, or make me laugh uncontrollably. (I enjoy witty jokes, and I'm a big sports fan if that helps you come up with material)

+0.2 if you make a joke about me

+0.3 for every KD joke

(I haven't made up my mind if I will put a cap on jokes or not, so be a comedian at the risk of knowing you might not be rewarded for all the jokes)

when making analytical arguments I would advise going for the easiest pen to paper phrasing

How I make my Decisions:

I use the burden of rejoinder frame to structure how I evaluate debates.

I hold a strict line with new arguments in the rebuttals so a majority of my time will be lining up arguments.

In clash debates the easiest framing for me is whats most educational and best for the community.

I dislike students who try to post round. This has only happened to me twice. None the less I will not tolerate it. I am also willing to admit that I am wrong. But that will not change my decision. If the understanding that I get form your argument happens in a post round and not in a debate, I cannot reward you for communicating your point late in the game. This is a communication activity and if something didn't reach my flow like how you intended there isn't much I can do but listen and process to the best of my ability. If you think I made the wrong decision that's fine and you are completely entitled to feel that way. It does not change the fact that you loss.

Mics/Things you might wanna know about me:

I am black, and Queer.

pronouns: they/them

I have a very personal relationship to the college topic

You all can call me Jada you don't have to say judge

I was a 2n

I'm a Dog Mom


I have a real pet peeve with what is considered violence in debate

I don’t fuck with people who lie about sexual assault

You can insert re highlighting- you don't have to reread the card

If you wanna talk about college debate I'm here(I debated for UNLV) or I can get you in touch with someone from a program you are interested in.

Quotes from People in The Community about me:

"Super smart and a great person all around" Allego Wang

"Incredibly intelligent + really good at explaining difficult concepts" Ali saffieddine

"Their ability to compartmentalize argumentation and overall communication skills are ones I've always aspired to have and continue to grow from simple conversations I have with them. Jada's ability to empathize with students and find the grammar to communicate in ways to accommodate students needs and comprehension skills is one of the many talented characteristics they have. They will really be personal to you and your needs, with flares of individual organic wisdom they've learned over the years. They will not just lecture you. They will help you on your path to education/understanding difficult literature bases by shining light at your strengths and guiding you to find solutions to your weaknesses. Legit, Jada is one of the most influential person I've been blessed to come across" Yumasie Hellebuick

"You're the 50 cent of this community" -Chris Randall

"Jada is the love of my life" - Caitlin Walrath

"I told ppl to pref u just cuz you’re not afraid to stare a k team down and say “yea I voted on nuke war outweighs” with a smile ¯\_(ツ)_/¯" -Ari Davidson

"Jada makes the best memes" JV Soccer Captain and my Teammate Dan Bannister

These are my jams at the moment do with that what you will:

Patricia Brigitte Anne Suico Paradigm

6 rounds

(free to ask questions or email me at for clarifications - you should 100% add me to the chain). Please call me Georgie.

tl;dr - Run what you want, don't be rude.

General Info

5 years of policy experience (3 years as a 2A, this is my second as a 2N), currently a first year debating for CSU Long Beach, debated for Notre Dame in Sherman Oaks for 4 years. I've run both planless affirmatives and hard right policy affirmatives, as well as a diversity of negative off, so I'm fine with most arguments that aren't "racism good." It's not possible to approach debate without bias, but I try my best not to let my biases dictate my decision (that's a lie, please don't run Baudrillard in front of me. You'll get my ballot if you win, but I'll be very sad about it). I evaluate debates based on offense and defense in the round.

I generally give out good speaks. You’ll only get a 23-26 if you’re excessively rude to your opponents/are overly toxic in ways that are clearly meant in offense to anyone in the room. I judge based on how well you debated, but I am also not willing to reward anyone for toxicity.

If I have to clear you more than 3 times in the same speech, I cap your speaker points at 29. I don't have a lot of pet peeves, but excessive clarity issues for the sake of speed is one of them, especially because I have trouble flowing debates where debaters spread through their analytics and theory blocks as fast as humanly possible. That doesn't mean you can't spread in front of me, just make sure that I can hear your arguments clearly.

If you need a particular accommodation for a disability, sickness, or any other reason (that you do not need to disclose to me), let me know and I will try my best to ensure the debate is more accessible

After a recent debate, I have very, very high standards for voting on disclosure theory. Unless a team made it impossible to engage them, the chances I will vote on disclosure even if they make a technical drop on that flow is VERY low. If you are from a team with a plethora of resources and coaches running this against a small school, the probability is 0.

Lastly, can you post-round me? Sure, but I won't submit speaks until you're done. Same rules about speaks from above apply :) Don't be toxic, especially not to the other team.


Tie case args to the bigger picture - the more specific your arguments are to the aff/how your plan interacts with the neg off-case, the better. In other words, case arguments usually don't exist independent of your off-case - how you apply them is important. Case turns are under-utilized, as is extending case all the way to the 2nr.


