Alexis Elliott Memorial Round Robin

2019 — Bowling Green, KY/US

Kevin Ambrose Paradigm

8 rounds

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Brian Anderson Paradigm

8 rounds

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Tyler Behymer Paradigm

8 rounds

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Shanna Carlson Paradigm

Background: I competed in parliamentary and LD debate for Washburn University for five years (2005-2010). I freelance coached and judged for three years. I have taught high school and college debate camps for the University of Texas-Dallas, ISU, and Kyushu University in Japan. I am currently the Director of Debate at Illinois State University.


I believe that the debate is yours to be had, but there are a few things that you should know:

1. Blippy, warrantless debates are mind numbing. If you do not have a warrant to a claim, then you do not have an argument even if they drop it. This usually occurs at the top of the AC/NC when you are trying to be "clever." Less "clever," more intelligent. I do not evaluate claims unless there are no real arguments in a round. Remember that a full argument consists of a claim supported by warrants with evidence.

2. I don't really care about speed--go as fast as you want as long as you are clear and warranted. I will give you two verbal "clears" if you are going too fast or I cannot understand you. After that I quit flowing and if I do not flow it I do not evaluate it. Additionally, I do believe that the speed at which you go should be accessible to everyone in the round, this means your competitor and other judges on a panel. I am open to voting on accessibility and/or clarity kritiks. SPEED SHOULD NOT BE A TOOL OF EXCLUSION!!!!!!

3. I often vote for the one argument I can find that actually has an impact. I do not evaluate moral obligations in the round (if you say "Moral Obligation" in college LD Debate I stop flowing, take a selfie, and mock you on social media). This does not mean I will not vote for dehumanization is bad, but I need a warrant outside of just telling me I am morally obligated to do something. Moral obligations are lazy debate, warrant out your arguments. HIGH SCHOOL LD DEBATERS- IGNORE THIS

4. Run whatever strategy you want--I will do my best to evaluate whatever you give me in whatever frame I'm supposed to--if you don't give me the tools I default to policy maker, if it's clearly not a policy maker paradigm round for some reason I'll make something up to vote on...basically, your safest bet is to tell me where to vote.

5. If you are rude, I will not hesitate to tank your speaker points. There is a difference between confidence, snarkiness, and rudeness.

6. When running a kritik you need to ensure that you have framework, impacts, links, an alternative text, alt solvency, and role of the ballot (lacking any of these will make it hard for me to vote for you)...I also think you should explain what the post alt world looks like.

7. If you are going to run a CP and a kritik you need to tell me which comes first and where to look. You may not like how I end up ordering things, so the best option is to tell me how to order the flow.

8. Impact calc is a MUST. This is the best way to ensure that I'm evaluating what you find to be the most important in the round.

9. Number or letter your arguments. The word "Next" or "And" is not a number or a letter. Doing this will make my flow neater and easier to follow and easier for you to sign post and extend in later speeches. It also makes it easier for me to make a decision in the end.

10. I base my decision on the flow as much as possible. I will not bring in my personal beliefs or feelings toward an argument as long as there is something clear to vote on. If I have to make my own decision due to the debaters not being clear about where to vote on the flow or how arguments interact, I will be forced to bring my own opinion in and make a subjective decision rather than an objective decision.

11. If you advocate for a double win I automatically vote for the other person, issue you 1 speaker point, and leave the room. This is a debate, not a conversation. We are here to compete, so don't try to do something else.

12. Wilderson has stated that he does not want his writings used in debate by white individuals. He believes that the use of his writings is contradictory to what he overall stands for because he feels like you are using his arguments and black individuals as a tool to win (functionally monetizing black individuals). So for the love of all that is good please stop running these cards and respect the author's wishes. If you are white and you run his evidence I will not evaluate it out of respect for the author.

13. If you advocate for a double win I automatically vote for the other debater and walk out of the room. If you don't want to debate, don't.

15. I will give you auto 30 speaker points if you read your 1AC out of a black book with page turns.

Really, I'm open to anything. Debate, have fun, and be engaging. Ask me any questions you may have before the start of the round so that we can all be on the same page :) I also believe this activity should be a learning experience for everyone, so if after a round you have any questions please feel free to approach me and talk to me! I truly mean this because I love talking about debate and the more each debater gains from a round will provide for better rounds in the future for me to judge. If you ever have questions about a comment or RFD please ask. My email is

Matthew Doggett Paradigm

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Dustin Greenwalt Paradigm

Plan-less Affs section UPDATED 11/12/19


- Arguments I’ll vote on if you twist my arm, but it has to be a very clear debate so beware: Inherency, vagueness or any other non-topicality procedural, conditionality bad, PICs bad, Aff framework against the K, non-evidenced analytics, and random NFA LD rules violations (the last one basically never). Otherwise, any argument is fine.

