Mile High Swing Part Two 2020

2020 — Tyler, TX/US

Jason Barton Paradigm

6 rounds

Background: I debated for four years on the NPDA/NPTE circuit with Rice University (2015-2019). Although I began my collegiate debate career by exclusively reading fiated/topical plans on the affirmative and counterplans/disadvantages on the negative, I ended my career reading critical arguments (on the affirmative and negative) inspired by Foucauldian genealogy, Heideggerian phenomenology, and Lacanian psychoanalysis. In other words, I am comfortable listening to a variety of traditional and critical positions. Currently, I am completing my PhD in Philosophy at the University of New Mexico, and I specialize in German Idealism, transcendental phenomenology, and psychoanalysis. My pronouns are he/him/his.

Crucial Points: I believe debate is fundamentally an educational space for discursive engagement. I want debate to be as non-violent as possible although I realize this becomes difficult given the nature of the activity. With that being said, please attempt to be as courteous to one another as possible. In terms of argumentation, I do not necessarily have a preference for which kinds of arguments you present (e.g., policy affirmative, DAs, CPs, Ks, Theory, etc.), but I would like them to be thoroughly explained, well-warranted, and impacted out (including weighing/impact calculus) throughout the debate. I have to say that my background in evaluating Theory is not as strong as I would like it to be, so please keep that in mind when presenting/responding to theoretical/meta-theoretical arguments.

Texts/Interpretations: Slow down when you read these, and please read them twice. Please have copies ready for me and your opponents before reading the various texts/interpretations. I realize that writing down interps/texts/counter-interps can become unwieldy during some rounds, but I think it's important that everyone has a copy for reference and consistency.

Theory: To be completely honest, I would prefer the round to not become a Theory debate, but I realize this cannot always be avoided. I think every Theory argument should have clearly marked interpretation(s), violation(s), standard(s), and voter(s). I find proven abuse arguments to be the most convincing, but I am willing to listen to potential abuse arguments as well. If you are collapsing to Theory, please try to collapse clearly/cleanly (instead of, for example, creating new standards in the block or avoiding a comparison of your standards with counter-standards, etc.).

CPs/Ks: I am unsure about conditionality, and thus, I am receptive to both condo good/bad arguments. I am also uncertain on the meaning of unconditionality (e.g., does it mean "must stick with position throughout the round" or "must answer offense before kicking?"). Some say the latter is dispositional, but I honestly don't know. I believe it's up for debate. On CPs and Ks themselves, I would prefer clearly marked solvency for both positions (I think CP/K solvency is pretty important - especially the question of "how do you solve the aff?" if this is an aspect of your position). I would like K links to be specific to the affirmative as opposed to more generic K links ("you use the state/capitalism/etc.") - if that's not the case, I am receptive to "no link" arguments from the affirmative. I think framework debates on Ks can be really interesting and educational, and I value framework pretty highly when considering which impacts matter in the round. I don't put much stock into root cause claims/debates.

DAs: I like DAs with precise/lucid uniqueness stories and specific links to the affirmative. I enjoy arguments from the affirmative about how the DA links to the CP/K. I think some valuable offense can be garnered from these.

Perms: I believe perms are a test of competition and not an advocacy, but I'm willing to evaluate the contrary. I don't need a perm text, but please say "perm: do both" or read the permutation completely if you are not endorsing the entirety of aff/neg advocacy (read it twice and slowly if it is lengthy). I believe permutations should have several net benefits in order to be evaluated against the criticism. Also, if the perm text doesn't make sense (e.g., "do both" when alt text says "reject aff"), I will consider this argument in relation to the viability of the permutation.

Alyson Escalante Paradigm

6 rounds

Background: I competed in NPDA at El Camino College for two years and at the University of Oregon for two years. I was director of debate at Oregon for two years as well, and have consistently judged at least several national tournaments every year since then.

General: Do what you want, I will do my best to flow the round in detail and vote on the flow. I have my preferences but those are ultimately of little concern in the round. I list them here only so that you can know what unspoken biases frame my view of the round. I do my best to exclude these biases, but I think that no judge is a flow robot, so they are worth being up front about.

I truly love parliamentary debate and I promise to treat your round with the utmost seriousness. My hope is that competitors will likewise recognize the unique opportunities parliamentary debate opens up and enter the round with a mutual respect and openness towards all participating in it.

One important note: I really would appreciate it if competitors would not read arguments that discuss sexual assault in graphic detail. Reading SA impacts is fine but more narrative based approaches to the topic are not something I am comfortable judging. This is the only thing I really strongly ask you do not read.

Speaker Points: for me, speaker points are primarily a matter of rewarding technical skill and decision making rather than presentation style. I use speaker points primarily to reward strategic decision making. My point range is mostly between 26.5 and 29.5. Anything outside that range represents exceptionally good or exceptionally bad performance. Although I see speaker points as mostly a matter of rewarding technical excellence, I will probably give you higher speaks if you manage to make strategically sound decisions while not being an asshole to your opponents as well.

Theory: If neither team offers an alternative framework to weigh theory I will default to competing interpretations. This means that I view theory not as an issue strictly of what happened in this round but also as a norm setting framework that raises the question of most desirable practices in all future rounds. I place a high emphasis on competitive counter-interpretations, and teams should be sure their counter-interpretations are not subsumed by the other teams interpretation.

If teams want to propose as alternative framework for assessing theory, such as reasonability, they should provide a clear explanation for how I can evaluate the theory flow through their own framework. Don't just say "judge intervention is inevitable so intervene for us."

I enjoy theoretical debate and do not outright disregard most theory. I understand that reading theory for a time trade off is a part of sound debate strategy and it does not bother me. That said, I find theoretical arguments regarding when affirmative plans are read and when sheets of paper are handed to the other team to be asinine, arbitrary, and incredibly unenjoyable to judge. I’ve voted on these arguments before, but always reluctantly.

My own views on theoretical issues are largely irrelevant since I try to bracket them out from the round, but for full transparency: I think conditionality is good, pics are good, actor counterplans are good, the affirmative should defend the topic, and the affirmative does not need to specify beyond normal means.

Non-topical Affirmatives: While I personally prefer and enjoy topical debate, most the rounds I judge feature non-topical affirmatives and I am comfortable assessing these affirmatives. Upon reviewing my voting record, I’ve realized that I have a high tendency to vote on topicality in instances that the affirmative totally rejects the topic. This might be worth keeping in mind. I try to keep my personal biases out, but the actual numbers of my voting record indicate that I lean towards the negative when the affirmative rejects the topic. That said, affirmative teams that reject the topic are most likely to get my ballot if they have a strong and competitive counter-interpretation ready to go, and if they are able to frame fairness impacts out of the round.

Critical Debate: I studied continental philosophy in both undergrad and grad school. In terms of familiarity with literature, this is my strong point. That said, I still require critical oriented teams to explain thesis level claims of their criticism. My understanding of critical literature is strongest when the relevant literature relates to marxism, psychoanalysis, structuralism, theories of race. My understanding of post-structural theory is more limited. This is relevant because most Baudrillard and Deleuze critiques I have judged have assumed a higher level of familiarity with the literature than I actually had. I do not feel comfortable voting for a critique which I cannot explain back during an RFD, so if your criticism is particularly esoteric, I would appreciate thesis level explanation.

Disadvantage/Advantage Debate: This is honestly my favorite form of debate to judge. When it is well executed it can provide some of the most in depth clash of any type of debate. I personally enjoy disadvantages that many might consider somewhat generic such as politics, business confidence, or hegemony. As long as there is a solid link to the affirmative, the generic nature of these positions shouldn't be an issue. In terms of topical affirmative construction, I'm fine with pretty much anything. I've found myself voting on topical dedev, spark, and wipe-out many times, and I will evaluate these arguments as seriously as any other argument.