Most CPs are legit unless the aff does a good job of debating why they aren’t. The more specific your ev is to the aff and the higher the quality of your cards, the better the debate will go for you. So, while I don't require a solvency advocate, having one can only help you, especially if the CP is questionably legitimate.


I like these debates, but “extinction outweighs” means nothing if you don’t explain why. Impact comparison and framing are very important things, as in you need reasons why your impact accesses/turns theirs and how I should evaluate which impacts come first. Please make my job easier by telling me what to prioritize.

Neg - If the aff is mostly winning the DA debate, having a few "DA turns case" arguments can be very convincing. Links about the plan are great, read them.

Aff - I believe 0% risk of the DA can exist. Internal link chain takeouts are a great and underrated way to decrease the chances I vote on a risk of the DA- as are good analytical reasons why the DA doesn't make sense- and they usually don't. If you have a framing page, don't forget it exists.


I guess in debate terms I can be considered "good for the k," insofar as I'll vote for you if you go for it well. However, a lot of these debates just become two ships passing in the night, and i'm not about that life. Engage with each other.

If you’re neg, link work is actually important- do it. Interact with the aff as much as you possibly can and please don't rely too heavily on buzz words. Don't assume I understand all of your terms - explain and don't be evasive in CX. In the instance that I don’t understand what your k is (which happens a lot in high theory debates), I’ll probably default aff if they win a risk of their impacts. I am not an expert on every possible area of literature, but I have researched/gone for arguments in the realm of disability theory, security, gender, queerness, and cap, if that means anything to you. Lastly, your three minute overview is a great way to lower your speaks.

If you’re aff, don't get lost - remember that you actually have a plan that you can get offense from. Your stuff is probably really cool - defend it. I find myself voting neg in debates where the aff's offense is not directly contextualized to the thesis level of the critique - concession of their theory, for me, lets the neg problematize most parts of the flow for the aff. Usually what happens is that the aff moves too defensively.

Make framework a thing. I generally believe that the aff gets to weigh their stuff, but that's debatable.

Critical Affs

This section is longer than the others, mostly because these debates are often implicated by how judges view debate/critical arguments. I try to operate strictly on what is said in the round, so how you frame the lens through which I judge/view debate will be very important. Debates that just complain about how critical affs are "obviously cheating, judge" will not be very effective with me. Framework is a question of competing models of debate - you need disadvantages to your opponent's model and advantages to yours to win.

On the neg: After being on both sides of the framework debate, I am very open to different interpretations of what debate/the ballot/my role as the judge is - it's only a question of how well you debate your interpretation of them. So yes, I am willing to vote for you if you run framework, and I am willing to vote for you if you don't. Because this matters to some debaters, I do actually think that procedural fairness can be a terminal impact if you debate it well. TVAs are really good to have - winning one is solid internal link defense to the aff. Yes, the aff's DAs and case arguments actually mean something - don't drop them. Try to clash with the aff as much as possible, which includes how T interacts with their offense. Do not attempt to post round me after you go for framework with 0 defense to the aff's theories/offense.

If you prefer a k aff v k debate, the same thing I said about critiques above applies, but try to establish competition early in the debate or the perm will be very convincing.

Presumption arguments are vastly under-used and true 98% of the time.

On the aff: Feel free to run whatever. If I don’t understand what your aff is, I’d be more willing to vote neg on presumption if they go for it. Have external offense on framework other than "the discussion is important" and a methodology that you can defend. Give me a reason why you need to exist outside of the topic or the resolution. I definitely need a reason why the ballot resolves your offense/what my role as the judge is. The perm is usually a good option in K v K debates. Try to clash with the neg as much as possible, which includes how T/the K interacts with your offense. A few good disads to T/the K are better than 30 oddly named and often unexplained ones.


I generally find that T debates are unfortunately a lot of block reading - engagement with the other team's arguments has to actually be a thing. Make an impact about what you want me to care about - “limits” or “ground” isn’t that big of a deal if you don’t tell me why. Impact comparison is important. If the debate comes down to a question of what ground you get if we use the neg interpretation or the aff interpretation, talk about why that ground is better than theirs. Talk about why your interp has a better functional limit on the topic, etc. On the neg, making in-round abuse claims are pretty convincing if you can win them.

As a warning: Don't expect me to fill in the gaps for you in these debates because I have, quite literally, 0 pre-dispositions on T. Even if an aff "obviously explodes limits, judge," a lack of actual analysis and some decent aff defense probably means that you will still lose. I'm by no means an expert on the topic, which means that arguments on T need to every well developed and explained.

Misc about content and theory:

-Slow down. Please don't spread through your theory/analytical blocks as quickly as humanly possible. Theory debates can get techy and can be difficult to resolve when I have no idea what you said in ____ speech.

-More than 3 condo and I'll get annoyed - not enough to vote you down automatically if the aff makes a theory argument, but more sympathetic

-Some CPs that are probably a little sketchy: consult, delay, word PICs, CPs that fiat multiple actors/uniformity. No, I won’t kick the CP/K for you unless you explicitly say it and the aff doesn’t tell me why I shouldn’t.

