Crowe Warken Debates at USNA

2020 — Annapolis, MD/US

Pirzada Ahmad Paradigm

8 rounds


Eight years of policy debate

2014-2018 Dartmouth

What you probably want:

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

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

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

4] I am fine for topicality vs plan affs.

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

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

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

8] I think I am moderately expressive.

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


1] I prefer limits arguments over ones about ground.

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

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


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

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

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


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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

Other things that I like and dislike:

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

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

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

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

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

Dan Bannister Paradigm

3 rounds

highland park (MN) '16
university of kentucky '20

put me on the email chain: danbann55 at gmail


--short version: bad for Ks, high threshold for T vs policy affs, author quals matter a LOT, best debates are DA vs case, condo is fine, you can't insert re-highlighting, "framing" contentions are not answers to DAs, i will never vote for death good

--i’m finding I care a lot more about truth over tech when an argument isn’t based in evidence or is facially stupid. tech is still almost always over truth - but don’t expect me to care about your “dropped” half sentence analytic that contravenes basic knowledge about the world/debate

--won't vote for any argument that promotes sedition

--both high school and college have this stupid thing where both sides read a million cards about revisionism at each other. this sucks. states aren't yes/no revisionist, revisionism is a strategy that actors within states sometimes use, and the only reason it would ever matter is in the context of a more specific link argument to explicate the scope of a state's revisionism in a given context. so instead of reading 6 "yes china is revisionist" cards, just read more links - it will be infinitely more useful.

--we all need be much more aware of the sharp decline in participation in college debate. at the 2012 wake tournament, there were teams from 71 schools participating in the open division. at the 2018 one, there were only 50 programs represented. it was even worse at GSU this year. that's 20 programs that decided they didn't want to have a policy debate team anymore. where will debate be in 10 years?


--i'd rather play in traffic than vote for "t: pearson". by the way, please stop referring to args by author names, it is like nails on a chalkboard


it will be nearly impossible to get me to vote against framework with a fairness impact. fairness is an impact -- saying otherwise is akin to saying eating food is just an internal link to not being hungry, which is just an internal link to not being dead... etc. absent a course correction, college debate is highly unsustainable given current trends. the activity would be in a much better place if everyone read a plan.

neg Ks need to have links to the plan OR invest heavily in framework arguments that make me think differently -- BUT, I will say that in an evenly debated round, I haven't heard a persuasive reason why i should disregard the plan yet.

not going to evaluate arguments about stuff that happened outside the round/in other debates.

I don't care that fiat isn't real.

POLICY STUFF: I'm way less ideological about policy things, but here's most of the things I think are worth mentioning.

--something i keep seeing 2acs say: "process CPs are a voting issue", "CPs that could result in the aff are a voting issue". neither of these are arguments. every CP is a process CP -- what's a CP that doesn't involve a process? and every CP except "ban the plan" COULD result in the aff. i wish neg teams would point this out more. you can make theory-based objections to CPs, aff teams, but you have to have a real interpretation.

--other CP theory: debating controls everything. BUT, in an evenly debated round (which almost never happens), here's the way i lean. pics out of topic words in the plan are great especially when functionally competitive, "ctrl+f the 1ac" word pics are ridiculously bad, states CP is fine, international counterplans bad, CPs that compete off "resolved" and "should" bad, consult probably bad, offsets CP probably good, lopez CP probably very bad

--conditionality almost definitely good but i'm starting to change my mind -- lots of CPs, amending stuff in the block, kicking planks, fiating out of straight turns... all of that makes me think condo can be bad, BUT, it has to be really egregious because it's really obvious when people go for conditionality just because they're losing substance, and that is stupid.

--I'm not very good for neg teams going for T against a policy aff (although I understand it’s sometimes necessary). we have so few debates about the topic these days, why waste them on having a T debate? again, if the aff really is ridiculous, I get it, but c'mon...

--1ar doesn't get new args without explicit justification of those args. If the block reads a new impact, you obvi get new answers, but you can't just read new arguments about the content of the 1nc without a reason why that's okay.

--framing contentions are silly when they're used to avoid answering DAs -- but neg teams need to devote some time to telling me why this is the case

--"insert this re-highlighting" is not a thing, you need to read it in the speech/in CX

--judgekick is default if the neg says their CP is conditional. however, aff teams are welcome to make judgekick bad arguments, I just am not going to stick them with the CP unless you say something.

--you'll get good points for debating the case -- it's an underdeveloped skill that seems to have sorta fallen by the wayside.

Tim Barouch Paradigm

4 rounds

I am open to a variety of arguments across what's become the standard spectrum: K, T, counterplans, policy args, performance... To me the genre of your argument is less important than the question of its implications: explain those well in a manner that answers your opponents main claims and you'll be in good shape. 

Speed isn't a problem... but I've found that being comprehensible and making sound evidence comparisons is important. I will read relevant evidence after a debate; but I will also check my flow and assess the debate on the emphasis that the rebuttalists put on arguments (not merely the evidence).

K-- I will vote on it. I like it better when it accesses the case in some way... If it relies on a framework and/or role-of-ballot argument, then that's important to establish clearly at the outset. 

Theory-- I am somewhat old fashioned there... hard to win a debate on it... I don't uncritically accept the way that folks talk about theory (for example, I understand 'opportunity costs', but it's up for grabs whether that's a good way to think about debate theory...) 

Paperless stuff-- I generally run the clock until one side hands the other side a flash drive (unless the delay is because of the other side..). 


Good luck, and have fun!




Jenna Bauer Paradigm

7 rounds

Debated at Gonzaga, Currently Judging for Gonzaga

I did primarily CP/DA/Case debate in college and that's what I'm familiar with.  I'm helping out with research at Gonzaga this year so I'm fairly familiar with the climate college topic.  This is what I think that I think about debate, but I intend to continue updating as I judge more and learn more about what I think. 

Affs: I like plans that defend the hypothetical implementation of the plan and are topical.  You can read your other affs in front of me but I'm more inclined to think that reading a topical plan is important and good for debate.  At the very least you should have a stasis point that is in the direction of the topic and then tell me why that's important. 

Ks: I'm most familiar with gender based Ks, I do not know much about this area in general and I will not understand you if you throw out a bunch of buzzwords.  If you want to read a K, I like a clearly articulated and specific alternative that does something and explains to me why that thing is important.  I am inclined to believe things can always get worse.  If you are set on going for your K, make sure your explanation is on point and your links are specific to the aff. 

DAs: I like them, I'm willing to assign 0 risk of a DA, especially if the link is really bad. I do a lot of elections/politics work.  I will still vote for you if I know your DA is a lie and the other team doesn't call you on it, but I won't be happy about it. 

CPs: I have always been a 2N - I lean a little negative on CP theory, but you should point out when you think they’re cheating and can definitely win if you debate the theory well.

***Added after recieving an email for clarification on my thoughts on Topicality - response below****


Short version: Affs that Intend to be T, I can be persuaded either way, but most likely lean a little neg. I dislike affs that never intended to be T and am likely to be persuaded by framework.  

This topic in my opinion has the potential to be really large or really small depending on the 'acceptable standards' that the community sets on affs that are intending to be topical so your questions are important to me and I hope to answer them well.

Framing for how I think about T - I have always been a 2N and tend to be slightly neg leaning on most things. However, T was never really my A strategy except against teams that were blatantly non-topical so my bias might not be as apparent in this area. 

Topicality for affs that intend to be T - I would say at the beginning of the year I'm more willing to listen to all affs and hear what they think a reasonable interpretation of the topic should be, but I think limits are important especially on this topic.  I can definitely be persuaded either way. While I think aff creativity is important, the research burden for the neg is also a major concern for me.   

Topicality for affs that don't intend to be T - I don't like when teams do not have plans.  No plan at all is probably a non-starter for me because it doesn't meet the requirements I list below in the stasis point section.   

- Distinction between Framework and Topicality: When I debated I made a distinction between Framework and Topicality.  A lot of people don't think there's a distinction, obviously. I think the distinction is based on the explanation of the link to the argument and the impact. Framework, for me seemed to be about what kind of educational paradigms are endorsed, whereas T was more about the effects on the topic and debatability for the neg.  These are in many ways artificial distinctions, and both T and framework are often deployed as encompassing both these arguments because different teams have different conceptions of what framework means.  Because of this, I'm fine with whatever teams want to call it - Framework or T - and however you explain it is how I will judge.  If you would like to separate T and framework and read them both that's also fine with me both can persuade me.  

- Stasis point: When reading/debating a non-topical aff the most important thing to me is that there is a stable controversy that isn't one sided that both teams are prepared to debate.  If the negative wins that these conditions do not exist I am very likely to pull the trigger on T/Framework.  In order to meet all the requirements above, I think it's necessary to be at the very least in the direction of the topic so the neg can debate the aff.  I value in-depth debate of the affirmative and give a lot of weight to "topical" versions of the aff in these debates.   

*****End email*****

In general, you should be kind to everyone in the round. I really really don’t like rudeness. Especially when it is directed at your partner.  





Mike Berry Paradigm

6 rounds

What you should know about me and how I judge.

If you want me to vote for a particular argument, please give me an identifiable reason to do so. I don't care if it is a policy argument or critique or performance, I need a reason to vote the way you want me to. Whether it is the utilitarian value of a disad versus the case advantage to why a particular k is a sufficient reason to win my ballot, I value and reward clear argumentation on important issues.

My flowing skills are adequate. I will strive to write down as much as I can but understand that my skills have eroded over the years. I may verbally tell you to slow down. If you are incomprehensible to me, I will say "Be clearer". Clear signposting is extremely important to me. Provide more than a 3 word claim. Arguments that have full claims and warrants and when necessary evidence are much more persuasive.

Evidence is very important. Each piece of evidence should have a claim, warrant and backing to it. Please do not clip evidence. If I detect it, it will result in a significant reduction of speaker points and potentially a loss. Over the years, I have become more convinced that information literacy is critical. Having sources that are credible with source qualifications is also a good way of winning arguments and increasing your speaker points.

Judging ideas

In a perfect world, I would hear a good case debate with good disads. I am a pragmatist in real life. I evaluate whether doing something would be an improvement over what we currently are doing or if the neg offers a counterplan, what we should be doing instead of the affirmative plan. Strategies that focus on doing this provide the path to victory. I am willing to vote on there being zero solvency to the case. I am willing to vote on there is zero link to a disad. The best debaters will frame the debate with a series of "if, then" type of assessments. The clearer you make these types of arguments, the more likely you are to win my ballot.

Specific Arguments

T-I evaluate this argument primarily through the lens of how fair the aff/neg interpretation is. This is my default position, however, I am willing to let the debaters figure out what standard should be used.

Case- Big impacts are good, small impacts can be compelling. Make sure you have good internal links to your positions.

Disads-They should have good links, uniqueness, internal links and impacts. Link turns are fun and are a very effective means to winning a round. Make sure that your arguments are clear. Statements like "We control uniqueness" are meaningless. At minimum, have a warrant to your argument.

Counterplans. As a default position, I want the negative to provide one counterplan that competes with the affirmative plan. Non USFG actors are not my favorite cp but I have voted for them numerous times. Conditional cps are not my favorite either especially when the aff can demonstrate that the conditional nature of the cps puts the affirmative in an untenable position.

I copied the following from Adrienne F. Brovero. She says it much more clearly than I could.


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


Here is some background on me. I coached debate for over 25 years and was the head debate coach at King's College while they had a program. We competed on the CEDA/NDT circuit while I was coaching. While my teams ran a variety of arguments, we primarily used a policy framework to advanced arguments. I am pretty well up to date on political matters. I tend to read a variety of newspapers and magazine to stay up to date.

Finally, debate is a wonderful activity and by and large the people that you interact with are some of the best people you will ever meet. Debate has given a lot to me and has positively impacted my life and world view. Please treat others with kindness and respect, be competitive and enjoy the activity as much as you can.

If you have more specific questions, please ask and I will do my best to answer them.

Jacob Bosley Paradigm

6 rounds

Current Affiliations: Indiana University (2016-)

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

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

Last Updated: January 2020

I. Big Picture

Yes, put me on the e-mail chain:

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

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

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

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

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

II. Judging and Debating Practices

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

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

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

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

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

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

III. Topicality

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

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

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

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

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

IV. Framework

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

V. Critiques

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

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

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

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

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

VI. Counterplans

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

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

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

VII. Disadvantages

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

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

VIII. Theory

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

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

Adrienne Brovero Paradigm

2 rounds

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

24th year coaching

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

Updated 9-23-18


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




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

Things that are prep time:

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

Debate like this:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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


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


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

Hannah Call Paradigm

4 rounds

Email chains, please:

Currently a coach at Mason (2016-Present)

Debate is a game. Have fun.

Top Level Things:

If a paradigm is not provided for me to evaluate the round, I will default to util.

Tech > truth.

Depth > breadth.

I won't take prep for flashing/emailing, just don't steal it.

Claims alone are not arguments. I will not evaluate them without warrants.

I don't keep track of speech time/prep. Please keep your own.

I've started flowing CX.

Unless I am told not to judge kick by the 2ar, I will default to judge kicking the CP or alt (in open).


I believe that the most educational and beneficial template for the topic is one determined by the literature. I default to competing interpretations. If you are reading a policy aff that has little relevance to the topic, or a very small portion of it, you should have a great defense of that area.

CPs/CP Theory:

Slow down while reading theory/CP texts, I'm going to read it from the doc when you do and want to take the time to fully understand it. If it comes down to reasons that the specific CP is a voter, I view it as a reason to reject the arg and not the team. I'm fine with giving the neg 3 conditional worlds and the squo, and I’m understanding of more (particularly on the space topic).

You need to provide a detailed explanation of how the CP solves all of the aff's internal links starting in the 2NC. If it does not claim to solve 100%, the burden is on you to do a very good job on impact comparison with regards to the CP net benefit and the scenario(s) of the aff that you do not solve. I really appreciate tricky counterplans, and will reward you with speaker points if you run one well. Multiplank CPs with a plank to solve various internals are fun.

I thoroughly enjoy many counterplans and think they are crucial for testing aff solvency/internal. However, delay, consult, and conditions CPs are almost always theoretically abusive in my opinion. Please note that I can be persuaded either way with any of the above or below.

Conditionality Bad-----------------------X---Hard Debates Good

PICs Good------------X-----------PICs Bad

50 State Fiat Good---X------------------------------States CP is Awful

ESR Good -----X---------------------ESR Cheats


Love them. There can be 0 percent risk of a link. Bad DAs can be beaten with analytics.


Case debates are good. Impact defense is more important than anything else. Presumption can sometimes be a thing. Disads on case are fun. So are impact turns.


I will try to adjudicate the debate as fairly as possible, but due to lack of familiarity with some of the literature, I will need you to do a very good explanation on all levels of the debate.

I prefer line by line debates (unless your argument is that line by line is bad), and very much dislike lengthy overviews. I will not do the work making cross applications for you.

PLEASE avoid tag-line extension, especially with your alternative. I prefer Ks that have specific links to the topic or plan action significantly more than Ks that have state or omission links.

I don't think that turning the debate into one about methods means that the aff can't win a perm. A perm is a test of competition between the two advocacies, and should be evaluated as such. Saying "this is a methods debate, they don't get a perm," doesn't make sense, and if that's your only response, you'll likely lose the perm.

Outside of something that was blatantly offensive, I personally believe that all language is contextual and words only mean as much as the meaning attached to them. Thus, args like "we didn't use it in that context" are convincing to me. I can be persuaded to vote them down, but I am going to be more biased the other way.

I have an incredibly high threshold for “do nothing” Ks, because I would prefer to believe that my ballot at least affirms something.

K affs/framework:

Framework is a good option. I think that the aff should at minimum be tangentially tied to the resolution. I think that novices should read a plan during at least the first semester. I like fairness and limits.

Speaker points:

They're arbitrary. I've given up trying to adapt to a scale but I do try to give speaks based on the division and tournament. Here's some important things to note:

-Clarity should never be sacrificed for speed. I understand if you're short on time and you need to squeeze in a card, but unless you absolutely have to, prioritize clarity. If you notice I'm not flowing constructives, or have a very confused look on my face, you're likely incomprehensible.

-Confidence gets you a long way.

-Be respectful to other debaters and to me. I encourage humor and small quips, but there is a fine line between sarcasm and being a jerk. Don't cross it.

-Cross ex is pretty important. It's one of the most vulnerable areas when it comes to knowledge of your evidence. It's also binding.

-If you prevent your opponent from answering in cross ex, that won't bode well for speaks.

-I like to give Seniors a points boost at their last tournament. You work hard for this activity and it's the least I can do to reward you for your effort in debate.

-If I'm not flowing something, and you see me staring at you (without the aforementioned confused look), you are being redundant and should move on.

Cecilia Cerja Paradigm

4 rounds

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

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

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

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


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

-Competition is based off of the plan text.

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



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

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

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

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


I am more lenient towards spin over evidence here.


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

In a plan v plan debate

- I default to competing interpretations.

-I evaluate quality of evidence more in these debates.

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

In a planless debate

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

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

-I am heavily persuaded by nuanced TVAs.


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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

Vida Chiri Paradigm

3 rounds

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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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



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

Deven Cooper Paradigm

8 rounds

High school debate: Baltimore Urban Debate League

College debate: Univ of Louisville then Towson Univ

Grad work: Cal State Fullerton

Current: Director of Debate at Long Beach State (CSULB)


Speaker Scale

29.5-30: one of the best speakers I expect to see this year and has a high grade of Charisma, Uniqueness, Nerve, Talent, and Swag is on 100.

29.1 - 29.5: very good speaker has a middle grade of Charisma, Uniqueness, Nerve, Talent, and mid-range swag.
29: quite good speaker; low range of Charisma, Uniqueness, Nerve, Talent, and mid-range swag.

28.4 - 28.9: good speaker; may have some above average range/ parts of the C.U.N.T.S acronym but must work on a few of them and may have some issues to work out.

28 - 28.3: solid speaker; needs some work; probably has average range/ parts of the C.U.N.T.S acronym but must work on a few of them and may have some issues to work out.

27.1 - 27.5: okay speaker; needs significant work on the C.U.N.T.S acronym.

< 27: you have done something deeply problematic in this debate like clipping cards or violence.

Judging Proper

I am willing to hear any arguments that are well explained and impacted and relate to how your strategy is going to produce scholarship or policy action. I will refer to an educator framework unless told otherwise..This means I will evaluate the round based on how you tell me you want it to be framed and I will offer comments on how you could make your argument better after the round. Comparison, Framing, OFFENSE is key for me.

I avoid the privileging of certain teams or styles over others because that makes debate more unfair, uneducational, and makes people not feel valued or wanted in this community.

I judge debates according to the systematic connection of arguments rather than solely line by line…BUT doesn’t mean if the other team drops turns or other arguments that I won’t evaluate that. They must be impacted and explained. PLEASE always point out reason why the opposing team is bad and have contextualized reasons for why they have created a bad impact. I DO vote on framework and theory arguments….I’ve been known to vote on Condo

Don’t try to adapt to how I used to debate if you genuinely don’t believe in doing so or just want to win a ballot. If you are doing a performance I will hold you to the level that it is practiced, you have a reason for doing so, and relates to the overall argument you are making…Don’t think “oh! I did a performance in front of Deven I win.” You are sadly mistaken if so.

Overall I would like to see a good debate where people are confident in their arguments and feel comfortable being themselves and arguing how they feel is best. I am not here to exclude you or make you fell worthless or that you are a "lazy" intellectual as some debaters may call others, but I do like to see you defend your side to the best of your ability

A few issues that should be clarified:

Paperless: Prep time ends when the flash is out of your computer. Any malfunctioning means your prep has begun again. If the opponent you are facing doesn't have a laptop you must have a viewing one or give up not be classist GOSH...

Framework and Theory: I love smart arguments in this area. I am not inclined to just vote on debate will be destroyed or traditional framework will lead to genocide unless explained very well and impacted. There must be a concrete connection to the impacts articulated on these and most be weighed. I will not vote on conditionality good alone…You better point out the contradictions in the 2AC/1AR. I am persuaded by the deliberation arguments and topical version of the Aff.

Performance: It must be linked to an argument that is able to defend the performance and be able to explain the overall impact on debate or the world itself. Please don’t do a performance to just do it…you MUST have a purpose and connect it to arguments. Plus debate is a place of politics and args about debate are not absent politics sometimes they are even a pre-req to “real” politics, but I can be persuaded otherwise. You must have a role of the ballot or framework to defend yourself or on the other side say why the role of the ballot is bad. I also think those critics who believe this style of debate is anti-intellectual or not political are oversimplifying the nuance of each team that does performance. Take your role as an educator and stop being an intellectual coward.

Topic/Resolution: I will vote on reasons why or why not to go by the topic...unlike some closed minded judges who are detached from the reality that the topics chosen may not allow for one to embrace their subjectivity or social location. This doesn’t mean I think talking about puppies and candy should win, for those who dumb down debate in their framework args in that way. You should have a concrete and material basis why you chose not to engage the topic and linked to some affirmation against racism/sexism/homophobia/classism/elitism/white supremacy and produces politics that are progressive.

High Theory K: i.e Hiediggar, Zizek, D&G, Butler, Arant, and their colleagues…this must be explained to me in a way that can make some material sense to me as in a clear link to what the aff has done or an explanation of the resolution…I feel that a lot of times teams that do these types of arguments assume a world of abstract that doesn’t relate fully to how to address the needs of the oppressed that isn’t a privileged one. However, I do enjoy Nietzsche args that are well explained and contextualized. Offense is key with running these args and answering them.

Disadvantages: I’m cool with them just be well explained and have a link/link wall that can paint the story…you can get away with a generic link with me if you run politics disads. Disads on case should be impacted and have a clear link to what the aff has done to create/perpetuate the disad. If you are a K team and you kick the alt that solves for the disads…that is problematic for me.

Counterplans: They have to solve at least part of the case and address some of the fundamental issues dealing with the aff’s advantages especially if it’s a performance or critical aff…I’m cool with perm theory with a voter attached.

Race/ Identity arguments: LOVE these especially from the black/Lantinx perspective, but this doesn’t mean you will win just because you run them like that. I like to see the linkage between what the aff does wrong or what the aff has perpetuated. I’m NOT likely to vote on a link of omission.

Case Args: Only go for case turns…they are the best and are offensive , however case defense may work. If you run a K or performance you need to have some interaction with the aff to say why it is bad.

David Cram Helwich Paradigm

2 rounds

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Cody Crunkilton Paradigm

4 rounds

A couple things before the round:

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

2. I probably will need flow paper from someone.

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

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

**Extended Thoughts**


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

Aff arguments I like:

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

- Perm double bind

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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


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


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


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

**Archive: Old/High School Stuff**

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Brian DeLong Paradigm

6 rounds

Brian DeLong’s Judging Philosophy


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


The road to high speaker points and the ballot

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


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


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


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


Should affs be topical?

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


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


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


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


Reading evidence:

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


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



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

Warren Decker Paradigm

5 rounds

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

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

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

Cameron Dehmlow Dunne Paradigm

6 rounds

Last updated 10/9/2019

8th year involved in policy debate

Grad student at Indiana University studying public affairs with a concentration in energy & policy analysis (Hoo Hoo Hoosiers!)

Indiana University '19
New Trier High School '16 -Email, add to email chains

Update for New Trier:

I haven't judged/been involved with the HS topic at all, so for T debates especially please provide context and explain any acronyms.

General Stuff:

As a debater I most appreciated judges that worked hard, and I'll try to do the same. Do what you do best.

Everything outside of the "Stuff that's set in stone" in the next paragraph, all of this paradigm is just a description of how I tend to evaluate things without judge instruction. All of it is changeable based on how the round shakes down.

Stuff that's set in stone: The speech times are set, don't interrupt your opponent's speeches, one person gives a speech at a time (This means if you're being prompted you need to actually say the argument, I will not flow the prompter), and there is a resolution that defines the limits of what should be debated that year.

I say clear twice and then stop flowing if you don't get clearer. I generally flow on computer nowadays, but I'll make it fairly obvious when I've stopped typing.

"Insert this rehighlighting into the debate" doesn't count- read the new highlighting or I'm not evaluating it.


No take backs in CX answers. They're binding, and I flow them. (Obvi this doesn't pertain to you flubbing an answer and then your partner/you immediately correcting it, but once that CX timer goes off your answers are on the record.)


Be direct. If you can't/don't crystallize your K's thesis in 4 sentences max, it's probably going to be a hard sell for me. This doesn't mean that I de facto vote down anything more complicated than security or cap (I actually love OOO and critical ecology args), but you really should be able to explain your arg concisely in your own words- and if you can't, there's a pretty good chance you don't understand it and/or can't convey it well enough to be winning my ballot.

Your alt should probably do something, or be explicit about doing nothing. Wishy-washy/abstract alt explanations in 1NC cx are gonna make me reaaaaallly suspicious that your alt doesn't actually do anything.

Line-by-line’s great. If your whole speech is just an overview rant and you expect me to line up arguments your speaker points are probably going to be mediocre and I'll only hold the 1AR to the standard of how clean my flow is.

I don’t find links of omission persuasive (does anyone?). If your link isn't to something the aff directly makes worse or did, I'm probably not the best for it.

Yelling gives me a headache, please don't do that.


Conditionality’s probably good, but so are solvency advocates. No solvency advocate=No counterplan is far more persuasive to me than conditionality bad. That being said, I was no stranger to reading 17 plank shenanigans myself.

If you've got a specific solvency advocate for a "cheating" counterplan, I'm very neg leaning on theory. If you don't...well, then they're just cheating counterplans.

Judge kick---------------x---2NR gets one world (C'mon aff teams, you GOTTA make it an argument, though.)


Link is generally the most important part for me, especially for politics disads.

A disad specific to the aff’s solvency mechanism and advantage counterplans to get rid of the aff’s impacts is probably my favorite type of 2NR to hear.


Most important thing to me in T debates is having a coherent vision of the topic. This should probably have limits in it- and explaining what these limits are is VERY important to affs winning their counter-interpretations. If your aff is squirrelly, the most inherently persuasive 2ar strat to me is probably some combination of a counter-interpretation that is only slightly bigger than the neg's interpretation, coupled with a thorough explanation of why the extra aff ground you added in is key to effective education, fairness, coherency of the topic, etc.

“Core of the topic” args aren’t persuasive to me.

Negs make sure to actually make impacts (Why are limits good?)

Affs should have offense. If your 2AC is just saying "You still have neg ground, we're predictable, and we didn't explode limits too much", it's a very easy neg ballot. An arbitrariness standard IS offense, but you gotta make the arg.

If you don't meet your counter interp you're gonna get dunked on.

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


As a debater I frequently went for framework and found these debates incredibly frustrating as it kinda just seemed like a roll of the dice as to whether a judge liked that particular flavor of framework, so I’ll try to be as clear as possible about which internal links/impacts I find persuasive as a judge.

Things I find persuasive: Predictability/Arbitrariness, Fairness (Debate’s a game), Iterative testing.

Things I find less persuasive: USFG education good.

Planless Affs:

If your aff does not have an advocacy statement and a clear mechanism and blueprint for what voting aff means, I am not the best judge for you. (I.e. if your aff is one that makes a bunch of “we’re a pre-requisite to action” claims without ever defending a specific action afterwards. “Ending semiocapitalism” or other such abstract concepts are not specific actions.)

If your aff does defend a specific action and outcome within the topic but your agent/mechanism just happens to not be the USFG, then I’ll be easier to persuade. (It's worth noting that historically I've found very few planless affs to fit this criteria.)

Just because debate’s a game doesn’t mean it isn’t also other things.

In front of me you're probably better off impact turning the neg's standards than trying to prove you're not thaaaaat un-topical. Offense is the name of the game.

Evidence reading:

I’m not going to just call for every card after the round and card-war it out. I will read evidence that you explicitly extend and explain in the 2AR/2NR, though.

Author qualifications should probably be flagged more in comparison.


If you’re funny, feel free to make jokes. If you’re not, don’t try and force it. For joke/reference purposes, I probably won’t get sports-based things but will likely get nerdier things (MtG & WoW especially). Also 100% here for any (well-natured) dunking on DeLo.

Kurt Fifelski Paradigm

4 rounds

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

Top Level:

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thoughts on the topic:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

-John Yoo is a war criminal.

How to sway me:

-More narrativization is better than less

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Things I don’t like:

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

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

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

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


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

Critical Affs:

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

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

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

-Is there a role of the ballot?

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

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


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

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

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

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

Answering the K:

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

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


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

-Focus on internal links.


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

-Consult and conditions counterplans are probably illegitimate.


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

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

-I'll likely be unsympathetic to args related to ADA rules, sans things that should actually be rules like clipping.

-I’m generally okay with kicking the CP/Alt for the neg if I’m told to.

Ryan Galloway Paradigm

4 rounds

Ryan Galloway

Director of Debate

Samford University

Coached for 24 years

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

Top-Level Stuff you probably want to know:

Non-traditional AFF's:

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

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

Other Kritik related news:

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

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

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

The rest...

Topic Specific News:


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

Disads and risk:

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

4) Advantage counterplans are powerful weapons. Use them.

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

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

Debate norms:

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

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

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

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

5) I wish you would number your arguments.

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

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

8) I am now officially old.

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

Any other questions? Feel free to fire away at:

Justin Green Paradigm

4 rounds

Justin Green

Head Coach - Wake Forest University

27th season in 2v2 Debate

I'm going to clap when the round is done; I plan to enjoy your debate!

ARGUMENT PREFERENCE: The good ones about the topic; I've spent a lot of time reading/cutting cards about it - let's do space coop discussion or Arms Sales for h.s.! Nearly all of my research this year is on the policy side; lucky enough to be around smart critical thinkers in our squad room.

T/FRAMEWORK - The aff should validate an example of the resolution/topic - that means China and/or Russia as well for college. My voting record is not very good for those that simply impact turn topicality without a solid defense of a counter interpretation. Procedural Fairness is not an intrinsic impact, it can be a successful internal link. The Aff should describe what predictable ground the negative should prepare based on their interp.

CP THEORY - Legitimacy increases with more specific advocates. Competition purely on certainty, likely suspect. Conditionality most likely OK - go beyond 2 or 3 or 2nc CP out of all impact turns; less likely to be ok. If its in your plan, defend it.

CASE DEBATES - Where have all my heroes gone?

Policy Aff v the K - Specificity is crucial for both sides. Winning the world is ordered by an oppressive structure is not enough. Affs should defend what they said both in the plans and advantage construction. What comes first is up for debate.


- Cross Ex Matters! – I listen, flow, and those who reference answers from the CX are likely to get higher points. I'll referee, by gesturing, even on panels, to make sure those asking are in control and those answering actually answer the question. When the timer goes off, it's judge prep. I'll likely pull out my phone or walk out the room even if the debaters are talking or continuing cross ex in prep time.

- Pointing out flaws does not require evidence. Aff internal links and K alts should both be especially questioned.

- Quality of Evidence+Quality of Explanation+Quality of comparison=weight of argument

- Non-verbal interactions - My expressions will likely tell you how I feel about an argument. Look up!

- Words you speak not the speech doc determines comprehension - I don't understand it, it doesn't count, even at the NDT. I find very few need to slow down, but some might have to care more about how they sound than normal.

- No shenanigans policy - I expect a 2v2 debate. No three person teams, no 3rd party speakers, no one person taking all the speech time, etc. These are round-stoppers for me. Two people speaking in the same speech, ok if part of a pre-scripted performance early in the debate. Afterwards, only one person's words count.

- 2 Tips for last rebuttals - Give your partners credit explicitly. Acknowledge where the other side might be correct.


- What happened outside of the debate (coin flips, previous debates, what their coach did)

- Vagueness as independent VI - Vague methods usually don't work - point that out, don't whine.

In the words of the immortal EJ the DJ, "WoHoo Debate!"

Mitch Hagney Paradigm

4 rounds


I think debate has lots of epistemological value, though I have voted that it is bad and should be destroyed more than once. I competed at the TOC and NDT, but eventually stopped debating to work in sustainable farming. Today, my day job is operating a hydroponic farm and coworking kitchen space called LocalSprout (, and pushing local policy change to advance a sustainable and equitable food system through the Food Policy Council of San Antonio ( I made these choices as a direct result of a decision-making style that I got from debate.

Evidence quality is important to me, but to emphasize debate's verbally communicative nature, I will not read speech docs until the round has ended. +.1 speaker points if you mention a methods section in your or their articles.

The ongoing culture war within debate between federal policy proposal teams and identity/cultural pessimism teams is a relatively recent development I'm still adapting to. For me, teams that admit to being outside of the resolution need to describe what content and arguments debates would feature if their interpretation were adopted wholesale. It's best if that sounds like a version of debate where both sides stand a chance and is pedagogically valuable. There need to be strong answers to a topical version and reasons why awarding the ballot in a certain direction is good.

I miss the diversity of structural Ks debate used to feature. For those critiques, I like to know what the alternative looks like or why the details aren't important.

For counterplan theory, in each round there is an amount of conditional negative advocacies that is beyond the reasonable amount of testing the aff, which then degrades the quality of the discussion. Use your judgement on what that limit is. I don't like permanent/recurring inaction or attitudinal fiat. Solvency advocates are the best response to accused CP illegitimacy. If it was impossible to find a solvency advocate for a widely discussed aff, that's usually a bad sign. Multi-actor, international, and delay counterplans rarely seem to challenge the aff or the topic. They often put judges in a strange place between choosing between things no human has the authority over.

For politics DAs, I have a higher threshhold for the link debate than the community at large. I find fiat solves the link arguments persuasive if the aff requires that congresspeople change their mind. If it's normal means that the president expends capital to persuade them, I need reasons why that's normal means or why we should interpret the world that way. Delay, direct horsetrading, or focus links are different from usual political capital arguments and are often times more intrinsic to the aff.

Defense matters - No internal link, uniqueness overwhelms the link, empirically denied, impact inevitable - these arguments are some of the most persuasive to me and I am more likely to think you are smart if you say them.

I am likely to dismiss 2AR arguments entirely if I think they are new.

I usually make decisions based on comparative impact assessment. Relative to other judges, it seems like I pay more attention to impact uniqueness, which are often influenced by arguments like those that have been kicked earlier in the debate and turns case arguments. This is as true for critical debates as it is for policy ones.

Ben Hagwood Paradigm

3 rounds

Benjamin Hagwood, Assistant Coach, Liberty University


About me:

I debated for five years at Liberty University. This will be my third year judging. Since trading places (debater to judge) my view of debate has matured and my perspective has become more open to views that I currently did not have. To begin I will say that I understand that debate is a game, with that being said I realize that some people use it as a place to protest, advocate and discuss their political, social, religious and individual ideas. I used my time as a debater to stretch the rules and practices of an activity that I viewed as net –beneficial to the growth of academics and potentially policy-makers. As a critic I enter a round with my predispositions just like everyone else but I don’t want to limit the discussion that can take place in any round.


The stuff you need to read: (do you pref me or not)


1. I think everything in debate is debate-able. I tend to enter the debate believing that I will vote for the team that persuades me that their argument is the superior to their opponents. I will say that I am not amused by offensive language or jokes (you should call people out on what they do though). So if someone does something that I think is offensive and you don’t call them out on it they could potentially still win the round if you don’t say something they will just also have a 0.


2. Not reading a plan text doesn’t necessarily equal a loss in my book. I think great discussions can emerge from different ideas or strategies. This however does not mean that there is no way I would vote against you. If you are reading an argument that magically seems to shift out of every link in the debate that’s probably bad (again that is up for debate, also I think there is a large difference between not having a link and only having bad links).


3. I absolutely love DA and case debates. I tend to believe that people don’t have good defenses of their case anymore because they just believe that no one argues inherency or solvency anymore, just CP’s and K’s. I think a formidable strategy is to completely deconstruct a case and go with a simple DA.


4. I think critical theory is interesting. I have to admit graduate school stretched the theory that I would generally read but it has introduced me to new arguments and helped me grow. But my base knowledge is still critical race theory. This is generally my area of interest but I am definitely interested and reading other forms of critical theory. I will admit Baudrillard is still collecting dust on my “electronic” bookshelf. I intend to start reading more of if soon but so far I have only dabbled in his theories.


5. I think that a well-placed theory violation can change the entire direction of a debate. I think that you can do whatever you want but you probably should be able to justify doing it. Being negative is not enough to be able to run four conditional positions that contradict each other. Those worlds are not hermeneutically sealed…sorry. Actually I am not sorry just don’t run bad strategies.


6. Performance debate is growing and here to stay. That is not to say that you are not making important points, it’s just that generally (and most people won’t admit this) judging a team that executes a good performance is tough because you generally want to watch and enjoy and then remember that you also have to evaluate. Needless to say I am a fan of performance, but only if you do it well. Bad performances…please don’t do it in front of me.


7. Clash of civilization – I haven’t actually judged many of these. I don’t know if I will or not in the future. I will say that if done well I think that framework can be a great strategy against a lot of teams. My particular opinion is that there is probably a better option to run against most teams (that don’t defend tradition notions of debate) but if that’s what you want to roll with then that’s what you should roll with. 


8. CP’s do it.


9. Speaker Points: (ways to gain and lose them janks)

 a. A tasteful bowtie will definitely increase your overall speaker points. (Max .5 increase)

 b. A joke that is actually funny will also increase your speaker points. (Max .5 increase)

 c. Bad jokes (Max 1.0 decrease)

 d. Offensive language or actions (Max 30.0 decrease)

 I am rather easy to talk to if you have any questions. Have fun and be smart when you think of your strategy. Do what you do and I shall tell you if I love it or not.



Michael Hall Paradigm

3 rounds

Michael Hall

Liberty University

19 Years coaching

The comments below reflect preferences (some of which are strong), but they are fluid in the context of any given debate.

