Barkley Forum for High Schools

2020 — Atlanta, GA/US

Brianna Aaron Paradigm

4 rounds

Newark Science '18 (competed in LD and Policy for 6 years) and Wake Forest University '22 (competing in college policy and public debate)

For the email chains: (won't look at docs unless necessary)


Newark Science (NJ), Success Academy HS (NY), and FlexDebate participants

Paradigm should be applicable for both the LD and Policy debaters.


Let's be honest. Debaters are stale nowadays and I get severely bored. Debate should be as much about style and charisma as it should be about technical skills. If you don't have an effective combination of tech and ethos, then your speaks probably won't look the way you want them to look. If your A-rule is to be an ass in the round, then I will either drop your speaks or drop the team (depending on how I feel that day and the severity of what occurred). Also, PLEASE BE CLEAR. I don't typically look at cards and, if I feel the need to keep clearing you, your speaks will go down.


There's really no brightline to what a trick is and what it is not so, if I feel like your argument is unwarranted or blippy, then I won't vote on it. Do with that what you will.


There's an arguably terrible delineation between philosophy and K debates in LD. They're both philosophies (just different veins of thought) so I'll evaluate them similarly. This, however, is not the lit base I study or even care about so you put yourself at severe risks with reading this arg in front of me, especially if the lit base is dense.

Additionally, reading any args that shut down convos on oppression will be an auto reason why I don't evaluate the argument. In some cases, it'll also be a reason you lose the round.


With my background, I obviously like Ks (with my specialties being in antiblackness lit bases and antihumanist scholarship) but I WILL NOT be your favorite K hack. Some things to note here:

1. Do not pull out a K if you're not comfortable with it. At the end of it all, everyone will be confused in the round and you won't be satisfied with what I write on the ballot. Just stick with your theory, fwk, or DA/CP strat please if this isn't your style of debate.

2. You need good framing, alt explanation, and a clearly devised overview (preferably not too long for the LDers).

3. Performance/Kritikal Affs need to solve for something. If they don't solve for anything, then tell me why that's a viable ballot for me. Really not a fan of debate bad affs but I'll vote on it.

4. Pre-fiat and Post-fiat distinctions are arbitrary to me.

5. My viewpoints on the world are ever-evolving so I doubt my personal opinion on your K lit matters as much as your ability to persuade me of its content. This requires good alt explanation and fore-going terrible debate/academic jargon.

Stock Issues (CPs/DAs)

All for it. Just provide me with weighing and a short overview and we're good. Not the best for hard core PTX debates.

Topicality, Framework, and Theory

Yes. I default reasonability and drop the argument unless told otherwise. If this debate is messy or confusing, I will just stop flowing because I don't care for thinking through bad arguments. So, be alert. I also won't vote on frivolous theory unless it was just horrifically answered.

In LD, I'll vote for a RVI (very reluctantly) if need be because it's a part of LD norms.

FWK v K affs: Contrary to whatever preconceived assumption you may have, I'll lean whatever side has sufficiently made good arguments.

Good luck and remember to keep these rounds interesting!

Miscellaneous Things Regarding E-Debate:

So, after judging a couple of Policy and Public Forum rounds online, here's some of my thoughts for adaptation to me:

a. I flow on my computer so I'm looking at my flow and not you. If you want to garner Pathos in round or you have some performance that requires me to look at you, you should probably just ask me before the round to flow on paper. I'm willing to accommodate for the most part (unless I'm struggling to find a pen/paper).

b. Spreading needs to start off slow and build up. Audio quality hasn't been too severe of a challenge but I've noticed slight clarity problems.

c. Due to everyone having different tech circumstances, I'm totally willing for people to not take prep/CX time to ask basic clarification questions. If I notice that you're asking an obscene amount of clarification questions though, then I'll start to mentally question whether it truly is a computer based problem as opposed to a "I just wasn't flowing" issue. So don't take advantage of this because your speaks just won't look pretty.

d. I still haven't needed to look at people's docs extensively to make my decisions so don't expect me to flow from your doc. This one is more subject to change though depending on people's circumstances.

e. Short blippy arguments are a no. This is particular to you, LDers. I honestly don't care anymore and will just not flow/pay attention to them. If I didn't catch it, I'm not evaluating it and will point towards my paradigm in my RFD. When this becomes egregious and it shows you didn't read my paradigm, then you won't be satisfied with my decision. Work on explanation even in the midst of the supposed "time crunch".

f. It's hard to determine speaker points nowadays since I'm paying attention to your voice more than anything else. I refuse to point inflate to rectify that though. To get high speaks from me, I think your style need to be either critical, humorous, charismatic, eye-opening, or preferably a combination of all of these.

Greg Achten Paradigm


I expect the debate to be conducted as though it were a classroom setting. As such inappropriate behavior, specifically cursing, will not be tolerated. If you choose to curse during the debate expect dramatically lower speaker points. Further, if the behavior of one of the teams crosses the line into what I deem to be inappropriate or highly objectionable behavior I will stop the debate and award a loss to the offending team. Examples of this behavior include but are not limited to highly sexual or sexualized performances, abusive behavior or threats of violences.


The execution of the argument is almost as important as the quality of the evidence supporting the argument. A really good disad with good cards that is poorly explained and poorly extended is not compelling to me. Conversely a well explained argument with evidence of poor quality is also unlikely to impress me.

Critiques: If your K is not mainstream you will need to explain it to me. Probably most importantly though, the affirmative can make a wide range of critical arguments in front of me but will be way better off if they have a plan or defend a policy alternative. I have a very strong neg leaning on the question of whether the aff should have a plan or should have to defend something. Finally, arguments like “debate is bad and should be destroyed" will likely not be compelling to me.

Topicality/Theory: I am slightly less prone than other judges to vote on topicality. Although I do take a fairly strict view of the topic and am willing to enforce that view when teams do a good job of arguing topicality I often find topicality arguments that are not based on expert/technical definitions of key terms of art in the resolution to fairly hard for the negative to win. I probably err slightly neg. on most theory issues, though I have voted aff. on things like PIC’s bad, etc. so I am not terribly biased. Arguments like “abbreviating USFG is too vague” or “You misspelled enforcement and that’s a VI” are non-starters. Don’t waste your time. Theory arguments are generally too underdeveloped for my tastes so if that is a key part of your strategy invest some time.

Evidence: Quality is extremely important and seems to be declining. I have noticed a disturbing trend towards people reading short cards with little or no explanation in them or that are underlined such that they are barely sentence fragments. I will not give you credit for unread portions of evidence.

Cross examination: is very important. Cross-ex should be more than I need this card and what is your third answer to X. A good cross-ex will dramatically increase your points, a bad one will hurt them. Everyone in the debate should be courteous.


My policy philosophy mostly applies here - my background is almost entirely in policy debate though I have been coaching LD more and more. But it is hard for me to separate my years of policy debate experience from the way I judge LD debates.

Having said that here are some things that specifically apply to my LD judging. First, I am strongly opposed to the disturbing trend of every debate becoming a theory debate. I do believe that there is a time and a place for theory debates and that this is an important check on abusive arguments, but in most instances the theory debates I have seen are about inane or non-abusive practices that almost certainly do not rise to the level of being voting issues in my opinion. I think many LD debaters would benefit from learning to explain "reject the argument not the debater" a little better or why even if their opponent wins a theory argument it may not be a voting issue. Having said that I try very hard not impose my views on the debate round and have voted for theory arguments several times that I thought were not especially good.

Second, I think that many debates about values/value criteria are very difficult to sort out. Be clear about why justice is more important than util or whatever your value is. Likewise debates about values should never turn into theory debates.

Third, the trend of frontloading theory pre-empts into the AC is terrible. It is very, very unlikely that I will vote on poorly explained, blippy theory pre-empts. Your time would be better spent reading cards about the topic.

Public Forum

The only thing I will add here is that I strongly oppose the practice of paraphrasing evidence. I will not look through an entire article to find out if your paraphrasing accurately reflects the article. If you cannot point to a specific line or paragraph in the article I will disregard your paraphrasing entirely. If I am your judge I would strongly suggest reading only direct quotations in your speeches.

Jonathan Alston Paradigm

1 rounds

I am a head coach at Newark Science and have coached there for years. I teach LD during the summer at the Global Debate Symposium. I formerly taught LD at University of North Texas and I previously taught at Stanford's Summer Debate Institute.

I do believe that basic things are true, though. The Affirmative must present a problem with the way things are right now. Their advocacy must reasonably solve that problem. The advantages of doing the advocacy must outweigh the disadvantages of following the advocacy. You don't have to have a USFG plan, but you must advocate for something.

Be clear. Be very clear. If you are spreading politics or something that is easy to understand, then just be clear. I can understand very clear debaters at high speeds when what they are saying is easy to understand. Start off slower so I get used to your voice and I'll be fine.

Do not spread philosophy. If I have a hard time understanding it at conversational speeds I will not understand it at high speeds. (Don't spread Kant or Foucault.)

Slow down for analytics. If you are comparing or making analytical arguments that I need to understand, slow down for it.

I want to hear the warrants in the evidence. Be clear when reading evidence. I don't read cards after the round if I don't understand them during the round.

Make it make sense. I'll vote on it if it is reasonable. Please tell me how it functions and how I should evaluate it. The most important thing about theory for me is to make it make sense. I would like for the debates about the debate to be interesting. I am not into frivolous theory. If you like running frivolous theory, I am not the best judge for you.

Don't take it out of context. I do ask for cites. Cites should be readily available. Don't cut evidence in an unclear or sloppy manner. Cut evidence ethically. Do not take evidence out of context by cutting qualifiers like "might" or "maybe".

Speaker Points
30 I learned something from the experience. I really enjoyed the thoughtful debate. I was moved. I give out 30's. It's not an impossible standard. I just consider it an extremely high, but achievable, standard of excellence. I haven't given out at least two years.
29 Excellent
28 Solid
27 Okay

For policy Debate (And LD, because I judge them the same way).
Same as for LD. Make sense. Big picture is important. I can't understand spreading dense philosophy. Don't assume I am already familiar with what you are saying. Explain things to me. Starting in 2013 our LDers have been highly influenced by the growing similarity between policy and LD. We tested the similarity of the activities in 2014 - 2015 by having two of our LDers be the first two students in the history of the Tournament of Champions to qualify in policy and LD in the same year. They did this by only attending three policy tournaments (The Old Scranton Tournament and Emory) on the Oceans topic running Reparations and USFG funding of The Association of Black Scuba Divers.

We are also in the process of building our policy program. Our teams tend to debate the resolution with non-util impacts or engages in methods debates. Don't assume that I am familiar with the specifics of a lit base. Please break things down to me. I need to hear and understand warrants. Make it simple for me. The more simple the story, the more likely that I'll understand it.

I won't outright reject anything unless it is blatantly racist, sexist, homophobic.

Important: Don't curse in front of me. I don't like high school students cursing in front of me. Please don't do it. I may take off points because of it. If the curse is an essential part of the textual evidence, I am more lenient. But that would be the exception. Ultimately, I do not think that high school students are grown, and the language that is used should be consistent with my classroom standards.

Note: I generally don't enjoy debates that are more than three off in LD. However, do what you do well. Just going by what I've seen in the past.

Lucas Bailey Paradigm

6 rounds

I competed in Lincoln-Douglas for three years in high school, and Public Forum for one. I've been coaching and judging LD and PF since then.

Lincoln-Douglas Paradigm


I prefer a slower debate, I think it allows for a more involved, persuasive and all-around better style of speaking and debating. It is your burden to make sure that your speech is clear and understandable and the faster you want to speak, the more clearly you must speak. If I miss an argument, then you didn't make it.

Flex Prep

No. There is designated CX time for a reason. You can ask for evidence during prep, but not clarification.


Role of the Ballot: A role of the ballot argument will only influence how I vote on pre-fiat, not post-fiat argumentation. It is not, therefore, a replacement for a framework, unless your entire case is pre-fiat, in which case see "pre-fiat kritiks". I default to a "better debater" standard. Be sure to provide evidence for how the ballot will create change.

Theory: Please reserve theory for genuinely abusive arguments or positions which leave one side no ground. I am willing to vote on RVIs if they are made, but I will not vote on theory unless it is specifically impacted to "Vote against my opponent for this violation". I will always use a reasonability standard. Running theory is asking me as the judge in intervene in the round, and I will only do so if I deem it appropriate.

Pre-fiat Kritiks: I am very slow to pull the trigger on most pre-fiat Ks. I generally consider them attempts to exclude the aff from the round or else shut down discourse by focusing the debate on issues of identity or discourse rather than ideas, especially because most pre-fiat Ks are performative but not performed. Ensure you have a role of the ballot which warrants why my vote will have any impact on the world. I do like alts to be a little more fleshed out than "reject the resolution", and have a low threshold for voting for no solvency arguments against undeveloped alts.

Post-fiat Kritiks: Run anything you want. I do like alts to be a little more fleshed out than "reject the resolution", and have a low threshold for voting for no solvency arguments against undeveloped alts.

Topicality: Fine. Just make sure you specify what the impact of topicality on the round is.

Politics Disadvantages: Please don't. If you absolutely must, you need to prove A: The resolution will occur now. B: The affirmative must defend a specific implementation of the topic. C:The affirmative must defend a specific actor for the topic. Without those three interps, I will not vote on a politics DA.

Narratives: Fine, as long as you preface with a framework which explains why and how narratives impact the round.

Conditionality: I'm permissive but skeptical of conditional argumentation. A conditional argument cannot be kicked if there are turns on it, and I will not vote on contradictory arguments, even if they are conditional. So don't run a cap K and an econ disad. You can't kick out of discourse impacts. Performance is important here.

Word PICs: I don't like word PICs. I'll vote on them if they aren't effectively responded to, but I don't like them. I believe that they drastically decrease clash and cut affirmative ground by taking away unique affirmative offense.

Presumption - I do not presume neg. I'm willing to vote on presumption if the aff or neg gives me arguments for why aff or neg should be presumed, but neither side has presumption inherently. Both aff and neg need offense - in the absence of offense, I revert to possibility of offense.

Pessimistic Ks - Generally not a fan. I find it difficult to understand why they should motivate me to vote for one side over another, even if the argument is true.

Speaker Points

Since I've gotten some questions about this..

I judge on a 5 point scale, from 25-30.

25 is a terrible round, with massive flaws in speeches, huge amounts of time left unused, blatantly offensive things said or other glaring rhetorical issues.

26 is a bad round. The debater had consistent issues with clarity, time management, or fluency which make understanding or believing the case more difficult.

27.5 is average. Speaker made no large, consistent mistakes, but nevertheless had persistent smaller errors in fluency, clarity or other areas of rhetoric.

28.5 is above average. Speaker made very few mistakes, which largely weren't consistent or repeated. Speaker was compelling, used rhetorical devices well

30 is perfect. No breaks in fluency, no issues with clarity regardless of speed, very strong use of rhetorical devices and strategies.

Argumentation does not impact how I give speaker points. You could have an innovative, well-developed case with strong evidence that is totally unresponded to, but still get a 26 if your speaking is bad.

While I do not take points off for speed, I do take points off for a lack of fluency or clarity, which speed often creates.

Judging style

If there are any aspects of the debate I look to before all others, they would be framework and impact analysis. Not doing one or the other or both makes it much harder for me to vote for you, either because I don't know how to evaluate the impacts in the round or because I don't know how to compare them.

Public Forum Paradigm


I default to an "on balance" metric for evaluating and comparing impacts. I will not consider unwarranted frameworks, especially if they are simply one or two lines asserting the framework without even attempting to justify it.


I will evaluate topicality arguments, though only with the impact "ignore the argument", never "drop the team".


Yes, I understand theory. No, I don't want to hear theory in a PF round. No, I will not vote on a theory argument.


No. Neither the pro nor the con has fiat.


No. Kritiks only function under a truth-testing interpretation of the con burden, I only use comparative worlds in Public Forum.

Burden Interpretations

The pro and the con have an equal and opposite burden of proof. Because of limited time and largely non-technical nature of Public Forum, I consider myself more empowered to intervene against arguments I perceive as unfair or contrary to the rules or spirit of Public Forum debate than I might be while judging LD or Policy.

Niko Battle Paradigm

6 rounds


Kamiak (all teams), Brooklyn Tech SP, Impact Debate

quick prefs:

performance/id pol k - 1
structural k - 1
theory - 2
larp/policy - 2
(LD) phil - 3
(LD) trix - 4


I debated for Kamiak HS in Mukilteo, WA and currently debate for Wake Forest. I started debate in middle school, and throughout my career, I have earned 17 total TOC bids, qualifying in both LD (3 times) and Policy (1 time). I have experience in both policy and LD debate on both the local and national circuit. I primarily read kritikal arguments, but trust and believe I can follow you and have experience in policy, phil, and theory stuff.


pre round:

yes put me on the chain (

Pronouns: black/black or they/them


[Voices Update] - In round robins speaks matter more, so I will give actual speaks. None of the extras apply, but the minuses certainly do.

Speaks are wack and arbitrary and I don't think they are a good tiebreaker. I wish tournaments would use opp wins as the first tiebreaker instead and I will die on that hill. With that being said, I'm a bit of a speaks fairy unless you do something blatantly offensive in which case speaks will go down down down down down faster than Jay Sean can sing it. And, if you don't get that reference then strike me ;)

+2 speaks if you bring me iced coffee w/ sugar and lots of cream because judging is wayyyy more tiring than competing

+1 speaker point for 2 well executed West Wing references throughout the debate - tell me what they were after your speech so I can keep track or in case I miss it.

+.5 speaker points if youre in LD and you say "we meet" just because I think its wack that some judges care enough to take away speaks, and as someone who did both events it really annoyed me.

-1 speaker point if you misgender your opponent and they don't call it out. Repeated violations especially if its called out will lead to larger "punishments" or whatever.

-5 speaker points for saying "I'm not racist but..." or any variation.

random musings:

tech > truth, but tech without some truth is rarely enough

(LD only) good tricks debate makes judging easy bad tricks debate makes judging hell // [post camp update] and I will not vote on shoes theory or any other theoretical violation about your opponents clothing and/or appearance (identity args exempt). Arguments like shoes theory and etc. are antithetical to the purpose of this activity and I guarantee you will not like your speaks or the decision should you try to read them in front of me.

if you're gonna larp (straight up policy) please for the love of God weigh impacts

A dropped argument is a dropped argument, but it's up to you to tell me the implications of it.

sass and shade are fun...apparently people think I'm a rude debater, but who cares. If sassy/"rude"/shade is your thing then feel free to do you when I'm in the back.

actual stuff:

tl;dr - do you. I like to think I'm pretty tab and can evaluate any type of debate. Tech and the flow are probably more important to me than others who debated like I did in HS. I'm a pretty simple judge so if you weigh your impacts and tell a story in the 2nr/2ar you'll be fine.

TOPIC KNOWLEDGE: After debating this as basically the LD TOC topic my senior year and coaching a PF team on a similar topic, I would put myself at about an 8.5/9 out of 10 on the current topic

*Current LD topic - 7/10

k debate:


we love that. If this is your thing then go for it, but if it isn't please don't make me sit through 2 hours of a bad k debate. I don't think that the negative (for most Ks) needs to win an alternative if they can prove that the aff sucks or that their structural analysis of the world is both preferable and incompatible with the 1ac. Also, chances are I understand and am familiar with your buzz words, but that doesn't mean you should rely on them to win the round. If I can't explain to the other team why their aff, performance, or implicit assumptions in the 1AC/resolution are problematic then it will almost always be an aff ballot. For the aff, I never understood why debaters don't go for the impact turn strat against certain K's. Obviously, I don't condone teams standing up and saying things like racism/sexism/etc. good, but going for cap good, fem IR bad, etc. is fine. Lastly, sometimes I feel as if 2as get so focused on answering the K that they forget to win that their aff is in some way a good departure from the status quo, which is to say please extend your offense in the 2ar.

Clash Rounds

For K aff teams, if you are losing my ballot to cap you are probably doing a lot of things wrong. I think most fwk/cap teams I've seen and most of those rounds I've been in has been underdeveloped on the cap side. The 2ac, if done correctly, should pretty much shut down the cap route. There's should be almost no way the 2n knows more about your theory and it's interactions with cap than the 2a does, which should make those debates pretty easy for you to get my ballot. Framework on the other hand...I feel like k aff teams need to do a significantly better job defending a model of debate, winning debate is bad, winning the aff is a prior question to the resolution, or etc. I tend to vote for framework in clash rounds (not because I enjoy or ideologically agree with it), but because the ^ things are often not executed well. Framework teams, please make sure the arguments the 2nr goes for are somewhere in the block and not just the same tired canned 2nr that somebody stole from Hemanth. Carded TVAs with proper extensions are pretty damning for the aff and your good research/engagement will likely be rewarded (either with speaks or the ballot). I think procedural fairness is an impact, and it will be somewhat of a hard sell to convince me otherwise absent the aff team putting in some work; this doesn't mean I won't vote on structural fairness ow or impact turns, but rather that you actually need to warrant, explain and extend those arguments. I'd much rather see a framework 2nr on limits/truth testing/procedural fairness than skills and policy education, but hey that's just me. I also think that framework teams need to engage in case significantly better than what most teams currently do. Tbh probably slightly better for policy teams in k aff v. fwk rounds and slightly better for k teams in policy aff v. k rounds.

k v. k rounds

I got your theory of power, framing and relevant offense.

policy(LD - LARP):

weigh weigh weigh weigh! I think more than any other stylistic approach to debate, policy teams NEED to do more comparative weighing. You will likely be unhappy with my decision if I can't point to specific points on my flow to weigh between your competing nuke war/extinction/etc. scenarios. I love watching policy teams who have nuanced, fun and creative impact scenarios. Some personal preferences for policy rounds are below -

Judge kick/choice is just not a thing. I'm still baffled how teams win arguments on this; it always seemed like lazy debating to me, and you are probably better off investing that time on other parts of the flow. Obviously if its conceded I won't hack against it, but I can't promise it won't be reflected in your speaks. I think strategic 2nrs will know when to go for the CP and when to kick it and defend the squo, so I'm not inclined to do that work for you.

Live by the flow, die by the flow...I think I'm a pretty well-informed person when it comes to politics/IR, but I probably won't know enough to fill in the gaps of actual nuanced scenario analysis which means you need to weigh and make the arguments you want to hear in the RFD.

I'd much rather watch an engaging 3 off policy strat then sit through watching some poor 1nr try to kick 12 of the 14 off read.

T: I fucking love T. Go for it in front of me. Go for it often in front of me. Go for it well in front of me. Biggest mistakes I see teams going for T in front of me do if forget to extend internal links to their impacts and that's the tea (pun intended). If youre a "K team" and you beat a policy team on T let's just say you'll like your speaks. I think one of the reasons I find framework ideologically ridiculous is because I've seen some really non-T policy affs and I always get indignant - like the conditions aff on this topic or the Saudi aff on last years J/F LD topic.

(LD Only) Phil:

Usually pretty simple debates imho, but make sure you respond to your opponents fw justifications as well as extend your own. After judging almost nothing but phill working at NSD all summer, I feel like these rounds are nearly impossible to resolve absent actual responses/weighing. Also, I'd much rather watch a substantive framework debate between Kant and Hobbes than see someone use Hobbes to trigger linguistic skep and have to watch a six minute 2nr on it.


down for anything - weigh standards and win an abuse story. Here are some defaults (obv up for debate) See my note at the top about certain types of LD friv theory. I should clarify that my threshold in theory is slightly higher in policy than in LD and I'm not as open to friv theory in policy. I think policy is a more educational activity, and I don't want to see it go down a similar path vis-a-vis theory.


Text over spirit

meta theory = theory

theory = K

competing interps

drop the arg

fairness = edu; both a voter

Anthony Berryhill Paradigm

6 rounds

Anthony Berryhill Judge Paradigm (CURRENT AS OF NATS 2020 - PLEASE READ):

NEW E-mail for case sharing, etc.:

Current Experience:

  • Assistant LD Coach for Isidore Newman (my alma mater); Currently Managing Director for Victory Briefs
  • Stanford BA Political Science 2004; Previous PhD Candidate (MA/MPhil) at Yale in Contemporary Political Theory, dissertation on intersectionality (2004-2011)
  • Owner of Ivy League Hacker: College admissions, interviewing and public speaking firm - reach out to me if interested!

Past Experience:

  • Debated at Newman 2000-2004 in LD, Extemp, Congress; Former Coach (and team starter) for: Harker (last involved 2006), MSJ (last involved 2001)
  • Conflict: Isidore Newman

Table of contents of paradigm:

  • My preferences/what I usually vote for
  • Behavioral Requirements I will hold you accountable to/arguments I am actively biased against (or may drop on face)
  • New speaker point paradigm as of January 2020

My philosophy:

I debated in New Orleans. I am very open re: how you handle applied philosophy (w/ the qualifiers below). You should feel comfortable with a range of argumentation about the topic. I've taught the Traditional, K and standard circuit labs at VBI over the years.

But debate is a formal, professional space where students perform their advocacies regarding the resolution. Debate is not a space for questioning or attacking someone's personal identity. It is not like college where you can curse, debate "who's black enough (or whatever identity)" or otherwise act like untamed idiots. In high school, debate rounds are extensions of the classroom. As a judge and educator I am willing to use my ballot to hold that safe space.

Finally, I have a NO HACKING policy. Anyone can win any round in front of me if they earn it. The decision you get will be indicative of my interpretation of your performance. I do not hack for reputation, debate style, politics, camp affiliation, argument content or whatever activist memes or trends of the day. If you want the W 30, debate like it and I'll give it to you!

I prefer:

  1. Arguments which are easy to understand (for me AND your opponent), well evidenced (through logic, cards and/or examples) and linked to standards. Assume that I will vote on whoever proves that "States ought to eliminate their nuclear arsenals." Nontopical cases will be considered but will have higher burdens to justify their positions as legitimate.
  2. Signposting! Simply refering to the general theme of an argument "i.e. on their argument about deterrence" and dumping responses is NOT ENOUGH. Go card by card, analytic by analytic in order when putting answers. If you don't tell me what answers what, you are dropping arguments, even if you think your 3-4 off cases answer the AC. Embedded clash is not clash. Sorry to sound scary, but this is a major pet peeve that costs debaters a lot of ballots--and bids.
  3. TRUTH AND TECH MATTER EQUALLY. IMO judges who say TECH>TRUTH are dumb and failing their duties as educators. Arguments which are deliberately false, inconsistent with the literature, etc. will face a bias against them.
  4. As an extension: "Tricks debate" isn't debate. Deliberate attempts to hide arguments, mislead your opponent, be unethical, lie, play with disclosure practices, etc. to screw your opponent will be received very poorly. If you need tricks and lying to win, either "git' good" (as the gamers say) or prefer a different judge.

BEHAVIORAL REQUIREMENTS- I will heavily penalize debaters who misbehave, including giving a loss (regardless of what happens in round):

1. Keep your loud music to yourself (headphones, please!). The recent trend of blasting music through bluetooth speakers before a round is unprofessional esp. if such music is uses inappropriate language. If I'm judging I will tell you to turn it off or if I'm frisky, I will blast my KPOP BTS songs loud enough to drown you out. "I want to listen to my jamz as I prep" is for your personal time, not a debate tournament. If I'm on a panel, I'll be THAT GUY and tell you to shut it off, so prepare accordingly.

2. Slow way down on the speed: I hate unclear, no voice variation, as-fast-as-possible monotone on the circuit. Delivery COUNTS in my decision making. Excellent delivery will be rewarded with a higher probability of winning and speaker points. Monotone delivery will put me to sleep. Be sure to speak loudly so we can all hear you.

NOTE: I will flow your cases from speech docs, but when you are reading things not on the doc, or are reading tag lines/author names/theory/analytics SLOW DOWN or I won't have time to flow them.

This does not mean you must read your lay AC-it means your case is too long for 6 minutes. I've judged nearly every semi/final round of every national tournament/championship. Solid public speaking isn't only for lay judges.

PROTIP: if you do read your 'lay AC' don't make it obvious in the email thread---if you do I'll make fun of you for being dull and elitist (and take off a speaker point for the insult).

3. Act appropriately or lose. Behavior and language must be appropriate for a high school educational setting. Rule: If you can't say it in front of your parents, on YouTube, or on a PhD comprehensive exam, don't say it in front of me. This is high school, not anything-goes college policy debate. I am happy to give automatic losses for: swearing, use of language/explicit material of a racial/sexual nature (even in performances), use of the N word in any form or derivative (even by African American speakers), etc. I am not beyond contacting principals and and other relevant bodies. Please just debate! I'm the nicest guy, but will turn mean if you are acting in such a manner.

4. Electronic disclosure- don't waste time and don't play games with disclosure. Disclosure is the norm for better or for worse so just do it with no "strateegery: I am willing to drop debaters on disclosure theory if I think attempted cheating/shenanigans are in place. That includes debaters who run disclosure theory as a time suck, don't do it!

5. Theory arguments must be relevant and reasonable. Theory is a call for intervention, so I have the right to intervene. I have no bias against RVIs and am happy to vote on them. I am not interested in the parts of a theory shell, I'll vote on the big ideas, not theory blips or 1 liners. At minimum, I need a rule, violation, a story to why the argument matters and an impact paradigm. I'm not likely to listen to debates about fairness v education v strat skew, blah blah. In sum: if you want me to vote on theory, tell me a clear, substantive abuse story that's well evidence/explained.

WARNING: DO NOT RUN THEORY AS A TIME SUCK IN FRONT OF ME, especially as the 1NC. If you do this I may deduct speaker points and will look for reasons to drop you. It is unethical use theory as a way to waste the 1AR's time. If you run T or theory, you damn well better believe it, b/c if you lose on it or get turned, I'm willing to drop you even if there isn't an RVI (and I've done this many times in 2019-2020).

Arguments I won't vote for:

    • Skepticism - stay home if you think someone can prove morality, justice, etc. exists within 45 minutes
    • Arguments I evaluate are below the belt or racist/sexist/homophobic arguments. Bullying, microaggressions, intimidation, etc. will be punished.
    • Arguments contingent on your opponent's identity/assumptions of that identity (as is done by some afropessimist debaters). Your opponent's identity is none of your damn business, i.e. if you ask your opponent what race they are in CX, you are asking for a Loss 20.
    • WARNING: I do not share the cliched assumptions from college policy debate on identity politics (i.e. non-black debaters can't run afropessimism, aren't allowed to make answers to it, can't make psychoanalytic claims in round, or thinking that calling something "anti-black" means it is). Make arguments with evidence, clear definitions, methods or explanations for burdens on your opponent. Essentialism is stupid and racist, no matter who does it. I am intersectional and will judge accordingly.
    • Refusing to answer questions about your position in CX: If you are running a K or high theory (ick), you are required to explain it so that everyone can understand it. I've seen debaters say "What the (bleep) are you talking about" as a response in CX. If you do this, I'll look for ways to drop you. Clear and accessible debate is good debate. If you can't or won't offer an easy to understand definition of your interpretation of debate, your performance, etc. I will assume you are a jerk and incompetent and will condemn your performance accordingly. Just debate straight up please.
    • Misusing evidence - I reserve the right to check your evidence and tags, even better if your opponent calls this out.
    • Arguments about misgendering/use of gendered pronouns. Parents and principals reasonably expect that college level discussions of sexual identity and such will not be had. I will not penalize underage children who don't have the power to be exposed to modern discourse on this issue. Age appropriateness matters over identity politics (as much as I've been pilloried in circuit LD for advocating for inclusion before the circuit "got woke.")

Speaker Point Paradigm--adapted given to how the circuit has given points which is where a 29.2 is needed to clear as a 4-2. Thus my scale has been adjusted:

30 – The performance does one or more things exceptionally well and I see your performance as role model worthy. Think “A+”

29.5-29.9 – Top notch performance, few if any critiques. Think “A” level.”

29-29.4 - Solid performance with few errors, if any. Think "A-."

28.5-29 - Average/circuit level performance. Think "B+"

28-28.5: Needs improvement to meet standards. Think: B- to C

28 or below: Reserved for inappropriate behavior or catastrophic errors that marred performance substantially

Ishan Bhatt Paradigm

2 rounds

Hello! I’m Ishan. I did Lincoln-Douglas and world schools in high school and now do British parliamentary and policy in college.

You have to be nice and you have to disclose. Please put me on the email chain:

(1) I really try to line things up on my flow. Please number your arguments and avoid long overviews. Also, I don't follow the doc during your speech. It scares me that this is a thing.

(2) I care about argument quality more than most. Different arguments have different thresholds for success. Any judge that walks into a debate and considers “suffering bad” and “suffering good” to be premises of equal worth is interventionist and wrong. You should make complete, quality, arguments. I probably won’t care about your dropped 5-second analytic that contradicts all common sense. Your arguments do not start at 100% risk—they start at whatever risk your justifications for them imply. This means the implications of your arguments in front me will not be derived from the claim, but the warrant.

(3) Here are some of my relevant defaults. I lean somewhat against deciding the round procedurally, but I mostly care about technical execution. I default to sticking the negative with whatever advocacy is in the 2NR. Saying "the status quo is always an option" is sufficient to shift this question from my default to the debaters' concern.

(4) I’d like to see your critical affirmative clearly define and defend a significant departure from the status quo. I also appreciate it when you have a thought-out counter-interpretation of debate. I’d like the negative in framework debates to tailor their argument to the case and engage with the thesis of the affirmative, as ignoring the case usually puts your framework internal links in trouble.

Manish Bhatta Paradigm

6 rounds

put me on the email chain plz –


Overall, just do what you want to do and have fun with it – that’s the most important thing. Speed and any arguments are fine. Tech > truth.

I was inspired by the judging abilities of Tom Evnen, Becca Traber, and Stephen Scopa so I will try my best to replicate their judging styles.


I debated for King High School on the national circuit from 2016 -2019, got a TOC bid my senior year, and qualled to nats my junior year.


I am willing to evaluate and vote on any argument that you want to read as long as it is not offensive. This means I’ll listen to any tricks, theory, larp, Ks, performance, high theory or phil as long as your argument is warranted and you explain it well. I am very much a tech >> truth judge, and I will try to be as tab as possible.

Some things to keep in mind:

1) Please give me some way to evaluate your argument (like a ROB, standard, drop the debater, etc.) so it is easier to make a non-interventionist decision.

2) Speed is fine as long as you're clear. I would like to be on the email chain but I won’t flow off the doc, I’ll just look at cards or arguments after if I have to. Also, slow down on tags if possible.

3) Just go with what your most comfortable with; even though I was primarily a theory/T/framework debater, I would rather see you do well in a different style of debate then poorly in those areas.


I really enjoyed learning about different frameworks as a debater and think framework debate is very interesting. Justify your framework however you want but plz explain your syllogism or independent justifications well, especially if you want to read a complicated position, so it is easier for me to understand it. High Theory is also fine but it is important you explain it well. If no framework is read (don’t let this happen), I will assume a TT ROB.


This was probably the style of debate that I was best at. I loved going for theory and T as a debater and think it can be very strategic (and sometimes un-strategic) at times. Please read voters and paradigm issues with warrants (drop the debater/argument, RVIs, etc.). If nothing is read, I will default to drop the debater, and no rvis but I’m not going to assume anything is a voter. However, if your opponent does not read drop the debater or no rvi warrants, I will have a really low threshold for you to win drop the arg or rvis. T and T framework are also perfectly fine with me, just make sure you warrant all your standards and stuff.


I think tricks debate is really fun and strategic at times. Read whatever bs argument you want, I’ll vote on it as long as it has a warrant. However, you still have to win your argument; for example, just because your opponent concedes an a priori, if you're not winning truth testing you’re a priori may not matter (depends on the argument obviously). I read a lot of tricks in high school but don't assume I understand every trick so still make your argument coherent enough for me as the judge to understand it so I can vote on it.


I never read that many Ks/performance as a debater but I debated against a lot of critical positions and I’m familiar with the common literature. I am comfortable with you reading any kritik you want including high theory but just plz explain your argument and do a lot good work on the link debate. You need to make it clear why the aff links into the kritik. Performance is also okay.


I did a fair amount of LARP debate during my sophomore year, my first year on the circuit. I think LARP debates can make for some really good clash and if this is your thing then plz go for it. This means CPs, DAs, spek advocacies, perms etc. are all okay. I’m familiar with most of the policy jargon but sometimes the lingo gets overused so be careful of that lol.


I’m probably a little bit more generous in speaks than other judges but I will adjust my speaks scale and average based on the tournament and the difficulty of the pool. I will award speaks based on in-round strategy and technicality of speeches. Also, if you read a creative position instead of a generic and debate well with it, there’s a better chance that I will give you higher speaks. Finally, good use of cross-ex will definitely enhance your speaks.

Luiz Bravim Paradigm

6 rounds

About me: This is my 22nd year in speech and debate. Competed, judged, and coached all over the world. I approach each round as a blank slate. It's your job to add substance to that slate and make my decision easy.

For Big Questions

I value one overarching argument that's successfully upheld throughout the round over winning on the flow. Big picture analysis > Quantity of arguments.

For PF

PF: I will weigh ethical arguments as long as I have an objective means to evaluate them. It's your job to provide that. I'll prefer good analysis over lots of cards every single round.

I have been competing, coaching, and judging debate for 22 years. I have judged every debate event on the local and national circuits. I favor a lot of clash, well-conceived impacts analysis, and an aggressive style of debate. I enjoy aggressive, pointed CX. Warrant everything. In PF, remind me of the big picture from summary to Final Focus. In close rounds, I'll pay close attention to weighing mechanisms and final focus (PF)/2AR/1NR (LD). Give me a clear, logical weighing mechanism and you'll have a major advantage in the round. If you have a particular lens (framework) in which I should view the resolution, make sure it is well-explained--don't assume knowledge! I prefer a few strong voters (2 - 3) to many poorly-explained voters.

Evidence comparison is critical. Please make warranted arguments why I should prefer your card over your opponent's card. There are many ways to accomplish this, I'll consider any of them so long as they make sense. FYI: One relevant, high-quality card is often better than 2 - 3 generic cards that are not.

You can go line-by-line or be more analytical. Anything that is unclear will not get extended or weighed on the flow. Never forget that debate is a PERSUASIVE activity. If you cannot persuade the average Joe or Jane with your case, you aren’t debating effectively. Ways to impress me as a judge: Depth of Analysis, Topic Knowledge, Effective Advocacy throughout the round, and a clear narrative. I value meaningful cross more than most judges. You can lose on CX, take it seriously!

A pet peeve of mine in PF is summary being as a 2nd rebuttal speech. That is not the point of summary! Show me the most important issues and why they favor your side, we already had rebuttal speeches and 2 cross fires (PF).

For LD

I favor traditional LD arguments over progressive. The resolution is there for a reason. If you could run your argument on any case/resolution, I probably won’t like it. If you rely on speed or non-traditional arguments to win in LD, STRIKE ME. Otherwise, weigh clearly and effectively and lay out the big issues in the round/voters.

Spend a lot of time contextualizing your card/s if you're relying on it to win the round. Even if it was already done in your constructive, it's a good habit to cover it throughly a 2nd time just in case I missed something.


1. Taking too long to set up for debate. (Be ready, be punctual, be professional)

2. Taking too long to pull a called card from case (after 1 min. it will cost you speaker points)

3. Flex prep (don’t do it)

4. Hand-shaking (I won’t do it)

5. Sitting during a speech or CX

If you want...

30 Speaker Points

1. You are articulate with rich vocabulary and few nonfluencies

2. You have clear, persuasive voters that make it easy for me to decide the round

3. You made smart choices in CX and Rebuttal

4. Weighed like a Pro

5. You could do as well in high level Extemp or Congress (not just the LD National Circuit)

6. You educated me via topical, resolutional arguments

29 Speaker Points

1. You accomplished 3-5 of the 30 Points criteria above

28 Speaker Points

1. Above average debater or 1-2 of the 30 points criteria

27 Speaker Points

1. Average in terms of speech and/or debate

< 27 Speaker Points

You did not read my paradigm or chose to ignore it. Or there were communication, clarity, or argument quality issues in round. Will be explained in RFD.

Anything else, just ask before the round. Good luck to all! I love nothing more than a good, competitive debate round. I will not disclose or give verbal feedback in any double-flighted round for the sake of time.

--Luiz Bravim


Daryl Burch Paradigm

Daryl Burch

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Megan Butt Paradigm

3 rounds

UPDATE FOR NATS 2020: I am not a seasoned Policy judge, although I have judged 10+ rounds at the national level. Please plan to include me on any email chains if you intend to spread your case (otherwise, I can handle high speed). Please see my Nats Policy pref sheet for more information, or ask for any specifics. Thanks.