- I default competing interpretations on T.

- I'm most likely to decide the debate on offense. Defense can help amplify the importance of your offensive arguments, but it's generally insufficient on its own.

- Tech over truth. If an argument is obviously false or morally repugnant you should be able to convince me of it through line by line argumentation.

- Never assume you're winning 100% probability of an argument.

- Fast and smart is best, smart and slow is second best.

The Longer Version Starts Here

My background is in NDT-CEDA debate where I competed (Wayne State), coached (Baylor), and occasionally judged (Georgia). I’m currently coaching for Penn State in LD where I'm a faculty member.

At its heart, debate is a competitive activity where the rules are generally up for contestation. I understand there are community norms around speed and types of arguments, but I tend to think that debate is for the debaters so you can expect me to regard what happens in round as much more important than some norm or rule imposed from above. Even my predispositions, a description of which follows, are generally just that: predispositions that can be shifted depending on the debate.

A Special Note About Speed: I will be able to flow everything that happens in the debate without a problem. Feel free to speak as fast as you are capable, as long as you are clear enough for me to get your arguments. I will not yell 'clear' - you need to listen to yourself speak and make sure you're not garbling arguments. I will not vote for an argument I couldn't at least comprehend somewhat in the first speech. However, the argument that "speed is an exclusionary weapon" is nonsense. You are not excluded from the debate because you can't keep up. Smart and efficient beats fast and vacuous 9/10 times. If you're slow, get more efficient, group arguments, point out places where arguments are insufficiently warranted, etc. I've yet to see a debater who is 'too fast' to flow, and if someone is too unclear such that I can't make sense of their arguments then don't worry, they won't carry substantial weight in my decision.

I tend to judge debates as a mixture of an argument critic and policy-maker. Left to my own devices, I will evaluate the round from the perspective of offense-defense with an eye towards the quality of evidence and arguments as a way to determine the relative probability of particular claims. This means that, to win my ballot, it’s probably best to engage in both comparative risk and evidence evaluations – I will largely default to these if provided. I'm unlikely to evaluate any argument as having 100% risk or lack thereof and tend to vote for the team with the most offense - that doesn't mean I don't evaluate defense, but you need to be able to have some risk of accessing your opponent's impacts or have some really persuasive impact framing that makes them a non-issue. It’s probably also best to narrow the debate in the final rebuttals and highlight what the crucial arguments are. My disposition towards argument criticism is likely to compel me to not give arguments much weight if there isn’t substantial work invested in them.

I'm finding that I have a strong preference for specific arguments and stories. For example, if you read a K as a case turn and without an external impact I'm very likely to vote aff if they make the argument that they have specific solvency evidence and a better description of how they would solve. Similarly, I find 'alt solves the aff' arguments to be suspect. In the context of a K debate, if you want those arguments to carry weight with me you need to do some detailed explanation of the how and why. See more below about this, I'm a very good judge for critique debaters, but having an external impact will get you much further. The same applies for policy debates. I want to know the specific scenario - if you don't have one try and spin something.

Topicality: I generally think that topicality is a voting issue, and given my background in rhetoric I like technical grammar and definitional debates. The importance of these debates, however, is in the standards – I tend to like small and deep topics as opposed to really broad ones but can be persuaded. When going for the reasonability vs. competing interpretations debate it would behoove you to focus on just how reasonable different interpretations are and what the impact of including/excluding the affirmative is.

I definitely have a higher standard for theory and vagueness arguments. While winning the affirmative isn’t topical and winning impacts to that might be enough to win my ballot, other procedural arguments require actual abuse to be persuasive. Debate should be hard and I tend to think some limited form of conditionality, states CP, Consult, and most other forms of CPs are OK. Affirmatives that want to go for theory should focus on convincing me that their opponents have made the debate impossible, not just hard.

I’m pretty good with whatever arguments you want to read within a particular ethical range – e.g. I’m OK with weird extinction good arguments but not with Holocaust denial or other types of arguments that might exclude particular identities from society.