Counterplans/Alternatives/Perms: I believe that counterplans are opportunity costs to the affirmative. This means that they must either be functionally competitive or compete through net benefits via disadvantage links or some other form of independent offense. I must confess that I have never had a clear grip on what "textual competition" is so arguing net benefits differential or functional competition in front of me is your best bet.

In terms of alternatives, I have no particularly strong preferences here, but unless a criticism is coming from a specifically nihilistic or pessimistic perspective, I find that alternatives which propose some sort of positive program or outlook instead of merely rejecting the affirmative are most compelling.

I think that permutations are tests of competition. When the affirmative reads a permutation, the affirmative advocacy does not suddenly shift to the affirmative + the alternative/counterplan. Permutations are simply a way of testing whether or not the negative advocacy is an opportunity cost to the affirmative. As such, I find "perm shields the links" arguments to be fairly asinine, and I also find arguments that the permutation is the affirmative co-opting the negatives method to be equally asinine. Permutations do not mean the affirmative changes, they just test competition.

In general I do not feel like affirmatives by default need to read a perm text that includes the exact text of the plan or the alternative/counterplan. "Perm do both" or "perm: do the affirmative and all non-competitive parts of the alternative" are sufficient unless a clear theoretical argument is raised in the debate for why further textual specificity is needed.

On a more theoretical level, I need negative teams to tell me why intrinsic perms or severance perms are bad. You should not simply point out that a permutation is theoretically illegitimate, you should explain why by providing theoretical offense. You should also explicitly tell me if this offense means I reject the permutation or reject the affirmative.


In general I feel like terminal defense is underutilized in debate. I find that inevitability claims on the uniqueness level of a debate can reframe the offense in a round and are usually underutilized.

I am willing to vote on presumption if a compelling case is made for such a vote.

I think most framework debate ultimately focuses too much on excluding the other team. In an ideal debate round, I think teams should simply be winning access to their own impacts and then trying to outweigh their opponents. Framework is just framing, you don’t need to win every argument on the framework level of the debate to win the round, you just have to win impact access and then win on the impact level.

I find points of order somewhat annoying. I will be protecting from new arguments throughout rebuttals. If you really need to me to flag an argument feel free to call a point of order, but don’t be excessive.

NPDA rules do not provide an explicit framework for the resolution of a point of personal privilege. As such, I would prefer they not be called except in dire circumstances where the round absolutely must come to a stop.

Serena Fitzgerald Paradigm

6 rounds

Overview: I did LD at Wenatchee high school and debated for Western Washington in NPDA (graduated 2018), and now work for the University of Oregon as their Director of Debate.

I mostly judge NPDA (college parli), high school LD, and high school PF, so I have some specific notes on these below. For other events, the general premises pretty much apply.

TL;DR: Have fun and be yourself. I evaluate warrants over taglines. Please do warrant comparison and impact calculus. This shouldn’t be treated as a comprehensive guide to how I view debate; feel free to email me with questions at

Read advocacy and interpretation texts slowly and twice if you want me to get them. If I don't get the text written down, or I miss the first couple solvency points because you won't slow down, that is on you. Blazing through your plan text/interp twice at top speed is unlikely to give me the pen time I need to actually get down more than a few words, so do so at your own peril.


I probably won't vote on presumption or terminal defense. I'd rather vote on some marginal risk of offense somewhere else on the flow if that's an option. The exception to that is procedurals - if the team meets the interp, it goes away.

Point of Orders - I protect new arguments in later speeches - which is to say, even if no one calls a point of order, I won't evaluate new arguments. Feel free to call point of orders if you feel your opponent is doing new cross applications or recharacterizing a warrant into a new argument; I tend to take those on a case by case basis, but there's no need to point of order every new argument your opponent makes.

I generally don't like to flow the LOR or PMR on a new sheet of paper for two reasons. First, if it's on a piece of paper separate from the rest of the debate, when I'm looking at my flow to evaluate the round, I am likely to miss analysis you do on the flow if it's not on the flow for the part of the debate I'm looking at at the moment. Second, I find that many teams use it as a way of trying to make new arguments in the LOR, and as I protect against new arguments, it is in your interest to just make the argument on the part of the flow directly so you can point to the argument you're extending or discussing.

Speaker points – I hate being bored. You'll get better speaks for a new and interesting strategy even if it isn't perfectly polished than the exact same Marx shell that's been around for 20 years. It should go without saying, but I heavily deduct points for being racist/sexist/ableist etc or fueling systems of oppression in round.

Texts - I don't need you to hand me a copy of your text (unless you really want to), but please read interps and plan/cp/alt texts slowly and twice. You are responsible for making sure that I get it on my flow somehow, and if I can't get it down because you don't slow down, you might be at a disadvantage. I'll do my best to get it down as closely to the original text as possible, but if you don't give me the pen time to get it down that's on you.

Advantages/Disads – I have a soft spot for good econ debates. I think linear disads are a solid strategy because you can weigh the magnitude of your link against the probability of theirs, and with some half decent probability framing you'll probably be able to outweigh any unwarranted extinction scenario. I evaluate probability as a question of the strength of the link chain, rather than a question of the probability of the impacts in a vacuum.

CPs - Go ahead and be condo, read a PIC or a delay counterplan, or anything else as long as you feel like you can answer theory if they read it. In general I think textual competition doesn't make a lot of sense.

Theory – I default to competing interpretations, though a brief explanation of what reasonability means will make me much more likely to vote on it. I'll vote on RVIs/IVIs/ whatever they're calling them these days as long as they're reasonably well explained. While I typically don't vote on terminal defense, I will vote on a "we meet" as the only answer to a procedural - I think that a very marginal chance of a team violating an interp isn't sufficient to drop them.

Kritiks – Much of my career was spent going for the K. While I am more likely to be familiar with your lit, I am also likely to know if your K is bad. If you're just not good at or comfortable with K debate, I would overwhelmingly prefer you read your heg disad or whatever because frankly it will be a much better debate.

I take a much more fast and loose interpretation of ROB texts than other judges. I have a much higher threshold for frameworks that try to frame out impacts entirely, rather than just argue that certain impacts should be prioritized. If one team concedes the text of the rob but sufficiently contests the warrants that justify it, I will default to my normal "role of the ballot" which is roughly "vote for the advocacy that solves the most/biggest impacts" if there is no counter-interpreatation. If the neg doesn't read a counterplan, it means you weigh the impacts of the aff against the status quo, not that you automatically vote aff because they're the only ones with an advocacy.

When going for a K, I would strongly prefer that the MO collapse to one link, and make internal link analysis about how that leads to their impact. For example, if your link to cap is individualism, explain how individualism specifically leads to ecological destruction (or whatever your impact to cap is). Skipping that part means I will be pretty skeptical of your impact claims and allows the PMR to leverage the perm and link turns to outweigh the links much more easily.

I'm actually pretty well disposed to arguments that the neg must specify the actor of the alt or other aspects of the solvency mechanism; K alts are often pretty OP in terms of their ability to fiat solvency. A lot of K alts are straight up theoretically abusive/ object fiat and if you want to read an alt like that, you should have to defend why that's ok. Similarly, if you want to go for solvency that revolves around endorsement or in-round action by the judge you probably need a lot of warrants for why that's going to spill over to out of round impacts, and absent those warrants your "K solves the aff" arguments will probably not get very far.

AFF Ks - I'm a big fan of topical K affs that creatively engage with or interpret the topic. Untopical K affs are also fine. If you're going for truth over tech, I would appreciate a brief explanation of how I determine what is true.

I will vote for framework against K affs but it's always fun to see more creative/specific answers that engage with the internal warrants of the PMC. I probably have a comparatively low threshold for arguments that teams should be able to weigh their aff or K against theory, but I won't do the work to make cross applications and will default to treating procedurals as a priori absent arguments otherwise.

Perms – In general, I’m more hesitant to vote on perms in K debates than many other judges seem to be; since the alternative only has to generate uniqueness, I need specific warrants for why the permutation would shield the links based on what the perm actually would look like. Since the links are typically a question of the desirability of the permutation, rather than just its possibility, simply stating that the permutation could happen is not sufficient to win that it should.

High School LD:I'm fine with speed, plans, counterplans, kritiks, performances, theory, etc. Debaters are the ones who decide what debate should look like. I disclose unless you prefer I don't, I don't care if you stand or sit, and I'm fine if you use your cx as flex (as long as your opponent agrees).

My NPDA philosophy probably answers a lot of your questions about my evaluation of specific arguments.

Slow if your opponent asks you to slow.

My speed threshold is relatively high; that said, I'm more used to national circuit parli/LD speeds than college circuit policy speeds. I don't look at speech docs when I'm flowing as a) it leads to me missing cross applications and analytics, and b) really encourages card clipping, as well as c) (it seems) most debaters to become much less clear over the last few years. I will not use the speech doc as a crutch for your inability to spread clearly. If you don't clear when I ask, I will still try and write down as much as possible of what I can hear, but you should be willing to accept the risk involved.

I almost never call for cards; if you didn't extend and contextualize the warrants to the round I'm not going to dig through your evidence to see if I can find a way to do that for you. The exception is when there's a disagreement between the debaters about what the actual content of a card says, or a piece of evidence seems to be making an especially improbable claim. Evidence for me is more about justifications for why something is true, rather than whether you have a source that says it's true.

Value/criteria: I look at the criterion/framework debate first to establish which impacts matter. If your value is something other than morality/justice, please explain what it has to do with the resolution rather than just why that thing is good in a vacuum, otherwise it's incredibly hard to evaluate how it fits in with the evaluation of the round. I have a much higher threshold for frameworks that try to frame out impacts entirely, rather than just argue that certain impacts should be prioritized. It's still certainly possible to win these arguments in front of me, just be aware you'll need to do the work to win them.

I probably cut whatever brief you got your cards out of so I'll know if you're just regurgitating arguments you don't understand. It will affect your speaker points.


I don't flow crossfire; if you want me to evaluate evidence, bring it up in a speech. Evidence for me is more about justifications for why something is true, than whether you have a source that says it's true.

Don't argue with your opponent's answer in crossfire. It's a big pet peeve of mine and will tank your speaker points.

Extensions: I accept arguments that aren't explicitly extended in the summary to be brought up in the final focus (shadow extensions) as long as the other team didn't respond to it. However, if you concede arguments against it, you can't address those arguments.


I prefer if you collapse to one issue in your final focus; I think it's strategic to choose your strongest point and spend your full two minutes explaining why it's the most important, and I won't penalize you for kicking out of other arguments.

Please do impact weighing - tell me what's most important and why. If you force me to arbitrarily decide what I, personally, think is most important you run the risk that I will make a decision you dislike.

The one-line, unwarranted claims that pass for frameworks in PF are probably not going to have a large influence on my decision unless you warrant your framework with cards or at least analytics. I will default to evaluating impacts that hurt all people according to a basic utilitarian calculus, and students typically have more success spending their time on impact calculus rather than framework debate.

Matt Gayetsky Paradigm

6 rounds

Matt Gayetsky
University of Texas at Tyler

Eunoia is the shortest word in the English language which has all five vowels. Aristotle discusses this concept, εá½”νοια, in the Nicomachean Ethics where he observes: “By extending the scope of the word, then, one might describe goodwill as latent friendship, which becomes friendship as intimacy develops over time. It does not, however, become friendship for utility or pleasure, since goodwill does not arise for these reasons. For the recipient of a benefit does what is just in returning goodwill for what he has received, but someone who wishes for another's well-being in the hope of some advantage through him seems to have goodwill not to the other person, but rather to himself. In the same way, a person is not a friend to another if he looks after him with some reward in mind. Generally speaking, however, goodwill develops because of some virtue and excellence, when one person appears noble or courageous or some such thing to another, as we suggested happens in the case of competitors at the games.” (Book IX, Ch 5.)

You should debate with eunoia.

I think conditionality is good.

Trevor Greenan Paradigm

6 rounds


I came from a high school parli background, but most of my relevant experience is from the last 3 years with the Parli at Berkeley NPDA team. I competed on-and-off for 3 years, and now exclusively coach/run the program. As a debater I was probably most comfortable with the kritikal debate, but I’ve had a good amount of exposure to most everything in my time coaching the team. A lot of my understanding of debate has come from working with the Cal Parli team, so I tend to err more flow-centric in my round evaluations; that being said, I really appreciate innovative/novel arguments, and did a good amount of performance-based debating as a competitor. I’m generally open to just about any argument, as long as there’s good clash.

General Issues

  • I try to keep my evaluation of the round as flow-centric as possible. This means that I’ll try to limit my involvement in the round as much as possible, and I’ll pick up the worse argument if it’s won on the flow. That being said, I recognize that there’s a certain degree of intervention that’s inevitable in at least some portion of rounds, and in those cases my aim is to be able to find the least interventionist justification within the round for my decision. For me, this means prioritizing (roughly in this order): conceded arguments, arguments with warranted/substantive analysis, arguments with in-round weighing/framing, arguments with implicit clash/framing, and, worst case, the arguments I can better understand the interactions of.

  • In-round framing and explanation of arguments are pretty important for me. While I will vote for blippier/less developed arguments if they’re won, I definitely have a higher threshold for winning arguments if I feel that they weren’t sufficiently understandable in first reading, and will be more open to new-ish responses in rebuttals as necessary. Also worth noting, I tend to have a lower threshold for accepting framing arguments in the PMR.

  • The LOR’s a tricky speech. For complicated rounds, I enjoy it as a way to break down the layers of the debate and explain any win conditions for the negative. I don’t need arguments to be made in the LOR to vote on them, however, so I generally think preemption of the PMR is a safer bet. I prefer to not flow it on one sheet, but if you strongly prefer that format I’d rather have you do that than throw off your speech for the sake of adapting.

  • I have no preferences on conditionality. Perfectly fine with however many conditional advocacies, but also more than happy to vote on condo bad if it’s read well.

  • Please read advocacy/interp texts slowly/twice. Written texts are always nice.

  • I will do my best to protect against new arguments in the rebuttals, but it’s always better to call the POO just to be safe.

  • I’m open to alternate/less-flow-centric methods of evaluating the round, but I have a very hard time understanding what these alternate methods can be. So, please just try to be as clear as possible if you ask me to evaluate the round in some distinct way.

  • I evaluate shadow-extensions as new arguments. What this means for me is that any arguments that a team wants to win on/leverage in either the PMR or LOR must be extended in the MG/MO to be considered. I'll grant offense to and vote on positions that are blanket extended ("extend the impacts, the advantage is conceded", etc.), but if you want to cross-apply or otherwise leverage a specific argument against other arguments in the round, I do need an explicit extension of that argument.


  • I think the framework debate is often one of the most undeveloped parts of the K debate, and love seeing interesting/well-developed/tricksy frameworks. That being said, absent substantial argumentation either way, I’ll usually defer to each side being able to leverage their advocacy/offence against the other.

  • I have a pretty high threshold for voting on presumption. I find it difficult to buy that either side has actually won terminal defense, absent a good amount of work in the round. That being said, I default to presumption flowing negative.

  • Prior question arguments in framework are fine/good, just make sure that there’s sufficient explanation of these arguments and application to the rest of the round. I’m not very likely to vote on a dropped prior question/independent voter argument if there isn’t interaction done with the rest of the arguments in the round.


  • I generally feel very comfortable evaluating the theory debate, and am more than happy to vote on procedurals/topicality/framework/etc. I’m perfectly fine with frivolous theory. Please just make sure to provide a clear/stable interp text.

  • I default to competing interpretations and drop the team on theory, absent other arguments. Competing interpretations for me means that I evaluate the theory layer through a risk of offense model, and I will evaluate potential abuse. I don’t think this necessarily means the other team needs to provide a counter-interpretation, although I think it definitely makes adjudication easier to provide one.

  • I have a hard time evaluating reasonability without a brightline. I don’t know how I should interpret what makes an argument reasonable or not absent a specific explanation of what that should mean without being interventionist, and so absent a brightline I’ll usually just end up evaluating through competing interpretations regardless.

  • I have a very high threshold on RVIs. If extremely well-developed and extremely mishandled by the other team I could imagine myself voting on one, but I would hope to never have to.


  • Uniqueness determines the direction of the link (absent explanation otherwise), so please make sure you’re reading uniqueness in the right direction.

  • I have a pretty high threshold for terminal defense, and will more often than not assume there’s at least some risk of offense, so don’t rely on just reading defensive arguments.

  • Perfectly fine with generic advantages/disads, and I’m generally a fan of the politics DA. That being said, the more you can contextualize your argument to the round the greater weight that I will give it. Specific and substantial case debates are great.

  • I default to fiat being durable.


  • Please give me specific texts.

  • Fine with cheater CPs, but also more than happy to vote on CP theory.

  • I default that perms are tests of competition and not advocacies.

  • I generally won’t buy textual competition absent arguments in the round telling me why I should.


  • I really enjoy the K debate, and this was probably where I had the most fun as a debater. I have a pretty good understanding of most foundational critical literature, and I have a decent understanding of postmodern theory (particularly Foucauldian/Deleuzian/Derridean). That being said, please make the thesis-level of your criticism as clear as possible; I will do my best to not just vote for an argument I understand absent explanation in-round, and there’s definitely a good amount of literature I won’t know of.

  • I’m perfectly happy to vote on kritikal affirmatives, but I will also gladly vote on framework. On that note, I’m also happy to vote on impact turns to fairness/education, but will probably default to evaluating the fairness level first absent other argumentation.

  • Same with CPs, I default to perms being a test of competition and not an advocacy. I’m also fine with severance perms, but am also open to theoretical arguments against them; just make them in-round, and be sure to provide a clear voter/impact.

  • I default to evaluating the link debate via strength of link, but please do the comparative analysis for me. Open to other evaluative methods, just be clear in-round.

  • I have a decent understanding of performance theory and am happy to vote on performance arguments, but I need a good explanation of how I should evaluate performative elements of the round in comparison to other arguments on the flow.

  • Regarding identity/narrative based arguments, I think they can be very important in debate, and they’ve been very significant/valuable to people on the Cal Parli team who have run them in the past. That being said, I also understand that they can be difficult and oftentimes triggering for people in-round, and I have a very hard time resolving this. I’ll usually defer to viewing debate as a competitive activity and will do my best to evaluate these arguments within the context of the framing arguments made in the round, so please just do your best to make the evaluative method for the round as clear as possible.

Max Groznik Paradigm

6 rounds

Judging Statistics:

Quick Thoughts:

Teams that engage directly with thesis level questions and the warrant level substance of arguments are likely to be rewarded more than strategic choices more dependent on debating around the other team (Yes I’ll still vote on spec, but now may not be the time to be reading McTaggart).

Generally, I don’t think there’s a meaningful distinction between most types of arguments. I don’t care what you read, and I care even less what you call it. I’ll sit in the back of the room and cheerfully flow your speech regardless of its content. I’ll try to keep as tight a flow as possible, but what I do with that is up to you. If you want to avoid decisions that feel rife with intervention contextualize how warrants interact and tell me the order in which I should prioritize and evaluate them while making my decision. Absent this, we’ll probably all be a little annoyed and confused.

My strongest argument preference is novelty. I’ll be ecstatic if you teach me something. Also jokes are neat. If you prioritize having fun, we will probably all have more fun. I think we'd like to have fun.

My second strongest argument preference is the Impact turn.

So is my third.

Pet Peeves and Idiosyncrasies:

Please don’t yell presumption. Presumption should be softly whispered at best. If presumption is a pivotal component of your strategy I would recommend you either strike me or read a case turn.

Excelling at explicit warrant comparison, strategic thinking, and impact weighing is probably always the smartest way to spend your rebuttals.

The only net benefit to a permutation is the Aff. Feel free to interpret this as a challenge at your own risk.

I am unlikely to spend much time thinking about role of the ballot args that involve tautological or tautological adjacent clauses.

I am unsure if there is a compelling justification for Time Zones.

I think Competition functions differently when you define a word vs. define a rule in theory debates.

I respond to bribes like any reasonable person would, graciously and with great deference to the provider.

I like alternatives that defend material actions. If your alternative doesn’t do this, you should probably read a reject alt in front of me. A good litmus test of this is whether or not you can explain to me how your alternative, if enacted, would change the process of shopping at a grocery store.

Teams that restart debates run the risk of acquiring low point wins.

I get distracted and sidetracked in slower rounds; they’re genuinely more difficult for me to flow; tell jokes, have rhetorical pizzazz!

Please, please, please find a filler word that isn’t articulate/articulated

If there’s tension between your claim and your warrants I will determine your warrants to be correct and proceed from there.


“Max is a firm believer in the art of communication and persuasion, so treat him like an old horse that you're riding with into uncharted territory on the Oregon Trail. He also has a soft spot in his heart for voting on presumption, so extra speaks for that." - Ryan Rashid

“Hello, Max is a smart cookie who writes really fast and thinks pretty well. He will hear your words and think about them and maybe you'll win.” - Eliana Taylor

“The thing about a good recliner is that is has to both be firm enough for back support, but cushy enough for butt comfort. the ability to recline is a necessary component for any sustainable home living.” - Cody Gustafson

“Max is a huge nerd, but in like a good way.” - Alex Li

“Debate is like a clock, both teams make circular arguments. by the time the minute hand returns to where it started, everything was said, and none of it matters” - Chris Miles

Cody Gustafson Paradigm

6 rounds

email chain:

**npda notes for mile high at bottom**

I evaluate debates through an offense/defense paradigm.

I have a slight preference for policy debates, but want to see/expect to judge a couple good K debates a tournament. I like 1 off debates as much as I like 10 off debates.

I'm a big fan of having good defense mixed in with your offense.

I tend to lean that condo is good, and that the neg gets access to most CPs. Generally speaking, I think a CP has to fiat a policy, XO, court ruling, etc, thus CPs that fiat things like “US shouldn’t go to war w X” are less theoretically legitimate. The legitimacy of the CP is often dictated by the more specific the solvency ev. Multi-plank CPs aren’t prima facie illegitimate, but fiatting 3+ different actions, kicking out of planks, adding planks in the block, etc tend to leave me more sympathetic to 2ars admittedly.

Evidence comparison is a must.

Big fan of link contextualization, especially on Ks; historical examples are typically most effective.

Tell me why fairness and education outweigh the K/K aff. Going for case is a good idea when going for framework in the 2nr. K affs, win your aff as an impact turn.

Have fun, make whatever args you want, be kind.

Read a topical plan-----------------------------------X-------No limits on aff


Usually some risk--------------------------------X----------Zero Risk

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

PICs good ---X---------------------------------------PICs bad


Judge Kick-----X-------------------------------------Stuck with 2nr

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


If you have time, look at my notes above, they speak to some of my beliefs about debate that hold true to parli as well.

I will always prefer depth over breadth, especially true with t/theory. Clear internals and developed impacts are necessary for these arguments. Fairness and education are not an impact in themselves.

I would rather you not call point of orders. I am not a fan of newly developed arguments in the rebuttals that don't have warrants in member speeches, so I will protect you. But, if you feel like you really need to call it for some reason, who am I to tell you not to?

Developed link and impact walls tend to be what sway me most in rebuttals. Using your defense to mitigate offense where you can and doing warrant comparison on each level of the debate will put you in a good spot to win my ballot.

Warrants are getting light in policy rounds, fix that. The more specific your internals, more explained your solvency mech, more empirical your warrants, etc. the better.

I am not typically persuaded by framework arguments that attempt to exclude arguments. I tend to believe that each side gets to weigh their impacts, so if you're going for framework arguments you may want to spend more time there.

I am a big fan of a nice overview, especially in critical debates.

Maybe I'm a neg hack, but I like good cp debates, from clever cps to process cps, these debates tend to be my favorite in parli.

People also tend to think of me as a k hack in parli, but for what it's worth, I think politics disads are real disads. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Tom Kadie Paradigm

6 rounds

I did two years of circuit LD at Miramonte High School and graduated in 2015. I graduated from UC Berkeley in 2019 after doing four years of NPDA parliamentary debate.

I have no desire to impose my own views upon the debate round. In deciding the round, I will strive to be as objective as possible. Some people have noted that objectivity can be difficult, but this has never seemed like a reason that judges shouldn't strive to be objective. I, overwhelmingly, prefer that you debate in the style that you are most comfortable with and believe that you are best at. I would prefer a good K or util debate to a bad theory or framework debate anyday. That's the short version--here are some specifics if you're interested.

GGI 2019 Parli-Specific Updates:

While I will generally vote for any strategy, I would like to discuss my thoughts on some common debates. These thoughts constitute views about argument interaction that should not make a difference in most debates.

  • K affs versus T: Assuming the best arguments are made, I err affirmative 60-40 in these debates (The best arguments are rarely made.) However, I tend to believe that impact turns constitute a suboptimal route to beating topicality. I differ from some judges because I believe that neg impact framing on T (procedural fairness first, debate as a question of process, not product) tends to beat aff impact framing. However, I err aff on the legitimacy of K affs because I'm skeptical of the neg's link to that framing. Does T uniquely ensure procedural fairness? Thus, to win my ballot, teams reading K affs must take care to respond to the neg's specific impact framing. They cannot merely read parallel arguments.
  • Conditionality: I lean strongly that the negative gets 1 conditional advocacy. 2 is up for debate and three is pushing it. Objections to conditionality should be framed around the type of negative advocacies and the amount of aff flex. For example, perhaps 2 conditional advantage counterplans is permissible, but not 2 conditional PICs.

Past Paradigm:


  • Absent weighing on any particular layer, I default to weighing based on strength of link.
  • I probably won't cover everything so feel free to ask me questions.
  • Taken from Ben Koh because this makes sense: "If I sit and you are the winner (that is, the other 2 judges voted for you), and would like to ask me extensive questions, I will ask that you let the other RFDs be given and then let the opponent leave before asking me more questions. I'm fine answering questions, but just to be fair the other people in the room should be allowed to leave."

Delivery and speaks:

  • Fine with speed.
  • I'm not the greatest at flowing, so try to be clear about where an argument was made.
  • High speaks for good strategic choices and innovative arguments. I will say clear as much as necessary and I won't penalize speaks for clarity.


  • I default to being epistemically conservative, but will accept arguments for epistemic modesty if they are advanced and won.
  • I am willing to support any framework given that it is won on the flow.
  • I'm willing to vote for permissibility or presumption triggers. However, there must be some implicit or explicit defense of a truth-testing paradigm. The argument must also be clear the first time that it is read. If the argument is advanced for the first time in the 1AR and I think that it is new, I will allow new 2NR responses.
  • Many framework debates are difficult to adjudicate because debaters fail to weigh between different metastandards on the framework debate. For example, if util meets actor-specificity better, but Kantianism is derived from a superior metaethic, is the actor-specificity argument or the metaethic more important?

Theory and T:

  • I default to no RVI, drop the argument on most theory and drop the debater on T, competing interpretations, and fairness and education not being voters. Most of these defaults rarely matter because debaters make arguments.
  • I don't think that competing interps means anything besides a risk of offense model for the adjudication of theory. That means, for example, that debaters need to justify why their opponent must have an explicit counter-interpretation in the first speech.
  • I, paradigmatically, won't vote on 2AR theory.
  • I'm willing to vote on metatheory. I probably err slightly in favor of the metatheory bad arguments such as infinite regress.
  • I'm willing to vote on disclosure theory.
  • Fine with frivolous theory.


  • I default to believing in durable fiat.
  • Debaters should work on pointing out missing internal links in most extinction scenarios.
  • I default that perms are tests of competition and not advocacies.
  • I probably err aff on issues of counter-plan competition.
  • Err towards the view that uniqueness controls the direction of the link. However, I'm willing to accept arguments about why the link is more important.
  • I will evaluate 1ar add-ons and 2nr counter-plans against these add-ons. This is irrelevant in most debates.


  • There are many different kinds of kritikal argumentation so feel free to ask questions in round.
  • I'm unsure whether I should default to role of the ballot arguments coming before ethical frameworks. I personally believe that ethical arguments engage important assumptions made by many ROB arguments. However, community consensus is that ROB's come first so I will usually stick with that assumption if no argument is made either way.
  • I default to fairness impacts coming before theory, but I'm willing to evaluate arguments to the contrary.
  • I don't have strong objections to non-topical positions. However, I believe debaters should probably engage in practices like disclosure that improve the theoretical legitimacy of their practices.
  • Willing to vote on Kritikal RVI's/impact turns to theory.
  • I'm willing to listen to arguments that there shouldn't be perms in method debates. However, I find these arguments not very persuasive.

Note for HS Parli:

Everything above applies. Except for the stuff about prep time. The only parli specific issue is that I will listen to theory arguments that it is permissible to split the block. Feel free to ask me any questions

Brent Nicholson Paradigm

6 rounds

**An argument consists of both a claim and a warrant. If you make claims without providing evidence which explains why that claim is true, I will not vote for that argument. Saying that a study concluded that your claim is true or that a news source claims it is not enough. You need to explain what that study did to conclude that or explain the reasoning of the news source which you reference.**

This philosophy should give you a look into the way I think, but I believe that it will be totally sufficient given my outlook on debate. In the past, I’ve tried to be comprehensive, but I think that that lead to folks misinterpreting my thoughts on debate. Do not take my brevity to mean that I don’t have thoughts about debate, but rather that I think my own opinions ought not matter to you as a debater – this is, after all, your activity.

My goal as a judge is to adapt to the round that the debaters have. This may seem to be empty to y’all, and that’s fine, but my goal as a coach and judge is to facilitate debate rounds that debaters want to have. I feel capable of judging any debate and would encourage you to do you when I am your judge.

With that said, you’ll probably want a few things that I start off with to keep in mind.

- I assume all negative advocacies are conditional unless stated otherwise.

- I think timeframe and probability are more important than magnitude, but no one ever does the work, so I end up voting for extinction impacts.

- Give your opponents’ arguments the benefit of the doubt. They’re probably better than you give them credit for and underestimating them will hurt your own chances of winning.

- Role of the ballot arguments do not make sense to me: if you have to win that the aff/neg does something good to meet the role of the ballot, it seems like you’ve already won the regular-old impact debate. Keep trying! But be aware that I was probably already voting for you if you won an impact.

quick additions for 2020 NPTE/NPDA:

I really like conditionality. I have seen some pretty good PMRs on condo, and they have not persuaded me on this. You probably don't want to run the risk unless it's a particularly egregious case of condo.

I will almost never exclude the aff from a K debate based on "K comes first" type arguments or no fiat arguments. If you manage to win these arguments on the neg, I typically treat them as framing issues on the link page that improve my evaluation of your argument quality/probability.

Joe Provencher Paradigm

The allegory of the cornbread:

Debate is like a delicately constructed thanksgiving dinner. Often, if you take time to make sure you don’t serve anyone anything they’re allergic to, we can all grit it and bear it even if we really didn’t want to have marshmallows on our sweet potatoes. Mashed potatoes and gravy are just as good as cranberry relish if you make it right. Remember, If you’ve been invited to a thanksgiving dinner you should show up unconditionally unless you have a damn good excuse or your grandma got hit by a reindeer because we’re here to eat around a point of commonality unless your great uncle happens to be super racist. Then don’t go to thanksgiving. I’ll eat anything as long as you’re willing to tell me what’s in it and how to cook it. Remember, you don’t prepare stuffing by making stuffing, that’s not a recipe that’s a tautology. I eat a lot, I’m good at eating, and I’d love to help you learn how to eat and cook too.

PS: And why thanksgiving? Because you’re other options are Christmas featuring a man way too old to be doing that job asking if you’ve been naughty or nice at the hotel lobby, the Easter bunny which is just a man way older than you’d think he is in a suite offering kids his definitely-not-sketchy candy (who maybe aren’t really even old enough to be eating all that candy), or Labor Day where everyone realizes they can’t wear their hoods and be fashionable at the same time.

Zach Schneider Paradigm

6 rounds

Hi! I’m Zach. I debated for 5 years of NPDA/NPTE parli (4 at Cedarville University and 1 at SIU) and this is my 5th year coaching/judging.

I used to have a longer philosophy with thoughts on more specific arguments, but I deleted most of it. The vast majority of my opinions on arguments reflect who I was as a debater, not who I am as a judge. I’ve really stopped caring about most ideological preferences; I think I’m a competent judge in just about any debate and I want to see you excel at whatever it is you do best. If you’re reading my philosophy to find out whether you should read argument X, you should probably assume that I’m ambivalent towards it, and in general I’d rather you think "what do we want to read" or "what is strategic in this debate" not "what is Zach’s favorite argument." I also keep a Google doc of stats about my decisions if you want to find out how I historically have evaluated arguments in your preferred genre.

With that said, here’s the foundation of how I structurally understand and evaluate debates:

  • I respect and appreciate teams that are willing to stake out their argument and defend it, pretty much regardless of what that argument is. I love courageous, gutsy, nuanced arguments. In contrast, I am usually annoyed by arguments that I perceive to be running away from the substance of the debate. I'll vote for a technical knockout but I would much rather watch you be about something and your speaker points will probably reflect that.
  • I will not give you a 30 unless you give a perfect speech; if you ask for 30s, I will probably lower your speaks. Adeja Powell should have been the top speaker at the 2020 NPDA because she averaged a 29.8, which was higher than any NPDA top speaker since at least 2013 (as far back as I could find cumes), but she placed 3rd because another team asked for 30s as part of the argument they were reading and received five block 30s. This is not to detract from that team's success (they were also both incredible debaters) but the speaker points system does not function unless I use it to give my honest assessment of the speakers in the round.
  • I will not evaluate an argument if I find that the warrant depth is so lacking that I am unable to articulate the argument back in my RFD so that I can tell the other team a TL;DR of how it causally functions and why they lost/why it influenced my decision.
  • I greatly enjoy theory debates that are T or framework (on the negative) and condo or objections to a specific genre of counterplan (on the affirmative). I am fine with nuanced spec arguments rooted in the topic and read after the other team fails to respond in CX. And obviously, if the other team derives some fancy new way to blatantly cheat, you should read the theory that you need to read. But I am strongly biased against most other theory positions -- such as generic spec or random requirements about if/when you must be passed written texts and the like. These debates are very boring to watch and I've never understood why these objections are a sufficient reason to reject the team. Again, I will vote for a technical knockout, but in an evenly matched debate the team advancing these sorts of theory positions should lose my ballot the vast majority of the time. Also, text comp has never made any sense to me.
  • I fundamentally believe that the aff team should defend a plan or advocacy that solves an impact and the neg team should say that the aff is bad or an opportunity cost to something better. I am very unlikely to vote negative if the neg does not have links to the aff, even if the neg also has a good advocacy or is “more correct” in the abstract. This also means that I think the aff always gets a perm, even in a “methods debate” (I also think every debate is about methods).
  • Permutations are a test of competition; this means I am highly skeptical of many disadvantages commonly read against permutations. It's not possible for a permutation to be cooption, for example, because that would imply that the aff is shifting their advocacy to somehow also perform or advocate for the neg's alt. Permutations ask the question "is there some intrinsic characteristic of the aff that makes it an opportunity cost to the advocacy endorsed by the neg?" -- nothing more and nothing less.
  • I think that the rotating topic is one of the best things about parli, so I am somewhat inclined to think that aff teams should defend the topic (or at least adapt their K aff to the topic). I lean negative about 60/40 in evenly matched framework debates. Successful teams on either side of these debates usually win because they do explicit framing/impact work to explain why their interp outweighs and/or internal link turns the other team's impacts.
  • On that note, I generally think that every high-level debate is won on warrant depth/comparison and impact calculus – whether it’s a policy debate, K debate, framework or T, etc. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a rebuttal with too much impact calculus. In any good debate, both sides will be winning a lot of arguments; the next-level teams are the ones that can then compare those arguments and tell me why their winning set is more important.
  • When I split with other judges on panels in high-level rounds, it’s usually because I am very technical as a judge. I keep a tight flow and I am most likely to vote for the team that is correctly identifying and leveraging the arguments they’ve won on the flow. This is the best way I’ve found to remove my biases and make myself predictable as a judge: if your flow has the same arguments as mine (and the same extensions/comparisons) then you should rarely be surprised by my decision.
  • I cannot evaluate arguments that I don’t flow; I have ADHD and I’ve long forgotten them by the end of the debate. I’m happy to listen to your speech in whatever form it takes, but if you don’t want it flowed and you also care about competitive success, it’s in both of our best interests that you strike me.
  • I will not evaluate arguments about teams doing something objectionable outside of the current round (in another round, etc.). I don't have a way to fairly verify claims about things that didn't happen in front of me; at best, this relies on me being acquainted with people who witnessed the event in question, which is inherently arbitrary and biased in favor of larger/more established programs.

LD notes

  • I am comfortable with any level of speed (unless you're using it to run up the score on a novice, which will tank your speaks) and the risk of me voting on a speed bad procedural is negligible.
  • I strongly believe that you should disclose your aff cites (at minimum) on the wiki and I am amenable to the disclosure procedural if you choose not to do so.

Judith Teruya Paradigm

6 rounds

I competed in NPDA for 4 years at Concordia University Irvine. My BA is in Sociology and I am currently earning my Master's in Public Policy at the University of California at Irvine. Note: I've not been around debate a whole lot this year and have been immersed in the world of academic policy research so my threshold on the truthfulness of some arguments has become substantially higher than it used to be. If you are misrepresenting or staking your ground on factually inaccurate statements I am less inclined to vote for you.

Debate is a game and participants have the creative choice in how they choose to engage in that game. I prefer topical debates that ideally involve a discussion of policy making, however I understand debaters desire to use more creative approaches to engaging with the topic. I will protect against new arguments in the rebuttal, but it is the prerogative of the debaters to call points of order anyway to hold teams and critics accountable for new arguments. Please utilize impact calculus to explain how the ballot is warranted for your side. You may not like the outcome if I have to do the weighing for you.

Theory comes first in debate, since it is a debate about the rules. I default to competing interpretations and am unlikely to vote for your counter interpretation if it has no counter standards for that reason. MOs should choose whether to go for topicality or the substance debate and collapse to one OR the other, not both. Likewise, PMRs should choose whether to collapse to MG theory arguments OR the substance debate, not both. Failing to collapse the debate will reflect in how I award speaker points.

Kritiks should explain why they turn the aff and have terminalized impacts. The alt should explain why they solve the aff, and what the post-alt world looks like. If I do not understand what the world looks like by voting for your alternative, I am less likely to vote for it. I prefer critiques do not make essentializing claims, without warrants about why the aff engages in something that needs to be rejected. That is to say, reading a K with links of omission is not compelling to me. I prefer advocacies be read unconditionally and I am very compelled by arguments about why conditionality is bad for parliamentary debate. I believe the aff is entitled to a permutation in all instances so reading no perms theory in front of me is probably not the best use of your time.

If you are going to read a kritical aff, I would prefer it be topical or at least be germane to the topic. If you are going to reject the resolution entirely, please have a robust defense of why that is justified. I am sympathetic to negative theory arguments about why rejecting the resolution is bad for debate. If you are utilizing performance in your argument please make it clear what your advocacy is.

Disadvantages should explain why they turn the aff and have terminalized impacts. Uniqueness claims should be descriptive of the status quo, with a predictive claim about what direction the status quo is heading.

Counterplans should solve for at least one of the advantages of the aff. Plan-inclusive counterplans are core negative ground, however, I am sympathetic to counterplan theory when there is one topical affirmative. I usually default to counterplans competing based on net benefits, and thus permutation arguments need to explain why the perm shields the link to the disadvantage(s). I will NOT vote on delay.

I am pretty convinced that speaker points are an arbitrary reinforcement of which debaters have the most clout within the debate community. Because of their arbitrary nature, I am also pretty convinced that speaker points are the only tool critics have to reward and punish behavior we think is appropriate or inappropriate within the round. So, if you are unnecessarily mean, rude, condescending or just not a nice person in round, I will reflect that in your speaker points. Likewise, if I cannot understand the what you are saying because of a clarity issue, it will be reflected in your speaker points.

Fiker Tesfaye Paradigm

6 rounds

Please, I beg, read the things I write here.

I'm Fiker (pronounced like snicker). She/her/hers. I debated a bit in high school which is mostly unimportant, and then did four years (2015-2019) at Texas Tech University. I (and my partner) won the NRR and I won all 3 national top speaker awards in 2019. Now I judge and coach for TTU. So it goes.

I generally think debate is a game, but a useful and important one. It may not be "fiat" but it does influence the real world by how we exist inside of it. Let's not forget we're human beings. Read what you want, I certainly did. Speed isn't usually an issue but if we're blazing, let me know so I can use paper and not my laptop.

Things to keep in mind: I like to do as little work as possible when it comes to making decisions on the flow. Impact calculus is essential. however many warrants you have, double it. Don't be terrible. Don't be bigots. Condo is good, but don't test the limits. I don't really get presumption. Thought experiments aren't real. Jokes are fun. 9/10 the MG theory is not worth it.

Affs: Read them. K affs are fine (I'm a big fan) just make sure the things you say make sense and do something. Read case against them. Be clear.

DA/CP: Also read these. They need to be complete and fleshed out. Warrants are your best friend. CPs should come with written texts, imo. I would say I have a slightly higher than average threshold for CP theory.

Theory: I like this and my threshold is pretty equal if run well, but I needneedneed good structure. Interpretations are key, please slow down and repeat them. Now, I don't need several sheets of theory, MG theory, overly high-level theory, and certainly not MO and later theory. Keep it at home. Have voters. Defend them.

Ks: I love them, but I don't vote on nothing. Framework needs to be strong or it needs to not bog down the real parts of the argument. Links need to link..... please......Alt needs to make sense, repeat them twice for me, and if they're long, I'd like to be told in flex or given a copy. Even if I know your literature, I am not debating. Please do that work for me in round. Identity arguments are fine, do as you please just don't be offensive or overly satirical about real violence.

Have a debate. Live your life. Yee, and dare I say it, haw.

Its Black History Month. Adjust preferences accordingly.

Henry Tolchard Paradigm

6 rounds

Experience: College NPDA (4 years) and NFA-LD (1 year)

TL;DR: I prefer case, theory, and K's that are sociological in nature, but I also value strategic decisions and seeing debaters use their relative strengths to win the round. I also significantly prefer flow-based debate.

General: I view debate as a game to be played and won. Tell me what weighing mechanism to use when evaluating who should win, debate which weighing mechanism is better, and tell me why you win within that weighing mechanism. Also, more structure and signposting is ALWAYS better. I default to evaluating the round through the technical components of the flow unless told to do otherwise. In my career, I mostly debated Buddhism, set col, cap, heg, spec, and case (not much of a specialty).

Policy Debate: Run anything you want (politics, PICs, business confidence, anything). I prefer the contemporary debate structure (Advantages and Disadvantages) to the classical stock issues style. Solid impact weighing/framing can easily win you an otherwise close round. I really enjoy a good heg debate. I know literally nothing about science so explain if necessary.

Theory: I am good with anything. Potential vs proven abuse should be debated out in-round. I probably have a lower threshold than most on theory. I enjoy theory that many would consider "frivolous" but I also won't actively try to hack for T. I am probably biased towards condo being good but will still vote on condo bad if you win the flow.

Kritik: Fine with not upholding the res, also down for voting on framework. I think that your kritik should also win the line-by-line, unless you make arguments otherwise (I have a very high threshold for rejecting the flow). Very familiar with cap/Marx but down for cap good. Don't know much about pomo so if that's your thing then explain thoroughly.

Speed / Speaker Points: I have no problem with speed, but be clear and maintain solid word economy. Don’t exclude other teams from the debate with your speed, it will cost you speaker points and I am open to theory/kritikal arguments against it. Otherwise, go as fast as you want. I award speaker points based on the quality and strategic utility of arguments made rather than on persuasiveness.

Baker Weilert Paradigm

6 rounds

I re-wrote this paradigm because I realized that my previous one was rather generic, and people likely assume I don’t know anything because I debated in Arkansas. Take what you will from the comments below, and don’t hesitate to ask for clarification.




Procedurals/Theory: I am a big fan T/Specs/Theory type arguments, but rarely see teams collapsing to these positions (which I think is a necessary strategic decision to win these types of arguments in front of me). As for types of specs I’m less/more sympathetic to: I don’t find over-spec or under-spec particularly compelling arguments, although I am willing to listen/vote on them. I do really like topicality (as long as you aren’t running 5 of them and simply just cross-applying the standards and voters without new articulation of how those standards/voters function in conjunction with your different interpretations). I also think that conditionality is a great/true argument, but only in particular scenarios. I am far more sympathetic to conditionality arguments if there are multiple advocacies that cause the affirmative to double-turn themselves (meaning don’t run condo just to run condo, run it because you think there is actually a strategic advantage being leveraged by the other team). I prefer articulated abuse, although I will vote on potential abuse, and I default competing interpretations unless otherwise told.

Kritik: I am fine with critical debate on either side of the resolution, although I prefer the K Aff to be rooted in the substance of the resolutions, that being said, I will listen to any justification as to why you should have access to non-topical versions of the affirmative. The framework should be informed by your methodology (meaning your framework should not just function as a way of excluding other positions, but actually inform how to evaluate your advocacy), your links contextualized to your indictments (some generics are fine, but it should include a breakdown of how the other teams position/mindset perpetuates the system), and an alternative that can actually resolve the harms of the K (meaning there needs to be very clear solvency that articulates how the alternative solves/functions in the real world). I don’t think rejection alts get us anywhere in the debate space, unless it is rejection on word choice/language (in which case I think those grievances are better articulated in the form of a procedural) or you clearly explain what that rejection looks like (in which case you should probably just use that explanation as your alternative in the first place). Permutation of the K alternative is perfectly fine, but I think on critical debates I need substantially more work on how the perm functions (especially in a world where the links haven’t been resolved). I am rather familiar with most of the K literature bases, but still think it is important for debaters to do the work of explaining the method/functionality of the K, and not rely on my previous knowledge of the literature base.

Disadvantages: I like a good DA/CP strategy, with a couple of caveats. The first is that the disadvantage needs to have specific links to the affirmative (generics just don’t do it for me), I am far more likely to vote on a unique disadvantage with smaller impacts, than a generic disadvantage with high magnitude impacts (although I will obviously weigh high magnitude impacts if you are winning probability). I have a rather high threshold for politics disadvantages, but if you can tell me which senator/representative will vote for which policy and why, I am far more likely to buy into the scenario (specifics are your friend on ptix).

Counter-Plans: I am fine with almost all types of counterplans (+1, pics, timeframe, etc.) but think they often need to be accompanied by theory arguments justifying their strategic legitimacy. I also think that mutual exclusivity competitiveness should always be preferred over simply having a net benefit/disadvantage that makes the position functionally competitive. I am fine with all types of permutations with justification (again often needs to be accompanied by theory). My threshold on perms are sometimes low, but I think that is because they are often under-covered, so knowing that you should be spending a great deal of time answering/going for the permutation if you want to win/not lose there.

General Notes:

1. Status of arguments: It is your responsibility to ask, and for the other team to answer (don’t give them the run-around, and if you aren’t sure just say dispo).

2. ALL “Text/ROB/Thesis” should be read twice, and made available for the other team.

3. The order you give at the beginning of your speech is actually important. I flow exclusively on paper, so switching between sheets/having them in the correct order helps me follow along. I completely understand that you have to switch up the flow mid speech sometimes, but you need to clearly signpost where you are (especially if you deviate from the order given).

4. Speed: You can go as fast as you want in front of me, that being said, I’m not sure if going fast for the sake of going fast is always the best strategic choice, as your word count probably isn’t much higher even if you think you sound faster.

5. I will listen to literally any argument (heady, aliens, personal narrative of a farmer from Wisconsin), doesn’t really matter to me, but please don’t put me in a situation in which I have to evaluate/endorse advocacies of mass death of people (like genocide good). Also, as far as identity politics go (this maybe should have gone in the K section) I think that debate is a great platform to talk about your own person experiences, but I think it’s important to note that oppression is often intersectional and is articulated/experienced in different ways. I think forced disclosure of experience/identity in order to interact with your position can be potentially harmful to others, and “trigger warnings” only work if you give people time to exit the room.

6. DO NOT BE MEAN, I will tank speaks. Totally fine to being witty, and slightly confrontational, but avoid personal attacks, I would much rather listen to you actually debate. Overall I believe debate is a creative space, so feel free to run literally anything you want.


4 years policy debate in Kansas, 4 years parliamentary debate at Louisiana Tech University, and Arkansas State University. 2 years Assistant Debate Coach at Arkansas State University. Currently Assistant Director of Debate at Whitman College.

David Worth Paradigm

3 rounds

David Worth – Rice

D.O.F., Rice University

Parli Judging Philosophy

Note: If you read nothing else in this, read the last paragraph.

I’ll judge based on given criteria/framework. I can think in more than one way. This means that the mechanisms for deciding the round are up for debate as far as I’m concerned. My decision is based mostly on how the debaters argue I should decide the round but I will intervene if the round demands it. There are many cases where this might be necessary: If asked to use my ballot politically for example, or if both sides fail to give me a clear mechanism for voting, or if I know something to factually incorrect (if someone is lying). In these cases, I try to stay out of the decision as much as I can but I don’t believe in the idea that any living person is really a blank slate or a sort of argument calculator.

I prefer debates that are related to the topic.

I will not vote for an argument that I don’t understand. If I can’t figure it out from what you’ve said in the round, I can’t vote on it.

I will admit that I am tired of debates that are mostly logic puzzles. I am tired of moving symbols around on paper. Alts and plan texts that are empty phrases don’t do it for me anymore. The novelty of postmodern critique that verges on--or actually takes the leap into--nihilism has worn off. I don’t think there’s much value anymore in affirming what we all know: That things can be deconstructed and that they contain contradictory concepts. It is time for us to move beyond this recognition into something else. Debate can be a game with meaning.

Warrants: I will not vote for assertions that don’t at least have some warrant behind them. You can’t say “algae blooms,” and assume I will fill in the internals and the subsequent impacts for you. You don’t get to just say that some counter-intuitive thing will happen. You need a reason that that lovely regionally based sustainable market will just magically appear after the conveniently bloodless collapse of capitalism. I’m not saying I won’t vote for that. I’m just saying you have to make an argument for why it would happen. NOTE: I need a good warrant for an "Independent Voting Issue" that isn't an implication of a longer argument, procedural, or somehow otherwise developed. Just throwing something in as a “voter” will not get the ballot. I reserve the right to gut-check these. If there is not warrant or if the warrant makes no sense to me, I won't vote on it.

Defense can win, too. That doesn’t mean that a weaker offensive argument with risk can’t outweigh defense, it simply means that just saying, “oh that’s just defense,” won’t make the argument go away for me. Debate is not football. There’s no presumption in the NFL, so that analogy is wrong.

You need to deal with all the line-by-line stuff but should not fail to frame things (do the big picture work) for me as well. It’s pretty rare that I vote on one response but it’s equally rare that I will vote on the most general level of the ideas. In a bind, I will vote for what’s easier to believe and/or more intuitive.

Speed is fine as long as you are clear. There are days when I need you to slow down a tad. I have battled carpal/cubital tunnel off and on for a few years and sometimes my hand just does not work quite as well. I’ll tell you if you need to clear up and/or slow down, but not more than a couple of times. After that, it’s on you.

Please slow down for the alt texts, plans, advocacies, etc., and give me a copy too. If I don’t have it, I can’t vote for it.

Strong Viewpoints: I haven’t yet found "the" issue that I can’t try to see all sides of.

Points of Order: Call them—but judiciously. I’ll probably know whether the argument is new and not calling them does not change their status as new. Also, if you’re clearly winning bigtime don’t call a ridiculous number of them. Just let the other team get out of the round with some dignity. If you don’t, your speaker points will suffer. It’ll be obvious when I think you are calling too many.

If the round is obviously lopsided and you are obliterating the other team then be nice. I will lower your speaker points if you aren’t respectful or if you simply pile it on for the heck of it. If it’s egregious enough, you might even lose the debate.

You don’t need to repeat yourself just to fill time. If you’re finished, then sit down and get us all to lunch, the end of the day, or the next round early.

Theory: I’m not going to weigh in on the great theoretical controversies of the day. Those are up to you to demonstrate in the round. T can be more than one thing depending on the round. I’m not going to tell you what to do. Debate is always in flux. Actually, I’ve learned or at least been encouraged to think differently about theory issues from debaters in rounds far more often than from anyone else. If I had pontificated about The Truth As I Knew It before those rounds, the debaters would have simply argued what I said I liked and I wouldn’t have learned, so it’s in my interest as well as yours for me not to hand you a sushi menu with the items I’d like to see checked off. PICS, Framework, Competing Interp, in-round abuse, etc. are all interpretable in the debate. I will say that I probably most naturally think in terms of competing interpretations, but, again, I can think in more than one way.

My “Debate Background:” I did CEDA/NDT in college. I coached policy for years, and also coached parli from the days of metaphor all the way into the NPTE/NPDA modern era. I have also coached NFA-LD.

Finally, I ask that you consider that everyone in the room has sacrificed something to be there. A lot of resources, time, and effort went in to bringing us all there. Be sure to show some respect for that. I am serious about this and it has come to occupy a significant portion of my thinking about debate these days. In fact, I think it’s time for the in-round bullying to stop. I see too many rounds where one team’s strategy is simply to intimidate the other team. I find it strange that an activity that talks so much about the violence of language often does so in such a needlessly aggressive and violent manner. In some rounds every interaction is barbed. Flex/CX is often just needlessly aggressive and sometimes even useless (when, for example, someone simply refuses to answer questions or just keeps purposely avoiding the question when it’s obvious that they understand the question, opting instead for aggression sometimes verging on ad hominem). I see too many other rounds where everyone is just awful to each other, including the judges afterward. You can be intense and competitive without this. We are now a smaller circuit. It’s strange that we would choose to spend so much time together yet be so horrible to each other.