-A well-developed 1-5 off strategy is much more effective than your 10 off 1nc shell - your primary strategy should not be predicated on you making sure the 2ac gets like 3 arguments on each flow. I won't reject you for it, but I will be very sympathetic to new 1ar spins/pivots.

Zach Thiede Paradigm

6 rounds

— It is important to me that you are VERY clear at the end of the debate. Tell me what you are winning and how it relates and interacts to what the other team has said and why that means you should get the ballot. This is not done well enough in 90% of debates which is a huge bummer because it usually makes voting very easy for a judge.

— I often vote on technical concessions. I will practically never vote on truth over tech, because it is just short for “I like intervening in rounds as a judge.”

— I rarely read evidence unless there is some sort of dispute around it or I have been directed to do so by the debaters. I think this is the most fair way of adjudicating a debate for it requires the least amount of intervention on my part and rewards clarity in the debate. This also allows me to avoid drawing on information of your arguments that I held prior to the debate.

— If a team takes prep to ask a question, they can cut you off whenever they want.

— My last year of college I went for Baudrillard on the aff and the neg every debate. Take that as you will (I understand this may ruin my prefs for some people, but I went for only topical arguments the rest of my entire debate career.)

— My debate partner in college, Zachery Baker, shares a similar judging style to me (he also has a much longer paradigm). If you want a longer explanation of my judging paradigm I would go look at his page.

Rough point scale: 29.9-30 (perfect), 29.4-29.8 (some of the best debating I have seen all year), 28.9-29.3 (great), 28.4-28.8 (good), 27.9-28.3 (meh), below-27.8 (needs some serious work)

Jacob Thompson Paradigm

1 rounds

Jacob Thompson, Director of Debate, University of Nevada, Las Vegas—19 years NDT/CEDA coaching. Yes, I want to be on the email chain:

I see my role in the round as that of an adjudicator and critic of argument. Debate is a game that we play that is facilitated by fiat: the mutual agreement that we will discuss whether or not the plan should be done. Fiat is concerned with the merits of the affirmative plan. Playing this game is an ideal forum for us to educate ourselves, train the opinion leaders and policy makers of the future, and to have fun.

Negative Strategy--I prefer, ideally, to listen to large well researched-case specific debates with specific disadvantages and a strategic CP. I believe in preserving maximum strategic flexibility for negative teams. Contradictions aren’t always a bad thing early in the debate, as long as the block boils it down and the 2NR is consistent.

Topicality—Generally, I don’t like judging T debates… I’d much rather listen to other things, although I understand that it is important to get rid of patently ridiculous affirmatives. I believe that topicality is a question of competing interpretations and of competing evidence. I am not persuaded by T is not a voter, or “reverse voting issue” arguments. The best way to win a T debate in front of me is to prove actual abuse, although evaluating T as a question of competing interpretations means that I necessarily must consider potential abuse. I will vote on Extra-T (see plan flaw arguments).

Affirmative Strategy—As a debater, I typically ran huge middle of the road cases with big impacts. The best advantages typically have strong internal links and impacts that leverage both timeframe and magnitude. I think plan wording is VERY important; it’s sacred for negative pre-round prep and strategy. A miswritten plan typically means that the affirmative team will lose (as long as the negative team argues the importance of correct and precise plan wording). I will vote on plan flaw arguments and 1 word PICS.

A good 1AR should try to bury the 2NR by reading plenty of evidence, covering, and always using offense. For the 1AR and 2AR (and obviously the 2NR too), it is important to extend warrants inside your evidence, doing more than just saying “extend the Smith in ’17 evidence.” You should explain the importance/relevance/implications of the evidence as well. A good 1AR will give the judge some pen time to flow analytics (especially theory).

I am not pre-disposed to vote for “non-traditional affs” that have only a tangential (or personal) relationship to the topic. Because of this I do not often judge teams that typically read these types of affirmative arguments. However, I have seen a few teams read non-traditional affirmatives, which I thought were very persuasive. These affs often have explicit relationships to the topic and can demonstrate their predictability, negatability, etc in relationship to the resolution. Framework/Topicality is a viable negative strategy against non-traditional types of affirmatives, but additional arguments that are directly related to the aff advocacy often make framework arguments even more persuasive.

Disadvantages—The specificity of the link is important for negative teams, and I generally believe that winning a specific link means that you’re likely to win most of the rest of a disadvantage. I generally default to link determining the direction of the DA.

More affs should straight turn disads in the 2AC--it's a great strategy to mess up the neg's pre-planned 2NC/1NR strategy, and generally makes it more difficult to deliver an effective block. Defensive answers can go a long way to minimize (or defeat) a DA, and depending on the quality of neg argumentation on a DA, I would potentially be willing to assign zero (or near-zero) risk to a DA. Common sense indicts of a DAs internal link chain, can potentially accomplish the same thing, especially if the Aff answers these arguments poorly.