I am the Director of Speech & Debate at Providence High School and coach both LD (traditional) and PF.

I'm generally a flow judge, and look for the following in round:

Framework: I will evaluate the round under frameworks that are established early and consistently extended. If there are competing frameworks, tell me which I should prefer and why. In PF, if neither team provides a framework, I will default to cost/benefit/util analysis. In LD, contentions should be clearly warranted back to value; please weigh values unless they're clearly a wash.

Narrative: I'm looking for organized narratives -- each response after your constructive should either attack the entire contention-level argument, or specific analysis/warrants. In PF, by the second half of the round, you should narrow to the most key arguments & impacts in your case, & answers to your opponent's case. In LD, I'm looking for value debate first, then contention-level. Please clearly signpost/indicate which arguments & where you're responding so they don't get lost on my flow.

Evidence: I prefer that you fully explain evidence & its role in the round; quality context/warranting beats quantity of cards any day. Please don't just extend taglines/card authors -- flesh out the narrative, and extend the "how" & "why" as well.

I tend to be a more traditional LD judge, but I can judge progressive LD -- I am willing to entertain theory, K's, progressive case structures, etc. Explanation/narrative is still key, since these are not regularly run on my regional circuit and I am likely not as well-read as you.

At the end of the day, this is a communication event, and I will evaluate the round holistically. It's your job as the debater in the round to persuade me that the arguments you're winning are important, not just that you're winning the "most" arguments. Overall narrative, links, & impacting matter.

Chris Castillo Paradigm

6 rounds

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Pamela Childress Paradigm

3 rounds

I am a debate coach in Georgia. I also competed in LD and Policy out west. Take that for whatever you think it means.

  • LD - Value/Value Criterion (Framework, Standard, etc,) - this is what separates us from the animals (or at least the policy debaters). It is the unique feature of LD Debate. Have a good value and criterion and link your arguments back to it. I am open to all arguments but present them well, know them, and, above all, Clash - this is a debate not a tea party.
  • PF - I side on the traditional side of PF. Don't throw a lot of jargon at me or simply read cards... this isn't Policy Jr., compete in PF for the debate animal it is. Remember debate, especially PF, is meant to persuade - use all the tools in your rhetorical toolbox: Logos, Ethos, and Pathos.
  • Speed - I like speed but not spreading. Speak as fast as is necessary but keep it intelligible. There aren't a lot of jobs for speed readers after high school (auctioneers and pharmaceutical disclaimer commercials) so make sure you are using speed for a purpose. If you spread - it better be clear, I will not yell clear or slow down or quit mumbling, I will just stop listening. If the only way I can understand your case is to read it, you have already lost. If I have to read your case then what do I need you in the room for? Email it to me and I can judge the round at home in my jammies - if you are PRESENTING and ARGUING and PERSUADING then I need to understand the words coming out of your mouth!
  • Know your case, like you actually did the research and wrote the case and researched the arguments from the other side. If you present it, I expect you to know it from every angle - I want you to know the research behind the statistic and the whole article, not just the blurb on the card.
  • Casing - Love traditional but I am game for kritiks, counterplans, theory - but perform them well, KNOW them, I won't do the links for you. I am a student of Toulmin - claim-evidence-warrant/impacts. I don't make the links and don't just throw evidence cards at me with no analysis. It is really hard for you to win with an AFF K with me - it better be stellar. I am not a big fan of Theory shells that are not actually linked in to the topic - if you are going to run Afro-Pes or Feminism you better have STRONG links to the topic at hand, if the links aren't there... Also don't just throw debate terms out, use them for a purpose and if you don't need them, don't use them.
  • I like clash. Argue the cases presented, mix it up, have some fun, but remember that debate is civil discourse - don't take it personal, being the loudest speaker won't win the round, being rude to your opponent won't win you the round.
  • Debating is a performance in the art of persuasion and your job is to convince me, your judge (not your opponent!!) - use the art of persuasion to win the round: eye contact, vocal variations, appropriate gestures, and know your case well enough that you don't have to read every single word hunched over a computer screen. Keep your logical fallacies for your next round. Rhetoric is an art.
  • Technology Woes - I will not stop the clock because your laptop just died or you can't find your case - not my problem, fix it or don't but we are going to move on.
  • Ethics - Debate is a great game when everyone plays by the rules. Play by the rules - don't give me a reason to doubt your veracity.
  • Win is decided by the flow (remember if you don't LINK it, I don't either), who made the most successful arguments and Speaker Points are awarded to the best speaker - I end up with a couple low point wins. I am fairly generous on speaker points. I disclose winner but not speaker points.
  • Enjoy yourself. Debate is the best sport in the world - win or lose - learn something from each round, don't gloat, don't disparage other teams, judges, or coaches, and don't try to convince me after the round is over. Leave it in the round and realize you may have just made a friend that you will compete against and talk to for the rest of your life. Don't be so caught up in winning that you forget to have some fun - in the round, between rounds, on the bus, and in practice.
  • Immediate losers for me - be disparaging to the other team or make racist, homophobic, sexist arguments or comments. Essentially, be kind.
  • Questions? - if you have a question ask me.

Courtney Coffman Paradigm

6 rounds

General Update: I haven't judged a lot of circuit LD rounds this year. I've been judging a lot of World Schools Debate. Please don't go your top speed and please slow down on tags & author names.

Background: I'm the Director of Debate at Northland Christian School in Houston, TX. I graduated in 2008 after debating for three years on the national and local circuits (TOC, NFL/NSDA, TFA). I was a "traditional" debater whenever I competed (stock and policy arguments, etc). I have taught at Global Debate Symposium, Mean Green Workshops and Pinnacle.

Email Chain: Please add me to the email chain:

Judging Philosophy: I prefer a comparative worlds debate. When making my decisions, I rely heavily on good extensions and weighing. If you aren't telling me how arguments interact with each other, I have to decide how they do. If an argument is really important to you, make sure you're making solid extensions that link back to some standard in the round. I love counterplans, disads, plans, etc. I believe there needs to be some sort of standard in the round. Kritiks are fine, but I am not well-versed in dense K literature; please make sure you are explaining the links so it is easy for me to follow. I will not vote on a position that I don't understand, and I will not spend 30 minutes after the round re-reading your cards if you aren't explaining the information in round.

Theory/T: I think running theory is fine (and encouraged) if there is clear abuse. I will not be persuaded by silly theory arguments. If you are wanting a line by line theory debate, I'm probably not the best judge for you :)

Speaker Points: I give out speaker points based on a couple of things: clarity (both in speed and pronunciation), word economy, strategy and attitude. In saying attitude, I simply mean don't be rude. I think there's a fine line between being perceptually dominating in the round and being rude for the sake of being rude; so please, be polite to each other because that will make me happy. Being perceptually dominant is okay, but be respectful. If you give an overview in a round that is really fast with a lot of layers, I will want to give you better speaks. I will gauge my points based on what kind of tournament I'm at...getting a 30 at a Houston local is pretty easy, getting a 30 at a circuit tournament is much more difficult. If I think you should break, you'll get good speaks. Cussing in round will result in dropping your speaks.

Speed: I'd prefer a more moderate/slower debate that talks about substance than a round that is crazy fast/not about the topic. I can keep up with a moderate speed; slow down on tag lines/author names. I'll put my pen down if you're going too fast. If I can't flow it, I won't vote on it. Also, if you are going fast, an overview/big picture discussion before you go line by line in rebuttals is appreciated. You can consider me a 7 out of 10 on the speed scale. I will say "clear" "slow" "louder", etc a few times throughout the round. If you don't change anything I will stop saying it.

Miscellaneous: I think permissibility and skep. arguments are defense and don't prefer to see them in a round. I default to comparative worlds.

Other things...
1. Don't try to win on tricks...I will severely dock speaker points and just be generally sad when making a decision (aka don't mislabel arguments, give your opponent things out of order, or try to steal speech/prep time, etc). I am not going to vote on an extension of a one sentence "argument" that wasn't clear in the first speech that is extended to mean something very different.
2. Please don't run morally repugnant positions in front of me.
3. Have fun!

Jared Croitoru Paradigm

3 rounds

Hi i'm jared

Lane Tech 2016


- i help coached at wheeler hs in georgia alittle this year and rufus king here and there this year so topic knowledge is there.

to win my ballot beat the other persons arguements.

larger meta-framing issues :

a. dont be racist

b. aff prove why the status quo is bad - neg says its good or run your k or cp

c. ill dig a cp and impact turn strat with your 8 off strat or one off performance - ill listen to your arguements and look at it.

d. anything is probably could be voted on if not racist

F.I am probably truth is higher value than tech ,I'm not the most familiar with more techy policy args where slow down more of my knowledge is the K I'll try buy if im confused and look lost that means you are going over my head

LD :

1. Unwarranted/incomplete arguments are not arguments.

2. RVI - as long as it warranted ill listen to this,

3. add me on email chains :

4. Here is my thing , you run your argument ,I'll listen and evaluate and compare them to the other team

5. As long as no argument or nothing done in a round is inherently racist , sexist , or makes the debate unsafe ill keep it to the flow and whoever wins it wins the ballot.

6. Im more truth > tech , but if the other teams doesn't call out the ridiculous with a good quick warrant or to then I guess , Ill have to evaluate it since the other team didnt leave much choice their.

Henry Curtis Paradigm

5 rounds

--This is my first major edit to my paradigm in, like, two years, so ask me questions before the round if there's anything here that doesn't make sense or I forgot.--

I debated four years of policy and one year of LD in high school from 2003 to 2008. I've been coaching LD since I graduated and I've been with Lexington for the past 5ish years. I'm also working on a PhD in philosophy (this doesn't mean what you think it means, see below).

General info/Speaker points stuff

--Email chains are cool, include me on them:

--Run whatever you want to run as long as it isn't actively offensive. If you want a K debate, have a K debate. If you're looking for a values or stock debate, that's cool too. The space is yours, do what you want with it. There's stuff that I'm probably less good at judging than other people, but I won't drop you for running a specific type of argument unless, again, it's actively offensive.

--I'm 100% team tech over truth. A dropped argument is a true argument. That being said (and this applies generally as well), the dumber an argument is, the lower my threshold for a response is. So, while most arguments require actual, thought out responses, if you respond to "must concede after the AC" by just saying "no I don't", that'll count. So, don't drop stuff, but don't waste time on really bad arguments. If an argument is given without a warrant, it doesn't need as developed of a response.

--On that subject, warrants are cool too. I hate vague extensions, they bother me and that'll reflect in your speaker points. If you're extending a card, a theory shell, anything really, give me the warrant behind the card. What does the [evidence/shell/value/whatever] say, why is it right, and what does that have to do with my ballot? Better extensions and better storytelling mean better speaker points. Blippy extensions with no explanation require less to respond to because, as above, blippy extensions are bad arguments.

--I'm not the best at flowing. This matters less in a world of speech docs, but for stuff like detailed underviews (like cramming drop the debater, RVI, reasonability, and random evaluate theory after the 1AR spike into the same subpoint) or longer theory shells, slow down. No, seriously, slow down. I won't get all of the details, and then when you're posting me after the round about how I could have missed underview A, subpoint 3, as extended with random other thing on a totally different flow as defense somewhere else, I'll just say I didn't get it on the flow and we'll both be mad.

--I don't like doing work for debaters. Embedded clash is a nicer way of saying judge intervention. Don't make me do it. Offense weighing and comparison is probably the most important thing for me (and key to good speaker points). Don't just say why your stuff is good, say why your stuff is better/more important to my ballot than their stuff.

--Last thing for speaker points, the most important factor for me is strategy. If you make strategic arguments and there isn't anywhere where I think you should have done something different, then you'll get very high speaker points. Strategy is number one for me, but that gets weighed against not being a jerk in round, being funny, and being a good speaker. If you do everything perfectly but you're not a clear speaker, then you won't get a 30, but you'll still get above a 29.5. I'll say clear or slow if I need to, but if I say it a couple of times, then you should know what'll happen to your speaks. If I say clear, don't do that thing where you're clear for a couple of seconds and then just go back to how you were speaking before. Also, general rule of thumb, be loud. I don't hear stuff very well, so the louder you are the better. Don't scream at me, but you get the point.


--At least 80% of my neg ballots when I debated policy were on T. Love me a good T debate.

--General stuff: I default to competing interpretations, no RVI, drop the debater unless told otherwise. Also, general pet peeve, if you're going to tell me drop the argument and it isn't blatantly clear what argument I'm dropping, then tell me what argument I'd be dropping.

--RVIs need a little bit of work for me. You need to convince me why you get RVIs in the first place (RVIs are much more convincing against multiple shells or 7 off strats) and then actively identify what constitutes an RVI and why.

--1AR theory is fine-ish, but when a round turns into shell versus shell, it usually breaks down into incomprehensible nonsense and then I get sad and then I trash your speaker points. If it gets to this point, what makes me happy is offense comparison. This is usually easier if we're weighing between fairness and education voters, but if it's fairness v. fairness, then be super specific about why your opponent is being worse for fairness than you are. Compare offense, don't just extend yours. Alternatively, go meta and tell me why aff or neg theory comes first. Either way, don't ignore the other side of the flow, because then I have to do weighing for you and nobody likes that.

--I'll vote for disclosure shells, but the dumb argument vs. strength of response weighing from before applies here. If there's straight up nothing on the wiki and they're from a school where you'd expect something to be there, then fine. But if it's a small school non-circuit debater and/or your interp is "must disclose all speech docs, past 2NR strategies, and what they've had for lunch the past five days", then a lesser response is required.

--Generally speaking, if there's an obvious win on substance and a more difficult win on T or theory and you go for T or theory, I consider that a less than strategic move and it'll reflect in your speaker points.

DA/Counterplan/LARPy Stuff

--I was a policy debater after all, so I'm pretty comfortable with this kind of debate.

--Impact calc is your best friend. Good impact calc means good speaker points and typically is a tiebreaker if I want to avoid intervening. If I have a better understanding of why your impacts matter more than your opponent's, then you're probably going to win.

--This is a general thing, but I'll highlight it here and elsewhere, but extensions should include storytelling for me. Don't just extend the cards from the disad, explain the warrants and tell me how they link together into the story of the disad. Better extensions, better speaker points.


--So remember how I said that me being a philosophy PhD doesn't mean what you think it means? I study bioethics and general normative theory and have had any knowledge/appreciation of continental philosophy beaten out of me over the last 5 years. So, I'm actually not the best at evaluating super dense Ks, high theory, that sort of stuff. That being said, you can totally run it if that's your thing. However, you're going to ahve to take extra time for storytelling. What's going on in the K, what does the aff/res do that is bad, why should I care, and what do you do to make it better/different? So, don't avoid running Ks if that's your A-strat. Do what you do best. Just be good at it and we're fine. If you've grabbed a K from a teammate that you haven't seen before and don't know how to properly extend and explain, it probably won't go well and you should consider doing something else (this applies generally).

--Framework v. framework debates are almost as bad as theory v. theory debates in terms of incomprehensibility. So, do active weighing work. Why does your framework matter more? If your framework precludes, why? If they say their framework precludes, why doesn't it. If both frameworks preclude each other and I have no in-round way to determine whose actually does, we're all going to be upset.

--Role of the ballot/role of the judge is probably the single most important layer of the flow. I mean, you have the power to tell me what my ballot does. Use it to your advantage. If you win that the only thing I should care about is whatever the role of the ballot says I should care about, that's kind of a big deal. Use it to your advantage. On the other side of the flow, you really should spend time here if you're responding to a K.

--Totally fine with performances, but, and this also applies generally, weighing pre versus post fiat offense and why the performance itself matters is pretty important. This is another area where the role of the ballot is your best friend.

--Like I said, I'm usually pretty good about ethics frameworks since that's kind of what I do for a living. That being said, debate phil is 99% of the time waaaaaaayyyyyyyy different from academic phil. This is especially the case for K authors like Foucault, but also for Kant, Mill, Rawls, etc. So, you'll have a little more leeway with explaining evidence for something like a Kant framework, but you still need to do actual extensions and explanations.

Other miscellaneous stuff

--Again, if this is your thing, this is your thing so do it, but I'm generally not a fan of tricks. Most tricks arguments fall into the camp of bad arguments I describe above where a response of "nuh-uh" is sufficient. Again, if this is what you do, then do it, just be super clear about where stuff is located, both when you're reading it and when you're responding to stuff in c/x. Nothing is more infuriating than shifty c/x responses. Saying stuff like "lol I don't know what an a priori is" when it's pretty clear you do is an easy way to get your speaks docked. Don't be that person.

--In that regard, unless you legitimately don't know what the person is asking about, don't say "I don't know what that means". If you've been to camp or the TOC or on the circuit at all, I assume you at least have some understanding of what terms like pre-fiat or spike mean. That's being shifty and wasting c/x time and it's annoying.

--Flex prep is fine. To a lesser extent, so it using c/x time as prep if you want. It isn't a good look, but c/x time is your time to ask questions and use it strategically. Asking questions is generally better than not. Also, both c/x and flex prep are binding.

That's all I can think of for now, I'll try to be better about updating this more regularly. Again, if something here isn't clear or if you want to know more, find me at the tournament and ask or ask me before the round starts.

Ari Davidson Paradigm

5 rounds

Harvard-Westlake '19

WFU '23

Conflicts: NSU University School (FL), Harvard-Westlake (CA)

Hey y’all! I’m Ari (pronouns: they/them/theirs), and I’m excited to judge your debate! Here are ten things to know/keys to success in front of me:

1. I debated in LD and Policy for Harvard-Westlake for 5 years, and currently debate for the Wake Forest Policy team. I know what winning looks and feels like. I know what losing looks and feels like.

2. I believe that debate is a competition in which two teams compete for one ballot in a zero-sum format based on who did the better debating. I think that what you say during the round matters, and you should justify every claim you make with a warrant and an impact. I'd like to further clarify that this means I will not feel bad voting on presumption if you are Aff and do not make offensive arguments -- it's not intervening, but it would be if I were to vote for you when you didn't make an argument. Not sorry. Make real arguments. Beyond that, the way you debate is ultimately up to you!

3. I am a trans, autistic communist. Those three pieces of information are how I will inevitably filter your arguments, because that's how I filter the world to make it make sense to me. You should adapt because all judges have biases, the good ones are just upfront about it. If you're unhappy with a decision I make, you're better off asking questions respectfully or waiting until you're less upset to email me for comments than if you decide to rudely postround because I'm inclined to not give a fuck who you think you are and will shut you down if you come after me. Think about where you are and where you're coming from before you decide to go on the offensive -- if you're respectful and ask questions, you'll get a lot more out of it to get my ballot next time because I really don't care who you are or who you're debating, I will vote on what I have seen occur in the round that I have judged.

4. Debate is a communication activity. I would like to be on the email chain ( I decide the debate on the flow, but the way things can be prioritized/what I should look at on that flow is debatable. My flow is comprised of the things I am able to hear and type. If I can't hear you properly or am not given enough time between arguments to type (usually a small beat pause is enough), it's your fault when arguments don't make it on my flow. Compiling is on prep, flashing is not. Asking your opponent to delete cards/analytics from a speech doc is both on your prep time and a disappointment to me because it proves you didn’t flow diligently (unless it's because they were super unclear).

5. I think “tech” and “truth” are both inseparable and debatable. Evidence is good, but debating about and through that evidence is better. Additionally, what constitutes evidence (organic scholarship, performance, smart analytics, local knowledge, academic knowledge, news articles, etc.) is up to the debaters to justify. I could see myself believing that any one of these types of evidence is more important that another provided there are justifications for said evidence. More and more, I love good evidence and hate bad evidence. BUT, I like bad evidence spun well way more than good evidence that is underutilized. I have been told the cards I cut are too long, but I think that's just because they have warrants. I'd like to assume your long cards have warrants, too, so explain them to me throughout the debate and keep citing the card in your speeches if you want me to read it. Good, long evidence that is read clearly, spun well, and utilized effectively is the road to success in front of me.

6. Organization is crucial (this is a very easy way to adapt to my Autism) – numbering your arguments on any flow will make my job so much easier and provides credence to higher speaks because it proves to me that you have a solid grasp of the round from a bird’s eye view. My ears are good, but not great, so you need to slow down somewhat significantly on tags, author names, large swaths of analytics, plan/CP texts, and anything else important that you want me to have the exact wording of. Absent these adjustments, I will still do my best to flow and evaluate your arguments, including calling clear or slow, but failure to correct will be a lot worse for you than it will be for me.

7. There will be one winning team and one losing team. Don't go over time. In policy, each debater must give one constructive and one rebuttal. I expect everyone to send all evidence (and tags) read in the debate to their opponent before the speech. Cheating=L and Lowest Speaks Possible at the tournament. This includes clipping, cross-reading, falsifying evidence, and omitting parts of paragraphs from evidence. There is a difference between a theoretical argument about evidence and an evidence ethics challenge. The former is debatable, the latter stops the round to decide if someone broke one of the few rules debate actually has as a game. If the person who initiates the challenge is wrong, they get the cheating penalty.

8. I care a lot about debate. I think it can be a crucial training ground for revolutionary organizers as much as it is for policymakers and academics. I think that clash is good, and I think debaters should defend things rather than running away from criticism. I am a VERY expressive judge and my inadvertent facial expressions are usually enough for you to tell if your arguments are making sense to me. Notable exception: I nod a lot during speeches, but there are two types and people get confused so I figured I’d clarify — if I’m nodding rhythmically and consistently, it has nothing to do with the content of what you’re saying I’m just trying to understand you/stay focused. If I nod emphatically and make a face and then stop, it means you made the correct/smart argument in that situation. If I wave my hand at you, it’s time to move on (this could be positive or negative).

9. Racism, Sexism, Homophobia, Transphobia, etc. will not be tolerated. Use neutral pronouns to refer to your opponents unless you’ve been told their pronouns to avoid misinterpollation of gender. Misgendering takes a lot out of trans debaters just to get back to equilibrium, which then gets compounded by the speed of the debate round and the need to keep up through the pain. Please be respectful and apologize when you misgender people – don’t look to me to save you, just own up to it and move on. Repeated or intentional misgendering will cost you lots of speaks and possibly the round if there’s an argument made – I don’t like that I have to use debate success incentives to not misgender people, but I know that’s what y’all care about the most, so I figured I’d make that clear

10. Some people I have been influenced by/hope to judge similarly to for reference: Mike Bietz, Travis Fife, Scott Phillips, Jasmine Stidham, Chris Randall, Daryl Burch, Shanara Reid-Brinkley, Amber Kelsie, Beau Larsen, Taylor Brough

Final Thoughts (TOC Specific):

I will not feel sympathetic for any mistakes you make. It's the last tournament of the year, you had to qualify to get here, and everyone should've taken their months of prep to cover everywhere they have been making mistakes throughout the year. There is no mercy at the TOC. Go for blood, don't be afraid to take risks, and most of all HAVE SOME FUN because this will be the last time you get to see your friends, teammates, and coaches in this context. You'll miss it, even if you hate it now -- that's the nature of this activity.

Dino De La O Paradigm

4 rounds


For policy, feel free to do whatever you want. I feel comfortable judging most debates. Especially clash of civ and K debates. I'm least comfortable judging straight up advantage vs disad debates, but I'll do my best to get into the technical aspects of these issues.

I'm particularly good at evaluating

T Framework v K affs. Lean equal on this debate.




K v Extinction. Lean equal on this debate


Please don’t make me vote on tricks. I will tank your speaks on the basis of an unimpressive strategy. I’d prefer if you debated in manners that aren’t predicated on your opponent missing an argument.

Law Magnet ‘16

UT Austin ‘19


Conflicts: Lake Highland

Background: I qualified to the TOC my junior/senior year and I’ve taught at NSD/TDC. I graduated from UT Austin and I teach/coach at Lake Highland.

Shortcut: I’m pretty open minded to different styles (minus tricks) and I am comfortable judging most t/theory, k, and phil debates. Frankly, I’m not the ideal judge for an intense larp v larp debate. However, I do enjoy larp v phil/k, and I tend to side with larp in these debates. I particularly like small plans and pic strategies, so don’t be discouraged from reading these. I’m just probably not the best if the 2nr/2ar collapse is all larp v larp and very close.


- Tech over truth, but your arguments must have warrants even if they are concessions.

- I default to truth testing, but that doesn’t really mean much since people set up methods/rob early on now. I find myself judging a lot of T and K debates.

- Please collapse in the 2NR/2AR.

- I use an offense/defense paradigm.

- I don’t really feel comfortable doing embedded clash. Err on specificity.

- I default to epistemic confidence, but I’m fine with using epistemic modesty.

- Condo can be tricky depending on your strategy. I think condo is defensible in larp strategies and in some Ks like Cap. But I can be compelled by condo bad arguments vs certain Ks, especially when they are also paired with T/theory. See the K and larp section for specific views.


- I really enjoy a variety of K debate, particularly pessimism, cap/semiocap, and psychoanalysis.

- I like Non-T K affs. I find impact turn strategies to T more convincing than a counter interp, but this debate is also winnable. Note: I find myself voting on T Framework a lot. While I like K affs, the 1AR is usually terrible at defending their method against fairness.

- Topical K affs are fine. I think the counter interp is more winnable in these debates, but impact turns are also possible.

- I think a lot of 1NC Ks fall into dangerous territory when paired with T/theory. Most of the time, the voter implications just straight up conflict with each other and I err aff on this contradictions debate. I also don’t think conditionality is the best response in questions of conflicting framing mechanisms, not simply conflicting advocacies. Just be careful how you pair your T + K strats and make sure you have good blocks to contradictions if you choose to forcefully layer your strategy. Some Ks can be layered organically like T + Cap, but others are more difficult like T + Afropess.

- I honestly don’t get policy framework and “can’t weigh the case” arguments on the K. My view is that the aff can weigh the case if they win that the thesis of the K is false. If the Ks theory is false, then the links have no impact. For example, if an afropess debater says the aff can’t weigh the case, my view is that if ontology is false, the case already outweighs the K. I think "can't weigh the case" is mostly applicable to just reps Ks. The rest is just a topical debate with two separate framing mechanisms. For the neg, just go for your theory is true and win a link, or "they can weigh the case but the K outweighs".

- My default on perms is that they are tests of competition. Frankly, I’m not exactly sure what it would mean for them to function as advocacies, but feel free to change my default and overexplain the implication.

- I don’t really like Ks that only have links to the aff’s framework and not to the advocacy, but the rob can control the direction of what I should evaluate as offense, i.e. “I should reject bad epistemology”. I can be convinced by perms in these debates so have good blocks to perms if you don’t have advocacy links.


- I really enjoy T/theory debates, with a preference towards T. I personally don’t care if you run T/theory for strategy, but I can be compelled by impact turns.

- I tend to vote for T Framework a lot. I really like K aff's and I think fairness is probably bad. But, I find that 1ARs are terrible at defending their model of debate against fairness and I could be easily convinced that fairness comes first.

- Default Paradigm Issues: competing interps, no RVIs, semantics first. I won’t default on voter questions such as fairness/education or drop the debater/argument – you need to explain why T/theory is a voting issue. I feel comfortable assuming semantics first because of my default to truth testing. These are just defaults and can be changed.

- I think RVIs are strategic to force the 2NR to go for T and reasonability is strategic to discourage the 2NR from going for T.

- I enjoy 2NR collapses on semantics or pragmatics. I particularly like Semantics + Limits T strategies.

- Disclosure is a strategic shell. I’m still open to defenses against disclosure. I can see some potential with K angles.

- The generic 1AR combo shells are ok. Not super impressive, so maybe consider a different shell, but I’ll evaluate them.


- I think I get a rep for liking phil debate because that’s what I did during high school, but I’m more impressed by K or T debates. However, phil is fine and I’m comfortable evaluating it.

- The distinction between phil and K often gets blurred for me. I think it’s more of a distinction in debate to distinguish between critical and western philosophy. From western phil, I particularly like Hegel.


- I enjoy larp strategy and I selectively coach it to my students as well. I mostly focus on small plans/pics and util v k/phil. I think util is very strategic in these cases and I’m familiar evaluating these clash of civ debates. However, I’m not the best at evaluating an intense and close util v util debate.

- I think layered util frameworks with TFJs, EM, Extinction First, etc. can be strategic.

- Process CPs, Agent CPs, and PICs are fine and theoretically defensible. Affs can still read 1AR theory.

- Condo is defensible with larp strategies but can be challenged by 1AR theory.

- Like I mentioned in the Ks section, I see perms as tests of competitions. You can change my default but overexplain on what it would look like to treat perms as advocacies.


- This is my least favorite style of debate. I will still vote on frivolous tricks if they have warrants, but I won’t be impressed. I also think these arguments don’t take much to beat.

- Burden structures are a gray area. They can be paired with frivolous tricks or they can simply set up a burden for the round under which a framework and offense are read. I much prefer the latter.

- I think heavy 1AC underviews can be fine and don’t have to be “tricks”. For example, some heavy underviews just set up paradigm and defensive issues. I think they can get frivolous when bad offensive interps become introduced.

Speaker Points:

- I don’t have a solid scale and its more contextual to the tournament I’m attending.

- I base speaker points largely on strategy. I consider the 1AC/1NC construction, 1AR strategy, and the 2NR/2AR collapse.

- My paradigm also highlights debates that I find impressive or literature that I particularly enjoy. You’ll probably get higher speaks executing these debates effectively over going for something I don’t enjoy like tricks. I’ll vote on the latter, but they aren’t impressive and speaker points will reflect this.

- CX can lose you speaker points but it won’t give you much extra.

- Be respectful. You don’t have to be nice but don’t be mean. This can factor into speaker points.

- Don’t read advanced strategies against novices. This won’t impress me and speaker points will be effected.


- I don’t count sending the doc or flashing as prep but everything must be compiled in one speech doc before you stop prep to send the doc.

Rachel Ding Paradigm

6 rounds

General: I debated 4 years of LD in high school (2014-2018) and am now a student at Emory University. She/her/they pronouns. It’s been a few years since I’ve debated I prefer more traditional rounds and know nothing about the current topic. I like debates that are clear, concise, interesting, and generally give good vibes. Include me in the email chain (

Speed: Don't sacrifice clarity. If I can't understand it, I can’t flow. ALWAYS slow down on the tags and authors please. Hate messy spreading.

Extensions: I need to hear a clear claim, warrant, and impact for the argument to be fully extended. Otherwise, I won't weigh any argument that is partially extended as much. Crystallization is also key.

CP's: CP's must have an articulated net benefit. I honestly think PICs aren't very fair so I am very easily swayed by aff theory args. Disads: Impact calc is key and if you don’t clearly extend I won’t weigh! Also, I need to see an internal link. I can't/won't weigh your impacts w/o links.

K's: I am NOT well-versed on K lit at all. So basically don’t run a K if you want to play safe. If you want to take your chances, I expect clear articulation of link, impacts, and an alt that solves for the entirety of the aff, and at least try to simplify the argument.

Theory: In general, all theory arguments need to be in a shell and must have standards/impacts fleshed out. CI>reasonability, no RVIs>aff gets RVIs, usually drop arg> drop debater unless if there's actual abuse in the round.

T: Unless the aff is blatantly untopical, I think you shouldn't waste your time with topicality. That said, I do believe T is a voter.

Please signpost/roadmap - Since I'm a flow judge, I really hate when it is unclear where you are and I get bounced around the flow. ***If you don't tell me where you are, I literally can’t flow.

I expect to hear voters in the 2AR and 2NR.

Other: Do not be annoying or rude to your opponent. Being an actual mature and reasonable debater hits different.

Steve Duckworth Paradigm

6 rounds

I have no background in debate. However, with a PhD from MIT, I understand how to follow an argument and, most importantly, evaluate how well a line of reasoning is supported by valid evidence. What I mean by valid is that all data, findings, and expert opinions must be rigorously derived and presented to be counted. Feel free to challenge anything otherwise. In terms of communication, I don't mind fast pace, but you must be understandable at all times. Good luck to both sides!

Bennett Eckert Paradigm

2 rounds

Updated for ETOC 2020.

Greenhill 2016

Northwestern 2020

In the fall, I'll be a PhD student in philosophy at MIT.

I coach Greenhill. I am conflicted from ETHS and Harrison.


Things to know

[1] I do not flow author names.

[2] I will not vote for exceptionally bad theory arguments. Exceptionally bad arguments include but are not limited to: "neg may only make 2 arguments," "must spec CP status in speech," "must read an explicit standard text," "must contest the aff framework," and "must spec what you meant when you said 'competing interps.'" By contrast, arguments that are fair game are CP theory, plans good/bad, some spec args, AFC good/bad, etc.

[3] I value explanation a lot. I vote aff in a lot of debates in which the neg goes for a ton of arguments, each of which could be a winning 2NR but end up getting very under-explained. I have also voted for a lot of debaters whose evidence is not amazing but who give very good explanations/spin for that evidence.

[4] I am unlikely to be convinced that something categorically outweighs something else (e.g. .01% risk of extinction outweighs, fairness outweighs everything no matter what, etc.). Your weighing arguments should be contextual/comparative.

[5] I really enjoy good T, policy-style, theory, and K v. policy aff debates. I think that most "phil" positions are bad philosophy and bad for debate. I like philosophy, but "phil" in LD is not that. I think that many "phil" positions just straight up do not have a warrant and if I do not think that an argument has a warrant, I will not vote for it. I think that "phil" positions should include (probably long) cards defending / explaining their favored moral theory. If your positions do not do that, then I am probably not the judge for you.

[6] I have voted for T/framework against K affs more often than I have voted against it. When I vote neg in T/FW debates, I normally vote on skills-type impacts and topic education impacts, and I almost never vote on "fairness is an intrinsic good." When I vote aff in these debates, I normally think that the aff has done something to mitigate the neg's impact (e.g. a counter-interpretation that solves, link/impact defense) and won a good-size piece of offense for their counter-interpretation. I think the aff in these debates needs to have a counter-interpretation and should prove that that counter-interpretation is better than the neg interpretation.

[7] I don't really understand most "high theory" arguments (Baudrillard, Bataille, Deleuze, etc.). The bar for explanation is pretty high.

[8] I am very unlikely to vote on a "risk of offense" argument on theory. The debater initiating theory has to generate a real/substantial advantage to their interpretation that I could describe without using the term "risk of offense".

[9] “Reasonability” means to me that the person answering theory need only meet a “reasonable” interpretation, rather than the optimal interpretation. “Reasonability” does not mean to me: “evaluate just whether our particular aff should be allowed,” “only demonstrated/in-round/whatever-you-call-it abuse matters,” or “we may ‘reasonably meet their interpretation.’”

I think that reasonability is most persuasive against theory arguments with a very small impact. The best arguments for reasonability argue that requiring debaters’ practices to meet a certain (reasonable) standard, rather than requiring them to meet the optimal standard, produces the best debates. Generic “competing interps is bad” arguments are not great args for reasonability.

[10] Please slow down on theory arguments, especially if you don't put them on their own pages.

[11] I'm not interested in listening to call-outs of or jabs at other schools, debaters, coaches, etc. E.g. I don't want to hear "[School X] always does this!" or "Of course [Debater Y] is going for [Argument A]!"

[12] You cannot "insert highlighting" or a list of what the aff defends. If either the warrant in a card is given by a chart/table or you want to insert a very long list, then you should at least describe what the chart/table says or identify the source of the list, what it's a list of, and that you'll defend it (respectively).

[13] I quickly get lost in debates that use the word "fiat" a lot. I don't think that the terms "pre-fiat" and "post-fiat" are very illuminating; it's not clear to me what they mean in most contexts or what the significance of supposed distinction between "pre-" and "post-fiat" is supposed to be. I also think that using the word "fiat" as a verb is obfuscatory in a lot of contexts; it's not clear to me that "fiatting" an action is anything over and above just saying that someone should do it. Relatedly, I don't think that "truth-testing" means the aff doesn't have to defend fiat or implementation. (This is largely because I don't know what "truth-testing" does to sidestep the justification for fiat, which comes from the word "ought" in the resolution.)

[14] Framework on both sides in K debates is often under-developed. K 2NR's that include a robust framework argument and explanation of how that includes the neg impacts and excludes weighing the case make it much easier to vote neg. Similarly, 2AR's on the K that include robust "exclusive plan focus good" or "let us weigh the case + case outweighs" arguments make it much easier to vote aff. When neither side clearly labels and develops a framework argument, I find it very difficult to piece these debates together/determine what each side thinks I should be evaluating in the debate.

[15] What is up with this sending cards in the body of the email thing? It is fine in principle to send cards in the body of the email. But if your opponent asks you to send them in a document instead, then you need to take your prep time to compile and send a speech doc (or if you are out of prep time, you should start your speech time to compile + send the doc).

Things About Cheating

[1] I think that evidence ethics matters regardless of whether an argument/ethics challenge is raised in the debate. If I notice that a piece of evidence is miscut, I will vote against the debater who reads the miscut evidence.

I think that a piece of evidence is miscut if:

  • it starts and/or ends in the middle of a sentence or paragraph.

  • text is missing from the middle of the card (replacing that text with an ellipsis does not make it okay),

  • the next paragraph or another part of the article explicitly contradicts the argument/claim made in the card,

  • the card is highlighted in a way that modifies or does not accurately represent the author’s claim [Be careful with brackets - I don’t think they always mean a card is miscut, but I’ve seen that they very often do. I think that brackets, more often than not, are bad - if a bracket changes the strength of a claim made by the author, or in some other way changes the *meaning* of the evidence, it is miscut] [also, I think that highlighting only part of a word is the same as bracketing - if you highlight only part of a word, then the word you read is not what the author wrote],

  • the cite lists the wrong author or article title (I hope to decide 0 debates this year on citations - I’ll only decide debates on them without challenges in the most egregious cases).

If I decide a debate on evidence ethics, I will let the debate finish as normal. If the debate is a prelim, I will decide speaks based on the content of the debate and subtract two speaker points from the debater that I vote against. If the debate is an elim, I will submit my ballot and won’t say anything about my decision until the debate is announced.

If both sides read miscut evidence, I will vote against the debater who read miscut evidence first. (I really don’t love this as a way to evaluate these debates, but the only comparable scenario that I can think of is clipping, and that’s how I would resolve those debates.)

I do not plan to go out of my way looking for miscut evidence or checking to see whether every card is cut correctly. If I do notice that something is miscut, I will vote against the debater who reads it regardless of whether a challenge is made.

Please do not hesitate to ask questions about this before the debate.

[2] If a debater says that a piece of evidence is miscut in round and their opponent clarifies that they are making an "evidence ethics challenge" (and the former person confirms that they want to make a challenge), the debate ends. I will read all of the relevant stuff and then make a decision. Whoever is correct on the evidence ethics challenge wins the debate. The loser will get the lowest speaks I can give.

In lieu of an evidence ethics challenge, I am also ok with asking your opponent to just strike the cards from the doc/cross them off the flow in cx and have the rest of the debate but calling a challenge if they refuse to do so (this is noble but not required). You could also make arguments about why misquoting is bad, but I'm compelled by a response that basically says "call an ethics challenge or don't make the argument; we'll stake the debate on it." Indeed, I think that if you make an evidence ethics argument, you should be willing to stake the debate on it. If you don't stake the round on it, you'll still win (if they committed the evidence ethics violation), but your speaks will be worse than they otherwise would have been.

[3] Clipping is cheating! I read along with most cards, and if I notice that someone is clipping, I'll vote against them and give them the lowest speaks that I can give. I will not stop the debate unless a challenge is made, but if I notice clipping, I will vote on it regardless of whether a challenge is made. For clipping challenges, I'll follow the same procedure that I follow with evidence ethics (above). A similar procedure that might be helpful to look at is written out more formulaically in the NDCA guidelines: <>. (The NDCA guidelines say that clipping has to be at least 5 words, but that seems to me like too many. Skipping ~3 words is definitely clipping, and skipping fewer (i.e. 1-2) is also bad and potentially a VI!)

Things I Won't Vote On

A prioris

Oppression good (if you concede that your position entails that oppression is good, then your position is that oppression is good)

Moral skepticism


Awful theory args


I will give speaks based on how well I think you should do at the tournament. I also give higher speaks to reward strategies and arguments that I think are good/enjoyable to listen to/generally fun.
Here's a rough scale of how I'll give speaks:

30 = you should win everything. I've given one 30 and one 29.9. I would have given a 30 to the person to whom I gave a 29.9 if they had put topicality in the 1NC.