Theory: I am not tabula-rosa. Minimally, each argument should contain a claim, some support (evidentiary or otherwise), and an impact. That said, I do my best to minimize my substantive preferences and therefore find myself voting for positions I don’t particularly like. I attempt to use the decision calculus most persuasively advocated by the debaters.

Topicality: I tend to see topicality as a contest of competing interpretations. I probably vote on T more often than most judges and have no problem voting against "core affirmatives" when the negative has a superior interpretation of the topic. I strongly prefer that the negative team develop arguments based on a comparison of ground offered under each interpretation of the resolution. In-round abuse is not necessary or usually persuasive. I am usually more persuaded by arguments about the types and numbers of cases allowed by each interpretation than I am with the fact that you can’t win a link to your favorite disad. Topicality is by nature exclusionary. If your affirmative forces you to argue that topicality is bad, I'm not the judge for you.

Counterplans: I like creative counterplans tailored to specific affirmatives. The affirmative should be prepared to defend the entirety of the plan, and plan inclusive counterplans are one way of making them do so.

I’ve found myself voting against conditional counterplans a little more often lately, which I attribute to the quality of the negative’s defense of conditionality rather than a change in my CP leanings. If the negative justifies the conditional nature of the counterplan, other theory arguments are reasons to reject the counterplan not the team.

The text of the counterplan and all permutations should be written out. Trying to win a perm that doesn’t include all of the plan or that contains action not contained in the plan or counterplan is nearly impossible.

Kritiks: Given my preference for debates over competing policies, I find arguments that link to the action of the plan more compelling than arguments over the discourse of the 1AC. Like any other part of the negative strategy, the more you tailor your link arguments to the affirmative in question, the more likely I am to find your arguments persuasive. Likewise, an overview that details how the kritik turns the affirmative’s solvency, outweighs the case, etc. would be more helpful than several more impact cards.

Performance: While I am willing to evaluate your critical performance in a debate, I believe strongly that all affirmative arguments should be grounded in a plan text that represents topical action. If you want to use poetry, music, and dance to advocate a plan, go for it.

Style: This is probably the most important section of my philosophy. Things you should know in descending order of importance: (1) I am a better critic for those who collapse the debate in the block and 2NR than for those who go for most of their 1NC arguments into the 2NR. (2) I am a better critic for debaters who emphasize clarity over speed. I’ve found this to be especially true in paperless rounds where everyone in the debate except for the judge is reading along with the speech doc. I’ll give you verbal and nonverbal signals if I can’t understand you. (3) I have come to the conclusion that the more evidence I read, the less my decisions have reflected the arguments made by the debaters. As a result, I try to read fewer cards after a debate and am more easily persuaded to see a debate through the lens that allows me to do so. (4) If you think an argument is important, find a way to set it apart from the rest of the debate.

Prep time: Prep time stops when the speech doc is speech doc is emailed or the flash drive is removed from your computer.

Heather Hall Paradigm

3 rounds


Heather Hall

Heather Holter Hall
Liberty University

A plan should be the focus of debate.  The “big question” in a debate should be “Is the plan a good or bad idea?”  The answer to that question can be based in substantive policy, philosophical arguments, questions of representations, etc. as long as the debate is grounded in a plan.  

There are no arguments that I will off-hand reject but there are definitely some that are harder sells. I especially dislike the trend towards multiple conditional advocacies. And this is mostly because those debates are rarely executed well. I am not an expert in the topic so I come to a debate to learn.The more you teach me, the better the debate will be.If you assume I am an information-processing machine who can process your research and strategic decisions and spit a scientific answer of correctness back to you, you will probably lose.

For performance debates, I have very strong feelings about preserving some of the fundamentals of debate. I believe things like responsiveness, time limits, "fiat", plan texts, and even clear speed have enormous educational value and teach skills not available in other forums. I am in favor of making debate more inclusive and including other types of evidence as long as there is still clash and topic related education in the round. Most importantly, I like consistent, creative, well thought out arguments.

Topicality requires well-explained, specific examples of ground or educational loss. I am not a huge fan of spec arguments.

Counterplans can be conditional and plan-inclusive but I can also be persuaded that they are abusive, given the right explanation. I really dislike multiple conditional CPs. I really love a good case debate.

Kritiks require very specific and concrete links. The more you explain the K in non-philosphical jargon terms, the more persuaded I will be. You must have an active alternative. There are only a few instances in which the "resist the aff" alternative is persuasive. Fiat is imaginary for both the aff AND the neg. You don't get magical powers to pretend that resistance will immediately reshape the entire world's perspective on critical issues. Be real about how reistance works and I can vote for you. I think kritiks of epistemology are circular in the context of debate.

I tend to like substantive debates over theoretical ones. I think that meta debates should be a part of a debate that also contains topic related arguments. Just winning your framework but failing to use this new methodology to say something about the topic misses a huge part of debate--our ability to learn about this topic and I value the educational aspects of debate very highly.

I give good speaker points to debaters who are clear, smart, and kind. I will not read a lot of evidence in order to recreate the round because it was so unclear that I couldn’t get it the first time. Clarity and good arguments are way more important than speed and if I can’t understand you, you lose. The more concrete explanations offered to me, especially in the last two speeches, the better off you are.

I love the activity of debate and especially the people I am blessed to know through the activity. Whatever arguments you run, just remember that each individual debate is about more than just that round. There have been thousands who have debated before you and many more will follow so please respect the activity and all the people involved. It is not just about your own ego or simply winning a ballot.

Have fun!


Matt Harkins Paradigm

6 rounds

Matt Harkins

If you have any questions or want to add me to an email chain, I'm at

I have been coaching at the Naval Academy since October 2016, and before that, I coached Cathedral Prep from 2014-2018. I debated on the national circuit in high school and qualified to the TOC twice, but I didn’t debate in college. Most of my research and coaching is geared toward the K, but I feel comfortable evaluating a da/cp or da/case debate.

When debating in front of me, I'd highly recommend developing the implications to your arguments as soon in the debate as possible. In close debates between technically proficient teams, this is especially important. I appreciate it when a debater is creative and tries to relate to me rather than debating like a computer and into their computer.

How I render a decision...
I'm evaluating the debate and its arguments and evidence as it unfolds. I usually follow along on the speech document, but I also care about being about to hear you speak clearly the body of a card. If it seems like there's a clear decision at the conclusion of the 2ar, I try to find the best possible ballot for the team that I thought didn't win. If, in this process, I recognize the debate is more complicated than it seemed at first, then I try to distill the debate into several questions in a logical order of importance. If the arguments made by the debaters don't resolve themselves simply, I try to find "even if" statements and arguments which operate at a higher level of abstraction than their counterpoints to resolve the question. In the absence of any of that kind of analysis, I'll check to see if the evidence resolves the clash. When a decision necessitates that I intervene in some arbitrary way, I try to fall back on simplicity, but I'm always self-conscious and try to avoid making an "easy" or "lazy" decision.

In spite of the above, decisions aren't this complicated most of the time. I prefer not to reconstruct debates if it's not necessary.

- I'm not in touch with community consensus so you might be able to use that to your advantage.
- Debating in the Pennsylvania has given me a comprehensive understanding of inherency as a procedural argument if you want to go there.

- I evaluate the link first, and I think it's a yes/no question which controls the direction of uniqueness.
- Most of the best answers to politics disads I've seen aren't necessarily carded answers to the U/L/IL/I parts of a disad, but arguments about the nonsensical nature of certain parts of the politics disad as applied to the aff.
- Although I don't cut politics files, I'm extremely aware of what's going on and familiar with who's writing what about Congress and the White House. I used to want to be a political journalist and old Twitter habits die hard.
- I really like impact turns in general.

- I won't kick the counterplan for the negative unless the negative persuades me to do otherwise.

- I’m more familiar with psychoanalysis and Marxism than other academic disciplines.
- I first look at role of the ballot/role of the judge arguments when I'm rendering a decision, so these arguments tend to have a strong effect on the outcome of a debate.
- Make sure comprehend the literature you're deploying. Don’t assume I’ve read and comprehend the literature you’re deploying.
- I'm willing to stop the debate and give someone a loss for using flagrantly inappropriate language.

- Reject the argument is the default. Spend time on the impact level to convince me to reject the team.
- I heard recently that nobody votes on multiple conditional worlds bad anymore. I guess that means I'd be more willing to entertain this argument than the average judge.
- Against affs which don't read a typical plan text or defend the resolution, I would prefer to hear a nitty-gritty case debate rather than a framework debate, but I understand that the case route isn't always available. Don’t be afraid to pick whatever you think would make for the most clash-filled debate.
- When debaters unsuccessfully extend framework in front of me, the unsuccess is usually a result of disorganization, a lack of adaptation of pre-written blocks to the specific aff arguments, and my inability to interpret the significance of an abstract debate concept.
- If you go for framework, make sure you clearly implicate the stakes of winning a section of the debate. What I mean by this is that you shouldn't assume we're on the same page about what it means to win, say, that there exists a topical version of the aff, or your limits disad, or the benefits of switch-side debate, or etc. Leave nothing flapping in the wind in the 2nr.

- Don't get the wrong impression from this *very serious* judge philosophy. I enjoy humor a lot.
- I like when debaters make smart cross applications from a flow the other team tried to kick out of.
- If the chips are down, flip the table. If, going into the rebuttals, you know you're losing 99% of the debate, see if you can explode that 1% into a win.

Regarding Clipping

Apparently card clipping is becoming a concern de jure for judges. I don't have the mental wherewithal to go out of my way to look for clipping, but if I notice it, I'll give you a warning and give you a fair chance to correct it. If it isn't corrected, that becomes a problem that could be grounds for an auto-loss and bad speaks. I'd prefer, however, for the onus to be put on the debaters to notice clipping, provide evidence, in the form of a recording, and bring it to my attention after a speech. I'll take it from there and determine the appropriate remedy, ranging from a "this is a misunderstanding" to an auto-loss/tanked speech.

Allison Harper Paradigm

3 rounds

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

If you have any questions, feel free to ask.

Thoughts on Pf and LD:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Andrew Hart Paradigm

5 rounds

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

If you have any questions, feel free to ask.

Jason Houser Paradigm

7 rounds

My background is as a policy debater in high school and college in the late 90s and early 2000s. I have judged a good bit nationally between 2003 and 2013.

I come in to the round with no pre-dispositions. I expect you to "debate it out", which includes you telling me what paradigm or lens I should evaluate the debate through. With that said, I’m knowledgeable of all traditional paradigm views.

Also with that said, I’m open to any argument as long as it's not morally repugnant (racism good). My favorite debates to judge are ones with specificity. Specific well-thought out strategies will reflect in your perception and your speaker points. Let me be clear, I do not discourage reading “generic strategies”, when well executed those can be just as effective.

I want explicit standards and how your argument interacts with the other teams arguments. There is nothing I hate more than watching debates where the two teams are like two ships passing in the night. T

he framework provided also must be presented in a way that the other team has the ability to challenge and debate. Preferably, those arguments should be presented earlier rather than later in the debate. I am less inclined to vote for you or your argument if you provide judging criteria in the 2ar, or even the 2nr.

Topicality – T debates are about competing visions on the topic, and the 2nr + 2ar should compare which topic is better. This is best done through some weighing mechanism introduced by either side. Standards should be more than vacuous terms like “limits”, “fairness”, and “predictability”. Absent a reason why those things are good and impact comparison for why they o/w whatever the other side is saying, it becomes hard to evaluate T debates.Terminal impacts are needed to win, just saying “destroys fairness” is vacuous and doesn’t explain why fairness is important. I am partial to fairness and argument testing impacts on the negative and pedagogy/inaccessibility arguments on the affirmative. Topical versions of the aff are great, I would appreciate if the block explicitly stated what the TVA is, instead of asserting there is one.

Critiques – Critique debate done well can be very enjoyable to judge, however the opposite is also true. K debates become frustrating to judge when I'm left with a bunch of different arguments but little interaction between them. Neg things: I think there are several key components every winning K 2nr should have: 1) links that turn the case 2) An external impact 3) A well explained alternative/framework argument that resolves the links. I believe the framework debate is generally underutilized by the negative, usually those debates end up somewhere in the middle resulting in Aff getting to weigh its implementation. Persuasive link analysis should be contextualized to the method/plan of the aff and supported by quotes from 1AC evidence/references to moments in cx. There's a growing tendency of negative team's reading external impacts, but not explaining the internal links to those things.

K Affs – I believe K affs should have some form of method that is clearly defined in the 1ac. The 2ac, 1ar, and 2ar should crystalize the method provided by the aff, then contextualize how it resolves your offense. This will help in comparing the method/offense of the aff vs the strategy of the negative. I believe teams should have some tie to the topic, but can be persuaded otherwise.

Disadvantages – Read them, go for them, make sure they turn the case. The more specific the disadvantage the better. Impact and evidence comparison is great and you should do it. Specific link analysis is also appreciated. I enjoy when affirmative find holes in the DA's scenarios and exploit them. 2ac's should have a good combination of offense and defense, otherwise it becomes easy for the negative to exploit deficiencies in 2ac coverage.

Counterplans – The more specific the better, well researched counter plans from affirmative evidence show the effort put into them, and will be rewarded with good speaker points if debated well. CP’s should probably have a solvency advocate, but won’t be counted as theoretically illegitimate unless debated out. Slow down on the CP text/planks. PIC’s are cool, but can be bad sometimes, again a debate to be had.

John Katsulas Paradigm

2 rounds

John Katsulas, Director of Debate, Boston College
30 years coaching

Here are the rules for debate:
1) The affirmative side must advocate a plan of action by the United States Federal Government. If you merely read poetry, dance, or play music, you will lose.
2) The negative side must defend a consistent policy position in the debate. The negative may choose to defend the status quo, or the negative may advocate an unconditional counterplan.
3) Topicality is a voting issue and never a reverse voting issue.
4) Conditionality is prohibited.
5) The resolution is worded as a policy proposition, which means that policy making is the focus of debate.
6) Kritiques are not welcome.
7) Performance-style debate belongs in theatre productions.
Here are suggestions for debating in front of me:
1) The affirmative side has huge presumption on topicality if they can produce contextual evidence to prove their plan is topical.
2) Agent counterplans are fine. Don’t waste your time arguing PICS bad arguments against them. The legitimacy of international fiat is debatable, but I definitely believe there are far stronger arguments favoring limiting fiat to U.S. governmental actors.
3) Politics disadvantages are welcome. I like to hear them. Affirmatives should attack the internal link stories on many of these disadvantages. This is frequently a more viable strategy than just going for impact turns.
4) Both sides should argue solvency against affirmative plans and negative counterplans. Both sides should attack the links and internal links of impacts.
5) If you are incomprehensible, I won’t re-read all of your evidence after the debate to figure out your arguments.
6) Negative can win my ballot on zero risk of affirmative case solvency. Many affirmatives cases are so tragically flawed that they can be beaten by an effective cross-examination and/or analytical case presses.
7) I am very strict on 1ARs making new answers to fully developed disadvantages which don’t change from the 1NC.
8) Cross-examination answers are binding.
9) ASPEC: I won’t vote on it UNLESS you ask in cross-ex and they refuse to specify an agent.
10) Too late to add new links and impacts to your disadvantages during the first negative rebuttal.

I have a low threshold for dismissing non-real world arguments like nuclear war good and wipe-out.

Rich Kaye Paradigm

8 rounds

Put me on your email chains:

4 Years policy debate at Mason

One year coaching at Mason

Before you pref me, I should make you aware that I have done zero topic research or judging on this topic.

General opinions about debate:

Tech over truth- if it's a bad argument, you should've answered it.

However, this doesn't mean cards over logic- if you have a piece of evidence that belongs in the trash, don't be surprised if the other team wins that argument without evidence and just making logical arguments.

Debate is a communications activity. If I didn't vote for you on an argument you thought you made, you either weren't clear enough when you made it so it's not on my flow, or you didn't explain it enough.

Debate is a game. Do with that what you will.

Read whatever you want, I'm not going to on face reject an argument (exceptions include things like "racism good"- don't do that)

Try and make your transitions between arguments/pages clear - I don't want to miss something you say because you sounded at the same speed for 9 minutes of your speech.

I've been told I make lots of expressions - and this includes when I'm judging debates. Do with that information what you will.

Feel free to email me with questions about my philosophy or after any debate I judge you.


Default to competing interps

I need more than just a neg caselist- what's topical under you interp? What DAs/CPs don't you get? Why do you deserve getting them. This is super important when I don't know what this topic has been like.

Heavy emphasis on impact calc is very much preferred. Do limits outweigh aff innovation? Is precision more important than overlimiting?

Too little evidence comparison happens in T debates generally, so try your best to fight that trend.

SPEC args are a non starter as a voting issue unless you ask in CX and they just don't answer, or if the 2AC just decides to cheat a lot. If you read it for CP competition purposes, that's obviously fine and probably necessary.

T vs K affs

Debate is a game- should the emphasis be on fairness, or whether or not the game has some sort of educational value beyond this space- that's to be debated, but my inclination is towards it needs to be fair to work and can still be educational.

Framework is the best option- Fairness or Delib, doesn't matter to me. Do what you want. I prefer procedural fairness though.

Limits impact is the most persuasive, because it has both in and out of round implications. Followed by health care education good arguments.

If you're a K aff, you're best off just going for the impact turns- you're not going to win you meet, and you probably won't win that your CIP provides enough limits in comparison to the neg's version of the topic.

Topical version doesn't have to solve the aff- just has to provide an inroads to talk about the aff's topic matter

Framework is a procedural- not an advocacy. You can't be stuck with it.

***NOVICES*** should have to be a topical defense of the resolution. Very persuaded by a "T debating good for novice debate" standard.


My favorite

Logical presses against the DA = carded presses against the DA, if it's a good argument.

Just going for impact d against the case or the DA at the end of the debate is probably not the spot you want to be in. If the aff still solves/causes a massive impact, even if it doesn't cause nuclear war, it could still turn the case/da.

Framing arguments like link determines the direction of uniqueness are helpful for me when judging these debates.

block nuance justifies new 1AR nuance- this doesn't mean "oh, they said turns the case, i'll read the no diversionary wars card the 2AC didn't get to" - but you still need to make the arg why they don't get to do that.

Politics DAs- these tend to be a lot about spin, so I'll try and default more to how you spin the evidence as to opposed what it actually says, if it's reasonable. If your card doesn't even come close to what you're trying to spin it as, you'll be in a rougher spot.


PICs without literature to substantiate them are bad. Having literature makes them marginally better.

Process/Agent are probably bad, but if that's your jam, go for it. I'll vote aff on theory as a reason to reject the team, or as a justification for the perm, or a kick the arg. Whatever happens in the debate. My default though is reject the team.


I never went for one.

I tend to lean aff on question of the roll of the ballot (the aff gets to weigh the plan) and ethical frames like util. But that doesn't mean I won't vote neg on alternative views of debates/ethics. I actually have voted on those arguments often when judging high school debate.

The less specific your K is to the topic, the worse position you're going to be in. Topic links are almost a necessity when going for the K in front of me.

You're tied to what you say. Econ DA-Cap K in the same 1NC probably won't fly.

PIKs are bad - see comments about process/agent CPs in that section

If your alt is to "do nothing" or I don't have a clear idea of what it actually does to solve your link arguments, you're not going to be in a good spot. Clear explanation of an alt that actually does something is required for you to win these kinds of debates in front of me.

If you're the aff in these debates, watch out for the classic K tricks (fiat is illusory, etc)- I don't want to vote you down on arguments like that, but I will if you drop them. Also make sure you don't lose sight of your aff- yes, read cards, but also remember the thesis of your aff probably impact turns/link turns the K in some way- if not, you can go for whatever your normal strategy is. But contextualization of impacts goes a long way towards my ballot.

Case outweighs is the best strategy vs Ks

I am, admittedly, bad at understanding K debate sometimes- so don't expect me to know all the buzzwords that your favorite author says. Make sure you actually explain some of the concepts in a way that's easy to understand- do not expect me to just know instantly what you're talking about. Likely I don't. You can save us both the trouble by debating your K at a more basic level. So I can understand you and not be frustrated that I dont, and you for not losing because I didn't understand half of the 2NR because they were debating their K at the level of a philosopher.


Condo beyond 2 is iffy, beyond 3 you better be really good at condo. Unless the aff is new. In that case, have at it.

Same things that apply to T apply to this- competing interps, impact calc, etc.

Theory is a reason to reject the team unless someone says otherwise

Theory doesn't outweigh topicality

These debates are very ticky tacky, so please go slower than your card reading speed- if you're going so fast that I'm missing arguments, it really doesn't matter that you're going so fast- because you're making arguments that won't get evaluated.

David Kilpatrick Paradigm

1 rounds

I am a coach at the University of Texas-Austin and Westwood High School. Conflicts: Texas, Westwood, Polytechnic, St Vincent de Paul, Bakersfield High School

Email Chain: yes,

2018-2019 Judging record: 84 total debates (excluding HS locals), AFF - 47 NEG - 37

UPDATE: TOC 2020 - 2As who respond to T-Pearson by saying "it overlimits" then giving a thumbs down will receive +0.1 speaker points and will be considered a sufficient response.

Debate is an activity about persuasion and communication. If I can't understand what you are saying because you are unclear, haven't coherently explained it, or developed it into a full argument-claim, warrant, impact, it likely won't factor in my decision.

While there are some exceptions, most debaters I've judged the last few years are pretty unclear, so its likely I will miss some arguments. Final rebuttals offer you a space to retrace the part(s) of the debate you think are most relevant to the decision. This both makes it much more likely I will understand your argument and will likely improve your speaker points.

The winner will nearly always be the team able to identify the central question of the debate.

Virtually nothing you can possibly say or do will offend me, if you can't beat a terrible argument you probably deserve to lose.

Everyone seems to have intense clashphobia these days - this isn't about policy or k debate, its across the board and going for the least covered option seems to be everyone's mantra. I get why you think that's strategic, but typically it results in shallow rebuttals, frustrating decisions, 1-1-1 panels and lower points. Specific AFF/NEG research that demonstrate the third and fourth level testing everyone seems to think is important wil be rewarded with higher points. All in on "not our ___" will not.

I flow CX, unless its some random clarification question you forgot I will stop flowing CX after 3 minutes. The "I'm going to ask a million questions while my partner preps their 2NC" has gotten ridiculous.

Framework-I find myself voting negative a lot on procedural fairness a lot. K affs seem to have a lot of trouble deciding if they want to go for the middle ground or just impact turn--pick a strategy and stick to it 1AC-2AR and you're more likely to be in a good place. The block is almost always great on T, the 2NR almost always forgets to do terminal impact calculus. Testing arguments become much more persuasive to me when you give specific examples for how those would occur. What neg args would you be able to read against a potential TVA? Why is it good for the 2AC to research those positions, how would you researching answers to their answers be beneficial? A lot of this stuff just gets assumed and I think that a lot of repetitiveness from most framework 2NCs can be substituted for this kind of depth early in the debate. 2NRs sometimes seem to spend so much time on why they access AFF lit base/impacts that they don't end up extending a terminal impact or external offense at all. I think it's difficult to win a debate when you basically go for a CP w/o a net benefit.

I'm a lot better for framework that sounds closer to T with a limits and clash as the primary impacts then the soliloquy on the most superior model for debate. Clash as the most important internal link to education/fairness/skills/game etc. is usually more persuasive to me than other arguments on T.


-If your CP competes based on the certainty or immediacy of the plan, it doesn't take a ton on theory for me to reject the counter plan.

HS topic - I think the arms sales topic might be one where conditions CPs are more legit. The amount of specific and good solvency advocates for conditions CPs this year is staggering so I think it's reasonable to expect the AFF to prepare for it. This being said, I'll be pretty hostile towards conditions CPs with terrible solvency evidence given how much good stuff exists.

-I won't kick it for you unless you tell me to. I'm pretty easily sold that judge kick is bad.

-"perm do both" or "perm do cp" with no explanation isn't a complete argument. I get that given negative off-case prolif sometimes this feels inevitable, but I'm confident results will improve if you give warrants for any permutation that you think it's likely will find its way into the 2AR.


-affs usually lose these by forgetting about the case, negs usually lose these when they don't contextualize links to the 1ac. If you're reading a policy aff that clearly links, I'll be pretty confused if you don't go impact turns/case outweighs.

-link specificity is important - I don't think this is necessarily an evidence thing, but an explanation thing - lines from 1AC, examples, specific scenarios are all things that will go a long way


-they should be intrinsic to the plan, with enough time investment affs can potentially win that agenda politics disads are not a logical opportunity cost.

-uniqueness controls the direction of the link typically makes the most sense to me, but you can probably convince me otherwise

Judd Kimball Paradigm

4 rounds

Judd D. Kimball, Assistant Coach, University of Mary Washington

Article I. Communication Approach to Debate 
Section 1.01 The following are brief explanation of what I envision when I think of the highest quality debate. These are items that can factor in both positively and negatively for you in my determination of who did the better debating. 
(a) A primary goal should be to present your ideas and arguments in a communicative fashion. What factors influence the effectiveness of your communication? 
(i) Rate of Delivery. You should not present ideas at a rate that interferes with the effectiveness of sharing those ideas with another human being. You must analyze your audience to determine the rate at which they can absorb ideas, and you must evaluate (fairly) your own abilities to speak rapidly which not losing clarity/enunciation or normal tone inflection that signals the beginning and ending of sentences, and is critical to judges understanding concepts and ideas, not just individual words. 
(ii) Clarity/Enunciation. Each word should have a beginning and an ending. Each sound should be pronounced, and not mumbled through. 
(iii) Interpretation/Tonal inflection. It is a personal belief that the way we normally communicate with other people involves a lot of vocal interpretation and tonal inflection. It’s a way to communicate phrases and ideas, rather than just leaving each word hanging out by itself, merely surrounded by other words. With interpretation the audience has an easier time comprehending, understanding the processing the idea, as they don’t have to put the sentence together from the individual words, and then discover the meaning of the phrase or sentence themselves. Interpretation, by my definition, is the attribute of communication that helps provide understanding to the audience of the ideas being presented through the way the ideas are presented. It has been my experience that most debaters are very interpretative speakers when they are not debating from prepared scripts. It is during this time that the communication skills you have honed since you began talking are on display. Yet when it is time to read evidence, or a prepped theory block, they shift communicative gears and start just reading each individual word, rather than presenting ideas for the consideration of the judge. I am very unlikely to read evidence after the debate if it was not read in a comprehensible manner, or the warrants and reasons of the evidence were not discussed as being important ideas. 
(b) A primary focus of your speeches and cross-examination period should be information sharing. This goes beyond your personal motivation to communicate with the judges, and includes a responsibility to present your arguments in a fashion that facilitates your opponent’s comprehension of your position. 
(c) Clash. You should seek to create class in your debates by interacting with not only your opponent’s tag lines, but with the warrants for those claims. In essence, clash is explaining to me why I should prefer/believe your arguments over your opponents. In order to effectively do that, you must be making comparisons that take your opponents argument into account. You must clash. 

Section 1.02 Effective implementation of these points will most likely result in higher speaker points, and a greater understanding of your arguments by me as a judge. That will help you in winning the debate, as I will hold the other team responsible for answering your arguments, and if they fail toy,your superior communication will be a determining factor (as a process) of your victory. 

Article II. Debate Evaluation 
Section 2.01 I recognize objective standards and processes are probably impossible, as the subjective creeps into everything, I just desire and strive for objectivity. 
(a) I have a default judging perspective, which evaluates the net benefits of a policy proposal, and answers the question of whether the government should take a particular course of action. I prefer a framework which strives to include as many voices and perspectives as possible, and provides a framework in which different perspectives can be compared, contrasted and weighed. I like my decision to be grounded in the arguments made in the debate. I strive not to bring in “baggage” with me, though I recognize the final futility of that effort, and I will make every effort to explain my decision by reference what was actually communicated in the debate 
(b) If you wish the debate to be evaluated from an alternate perspective, you will need to provide a well-defined set of criteria for me to apply when evaluating and weighing arguments. The question of controversy needs to be defined, and discussed in order to provide me the necessary framework to avoid subjectively deciding the debate. Now mind you, I don’t mind subjectively deciding a debate, just be prepared to be frustrated by my statement that I can’t explain why I voted for a particular position, just that that was what I wanted to do at that moment of time, or frustrated by the fact that what I voted on wasn’t an argument or part of the debate that you had a chance to answer. That will happen when I find myself stalled out in the decision making, finding no way to decide other than adding in factors that were not included or discussed in the debate. 

Section 2.02 I find questions of autonomous action and personal belief difficult to decide in the context of debate competition. I have found myself perplexed by arguments advanced on the basis of exercising personal autonomy, and then be expected to evaluate them without the inclusion of my opinions, my autonomy, in the process. This is difficult when I find that my personal approach to life contrasts with the approach to individual decision making advocated by one team. If the ballot is my endorsement of your idea, then I would be denying my own autonomous position by being constrained by debate conventions of judging (i.e., you did a better job against the opponents objections, but I wasn’t persuaded to change my personal beliefs). Defining your framework for debate evaluation with this in mind will ease my difficulty. I have been close to taking the action of including my position on the question, in the last few debates I’ve had when this situation arose. Questions of Autonomy and personal belief are difficult questions for me to resolve 

Section 2.03 I will be very resistant to deciding debates where the character of the participants is the foundation for the decision. I do not like to cast judgments on people and their behavior without having gathered as much information as is possible. I do not feel that in the high pressure competition of debate is the best forum for investigating those issues, or in seeking to engage the other individual in a dialogue about their behavior. Am I totally unwilling to decide a debate on such a question? I’m not willing to say that either. But I would have to be convinced that not only was this an egregious act, but that malevolent intent was involved. 

Article III. Other Issues: 
Section 3.01 Topicality I think topicality debates hinge on the question of whose interpretation provides for a better debate topic/experience. If your violation and argumentation does not provide an answer to that question, then figure the answer out. You must also be sure to be complete in your argumentation about why the affirmative violates your interpretation. Do not leave issues of plan interpretation vague, or hinge your argument on a vague cross ex question or answer. Make clear and concise arguments about why the affirmative plan doesn’t meet your interpretation. 

Section 3.02 Counterplans. I’ll evaluate any counterplan presented. I begin from a bias that "net benefits" is the most meaningful competition standard, and perhaps only standard. But you can argue other standards, and you only have to defeat your opponent’s arguments, not mine. As to other theory questions with counterplans, it will depend on who does the best job defending/indicting a particular theoretical practice used in the debate. 

Section 3.03 Kritiks I need to understand what you are saying from the beginning on all arguments, but especially these. Please communicate your ideas to me when you present this type of argument. I won’t go back later and try to figure out what you were arguing about. I need to know what the affirmative does that is bad, and why it is bad enough that I should either vote negative, or not affirmative, or however I should vote. 

Section 3.04 Debating and Evaluating Theory Issues. Theory issues are difficult to evaluate, because they are a yes/no question. If you wish to win a theory objection, you must deal with all of your opponent’s defenses, and provide reasoning explaining why a particular theory position is destructive to quality debate. This is not meant to scare you off of theory debates, just to encourage you to be thorough and complete when discussing this issue. 

Kaylee Kohlmaier Paradigm

6 rounds

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

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

That being said, here’s some general thoughts

Yes email chain, my email is

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Reach out if you have any questions.

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

Eric Lanning Paradigm

5 rounds

Eric Lanning

University of Houston

Thesis: “There are many Lannings”


 I am *not* a blank slate – I’ll try to identify the issues, arguments and controversies that I feel strongly about and update this list throughout the season to reflect how and why I voted.


 Be Direct – I can’t really flow, I don’t really ‘call for’ evidence and if I can’t remember an argument after the debate without scouring my flow and your evidence – I’m very unlikely to vote on it or for you.


I think that ‘truth vs tech’ is a false dichotomy. You should generally make good arguments and specifically answer bad ones.


 I’m very expressive – try to pay attention to me! If you’re nuerodivergent or just don’t feel comfortable interpreting my body language or facial expressions – just let me know. I’m more than willing to work with you and/or provide direct physical cues (thumbs up, thumbs down) or verbal cues (Yes Lady Gaga, Not a winner). Dallas Perkins was my ordinal one for most of my debate career, both because I love him and because I liked getting feedback before the RFD.


I think ‘judge adaptation’ should work in *both* directions. Help me help you. If you want me to evaluate the debate (differently) that you think I usually would, make it an argument in the debate. I’m more committed to the idea of accessible debate and accessible judging than any specific preference in my judge philosophy.



 List of predispositions (last updated before UMKC 2015)


1)      Framework (Clash Debates) I’m generally more persuaded by claims about the necessity of ‘engaging institutions’ and ‘incremental reforms’ than ‘you broke the rules/norms’. I don’t mind judging these debates and I’ve found my voting record is less ideological than my posts on Facebook. That said, I think innovation and engagement are important and tend to reward debaters who take risks with strategies other than framework.

2)      Competing Methods (New Debate) I think these debates are about what you did, not what could have happened. That bias doesn’t translate into “no” or “yes” perms, but I think that question is really important for resolving these debates. What does competition mean? Why does my ballot matter? The more time you spend answering those questions the more likely you are to win my ballot. I think “x” outweighs “y” is a horrible way to frame and evaluate these debates – I’m much more persuaded by arguments about how your method resolves their offense and their method doesn’t resolve your offense.

3)      ‘Try or Die’ and ‘Risk of a Link’ (Old Debate) I’m not very persuaded by either. I vote on presumption a lot more than other folks. If you don’t solve or don’t have a link – I’m unlikely to calculate the “risk” in your favor. I vote on zero solvency. I vote on zero link. I really like “case” debates. I think the best impact comparisons are not a list of *every* metric, but picking one or two and explaining why they matter more than others.

4)      Theory – I default to ‘reject the argument not the team’, except for arguments about conditionality and contradictions. In the abstract, I think the negative strategy should be consistent and that multiple conditional advocacies lower the quality of debates. These debates are often frustrating to judge because people shout buzzwords back and forth faster than I can flow them – explanation >>> vocabulary.

5)      Counterplans – if at any point during the debate you describe your counterplan as “resulting in the entire affirmative” – I’m very unlikely to think it’s legitimate or competitive. Note – the AFF should make these arguments!!! Functional + Textual competition is better than either alone. PICS, Agent CPs, Advantage CPs >>> Process CPs, Condition CPs, Consultation CPs.

6)      Topicality – While I’m more in the “discussion of the topic” than “topical discussion” camp, I think more debaters should separate “framework” from “topicality”. I’m torn between a desire to preserve affirmative flexibility and predictable, sustainable and meaningful negative ground. I definitely think we should debate about legalization, but I’m skeptical of ideological interpretations that claim there is “only one way” to do that. Not sure how helpful this is, but it’s worth saying that I tend to vote affirmative more than negative in debates about the boundaries of the topic.



Teja Leburu Paradigm

4 rounds

Teja Leburu, Coach at Northwestern University, Toss Me on the Chain:

I removed most of the thoughts before, mostly because who wants to read a four-page paradigm. The short version is: I think Aff's need to defend a topical course of action. Based on previous rounds I've judged, it seems I'm not great for condo bad or "cheating" CPs. Have fun and don't take yourself too seriously.

Additional Notes:

---Rehighlighting is Fine

---Boo Bad Theory Args to "Reject the Team" e.g "Severance Perms" or "States CP"

---I'll Read The Cards

---I'll Hold Your Politics Ev to Same Standard As Any Other DA

---If you read an New Aff on Paper, you are a coward

---Introduction of a CP without explanation/card of how it solves in the 1NC justifies new 1AR answers

---NDT Note: the Aff/Neg must send out evidence in complete form with tags/highlighting read in word document (at some point, at latest after the speech), if accessible, to all participants in the debate, otherwise will receive a 27. I will also intervene to notify either side of this policy if possible during the debate.

Edward Lee Paradigm

3 rounds

Ed Lee

Judge Philosophy 

Emory University

 Revised:  November 2013(Remixed by KRS One)

My Philosophy

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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


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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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




Speaker Points

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

My scale

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

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

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

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

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

28 – 28.4:  You are working to get better


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

Joshua Lee Paradigm

6 rounds

Name: Joshua Lee

Last Updated/Proofread: January 18, 2020.

Debate Experience: 3 years in high school (Chattahoochee, GA, 2006-2009), 4 years in college (Dartmouth, 2009-2013).

Judging Experience: I have been away from the community for more than 5 years, and I am completely new to this year's topic.

Contact for Any Additional Questions: (yes email chain, but I will not be following your speech document).

Key Takeaways:

1. My pen-time is slow. Even when you are super-clear, there are many occasions when I just can't follow your speed. Go fast at your own risk.

2. I avoid reading evidence after the round, and the interpretation of the evidence ("spin") will matter more to me. At the same time, please call out bad evidence. I hold a tougher standard on what counts as acceptable evidence. Would you really want to cite a masters thesis in a manuscript to be published in Nature, Signs, or the Quarterly Journal of Economics?

3. Run what you want. I mean it. I don't mind theory cheapshots (ex: intrinsicness) and cheesy impact turns (ex: wipeout) because I still find them refreshing. I also love hot takes that are only acceptable in policy debate (ex: rocks are people, economic collapse good). No argument will offend me - if a team cannot defend that patriarchy or racism is bad, that team deserves to lose.

4. I don't hide my emotions well during rounds. If I'm frowning, it most likely means I don't understand your argument, or something is wrong.

5. Judges that I especially appreciated debating in front of (and aspired to imitate) were: Tripp Rebrovick (Harvard), Sarah Lundeen (West Georgia), and Armands Revelins (Cornell).

