King Round Robin

2020 — Houston, TX/US

Thomas Gill Paradigm

8 rounds

Updated for Durham January 2020


I debated for 4 years at the Blake School in Minneapolis

Couple of quick notes

-I'm probably what you'd call a "flow judge", but I won't just vote on anything. As a general rule, if I can't explain an argument myself that I hear in round, I won't vote on it (aka please give some sort of warrant)

-Debate like you normally do. Pretty much any PF debating style in front of me can win my ballot if done well (aka I can handle what PFers call "speed" but probably not spreading)

-I don't have a lot of experience with running progressive argumentation, but I will vote on it if done well and if I can follow it

-If tab lets me I'll always do an oral RFD and give feedback

Things I Like

-Actual cards. Evidence ethics in PF have gotten kind of ridiculous. Summarizing a long pdf isn't ethical and it leaves too much room for misconstruing evidence

-The split. I think it is necessary that the 2nd rebuttal goes back and covers at least turns, and ideally the best defensive responses. This not only makes the round more fair, but also is probably strategic for you

-Voting issues. This is just a personal thing, but I prefer for you to organize your summary/FF into voting issues. If you don't it's fine, but it is, in my opinion, an easy way to clarify the round and helping show me where you are winning and where you want me to vote. If you don't that's fine, just make sure your story is clear

-Signposting. If I don't know where you are on the flow I may not be able to follow you and will probably miss things. It's in your best interest to make sure I don't miss anything

-Weighing. I'll be the first to admit that as a debater I am not the greatest at weighing. Still, link and impact weighing can be easy ways to win my ballot. Tell me why your links/impacts are more important than theirs so I don't have to work through it myself. It'll make my job easier and make you happier

-Evidence comparison. If I'm presented with evidence that says that, for example, says the South China Sea has huge levels of tension, and another that says that the SCS is peaceful, I don't know how to resolve that unless you compare them for me (Dates? Authors? Warrants? Etc)

-Full link chains in the 2nd half of the round. Please tell me what the resolution means in terms of your links/impacts instead of just going into an impact debate. Too often link extensions are just meh

-Consistency through Summary/FF. Your summary and final focus should be very similar and extend most of the same things. In order for me to vote on something it needs to be in summary, so your final focus shouldn't have anything new/pulled from before summary, except for maybe weighing but even then it's tough to win off of. 3 minute summaries means there has to be collapse, but offense has to be in both for me to vote

-I would ask that you extend defense in summary. You have that extra minute, and I think extending your best defense is a good idea. It depends on the defense/frontlines whether I will let you extend from first rebuttal to first FF (to be safe always extend the defense you have time for). Defense MUST be in 2nd summary though

-Have fun and be yourself. If you are enjoying yourself, I will probably enjoy myself too

Things I Don't Like

-Long evidence exchanges. Not sure why this is an issue, but it is. If you read a card in round, you should be able to produce it for me/the other team within a couple of minutes. If you can't, I'll probably be sad

-The term "Off-Time Roadmap". Unless you are doing something weird, signposting will suffice for me to be able to follow you. You can tell me where you're going but don't say the word "off-time roadmap" or I'll get a little sad

-Random debate jargon without explanation. "Uniqueness controls the direction of the link" may be true in the round and I know what you're saying, but explain to me what that actually means in the context of your arguments

-Fake weighing. I've heard people weigh on "clarity of impact" "uniqueness" "cyclicality" and "concreteness". Please don't. Weigh on probability, time frame, magnitude, or pre rec arguments. I guess I'll accept scope and strength of link as weighing mechanisms, but those are just other words for magnitude and probability. Anything else will make me sad

-Lazy debating. Interact with defense, don't just give me the argument that you have "risk of offense" and hope to win my ballot

-Extending through ink. If you don't clash/interact with your opponents responses, but still extend your arguments, all it does it makes the round messy and harder to judge.

-Rudeness. This includes racist/sexist/homophobic and other hateful language and arguments. Debate is supposed to be educational and safe, and such language and behavior undermines that purpose

So long as you do the things I like and avoid the things I don't like, your speaker points will be solid and you'll be more likely to win my ballot

Noah Mengisteab Paradigm


Assistant Director of Forensics Delbarton School (2020 - present)

Private Coach - Interlake (2018 - present)

Head Coach - Duchesne Academy (2017-2020)

Marist '16// Rice University '20


Pronouns: he/him/his

Important for 2019-2020 Season:

Evidence - I HIGHLY recommend reading card text or referring to an accurately cut card in the constructive and rebuttal, not just hyperlinks. These are properly cut cards (Thank you Christian Vasquez for the link). If you don't cut cards then you might want to consider striking me.