I likely have at least a working knowledge of your critical arguments, focus on link development and impact framing. I really want to know the bad stuff the affirmative does, or the problems with their epistemology/ontology/politics/ideology or whatever. Generally, you should do you in terms of critical arguments on the aff or neg but I do have a relatively high expectation for levels of explanation. I tend to find permutations to be incoherent - unless your affirmative really does resist whatever is being criticized or you have link turn offense, it's probably better to go for impact turns and rebuttals to the thesis of the argument when you're aff. A permutation against the security or cap K when your aff has a heg advantage seems like a losing argument, although I've voted for it before.

About plan-less and critical affs: I'm probably better for these types of affs than most people in LD. I tend to think that you need to be germane to the resolution, or 'topical', but you don't necessarily have to defend USFG action or anything like that. I think this means that the aff has to answer direct impact turns to the resolution. I'm happy to either clock in on impact turns to framework or vote on it depending on the debate. There are some persuasive debate-theoretical and substantive reasons why we should debate about pragmatic change and government policies. There are also some persuasive reasons why exclusively USFG- centric/state-action/flip sides models might be bad.

In debates where the aff lacks a plan or is otherwise non-traditional, framing is really important. How does the aff access its' solvency or performance? How does the ballot function? Controlling these kinds of framing questions is important, and I'm like to default to the team that best explains how the debate functions when making a decision. That means as the negative, it would behoove you to make arguments about the juncture/disjuncture between the affirmative and the debate or their evidence.

It's OK to want to win and show it. Being argumentative and uncivil is fine, even in the post-round when my decision didn't go your way. We invest countless hours of our lives in the activity and it should mean a lot to you, because winning means a lot to me. That being said, have fun and try to know the difference between being uncivil and actually mean. If you’re going to cross that line and be mean you better be really funny.

Speaker Point addendum

I tend to judge speaks based on the quality of argumentation, with some attention to presentation and Cross-X. I judge the wins/losses mostly on a technical and argument quality basis. This is a bit different. It's a bit of an inexact science, but here's some insight.

Below 27.5 frown - I will almost never give below a 27.5 - you did something offensive.

27.5-28 undecided- You did a thing, it was pretty good, but I wasn't totally pleased with the quality of arguments/evidence/presentation. Your cross-ex's may have been substantially lacking.

28.5-29 smile - Strong arguments, presentation, and evidence. Usually displays some kind of clever framing or a particularly good cross-ex. You have a chance of being a lower seed in outrounds.

29-29.9 laughing- You should be a high seed at the tournament. You made me laugh or otherwise displayed strong ethos in the debate. Argument, evidence, and presentation are excellent.

30 cool - I give out maybe one of these a year.

Chris Hachet Paradigm

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Craig Hennigan Paradigm

Updated for LD judging

Craig Hennigan
Truman State University

TL/DR - I'm fine on the K. Need in round abuse for T. I'm fine with speed. K Alts that do something more than naval-gazing is preferred. Avoid running away from arguments.

I debated high school policy in the early 90’s and then college policy in 1994. I also competed in NFA-LD for 4 or 5 years, I don't recall, I know my last season was 1999? I then coached at Utica High School and West Bloomfield High school in Michigan for their policy programs for an additional 8 years. I coached for 5 years at Wayne State University. Now I am the Assistant Director of Forensics at Truman State University in my 5th year running the debate part of the program.

Dropped arguments can carry a lot of weight with me if you make an issue of them early. This being said, I have been more truth over tech lately. Some arguments are so bad I'm inclined to do work against it. If its cold conceded I will go with it, but if its a truly bad interpretation/argument, it won't take a lot to mitigate risk of it happening. I have responded well to sensible 'gut check' arguments before.

I enjoy debaters who can keep my flow neat. You need to have clear tags on your cards. I REQUIRE a differentiation in how you say the tag/citation and the evidence. If it blends together, I do not do well flowing your argument.

With regard to specific arguments – I will vote seldom on theory arguments that do not show significant in-round abuse. Potential abuse is a non-starter for me, and time skew to me is a legit strategy unless it’s really really bad. My threshold for theory then is pretty high if you cannot show a decent abuse story. Showing an abuse story should come well before the last rebuttal. If it is dropped though, I will most likely drop the argument before the team. Reminders in round about my disposition toward theory is persuasive such as "You don't want to pull the trigger on condo bad," or "I know you don't care for theory, here is why this is a uniquely bad situation where I don't get X link and why that is critical to this debate." Intrinsic and severance perms I think are bad if you can show why they are intrinsic or severance. Again, I'd drop argument before team.