Critical arguments—I am more likely to vote for a middle of the road K that is debated like a disad with a CP (the alt) tacked on the end. I strongly prefer criticisms related to the resolution/topic area with links that are specific to the aff, and an impact/implication that is explained in relation to the aff harms/advantages. They should also have an external impact. Specificity of the link to a critique is just as important as it is for a DA. I generally dislike certain critical arguments such as death isn’t bad (even though some teams have made that argument successfully and well), silence is good, poetry-related stuff, and anyone who says performativity and can’t explain what that means in terms of what I said above in relation to fiat. Affirmatives should always permute critical arguments, and making framework-related arguments against the critique can be effective. However if the critique is an intrinsic cost related to the affirmative, then your framework arguments are probably less likely to help you win. Negative alternatives/advocacies should have some discernible text (either one that you have written or a line or 2 in your evidence). I have recently become more exposed to critical arguments related to ableism, and have found certain aspects of those arguments persuasive.

CPs—No 1NC is complete without a CP (or 2 or 3…run lots of them if you want). I am not opposed to consult CPs, the states CP, or CPs that may result in the implementation of the aff--especially when they have a specific solvency advocate. It's pretty difficult, if not almost impossible for the aff to win "conditionality bad" in front of me. The text of the CP (and all perms) should be written out, and I hold them to as high a standard as I do the affirmative plan. Negative team should not be afraid to CP in the 2NC (it is a constructive, aff gets a CX, and the risk of a straight turn in the 1AR should check any abuse). These 2NC counter plans could be used to make external impact turns or uniqueness takeouts go away. I will judge kick a CP for you if you tell me that I can. I will not do so if you don't explicitly say (during your speech) it's an option that I have, but am unlikely to exercise.

Other Things—

1)FLOW--seriously, I feel silly telling anyone that they should flow, but your REALLY should, even if you have the speech doc in front of you. Answering an argument in your speech that did not appear in your oppositions speech makes you look bad and means you weren't paying attention.

2) If I can’t understand you I will say “clearer” please just slow down a notch or speak more clearly. Start your speeches out slowly and build up to top speed. If I have to tell you “clearer” more than 3 times I’m likely to stop trying to flow arguments that I can’t understand.

3) Debate should be fun, be nice and respectful to everyone involved.

4) Answer CX questions, don’t be evasive.

5) I have worked recently to make sure that my points are in the main-stream. Fighting against point inflation seems like a losing battle, and it's less important in the world of tenth point increments without ties.

6) I will read cards after a debate, especially if the debaters don’t explain them. If a card doesn’t in my opinion pass the “laugh test” I am unlikely to buy that particular argument, even if the other team does not talk about it (although they should).

7) I keep a semi-running clock—if it’s not speech time it’s CX or prep (excluding road maps, time to find lost flows or evidence, or bathroom/water breaks). Don’t steal prep. You do not have to take/count prep for sending your speech doc as an email. If your team is a tech train-wreck, I may audible during the debate and give you a warning. If the train-wreck continues, I will start deducting prep time...

8) "I will not give up my ballot to anyone else. I will not evaluate arguments about the actions of debaters that took place when I was not in the room or that occurred in 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, wanting me to play video games, asking me to adjudicate a discussion or a board or card game, or to do any other thing that is not debate are advised to strike me, as this is all a waste of my very precious time." Borrowed (with slight edits) from Matt Gomez.

9) Analytic arguments that make sense are a good way to spend your time. Saying things that make sense and do not require evidence to prove generally create a good time tradeoff for you.

10) I will accept re-highlighted evidence "inserted into the record of the debate" if you explain argument's utility/function OR read the re-highlighting of each piece of evidence that you're inserting.

11) The best debaters consistently do the following things:

a. Make evidentiary comparisons—“our evidence on X argument is better than theirs for the following 3 reasons.” These reasons may include, but are not limited to qualifications, recency, history is on our side, more complete/better warrants, etc.

b. Understand that they are not winning every argument and hedge against the arguments that the other team may be ahead on. Saying things like, “even if you don’t believe that we are winning argument X, we still win the debate, because…”

c. Engage heavily in impact analysis, making sure to compare your impacts to the other teams.

d. Remember that defensive arguments are still important, and that other teams often don’t give them the credence that they deserve. Dropping arguments like “economic declines don’t lead to war,” or “Russian military is a disaster can’t project any power now” may lead me to assign little to no risk to your argument.

e. Be deep on offensive arguments. A few well-developed arguments in the block are typically better than 7 or 8 shallowly developed arguments.

f. Are unafraid to make logical arguments forcefully, without necessarily using “cards” as evidence.

g. Sound like they believe the arguments they are making; a good debater with a strong sense of advocacy is truly persuasive, and will get good speaker points.

h. Stand up in their speeches and CX, use their ethos effectively, and have a bit of swagger without going over the top.

Christopher Vincent Paradigm

4 rounds

Christopher Vincent
Director of Speech & Debate
Isidore Newman School

Add me to the email chain:

Additional Conflicts:

Brown School (KY), Torrey Pines (CA), and Dulles (NB & AW)

Updated 1/6/20

Relevant for Both Policy & LD:

This is my 16th year in debate. I debated in high school, and then went on to debate at the University of Louisville. In addition, I was the Director of Debate at both Fern Creek & Brown School in KY, a former graduate assistant for the University of Louisville, and the Director of Speech & Debate at LSU. I am also a doctoral candidate in Communication & Rhetorical studies, with a Graduate Certificate in Womens, Gender, and Sexuality studies.