There a few reasons why I'm going to be more strict about using cut cards. Cut cards promote better research and debate ethics. I understand trying to fit as many sources as possible into speeches, but lying about what your evidence says ruins the ethos of the round and cheats everyone of the educational and competitive components of this activity. And I'm tired of calling for evidence that contradicts the warrant read in round.


Disclosure -Disclosure through the wiki or by emailing your opponents and myself prior to the round. While I won't penalize for nondisclosure, you will get +0.3 speaker points for disclosing or sending me case & speech docs and +0.5 for doing both. Misdisclosure is an auto-loss and lowest speaker points allowed.

Email Chains: 1st speaker of the 1st speaking team should start an email chain as soon as you get into the Zoom room. Teams need to send their full case docs and cards by the end of their constructive speeches. Additionally, teams need to send all new evidence read in rebuttal immediately after rebuttal speeches. Ideally, no one should need to ask to take prep to view or call for evidence.

Accommodations - I'm 100% fine with any accommodations debaters might need. Just communicate what you need before the round. Opponents will also receive the same benefits. If you are an opposing team that disagrees with reasonable accommodations, get over it and just debate.


My views on Public Forum evolved the past season based on observations of rounds and conversations I've had with debaters/coaches. Below are some general things I expect to see when I judge your round as well as my thoughts on progressive debate.

General Thoughts:

1.) I look at the round through an offense/defense paradigm - you have to adequately defend your offense and place defense on your opponents. To me, just having defense is not enough unless you warrant why your terminal defense should be preferred over any offense from the opposing team.

On my flow, offense requires a link/warrant, an impact, and frontlining. Miss one and it will be harder for me to flow your offense.

2.) Speeches must build off of each other. It’s not enough to just read some offense or defense in one speech and only extend it at the very end in the Final Focus. Rebuttals need to be line-by-line with 2nd rebuttals frontlining major turns for at least 30-60 seconds. Any offense or defense you want me to look at on my flow needs to be cleanly extended, especially in the Summary and the Final Focus.

3a.) The Summary and Final Focus MUST MIRROR EACH OTHER! Any OVs, observations, offense, and defense you want me to look at needs to be in BOTH SPEECHES! The burden to extend defense in the summary rests on both teams. I don't care about the 1st speaking team disadvantage in summary because there are other advantages in the round.

3b.) Defense and Offense Structure - Defense on "their case" doesn’t mean you extend every arg from the rebuttal, but extending the most important ones with good analysis (like turns). Offense is super simple - any offense you want me to consider at the end of the round must be in summary. Refer above for the requirements of a proper extension. Please also DO WARRANTED & COMPARATIVE WEIGHING! I have no problem dropping you because you didn’t do a good job extending or weighing in the round. Also, most teams are really bad at line by line. Save yourself and do VOTERS!!!

4.) Evidence – You can expect that I have done quite a bit of research on the topic and will understand most topic args. For the most part, I don’t interfere with the debate and will flow and vote on any arg presented (basically tech over truth). The only times I will interfere (and most likely vote you down) would be when the args/examples presented are blatantly racist, sexist, homophobic, anything ridiculous like "extinction/terrorism good," or when I know a piece of evidence being read is completely misrepresented. I will call for evidence if debaters ask me to or if I find it important in my decision. Cards should be properly cut (refer to the message at the top). And evidence exchange needs to be quick - I will give you 1 min to find evidence. If you go over it, I will start deducting prep time. We need to keep rounds on time. And when a team is finding evidence, no one should be prepping.

Also, it's up to the debaters in the round to call each other out and issue a formal evidence ethics challenge if I don't call for a card.

5.) Disclosure - Refer to the disclosure message above.

6.) Decisions - No matter the tournament (unless explicitly told not to like NSDAs), I will always give a decision and detailed RFD a few minutes after the round. I am constantly thinking about who is winning along with an RFD in my mind and on my flow after each speech. If for some reason you don’t want me to disclose who won, let me know. I'm also willing to answer more questions outside the round and email my flows for you to see how I evaluated the round.

"Progressive" PF:

Plans/CPs/DAs - I've always been okay with “specific” plans, “pseudo” CPs, and DAs because I used them during my debate career. Just make sure you "fit" them within PF and the resolution. Debaters who complain about the rules of PF debate when it comes to plans and CPs – get over it and debate.

Kritics - I'm okay with the generic K's people try to run (i.e. Feminism, Capitalism, Securitization, etc.) but I am not familiar with high theory (i.e. Baudrillard, Bataille, Nietzsche).

Theory - Theory is the highest layer of debate. I am okay with just a paragraph or a full shell. For me to extend your theory argument, you need to read it as soon as the abuse occurs. Additionally, theory needs to be extended throughout the debate. Otherwise, it becomes disingenuous and your speaker points will suffer. Evidence of abuse is also needed for theory (especially disclosure related shells). Extending theory your opponents drop is a TKO (auto-win and +0.5 speaks). These theory preferences (except reading disclosure) applies to any tournament round I judge.


1.) Preflow before the round*** otherwise -0.3 speaker points.

2.) Crossfires - It's usually not important to my ballot and I don't flow them. I think it’s more for y'all to clarify your args to each other. If something significant is said in cross-fire, then bring up immediately in the next speech to make it binding. Also, be nice to each other.

3.) Speed - I am okay if you go fast (6-7/10), so long as you are clear. I reserve the right to ask for a speech doc if you went to fast.

[I used to say "micro" spreading but bc of the war against jargon by Jeff Miller & Lyndsey Oliver, I took it out...]

4.) Speaker points - For me, speaker points take into account analysis and persuasiveness. However, debate is an educational activity that requires good use of evidence, so I lean more towards analysis. Scale from 27-30 with everyone starting at a 27. If you get below a 25, you did something unethical in the round. Typically, speaks I give tournaments range from 27-29. Don't expect a 30 just because you won the round.


Yes, add me to your email chain.

I didn't do LD in HS, but I've judged some LD rounds the past two years and coach it in a traditional circuit. My paradigm for LD is similar to PF in that I will still look at the round on an offense/defense paradigm. I'll flow any argument you want to present to me (Ks, CPs, DAs, Theory, etc.). Speed is the same as PF. Don't spread. If you have specific questions, ask me before the round. At national circuit tournaments, LD should always disclose positions on the wiki.

Questions? Ask before the round

Jeffrey Miller Paradigm

Jeffrey Miller
Director of Speech & Debate at Marist School in Atlanta, GA (2011-present)
Director of Debate/Asst Director of Debate, Fayette County High School in Fayetteville, GA (2006-2011)

Updated for 2020-2021 and Online Debate

Please add and to the email chain. This should be started in the tech time.

Both teams should use it and send the constructives at a minimum. I am fine with constructives being sent after they are read in the debate. Please call the email chain something real like "Kentucky Round 1 - Marist VL vs Marist HN." If you read cards, you should send the cards in the order they are read. If you paraphrase, you should send your paraphrasing and the cards that you paraphrased in the order that you read.

some major bullet points adapting to me:

- i prefer you read cards. this doesn't mean i won't evaluate paraphrasing and it doesn't mean that i'll automatically drop you on paraphrasing bad theory it just means that better arguments are made by the experts you quote in your evidence than your interpretation of the experts. i wouldn't waste a strike on me if you paraphrase but still cut cards.
- speeches build off of each other. everything in the final focus should be in the summary. second rebuttal should respond to first rebuttal.
- made up jargon is bad. clarity of impact is not a thing.
- i prefer substantive debates to theory debates. i really am not a fan of theory. i have strong beliefs in how debate should be done, but i have stronger beliefs in learning about topics. read theory if you must, and I'll obviously evaluate it - but i do prefer a debate about the topic.
- i value hard work. Debate is hard. It's rewarding because its hard. The debate you have in front of me should a representation of your hard work you spent preparing for that debate.

Peter Paik Paradigm

UPDATED 4/13/2020 for Online TOC 2020:

(1) GO SLOWLY. I cannot emphasize this enough. Going more slowly will greatly improve the thoughtfulness of your arguments and the quality of your delivery, and doing so will make it much easier for me to comprehend and be persuaded by your arguments. No matter how many pieces of evidence or blocks or turns or rebuilds you present, if your opponent just clearly presents ONE intelligent point that strikes me as pertinent and insightful, I am likely to side with him/her at least on the particular issue, and perhaps vote for him/her altogether.

(1a) In terms of your case, to be as specific as possible, in the hopes that you will actually heed my words about speed, the ideal PF case should be no longer than 600 words total. If your case is much longer than that, and you go faster in order to squeeze it into 4 minutes, it's highly likely that I will simply not catch and process many of your words - so you may as well not have said them in the first place.

(1b) In terms of the later speeches in a round, be selective, be strategic, and sell me the goods. In rebuttals, give me your ONE best response to your opponent's argument - maybe two responses, at the very most three. In the second half of the round, collapse to your ONE best voting issue and give your ONE strongest reason why it is true and your ONE strongest reason why it should be considered significant. I'm not going to count all your points just because you said them - You just have to make ONE good point count. (But don't try to do that just be repeating it again and again. You have to explain why your opponent's attack on it should be considered insufficient.) And point out the ONE most critical flaw in your opponent's argument.

(2) More advice on presentation: because we are doing debate through Zoom, it is MORE important that you pay attention to your delivery, not less. It's much harder to hold people's attention when you are speaking to them online than when you speak to them in person. (I'm sure you know this to be true as a listener.) So if you just give up on presenting well, you're making the obstacle practically insurmountable. On the other hand, if you put some real effort into speaking as well as you can in this new online format, you'll likely stand out from many of your opponents and your points will likely be understood and appreciated more than theirs.

(2a) Be clear: Do everything you can to be as clear and easy to understand as possible, both in your writing and your speaking.

(2b) Vary your delivery: Indicate what are the most important points in your speeches by changing up your voice. You should emphasize what is really important by changing the pace, the pitch, the volume, and the tone and also by using pauses. Your speech should not be one, long unbroken stream of words that all sound the same.

(2c) Eye contact: I know it's very hard but try to look up at your camera as much as possible. At least try to show me your face as much as you can.

(3) I don't believe that theory or kritiks should be a part of Public Forum debate. If you run either, you will almost certainly lose my ballot. I don't have time now to give all the reasons why I'm opposed to these kinds of arguments in PF. But I want you to have fair warning of my view on this point. If your opponent has not read this paradigm (or is blatantly disregarding it) and runs a kritik or theory in a round and i am your judge, all you need to say for me to dismiss that argument is that PF debate is intended to be accessible to all people and should directly address the topic of the resolution, and then continue to debate the resolution.

Personal Background:

Since 2001, I have been a coach of the speech and debate team of University School in Ohio. I have coached and judged virtually all high school speech and debate events over the years, but I’ve devoted the most time and energy to Public Forum debate and Lincoln-Douglas debate. I have experience at all levels: national, state, and local. Probably my biggest claim to fame as a coach is that my PF team (DiMino and Rahmani) won the NSDA national championship in 2010. My school has also won the NSDA School of Excellence in Debate Award 8 of the last 12 years. If any of the points below are unclear or if you want my view on something else, feel free to ask me questions before the round begins.

PF Judging Preferences:

I am among the most traditional, perhaps old-fashioned PF judges you are likely to encounter. I believe that PF should remain true to its original purpose which was to be a debate event that is accessible to everyone, including the ordinary person off the street. So I am opposed to everything that substantively or symbolically makes PF a more exclusive and inaccessible event.

Here are 3 specific preferences related to PF:

1. SPEED (i.e., SELECTIVITY): The slower, the better. What most debaters consider to be slow is still much too fast for the ordinary lay person. Also, speed is often a crutch for debaters. I much prefer to hear fewer, well-chosen arguments developed fully and presented persuasively than many superficial points. One insightful rebuttal is better than three or four mediocre ones. In short, be selective. Go for quality over quantity. Use a scalpel, not a machine gun.

2. CROSSFIRES: Ask questions and give answers. Don't make speeches. Try not to interrupt, talk over, and steam-roll your opponent. Let your opponent speak. But certainly, if they are trying to steam-roll you, you can politely interject and make crossfire more balanced. Crossfire should go back and forth fairly evenly and totally civilly. I want to see engagement and thoughtfulness. Avoid anger and aggressiveness.

3. THEME OVER TECHNIQUE: It is very important to me that a debater presents and supports a clear and powerful narrative about the topic. Don't lost sight of the bigger picture. Keep going back to it in every speech. Only deal with the essential facts that are critical to proving and selling your narrative. If you persuade me of your narrative and make your narrative more significant than your opponent's, you will win my ballot - regardless of how many minor points you drop. On the other hand, if you debate with perfect technique and don't drop anything, but you don't present and sell a clear narrative, it's highly unlikely that you will win my ballot.

LD Judging Preferences:

1. VALUE AND VALUE CRITERION: I think that the value and the value criterion are essential components of Lincoln-Douglas debate. They are what most distinguish LD from policy and public forum. If your advocacy is NOT explicitly directed toward upholding/promoting/achieving a fundamental value and your opponent does present a value and a case that shows how affirming/negating will fulfill that value, your opponent will win the round – because in my view your opponent is properly playing the game of LD debate while you are not.

2. QUALITY OVER QUANTITY: I think that speed ruins the vast majority of debaters, both in terms of their ability to think at a high level and in terms of their effective public speaking, which are two things that are supposed to be developed by your participation in high school forensics and two things I very much hope to see in every debate round I judge.

Most debaters cannot think as fast as they can talk, so going fast in an attempt to win by a numerical advantage in arguments or by “spreading” and causing your opponent to miss something, usually just leads to (a) poor strategic choices of what to focus on, (b) lots of superficial, insignificant, and ultimately unpersuasive points, and (c) inefficiency as debaters who speak too fast often end up stumbling, being less clear, and having to repeat themselves.

I would encourage debaters to speak at a normal, conversational pace, which would force them to make strategic decisions about what’s really important in the round. I think it is better to present clearly a few, significant points than to race rapidly through many unsubstantial points. Try to win by the superior quality of your thinking, not by the greater quantity of your ideas.

While I will do my best to “flow” everything that each debater presents, if you go too fast and as a result I miss something that you say, I don’t apologize for that. It’s your job as a debater not just to say stuff, but to speak in the manner necessary for your judge to receive and thoughtfully consider what you are saying. If your judge doesn’t actually take in something that you say, you might as well not have said it to begin with.

Because I prioritize quality over quantity in evaluating the arguments that are presented, I am not overly concerned about “drops.” If a debater “drops” an argument, that doesn’t necessarily mean he/she loses. It depends on how significant the point is and on how well the opponent explains why the dropped point matters, i.e., how it reveals that his/her side is the superior one.

As a round progresses, I really hope to hear deeper and clearer thinking, not just restating of your contentions. If you have to sacrifice covering every point on the flow in order to take an important issue to a higher level and present a truly insightful point, then so be it. That’s a sacrifice well worth making. On the other hand, if you sacrifice insightful thinking in order to cover the flow, that’s not a wise decision in my view.

3. WARRANTS OVER EVIDENCE: If you read the above carefully, you probably realized that I usually give more weight to logical reasoning than to expert testimony or statistics. I’m more interested in seeing how well you think on your feet than seeing how good of a researcher you are. (I’ve been coaching long enough to know that people can find evidence to support virtually any position on any issue….)

If you present a ton of evidence for a contention, but you don’t explain in your own words why the contention is true and how it links back to your value, I am not likely to be persuaded by it. On the other hand, if you present some brilliant, original analysis in support of a contention, but don’t present any expert testimony or statistical evidence for it, I will probably still find your contention compelling.

4. KRITIKS: While I may appreciate their cleverness, I am very suspicious of kritik arguments. If there is something fundamentally flawed with the resolution such that it shouldn’t be debated at all, it seems to me that that criticism applies equally to both sides, the negative as well as the affirmative. So even if you convince me that the kritik is valid, you’re unlikely to convince me then that you should be given credit for winning the round.

If you really believe the kritik argument, isn’t it hypocritical or self-contradictory for you to participate in the debate round? It seems to me that you can’t consistently present both a kritik and arguments on the substantive issues raised by the resolution, including rebuttals to your opponent’s case. If you go all in on the kritik, I’m likely to view that as complete avoidance of the issues.

In short, running a kritik in front of me as your judge is a good way to forfeit the round to your opponent.

5. JARGON: Please try to avoid using debate jargon as much as possible.

6. PROFESSIONALISM: Please be polite and respectful as you debate your opponent. A moderate amount of passion and emphasis as you speak is good. However, a hostile, angry tone of voice is not good. Be confident and assertive, but not arrogant and aggressive. Your job is to attack your opponent’s ideas, not to attack your opponent on a personal level.

Lin Yi Paradigm

I am a parent judge. This paradigm is written by my team, not by me, so don’t assume I know any of the jargon in this.

Don’t go fast. Clearly label where contentions and impacts are while you speak- in general, signpost/tell me where you are so I have any clue what you’re talking about. I know how to flow and have some amount of background knowledge on this topic (particularly over the South China Sea disputes), but that doesn’t mean you can get away with not explaining the logic behind everything you’re saying.

Please weigh!!! FF needs to mirror summary. 2nd rebuttal needs to answer 1st rebuttal (yes even defense) or the argument is dropped. Make it clear why you’ve won!!!

D o n ‘ t g o f a s t. Otherwise you will be sad when you see speaks and also if you lose because I literally don’t know what your argument is.