I don’t like round bullys. If you run an obscure K philosophy don't expect everyone in the room to know who/what it is saying. It is the duty of those that want to run the K to be a ‘good’ person who wants to enhance the education of all present. I have voted for a lot of K's though so it's not like I'm opposed to them. K alternatives should be able to be explained well in the cross-x. I will have a preference for K alts that actually "do" something. The influence of my ballot on the discourse of the world at large is default minimal, on the debate community default is probably even less than minimal. Repeating jargon of the card is a poor strategy, if you can explain what the world looks like post alternative, that's awesome. I have found clarity to be a premium need in LD debate since there is much less time to develop a K. Failing to explain what the K does in the 1AC/NC then revealing it in the 1AR/NR is bad. If the K alt mutates into something else in the NR, this is a pretty compelling reason to vote Aff. (Or in the opposite of the person running the K for that matter).

Never run from a debate. I'll respect someone that goes all-in for the heg good/heg bad argument and gets into a debate more than someone who attempts to be incredibly tricksy in case/plan writing or C-X in order to avoid potential arguments. Ideal C-X would be:

"Does your case increase spending?"

"Damn right, what you gon' do about it? Catch me outside."

I will vote on T. Again, there should be an in-round abuse story to garner a ballot for T. This naturally would reinforce the previous statement under theory that says potential abuse is a non-starter for me. Developing T as an impact based argument rather than a rules based argument is more persuasive. As potential abuse is not typically a voter for me and I'll strike down speaker points toward RVI's based on bad theory. Regarding K's of T, there are better ways to garner offense, like say... your case.

Anything that you intend to win on I need to have more than 15 seconds spent on it. I won't vote for a blip that isn't properly impacted. Rebuttals should consist of focusing on the arguments that will win you the round. It should reflect some heavy lifting and doing some real work on the part of the debater. It should not be a laundry list of answers without a comparative analysis of why one argument is clearly superior and a round winner. Kevin Ambrose said during one of my decisions that the ability to encapsulate the round in the last 15-20 seconds of your speech is a lost art. I agree.

Performance: Give me a reason to vote. And make sure to adequately respond to your opponents arguments with the performance. I do not see that many of those rounds in the first place. If you win a framework debate, you're more than halfway there to a win. I think there are lots of ways that framework can be run that isn't inherently exclusive to debate styles. However I think there are framework arguments that are exclusive too, which isn't very cool. The main issues that I voted on in those rounds were dropped arguments. If a team running an alternative style aff/K is able to show that the other team is dropping arguments then that is just as valid as the traditional style making claims that arguments are dropped and should be weighed accordingly. I am seldom compelled that my ballot changes anything outside the debate community or outside the room. If you have specific evidence to why it does, then I have voted on those arguments (Think Giroux type evidence on pedagogy). Most of the time though, the idea that my ballot changes anything places too much importance on me. I'm just a poor debate coach. However if there's things in the room that are going on that can be remedied by my ballot, I'm definitely listening.

Speaker Points -

Upon entering the LD community, I was informed that my previous speaker point distribution was akin to Santa Claus on a meth binge. It has now been revised.

Floor- 25 - you might have said something offensive about the other team or my family. I may have had to think about whether or not to stop the round. You didn't complete a speech and conceded. You were racist/sexist/homophobic/transphobic and unapologetic. Or you didn't complete speeches.

26-26.5 - You made me feel like a qualified judge. (There were noticable and glaring flaws in your strategy. You went for Condo Bad without a unique reason why I should vote and there was only 1 K and 1 CP in the round. You have problems with fundamentals of making arguments)

26.5-27 - I had to think and do work, but also had to send you a message that I'm not a good judge. (You made some tactical errors that I noticed perhaps went for the wrong NR, or you asked a bunch of questions in C-X that never came up in the speech. Or you lacked confidence, you looked like you were behind. You dropped a lot on the flow.)

27-27.5 - Meh. Middle of the road.

28 - You made me pay attention to my flowing. At one point I was hoping you would not go for the PIC because I had no idea what was happening on that flow. (Odds are you made the correct strategic decisions, outcarded your opponents or did not drop round-winning arguments and tooks advantage of your opponents dropped arguments. You should get a low speaker award)

28.5-29.5 - I would give you a cigarette after the round if asked if I still smoked. (You have noticed a double turn or a speech act by your opponent that is a round winner. You also have reminded me of items in my paradigm for why you are going for the items that you are. You should be top 10 to top 5 speaker.)