I view my role as an educator and believe that it is my job to evaluate the debate in the best way I can and in the most educational way possible. Over the past several years have found myself moving more and more to the middle. So, my paradigm is pretty simple. I like smart arguments and believe that debates should tell a clear and succinct story of the ballot. Simply put: be concise, efficient, and intentional.

Here are a few things you should know coming into the round:

1. I will flow the debate. But PLEASE slow down on the tag lines and the authors. I don’t write as fast as I used to. I will yell clear ONE TIME. After that, I will put my pen down and stop flowing. So, don't be mad at the end of the debate if I missed some arguments because you were unclear. I make lots of facial expressions, so you can use that as a guide for if I understand you

2. I value effective storytelling. I want debates to tell me a clear story about how arguments interact with one another, and as such see debates holistically. Accordingly, dropped arguments are not enough for me to vote against a team. You should both impact your arguments out and tell me why it matters.

3. I will not vote for arguments that are racist, homophobic, sexist, or ableist in nature.

4. Do what you do best. While I do not believe that affirmatives have to be topical, I also find myself more invested in finding new and innovative ways to engage with the topic. Do with that what you will. I am both well versed and have coached students in a wide range of literature. I believe that there are implications to the things we talk about in debate, and believe that our social locations inevitably shape the beliefs that we hold.

5. If you do not believe that performative/critical arguments have a place, or that certain argument choices are “cheating,” I’m probably not the judge for you.

6. Know what you’re talking about. The quickest way to lose a debate in front of me is to read something because it sounds and looks “shiny.” I enjoy debates where students are well read/versed on the things they are reading, care about them, and can actually explain them. Jargon is not appealing to me. If it doesn’t make sense or if I don’t understand it at the end of the debate I will have a hard time evaluating it.

7. I will listen to Theory, FW, and T debates, but I do not believe that it is necessarily a substantive response to certain arguments. Prove actual in-round abuse, actual ground loss, actual education lost (that must necessarily trade off with other forms of education)n. I do not believe in neutral education, neutral conceptions of fairness, or even ground, or limits. If you run theory, be ready to defend it. Actual abuse is not because you don't understand the literature, know how to deal with the argument, or that you didn't have time to read it.

8. Be respectful of one another and to me. I am a teacher and educator first. I don’t particularly care for foul language, or behavior that would be inappropriate in the classroom.

9. Finally, make smart arguments and have fun. I promise I will do my best to evaluate the debate you give me.

If you have any other questions, just ask.

Chris Wang Paradigm

6 rounds

Please include me in the email chain:


I will do my best do be a “tabula rasa,” but I have my implicit biases. I will vote for the team that is more persuasive, and I will try to keep an open mind about any argument brought up. That said, here is some background about my debate experience: I debated on The Meadows School policy debate team in high school for 4 years under the tutelage of Alderete Sensei and graduated in 2012. I ran any argument that I considered strategic.

The Issues

-The affirmative must uphold the stock issues, and the negative should probably address these.

-I often ran Kritiks and found them to be some of the most thought-provoking arguments I came across in debate. However, it should actually pertain to the case you are debating and should not be an excuse to distract from the substance of the debate. That said, they are fair game and can make for a great debate.

-I will consider Theory arguments, but usually these should not be the only argument being debated unless it is the only option. It is important to consider the actual activity of debate and its structure, but no one likes a bad Theory debate.

Speech & Logistics

Although the debate round is set up like a game, in my opinion, the goal of the debate should be to learn about the topic and improve speaking skills. Excessive use of debate or expert jargon will make it harder to understand you and makes you less persuasive.

If you are speaking too fast and I can’t understand you, I will call “Clearer!” or “Slower!” If you continue and I still can’t understand you after a few warnings, I will stop flowing.

Be respectful during cross-examination; cutting people off and being rude makes you look bad. Please don’t interrupt anyone while they are giving a speech.

Prep time stops when you hit send on the email or hand the USB to your opponent.

This should go without saying, but I do not tolerate racism, sexism, homophobia, or any other type of discrimination or hate speech. Treat your opponent with respect.


“I want a good clean, fight.”

Brian Warren Paradigm

5 rounds

Personal Summary:

Assistant debate coach @ Damien HS in La Verne, California. Debated policy at UNLV. Had some accomplishments.

General Overview -

*Tech > Truth* Its the only way for bad 2AC add-ons to survive. I give 1ARs leeway, but not too much. If an argument is obviously asinine, then you should be able to refute it even without cards. Favorite debates are Impact Turn debates and Soft Left Affs v Disad/CP debates. However, when extending a dropped argument don't just say "they dropped XYZ argument" and move on. This is terrible :( You need to explain why that matters in the debate, otherwise, it'll be hard for me to evaluate that argument properly.