29.5-29.9 = you should be in late elims

29-29.5 = you should clear

28.5-29 = you should be on the bubble

27.5-28.5 = average

26.5-27.5 = you made some important strategic errors/lacked a clear strategy

<26.5 = I found something about this debate very annoying

Average speaks by tournament this year (note that some of the lower numbers here are slightly misleading because they include 25's for clipping and low speaks for evidence ethics):

Greenhill: 28.60

St. Mark's: 28.36

Apple Valley: 27.85

Glenbrooks: 27.87

Emory: 28.86

Stanford: 28.57


Just disclose, ok? If you don't meet some minimum threshold for disclosure (the Greenhill tournament disclosure policy requires what I consider the minimum acceptable disclosure) and your opponent reads disclosure theory, then you're going to lose.

The aff must tell the neg what aff they're going to read unless it's a new aff.

At the Greenhill RR/tournament I am going to adjudicate disputes about the disclosure policy exclusively on the basis of who I think is correct. Both debaters can say their piece/explain the situation but I will not decide these disputes "on the flow." To be clear, I'll still evaluate arguments like "must disclose full text/open source/etc." like other normal theory arguments. But I will decide disputes about the disclosure policy such as those about: lying about what the aff said, whether someone didn't disclose tags/cites/whatever, whether someone waited too long to disclose, etc. based on what I think about the disclosure policy. I will not listen to debates about whether the disclosure policy matters/how it's worded/whether your school doesn't have a wiki (you should have foreseen this problem)/how bad the wifi is/etc. If you have questions about how I interpret the disclosure policy, feel free to ask me whenever.

The wiki goes down every year during the Greenhill tournament. When it does, both debaters should make an effort to contact each other to disclose.

People that have influenced my views on debate

Eli Smith

Rodrigo Paramo

Aaron Timmons

Marshall Thompson

Chris Theis

Jake Nebel

David Edwards Paradigm

3 rounds

I am a parent judge and have judged LD for the past three years at traditional tournaments in North and South Carolina. I have been a trial attorney so I am familiar with 1 v. 1 debate and arguments with cross examination and the LD format. I treat LD like a Motion hearing in court. Based upon the above, do not spread. I can flow at a high rate, but not at the spreading rate. If you see me set my pen down and stop flowing and cross my arms then that is the sign that your rate is too high for me to understand clearly. I will ask you to slow down two times for a fair warning before I stop flowing. Again, even though it may be a national tournament, I cannot flow spreading rate, so if you want to win, adapt. Include me on any email chains: Avoid excessively dense philosophy. Counterplans, disads, plans etc. are fine. Err against kritiks unless you think you can explain it very well. Do not use non-topical affs. Clear, concise arguments and supporting evidence are what I am looking for.

Connor Engel Paradigm

1 rounds


Things to know

[1] I have no interest in judging debates about bad theory arguments. They are bad, boring, and pointless. If you make an exceptionally terrible theory argument, I just won't vote on it. This doesn't apply to many arguments. For example, arguments that are fair game are CP theory, plans good/bad, some spec args, AFC good/bad, etc. This is only meant to exclude really awful arguments like "neg may only make 2 arguments," "must spec CP status in speech," "must read an explicit standard text," "must contest the aff framework," and "must spec what you meant when you said 'competing interps.'" Good theory debates are awesome and fun to judge and strategic theory is fine, but theory debates about arguments this bad are honestly just not worth my time.

[2] I value explanation a lot. I've found that I vote aff in a lot of debates in which the neg goes for a ton of arguments, each of which could be a winning 2NR but end up getting very under-explained. I have also voted for a lot of debaters whose evidence is not amazing but who give very good explanations/spin for that evidence. The best debaters I've seen collapse in rebuttals, give overviews, and weigh.

[3] I am unlikely to be convinced that something categorically outweighs something else (e.g. .01% risk of extinction outweighs, fairness outweighs everything no matter what, etc.). Your weighing arguments should be contextual/comparative.

[4] I really enjoy good T, policy-style, theory, and K v. policy aff debates. I’ve found that I normally do not like “philosophy”/ framework debates because they tend to involve bad mis-explanations of moral theories, cards cut out of context, and general trickery/tomfoolery. Paraphrasing Travis Fife: If you actually read moral/political philosophy and apply it to debate in a way that’s true to the literature, I might be a great judge for you. If you use moral theory as an excuse for engaging in trickery/obfuscation and making implausible normative claims, I am a very bad judge for you (and you should stop doing that).

[5] I have voted for T/framework against K affs more often than I have voted against it. When I vote neg in T/FW debates, I normally vote on skills-type impacts and topic education impacts, and I almost never vote on "fairness is an intrinsic good." When I vote aff in these debates, I normally think that the aff has done something to mitigate the neg's impact (e.g. a counter-interpretation that solves, link/impact defense) and won a good-size piece of offense for their counter-interpretation. I think the aff in these debates needs to have a counter-interpretation and should prove that that counter-interpretation is better than the neg interpretation.

[6] I actively enjoy K debate, but there's nothing worse than bad K debate. Just because I'm black and read certain identity politics args in high school doesn't mean I'll autovote on them without any explanation. In fact if you're going to read afropess the bar is set extra high for actually explaining and extending ontology warrants rather than just yelling at your opponent about the middle passage for 7 minutes.

[7] I don't really understand most "high theory" arguments (Baudrillard, Bataille, Deleuze, etc.). I won't vote on something that I cannot coherently explain, so the bar for explanation is pretty high. In general, you should not assume I am well-read on the literature you’re reading unless it’s marxism, identity politics, or certain branches of contemporary analytic ethics. I have found that slowing down, collapsing, and giving examples all enhance my understanding of arguments made in rounds.

[8] I am very unlikely to vote on a "risk of offense" argument on theory. I'm inclined to think that the debater initiating theory has to generate a real/substantial advantage to their interpretation that I could describe without using the term "risk of offense".

[9] “Reasonability” means to me that the person answering theory need only meet a “reasonable” interpretation, rather than the optimal interpretation. “Reasonability” does not mean to me: “evaluate just whether our particular aff should be allowed,” “only demonstrated/in-round/whatever-you-call-it abuse matters,” or “we may ‘reasonably meet their interpretation.’”

I think that reasonability is most persuasive against theory arguments with a very small impact. The best arguments for reasonability argue that requiring debaters’ practices to meet a certain (reasonable) standard, rather than requiring them to meet the optimal standard, produces the best debates. Generic “competing interps is bad” arguments are not great args for reasonability.

[10] Please slow down on theory arguments, especially if you don't put them on their own pages. If you read theory args at the same speed that you read cards, I almost certainly won't get down everything that you want me to.

[11] I'm not interested in listening to call-outs of or jabs at other schools, debaters, coaches, etc. E.g. I don't want to hear "[School X] always does this!" or "Of course [Debater Y] is going for [Argument A]!" Lines like these do not help illustrate your argument at all, make the debate uncomfortable to judge, and are often just mean/uncalled for.

[12] You cannot "insert highlighting" or a list of what the aff defends. If either the warrant in a card is given by a chart/table or you want to insert a very long list, then you should at least describe what the chart/table says or identify the source of the list, what it's a list of, and that you'll defend it (respectively).

[13] I quickly get lost in debates that use the word "fiat" a lot. I don't think that the terms "pre-fiat" and "post-fiat" are very illuminating; it's not clear to me what they mean in most contexts or what the significance of supposed distinction between "pre-" and "post-fiat" is supposed to be. I also think that using the word "fiat" as a verb is obfuscatory in a lot of contexts; it's not clear to me that "fiatting" an action is anything over and above just saying that someone should do it. Relatedly, I don't think that "truth-testing" means the aff doesn't have to defend fiat or implementation. (This is largely because I don't know what "truth-testing" does to sidestep the justification for fiat, which comes from the word "ought" in the resolution.)

[14] In most of the K debates that I have judged, framework (the "role of the ballot") has been woefully underdeveloped on both sides. Often, the neg does not clearly extend a framework arg and articulate what it means. And often the aff's only framework arg is "let us weigh the case because fairness." This makes these debates very hard to judge. K 2NR's that include a robust framework argument and explanation of how that includes the neg impacts and excludes weighing the case make it much easier to vote neg. Similarly, 2AR's on the K that include robust "exclusive plan focus good" or "let us weigh the case + case outweighs" arguments make it much easier to vote aff. When neither side clearly labels and develops a framework argument, I find it very difficult to piece these debates together/determine what each side thinks I should be evaluating in the debate.

[15] What is up with this sending cards in the body of the email thing? Do people not make speech docs? It is fine in principle to send cards in the body of the email. But if your opponent asks you to send them in a document instead, then you need to take your prep time to compile and send a speech doc (or if you are out of prep time, you should start your speech time to compile + send the doc).

Things About Cheating

[1] I think that evidence ethics matters regardless of whether an argument/ethics challenge is raised in the debate. If I notice that a piece of evidence is miscut, I will vote against the debater who reads the miscut evidence.

I think that a piece of evidence is miscut if:

  • it starts and/or ends in the middle of a sentence or paragraph.

  • text is missing from the middle of the card (replacing that text with an ellipsis does not make it okay),

  • the next paragraph or another part of the article explicitly contradicts the argument/claim made in the card,

  • the card is highlighted in a way that modifies or does not accurately represent the author’s claim [Be careful with brackets - I don’t think they always mean a card is miscut, but I’ve seen that they very often do. I think that brackets, more often than not, are bad - if a bracket changes the strength of a claim made by the author, or in some other way changes the *meaning* of the evidence, it is miscut] [also, I think that highlighting only part of a word is the same as bracketing - if you highlight only part of a word, then the word you read is not what the author wrote],

  • the cite lists the wrong author or article title (I hope to decide 0 debates this year on citations - I’ll only decide debates on them without challenges in the most egregious cases).

If I decide a debate on evidence ethics, I will let the debate finish as normal. If the debate is a prelim, I will decide speaks based on the content of the debate and subtract two speaker points from the debater that I vote against. If the debate is an elim, I will submit my ballot and won’t say anything about my decision until the debate is announced.

If both sides read miscut evidence, I will vote against the debater who read miscut evidence first. (I really don’t love this as a way to evaluate these debates, but the only comparable scenario that I can think of is clipping, and that’s how I would resolve those debates.)

I do not plan to go out of my way looking for miscut evidence or checking to see whether every card is cut correctly. If I do notice that something is miscut, I will vote against the debater who reads it regardless of whether a challenge is made.

Please do not hesitate to ask questions about this before the debate.

[2] If a debater says that a piece of evidence is miscut in round and their opponent clarifies that they are making an "evidence ethics challenge" (and the former person confirms that they want to make a challenge), the debate ends. I will read all of the relevant stuff and then make a decision. Whoever is correct on the evidence ethics challenge wins the debate. The loser will get the lowest speaks I can give.

In lieu of an evidence ethics challenge, I am also ok with asking your opponent to just strike the cards from the doc/cross them off the flow in cx and have the rest of the debate but calling a challenge if they refuse to do so (this is noble but not required). You could also make arguments about why misquoting is bad, but I'm compelled by a response that basically says "call an ethics challenge or don't make the argument; we'll stake the debate on it." Indeed, I think that if you make an evidence ethics argument, you should be willing to stake the debate on it. If you don't stake the round on it, you'll still win (if they committed the evidence ethics violation), but your speaks will be worse than they otherwise would have been.

[3] Clipping is cheating! I read along with most cards, and if I notice that someone is clipping, I'll vote against them and give them the lowest speaks that I can give. I will not stop the debate unless a challenge is made, but if I notice clipping, I will vote on it regardless of whether a challenge is made. For clipping challenges, I'll follow the same procedure that I follow with evidence ethics (above). A similar procedure that might be helpful to look at is written out more formulaically in the NDCA guidelines: <>. (The NDCA guidelines say that clipping has to be at least 5 words, but that seems to me like too many. Skipping ~3 words is definitely clipping, and skipping fewer (i.e. 1-2) is also bad and potentially a VI!)

Things I Won't Vote On

A prioris

Oppression good (if you concede that your position entails that oppression is good, then your position is that oppression is good)

Moral skepticism


Awful theory args


I will give speaks based on how well I think you should do at the tournament. I also give higher speaks to reward strategies and arguments that I think are good/enjoyable to listen to/generally fun.
Here's a rough scale of how I'll give speaks:

30 = you should win everything

29.5-29.9 = you should be in late elims

29-29.5 = you should clear

28.5-29 = you should be on the bubble

27.5-28.5 = average

26.5-27.5 = you made some important strategic errors/lacked a clear strategy

<26.5 = I found something about this debate very annoying


Just disclose, ok? If you don't meet some minimum threshold for disclosure (the Harvard Westlake tournament disclosure policy requires what I consider the minimum acceptable disclosure) and your opponent reads disclosure theory, then you're going to lose. To be clear this does not require the disclosure of personal information that may endanger any debater (the brightline for which I leave to your discretion), but rather an attempt in good faith to provide your opponent with as much information about your position as possible.

The aff must tell the neg what aff they're going to read unless it's a new aff.

The wiki goes down every tournament. When it does, both debaters should make an effort to contact each other to disclose.

Tom Evnen Paradigm

5 rounds

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

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

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

Nathan Fleming Paradigm

3 rounds

I debate at Berkeley. Go Bears!

I will totally talk during your debate. I haven't judged on this topic since camp, so I might ask yall to clarify acronyms since those are big this year, or just skip bad arguments I'm not interested in (cough, new affs bad theory, cough cough).

Ks & Framework: I like clash. I think debate is special because of the depth of debate it allows. That means if your K aff is only for you, I'm not. If your K aff defends topic DAs and has a cool spin on the topic though, I'm your guy. I don't believe that heg good isn't offense, and people should feel comfortable going for impact turns against the K in front of me, because it's cleaner than T a lot of the time. Fairness is an impact, but it's way worse than skills.

Theory: rarely debated well, but gorgeous when perfected. With that in mind, I have some biases here:

Aff Biases: Ifiat.

Neg Biases: Condo. I'm a bad judge for going for Condo. Consider this the strongest opinion in this paradigm.

Nobody who understands debate dislikes hearing a debate about the case or go for a DA. They don't get their own section. Do it.

A few closing comments: unsorted

-I'm kind of an ev hack. I try not to read cards unless instructed, but if you read great ev, you should be loud and clear about telling me to read it, and if it's as good as you say, then speaker points may be in order.

-Sometimes recutting the other team's card to answer their argument is better than reading one of your own. If you want me to read their card on your terms, include highlighting in another color so we're on the same page on what part you think goes the other way.

-Creative strategies are great, and I love a new DA as much as the next person. With that in mind, politics rules, and sometimes if it ain't broke don't fix it.

-Arguments I won't vote for

-X other debater is individually a bad person for something that didn't happen in the debate

-saying violence to other people in the debate is a good idea

-speech times are bad or anything that literally breaks the debate

-new affs bad

Lincoln Douglas

I judge this now, but I'm still getting used to it, so go easy on me. So far, my policy debate knowledge has carried me through most of these debates just fine, but as far as I can tell these are the things worth knowing about how I judge these debates.

-Theory doesn't become a good argument because speech times are messed up. Dispo is still a joke. Neg flex is still important. That doesn't mean counter plans automatically compete off certainty/immediacy, and it doesn't mean topicality doesn't matter. It does mean that hail-marry 2AR on 15 seconds of condo isn't gonna cut it tho.

-Judge instruction feels more important than ever for the aff in these debates because the speech times are wonky.

-I generally feel confident w/ critical literature, but not all of the stuff in Policy is in LD and visa-versa. So if you're talking about like, Kant, or some other funny LD stuff, go slow and gimme some time.

-This activity seems to have been more-or-less cannibalized by bad theory arguments and T cards written by coaches. I will be difficult to persuade on those issues.

Chris Flowers Paradigm

3 rounds

Paradigm update eNSDA


Chris Flowers

Little Rock Central

You can call me by my first or last name. I use he/him pronouns.

Email -


I flow, pay attention to cx and would like to be on the email chain to read your evidence if necessary.

I want you to keep up with your own prep (unless you’re new at this).

I evaluate dropped arguments like won arguments, but expect you to extend the warrants to the claim and impact the argument out as necessary.

Debaters ought to determine the procedural limits and educational value of each topic by defending their interpretations in the round (See preferences section for more on this).

Affirmative teams should advocate for some departure from the status quo in the context of the topic. The more connected to the topic you are, the less likely I am to evaluate fairness impacts on framework/t.

If I have to read evidence for decision purposes I will evaluate the quality of said evidence even without explicit indicts of the evidence from your opponent. If you are way ahead on technical stuff or even spin, evidence quality matters less.

Debaters should not do any of the following:

Clip cards

Steal prep

Outright disregard basic, logistical and procedural things that keep the tournament running on time, i.e. showing up super late, speaking over the time allotted to their side etc.

Disregard reasonable personal request of their opponents. If you don’t wish to comply with opponent requests, you ought to have a good reason why.

Misgender folks

Say or do racist, sexist, homophobic, transphobic or ableist things.

Read identity arguments that you don't identify as.

Defaults when you forget to make warrants to your arguments

Education > Fairness

Shapes Subjectivities > Just a game

Breadth = Depth ---> both are important please make warrants here

Neg getting the status quo plus conditional advocacies is fair and incentivizes good aff research.

K’s don’t need to win an alt to win.

Perf Con is a reason to vote AFF, RVI’s are probably not.

Voting for theory when there’s substantial or egregious abuse > voting for theory because it was undercovered

reasonable disclosure practices = should be followed.

Analytic > Low quality evidence

Heg = bad.

Cap = bad.

Grumpy things

We don’t need to shake hands.

Calling framework T doesn’t make it not framework. What are you trying to hide!?

Case debate is underutilized.

Analytics are underutilized .

My tolerance for rudeness, sassiness etc. goes up the better you are at debate.

Your speaks go up when you are nice to opponents you are way better than.

Y’all are kids. I’m 35. You can call me by my first or last name, but I’m not here for unnecessary dramatics.

Your coaches and judges give up a lot to be here on the weekends. It’s because deep down they care about you and the activity. It has made a marked difference in their lives and they want you to get the same thing out of it that they did. Make this experience enjoyable and educational for yourself and others. If it’s not fun, maybe consider quiz bowl or model UN.

I'd pref these teams at 1:




PV VG (ride or die)



NoBro MR

Lane Tech CG

Determining Speaks

I evaluate a speech similar to how I would grade a paper.

30 = 100%

I think the 30 is too exalted. But, I do want to be blown away before I hand one out. Do the following for your best chances:

Execute a clear and cohesive argument strategy.

Delivery is dynamic, clear and organized.

Performance between speeches is exemplary (cross-x questions and answers, non-verbal during opponents speeches and a generally likable ethos).

Rebuttal speeches are rich with a combination of argumentation and persuasion (warrants are extended, comparisons are made, round vision is demonstrated through clear strategy but also responsive analytics).

and 29.9 = 99% and so on down the line.

The best way to get a 29 and up from me is focus on the following:

Be yourself, don’t be flippant.

Pre-written speeches should be clear, dynamic and within time.

Rebuttals are a smooth combination of argument extensions, comparisons and in-round analytics.

Strategy is cohesive and cool.

You signpost well and organized. The fewer times I have to move my arguments from the flow the better.

Novices should expect there speaks to be relatively lower. Since speaks are largely arbitrary the most fair way for me to assign speaks is to stick to the criteria above.

Argumentative Preferences

*If I haven't mentioned it here, I don't have any strong thoughts on the matter and am most likely to be a pretty blank slate. Especially on theory. *

t/framework vs. k aff

Planless aff’s are a thing and neg teams are best to attempt to engage case as earnestly as possible. This is especially true if the aff has been around for awhile and/or is steeped in literature that is readily accessible through camp files or previous years topics (read: basically everything).

Affs should be related to the topic. The less contextualized to the affirmative your aff is the more likely I am to vote on fairness/procedural issues. On face, I think education is way more important than fairness. But I will begrudgingly vote for you if you’ve out warranted the other team on this issue.

T vs affs w a plan text that uses the usfg

I default to reasonability because I think it incentivizes innovative research by the aff that expands the limits of the topic in a good way. (all about that education). I also don’t think it creates much more judge intervention that is already inevitable and comparable to evaluating competing interps. But, I will vote for competing interps if you’ve got good stuff to say that will establish a clear brightline as to what makes a definition better.


Neg definitely gets to be conditional. Limited conditionality is the most comfortable theory interp for me, but unlimited conditionality is fine too, unless you cross over the line into perf con.

Perf Con.

I am 1/1 voting on perf con that was in the 2ar.

The threshold for me on perf con is two fold. Either one of these violations happening is enough for me to vote for PC 2AR

a. Arguments made on one flow could be extended to other parts of the flow once the original argument is dropped.

b. Positons are grossly ideologically contradictory. IE, the econ da plus cap.

Counter Plans

If you have a solvency advocate, its legit.

Most PIC’s I’ve heard seem theoretically legit because demonstrable abuse hasn’t been proven. But if you have a clear, thesis story on CP abuse I will vote there. It’s happened before. But violations have to be clear.


I think most politics arguments are false and most econ arguments are false. However, I can detach myself from those beliefs and vote for your disad, even if it's terrible. Please be reading updated uniqueness arguments and be paying attention to what’s happening in the squo. Make your turns case analysis efficient and terminal.


Neg walks in with presumption. If both teams show up and neither team speaks I’d vote neg on a low point win. Neg teams should still make presumption analysis and not just rely on my assumption to vote their. Explain to me the inefficiencies of the aff to resolve the harms in the status quo.

Debate Philosophy

Debate is transformative. It is foremost an educational activity. As a classroom teacher, as well as an active coach and judge I approach nearly everything I do with that element of education in mind. I do think there should be some parameters to the game, but I also believe that part of the beauty of the game is that those parameters are generally underlimiting. I think this isn’t always the best for creativity, but that it definitely encourages students to do in-depth research on a broad range of topics.

Debate is challenging. I like arguments that are hard to beat, but not impossible. As a coach debate allows me to set personal challenges, some that I have accomplished others I may never achieve. There’s beauty in the struggle. As a coach, I want to be down in the trenches as much as possible, cutting cards, maximizing pre-round prep. and doing anything I can to win, even if it means being the waterboy before rounds. As a judge, I hope the debaters I judge will feel the same way. I don’t care how much experience you have, how good or bad at debate you are, I want you to be in it to win it. I also want you to not be afraid to fail.

Debate is exhausting. On my squad, I share responsibilities with two other phenomenal coaches. We all drive to and from tournaments, work tirelessly on hearing redos, facilitating practices, cutting evidence and overall trying to put all of our debaters in the best possible position to win debates. All of this can be excruciating and exhausting. If debaters on my team or at tournaments don’t’ share in this sense of sacrifice or the recognition that we are all a part of something a little bigger, there’s no payoff for me. Don’t be those kids. Being away from home and family so frequently during the school year CAN be a worthy sacrifice, if the students I coach and judge demonstrate excellence or a desire for excellence in competitive and interpersonal ways. Your coaches, myself included, do this for a reason. Most of us really want nothing but the best for you. Winning is important, but not everything. Have a good attitude and embrace the game.

Clark Foster Paradigm

6 rounds

k: 1

theory: 3/4

tricks: don't

larp: 2

more than 3 offs: 4

if you read more than 3 offs I will have a hard time evaluating the substance of the arguments, I don’t think any argument should be undeveloped in the 1nr and then suddenly have tons of impacting in the 2nr.This is specific to short offs that get extrapolation in the 2nr. I think this is horrible for debate and have no problem voting against these if they are made into shells. However I will most likely doc speaks for this type of argumentation


I have been a coach at evanston for 3 years, and have been judging for them for 5+

please be clear if spreading, very important that you pause and sign post during argumentation. I will defer to what I hear in speeches and use the speech doc sparingly. It is importance to change cadence when spreading in order to emphasize warrants and impacts in order to differentiate. I don’t want to have to read the cards to figure out what you are saying in your speeches, you should be clear enough so I can flow

Tricks are pretty annoying and don't really help people learn how to debate, It is on a case to case basis on how I will weigh tricks (long story short, id recommend NOT reading them in front of me)

Theory: theory is fine, but it is alot clearer to me if the warranting isnt spread.

The most important thing in the round is that your arguments are accessible, and inclusive to everyone. That being said, be inclusive to your opponent inside the round. If your opponent doesn't understand speed, slow down. If an argument is not clear and is hard to understand, explain it. If you don't do these things, I will have a hard time voting for these arguments. That being said, I am pretty much open to any argument (regardless of event) as long as it is warranted, and impacted (as long as it is not exclusionary or violent). This includes critical arguments in public forum. Don't lie about evidence. This is a very good way to automatically lose the round with me, and more often than not almost any other judge, or judge panel.



If you tell me to look at a certain framework and it is fair and reasonable, then I will do so. If I don't think it is fair I probably wont evaluate under it, but I will tell you why I think it's unfair, and how to make it fair. For LD, it is more about warranted framing. I don’t like/understand phil framing when it’s spread, and I literally have no idea how to evaluate it when it’s read at 200+ wpm

K's are cool.

Decorum: You should do what makes you comfortable in round, if you want to sit down for cx cool, stand up, cool. Sit down for speech, yeee, stand on your head. Let people know if there is anything you need to make the round more accessible or more comfortable for you.

Speaker points: Being kind in round is the best way to get 30's with me. Also, if I learn something new or interesting, you will probably get good speaks, or if you are black

winners get probably 28-30, then the losing team .5 less

30: you were cool in round

29.8-29.9 how is anyone supposed to measure the difference between these two?

29.7-29.8 seriously who does this distinction help?

29.5-29.6 no for real, someone tell me the difference between this and 30

I don't always remember to time, so please be honest and hold yourselves accountable.

Sunil Gedela Paradigm

2 rounds

Updated 25 August 2019

TL;DR: Parent judge (arghh/ yipeee/ whatever-you-feel). I am able to flow most common types of args (but not dense phil/Ks) delivered at normal speed. I value logical args/ rebuttals, even if purely analytical.

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

Case Debate: I expect a basic level of case debate in addition to whatever else you may choose to run.

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

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

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

Ryan Hemnarine Paradigm

3 rounds

My name is Ryan and I currently attend and debate for Rutgers University-Newark. I debated for University High School in Newark where I received 3 bids in LD my senior year. I was top speaker at the Tournament of Champions and made it to semifinals. I was mostly a K/Performance debater, but I have also ran policy affs and T. However, I am not a fan of frivolous theory and will not vote on spikes or skep.

I would like to be on the email chain:

K's/Performances: I mostly run Ks and performances on both the aff and neg. On the aff make sure there is a coherent story that I can follow from the 1AC to the 2AR. On the neg make sure there are specific links and examples that prove the aff is a bad idea.

FW v K affs: I WILL VOTE FOR T. It comes down to the debate that was had. Make sure there are isolated terminal impacts I can vote on at the end of the round.

Policy: Super interested in policy debates and hearing CP/DA debates.

Theory:I will NOT vote on frivolous theory (i.e. can't read with two different highlights, spikes, etc).

Lauren Hince Paradigm

6 rounds

In a nutshell

I'm a former LD, PF, and Congress debater from Minnesota. I now work for New Trier High School in Illinois alongside a full-time non-debate job in Chicago. Since I don't cut cards or teach debate for a living I won't come with deep knowledge on every topic. I'm familiar with jargon and by no means a lay judge, but don't expect me to come in with a huge background on topics. I say this so you don't assume anything when making arguments. I come into rounds with a pretty blank slate and that's how I will evaluate your arguments.

To win my ballot I will need to see some sort of framework/calculus/VC/standard/observation on how to evaluate the round. I will need to see arguments weighed through that framework. I will also need strong organization with the flow. If I don't know where you are, I won't flow your argument. Other than that everything else is pretty straight forward.

tl;dr: I try to approach every round with a blank slate since I'm judging on the side and not coaching full time. The most organized and persuasive debater who takes care of the flow will win my ballot. Oh, and PLEASE WEIGHT. It's that simple.


Please Don't Do These:

-Forget to signpost (This is #1 for me)

-Argue sexist, racists, or homophobic points

-Shake my hand or call me judge

-Card Clipping (looking at you PF)

-Extend without analysis or impacting. It's not enough to tell me to extend a card.

-Ignore the framework debate if it is applicable

-Turn the last speech of the round into a second rebuttal.

-Excessive off-time road maps, especially when there is only an aff/neg flow to worry about.

-Look at me for facial expressions and validity if you think your opponent is being dumb or whatever. I I usually have a poker face while judging and won't give any indication to validate you. The best way to tell if I'm getting everything you're saying is if my head is done and flowing.


1. Are you ok with speed?

Yes, but I am a bit rusty since I judge debate on the side. If this is PF speed, no problem. LD speed, you might have to slow down for me, but I'll let you know.

2. Can I add you to the email chain?

Yes,, but you still need to be clear and organized. Just because I have your case doesn't mean I'm reading it. I process through hearing the arguments better than reading them.

3. Where do your speaker points start?

27 is an average speaker. 28 is you were a good debater but maybe didn't win the round. 29 is you were amazing and did everything I need to see. 30 is rare and reserved for debaters that have amazing strategy, prioritization, argumentation, and delivery

4. Do you disclose?

Yepp, but not speaks

5. Do you care about the flow?

Yes. Very much so, but that doesn't mean you should neglect the bigger picture happening in the round.

6. How do you feel about CP, Ks, theory, etc.?

I don't have a huge background in this but that doesn't mean I won't listen. Like I mentioned above this is a side activity for me and I never ran these types of arguments as a debater which means I might not have the depth of knowledge or understanding of structure to properly judge this type of argumentation. But, I'm super open-minded if you are willing to risk it.

Sam Houle Paradigm

6 rounds

I debated policy for 4 years at Fort Lauderdale, went to Nats twice and several other tournaments, including the Barkley Forum... so I'm excited to be back. I'm currently a graduating senior at UF... headed the Blue Key policy tournament there a couple years ago.

I have no topic knowledge whatsoever but I'm pretty tabula rasa so don't worry. Just inform me as best as you can about the topic and make a clear framework for why I should vote for you. Probably include a ROB or ROJ, right?

I used to spread pretty fast and I'm decent at flowing. If you aren't being shitty to your opponent, you'll both most likely get decent speaker points.

I love Kritiks, especially really crazy stuff. I won't just automatically vote for it though. Esp if the alt clearly doesn't solve through a dropped FW or if the link turn in the 2A gets dropped or whatevs.

Other than that I don't really have any limitations. I've judged LD but never debated it personally. If you bring me flow paper and a red pen I'll like you more.

Oh, and, let me be clear: climate change iz real.

Feel free to ask me anything before the round starts. If you're trans/homo/whatever-besides-Nazi-phobic, you're gonna have a bad time.

Almost forgot, I love theory debates, weirdly enough. I don't like seeing every single debate boil down to theory but if a theory argument has actual grounding I love hearing a technical backnforth around it. On the same note, DON'T DROP THEORY OR T FOR THE LOVE OF

Brent Huang Paradigm

6 rounds

I debated national circuit LD at Starr's Mill High School '12 (GA) and did Policy at Vanderbilt University '16 (TN).

I think I am a standard national circuit LD judge. If you only have experience with local debate, this means that I'm fine with (and proactively prefer) spreading and non-traditional arguments. However, if doing so, I recommend using a email chain, for which my email is


LD Paradigm


My general preference for debate argument types is Framework >= Plan-Focused/Util > Theory >> Kritiks.


I like philosophy debate a lot, especially analytical ethical philosophy. If you frequently read cards from Singer, Korsgaard, Mackie, and the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy in general, I would probably really enjoy judging you.

- I enjoy cases that are balanced between framework and contention-level offense, e.g., the AC spending half its time justifying an ethical system (utilitarianism, Kant, Hobbes, virtue ethics, divine command, moral skepticism, etc.) and then the rest on offense under that framework.

- I'm extremely opposed to theoretically-justified frameworks/affirmative framework choice. I think these things kill philosophy education, which is the most useful part of debate. If you can't prove that util is objectively true, what's even the point of pretending it's true if we have no reason to believe it?

- I'm not a fan of vague standards like "structural violence" where practically anything commonly considered bad can be considered an impact. Winter and Leighton are the bane of my existence.

- Your impacts need to actually link to an ethical philosophy in the round. Explain to me why I should care about people dying, why human rights exist, and why racism is bad in the context of the round.


I can enjoy a Plan-focused or whole-resolution util debate just as much, however, and I've done Policy in the past.

- Weighing is wonderful, and probably the point where you will best be able to pick up high speaks.

- Things like author-specific indicts or methodological critiques of particular studies are fantastic. Tell me things like, "This study only has a sample size of n=24" or "The study's authors indicated the following problems with their own study."

- Impact turns are great. I can’t promise it’s always the best idea, but I’ll probably love it if the 1AR is four minutes of “global warming good” or "economic collapse prevents nuclear war."

- Counterplans are a very important neg tool, but I think some of the more abusive ones, like 50 States CP or Consult CP are difficult to defend in terms of making debate a good activity.

- In LD, I'd prefer you just read one unconditional CP.


- If the AC is super spiky, please number the spikes. This will make it a lot easier for me to flow. If you spout out single-sentence arguments for a full minute, I’ll be more inclined to vote on them if I can clearly tell where one ends and another begins.

- I like clearly articulated theory shells in normal Interpretation-Violations-Standards-Voters format. It makes it much easier to flow compared to paragraph theory.

- I would prefer if you shared pre-written shells in the email chain, even if they're only analytical.

- I default to competing interpretations but am receptive to reasonability if mentioned.

- I like RVIs and will often vote on them, especially for the aff. If you're the aff and you're not sure if you should go for 4 minutes of the RVI in the 1AR, my advice is probably yes.


- Post-fiat Kritiks are fine. I'm not very receptive to pre-fiat Kritiks. If you aren't sure about the distinction, think about whether your alternative negates the resolution. For example, if the resolution is "The US gov should do [x]", and your alternative is "The US gov should not do [x]" or "The US gov should instead do [y]", that's fine. If your alternative is only "People around the world should..." or "The judge should..." or "The debate community should...," I'm probably not going to enjoy it. If the alt doesn't even have an actor and is just to "reject the aff," that's even worse.

- Although I’m generally well-versed with the basic ones like Cap/Security/Fem K, my understanding of the more esoteric ones falls off. Although I will try to evaluate the round as fairly as possible, I haven’t spent much time reading 1970s Continentals, and you can’t assume that I’ll have intimate knowledge of their arguments ahead of time.

- I lean towards the Role of the Ballot being just whoever proves the resolution true or false (offense-defense is also acceptable).

- Fairness definitely matters. Education might matter to some degree. I am very loathe to consider anything else as an independent voter. If your argument is nothing more than "Util justifies slavery, so auto-drop them," I am not likely to be agreeable.

- If your NRs often include the claim, "It's not a link of omission; it's a link of commission," I am probably not the judge for you.


- I'm fine with flex prep (asking questions during prep time) if you want it. I think it's a good norm for debate.

- I do not care if you sit or stand.


Policy Paradigm


Read the Plan-focused/Util and Kritiks sections of the LD paradigm, but you can ignore most of the rest. Due to my LD background, I am much more willing to vote on philosophical positions. If you want to go for "Don't do the plan because objective morality doesn't exist" or "Pass the plan because that's most in line with Aristotle's notion of virtue," I'm totally fine with that.


- I still prefer clearly articulated Interpretation-Violation-Standards-Voters theory shells, even in Policy.

- I'm more willing to accept conditional CPs in Policy, although it gets really sketchy with conditional K's, especially if there's performative contradictions.


- I'm probably more willing than most Policy judges to consider analytics. I don't think you need a card for every argument you make, and oftentimes just having a warranted argument is sufficient.


Public Forum Paradigm


I understand that Public Forum has different end goals than LD or Policy. I will try to evaluate it through the following in contrast to LD or Policy:

- I will not require explicit ethical frameworks. If something sounds bad, like "It kills people" or "It hurts the economy" or "It is unfair," I'll try to evaluate that in some gestalt manner. You can probably expect a little bit of judge intervention might be necessary in the case of mutually exclusive impact frameworks and lack of weighing.

- I will generally keep in mind who is "speaking better." Although this will not change my vote in most cases, if the round is really close I might use that as the determiner.

- If I ask for a card and you can't find it, especially if it has a statistic, I will drop 1 speaker point for poor evidence norms.

Nadia Hussein Paradigm

3 rounds

About Me:

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

I want to be on the email chain; use


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

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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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

David Huston Paradigm

3 rounds

The paradigm below is pretty old, but many of the things still hold. I judge a lot more PF than LD & policy debate anymore. For those of you looking for a PF paradigm, if you go with a lot of the stuff below, you'll be on the right track. I view PF as old time case debate in policy debate. It's about evidence and demonstrating why your argument is smarter and better than your opponent's. It's all about the final focus for me and how you access the arguments you have been making in the debate.

NONTRADITIONAL ARGUMENTS: It's probably dealt with below, but you need to demonstrate why your project, poem, rap, music, etc. links to and is relevant to the topic. Theory for theory's sake is not appealing to me. In short, the resolution is there for a reason. Use it. It's better for education, you learn more, and finding relevancy for your particular project within a resolutional framework is a good thing.

THEORY: I consider myself to be a policy maker. The affirmative is making a proposal for change; the negative must demonstrate why the outcome of that adoption may be detrimental or disadvantageous. Counterplans are best when nontopical and competitive. Nontopical means that they are outside of the realm of the affirmative’s interpretation of the resolution (i.e. courts counterplans in response to congressional action are legitimate interpretations of n/t action). Competitive means there must be a net-benefit to the counterplan. Merely avoiding a disadvantage that the affirmative “gets” could be enough but that assumes of course that you also win the disadvantage. I’m not hip deep sometimes in the theory debate and get frustrated when teams choose to get bogged down in that quagmire. If you’re going to run the counterplan conditionally, then defend why it’s OK with some substance. If the affirmative wishes to claim abuse, prove it. What stopped you from adequately defending the case because the counterplan was “kicked” in the block or the 2NR? Don’t whine; defend the position. That being said, I'm not tied to the policy making framework. As you will see below, I will consider most arguments. Not a real big fan of performance, but if you think it's your best strategy, go for it.

TOPIC SPECIFIC ARGUMENTS: I’m not a big “T” hack. Part of the reason for that is that persons sometimes get hung up on the line by line of the argument rather than keeping the “big picture” in mind. Ripping through a violation in 15 seconds with “T is voting issue” tacked on at the bottom doesn’t seem to have much appeal from the beginning. I’m somewhat persuaded by not only what the plan text says but what the plan actually does. Plan text may be topical but if your evidence indicates harm area, solvency, etc. outside of the realm of the topic, I am sympathetic that the practice may be abusive to the negative.

KRITIKS/CRITIQUES: True confession time here—I was out of the activity when these arguments first came into vogue. I have, however, coached a number of teams who have run kritiks. I’d like to think that advocating a position actually means something. If the manner in which that position is presented is offensive for some reason, or has some implication that some of us aren’t grasping, then we have to examine the implications of that action. With that in mind, as I examine the kritik, I will most likely do so within the framework of the paradigm mentioned above. As a policymaker, I weigh the implications in and outside of the round, just like other arguments. If I accept the world of the kritik, what then? What happens to the affirmative harm and solvency areas? Why can’t I just “rethink” and still adopt the affirmative? Explain the kritik as well. Again, extending line by line responses does little for me unless you impact and weigh against other argumentation in the round. Why must I reject affirmative rhetoric, thoughts, actions, etc.? What is it going to do for me if I do so? If you are arguing framework, how does adopting the particular paradigm, mindset, value system, etc. affect the actions that we are going to choose to take? Yes, the kritik will have an impact on that and I think the team advocating it ought to be held accountable for those particular actions.

EVIDENCE: I like to understand evidence the first time that it is read. Reading evidence in a blinding montone blur will most likely get me to yell “clear” at you. Reading evidence after the round is a check for me. I have found in the latter stages of my career that I am a visual learner and need to see the words on the page as well as hear them. It helps for me to digest what was said. Of course, if I couldn’t understand the evidence to begin with, it’s fairly disappointing for me. I may not ask for it if that is the case. I also like teams that do evidence comparisons. What does your evidence take into account that the other teams evidence does not? Weigh and make that claim and I will read the evidence to see if you indeed have made a good point. SPEECH DOCUMENTS: Given how those documents are currently being used, I will most likely respectfully decline to be a part of any email exchange. However, I may ask for those same electronic documents at the end of the debate to check my flow against what you claim has been read in the round. Debate is an oral activity; let's get back to that.

STYLE: As stated above, if you are not clear, I will tell you so. If I have to tell you more than once, I will give much less weight to the argument than you wish me to do so. I have also found in recent years that I don't hear nearly as well as in the past. You may still go fast, but crank it down just a little bit so that this grumpy old man can still understand the argument. Tag-team CX is okay as long as one partner does not dominate the discussion. I will let you know when that becomes the case. Profanity and rude behavior will not be tolerated. If you wish me to disclose and discuss the argument, you may challenge respectfully and politely. Attempts at making me look ridiculous (which at times is not difficult) to demonstrate your superior intelligence does little to persuade me that I was wrong. My response may very well be “If I’m so stupid, why did you choose to argue things this way?” I do enjoy humor and will laugh at appropriate attempts at it. If you have any other questions, please feel free to ask. Make them specific. Just a question which starts with "Do you have a paradigm?" will most likely be answered with a "yes" with little or no explanation beyond that. You should get the picture from that.

Warren Johnson Paradigm

6 rounds

I am a traditional judge. I place a high value on the framework debate, specifically on values and value criterion. All contentions should link back to the framework, and voters should as well. Weigh your arguments as well. At the end of your final speeches, I expect to hear clear voters. If possible, do not spread. If you are, send me the doc. I do not judge many circuit rounds.

Shunta Jordan Paradigm

6 rounds

**Updated pre-GSU 2019**

Yes I would like to be on the email chain:

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

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

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

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

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

To Earn a Hot L:

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

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

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

4. You clip or cross-read.

To Earn a Hot W:

1. Debate well!

2. Be nice!

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

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

Good luck to all!

Akum Kang Paradigm

3 rounds


I debated LD at King HS in Tampa, FL from 2014-2018 on the national circuit and qualified to the TOC my senior year. I am conflicted from King.

If you’re reading this before the round, here is all you really need to know:

I don’t care what you read. As a debater, arguments I went for include Queer Pess, Virtue Ethics, Politics, Marginal Abuse Theory, and Tricks. What you read will not affect my evaluation of the round, although the quality of your prep and arguments will affect speaks.

I evaluate rounds by isolating the most important layer and determining which debater is winning offense back to that layer. If both debaters are winning offense, I will attempt to determine which debater is winning the weighing debate. If neither debater is winning offense, I will move to the next layer. For this reason, it is extremely important that you make nuanced weighing arguments, regardless of the positions you read.

Here are some of my more specific thoughts on debate:

Phil/Framework: I default epistemic confidence. You should understand your philosophical syllogism and any independent reasons to prefer very well (this means at a minimum you cut the cards yourself). You should be able to do well-warranted interaction with other frameworks. I personally don’t want to see a blippy, preclusion argument heavy, framework debate, and your speaks will reflect this preference. Hijacks are currently underutilized, and your speaks will increase if you execute one correctly.

Util: I started appreciating this more as a senior and as I transitioned to coaching. I will attempt to isolate the most important impact and determine offense back to that impact. Terminal defense does exist, 0.001% risk is no risk if your opponent points it out. You should understand the methodology of your studies (time frame, scope, statistical significance, etc). I am impressed by debaters who make smart analytic arguments against their opponents’ util positions. I will also increase speaks for a well-researched caseneg to a specific aff, and well-researched author qualifications which are used in round to compare evidence.

Theory and T: I think about these arguments the most. I am fine with frivolous shells, but I think that persuasion is underutilized when going for otherwise non-persuasive shells. RVIs, Drop the Arg, and Reasonability are underutilized when responding to them. If you are going for T, I will increase speaks for a well executed 2NR on either limits or semantics. Otherwise, be efficient, make weighing arguments as early as possible, and collapse effectively.

K: This is the layer that I think about the least, although I’m fine evaluating these debates. The 1NC should do specific role of the ballot comparison with the aff framework, and have specific links to the aff. The 1AR should focus on the framing debate, link debate, and alt debate when responding to the K and should be efficient. The 2N should be very well structured (don’t read nonsense in an overview for 3-6 minutes) and should isolate the parts of the debate they are winning clearly.

If you are reading Set Col, Baudrillard, or any of the other Ks that have cropped up recently in LD, I would appreciate good explanation of the philosophy/ontology warrants.

K/nonT affs vs T: I was on both sides of this debate throughout my career, so I’m comfortable voting either way. The aff should be clear about what they defend in CX, and should pair impact turns to T with an efficient and engaging counter interp. The 1N and 2N should have specific TVAs, do comparison between their fairness warrants and the aff’s role of the ballot, and collapse effectively to the key arguments in the 2N.

Tricks: I am fine with these debates, but would prefer the tricks be creative. Examples include creative burden structures or Nailbomb affs and well researched topical NIBs. If you read generic tricks and blitz off a bunch of NIBs and a prioris, your speaks will drop.


I average about a 28.3 for speaks. You will most likely get in the 28s. If you get 29+, that means I think you will get far in the tournament/bid based on your performance in the round I judged you in.

If you don’t collapse effectively you will not get above a 28.9.

If you are debating a novice or a lay debater, go at a brisk conversational pace, read something your parents/lay people could reasonably understand (CP/DA/basic Phil NC) and show that you have clearly won the round. If you do this, you will get no less than a 28.7. If you are mean, you will get no higher than a 28.1.

I will evaluate disclosure like any other argument. This includes open source/round reports etc.

The words “independent reason to drop them” mean nothing to me. Your argument must link back to some framing mechanism (standard, rotb, theory voter). If it doesn’t link back to a framing mechanism that has already been justified, justify why your argument matters/comes first . An example: “They said [x], which is exclusionary because [y]. Exclusion is a voting issue and comes first because ...” . The “exclusion is a voting issue because ...” part must be included absent a framing mechanism that has already been read which justifies me voting on this argument.

Extensions must have a claim and warrant at minimum. I will not hesitate to drop you if the argument you are going for is not extended properly.

I will not vote on “evaluate the debate/part of the debate after the 1AC, 1NC, or 1AR”. My reasoning is that, like most judges, I will only vote for arguments extended in the last speech. For example, I would not vote on a 1AR theory shell that the aff was winning unless they went for it in the 2AR. Therefore, I must be able to evaluate the extension of “evaluate the debate/part of the debate after the 1AC, 1NC, or 1AR,” but I cannot do this because your argument tells me to ignore at least the last speech. Therefore, absent further explanation of how to do this, I will not vote on these arguments.

I could see myself voting on “evaluate the theory debate/debate after the 2N,” but there are a couple caveats:

1. My threshold for responses to this is very low, just like other bad theory paradigm issues people read, especially if this argument is introduced in the 2NR.

2. It is very possible that the neg loses the debate, because I evaluate only up to the 2N and determine that the 1A beat the 2N on the theory debate, for example.

Overall, just be nice and have fun. I’d much prefer if everyone in the round was happy, rather than really tense and defensive.

Jason Kraynak Paradigm

2 rounds

-- Email:

-- I did some LD in highschool and do policy for Emory

-- Haven't judged current topic and am not familiar with it

-- slow down on advocacy texts, interps, and analytics

-- Theory: defaults to competing interpretations and drop the debater. Slowing down would help

-- Kritiks: clarity and explanation are key

-- Non-t affs: honestly not the debates I judge best

Phoebe Kuo Paradigm

6 rounds

I am the head coach at The Bronx High School of Science. Competed in LD in Arizona 2009-2011, in CX at Cornell 2011-2014. BA in economics and government.

Conflicts: Bronx Science, Success Academy, Westlake EE, Collegiate School

The short: I want to see you being the best version of yourself in whatever form of debate you're inclined to. I have a few defaults but will generally evaluate the round however debaters would like me to. I don’t inflate speaks. Please be kind. Send me speech docs, because my kids want them.


  • strategic issue selection, i.e., don't go for everything in your last speech
  • organization
  • clash
  • extend the whole argument: claim, warrant, impact, implication.
  • thorough evidence comparison
  • clear and thoughtful impact calc
  • 30s are for people I think are a model of what debate should and can be. It's not enough to be good at debate; be good for debate.
  • Circuit debaters should be nice to transitioning debaters from JV and more traditional programs. That does not mean don't do your best or compromise your round; however, it does mean actually giving answers in CX, making efforts to accommodate for tech, and maybe considering 3 off instead of 4 off.
  • FLOW. +up to 0.5 speaks for a good flow. If you tell me you have a good flow and show me at the end of the round before I submit my decision, you will be eligible for some game-y speaker points.


  • steal prep.
  • play in CX. answer the question.
  • have excessively long underviews. Read a better aff.
  • read excessively long overviews. If you have a 1min+ long overview, I would prefer you read it at the bottom of the ac after you have done line-by-line. I promise I will get more of it if you do that.
  • tag things as independent voters; just weigh. Do the work to resolve arguments so that I don't have to. Calling something independent doesn't make it independent from the rest of the reps/performances/args in the round.
  • be a coward. Engage. Have the debate.


  • these debates are best when debaters have a lot of content/topic knowledge and can make the connection to their theory of power. It seems sophomoric to critique something you have a limited understanding of. A lot of your authors have likely spent a lot of time writing historical analyses and it would be remiss to be ignorant of that.
  • high threshold for explanations
  • spend more time explaining the internal link between the speech act or the performance and the impact
  • Really sympathetic to voting neg on presumption if the aff doesn't clearly articulate how the aff is a move from the status quo.
  • please don't read model minority type args

Policy style arguments (LARP)

  • love a well-researched position. Do it if it's your thing.
  • 90% of time you just gotta do the weighing/impact calc.

T v. stock/larp

  • read it
  • competing interps
  • no RVIs on T. Why would I?

T/FW v. K affs

  • these debate becomes better as methods debates implicating the relationship amongst form, content, and norms
  • sometimes these get messy. I need more explanation of the implication of the arguments and how to sequence my evaluation.
  • Go slow and collapse early


  • Because I default competing interpretations, I treat these as CP/DA debates unless otherwise argued in round. To win my ballot, my RFD should be able to explain the abuse story, the structural implications for the activity (and its significance), and why your interpretation is the best norm to resolve those impacts. If you are not clearly explaining this, then I don't know why I would vote for the shell.
  • I won't vote off:
    • "new affs bad"
    • "need an explicit text" interps
    • disclosure against novices and traditional debaters
  • I am sympathetic to a "gut-check" on frivolous theory
  • Good interps to run:
    • condo bad;
    • abusive perms bad (severance perms, intrinsic perms, etc);
    • abusive CPs bad (delay CPs, etc);
    • abusive fiat bad (object fiat, multiactor fiat, etc).
  • If I'm being honest, I don't enjoy flowing more than 20 sec worth of spikes/theory pre-empts at the bottom of the AC; just read a better aff
  • I don't have many defaults about 1ar theory, but generally think it's a poor strategic decision

Raul Larsen Paradigm

6 rounds

Email chains are a tangible improvement to debate. RLarsen at desidancenetwork dot org. You can read my entire paradigm for bolded passages, as you would a card. Pronouns are he/him/”Judge”. Flow paper is always appreciated and often needed; Affirmative should have speech doc ready to be emailed by round start time. Flight 2 should enter the room at Flight 2 start time.



(Long Version is for procrastinating non-debate work)




(Pre-round Prep/Deadline Preffing):

Debate is a group of people engaging in performances. The nature of those debate performances (including my role as a judge) is settled by the competitors in the round with arguments. My default as a policy judge is to believe that those performances regard policymaking and that plans (/counterplans/alts/advocacies) create worlds with real impacts I should calculate via fiat as the plan is executed. As an LD judge, I think the round is about pursuing philosophical reasons to affirm or negate the resolution, and impacting through the lens of the criterial structure. Any successful movement away from the default paradigm typically entails explaining why I, the judge, should interpret your speech time differently. Most people succeed in shifting my defaults, and would consider me a “tabula rasa” judge. Nearly all of my LD rounds look like solo Policy these days. I’m expressive while judging, and you should take advantage of that, and look for cues.

Clash happens through the lens of the ballot. The nature of how the ballot is to be considered is the framework flow, and that means that arguments like Kritiks might engage with T/Theory in some rounds and not others. This means I will vote for your take on burning down civil society in one round and vote you down on T in the next. More at the top of the long version below.

Strategy Notes:

Negatives are currently going for too much in the 2NR, while dropping case. Affirmatives are currently spending too much time extending case while dropping world of the perm articulations.

Perms: I give the benefit of the doubt to the intuitive status of the permutation. I’m happy to vote against my intuition, but you need to lead me there (more below).

Tricks: If you go for this, impact the tricks out, as you would a dropped card. Slow down for the key line(s) in rebuttal speeches. Eye contact makes this strategy sustainable. Yes, Tricks rounds have '19-'20 ballots from me. No, it should not be your first move.

Topical Version of the Aff (TVA): Gotta read them, gotta answer them. Most of the rounds I vote for T are from a dropped interp or dropped TVA

Independent Voters: explain to me why the voter stands apart from the flow and comes first. Debaters are not consistently executing this successfully in front of me, so consider my threshold higher than average

No Risk: I do vote on no risk of the aff/plan doesn't solve. Terminal defense is still a thing

If you expect me to evaluate charts/graphics in your speech doc, give me time during the speech to read any graphics. It will otherwise only be a tie-breaker in evidence analysis

Uplayering: layers of debate often interact with each other; that they exist in separate worlds is not very compelling. Sequencing why I should analyze argument implications before others is the best way to win the layers debate.

Season Notes:

While I recognize there's no obligation to share your analytics, the practice serves a good pedagogical benefit for those who process information in different ways. I will begin awarding +.3 speaker points for those speeches including all/nearly all analytics in the speech doc AND that are organized in a coherent manner.

Updated 2/12 Average Speaker Points '19 - '20 Season: 28.770

185 rounds judged for the season ('19-'20) going into Berkeley/Harvard, mixed LD and Policy




(good luck, get snacks)



I recognize that this is no longer a viable read between rounds. Because I continue to receive positive feedback for its detail, it will be kept up, but I do not have any expectation that you will memorize this for my rounds. Bold text is likely worth its time, though.

Long Version (Procrastinating Other Work/Season Preffing):

Role of the Ballot:

Framework debaters: if you think the debate space should be predictable and fair, you should articulate what education/fairness/pick-your-voter means to the activity and why the ballot of this particular round matters.

K debaters: if you think rhetoric and its shaping matters more than the policy impacts of the 1AC, you should articulate your world of the alt/advocacy/pick-your-impact in a way that allows me to sign the ballot for you.

Performance debaters: if you think the debate space is for social movements/resistance/pick-your-story, you should explain why your performance relates to the ballot and is something I should vote for. Ideal performance cases explain topic links or provide reasons they actively choose not to be topical.

Everybody else: you get the idea. Clash happens through the lens of the ballot. The nature of how the ballot is to be considered is the framework flow, and that means that arguments like Kritiks might engage with T/Theory in some rounds and not others. This means I will vote for your take on burning down civil society in one round and vote you down on T in the next.

The world is unfair. Fairness is still probably a good thing. We get education from winning, and from losing. Some topics are poorly written and ground issues might not be the fault of your opponent. For debaters pursuing excellence, traditional voters aren’t the end of the conversation. Argument context can be everything. Tech speak, fairness is an internal link more than it is an impact.

“Two ships passing in the night” is something we hear in approximately 143% of RFDs, and it’s almost always the most efficient way to sad faces, frustration, and post rounding. RESOLVE this by finding points of clash, demonstrating that your claims engage with the claims of your opponent in a way that is beneficial for you. Clash shows that you are aware that your opponent has ground, and your following that with an explanation of why that ground couldn’t possibly earn my ballot is very persuasive. A round without clash is a round left to the judge, and you don’t want to leave any argument, big or small, up to the discretion of the judge.

The preventable argument issue that most often shows up on my ballot is how the permutation functions. I give the benefit of the doubt to the intuitive status of the permutation. For example, I think it’s very easy to imagine a world where two separate policy actions are taken. I think it’s very hard to imagine a world in which Civil Society is ended and the 1AC still solves its harms through implementation. The former gets preference for the permutation making sense. The latter gets preference for exclusivity making sense. I’m happy to vote against my intuition, but you need to lead me there.

I flow on paper, because as a wise teacher (Paul Johnson) once (/often) told me: “Paper doesn’t crash.” This means I will NOT:

Flow your overview verbatim

Flow your underview verbatim

Flow your tags verbatim


Follow the speech doc for author name spelling

Have no issues jumping around sheets as long as you signpost as you go
Still always appreciate another run through the order (if you don’t have the order, or you change it up, that’s O.K. Again, just sign post clearly)

Write in multiple colors (for individual speakers and notes)

Typically respond to body language/speech patterns and give you cues to what should be happening more or what should be happening less (furrowed brow + no writing usually means bad news bears. No writing, in general, means bad news bears)

I will keep the speech doc open on my computer, because it seems like a good idea to live the round as closely to the competitors’ experience as possible. However, it is YOUR job as a debater to COMMUNICATE to me the most important parts of your speech. 9 times out of 10 this means:

SLOW DOWN to emphasize big picture ideas that you use to contextualize multiple parts of the round. Let me know that you know it’s important. That level of awareness is persuasive.

TELL A STORY of the debate round. Are you winning? (the answer is almost always “yes”) Why are you winning? What are your winning arguments? Why do they demolish your opponent’s arguments into a thousand pieces of rubble that couldn’t win a ballot if you were unable to deliver any additional arguments?

WEIGH IMPACTS. Time frame/magnitude/probability. These are all great words that win debate rounds. There are other great words that also win rounds.
PRIORITIZE (TRIAGE) arguments. You don’t need to win all the arguments to win the debate. If you go for all the arguments, you will often lose a debate you could have won.

I’m still hearing this debated occasionally, but cross ex is binding. I flow it/take notes.

Flex Prep is alive and well in my rounds. You have an opportunity to ask further questions, but not a clear obligation to answer them. I also think it’s pretty fair that prep time can be used to just… prep.

If you ask me to call for evidence, you probably didn’t do a sufficient job presenting your cards during the round.

Rhetorical questions seem very clever as they’re conceived, but are rarely persuasive. Your opponent will not provide a damning answer, and your time would have been better spent working to make positive claims.

I tend to like policy arguments and performance more than philosophy-heavy kritiks because Ks often lose their grounding to the real world (and, it follows, the ballot). Policy arguments are claiming the real world is happening in the speeches of the round, and performance debate has had to justify its own existence for as long as it has existed, which makes it more practiced at role of the ballot. If you love your K and you think it’s the winning move, go for it! Just make sure to still find clash. Related: “reject” alts almost always feel like they’re missing something. Almost like a team without a quarterback, a musical without leads, a stage without performers.

Good links >>> more links

Good evidence >>>>> more evidence

Many definition interpretations are bad. Good definitions win [T] rounds.

Many framework card interpretations are bad. Every debater is better off reading the cards in the entirety at some point during their infinite prep, in order to better understand author intent.

My threshold for accepting politics disads as persuasive feels higher than the community average. I think it’s because probability is underrated in most politics disads.

Anything I believe is open to negotiation within the context of debate, but general truths have a much lower standard of proof (i.e. Debater 1 says “we are currently in Mexico.” Debater 2 counters “Pero estamos en Estados Unidos.” I consider the truth contest over at this point). The more specialized the knowledge, the higher the standard of proof.

Technical parts of the flow (T & Theory come to mind) can be really fast. I mentioned above that I’m writing by hand. You are always better off with -50% the number of arguments with +50% presentation and explanation to the remaining claims. Yes, I have your speech doc. No, I’m not doing your job for you. Communicate the arguments to me.

Debaters are made better by knowing how arguments evolve. There’s a reason a permutation is a “test of competition” (see: plan plus). Knowing the roots and growth of arguments will make you better at clash will make you better at debate will make you better at winning real, actual ballots.

My default is always to give an RFD, and to start that RFD with my decision. This will typically be followed by the winning argument(s). Ideally, the RFD should look suspiciously like the final rebuttal speech of the winning team.

I apologize for this paradigm becoming unreasonable in length.



Advice I give frequently enough to consume space on this infinitely long page that is now my paradigm:

Ships passing in the night/Clash wins rounds (see above)

Thanksgiving standard: if you can't explain why this argument is important to your Grandma during Thanksgiving dinner conversation, you probably need to keep reading the literature until you can contextualize to the real world. There's also a really good chance it won't win you the round.

At least try to live the advocacy you endorse. If you think coalition-building is the move, you shouldn’t be exclusionary without clear justification, and possibly not even then. The debate space is better for inclusion efforts.

It’s always to your advantage to use cross ex/prep to understand opposing arguments. Don’t realize after a rebuttal speech that your strategy was based on an incomplete understanding of your opponent(s) and their case.

It’s almost always worth your time to take a small amount of prep to sit back, breathe, and consider how you’re going to explain this round to your coach, debate-knowledgeable legal guardian, or friend-who-doesn’t-like-debate-but-supports-you-in-your-endeavors-because-they’re-a-good-friend. It’s an exercise that will tell you what’s important and help clear the clutter of speed, terminology, and tech.

This is also a good test for seeing if you can explain all the arguments using small words. I think the fanciest words I use in this paradigm are “verbatim” and “temporal proximity”. If you can’t explain your arguments in a simple, efficient manner, you need to keep reading.

It’s also almost always worth your time to take a moment, a sip of water, and a breath to collect yourself before a speech. Do this without excess and every judge you compete in front of will appreciate the generated composure and confidence in your ensuing speech.

Don’t start that speech with a million words a minute. Build to it. Double plus ungood habit if you forgot to check that everyone was ready for you to begin speaking.

I have never, not even once, in a decade+ of debate, heard a judge complain that author names were spoken too slowly.

Don’t take 5 minutes to flash a speech or to sort together a speech doc after you’re “done” prepping.

Your speech and prep time is yours to do with as you wish. Play music, talk loudly, play spades.

Opponent prep time is theirs to do with as they wish. That means you don’t get to play music intrusively (read: use headphones), talk intrusively, play spades intrusively, you get where this is going. This is one of the areas I think speaker points is very much at judge discretion.

If it’s not a speech and it’s not cross ex and neither team is running prep, you should not be prepping. Stealing prep is another area that I think leaves speaker points very much to judge discretion.

Don’t set sound alarms to the time you keep for your opponent’s speeches. Nobody ever, ever wants to hear the timer of the opponent go off before the speaker’s. I will keep time in 99% of debates, and if you’re wrong and cutting into their speech time, you’re losing speaker points.

I’m friendly.

I’m almost always down to give notes between rounds/after tournaments/via email on your performance in debate. Temporal proximity works in your favor (read: my memory has never been A1).

There are few things I love in this good life more than hearing a constructive speech that takes a new interpretation of an old idea and expands how I see the world. Writing your own arguments makes the time you invest in debate more worthwhile.

Spend some time teaching debate to others. Most things worth learning are worth teaching, and the act of teaching will give you an excellent perspective to arguments that have staying power in the community.

Lincoln-Douglas Debaters: A priori arguments can win rounds, but I’d rather see a debate where you win on substance than on a single line that your opponent dropped/misunderstood. If you’re going for a dropped analytic, impact it out in the 2R, as you would any other dropped card.

I feel like the rounds that end up being primarily the criterial debate typically indicate that the debaters could have done more to apply their arguments to the lens of their opponent’s criterion.



This space is for you. We don’t hold debate tournaments so that judges can sign ballots. You don’t spend hours/years preparing arguments and developing this skill because you just really want Tab Staffers to have something to do on the weekends. Mountains of money aren’t shifted so that we can enjoy the sweet, sweet pizza at the lunch hour. We’re here so that you can debate. Performance is about communicated intent, and debate is no exception. You can take anything out of that experience, but articulating your purpose walking into the round, even if only to yourself, will make you more persuasive.

Closing note: I typically think dialogue is the best way to educate, and that my role (at a bare minimum) is to educate the competitors following the round, through the lens of my decision and its reasoning. I will typically write a short Tabroom ballot and give as extensive a verbal RFD as scheduling permits/the students have asked all the questions they desire. The short version of this paradigm caused me physical pain, so that should indicate my willingness to engage in decision-making/pedagogical practices.

4 years high school LD/Extemp/PF

3 years college policy/parli/public

Coaching/teaching debate since 2009-ish

Writing Arguments by Allegory since 2013

Jonas Le Barillec Paradigm

3 rounds

Cal RR Policy Update: I did mostly LD in high school, and attended a few policy tournaments. I went to policy camp going into my junior and senior year. I have yet to judge a round on this year's policy topic, however I coached on last year's military aid topic which has quite the overlap in the topic literature with the arms sales topic. I believe argument explanation, regardless of content, is very important. Any of my defaults can be challenged and I will vote for any argument that is won. I am more than happy to entertain any questions either through my email, facebook, or before the round.

UPDATED: 9/21/2019

2013-2017: Competed at Peninsula HS (CA)

Yes I want to be on the email chain, add me:

I primarily read policy arguments during the regular season. At camp I experimented with everything including high theory, performance, (ethical) framework, theory, and tricks.

I am willing to judge, listen to, and vote for anything. Just explain it well. I am not a fan of strategies which are heavily reliant on blippy arguments and frequently find myself holding the bar for answers to poor uneveloped arguments extremely low.

Speed should not be an issue, but be clear.

Theory Defaults:
Drop the argument

Other Defaults:

Epistemic Modesty

If I shout TAGS it means that the end of your cards and the beginning of your next tags are not distinct enough.
If you want a better chance at winning and higher speaks start rebuttal speech with a real impact overview and not just explaining how debate works.

Explaining dense arguments will make me more likely to vote for them/higher speaks.

CX and prep are both flex prep. You can just use CX to prep if you want to, and you can use prep to ask questions, and both!

Incomplete extensions will be viewed with heavy skepticism when evaluating the argument. 99% of the time this is just shouting an argument or an author name without explaining what they say/warrant.

Aff vs. the K: No Link + Perm (Yes)

K vs. the Aff: Ks without a link (No)

"Read the Cards!" : If your 2NR/2AR puts your faith in me to just read all the evidence in the debate without any prodding as to what I am looking for, odds are you may be disappointed. I will not make arguments for you/come to conclusions about an argument on my own.




Buffet 2NRs/2ARs

Only the negative reads off-case positions, if you call a 1ar shell a "new off" and not a "new sheet", you will lose speaks.

No, I do not disclose speaks.

Role of the Ballot = Roll of the Eyes; It's just impact calc.

CX begins immediately after the 1AC and the 1NC.

Crawford Leavoy Paradigm

6 rounds

Crawford Leavoy, Director of Speech & Debate at Durham Academy - Durham, NC

Email Chain:

I am a former LD debater from Vestavia Hills HS. I coached LD all through college and have been coaching since graduation. I have coached programs at New Orleans Jesuit (LA) and Christ Episcopal School (LA). I am currently teaching and coaching at Durham Academy in Durham, NC. I have been judging since I graduated high school (2003).


- Speed is relatively fine. I'll say clear, and look at you like I'm very lost. Send me a doc, and I'll feel better about all of this.

- Run whatever you want, but the burden is on you to explain how the argument works in the round. You still have to weigh and have a ballot story.

- Theory - proceed with caution; I have a high threshold, and gut-check a lot

- Spikes that try to become 2N or 2A extensions for triggering the ballot is a poor strategy in front of me

- I don't care where you sit, or if you sit or stand; I do care that you are respectful to me and your opponent.

- If you cannot explain it in a 45 minute round, how am I supposed to understand it enough to vote on it.

- My tolerance for just reading prep in a round that you didn't write, and you don't know how it works is really low. I get cranky easily and if it isn't shown with my ballot, it will be shown with my speaker points.


- I'll give comments after every round, and if the tournament allows it, I'll disclose the decision. I don't disclose points.

- My expectation is that you keep your items out prior to the critique, and you take notes. Debaters who pack up, and refuse to use critiques as a learning experience of something they can grow from risk their speaker points. I'm happy to change points after a round based on a students willingness to listen, or unwillingness to take constructive feedback.

Mina Lee Paradigm

3 rounds


- i really dont care about things so despite my personal preferences i still evaluate most arguments as arguments and will vote on them if and when they are won so just do good debate thank

- tricks/friv theory/a priori/skep/racism good/other bullshit is out, Ks and performance stuff/policy is in, philosophy/high theory is eh (it's interesting, i’ll try my best but if I don't understand it then I don't understand it and I won't vote on itttttt), traditional debate is fine

addendum: T is fine i guess. like i am much much much more willing to listen to a T debate than a theory debate

addendum #2: if you can win a ~compelling abuse story on theory then sURE i'll vote for it i guess i have done it a good number of times before

addendum #3: fun fact i have almost a 50-50 voting record on t v k affs so stop reading half-assed k-affs/neg k strats in front of me bc u think i will like them better it is soooooooooooo annoying

-disclosing is good

-email chains are good (

-debate is about education if you just treat it like a game, treat other debaters like your enemies, and treat your arguments like cheap shots at winning, i will be sad and so will you when the round is over

-bc of the above point, i do like answering questions about things you think you could have done differently/other learning opportunities from the round so feel free to ask or to hit me up on facebook/email

-idc who your coach is or who you think you are, if you think i made a bad decision and you and your ~ posse ~ decide to yell at me for the sake of trying to prove me wrong as opposed to trying to understand the decision i will just leave the room lmao

-i don’t really care that much about things and i am usually very tired

-be nice

-i don't care if you sit or stand please stop asking me

-please don’t shake my hand

-please start slow especially in the morning i am so tired spreading is so fast i do not know why people think it is a good idea to scream at me at 40000 wpm at 8 in the morning :(

Quick thoughts because I’m too lazy to write a real paradigm:

0) An introduction: hello I debated for Edgemont LD (2018) and now I go to Princeton where I don’t do debate because hahahahahahahaha. I was coached by Brian Manuel, Rodrigo Paramo, Jack Ave, and was heavily influenced by Aurelia Williams, Chris Randall, Eli Smith, Jacob Koshak, and Sydney Pasquinelli. Put me on the email chain:

1) IMPORTANT: I like sass but don’t be mean! I almost quit debate on three separate occasions in my senior year alone. I also almost quit debate after my second tournament ever because I was laughed at for not knowing deontology. People suck. If someone is clearly not as experienced as you and you read 7 off I will give you a 25 and you may also lose! So! Don’t! Be! A! Dick! As much as this activity can suck sometimes there are things I have learned that I wouldn’t have been able to learn anywhere else in high school and I will always, always be grateful for that. Don’t be the reason someone feels like they need to walk away from those opportunities.

1.5) Evidence ethics/other out-of-round issues: a) dont be shady with your evidence b) if you're going to make accusations, then be willing to stake the round on it. i'll stop the round, look at the evidence, and decide the round based on whoever I think is right on the question. but tbh there are so much unnecessary politics and personal/ad-hom attack brought into rounds whenever this happens and they make me uncomfortable and sad and angry please treat debaters like people thank you

2) I'm honestly pretty expressive, just read my face and you'll have a good idea re: how I feel about the round

3) Arguments I read: I mostly read policy-esque arguments with critical impacts and then second half of senior year I said “fuck it” and went really hard for ID politics K debate. I finished out my career reading a performance aff that I also ran as a neg K in outrounds. That being said, if you can explain an argument really well to me I will probably vote for it. Don’t assume just because I was a “K debater” I know all your warrants and I’ll just make the arguments for you when you blip through them. In fact, if you do that and you’re missing warrants I will be EXTRA sad and so will you when you hear my rfd. My favorite neg strat my senior year was one-off K where most of my case arguments were just links to the K so if that tells you anything about how much I enjoy the explanation of complicated critical (or even philosophical) arguments, there ya go

4) JUST BECAUSE I READ AN ARGUMENT DOESN’T MEAN YOU SHOULD READ IT IN FRONT OF MEEeee. Do what you’re good at (for the most part) and if you explain it well to me I’ll probably vote on it. I don’t hate philosophy, I was just never good at it so I never read it in high school. But if you think Kant is a cool guy and you can get me to understand his nonsense, then sure! Go for it! I’m telling you right now though I have no problem just being like “I did not understand this argument so I did not vote on it”

5) EXCEPTIONS: If you read tricks/frivolous theory/a prioris/whatever etc. etc. in front of me I will just pretend I didn’t hear you and not flow it and just doodle some flowers on my flow and also kill your speaks (see: Rebecca Kuang)

6) Flowing and analytics: I’m going to flow what I hear so if I say clear and you don’t slow down or get clear and if I miss 25 of your 30 analytical arguments and any of your post-rounding includes “but it was in the speech doc” I will just shrug my shoulders, pack my stuff up, and go get myself a coffee. NOTE: I’ll say clear/loud/slow twice and then your speaks will probably go down, but I’ll keep saying clear to keep the round going

7) T v K: I know I read a performance aff but tbh I think I’m pretty 50-50 on the T v K aff debate. I am definitely not 50-50 on the K v frivolous theory to answer Ks because people don’t actually know how to answer Ks, and if you try to randomly up-layer to answer a K that you handled poorly, I will be sad and so will you when you see your speaks and probably also the results of the round

8) ON FAIRNESS: I don't really think it's its own voter, i'll vote on it but i usually just evaluate it as an internal link to education which means that i also care about in round abuse more than i care about norm setting by default, but i will listen to arguments to the contrary i suppose

9) More on theory in general: if there's actual abuse then obviously go nuts with theory but in general theory debates really bore me and so if you must run theory I will likely be very lazy in evaluating the debate and if I can find something easy to vote on or a simple reason to default to other flows where there’s more interesting offense, I will probably do so. I was also never particularly good at really detailed theory debates, so my evaluation of intense line-by-line argumentation will probably be shit. Sorry :)

10) disclose lol.

Sarah London Paradigm

6 rounds

Kent Denver ‘19, did policy my senior year after doing LD for the first three.

Please add me to the email chain:

I am committed to working hard to give the best decision and feedback possible. I am also committed to learning from every decision I make and hear in order to try and become a better judge.

If you have any questions, please reach out to me! I’ll also link my wiki from last year below to hopefully give you an idea of what arguments I predominantly read and debate:

High school senior -


1. Evidence is important, I will read it, and it will probably factor into the decision. Your arguments don’t start at a 100% likelihood - you have the burden to prove them true, and the quality of your evidence is part of your ability to do that.

2. Tech > truth, almost always. I will try my best to check my biases and be as tab as possible, including about many of the predispositions expressed below. Pls remember tho that there are more things that go into “tech” than just “who dropped what.” Evidence quality and amount of explanation are both really important parts of technically winning arguments on the flow, and it’s not judge intervention to take into account those things.

3. Please, please explain your arguments! Reference and put spin on evidence, do impact calc, please actually win and explain an impact. Please do judge instruction/implicate arguments in the round - it’s an important step of extending arguments that I feel often gets lost.

4. I have generally read policy arguments much more than the K. My aff last year was a strong defense of hegemony - negative blocks that I’m involved in often consist of a counterplan and a Disad. I’m good for Ks like neolib, security, etc. but beyond that probably have not done as much reading as you have - keep that in mind. I'm more inclined to believe that the aff gets to weigh their impacts against the K.

FW/Clash debates:

I think that the affirmative should defend a topical example of the resolution. Procedural fairness is an impact, and it is possible to tie discussion of critical literature to the topic. I suspect I’ll lean mildly negative in these debates.

That doesn’t mean that I won’t vote for an aff that doesn’t do the above, or don’t want to judge these debates - I will do my best to check these biases - but it is a disposition that I have.

LD specific:

I did LD for my first 3 years of high school, switching to policy my senior year, so I definitely know about customs and arguments that are specific to LD. I coach LD, so I'll hopefully have a decent amount of familiarity on the JanFeb topic.

Unwarranted arguments are not arguments - LD is shorter, so I feel like LDers have this problem more often. I’ll probably have more leniency in the 1AR because it’s so short; however, a winning 2AR will collapse to a few arguments and explain them well, rather than going for a broad variety of arguments and not warranting any of them. Same goes for the 1NR.

Frivolous theory and tricks: These tend to not be strong arguments at all, which means it’ll probably be harder to win an abuse story. Also, look at the above paragraph on unwarranted arguments.

There’s a difference between “frivolous theory” and “theory” though; while I’ll still have a pretty high threshold, stuff like agent CPs bad, condo bad, etc. are legitimate arguments and probably should at least be in the 1AR against these positions. I think condo bad is more winnable in LD than policy given time constraints.

Don’t like RVIs - but they make more sense (if still not a lot of sense) in LD.

Analytic philosophy/philosophy common in LD: Probably have less experience with this type of debate. If it’s Kant, Virtue Ethics, other philosophies very common in LD, I am pretty familiar with it but probably won’t be able to explain its intricacies minus good explanation from y’all during the round. Anything else, I’m less immediately familiar with but still happy to judge.

More thoughts:

Disclosure is really good. If you think that your wiki has good disclosure practices - open source, round reports, etc. - tell me directly after the round and I’ll probably give you +.1 or +.2 speaker points.

Megan Mapes Paradigm

6 rounds

Debated at KU for 5 years

Coached at UNI of 2 years

Currently a GTA at Georgia State but not working with the debate team right now.

If you have more specific questions, or need clarification please feel free to send me an email.


please add me to any email chain -

I strongly believe that people with strong beliefs about can or cannot happen in a debate are kind of silly.

I believe that there is value in having discussions about the resolution. An example of the resolution should probably be the endpoint of any advocacy and debaters can creatively and critically engage the topic. I prefer debates where the affirmative defends a clear change from the status quo, but I'm open to what that means. When that does not happen I am more willing to vote negative on presumption.

I default to competing interpretations on questions of topicality.

Topicality will almost always come before theory arguments.

I default to offense/defense -

Tech > Truth


*Prep time/Paperless debate
- i find myself to be on the strict side of prep time questions. You have 30 seconds to get the other team your speech doc before prep starts again. If you're not using an email chain by now you'd better have a good excuse.

-- Smart strategic debaters who can make me laugh get good speaker points. Debaters who are offensive, rude, and neg teams that don't split the block do not.

--I'm willing to assign 0% risk to an argument if you are effective at establishing terminal defense. Obviously, offense always helps as most debaters are unlikely to effectively do this. This means you should probably adjust your impact calc in the 2ar if you're only going for defense to assess the possible risk of the disad. However, a dropped argument is a true argument in most cases for me (dropped evidence is considered based on the claims in the evidence and not necessarily your tag --- that means if you drop something, in a later speech you should be on top of the spin for that evidence in later speeches) so lack of offense doesn't mean ignore the defense because you'll think I always vote on a risk. Remember mistakes happen - if you drop an argument you always have the ability to make arguments as to why they only get the arg for what their evidence says in the case you drop a solvency argument or defense to an advantage. - the debate is never over.

--I am not likely to vote on a cheap shot but could be convinced otherwise if the argument is fleshed out. BUT I'm flow-centric and like tricky args. you should know the difference between a cheap shot and strategically hiding args.
--cross-x is either the best or the worst part of the debate. Teams do well when they use cross-x to set up arguments or question the evidence quality of the other team. This will be better for everyone if there is actually a point for your cross-x questions, and not just using cross-x as the 3 minutes of free prep that your partner gets.

*Clarity is very important to me. I will not flow cards that I cannot understand. I will not hesitate to drop teams for clipping cards even if the opposing team does not make the challegne. IF it is questionable I will not hesitate to tank your speaks.
speed is ok and I highly enjoy judging fast debates. However, err on the side of clarity ESPECIALLY on theory and topicality debates. They are already messy enough and going at your top speed will only hurt you if I can't flow all of the warrants to your arguments. But seriously - you should know when its right to slow down and just do it. - there is nothing more annoying than a post-round decision where debaters are asking about arguments that didn't get on my flow - there's probably a reason that happened and it's probably because YOU weren't strategic when it comes to your speed and clarity. I am a very technical judge and you will make me happy if you're also technical

Case - Extremely underutilized. Minimizing the case is a sweet way to win a high risk of the disad. Likewise, I think the aff teams should be leveraging alot more of the case against disads/Ks than what happens in most rounds. A "try or die for the aff" argument is quite persuasive. I think even if you are going for a CP, you should still extend case defense as a way to avoid a "try or die" framing by the aff.

Disads - Impact framing arguments are pretty important to win these arguments, and i think that alot of teams do a poor job of explaining how arguments interact with each other, and explaining meta-arguments that will frame how i assess the debate in terms of Uniqueness, link, etc. DA turns the case is a slayer, and I will be more than happy to vote on it. On a side note, i tend to do some politics research, and do infact find it intrinsic to the plan. Intrinsicness arguments are an uphill battle, unless dropped by the negative (which happens more than it should). I also think that alot of the politics cards that people read are atrocious, and think that 7 bad cards does not equal one good, well warranted card. This also isn't unique to the politics disad, alot of cards people are reading everywhere are atrocious, and smart teams will capitalize on it by pointing out how their evidence makes arguments that go the other way. I am not part of the "cult of uniqueness" by any means, but I think that uniqueness is an important component of the link debate.

CP's- They are a very intergral part of the negative strategy. I think that there is a time and a place for textual or functional competition, and I try to let the debaters convince me one way or the other. In general, here are my views on legitimacy of CPs. CP theory is a reason to reject the argument, not the team, unless the aff has a reason why it skewed their ability to debate other positions (I can only see this being true in a conditionality debate). The net benefits shoud probably be disads to the aff, and not just advantages to the CP (I can be persuaded that the condition net benefit is a disad to the aff).

Topicality- . This was my favorite argument as a debater, which can be both good and bad for me as a judge. It means both that I am more willing to reward tricky T arguments but also that my expectations for what makes for a good topicality debater are a bit higher. I also think topicality/theory is about impact calculus and weighing your impacts against your opponents (i.e. why aff ground o/w's neg ground). These debates can be messy so try to be as clear as possible and engaging as possible. I prefer contextual definitions. Abuse should be proven, i probably won't vote on potential abuse because I think you can get to the crux of this through a different impact. I think that the negative lets affirmatives get away with way too much in these debates by no providing a topical version of the affirmative, and explaining how the affirmative interpretation explodes the limits of the debate. Generic impact turns are not particulary persuasive. .

I think that the most important standard for me is that the affirmative has an advocacy statement that deploys a specific instance of their method. However, if you tell me to think otherwise, fine. I won't tell you how to debate and will listen to any argument with an attempt to judge objectively. Just give me a clear explanation of the importance of your argument applied to the round. Impact assessment is important.

Theory- I'm persuaded by reject the arg not the team with a majority of these small blippy arguments. Don't assume you win because the 1ar dropped multiple perms bad. If you'd like me to default to another setting, explain why it means they lose. I generally think conditionality and pics are ok but will vote on anything so eh- go for it

Kritiks- My knowledge of the literature is limited but growing. I will actually be more inclined to reward you if you take a new and innovative approach on a lot of these arguments. I find that I do better with structural criticism, which probably has a lot to do with the research I've done so far in my academic career. My main requirements are a detailed and applied explanation of the alternative to the specifics of the affirmative case OR a fleshed out and impacted justification for why the alternative doesn't have to DO something in a traditional sense. I think negatives make a huge mistake ignoring double bind arguments on the perm and it can be detrimental. I'm also probably a TERRIBLE judge for Reps K's/PiCs - You will have to do a lot of work to convince me that a team should use because they used nuclear war reps - I also think Reps args are served better as links to a better K. I generally think framework is only a reason to reject the alt not the team or a reason the aff gets to weigh their impacts.

Ethan Massa Paradigm

6 rounds


Hey! I'm Ethan and I debated for West Broward in Florida for 4 years. I received 9 bids and broke at the TOC.

There are a couple of things that generally contextualize my views on debate and how you should probably debate in front of me.

1. I am definitely Tech > Truth. This means I will not hesitate to vote on any argument with a warrant and an implication, insofar as it isn't repugnant and justifiably makes debate unsafe. I think that if an argument is actually nonsensical, then it probably wouldn't have a warrant and should be easily answered. Additionally, merely claiming an argument is nonsense and assuming I won't flow its extension is not the best way to debate in front of me - you need to tell me why an argument doesn't make sense. Naturally, if your arguments are both technical and true, that makes you a better debater in my eyes and I'll definitely give you solid speaks if all of your arguments are equally as convincing.

2. I will try my best to evaluate any debate you want to have in front of me because I think debate should be an open forum for a diverse set of arguments. Obviously, I will be much better at evaluating certain types of debates but I will try to the best of my ability to be tab. Please don't just try to read positions you don't feel comfortable with because you think it'll pick up my ballot - I would much rather you do what you're good at because I can appreciate skills in different areas of debate and your speaks will resemble how well you executed your specialty.

Theory: These can be really interesting debates and probably one of the things I feel most comfortable evaluating. Coming up with a smart combo shell or making cool strategic decisions are awesome and make judging a lot more fun. I'm perfectly fine with theory as a strategic tool so if this is what you like to do, I'm all for it. I kinda get really annoyed when people say they won't evaluate "frivolous theory" mainly because I think in order to know what counts as "frivolous" absent intervention, debaters would logically have to debate the shell. Obviously if the theory debater wins an abuse story, then the shell isn't frivolous.

Defaults - I don't have any defaults on theory besides norm setting > IRA since I think that if you don't read voters, it would be the same as reading an argument without an impact and I shouldn't evaluate them as if they did. If the debate becomes solely a theory debate and no one extends a warrant for presumption or substantive offense, I will probably use who won the impact-less theory debate as presumption. To clarify, voters include fairness/education/independent voters, drop the debater/argument, RVIs/No RVIs, competing interpretations/reasonability.

Framework: I really like a good framework debate, even standard Kant vs Util debates have pretty much become non-existent so I'd love to be in the back of one of these rounds. Weird NIBs and other philosophy-based positions are awesome and I will be impressed if you execute it well. I think an important part of LD is not only being able to win impacts, but also justify why the paradigm which those impacts operate under is ethically relevant. This means if you like to LARP, please justify consequentialism. It doesn't really make sense to read positions without frameworks since there isn't a way to evaluate the offense you read. I get that this isn't a thing in policy because util is presupposed, but you wouldn't want an LDer reading tricks and frivolous theory in policy because that's not how it works, so please adapt to LD in the same way you'd expect an LDer to adapt to policy.

Defaults - Epistemic Confidence > Epistemic Modesty, Truth Testing > Comparative Worlds. These are just if no other paradigm is read but both sides of these debates can be easily won in front of me.

LARP: I never debated this way but I'll evaluate these debates the way you tell me to. The jargon is not exactly vernacular to me so I'd probably err on the side of explaining the implication of something for like 2 seconds if you think I wouldn't get it. Odds are, I've heard the phrase before but obviously there are some LARP things I don't know so use your intuition. These debates don't really distinguish themselves from debates I used to have (aside from their content) so I don't think I'd botch a decision because I'll probably just vote on something conceded and weighed, just like anything else. Don't worry though, if I really don't think I'm certain of what's on the flow, I'll read evidence and compare what you tell me to so I try and make the best decision possible.

Tricks: This is really fun to judge if done well and was even more enjoyable to debate, however, can also be high risk. Yea, I'll vote on a conceded a priori if truth testing is won but that doesn't give you an excuse to make the debate messy as hell because you're debating in front of me. I love a good strategic conjunction of spikes and framework triggers, but don't throw arguments at me without warrants because I'm "tab." Creative implications of tricks are really impressive and will probably get you really high speaks if you go for them correctly. Further, a caveat I have about reading these positions is you need to be able to defend them in CX and actually know what they say. It's not enough to just re-read the tagline of a piece of SEP evidence to justify condo logic, please explain the warrant to me because I'm not gonna evaluate debates based on background knowledge since that would mean people who read arguments I used to read would have an advantage.

Defaults - Presumption affirms, permissibility negates

Ks: I found myself to not be the greatest at evaluating K v K debates just because I was never super well-versed on the nuances of K debate; however, I totally respect the skill it takes to be good at it. I feel as if you can still have these debates at a high level in front of me, just make sure to do a couple things. First, please clearly warrant your arguments and what they mean in terms of the ballot as opposed to just re-articulating thesis claims. This will help me understand how to evaluate offense under your ROB and the methods debate. Second, err on the side of the line by line rather than reading hefty overviews and assuming I know how they interact with everything that else on the flow. I've found that this is the part I struggle with the most just because I'm not coming into the debate with a ton of background knowledge on the literature. On the contrary, I am definitely comfortable evaluating K vs other types of debate (Theory/Fwk/Counter ROBs). My problem is comparing thesis claims and methods under a ROB, yet when the debate is more about the relevance of the ROB, my understanding greatly improves and I'll feel confident in my ability to make an objective decision. I usually read critical DAs throughout my senior year as a cool strategic option to interact with affs on multiple layers, which means I totally get their appeal and am open to judging them.

David McGinnis Paradigm

3 rounds


I spent a bunch of time before New Trier 19 writing a policy paradigm and in the one round I got the aff read "queer eroticism" so I am done trying to explain to policy teams how to adapt to me. Those of you who would strike or otherwise depref me because I am an LD coach: good call. Those of you who would refrain from striking me and then read "queer eroticism": please reconsider.


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

I coach students on both the local and national circuits.

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

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


Nick Mirza Paradigm

6 rounds

Coach at American Heritage Boca/Delray

Debated Policy at Fresno State

Put me on the chain at

***Emory Update***

1. Slow down. I'll say clear twice and then stop flowing. I've noticed that clarity is not being prioritized because it's "on the doc."

2. If you can frame the K like a DA/CP (link/alt) and win that the aff is a bad idea, you are in good shape. You should explain the alt clearly and how it solves. If you want to kick the alt, the link better be damn good. The reason for my change in preference is that a lot of DA/CP debates with extinction level impacts that I have judged thus far have been way too vague. I don't want to judge bad LARP debates. Also, just because the affirmative is not state action, does not mean the CBW DA links or I will automatically vote neg. You're better off running T/FW or cap.

3. Tricks and high theory are a no with me in the back. I'll do my best to pick the team that debates the best, but I think tricks are bad for debate and I don't read high theory literature. I have zero ambition of starting to read it, so its probably best to not go for Baudrillard, Psychoanalysis, Deleuze, etc. in front of me.

4. Apparently LARP debaters don't think they have to answer the perm in LD. You do. Now that I have seen this multiple times, I'd thought it should be mentioned.


LARP: I've only ran a plan text in my career, so this is my cup of tea. Strong internal links need to be defended well because I'll pull the trigger on high quality analytical arguments made by the negative disproving weak link chains. You are just as likely to win with your soft left 1AC as you are with an extinction impact. I've voted on plenty of soft left aff's against heavy impact policy teams.

K: I'll attempt to determine the winner based on the merits of the round, but I think debate is best when the affirmative defends topical government action. It will be hard to persuade me that a model of debate where the affirmative does not have any limit, the negative will have a role in the debate. I'm pretty sympathetic to teams that argue it can be ran on the neg, so my threshold is high when answering switch-side.


T: Default to competing interpretations. Evidence quality is important and there should be intent to define. If not, explain to me the applicability of the evidence. I have a high threshold against plans. If you are running 5 off with links to the aff, I'll probably be thinking this is a waste of time. I much rather see a debate about whether the plan is good or bad than have to vote on some theoretical argument.

DA: My favorite strategy. Politics is my bread and butter. I won't vote on your theory blocks as to why it is not legitimate. Uniqueness, link, internal link, and impact should be in the 1NC. I place a high value on the link debate, so make sure it is covered.

CP: Should be ran with a disad and have a net benefit. I do lean aff on the perm when the negative doesn't prove mutual exclusivity. Condo is good but PICs are bad for debate except when the word is in the plan text. I will find it difficult to ignore the fact that the negative stole the entire aff except one minor thing. I dislike advantage counterplans but they should answered with something other than theory

K: My least favorite part of debate. The link needs to be specific to the aff and the alternative should solve. I don't think philosophical underpinnings of policies should be ignored, but zero interaction with the aff will be more than likely be a ballot for the affirmative.

Case: Please read impact defense at a minimum, but there should be lots of offense on the flow. I will pull the trigger on case.

Theory: Unless it's a serious theoretical contention, I'm probably going to vote for the most topically educated team. LD theory is something else. But yes, I understand the jargon, just a question of whether I'm willing to encourage the boredom associated with this type of debate.

Jacob Nails Paradigm

6 rounds

LD Paradigm

This is the LD paradigm. Do a Ctrl+F search for “Policy Paradigm” or “PF Paradigm” if you’re looking for those. They’re toward the bottom.

I debated LD in high school for Starr's Mill high school (GA) and policy in college for Georgia State University. I coach LD, so I'll be familiar with the resolution.

If there's an email chain, please add me to it. My email is:

Harvard '20 Update:

It seems there's been a resurgence of "object fiat" theory on this topic. Object fiat has never been a real argument; it's a cop-out for people who think agent CPs are ever real arguments to explain away the most egregious ones on an arbitrary, ad hoc basis. But this new trend seems to involve accusing any CP that solves the aff of being "object fiat" (lookin at you, IndoPak affs), even when it has the same agent. That's both not object fiat and also not a real argument.

1. Unwarranted/incomplete arguments are not arguments. It seems like a lot of LDers really try to test the limits of what the bare minimum standard for a warranted argument is. Ex., “Use util because it promotes the best consequences” is not a warranted argument simply by virtue of having “because” in it; you’re just defining what util is.

2. Tech over truth in the sense that I'm perfectly fine voting for obviously false claims if the opponent can't refute them. That does not mean I'm agnostic about warrant quality. A dropped one-liner with a weak warrant doesn't receive the same weight as a well-developed argument.

3. The onus is on you not to mis-cut or powertag evidence, not on your opponent to catch you cheating. Most common culprit: If your impact card just says that bad things happen but doesn't mention extinction, you don't get to tag it as "extinction" and make Extinction First arguments about future generations and the like. It is far from a foregone conclusion that impacts like terrorism, global warming, or nuclear war cause total human extinction. If that's all your impact card mentions, you get credit for a large global catastrophe, not an existential risk. That distinction is sometimes very important.


The affirmative should affirm the topic.

I don't have any particular bias against RVIs. They're debatable in LD.

Theoretical reasons to prefer/reject an ethical theory are generally pretty terrible arguments. This includes: Must Concede FW, May Not Concede FW, Util is Unfair, Only Util is Fair, etc. You should prove that you're right, not that it's educational to pretend that you are. Many 'role of the ballot' arguments are just theoretically justified frameworks by another name, and I feel similarly about these. I also do not assume by default that your warrant comes logically prior to your opponent's because you referenced "education" or "ground"; the falsity of a standard seems at least as salient a reason not to require debaters to use it.

Permissibility does not affirm. Barring a rehash of SepOct '08/JanFeb '12-style topic wording, I have trouble conceiving of a warranted argument that would justify this. And no, none of the cards y'all tag as making this claim actually do.

"I don't defend implementation" doesn't make sense on most topics.

I default to Truth Testing. It makes much more sense to me than any other paradigm. This does not mean I want to hear your bad a prioris.

I don’t have strong opinions on most of the nuances of disclosure theory, but I do appreciate good disclosure practices. If you think your wiki exemplifies exceptional disclosure norms (open source, round reports, and cites), point it out before the round starts, and you might get +.1-.2 speaker points.


I think Conditionality Bad is much more winnable in LD than policy.

LDers are infuriatingly dodgy about answering CP status questions. This has been one of my biggest pet peeves as of late. You should answer with an immediate "it's conditional/unconditional." Your opponent's CX is not the time to spend 20 seconds pondering the matter, and I never want to hear the phrase "What do you want it to be?" You know damn well what the aff would rather it be. It would make me happy if you just specified the status in your speech to avoid this whole rodeo, e.g. "[CP Text.] It's conditional," as I no longer trust LDers to give a prompt CX answer. I do not, however, want to imply any amenability to 'must spec status' as an aff theory argument.

Most CP theory questions (PICs, Delay, cheaty process stuff) seem best resolved at the level of competition. I can't think of any types of counterplans I would consider both competitive and also theoretically illegitimate. Likewise, lack of a solvency advocate seems more like a solvency press than a voting issue.

Extremely aff leaning vs agent counterplans. These are not real arguments. It remains unclear to me how anyone seriously thinks agent CPs are ever competitive. If you can’t explain how the agent of action could choose to do the CP rather than the plan, you have not presented an opportunity cost to affirming. Neg fiat is not an excuse to forgo basic logic.

'Role of the ballot' is an overused buzzword. These are often impact justified frameworks, theoretically justified frameworks, or artificially specific.

New NR floating PIKs will be disregarded, just like any other new NR argument. This is your 2NR, not your 2NC.

Vague alternatives are bad, and any ambiguity will not work in favor of the K. Minimum standard of clarity: don't phrase your alternative as an infinitive. None of this "the alt is: to reject, to challenge, to deconstruct, etc" business. It needs a clearly specified actor. Which agent(s) will do what?

If you think your alt functions like an agent CP, be sure to read the CP section of my paradigm.

Policy Paradigm


Yes I want to be on the email chain:


I qualified to the NDT a few times at GSU, but nowadays I mostly coach/judge LD. Don't assume I'm well-read on the policy topic.

The affirmative should defend a topical USFG policy. The negative should prove that the status quo or a competitive USFG policy is preferable to the affirmative. I'll vote for arguments outside of those parameters if you win them, but I highly doubt I'm a good judge for them.

Neg leaning on: Conditionality, most cheaty CP theory questions.

Aff leaning on: Agent CPs, most cheaty CP competition questions.

I'll assume the CP can be judge-kicked unless the aff makes an argument to the contrary.

A lot of advantages/DAs are super contrived, and it’s easy to convince me that impacts short of extinction should matter more.

I do find existential risk literature interesting, but I dislike the lazy strategy of reading a card that passingly references nuke war/terrorism/warming and tagging it as "extinction." If accessing extinction specifically, as opposed to just a big non-existential impact, is important to your impact framing arguments, then you should justify that last internal link.

Straight turns are great turns.


Delay, consult, and the like don't seem competitive to me, but if the neg can prove that their CP is competitive with the plan, theory arguments telling me to disregard it anyway seem weak. 'Perm do the CP' is your friend.

I don't really understand why intrinsicness is such a dirty word. If the neg wants to say a logical policy maker should consider every germane opportunity, that cuts both ways. Likewise, I don't see any reason why the aff can't extend a permutation on a CP that was kicked, if it happens to be relevant to other flows.


The plan is the focus of the debate. The negative will be hardpressed to win that their alternate ex post facto framework is not arbitrary and self-serving.

Using critical theory to support advantages or impact framing is totally fine. I enjoy philosophy, although admittedly I'm more well-read in analytic philosophy than continental.

Most kritik alternatives are unacceptably vague. If I don't understand what it means based on the 1NC text, I'm probably not voting for it. Bare minimum: I need to know which agent(s) will take the action/adopt the mindset of the kritik. If your alternative is worded as an infinitive (it probably is), re-word it to clarify the actor.

PF Paradigm

9 November 2018 Update (Peach State Classic @ Carrollton):

Public Forum - As the rest of my paradigm suggests, my background is primarily in LD/Policy. I don't have strong opinions on PF norms in general, but I do prefer directly quoted evidence over paraphrasing. If you cannot quickly produce the specific portion of the source you're referencing on request, paraphrased evidence will be given the same weight as an analytic, which, if the claim was just "expert X says Y" with no further warrant, is zero weight.

Manny Navarrete Paradigm

2 rounds

Updated: January 2020

Grady '18

Emory '22

Coaching affiliations: AUDL Debate Ambassadors (Grady, Decatur, Drew Charter, etc.), 2018-

Varsity policy rounds judged on this topic: 12 (2 elims) (read: not super familiar with it but have a working grasp of the Saudi Arabia and Taiwan affirmatives and am almost entirely unexposed to judging affs without plans on this topic)

Add me to the chain -

Feel free to email if you have questions about anything I've written here or if you thought of a question after post-round feedback

I have one of the worst poker faces --- you will know what I think about the round and whatever argument is being discussed in the moment.

People who have influenced how I think about debate: Erik Mathis, Nick Lepp, Brian Klarman

Scroll to the end for non-policy

BFHS 2020 LD UPDATE: Scroll down if you want to read my general thoughts, but the short if it is that I have zero experience in LD aside from judging some rounds during the last BFHS, and as such if you have me judging your debate you need to approach things like a "traditional" policy debate i.e. the affirmative should affirm the topic and negative should negate it. I'm also not huge on theory debates, so make of that what you will.


Below 28.3: You're clipping and/or you're REALLY bad - either way, please go back to basics

28.4-28.7: Bad

28.7-29.1: Average/Good

29.2-29.6: Great

29.7-29.9: Top Speaker

30: Best speaker I've ever seen (have not given one of these yet)


At the end of the debate, I will sign a ballot that indicates who I thought won and who I thought lost the debate.

2 teams of 2 debaters each, with each debater giveing 1 constructive and 1 rebuttal, within speech and prep times.

I will only flow the first debater who speaks in a given speech. Prompting will not be flowed until the person actually giving the speech says the argument(s).

"Insert this rehighlighting" is a no go. Debate is a communication activity and you need to treat it as such.

Arguments I will never vote on: death / self harm good; pref sheets args; out-of-round incidents

An accusation of an ethics violation i.e. clipping will result in the immediate stop of the round. The accusing team will need video / audio evidence of this accusation.


I try to only evaluate decisions my flow says were debated out throughout the round - if I can't trace an aff argument back to the 1AC/2AC for example, then I will try not to vote on it unless there is some extenuating circumstance (like the 1AR impact turning a new impact to a DA) to excuse it. This means that you should probably go slightly slower on arguments you want to make sure I flow in good detail. I suggest doing this for theory debates especially.

The first 30 seconds of the 2NR and 2AR should attempt to write my RFD for me - even something as straightforward as "vote negative because the risk of a link on the DA outweighs the risk of the aff's advantages" or "vote affirmative because they dropped condo in the 2NR" goes a long way towards clarifying where you the think the debate is at and how you want me to evaluate what you think you're winning and how that interacts with what you think you're losing.

Close debates tend to come down to the evidence. In these cases, you should take care to think about your card doc before the round - Which pieces of evidence do you want me to read after the round? Where is your evidence better or weaker than theirs? How do you want to deal with those asymmetries? These are all things you should take into consideration when crafting your set of evidence to read in the debate.


"Tl:Dr- do you just dont violate the things i'll never vote on and do not pref me that'd be great." - Erik Mathis

"The best debaters isolate which argument they're winning and then spend the vast majority of their final rebuttals explaining how that influences the rest of the debate." - Zahir Shaikh

"Line-by-line involves directly referencing the other team's argument ("Off 2AC #3 - Winners Win, group"), then answering it. "Embedded" clash fails if you bury the clash part so deep I can't find the arg you are answering." - Adrienne Brovero

"I love good Topicality debates. To me, Topicality is like a disadvantage. You need to control the link debate and make it clear that your interpretation has an impact in the round and on debate as a whole, and/or debate as a game and an activity." - LaTonya Starks

"I kind of feel like "reasonability" and "competing interpretations" have become meaningless terms that, while everybody knows how they conceptualize it, there are wildly different understandings. In my mind, the negative should have to prove that the affirmative interpretation is bad, not simply that the negative has a superior interpretation." - Hunter McCullough

"Please, please, please debate the case. I don’t care if you are a K team or a policy team, the case is so important to debate. Most affs are terribly written and you could probably make most advantages have almost zero risk if you spent 15 minutes before round going through aff evidence. Zero risk exists." - Caitlin Walrath


This is how I think I judge, which may or may not be accurate

The rest of this---------------------------------------X-----What Happens in the Debate

Read all of the cards-------------------------X-------------------Flow only


Smart analytic------X--------------------------------------OK card

More ev-----------------------------------------X---Quality ev

Impact defense----------------------------------X----------Internal link defense

Fairness is an internal link------X--------------------------------------Fairness is an impact

"The state is bad so we shouldn't be topical"---------------------------------------X-----"the process of debating hypothetical state action results in violent skills/education/community norms/etc"

Reasonability-----------------------------X---------------Competing Interps

"There's always a risk"-------------------------------X-------------Terminal defense

"Framework - weigh the aff"----------------------------------X----------"our aff is a pedagogically good idea"

Floating PIKs good-----------------------------X---------------Floating PIKs bad

Condo good-X-------------------------------------------Condo bad

"1 condo solves"-------------------------------------------X-"Conditionality is the devil"

High theory---------------------------------------X-----any other critical argument

Solvency advocate required--------------X------------------------------Solvency advocate optional

Process CPs good------X--------------------------------------Process CPs bad

"We turn the case because we also result in their impact"---------------------------------------X-----"We turn the case because we make it impossible for them to solve their impact"


I put this at the bottom because I find topic knowledge does not make a good or bad judge, rather it determines the burden of explanation for certain arguments. Most judges know what to do with a politics DA and case debate but need some extra clarification on T violations and such.

Seems miles better than education or immigration...looking back, I am not a particularly big fan of one advantage and framing affs because the framing arguments tended to be on-face rejection of CP's and DA's when the aff would have been better off answering the specifics of those arguments. Maybe those were just better topics for discussion rather than debatable controversies but what I can do to change the past...


tl;dr I don't know much of the activity and thus you should approach like in a "policy-esque" way. Additionally, it would behoove you to do less theory work than you might be used to. Overall, my advice is to pref me only if you are comfortable with a standard policy debater judging; if not, then don't.

I have very little understanding of the nuances of the activity, i.e. what constitutes a well-constructed case for me might be different than what is generally considered to be such in the community. I'm also a policy debater by training and so I probably lean towards "progressive" trends than some (as in, I am fine with spreading). I also have ZERO knowledge of the topic and you should be prepared to break down its complexities for me. One other thing: I will probably use my policy speaker point scale from the beginning of this philosophy but I have no idea if that scale is typical of current numbers or not.


Dear Lord, PLEASE kick scenarios by the end of the debate --- my ideal debate has each side go for 1-2 impacts and most of the final focuses being spent on impact comparison (Mr. T, for example).

Most crossfires I have seen are filled with bad or leading question --- instead of asking "You failed to respond to our card about (insert issue here), so doesn't that mean we win" you should be asking questions like "why should the judge prefer your evidence over ours"

Pet peeves --- offenders will be docked speaks ---

don't say "we tell you about (insert issue here)" --- just say what you want to say about the issue

DO NOT END YOUR SPEECH WITH "FOR ALL THESE REASONS I STRONGLY URGE A (INSERT SIDE HERE) BALLOT" --- I know what side people are on and will intuitively understand what you say is a reason to vote for you...

Spencer Orlowski Paradigm

3 rounds


TLDR: K/Policy style Coach, getting better at phil, won't vote on oppressive arguments, prefer clash and depth to tricks and blips. I reward hard work and passion for the activity. -2 speaks for "welcome to ______" tag.

Pref Cheat Sheet

1: Topical K Debate

2: Policy Debate/ Non-T Ks

3: Topical Phil Debate/ Topical Tricks & Theory

4: Generic Tricks and Dumb Theory

5/Strike: Jerks

I will not vote on explicitly oppressive arguments. No exceptions.

I try to intervene as little as possible and will look for the easiest route to the ballot. Speaker points are calculated by the quality of argumentation and the strategy of the collapse. I give a lot of low-point wins as a result. I am super sick of voting on unwarranted blippy args and I am willing to ignore them every round. (I have and will ignore shoes theory against K affs)

I default to a logical decision-making paradigm. As a result I prefer topic-centered debate but I am totally open to warranted reasons as to why that is a bad metric for debate.

I place a high value on quality evidence and think preparation is the cornerstone of the educational aspects of this activity. I think that extensions of evidence should be more than just blippy tag extensions. If you aren’t extending warrants, I am not going to find them in the evidence for you after the round.

Speed: I think clear speed improves debate. I am cool with any clear speed that isn’t being used to intentionally exclude your opponent or other judges on a panel. I will say that it seems like a lot of HS LD students rely on the email chain for judges to get their warrants: this practice will likely result in diminished speaker points and possibly a poor decision on my part. It is probably a good idea to slow down a bit on tags and make it clear when a tag starts and a card ends. Flying through theory shells at 400 wpm just seems like a bad idea if you want me to flow it all. If you can only beat a lay debater by spreading you are going to get low speaks.


Specific Arguments

Topicality: I generally believe it’s a voter but the neg needs to explain why and I will listen to reasons why it shouldn’t be, extra and fx are up for debate, abuse is just a marginally more persuasive standard, standards are reason to prefer an interp, I don’t like to vote on RVIs unless they are well warranted. I will probably ignore jargon that is unwarranted like just saying reasonability or competing interps without explanations. It feels like H.S LD conflates theory and topicality a lot. I think if you are saying someone isn't meeting a word in the rez, you need to define it.

DAs: I will vote on linear and unique Das. I don’t believe a negative needs one to win a round. I am usually very skeptical of politics but still vote offence/defense paradigm on it.

Phil: Explaining the argument helps. Compare your frameworks. I'm ok with TJFs. I generally find long frameworks really boring and prefer substantive topic debate. Stuff like Skep and Monism are super boring. The more specific the ethic to the topic, the better. I haven't seen many burden affs.

Theory: Most spec shells are just defense to solvency for me. I definitely get they are a valuable part of a strategy for time and fairness reasons but I find them generally unpersuasive. I will vote on them though if mishandled by the affirmative(or negative) . All that said if you have a really interesting super spec procedural I’ll listen to it with an open mind. 5 off all procedurals = 25 speaks. I am super persuaded by alternative punishment arguments (i.e. the impact to a spec is don’t accept no links based on clarifications of the agent in the AR). I generally think there are ways to resolve theoretical objections that don’t necessitate a ballot on theory. "6-7-4-6-3" does not constitute an argument. Plans bad is a super boring arg IMO.

Ks: Ks are probably my favorite part of debate, but bad K debate is super frustrating. As with every other position I want the link to be specific and prefer the literature to be in the context of our topic. I think the necessity of framework depends on the nature of the alternative and the presented 1AC. I generally view links as a DA to the perm. I think you need a stable alt text. The more performative, the better.

Counterplans: I don’t think conditionality is a problem but you can read whatever against the CP. I don’t think you have to establish ME in the NC but I think it ends up being more persuasive if the AR concedes it. I prefer if they have an advocate, but not a deal breaker. You should have a stable CP text. Open to perm theory, same concept as other theory shells though.

Defense: I’m predisposed to believe it’s not a voting issue but if someone concedes some fwk that says it is I guess I would vote for it. This applies to answering neg positions as well.

Performance: I am totally fine with it, but again I think it’s important to explain how it relates to an affirmation or negation of the resolution. That being said, I am completely open to arguments about why resolution centered debate is bad.

A2 K/Performance AC/NC: ENGAGE. Just framing your way out the debate is super boring to me. Cut cards answering their method. If they give you links, use them. It is insufficient to assert Ks are unfair. I really don't see a distinction between Hume vs Kant and Reed vs Wilderson

FOR PF: I did PF for 4 years in HS and I currently coach it. I flow a lot. Any argument you want in the second FF should be in the 2nd Summary. The first summary doesn't need to extend defense as long as the second rebuttal didn't respond to it. I think the 2nd rebuttal should probably respond to the first, just seems strategic. I read a lot on each topic and will hold you to a standard of accuracy for the most part. Speaker points are based on skill in crossfire, strategy of collapse, and quality of evidence. If it takes you longer than a min to produce evidence, it doesn't exist. If I think you inappropriately paraphrased I will ignore evidence. I will vote on theory and Ks. See above for notes on those positions.

Indu Pandey Paradigm

3 rounds

Hiya! I’m Indu. I debated for Harvard-Westlake for 4 years (graduated in 2018), qualified to the TOC 3 times, had 10 career bids, and won a couple of tournaments/cleared at the TOC. I previously coached at HW and now I coach at The Harker School.

I want to be on the email chain. Your opponent should also be on it. **Email:

Check out – it has free resources, like cards and videos, as well as blog articles about being a woman or other minority debater.

Top Level (this is all you really need to know):

- Debate is about arguments/ideas and not individual people. You all are children and creating an actively hostile environment doesn’t really jive with me.

- I can’t vote on arguments that are immediately evident to me to be false. By that I mean, if you read a theory shell or make a competition arg and you are just objectively wrong about the violation, I cannot see myself being compelled to vote for you.

- I don’t really know how to classify myself on the weird “truth” vs “tech”/”flow”/”tab” spectrum – I just want people to be reasonable. That means I’ll lean heavily on the flow, but if you make arguments that are self-evidently ridiculous or underdeveloped it won’t float my boat.

- I love CX!!! Like, seriously. It’s my favorite part of debate. A good CX is killer, and I’ll give good speaks for it.

- Sexism, racism, etc are obviously nonstarters.

- I’ll try to give everyone in the round a fair shake even if you read arguments I never did in high school, I’ve never met you before, etc. Likewise, I expect everyone in the round to treat me with respect. Post-rounding is cool, and people have important questions to ask. Just take a deep breath and avoid insults, yelling, etc.

- I flow. Just wanted to throw that out there.

- WEIGH PLEASE. Most post-rounding is a result of a lack of weighing, and I don't feel particularly bad if I drop you because you didn't make a single comparative statement for 45 minutes.

- I'd prefer if you all regulate yourselves. By that I mean that you should hold each other accountable for speech times, CX, etc. If there's some clear age/experience/other factor that seems to prevent one party from having an equal opportunity to control the round, I will step in. This will likely be pretty uncommon.

- In the era of online debate, I ask that debaters maintain a professional environment. Please hold yourself like you would in a classroom setting and situate yourself in a neutral environment. It's important that all debaters, observers, and judges feel comfortable in the "room". This has not been an issue for me thus far, but I want to establish these boundaries in advance.

More specific things below. Honestly, you can change my mind on most of this stuff, and I’ll really try my best to give you a fair shot at winning these arguments. I just know as a debater I appreciated when judges put their default views on things in their paradigm to ease pre-round anxiety.

Policy Arguments:

Cards are cool------------X---------------------------------Tons of spin

Evidence comparison-X--------------------------------------------Make Indu flip a coin

PTX-X--------------------------------------------PTX?!!? ):

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

States CP good (+ uniformity)----------X-----------------------------------States bad

Agent, process CPs, PICs -----------------X---------------------------Boooo Wendy Testaburger boo

Impact Calc------------------------------------------X--IMPACT CALC!!!!

4 second competition arguments -------------------------------------------X-- Real competition arguments

Answering straight turns --X-----------------------------------------—Aggressive eye roll

Kritik Arguments:

Overviews longer than my Snapchat streaks--------------------------------X-------------Line by line

What does [INSERT CONFUSING K THING HERE] mean? ------X---------------------------------------Smoke bomb!

Specific links to the aff ------------X---------------------------------Generic links

Hashing out what it means to vote AFF/NEG -X-------------------------------------------- ???????

Starting from the assumption certain arguments are true ----------------------------------------X----- Argument humility

The aff does literally anything -X---------------------------------------- Nothingness for 6 minutes

Explain the perm -X---------------------------------- hehehe perm: do both, perm: double bind, perm: do the alt & make Indu mad

COLLAPSING TO A FEW CORE ARGS IN THE 2NR/AR -XXXXXXX---------------------------------------- ha ha but what if no

Making framing args in the 1NC/1AR --X----------------------------------------------------- me arbitrarily weighing based on my ~vibes~

Theory/Topicality Arguments:

Mix-and-match buy-1-get-1-free kitchen sink theory interps -----------------------------------------X- Debating?

Defend the topic!--------------------X------------------------- Completely non-T

Fairness/Limits good---------------X------------------------------Nope nope nope

RVIs--------------------------------------------------X----No RVIs

Slowing down on analytics & interps -XXXXXX--------------------------------------------------- LKDFGLJEOIKDFGLKJFDGL

Super structured LD froufrou shell -------------------------------------------------X---------- [Thingy] is a voting issue because ground blah blah

Shells that are actually just substantive -------------------------------------------X- make a substance arg?

Arbitrariness bad --X--------------------------------------------------------------------- hyper specific shells

Definition comparison in T debates --X-------------------------------------------------- weighing is overrated go back to 2016 indu


Explain atypical framework ---X------------------------------------------ Assume Indu understands 400 WPM metaphysics at 8 AM

Straight up -X-------------------------------------------- Tricks and memery

Collapse to a few core arguments ----------X----------------------------------- Everything

Actually having offense under your FW -X----------------------------------------------- 1 sentence analytic... ha ha but what if


- Please enunciate and be clear. If I clear you, it’s not because you’re going too fast, it’s because you are nearing or already are incomprehensible. Trust me – you can be fast while still making words come out of your mouth.

- Have some personality! I really enjoy people making some jokes, sarcasm, etc.

- I’m very expressive during round. I don’t really try to suppress in any way. Do with that what you will.

- Disclosure and being straight-up at the flip/disclosing cases pre-round/other related practices are good!

- Cheating accusations: you can stake the round on these. Tab could get involved. Have audio/video evidence of clipping. If a debater makes the clipping accusation, I will rely on the Tabroom provided clipping policy (if available) to make my decision and for guidance on how to proceed. Similarly, if a debater makes an evidence ethics challenge, I will rely on Tabroom's guidance when possible.

- Clipping: I've dropped a handful of people for clipping. I read along and feel comfortable dropping debaters regardless of if an accusation has been made by the other debater. If clipping happens once, I usually chalk it up to a mistake. When I do drop you, please be assured you were clipping egregiously (usually 3+ words) and consistently (usually 2+ cards). I've never dropped someone for clipping if they were super unclear, but I'm comfortable doing so if I've cleared multiple times, I'm ignored when I say clear multiple times, and the level of clarity is so poor such that a reasonable person could not discern which words were read and which weren't. Please don't cheat. I'm happy to have a conversation with debaters and their coaches during these difficult circumstances, but I ask for respect from all parties involved. It's incredibly frustrating for everyone when rounds end in this way, and I understand that these decisions may seem personal. Ending rounds because of clipping or other dishonest behavior does not reflect my personal evaluation of you as a debater or your team/coach. It's just in the spirit of academic integrity, and I hope everyone involved learns and grows from the experience. I take decisions to end a round very seriously.

- Evidence ethics: you can also stake the round on this. I take an accusation of this nature to mean they have substantially changed the work of an author such that it includes ideas not present in the original work or excludes critical portions of a piece of work, concludes differently than the author intended, or follows poor citation methods in a way that is academically dishonest. Here is a list of things I consider unethical (which is not exhaustive): cutting out part of a paragraph, adding your own (or that of another author) ideas to a card, skipping paragraphs in a single card, not noting when an author disagrees with the argument presented, and mis-citing (literally just incorrect cites).

- Like, I mentioned... I flow. That means, like you, I could miss arguments or not understand what you’re talking about. We all expect judges to be magic flow fairies, which isn’t true. Try your best to be clear, collapse to few arguments, and weigh. Little judging errors happen when there’s a million moving pieces, and I’ll feel less bad if I make a mistake and the round is like this.

- I read cards and like rewarding good evidence. My reading of evidence unless instructed or in extreme extraneous circumstances (ethics challenges, etc) does not affect my decision. I think debaters would do so much better if they read their opponent's cards because a lot of cards I've seen this season have had... sub-prime quality.

- As I went to Harvard-Westlake, I probably view debate in a similar way to my coaches and teammates. Some of them include: Travis Fife, Scott Phillips, Mike Bietz, Connor & Evan Engel, Cameron Cohen, Nick Steele.

- In light of recent events, I will wait to submit speaks until after the post-round is done. I think aggressive/rude/condescending post-rounds are bad sportsmanship and will be reflected in speaks. I'd like to think I have reasonably thick skin, so this is something that I don't think I'll have to use too often. Just wanted to give everyone a fair warning. This equally applies to your coach(es) & friend(s) who are rude to me after a round. If you can't control yourself, I will not be sympathetic.

- I sometimes (read: often) vote for a team even though I think their arguments aren't particularly good, they made contradictory arguments, or some other ridiculous thing occurs. It's incumbent upon the other debater to point this stuff out. Most of the time, they don't. If you don't, it'll just make everyone sad, including me. This scenario is where most post-rounding occurs. I won't just drop people because I don't vibe with their arguments.

- Please don't feel compelled to read arguments that you think I read in high school. I can tell when you read arguments to try to pander to me, and it's usually a worse quality debate than if you just read the position you actually wanted to. (No one believes this, but I read 50/50 K & policy args in high school and now judge 50/50 K & policy rounds... I actually don't have a preference. Seriously.) I don't need to hear decol fem and states every round -- don't worry about me. Do your own thing. (That being said, I judge a decent number of phil, theory, and clash rounds. I feel comfortable evaluating whatever you throw at me provided you do whatever you're doing well and straight up.)

- I vote relatively 50/50 in non-T aff vs FW rounds. You NEED to have offense and a defense of your vision of the topic/debate! Most of my decisions boil down to not being able to articulate what are big macro-level issues because people are overly caught in LBL. LBL is very important obviously, but that doesn't supplant the importance of explaining what model you're even defending.

- #stopsplittingthe2nr2k20 (Seriously, *who* taught you all to do this! I do not give above a 29 to people who split the 2NR even if you're in the finals of every tournament that year. There is 1/1000 instances where this is debate smart, and I bet you your round isn't that instance.)

- I don't disclose speaks -- you don't need to ask after the round. Here's random things I enjoy and reward with higher speaker points (in no particular order): being passionate about your position, numbering of args, strategic collapse in every speech, not going for every argument, weighing(!), having a personality, using examples & stats effectively, anticipating your opponent's args, good CX, judge instruction, being respectful during the RFD & post-round. While I vote on args that I think are silly sometimes, people get low speaks for those rounds. If you go for some reasonable phil and do it well/straight-up, that's fine -- high speaks. If you go for some ridiculous theory shell and bumble your way into a win, I will not be kind with speaks.

- I have chronic migraines that are sometimes triggered by excessive noise, which is sort of unfortunate given that debate... involves much yelling. I will occasionally ask debaters to speak softer if you yell-spread. I've only done this once or twice, but just wanted to give people a fair warning. (No, the migraine does not affect my ability to judge your round. It's just painful. Be a homie.)

Happy debating!

Rodrigo Paramo Paradigm

1 rounds

i debated ld and policy in high school, i coach ld @ greenhill.

toss me on the email chain:

[current/past affiliations: woodlands ('14-'15), dulles ('15-'16), edgemont ('16-'18), westwood ('14-'18), greenhill ('18-now)]

I am most comfortable evaluating critical and policy debates, but find myself thoroughly enjoying 6 minutes of topicality or framework [like, T-framework against k affs, not kant] if it is delivered at a speed i can flow. I will make it clear if you are going too fast - i am very expressive so if i am lost you should be able to tell. I am a bad judge for tricks debates, and am not a great judge for denser "phil" debates - i do not coach or think about analytic philosophy outside of tournaments, so I need these debates to happen at a much slower pace in order for me to process and understand all the moving parts - notably, this is also true for whoever is answering these positions.

Thoughts I have

0) Miscellaneous New Thoughts I Have Had Recently:

  • i think the word "unsafe" means something and get uncomfortable when it is deployed cavalierly - it is a meaningful accusation to suggest that an opponent has made a space unsafe (vs uncomfortable), and i think students/coaches/judges should be mindful of that distinction
  • i find the insistence on labeling non-independent voters as independent voters exhausting and off-putting
  • there is no chance you get me to exclude/disregard a speech from the debate- i will evaluate every portion of the debate after the 2ar, with relevant content from the 2ar taken into consideration.

1) Evidence Ethics: In previous years, I have seen a lot of miscut evidence. I think that evidence ethics matters regardless of whether an argument/ethics challenge is raised in the debate. If I notice that a piece of evidence is miscut, I will vote against the debater who reads the miscut evidence.

I think that a piece of evidence is miscut if:

  • it starts and/or ends in the middle of a sentence or paragraph.
  • text is missing from the middle of the card (replacing that text with an ellipsis does not make it okay),
  • the next paragraph or another part of the article explicitly contradicts the argument/claim made in the card,
  • the card is highlighted in a way that modifies or does not accurately represent the author’s claim - i think students & coaches both are far too comfortable highlighting only parts of words/sentences in a way that drastically changes the meaning of a card, and i think this is bad. [Be careful with brackets - I don’t think they always mean a card is miscut, but I’ve seen that they very often do. I think that brackets, more often than not, are bad - if a bracket changes the strength of a claim made by the author, or in some other way changes the *meaning* of the evidence, it is miscut],
  • if a cite lists the wrong author, article title, etc. (I hope to decide 0 debates this year on citations - I’ll only decide debates on them without challenges in the most egregious cases).
  • if a card does not have a citation at all and the debater is asked for it, but cannot provide it, i think this means you do not get that argument. i do not think it would be super hard to convince me that this is a voting issue, but i will not presume that.

If I decide a debate on evidence ethics, I will let the debate finish as normal. If the debate is a prelim, I will decide speaks based on the content of the debate and subtract two speaker points from the debater that I vote against. If the debate is an elim, I will submit my ballot and won’t say anything about my decision until the debate is announced.

If both sides read miscut evidence, I will vote against the debater who read miscut evidence first. (I really don’t love this as a way to evaluate these debates, but the only comparable scenario that I can think of is clipping, and that’s how I would resolve those debates.)

I do not plan to go out of my way looking for miscut evidence or checking to see whether every card is cut correctly. If I do notice that something is miscut, I will vote against the debater who reads it regardless of whether a challenge is made.

Please do not hesitate to ask questions about this before the debate.

Evidence Ethics Procedures: the phrase "evidence ethics" means something - if someone says it and their opponent clarifies "is this an evidence ethics challenge," i understand this to mean that the debate ends - whoever has made the accusation wins if i believe the evidence ethics violation is correct, they lose if i believe the accused did not commit an evidence ethics violation - i will not independently end the round if the accused does not ask for this - if they do, i am happy to - words matter and evidence ethics matters - see the relevant section on bennett eckert's paradigm for more of my thoughts on this question. i also believe that debaters should think carefully before accusing their opponents of academic dishonesty, plagiarism, etc. - heavy claims.

2) Clipping: i have a good ear for when clipping is occurring - if i suspect it is, i will follow along in the speech doc - if i determine i am correct, the person clipping will lose. to be very clear, this does not necessitate the opponent making a clipping accusation - i feel very comfortable making this adjudication on my own.

3) Online Debate: Slow down.

4) Comparative Worlds/Truth-Testing:

  • i will default to a comparative worlds paradigm unless the 1ac/nc justifies otherwise - later speeches cannot shift to truth-testing without an indication of that interpretive claim in the constructives.

5) Politics Disads:

  • i follow domestic politics prettttty closely. this means i will be thrilled to reward smart analytics made on politics scenarios and will be impressed if you know your stuff. that said, this means my bs meter is pretty high on some ptx scenarios - for instance, i am not going to vote on an impeachment impact unless you tell me how we get from a 53-47 gop senate to a successful vote to remove trump from office - absent that warrant, i will not grant you "impeachment proceedings remove trump from office" [of course, the opposing side must be able to explain why a 53-47 gop senate is unlikely to cast that votes
  • i think we are quickly approaching the time when i will see elections disads - if you read one, make sure your evidence is *recent,* *high-quality,* and that you understand the playing field well so you can make intelligent analytic arguments - this election will be the thing i think about most between now and november - i will thoroughly love a good politics debate

6) miscellaneous thoughts on Theory/topicality:

  • slow down on it - will say slow twice. after that, i will miss your arguments and that will be the RFD. this is similarly true for perm texts etc - dont super care what the doc said if i didnt flow the text near verbatim in the 1ar. if i say "slow" i have almost certainly already missed an argument - do with that what you will.
  • im pretty receptive to text of the interp/text of the rotb/plan flaw args - i generally think that when issues arise in those 3 things, they are a result of students not giving much thought to them which is a shame bc all 3 are pretty important in my view - well crafted interps, as well as cxes that isolate plan flaws/interp issues will be rewarded (this does not mean i like /bad/ plan flaw args). i am also fairly willing to check in on semantic i meets against frivolous theory.
  • you should always flash or have written down interp/counter-interp texts readily available for both your opponents and your judges
  • i will likely be easily compelled by a "debaters should not bracket evidence" argument *if* you can execute it well - i have grown sympathetic to this argument as abuses become increasingly egregious
  • theory and topicality are different and i think this implicates what the 1ar is expected to do to respond to each. it also implicates what topicality vs theory interpretations (and counter interpretations) are expected to include
  • my reluctance to vote on bad theory arguments is not because they are bad but because i sincerely dont understand the abuse story on many many shells. some examples: spec status; spec standard; rotb spec; cant concede the aff framework; must concede the aff framework. i am not interested in judging these debates and do not think the feedback i give in these debates is that helpful for anyone involved. good theory debates can be great, but i will feel comfortable saying "i did not understand the abuse story so i did not vote on this shell" (this also applies to framework v k affs)
  • "in the interest of disclosing my own bias, i think the best debates happen when both teams are able to reasonably predict what arguments will be read (with the exception of new affs + unbroken neg positions). i am unsympathetic to arguments about disclosure that do not contest this point. even if you cannot post broken positions on the wiki for whatever reason, it is my belief that you should be willing to provide them, in good faith, to your opponent upon request in some way." - anna (weird to quote a former student on here!)
  • Nebel: in the past i have made clear that the nebel argument did not make a lot of sense to me. in many ways, i am still receptive to the "pragmatics first" school of thought. however, nebel 19 (the second one) is compelling. i intuitively believe that a world where debate has plans is a better one, but jake has convinced me that our topic wordings do not often justify that world. i will obviously still judge these debates based only on what happens in the round, but i am newly receptive to the nebel argument (this is primarily true for the semantic claims. given that, please slow down on it if you read it - portions of the grammar stuff still confuses me at the speed of a debate round, so please slow down)

7) miscellaneous thoughts on T-Framework

  • i spent... a lot of time last summer thinking about framework against k affs - im into it if done well - im not as into the procedural fairness version of it - get creative.
  • i do not think i have ever been convinced by the claim that judges have a jurisdictional constraint to only vote for topical affs - i do not foresee that changing [really, *any* jurisdictional constraint is unlikely to be compelling to me bc it is a claim that just kind of is incapable of a particularly good warrant]
  • I think the best framework shells will be written to pre-empt semantic I meets, and will do more than just define three words in the resolution - they will provide a model for what topical affs must defend, they will have standards level offense that has explanatory power for why debate has rules, what the role of the ballot is, etc. - I suppose in short, the claim behind a good framework shell is stronger than just “the resolution determines the division of aff and neg ground.”
  • your shell should define a word in the resolution besides just "Resolved:"
  • pretty close to 50/50 voting record in clash debates

8) miscellaneous thoughts on permutations:

  • i do not understand why the aff would not get perms in a method debate - i have never seen a compelling warrant and can't really think of one - thus, the default assumption on my part is that the aff does get perms and it is a fairly uphill battle to convince me otherwise
  • i will not grant you the perm if i am uncertain about the perm text bc the articulation between 1ar and 2ar was different
  • perm texts should be more than "perm do both" - *especially* in the 2ar
  • you should always flash or have written down perm texts readily available for both your opponents and the judges

9) miscellaneous thoughts on the Kritik

  • i am so deeply deeply unreceptive to and uninterested in this trend of explaining new identity categories with the same form and language of antiblackness literature. if you do not have a psychoanalytic warrant, dont claim you do! if you do not have evidence identifying a structural antagonism, i do not know why you are using that language! sigh.
  • kritiks i have spent a lot of time thinking about: deleuzean scholarship, queer theory (a lot of authors fall under this second category), borderlands
  • kritiks I judge a lot: afropessimism, settler colonialism
  • kritiks I don't really get: baudrillard [i am far far more receptive to baudrillard on the negative than on the affirmative, but i think it is a kinda uphill battle against identity affs in front of me]
  • i think that the best k affs will have a defense of why *debating the aff* is good - not just why *the aff* as an object is good - why is the process of reading it in an environment where the neg must respond to it good? (in other words, the affirmative should answer the question of why it is good to read non-t affs on the aff, not just in debate)
  • i really enjoy a good performance debate
    • i think that people often attempt to go for performative offense when all they have done is read cards that are formatted in a normative way, at a conventional speed, and where later speeches revert to a hyper technical style of debate - i am *very, very* skeptical of the level of offense that these performances access - to get access to a "we change debate" claim, you should... do something I haven't seen before. a performance debate should not be indistinguishable from a policy debate, and these days almost all of the ones i judge are. that is a real shame.
  • my threshold for "debate bad" is fairly high - my presumption is that there is a lot of value in debate, and that is why I have stuck around for so long.

10) miscellaneous thoughts (strategy):

  • Evidence quality is directly correlated to the amount of credibility I will grant an argument - if the card is underhighlighted, the claim is likely underwarranted. The 1ac/nc should have evidence of high quality, and the 1ar/2nr/2ar should have explanation of that evidence of a similarly high quality
  • if the 2nr is split that is rarely a great sign for speaker points - it also is liable to implicate your ability to win the debate - any 2nr with 2 shells is deeply deeply perplexing to me and a shell + a cp/da is even harder for me to understand!!!
  • i will not vote for a position i do not understand - this includes poorly explained kritiks, sloppy link scenarios on a disad, dense ncs that i probably wont get, and theory shells whose abuse story i can not adequately explain back to the debaters
  • I'll say clear/slow twice - speaks will be deducted after that
    • given how clear it is to me that no one could flow a debate round as it is delivered, i am cool w debaters tossing out a "slow" at their opponents if they can't flow them at top speed
  • clarity is important for high speaks but more important than how you sound is making strategic decisions in the 2AR/NR collapse in the 2nr/2ar
  • if any of your 1nc positions are too short to sustain a 6 minute 2nr on it i think that likely means the 1nc arg is underdeveloped. that issue should be resolved pre round, not by relying on 2nr cards/new args - i think this is particularly true of very short topicality arguments - a sentence or two of standards will likely not be enough to beat a 1ar thats just like "hold the line"
  • I love a robust debate on the case line by line - I do not love a case debate that is just three disads read on the case page, or that dumps generic case turns on the page with no signposting / interacting with cards from the ac - this is particularly true when you read all the generic turns and then do the line by line.

11) miscellaneous thoughts (rules of debate):

  • i can't think of any instances where a debate round would be better if it includes personal invectives against specific debaters/institutions/etc - i can think of many when it is worse for it.
  • on flashing: i think if you send a doc with a lot of analytics that you do not get through, you cannot just refuse to tell your opponent what analytics you did/did not read
  • i mark cards at the timer and stop flowing at the timer.
  • flex prep means asking questions during prep time - in no world does unused CX time become prep time
  • speech times dont change presumption how wild (and neither do other random theoretical warrants - i will presume negative if the negative defends the status quo, and affirmative if the negative does something to flip presumption (read: defends more change from the status quo)) - people should deploy presumption more against affirmatives that do not defend anything!
  • i generally do not believe you can merely "insert" a list of what the aff defends - I think this is functionally equivalent to not reading it.
  • my average speaks so far this year:
    • grapevine: 28.32
    • greenhill rr: 28.63
    • greenhill: 28.43
    • marks: 28.72
    • apple valley:28.3
    • glenbrooks + glenbrooks rr: 28.71
    • ut: 28.18
    • blake: 28.9
    • first semester average: 28.52
    • churchill: 28.38
    • emory: 28.75
    • colleyville: 28.23
    • stanford: 28.65
    • cal: 28.58
    • tfa state: 28.45
    • isidore rr: 28.45
    • e-toc: 28.48
    • second semester average: 28.50

11) on trigger warnings:

The onus is on debaters planning to read positions about potentially triggering issues to ask those in the room for permission to read the position. Spectators may leave, but judges and opponents do not have that option, meaning there is an expectation that if one of them objects to the triggering position, the position will not be read. If a debater does not adjust their strategy after being asked to, they will start the round with a 25. If you do not ask before round, but someone is triggered, speaks will similarly be docked. If there is no trigger warning but no one is triggered, the round will continue as normal.

The question for what necessitates a trigger warning is difficult to objectively delineate - if you have a reasonable suspicion someone could be negatively impacted by your position, ask before you read it - explicit narratives are probably a good starting point here. Trigger warnings are contentious in debate but I've seen students negatively impacted in rounds because they were not present and have engaged in conversations with other coaches that lead me to conclude something along these lines is necessary.

This (admittedly strangely) probably means I'm not the judge for "must read a trigger warning" shells.

This article is very good at articulating my views on the importance of trigger warnings
It is not up for debate that if someone was triggered on account of your failure to adequately make use of trigger warnings, you'll be punished through speaks and/or the ballot

Roopa Patel Paradigm

6 rounds

I am a debate coach in Georgia. I also competed in LD and PF. Take that for whatever you think it means.

  • LD - Value/Value Criterion - this is what separates us from the animals (or at least the policy debaters). It is the unique feature of LD Debate. Have a good value and criterion and link your arguments back to it.
  • PF - I side on the traditional side of PF. Don't throw a lot of jargon at me or simply read cards... this isn't Policy Jr., compete in PF for the debate animal it is. Remember debate, especially PF, is meant to persuade - use all the tools in your rhetorical toolbox: Logos, Ethos, and Pathos. I want to see CLEAR evidence clash.
  • Speed - I like speed but not spreading as if it is policy. Speak as fast as is necessary but keep it intelligible. There aren't a lot of jobs for speed readers after high school (auctioneers and pharmaceutical disclaimer commercials) so make sure you are using speed for a purpose. I can keep up with the amount of speed you decide to read at, however if I feel that your opponent is at a disadvantage and cannot understand you then I will put my pen down and stop flowing and that will signal you to slow down.
  • Know your case, like you actually did the research and wrote the case and researched the arguments from the other side. If you present it, I expect you to know it from every angle - I want you to know the research behind the statistic and the whole article, not just the blurb on the card.
  • Casing - Mostly traditional but I am game for kritiks, counterplans - but perform them well, KNOW them, I won't do the links for you. I am a student of Toulmin - claim-evidence-warrant/impacts. I don't make the links and don't just throw evidence cards at me with no analysis.
  • I like clash. Argue the cases presented, mix it up, have some fun, but remember that debate is civil discourse - don't take it personal, being the loudest speaker won't win the round, being rude to your opponent won't win you the round.
  • Debating is a performance in the art of persuasion and your job is to convince me, your judge (not your opponent!!) - use the art of persuasion to win the round: eye contact, vocal variations, appropriate gestures, and know your case well enough that you don't have to read every single word hunched over a computer screen. Keep your logical fallacies for your next round. Rhetoric is an art.
  • Technology Woes - I will not stop the clock because your laptop just died or you can't find your case - not my problem, fix it or don't but we are going to move on.
  • Ethics - Debate is a great game when everyone plays by the rules. Play by the rules - don't give me a reason to doubt your veracity.
  • Win is decided by the flow (remember if you don't LINK it, it isn't on the flow), who made the most successful arguments and Speaker Points are awarded to the best speaker - I end up with some low point wins. I am fairly generous on speaker points compared to some judges. I disclose winner but not speaker points.
  • Enjoy yourself. Debate is the best sport in the world - win or lose - learn something from each round, don't gloat, don't disparage other teams, judges, or coaches, and don't try to convince me after the round is over. Leave it in the round and realize you may have just made a friend that you will compete against and talk to for the rest of your life. Don't be so caught up in winning that you forget to have some fun - in the round, between rounds, on the bus, and in practice.
  • Questions? - if you have a question ask me.

Vaishali Patil Paradigm

6 rounds

I am parent judge of Lincoln Douglas debater that's still in high school. I have judged indeed some national circuit debate for Public Form and Lincoln Douglas. I am open to two types of debate cases but prefer judging public forum . I try to have a very open mind when I hear these debaters discuss controversial issues , but there are things like racism, genocide, sexual-assault and other controversial issues that do tend to appear every so often in order to illustrate the my point , but I only tell him to do so without being offensive.

Scott Phillips Paradigm

1 rounds

Scott Phillips- for email chains please use iblamebricker@gmail in policy, and for LD
Coach@ Harvard Westlake/Dartmouth

2018 Updates

My general philosophy is tech/line by line focused- I try to intervene as little as possible in terms of rejecting arguments/interpreting evidence. As long as an argument has a claim/warrant I can explain to your opponent in the RFD I will vote for it. If only one side tries to resolve an issue I will defer to that argument even if it seems illogical/wrong to me- i.e. if you drop "warming outweighs-timeframe" and have no competing impact calc its GG even though that arg is terrible. 90% of the time I'm being postrounded it is because a debater wanted me to intervene in some way on their behalf either because that's the trend/what some people do or because they personally thought an argument was bad.

Old Stuff
Rounds Judged on the topic- a lot
My Ideal affirmative- 2 well constructed advantages
My Ideal 1NC- 5 off and case

Cliffs Notes-Top 10 Things you should know

1. I vote on arguments commonly considered "bad" frequently because a team mishandles them, it is my belief belief that most bad arguments can be defeated by making a thumbs down motion, so if you fail to meet that minimum threshold I will be qualmless voting against you. The overarching principle of my judging is "least intervention"-Much like Harrison Ford in Ender's Game under no circumstances will I help you with bad arguments, I believe in self help.

2. I vote on kritiks a lot because the team answering them reads a lot of bad generic answers instead of making analytic arguments based on the specific arguments they have made in that debate. To clarify this sentence - what I mean is an analytic based on your 1AC- ie "tradable permits empirically don't cause commodification and extinction since we already have them for SO2". In general I think most debaters have no idea what they are saying when reading a K and that affirmatives SHOULD win about 80-90% of the debates in which the negative goes for one.

3. No plan affs- 100% of the time when I vote against you on framework its because the other team won theory was a trump card over issues like education/K impacts and you didn't advance theory offense for your interpretation. I end up voting for no plan args frequently because the neg collapses/has no idea what to do.

4. Theory needs to come back with a vengeance

A. Entirely plan inclusive counterplans- I have never heard a theory argument to defend them that passes the minimum threshold explained above. That being said, winning a solvency deficit against them is basically impossible.

B. More than 2 conditional counterplans is just you being a chazzer

C. K frameworks/roles of the ballot that stack the deck absurdly are worse than entirely plan inclusive counterplans

D. Reject argument not team produces terrible debates with very bad strategies. Voting on theory doesn't fix this, but it improves it substantially.

5. I believe you have a choice
A. Clearly articulate your ground/say as much in CX
B. Because your position is vague you are susceptible to a reduced credibility modifier that taints many of your arguments. Plan vagueness affects plan solvency, alternative vagueness affects.... etc.

6. IMO there are, in fact, risks of things. Debaters should be aware of this and make arguments about how I should resolve risk. The plan may be popular with 5 people and unpopular with 6, should I place more emphasis on the number of people or maybe are those 5 more important? Very few link cards establish such a clear threshold that you can say with certainty (when contested) yes definite link. (this point is largely irrelevant now as the tides of history have turned and no risk people have been successfully marginalized)

7. I will always defer to debater argument resolution if one side does it and the other doesn't-no matter how bad or illogical I think the argument is. This is to me, the most important part of debate.

8. I try really hard to flow well. Teams who willfully ignore line by line/structure - I will not do work for you to figure things out if the other team does line by line barring some argument why I should.

9. I often call for lots of evidence after a debate, most of the time this is just out of curiosity. When making my decision evidence is only a factor when it is a point of contest or someone has made an argument for why it should be a part of the decision. I am not a judge who reads every card from both sides and makes a decision based on the evidence.

10. Evidence quality in debate is in terminal decline. If you have good evidence and you make an issue of it in the debate (talk about quals, or recency for uniqueness) you will most likely crush.

Making a decision:
Everything is debatable but speech times: The role of the ballot, whether evidence or analytic arguments are more important, is it acceptable for the other team to read off their computers, who gets presumption and why etc. If neither team makes an argument on the issue, the following are my defaults:

1. Evidence and analytic arguments are treated equally- I will look at the total sum of explanation offered for an argument, from any form. So if a well explained analytical will beat a poorly written piece of evidence. If one teams reads qualifications and the other doesn't, the team who read quals will receive a slight bump in the level of quality I assess to their explanation (assuming all other factors are equal). Treating them as equal until told otherwise is my way of encouraging debate.

2. Presumption, in the case of a tie or too close to call resolution of an argument, goes to the team advocating the least change. I would use presumption in the instance where each team had an advocacy and an offensive argument, and each team dropped a terminal defense argument to their own offense such that the net risk in either direction of presented offense was exactly zero. In that instance the "hidden disad" of change makes sense as a decision making tool. In no other circumstance I can think of would I use presumption unless explicitly instructed by the debaters.

3. If an argument is unresolveable (or tough to resolve) I will use a "needs" test- the burden of explanation will be assessed to the team who NEEDS the argument to win. So for example
-on a CP permutation, if the neg would win the debate without the permutation, then the aff needs it to win- so the burden of explanation is on them
-for CP solvency, if the neg would lose if the CP did not solve the case, then the neg needs to win solvency- so the burden of explanation is on them

4. Concession= truth. If you drop epistemology comes first/is a side constraint, then it is. You can drop that framing issue and still win as long as you beat the link (that your epistemology is flawed), but you will not be allowed new answers to the impact. I use a reasonable person standard- if I was unaware that the 1NC presented a epistemology first argument (based on what was said in the 1NC, not my prior knowledge of the negative team), then if the aff says "they didn't say this, therefore our answers aren't new" I would allow it. But remember, everything is debatable. If the 2NR comes back and asserts it was clearly stated when they said XYZ, the aff has to disprove that.

5. The threshold for how good a response to an argument has to be is directly related to the quality of the initial argument. Saying "RANT" is sufficient to beat a lot of voting issues. If the other team answers RANT in their 2NC sever perms are a VI block, and thats all you say, you will be in trouble. Similarly, many counterplans (consult, recommendation, delay, lopez) are easily defeated by theory arguments but almost impossible to beat on substance. A well rounded debater should avoid trying to ice skate uphill.

6. I spend a lot of time on debate. Other than eating and playing video games, basically all of my time is spent cutting cards, coaching, writing and reading about debate. A lot of judges say "I'm not a very good flow". I'm a very good flow, I may even go as far as to say probably one of the best. All that being said, it is very possible that you could say a string of words, or utter a quote from an article I have written that fully conveys your argument to me, but would leave a less experienced/judge with a life with no idea what you were saying/what your argument was. I try to temper this fact by using a "reasonable person" standard for what makes a complete argument. I feel this is essential because otherwise any student who was in my lab, had emailed me a question, or had just read a lot of the 3NR would have an absurdly unfair advantage vs a similarly skilled student. So if I made a joke in lab about saying "purple monkey dishwasher" and that meaning "we do the whole plan minus the reps", so you say that in a debate and expect me to vote on it, I won't. Unless you are debating someone else from the lab who had equal access to that information. Similarly, even if I flowed an argument/got the jist of what you were saying, but feel that the other team is being reasonable when they say your argument was poorly explained/did not constitute an argument I will be open to that and you need to respond.

Speaker points:

1. I like fast debate. That being said, some people give fast debate a bad name. You can be fast only after you are clear and efficient. I should be able to understand every word you say, not just the tags. If you are stammering (or displaying other verbal missteps) excessively you are going faster than you are capable of going imo.

2. Points are determined by how well you perform your function, which depends on what speeches you give. A 1AC should be perfectly smooth because you can practice it as much as you want. A 2NC assembled on the fly vs a new case can be excused a few missteps on the other hand. I think auto giving the 1N low points because they could be replaced by a robot in most debates is a bit unfair- a blazing fast 1NC and devastating 1NR can be game changing. That being said, rarely do people perform up to that level.

3. Points are assessed relative to the field in which you are competing. The same speech can be a 29 at a local, but a 27.5 at St Marks.


What is your threshold for T?
The threshold is established by the other teams answers- if they make good defensive arguments and argue reasonability well than my threshold will be high. If they don't it will be very low.

What are you favorite kinds of debate?
Ones in which there are clash, since that is not really a thing anymore its usually impact turn debates- heg bad, de-dev, CO2 ag and warming good- loved to go for these when I debated and love to see them debated now. CO2 ag is the upper limit of stupid I think is acceptable.

Did you run kritiks when you debated?
Not as much as Bricker would want you to believe. My senior year in HS and my senior year in college I went for K's about 30% of the time, in the other years of my debate less than 5%.

Did you ever read a critical aff?
By today's standards no- I always had a plan, though sometimes the advantages were not nuke war.

You bash the politics disad a lot, will you still vote for it?
Yes, almost always because the affirmative never does anything of the things that highlight the problem with politics.

Are you OK with speed?
Yes, if anything I dislike slow debate. However this is a double edged sword- if you do fast debate terribly I will punish you for it.

Is Fem IR beatable?

What race do you play in SC2?
Usually random, but if I pick -zerg.

If you were in Game of Thrones, which house would you belong to?

Random Gripes

A note on jumping:

I want to see good debates. I'm not interested in charging you 10 seconds of prep to jump your speeches. If, however, you show total technical incompetence at jumping/severely delay the round your speaks will suffer. A good jump is like a good road map- its not hard, so get it over with quickly.

Standards for sharing should be reciprocal, and as such are established by the team willing to do the least. If Team A doesnt jump speeches as a policy that is fine by me, but then Team B is under no obligation to let Team A see any of their evidence. If Team A doesn't jump analytics, Team B doesn't have to etc.

A note on quality:

I generally believe that there are certain "norms" in debate- don't steal prep time, don't clip cards etc. These norms are not rules, and as such as a judge I don't think its my job to enforce them. In fact, I think it SHOULD be the burden of a good team to be on top of is the other team stealing prep, are they clipping cards etc. Encouraging students to take responsibility for this is the best model imo. However, there are debates where there is a huge mismatch in terms of the quality of the teams involved. I no longer think it reasonable to expect novices entered in their first varsity tournament to check to see if the Baker Award winning team they are debating is stealing prep. I also don't really care to argue with you about whether or not you are stealing prep. So my solution is that for all things that could be considered a violation of good sportsmanship I will severely jack your points if it is a debate where I subjectively decide the other team should not be responsible for checking you.SO

-If I think you are clipping cards/stealing prep/misquoting evidence/lying in cx in the finals of the TOC vs another excellent team I would expect the other team to catch you
-If I think you are clipping cards/stealing prep/misquoting evidence/lying in cx during a preset vs a vastly inferior team I will severely dock your speaker points

Raffi Piliero Paradigm

1 rounds

Harrison High School '17
Georgetown University '21 (2N/1A)

Hey! Debate is hard, and everyone puts a lot of time in - I promise to reciprocally put effort into judging your debate, and, to the best of my ability, bracket my predispositions. While I'll do my best to evaluate just the round at hand, nobody's perfect, and the rest illustrates biases that may influence things at the margins.

The only hard and fast rule is that I will not vote on any argument that makes the debate about individuals, or requires me to cast aspersions about an individual debater. Nor will I evaluate arguments about anything that took place outside of the round (judge preferences, past argumentative choices, disputes pre-round, or anything I cannot immediately verify), with the exception of disclosure theory. This is set in stone, and I will not evaluate arguments to the contrary. I recognize this line is not always super clear, so I'll make it very apparent if arguments approach this threshold (either by telling you to skip it in a prelim or visibly not flowing it if on a panel).

Feel free to ask or shoot me an email if you have specific questions.

Tech -------X-----------------------------------Truth

Flows the doc ----------------------------------------X--It's on you to be comprehensible

Spin > Cards --------------------X----------------------Cards > Spin

Poker face----------------------------------------X--You'll know my thoughts on everything

Not ideological in clash debates -X------------------------------------------No plan no ballot

Pomo/high theory expert ---------------------------------------X---Whatever the opposite of that is

Fairness/clash/research impacts on T --------X----------------------------------Delib k2 solve warming/Movements

Counter-defining and offense/defense on T ---------X---------------------------------Impact turning everything

2NR needs TVA to win------------------------------------X-----Overrated/unnecessary most of the time

K links to the plan ------------------------------X--------------Unnecessary if you win framework

Extinction outweighs/impact turn vs K -------------X------------------------------Perm/no link

Conditionality bad -----------------------------------X----------Infinite and good

1NCs that proliferate incomplete arguments--------------------------------------X--Aff gets new answers

Bad for process/"cheating" CPs --------------------------------------X------Being neg's hard

"We're topical but don't defend implementation"------------------------------------------X-Makes literally 0 sense

Theory debates hinge on ideology -----------------------------------------X---Execution is everything

Aff-leaning on T vs Policy Affs --------------------X----------------------Neg-leaning on T vs Policy Affs

Politics in 2017 --X-----------------------------------------Politics in 2020

Intrinsicness bad ---------------------------------X-----------Better for it than most

Logical internal link presses/recutting their ev ----X--------------------------------------Impact D to everything

"Insert this reHLing" -----------------------------------------X--Gotta read it

Bathroom breaks and small talk -----------------------------------------X-Decision time is short

Having to read an essay with my thoughts on debate ------------------------------------X--Short judge philosophies

Marty Pimentel Paradigm

6 rounds

Marty Pimentel

OPRF 2012-2016

Emory 2016-2020

General stuff:

-I default to a view of debate as a game. That being said, no one spends their summers at monopoly camp. Debate being a game doesn't make it less of anything else

-Tech vs. Truth: I probably default to tech over truth, but just as all the truth in the world won't save you without good tech, all the tech in the world won't save an argument that is obviously false.

-Analytics: I'm a big fan. There are obviously arguments that you need an authoritative source for, but you shouldn't be afraid to point out when something logically or factually doesn't make sense

-Terminal defense and Presumption: I have a lower threshold than most for voting on terminal defense/presumption arguments, but if that's your strategy then you better be prepared to go all in on it. Otherwise it's still a very difficult argument for me to pull the trigger on.

-I don't flow CX but I listen very carefully and remember what was and wasn't said. I think a good CX is one of the most powerful tools a debater has.

-Debate is serious and you should care about it, but it's also fun and you should have fun


-Awesome: I love a good case debate. There are very few situations in debate in which the neg can't benefit from a serious effort on case

-Evidence comparison is key: reading cards back and forth at each other isn't a debate. Even analyzing your own evidence doesn't matter unless you use that analysis and compare it to the other team's evidence. This goes for any part of the debate

-Try or die: I think that 99% of the time the aff is going to win that there is some sort of impact which I should probably stop. But if the neg is saying that the advantage or internal link is non-unique then it's not actually try or die anymore.


-Politics DA vs. Specific DA's: Some people love the politics disad and others hate it. I'm somewhere in the middle. I think it's an argument with obvious strategic utility, but I tend to think in most cases that it's not as compelling as a good case specific disad.

-Impact calc: If you're going for the disad then you need to be winning the impact calc. I think that turns the case arguments are really compelling defense. I'm also persuaded by the argument that you don't need to win the terminal impact in order to turn the case (e.g. you don't need to win economic collapse; even an economic slowdown could turn the case)


-I'll just start by saying that I won't vote against a CP just because I think it is cheating; you need to win that argument.

-I think that States and International Fiat CP's are open for a theory debate. I think that Process CP's are cheating.

-Advantage Counterplans: I think that they are very under utilized and I don't know why. If an aff has three advantages, two of them are usually shit. If you know that the aff has an advantage that is much better than the others, an advantage CP is a great way to neutralize it.


-I was a "K guy" in high school: that means I'm familiar with most of the usual lit out there. It also means I can tell when you're trying spin nothing into something. I know all the tricks, so use them at your peril.

-Long words do not make an argument good: I personally believe that if you can't explain an argument to a little kid in a way they would understand, you probably don't understand the argument yourself. And if you don't understand your own argument I am much more likely to be persuaded by an aff team that understands their arguments. So skip the intentionally confusing verbiage and get to the substance of your argument.

-The same goes for long taglines: For real, why? Why would you have a tagline thats as long as the card you're about to read? Just don't read the card at that point...

-Framework: Both sides need to have a clear framework for what debate should look like and what our engagement with the world should look like. The team that does a better and more consistent job is going to be ahead. I don't buy frameworks that exclude K's from debate entirely.


-Coming from a guy who read K affs in high school: Framework is a legitimate and persuasive argument against your aff. Treat it as such. I personally love a good framework debate

-You still have to engage the aff: Framework by itself isn't good enough. You should still be addressing the substantive parts of their aff and challenging their view of the world. It makes framework that much more convincing.

-Watch out for contradictions between framework and other off case arguments

-New K affs that don't disclose and say that debate isn't a game should lose to framework. If debate isn't a game then why would you not disclose?


-I default to reasonability. I analyze this part of the debate the same way I do with tech vs. truth. If the aff is truthfully topical then you're going to have to work much harder with your techy T argument.

-Limits are an internal link to ground, fairness, and education


-I am much more willing to pull the trigger on theory than a lot of people

-Conditionality: I think that the neg is probably justified in a conditional CP and a conditional K. Anything more is very susceptible to theory

-If you think a CP is cheating, it probably is

-If it's a new aff and they didn't disclose, the neg gets way more leeway


Ronald Poole Paradigm

2 rounds

Updated for Samford & UH 2020

Currently an Open/Varsity (K) Debater for Emory

---The irony is not lost upon me.---




I (really) don't care what you do. I only wish for you to do it well. You are an intellectual, so you will be held responsible for the scholarship you choose to forward.



Specificity. Reflexivity. Judge Direction.


See Section on DA(s). I am more partial to AFF CP theory. :)


We luv to c it. Coherence. Specificity. Robust Offense/Defense. Impact Calculus.

Answers to the K should be responsive to both truth evaluablity AND technical coverage. At some point, your Gordon and Barma cards won't be enough.


Competitivness. Durability. Proficiency in Explanation. Impact Calculus.

Framework is how we frame our work. That work is multiple and varied.

*Topicality is a voting issue, and never a reverse voting issue.


Stylistic Preferences

Tech = Truth- Tech is valuable insofar as it organizes a flow to minimize judge intervention. Truth claims necessitate meta-framing and can thusly be technical.

Line-by-Line > Anything Else- DO THE WORK!

I have nothing more to declare.

-R.W.Poole II

Srivatsav Pyda Paradigm

6 rounds

I debated for Harker from 2014-2017. I mostly read policy arguments. I care a lot about evidence quality. Arguments do not begin at 100% truth. I haven't judged in a while, so for Apple Valley, especially the earlier rounds, please read a little slower.

I don't like preclusion-based arguments. By this I mean arguments that say "x is the root cause of y" or "x argument/framework comes before y framework". These arguments are impact calculus, albeit usually pretty good impact calculus, and do not mean none of the links to y matter. This means I am strongly in favor of epistemic modesty. This does not mean I'm not open to framework debates. It does mean I think a stategy that concedes all of the other side's offense and just answers the framework or impact is very bad.

If your opponent points out or I find out you didn't disclose (absent outstanding circumstances), I will vote against you. I've recently judged a lot of edge cases here recently, and if you think you fall in one of these edge cases, your best bet is to pseudo disclose to your opponent through messenger/email or whatever as soon as possible.

my email is - add me to the email chain.

Rohan Rereddy Paradigm

3 rounds

I've done LD for 4 yrs in high school, but it's been 5 yrs since then. Try to keep as stock as possible and the spreading to a minimum, and we should be fine! You're better off taking a more lay approach with me, then I can exercise my past experience more appropriately given how long I've been away from the debate space. Any other specifics questions will be answered in person to the best of my ability, so try to get to the round early!

If there is an email chain, please add me to it. Email:

Claudia Ribera Paradigm

6 rounds

Katy Taylor '17

Texas '21

Add me to the email chain:

Cal/NDT/TOC 2020 conflict update: Coppell DR and Rutgers-Newark AH

I have 0 rounds on the space topic.

Previous Conflicts: Houston EP, Alief Kerr EG, Guyer CM, Woodlands MR, Cy-Fair TW and Katy Taylor.

Background: I am currently a junior at Texas and I have been coaching high school CX and LD for the past three years. I was coached by Elijah Smith (Emporia SW) in high school and he taught me everything I know about debate. In the past, I've had my fair share of reading and/or coaching teams going for policy arguments and/or critical arguments. I debated nationally in high school and have coached kids in both events to deep elims of tournaments, round robins, and accumulate bids to the TOC.

Overall thoughts: I believe it's important to be consistent on explicit labeling, generating offense, and extending some sort of impact framing because this is what ultimately frames my ballot. Debate is place for you to do you so don’t choose your strategy based on what I read during my career because I prefer you to debate what you enjoy reading. I will make my decisions on what was presented to me in a debate and what was on my flow. I am unlikely to decide debates based on my personal feelings about content/style of argument than the quality of execution and in-round performance. It is up to the debaters to present and endorse whichever model of debate they want to invest in i.e. the USFG, grassroots movement, etc. Have fun and best of luck!

Some people who I agree with and/or have been heavily influenced by in debate: Dr. Shanara Reid-Brinkley, Daryl Burch, Amber Kelsie, Devane Murphy, Taylor Brough, Ignacio Evans, Greg Zoda, Jon Sharp, Michael Harrington, and Chris Randall.


Case is incredibly underutilized and should be an essential part to every negative strategy. You need to have some sort of mechanism that generates offense/defense for you.

Policy vs. Policy

While I've had experience reading policy arguments during my high school career, I don't really judge these debates as often as I would like during the year. This means prioritize the line by line, generate offense/defense, have comparative impact analysis, and be very clear in the 2NR/2AR on what my ballot should evaluate and prioritize first on the impact level debate.

Policy affs vs. K

I am most familiar with these types of debates. With that being said, I think the affirmative needs to prioritize framing i.e. the consequences of the plan under a util framework. There needs to be contestations between the aff framing versus the K's power of theory in order to disprove it, not desirable, or incoherent and why your impacts under the plan come first. Point of the flaws of the kritiks alternative and make solvency deficits. Aff teams need to answer the link arguments, read link defense, make perms and provide reasons/examples of why the plan is preferable/resolve material conditions. Use cross-x to clarify jargon and get the other team to make concessions about their criticism.


CP(s) need to have a clear plan text and have an external net benefit, otherwise I'm inclined to believe there is no reason why the cp would be better than the affirmative. There needs to be clear textual/function competition with the Aff or else the permutation becomes an easy way for me to vote. Same with most arguments, the more specific the better. The 2NR should generally be the counterplan with a DA/Case argument to supplement the net benefit. The 1AR + 2AR needs to have some offense against the counterplan because a purely defensive strategy makes it very hard to beat the counterplan. I enjoy an advantage counterplan/impact turn strategy when it’s applicable. I don't care for condo bad/good debate unless 3 or more cps are conditional.


Please have good evidence and read specific DAs. If you have good internal link and turns case analysis, your speaker points will be higher. For the aff, I think evidence comparison/callouts coupled with tricky strategies like impact turns or internal link turns helps you win these debates.


I don't really have a threshold on these arguments, but lean towards competing interps over reasonability unless told otherwise.


Comparative analysis between pieces of interpretation evidence wins and loses these debates – as you can probably tell, I err towards competing interpretations in these debates, but I can be convinced that reasonability is a better metric for interpretations, not for an aff. Having well-explained internal links to your limits/ground offense in the 2NR/2AR makes these debates much easier to decide, as opposed to a floating claims without warranted analysis. A caselist is required. I will not vote on for an RVI on T.


I like framework debates a lot more when they're developed in the 1NC/block, as opposed to being super blippy in constructives and then the entire 2NR. I lean more to competing interps than reasonability and believe that the neg should make sure to fully flesh out the link and internal link to your impact and actually make offensive arguments against fairness/education voters. Make strategic TVAs. Aff teams need to answer TVA well, not just say it "won't solve". Framework is about the model of debate the aff justifies, it’s not an argument why K affs are bad or the aff team are cheaters. If you’re going for framework as a way to exclude entire critical lit bases/structural inequalities/content areas from debate then we are not going to get along. I am persuaded by standards like limits or clash over fairness being an intrinsic good/better impact.

K affs

There are couple things you need to do to win: you need to explain the method of your aff, the nuanced framing of the aff, and the impacts that you claim to solve. You should have some sort of an advocacy statement or a role of the ballot for me to evaluate your impacts because this indicates how it links into your fw of the aff. If you’re going to read high theory affs, explain because all I hear is buzzwords that these authors use. Don’t assume I am an expert in this type of literature because I am not and I just have a basic understanding of it. If you don’t do any of these things, I have the right to vote neg on presumption.

K vs. K

I am always interested with these debates, but sometimes there are some missing components on both sides that make the debate harder to be resolved. I think presumption is underutilized by the neg and I think permutations are allowed in a methods debate. However, it is up to the teams in front of me to do this. There needs to be an explanation how your theory of power operates, why it can preclude your opponent’s, and how your method or approach is preferable and how you “resolve” X issues. Your rebuttals should include impact comparison, framing, link defense/offense, permutation(s), and solvency deficits.

K affs vs. T-Framework

You need a counter interp or counter model of debate and what debate looks like under this model, and then go for your impact turns or disads as net benefits to this. Going for only the net benefits/offense without explaining what your interpretation of what debate should look like will be difficult. The 2AC strategy of saying as many ‘disads’ to framework as possible without explaining or warranting any of them out is likely not going to be successful. Leveraging your aff as an impact turn to framework is always good. The more effectively voting aff can resolve the impact turn the easier it will be to get my ballot.

K vs. Policy affs

I went for the K in the almost every 2NR my senior year. I have been exposed to many different types of scholarship, but I am most familiar with structural criticisms (afropessimism and set col), psychoanalysis, capitalism, and anti-humanism kritiks. This form of debate is what I am most comfortable evaluating. However, it is important to note I have a reasonable threshold for each debater's explanation of whatever theory they present within the round, extensions of links, and impact framing. I need to understand what you are saying in order for me to vote for your criticism. You should have specific links to affirmatives because without it you will probably lose to "these are links to the squo" unless the other team doesn't answer it well. Link debate is a place where you can make strategic turns case/impact analysis. Make sure you have good impact comparison and weighing mechanisms and always have an external impact. The alt debate seems to be one of the most overlooked parts of the K and is usually never explained well enough. This means always explain the alt thoroughly and how it interacts with the aff. This is important time that the 2NR needs to dedicate time allocation for if you go for the alternative. If you choose not to go for the alternative and go for presumption, make sure you are actually winning an impact framing claim.

Speaker points

In order for you to get good speaks, I must understand what you are saying so clarity is key! I will yell clear three times before I stop flowing. You should make sure you have good word economy in your speeches, are extending fully fleshed out arguments in your speeches (e.g. claim, warrant, impact), and using your cross-x time effectively.

Sarah Roberts Paradigm

3 rounds


was denver independent/denverlake independent, 2x qualified to the toc, berkeley '20, work for harker.

my email is – please put me on the email chain.

tdlr: you should not pref me if:

- you intentionally don’t disclose

- your strategies rely heavily on friv theory/tricks

- you are going to be rude and uninterested in the debate

- your strategies rely primarily on personal attacks of other debaters

- you find yourself postrounding judges for egregiously long times after the rfd

tldr: you should pref me if:

- you do not do the above

- you like high theory

- you like going 6 off w tricky cps + disads

- you like well researched politics scenarios

unsortable thoughts:

· IMPORTANT: flex prep means asking questions during prep time - in no world does unused cx time become prep time - what????? you get your 4 (or 5) minutes that's it no more of this nonsense

· larp>>good k debate>>>theory heavy debate>>bad k debate>>tricks and phil

· i flow cx -- that means i’m exhausted of the arg that "cx doesn't check because judges don't flow it", that doesn't mean you don't need to make the arguments you establish in your actual speech.

· i’m not into postrounding. this includes but is not limited to: talking at me for thirty minutes, trying to re-read your 2a/nr at me, sending me excessive emails about why you think my decision is wrong. if you have had me in the back and have postrounded me every time, you should... maybe think about redoing your pref sheet!

· explain what perm do both looks like (!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!)

· if you want/will need me to look at an interp/counterinterp/perm you read, those things must be sent within the speech doc. i will hold you to what is written, or you will risk me just evaluating the words I heard -- that also means no shifty changing in cx!!

· given how clear it is to me that no one can really flow a debate round as it is delivered based on prep time just becoming a spec review, you are fine to toss out a "slow" at your opponents if you can't flow/understand at their top speed. this is better than you asking 1000 clarification questions during your prep time.

· getting the round started before the start time + being efficient: +.2 speaks. why can't anyone start the email chain on time anymore makes me sad :<


speaks --

here are my averages from the fall '19 tournaments i've been at (total average, at present, is a 28.53). things that help speaks: technical competence, getting the round started on time, good articulation of k lit, bataille

· damus: 28.11

· marks: 28.32

· presentation: 28.68

· greenhill: 28.58

· greenhill rr: 28.96

general --

almost everything in the sections below applies to the way i evaluate debates, but here are some specific things that i hold true when judging these rounds. with some small exceptions, (i would like to think) i approach judging relatively similarly to rodrigo paramo (thx for teaching me ld!).

· if the 2nr is split, it will hurt your speaker points

· i will evaluate judge kick arguments

· please slow down on theory

· bracketing is not good, disclosure definitely is. be reasonable here though -- if your opponent literally has never heard of the wiki and you immediately try to crush them on disclosure theory, i will be unhappy :<

· i am not very persuaded by frivolous theory arguments and will hold responses to a lower level of depth than with well developed, pertinent theory args. if you have to ask me if a theory arg is frivolous before the round i think you probably know what the answer is.

· rvis – primarily on topicality – are not persuasive to me

k affs –

things you need to do when you’re reading these sorts of affs

· utilize 1ac ev through the whole debate and contextualize your answers to the theories in your aff

· explain exactly what the aff does/aims to do – are you working towards a paradigmatic shift in how we approach (x) policy or are you criticizing the structure of debate itself? what does voting aff do to resolve those issues?

· understand that teams sometimes just read framework because they don’t know how else to necessarily engage your aff.

· have good background knowledge... i'm so unenthused by people who pull out their ~fire~ baudrillard aff and then make args about creating meaning being good... like what? i will you to a high standard of background knowledge and contextualization/explanation.

i feel more qualified to judge high theory args than i do performances or args centered on individual identity.

fw vs k affs –

my record shows me leaning slightly more neg on framework vs k affs (maybe around 60/40?) presuming you’re not reading fairness impacts (in which case it drops to like 30/70). i think arguments about the specific mobilization/utilization of skills gained uniquely from debate tend to be much more convincing. things i’d like to see in these debates:

· examples of how movements outside of the political sphere have used political knowledge to further their cause

· reasons why knowing about the way legal systems work/interact is good

· a defense of fiat/hypothetical discussions of policies

· contextualized case arguments (which can often answer back for the “they didn’t engage us” claims)

policy affs vs ks –

too many teams pivot to the left when they hear a k in the 1nc. just defend what you did in the 1ac and explain why it’s good. some things that i think are important to do in these debates:

· win framework/win fiat/win why hypothetical discussions of policies are good

· answer the long k overview from the 2nc

· be able to explain/give examples of what the permutation will look like (you definitely get a perm)

· actually debate the k rather than just reading author indicts

· not back down from big stick impacts. you know what ground you get against literally every baudrillard k? heg good.

ks –

you need to have background knowledge of the lit and arguments, i will know if you just pulled a backfile out or haven't engaged with the lit in necessary ways! i only ever went one off in high school so i will expect a high level of articulation from you in regards to explaining your arguments and contextualizing them to the aff specifically. some things i’d like to see in a k debate

· specific quotes being pulled from the 1ac on the 2nc link debate

· technical debating rather than reading a 6 min o/v and saying it answers all the aff arguments

· having a good, in-depth explanation of the theory of your argument/why and how it interacts with the aff in cx when asked about it

· bataille

some authors i have read/continue to read in my free time/am knowledgeable about (bets are off for anyone not listed) ranked from most liked to “ehhhh”:

irigaray (bring her back), bataille, baudrillard, spanos (bring him back), lacan/psychoanalysis, berlant, edelman, deleuze/deleuze and guattari

disads –

i love seeing a well debated disad as much as i love seeing a well debated critique. i think it is really important to have good evidence and good analysis in these debates.

i am less familiar with very specific political processes disads so i may need more explanation of those whether that occurs in a quick 2nc overview or in cx given the opportunity. some things i’d like to see:

· good case engagement along with the disad. this means good impact calc as well as judge instruction

· clear explanation of the political scenario you're reading if it's a politics disad, clear analysis on the link chains if it's not a politics disad

· actual cards after the 1nc

counterplans –

truly a 2n at heart; i’ll grant you a lot of leniency in how shifty your counterplans can be. i think really specific counterplans are one of the greatest things to see in debate.

· if you cut your cp evidence from 1ac evidence/authors you’ll get a boost in speaks!

· i also think (specific, not generic word) piks/pics are pretty underutilized -- especially against k affs – i’d love to see more of these.

· i don’t think explanation-less "perm do the counterplan" or "perm do the aff" are legit.

theory –

less qualified to judge these debates imo, but will still listen to them. please slow down and don't spread through blocks -- i'll stop flowing if i can't understand it.

i have no tolerance for frivolous theory. if you are reading arguments related to what your opponents wear or what esoteric word needs to be in the 1ac, i will not enjoy the debate and will most likely not vote for you!

topicality –

a good block/2nr contains a well thought out and developed interpretation of what the topic is/view of how the topic should be explained and debated in regards to specific arguments that can/cannot be justified vis a vis the topic wording.

i really like to see good lists in t debates (untopical affs made topical by the aff’s interp, clearly topical affs that are excluded by the neg’s interp, etc).

nebel is fine to read in front of me because it’s a warranted argument! there is no good world in which somebody can just say ‘nebel bad vote aff’ and win on that! this should not be so controversial!

case debate –

there needs to be more of it in every debate. go for impact turns. i love dedev. recutting aff cards.... amazing. if the negative drops your case or does not spend time on it you can spend less time on it in the 1ar/2ar too!!!!

ethics/rhetoric –

i'm not into rhetoric violations. please ensure that it is not just a singular slip of the tongue -- often times a mention in cx/the speech and a genuine apology from the team who said it suffices and provides more education overall.

if there is egregious/violent language, i will take it upon myself to appropriately intervene and adjudicate on a case-by-case basis.

i'm lenient on ethics violations. if an ethics violation is called, i will stop the round after getting evidence of the violation from the team that called it and make my decision based on the tournament invite, the ndca rules, and the round itself.

Saed Saymeh Paradigm

6 rounds


Look, I've been out of the debate game for about 3 years now and when I was in Highschool I mostly did PF, if you spread I'm going to try and keep up but no promises. I will ask to read cards after the round if they are contentious and the debate hinges on their interpretation.

Speaks - I personally like people who speak at a decent pace but every word is still understandable. If you're reading a card and you blaze through it, it's kinda useless since I didn't really hear anything. I also like when people slow down more towards their Contention names I can't tell you how many times the contention names go right over my head.

have a plan instead of an advocacy

do a counterplan if you want


really talk through why i ought to vote for you, whats the role of the ballot

Again to restate, LD was not and still is not my life. So if you want me to understand something you say or argue just try and explain it instead of just dropping it on me and moving on.


Impacts are the most important thing to me. If you can't tell me the impact of your argument then your wasting time.

Crossfires are not going to be flowed. I love seeing new perspectives to the topic. if you can flip what usually is a pro advocacy and use it on the con, and vice versa, you will

  • catch my attention
  • make me really want to hear what you have to say
  • catch your opponents off gaurd
  • and they will most likely have no response for your arguments

Make sure to establish a framework or else im defaulting to util

if your opponents don't state a framework or definitions in case make sure to crystalize in first cross that everyone is defaulting to your sides fw and definitions, as long as they're reasonable, don't make assumptions.

I love seeing clash, don't just stand there and not attack your opponents case during rebuttal speech. I've already flowed your case. Take your 4 minutes to attack their case.

I can handle decent speed, but dont go overboard.

Summary and final focus need to have the same voters or else it will be really hard for you to win.

Moral arguments aren't really my thing unless they hit close to home, if you want my moral vote really try and reach out to me as a person in case, otherwise keep your debates fun and GO, FIGHT, WIN!

Kelly Schwab Paradigm

6 rounds

I've been coaching and teaching Debate for ten years. Out of all of the events, I’ve judged LD the most and because of the wide net it casts for an argument, I’m a fan...evidence can come in the form of philosophy, theory, empirical, etc...and there are abstract concepts like morality to substantiate - makes for surprising arguments...which I love!

I DO NOT have a preference for an argument - I've heard almost every kind by now and all types have won and lost my vote...I do suggest that you be careful with layered cases - especially when running a K...if you also run default arguments that contradict your K position then you just wasted your time on the K - so, my advice for winning off a K is to go for it with everything don't wimp and give me "judge if you don't buy that then..." argument...same usually applies to theory - both of which I definitely enjoy when done well :)
In the construction there should be framework used that's systematic for your argument - warrant & impact are essential to winning...while I want grounds for why your claims are valid I NEED you to warrant because there are usually too many factors in play to make such broad assumptions without a connective link - although it will be up to your opponent to point out those flaws in order for those to be turned.

I can handle speed or "spreading" pretty easily by now - if there is an issue with understanding or hearing I will say "clear" and will also check cards at the end for anything I missed...but please keep in mind that there are certain aspects in an LD construction that maintains well with speed and other areas that don't (i.e. - if you need me to understand how a philosophy or theory applies then allow me to absorb each part before rushing to the next because those are building block arguments, so missing one part can make the whole thing fall). I will not read full is YOUR job to communicate your case, but I will check info if needed.

Stephen Scopa Paradigm

6 rounds

I debated at Pines Charter on both the local and national circuit and went to TOC my senior year. My email for speech docs is:

General: I am very much a tech > truth person who will vote for any argument you make no matter how seemingly ridiculous or bizarre, all I need is a warrant. I also have a low threshold for extensions of conceded arguments but they need to be extended in each speech. My goal is to evaluate rounds with as little intervention as possible. Judges have become too dogmatic in my opinion, so everything that follows is merely a preference or a default, nothing but the arguments you make will factor into my decision.

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

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

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

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

- Believe it or not, I will vote on disclosure theory. I’m more open to it these days than I have been in the past, but I still think frivolous disclosure theory is super annoying. Not disclosing period is one thing, not cohering to every aspect of whatever you think is good is another. Also don’t read it against novices or people who clearly don’t know what it is. I also won’t evaluate it if it becomes clear/verifiable the debater’s team won’t allow it or other similar circumstances.

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

- Even if something is labeled an independent voter, if there is no warrant for why it is one, I won’t evaluate it as such. This is becoming slightly annoying norm. I also don’t really think “x author is sexist/racist/etc so you should lose” makes much sense. I’ll vote on it if you win it but it’s an uphill battle.

- I consider myself pretty much agnostic in terms of arguments, obviously every judge has their preferences but content has 0 effect on my decision.

- I don’t mind you “grilling” me, I think judges learn sometimes too and it can be good to keep judges accountable. Just be aware that if you are aggressive I will be sassy too.

- If your offense is conceded but you don’t extend it, it doesn’t exist. Too many affs take for granted the offense is conceded and don’t even mention it in the 2ar. Literally all you have to do is say “extend the offense, it was conceded” but apparently that is even too much for some people.

- Explaining why a card doesn’t have a warrant is terminal defense if you can’t answer with a clear articulation of a warrant.

- Saying “the aff is a good idea” doesn’t mean anything. You have to win arguments to prove this.

- I really like a good CX. People trying to be edgy without the personality for it is cringe, but people with the personality for it can be dominant. I won’t vote on arguments made it in CX, but I getting concessions or making people look silly will boost your speaks.

- This is just a preference but like... Reading T probably isn't violence. False equivalencies from K debaters are kinda whack and I'll vote on conceded arguments but if it's pointed out that it's a false equivalency I probably won't.

- If an independent voter doesn't have a warrant in the first speech I won't vote on it regardless of how long you spend going for it and explaining it in the last speech.

- If an argument is conceded it's conceded. Too often I feel like the 2ar is treating me like a lay judge over-explaining things. Be tech, I know what arguments are conceded. Obviously you should still weigh and implicate the argument if that's crucial to the 2ar/2nr strategy, but often that's not what is happening.

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

- There is no impact to a shell without drop the arg or drop the debater warrants so I will just eval substance

- Competing interps

- Norms creation model

- RVIs good

- Fairness is a voter

- Education not a voter

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

I also hate the spamming of affirming/negating is harder and will probably hurt your speaks a lil for it.

I really like RVIs and think they are underutilized so if you successfully go for one I will be happy.

T: I don’t like it quite as much as theory but it’s still fun to judge. T debates weren’t nearly as nuanced when I debated so you may have to explain some of the particulars more than you may be used to. I am also a sucker for semantics.

T “framework”: To be honest I am sort of agnostic as to whether affs should be T. I probably lean yes, but I also find non-T affs pretty interesting and fun to judge. I don’t consider an aff that doesn’t defend fiat but does defend the principle of the resolution non-T, and I am less persuaded by T in that sense. Seems like you get access to literally everything but util which is plenty of ground, and I think most topics don’t semantically require implementation, and in fact, usually do the opposite. That being said, I would consider myself someone both debaters wouldn’t mind having in a clash of civs debate.

Tricks: This was my favorite style of debate when I competed and clever tricks are entertaining but that doesn’t mean I will instantly vote for you if you read them without winning why they are relevant (aka you are winning truth testing). The more clever your arguments are, the higher your speaks will be. Despite my old love for them, I usually have a low threshold for responses since the arguments are usually fairly weak. If you obviously just included an a priori because I am judging you and don’t extend a conceded one, your speaks will probably suffer. I also prefer you be more up front with them in CX if your opponent catches them, I have a lot more respect for people who are straight up about their sketchiness. If you are not the best at answering these arguments I wouldn’t worry too much, I will be more than happy to disregard them if you are winning a role of the ballot that excludes them or a shell that indicts them. Also, calling something a trick doesn’t mean anything to me -- tell me what the implication of the argument is. It also bothers me how tricks debaters have become reliant on the same resolved a priori every debate - I'd much rather listen to an interesting phil or K round than watch u extend the same a priori people have been reading for years. Think of new and clever arguments. Also, reading 16 spikes with a Kant framework isn’t a tricks aff and I really don’t like it. I judge these constantly cause I’m probably one of the few that will listen, and that hasn’t changed but don’t expect high speaks or for me to be impressed.

Ks: I feel like this is the section that needs the most updating because I do a lot of reading and coaching for the K these days. I really enjoy a good K debate. Despite my reputation, I’m a big fan of K’s and am fairly well versed in the literature. I really enjoy high theory and find good K affs super fun. I have read Deleuze, Butler, Wilderson/Warren, Heidegger, Nietzsche, Baudrillard, Edelman, etc so I definitely think Ks like these are interesting and strategic. I occasionally enjoy judging these debates the most because of how interesting and unique the arguments are. However, I cannot stand unwarranted “this is just another link” arguments, you need to explain or give a warrant as to why what you say is a link actually is one. I also am not a huge fan of identity K's, and I may vote on some responses you disagree with, just as a fair warning. Additionally, I prefer to see line by line debate, and it seems as though a lot of Ks begin/consist of long overviews without much specific reference to arguments in previous speeches, which can be difficult to flow, so you may want to consider this when going for the K in the 2n/1ar/2ar. I also am very open to you kicking the alt and going for disads, and would almost advise this in front of me cause winning the alt can be a pain. The one K I am really not liking these days is set col, cause I think almost every response is just true and most debaters I’ve seen aren’t the best at handling them, but obviously I’ll still vote on it if you win it. Ultimately if this is your favorite/ best style of debate, you should go for it.

My favorite K’s: Baudrillard, Nietzsche, Psychoanalysis

Larp: I was never a larper, never judged a high level larp round, and am probably not qualified to judge a really good DA v Util AC debate. I don’t particularly enjoy these debates, and you most likely will not enjoy me judging you but I will do my best to evaluate the round. If you can’t defend util against a dump or well justified framework you shouldn’t pref me, because “the aff is a good idea” will not get my ballot. (Update: For some reason people still stand up and larp and read disads in front of me so PLS don’t pref me or change up the strat, trust me it is best for both of us). (Update for JF20: I find this topic pretty interesting and am more open to listening to some cool plans/advantages. I would also really enjoy some larp innovation like rule util or some other more nuanced framework/new util warrants).

Fwk: This is my favorite type of debate and really want it to make a comeback. I enjoy a good framework debate, and it is probably my favorite thing to judge, but it can become fairly difficult to follow at times. As long as you clearly label arguments and make sure to weigh I feel very comfortable evaluating these rounds. However, these debates can often become muddled and devolve into a chicken and egg debate, which makes it near impossible to resolve so be careful of that. My major has given me a new passion for interesting frameworks so I would love to hear whatever unique positions you got. Also extra speaks for meta-ethics that aren’t practical reason – let’s be creative people.

Favorite phil positions: Existentialism, Levinas, any interesting meta-ethic

Speaks: I average probably a 28.5. I assign them based on mostly strategy/execution with a little bit of content, but content can only improve your speaks not make them worse really (with the exception of disclosure probably). I like unique and clever arguments and well executed strategy - I would not advise you to go for a tricks aff if you are a larp debater just because I am judging you, do what you do well to get good speaks. I am also somewhat expressive when I think about how arguments interact so don’t mind my face. Also, if I can tell your 1ar/2n/2ar is pre-written your speaks will probably suffer.

How do I get a 30?

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

1) Going NC, AC really well with a phil NC

2) A trick I haven’t heard before (THAT IS NOT TERRIBLE)

3) A good analytic PIC

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

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

6) Execute a Skep trigger/contingent standard well

7) Really good CX

8) Successfully going for an RVI

9) Making the round super clear

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

Daniel Shatzkin Paradigm

6 rounds


Been around debate for 15+ years I'm fine with speed as long as you're clear. I can understand spreading at high speed unfortunately time is catching up to me and I can’t write/type as fast as I once could so I'll say clearer or slower a few times as needed in order to make sure I can actually flow what’s necessary.

Lincoln Douglas

Run what you want as long as it isn't frivolous theory, or an argument that is disrespectful. You should be topical, I default to reasonability but I'm willing to evaluate T and theory however you tell me to. K's should have specific links not just ones of omission. Potential abuse probably won't get my vote on a theory shell.


I haven't judged policy regularly in about 5-6 years so my knowledge on the current k lit and common off case positions is pretty low. Aff's should be about the topic even if they don't have explicit plan texts. If you can tell my how you're addressing the topic you're probably ok. I default to being a policy maker but I'll vote on pretty much everything as long as it's a reasonably topical aff or the neg arguments have explicit links and are logical and understandable. I tend to prefer classic case, da, cp strategies but I'm willing to vote for the K if it's well explained. Avoid frivolous theory and T arguments like OSPEC please.

Jharick Shields Paradigm

Hello! My name is Jharick Shields and I am the assistant debate coach at St. Andrew’s Episcopal School in Mississippi. I enjoy listening to/voting for functionally all forms of argumentation, provided that it is clearly explained, implicated, and weighed. Speed is fine, people usually have problems with clarity however. I will say clear twice and then you should watch for me to put my pen down. I am a huge fan of non-verbal cues, so you should watch for those as well. They can give you key insight into how well you’re doing. I am a fan of explanation and thoroughness. People should not expect me to “check in” for certain types of analysis, but should expect to get my ballot if they tell me why they won. Claim. Warrant. Impact. Easy as pie. I am not a fan of blippy analysis and the weight i give each argument will be based on how much work went into it. You shouldn’t expect me to understand words that you do not explain. The rule of thumb is that if you had to read multiple articles to understand it, you should not just throw it at me and then complain indignantly when I tell you I didn’t understand it. I like impact analysis and this part of the debate is important. I get that your impacts are important. Weigh long term v short term. Weigh probability and magnitude. Tell me what my ballot does and tell me why it goes to you. I am not a fan of under-explained theory arguments – theory and topicality are functionally the “death penalty” so just saying the words “the neg skewed my strategy because it’s hard to respond’ doesn’t constitute an adequate reason for me to drop the debater. However, don’t interpret this as “this judge won’t vote for theory, I can’t go for condo in this debate even if it’s the right option” as some have previously. Speaker points start at a 28. They can go up or down from there based on strategy, execution, clarity, and persuasiveness. I like games, so here’s an interesting one: for every correctly identified conceded argument, you get +.1 speaks and for every incorrectly identified conceded argument, you get -.2 speaks. I look forward to judging your debates!

Also, unless you are a peer of mine or graduated, please call me Mr. Shields. K, thx.

SunHee Simon Paradigm

6 rounds

Hey there!

I'd love to be on the email chain. My email is

CHANGES - please note for Stanford, Berkeley, and TOC 2020

1. Rebuttal speeches: Slow down on your analytics please. I do not have the doc. Even though I flow on computer, I am not a robot and I have long nails. Y'all are going 400 words a minute and there is no verification of what you say. Slow down. Slow down. Slow down. I won't feel bad if I missed it and drop you. You can spread but please be reasonable. Use numbering and pause. Name your analytical disads and pause between them. Do SOMETHING to show that you remember debate is still about communication. I will say slow/clear 2 times and start docking .2 each time I struggle if you don't listen after those warnings.

2. If you plan on reading a link that requires me to dig into what happens in your personal life with your opponent before we hit the timer, I won't do it. But let me clarify, if there are no screenshots, or said screenshot is from your texts/social media, I'm not interested. Root it in the literature and/or give me another link (I'm pretty flexible about this part because I get that debate can blur these lines). Separately, but related, if someone makes you legitimately feel unsafe and worried about your ability to participate, I am fine pausing the debate and bringing it to tabroom/coaches/etc. and advocating the best I can. But I will not evaluate the debate like nothing happened and it is just an argument. If you need further clarification, please let me know.


Credentials that people seem to care about: senior (BA + MA candidate) at Stanford, Director of LD at the Victory Briefs Institute, did LD, policy, and worlds schools debate in high school, won/got to late elims in all of those events, double qualled to TOC in LD and Policy. Did well my freshman year in college in CX but didn't pursue it much after that. Now I coach and judge a bunch.

LD + Policy

Literally read whatever you want. If I don't like what you've read, I'll dock your speaks but I won't really intervene in the debate. Don't be sexist, ableist, racist, transphobic, homophobic, or a classist jerk in the round. Don't make arguments that can translate to marginalized folks not mattering (this will cloud my judgement and make me upset). Otherwise have fun and enjoy the activity for the 45 or 90 mins we're spending together! More info on specific things below:

Stock/Traditional Arguments

Makes sense.


I get this.


I understand this.


I also understand this. But don't abuse the privilege. I am not a friv theory fan.


I understand this too.

I don't default to anything necessarily however I do know my experiences and understandings of debate were shaped by me coming from a low income school that specialized in traditional and critical debate. I've been around as a student and a coach (I think) long enough to know my defaults are subject to change and its the debaters' job to make it clear why theory comes first or case can be weighed against the K or RVIs are good or the K can be leveraged against theory. I learn so much from you all every time I judge. Teach me. Lead me to the ballot. This is a collaborative space so even if I have the power of the ballot, I still need you to tell me things. Otherwise, you might get a decision that was outside of your control and that's never fun.

I will be able to evaluate whatever debate you want to have. Your job is to make signing my ballot easy. This usually happens when you debate the style you are best at instead of reading K arguments in front of me because you heard I'm a K judge.

On that note, let it be known that if you're white and/or a non-black POC reading afropessimism or black nihilism, you won't get higher than a 28.5 from me. The more it sounds like you did this specifically for me and don't know the literature, the lower your speaks will go. If you win the argument, I will give you the round though so either a) go for it if this is something you actually care about and know you know it well or b) let it go and surprise me in other ways. If you have a problem with this, I'd love to hear your reasons why but it probably won't change my mind. I can also refer other authors you can read to the best of my ability if I'm up to it that day.

Last thing, please make sure I can understand you! I understand spreading but some of y'all think judges are robots. I don't look at speech docs during the round (and try not to after the round unless I really need to) so keep that in mind when you spread. Pay attention to see if I'm flowing. I'll make sure to say clear if I can't understand you. I'll appreciate it a lot if you keep this in mind and boost your speaks!


Honestly, the same things above apply. I never did PF so I'll do my best to adjudicate by flowing and coming to the best decision laid out for me by you, the debaters.


So excited to judge your round, learn from you, and help you learn through my decisions. Ask any questions before round if you need me to clarify something. I'm very honest if I didn't understand something so don't be taken aback by that in an RFD. Just do your best, defend things you have fun defending and enjoy smile

Elijah Smith Paradigm

1 rounds

High School ***elijahjdsmith AT

College*** Rundebate AT

Parli/World Schools, PF, Policy, LD can all be excellent formats when debated excellently. If I am judging you in a non-evidentiary form of debate, I don’t have any preferences for what you should do.

Post-Season 2020

I spent a year away from national circuit debate (HS and College) and I have now spent a year back on the circuit. This update should reflect some thoughts that I have that are still evolving and some that have been pretty set for a while.

My General Thoughts on Debate
The role of the affirmative is to affirm and the role of the negative is to negate the affirmative in an intellectually rigorous manner. However, I would personally like to hear the affirmative say we should do something. I would prefer to hear about an actor outside of the folks reading the 1AC (Nonprofits, governments, the debate community as a whole, etc) do something but that is not a requirement. You can fiat things or you can say we should not fiat things.

I think it is nice when people offer trigger warnings for some content but I find that most of the time they are used when people probably don’t need them and are not used when they probably could be.

Please don’t say racist, sexist, ableist, things or things that otherwise participate in -isms or -ics. Sometimes debate is an opportunity to learn but if you continue that behavior after someone has informed you it becomes a larger issue. For example, I judged an elim debate where someone was misgendered one time which was followed up with an apology and everyone in the debate moved on. The debater was then misgendered 5 or 6 more times in the next speech. Please don’t do things like this.

If there was an accessibility, disclosure, or other request made before the debate that you plan to bring up in the debate please inform me before the debate. I would like to evaluate the debate with this information ahead of time. More personal issues/things that someone did last year are difficult for me to understand as relevant to my ballot.

I will evaluate debates on the line by line and will read evidence after most debates. I give a lot of weight to what the evidence says. I decide debates by figuring out 1. framing issue 2. offense 3. good defense 4. if the evidence is as good as you say it is 5. deciding which world /side would result in a better outcome.

These thoughts are fairly general yet firmly how I think about debate.

LD, Policy, and PF thoughts are below.

LD Specific

If your opponent didn’t read 2/3 cards in the doc it is not their responsibility to send you an entirely new document. It holds up the debate and gives judges less decision time. If your opponent marked more than one card that they did not finish they have a responsibility to send out an updated document so everyone has a record for the debate.

None of the resolutions say the USFG should. If you are going to make an argument that depends on this link argument you have to make sure the affirmative has defended that the USFG should do something or you have to win that the resolution is the stasis point for the negative to debate and not the aff.

The 1ar has to read cards. In a 4/5 off debate you won’t cover if you only read 1 card and some analytics. All things being equal, the aff is likely going to lose this debate.

I am predisposed to believe that disclosure of cites/using the wiki is good. The wiki doesn’t hurt small schools. It helps them. Prior to having a wiki only “big schools” had the ability to get intel and only shared it with “big schools” that had intel to trade. Disclosure also creates better debates. I do not believe that a team should be forced to open-source. I believe open source has made debate worse and students have become less likely to do their own research.

I don’t like silly theory arguments. Condo is not always bad. In an LD debate going beyond 4 off/2 condo options makes me willing to believe that it can be.

See policy for policy-arguments in LD


The following are predispositions, not hard rules. If you don’t want me to evaluate the debate this way, tell me not to.

I don’t coach many teams who debate under the Stock issues. I don’t know as much about the topic as you. If you hail very topic-specific acronyms at me (The CCP will trigger MAD if we get rid of BMDs and kill the NPT) I reserve the right to be confused.

Affirmatives- Debate the case. Impact turn it. Internal link turn it. Read all the defense you have. But you have to answer it. Policy or K. I am still a bit upset about an unfinished game of Mahjong from a debate where the affirmative and negative team played during the reading of the 1AC. I thought that was cool. I’m probably down with whatever your business is. The less your argument is related to a traditional debate the less I will understand why you need a ballot. But I don’t particularly think anyone “needs” a ballot.

Topicality/FW- The affirmative, K or policy, should have to beat topicality and I will vote on it. I have realized that my beliefs about T in K debates are outdated and not applicable to the developments of policy debate in 2020. Reasonability is prob true. Even if you both read an interp, if the aff interp is reasonable I default to the affirmative even if the neg interp is slightly better. In K debates I am still not as persuaded by fairness claims as I am by education claims, but I have and will consider fairness to possibly be more important than the 1ac. However, my threshold for aff answers/impact turns to fairness is still lower when compared to my desire to have an educational activity. You should know that I don't believe argument phrases ( 77th/78th level testing, Clash, moral hazard) are arguments.

Counterplans- I like counterplans. My threshold for allowing cheating counterplans is higher than most people’s. However, the more the counterplan cheats the more explanation I require so I can explain to the aff why the counterplan is different from the aff. If I can’t easily distinguish the two, I will vote aff. People should read theory against these things. They’re cheating. Unless someone has explicitly said that a counterplan is conditional, I won’t kick it for you.

Disads- The Link is more important than UQ. Everyone has a uniqueness block but they never spend the same amount of time on the link. You can’t just assert that the disad turns the case. If I’m not sure what part of the case you are turning I will just evaluate the aff impact vs the da impact.

K/Performance- The easiest way to lose this debate is just to read your blocks. You need to explain why each card you are reading is answering the claims made in the 1NC. The 2NC should not be a 3-minute overview. The 2NC link explanation should not be a rant. It needs to be structured. The 2nr link explanation can not be " I did this work in the 2NC". I would advise you to do some of it again in a reasonably condensed fashion and to make choices. I understand that you are time-crunched. But I also don't let the affirmative revive an impact from the 1ac in the 2ar. The negative can't have its neg flex cake and eat it too. You should debate if cap, humanism, etc are good or bad. These are valuable debates.

Public Forum

If you already know what evidence, you are going to read in the debate/speech you have to send a document via email chain or provide the evidence on a google document that is shared with your opponents before the debate. Those cards have to be provided before the speech begins.

You don’t get unlimited prep time to ask for cards before prep time is used. A PF debate can’t take as long as a policy debate. You have 30 seconds to request and there are then 30 seconds to provide the evidence. If you can’t provide it within 30 seconds your prep will run until you do.

The Final Focus should actually be focused. You have to implicate your argument against every other argument in the debate. You can’t do that if you go for 3 or 4 different arguments.

Clay Stewart Paradigm

2 rounds

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

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

***Debate Experience***

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

***Coaching Experience***

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

***General Preferences***


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

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


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

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

Shenanigans/ Weird Stuff:

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


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

Computer Issues/ In-Round Issues:

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

***Policy Preferences***


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


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


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


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


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

Framework (2AC):

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

Framework (2NC):

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

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

Clash of Civilization Debates:

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

Traditional ("Policy" Teams):

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

Framework (As "T"):

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

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

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

AT: Framework

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

Fairness/ Education:

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

Ethics Violations:

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tim Stroud Paradigm

6 rounds

Coach of 25+ years at the middle and high school level. Did LD/Policy in HS and college. Coached debaters throughout the years who have excelled at the TOC, nationals, invitationals, etc. I think of myself as a tabula rasa judge. However, when I have to do more work than the debaters in the round to follow the overly convoluted logic that is far askew from the resolution I am far less inclined to vote in a debater's favor. By the way, I think labeling any branch of LD as analytical or progressive minimizes the full marketplace of debaters. Everyone is here for the same reason...Simply put the better debater is one who presents, defends, and ends their advocacy with a clear logical/analytical position based upon solid research and an understanding of the proposed resolution.

Framework/Standards Debate--Set a standard for the round that makes sense in terms of the activity. If you are debating policy, make a policy argument and support it accordingly. If you are debating LD, let's hear about the resolution--not several tangential theory arguments that make the purpose of the resolution suspect. I vote on whether to affirm or negate the resolution...not a critique on the consequential outcome of forced policy parameters.

Case Structure: Contentions should be carefully crafted, contain warrants and impacts and link back to the standards in order to provide a well researched/reasoned case position. A case position that is founded upon theory arguments that is without research or evidence to support the basic claims are simply assertions and will be treated as such. If they are run and the opponent fails to point that out they are passing up an opportunity.

Neg: if the only thing run is a structural security K or CPs (the use of the word 'resolved' is NOT a valid justification in my book for asserting that the round is now a policy round!) then be prepared to prove several links to the resolution. Aff debaters who can chip away at uniqueness or the internal links are greatly rewarded.

Speed--I can flow it if you can get it out...however, if it is unintelligible or full of debate jargon that doesn't either further the argument or advance your position then I will be far less compelled write it down, understand it, or vote for it at the end of the round.

Flowing--I do...

Time--Feel free to time yourselves, but excessive road maps, card checks, and things that should have been accomplished in CX or during prep time are a waste of time and I will be very unlikely to be tolerant of that type of behavior. Unless there are a slew of arguments that need to be reorganized for some reason at the top of the speech, just tell me where to go first on the flow and then sign-post as you speak.

Rohith Sudhakar Paradigm

3 rounds

Westview ‘19

Georgia Tech ‘23


Shortcut: pref me the same as John Staunton – we adjudicate almost identically.

After a few tournaments, I found my relative comfortability with adjudication by style is: Anything Substantive > T > Theory > Tricks.


I qualled twice to TOC debating for Westview High School in Oregon. I am most familiar with analytic and postmodern philosophy and generally debated analytic philosophy with some race component to it my senior year (imagine more Travis Fife’s conception of philosophy rather than tricks or theory). I’m pretty comfortable with all types of arguments in debate because of the fact that I debated on both coasts. I’ll adjudicate by taking the route of least intervention barring any in round violence or discrimination.

I think I have 3 non-standard beliefs about the route of least intervention:

1. My default assumption is nothing is important until an argument is made for why it is. This means if you read theory without drop the debater or arguments without framing mechanisms, I’ll just ignore them. This in particular applies to independent voters and perf con arguments because they don’t justify why they supersede other substantive issues and are drop the debater. The only things that I will default are consequentialism, strength of link in the absence of weighing, and epistemic confidence.

2. I’m pretty strict on warrants. I look to see if they aren’t non-sequitur or blatantly false. If I can’t explain an argument back to your opponent I probably won’t feel comfortable voting on it. The validity of risk of offense decreases as the claims you make become more intuitively absurd. This means most defense becomes terminal after a certain threshold is crossed and I’m unlikely to vote on “risk of offense” on theory.

3. The point of the norm of non-intervention is to check back on judge biases, not to allow for blatantly stupid arguments (in particular, theory arguments) to win ballots. This means I won’t vote on extremely frivolous spikes/shells(imagine shoes theory, eval the debate after X speech, if I win one layer vote aff) and blatantly idiotic arguments(definition a prioris, unclever NIBs, etc). To clarify, I am fine with absurd arguments if they come from some legitimate source of literature (e.g. monism, spark, etc), but spare me from your horrible arguments that lack all creativity and innovation.

I’ll do my best to adjudicate similarly to Becca Traber, Bob Overing, Mark Gorthey, or Nick Smith who were my favorite judges when I debated.


I get asked before every round how to get high speaks. Here are some notes about that for your benefit:

1. If you debate a lay debater, your speaks start at a 29.2 and go up or down depending on your decorum. I gave really high speaks in this scenario but it was a bit much.

2. I award higher speaks to ingenuity, strategy, and intelligence. This means I enjoy well researched positions of any variety that have some strategic aspect to them and a good defense in CX. This is most often displayed in philosophical positions (either critical or analytic), T (not nebel), PICs, non-stock plans, and impact turns. I’ve given the highest non-inflated speaks in rounds where K debaters have both ethos and tech. I like debaters who are substantive-leaning, have good demonstration of content knowledge and strategic vision, and collapse.

3. If you drop case, your speaks are capped at a 29. If you read bad theory when you could’ve a) just won substance easily or b) read a better shell your speaks are capped at a 28.5. If you do not know the history and warrants for your literature (either K or analytic phil) your speaks will probably be low. Also, if you do the “this is how the round breaks down” thing, read independent voters, or make “vote for me because I’m X identity,” I will lower speaks.

4. Authors I like a lot: Seyla Benhabib, Judith Butler, Simon de Beauvoir, Iris Marion Young, Charles W. Mills, Giorgio Agamben, Francois Laruelle, G.W.F. Hegel, Sylvia Wynter, and Fred Moten. I also really like the intersection between analytic philosophy and race (imagine black radical kantianism).

Chris Theis Paradigm

4 rounds

THIS IS SUPER OLD. HAVE NOT UPDATED SINCE ~2012. Please ask if you have questions.

I'm meaning to update soon...

Affiliation: Apple Valley High School (MN)


Relevant Arguments

I default to viewing the resolution as a normative question, not a question of truth. However, that does not mean that what truth is necessarily irrelevant to normative decision making. With a well-developed justification, I will vote on most truth testing arguments. I prefer that debaters have a clear and specific advocacy. Each side needs to defend a world in order to be able to generate uniqueness for offensive arguments. Thus, both debaters need to be able to articulate a world they are defending in a more coherent way than "not x."

I am also generally opposed to voting on defense. In most rounds, I find that the concept of defense being decisive just doesn't make a whole lot of sense. That means that I will be very reluctant to vote on presumption or permissibility arguments that rely on defense to function. It is probably a waste of your time to read presumption arguments in front of me at all. While I can come up with extreme hypothetical situations in which I might vote on presumption, it has never happened.


I am not opposed to theory debates, I used to enjoy them, but I think the sheer volume of awful theory debates I have judged over the past view years has made my threshold for taking them seriously much higher than it used to be. I will still be happy to vote for a good and well-developed argument.

The following are some of my default assumptions on theory:

I default to evaluating theory as an issue of "competing interpretations".

I default to "dropping the arguments" not "dropping the debater."

I default to not viewing theory as an RVI.

I default to evaluating Topicality before other theory arguments.

I default to thinking that the status of a counterplan or K alt is dispositional unless specified otherwise. That does not mean I presume that conditionality is illegitimate, just that if neither debater makes arguments about the status I will assume it is dispositional because I believe that best models the way most other arguments are treated, you must defend arguments that are turned.

I default to thinking that fairness and education are important and that whether debate is "good" or not matters. This is a bias that you will almost certainly not be able to overcome.

All of these assumptions can be changed by debaters (except probably the last one) who make good arguments against them in round. I prefer that any arguments about my default assumptions be explained in context of the specific arguments that are at issue in the theory debate and not just be about those assumptions generally. For example, do not argue "you need to drop the debater to discourage bad debate practices." Do argue, " "you need to drop the debater because X argument has Y effect which makes dropping them the best solution."

I think that theory debates are messy because debaters are even worse at weighing theory arguments than they are at weighing most other arguments. The reason for that is that while there is a framework debate that determines the relevance of post-fiat arguments, debaters put no effort into developing what it means to be fair or educational in a way that allows for effective weighing later in the round. If you want me to buy your theory argument spend time developing a concrete conception of what it means to be fair or educational in the context of debate and use it to filter and weigh impacts.

I dislike the strategy that involves including an argument that demands debaters run interps by their opponent. It is just an excuse to change your advocacy after the fact because you are not ready to defend it. As long as debaters establish clear links in CX that is enough for me.


I will use the framework that is justified by the debaters in the round. I do not view the value/criterion as necessary. In fact, I think in many cases the value/criterion model actually makes the debate more convoluted and can create irrational decisions. As a result, I am very open to alternative frameworks. As a general rule I do not enjoy rounds in which the majority of the time is spent on framework. Battling Util/Deont dumps are frustrating and boring to judge. I want to hear a debate ABOUT THE TOPIC. Framework should explain why topical arguments are important they should not become the entire debate unless you are looking for terrible speaks.


I think that credible arguments must be supported by evidence. In general, I will prefer arguments supported by evidence to analytic arguments. That is because in most cases I feel that experts writing on the topic are probably more qualified that a 17-year-old high school student. This is especially true of empirical arguments.


I assign speaks based on a combination of stagey and how much I enjoyed or was annoyed by the round. Debates that I enjoy involve debate about the topic, debaters who I can understand, debaters who are smart and engaging, debaters who are pleasant to each other.

30: Amazing. I think you are debating your positions better than anyone else at the tournament could. You could not only win this tournament but would have a chance to win any tournament in which you debated at the level you did in this round.
29: Fantastic. Very few people could do a better job at debating your position. You have a good shot at making it to late outrounds.
28: Good. You did what you had to do and did not have very many large mistakes. You should clear.
27: All right. You did an adequate job. You will be close to clearing but it could go either way.
26: Below Average. You should not clear.
25: Bad: You need major improvements in pretty much every aspect of debate. Your record should be below .500.
<25: Offensive or offensively bad.

Arguments that I will not vote for

An argument that has no normative implications, except in situations where the debater develops and wins an argument that changes my default assumptions.

A strategy that attempts to wash the debate on purpose in order to trigger permissibility/presumption.

A contingent framework/advocacy that is "triggered" in a later speech.

Arguments/Practices I will immediately drop you for

Any argument that concludes that every action is permissible

Any argument that creates a hostile environment for either myself, the other debater, or anyone who is watching the debate.

Any argument that explicitly argues that something that we all agree is awful (genocide, rape, etc) is actually a good thing. This could either be an advocacy or a framework THAT THE DEBATER AGREES says horrible things are ok. If the other debater wins an argument that your framework justifies something horrible, but it is contested, then it may count as a reason to not accept your framework, but I will not drop you for it.

Conal Thomas-McGinnis Paradigm

6 rounds

If I am, by some miracle, judging policy. Go for the RVI. I beg of thee.

I was told to revise my paradigm by my father. The jokes were apparently too much. To see my old paradigm, visit this link:


Tricks: 1*

Framework: 1

Theory: 1

K: 4


I know it's nice to get to hide tricks in the walls of text but if you want to maximize the chances that I notice something extra special you should like slightly change the tone or speed of delivery on it or something.

If you have something extremely important for me to pay attention to in CX please say "Yo judge this is important" or something because I'm probably prepping or playing some dumbass game.

"Evaluate after" arguments: If there are arguments that in order for me to evaluate after a certain speech I must intervene, I will do so. For example, if there is a 1N shell and a 1AR I-meet, I will have to intervene to see if the I-meet actually meets the shell.

"Independent voters" are not independent - they are dependent entirely on what is almost always a new framework that involves some impact that is presumed to be preclusive. I expect independent voter arguments to have strong warrants as to why their micro-frameworks actually come first. Just saying "this is morally repugnant so it's an independent voter" is not a sufficient warrant.

Also - independent voters that come in the form of construing a framework to an implication requires that you actually demonstrate that it is correct that that implication is true. For example, if you say "Kant justifies racism" and your opponent warrants why their reading of the Kantian ethical theory doesn't justify racism, then you can't win the independent voter just because it is independent.

I will no longer field arguments that attempt to increase speaker points. I think they are enjoyable and fun but they likely are not good long term for the activity, given that when taken to their logical conclusion, each debater could allocate a small amount of time to a warranted argument for giving them a 30, and then simply concede each others argument to guarantee they both get maximal speaks (and at that point speaker points no longer serve a purpose).

Also, I have a lot of the same grievances and annoyances at some of the silly debate minutiae that Will Golay gripes about in his paradigm.

*WHEN YOU READ TRICKS: I PREFER BEING UP FRONT ABOUT THEM. Pretending you don't know what an a priori is is annoying. Honestly, just highlight every a priori and tell your opponent: "here are all the a prioris".

Aaron Timmons Paradigm

1 rounds

Aaron Timmons

Director of Debate – Greenhill School

Updated – April 2019

Please put me on the email chain –

New for the TOC 2019 – I am the Director of the Global Debate Symposium and for this summer I have hired Spencer Paul and Vishan Chaudhary from Harvard Westlake, and Ishan Bhatt from St. Andrews of the list of competitors that will be in the 2019 TOC competing in Lincoln Douglas.

Lincoln - Douglas Philosophy

I have coached debate, and been a classroom teacher, for a long time. I feel that when done well, with agreed upon “rules of engagement”, there is not a better activity to provide a training ground for young people. That said, at some point, most of the adults have left the building as it relates to national circuit Lincoln Douglas debate. I find many of the things that are now commonplace, are antithetical to the things that I love about debate. In fact, many of these practices are not educational, but also make the activity unsustainable in any meaningful way to sell to administrators, parents, new coaches, or even a new generation of debaters.

I have taken some time to reflect on how I judge debates, and have revised my paradigm. It would behoove you to read it if I have the potential to judge you. If you do not like what you read, strike me.

Debate rounds, and subsequently debate tournaments, are extensions of the classroom. While we all learn from each other, my role is parallel to that of an instructor. I will evaluate your performance. At this stage in my career, I have no interest in being the “most preferred” judge in the pool. In fact, what I see is that many in the Lincoln Douglas community (as opposed to policy debate); make preferences more based on personal relationships, than the relative experience/paradigmatic perspective of the critic. I see my role as to set a fair, but stringent, set of expectations for the students I am judging. At times, this means advancing expectations that I feel are best for the students and, at times, the broader community as well. At this point, I am also not shy to share those thoughts and expectations. I see myself as a critic of argument if I had to pigeonhole myself with a paradigmatic label. Unlike many claim to be, I am not a blank slate. If I see behaviors or practices that create a bad, unfair, or hostile environment for the extension of the classroom that is the debate round, I will intervene. I WILL do my best to be an objective evaluator of your argument but the idea that my social location is not a relevant consideration of how I view/decode arguments is just not true (nor do I personally think it is true for anyone).

Below please find a few thoughts as to how I evaluate debates.

1. Speed is not a problem. In most of the Lincoln Douglas I judge, clarity IS a problem. I judge high level policy debates quite a bit and while they are quiet fast, I don’t see clarity as much of an issue with the top teams. Please understand that unstructured paragraphs that are slurred together does not allow the pen time necessary to write things down in the detail you think it might. I reserve the right to yell “clearer” once or twice. Style and substance are fundamentally inseparable.

2. I feel theory is debated far too much in Lincoln – Douglas, and is debated poorly. I am strongly opposed to that practice. My preference is NOT to hear a bad theory debate. I believe the negative does get some “flex”, that said it can’t be unlimited. The idea of reading a “counter shell” against a theory argument is one of the silliest practices I see in contemporary debate. Before the proliferation of theory in Lincoln Douglas I thought RVI’s were silly. They have a place in contemporary LD. I DO NOT think jettisoning the case and going all in on the RVI should be the A strategy in the 1ar. While I like competing interpretations, in the end, I feel even that view is filtered through my perspective of reason/what is reasonable/the best lens for debate. Some intervention is inevitable as we judge.

3. Evidence is important. In my opinion debates/comparisons about the qualifications of authors on competing issues (particularly empirical ones), in addition to a comparison of competing warrants in the evidence, is important. Do you this and not only will your points improve, I am likely to prefer your argument if the comparison is done well. All students should have full cites for materials.

4. I am not a “blank state”. I also feel my role as a judge is to serve a duel function of rendering a decision, in addition to serving a role as educator as well.

5. Words matter. Arguments that are racist, sexist, homophobic etc will not be tolerated.

6. I am not a fan of random; multiple sentence fragments that claim to “spike” out of all of the other teams arguments. At its foundation, debate should be about argument ENGAGEMENT, not evasion.

7. Answer questions in cross-examination. Cross-ex is binding. I do listen carefully to cross – ex.

8. Although I know you have figured it out, Lincoln Douglas does not have a 2AC in the same way that policy does. 1AR’s that advance lots of offense on many negative positions will be rewarded with high points.

9. Debating with a laptop is a choice, if you are reading from a computer I have three expectations that are nonnegotiable:

A) You must jump the documents read to the opposition in a timely manner (before your speech or at worse IMMEDIATELY after your speech) to allow them to prepare or set up an email chain.

B) If your opponent does not have a laptop you need to have a viewing computer OR surrender your computer to them to allow them to prepare. The oppositions need to prep outweighs your need to prep/preflow in that moment in time.

C) My expectation is that the documents that are shared are done in a format that is the same as read by the debater that initially read the material. In other words, I will not tolerate some of the shenanigan’s that seem to exist, including but not limited to, using a non standard word processing program, all caps, no formatting etc.

10. Many debaters have been instructed, or watched others run, “metaethics” with some success. My experience is that many debaters have a very superficial grasp of what this even means. Make sure to explain, and compare your position against the position of your opponent. A good rule of thumb is to assume you don’t win every argument and frame things in an even /if perspective.

11. I do not like skepticism as an argument. It would be in your best interest to not run it in front of me. While perhaps interesting in a philosophy class in college, training young advocates to feel that “morality doesn’t exist” etc. is educationally irresponsible.

12. I do not disclose speaker points. That seems silly to me.

13. Dropped arguments and the “auto-win” seems silly to me. Just because a debater drops a card doesn’t mean you win the debate. Weighing and embedded clash are a necessary component of debate. Good debaters extend their arguments. GREAT debaters do that in addition to explaining the nexus point of clash between their arguments and that of the opposition and WHY I should prefer their argument.

14. I feel it takes more than a sentence (or in many of the rounds I judge a sentence fragment), to make an argument. If the argument was not clear originally, I will allow the opponent to make new arguments.

15. Choose. No matter the speech or the argument.

Please ask me specific questions if you have one before the debate.

Karen Tyler Paradigm

3 rounds

I'm a parent judge so pref accordingly. This means I am not good with speed and I probably won't be familiar with obscure K lit or dense phill. That being said I am a trial attorney so I understand the nuances of argumentation.

Jonathan Waters Paradigm

6 rounds

Educational Background:

Georgia State University (2004-2007) - English Major in Literary Studies; Speech Minor

Augusta University (2010-2011) - Masters in Arts in Teaching

Georgia State University (2015-2016) - Postbaccalaureate work in Philosophy

Revelant Career Experience:

English Teacher/Debate Coach (2011-2015) Grovetown High School

LD Debate Coach (2015-2018) Marist School

English Teacher/Debate Coach (2018-present) Northview High School

Public Forum

I expect PF to be PF. It should be lay debate. I'm not impressed by the use of debate jargon in rounds and jargon isn't sufficient for arguments. That being said, evidence matters. I expect responses to counterarguments that opponents make, not just leapfrogging them to reassert your initial claims. I don't flow crossfire, but that doesn't mean I'm not listening to it.


I haven't judge a lot of policy debates. I'm more comfortable with a little slower speed since I don't hear a lot of debates on the topic. I'm ok with most any time of argumentation, but I'm less likely to vote on theory arguments than K or Case arguments. Add me to your email chains.

Lincoln Douglas

I appreciate well warranted and strong arguments. Keep those fallacies out of my rounds.

If the negative fails to give me a warranted reason to weigh her value/value criterion above the one offered by the affirmative in the first negative speech, I will adopt the affirmative's FW. Likewise, if the negative offers a warranted reason that goes unaddressed in the AR1, I will adopt the negative FW.

I appreciate when debaters provide voters during the final speeches.

Debaters would probably describe me as leaning "traditional", but I am working to be more comfortable with progressive arguments. However, I'll vote, and have voted, on many types of arguments (Plans, Counterplans, Ks, Aff Ks, and theory if there is legitimate abuse). However, the more progressive the argument and the further away from the topic, the more in depth and slower your explanation needs to be. Don't make any assumptions about what I'm supposed to know.

Debates that don't do any weighing are hard to judge. Be clear about what you think should be on my ballot if you're winning the round.


If you feel it absolutely necessary to spread, I will do my best to keep up with the caveat that you are responsible for what I miss. I appreciate folks that value delivery. Take that as you will. If you're going to go fast, you can email me your case.


I try to disclose and answer questions if at all possible. At national circuit tournaments, I usually don't disclose flight A because of time. Feel free to shoot me an email after you leave the round, and I'll try to message you before Flight B is over with a disclosure. Feel free to follow up with any questions.

Cross Examination/Crossfire

I'm not a fan of "gotcha" debate. The goal in crossfire shouldn't get your opponent to agree to some tricky idea and then make that the reason that you are winning debates. Crossfire isn't binding. Debaters have the right to clean-up a misstatement made in crossfire/cross ex in their speeches.


Marna Weston Paradigm

3 rounds

Marna Weston (coached by Dale McCall at Twin Lakes High, WPB, FL)
State Champion, Lincoln Douglas Debate & NFL District Champion, Policy Debate (Florida)


Condo is probably bad. I don't like tricks and rude stuff. I don't like people beating their opponents down in a disrespectful manner. True champions find a way to win with style, finesse, and some measure of grace. Basically, "say what you mean, and mean what you say" in front of me. Kick outs and shifts are not received well. I am comfortable with crystal clear debaters and crystal clear rebuttals. I've been focused on my policy teams this year, so I'm not familiar with the LD topic. I think there is still such a thing as an LD topic, although I keep hearing the same positions regardless of the topic a lot, and I guess that's ok. I am open to a lot of different types of discussions, and I'm excited to listen to what you bring to the debate space.

TOC Haiku:

Sacred space except

The room where we exchange thoughts

is not for condo

Full Paradigm:
Lincoln Douglas Paradigm (Scroll down to see my policy paradigm):

I guess the best statement I can make about typing a philosophy for a mutual judge preference list in Lincoln Douglas Debate is “I do not understand why this is needed.” My high school coach, Mrs. Dale McCall of Twin Lakes High in West Palm Beach, Florida and others contributed their ideas toward a new style of debate in the early 80’s where “superior speaking to lay audiences on a proposition of value” was envisioned. Any reasonable person without specialized knowledge of any kind would be a fitting judge or audience member in such a forum. That event was called Lincoln Douglas Debate. As a participant when LD was still an experimental event and the topics were chosen through individual tournament invitation, I debated in the final round of the Inaugural Lincoln Douglas Debate at the Barkley Forum in March 1983. In October 1981 a fellow teammate and I closed out the New York City Invitational at the Bronx High School of Science. My paradigm is and always has been, “be a high school Lincoln Douglas Debater”. Offer reasonable definitions (required), a value (required), and criteria as appropriate (probably optional, definitely debatable). Debate as if before a community group, and do not perform in such a way that would alienate reasonably intelligent people who have come to be both informed and entertained.

A good standard would be the “my principal” paradigm. If the principal of my school watched you debate and from your performance came to me on the Monday after your performance and said, “Mr. Weston, I am concerned that debate is confusing, exclusionary, and not an activity that is building critical thinking or communication skills for our students based on what I saw last weekend”, then you can be sure that you will have lost my ballot. Such a performance could endanger the existence of my program. My ballot acts as a defense from such examples gaining popularity. I believe enough loses might cause such practices to cease.

The “role of the ballot” and RFD when I am the critic will ideally be to honor the historic intent of the Lincoln Douglas event and those who worked so hard to bridge the debate world for general audiences, and not to exclude such persons. A rude debater can expect to lose “on face” absent any consideration of arguments withstanding in the round. The activity is about life and how one carries oneself.

Additionally, I shall not reward debaters with high speakers for “rolling over” opponents. One to six big ideas is probably the most I should hear in constructive speeches and these then boiled down to one to four critical voters at the end of the debate. “Drops” in LD are evaluated qualitatively, not quantitatively. It is certainly possible that “one big idea” could make many more ideas irrelevant to a decision, if argued effectively. A superior debater should be able to win the round with class while respecting the dignity of the opposition, in every instance. In short, any person coming into the round should be able to evaluate the round, and every person in the round must be treated in a dignified manner, either as a participant, observer, or critic.

Thank you for your interest in my thoughts.

Policy Paradigm

Updated 8/14/16

Overview: I firmly believe that policy debate is first and foremost a communication activity. Consequently, oral presentation plays a larger factor in my adjudication process than in most decisions in recent years. I focus on the “story” of the debate, but line-byline refutation can be a component of that. Know your order before you announce it. Don't change the order after you announce it. Clearly articulated arguments at any speed can be evaluated. Inarticulate utterings that cannot be understood cannot be evaluated. Be quick, but don't hurry. I will not tolerate rudeness. Cross X is binding.

My paradigm is one of few dispositions; the rest is up to the debaters. They are as follows:

1. I agree that conditionality is "probably" bad. So its "probably" not a bad idea to speak to this and support reasons why I might or might not vote on this.

2. Topical Counterplans are not OK. If at the end of the round I haave been effectiely persuaded there are two Affirmative teams, I'll probably vote Affirmative.

3. I prefer not to judge topicality debates. If you're ahead on it, explain to me why its important to care about this, or I might not understand why to vote on it.

4. I enjoy case debates. Solidly clear and irrefuably presented and reasonably current inherency evidence could really win a debate. No, really.

5. Kritikal arguments on both AFF and NEG are fine, but pay close attention to the way you communicate your position (clear and concise!).

6. The topic should be debated, but how you approach the resolution, and how you approach debate generally (content, style, etc.), should be left up to the debaters.

7. If you're Negative, show me how your approach is specific to this Affirmative. Be thoughtful in explaining what a vote for your side means and why I should endorse it.Ask meto vote for your side. Dont complete on-face grant the 1AC in favor of pre-set tangentially related points and expect me to get why that means the Negaative wins the debate. Be paricularly clear on fairness and why ground is or isnt lost and warrants a decision.These are usually not presented clearly and powerfully.

8. I will appreciate teams who competently deploy arguments from the earlier days of CEDA, such as Justification, Hasty G, etc. I also appreciate when the AFF and NEG teams sit on the correct sides of the room with respect to the judge. Otherwise, I might vote for someone but accidentally vote for the wrong team. "Sort of kidding" but I know this has happened to teams and that in my career in the activity, more than one judge thought they voted for a team, when they hadn't. If you're not on the proper side of the room, at least say in your speech which team you represent and why you think your side should win the debate. That is taken for granted a lot.:)

Public Forum Paradigm

Updated 8/14/16

To be truthful, it all goes by a little quickly for me in a PF round. I never competed in PF. The speeches are really short. I do appreciate the skills developed through the practice of concisely presenting so many arguments in a limited space of time. On a personal note, I thought the whole idea of yet another "policy is too fast and there is too much research" debate event, was that PF would remain slow for lay audiences. I have observed this is not the case, but good debates are still where you find them in PF--- as in Congress, Policy, LD, and Worlds. As such, please watch me closely and clearly indicate why as a judge I should prefer your way of evaluating the round over your opponents. I'm always pretty much up to speed on current events through working on Policy & Extemp each week of the season, so I'll probably be up to date on your issue. The key will be to express reasons to prefer your interpretation of what is important-------over what your opponent is saying. Whoever does that most effectively will likely win my ballot.


Marna Weston

Charlie Williamson Paradigm

6 rounds

Setup/Position: Please setup (aff/neg) respective to judging sheet from my perspective. As I'm reading the ballot, if aff is on my left and you are aff, setup on my left and neg on my right. This helps me order my notes and points.

Time: I believe debaters/presenters should be cognizant/aware of time in relation to established time constraints. Thus, while I will most likely keep an active stopwatch for record purposes, please keep your own time and practice working within established time constraints. It will serve you well later in life.

Flow: I prefer clear, concise and heavy hitting points over a multitude of tiny prickly points that are spoken too fast to properly evaluate the merit and relevance. I basically keep a ledger of points - pluses and minuses. Imagine in a professional boxing match....every solid lick (point) gets a plus. The only minuses I put down relate to things like: not making enough eye contact, picking your nose (yes I've seen it), unintelligible speech (too fast, too low, too high, mumbling, etc.) and too much reading from case notes. Speak with passion and confidence.

Comments to Judge: I've had a few presenters state that "you must" do this or that in relation to something their opponent did that wasn't necessarily cool. Let me be the judge. It's redundant and takes time away from your presentation. Simply counter the claim and move on.

How to win: I typically favor those who make clear, concise and heavy hitting points. Historical data (when available and applicable) is pretty good evidence when it has clear relevance. Impacts on life, health, safety and welfare are heavy hitting as well. Passion for your argument shows through. Preparation is apparent. Non-preparation is also apparent.

Have fun: Most of all, do your prep then just relax and have fun. It's only a few minutes in your life.

Update re: Covid19 adjustments. Let's all be sure to test our video setup (sound/picture, etc.) and make sure battery life is good. Practice with the software (if available/possible) ahead of time. It will be a first for everyone so please be patient with those who are facilitating the tournament and with yourself and others. Still...have fun and focus on your argument! Good Luck!

Brian Wiora Paradigm

6 rounds

****MUST READ: I do not evaluate fairness as a voter. If you run it in front of me, I will not vote on it. You have been warned.


I am an assistant coach for Harrison High School. I debated for four years in LD at Greenhill from 2009-2013. I was a philosophy major in college and now teach Poetry at Columbia University. I judged semis at the TOC in 2019.


Debate is fun! I enjoy judging good debates full of a lot of nuanced clash and weighing. The best debaters, in my opinion, are clear, well versed on the topic and, above all, persuasive. I think unwarranted arguments, tricks/spikes, and unnecessary/multiple theory shells are bad for debate and an unpersuasive strategy. Above all, I am more likely to drop a claim, no matter how many times it is dropped/extended, than I am add a warrant or impact.

Things I like

-A philosophical framework debate (with standards as opposed to ROB).


-A good topicality debate

Things I don't like and won't vote for

-Fairness as a voting issue. Fairness is not a voter because A) Debate is an inherently unfair activity B) Fairness is not an intrinsic reason why we do debate and C) If fairness were a voter, I would flip a coin to decide the round. If you are interested in running a fairness voter in front of me, I would suggest playing a game of Chutes and Ladders or Tic-Tac-Toe instead.

-Independent voters, as in those arguments that appeal to something outside of an explicit weighing mechanism (value criterion, ROB, or justified voter)

-Unwarranted arguments. Again, I am more likely to drop a claim than add a warrant

-Any argument appealing to the Role of the Ballot/Role of the Judge as an A priori. In general, I do not think any argument in debate is an A priori, but especially not arguments that rely on my status as a judge or educator.

-If a card has been "cut" by a debater (as in, the debater stops reading the card mid way through and then moves on to another card), I will not vote on warrants that were cut.

My Default Assumptions (unless proven otherwise in the round)

-I operate under an offense/defense paradigm.

-The Role of the Ballot is to decide which debater better justified their side of the resolution.

-Debate is good. Philosophy is good for debate. Policymaking is good for debate too.

-Education is a voter, but less persuasive to me than Advocacy Skills, Critical Thinking, etc.

-No RVIs on T.

-Performance debate is fine, but the best performances link back to the topic.

Any other issue should be resolved by the debaters

Gabi Yamout Paradigm

2 rounds

La Costa Canyon/Leucadia Independent 2012-2016

Emory University 2016-present

Yes, I want to be on your email chain:

Read into these!

  • an argument has a claim, warrant, and impact
  • line by line is important
  • try or die is a bad way to make decisions
  • zero risk is possible


Do your thing. I prefer affs to have a tie to the topic in some way.


Sure. Impact comparison is important. I don't like late-breaking cross applications in these debates.


I do not read very much high theory/postmodernism literature.

Do good, specific link work, make smart turns case arguments, and use empirical examples to demonstrate your argument.

You are unlikely to convince me that the K should be rejected on face, or that the aff shouldn't get to weigh the implementation of their plan.


Love it. Please please please do impact comparison. Have a clearly articulated vision of what the topic would look like under both interpretations. Reasonability is best articulated as an argument for aff predictability.

You should assume I know little about the HS topic - that means your examples (eg what affirmatives the aff's interp would allow) need to be explained.


Cool. I like advantage counterplan debates.


Love to hear topic DAs, and I like impact turn debates.


  • I don’t have a strong opinion about conditionality.
  • The shorter your overviews, the better your speaks.
  • Create as much spin as you can - control the way I look at issues and pieces of evidence.
  • Death is bad.
  • If a team asks to use prep to ask more cx questions, feel free to say no. And no, you can't use your cx as prep.
  • Don't be an asshole.

Donna Yeager Paradigm

3 rounds

I debated in Houston Tx. in high school and college. I was a policy debater. I have coached and taught debate for 30 years now; Policy, Public Forum, and Lincoln Douglas. I have coached and taught at Langham Creek HS in Houston, Tx., Hanover HS and Dartmouth College in Hanover, NH., Wayland HS in Grand Rapids, MI. and now finally at Auburn HS, in Auburn Alabama.

Emory 2020:

I haven’t judged many circuit level rounds this year, I coach one circuit debater and don’t get to see many high level plan debates. This means that in your first speech you should start slow for the first 5 seconds and speed up as you wish from there

Pref chain:

- Plan debate, policy, LARP: 1

- Traditional debate: 1

- Theory: 3

- K debate: 4

- Tricks: 5

- Performance: 5

I am a very flow judge!!! Tech should be true, otherwise you’re lying… So Truth > Tech.


Add me to the email chain:

IF YOU HAVE QUESTIONS THEN ASK!!! If you aren’t sure you can run something or have a question about my paradigm defaults then asking is the best way to be safe.

I am ok with good spreading, I flow from your speech and will refer to the doc if I missed something or am confused, but clear taglines and authors are important.

I default to the following:

- Neg wins on presumption unless otherwise argued

- Consequentialism for impact calc

Give an off-time road map!!! Every new off case argument will be flowed on a separate sheet of paper!!!

Things I liked in a round:

- Well-developed plans

- Fully linked out DA’s

- Good CP’s

- Proper decorum

- Good FW debate (Rawls, Kant, Hobbes, Locke)

Things I don’t like:

- Performative debate

- High theory K’s

- Spikes, Tricks

- Disclosure theory

- Friv theory

- Bad T/theory shells

- Incoherent spreading

- Speaking for others

- Ptx DA’s

- After round disrespect

- PICs


I don’t disclose for double-flighted rounds, not that hard of a rule, if there is extra time, I might be able to give an RFD. I don’t disclose speaks.


30: I expect you to win the tournament or be in finals (rarely given)

29.5: Finals or high break rounds, I enjoyed this debate and learned something

29: Good debate, should break, close round with one of the above ^

28.5: Good job, room to improve, well executed arg on my do not like list.

28: You weren’t as clear as you could’ve been, the weighing wasn’t the best

27.5: Same as 28 but worse

27: Worse than 27.5 😊

26.5: You made some serious errors, ran something I don’t like or was hard to judge, you spoke awful

26: Worse than 26.5

25.5-25: You shouldn’t go above 3-3, you made a critical mistake and deserve to lose, you were racist, sexist, transphobic, homophobic, or ableist

My Public Forum judging philosophy will be the same as my asst. coach, Mr. Will Haynes. So thank you Will!

Flow/Speed: I am a typical flow judge. In rebuttals and summaries, please make it clear what argument you're responding to. All turns must be addressed in the following speech, so if you are the second speaker, and your opponent makes a case turn in their rebuttal, you must address this in your rebuttal or else it is dropped. Frontlining can be done in either the rebuttal or summary. I can flow 8/10 on speed. Do not spread. The summary and final focus must be consistent.

Evidence: If an opponent asks for a card, you get one minute to produce it. After one minute, I strike the card from my flow. I will call for cards at the end of the round if I am unclear on the intentions of the author or I have reason to believe it is mis-cut. I will not call for evidence due to washes or lack of weighing.

Crossfire: I do not flow new arguments in crossfire, nor does it have any effect in how I judge the round unless someone is rude, in which case I will deduct speaker points.

Framework: I default to utilitarianism unless another empirically justified framework is offered at the top of the constructive. I enjoy a good framework debate, so do not hesitate to propose a deontological value.

Offense: Under util, I only weigh quantifiable and empirically justified impacts as offense. If you do not quantify, there is no objective way for me to compare impacts at the end of the debate.

Fiat: If the resolution is framed in terms of a moral obligation (should, ought ect.), then I judge the debate based off the costs/benefits of the resolution actually taking effect. Therefore, I do not evaluate feasibility claims that have to do with the inabilities of laws or policies to pass through congress or any other governmental actor unless I am provided with compelling analytical justifications for doing so.

Theory: I believe theory is the best way to correct abuse in a debate round. It is much easier for me to flow theory if it is run in the standard format (A: Interpretation, B: Violation, C:Standards, D:Voters), but I am fine with paragraph theory as long as it is clear and well justified.

Kritiks: I very rarely vote for them, so just keep that in mind before you take that risk.

Speaker Point Scale: These are the criteria I use for determining speaker points. Everyone starts out with a 26. Do these things well to get up to 30.

Come to the round prepared and on time.

Remain calm during crossfire and speeches. Aggression and agitation are not compelling.

Give speeches with a minimal number of "ums" and "likes"

Have a clear organizational structure for your speeches. Signpost and don't jump all over the place on the flow.

Weigh arguments in your rebuttals, summaries, and final focuses. Don't just read a block.

Stella Yu Paradigm

6 rounds

Parent judge

speak slowly probably a little faster than conversational pace I won’t listen to speeches that I can’t understand

i will do my best to flow all the important stuff

this process will be easier for me if you send me a speech doc:

John Zeng Paradigm

6 rounds

Lay parent judge. Please speak very slowly and clearly and persuasively explain why you won in your last speech. Refrain from using debate and resolution terminology without explaining. No progressive arguments. I do not disclose my decision.

Lynnea Zhang Paradigm

2 rounds

Emory '23 | Strath Haven '19 | 2A/1N

tech > truth

please put me on the email chain: lynnea(dot)zhang@gmail(dot)com


i don't think there is much delineation between my philosophy for LD and Policy. i will give more weight to theory because i recognize that it is apart of LD norms, except for rvis. rvis are silly.

Top Level

i go by the flow. rehighlight cards. if i look grouchy, you're doing something wrong. do ev comparison, don't just spit warrants back and forth.



good disad debates have well explained links and nuanced turns case.

politics das make me happy.


as a 2a, i really hate sufficiency framing and don't want to vote on it, so throughly explain solvency deficits and their implications

i will be very very sad if i have to flow your 24 point at: perm do the counterplan block

remind me to judge kick, otherwise its a gamble if i do

Impact turns

<333 1ar impact turns are ballsy, but awesome.

without a doubt the most fun to judge if they're debated well with lots of warrants.


if you're running one, your burden is still to disprove the aff. please debate the case. i am probably not familiar with your theory, but have no ideological preferences when it comes to what your scholarship is as long as it is well explained.

i find k debates good and fascinating when they are debated well and will reward points accordingly. i will probably be very very annoyed if they are debated poorly.

how does the alt solve the links? this level of explanation matters most for me but is almost always the least explained in round.

i really really do not care that fiat isn't real, i'm probably going to weigh the aff

K Affs

do your thing. i really enjoy well-developed case debate, k aff or otherwise. the best k affs capably explain their method to resolve a problem. impact turns vs k affs are great.

K Affs vs T

i think debate is a game and the only impact that my ballot can really resolve is procedural fairness. however, if you can prove why that that's a bad or violent model, you've leveled the playing field.

counter define words in the resolution.

procedural fairness >>> truth-testing/refinement > topic education > deliberation > any other impact


i'd prefer if you choose to go for substance, like really prefer, but please explain exactly why i should reject the team if you go for theory.

condo is probably pretty good

unless it's dropped, i have a high threshold for voting issues. my team routinely runs very abusive counterplans, so there's no alarm that really goes off in my head; sorry fellow 2As.


i like t debates. please explain the violation clearly and compare counter-interps.

untopical affs should go for reasonability and literature checks limits/potential abuse. i find the arg that ground shapes limits on certain resolutions very persuasive in determining an impact to something like ground loss or limits explosion.

Speaker Points

are arbitrary

extra points:

- being open source. disclosure always makes for better debates, let me know if you're open source before the round and i will bump your points!! = +0.2

- useful rehighlighting of cards = +0.2

- its t-usfg, not framework

tl;dr a la buntin



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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Greg Zoda Paradigm

6 rounds

I debated in college at Baylor and in high school at Bishop Guertin

I coach college and high school policy and high school LD


I almost always flow on paper and do my best to avoid reading evidence out of the speech doc. I have never been great at coming up with shorthand on the fly, so while I think I write relatively quickly, I'm still trying to improve my flow. I put this first because it's reasonable of you to expect me to keep as close of a record of your arguments as I can, and I'm very concerned with doing so to the best of my ability. Some things that could immediately help you immensely:

- slow down (just some) and pauses between arguments - this will honestly result in more on my flow than the inverse

- try to be conscious of pen time - I'll try to be as facially expressive as I can, and if you would prefer for a verbal cue like "slow" or "clear" instead, then please let me know

- numbering and labeling - not for the sake of some ultra-technical "you dropped our #18 answer" kind of thing, but just try to logically break up arguments and reference them when you can

- I really want to be able to hear card text without having to reference a computer - I understand that this hasn't been the norm for a while and I also completely understand that clarity is sometimes complicated by things outside of people's control, but I'm just looking for some effort in making the text of evidence at least mostly audible

More than any argumentative content or stylistic preference, I just want to hear debaters that are genuinely engaged with their research. I enjoy when the strategic aspects of debate cause people to develop clever strategies or interesting spins on arguments I may have heard before. Basically, if you are clearly invested in what you're talking about, it's relatively easy to get me interested too.

The ability to use specific examples often makes the difference in terms of how "warranted" I think an argument is. These kinds of discussions are where a lot of rounds are won or lost.

A phrase that will help you a lot in front of me is "which means that...". I really value framing issues when they are clearly connected together to form a big picture, especially in the later rebuttals. This is another way of saying that impact calculus is usually the first thing I look at when deciding rounds.

LD Specific Stuff

- I'm just not a fan of theory unless there is genuine truth to the abuse claim. This standard is obviously inherently arbitrary, but there's a difference between reading conditionality and writing massive AC underviews or theory shells with spikes, trix, cheap shots, and time sucks. I'm a fine judge for topicality and even for legitimate theory issues when debated in depth, but if you're going to do so, this can't just be a battle of the blocks.

- I'd prefer not to disclose speaks immediately after the round in most instances.

- Because I grew up doing exclusively policy debate, I am not familiar with a lot of common buzzwords for philosophical concepts in LD, even if I'm sometimes familiar with the ideas in question. For example, I've debated about utilitarianism in policy an uncountable number of times, but we never discussed things like the intent-foresight distinction or personal identity reductionism. You can obviously read these arguments, but just recognize that we don't have the exact same language regarding them.