Nick Lepp Paradigm

5 rounds

I am currently a graduate assistant/assistant coach at the University of Georgia. This is my 12th year in policy debate.

I use he/him pronouns.

Last updated: 3/16/2019

Please put me on the email chain & make me an ev doc at the end of the debate.

Top level things:

I think about debate in terms of risk (does the risk of the advantage being true outweigh the risk of the disad being true?). I am willing to vote on presumption, particularly when people say really ridiculous stuff.

I like nuance and for you to sound smart. If you sound like you've done research and you know what's going on, I'm likely to give you great points. Having nuances and explaining your distinctions is the easiest way to get my ballot.

I really feel like judge direction is a lost art. If you win the argument that you're advancing, why should it matter? What does this mean for the debate? What does it mean for your arguments or the other team's arguments? This is the number one easiest way to win my (and really anyone's) ballot in a debate. Direct your judges to think a certain way, because if you don't, your judges are likely to go rogue and decide things that make sense to them but not to you. So impact your arguments and tell me what to do with them. I think it's way more valuable to do that than include one more tiny argument.

How I decide debates:

First: who solves what?-- does the aff solve its impacts, and (assuming it's in the 2NR) does the negative's competitive advocacy solve its own impacts and/or the aff? In framework debates, this means the first questions I resolve are "does the aff solve itself?" and "does the TVA solve the aff sufficiently?"

Second: Who’s impact is bigger? This is the most important question in the debate. Do impact calculus.

Third: Whatever you have told me matters. Because I have started with solvency & impact calculus questions, everything else is always filtered along those lines (including framework/role of the ballot/role of the judge args).

Other misc things:

1. A dropped argument is a true argument but it needs to be a complete argument to begin with or I will likely allow people new answers. For example, this epidemic with high schoolers reading aspec on the bottom of T flows to hide it: if it’s so quick I didn’t catch it in the 1NC, the 1AR gets all the new args they want.

2. I am very flowcentric. Do not ask me to not flow, because I won't listen to you. Please do line-by-line. If you don't, I'll be frustrated and less likely to buy new extrapolations of arguments. Your speaker points will definitely drop if you don't do line-by-line. I'm not a huge fan of overviews at all. I am unlikely to yell clear at you if I cannot understand you.

3. Debate Decorum: I expect some civility and politeness between you and your opponent. This is an academic activity and a community where we clash of a variety of diverse ideas. If you forget this, it's likely to show in your speaker points. If things get particularly egregious (shouting racial slurs at your opponent, physically harming or intimidating your opponents, etc) I will intervene and you will lose. That being said, show me that you care. Show me that you know things, that you've done research on this topic, that you want to win, and that debate matters to you. I love this activity and if you also love it I want to know that.

"The existence of speech time limits, the assumption that you will not interrupt an opponent's speech intentionally, and the fact that I (and not you) will be signing a ballot that decides a winner and loser is non-negotiable." (taken verbatim from Shree Awsare).

I am incredibly uncomfortable adjudicating things that did not occur in the debate I am watching. Please do not ask me to judge based on something that didn’t happen in the round. I am likely to ignore you.

4. Judge kicking makes sense to me but I frequently forget about it, so if you want me to judge kick something you should tell me so in the block/2NR.

5. Teams should get to insert rehighlightings of the other team's cards, but obviously should have to read cards if they're new/haven't been introduced into the debate yet. Two offshoots of this-- 1. You should insert rehighlightings of other team's cards if they suck 2. You should read cards that don't suck.

6. Please highlight your ev so it reads as complete sentences. This does not mean that I need you to highlight complete sentences-- but if you are brick highlighting, I want to be able to read highlighted portions of your ev as complete sentences—it flows better to me. IE don't skip the letter "a" or the words "in" or "the". Just a random pet peeve.

7. Card Reading: I tend to not do a lot of it after debates unless things are highly technical or I think the debaters aren’t explaining things well. That being said, I’ll likely read at least some cards. Please put together a card doc for me.

8. Debaters parroting their partners: I usually just flow what the partner said. That, obviously, only exists within reason (you don’t get to give a third speech in a debate obvi, but you can interrupt your partner to say something and I will flow it).

9. New 2AR args are bad for debate. I consciously hold the line against them as much as I can. I as a 2N feel as if I got a few decisions where a judge voted aff on an arg that didn't exist until the 2AR and it's the most frustrating. You can expect me to try to trace lines between args in earlier & later speeches. However, if I think the argument they're making is the true argument or a logical extrapolation of something said in the 1AR, I'm more likely to buy it. 2As-- this means if you're gonna do some 2A magic and cheat, you should trick me into thinking that you're not cheating.

Some specifics:

Disads: I’m better for the smart DAs than the silly ones, but I understand the value of bad DAs and will vote for them. I will likely reward you with higher speaker points if I think I understand your story really well and/or you have some cool/unique spin on it. I am fine with logical take outs to DAs that don’t require cards (especially if there’s some logic missing internally in the DA). Don’t just read new cards in the block or 1AR, explain your args.

Theory, CPs, and K Alternatives: I put these pieces together because a lot of my thoughts on these three args blend together.

Competition is determined off the plantext, not off cross-x. PICs & PIKs are only competitive if they PIC/PIK out of something in the plantext. I do not believe that you get to PIC/PIK out of a justification or non-plantext based word. The only way I will ever be convinced otherwise is if the aff allows you to do so.

Condo: It’s good. I can be persuaded otherwise, but all things equal I’m very neg leaning here. “They should get one less CP” is an arbitrary interp and makes no sense.

Particular Theory: I’m way better for this than most judges. States theory, international fiat, consult/condition, vague alts, utopian alts, etc—I have gone for all of these and actively coach my debaters to do the same. My predisposition is to reject the arg not the team, but I can be persuaded to reject the team on non-condo theory args (you should introduce the arg as reject the team in the 2AC if you want this to be an option).

Theory can be a reason you get to make a cheating perm.

Counterplans/alternatives that use aff evidence as solvency advocates are awesome.

If the CP/alt links less I think it makes sense that I prefer it, but make that arg yourself because I won’t make it for you.

Case: "Where have all my heroes gone?"-- Justin Green

I love love love case debate. You should make logical extrapolations that take out the internal link chains and make me question how the advantage makes sense. The block should read more cards but feel free to make logical case take outs without cards. I don't think you should have to go for impact defense to beat advantages-- uniqueness and internal link take outs are almost always the easier place to attack advantages. I tend to prefer a well-developed take out to the death by a thousand cuts strategy.

Affs-- 2NR that don't do well-developed case debate are generally overwhelmed by your "try or die"/"case outweighs"/"1% chance of solvency" args.

Topicality: It's only ever a voter and not a reverse voter. I oftentimes feel like teams get away with bloody murder teams should just go for T against. That being said, I’m not great for silly/arbitrary T interps. That being said, I am a sucker for plantext in a vacuum and will vote aff on terminal defense.

Kritiks: I like Ks that care about people and things. I'm optimistic to a fault. I certainly believe that things are still terrible for billions of beings, but it's hard to convince me that everything in the world is so absolutely screwed.

Your long overview is actively bad for debate and you will not change my mind.

Make your K interact with the affirmative. I want your links to primarily be about the result of the aff as opposed to just the reading of the aff. Thus, for example, fiat bad links are pretty easily beaten in front of me, but reasons why x policy should not occur are much more persuasive.Don't just explain your theory of how power works, explain how the aff is bad according to your theory of power.

I have a masters degree in communication studies and am a PhD student. I primarily study queer theory (generally falling in the queer optimism/utopianism camp), theories of biopower, neoliberalism & capitalism (not the same thing), and humanism. Judith Butler and Michel Foucault are my favorite theorists. Grad school has taught me that theory is way more complex than I used to think it was. What this means for you: I have read some K literature, although I tend to read it academically rather than for debate nowadays. I am much better now for relatively complex theory arguments than I used to be but will get annoyed if I know that you’re deploying the theory wrong. I'm still not good for things like "death good," "meaning doesn't mean anything," or "language is meaningless" because I don't think those are questions even worth asking. I have not read a lot of literature about antiblackness academically, but I have read some of it from a debate standpoint. I am still unwilling to fill in those blanks for you if you are lacking them (ex-- just saying the words "yes antiblackness ontological, natal alienation proves" is almost not an argument in my mind).

I consistently find myself entirely ignoring the framework debate when judging a plan-based aff versus a K. I fundamentally believe I should weigh the aff & the neg should get access to a K. I will reinterpret your args as just “weigh the aff against the K.” For example-- if you say something like "the aff has to prove that their presentation of the 1AC is ethical", I think the way they do that is by me weighing the implications of the 1AC versus the implications of your criticism. Thus, when evaluating the debate through this framework, I will evaluate the merits of the 1AC versus the K (in other words, if you prove that the implementation of the 1AC is unethical then I vote for you, if you don't prove that it's unethical than I vote aff). I also start from the question "what does the action of the aff solve versus what does the action of the neg solve?" regardless of any framework arguments, so I don't even evaluate framework args first (which should also tell you how unpersuasive this style of argument is for me). Teams should spend less time on framework in front of me and more time winning the substance of their arguments. This also means that hardline “you don’t get a K” and “don’t weigh the aff against the K” style interps are completely unpersuasive to me. This also means that the role of the ballot/judge is only ever to vote for whoever did the better debating. I will not deviate from this, so, again, don't waste your time even saying the words "the role of the ballot/judge is x" in front of me.

“Perms are a negative argument” and “method v method debate means no perms” are both not arguments. I will not write these words on my flow.

Ultimately, I evaluate K debates just like I evaluate policy debates—explain your args well and put the debate together and I’m happy to vote on it. Technical line by line still matters and dropped args are still true args. If you want to win the debate on some metaframing issue, flag it as such and apply it on the line by line. Just be a good debater and I’m on board.

2NRs on the K that include case debate (with some level of internal link/impact defense; not just your security K cards on case) are substantially more persuasive to me.

Framework debates: you should also read my section on Ks (right above this one) as well.

Framework is a strategy and it makes a lot of sense as a strategy. Just like every other strategy, you should try to tailor it to be as specific to the aff as you possibly can. For example, how does this particular aff make it impossible for you to debate? What does it mean for how debate looks writ-large? What's the valuable topic education we could have had from a topical discussion of this aff in particular? Same basic idea goes for when you’re answering generic aff args—the generic “state always bad” arg is pretty easily beaten by nuanced neg responses in front of me. The more specific you are, the more likely I am to vote for you on framework and the more likely I am to give you good speaks.

Stop reading big-ass overviews. They’re bad for debate. Your points will suffer. Do line by line. Be a good debater and stop being lazy. The amount of times I have written something like "do line by line" in this paradigm should really tell you something about how I think.

I do not find truth testing/"ignore the aff's args because they're not T" very persuasive. I think it's circular & requires judge intervention.

I do, however, think that fairness/limits/ground is an impact and that it is, oftentimes, the most important standard in a T debate.

T and/or framework is not genocide, nor is it ever rape, nor is it real literal violence against you or anyone else. I am unlikely to be persuaded by 2AR grandstanding ("omg I can't believe they'd ever say T against us") against 2NRs who go for T/framework. Just make arguments instead.

I’m a sucker for a good TVA. Teams seem to want to just laundry list potential TVAs and then say "idk, maybe these things let them discuss their theory". I believe that strategy is super easily beaten by a K team having some nuanced response. It makes way more sense to me if the TVA is set up almost like a CP-- it should solve a majority or all of the aff. If you set it up like that and then add the sufficiency framing/"flaws are neg ground" style args I'm WAY more likely to buy what you have to say (this goes along with the whole "I like nuance and specificity and you to sound like you're debating the merits of the aff" motif that I've had throughout my paradigm).

I oftentimes wonder how non-topical affs solve themselves. The negative should exploit this because I do feel comfortable voting neg on presumption in clash & K v K debates. However, I won’t ever intervene to vote on presumption. That’s an argument that the debaters need to make.

Non-topical affs should have nuance & do line by line as well. Answer the neg’s args, frame the debate, and tell me why your aff in particular could not have been topical. The same basic idea applies here as it does everywhere else: the more generic you are, the more likely I am to vote against you.

Cross-ex: I am becoming increasingly bored and frustrated with watching how this tends to go down. Unless I am judging a novice debate, questions like "did you read X card" or "where did you mark Y card" are officially counting as parts of cross-x. I tend to start the timer for cross-ex pretty quickly after speeches end (obviously take a sec to get water if you need to) so pay attention to that. I'm really not much of a stickler about many things in debate, but given that people have started to take 2+ minutes to ask where cards were marked/which cards were read, I feel more justified counting that as cross-x time.

I pay attention & listen to CX but I do not flow it. Have a presence in CX & make an impact. I am listening.

Speaker points-- I do my best to moderate these based on the tournament I'm at and what division I'm in. That being said, I won’t lie—I am not a point fairy (seriously why do teams need a 28.9 to clear these days?).

29.7-- Top speaker
29-29.5-- You really impressed me and I expect you to be deep in the tournament
28.9-- I think you deserve to clear
28.3-- Not terrible but not super impressive
27.5-- Yikes
I will award the lowest possible points for people who violate the basic human dignities that people should be afforded while debating (IE non-black people don't say the N word).

I've also been known to give 20s to people who don't make arguments.

If you have any other questions, feel free to ask me before the debate begins, or send me an email. I also do seriously invite conversation about the debate after it occurs-- post-rounds are oftentimes the most valuable instantiation of feedback, the best way to get better at debate, and important for improving intellectually. I know that post-rounds sometimes get heated, and I think we all get defensive sometimes when we're being pressed on things we've said (or think we've said) so I will likely consciously try to take deep breaths and relax if I feel myself getting angry during these times. This also means that I may take a second to respond to your questions because I am thinking. I also might take slightly awkward pauses between words-- that's not because I don't think your question is important, I'm just trying to choose my words carefully so I can correctly convey my thoughts. I only post this here because I don't want anyone to feel like they're being attacked or anything for asking questions, and I apologize in advance if anything I say sounds like that.

Gabe Lewis Paradigm

4 rounds

Gabe Lewis (he/him/his)

Juan Diego Catholic High School 2011-2015 (1N/2A)

University of Mary Washington 2015-2019 (1A/2N)

Rounds Judged on this Topic: 0

Add me to the email chain -



-What if you... didn't use pocketbox… and just made an email chain...

-This is my first year out of debate and I know close to nothing about the topic. That means you probably want to avoid acronyms at first.

-I flow on paper and don't have the fastest writing so pause some between tags and give me time to move between sheets of paper.

-Not interested in your insertion of your opponent's evidence. If you want me to care about it you have to read it.

-Probably more sympathetic to "small school" related arguments than other judges considering my background. That being said you still have to win the debate but I think you can explain small school as it relates to things like predictability and research burdens on T and FW to justify an interpretation.

-Conceding an opponent's argument to use to exploit a double turn or a solvency takeout is very smart. You cannot undo it by saying "this card is bad and doesn't really say that anyways". Making those big risks is one of the best parts of debate and it should be rewarded. That being said I am not as smart as Parker (although I am funnier/better dressed/way faster) so when we executed these strategies he often dealt with them. For you that means you might have to explain what the argument you are conceding is **explicitly** and then go through each internal link to explain how it mitigates or undermines it.

-Potentially most important - don't be rude to your partner or your opponents. If you're offensive and/or problematic expect an L and some bad points.

Paperless Debate & Prep Time:

Not going to make you take prep to send the email or hand off the flashdrive but if it takes more than a few seconds I'll start the timer. Stealing prep will result in a dock of .5 speaker points. When a timer isn’t running for prep, it is my expectation that debaters stop typing/writing/talking etc. Make sure that you are being efficient to ensure I have maximum time to evaluate the round and make a decision and you should be fine!

Also if you stop prep and then delete analytics before sending your doc you will not get higher than a 27.

Case Debate:

BIGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGG fan of circumvention and circumvention debates. Fiat may be durable but it definitely isn't if you don't say and explain that it is/answer the negative's claims that the aff gets rolled back. Also even if fiat is durable Trump is president and you have to explain how you overcome signaling. Also don't be afraid to go for presumption. I mean obviously having offense is good but if you develop it well I could be persuaded by a 6 minute 2NR on presumption or no solvency.

Zero risk exists


Topicality is a voting issue. I don't have a lot of knowledge of this topic so I will evaluate a lot of these debates based on my gut which means you need to do a good job explaining your world of debate versus your opponent's world of debate. Also based on my reading I think the topic is too big and am unlikely going to be persuaded that it should be bigger.


Leave your overviews at home please. They're redundant and often unnecessary. Just start with the line by line. Don't read new 1NR impact scenarios - it's not a constructive. Internal links are usually terrible and affs should point that out.


**heart emoji**

Probably not voting on politics theory. Uniqueness probably determines the direction of the link.


I think that CP’s should have specific solvency advocates. Permutations need to have an explanation. I feel that teams make permutation arguments with a variety of texts without explaining how the different permutations function - if you don't know how your perms are different I almost certainly don't either. If you are going for a perm other than “perm do both”, explain what makes it insulated from the neg’s permutation offense. State CP's are probably bad.


I am familiar with generic cap and security K’s but if its anything other than that, I’m going to need a lot more explanation. I’m unlikely to vote for any aff framework that excludes all K’s ever. Regardless of what K you choose to read you should assume I know nothing about the literature base. My 1NC's in college rarely included a K but I do understand they are strategic so if you can execute it, go for it.


When I debated in college, this was the 2NR against nontraditional affs. Like seriously in all four years I don't think I went for anything else against nontraditional affs. That being said I don't think I'm guaranteed to vote on it. I think that neg teams going for FW often fail to incorporate the affirmative's offense into what is being said in the block-2NR. Unless you win fairness through and through you're going to have to talk about the case.

These debates were some of my favorites because I always felt that I learned the most from them. Ultimately, these debates get lost in the weeds and miss out on the macro level comparison between interpretations of what debates should be about.

The issue I struggle with most in voting for affirmatives often comes down to the model of debate comparison. For affs to win, they need to persuade me that their model of debate is better than the resolution and that it leads to better debates.

I don't think it's impossible for nontraditional affs to win in front of me - as someone that read them in high school and debated against them in college I understand the utility of them and strategic ways to incorporate impacts in ways that framework cannot encompass. Just debate how you debate and I'll evaluate the debate I see.

Also nobody is roleplaying unless explicitly stated by a team. FW isn't genocide either.


I think that theory debates are usually very shallow and block dependent. CP theory is a reason to reject the argument not the team. Performative contradictions are bad but this should just be a standard on conditionality. Reading more than two conditional advocacies is pushing it. If you want to go for theory in the end of the debate please do not fly through your 2AC/1AR blocks. Take time to develop the arguments and do the line-by-line before the final speeches.

Speaker Points:

Not going to lie I have like... zero idea how to do these. The points I received throughout college were wildly inconsistent between judges. That being said I'll work on developing my own scale as I see fit once I judge debates more frequently. At the very minimum, I'll stick to whatever random fake scale I make up in my mind for the entirety of a tournament to provide some level of consistency. 28.5 is probably close to average because despite being coached by Adrienne, I won't give out points as low as her's lol.

Being funny is cool but it's obvi a gamble

If you have any other questions about my preferences, feel free to ask me before the round!

Adam Lipton Paradigm

2 rounds

Assistant Coach at the University of Texas

Put me on the chain:, typically do not look at the documents other than some cursory glances during prep time. I still may ask for a card doc at the end of the debate to maximize decision time, I appreciate it in advance.

I believe that debate is a communication activity with an emphasis on persuasion. If you are not clear or have not extended all components of an argument (claim/warrant/implication) it will not factor into my decision.

I flow on paper, which means I would appreciate yall slowing down and giving me pen time on counterplan texts and theory arguments. If there is a specific way you would like me to flow give me that instruction and I will do my best to follow it.

The most important thing in debates for me is to establish a framework for how (and why) I should evaluate impacts. I am often left with two distinct impacts/scenarios at the end of the debate without any instruction on how to assess their validity vis-à-vis one another or which one to prioritize. The team that sets this up early in the debate and filtering the rebuttals through it often gets my ballot. I believe that this is not just true of “clash” debates but is (if not even more) an important component of debates where terminal impacts are the same but their scenarios are not.

While I think that debate is best when the affirmative is interacting with the resolution in some way I have no sentiment about how this interaction need to happen nor a dogmatic stance that 1ac’s have a relation to the resolution. I have voted for procedural fairness and have also voted for the impact turns. Despite finding myself voting more and more for procedural fairness I am much more persuaded by fairness as an internal link rather than terminal impact. Affirmative’s often beat around the bush and have trouble deciding if they want to go for the impact turn or the middle ground, I think picking a strategy and going for it will serve you best. A lot of 2NRs squander very good block arguments by not spending enough time (or any) at the terminal impact level please don’t be those people.

Prep time ends when the email has been sent (if you still use flash drives then when the drive leaves the computer). In the past few years so much time is being spent saving documents, gathering flows, setting up a stand etc. that it has become egregious and ultimately feel limits both my decision time and my ability to deliver criticism after the round. Limited prep is a huge part of what makes the activity both enjoyable and competitive. I said in my old philosophy that policing this is difficult and I would not go out of my way to do it, however I will now take the extra time beyond roadmaps/speech time into account when I determine speaker points.

Feel free to email or ask any questions before or after the debate. Above all else enjoy the game you get to play and have fun.

Kristen Lowe Paradigm

6 rounds

I debated at Emory, I've since coached at Harvard and Northwestern. Currently @ Dartmouth.

Put me on your email thread, thanks:

TL;DR: Be smart and thorough, be attentive and invested in the debate, and be kind. My commitment to you as a judge is to do the same, and that commitment will always come before my personal opinions about your argument. I don't care what arguments you're prepping. I care that you debate in a way that reflects the quality and rigor of that preparation.

Other things to know about me:
- I value instructional arguments highly. I'll compare things the way I'm instructed to (given instruction + rationale). Otherwise I'll compare things the way I feel makes the most sense. Say which arguments were the most important and why if you're not confident you'll like the way I do it.
- I'm expressive and I can't really seem to help it.
- My hearing is in the B- to B+ range but it's definitely not an A. Maybe be a little louder than you usually are.

Clash debates
- Quick stats for ya (based on my past 2 years of judging 21 of these debates in college):
--- I've voted aff in 54% of debates where the policy team was neg
--- I've voted aff in 64% of debates where the policy team was aff
--- In a framework debate, I've never voted neg on an impact about solving global problems with our debate skills, and I've never voted aff on the argument policy debate functionally trains people to become evil operatives of the state.
--- In a K debate, I've never voted for the argument that the plan doesn't literally happen so it's irrellevant, and I've also never voted for the argument that the neg can only go for a policy option or the status quo.

Do with that knowledge what you will. I care about my flow, argument comparison, explanations over cards, descriptions of the mechanisms through which interpretations produce better debates/people/ideas, internal link defense, and debaters making a demonstrable commitment to thinking creatively and diligently about the other team's arguments.

In my heart-of-hearts I believe that there is profound value in being able to confront and grapple with ideas that you're not predisposed to and that the best form of debate is one that creates those encounters. By the same token, I feel no compulsion to reject arguments that I am not predisposed to if they're well debated.

- See the tl;dr section. Although in complete honesty, I have a soft spot for highly technical and creative speeches on the security K.
- The best link debating involves re-explaining the aff in a way that is illustrative of the broader theory advanced by the kritik and has a flagged impact.
- I'm a strong believer in the material implications of the scholarship you endorse. An inability to explain what those implications are or why they are good will make it a lot harder to win my ballot.

Disad + CP Things
- A disad cannot be low risk unless you've substantively demonstrated it is with defensive arguments. Describing the nature of conjunctive risk bias will not beat a disad. Put otherwise "Framing" arguments are exactly that.... arguments that frame the other substantive responses in place. If you've made no substantive responses, your framing args aren't defense.
- I don't know when impact calculus stopped being cool, but it's tragic. 2NRs should have overviews! Where you compare their stuff to your stuff! I feel very strongly about it!

Theory Things
- Conditionality is probably not great... but I've never voted aff in a debate about it, which is the more pertinent thing for you to know.
- I’m generally persuaded that if a prepared 2A could have anticipated the CP, the CP belongs in debate.

Best of luck.

Ian Lowery Paradigm

8 rounds

Ian "Bishop" Lowery, 4 years of policy debate at George Mason University. I'm currently a second-year coach/judge for GMU.

Please strike me. PLEASE! Even if you think I'm a good judge, Imma need you to take this L for me.


Tabula Rasa. I believe that my role as judge is to absorb the information provided within the round and decide who wins based on the debater's ability to explain and defend their position. Do whatever you were going to do before you saw my name on the pairing. Treat the following as proclivities that may make my decision easier or increase your speaker points.

I'm not very familiar with the current topic, so it probably isn't wise to assume that I know all the policy techne or kritical link stories to the topic or specific affs. I mostly ran kritical arguments during my time as a debater, in my earlier years I ran traditional policy but most of my relevant experience is with the K. That said, I believe that all arguments should be made palatable for the judge, so if I don't understand what i'm voting for, i'm not likely to vote for it.

General Stuff:

Conduct - Don't be a jerk. It's alright to be aggressive, but have a point. Don't be malicious. At it's core, debate is a game, so everyone should have fun. Keep it playful.

Time - Prep ends when the document is saved. Debaters should keep track of their own and opponents speech times.

E-mail Chain? - Yes, I would like to be on the email chain:


Theory - One of the most interesting parts of debate is that it the players can make rules as they play the game. For that reason, I love theory. However, I don't like listening to two teams read pre-written blocks at one another with no clash. The more technical team gets their way. I can be persuaded to reject the arg not the team. Potential abuse is not a voter unless well impacted. Please, no reverse voters.

Counterplans - I'm fine with most CPs. Not a huge fan of process and conditional multiplank CPs. Judge kicking isn't really my thing (I will if the neg says I should and the aff doesn't respond, but don't expect me to on default). A large part of the 2nr should be explaining why this position is uniquely better than the Aff and explaining what that world looks like.

Kritiks - I prefer alts that actually claim to do something. I don't like links of omission. Argue your position well and prove that you have an understanding of your literature base = I will probably want to vote for you.

Kritical Aff's/Framework - I am willing to vote on alternative interpretations of debate or turns to framework. I don't consider "fairness" an impact by default, but certainly can be convinced to vote for it if well impacted in the round. If the Aff doesn't have any clear bridge to the topic/resolution, I'll be sympathetic to fairness arguments. Novices should read a plan.

The Gamble - If you successfully do the following, you will get a .2 boost in speaker points. If you try and fail at the following, you will lose .2 speaker points (hence the gamble). Incorporate the words: Boneless, Clout, or Deadass into your speech in a manner that makes me laugh. If it doesn't make me laugh, you lose the gamble. You can try as many times as you wish, but you can only win once per debate.

If you have any questions, hmu at I will try to answer them to the best of my abilities. If your league doesn't allow RFD disclosure, it might be in your interest to reach out to me.

Josiah Macumber Paradigm

6 rounds

Debated for Liberty University

Current: Affiliate Coach for JMU. Interlake High School.

Yes email chain:

TLDR: Do not feel the need to adapt to my preferences I will do my best to judge fairly. Be persuasive and tell me why arguments are important. Dropped arguments are true arguments, but you need to still explain them and why they matter.

Speaking Preferences:

Slow down on analytics people can only write/type so fast, so slow down if you want me to flow it all. Same applies for theory arguments.

I do not have a concrete method for assigning speaker points. That being said things that help are: clarity, volume (not a big fan of barely being able to hear someone), cross ex (good questions/good answers), and strategic decisions.

K: Have a specific link to plan action/reps/epistemology makes it a lot easier to win instead of generic state links- those are cool and all, but at least contextualize it. Many times bad link debating is done so that the link explanation could have been read against any affirmative on any topic. Those are bad ways of explaining a link and it should be articulated in context of the round that is being had. That can take a variety of forms such as reading through the other team's evidence and pulling quotes that prove your link argument or the logic of the link. It could also take the form of using the answers that other teams provide in cross ex. Each link should have it's own unique impact and it would behoove you to explain how the link turns the case.

Framing for these debates is essential and direction is key for what to prioritize. It's nice to win the alternative, but I don't think it's necessary. IF you are not going for the alternative make it clear otherwise I will evaluate the perm and whether the alt can overcome the instances of the links.

CP: A good CP and DA combo is a solid option for the 2NR. I also enjoy well thought out PIC's. CP's don't necessarily need evidence, but it is preferred (solvency advocate theory is probably a good arg against this).

Maybe it's just me, but after a team spreads through the planks and card for a CP I am still somewhat unsure what it does. Explanation is important in terms of explaining how it solves and why it is different from the affirmative.

DA: Explain it well and it's interaction with the case. You need to do the analysis of why it outweighs the case or turns it. Do comparative evidence analysis and provide reasons why their evidence is not as warranted or does not really answer the DA and tell me why your evidence is better. That does not mean "our ev post dates by 3 days so it's better", but rather "our evidence analyzes long term trends through X method that provides a predictive claim, and their's is an opinion article".

T: Not really a big T expert, so explanation is key.

Generally I believe that over limiting is better than under limiting due to in depth research providing better education. Provide a coherent view of what the topic would look like without the limit that you set on it versus what the affirmative justifies when you are impacting out the T debate. That could include a case list that they justify that explodes research burdens or specific ground loss. You do not have to win in round abuse. Just impact it out well and you should be good.

Analyze the other teams evidence and make smart args against it. I think that is specifically true in the context of things like T subs (some ev makes claims of what substantial is not, but does not set a standard for what is substantial).

Framework: Strategic and I vote on it. However, I think that there are a few different ways to do it that are less offensive / more strategic. Top level winning that debate is a game probably means that fairness is an impact, but that work needs to be done. If education is the impact you are going for there must be good reasons why policy education is desirable or better than critical education. I think it is less strategic to make arguments like "our education spills over and we can one day do _____ to change the system"... that relies on a notion of spill over from policy education. If that is true, why then does that spillover not apply to the affirmative and their method/epistemology?

Theory: Dropped theory arguments are pretty easy to vote on, so don't drop them. Provide a reason why the abuse outweighs any other possible impact and make it a big deal. Just don't blaze through it and expect to win even if it was dropped.

-Policy AFF's: Tell a coherent story and do good impact calculus. Often times teams forget to do that and it's a super important part of the last rebuttals. If you are reading a hard right AFF I find it is better to just stick with it and go for util/death outweighs. I really do think it's more strategic against the criticism to go hard right.

-K AFF's: I think there is a great value to critical affirmatives. Just be prepared for the framework debate and explain why your model of debate is better or have disads to their model. I find it very helpful when critical affirmative provide examples and have in depth historical knowledge about their theory. In addition, providing examples of things the aff could do or would do helps to materialize some of the theory that can make it easier to grasp especially if it is not a literature base I am familiar with.

I typically find that most teams are not ready to defend the entirety of their aff, so if you are negative against a K aff I think that a well developed PIK argument and some case arguments are rather strategic.

There is no single way to my ballot and there are often a variety of strategies that can work in the debate. Be smart and strategic... I often find that the debates I enjoy the most are guided by bold choices from the debaters.

Be nice to other debaters. That doesn't mean you can't be witty or funny just be respectful of others. I think debate is a great activity to make new friends and to enjoy yourself. There is no need to take yourself and other people too seriously, creating a fun environment to debate in makes debates 100% more enjoyable. Jokes are also appreciated. On second thought... maybe don't.

Mikaela Malsin Paradigm

3 rounds

**standard operating procedure: 1) yes, if you are using an e-mail chain for speech docs, I would like to be on it: The degree to which I look at them varies wildly depending on the round; I will often check a couple of cards for my own comprehension (because y'all need to slow down) during prep or sometimes during a heated cross-ex, but equally often I don't look at them at all. 2) After the debate, please compile all evidence that *you believe* to be relevant to the decision and e-mail them to me. I will sort through to decide which ones I need to read. A card is relevant if it was read and extended on an issue that was debated in the final rebuttals.

updated pre-Shirley, 2013 

Background: I debated for four years at Emory, completed my M.A. in Communication and coached at Wake Forest, and am now in my 2nd year of the Ph.D. program at Georgia.

global thoughts: I take judging very seriously and try very hard to evaluate only the arguments in a given debate, in isolation from my own beliefs. I'm not sure that I'm always successful. I'm not sure that the reverse is true either.  In the limited number of "clash" debates that I've judged, my decisions have been based on the arguments and not on predispositions based on my training, how I debated, or how my teams debate. 

speaker points: I will use the following scale, which (while obviously arbitrary to some degree)  I think is pretty consistent with how I've assigned points in the past and what I believe to represent the role of speaker points in debate. I have never assigned points based on whether I think a team "should clear" or "deserves a speaker award" because I don't judge the rest of the field in order to make that determination, I judge this particular debate. EDIT: I think the scale published for the Shirley is very close to what I was thinking here.

Below 27.5: The speaker has demonstrated a lack of  basic communication. 

27.5-27.9: The speaker demonstrates basic debate competency and argumentation skills. Some areas need substantial improvement.

28.0-28.4: The speaker demonstrates basic argumentation skills and a good grasp on the issues of importance in the debate. Usually shows 1-2 moments of strong strategic insight or macro-level debate vision, but not consistently. 

28.5-28.9: Very solid argumentative skills, grasps the important issues in the debate, demonstrates consistent strategic insight.

29-29.5: Remarkable argumentative skills, understands and synthesizes the key issues in the debate, outstanding use of cross-ex and/or humor.

29.6-29.9: The speaker stands out as exceptionally skilled in all of the above areas.

30: Perfection.


Critical arguments: My familiarity is greater than it used to be but by no means exhaustive.  I think  that the "checklist" probably matters on both sides.

Topicality: I believe in "competing interpretations" with the caveat that I think if the aff can win sufficient defense and a fair vision of the topic (whether or not it is couched in an explicit C/I of every word), they can still win. In other words: the neg should win not only a big link, but also a big impact. 

CP’s: Yes. The status quo is always a logical option, which means the CP can still go away after the round. (Edit: I am willing to stick the negative with the CP if the aff articulates, and the neg fails to overcome, a reason why.) Presumption is toward less change from the status quo. 

DA’s: Big fan. At the moment, I probably find myself slightly more in the “link first” camp, but uniqueness is certainly still important. There CAN be zero risk of an argument, but it is rare. More often, the risk is reduced to something negligible that fails to outweigh the other team's offense (edit: this last sentence probably belongs in the all-time "most obvious statements" Judge Philosophy Hall of Fame). 

Theory: RANT is the default. Probably neg-leaning on most issues, but I do think that we as a community may be letting the situation get a little out of control in terms of the numbers and certain types of CP’s. I think literature should guide what we find to be legitimate to the extent that that is both possible and beneficial. 

Good for speaker points: Strategic use of cross-examination, evidence of hard work, jokes about Kirk Gibson (edit: these must be funny) 

Bad for speaker points: Rudeness, lack of clarity, egregious facial hair.

Hunter McCullough Paradigm

4 rounds

For me, the idea that the judge should remain impartial is very important. I've had long discussions about the general acceptability/desirability of specific debate arguments and practices (as has everybody, I'm sure), but I've found that those rarely influence my decisions. I've probably voted for teams without plans in framework debates more often than I've voted neg, and I've voted for the worst arguments I can imagine, even in close debates, if I thought framing arguments were won. While nobody can claim to be completely unbiased, I try very hard to let good debating speak for itself. That being said, I do have some general predispositions, which are listed below.

T-Theory - I tend to err aff on T and neg on most theory arguments. By that, I mean that I think that the neg should win a good standard on T in order to win that the aff should lose, and I also believe that theory is usually a reason to reject the argument and not the team.

- Conditional advocacies are good, but making contradictory truth claims is different. However, I generally think these claims are less damaging to the aff than the "they made us debate against ourselves" claim would make it seem. The best 2ACs will find ways of exploiting bad 1NC strategy, which will undoubtedly yield better speaker points than a theory debate, even if the aff wins.

- I kind of feel like "reasonability" and "competing interpretations" have become meaningless terms that, while everybody knows how they conceptualize it, there are wildly different understandings. In my mind, the negative should have to prove that the affirmative interpretation is bad, not simply that the negative has a superior interpretation. I also don't think that's a very high standard for the negative to be held to, as many interpretations (especially on this space topic) will be hot fiery garbage.

- My view of debates outside of/critical of the resolution is also complicated. While my philosophy has always been very pro-plan reading in the past, I've found that aff teams are often better at explaining their impact turns than the neg is at winning an impact that makes sense. That being said, I think that it's hard for the aff to win these debates if the neg can either win that there is a topical version of the affirmative that minimizes the risk of the aff's impact turns, or a compelling reason why the aff is better read as a kritik on the negative. Obviously there are arguments that are solved by neither, and those are likely the best 2AC impact turns to read in front of me.

CPs - I'm certainly a better judge for CP/DA debates than K v K debates. I particularly like strategic PICs and good 1NC strategies with a lot of options. I'd be willing to vote on consult/conditions, but I find permutation arguments about immediacy/plan-plus persuasive.
- I think the neg gets away with terrible CP solvency all the time. Affs should do a better job establishing what counts as a solvency card, or at least a solvency warrant. This is more difficult, however, when your aff's solvency evidence is really bad. - Absent a debate about what I should do, I will kick a counterplan for the neg and evaluate the aff v. the squo if the CP is bad/not competitive

- I don't think the 2NC needs to explain why severence/intrinsicness are bad, just win a link. They're bad.
- I don't think perms are ever a reason to reject the aff.
- I don't think illegitimate CPs are a reason to vote aff.