*I like a good policy v policy debate* where each side goes in-depth on certain arguments, however I dislike when teams throw a thousand cards around but don't explain any of them. I also like K v policy debates, they are some of the most interesting debates. K v K debates are a toss up, sometimes they are cool, other times they're not. I don't like it when teams say buzzwords and don't explain them. I have knowledge about the Set Col/Security/Marx lit, but other than that, I am aware that the lit exists but never read it myself (i.e. DnG)

*Have fun* Be adventurous! Go for arguments that are interesting (but that you are prepared to go for). Debate gets boring after reading the same thing a millionth time. Experiment! Read that barely topical aff! Read that hot-off-the-press CP (without or a without a solvency advocate). Make jokes if you can/want.

*Speed* I am fine with speed, but when you are reading analytics, SLOW DOWN! I can understand what you are saying, but my hand can only write so fast! This is a big issue on T when 2A's read multiple distinct analytical arguments but read them as if they were cards.

Detailed (more or less) View of Debate:

DA: Enjoy them. A well thought out story is awesome! Generics are fine, but please contextualize or I will be more likely to discount your evidence. Impact calc is important, especially turns case that make sense. I am a HUGE fan of politics DA's. Especially ones that are unique (i.e. specific senator like UNLV's Rubio DA).

CP: Enjoy them too. Interesting CP's are awesome! CPs with a billion planks are cool too (but honestly might lean Aff on theory for some atrocious CP's i.e. Consult CP's/Delay CP's.). Its okay if you CP doesn't have a solvency advocate.

T: Ok. Not the best judge honestly, but understand it enough to adjudicate fairly. T is about a vision of the topic, so even if your interp is limiting, could it be universally assumed by other teams i.e. if I saw the topic, is this a definition that would produce fruitful debates?

FW: Solid. These debates get boring, but I have been in tons of them so I understand what you need to win and how you are going to lose. Choose either fairness or education/advocacy/whatever flavor in the 2NR. I am solid either way. The cold debaters who say debate is a game and nothing matters will win just as much as the debaters who say debate is a training ground and policy education is good. HOWEVER, even though I understand FW, it DOES NOT mean I will auto vote for you.

Make sure to impact out your T arguments. Tell me why fairness/education etc. matters! Don't just say that being topical causes movements or reduces dogmatism, you need the next step as to why movements are good or why dogmatism is bad. Otherwise it would be very hard for me to vote on framework. Having a TVA that actually solves some portion of the aff is very effective in neutralizing aff offense, but it needs to have a line or two as to why it actually solves/accesses their lit base. Don't be afraid to go all in on fairness.

K: Enjoy them, either side of the debate. They can sometimes be the most cool arguments in debate, but also can be the worst arguments. You do you. Links need to not be generic. You have to clearly articulate the story and why the K matters. I will vote on extinction outweighs, but I also know what the policy teams needs to win to beat the k and if they don't I'll easily vote on the K. K aff's are cool too. Seriously, I hate speeches on K's that end up being super generic. I am a fan of security and set col, but if your speech sounds like it could have been delivered in any other debate regardless of the aff, you will have a hard time getting my ballot regardless of what happens.

C-X: You can be aggressive but don't be mean. Answer questions, I will give you low speaks if you are dodgy; However, not every question has a yes or no answer, and your opponent is perfectly within their rights to say they need to give an explanation. C-X gets you high speaker points, use it to defeat your opponent.

Theory: Boo! Not the best judge for this, lean Aff on a lot of things such as Consult CP's bad, Delay CP's bad, Floating PIK's bad. Yes I will vote on Condo. BUT PLEASE DON'T MAKE THE DEBATE ABOUT THEORY. I understand if its your only way out, but for the love of god, don't please. If you do have to go for theory, please make it into a coherent story i.e. tell me why Consult CP's would be net worse for debate than if we were to allow them.

Any questions, send me an email Please include me on the email chain.

Ben Weinhardt Paradigm

2 rounds

Hi, I am Ben

My Background

I debated for Dowling Catholic (2010-2014). Later I attended Gonzaga University, where I debated all four years (2014-2018).


I have experience with all arguments. I used to read Disads, ptx, policy affs, k affs, 1 off k strategies, pics, process counterplans, T violations, framework, etc. If I didn't read it, I most likely debated against it enough to somewhat understand the argument. I try to evaluate arguments without personal bias, resolving debates by choosing the team that has properly framed the terms of the debate and won on those terms. If you want me to be a policymaker, tell me. If you want me to be a critical intellectual, tell me. I also like creativity and analytic argumentation that demonstrates critical thinking.

other things

Please don't be loud, by all means be yourself, but please no yelling. Debate is an indoor activity, use your indoor voice.

Scott Wheeler Paradigm

6 rounds

1. Offense-defense, but can be persuaded by reasonability in theory debates. I don't believe in "zero risk" or "terminal defense" and don't vote on presumption (though technically i guess I do in debates where the aff goes for "perm do the CP" and wins that it isn't severance, but not in any other instance). 