29.5-30 - Would you like to do my oral defense for me? (I could not find a flaw in your performance to incredibly minor flaws that there is little way to realize that they even happened)

Small note: If you're totally outmatching your opponent, you're going to earn speaker points not by smashing your opponent, but rather through making debate a welcoming and educational experience for everyone.

Card Clipping addendum:

Don't cheat. I typically ask to be included on email chains so that I can try to follow along at certain points of the speech to ensure that there isn't card clipping, however if you bring it up I in round I will also listen. You probably ought to record the part with clipping if I don't bring it up myself. Also, if I catch clipping (and if I catch it, it's blatant) then that's it, round over, other team doesn't have to bring it up if I noticed it.

Justin Kirk Paradigm

Justin Kirk

Director of Debate at University of Nebraska-Lincoln

20 years judging experience @ about 40 rounds per year

"I believe I have an obligation to work as hard at judging as the debaters do preparing for the debates." – Scott Harris

General philosophy – Debate is primarily a communications based activity, and if you are not communicating well, your arguments are probably incoherent, and you are probably not going to win many debates in front of me. It is your responsibility to make quality arguments. An argument consists of a claim, a warrant, and an impact. Evidence supports argumentation, it does not supplant it. However, analytic arguments and comparative claims about argument quality are essential to contextualizing your evidence and applying it to the issues developed throughout the debate. Quality arguments beat bad evidence every time.

I flow every debate and expect teams to answer arguments made by the other team. You should also flow every debate. That does not mean start flowing after the speech documents run out. Cross-examinations that consist mostly of "what cards did you read" or "what cards did you skip" are not cross examinations and do you little to no good in terms of winning the debate. If you have questions about whether or not the other team made an argument or answered a particular argument, consult your flow, not the other team. The biggest drawback to paperless debate is that people debate off speech docs and not their flows, this leads to shoddy debating and an overall decline in the quality of argumentation and refutation.

Each team has a burden of refutation, and arguing the entire debate from macro-level arguments without specifically refuting the other side's arguments will put you at a severe disadvantage in the debate. Burden of proof falls upon the team making an argument. Unwarranted, unsupported assertions are a non-starter for me. It is your responsibility is to make whole arguments and refute the arguments made by the other side. Evaluating the debate that occurred is mine. The role of my ballot is to report to the tab room who I believe won the debate.

Paperless Debate – You should make every attempt to provide a copy of the speech documents to me and the other team before the speech. Disclosure is a norm in debate and you should endeavor to disclose any previously run arguments before the debate. Open source is not a norm, but is an absolutely preferable means of disclosure to cites only. The easiest way to resolve this is through an email thread for the debate, it saves time and the risk of viruses are decreased substantially through email. I suspect that paperless debate has also led to a substantial decrease in clarity and corresponding increases in cross-reading and clipping. I have zero tolerance for cheating in debate, and will have no qualms about voting against you, assigning zero speaker points, and speaking to your coaches about it. Clarity is a must. You will provide me speech documents to read during the debate so I may better understand the debate that is occurring in front of me. I will ask you to be clearer if you are not and if you continue to be unclear, I will stop flowing your arguments.

Topicality – Is good for debate, it helps to generate clash, prevents abusive affirmatives, and generally wins against affirmatives that have little to no instrumental relation to the topic. Topicality definitions should be precise, and the reasons to prefer your topicality violation should be clear and have direct relation to your interpretation. Topicality debates are about the scope of and competition generated by the resolution. I usually default to competing interpretations, as long as both sides have clear, contextual, and well warranted interpretations. If your interpretation is missing one of these three elements, go for another argument. Reasonability is a winnable argument in front of me as long as you offer specific and warranted reasons why your interpretation is reasonable vis-à-vis the negative. I vote on potential abuse and proven abuse.

Kritiks – Should be based in the resolution and be well researched with specific links to the affirmative. Reading generic links to the topic is insufficient to establish a link to the affirmative. Alternatives should be well explained and evidenced with specific warrants as to the question of link solvency. A majority of kritik debates that are lost by negative teams where they have failed to explain the link debate or alternative adequately. A majority of kritik debates that are lost by affirmative teams when I am judging are ones where the affirmative failed to sufficiently argue for a permutation argument or compare the impacts of the affirmative to the impacts of the criticism sufficiently. I firmly believe that the affirmative gets to weigh the advantages of the plan against the impacts of the criticism unless the link to the criticism directly stems from the framing of the Affirmative impacts. I also believe that the affirmative can usually win solvency deficits to the alternative based upon deficits in implementation and/or instrumentalization of the alternative. Arguments that these solvency deficits do not apply because of framework, or that the affirmative has no right to solving the affirmative, are non-starters for me.

Counterplans – Yes. The more strategic, the better. Should be textually and functionally competitive. Texts should be written out fully and provided to the other team before cross examination begins. The negative should have a solvency card or net benefit to generate competition. PICs, conditional, topical counterplans, international fiat, states counterplans are all acceptable forms of counterplans. NR counterplans are an effective means of answering new 1AR arguments and add-ons and are fair to the affirmative team if they are responses to new 1AR developments. I believe that counterplans are the most effective means of testing the affirmative's plan via competitive policy options and are an effective means of solving for large portions of the affirmative. Counterplans are usually a fair check against new affirmatives, non-intrinsic advantages, and affirmatives with bad or no solvency evidence. If you have a theoretical objection to the counterplan, make it compelling, have an interpretation, and win offense. Theoretical objections to the counterplan are fine, but I have a high threshold for these arguments unless there is a specific violation and interpretation that makes sense in the context of competitive demands in debate.

Disads – Yes and yes. A likely winning strategy in front of me usually involves going for a disadvantage to the affirmative and burying the case with quality arguments and evidence. Disadvantages should have specific links to the case and a coherent internal link story. It is your job to explain the causal chain of events that leads to the disadvantage. A disadvantage with no internal links is no disad.

Case Debate - Is a lost art. Most affirmatives are a hodgepodge of thrown together internal links and old impact evidence. Affirmatives are particularly bad at extending their affirmative and answering negative arguments. Especially new affirmatives. Negative teams should spend a substantial portion of the debate arguing why the affirmative case is problematic. Fewer and fewer teams invest any time in arguing the case, at the cost of a criticism or disadvantage that usually isn't worth reading in the first place. Time trade-offs are not nearly as valuable as quality indictments of the 1AC. Spend those three minutes answering the advantages and solvency and don't read that third criticism or fourth disadvantage, it usually doesn't help you anyway. Inidict the 1AC evidence, make comparative claims about their evidence and your evidence, challenge the specificity or quality of the internal links.

Evidence - Qualifications, context, and data matter. You should answer the evidence read in the debate because I will read evidence at the end. One of the largest problems with paperless debate is the persistence of reading cards to answer cards when a simple argument about the context or quality of the evidence will do. It takes less time to answer a piece of terrible evidence with an analytic argument than it does to read a card against it. It is useless to throw good cards after bad.

Speaker Points - Are a reflection of the quality of speaking, arguments, and strategic choice made by debaters in the debate – no more, no less.

One final note - I have heard and seen some despicable things in debate in the past few years. Having a platform to espouse your ideas does not give you the right to make fun of other debaters' limitations, tell them to die, blame them for other's deaths, threaten them with violence (explicitly or implicitly), or generally be a horrible person. Debate as an activity was designed to cultivate a community of burgeoning intellectuals whose purpose is the pedagogical development of college students through a competitive and repetitive engagement of complex ideas. If you think that something you are about to say might cross the line from argument into personal attack or derogatory statement do not say it. If you decide to cross that line, it is my interpretation of the event that matters and I will walk out of your debate and assign you an immediate loss.

Quinn McKenzie Paradigm

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Chad Meadows Paradigm

8 rounds

Debate should reward hard work. Your strategies and in round execution should reflect intensive research and thought about the topic/your opponents arguments.

Truth over Tech - but you have to be prepared to debate. I have strong preferences against nonsense, but you must be skilled enough to meet a minimum threshold for responsiveness.

Things to not do

Read topicality without a definition.

Read procedurals without implications for topicality.

Read a bunch of old debate articles/textbooks without links topic specific evidence.

Make a bunch of underdeveloped defensive arguments and appeal to presumption.

Make a bunch of shallow offensive arguments and appeal to “try or die”.

Appeal to the rules as a primary strategy.

Rely on an RVI as a response to Topicality. I don’t even flow it.

Pretend that a stock issues paradigm is a reliably valuable approach to evaluate policy controversies.

Be an unreasonable awful person as you debate.

Trot out an obscenely outdated back-file that you are not prepared to defend or persuasively argue. I get that back-files are helpful, but preparation has to be more than Copy/Paste.

Things to do

Read about the topic. Anything about TOPIC. Gender/Security Rhetoric/Leadership/Drug Policy/Eco-Feminism / Post-Colonial Studies ….IT DOESN’T MATTER. Just read about the topic, or you missed the point. Nearly all question of argument preference could be filtered through the lens of topic relevance.

Demonstrate competency when selecting the arguments you advance in the debate. This includes collapsing in the 1NR.

Demonstrate a reasonable amount of preparation to discuss a diverse set of issues relevant to the resolution and in round performance.


Debate should be a referendum on the quality and quantity of research done first, and then a matter of execution later. I will reward debaters who do excellent and thorough research over debaters who have “slick tricks” to win debates. I think evidence is VERY important, its quality and qualifications should be debated. I will usually prefer excellent evidence to spin. When comparing a good card which was not well explained/had no spin vs. no card or a bad card with excellent spin I will typically prefer the good card. I will call for cards after the debate. I will generally only call for evidence which is referenced in the final two rebuttals. Refer to evidence by last name and date after it has been cited in the first instance. If you do not READILY share citations and evidence with your opponent in the round - I WILL be cranky, probably vote against you, or at the very least give you TERRIBLE speaker points.


If speaking at a more rapid rate is used to advance more scholarship in the round, I encourage debaters to speak quickly. If speaking quickly devolves into assaulting the round with a barrage of bad arguments in the hope that your opponent will not clash with them all, my ballot and speaker points will not encourage this practice. I keep an excellent and detailed flow. However, winning for me is more about establishing a coherent and researched explanation of the world rather than extending a specific argument. An argument is not “true” because it is extended on one sheet of paper if it is logically answered by evidence on another sheet of paper or later on the line by line. You can check your rhetorical bullying at the door. Posturing, repeating yourself (even loudly), insulting your opponents, or insisting that I will "ALWAYS vote here" are probably a waste of your time.

Argument Selection

Any argument that advances argument on the desirability of the resolution through valid decision making is persuasive. The source of argumentation should be left up to the debaters. I am very unlikely to be persuaded that the source of evidence justifies its exclusion. In particular I am unconvinced the methodology, epistemology, ontology, and other indicts pertaining to the foundation of the affirmative are unjustified avenues of research to explore in debate. Above all else, the content of your argument should not be used to duck clash.

Strong Argument Preferences:

1 - Topicality is a voter and not a reverse voter. "Proving abuse" is irrelevant, well explained standards are not.

2 – The affirmative does not have to specify more than is required to affirm the resolution. I encourage Affirmatives to dismiss specs/vagueness and other procedurals without implications for the topicality of the affirmative with absolute disregard.

3 – Conditionality is logical, restraints on logical decision making are only justified in extreme circumstances.

4 – There is nothing implied in the plan. Consult, process, and other counterplans which include the entirety of the plan text are not competitive.

5 – I will decide if the counterplan is competitive by evaluating if the permutation is better than the counterplan alone or if the plan is better than counterplan. Ideological, philosophical, and redudancy standards for competiton are not persuasive and not useful for making decisions.

6 – I mediate my preferences for arguably silly counterplans like agent, international, and PICS/PECS primarily based upon the quality of the counterplan solvency evidence.

7 – Direction/Strength of link evidence is more important than “controlling uniqueness” This is PARTICULARLY true when BOTH sides have compelling and recent uniqueness evidence. Uniqueness is a strong factor in the relative probability of the direction of the link, if you don't have uniqueness evidence you are behind.

8 - I do not have a "threshold" on topicality. A vote for T is just as internally valid as a vote for a DA. I prefer topicality arguments with topic specific interpretation and violation evidence. I will CLOSELY evaluate your explanation on the link and impact of your standards.

9 - I am very unlikely to make a decision primarily based upon defensive arguments.

Public forum

1 - First summary does not have to extend defense if it is not frontlined. If it is frontlined then you must extend it.

2 - 2nd rebuttal will get a major bonus in terms of speaker points and argument evaluation if they collapse and also frontline the argument you collapse to.

3 - Read real cards. Please please please read cards.

Margaret Michels Paradigm

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Seth Peckham Paradigm

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Bailey Rung Paradigm

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