Disads - Run them. Win them. There's not a whole lot to say.
- I'd probably vote on some sort of "fiat solves" argument on politics, but only if it was explained well.
- Teams that invest time in good, comparative impact calculus will be rewarded with more speaker points, and likely, will win the debate. "Disad/Case outweighs" isn't a warrant. Talk about your impacts, but also make sure you talk about your opponents impacts. "Economic collapse is real bad" isn't as persuasive as "economic collapse is faster and controls uniqueness for the aff's heg advantage".

Ks - My general line has always been that "I get the K but am not well read in every literature". I've started to realize that that statement is A) true for just about everybody and B) entirely useless. It turns out that I've read, coached, and voted for Ks too often for me to say that. What I will say, however, is that I certainly focus my research and personal reading more on the policy side, but will generally make it pretty obvious if I have no idea what you're saying.
- Make sure you're doing link analysis to the plan. I find "their ev is about the status quo" arguments pretty persuasive with a permutation.
- Don't think that just because your impacts "occur on a different level" means you don't need to do impact calculus. A good way to get traction here is case defense. Most advantages are pretty silly and false, point that out with specific arguments about their internal links. It will always make the 2NR easier if you win that the aff is lying/wrong.
- I think the alt is the weakest part of the K, so make sure to answer solvency arguments and perms very well.
- If you're aff, and read a policy aff, don't mistake this as a sign that I'm just going to vote for you because I read mostly policy arguments. If you lose on the K, I'll vote neg. Remember, I already said I think your advantage is a lie. Prove me wrong.

Case - Don't ignore it. Conceding an advantage on the neg is no different than conceding a disad on the aff. You should go to case in the 1NC, even if you just play defense. It will make the rest of the debate so much easier.

- If you plan to extend a K in the 2NR and use that to answer the case, be sure you're winning either a compelling epistemology argument or some sort of different ethical calculus. General indicts will lose to specific explanations of the aff absent either good 2NR analysis or extensions of case defense.
- 2As... I've become increasingly annoyed with 2ACs that pay lip service to the case without responding to specific arguments or extending evidence/warrants. Just reexplaining the advantage and moving on isn't sufficient to answer multiple levels of neg argumentation.

Other notes -
- Really generic backfile arguments (Ashtar, wipeout, etc) won't lose you the round, but don't expect great speaks. I just think those arguments are really terrible, (I can't describe how much I hate wipeout debates) and bad for debate.
- Impact turn debates are awesome, but can get very messy. If you make the debate impossible to flow, I will not like you. Don't just read cards in the block, make comparisons about evidence quality and uniqueness claims. Impact turn debates are almost always won by the team that controls uniqueness and framing arguments, and that's a debate that should start in the 2AC.

Paperless debate - I don't think you need to take prep time to flash your speech to your opponent, but it's also pretty obvious when you're stealing prep, so don't do it. If you want to use viewing computers, that's fine, but only having one is unacceptable. The neg needs to be able to split up your evidence for the block. It's especially bad if you want to view their speeches on your viewing computer too. Seriously, people need access to your evidence.

Clipping - I've decided enough debates on clipping in the last couple of years that I think it's worth putting a notice in my philosophy. If a tournament has reliable internet, I will insist on an email chain and will want to be on that email chain. I will, at times, follow along with the speech document and, as a result, am likely to catch clipping if it occurs. I'm a pretty non-confrontational person, so I'm unlikely to say anything about a missed short word at some point, but if I am confident that clipping has occurred, I will absolutely stop the debate and decide on it. I'll always give debaters the benefit of the doubt, and provide an opportunity to say where a card was marked, but I'm pretty confident of my ability to distinguish forgetting to say "mark the card" and clipping. I know that there is some difference of opinion on who's responsibility it is to bring about a clipping challenge, but I strongly feel that, if I know for certain that debaters are not reading all of their evidence, I have not only the ability but an obligation to call it out.

Finally, here is a short list of general biases.

  • - The status quo should always be an option in the 2NR (Which doesn't necessarily mean that the neg get's infinite flex. If they read 3 contradictory positions, I can be persuaded that it was bad despite my predisposition towards conditionality. It does mean that I will, absent arguments against it, judge kick a counterplan and evaluate the case v the squo if the aff wins the cp is bad/not competitive)
  • - Warming is real and science is good (same argument, really)
  • - The aff gets to defend the implementation of the plan as offense against the K, and the neg gets to read the K
  • - Timeframe and probability are more important than magnitude (because everything causes extinction anyways)
  • - Predictable limits are key to both fairness and education
  • - Consult counterplans aren't competitive. Conditions is arguable.
  • - Rider DA links are not intrinsic
  • - Utilitarianism is a good way to evaluate impacts
  • - The aff should defend a topical plan
  • - Death and extinction are bad

If you have questions, feel free to email me at

Valerie McIntosh Paradigm

4 rounds

Debate Coach - University of Michigan, Niles West High School
Institute Instructor - Michigan Debate Institutes
Michigan State University '13
Brookfield Central High School '09

I would like to be on the email chain - my email address is

A few top level things:

  • If you engage in offensive acts (think racism, sexism, homophobia, etc.), you will lose automatically and will be awarded whatever the minimum speaker points offered at that particular tournament is. There is zero room for discussion about that. This also includes forwarding the argument that death is good because suffering exists. I will not vote on it.
  • If you make it so that the tags in your document maps are not navigable by taking the "tag" format off of them, I will actively dock your speaker points.
  • Quality of argument means a lot to me. I am willing to hold my nose and vote for bad arguments if they're better debated but my threshold for answering those bad arguments is pretty low. I don't think this makes me a truth over tech judge but I am not willing to assume all "truths" are equally and neutrally "truthful." This is also true of the credibility of your authors.
  • I'm a very expressive judge. Look up at me every once in a while, you will probably be able to tell how I feel about your arguments.
  • I don't think that arguments about things that have happened outside of a debate or in previous debates are at all relevant to my decision and I will not evaluate them. I can only be sure of what has happened in this particular debate and anything else is non-falsifiable.

Ethics: I decided to put this at the top because it's something that is very important to me. Ethics challenges are something I take very seriously and so I want to make myself perfectly clear. If you make an ethics challenge in a debate in front of me, you must stake the debate on it. If you make that challenge and are incorrect or cannot prove your claim, you will lose and be granted zero speaker points. If you are proven to have committed an ethics violation, you will lose and be granted zero speaker points.
*NOTE - if you use sexually explicit language or engage in sexually explicit performances in high school debates, you should strike me. If you think that what you're saying in the debate would not be acceptable to an administrator at a school to hear was said by a high school student to an adult, you should strike me.

Cross-x: Questions like "what cards did you read?" are cross-x questions. If you don't start the timer before you start asking those questions, I will take whatever time I estimate you took to ask questions before the timer was started out of your prep. If the 1NC responds that "every DA is a NB to every CP" when asked about net benefits in the 1NC even if it makes no sense, I think the 1AR gets a lot of leeway to explain a 2AC "links to the net benefit argument" on any CP as it relates to the DAs.

Inserting evidence or rehighlightings into the debate: I won't evaluate it unless you actually read the parts that you are inserting into the debate. If it's like a chart or a map or something like that, that's fine, I don't expect you to literally read that, but if you're rehighlighting some of the other team's evidence, you need to actually read the rehighlighting. This can also be accomplished by reading those lines in cross-x and then referencing them in a speech.

Affirmatives should have a solvency advocate. What that looks like is up for debate. I think debates that stray too far from what a reasonable person would constitute an advocacy for a policy change distort the literature base in ways that make it impossible for the negative to respond to the aff. This is compounded by excruciatingly vague plan texts that enable the aff to "no link" out of what are obvious disads to the affirmative. If your style of debate is built around manipulating and bastardizing literature to create affs that say and defend nothing, I'm probably not the judge for you. I think this vision of debate disincentivizes in-depth negative research. If you refuse to specify what your aff does, I am probably not the judge for you. If you think that saying "a thing is bad" constitutes an aff without saying what your aff does about it, I am a bad judge for you.

Topicality: I enjoy judging topicality debates when they are in-depth and nuanced. Limits are an an important question but not the only important question - your limit should be tied to a particular piece of neg ground or a particular type of aff that would be excluded. I often find myself to be more aff leaning than neg leaning in T debates because I am often persuaded by the argument that negative interpretations are arbitrary or not based in predictable literature.

5 second ASPEC shells/the like that are not a complete argument are mostly nonstarters for me. If I reasonably think the other team could have missed the argument because I didn't think it was a clear argument, I think they probably get new answers. If you drop it twice, that's on you.

Counterplans: For me counterplans are more about competition than theory. While I tend to lean more neg on questions of CP theory, I lean aff on a lot of questions of competition, especially in the cases of CPs that compete on the certainty of the plan, normal means cps, and agent cps.

Over time I have gone from being somewhere in the middle on the question of "does the neg need a solvency advocate for the cp?" and I have found myself very strongly on the side of "yes." A lot of the debates I've judged over the past few years have had the scope of what the neg should get to assert with no evidentiary support go from semi-reasonable to impossible distortions of the literature and REALITY in ways that the aff could never reasonably answer. I DO think what constitutes a solvency advocate for the neg is affected by whether or not the aff has a solvency advocate. For affirmatives that do not have one, my threshold for what I expect the neg to have is much much lower.

I think that CPs should have to be policy actions. I think this is most fair and reciprocal with what the affirmative does. I think that fiating indefinite personal decisions or actions/non-actions by policymakers that are not enshrined in policy is an unfair abuse of fiat that I do not think the negative should get access to. For example: the CP to have Trump decide not to withdraw from NAFTA is not legitimate, while the CP to have Trump announce that a policy that he will not withdraw from NAFTA would be. The CP that has the US declare it will not go to war with China would be theoretically legitimate but the CP to have Trump personally decide not to go to war with China would not be.

Disads: I am not very sympathetic to politics theory arguments (except in the case of things like rider disads, which I might ban from debate if I got the choice to ban one argument and think are certainly illegitimate misinterpretations of fiat) and am unlikely to ever vote on them unless they're dropped and even then would be hard pressed. I'm incredibly knowledgeable about politics and enjoy it a lot when debated well but really dislike seeing it debated poorly. Politics DAs under Trump are 99% garbage.

Conditionality: Conditionality is often good. It can be not. I have found myself to be increasingly aff leaning on extreme conditionality (think many plank cps where all of the planks are conditional + 4-5 more conditional options). Conditionality is the ONLY argument I think is a reason to reject the team, every other argument I think is a reason to reject the argument alone. Tell me what my role is on the theory debate - am I determining in-round abuse or am I setting a precedent for the community?

Kritiks: I consider myself a policymaker unless you tell me otherwise, the implication of that being that if you want me to consider my ballot as something other than advocating a hypothetical policy that would be enacted, you need to explain to me what it is and why that is better than the framework the affirmative is providing. I generally am not persuaded by framework arguments that mean I should completely discount the fiated implications of the affirmative but am often persuaded that I should evaluate the links/impacts to the K against the impact of the aff.

I've gotten simultaneously more versed in critical literature and much worse for the kritik as a judge over the last few years. I think that often times teams who read exclusively critical arguments get away with asserting things as true with no evidence or explanation and judges treat it as a complete argument or incontrovertible truth. I'm not one of those judges.

Your K should ideally:

  • Be a reason why the aff is bad, not just why the status quo is bad. Specific links are good. Links of omission are not a reason to vote neg.
  • Defend an alternative. I tend to have pretty high standards for alternative solvency. Convince me that the world of the alternative would be better than the world of the plan or that the alternative solvency is less important than something unethical about the plan.
  • Not just be a framework argument.

Yes the aff gets a perm, no it doesn't need a net benefit.

Fiat double bind = thumbs down frowny face

Affs without a plan: I generally go into debates believing that the aff should defend a hypothetical policy enacted by the United States federal government. I think debate is a research game and I struggle with the idea that the ballot can do anything to remedy the impacts that many of these affs describe.

I certainly don't consider myself immovable on that question and my decision is likely to be governed by what happens in any given debate; that being said, I don't like when judges pretend to be fully open to any argument in order to hide their true thoughts and feelings about them and so I would prefer to be honest that these are my predispositions about debate, which, while not determinate of how I judge debates, certainly informs and affects it.

I would describe myself as a VERY good judge for T-USFG against affs that do not read a plan. I find impacts about debatability, clash, iterative testing and fairness to be very persuasive. I think fairness is an impact in and of itself. I am not very persuaded by impacts about skills/the ability for debate to change the world if we read plans - I think these are not very strategic and easily impact turned by the aff.

I generally am pretty sympathetic to negative presumption arguments because I often think the aff has not forwarded an explanation for what the aff does to resolve the impacts they've described.

I think when teams are aff against T-USFG in front of me, counter-defining words + offense that explains why I should prefer your interp is more persuasive than just impact turns.

I don't think debate is roleplaying.

I am uncomfortable making decisions in debates where people have posited that their survival hinges on my ballot.

Dustin Meyers-Levy Paradigm

4 rounds

Misc procedural things:

1. He/him/his; call me DML or Dustin, preferably not "judge;" if you call me Mr. Meyers-Levy I'll assume you think I'm old and I'll give you old-person points

2. Debated at Edina HS from 2008-2012, at the University of Michigan from 2012-2017, and currently coach at Michigan and GBN

3. Please include me on all email and/or jumping chains (but why would you use jump drives if email is accessible?)--my email is dustml94[at]gmail[dot]com. please no pocketbox or speechdrop or whatever the latest one is. Asking if I want to be added might suggest that you didn't take the time to read on. (thanks Kurt)

4. Nothing set in stone debate is up to the debaters go for what you want to blah blah blah argument is a claim and a warrant don't clip cards

5. I lied, this is what is set in stone: there are two teams of two debaters (excluding maverick situations), each debater gives one constructive and one rebuttal according to tournament speech times. I will flow, and I will only flow the words that the first debater who speaks in their assigned speech says (I won't flow prompting until the debater giving the speech says things). you can do whatever else you want during the debate, but I intend to judge a debate and will attempt to flow whatever does occur in the manner that I would a debate, and if one team is attempting to debate while the other one is not, I will unequivocally listen to the team attempting to debate and vote for them when the time allocated for the 2AR ends. if you need some part of this clarified in order to determine your strategy, I'm likely not the judge for you in the first place.

6. I talk in cross-x sometimes, usually it's just to resolve clarification questions, occasionally to check against obnoxiousness

7. Really, really not okay with cards written by current debaters (at the time of authorship). If you read a card that meets this standard, I reserve the right to pause the debate after the speech and give you 1 minute to decide on a new card (of your choosing) that you can retroactively insert into the speech to replace the original card. If I'm on a panel, I won't stop the round, but I will probably give you a really angry look and conspicuously refuse to flow the card, and every time you cite the card in a following speech to support an argument I will cross the argument out on my flow.

8. I will not even begin to consider evidence that is "footnoted" or "inserted into the record" unless it's a picture or chart or something that can't be converted into card format. this applies to rehighlighting of the other team's evidence. you have to read the entirety of a card for it to be considered. I have no idea why people think anything less than that is acceptable practice.

9. Speaks usually range from 28-29.5 (realistically more like 28-29.3 on average); below 28 and there are some serious deficiencies, above 29.5 (again, realistically above 29.3) you're going above and beyond to wow me. I don't really try to compare debaters across different rounds to give speaks; I assign them based on a round-by-round basis.

10. If you would enthusiastically describe your strategy as "memes" or "trolling," you should strike me.


Debate is a game and at the end of the 2 hours we spend together I will be obligated to make a decision as to who won and who lost. This implies a few things that are non-negotiable, mostly implied above, and entirely stolen from Joe:

1. There are rules in debate. Speeches have fixed times. The first partner to speak in a speech is the only one whose words count. This is non-negotiable.

2. I'm going to flow your speech. There is nothing you can possibly do to stop this short of concede. What's worse, I'm even going to decide the debate based on said flow and said flow alone.

--2.1. I'm going to flow your speech straight down on whatever page you've indicated you're going to. If you really think your overview needs a new sheet of paper, or that I should save space on my flow for framework/the perm in the 1NR instead of you just taking each arg in order and figuring out how to split the block more efficiently, then I guess I'll do it, but I've literally never been in a debate that was won because an arg was in an overview on a new sheet that couldn't have been made in a shorter overview/on the line-by-line, and I can't remember a time when saving space on my flow made things simpler and not messier (if only because I misjudge how much space to save basically every time). The more you deviate from the line by line and try to jump around between different parts of the debate (especially in K debates), the less I'm going to care about the order you're trying to give, because I'm just going to flow every argument in a row after you make it.

3. I apply a strict standard of technical refutation and argument framing to the final rebuttals. You will not win if you drop arguments. In practice, this means I vote against kritik teams more than I vote for them. It’s not personal.

Aside from these things, I’m overwhelmingly agnostic about any argument/argumentative style in debate. The only thing I’m concerned about is how certain I can be that one side won and lost. I think I am truth over tech in the sense that if I am uncertain about whether or not an argument is explained enough to merit a ballot, I am unlikely to vote on it even if it's technically dropped by the other side, because I believe arguments have a burden of proof to meet before they require rejoinder. Thus, I often make decisions in terms of relative certainty; that is, how certain (or uncertain) I am about any given argument. This is an arbitrary threshold, but one that's relatively easy to lower/raise based on framing your arguments in these terms ("they've conceded X, which means you can be certain voting aff solves Y but you can't be certain voting neg does, Y outweighs"). This is why well-developed presumption arguments will win many ballots and points from me; presumption is a way of minimizing relative uncertainty and telling me what to do if I'm uncertain about something. Using this framing explicitly in your 2NR/2AR will both make debates far easier for me to resolve and demonstrate that you’re adapting to my philosophy.

NDT 2020 updates:

Ideologically, I believe that I'm decidedly okay for K arguments, but I strongly prefer judging teams who attempt to innovate creatively within the bounds of the topic, and my voting record this year has largely reflected that. If your aff talks about China/Russia, then you're in a decent spot with me. If you defend the ramifications of cooperating with one/both of them over space activities in one of the topic areas, you're in a great spot. If your aff says "going to space is bad," I will likely be very persuaded by the argument that that is neg ground. Uniqueness and relative solvency matter overwhelmingly for me; I usually vote for whoever accounts for both of those things to a greater degree (which usually ends up being the team making policy args--see below re: cost-benefit analysis/opportunity cost).

The teams who win going for the K on the neg in front of me are those who creatively engage the substance of the aff and apply their theory in the context of specific turns case arguments which encompass as much of the aff's offense as possible while also forwarding a uniqueness argument. For me, the optimal block/2NR would elaborate why, if the K's theory is correct, the aff is more likely to cause their impacts than the squo/the alt would be, and why the K's theory means I can be more certain about that turns case arg than I can be about aff solvency.

The teams who win without reading a plan in front of me are those who proactively reckon with my predisposition that debate is primarily (though perhaps not exclusively) a competitive activity and commit to one of two strategies against framework: 1) impact turn, or 2) creative engagement with definitions. Option 1 is simpler to execute, but requires more explanation as to why considering debate as just a game is bad, and is something of a harder sell for me. I'm much more interested by option 2; I think affs that creatively redefine terms in the resolution with actual definition cards and defend a relatively limited interpretation of the topic are strategic and intriguing. However, this strategy is a lot harder to execute, and requires a well-thought-out plan for how you want to defend your definitions.

I do a lot of K work, but I've tried to maintain a healthy balance of topic work as well this year. That said, most of my policy work has been focused on process CPs and some space law stuff. I'm not super up on the arms control area beyond the K side, and while I'll catch on to the legal aspects of most SSA/STM affs pretty quickly, the technical aspects might take a bit for me to conceptualize. I'm not too familiar with the details of China's/Russia's space programs, or their governments in general. I don't know what asteroids are.

I'll go on the record to say that I'm a better judge for T than most. In general, on a topic this big I find myself caring less about the quality of evidence for an interpretation than I do about the vision for debate it espouses. I'm more persuaded by strict debatability args than args about the affs that people have collectively agreed are/aren't topical. This also means I'm more persuaded by ground (especially neg ground) as an internal link to debatability than limits.

I'm so serious about vague perms. I'm completely willing to discount an under-explained perm or give a lot of leeway to the neg, especially if the neg points it out, and I'd gleefully reject a vague perm purely on theoretical grounds if the neg tells me to. I've judged a decent amount of rounds, some of them elims in which I sat, in which the 2AR extended the perm for under 10 seconds as a tiebreaker and I voted neg despite the perm making intuitive sense because the aff never developed it. "Do both" is not an argument; "do the CP" is a waste of everyone's time. Say more in the 2AC. (Obviously the latter isn't true vs all CPs, but it's on you to explain why that's the case in any given debate.) See below for more explanation.

K/planless aff/T debates:

I emphasize my agnosticism at the top in order to indicate that I’m better for the K/planless affs in the abstract than previous iterations of my philosophy indicated; that said, in practice, I still find myself voting against it a lot. Maybe it’s the neoliberal bastard in me, but in my ten-plus years in debate (and not without trying), I haven’t been able to conceptualize a coherent way of making the determination of how certain I am outside of cost-benefit analysis and evaluating unique opportunity costs. Topical, plan-focused debate appeals to me because it's the only form of comparison that I've encountered in debate thus far which allows me to make that determination as objectively and fairly as possible and which enables both sides to evaluate unique opportunity costs in a relatively equitable manner. While I could be persuaded that other such metrics exist, I think it would take quite a bit of work, and I'm much more persuaded by creative we meet/counter-interpretations (preferably that counter-define the words that the neg defines). For Ks on the neg, this means that more often than not unique links are the most influential factor in my decision calculus. Whichever side more persuasively articulates why things will be uniquely better or uniquely worse than the status quo/aff/whatever usually wins. Framework arguments that attempt to minimize the relevance of unique links are not persuasive to me. Ks that are able to explain why the world is made measurably worse by me voting aff, and have a framework argument that give me a metric by which I can measure how much worse, are very persuasive.

Other things:

1. I’m skeptical of any totalizing theory of how the world/society/politics works. Saying that a counter-example to your theory is an exception that proves the rule or whatever just indicates to me that your theory lacks scholarly rigor. I prefer theories that direct me towards how to act/understand the world when I don’t have complete information about it, or how to determine which side's theory has more explanatory power when there are counter-examples to sort through from both sides.

2. Planless affs usually lose in front of me because of a disconnect between their impacts and what they claim to solve/how they claim to solve it. Proactively lowering that threshold as much as possible will go a long way for me. An easy way to do this is by explaining solvency/impact arguments in the context of me making a decision, not just what the 1AC offered.

3. I often vote neg in T debates because the aff fails to explain why debating the aff is valuable. Aff framework arguments that don’t explain the unique value of competition and negation are not persuasive; framework arguments that prioritize a role for competition/negation and the comparison of opportunity costs while attempting to use them in different ways than debate conventionally does are very persuasive to me.

4. This all said, "fairness is an intrinsic good" doesn't really make sense to me. Fairness isn't the intrinsic good of debate; contestation is.

5. I think that others should not suffer, that the cessation of mitosis is bad, and that contingent truth is possible and a better basis for action than nothing. If your K disagrees with any of these fundamental premises, I am a bad judge for it.

6. I don't get Ks of linear time. I get Ks of whitewashing, progress narratives, etc. I get the argument that historical events influence the present. I just don't get how any of those things are mutually exclusive with, and indeed how they don't also rely on, some understanding of linear time/causality. I think this is because I have a very particular understanding of what "linear time" means/refers to, which is to say that it's hard for me to disassociate that phrase with the basic concept of cause/effect and the progression of time in a measurable, linear fashion. This isn't as firm of a belief as #5; I can certainly imagine one of these args clicking with me eventually. This is just to say that the burden of explanation is much higher and you would likely be better served going for more plan-specific link arguments or maybe just using different terminology/including a brief explanation as to why you're not disagreeing with the basic premise that causes have observable effects, even if those effects aren't immediately apparent. If you are disagreeing with that premise, you should probably strike me, as it will require far longer than two hours for me to comprehend your argument, let alone agree with it.

7. Args about what another team did in another debate are not persuasive to me. I wasn’t there, I don’t know what happened, and there’s enough going on in the round at hand that I don’t feel compelled to make it my concern. Similarly, I will not vote for or against a team based on who they are--I vote based on arguments made, not who made them; random ad-homs against a debater or their schools aren't endearing and will probably lose you some speaker points. I really don't like homogenizing schools as all reading one specific type of argument; please don't do that in cross-x or speeches.

8. I'm not persuaded by "debate bad."

9. I do not know what the Iraq War is, nor do I know what the Vietnam War is, I have never heard of either of these events in my life, nor have I ever encountered any evidence of their existence, and in the context of debate they are fundamentally unpersuasive to me as examples, as it would take longer to explain to me what happened in these events than you have time for in a debate round

Policy debates:

I've actually been doing a lot more policy research this year than in past years, though I still do a lot of K/K answer research and almost exclusively coach teams who are having K debate during tournaments. That said, a lot of the policy research I do centers on process CPs and impact turns; this does mean occasionally I’m less on top of the topic in policy debates than I wish I were. I’m good at picking up on the tricks in your argument if I understand the subject matter, but I might need a bit more hand-holding than other judges for your super-specific strats.

Other things:

1. I'm not the best judge for most theory args as a reason to reject the team if the offending position is not in the 2NR (with the exception of conditionality, which is a context in which I fundamentally do not understand how I can reject the argument but not the team). In general, I tend to hold the 2AR to a high threshold for new arguments in theory debates that they usually do not meet, and I think the amount of time that would be required in the 1AR to avoid that threshold is almost universally better spent elsewhere. I'm much more persuaded by theory args about what happened in the debate than setting a model/precedent/whatever.

3. Apparently T against policy affs is no longer in style. Fortunately, I have a terrible sense of style. This resolution is very large, but in general, I think I'm better for the neg for T than (I guess) a lot of the pool; I wouldn't normally put myself in this place, but reading through some judge philosophies I find a lot of people who say they don't like judging T or don't think T debates are good, and I strongly disagree with that claim.

4. I think judge kick makes intuitive sense, but I won't do it unless I'm told to. That said, I also think I have a lower threshold for what constitutes the neg "telling me to" than most. There are some phrases that signify to me that I can default to the status quo by my own choosing; these include, but aren't necessarily limited to, "the status quo is always a logical policy option" and/or "counter-interp: the neg gets X conditional options and the status quo."

5. "Perm do both" is not an argument! Neither is "perm do the counterplan/alt!" I'm very easily persuaded by neg vagueness args against perms like these, and I've started voting neg in situations where I can imagine other judges voting aff because the perm was like 10-15 seconds in every speech starting from the 1AR. I hate giving decisions where I have to decide that because there's a perm, there must be some world in which the aff and counter-advocacy aren't competitive, even if I can't possibly explain what that world is. If the neg gives me reason not to, or the aff explains that world for me, I'll be much happier. This doesn't mean you have to write out full perm texts--and "perm do both" can be okay, as long as you say more than just that--the 2AC should include at least an explanation of what actor does what action when and how it's net beneficial.

6. I would gleefully welcome a nuanced, developed intrinsicness debate with substantive amounts of time invested starting in the 2AC.


A lost art.

Misc judging quirks:

· I don't think memes are funny.


· I usually take until decision time; I like to write out as much of my decisions as I can. Sorry for being thorough.

· I'm usually pretty expressive, especially when I'm not feeling an argument. I'm interested in making debates the best they can be--if you're confused about why I'm shaking my head for some reason during an argument, I think I'd be open to answering if you asked what you're doing wrong during the speech.

· You do you, but I rarely find myself persuaded by excessive posturing. I've always thought the debaters with the most ethos were those who kept above the fray and stayed cool, who had fun and treated their opponents with respect rather than trying to prove how much more they know.

· I have a lot of distaste for canned speeches. I notice this a lot more on the neg than on the aff, but if you're obviously reading pre-written stuff for the majority of your final rebuttal, you won't get very good points. I will subtract a full point for a 2NR/2AR that rereads significant portions of earlier speeches.

· Please don't make a big deal about reading a card that I cut in front of me. It's just kind of uncomfortable both for myself and the other team.

Nate Milton Paradigm

8 rounds


I debated for four years in high school and three years at Liberty. I debated as both a 2A and 2N (double 1’s and 2’s in high school at different points). I mostly debated a “CP and politics” type strategy on the neg and also enjoyed going for T and theory when it was strategic. I did read the K sometimes though.

General Philosophy:

I try my best to let the arguments in the debate determine how I evaluate the round although I will admit that I have biases that can influence how I view certain arguments. I have included some opinions that I hope you will find useful in specifically tailoring your arguments to me. I am flow centric. I enjoy clash. I believe that both sides should have an equal opportunity to win the round, so while not defending a “policy action” (ie not having a plan text) doesn’t mean you will automatically lose in front of me, I believe that if pressed, you should have some sort of a division of “ground” that enables the opposing side an equal chance to win (I believe in “fairness”). I believe that having to argue in favor of something you don’t believe is beneficial (“switch side debate is good”). I have a minimal threshold for arguments for me to evaluate them, they must have a warrant that makes sense. It is important for you to talk about impacts and compare them to the other side’s impacts on all arguments. I do not evaluate arguments that aren’t in the last two rebuttals. I don’t think debates should get personal, it should be about the arguments, not the people. I try not to have to read evidence, I prefer it to be explained and impacted in the debate, “call for this card after the round” is not an argument, explaining the warrants of the evidence in question is a more productive use of your time.

T + Theory

I will vote on T/Theory. I lean towards competing interpretations on T and that Condo is usually ok (1 CP and 1 K). I ere Aff on T, Neg on Theory. Please remember to impact these arguments, it’s not a “Voter” just because you say it is. T is not a reverse voter. Please be aware of argument interaction between different theory arguments.


CX starts (my timer starts) promptly after the end of the constructive speech. Open CX is fine, however I feel that it is best to not engage in it whenever possible. I think the CX is an underutilized speech, and good questions are often not turned into arguments, it is important to turn CX questions and answers into arguments during a speech. I don’t flow CX but I do pay attention. CX greatly influences how I award my speaker points.


I like clever PIC’s (not word PIC’s). I ran SC CP and politics a lot. However, I’ve been doing some thinking about agent CP’s, and the more I think about them the more I think they aren’t competitive (if the agent is within the USFG). Obviously this is a debate to be had and I can be persuaded either way. I am not a fan of delay or multiple CP’s (the exception to the multiple CP’s is if you are reading advantage CP’s and/or unconditional CP’s). In the 1NC, please SLOW DOWN when reading your CP text so I know what the CP is, thank you in advance. For conditional CP’s, unless the 2NR explicitly says that the SQ is still an option, if you go for the CP I transition into Plan vs CP framework in which the CP must be net beneficial to warrant a neg ballot.


I am not the biggest fan of the K. That being said, I will and have vote/d for/on the K, I would say that I just have a high threshold for the level of explanation that needs to occur for these kinds of arguments to be persuasive and make sense. I do not appreciate a bunch of post modern jargon; the simpler you can explain your K the better. Please explain what your alternative is and what voting for you means/does, what the role of the ballot is, and why all of that is more important than an endorsement of the Aff. I find that when I don't vote for a K it is usually because the explanation of what the alternative is/does is lacking. While I do not find some K's to be very persuasive, just because the debate makes me grumpy(ier) doesn't mean I won't vote for you, I'll probably just complain about it afterwards (although I will happily provide you with a list of my least favorite K's upon request). I will say that I very much dislikes K's based on a link of omission. If in doubt, read what you are best at and most comfortable with and tell me not to be so grumpy.


Please be as prompt and courteous as possible. You should have all tech stuff ready to go at the starting time of the debate (viewing laptop on, speech jumped, etc.) If you do not have a viewing laptop, and the other team doesn’t have a laptop, give them one of your laptops (you should flow on paper anyways). DO NOT: intentionally include 9 million cards that you aren’t going to read into your speech document (please feel free to ask for a new speech document with just the marked cards that are read, no charge), intentionally disorganize your speech document, steal prep-time (no one should be doing anything during “jumping” time). I am rather trusting on this issue so feel free to police yourselves, I won’t hold it against you if you call your opponents out (even if they are behaving).


I do not prompt for clarity, if I can’t understand you, I will stop flowing and make a face at you. I believe that judge adaptation is an important part of debate and so if you have a question about anything I have not covered here, please feel free to ask, but I will get angry if it’s clear you haven’t read this.

When in doubt: "Make with the good debating, not the bad debating."

Virginia Myers Paradigm

6 rounds

i debated at umw & now im a gsa at liberty

add me to the email chain virginia269(at)gmail(dot)com

top level

  • i will tell you to slow down if i cant understand you
  • read quals, i need more than smith 5 to understand what argument you are talking about
  • i debated policy but i am familiar with most k’s
  • i will judge the debate on what was grounded in the debate, i will not read your cards/follow along during your speech


  1. there needs to be a detailed mechanism for how the aff solves


  1. love politics das


  1. i mostly ran uniqueness cps
  2. condo? im ok with it but not when it gets too messy e.g. multiple cps


  1. dont just read blocks
  2. need a clear alt/how the aff links

plan vs no plan

  1. be able to defend an advocacy statement

email me if you have any questions

John Nagy Paradigm

3 rounds

Please include me in your speech doc thread. My email is

I enjoy coaching and judging novice debates. I think the novice division is the most important and representative of what is good in our community. That being said, I opposed and still oppose the ADA Novice Curriculum Packet. It's an attempt by some in the community, who don't even have novice programs, to use the novice division to further their vision of what debate "should" look like. I don't like that.

I really like judging debates where the debaters speak clearly, make topic specific arguments, make smart analytic arguments, attack their opponent’s evidence, and debate passionately. I cut a lot of cards so I know a lot about the topic. I don’t know much about critical literature.

Framework debates: I don’t enjoy judging them. Everyone claims their educational. Everyone claims their being excluded. It’s extremely difficult to make any sense of it. I would rather you find a reason why the 1AC is a bad idea. There’s got to be something. I can vote for a no plan-text 1AC, if you’re winning your arguments. With that being said, am not your ideal judge for such 1AC’s because I don’t think there’s any out of round spill-over or “solvency.”

Topicality: Am ok with topicality. Competing interpretations is my standard for evaluation. Proving in-round abuse is helpful but not a pre-requisite. If am judging in novice at an ADA packet tournament, it will be very difficult to convince me to vote on topicality. Because there are only 2-3 1AC's to begin with, there's no predictability or limits arguments that make any sense.

Disadvantages: Like them. The more topic specific the better.

Counterplans: Like them. The more specific to the 1AC the better. Please slow down a little for the CP text.

Kritiks: ok with them. I don’t know a lot about any critical literature, so know that.

Rate of Delivery: If I can’t flow the argument, then it’s not going on my flow. And please slow down a little bit for tags.

Likes: Ohio State, Soft Power DA’s, case debates

Dislikes: Michigan, debaters that are not comprehensible, District 7 schools that cut and paste evidence from other schools and present it as their own without alteration. Do that in front of me and I might vote against you automatically.

Theo Noparstak Paradigm

4 rounds

Niles West High School '14
University of Kentucky '18

Coach at Northwestern University

Put me on the chain

I don't consider personal biases when judging policy or k debates. Debates hinge on link, impact, and solvency questions that have to be argued whether its plan/cp, perm/alt, fw/advocacy.

I decide debates by re-organizing my flow around the issues prioritized in the 2nr and 2ar, going back to chart the progression of the argument, then resolving that mini-debate. Tell me what I should care about in the final speeches.

I'll read evidence during and after the debate. Evidence quality influences my perception of the argument's strength. Bad evidence means there's a lower bar for answering the argument and vice versa.

Have an appropriate level of respect for opponents and arguments.

Danielle O'Gorman Paradigm

I've been the Director of Debate at the US Naval Academy since 2005. I debated at Catholic University in the late 90s/early 2000s.

Put me on the doc thread: If this is an open debate, probably better put Adrienne on it too

Four things I hate--this number has gone up:

1. WASTING TIME IN DEBATES--what is prep time? This isn't an existential question. Prep time is anything you do to prepare for a debate. That means when it's start time for the debate, everyone should be READY TO START--restrooms visited, water gathered, stand assembled, doc thread started, timer in hand, snacks ready for your judge (jk). Any of these things that need to happen during a debate are technically prep time and thus should probably happen either during your prep or the other team's prep. The 2:15 decision deadline is an unequivocal good because it makes me 100% more likely to get a reasonable amount of sleep at night which makes me a better judge/coach/administrator/human, but y'all need to get better at managing your time to make it work.

2. Elusiveness (especially in Cross-Ex but during speeches too): “I don’t know” is an acceptable answer. Taking your questioner on a goose-chase for the answer to a simple question is not. Pretending you don't know how the plan works or what it does or that there are a whole bunch of ways it MIGHT happen is not persuasive to me, it just makes it look like you don't know what's going on. Answer the counterplan; tell me it's cheating--I'm one of the like 5 judges in the community who believe you.

3. Debaters who get mad that I didn’t read their one piece of really sweet evidence. If you want me to understand the warrants of the evidence and how they compare to the warrants of the other team’s evidence, maybe you should talk about them in one of your speeches. Read less bad cards and talk about the good ones more--tell me how your one good card is better than their 12 bad ones.

4. Rudeness. Don’t be rude to your partner, don’t be rude to the other team, and DEFINITELY don’t be rude to me. Excessive cursing is frowned upon (louder for the people in the back). Conversely, if you are nice, you will probably be rewarded with points. Entertain me. I enjoy pop culture references, random yelling of "D7", humorous cross-x exchanges, and just about any kind of joke. I spend a LOT of time judging debates, please make it enjoyable, or at least not uncomfortable.

Performance/Ks of Debate:

I’m going to be painfully honest here and say that I don’t like performance debate or critiques of current debate practices. I’m also going to state the obvious and say that I really like policy debate. Why? Well, I guess it’s the same reason that some people root for the Yankees over the Red Sox—I’m evil. Actually, it’s because I think there are a lot of specific educational benefits to traditional policy debate that you can’t get anywhere else. There might be a lot of educational benefits to performances, but I think that you can get those benefits from doing other activities too, which isn’t necessarily true of policy-style debate. If this makes you want to strike me, I heartily encourage you to do so.

HOWEVER--the opposing team would need to advance those arguments to win the debate. Do I think status quo debate is good? Yes. Will I vote on "debate is good" without that argument having been made? No. If the opposing team concedes the framework debate or doesn't advance "status quo debate good" as their framework arg, I'm not going to vote on it, obviously; the debate would proceed as agreed to by both teams. I have judged these debates before and have voted on the arguments in the round.


Whatevs, if it’s your thing, you can do it in front of me. I’m pretty smart, which means I attempt to avoid reading post-modern philosophy as much as possible, and the only languages I currently speak with any level of fluency are English and Pig Latin. This means you should probably SLOW THE HELL DOWN and find a convenient time to define any words that are Greek/German/made up by an aging beatnik. The problem I have with most Ks is that they have totally sweet, awesome impacts but there’s little link to the aff (or no harder link to the aff than to the status quo), so maybe that’s something that both the aff and neg should work on in the round. I really prefer Kritiks with alternatives, and I prefer the alternative not be “reject the plan”.


I think lots of counterplans (consult, international actor, conditions, etc) are probably cheating. As a director of a small school, I don't have a huge problem with cheating if you can defend it and do it well. I wouldn't make this the "A strat" for me if you've got other options, but I appreciate that there sometimes aren't any and I promise not to throw things or set the ballot on fire if you've gotta roll with it.

Not to sound like a grumpy old person (though I am) but I think conditionality run amok is hurting debate. I'm probably okay with 1 CP, 1 K, and the status quo as an option until the 2nr (test the rez from a variety of standpoints, etc). Any more than that and you're pushing my buttons. I'm about as likely to "judge kick" a CP for you as I am to kick a winning field goal for the Steelers (not gonna happen).

There’s nothing better than a good disad. Well there are a few things, but none of them should be happening in a debate round. What do I mean by a good disad? Well, it should have a pretty clear, and ideally pretty specific, link to the affirmative. It should also (and here’s the part lots of debaters forget about) have some form of internal link that goes from the link to the impact. Aff—if the neg doesn’t have one of those things, you might want to point it out to me.

If your disad makes my internal BS-ometer go off I'm gonna tank your points.

Topicality/Other Procedurals:
I think my old philosophy on this point was tremendously vague and unclear (probably much like me in T debates when I was a debater). So I’ll say this instead. I don’t evaluate T like it’s a disad, which I think is the current fashionable thing to say, because unlike lots of people, I don’t think your aff advantages can outweigh T in the way that the aff could outweigh a disad. If you’re not T it’s game over in front of me—you can thank my ADA roots. So I don’t focus as much on the “best” interpretation—if the aff interp is good but not as good as the neg’s, the aff will probably win in front of me. This means I think the neg really needs to focus on the ground and limits debate—here is where you can persuade me that something is really bad. Again, I have a small school and understand the need for predictability. So tell me how the aff’s interpretation is going to make my life miserable because it allows for xyz.

I think topics are becoming more broad and vague, and understand negative frustration at attempting to engage in a debate about the plan's mechanism or what the plan actually does (often the very best parts of a debate in my opinion). I feel like I can be fairly easily persuaded to vote against a team that just uses resolutional language without a description of what that means in a piece of solvency evidence or a cross-examination clarification. I think neg teams will need to win significant ground loss claims to be successful in front of me (can't just roll with agent cps key) but I think I am more easily persuaded on these arguments than I have been in the past.

Tom O'Gorman Paradigm

6 rounds

Tom O’Gorman – Mary Washington 2018 Update
Navy Debate Husband for 9 years, CUA debater for 4 years – D7 for life!

TLDR: DAs, Ks, T, most CPs fine. Non-T affs should strike. Be nice. Not super uptight about paperless prep, but don’t abuse it. Yes, I would like to be included on the email chain – my email is

D7 2019 update: I think I am fine with the ESR CP if its just a policy shift/plain XO (e.g. declaratory NFU), and less fine with it when teams start attaching planks to make it more permanently binding (e.g. OLC opinion). I think Affs should justify that the Prez should not have power to make XYZ decision rather than merely Trump's XYZ decision is bad, but Negs are definitely headed towards stealing ground if they have the Prez surrender the power to make decisions rather than simply change the current decision (this also seems to have real tension with the flex da which is usually, and oddly, the net benefit). Obviously, has to be debated out - but these are my current leanings.


Normally, I would be fine with USFG but given the 2018/2019 topic is specifically whether the other branches should restrict the executive branch I think you need to do more on this topic. Ideally you would just spec Congress or the Judiciary and be ready to answer the CP. At minimum you should be willing to spec which you will defend unless the Neg runs a Congress/Judiciary CP - and then if the Neg does so I think perm do the CP is a debatable position.

I do think the Neg needs to set this up in CX (or pre-round questioning when I am in the room). I don't think the loss of pre-round prep is abusive - the aff is either a statutory or a judicial restriction - prep both.


I am skeptical of the ESR CP, it feels similar to object fiat, but I haven't had enough rounds with it to be sure. see update up top

I am idiosyncratic in that I think advocating perms even if the Neg kicks the CP seems reasonable. Many of the warrants for condo good would also apply to advocating the perm. I am open to being persuaded that perm is just a test of competitiveness; therefore the Aff cannot advocate it (and if Aff states its only a test this is all irrelevant). But, if contested, a warranted argument would need to be made for that position. If no one makes a statement one way or another until the 2AR, I am going to let the Aff do it and feel about as sympathetic to the Neg as if the Aff had never asked the status of the CP (i.e. not at all)

I highly prefer CPs that have specific solvency advocates and net benefits that reference topic literature. I am skeptical of CPs that rely on very generic solvency advocates and/or compete entirely on generic disads (usually politics) Nonetheless, I more often than not end up voting with the Neg in CP debates because theory is so poorly developed by the Aff. Most theory blips are warrantless and question begging (in the pedantic original sense, e.g. to argue the CP steals your ground assumes the conclusion that it was your ground which is the argument being contested). I would much prefer 2-3 actual sentences to 5-6 blips. Attempting to contextualize the CP's theoretical legitimacy in light of this specific topic is extremely desirable.

As to Condo, in general I am fine with the sort of ad hoc norm we have developed of up to 2 CPs/Ks (total - not each) and the squo, and less fine as the number of conditional advocacies increase beyond that (or if they start developing strong contradictions between eachother)– but that’s just biases – willing to vote either way. To me, by default, Condo means that if you are extending the CP/K in the 2NR you are stuck with it. If you want me to judge kick I need you to tell me so explicitly earlier in the debate. I hear "status quo is always an option" as 2NR has option to kick the CP, not as judge can kick after 2AR. So be even more explicit than that if you mean judge kick is an option.


Disads are good. Usually consider the link debate more important than the uniqueness debate, but both matter. Try or die is usually a way of saying we are losing. Debaters would do well to a) question terminal impacts more (particularly since the internal links at the nuke war/extinction level are often highly tendentious and b) leverage the lower levels more. Stopping one patriarchal practice almost certainly does not stop all patriarchal practices. Likewise while it possible that an act of nuclear terrorism sparks WW III and extinction, its also very likely that cooler heads in the major powers prevail and while there is some war its more like Afghanistan + Iraq than WW III. This doesn’t mean I don’t like big impacts, it just means I am more likely to see them as increasing the risk of the terminal impact by a percent or two than directly causing then end of days, and, therefore more grounded systemic impacts can trump them. War, recession, oppression, environmental destruction et. al are all bad things even if humanity survives. Given all this I am most likely to care about probability as an impact framing device and put it before magnitude or timeframe.


I am an ok flow, but I definitely cannot flow author names I may not be familiar with at high speed. If you refer to something later as the X evidence without extending the warrant of that evidence as well I may have no idea what you are talking about; therefore extend evidence by more than author + year.

This includes in CX. I do not follow along in the speech doc, and generally do not even look at it until after the debate is over. You need to make what you are talking about clear to someone who is not looking at the evidence at the time you are talking.


I am not sure what this means anymore it usually means one of the following.

Aff is Not T and/or reads a T plan text but doesn’t defend implementation of that text; therefore Vote Neg. I agree – and am strongly biased in this – you should probably make the T component explicit.

Ignore the DA/K, its irrelevant/unfair – I am not likely to believe the strong version of this argument, instead take as your starting point the next option and frame your arguments to outweighing instead of excluding.

The K o/w the DA/Advantage (and vice versa) – awesome, guidance and impact framing is central.


The key issue for winning a kritik debate on the negative in front of me is the link debate. Good negatives will be able to identify specific cards, phrases, concepts of the Aff and re-contextualize them in the context of the K. Big K overviews are often unhelpful to me as they spend too much time on the general story of the K and too little time on the link or specific answers to the K alt is meaningless/utopian. K Affs are great as long as they are topical.


Bad overviews highlight the speaker’s team’s impact and mumble something about timeframe, probability and magnitude, but basically skim over everything the other team will go for. Good overviews compare the speaker’s team’s impacts directly with the other teams. Best overviews highlight the key arguments and their interactions that determine each sides impacts and why that means the speaker’s team wins. (Example: bad overview - CP solves 100% of case and DA is the biggest impact in the round. Good overview – Even if there is a solvency differential to CP its small and DA o/w b/c xyz. Best overview – there is at best a small solvency differential to the CP b/c we are winning argument X. The risk of the D/A is high b/c y and their responses don’t address that. Risk of D/A o/w solvency differential b/c Z.) I am a better judge for people who narrow things down and tell stories rather than go for a lot of arguments.


Team Reasonability – although for me that means that there is a presumption in favor of the aff counter interpretation, and that it is a Neg burden to prove the Aff’s interpretation bad – not merely not as good as the Neg’s interpretation.

Yes, you do have to be topical in front of me. Some leeway on creative counter -interpretations, but that does not mean topic as metaphor or free word association. Resolutional is another way of saying not topical.

ADA packet thing; I have seen people say that unlikely to vote on T because packet affs are obviously predictable. This makes negative sense to me. The Packet is intended to teach arguments including T (hence why the T files were included). So I don't see why that would be a persuasive answer at all. Happy to vote on T even if Aff is well known, in the packet or on the wiki, if the Neg wins the line by line.

Austin Oliver Paradigm

8 rounds

Add me to the chain -

Coaching history:

Gilman School - 2019-Present

George Mason University - 2018-Present

Recently graduated from George Mason University where I debated for 5 years. Before that I debated for half of high school in southeast VA. I qualified for the NDT twice and had so. much. fun.

I'm just going to give my opinions on things that I always scroll down to when reading people's paradigms:

Topicality: It's in the neg's interest to explain clearly why the dynamics of the topic mean I should err neg on limits, and/or why debatability outweighs aff offense. Absent that kind of common-sense impact framing deciding between a limited neg-leaning topic and a relatively unlimited aff-leaning topic is too intervention-y for my comfort. I see reasonability as a schema through which to evaluate competing interpretations, not an exclusive paradigm. I can be convinced to apply reasonability in an alternative fashion, but I am unconvinced by "arguments" that use reasonability as a stand-in for impact comparison (do not repeat that you are reasonable without explanation in the hopes that my gut-approach to the topic includes your aff).

Theory: I'm open to anything but my threshold for voting aff on delay cps bad is quite different from my threshold for voting aff on vague alternatives bad. If you're negative and reading something that is obviously pushing it it would be helpful for you to have arguments as to why reading your horribly unfair argument is distinct from every other time said horribly unfair argument has been read or is warranted by the topic/specific affirmative.

Condo: I don't care but see above.

DAs: I believe there can be zero risk of one. Having a diversity of arguments does not have to and shouldn't trade off with smart framing arguments. Spending time winning a single damning argument with certainty is more helpful to me than reading a block your 1A wrote that extends every piece of UQ/Link/Impact ev in the debate. "Link determines direction of uniqueness" is generally more intuitive to me than the inverse.

Ks: If you read it one off I understand if your speeches don't reflect normative organization and think it's in your interest to mix things up. I'll flow straight down. If you're affirmative in one of these debates it's your job to use that to your advantage and reconstruct things for me.

Framework: I often vote for non-topical affirmatives in part because framework debates are unnecessarily complicated. Simplifying things will substantially increase your chances of winning a ballot. For the neg this means picking an impact in the 2NR; fairness is one and is often (in my opinion) a better 2NR choice than decision-making/delib (explanation of which tends to be very nebulous and vulnerable to aff link/impact turns). If you go for an education impact, explain why your interp/model solves it or just explain why the aff precludes it. It doesn't take much to convince me that you should get topic education as an impact turn against affs that are explicitly anti-topical, but outside of that context this will require work for me. I say that fairness is often a better option because I generally believe that fairness is required for debate to have internal consistency/meaning, and teams whose strategy on T line up with that will put themselves in a good position in debates that I am judging. As explained above, I am partial to fairness/competitive equity impacts and so it is in the aff's interest to explain why they produce/justify reasonably fair debates/affirmatives OR spend a lot of time impact turning fairness instead of repeating that it's infinitely regressive/doesn't have a brightline/is just an internal link to education/shadow extending another sentence-long 2AC arg.

These statements represent my feelings and quite likely my proclivities in judging; they do not, however, represent any hardline stance that I will take regardless of the context supplied by a debate. I flow a lot and will use it more than anything else to make a decision if I am judging you.

- Austin xoxo

Thomas Pacheco Paradigm

7 rounds

Email:; also on debatedocs if that matters.

***2019 NDT/TOC Update***

1) Background

A) College- I have judged fewer than 15 college debates on the executive powers topic. I have done some research on it.

B) High school- I have judged fewer than 20 high school debates on the immigration topic. I have done significant research on it.

C) I have legal knowledge as a background. Rarely has it made any difference in a debate. It has helped in cutting cards in providing a context I would not otherwise have regarding legal processes.

2) Debaters should be better at resolving debates and providing relative comparisons at a meta-level. Tell me why you have won a particular portion of a debate AND why that matters relative to the remainder of the debate.

3) Specificity matters to me. I have found over the course of judging that debates in the abstract are the most difficult to judge. Whether it is the specificity of a disad link or an explanation of limits on T, specificity to the context of a particular debate is critical in terms of how you contextualize your arguments.

***Old Update***

So I thought about my previous philosophy, and I didn’t think I would like it if I were a debater and read it. So I will try to provide (hopefully) more useful insight into what I think about debate. I have no idea what situations will occur and what defaults I may have given my limited amount of judging, but I think explaining what I thought about debate as a debater will help.

I just graduated from college, having debated for 4 years in high school at Loyola Blakefield and 4 years in college at the University of Mary Washington.

The way to get me to vote for you is to tell me what to vote on and how to evaluate it. Force my hand, think about the debate from a holistic perspective. Compare arguments. Make even if statements.

What did I really value that I got out of debate?

Fun- I thought debate was a ton of fun. Thinking quickly on my feet, trying to predict what people would say, cutting a ton of cards. I loved debate.

Critical thinking- I do not think anything ever made me think as hard and as complexly as debate. Limited prep time, strategic decisions needing to be made. Thinking about the best arguments to be made against a certain team or with a certain judge. Thinking the way debate teaches has helped me in undergrad, law school, and in life. It teaches a certain way of thinking that is invaluable.

Advocacy- debate taught me how to make an argument, and how to win it in front of anyone. Strip debate of the jargon, and you know how to make an argument in any context. It enhanced my paper writing and has helped me in a lot of situations I think.

How did I get this out of debate?

Rigorous testing. Equitably difficult debate where both teams rigorously test each other’s arguments produces an activity that I found fun, helped me to think critically in quick and strategic ways, and taught me how to make arguments efficiently. I fundamentally think that debate is about rigorously testing positions. You can have debates about anything, but I think this is how I would describe it to people outside of debate and is what debate should be in my normative world.

Why does this matter?

It shapes what I think about debate positions, or is my default for evaluation. This is one of many possible frames I could use. But this is where I start, and it shapes my perception of topicality, to CP competition, to Ks, to theory, to speaker points.


I do think I am open to listening to alternative constructions of debate, but what that is and looks like needs to be tangible to me for me. The team that answers the question- what world of debate is most equitably rigorous wins. My presumption about rigorous testing can be challenged, and I do not know what I will think once I start judging. It is my default though. I think the topic has value insofar as it sets a stasis for argumentation from which rigorous testing commences. Topical version of the aff arguments are good, but not necessary for the neg. For the aff (saying debate bad), I think uniqueness arguments about exclusion are persuasive. I think the closer the aff is to the topic, the more persuasive reasonability becomes.


Topicality debates should be grounded in the literature. I tend to think limits are a controlling issue in T debates because they determine whether the neg has the opportunity to rigorously test the aff. Caselists are useful for either side.

I think arguments contextual to the topic are useful. I think T is important on the oceans topic given its enormity and the lack of unified negative ground. For the aff, I am compelled by aff flex arguments like its and generic CPs make the topic awful.


For most CPs, I probably default to reject the argument not the team. I do think there are arguments that can be made that bad CPs are a reason to reject the team, but it is not my default presumption. There are two questions that I think are important to answer- does the CP rigorously test the aff AND how critical is the CP in the literature? I do think that most CP theory debates are invariably shallow which makes evaluating them difficult.

Conditionality does not differ for me from other CP theory in that the question is about rigorous testing. I do think conditionality is rampant. I think contradicting positions are bad, but can also have different implications in debates- does using the same reps you k’ed mean that perm- do the alt is legit, or that the alt fails? Probably. Contextualizing conditionality to the specific practices done in the debate makes the argument very persuasive.

My presumption is against intervening to kick the CP for the 2nr. If I am told to do it, I might if the aff drops the argument. If they don’t, I probably won’t.

College teams – Pics- I am not completely sold that all/nearly all is the death knell for pics on the college topic. My presumption for pics being good makes me think this is a debatable question, even if the resolution tries to write this out of debates.


I think topic-specific critiques can be interesting because they rigorously test the aff. Whichever team controls the role of the ballot typically wins, and neg teams should invest more if the role of the ballot is distinct from my presumption of testing. I also do not think it is strategic for K teams to not answer the aff explicitly – dropping the 1ac usually means I vote aff – meaning my bar is higher on voting for “x comes first”/ “x means the whole aff is wrong” args. Generalizations do not test the aff. Dropping the 1ac does not test the aff.

I think try or die is how I think about ks. Ks that are the strongest in persuading me control the impact uniqueness of the debate. I find aff arguments about trends in the status quo more important than other people because of that (for example, if the environment is sustainable, winning a consumption k becomes much harder). Affs should focus on alt solvency and how to evaluate impacts.


I tend to think the link controls the direction of the DA, but can be persuaded that uniqueness does.

I think zero risk is possible.

I think turns case arguments really help the neg. I think unanswered turns case arguments by the block in the 1ar are difficult for the aff to come back from.


You will receive a bump in speaker points if you read quals.

I flow cross-x.

Demonstrate topic knowledge.

I like specific arguments better than general ones.

I think long overviews are overrated and are a way to avoid clash.

Start impact calculus early.

Indict specific evidence- the quals and the warrants.

Explain to me why I should prefer your evidence over your opponents.

Tell me when an argument is new or dropped.

Be comprehensible.

2as should not blow off arguments on the case.

Smart arguments matter, as long as they are complete. An argument is a claim and warrant.

Clipping is a problem in the activity. Don’t do it. Don’t allege that someone else has done it without evidence via recording – you will not win otherwise. The debate community relies on shared trust. Breaking that trust or accusing someone of doing this is of the utmost seriousness.

Be organized- with yourself in the debate as well as your arguments.

Do not steal prep.

Minimize the amount of time paperless debate causes.

***Previous philosophy***

Short version

I just graduated from college, having debated for 4 years in high school at Loyola Blakefield and 4 years in college at the University of Mary Washington. I have not judged so much that there is a predisposition that is so strong not to be able to be overcome. You do you, most things are up for debate. I prefer specific strategies over general strategies regardless of what those strategies deploy. I prefer CP/Politics or Politics/Case debates. I think the real way to being happy with a decision from me is to tell me what to do and how to assess arguments in the debate. The team that tells me what to do at the end of the debate and has the best reasoning for it will win.

I like hard work. Debaters that work will hard will be rewarded for doing so. I will also work my hardest to give every debater the credit they deserve while I am making a decision.

Coaches who have had a formative impact on me – Adrienne Brovero, Daryl Burch, Tom Durkin.

Judges I liked that I would like to be like – Lawrence Granpre, Scott Harris, Fernando Kirkman, Sarah Sanchez, Patrick Waldinger. I promise I will not be as good as these people, but I use them as a model for how I want to judge.


I was a 2a and a politics debater in college, and a 2n that relied on the cap k and topicality in high school. I have done significant research on the oceans topic, and a little on the college topic.


I default policymaker. I think the topic is set up to be instrumentally affirmed. Again, not so much so that I will not listen to other arguments or perspectives. For the neg, I am strong believer in fairness as well as the skills that debate teaches. I think predictability is necessary for debates to happen. Topical version of the aff arguments are good, but not necessary for the neg. For the aff (saying debate bad), I think uniqueness arguments about exclusion are persuasive. I think the closer the aff is to the topic, the more persuasive reasonability becomes.


Topicality debates should be grounded in the literature. I tend to think limits are a controlling issue in T debates. Caselists are useful for either side.

I think arguments contextual to the topic are useful. I think T is important on the oceans topic given its enormity and the lack of unified negative ground. For the aff, I am compelled by aff flex arguments like its and generic CPs make the topic awful.


For most CPs, I probably default to reject the argument not the team. That does not mean that I think that all CPs are good OR that I would be unwilling to vote on a cheating CP. I do think that most CP theory debates are invariably shallow which makes voting on them difficult. Most teams get away with bad/illegitimate CPs because the aff is terrible at executing, or the neg has some trick. I also think the more contextual a CP is within a set of literature, the harder it is to beat on theory questions. I have no predispositions on CP theory – I am willing to listen to it.

Conditionality is different than other CP theory args for me. It is certainly excessive most of the time. It gets egregious when positions contradict. Contextualizing conditionality to the specific practices done in the debate makes the argument very persuasive.

College teams – Pics- I am not completely sold that all/nearly all is the death knell for pics on the college topic. My presumption for pics being good makes me think this is a debatable question, even the resolution tries to write this out of debates. I think what is “nearly all” is what the literature says it is. I am also compelled that maybe the topic is so bad that these pics are important for the neg.


I think topic-specific critiques can be interesting. The more specific to the topic, and the more specific to the aff, the better. Whichever team controls the role of the ballot typically wins. I also do not think it is strategic for K teams to not answer the aff explicitly – dropping the 1ac usually means I vote aff – meaning my bar is higher on voting for “x comes first”/ “x means the whole aff is wrong” args.


I tend to think the link controls the direction of the DA, but can be persuaded that uniqueness does.

I think zero risk is possible.

I think turns case arguments really help the neg. I think unanswered turns case arguments by the block in the 1ar are difficult for the aff to come back from.


I think long overviews are overrated.

Start impact calculus early.

Be comprehensible.

Smart arguments matter, as long as they are complete.

Clipping is a problem in the activity. Don’t do it. Don’t allege that someone else has done it without evidence via recording – you will not win otherwise. The debate community relies on shared trust. Breaking that trust or accusing someone of doing this is of the utmost seriousness.

Be organized.

Do not steal prep.

Minimize the amount of time paperless debate causes.

Have fun – that’s why I do this.

Joe Patrice Paradigm

4 rounds

Joe Patrice


Paperless Policy: I'm at Or I can do the situational dropbox thing. Whatever. Regale me with your evidence. I don't read it during round, I just want it all for post-round evaluation and caselist obligations. I still flow based on what you SAY so don't cut corners on clarity just because I have your speech docs in my inbox.

Everything Else: I listen to everything, but I characterize myself as a critic of argument. Basically that’s a kind of pretentious way of saying that I listen to everything, but realistically note that in evaluation, all else equal, certain things are more compelling than others.

NOTE: Do not necessarily interpret any of my preferences as bans on any kind of arguments, or even guides to how to select down. It's a threshold of believability issue.

Policy Debates: Compare your impacts, weigh them, and tell me a story of the world of voting Aff vs. voting Neg.

I prefer fewer positions with longer evidence, clearer scenarios, and more analysis of impact probability rather than harping on the massive size of the impacts. If I hear that an increase in spending will collapse the world economy and trigger a nuclear war, you may as well tell me aliens are invading. Don’t get me wrong, I’ll vote on it, but I’ll die a little inside and there’s frighteningly little of my soul left to kill – I’m a lawyer.

Counterplans are cool. In the world of Agent CPs I prefer topic specific agent fights over broad generic agent shifts, but I’ll vote on them because, hey, it’s the world we live in. I’ve been more demanding of CP/Perm theory arguments. I think these arguments are akin to T, yet unlike T people don't feel compelled to explain the abuse story. I do not think "the Perm is severance" is a link...I need to know why it severs and preferably a reason why that is uniquely disadvantageous. That said, if that's in the debate I'm more than willing to vote on these args because people all too often don't answer them well enough, probably because they don't know how to flow anymore. But who am I to judge! Oh right... I'm the judge. Kinda my job.

In other words, if you're going the policy route, you’ll make me so happy teeing off with specific arguments tied to the real policy debate of the subject.

And if you’re reading this harsh criticism of policy debate with a smug look on your face, slow your roll there K debater...

Kritik Debates: Kritiks challenge the advocacy of the other team in salient ways that could be lost in a pure utilitarian analysis. Issues of exclusion and oppression ingrained in the heart of a policy proposal or the representations of the other team can be called out with kritiks ranging from simple “-ism” args to a postmodern cavalcade.

It is NOT an excuse to say random pomo garbage that sounds cool but doesn’t bear upon what’s happening in the round. Esoteric ramblings from some dead German can – and often do – have as little to do with the debate round as the hypothetical global nuclear wars that have killed us a million times over in this activity. Look, I actually KNOW what most of that garbage means, but that's not a reason for you to not make sense. Make the K relevant to the specific policy/issue discussion we’re supposed to be having and I’ll be very happy.

Again, I vote on this stuff, but see above about killing me inside.

When it comes to K/Performance Affs, I’m pretty open to however you justify the Aff (metaphorically, as activism, as some kind of parable), so long as deep down you’re advocating that all things equal, “current space policy bad.” Take whatever tack to get there you want, but basically be the direction of the topic, folks. With all these caveats, if you outright refuse to "affirm" anything in the "topic," that's all well and good, just be a really good T debater. I'll vote for a compelling justification — I’ve recently been told that according to Tabroom, I’m almost exactly .500 in these debates over the last few years. I don’t know if that’s true, but it sounds right. Frankly, I'd rather hear "we can't be Aff because the resolution is broken and we'll win the T/Framework debate" than some squirrely "we're not topical, but kind of topical, but really not" thing.

An honest pet peeve (that I can be talked out of, round-by-round) is that I don't think “performance” means doing this stuff in-round. For example, Dadaism is an argument, not a reason to answer every question with “Fishbulbs!"

Every time you steal prep time will also kill me a little more inside. But you’re going to do it anyway.

Jackie Poapst Paradigm

4 rounds

About me:

Assistant Director of Debate at George Mason University.
Former varsity debater at Liberty University (Middle East 2007-Immigration)

I know you work hard at debate so I will work hard to be your judge. I know the rest of this is long, but I really hated when judges didn’t have in depth philosophies when I was a debater.

I vote neg more than aff.

Paperless or questions:

Top level Space Topic thoughts:

-Say no = best neg case arg on the topic.

-It's really hard to be neg, so I will probably lean neg on CP theory issues.

-I will normally not open docs during the debate. I will edit this, however, if both teams request that I follow along while cards are being read. In debates where I am asked to follow the doc, my speaks will reflect a formula of 60% Clarity, Persuasion, Presence and 40% Strategy and Cross-ex effectiveness. In debates where I do not follow along in the doc, my formula will be 40% Clarity, Persuasion, Presence and 60% Strategy and Cross-ex effectiveness.

Update Wake 2019: Random Things that Annoy me:

1. It's U.S.M.C.A., new nafta, or Nafta 2. Not YOU-SMACK-UH. I will dock speaks.

2. Don't put cards in the body of the document.

3. Yelling over each other in cx - everyone will lose speaks.

4. Interrupting your partner in cx - I am seriously close to saying I want closed cx, I am so annoyed at how egregious this is becoming. I will deduct speaks from both partners.


I evaluate the round in the paradigm that is provided to me by the debaters. If none is provided, I default to consequentialism. If you win an argument I will vote on it. However, one thing you have to keep in mind is that winning may be harder if I don’t understand what you are talking about, so explanation and analysis is key.

I have been having a kind of difficult time determining if I am a more tech over truth judge when the situation demands that I make a pedagogical choice. I will be honest and say that sometimes it really depends on my mood. With that in mind, framing my ballot earlier on for how I should view decision making between those two philosophies is probably a good idea.

Cross ex note: I stop listening after the 3 minutes of cross ex ends. Sometimes I will leave the room in protest of you attempting to use cross ex to ask more questions. You get clarification questions once cx is over. That's it - and I'm actively not paying attention to the responses.


Space note: I am 100% ok with an interpretation eliminating broad swaths of this topic

I love topicality debates. My voting record leans much more neg than aff in topicality debates. Couple framing issues for me on topicality debates:

Competing Interpretations > Reasonability

Predictable Limits > Ground/Education

Debate-ability > Framer's Intent (I'm okay with voting that certain parts of the topic should not have been included if the topic committee just fucked up the wording.

If cross ex actually checked for specification questions (i.e. "who is the actor" - and they tell you "Congress") - that is the only argument the 2ac needs to make against a 1NC spec argument.

NOVICE NOTE: I think it is ridiculous when novices read no plan affs - do whatever you want in other divisions, but these kids are just learning how to debate, so providing some structure and predictability is something I think is necessary. I err heavily on framework in those debates for the negative in the first semester.


Besides conditionality, theory is a reason to reject the argument and not the team. Anything else is an unwinnable position for me. One or two conditional options is probably good for negative flexibility, anymore is pushing it a little. Granted, conditionality theory is all debateable.


Are awesome. The trickier, the better. I’m okay with most of them, but believe that the action of the CP must be clearly explained at least in the 2NC. I don’t vote on something if I don’t know what my ballot would be advocating. I shouldn’t have to pull the CP text at the end of the round to determine what it does. I err to process/agent/consult cp’s being unfair for the aff (if you can defend theory though, this doesn’t mean don’t read them). Also, I think that perm do the cp on CPs that result in the plan can be rather persuasive, and a more robust textual/functional cp debate is probably necessary on the negative's part.

**Delay and consultation cp’s are illegit unless you have a specific solvency advocate for them. Agenda DA Uniqueness cp’s are too – I’m sorry that the political climate means you can’t read your politics strat on the negative, but that doesn’t mean you should be able to screw the aff’s strategy like that. Have other options.

**ESR CP - I have heard persuasive reasons that they are both unfair and fair. At the beginning of the year, I thought I would 100% side with "can't fiat Executive restraint" - but I think I'm now at about 60% can't fiat restraint.


Wonderful. Disadvantages versus case debates are probably my favorite debates (pretty much every 2NR my partner and I had). I love politics disads (RIP the trump administration ruining the best DA strat), I think they are educational in many ways. However, I can be very persuaded by no backlash/spillover answers on the internal link – in so many situations the internal link just makes NO sense. Offense is always preferred against da’s, but I think that there is such a thing as 100% no link (LOVE thumpers btw). Like elections DA's - not a huge fan of impact scenarios relying on the democratic candidate doing something once they get in office. Think shorter term impact scenarios are necessary. Also, will probably be persuaded by the affirmative arg that we don't know who the candidate for the dems is yet, so predictions are too early.


I wrote my thesis on queer rage and my research now focuses on a Derridian/Althusserian analysis of Supreme Court rhetoric - but that does not mean I will automatically get whatever random critical theory you are using. Due to who I coach and what I research for academics, I am most familiar with identity theories, biopower, Marxism, any other cultural studies scholarship, Baudrillard, Derrida, and Deleuze. If your K isn't one of those - hold my hand through your shit. I think the most persuasive kritik debaters are those who read less cards and make more analysis. The best way to debate a kritik in front of me is to read slower and shorter tags in the 1NC and to shorten the overviews. I find most overviews too long and complicated. Most of that work should be done on the line-by-line/tied into the case debate. Also, debating a kritik like you would a disad with an alternative is pretty effective in front of me. Keep it clean. Unless your kritik concerns form/content - be organized.

Update: due to dissertation research monopolizing a large portion of my scholarly reading time, I have been unable to keep up with the newest writings of afro-pessimist/indigenous scholars. If you are reading anything from 2018-2019, assume I have not read it.

Note for policy v K regarding the "weigh the affirmative or nah" framework question - basically no matter how much debating occurs on this question, unless the affirmative or negative completely drops the oppositions' arguments, I find myself normally deciding to the affirmative gets to weigh the affirmative's advantages but is responsible for defending their rhetoric/epistemology.

Critical Affirmatives:

Space note: Not really sure what the TVA is this year, so I would recommend impact turning as primary strategy to FW in front of me for critical affs.

Overall Framework update: Procedural fairness IS an impact, but I prefer clash key to education. I find it difficult to vote for impacts that preserve the game when the affirmative is going for an impact turn.

Generic Case Update: I find myself voting neg on presumption often when this is a large portion of the 2nr strategy. I recommend affirmatives take this into account to ensure they are explaining the mechanism of the aff.

Your aff must do something. Deferral is not a strategy for me. I am not a fan of teams that just wait to get links until the 1NC occurs. I find performance debates some of the most fun rounds that I have debated in/seen, but I do like when critical affs engage the topic somehow. I find that interesting and usually a happy medium. Don’t get me wrong, I vote on who wins the argument so framework v. critical aff that engages the topic is still an option for the negative. Look at my Kritik views to get more ideas, but once again go slower on the tags so I can get what you are talking about. There is nothing worse than figuring out what the affirmative does in the 1AR-2AR.

I find judging non-black teams reading afro-pessimism affirmatives against black debaters an uncomfortable debate to decide, and my threshold for a ballot commodification style argument low.

Individual survival strategies are not predictable or necessarily debatable in my opinion (i.e. "This 1AC is good for the affirmative team, but not necessarily a method that is generalizable). I enjoy critical methods debates that attempt to develop a praxis for a certain theory that can be broadly operationalized. For example, if you are debating "fem rage" - you should have to defend writ large adoption of that process to give the negative something to debate. It is pretty difficult for a negative to engage in a debate over what is "good for you" without sounding incredibly paternalistic.

Overall Sound:

I am partially deaf in my left ear. It makes it difficult to decipher multiple sounds happening at the same time (i.e. people talking at the same time/music being played loudly in the background when you are speaking). I would recommend to reduce the sound level of background music to make sure I can still hear you. Also means you just have to be a smidge louder. I'll let you know if sound level is an issue in the debate, so unless I say something don't let it worry you.


I love flowing. I now flow straight down in columns in an excel document, and have found it has made my decisions much more cohesive. I do my best to transcribe verbatim what you say in your speech so I can quote portions in my RFD. If you ask me not to flow, the amount I pay attention in the debate probably goes down to 20% and I will have mild anxiety during the round.

Your Decorum:

Debate should be fun - don't be assholes or rhetorically violent. This includes anything from ad homs like calling your opponent stupid to super aggressive behavior to your opponents or partner. Speaker points are a thing, and I love using them to punish jerks.

My Decorum:

I am extremely expressive during round and you should use this to your advantage. I nod my head when I agree and I get a weird/confused/annoyed face when I disagree.

<3 Jackie

Hope Reamer Paradigm

6 rounds

I would like to be included in the email chains ( Feel free to email me with any questions post round as well.

I am a graduate student at Indiana University studying environmental management. I debated at Samford Univerisity during my undergrad.


I am ok with critical affs but prefer that they are germane to the resolution. Frame my ballot as why I should prefer critical impacts over policy impacts or framework impacts that the neg is making.

Policy affs: If you’re not topical make sure you’re really good at debating topicality.



Totally down with DAs just make sure you explain your link. Impact calculus is your best friend.


I prefer CPs that are functionally competitive with the affirmative. I think theory should always be a response but I’m unlikely to vote on it unless it’s been dropped or you’re going all in on it. I will not kick the CP for you unless you tell me to.


Again, fine with them just explain them well. Explain what your alt does and why I should prefer your impacts over policy impacts. Don't assume that I know/have read all the lit on your K, I probably haven't. Therefore, make sure you're explaining the warrants of the args well. I need good articulation of what the alternative actually does either within the debate or spillover claims and why is mutually exclusive with the aff.


Make sure you’re engaging in the actual line by line and not just reading blocks. I need competitive arguments between the t interpretation and the affs counter interpretation. Listing what affs their interpretation excludes/allows and what ground is lost in round is good.


Make sure you’re doing good impact work and why I should prefer that in the realm of the debate space.


1. Don’t be rude.

2. I’m fine with speed just make sure you’re clear. If I can’t understand you I can’t flow.

3. Respect people’s preferred pronouns.

4. I don't have time to sit through and read ever card you tell me is awesome. If a card is important to a round I'll read it after but clear articulation of the warrants of the card are important and how it functions as an argument in the debate.

Jason Regnier Paradigm

2 rounds

Gonzaga University
Judging Experience: 16 years

Overview: There is no one right way to debate. Of course we all have our biases and preconceptions, but I try to approach the round as a critic of argumentation & persuasion. Make your argument more effectively than your opponent and you will be in good shape. Your adaptation to the stylistic/technical comments below is far more important than your adaptation to any particular type of argument.

Stylistic/Technical Issues: I must be up front about the fact that I'm not a terrific flow. My ear for hearing extremely fast speech is not particularly great, and my handwriting is pretty slow. This means that debaters who strongly rely on the technicalities of the flow may not want to prefer me very highly. There seems to be a pretty clear cut inverse relationship between the speed at which you speak and the amount that I get written down on my flow. This greatly rewards debaters who give fewer, but more fully developed and explained, arguments. I will probably not read very many cards at the end of the debate, so don't rely on your evidence to make your arguments for you. Draw out and explain the warrants in your speech and you will be rewarded.I categorically *do not* want to be forced to reconstruct a debate round by rereading all of the evidence at the end of the round. This means that explanation in the final rebuttals weighs more for me than it might for others. Attend to the big picture, make direct comparisons showing why your arguments are better than your opponents', and most importantly, find the "hook" that allows you to frame the debate in your favor.

Theory Debates: I have found that I have a pretty high threshold for voting on theory issues. My general tendency is to congratulate the team that creates a strategic competitive advantage for themselves. This translates into a sort of "anything goes" attitude. For me, theory debates (and this applies to topicality and framework debates as well) come down to the depth of the impact explanation. If your argument is that the other team is being unfair, I want to hear all the gory details. What do they take away from you? What do they leave for you? What do they justify? And so on. If you don’t make me feel it, then odds are I won't vote on it.

Framework Stuff: I have regularly voted both ways in Framework debates. I evaluate these debates much like I would a debate over the "substance" of the case. Both sides need to play offense to amplify their own impacts while also playing defense against their opponent's impacts. In most cases where I have voted against critical affirmatives, it is because they have done a poor job answering the negative's "fairness" impact claims. In most cases where I have voted against traditional policy frameworks, it has been because they have done a poor job defending against the substantive critiques of their approach. My general set of biases on these issues would be as follows: critical (and even no-plan) affirmatives are legitimate, a team must defend the assumptions of their arguments, critiques don't need (and are often better served without) alternatives, debate rounds do not make sense as a forum for social movements, and most of the evidence used to defend a policy framework does not really apply to policy debate. Also, my new pet theory is that a large portion of framework debates can probably be "permed." However, to state the obvious, each of these biases can be overcome by making smart arguments.

Speaker Points: I think that I might tend to use a bit more range of the scale than some judges, and I've recently been trying to nail down more precisely how I assign points. Here are the things that I value in a good speaker. I love debaters that use ethos, logos AND pathos. Technique should be a means of enhancing your arguments, not obfuscating or protecting them. Look like you're winning. Show that you are in control of yourself and your environment. Develop a persona that you can be comfortable with and that shows confidence. Know what you're talking about. Answer your own cross-ex questions. Use an organizational system that works for you, but communicate it and live up to it (if you do the line-by-line, then *do* the line-by-line). I am now making a bigger effort to prioritize clarity in my points. By clarity, I do not just mean articulation & enunciation. I also include in that category the ability to understand the content of your evidence. If I can't follow what your evidence is saying, it will have as much weight in my decision as the tagline for that evidence would have had as an analytic. Debaters who make well thought out arguments with strong support will out-point debaters who just read a lot of cards every time.

Armands Revelins Paradigm

4 rounds

my email for email chains is

Quick update 2018 - some years ago I drafted the rubric for speaker points that you see below. Since then I have monitored developments in the debate community on typical speaker point distribution across all judges/tournaments, as discussed online by people who keep track of such things. I don't really dwell on this data much, but I do try to be mindful of community tendencies. Also, I notice how my own debaters read judge philosophies in crunch-time right before a round, and realize debaters reading this want a tl:dr.

Therefore, note that I probably now give speaker points that inch higher than what I initially suggested. This means in most cases I'm giving 28 and above, for debaters who seem to be doing elim-level debate it's usually 28.5 and above, and for especially impressive debate it's 29 and above. I do still dip into the mid-to-high 27's in occasional instances where I want to make it clear that I think the particular speeches really could use some work. At the time of writing (Jan 2018) my average speaker points are about a 28.5.

*******Paradigm Edited 11/10/13, prior to Wake Forest 2013 *******

** Scroll past speaker point scale to get a shorter philosophy explanation **

Speaker point scale:

0 = the debater committed some sort of ethics violation during the round (e.g. clipping cards)

26 to 26.9 = one or both of the following things happened: a) the debater made some kind of major tactical mistake in the debate, such as a completely dropped off-case position, without any attempt to address how they might still win the debate even if that argument is charitably given the full weight that the opposing team prefers. (more leeway on this is given to novice debates) b) the debater was hostile or rude towards competitors in the debate such that opportunities for respectful discourse concerning different ideas devolved into a breakdown of communication. Debaters have different personalities and approaches and I encourage you to explore ways of comporting yourself that express these personalities and approaches (be proud, indignant, cunning, provocative, etc), but please at all times also communicate with each other as students from different schools who respect each other for taking the time to have a lengthy debate round, in whatever part of the U.S. where you may presently have journeyed for such an encounter.

27 to 27.4 = the debater's overall strategy made sense, but various parts of the debate could have used more depth when instead those parts were fairly 'paint by numbers' (e.g. addressing certain arguments with generic/block answers instead of dealing with them more specifically). Evidence comparisons were fairly sparse, but the basic story on a given sheet of flow paper was clear enough.

27.5 to 27.9 = the debater did a solid job of debating. A coherent strategy was executed well. For certain key issues, initial clash advanced into higher forms of assessment, including a charitable understanding of why your opponent's arguments might be good yet your argument is ultimately more important/relevant.

28 to 28.4 = the debater did a solid job of debating across all the flows that were alive in the round. The debater focused on what mattered, was able to swiftly discount what did not ('closing doors' along the way), and took initial clash on key points to highly advanced levels. Given what I just witnessed, I would not be surprised if a debater with points like this advanced to early elimination debates (e.g. double octo's)

28.5 to 28.9 = the debater did everything from the previous scale, but was also able to do this with incredible organization: the most important things were in rank order, the crucial arguments were made without repetition/with cogent word economy, and I felt that the debater's communication seemed to guide my flow along with me. If cards/evidence are in question, you're able to speak of the overall ideologies or motivations driving a certain scholarship/movement, thus "getting behind" the card, in some sense. If a point is made without evidence or without a traditional claim/warrant structure, the debater does so in way that requires translation/interpretation on my part, yet the manner in which I should translate/interpret is also elicited from me/taught to me over the course of the debate. Given what I just witnessed, I would not be surprised if a debater with points like this could advance past early elimination debates.

29.0 to 29.4 = the debater did everything from the previous scale, but approached a sort of fluency that amazed me. The debater not only did what they needed to in order to match or outclass their opponents, but I furthermore felt that the debater was connecting with me in such a way where your arguments trigger understanding almost as a gestalt phenomenological experience. Given what I just witnessed, I would not be surprised if you did well in any of your other debates, prelim or elim.

29.5 to 30 = If memory serves, I have rarely if ever given speaker points that inch this close to 30. This is because 30 is perfection, without any umms, ahhs, odd turns of phrase, instances where you just lost me or where, given a rebuttal redo, you yourself would probably have done that part of your speech differently. If you are this close to 30 then you have perfect command of your opponent's position, of whatever gap you have to bridge in order for things to 'click' with me, and you are able to talk about your research and core arguments in a way where you yourself are clearly ready to push the scholarship/performance that you draw upon to its next heights, if you are not doing so already.

Objectivity and consistency is an elusive ideal: the reality is that subjectivity and some variability is inevitable. I think a good judge should be attentive in debates and vigiliant with self-assessments, not solipsistically but in light of evolving encounters with others. One of the biggest lessons I got out of my philosophy work was the extent to which all humans are prone to habits of self-deception, on many levels.

***** Debate experience

- Debated policy 4 years in high school (won the TOC)

- Debated policy 4 years at University of Southern California (4-time NDT qualifier, elims in my senior year)

- I was away from debate while in graduate school for philosophy

- I have coached Policy and PF debate at two high schools (Notre Dame and Millburn)

- I have coached Policy debate at two universities (Binghamton and Cornell)

- I am currently Assistant Director of Forensics/head debate coach at Cornell University

***** Some views on certain arguments

Any kind of argument is fine by me: I wait to see how debaters respond to what happens in the round and try not to import any predispositions concerning the default way that I should evaluate things. There are various harms/impacts that can orient a given side’s concern, plus various meta/framing/sequencing arguments that grant, reorient, or block my access to consideration of those harms/impacts, depending on how these issues play out in a debate.

Various kinds of challenges to the resolution and norms of the community are fine by me.

Kritiks: I ran them often in high school/college. I studied philosophy in graduate school.

Counterplans can take various forms: bring it on. See below about having full cp/permutation text for the entire round (to check against ‘morphing advocacies’).

Topicality debates: if an affirmative is trying to present a topical example of the resolution being true, but the negative thinks the aff is not topical then it is the negative’s right to go ‘all in’ on such an argument.

I debated policy advantage/da/impact debates almost as often as kritiks. Any politics link and link turn debates need to be laid out pretty clearly for me - mind your jargon please. The same goes for impact scenarios: who, what, against what country, etc.

For any asserted advocacy or test of competition, the plan text, permutation, etc needs to be clearly articulated in the round and written down so that it can be evaluated. For any card that you want me to read in last rebuttals, you should be telling me what I will find when I read that card and why it matters for the debate. I won't sift through a series of cards if you have just mentioned them/rattled off the citations without making use of them.

***** final notes

I have an aversion towards 'cloud clash', i.e. rattling off 2-3 minutes of overview and then basically hoping that the judge plucks out whatever applies towards some later part of the debate. Line-by-line debate and the elegance of organization that it offers is in decline lately. This has a lot to do with recent norms and computer-debating. This is at the cost of clash and direct refutation, and can come across as being aloof/wanting the judge to do the work for you. So, overviews should be short and then get on with actually responding to individual arguments.

I prefer the email chain over jumping flash drives, when possible. One click of ‘send’ and there is no longer the agonizing wait of flash drive driver installation, throwing jump drives around, etc.

Please communicate with each other, instead of yelling at each other (see my speaker point scale above for the under 27 range).

At the end of any round, I will vote for one team over the other and indicate this with my written ballot. This will be the case for any debate round that I can presently imagine.

That is all I can think of. Feel free to ask me more questions in person.

Brian Rubaie Paradigm

4 rounds

Iowa, Greenhill - edited for NDT 2020 - brubaie at gmail, please add to email chains!


There are three versions below: TLDR (5 second read); Short/Pre-Round version (1 min), and Long/Pre-Tourney version (2-3). The short/long versions are an "either/or" thing, they're more or less identical besides length.

The paradigms of recent college debaters Primavera Martinez and Johnnie Stupek stand out to me as more modern/well-written versions of a lot of what I'm trying to communicate below. I love learning from yall and look forward to judging.


TLDR - 10 second version

If you put time and effort into your craft, you're good. I will always give my undivided attention, stay open-minded, and be thorough. To quote Einstein, things should be as simple as possible, but no more.


Short Pre-round - 1 min

Stuff I know and don't know: Expert in nothing, familiar with most. Have debated, coached, and judged most everything and really enjoy most all of it.

K or policy? Why not both? I think the community's rough divide is mostly silly. I love great K debates and I love great policy debates. I'm more experienced at sorting policy/policy than K/K, but I'm equally interested in judging whatever.

What I will vote on: I have a lower quality filter than most. I'm not really proud or ashamed of that, it's just a fact. I lean much more heavily tech than truth. I often vote on things I don't agree with and sometimes on ones I don't feel great about. If it isn't racist, sexist, or harmful to a participant, it's probably in-bounds (as are critiques of it). I have very little ability to assess things from events outside the debate. Like most everyone, I would rather evaluate arguments than mediate disputes.

Which evidence I read: I skim 60-90% of cards, but I rarely read them in any meaningful depth. I skim to check context, confirm tags, or stay engaged. I usually only read ev which I'm directed to read and which is cited by name, but I can easily be directed to read more cards. Just tell me what to do.

What the aff should defend and what I prefer on the neg: The Aff should defend something controversial and debatable in relationship to the topic and establish a role for the Neg. The Neg should dig in on the 1ac. A 1nc with extra case often leads to extra points and Ws. I prefer fewer, better cards and a smaller number of good links etc. I also prefer a block going deep on 1-2 2NR options instead of 3-4.

What the neg can get away with: You can probably get away with more in terms of CP theory, K alt evolution, etc. in front of me than most. My tech-leaning ways tend to make me a good judge for bold 2Ns of any kind. I'm not heavily policy or K biased, but the data suggests I'm at a bit friendlier to the neg lifetime (though only 18-16 for the neg so far on the space topic). I'm about the tech, and the aff too often just drops stuff early without fighting back enough late in an attempt to recover. Speaking of...

What the aff can get away with: You can also probably get away with a more 'evolving' 1AR in front of me than most. I do punish big 2AC errors, but I also can be easily persuaded to allow some new-ish 1AR angles (i.e. "they did x, y, and z new things, we get this new 1AR thing.") I feel for the neg, but I also really admire great 1ARs that change the game after a bad 2AC.

If I were coaching a team that was neg to go for framework: I'd probably tell them to: a) Nail down the violation. What is this particular aff's designed role of the neg and why is it unfair or sub-optimal? Don't assume the 1AC defends that the aff can just do anything. Start with the thing they specifically defend and you'll be in much better shape. b) Pick an impact to frame the 2NR around. Though I aim to be agnostic, a fairness/limits 2NR has a higher overall success rate with me than a skills/deliberation/education-oriented 2NR. I don't have any aversions here, it just seem trickier to win the internal to radical space activists, movement lawyers, etc. than fairness/limits. c) Don't half-ass the TVA. If you've got a good one, make it count. A TVA can go a long way. If you don't, don't force it, and don't waste time with a 15 second 2NR blip if it won't move the needle.

If I were coaching a team that was aff vs. framework: I'd say to: a) Define some role for the neg and have a "debate key" claim. You don't have to give them the 1NC, but why is debate about the 1AC (and not just the act of having read it) a good thing and what do those debates look like? There should be some reason the 1NC speaking for 8-9 minutes is good. I didn't use to vote on "other stuff solves," but I find myself doing it more because the aff sometimes misses answering this. b) Lean more on impact turns/core aff offense than counter-interpretations. I find that neg teams are usually weakest on refuting core aff thesis points while being much stronger on procedural issues. I wouldn't abandon defense, but I would perhaps frame it more as how your counter-interp can create a stable role for the neg, desirable neg ground, more ethically grounded debates, etc. than leaning in on "we're right that 'resolved' is mental analysis."


Long pre-tournament version

1. What is the burden of the aff in the 1ac?

Up for debate, but I prefer that affs:

(a) Defend a controversial change in the area of the topic

(b) Display consistency and clarity, and

(c) Answer CX questions. If you don't do those things, I'd prefer a strategy that revolves around "those impositions are bad" vs. "why not?"

2. Constructing the 1NC

Less is more! Said this above, but smaller 1NCs that contain more cards with deeper highlighting will be rewarded. I appreciate an artful big 1NC so long as it isn't just throwing the box.

You need an argument saying "the 1ac doesn't achieve/resolve/correctly analyze (x)." I am skeptical of modern 1ac construction. Many affs (of all types) defend close to nothing. Some affs withstand heavy scrutiny, but very few survive a battle with a thoughtful 2N without some damage.

3. Earning better speaker points -- how to gain and lose points.

You will gain points if:

General -- you demonstrate rich knowledge of your evidence and can demonstrate you produced it. Extra points if it's from a book, but some additional love if it's from a peer-reviewed source, etc.

CX -- being concise, using the language of the other team, making complex things simple.

2NR -- talking about the 1AR in detail, framing/comparing instead of extending, making choices.

2AR -- isolating the 2-3 biggest issues and why you won them, making honest "even if" comparisons.

You may lose points if:

General -- being rude and unhelpful, replacing substance with noise, replacing listening with dismissiveness.

CX -- way-too-long answers, acting like the other team is stupid, making simple things complex.

2NR -- ignoring the 1AR/restating and extending the 2NC, going for too much/making bad choices.

2AR -- scattering a mix of everything in hope the neg dies by a thousand small cuts, ignoring the 2NR.

4. Evidence

Evidence quality matters, but my inclination is still to begin deciding a debate by scouring the flow before reading any evidence. I am moved by great ev, but it needs to be sold by the debaters. I am happy to give evidence quality greater priority, just tell me how and what to reward.

There are many good short tags/cards, but at a minimum I prefer tags that are at least half of a sentence and cards that are at least a few sentences. Highlighting must accurately convey the author's point.

5. Docs

I look at docs during the speech on occasion, but I don't read all of it or follow along. I will not start to follow along if you are unclear unless I'm worried you're clipping. I look at the docs most directly during CX. If you ask about a particular card directly, I'll usually be right there in the doc with you.

6. Early topic thoughts

Space -- I like it better than the haters say but my most optimistic projections are getting tough to maintain. There aren't a large number of solvency advocates, and I think a lot of aff teams are going to read what I'd consider to be CPs on the aff, especially in areas like arms control. My early inclination is still to give the aff a bit of a break on T given the paucity of solvency advocates and the neg a lot of latitude to test the voracity of internal links (is US-China or US-Russia space coop really the best way to solve....anything?), but I could switch in either direction.

Arms Sales -- I enjoyed teaching this topic. Most of the HS work I do is K-focused in either direction (lab that goes for it, HS team that answers it). The Ks on this topic are great. I also really enjoyed the policy v policy debates I judged at the tournament and felt very comfortable with most technical details since I have done a lot of previous research on Israel, Saudi Arabia, and Taiwan. I could see myself being very persuaded in soft left policy aff vs. K debates by teams that say we need to learn about and challenge arms sales/the alt wouldn't eliminate arms sales.

7. Neg v K affs

Press heavily on what the aff does. You will get pushback on questions like "what question does the ballot answer?" etc but I like those foundational questions and want you to ask them.

Set up frameworks for competition and tell me what the role of the neg/burden of rejoinder is. If the aff is an analysis but not a proscription, does the neg win if it offers a better analysis (i.e. suggests capital and not race is more determinative of oppression?) This could be the more developed version of "you don't get a perm" -- the aff proposed an analysis of how x operates, the neg's theory of power was always distinct, etc.

Offense-defense doesn't make much sense in these debates. Does the neg have to win the aff proposing a survival strategy made the world worse? That's a high burden. Perhaps the neg needs only to win "defense" or to prove a better method.

8. Arguments/things I'm better and worse for as a judge...

Ks: I know more about structural Ks like afropessism, settler colonialism, queer theory, etc than continental philosophy/high theory/postmodernism/most Europeans. Not as good for floating PICs, better for "we don't need an alt."

CPs: The more you disagree with the aff, the better off you'll be. The less you disagree with the aff/the more you try to manufacture competition in illogical ways, the worse off you'll be.

DA/case: Yes please. I don't judge this a bunch anymore, but it's not because of disinterest. I try to do a lot of policy research and have enjoyed the early policy debates I've watched in our squad room.

9. Things I'm better and worse at as a judge...

I will listen, flow, and think with all my energy regardless of time of day, your record, division, argument choice, etc. I do not always listen, flow, and think perfectly, but that's the goal. You try to debate your best so you deserve me trying to do my best.

I'm not A+ in economic debates or with high theory. I am interested in that stuff, i.e. my first semester in my MBA has been a blast, it's just not a strength relative to IR, political science, or even some strains of critical theory like Afro-pessimism. Not saying I know much in those relative to some in debate, I just know more of the core tenets there than in branches of economics that might guide a precise difference in the text of the prizes CP.

10. All the framework all the time

Answering framework

Tell me what the biggest impact is and guide the debate through that.

Take clear, defined stances. Dismissing basic, common sense questions about what the aff does is often a bad move because it makes it look like the aff doesn't do or defend anything/makes limits more persuasive. It is much better to do the "we explained and defended this consistently and clearly the whole round" thing with me in the back.

I think the "we took a stance in the direction of the topic that locked in your core neg generics" approach is a good one. For instance, saying "we K'd all nuclear weapons/surveillance, so you get the best version of deterrence/the terror DA" is a solid answer to ground/idea testing.

Tell me what debate should look like. What is the neg doing here/what role should they play? If you can explain what ideas in the 1ac are testable and why testing them is good it goes a long way to answering a lot of neg framework args.

Address the TVA. Is the TVA T? Would "slap a plan on the aff" style TVA ever result in meaningful dialogue about the thing the aff proposes?

Going for framework

There's no singular argument on framework I favor, I just prefer direct engagement. I liked how Hemanth debated in these rounds: he made lots of comparisons, used the language of the other team, made CX matter, and broke things down very clearly. I don't even remember what his angle was. I just liked how he framed debates and treated people.

I don't get why folks quit going for fairness and limits in front of me. It's generally the thing the neg's interp most clearly resolves. I almost never say "you didn't win fairness mattered at all" or "debate is better with no rules or prior preparation." It is much more common for me to vote on well-packaged aff defense/counter-interp/doesn't solve the aff arguments that aren't addressed than it is to vote on "fairness bad."

It is not hard to convince me that the aff should be a contestable, stable, debatable thing, but many affs can persuasively argue that the stable, contestable thing they affirm isn't the USFG. Dig in on the internal link: why is the neg's model the most educational, predictable, stable, fair ground. Engage the counter-interpretation or competing model thoroughly.

Similarly, explain why the kinds of debates you want to have matter. Too often, negs just say "the aff's ground is one-sided and concessionary." That's a good start, but every good argument is a comparison. Talk about the value of debates under your model (it targets a deep literature base, i.e. space policy, IR, etc. with good arguments on both sides and tons of practical application to a wide range of issues.)

A thoughtful TVA can go a long way. Some extra time, evidence, and/or argument development here is usually time well spent. Digging into the other team's literature base is often very helpful: read Black scholars like Mills/Taylor who defend political engagement, indigenous scholars who demand accountability, etc.

Wes Rumbaugh Paradigm

6 rounds

General Principles

My main goal as a judge is to resolve arguments made by debaters to form a coherent decision about the issue that the debaters have decided upon. I will attempt to do this, as much as possible, solely based on the arguments presented by the debaters in their speeches and transcribed onto my flow. I will likely read a decent amount of evidence, but will use it mostly as a fact finding/verification mechanism that there was a complete version of that argument presented in the first instance. I will try to be vigilant about policing new arguments, though debaters are encouraged to assist in this task.


- I only judge two or three times a year and don't actively coach, so my knowledge of topic/argumentative conventions will be limited. I may not be familiar with certain acronyms or shorthand all the cool kids are using. On the other hand, I really enjoy wonky in-depth debates, so feel free to really dig in on topic-specific issues. With regards to the college space topic, you can expect that I will be fairly familiar with the issues that are security/military related (particularly anything to do with missile defense) due to my job, but less familiar with cooperation/exploration parts of the topic.

- Affs that write vague plan texts to avoid relevant counterplans annoy me. These Affs are essentially value statements, not statements of policy. Debating against counterplans is valuable because it provides focus to debates and forces affs to think about important details of the policies they propose. Find some stuff you can defend and put it in your plan.

- When reading evidence after a debate I am looking for very specific things, mostly whether the evidence supports the argument that I have written down made by the debaters. This can also lead to me missing things that hurt the team that read the evidence if I am not looking for it. The best way to ensure I notice these problems is to control the spin of evidence while debating.

- It's pretty hard to get me out of the competing interpretations mindset, even when judging theory debates. Arguments about potential abuse not being a voter and 'it's what we did not what we justify' have been tough in front of me. I think in some ways this is a viscereal reaction I have to these arguments from T debates where they make much less sense. Using the term reasonability to describe these arguments will make them sound more persuasive to me even though there isn't much of a functional difference.

- Debaters would often be better served by going for fewer arguments in front of me. This will give you more time in final rebuttals to resolve arguments by setting up metrics for evaluation and indicting your opponents evidence. When I have to resolve debates with larger numbers of arguments I often feel like I impose a bit too much and my decision doesn't reflect the debating as well.


Topicality is a potentially relevant and important argument to every single affirmative. The length of time and number of teams reading an affirmative do not make an aff topical.

To me there has never really been a mutual exclusivity between competing interpretations and reasonability. Topicality is fundamentally about comparing interpretations, and naturally in a competitive format, those interpretations tend to have points of contention. Reasonability to me has always meant a presumption-style bar to clear for differences in those interpretetations, i.e. it's insufficient to win that there is a 1 case difference between Aff and Neg and "small topics are good, judge."

Affirmative teams often lose these debates because they fail to question the aforementioned "small topics good, judge" forumla.

Topicality debates are often very messy to flow. Extra speaker points to debaters who efficiently organize concepts in these debates rather than throwing debate catch phrases around willy nilly.


Debaters should recognize the strengths and weaknesses of different impacts in the traditional timeframe, magnitude, probablity frames. Your warming impact is not fast so stop wasting your time trying to convince me of that and instead spend it arguing about why magnitude is more important. Feel free to use novel impact evaluation frames outside these golden oldies, just explain why your frame makes sense for the context of the decision at hand.

The link is usually very important to me in these debates. The strength of the link determines if uniqueness can overwhelm it. Rarely will a disad already be literally happening, i.e. totally non-unique, but previous examples of things that should have triggered the link raise the bar for proving the plan is enough to cause a negative impact, and thus raise the threshold for the link.


Debating CP competition forces debaters to think about essential economic concepts like opportunity costs and decisionmaking at the core of policy debate. I will try to keep a very open mind in judging debates about questionably competitive CP's to foster some of these educational values. The affirmative still has a strong gripe about many of these CP's being wholly unfair debate creations, but I would say I am more willing than most to hear the Neg out.

My general feeling about presumption is that it favors less change due to institutional inertia against change.

Most conditionality counterinterps strike me as arbitrary. I tend to think of these debates as simple referendums on conditionality good/bad as long as this is pointed out.

Case Debating

2A's must actually make an attempt to be flowed while they are on the case in the 2AC. Preferably, this is done by responding to the arguments made by the 1NC in the order that they were read.

I like really dorky impact turn debates. I also really appreciate strategies that revolve around case turns. These strategies are both often difficult to pull off and I will likely be more generous to teams that are willing to take on the challenge.


I have very little academic background in these arguments, so will likely need more guidance in deciphering what arguments mean. Being able to clarify dense philosophical concepts for me will help me understand the implications of your arguments more fully.

Oddly, these are the debates I see turning on technical problems most often. I think this is related to both sides talking past each other in a lot of these debates. Aff teams should be sure to not drop the standard tricks

Framework arguments are often central to my decisions in these debates. These issues often implicate what impacts are relevant to my decision, what an alternative should have to accomplish, and what link arguments a perm can solve. I think that most compromise framework formulations make negative sense, but if debaters agree to them I will do my best to resolve the debate as they have told me to.

Nontraditional Affirmatives

Negative teams forwarding any version of a framework argument should likely have a topicality component to it. Affirmative teams should be attentive to answering the framework argument made by the negative, not just reading their general A2: Framework block.

When answering topicality style arguments, nontraditional affirmatives should have some sort of counterinterpreation of what the topic means. This interpretation should clarify what debates would be about under this interpretation. I generally think that the issues for debate should be founded in something that all debaters can predict and research before the tournament. The depth of preparation is what differentiates the style of debate that we do from others in my mind. These are values that I will likely be persuaded are important to continue under alternative visions of debate.

Competition questions are very difficult to resolve in many of these debates for critiques and counterplans. The less clear it is to me what the aff will defend, the more likely I will be persuaded by negative arguments against permuations. Framework arguments about what I am deciding between can often be the tipping point for these debates even if neither team labels these arguments as "framework" arguments per se.

It is likely that I will think that arguments that link to methodologies and their application outside of debate are relevant considerations to 1AC's unless they are explicit that their criticism applies only to the debate community. This is especially true if the negative argument is something that is a a core topic impact turn.

The "role of the ballot" and "role of the judge" to me will always be to determine a winner and lose of the debate. Arguments about what I am deciding to determine that winner and loser are welcome, but a team dropping the words "role of the ballot" is not a slayer in my opinion.

Speaker Points

Make debate an enjoyable experience. Seriously, these people are willing to fly across the country to argue with you on weekends. Debate has an awesome group of people that combine intelligence and competitiveness in a way that is unique and incredible. I will use any scale published by the tournament. Most of your speaker points will be determined by the quality of debating done (which includes both answering and asking cross-x questions).

Clipping is a fast way to make me angry. I was really slow and resisted the temptation. You can do it too. I won't have the speech documents in front of me so challenges will have to come from the debaters. Those caught clipping will lose and get zero speaker points. The same is true for those whose allegations are proven false. A recording is required as evidence of clippling so that I have something to evaluate. The debate panoptican has become ever present enough to where this technical hurdle isn't too large.

My flash drive policy is do it fast enough to not annoy me.


Kristopher Samuel Paradigm

6 rounds

I debated at Liberty University and currently a grad student at James Madison. I won a speaker award as a novice in highschool, so you can say I am pretty experienced in debate.

I view debate as a forum to critically test and challenge approaches to change the world for the better. I prefer in depth debate with developed material that you look like you have a grasp of. I will always work hard to evaluate correctly and with little intervention, especially if you are putting in hard work debating.

Learning debate from within the Liberty tradition I began by running conventional policy arguments with a proclivity to go for whatever K was in the round. However, during my final 3 years my partner and I did not defend the resolution and our 1nc looked very similar to our 1ac. Personally, I’m a believer and coach for advocating liberatory and conscious debate practices. However, there will certainly be a gap at times between my personal preferences and practices and what I vote on. I’m not going to judge from a biased perspective against policy arguments, and although tabula rasa is impossible I will try to evaluate the arguments presented with limited interference.

In terms of arguments, I am not the best judge in the back of a room in a policy throw-down type debate. That said, if I do end up in the back of your room, please slow down when explaining the scenarios and just unpack for me. In terms of K on K debate, I am fine. In terms of Clash, I prefer to judge those types of debate.

FRAMEWORK (when run by the neg):

I think that negatives have the ability to and should engage with affirmatives that don’t defend a normative implementation of a plan. Even if the aff doesn’t defend the resolution there are still many substantive things that they will defend that provide ample ground. Although this ground might not be as predictable as your interpretation on FW calls for, it is still predictable enough to meet the threshold that you should be prepared for it.

Having said that, I think I’m one of those few sick individuals that will actually enjoy listening to framework debates as long as they are well developed on both sides. Granted, I will most likely be a harder sell than most, but I don’t think this should dissuade you from going for it if you think it is your best option. You will need to make inroads to the aff’s arguments by articulating ways traditional debate solves for their impacts. If you lose the impact turn to politics you will not win FW debates. You need to make arguments to the effect of traditional policy debate being key to a better form of politics and articulate net benefits to your interpretation from this. I think that the type of education we foster in debate far outweighs the preservation of the game in the strictest sense. That is to say that fairness claims alone are not the way to persuade me on FW. You should instead use claims of fairness to hedge against the impacts from the aff.

However, the main substance of FW debates (for both sides) should be about the competing benefits to the type of education and scholarship different traditions lead to.

For affirmatives concerning framework strategies, your greatest offense will be specific to your particular argument. I will be more easily persuaded if your aff is connected to the topic. I don’t appreciate aff’s that are written that hide their purpose or are exclusively constructed to impact turn FW. While I prefer some kind of relationship to the topic, I don’t think it is necessary. However, you do lose the ability to make an important strategic argument that other plan-less aff’s should employ, which is that your aff is important to topic education. More developed, this argument should be that your aff is necessary to topic education and that without it the debate ground that is left leads to bad forms of scholarship. That is to say that you aff is essentially topical. This argument is both inherently offensive and also provides the ability to make defensive claims against the neg’s offense.


This is the type of debate that I am most familiar with and have the largest literature base with (I was a philosophy major). However, messy and poor K debates are probably the worst. The key to winning this kind of debate is making the general link and alternative cards as specific as possible to the aff. I am not saying that the key is reading the most specific evidence (although this would be nice, however most of our authors here don’t write in the context of every affirmative), but that you need to find ways to apply the generic concepts to the specifics of the aff. Without this it is easier to be persuaded by the perm.

Teams are responsible for the discourse and performances in which then engage in given the context of the world we are situated in as well as the argument style the team engages in.

Aff’s have a wide range of arguments they can deploy, and are probably best sticking with the ones they are most comfortable with while doing a good job showing how they relate to the critique.

Concerning the perm, it is usually not enough work to simply show how the two different advocacies could work together. At this point it becomes easy to vote on the alternative as a purer form of advocacy without the risk of links. Aff’s should articulate net benefits to the perm to hedge against residual links and different DA’s to the perm itself. Case should be one of these net benefits, but aff’s need to watch out for indicts to foundational assumptions (concerning methodology, epistemology, ontology etc.) behind your impact claims.

Concerning framework: when was the last time a relatively moderate judge decided that the neg shouldn’t be able to run their K? The answer is probably a long time ago. The majority of these debates are compromised in the 1ar by allowing the K given that the aff gets to weigh their impacts after a lot of wasted time by both teams. I can hardly think of a situation where I would be persuaded to only evaluate the plan verses the status quo or a competitive policy option that excluded the alternative. However, I can envision certain ways that this debate goes down that convinces me to discount the impacts of the aff. In general, however, most of debate is illusory (somewhat unfortunately) and these framework questions are about what type of education is more important. If you chose to run framework with you aff you should keep these things in mind concerning your interpretation for debate.

PERFORMANCE or project verses a similar style:

These debates are some of the most important and essential ones for our community, particularly as more and more teams are participating in this form of advocacy. We need to debate and judge in light of this fact. These are also some of the most difficult debates to have. There are several reasons for this, one of the most poignant being the personal nature of these debates combined with the close relationships that most people amongst this insular community have with one another. We need to realize the value in these opportunities and the importance of preserving the pureness of our goals for the debate community. That might mean in some situations that conceding and having a conversation might be the best use of a particular debate space, and in others debating between different competing methodologies is a correct rout to go. In either case we need to realize and cherish common goals. In light of this it isn’t a bad thing to agree with large portions of your opponent’s speeches or even advocacy. Instead of reproducing the gaming paradigm of traditional debate, where competition is valued over advocacy and winning over ethics, we should instead choose to celebrate the areas of alignment we find. Conceding every round where this happens, however, is not a good idea either. This would send a message to the debate community that debate dies under this framework. That doesn’t mean there isn’t a possible time and place for it though.

When both teams largely agree on certain foundational framework questions efficacious debate can still happen. While making distinctions between advocacies and methodologies is essential for this kind of a debate, you should probably not manipulate and create links that are artificial. Distinctions that are made out of an in depth knowledge of the issues are far more beneficial and consistent. Traditional debate might look at these kinds of rounds as two ships passing in the night, but I think there can be a different metaphor – one where the teams are two ships starting at the recognition that the resolution and the debate community is flawed and that the round can be decided upon which team provides a better methodology and performance to get their ship further in the direction of what we should be as a community and culturally aware individuals.

I am undecided as to whether the aff should be allowed a perm and this should probably be debated out. However, I think that the aff should always have the ability to point out when a negative advocacy is the same as theirs.


Any bias I have towards theory will probably result in placing a burden on the team that reads the violation to prove that it should result in a voting issue. However, I don’t like shady stuff done only to be obnoxiously strategic. Don’t do it.

One thing that I definitely do not like is when teams read multiple conditional strategies that contradict each other. This will usually call into question the solvency of the critique if the aff takes advantage of this.

I don’t think that I have a bias concerning reasonability or competing interpretations, but I will probably default to competing interpretations until the aff is shown to be reasonable and from there it is up for debate.


I am probably liberal concerning counter plan theory, and aside from the question over conditionality most other theory arguments are probably reasons to reject the cp. Aside from traditional theory answers, showing why a certain CP is justified given the specific aff is a good response.

PICS that are specific to the aff are great, however word pics should probably just be articulated as links to the K.

Uniqueness controls the link only if a particular side definitively wins it.

I generally evaluate from an offense / defense standpoint, but it doesn’t mean anything if the CP links less than the plan does to a DA if the CP still meets the threshold for triggering the link. In that world there isn’t greater offense to the CP.

Ultimately, do not let any of this sway you from debating how you prefer. Doing what you think you are best at will probably be your greatest option. If any of this is unclear or you have questions that I have not address below please feel free to ask me before a round. Have fun, debate confidently, and be genuine.

Also, be nice to your opponents. It's not cool to be mean and talking down to your opponents can honestly hurt them both emotionally and physically, and just sets a bad example for younger debaters to adopt those practices. Sometimes, being nice to your opponents/judges, even when you feel they don't deserve it, can be the wisest choice in that moment. And if you gotta be a jerk, you can just yell at me instead.


Abhis Sedhai Paradigm

6 rounds


I evaluate the case first. Does the aff solve its impacts, ie Aff solvency is paramount. In general, Internal links are the weakest points of affs and DA's. They also are the strongest points when not well contested. So i would look at internal link D and impact D as well as internal link turns first. Regardless of the aff, there is almost never 100% risk of the internal link chain being true, its always probabilistic.

After that I try to find out if the neg has a way for me to filter out Aff offense/solvency. This means I try to determine whether the neg has a counterplan that solves the aff advantages or a k solves case claim. Other things I'd look for is whether the Neg offense turns the Aff offense. Remember that if you go for a case turn, you need uniqueness or else its just defense.

I go on to see what the neg's impacts are for their K or Da or case turns. Again, Links and internal links matter. Rarely is the impact the thing that makes it or breaks it. Things to consider here are whether the magnitude of the internal link and the links are high. Inevitability arguments can be quite powerful. Additionally, I am in the camp that whether the uniqueness determines the direction of the link or other way around is fundamentally context dependent. Elections may hinge on a big link because things are muddled now. Lastly, there is the impact level. Turns case args are always well appreciated. They can really neturalize an aff and make debates easy. Impact comparison is obviously helpful; keep an eye out for strategic concessions you can use off of impact defense. Frequently you have these opportunities.


I prefer affs that have some relationship to the topic. That relationship can be debated. I am unlikely to be persuaded that debating topicality is the worst kinds of violence. It might be a very serious problem. You can win impact turns in front of me about why T is a problem, explain your metaphors and have depth and reasons and examples that contextualize how topicality mirrors or causes the problems you highlight. Limits is the internal link I tend to be most persuaded by. Topical versions of the Aff are big for me that actually make inroads into solving harms identified by the affirmative. If you are not topical I would prefer to see you provide unique insight about the topic that traditional policy affirmations miss.


Textually AND functionally competitive counterplans AND advantage counterplans are legitimate to me. Otherwise I tend to be a bit less forgiving for CPs that are not both. I am not the best with theory so unless its outright dropped or mishandled I wouldn't make it your A strategy.


Not likely to be convinced Ks shouldn't be allowed in debate. Winning framework is huge to how I filter out the Impacts of the debate round. I/L turns are important. Affs that make inroads into solving harms the K has identified helps to tip the scales. I am not super well versed on high theory so if your K confuses most judges it will probably confuse me. Alt has to solve in order for me to vote on a K. Am not likely to vote on presumption or you link you lose. If you make well evidenced impact claims from the links you win is a different story.

Important Things To Consider:

Been out of debate for a bit so clarity is big for me, especially rebuttals. Do not speed through analytics, am not the best flow currently. Recommend including your analytics in your Speech Docs. Tell me why you have won at the top of the 2NR & 2AR and prove it throughout the rest of your speech ie make it easy for me to identify what your strongest reason for winning is. Try to put together the story of the debate at the end, otherwise if I have to, then the decision may not be one you agree with.


Simon Sheaff Paradigm

6 rounds

Background: 4 years at Baylor University, 1-Time NDT Qualifier. Currently a Ph.D. Student in Government and Politics.

Yes I want to be on the email chain: Also email me with questions about this paradigm.

TL;DR: I am a DA/CP/Case kind of judge. I am bad at understanding kritiks and I believe the topic to be good. I am not great at flowing, you should slow down a little on tags. I DO NOT FLOW STRAIGHT DOWN. YOU NEED TO SIGNPOST SO I KNOW WHERE TO PUT ARGUMENTS. Otherwise, I will spend time I should be writing deciding where to write and during that time I will miss something. Be nice.

***UPDATE 2/18/18: It has become clear to me that I am not good enough at flowing for you to go full speed, especially on tags. I refuse to flow along with the speech document. I will try to become better, but in the meantime, you have to try to communicate with me.***

Basic stuff: I love creativity and learning from debate. Make it clear to me how much you know about the arguments you are making. If you only steal cards from the wiki I will be sad (but also, on most topics, I will have no idea because I don't judge often). I am only okay at flowing, Please slow down on tags so I can be sure I have the argument correct. I do not vote for things I do not understand. I believe in technical debate, but I also believe that debate is a place where truth is important. I don't care how many cards you have that say something, if the other team asserts it is not true and they are correct, they win the point.



...Which Defend the Topic - I ran very questionably topical policy affirmatives. I enjoy creativity. You should also read my thoughts on DAs as they apply to how you construct your advantages. Clear story is good.

...Which Do Not Defend the Topic - I am likely not a great judge for you. It is not that I don't sympathize, it is that I do not understand the argument structure. I am likely to default to framework because I understand it better and I think it makes strong educational claims. I have been convinced by non-topical affs before, but my bias is clearly to the topic.

Negative Strategies

Framework: Good strategy. Impact, impact, impact. Education is the best one. Skills is also good. Fairness is fine. Framers intent is not an argument.

Topicality: Good strategy. Impact, impact, impact. Case lists. Why that case list is bad. Affirmatives, you should talk about your education. I love creative interps of the topic if you defend them.

Disads: Absolutely. There is such thing as zero risk of a link. Politics DAs are a lie but also my favorite. Do not go for the politics DA without knowing what you are talking about, it hurts my soul. There is such thing as zero risk of an internal link. There is such thing as zero risk of an impact. Creative impact calc (outside of just magnitude, timeframe, probability) is the best impact calc. There is such thing as zero risk of just about anything.

Counterplans: Yes. Most are cheating (I'm a 2A, sue me) but most of the time you can get away with it, especially by justifying the educational benefit of the CP and giving a reasonable standard of debatability. 1 condo world is always okay, 2 is mostly okay but I'm wiling to be persuaded, 3 is bad but I'm willing to be persuaded, 4 is evil but I have been evil before. Theory debates are fun for me but for the love of god slow down.

Kritiks: Eh. Very basic Ks are fine. Realism is bad, heg is bad, capitalism is bad, I get. Get much beyond that and I get lost. It's not that I think you're wrong it's that I have always been uninterested so I never learned what you're talking about. I cannot emphasize enough how little I understand what you're talking about. If this is your thing and I am already your judge, conceptualize your K like a DA/CP strategy and explain it to me like I have never heard it before. Literally, in your 2NC say: "We believe that X is bad. We believe that they do X because of this argument they have made. We believe the alternative solves for X." I cannot stress enough how serious I am that that sentence should be the top of your 2NC and 2NR. Again, I am not morally opposed to kritiks, I just do not understand them and I will not vote for something I do not understand. I believe you need a good link. Yes, the world is terrible, but why is the aff terrible. You also need to make your tags not a paragraph long, I never learned how to flow tags that were that long.


Lindsey Shook Paradigm

3 rounds

I have been coaching and judging for almost a decade primarily as a grad student at Kansas and now as a coach at James Madison (2 yrs in the middle at UCF). I have tried to mark any updates to this with a *** 

Big Picture: How you debate is the most important thing to me. I will stick as close to what I have on the flow as I can. This means you can win meta-issues that influence other arguments on the flow. Or you can crush on the super technical line by line. Either way I attempt to evaluate debates based on what is said in the debate. I would rather you explain your arguments in depth than read a billion cards. That being said here are the things I would want my debaters to know: 

***A note on this topic - I am more involved in all areas but I know substantially more about prostitution than any of the others because it is part of my academic research and the majority of what I do for JMU. That means if you are making arguments that require a high level of topic knowledge in one of the other areas you might want to give me some additional explanation. 

Framework: ***Update - I can't remember the last time I voted aff on a Framework interpretation that said "the status quo or competitive policy option because fairness or whatever" Just  make arguments about why policymaking in terms of your aff is a good thing.

Framework as a theoretical issue is unpersuasive. You are not likely to convince me that a K should not be allowed in debate. In my opinion to win this issue you have to win substantive reasons why your view of debate is good. Since that is true, you should just read the evidence and make arguments about why your view of how I should evaluate impacts is best. So if you are a policy team on the aff debating a K team do not expect me to vote on your interp that the neg must have a policy option or that they shouldn’t get to K representations. I will vote on impact turns to the K or to the framework (these are usually part of theoretical framework debates anyway). In front of me you are better served to substantively defend your view of debate then try and convince me any particular position should just be rejected. All of that being said I will and have voted for theoretical framework positions – so if it is what you need to do to win because it is either what you debate best or what you have then go for it. 

Topicality: ***Update - I prefer affs that have some relationship to the topic. That relationship can be debated and I assume, if I am in the back, likely will be.

A couple of important notes I find myself thinking more and more:

1. I am unlikely to be persuaded that debating topicality is the worst kinds of violence. Someone reading topicality against you is NOT rape and NOT killing you. It might be a very serious problem. You might have a very serious problem with it. But I find myself unpersuaded that Topicality is "x really terrible act of violence." You can absolutely win your impact turns in front of me about why T is a problem I would just prefer you explain your metaphors and have depth and reasons and examples that contextualize how topicality mirrors or causes the problems you highlight. Nuance is very important for me in these debates and if you have nuanced reasons you are likely in good shape. The more broad and generic your claims are about ALL T or ALL K teams OR ALL policy teams the less persuaded I am. In the same way I am unlikely persuaded that all people quit when teams are untopical or all decision making improves because of plan focused policy debating. 

2. That being said - inevitability and uniqueness matter in debates about the impacts to topicality and I take those questions seriously and find they are often where decisions begin for me. 

3. I find that topical version of the aff and your argument is inaccessable tend to be the two arguments that I most often see winning these debates. Deal with those or wait for me to explain why you lost on them. If both of them exist - then having comparissons based on why T version overcomes that accessibility problem or fails to is important. 

4. Critical teams in the past have been upset that I didn't vote on their T argument links to this K they read. You can win this argument if you PROVE not just say but have a serious reason that their K links to their T argument - many teams are taking care to craft their (almost always a cap K) arguments so that this isn't a problem. Given that I am a fan of nuance it is unlikely I will believe the generic "they said cap and T that means they lose." So these arguments are winnable I just think they need to have some specificity and account of what is happening in that debate in particular. If you make the argument generically I may or may not agree with you and that is generally what leads to people being upset. 

This is old but still true---->I judge these debates as close to the flow as possible. I tend to believe that if you can have a plan you should defend it. If you are not topical you will be better off in front of me if you can prove that you provide unique insight about the topic that traditional policy affirmations miss. 



Disads, Counterplans, kritiks, case debate - the more specific the better. If you are going for a super technical CP or obscure DA or K then you should probably take a second and slow down the explanation of why it applies to the aff. I find these debates are often lost when I (or any judge) is unclear about all the wonderful aspects of your argument and how it solves or outweighs or nullifies the aff. Given that I don't always know the TRUTH in these debates and that decision times means I can't read every card for you and put the whole debate together I find these debates are often won in front of me by the team that is controlling the WAY I read or interpret the evidence and examples/story of the arguments. You should take that as explain the argument instead of reading the 7th card on a topic. That is not always true - sometimes I know about the topic enough to know you are wrong, sometimes your evidence is too terrible to vote on, and sometimes you are persuasive but wrong about the flow math. Random notes about these debates:

1. I think teams with big policy impacts are often silly sounding when they go for perms since that is almost always illogical and they are basically just going for case outweighs anyway. Seriously just go for your aff is awesome and outweighs and its representations or assumpetions are good/justified. Perms are unnecessary in that world. 

2. I am willing to vote on presumption. 

3. I am not a believer in the offense/defense paradigm - you can win zero risk of links, impacts etc. 

4. I don't mind theory debates (and think many affs have lost the skill of exposing competition problems with CPs) but and this is important - YOU MUST HAVE WELL EXPLAINED reasons. I have no interest in listening to your blippy block. The more specific it is to the debate the more examples you have about what they do and why its bad for debate the better. I would rather hear 2 well developed reasons something is bad or good then 7 meh sentence fragments about it. 

5. Going for T against a plan that someone is defending the implementation of is also good in front of me. I think you need to win why the world of debate is made specifically worse by what they do and justify so impact level comparissons matter a lot in these debates. I can also be persuaded that cards and definitions are too bad to be considered in these debates if they are just random statements about what someone thinks a word means. 


K vs. K DEBATES (method or not) - These debates are interesting and I see more and more of them. A couple of notes: 

1. Someone at some point needs an external impact. I judge a lot of these that end up with everyone winning some risk that they solve some violence and oppression while the other team may cause some violence and oppression. These impacts don't have to be war - but they do need to make distinctions between what you solve or address and what they sovle or address. Otherwise you are really relying on me to be persuaded by one internal link/solvency story or the other and often that makes people unhappy. 

2. I think what a perm means and whether or not they are always good is up for debate. I think you have to win a reason that SOMETHING the aff endorses or assumes or does is bad. So you should not expect to win that you just have another good idea. So the pure method v method means no perm arguments can persuade me but need to overcome the idea that you still have to prove something about the aff is problematic. Now that being said I am willing to entertain that there can be lots of problems with combining strategies or ideas that are not evidenced or that might be "it is bad for debate reasons." My opinion on this is evolving so I am definitely open to hearing more debates about what competition standards mean in a world where affs are not necessarily advocating for pragmatic or concrete shifts from the status quo policies. 

3. Root cause debates - are almost impossible to resolve. You have to put in a lot of work or it has to actually be conceeded. I see a lot of the cap K vs. the aff that focuses on race or gender or sexuality or sorta class issues or some combination. I find that questions of sovlency for the alt and the aff are FAR more important than controlling the root cause. Talk more about HOW things work and WHAT they solve rather than saying the thing you hope you solve is the root cause of the thing they hope they solve. 





Paperless: ***I strongly prefer email chains it seems much faster. Your prep time stops when the flash drive is ejected. I expect paperless teams to be courteous and helpful to non paperless teams. 

Argument Standards: Complete arguments are necessary. For me to evaluate an argument it needs to have a claim and reasoning that proves that claim. Ideally it will also have an impact. Do not expect me to vote on an argument just because it is conceded if it is not complete.  

I appreciate work done in the debate. I tend to reward debaters who do a lot of comparative work with the major issues in the debate. High levels of comparison and interaction between arguments and evidence makes my job more enjoyable and easier and I will reward with speaker points and when applicable the ballot. This means that if you are doing a good job indicting their evidence and comparing it to yours I am likely to read their evidence with your spin in mind. 

Evidence should be worth reading. Good analytic arguments can beat bad evidence. This also means when you highlight your evidence it should make sense. 

Defend things. This sounds simple but I really hate it when people are sketchy about what they will defend about their positions. If you will not defend your plan instrumentally then be clear about that as soon as you are asked. Likewise be clear about the perms you made and what they mean and the actions taken in the CP. 

Specificity is good. The more specific you can make your negative strategies to the aff the happier I will be. Likewise in the 2ac I like to hear specific answers to positions (this goes both for K teams answering all DAs with the Dillon card and policy teams that think Realism answers all Ks). This does not mean I won’t vote on generics it just means your speaks may suffer. 

Joe Skoog Paradigm

4 rounds

I debated at Brophy College Prep and then debated at Gonzaga University.

I now coach at Gonzaga and for Ferris High School, both of which are in Spokane, WA.

Everything under this are my defaults but obviously any argument that is contrary to any of these override my presuppositions. I'll try not to intervene to the best of my ability.

The Highlights:
Tech over truth
I'll call for ev, but only if it is a key part of the debate or I have been told to look at it. I put a lot of stock into the quality of evidence when deciding debates.
I default to reject the arg for everything except conditionality unless told otherwise.
Awesome strategic moves will be rewarded.
For the love of Przemek Karnowski, please don't cheat.
I'm not particularly expressive, but it doesn't mean I hate your argument, I'm just thinking to myself.
Keep your shoes on in the round.


Read warrants please. I will reward fantastic ev. Quality outweighs quantity. Use spin and compare your evidence to theirs.

Case/Impact Defense:
I do tend to default to less change and think that there is such thing as zero risk of the aff. Using very smart case defense arguments is awesome. Internal link defense and solvency arguments are, in my opinion, underused. That makes me sad. So please use them.

I'm a huge theory nerd so I'm down with being convinced something is competitive. HOWEVER, I do think that a lot of counterplans that are commonly run are not competitive. Granted, I ran Reg Neg and Consult Russia a lot, and I understand why they are necessary sometimes, but I will reward case specific counterplans with net benefits that justify the status quo. To be clear: Artificial net benefits be dumb, yo. Counterplans should have solvency advocates--preferably normative one--which will go a long way in defending the theoretical legitimacy of the advocacy.

Against big stick affs, don't read stupid PICs like "the" or "should" because then I will cry. And I am an ugly crier.

I won't kick a conditional CP in the 2NR unless I'm explicitly told to in the debate.

For politics, gotta have the goods evidence-wise.
Political capital key cards should say that political capital is key.
I think that an aff shooting apart the internal link chain of a stupid scenario is sufficient.
I would really like it if your DA was an actual opportunity cost to the plan.
Link controls direction of uniqueness.

I exclusively went for the K my senior year, so I know a lot of the literature. I've read a lot of Foucault and Baudrillard but I won't pretend I know all K authors equally. Please explain it in relation to the aff, not just in high theory terms.
I don't think I'm the federal government. I am a sleepy college student judging a debate. However, I can be persuaded differently by args made in the debate.
Getting to weigh the aff is distinct from a "role of the ballot" argument because Role of the ballot determines how/what I am voting on or evaluating.
I love highly technical K debate ie. LINE BY LINE and clash.
Well researched and case specific Ks will make me smile.

I really do enjoy theory debates if it is delivered at a rate consistent with the arguments. For example, if you are saying conditionality is bad in the 1AR don't speed through it because it is difficult to flow in its entirety. I will vote on unconditionality good, or 5 conditional CPs good. Debate is debate. If a theory violation is well impacted and explained, I will vote on it.

I default to competing interpretations unless told to evaluate it differently. I love when people read a lot of cards on tea, or have a hyper specific topicality argument. I evaluate it like a DA, so impacting things such as limits and ground is important.

Framework vs K affs:
I'm down to listen to really anything, and I was usually on the side of the team answering framework for most of my career. That being said, I really really enjoy framework debates. I think that "no Ks" isn't very convincing, but there should probably some agreed upon stasis point. This doesn't mean you need to defend the hypothetical implementation of plan in front of me, but if the other team wins that fiat is a good model of education, I will vote on it.

Jamie Snoddy Paradigm

2 rounds

Hello, I'm Jamie Snoddy (pronounced like snotty, but with the [d] sound). I'm a community coach for Patrick Henry HS and also a coach at the University of Minnesota. I did a year of debate at Patrick Henry and debated two years for UMN. I graduated in 2018 with a Bach. in Linguistics (Puns get you extra speaks). Please add me to the email chain with the following email address:


Learning is the main focus of debate. I like arguments to be presented in a clear and logical manner (it can even be flawed logic, as long as it's coherent and feasible, I think it's legit.). So, there aren't many things I'm against teams running. TELL ME WHAT TO VOTE FOR PLZ! Impact Calc and Roll of the ballot args are great.

Place a higher precedence on presenting evidence clearly and consistently (so not reading things incoherently fast unless e.v.e.r.y s.i.n.g.l.e t.h.i.n.g. is in your speech doc. Which it shouldn't be. If I'm not looking at you and typing, you're good. If I'm looking at you and leaned back, I'm waiting for flow-able info. If I'm looking at you and nodding I'm listening to good points that I feel have already been flowed.

Full disclosure: I'm a sucker for wipeout/death good args, idc which side it is lbvs. Maybe it's the high school emo in me. Best way to combat these args, to me, is go all into VTL and some change better than no change and, if applicable, the ppl who are getting effed over by sqou violence still don't want to die... then that gets into cruel optimism, yada yare yare.


I'm fine with no plan affs. You just have to reeeeeally be ready to answer FW and T. You need to convince me of why running this aff w/o a plan will not work within the resolution. I'm a former 2A so sympathize with defending your case baby from the big scary neg lolz jk.


As long as the Neg can keep track of all the CPs they have, have all the cps you want. Just be ready to defend needing all of the cps if the aff chooses to go that route. Condo... is... a thing... I guess. The more cps you have, the high chance I'll believe condo bad args, cuz having that many multiple worlds is sorta abusive. So if you're running 7 or 8 cps, they better be dispo or uncondo, or have really great answers for why having that many condo worlds is necessary...


Fine and necessary args in policy.


Great! I love Ks and really love non-basic Ks. I don't like flimsy, vague alts. Even if it is as simple as Reject "x", I need to know what exactly what the world of the alt will look like and why it should be preferred to the aff's.


Topicality, to me, is different than theory (I flow them sep) and as long as voters are attached to it, I'll consider the args.


Is a prior question and needs to be addressed before talking about anything else. If we can't agree on how we talk to each other, then what does anything we say matter? ROB args are persuasive if voters are attached to it.

Speaker Points

Switching between hs and coll. debate sometimes throws me of, but I try to be really generous with them? If you're chill, courteous and not a butt during a round you get higher speaks.

Cutting people off aggressively and being unnecessarily snarky looses you speaks. I get if you're having a bad day or are going through some things that it may get taken out here in our community. If that's the case, just give the people in your round a heads up that you're in a mood.

Michael Souders Paradigm

3 rounds

Mick Souders

James Madison University

17th years judging NDT/CEDA debate

*Lengthy note at end.

**Additional procedure note on evidence at end.

Mea culpa

I believe that I’m out of step with contemporary debate. I feel it almost every time I judge. It’s not about the type of arguments that are made, it’s about how I judge them. I try to be even-handed and fair to both sides, but compared to most debaters’ expectations: I’m too opinionated about what constitutes adequate support, I’m too willing to dismiss badly supported arguments, I have too high of standards of engagement between two teams, I expect extra-ordinary claims to have at least decent proof, I don’t think repeating a prior block is a respectable extension of an argument even if the other team didn’t respond, I don’t think 2-3 sentences is usually enough to win a major argument. I do think you need to explain the claim, warrant, data for arguments in rebuttals, even when dropped. I don’t think a dropped assertion is necessarily true for the purposes of debate. I will ignore arguments I cannot understand and I have a coherence standards for positions and arguments. I think lots of ‘defensive’ arguments end up being terminal for positions.

Which is all to say that I am probably far too opinionated and interventionist for most debaters’ tastes. I like to think of it as being a principled critic of argumentation, but call it what you will. Does that make me a bad judge? Probably, if the concept of good/bad are culturally determined. But I certainly don’t think I’m what deabters want. I don’t know. But I am this way because I feel like these principles matter and I find them impossible to ignore.


My perspective on debate is grounded in the idea that debate is the kiln in which ideas and minds are fired and strengthened into ever better forms. The goal of each debate is not necessarily to find the right answer to a question, but an exploration of ideas and an experiment with concepts, enabled by the unique forum of debate that protects us from the full consequences of the ideas we advocate. It is the freedom of debate which enables it to be so effective. Hence, debate is a political project as well as an educational one. It is a democratic experiment, wherein we declare our freedom to advocate for idea—and to oppose them—in the spirit of putting our minds to work on a wide set of problems.

As a judge, I try to evaluate the quality of ideas and argumentation that debaters present. I do not have a preference for policy debate, critique debate, non-traditional debate or whatever any wishes to call their format. I do ask that ideas are presented coherently, cogently, and be well-supported by epistemologically-appropriate evidence.

I do have some argument biases (charted, per others):

Killing/letting die on purpose good--------------------------X--Killing/letting die on purpose bad.
Children are good-X--------------------------------Children are bad.
Ha funny debate only stupidity good!------------------------X-Ha funny debate only stupidity bad!
Topic ------X------------------No Topic.
Conditionality Good--X------------------Bad
ESR good for debate--------------------X---ESR is nonsense.
Offense/defense paradigm yes----------------X----no.
Alt-less Ks yes-----------------------X---no.
Stupid contrived fiat on CPs yes!-----------------------X--no.
Asserting another person has no role in debate: YES good strat-------------------------X---no.

Ok, I got bored of that. Here's that in another form.

I tend to dislike misanthropic arguments that ask me to kill people or increase suffering. If you read any argument says people dying is irrelevant, mass suffering is good for people or that children should not exist or be killed, you simply do not want me as a judge.

I tend to dislike arguments that rely on ideas almost everyone knows are wrong or originate out of dubious sources.

I tend to dislike arguments that attempt to stop rather than promote the development of ideas.

I tend to think the concept of a resolution is good and affirmatives should be topical, although I vote for non-topical affirmatives when it seems warranted by the debate (see note).

I tend to err negative on many theory questions, except when it comes to fiat.

In that, I believe that international fiat, state fiat, and object fiat are unfair to affirmatives. That does not mean I automatically vote on these issues. None of them seem like voting issues anyway.

I do not believe your assertion alone constitutes an argument that I am required to respect.

I tend to place great weight on cross-examination and I consider it roughly equivalent to a speech.

I tend to dislike arguments or positions that indicate that the other team may not speak or has no place in the conversation, although there are some exceptions.

I’ll limit how much I inject my own ideas into decisions but I will not prohibit my evaluative skills from the debate. I demand greater argumentative power from counterintuitive arguments. Yes, in debates I judge I do happen to be arbiter of what’s “counterintuitive.” I try to be reflective about my biases but I will not defer to other persons to make decisions for me—the freedom to choose is the essential human quality.

I fundamentally believe in standards of decency and respectful treatment of colleagues and a sporting attitude toward competition. I understand that debate is serious. And as a former political activist, I realize that civility is sometimes a policing standard and there are limits to its application. But I persist in believing debaters should be free to make their arguments free from undue personal insults, discriminatory remarks, interruption, intimidation, or slurs regarding their race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, sex, sexual behavior, religion or socioeconomic standing. I am quite willing to step in and object or refuse to continue to participate in debates in which such activity continues.

Speaker Point Scale (novice doesn't follow this scale):

29.5-29.9 Very to extremely high quality speeches that I would consider very good even for Copeland/Top 5 plaque competitors.

29-29.4 Excellent speeches that significantly advanced your team's chances of winning. Good to very good speeches for First Round-level competitors.

28.6-28.9 Above average speeches that I would expect to see out of clearing teams. Good to very good speeches for competitors at the NDT qualifier level.

28.1-28.5 Average to somewhat above average speeches that contributed to your team's chances of winning. Slightly above to somewhat below average speeches for the NDT qualifier level.

27.6-28 Mediocre to average speeches that only moderately advanced your team's position toward winning the debate.

27.1-27.5 Fairly poor speeches that did not significantly advance your teams position in the debate and likely did not sound good.

26.5-27 Poor speeches that had a negative impact on your team's chances of winning.

< 26.4 You did something very insulting and/or turned a near-certain win into a certain loss via your speech

**I am moderately hearing impaired. This should not affect you except that it helps if you enunciate clearly and project your voice. Rooms with echoes or ambient noise pose particular problems for me. If you see me moving around the room to hear, it's not necessarily you, it may be me trying to get a better angle to hear you.

*Lengthy Notes for Critical Identity Teams, originally written in 2014

I find it a nearly undeniable fact that the growth of critical identity arguments has dramatically increased the inclusiveness of our community in the past ten years. This is meaningful change. So I’m taking the time to write this extensive addendum to my judging philosophy because I think it’s important to recognize that there are terminological differences and stylistic differences in debate right now and I want to help the teams that are helping make our community more inclusive feel more comfortable in front of me.

Teams that make critical identity arguments are widely varied and so I’m reluctant to comment on them (or define them), except that I have noticed that those I think of *provisionally as critical identity teams are sometimes surprised by my decisions (for and against them). After some thought, I think it is because of a certain divergence in the judging pool. Critical identity teams, roughly speaking, share a common judging pool that emphasizes certain things, takes others for granted and has certain expectations. My background in traditional critique and policy debating has emphases and vocabularies different from this pool. In a few decisions that a few teams have not liked, I’ve explained my perspective and it’s sometimes been rejected or received push back and even dismissal. That’s regrettable. I want these teams (you, if you’re reading this) to see me as pointing them to the path to victory with me as the judge and I encourage these teams to see me as an opportunity rather than as a barrier.

So, rather than wait until a post-round to translate my views—which is too late—I’m going to post them here. It’s long, yes, but I put some effort and thought into this.

Overview over, here are my notes:


It’s probably true that it’s easier for you to win on the negative because there’s no topical barrier for you. There’s a huge exception to this, noted in the affirmative section. Here’s my hints:

-Argue the alternative. This is the number one point of difference between myself (and judges like me) and the pool of judges I’ve noted above. Winning a link and impact isn’t enough. You’re going to need to focus on extending, arguing, and explaining how your alternative solves your link arguments, how it solves the case and/or how it is the ‘better’ choice in the face of affirmative case arguments. If your alt solves the case, explain how. If it doesn’t solve the case, explain why that doesn’t matter. Your alternative needs to solve the link to the case, because if not, there’s simply no uniqueness to your arguments against the affirmative—they are true whether I vote affirmative or negative. That doesn’t mean that you need to solve the WHOLE link. For example, if the law is fundamentally anti-black, then even if the alternative doesn’t solve the law being anti-black it might provide us with a path to a non-law based perspective or something of that sort. When I’ve voted AFF against critical identity teams, there’s often been a post-round attempt at a gotcha question: “So, you just voted for a law you agree is anti-black/queer/ableist?” And I’ve answered: “No. Voting for an anti-black/queer/ableism law was inevitable because the alternative didn’t solve any bit of anti-blackness/queerness/ableism.” I will say that 90% of the time I’ve come to the conclusion NOT because I evaluated a contested debate about the alternative but because the negative barely extended the alternative or did not do so at all. I'm generally unpersuaded by "reject" arguments without some value to the rejection.

-Argue the case. Affirmatives often solve impacts—and those impacts can outweigh. If you don’t just let that slide, the fact that they CAUSE another impact cannot be easily dismissed. I watched a debate at the NDT where the critical race team just slayed the policy affirmative by reading phenomenal cards that indicating the structural, racist roots of climate change and consumption patterns. It was excellent. However, that doesn’t happen very often. Being anti-queer is bad…but so is climate change that kills millions, particularly vulnerable populations. It’s easier to pick which one I must address first if the chances of the cases chances of solving climate change are either mitigated or critiqued in a fashion that undermines its solvency.

-Frame the impact. A certain group of judges might think that if you win “social death now” that means basically all the impacts of the case are irrelevant. I don’t think it’s nearly that easy. Think of it this way—you, the debater, are often in the population that your argument says is socially dead. Yet I think that your life matters. And I want to stop bad things from happening to you despite your state of partial or total social death. So, you must say MORE than social death. You may explain, for example, that social death perpetually PERMITS radical violence at a constant or increasing rate; that massive real violence is a terminal and immutable consequence of social death. This does not, by the way, mute the entirety of offense gained by an opponent’s policy action, but in combination with a won alternative provides a nice pairing of a systemic impact with strong empirical grounding and very high future risk with a method of addressing that risk. Some framing evidence helps here.

-Fiat is illusory isn’t a real argument (nor is the affirmative argument that the “The plan REALLY happens!”). I get the plan doesn’t happen but it’s a worthwhile thought experiment that enables us to discuss the merits of the plan. I don’t AUTOMATICALLY assume this, but if the affirmative team frames their case as an representative anecdote of how we can learn to engage in politics, or how this kind of debate informs politics, either in general or in specific, I tend to agree that’s reasonable since that is the whole reason I think debate is educational. THUS! The KEY is is not to argue, “Fiat is illusory, they lose on presumption”—which is a bad argument—but to argue that given that they are teaching a BAD politics and that you present a better one. Your better framework may include arguing for the abandonment of plan-based politics.

-Frame the meaning of winning a key premise. To some extent, I find that to be true of anti-blackness or anti-queerness or anti-intersex, etc. If you win that blackness is an ontology and anti-blackness is a political ontology (although, to be honest, I’m not sure I understand what a political ontology is) you’ve won a premise that gets you a long way in the debate. However, you haven’t WON the debate, per se (nor does losing this premise necessarily lose you the debate). If society is anti-black, does that means politics is irrelevant? My presumption is NO. If you are black and live in anti-black civil society, I still presume that it would be better to do things that blunt the force of anti-blackness with ‘liberal’ policies. Now, you have a huge advantage if you win your premise because in a larger sense you’re winning that liberalism is doomed—but you need to make that clear. Finally, you should work at backstopping this argument. I’ve seen teams go all-in on winning queer is ontological without looking at how they could win if they did not win this premise. I saw a team at the NDT nicely win a debate where they lost that blackness is ontological by arguing that even if its socially constructed, its so deeply embedded that it can’t be extracted and that the alternative resolved it best. Well done.


Most of this is about topicality because once you’re beyond that barrier you’re just in regular debateland and the above guidelines apply.


First hint with me on this overall—persuade your opponent not to go for topicality. When negative teams don’t go for topicality against blatantly non-topical teams, I have a ridiculous affirmative voting record. The reasons are obvious: Links and competition are hard to generate when you’re not topical. That’s why topicality is vital for those teams. But let’s ignore that for a moment.

-Topicality: First hint: Be topical. I think it’s possible. I particularly think it’s possible to defend the topic from the outside—I think it’s possible for queer victims of police violence to argue police who harass queers should be arrested by the state without being or endorsing the state. I think you can be topical and argue that you shouldn’t need to answer process arguments. As the coach of repeated, successful topical K teams I don’t think topicality automatically means role-playing in the strong sense. I also think these debates are essential. Surely it can’t be the case that all critical identity positions of value require non-topicality and I’m very interested to hear the ways critical queer, race, gender, intersex values can be met with a topical plan. ***HOWEVER, if you have me as a judge and you’re NEVER topical, it’s probably a bad idea to just toss a plan in. It’s bad because you haven’t thought through how to defend yourself against arguments.

-Ok, so you’re not topical. Let’s talk about my presumptions on that. The main barrier for you here is that I don’t believe that any state action 100% pollutes any action. That doesn’t mean the state is good. Far from it. But considering the fact that many of the teams that refuse to ever agree with the topic attend STATE UNIVERSITIES with coaches receiving paychecks from THE STATE it’s hard for me to understand why talking about state action is impossible. That’s not a killer argument, but it does seem to hint that SOME state actions are not entirely poisonous. This is my own view and while it does color my T arguments, it’s not insurmountable. Here’s how you overcome that.

-Don’t be anti-topical. It’s a lot easier for me to vote for you if you’re not anti-topical. If you are anti-topical, say, your affirmative says (last year’s topic) that prostitution is bad (and implies shouldn’t be legal) then it’s going to be much harder for you to win in front of me. The reason is simply that you’ve staked out negative ground. You’ve admitted there’s a debate to be had on something and chosen NOT to take your assigned side. You refuse to take up the affirmative side yet you functionally attempt to force the other team to do just that.

- Being PRO-TOPICAL still requires you to be smart. The problem is that the other team will ask, “Why NOT be topical?” You need an answer to that question that isn’t just “State messed up, yo.” You CAN argue that. You CAN win that argument. But I’m going to want nuanced reasons that are specific to a particular to a place and time. Saying, “The US government is messed up and did bad things” seems to me to beg the question of what it SHOULD do to change. So, to overcome that you’ll need to explain why it’s better to debate about your adjacent discussion of topical things rather that government action AND you’ll need to explain why that’s an AFFIRMATIVE argument and not a negative argument.

-Answer their offensive arguments on T. Limits, ground, fairness, predictability, education—these are real things in debate and they matter. You will do well to answer these arguments with both offense and defense. I often see all offense (limits debate protect white folks) without any defense. PARTICULARLY answer their arguments about why topical/legal debating is good, in addition to the regular T argument set. These cards tend to be pretty good so your responses need to be good as well. “Fairness for who?” is a good question—but it needs to be answered rather than just leaving it open ended. On your education arguments you need to move beyond “All our arguments are educational” to explaining why you lead to good, predictable debates that are relatively fair and deeply educational. I am in agreement with the point that critical identity arguments are intrinsically educational (see my intro to this whole thing) but the bigger question is how do they create good debates where both sides explore issues in depth? There are really good reasons that this is the case—you need to make those arguments.

-Address topical version of the affirmative and understand that the legal debates good is a net benefit to this argument. A good team T will argue that you do not have a right to the perfect affirmative, just one that lets you discuss similar key issues. Also understand that “State bad” isn’t necessarily an answer. If can be, but even the anti-statist needs to understand the state. As a former anti-capitalist advocate, I still needed lawyers to get me out of jail and I still needed knowledge of the law to protect myself from the police as much as could be managed..

-Realize that “No Topical Version” is a trap. If you say no topical version, you are setting yourself up to link to the “this is anti-topical” argument, i.e., that your aff is wholly unpredictable and in the reverse direction of all of the regular topic negative arguments. The “no topical version of the aff” made by the 2AC sounds like, “Our whole affirmative advantage is illegitimate.” If you say “yes, topical version” then obviously you’ve also set yourself up. At the very least, so don't assert the 'no topical version' and set yourself up for this debate intentionally.

-Have an answer for the topical research burden argument. Critical identity teams are fond of arguing that there are many different versions of their arguments—TRUE! Which for teams going for T just shows how large the research burden becomes to prep for every single iteration—every different case is its own topic area. You need offensive and defense arguments. The argument that “You just don’t want to answer/research queer/black/feminist/trans/ableism arguments” is a good starting point but it’s not enough (and solved by topical version of the affirmative). “Case list” is also not answer to this argument, because research burden isn’t a question of predictability. Don’t fall into the trap of listing off a bunch of crappy positions you refuse to defend (state good, cap K) as neg ground.

-Find A CERTAIN TOPICALITY. Optimally, a strategic team will find a way to be topical, yet not defend the state. FYI, I absolutely do not think that having a plan that mentions what the US or USFG should do obligates you to defend “the State”. I think it obligates you to defend that particular state action. However, I think you can go beyond that. I think you can defend the plan as a critical intervention, as an imaginative starting point, as epistemological experiment etc. without defending state action in other ways. Now, you’ll have to defend your plan (or a topical advocacy statement—you need not have a PLAN, per se) in SOME ways but probably not a lot of different things.

-Impact turn topicality. If all else fails, impact turn and be extremely offensive against it. Disallow me from voting for T—you can complete this tactic by providing defense against their impact arguments while working on your own. Defense wins championships.

Hints not related to topicality

Once you’re past the topicality gate, you’re in the realm of normal non-procedural arguments and I have few suggestions in this area to avoid common errors (certainly not universal errors) I see in debates in front of me:

-Back up outrage with arguments. Excellent critical identity teams do this…but younger/lesser teams seem to struggle with this. Don’t get so wound up in your position that it stops you from making your argument.

-Antagonizing your opponent won’t sway me. There are reasons that you may choose to antagonize your opponent, some of which may be strategic, some not, some both. But as for how I view the debate, it will not contribute to me voting for you. See note in original philosophy about respectful behavior toward colleagues.

-Make the history lesson pay. Sometimes these debates collapse into scattered historical anecdotes that are only lightly tied together—get full credit for your analysis of history by investing time in explaining its application in this case.

-Don’t rely too heavily on enthymeme (don’t rely on me filling in the blanks for you). Too often, I hear judges (on MANY sides) say, “I guess I just know what they’re talking about.” No. You have an explanatory burden to help me cognitively grasp the situation. I grasp the frustration that comes with my lack of cultural connection to your argument, but I’m doing my best. If you think, “I’m tired of explaining myself to straight people, white people, cis gender people, able-bodied people, etc” and then don’t explain, it becomes really hard for me to vote for you (as well as making a bunch of assumptions that may or may not be accurate, depending on your judge). I won’t vote on what I can’t explain.

FINAL NOTE: You might be thinking, after reading this, ‘WOW, we’re NEVER preferring him. Look all the things he wants us to do—his presumptions are just too high. What a T hack.’

Maybe. But what I’ve tried to do is review almost every argument I find persuasive on T and flag it for you and send you in the right direction in answering it. In REAL DEBATES, teams won’t make all these arguments and they won’t always make them well. I ALWAYS evaluate the debate in front of me. But I wanted to flag all these so you could think through your answers and win my ballot. I wanted to flag these because winning my ballot is possible, not impossible.

I also think this can serve as a primer for winning in front of judges that are like me. To succeed in the big picture, you need to expand your judging pool. At the NDT and in national circuit elimination debates, you can’t hide from all the judges who think topicality is a thing or who have a grounding in traditional critique or policy debate. In my ideal world, you’d see me (or someone like me) on a panel against a non-critical identity team and think, “Good. Mick is a fair judge who sees the value of our arguments. He cares about our role in debateland and the world and even though he might not be our wheelhouse judge, we know the route to win with him.”

And, in the ideal world, your opponent would think the exact same thing.


1. I am worn out of looking through 6 different speech documents for cards. I am implementing a policy of asking that cards on positions that have been gone for in the 2NR/2AR be conslidated and sent to me). You don't need to sort out WHICH cards you went for, it's easier if I pick through what matters. Just consolidate them, organized by SUBJECT and SPEECH and send them to me. If you are paper team, you're are a cruel person who wants trees to die, but, on the other hand you make judging much easier :).

2. Most CX answers that given outside the 3 minutes of designated CX are not relevant to my decision. You want to get your argumentative question in? Fit it and the opportunity to answer into the CX time. You don't get to use some prep time to cover the argument you dropped, so you don't get to used prep time to ask the questions you forgot. Exception A: Filibustering to run out the clock will cause me to ignore this rule. CXer, you'll know you are free to keep asking because I will keep paying attention instead of getting up or walking away. Exception B: While answers might be non-binding, deception is misconduct foul, auto-loss. If the Cx-ee answers a clarifying question in prep like, "What's the status of the counterplan?" and then CHANGES it and thinks that's a clever trick, I see that as misconduct. Exception C: I think clarifying questions are fine in CX. Examples: What was your third argument on the DA? What's the status of the CP? Which card did you read? Answering these questions are matters of courtesy and fair play. Of course, they might just answer: "We didn't take a position on CP rules in the 1NC." And you'll be out of luck in arguing with them.

Rebecca Steiner Paradigm

4 rounds

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

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

First team to trivialize or deny the Holocaust loses.


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

Does the DA turn the AFF?

Impact calculus is necessary from both sides.

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


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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

Tech > truth


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

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

Speaker points:

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

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

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

Peter Susko Paradigm

6 rounds

If you are starting an email chain for the debate, I would like to be included on it:


Debate should be centered on the hypothetical world where the United States federal government takes action. I default to a utilitarian calculus and view arguments in an offense/defense paradigm.


Most topicality debates come down to limits. This means it would be in your best interest to explain the world of your interpretation—what AFFs are topical, what negative arguments are available, etc—and compare this with your opponent’s interpretation. Topicality debates become very messy very fast, which means it is extremely important to provide a clear reasoning for why I should vote for you at the top of the 2NR/2AR.


Conditionality is good. I default to rejecting the argument and not the team, unless told otherwise. Counterplans that result in plan action are questionably competitive. In a world where the 2NR goes for the counterplan, I will not evaluate the status quo unless told to by the negative. The norm is for theory debates to be shallow, which means you should slow down and provide specific examples of abuse if you want to make this a viable option in the rebuttals. The trend towards multi-plank counterplans has hurt clarity of what CPs do to solve the AFF. I think clarity in the 1NC on the counterplan text and a portion of the negative block on the utility of each plank would resolve this. I am also convinced the AFF should be allowed to answer some planks in the 1AR if the 1NC is unintelligible on the text.


I am willing to vote on a zero percent risk of a link. Vice versa, I am also willing to vote negative on presumption on case if you cannot defend your affirmative leads to more change than the status quo. Issue specific uniqueness is more important than a laundry list of thumpers. Rebuttals should include impact comparison, which decreases the amount of intervention that I need to do at the end of the debate.


I am not familiar with the literature, or terminology, for most criticisms. If reading a criticism is your main offensive argument on the negative, this means you’ll need to explain more clearly how your particular criticism implicates the affirmative’s impacts. For impact framing, this means explaining how the impacts of the criticism (whether it entails a VTL claim, epistemology, etc.) outweigh or come before the affirmative. The best debaters are able to draw links from affirmative evidence and use empirical examples to show how the affirmative is flawed. Role of the ballot/judge arguments are self-serving and unpersuasive.


In my eight years as a debater, I ran a policy affirmative and primarily went for framework against performance AFFs. The flow during performance debates usually gets destroyed at some point during the 2AC/block. Debaters should take the time to provide organizational cues [impact debate here, fairness debate here, accessibility debate here, etc.] in order to make your argument more persuasive. My lack of experience and knowledge with/on the literature base is important. I will not often place arguments for you across multiple flows, and have often not treated an argument as a global framing argument [unless explicitly told]. Impact framing and clear analysis help alleviate this barrier. At the end of the debate, I should know how the affirmative's advocacy operates, the impact I am voting for, and how that impact operates against the NEG.


I am not the fastest flow and rely heavily on short hand in order to catch up. I am better on debates I am more familiar with because my short hand is better. Either way, debaters should provide organizational cues (i.e. group the link debate, I’ll explain that here). Cues like that give me flow time to better understand the debate and understand your arguments in relation to the rest of the debate.


Prep time continues until the jump drive is out of the computer / the email has been sent to the email chain. This won't affect speaker points, however, it does prolong the round and eliminate time that I have to evaluate the round.

Terrell Taylor Paradigm

5 rounds

Terrell Taylor

Debated at Mary Washington from 2007-2011

add me to doc chains: terrell taylor at gmail dot com. No punctuation, no space, no frills.

Debate is an intellectual activity where two positions are weighed against each other. A part of this is making clear what your position is (plan, cp, alt, advocacy, status quo etc.) and how it measures up against the other team’s position. Arguments consist of a claim (the point you want to make), warrant (a reason to believe it), and an impact (reason why it matters/way it functions within the debate). Evidence is useful when trying to provide warrants, but is ultimately not necessary for me to evaluate an argument. Debates get competitive and heated, but staying polite and friendly and remembering that the name of the game is fun at the end of the day makes for a more enjoyable experience for everyone involved.

Disads/Case and Advantages

These arguments should be stressed in terms of a coherent story of what the world looks like in terms of the status quo, affirmative plan or alternative option. These positions should be attacked from a variety points including the link and internal link chain, impact and uniqueness level. When it comes to link turning, my default thought is that uniqueness determines the direction; if you have an alternative understanding that is particular to a scenario, be sure to explain why it is that the direction of the link should be emphasized or what have you. Impacts should be compared not only in terms of timeframe, probability and magnitude, but in terms of how these issues interact in a world where both impact scenarios take places (the popular "even if.." phrase comes to mind here). Also, keep in mind that I have not kept up with the trends in disads and such within the topic, so explaining specifics, acronyms and otherwise is useful for me. I prefer hearing case specific scenarios as opposed to generic politics and similar positions. This does not mean I will not vote for it or will dock your speaker points, just a preference.

Counterplans and Counterplan Theory

Counterplans should be functionally competitive; textual competition doesn’t make a whole lot of sense to me (see later section on theory). I think that perms can be advocated, but am more than willing to hear reasons why they shouldn’t be and why that is a bad way to frame debates. When it comes to agent counterplans, I tend to think that topic specific education should trump generic presidential powers or judicial independence debates. Consult and condition cps just make the logician inside my head painfully confused (not sure why a reason to talk to X country is also a reason why the plan is bad). International fiat is suspect to me, and I tend to think that limiting the discussion to US policy (including its international relevance) is a good thing.

All of this being said, I am open to voting for any of the above arguments. These are merely my general theoretical leanings, and I will certainly flow, listen to, and evaluate arguments from the other side.


I haven’t seen many debates on this topic, so if a debate comes down to T, don’t be surprised if you see me googling to find the resolution to check the words. In general I think Topicality is important for two reasons. One is the general reason that most people think it’s good, being that we need to be prepared/have set limits and parameters for debate. The second is that I think each year presents an opportunity to gain in depth education on an issue, even if it's not a policy perspective of that issue. I feel that competing interpretations is generally the default for T, but I am open to defenses of reasonability and in fact, think that there are cases where this is the best means of evaluation. Standards should be impacted in terms of education and fairness, and the debate should come down to the best internal links between the standards and these terminal values. If you are the type to critique T, your critique needs to come down to these terms (education and fairness). RVIs don’t make sense to me. If you want to take the challenge of trying to make one make sense, be my guest, but it’s an uphill battle.

General Theory

As mentioned, I am not wedded to any particular frame or “rulebook” for debate. Part of the beauty of debate to me is that debaters get to be both the players and referee. As such, I enjoy theory and think that such discussions can be fruitful. The flipside to this is that most theory debates devolve into tagline debating, shallow and repetitive arguments, and a race to see who can spit their block the fastest. These debates are 1) hard to flow and 2) not really a test or display of your ability so much as a test of your team’s theory block writer. I reward argumentation that is clear, comprehensible and complete in terms of theory debates, and urge debaters to these opportunities seriously.

I’ve laid out most of my theoretical dispositions in the counterplan section. Conditionality to me is like siracha sauce: a little bit heats up the debate, too much ruins it. I don’t know why three or four counterplans or alternatives along with the status quo is key to negative flex or good debating (one is good, two is ok). Also, if you want to use a status other than conditional or unconditional, (like the imaginary “dispo”) you should be ready to explain what that means. Again, I think that it is okay to advocate permutations as positions in the debate.

In terms of alternate frameworks for the debate (i.e. anything other than policy making) I’m honest when I say I’m not extraordinarily experienced in these areas as I’d like to be. I’ve seen a decent few of these debates and think that they provide some nuance to an otherwise stale activity. That being said (and this is true for all theory positions) you should try and weigh the educational and competitive equity benefits of your position versus the other teams proposed framework the debate. I debated for a squad that saw framework as a strategic and straightforward approach to most alternative forms of debate, so those arguments make sense to me. On the other hand, especially when it comes to arguments concerning structural issues in society/debate, if argued well, and with relevance to the topic in some way, I am willing to listen and evaluate.

Critical arguments (Kritiks/K-affs)

Much of what I just said applies here as well. I had the most success/felt most comfortable debating with these types of arguments as a debater (I did, however, spend most of my career debating with “straight-up” affs and disads that claimed nuclear war advantages). I studied English and Philosophy in undergrad and am pursuing a MA in English with a focus on critical theory, so there’s a decent chance that my interests and background might lean more towards a topic oriented critique than a politics Da.

I will avoid following the trend of listing the genres of critiques and critical literature with which I am familiar with the belief that it shouldn't matter. Running critiques shouldn't be about maintaining a secret club of people who "get it" (which often in debates, is construed to be a club consisting of the critique friendly judge and the team running the argument, often excluding the other team for not being "savy"). In other words, Whether I've read a great deal of the authors in your critique or not, should not give you the green light to skimp on the explanation and analysis of the critique. These debates are often about making the connections between what the authors and literature are saying and the position of the other team, and hence put a great burden on the debater to elucidate those connections. A shared appreciation or research interest between a team and a judge does not absolve you of that burden, in my opinion.

I agree with many recent top tier collegiate debaters (Kevin Kallmyer, Gabe Murillo, etc.) that the difference between policy and critical arguments is overstated. An important piece of reading critical arguments with me in the back of the room is explaining what your arguments mean within the context of the aff/da. If you read a no value to life impact, what about the affs framing makes it so that the people involved see their lives differently; if the critiqued impact is a merely constructed threat, reveal to me the holes in the construction and explain how the construction came to be. Doing that level of analysis (with any argument, critical or policy) is crucial in terms of weighing and relating your arguments to the other teams, and engaging in a form of education that is actually worthwhile. This probably entails removing your hypergeneric topic link and replacing with analysis as to the links that are within the evidence (and therefore, the assumptions, rhetoric, methodology, so and so forth) of your opponents. In terms of vague alts and framework, I have mixed feelings. The utopian fiat involved in most alts is probably abusive, but there is something to be said for making the claim that these arguments are vital to thorough education. On the framework question, gateway issue is probably a poor way to go. I don’t understand why the fact that your K has an impact means that you get to suck up the entire debate on this one issue. Instead, a framing that opens the door to multiple ways of critiquing and evaluating arguments (both on the aff and the neg, or in other words, doesn’t hold the aff as a punching bag) is preferable.


I didn’t do a whole lot of handling with this genre of argument, but have debated semi-frequently and enjoy the critical aspects of these arguments. I think that there is a difference between the type of critical debater that reads a couple of disads along with a K and case args, and a team that reads a indictment of the topic or reads narratives for nine minutes. If you read a poem, sing, recite a story or anything of that nature, I will be more interested in observing your performance than trying to flow or dictate it on my flow (my reasoning for this is that, unlike a speech organized for the purpose of tracking argument development and responses, I don't think flowing a poem or song really generates an understanding of the performance). More importantly, framing should be a priority; give me a reason why I should look at the debate through a certain lens, and explain why given that framing you have done something either worth affirming your advocacy. I think that these types of debates, especially if related to the topic, can be fruitful and worthwhile. Performance affirmatives should try to find some in road to the topic. If your argument is pervasive and deep enough to talk about, I generally think it probably has a systemic implication for the resolution in some way, even if that doesn’t manifest as a topical plan or even agreeing with the resolution.

For teams going against performance strategies, Framework based arguments are options in front of me. A good way to frame this argument is in terms of what is the best method to produce debates that create the most useful form of education, as opposed to just reading it like a procedural argument. I do think it is important to engage the substantive portion of their arguments as well, (there are always multiple dimensions to arguments of these forms) even if it happens to be a critical objection to their performance or method. Many policy based strategies often want to avoid having to engage with the details involved, and in doing so often fail to rigorously challenge the arguments made in the debate.

Good luck, and have fun. I spent a great deal of my debate career stressing out and losing sleep, instead of experiencing the challenge and fun of the activity; Enjoy your time in the activity above everything else.

Anthony Trufanov Paradigm

3 rounds


Email chain

Add me:

College people, add:

Please put useful info about the round in the subject of the email.


I will flow and vote on things you said. NEGs can say whatever but the less it says the plan is bad the more annoying it is. Conditionality and judge kick are good. Ks are good if there are DAs hiding inside them. AFFs should be T and are likely to lose if they aren't. If you say death good you lose.


Tech determines truth unless your argument is an affront to obvious reality or it's death good. If you tell me to embrace death because life is bad I will vote against you even if you do not go for the argument.

I will also do everything in my power to avoid indiscriminately killing people. If this sounds like your ALT, reconsider.

Otherwise, unless my role as a judge is changed, I will attempt to write the least interventionary ballot. This means:

1. What is conceded is absolutely true, but will only have the implications that you say it has. I will not assume stuff that is not obvious - for example, I will not cross apply arguments from one flow to another, will not assume impact D applies to impacts you didn't say it applies to, will not assume a CP solves something you didn't say it solves, etc.

2. I will intervene if I have to.

3. When something is thorny or annoying I have often found myself starting the decision by looking for ways to vote without resolving that thing. With proper framing and argument choice you can rig this process in your favor.

For whatever reason I have voted NEG slightly more than AFF.

The following are my inclinations - if you don't like them you can change them.

Misc Quirks

If you start prep, you take a minimum of 10 seconds. None of that start stop nonsense.

I am not really a small talk guy.

Please merge your speech docs before the speech if prepping separately is a thing you do.

High schoolers - if you think your wiki is good (has cites/open source for every card you have read OR detailed descriptions of arguments that are not card reliant) tell me after the debate and if I agree you each get +1 speaker point.


I like when the NEG says the opposite of the AFF. How much I enjoy your DA depends how much of the AFF it clashes with. But also, both high school and college seem like they are stuck with some slim pickings here, so if something stupid finds its way into a 2NR I get it.

However I still do not care where Rubio or Romney are spending PC or what the House science committee is focusing on but it's on the brink. The politics DA is a barren wasteland.

Relatedly, the more I think about intrinsicness the more it makes sense to me. I dunno what will happen if someone actually debates this out in front of me but I am curious to find out.

I care about the DA turning the case a lot.

"Framing pages" are dumb. Maybe they could be smart? I have yet to see a proof of concept for this that I care about.

Case offense is strategic and funny.


My default is judge kick. It is very hard to use theory to stop me from thinking about the status quo.

The AFF should be able to win a process CP doesn't compete if they are competent and don't drop things. Granting competition makes the theory debate more difficult because it enhances the narrative that the CP is a germane opportunity cost.

Good for the NEG on theory, especially condo. I care the most about clash as a theory impact. Nothing but condo is a voting issue.

Intrinsic perms can be ok depending on the counterplan.


Vagueness in all its forms probably not a VI but can implicate internal links and solvency.

Argue by analogy and comparison to other affs, especially in CX. I think this is one of the best way to find inconsistencies in neg interpretations which you can exploit to your advantage in rebuttals.

Cards matter - all else being equal, if you read more cards supporting/fleshing out your interpretation and demonstrating why the aff doesn't meet I will be more likely to vote for you. I am unlikely to care about a cardless T 2NC.

I am a pedant myself so I am more sympathetic to pedantic T arguments than most.

Ks/Planless Affs

OK for specific Ks on the NEG, bad for random backfile trash, bad for K AFFs, death good = L.

If your K is closer to a DA I am more likely to care about it. So - links should be specific, causal, and about the plan.

AFFs' path to victory is proving that the K does not do these things. Therefore, reductionism DA + perm is the most persuasive approach to answering most K arguments.

Same thing if there is no plan text - in a FW debate, the AFF wins by demonstrating that engaging in resolutional debate/being forced to do so intrinsically causes something bad, the NEG wins by demonstrating that the AFF's offense is not intrinsic to resolutional debate and theirs is.

The fad of spotting that the K AFF links to topic DAs to make it look more benign is not really getting it done for me. While it is very considerate of the AFF not to make link answers against DAs that demonstrably have nothing to do with the 1AC it is intellectually nonsensical and relying on AFFs' good faith in this area does not seem like a sustainable arrangement.

I am open to different understandings of what it means for things to compete if there is no plan.

If the AFF has negated the resolution and the NEG responds with a topical proposal, shouldn't the NEG be the one that gets perms? Isn't that already how we evaluate TVAs? Just a thought. Be creative.

The only effect of my ballot is to decide the winner.

Speaker points

Most of my points have been between 28.4 and 28.9. This seems to be below the 2019 curve so I am adjusting.

Wrong strategic choices, being stupid about substance, CXs annoying/pointless, arguments were bad, being needlessly mean, being a mumbler... = lower speaks. The opposite of that/being awesome = higher speaks.

Other arg stuff

Evidence ethics (out of context? straw-person? lied about quals? cut in middle of paragraph?) should be debated out like any other theory argument. Claiming you said words you did not say is an L.

Being racist, sexist, violent, etc. in a way that is immediately and obviously hazardous to someone in the debate = L and 0. My role as educator > my role as any form of disciplinarian, so I will err on the side of letting stuff play out - i.e. if someone used gendered language and that gets brought up I will probably let the round happen and correct any ignorance after the fact. This ends when it begins to threaten the safety of round participants. Where that line is is entirely up to me.

Caitlin Walrath Paradigm

2 rounds

Debate History:

Juan Diego Catholic: 2011-2014 (1N/2A and 1A/2N)

Rowland Hall-St. Marks: 2014-2015 (1A/2N)

University of Michigan: 2015-2019 (1A/2N)

University of Kentucky: Present (Assistant Coach)

*Please put me on the email chain: - NO POCKETBOXES OR WHATEVER PLEASE AND THANK YOU*

TL;DR: You do you, and I'll flow and judge accordingly. Make smart arguments, be yourself, and have fun. Ask questions if you have them post-round / time permits. I would rather you yell at me (with some degree of respect) and give me the chance to explain why you lost so that you can internalize it rather than you walk away pissed/upset without resolution. An argument = claim + warrant. You may not insert rehighlighted evidence into the record - you have to read it, debate is a communicative activity.

General thoughts: I enjoy debate immensely and I hope to foster that same enjoyment in every debate I judge. With that being said, you should debate how you like to debate and I’ll judge fairly. I will immediately drop a team and give zero speaks if you make this space hostile by making offensive remarks or arguments that make it unsafe for others in the round (to be judged at my discretion). Clipping accusations must have audio or some form of proof. Debaters do not necessarily have to stake the round on an ethics violation. I also believe that debaters need to start listening to each other's arguments more, not just flowing mindlessly - so many debates lose potential nuance and clash because debaters just talk past each other with vague references to the other team's arguments. I can't/won't vote on an argument about something that happened outside the debate. I have no way of falsifying any of this and it's not my role as a judge. This doesn't apply to new affs bad if both teams agree that the aff is new, but if it's a question of misdisclosure, I really wouldn't know what to do (stolen from DML and Goldschlag). *NOTE - if you use sexually explicit language or engage in sexually explicit performances in high school debates, you should strike me. If you think that what you're saying in the debate would not be acceptable to an administrator at a school to hear was said by a high school student to an adult, you should strike me. (stolen from Val)

General K thoughts:

- AT: Do you judge these debates/know what is happening? Yes, its basically all I judge anymore (mostly clash of civs)

- AT: Since you are familiar with our args, do we not have to do any explanation specific to the aff/neg args? No, you obviously need to explain things

- AT: Is it cool if I just read Michigan KM speeches I flowed off youtube? If you are reading typed out copies of someone else's speech, I'm going to want to vote against you and will probably be very grumpy. Debate is a chance for you to show off your skill and talent, not just copy someone's speech you once saw on youtube.

K (Negative) – enjoyable if done well. Make sure the links are specific to the case and cause an impact. Make sure that the alt does something to resolve those impacts and links as well as some aff offense OR have a framework that phases out aff offense and resolves yours. Assume I know nothing about your literature base. Try not to have longer than a 2-minute overview

K (Affirmative) / Framework – probably should have some relation to the resolution otherwise it's easy to be persuaded that by the interp that you need to talk about the resolution. Probably should take some sort of action to resolve whatever the aff is criticizing. I think FW debates are important to have because they force you to question why this space has value and/or what needs to change in said space. Negative teams should prove why the aff destroys fairness and why that is bad. Affirmative teams should have a robust reason why their aff is necessary to resolve certain impacts and why framework is bad. Both teams need a vision of what debate looks like if I sign my ballot aff or neg and why that vision is better than the other side’s. Fairness is an impact and is easily the one I'm most persuaded by, particularly if couched in terms of it being the only impact any individual ballot can solve AND being a question of simply who's model is most debatable (think competing interps).

T is distinct from Framework in these debates in so far as I believe that:

- T is a question of form, not content -- it is fundamentally content neutral because there can be any number of justifications beyond simply just the material consequences of hypothetical enactment for any number of topical affs

- Framework is more a question of why this particular resolution is educationally important to talk about and why the USfg is the essential actor for taking action over these questions

Case – 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.

CPs – Sure. Negative teams need to prove competition and why they are net beneficial to the aff. Affirmative needs to impact out solvency deficits and/or explain why the perm avoids the net benefit. Affs also must win some form of offense to outweigh a DA (solvency deficits, theory, impact turn to an internal nb/plank of the cp) otherwise I could be persuaded that the risk of neg offense outweighs a risk a da links to the cp, the perm solvency, etc.

DAs – Also love them. Negative teams should tell me the story of the DA through the block and the 2nr. Affirmative teams need to point out logical flaws in the DA and why the aff is a better option. Zero risk exists.

Politics – probably silly, but I’ll vote on it. I could vote on intrinsicness as terminal defense if debated well.

Topicality – You need a counter-interp to win reasonabilty on the aff. I default to competing interpretations if there is no other metric for evaluation.

Theory – the neg has been getting away with murder recently and its incredibly frustrating. Brief thoughts on specific args below:

- cps with a bunch of planks to fiat out of every possible solvency deficit with no solvency advocate = super bad

- 3+ condo with a bunch of conditional planks = bad

- cps that fiat things such as: "Pence and Trump resign peacefully after [x] date to avoid the link to the politics da", "Trump deletes all social media and never says anything bad about the action of the plan ever", "Trump/executive office/other actor decides never to backlash against the plan or attempt to circumvent it" = vomit emoji

- commissions cps = still cheating, but less bad than all the things above

- delay cps = boo

- consult cps = boo (idk if these exist on the immigration topic, but w/e)

- going for theory when you read a new aff = nah fam (with some exceptions)

- 2nr cps (yes this happened recently) = boo

- going for condo when they read 2 or less without conditional planks = boo

- perf con is a reason you get to sever your reps for any perm

- theory probably does not outweigh T unless impacted very early, clearly, and in-depth

Bonus – Speaker Point Outline – I’ll try to follow this very closely (TOC is probably the exception because y'all should be speaking in the 28.5+ category):

(Note: I think this scale reflects general thoughts that are described in more detail in this: - Thanks Regnier)

29.3 < (greater than 29.3) - Did almost everything I could ask for

29-29.3 – Very, very good

28.8 – 29 – Very good, still makes minor mistakes

28.5 – 28.7 – Pretty good speaker, very clear, probably needs some argument execution changes

28.3 – 28.5 – Good speaker, has some easily identifiable problems

28 – 28.3 – Average varsity policy debater

27-27.9 – Below average

27 > (less than 27) - You did something that was offensive / You didn’t make arguments.

Ryan Wardak Paradigm

7 rounds


Note: I am pretty bad at hearing things. It affects my flowing in that you should probably go slow on theory and on Counterplan texts. I will not follow you on the speech doc while you speak, so do yourself a favor.

Three sections in this paradigm--

How I deliver a decision

How I come to a decision

Some of my predispositions


There was one thing that sorta annoyed me in my debate career re: decisions and another thing that REALLY annoyed me re: decisions. First, what sorta irked me was when judges left you hanging on what their decision was and explained their thoughts about the debate first. I get why they did that (you'll tune out the decision if you know you won/lost etc.), but it produced some angst for me. Second, I got really annoyed when judges did t make distinctions between their decision proper and advice they gave to a team. Sometimes, it felt as if they voted against you because you did not make arguments they would have made. Debate is about the debaters. Your arguments that you made should be the sole factor in determining a win or a loss, not what the judge wanted.

I pledge to do two things as a result. Start off my decision with who won or lost. Next, I pledge to give a summary of which teams won in specific areas of the debate and how that factored into my calculus for why X team won the debate. Only after the summary of my decision, will i give advice. I do this because the judge's first role is to render as clear and concise a decision as possible.

Coming to a decision

I evaluate the case first. Does the aff solve its impacts? In general, Internal links are the weakest points of affs and DA's. They also are the strongest points when not well contested. So i would look at internal link D and impact D as well as internal link turns first. Regardless of the aff, there is almost never 100% risk of the internal link chain being true, its always probabilistic. If something is 100% true, its a definition (Think for example, Allocating more money to the budget definitively raises outlays. Raising money for disease research even if usually good, isn't a panacea; the world is complicated is the takeaway).

After that I try to find out if the neg has a way for me to filter out Aff offense/solvency. This means I try to determine whether the neg has a counterplan that solves the aff advantages. I could also be looking for a floating pik or a k solves case claim. Other things I'd look for is whether the Neg offense turns the Aff offense. Remember that if you go for a case turn, you need uniqueness or else its just defense.

I go on to see what the neg's impacts are for their K or Da or case turns. Again, Links and internal links matter. Rarely is the impact the thing that makes it or breaks it. Things to consider here are whether the magnitude of the internal link and the links are high. Whether every level of the Da is unique from the total uniqueness, to the link uniqueness to internal link uniqueness to even impact uniqueness. Inevitability arguments can be quite powerful. Additionally, I am in the camp that whether the uniqueness determines the direction of the link or other way around is fundamentally context dependent. Elections may hinge on a big meaty link because things are muddled now, but deterrence re: Japan's territorial integrity is generally rock solid so a plan that strengthens it is meh; there probably is not a brink. Lastly, there is the impact level. Turns case args are always well appreciated. They can really neturalize an aff and make debates easy. Impact comparison is obviously helpful; keep an eye out for strategic concessions you can use off of impact defense. Frequently you have these opportunities.

some opinions I have

Topicality— Can vote for it, can vote against it. I have two maybe, maybe not contradictory sentiments when T is employed against a "non-traditional team/advocacy." I think that my career would have been a lot less fun and less thought provoking If I were not forced to grapple with these arguments, and I simultaneously think that if I were a 2N, I would have had a tough time being a competitive debater If I did not have topicality to deal with limits explosion due to affs that weren't defending the topic according to the definitions of the words in the resolution. Should your arguments revolve around these sentiments? No, you should go with your best arguments to justify what you do. I just wanted you to know my feelings just for the sake of transparency. Topicality against affirmatives with a plan was one of my favorite things as a 1NR. T is an instakiller if botched, and it allowed for fun debates about what should be the literature which is cool. I don't really default to either reasonability or Competing interpretations. That's for debaters to debate out, and I am not quite passionate about this subject.

Counterplans (Theory)— In my heart of hearts, I think I am a true centrist on this issue. What that means is that you are debating the other team. You are not debating me. If they drop in the block that the CP is a reason to reject the team, and you win theory, its likely game over. I unlike other judges, will probably vote for you based on what is on the flow and not on an invisible threshold that I think you should meet that forces me to vote for you. What that means relative to the rest of the pool is that I am MUCH more aff leaning than most judges. People give way too much short shrift to theory debating. Be slow on theory. Slower is better. I write all your args down if you do, if you don't, I may just have the word strat skew down. For transparency's sake, here are some opinions I have about certain arguments. Two CP's that seem totally legit to me are textually AND functionally competitive counterplans AND advantage counterplans. Things get a bit harrier later on. Textually competitive pics, are probably not competitive imo, and neither are functionally competitive counterplans. I could be convinced that the conditions counterplan on a foreign policy topic makes sense, but I need you to have really good lit that proves its an opportunity cost grounded in literature. ESR Counterplan depending on your rendition is probably an evil unseen since the states' counterplan and International fiat. I can be convinced, but remember you need to win theory. ESR CP that lasts forever is cheating imo. If it is just a declaration by Trump, its probably not as bad.

K’s—I think of K's largely as a counterplan (the alt) that may or may not attempt to solve an impact that is already happening and has a case defense portion of it (impact inevitability claims/root cause/epistemology arguments). I am more likely to vote on certain arguments than others. If I vote aff, it is likely because they won that the case outweighs. For instance, at some point the Neg has to win a framework argument or an alt + link/impact claim (and likely some defense to the aff). The weak point of a K is almost always the alt. Usually it will not solve the policy aff, and probably not even the impact because it is too nebulous. In this case, I need a different framing. So ontology or epist etc. first arguments can not only neutralize an aff, but even be a reason why I as a critic, philosopher, activist or pedagogue should reject the aff. Policy teams win/k teams lose when I think that its good to evaluate the consequences of a policy, and the alt does not do anything. Another area to be on the lookout for, is the perm debate. Unless you read a really floofy K thats just goop, Your K is probably mutually exclusive with the aff. Reading a policy aff or a soft left aff against pessimism and going for the perm does not usually make sense. If the neg is making strong ontological claims, they likely are an impact turn to everything you stand for. In that case, you gotta just disagree and win they cannot do anything and their impacts are inevitable while you have a good idea and that their turns are too totalizing (effectively, case outweighs).

Good hunting.

Whit Whitmore Paradigm

4 rounds

LD Specific Business:

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

Policy Business:

add me to the email chain:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Moriah Windus Paradigm

4 rounds

[I like to be included in the email chain, my email:]

I'm currently a policy debater at Samford University and started debating as a novice my first year in college (2016). I qualified to the NDT for the 2017-2018 debate year.

I haven't judged on the high school topic too much this year, so please don't assume that I know all of the technical topic-specific terms.

I'm very much a "you do you" type of judge and want the debate to be what the debaters want it to be about, that said I do have some preferences:

For the Neg:

1. Disads

As a former 2N, I love disads, but I'm going to be skeptical of your ability to win the disad if your uniqueness and link work isn't done well throughout the entire debate. Impact calc is your best friend, in the 2nr I want you to write my ballot for me and tell me why your link chain is much more probable than your opponents and why your impact turns the case debate.

2. CPs

I'm not particularly persuaded by Aff claims that the CP should be textually competitive, and err on the side of functionally competitive. If the CP has multiple planks I want a clear explanation of how each one functions (or how they function together) at some point in the debate, so many debaters don't synthesis their CP planks to work together which ultimately ends up hurting them in the debate. As far as 50 states goes, the Aff is 100 % right! 50 state fiat isn't the most real world model of education, however, as a 2N I can definitely be persuaded by the arg that it's important to test federal vs. state action---just make sure that these arguments are well drawn out if the debate comes down to 50 states fiat.

3. K debate

All too often the alt isn't clearly explained. While I would definitely vote on "we prove the aff is bad even without the alt," you'd really have to be winning case turns arguments which ultimately makes more work for you. It's best to work with an alt that you are familiar with and can clearly explain with well-articulated links to the case. I try to interfere with the debate as little as possible, so even if I understand the literature base you're working with, I'm not going to do the work for you if you don't fully explain your arguments or develop them.

4. Topicality

It's really important that you win your interpretation though explaining why it is comparatively better than the Aff's CI. It's a good practice to include a list of topical versions of the affirmative that the aff could easily have adopted. Also, I want to see good impact work done in the 2NR (what ground you lost, how they over or under limit etc & why those things matter).

5. FW

Win the TVA debate and I'm 89% convinced you'll win my ballot. If there is a TVA that solves all your offense and gives the Aff the ability to debate the things that they want to debate, that's an easy neg ballot. BUT you need to do the work for me and do impact work in the 2NR that explains what ground you lost (and it needs to be more than "I couldn't run my econ da").

6. Final Tips

A) Clarity over speed

B) When the debate is too big in the 2NR, the neg will always lose

C) If the Aff reads add-ons in the 2AC, impact turn them and make the debate fun :)

D) 1NRs should be offensive not defensive, it's a strategic time to read lots of cards because the aff usually focuses more on the 2NC.

For the Aff:

1. For Policy Affs

A) Be topical, or be really good at debating topicality--I'm going to err neg in a debate that you're not winning the topicality debate. Persuasive counter interpretations are a good thing to have in your toolbox and explaining why your interpretation is comparatively better (for debate, for this round etc.) is a must.

B) Impact calc---write my ballot in the 2AR

2. For K Affs

I think that it is helpful for K aff's to be germane to the resolution, it makes it harder for the neg to win aspects of the FW debate (if it is a K vs policy debate) and increases the nuance level of the debate.

A few final things

1. Pronouns are very important, please be respectful and ask the other team their preferred pronouns before the debate starts and adhere to those throughout the debate.

2. Microaggression and rudeness will result in your speaker points being docked, please keep the debate civil and respectful.

Tyler Wiseman Paradigm

7 rounds

Debated at and now coach for George Mason.

Please put me on the email chain!

Big picture:

- This is a communication activity. Please be clear. You're probably going much faster than you need to be.

- The aff should defend an unconditional change from the status quo.

- Tech (usually) comes before truth.

- Presumption is a thing. I default to the least change.


- Please debate the case. Terribly constructed affs too often get away with it.

- The only types of CPs I feel any particular bias against are uniqueness CPs and new 2NC CPs. As with all things, this is a threshold/preference thing; if you win the theory debate, you're good.

- There can be zero risk of a DA.


- I did very little K debating, but am familiar with the more popular/classic lit. Historical examples and analogies are much more helpful in explaining your arguments than just dropping buzz words or author names.

- I'll vote on non-topical affirmatives. The aff probably does need to do something, though.

- Fairness is an impact, but not always the most strategic one.


- More than two conditional advocacies puts you in the danger zone.

- Contradictory conditional advocacies are probably bad for debate.

- Condo doesn't outweigh T, but I guess a fire 1AR could change my mind on this.

Procedural issues:

- Cross-ex ends after 3 minutes. Anything after that is not "on the record" but still binding when it comes to things like if the CP is conditional.

- Don't clip cards. A team that calls for an ethics challenge against a team clipping needs to provide proof in the form of an audio recording. If I agree that the team did indeed clip, they'll lose the round and get 0 speaker points. If I decide that the team did not clip, the challenging team will lose the round and get 0 speaker points. This being said, if a tournament has a different procedure for this, I'll obviously adhere to it.

- Mark your cards during the speech. If you can't provide accurately marked cards to your opponents, it makes sense to me that I should disregard that evidence.