2. I'll submit the ballot that is most persuasive to me, and will try to think through the story of each ballot before choosing (of course, in good debates, that's what the final rebuttals do). I won't simply point to an argument on my flow and say "I voted on this," nor will my RFD lead with technical advice in lieu of an actual decision. Substantive questions are resolved probabilistically--only theoretical questions (e.g. is the perm severance, does the aff meet the interp) are resolved "yes/no," and will be done so with some unease, forced upon me by the logic of debate. 

3. Dropped arguments are "true," but this just means the warrants for them are true. Their implication can still be contested. The exception to this is when an argument and its implication are explicitly conceded by the other team for strategic reasons (like when kicking out of a disad). Then both are "true."

1. Conditionality bad is an uphill battle. I think it's good, and will be more convinced by the negative's arguments. I also don't think the number of advocacies really matters. Unless it was completely dropped, the winning 2AR on condo in front of me is one that explains why the way the negative's arguments were run together limited the ability of the aff to have offense on any sheet of paper.

2. I think of myself as aff-leaning in a lot of counterplan theory debates, but usually find myself giving the neg the counterplan anyway, generally because the aff fails to make the true arguments of why it was bad.

1. I don't think I evaluate these differently than anyone else, really. Perhaps the one exception is that I don't believe that the affirmative needs to win uniqueness for a link turn to be offense. If uniqueness really shielded a link turn that much, it would also overwhelm the link. In general, I probably give more weight to the link and less weight to uniqueness.

2. On politics, I will probably ignore "intrinsicness" or "fiat solves the link" arguments, unless badly mishandled (like dropped through two speeches).


1. I like kritiks, provided two things are true: 1--there is a link. 2--the thesis of the K indicts the truth of the aff. If the K relies on framework to make the aff irrelevant, I start to like it a lot less (role of the ballot = roll of the eyes). I'm similarly annoyed by aff framework arguments against the K. The K itself answers any argument for why policymaking is all that matters (provided there's a link). I feel negative teams should explain why the affirmative advantages rest upon the assumptions they critique, and that the aff should defend those assumptions.

2. I think I'm less techincal than some judges in evaluating K debates. Something another judge might care about, like dropping "fiat is illusory," probably matters less to me (fiat is illusory specifically matters 0%). I also won't be as technical in evaluating theory on the perm as I would be in a counterplan debate (e.g. perm do both isn't severance just because the alt said "rejection" somewhere--the perm still includes the aff). The perm debate for me is really just the link turn debate. Generally, unless the aff impact turns the K, the link debate is everything.

3. Many of these debates seem to involve one team discussing a nuanced critique and the other side arguing "state bad" or "state good." Not surprisingly, I'm generally going to side with the team doing the former. 

Nontraditional affirmatives:

Versus T:
1. I usually vote neg in these debates, because the aff never has a defensible interp (to be honest, I think the current model might be what they want--these affs require a boogeyman to rail against). Some people seem to view these debates as a plan/counterplan debate where the 1AC is weighed against the "topical version of the aff." I don't subscribe to that view. The affirmative has to defend an interp. If I do vote aff, one of two things has happened. Most often, the aff successfully impact-turned the impacts the negative went for. The other time I vote aff is when the neg doesn't have an external impact--their offense is simply "we're the better version of the discussion you want to have." In those debates, "TVA doesn't solve" does become offense against their interp.

2. I've noticed that some judges tend to dismiss T impacts that I take seriously. I've seen this with not just fairness, which I think is the truest T impact, but others run less often (like "moral hazzard") that were in the 2NR and then not in the RFD at all. I think a lot of things can be impacts to T, so aff teams might want to spend more time on them. 

3. To be honest, I enjoy judging K affs with plans, and wish teams ran them more. With judges voting on nonsense like PIC out of fiat and Schlag, I can see why teams don't. And of course you also still have to answer politics/util and regular T (which you might not be used to debating), but I think those are pretty doable and you'd be in better shape in front of me if you are a team that is at all flexible.

Versus the K:
1. Affs are in much better shape here because, for me, it's not up for debate whether planless affs get to perm. They do. I have yet to hear a convincing argument as to why there is such a thing as a "methods debate" for which theories of debate competition no longer apply. If the negative has a better methodology or starting point, I will vote aff, provided the aff methodology or starting point is good. I wouldn't vote for a counterplan that solves warming better than the aff without a link to a disad, and I don't believe competition theory goes out the window because it's a performance aff. If the aff doesn't get a perm, there's no reason the neg would have to have a link.


Topicality versus plan affs:
1. I used to enjoy these debates. It seems like I'm voting on T less often than I used to, but I also feel like I'm seeing T debated well less often. I enjoy it when the 2NC takes T and it's well-developed and it feels like a solid option out of the block. What I enjoy less is when it isn't but the 2NR goes for it as a hail mary and the whole debate occurs in the last two speeches.

2. Teams overestimate the importance of "reasonability." Winning reasonability shifts the burden to the negative--it doesn't mean that any risk of defense on means the T sheet of paper is thrown away. It generally only changes who wins in a debate where the aff's counter-interp solves for most of the neg offense but doesn't have good offense against the neg's interp.

LD section:
1. I've been judging LD less, but I still have LD students, so my familarity with the topic will be greater than what is reflected in my judging history.

2. Everything in the policy section applies. This includes the part about substantive arguments being resolved probablistically, my dislike of relying on framework to preclude arguments, and not voting on defense or presumption. If this radically affects your ability to read the arguments you like to read, you know what to do.  

3. If I haven't judged you or your debaters in a while, I think I vote on theory less often than I did say three years ago (and I might have already been on that side of the spectrum by LD standards, but I'm not sure). I've still never voted on an RVI so that hasn't changed.

4. The 1AR can skip the part of the speech where they "extend offense" and just start with the actual 1AR.

Jefferey Yan Paradigm

6 rounds

Name: Jefferey Yan
Affiliation: Stuyvesant High School ’15
Binghamton University '19
Background: Debated for 8 years, currently enrolled in a Master's program at Binghamton for Economics.
NDT 2019 First Round, Octos. CEDA Semis.

I read a plan for a majority of my time in HS on the aff, and various K arguments on the neg. In college, I read an affirmative about Asian-Americans every year with a variety of flavors and a few about disability. On the neg, we also went for various K arguments.

Form preferences:

1. I think line by line is an effective way to both record and evaluate clash that happens in debate. Answering arguments is what makes debate debate, so I am obviously open to alternative interpretations of how I should flow or use my flow when rendering a decision, but I think these arguments need to be impacted out.

2. Framing your arguments in the rebuttals is what makes them different from constructives. The biggest problem for me when evaluating debates is there is often little explanation of how I should treat the rest of debate if you win x argument. In other words, you need to impact your arguments not just on the line by line, but also in the broader context of the debate.

Argumentative familiarity/thoughts:

Framework/T-USFG: Framework is an interesting tool that with potentially many moving parts that can all be utilized effectively if impacted well especially in the 2NR. My ideal block on FW is where you spend time articulating specific abuse and why it implicates your ability to debate with examples instead of generic blocks. I think specificity is what makes the difference between framework as a strategy for engagement versus framework as a strategy for ignoring the aff and trying to win the debate anyway. Generally speaking, I think ties to the topic are good. I think topical versions of the aff are something people need to be going for in the 2NR, because it provides so much defense that otherwise is generally difficult to deal with given the 2AR's ability to wax poetic. I am unpersuaded by fairness as an intrinsic good/impact in itself -- I think it is an internal link to an impact. For example, I am relatively easily persuaded by the argument if a form of the game produces bad things, then preserving it is not an intrinsic good and probably doesn't necessarily come first unless argued otherwise. I think framing the benefits/DA's to different interpretations of debate through education makes the most sense to me -- it just makes more sense to me that everyone plays the game of debate to learn something, but not everybody plays the game just because it's fair. Hence, I think clash impacts are persuasive and if you insist on going for procedural fairness, explaining an internal link to clash is by far the most persuasive way to get my ballot.

I default to competing interps, but I think that aff teams have a tendency to read awful C/Is without realizing it, mostly because they fail to really think through what their counter-model of debate looks like. eg. If you read a C/I that says "The aff has to be an affective tie to the topic," it means that the only briteline for being a "topical aff" is to have an affective tie to the topic. This probably explodes limits and I have no clue what affs would look like under this model, let alone debates.

I think that there are plenty of times where impact turning standards is a fine strategy for the aff, but it's important to realize that they become much stronger with a counterinterp that can solve them. If your counterinterp is booty/you don't go for it, it's a lot harder to win just on impact turns. This is not to say it's impossible to win just going for impact turns -- I've definitely voted for them plenty of times, but it is something to keep in mind.

I think you need to go to the case page in the 2NR.

to quote allan xu: "i think i'm 51/49 against framework (ie i'd vote aff in a tie) but my bias is SUPER easily overcome by good debating."

T: See above. Interp debating is good.

DA: Obviously fine. Internal link debating please. Please call it "oo-smack-uh".

CP: Also fine, I just wish people slowed down when reading CP texts because it makes it so god damn hard to flow them. Judge-kick is stupid, but if you are explicit I'll do it. I think external net benefits are good. These debates also tend to get theoretical -- please for the love of god slow down on your theory arguments.

K: Also obviously fine. I am most familiar with structural kritiks. I think whether or not you need an alt to win depends on how you explain it, but being indecisive/not kicking an alt is dangerous because it allows the 2AR to do what they want with it. Link specificity is good. I will say that I am less familiar post-modern styles of argumentation, but this lack of familiarity can be easily overcome by actually explaining your argument instead of jargoning your way through the speech. Context matters. Impact comparison is good.

K but on the aff: These debates are largely a question of the role of various things -- debate, the judge, the ballot. Usually the winners in these debates are ahead of framing arguments about those things. I think almost all K-affs are susceptible to presumption arguments, and I wish people would go for more of these arguments in the 2NR. I think the argument "no perms in a methods debate" is asinine, and if you don't want the aff to get a perm, you are better off just putting substantive disads on it.

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: