National Debate Coaches Association National Championship

2020 — Bloomington, IN/US

Brianna Aaron Paradigm

2 rounds

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

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


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

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


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


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


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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

Stock Issues (CPs/DAs)

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

Topicality, Framework, and Theory

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

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

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

Good luck and remember to keep these rounds interesting!

Miscellaneous Things Regarding E-Debate:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Vishan Chaudhary Paradigm

6 rounds

Email for chain –

Hi! I’m Vishan. I generally read policy style arguments (CPs, DAs, etc) and some kritiks, but I feel comfortable evaluating any style of debate except for maybe a dense phil or tricks debate, but I don’t see myself/don’t want to be judging those anyway.

Updates for e-TOC:

-We're all new to the online debate format obviously, but I think it is more important than ever to slow down, differentiate between cards/tags, and also slow down more. I also think it's a good idea to put analytics in your speech doc instead of hiding them (i think this in general, but especially for this tournament), and if you do it you'll probably get higher points.

-Conditionality bad needs to make a comeback. With a vengeance. 1 is usually ok, 2 debateable, 3+ is, as Scott Phillips would say, "you being a chazzer".

-Speaker points – I seem to average around a 28.5 at most tournaments, but I'll try to get that number higher for this tournament. If I think you should clear, I'll probably give you something in the 28.9-29 range minimum. Here are ways to get extra speaks

---Demonstrating topic/content knowledge. I have done a ton of research on this topic, and I love it.

---My favorite movie ever is Dr. Strangelove. This topic lends itself to good references. Good references will be rewarded generously

---The Security K is a masterpiece. If you treat it as such and make it your only substantive argument in the debate (you can throw T in there I guess) and go for it well, your speaks will be astronomically high

---Debating about author quals

---High quality/not scarcely under-highlighted evidence

---Going for an impact turn well

Old stuff-

1. Tech > truth but why not have both

2. You must share your speech docs with your opponent - email is preferable

3. Each debate will have 1 winner and 1 loser. The speech times are set as is prep time. You can’t use CX as prep time. Asking for me to give you a 30 will result in you getting no higher than a 26.

4. I will only vote on arguments that I understand and can explain back to the other debater. I will never vote on arguments that are racist, sexist, homophobic, transphobic, ableist, etc.

5. I like evidence a lot, but good analytics >>> bad cards. Even if your card is A+, you only get credit for how good you explain it in later speeches/when you extend it.

6. Debate is a communicative activity, so I don't make my decision by reading through all the cards in the speech doc after the debate. I think I'm a pretty good flow, so I don't backflow unless I think it was my fault. If it's not on my flow, you don't get credit for it - emphasizing/slowing down on certain arguments will greatly enhance my ability to understand them. People need to slow wayyyyy down on theory.

7. Evidence ethics -

If a debater claims their opponent committed an evidence ethics violation, such as clipping, they will stake the debate on that claim. If there’s proof that the accused the debater clipped, they get an L and the lowest points I can give. If the opposing debater did not clip, the accusing party gets an L and the lowest points I can give.

I don’t read along in the speech doc…usually. Usually if you’re talking, I’m flowing. Sometimes, however, I look if I suspect clipping is occurring. If I catch you clipping, I will let the debate finish, but you will lose. I won’t catch everyone who clips, I don’t think it’s my job to constantly check everyone, so when I check/when I don’t may be somewhat arbitrary, but the easy way to do that is to not cheat.

If I call clear (multiple times) and you don't clear up/I cannot understand the words you are saying, it is clipping.

Things like bracketing, cutting an author who concludes the other way (as long as it’s not egregious), etc. aren’t round-stopping issues to me. However, I am extremely receptive to theory arguments about them, and doing those things will tank your speaks.

I unfortunately have to add this, but I'm starting to sometimes see evidence which is very very questionable. This is how I think I will evaluate these debates, even if no ethics challenge is raised.

If I notice...

-Card from an article which concludes the other way - your speaks get tanked (25) if you don't go for the flow/it is not egregious; you lose if it is integral to your strategy/you would lose the debate without it

-Card with paragraphs missing - you lose

-Clipping - you lose

Specific arguments:

1. The case

---Knowing your aff like the back of your hand/demonstrating that in CX = good speaks

---Framing cards aren't a substitute for impacts/impact comparison. I’m sure if these cases had an impact, it would be probable, but they usually don’t.

---Negs should attack internal links more than terminal impacts

---Impact turns are great and underutilized.

---When people break new affs, they are usually very bad. I'm an easier sell on presumption in these cases than most judges.

2. CPs/DAs/etc.

---These are the arguments that I’m most familiar with. I’m open to most CP theory (conditionality, PICs, agent, 50 state fiat, consult, conditions, etc.) but am not super persuaded by things like “no neg fiat,” “must spec status in speech,” etc.

---People should do more argument comparison, not just in terms of impact weighing, but weighing links vs aff link turns

---Turns case doesn't get developed enough - this is pretty much a game winner for me

---I don’t default judge kick, but am definitely open to it

---Again, impact turns underrated.

3. Ks

---S tier - Security

---Yes - Neolib, Afropessimism, Set Col, other "structural" identity Ks

---Maybe, but only if you're very very good at it - Baudrillard

---No - all other pomo. It's unlikely you get higher than a 28.5 unless you're incredible

A. Ks on the aff/FW vs K affs

---I'm probably 50/50 in these debates, maybe lean slightly neg. Negs need to articulate an impact outside of "limits because limits" and affs usually are missing counterinterpretations that solve any neg offense

B. K v K debates

---I can be persuaded of "no perms in a method debate" but I've never seen it explained well

C. Ks when neg

---These are some of my favorite debates when done well

---If your only link is some fancy packaging of "fiat bad" I am not the judge for you.

---Link explanation should be contextualized to the aff/turn the case.

---Ideally the 2NR does most if not all of their work on the line-by-line – I’m fine with a short overview to explain thesis/impact but I’m not a fan of the 4-minute overviews followed by the neg saying “this was in the overview” to answer every 1AR argument.

---Neg teams should frame their link not only against the plan alone but through the lens of the permutation. Likewise, affs should frame their link turns not through the lens of the status quo, but through the alternative.

4. Topicality/Theory

A. Topicality

---I’m a big fan of well-done T debates. A big fan.

---I am not a fan of any argument that has a Nebel card in it. Reading a “no plans” argument is fine but actually define a word in the resolution

---I find myself usually unpersuaded by “only semantics matter” claims. A well thought out limits claim is definitely the way to go in front of me.

---On T I’m probably 50-50 on the competing interps/reasonability debate.

B. Theory

---I’d rather not judge a bunch of theory debates except for CP theory stuff I outlined above like condo. I suppose I’m fine with spec arguments so long as they aren’t frivolous, and obviously things like “AFC bad” or “no skep triggers” are also fine although I doubt I’ll be judging many of those.

On “good” theory (conditionality and the like):

---I’m still probably 50-50 on competing interps vs reasonability, I might lean slightly towards reasonability.

---I don’t have a strong preference for reject the argument vs reject the debater in these debates.

Against silly LD theory args (font size and the like):

---I’m definitely heavily on the side of reasonability and reject the argument – those two combined with smart defense will almost always be sufficient to beat those arguments in front of me.

5. Phil

---I pretty much only read util throughout my career except for that one time Travis Fife made me read Kant. I’m most well-versed in consequentialism but I think I understand Kant a decent amount. I’m at ELI5 level for almost every other type, so tread carefully. You do not need an explicit standard text.

6. Tricks

---“Silly rabbit, Trix are for kids!” – Trix kids

---Saying “send tricks back to hell” with an optional thumbs down is sufficient for me if their argument is incoherent, which it often is.

7. Last miscellaneous thoughts

Over my years I was coached/influenced by a bunch of people –

Mike Bietz

Scott Phillips

Jasmine Stidham

Travis Fife

Shania Hunt

My former teammates who I share many views with –

Spencer Paul

Indu Pandey

Evan Engel

Connor Engel

Tammy Claeson Paradigm

6 rounds

I’ve coached LD Debate for 14 years. Policy debate for nine. PF Debate for six. Other speaking events for 24 years. I like a good old fashioned philosophy debate. With that said, I understand those are few and far between. I am not progressive. But I won’t vote you down for it, either.

Lincoln Douglas Points ~

Speed - Don’t spread. There’s no fire. Debate is about communication, not seeing how many points you can get your opponent to skip because they didn’t hear them correctly.

Value - Choose a value other than morality. One that actually matches the resolution. I like to see a good value clash. If you don't know the purpose of a criterion don't just throw it in there to look pretty.

Theory - Make sure you understand it yourself before you try to run it in a round. Don’t throw everything at your opponent and hope something sticks.

Framework - Should be clear and labeled. If you can both agree on a mutual framework, I will judge based on which debater upheld it better.

Offcase arguments- Have fun. I can follow whatever here. Just give me a heads up as to how many you have.

Topicality - I'm fine, if it's well structured.

Case/Plan - If the topic lends itself to one, that's fine. I prefer not to hear a counterplan unless you can show me the value of it. This isn't Policy. But if you want to run it, go for it.

DA's - I will vote you down for non-uniqueness. Make sure your link is clear.

At the end of the round, make sure you give me clear voters. Don’t make me pick my own. I will go for the value I like better.

Last but not least, include me on the email chain.

PF - Crystalize your arguments. Be civil. Stand for cross. Sit for grand cross. Give me voters. Make sure your arguments can be understood by the average person. PF is constantly evolving. As it evolves, you as a debater should evolve.

Bennett Eckert Paradigm

3 rounds

Updated for ETOC 2020.

Greenhill 2016

Northwestern 2020

At some point, I'll be a PhD student in philosophy at MIT.

I coach Greenhill. I am conflicted from ETHS.


Things to know

[1] I do not flow author names.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

[16] When you speech docs, send either all of the analytics or none of them. Sending most of them but selectively removing the ones that you want to go for is cheaty.

Things About Cheating

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

I think that a piece of evidence is miscut if:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Things I Won't Vote On

A prioris

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

Moral skepticism


Awful theory args


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

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

29.5-29.9 = you should be in late elims

29-29.5 = you should clear

28.5-29 = you should be on the bubble

27.5-28.5 = average

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

<26.5 = I found something about this debate very annoying

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

Greenhill: 28.60

St. Mark's: 28.36

Apple Valley: 27.85

Glenbrooks: 27.87

Emory: 28.86

Stanford: 28.57


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

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

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

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

People that have influenced my views on debate

Eli Smith

Rodrigo Paramo

Aaron Timmons

Marshall Thompson

Chris Theis

Jake Nebel

Clark Foster Paradigm

2 rounds

k: 1

theory: 3/4

tricks: don't

larp: 2

more than 3 offs: 4

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


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

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

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

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

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



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

K's are cool.

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

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

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

30: you were cool in round

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

29.7-29.8 seriously who does this distinction help?

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

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

Miles Gray Paradigm

6 rounds

Assistant Coach, UC Berkeley and The Harker School
B.A. UC Berkeley, 2020

If I was to describe my ideal debate: I think the affirmative should read a topical plan, and the negative should win that said plan is worse than the status quo or counterplan option, the latter of which can be conditional and judge-kicked. I think these debates are better than topicality and theory debates, which should be resolved reasonably, and with intent to preserve substantive debating. Finally, I consider direct judge instruction more than many, and reward it along with clear, organized speaking and evidence comparison.

A lot of debates are not ideal. Et ita fit

Ursula Gruber Paradigm

4 rounds


If you seem like you are having fun and maintaining civility, I will listen to pretty much any argument that isn't intentionally obnoxious or repugnant (death good, racial equity bad, etc.). I prefer lines of argument that don't rely on nuclear war or extinction, but if your case is strong, go for it.

Clash and analysis are key. Use your case to analyze and refute your opponent's arguments. Don't just toss out cards; explain WHY and HOW. If your logic/reasoning is sound, you don't need to extend every card to win. I prefer strategic condensing over shallow line by line rebuttal.

I thoroughly enjoy critical debate. I think it fits super well with the intent of LD. Logic must be sound and you MUST use the conceptual framework of your K as the basis for your argumentation (i.e. don't read "We can't draw conceptual lines between people," and then respond to case with phrases like "those people")

Make sure you weigh your impacts for me. I may have a different perspective so if you don't make the weighing explicit, you are leaving it up to my interpretation. This includes ROBs, etc.

I expect timers and flashing to work without much delay. Having issues more than once in a round will lose speaks.

My speaks start at 28 for circuit tournaments. I'll dock a varsity debater more often for nonsense or rudeness than a JV debater. Making me laugh is a good way to bump up your points. Enunciation is also a bonus.

CX is important and ought to be used for more than just clarification questions. Don't be rude or talk over each other, especially if you are up against a less experienced debater. I will dock points for badgering novices.


I don't mind speed, as long as you are clear. I will only call "clear" twice in a varsity round. Taglines, authors, and card interp should be noticeably slower. It is up to the speaker to communicate their arguments and be aware of the audience's attention level.


I evaluate the full participation of the chamber, from docket maneuvers to quality and variety of questions. Successful legislators are those who drive the debate, present new/unique arguments, extend/refute/deepen previous arguments, choose sources carefully, and use parliamentary procedure appropriately. Debate on the merits/flaws of the specific legislation is given more weight than general issue arguments. Delivery style can enhance the persuasiveness of your analysis, but will not make up for canned speeches, poor supporting materials, or rehashed arguments.

POs are an essential part of the chamber. They set the mood, pace, and attitude of the chamber. It is a risk, and that is taken to account when I score. POs with a good pace and no major errors are very likely to be ranked.

Note on authorships/first pros: The price for establishing recency is that your speech must provide some background for the debate and at least one reason why this legislation in particular is/is not the answer.


The purpose of evidence in all forms of debate is to support your arguments with expert testimony, not to BE your arguments. I will only ask for cards if something sounds exceptionally wonky. Have some understanding of the bias of your sources (Are they all from conservative think tanks?, etc.). It is generally up to your opponent(s) to point out blatantly wrong evidence, but I will dock for egregious offenses.

Ryan Hemnarine Paradigm

6 rounds

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

I would like to be on the email chain:

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

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

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

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

Chetan Hertzig Paradigm

6 rounds

EXPERIENCE: I'm the head coach at Harrison High School in New York; I was an assistant coach at Lexington from 1998-2004 (I debated there from 1994-1998), at Sacred Heart from 2004-2008, and at Scarsdale from 2007-2008. I'm not presently affiliated with these programs or their students.

If you're in high school, please just call me Hertzig.

Please include me on the email chain:


CLARITY in both delivery and substance is the most important thing for me. If you're clearer than your opponent, I'll probably vote for you.


- Starting speeches slowly and building speed as you go (rather than starting at top speed)
- Speaking slower than average circuit speed
- Providing an explicit decision-calculus/voting issues
- Explicitly linking to a standard or ROB in speeches, especially rebuttals
- Telling a clear and coherent ballot story
- Weighing between your extensions and your opponent's (not just giving me two non-clashing sets of extensions)
- Reading a whole res aff that defends the topic as a principle
- Having a layered NC and responsive/specific turns off the aff
- Making topical critical arguments/reading Ks that are grounded in the topic lit
- Comparing evidence and weighing
- Giving structured speeches
- Using good word economy


- Using profanity in the round. I don't care what your purpose is; it's not necessary.
- Using ad homs of any kind against your opponent (e.g., commenting on their race, clothing, or practices as a debater). Find a non-personal way of making the argument.
- Reacting non-verbally when your opponent is speaking (e.g., violently shaking your head, making faces, waving your arms, etc.). It's rude, unpersuasive, and unnecessary.
- Indicting or insulting an opponent's team or coach in round (e.g., "It's no surprise [team name] is going for T this round")
- Sitting during CX and/or speeches unless you're physically unable to stand


If, after the round, I don't feel that I can articulate what you wanted me to vote for, I'm probably not going to vote for it.

Speed: Slow down, articulate/enunciate, and inflect - no monotone spreading, bizarre breathing patterns, or foot-stomping. I will say "slow" and/or "clear," but if I have to call out those words more than twice in a speech, your speaks are going to suffer. I'm fine with debaters slowing or clearing their opponents if necessary. I think this is an important check on ableism in rounds.

Theory: I don't view theory the way I view other arguments on the flow. I will intervene against theory that's clearly unnecessary/frivolous, even if you're winning the line-by-line on theory. I will vote on theory that is actually justified (as in, you couldn't have answered the position without it, or there was something about the opponent's strategy that made it impossible for you to win without theory). Is that subjective? You bet. Is there a brightline? Probably not. Don't like this view? Don't pref me.

Framework: If you and your opponent agree on a FW, great. If not, make the FW debate relatively short (i.e., not 4 minutes of a 7 minute speech). Also, please explain the philosophical concepts you're using instead of assuming that I know them. I probably don't.

Policy Arguments: I dislike generic politics DAs and extinction impacts on topics that clearly don't link to them. If you want to run those impacts on a topic about nuclear weapons, go for it. If the topic's about compulsory voting, I'll be very receptive to good defensive answers from the aff.

Ks and Non-T Arguments: I generally prefer topical critical arguments, but I'm okay with non-topical affs if you make it clear why you had to be non-topical to read them.

Disclosure Theory: I'll vote for this if I think it's won on the flow, but I'm not a huge fan of rounds that come down to this.

Tricks: Shut the front door! Who are you?! (In other words, "no.")

Extensions: I need to hear the claim, warrant, and impact in an extension. Don't just extend names and claims.

"Flex Prep": I am fine with you asking clarification questions of your opponent during prep time. I am not okay with you ending CX early and taking the rest of the time as prep time.

Other Stuff: Link to a standard, burden, or clear role of the ballot. Signpost. Give me voting issues or a decision calculus of some kind. WEIGH. Be nice. And stand up.

To research more stuff about life career coaching then visit Life coach.

Sheryl Kaczmarek Paradigm

5 rounds

Sheryl Kaczmarek Lexington High School --

General Thoughts

I expect debaters to treat one another, their judges and any observers, with respect, and I also expect all audience members to treat every participant in a round with respect. If you plan to accuse your opponent(s) of being intellectually dishonest or of cheating, please be prepared to stake the round on that claim. Accusations of that sort are NOT JUST ARGUMENTS, they are round ending claims for me, one way or the other, so don't make the accusation in a speech if you don't want me to judge the round based on that argument alone, either for or against the person making the claim. I believe debate is an oral and aural experience, which means that while I want to be included on the email chain, I will NOT be reading along with you, and I will not give you credit for arguments I cannot hear/understand if you do not change your speaking after I shout clearer or louder for the second time. I take the flow very seriously and I probably judge as much as anyone my age, across the disciplines, but I still need everyone to explain their arguments because I may not "know" all of the nuances for every topic in every event, and I should not judge on what I know anyhow. There is an exception: I will NOT vote for arguments that are racist, sexist or in any other way biased against a group based on gender identity, religion or any other characteristic and I will NOT vote for suicide/self harm alternatives. None of those are things I can endorse as a long time high school teacher and decent human.

Policy Paradigm

The Resolution -- I would prefer that debaters actually address the resolution, but I do vote for non-resolutional, non-topical or critical affirmatives fairly often. That is because it is up to the debaters in the round to resolve the issue of whether the affirmative ought to be endorsing the resolution, or not, and I will vote based on which side makes the better arguments on that question, in the context of the rest of the round.

Framework -- I often find that these debates get really messy really fast. Debaters tend to make too many arguments and tend not to answer the arguments of the opposition very clearly. I would prefer more direct clash, and fewer arguments overall. While I don't think framework arguments are as interesting as many other types of arguments in a debate, I will vote for the team which best promotes their vision of debate through their framework arguments, or at least look at the rest of the arguments in the round through that lens.

Links -- You should have them, for both Disads and Kritiks. I would really like to know what the affirmative has done to cause the impacts referenced in a Disad, and I think there has to be something the affirmative does (or thinks) which triggers a Kritik. I don't care how big the impact/implication is if the affirmative does not cause it in the first place.

Solvency -- I expect actual solvency advocates for both plans and counterplans. If you are going to have multi-plank plans or counterplans, make sure you have solvency advocates for those combinations of actions, and even if you are advocating a single action, I still expect some source that suggests this action as a solution for the problems you have identified with the SQ, or with the Affirmative (which is why your counterplan is better).

Evidence -- I expect your evidence to be highlighted consistent with the intent of your authors, and I expect your tags to make claims that you will prove with the parts you read from your evidence. Highlighting random words which would be incoherent if read slowly really annoys me and pretending your cards include warrants for the claims you make (when they do not) is more than annoying. If your tag says "causes extinction," the text of of the part of the card you read really needs to say extinction will be the result. Misrepresenting your evidence is a huge issue for me. More often then not, when I read cards in a round, it is because I fear misrepresentation.

New Arguments/Very Complicated Arguments -- Please do not expect me to do any work for you on arguments I do not understand. I judge based on the flow and if I do not understand what I have written down, or cannot make enough sense of it to write it down, I will not be able to vote for it. If you don't have the time to explain some complicated philosophical position to me, and to link it to the opposition, you might want to try a different strategy. I will try to follow you, but there is no guarantee I will succeed.

Old/Traditional Arguments -- I have been judging long enough that I have a full range of experiences with inherency, case specific disads, theoretical arguments against politics disads and many other arguments from policy debate's past, and I also understand the stock issues and traditional policy-making. If you want to really confuse your opponents, and amuse me, you'll kick it old school rather than going post-modern.

LD Paradigm

The Resolution -- The thing that originally attracted me about LD (as opposed to policy) was that debaters actually addressed the whole resolution. These days, that happens far less often in LD than it used to. I do like hearing the resolution debated, but I also vote for non-resolutional, non-topical or critical affirmatives fairly often in LD. That is because I believe it is up to the debaters in the round to resolve the issue of whether the affirmative ought to be endorsing the resolution, or not, and I will vote based on which side makes the better arguments on that question, in the context of the rest of the round.

Framework -- I think LDers are better at framework debates than policy debaters, as a general rule, but I have noticed a trend to lazy framework debates in LD in recent years. How often should debaters recycle Winter and Leighton, for example, before looking for something new? If you want to stake the round on the framework you can, or you can allow it to be the lens through which I will look at the rest of the arguments in the round.

Policy Arguments in LD -- I understand all of the policy arguments that have migrated to LD quite well, and I remember when many of them were first developed in Policy. The biggest mistake LDers make with policy arguments -- Counterplans, Perm Theory, Topicality, Disads, Solvency, etc. -- is making the assumption that your particular interpretation of any of those arguments is the same as mine. Don't do that! If you don't explain something, I have no choice but to default to my understanding of that thing. For example, if you say, "Perm do Both," with no other words, I will interpret that to mean, "let's see if it is possible to do the Aff Plan and the Neg Counterplan at the same time, and if it is, the Counterplan goes away." If you mean something different, you need to tell me. That is true for all judges, but especially true for someone with over 40 years of policy experience. I try to keep what I think out of the round, but absent your thoughts, I have to use my own.

Evidence -- I expect your evidence to be highlighted consistent with the intent of your authors, and I expect your tags to make claims that you will prove with the parts you read from your evidence. Highlighting random words which would be incoherent if read slowly really annoys me and pretending your cards include warrants for the claims you make (when they do not) is more than annoying. If your tag says "causes extinction," the text of of the part if the card you read really needs to say extinction will be the result. Misrepresenting your evidence is a huge issue for me. More often then not, when I read cards in a round, it is because I fear misrepresentation.

New Arguments/Very Complicated Arguments -- Please do not expect me to do any work for you on arguments I do not understand. I judge based on the flow and if I do not understand what I have written down, or cannot make enough sense of it to write it down, I will not be able to vote for it. If you don't have the time to explain some complicated philosophical position to me, and to link it to the opposition, you might want to try a different strategy. I will try to follow you, but there is no guarantee I will succeed.

Traditional Arguments -- I would still be pleased to listen to cases with a Value Premise and a Criterion. I almost certainly prefer traditional arguments to new arguments that I cannot understand at full debate speed.

Theory -- Theory arguments are not magical, and theory arguments which are not fully explained, as they are being presented, are unlikely to be persuasive for me, particularly if presented in a paragraph, since there is no way of knowing which ones I won't notice or write down, and no one can write down all of the arguments in a densely packed theory paragraph. I also don't like theory arguments that are crafted for one particular debate. If it is not an argument that can be used in multiple debates (like topicality, conditionality, etc) then it probably ought not be run in front of me. New 1AR theory is risky, in my opinion, because the NR typically has more than enough time to answer it, and I don't especially like disclosure theory arguments because I am not in a position to judge what was done or said before a round, and because I am not at all sure I ought to be voting on things that happened before official speech or CX time begins. All of that being said, I have voted on theory, even new 1AR theory, and disclosure theory, if a debater WINS the argument, but it does not make me smile.

PF Paradigm

The Resolution -- PF still debates the resolution, which is one of the things I really like about the activity. Please make sure you do debate the resolution when debating in front of me. It would be best if the Final Focus on each side attempted to guide me to either endorse or reject the resolution.

Framework -- This is beginning to be a thing in PF in some places. I am perfectly willing to consider a lens through which I can look at the arguments in the debate, but given the time limits, please keep your framework simple and focused, should you decide to use one.

Policy or LD Behaviors/Arguments in PF -- I personally believe each form of debate ought to be its own thing. I do not want you to talk quickly in PF, just because I also judge LD and Policy, and I really don't want to see theory arguments, plans, counterplans or kritiks in PF. I will definitely flow, and will judge the debate based on the flow, but I want PF to be PF. That being said, I will not automatically vote against a team that brings Policy/LD arguments/stylistic approaches into PF. It is still a debate and the opposition needs to answer the arguments that are presented in order to win my ballot, even if they are arguments I don't want to see in PF.

Paraphrasing -- I really wish the NSDA had decided to kill paraphrasing in PF. When someone paraphrases inaccurately, I have a huge problem with it. I expect debaters to be able to immediately access the text of the cards they have paraphrased -- there should not need to be an off time search for the article, or for the exact place in the article where they drew their paraphrasing from. Taking a 150 page article and making a claim from it is not paraphrasing unless you can point to the exact place your statement is based upon.

Evidence -- If you are using evidence, I expect your evidence to be highlighted consistent with the intent of your authors, and I expect your tags to make claims that you will prove with the parts you read from your evidence. Pretending your cards include warrants for the claims you make (when they do not) is unacceptable. If your tag says "causes extinction," the text of of the part you card you read needs to say extinction will happen. Misrepresenting your evidence is a huge issue for me. More often then not, when I read cards in a round, it is because I fear misrepresentation.

Theory -- This has begun to be a thing in PF in some places, especially with respect to disclosure theory, and I am not a fan. As previously noted, I want PF to be PF. While I do think that PFers can be too secretive (for example, getting excited because people are watching their debates -- debates are educational and should be open to observers) I don't think that PFers ought to be expending their very limited time in rounds talking about whether they ought to have disclosed their case to their opponents before the round. Like everything else I would prefer not be true, I can see myself voting on theory in PF because I do vote based on the flow, but how about debating the case in front of you, instead of inventing new arguments you don't really have time to discuss? I would like that, and happy judges give better speaker points.

Gurmeet Kindra Paradigm

2 rounds

I am a simple judge


1. I will say clear or slow-But please don't make me- slow on tags and evidence

2. If I don't have the doc don't plan on spreading

3. I don't have a preference to what you run K's, LARP etc. as long as you can defend your case clearly. If you are spreading make sure you slow down on tag lines.

4. I love smart CX, and I pay close attention to it.

5. Be Eloquent as I do pay attention to that as well


1.Let Weighing live in LD, I don't want a blitz of back file answers without leveraging the AC- then whats the point besides wasting 6 minuets?

2. I know there is a skew! Please don't waste more time complaining about it, it is an acceptable standard in a counter interp or just argument but shouldn't be the the main point of the 1AR, the more time you spend, the less i'll buy it.

3. Not super familiar w/ performance/Non t affs but please go for it- just break it down and you'll be fine


1. I won't vote you down but i'll kill your speaks if you run more than 5 off that are all condo, it always leads to bad debate- I'm generally good with condo but 5 or more off is just abusive

2. I expect clear articulation of what operates on the highest layer, K or Theory- If they go for one and you don't kick the other i'll assume risk of offense so for your benefit be clear

Please Note: I don't disclose. when you see it you will see critique clearly showing what and why.

email the doc to

Louis Kollar Paradigm

4 rounds

Email for the chain (Required unless it's a lay/paper, set it up early please):


-Debated for NT from 2012-2016 went to the TOC once, I go to Indiana now and coach NT every now and then. Assume that the number of rounds I've judged at the tournament is also the total number of rounds I've judged on the entire topic. I’ve graduated from college I now only judge with extreme rarity.

-Read whatever you're best at no matter what it is; good debates are better than bad ones no matter the content. I'll always vote for the winner.


-The distinction between true/false arguments and good/bad arguments are two different things. If your argument is false (e.g. global warming not real), I don't care and I'll vote for it if you win it (excluding blatantly offensive arguments, obviously). If your argument is just bad (e.g. global warming is real b/c it is hot out today) it takes a lot more technical skill in order to win with it.

-Zero-risk is absolutely thing

-Strategy, prep, creativity>>>

-Debated LARP in HS so it's what I'm most familiar with and like best. Most of my paradigmatic defaults are the same as the general consensus in policy debate but feel free to ask.

-Don't care about running theory for purely the strategic reason, obviously bad interps are harder to win with (see zero risk/bad arguments)

-Tricks are fine just please actually be creative with them

-Ks are fine, I've read the basics of the common Ks but if you're reading Baudrillard or something you should overexplain it. If you do a bad job explaining your stuff and I don't understand it I'm perfectly willing to vote against you and start the RFD with "Yeah I don't get it".

-In terms of non-T affs I'm not a complete framework hack but if it's not in the 1nc you're doing yourself a serious disservice. Also if you read a plan text, I'm going to hold you to defending/solving that plan text. Again though, debate what you're best at.

-Your pre-round prep/strat development is probably the best way to get good speaks.

-Debate is supposed to be fun, make jokes, be sarcastic, don't be an asshole, don't take yourself too seriously etc.

-I'm very pro-disclosure but generally anti-disclosure theory. I get that sometimes you'll have to read it and I'll treat it like I treat any other theory argument, but if you have a decent case neg put together or only want to quibble over the way that someone discloses then your 1NC is better served by just reading something else. (If you read and go for disclosure theory against someone who is obviously not familiar with the circuit I will not vote for it and your speaks will suck). In case anyone cares I think the true interp is disclosure for debaters with a career bid and in all elim rounds; if you want to card me for your counter interp or run a blog and want an article hmu

-I have a very low threshold for extensions

-I will answer clarifying questions about my paradigm during prep as long as they're things like "what's your default on RVIs?" or "Do you default to Condo means judge kick?" or anything else that you could've asked before the debate but didn't because you can never know which of my potential defaults will be relevant. Stuff that you'd need the context of the debate to ask like "Do you think there's a winning 2NR on the disad or should I go for T?" I will not answer. The former gives you the information you'd need to make strategic decisions, the latter makes some of the decisions for you.

-I really appreciate creativity. Lately, I've been feeling like I've heard every interp/framework/impact scenario before so if you can produce one that's completely unique that'll make me enjoy the round more.

-If you say “non-unique” when you actually mean “uniqueness overwhelms the link” or vice versa I will be annoyed

-If you can tell a joke that makes me laugh about the 2015-2016 debate season or the New Trier debate team speaks go up (they go up further for the 2015-2016 season because with the age of current debates that's tougher)

-Why on earth do so many people take prep for the 1nc?

Julian Kuffour Paradigm

6 rounds

julian kuffour

rising junior debating for usc; head coach of ld for peninsula high school


updated for: idk tdi i guess

1. tl;dr:

little to no argumentative preference; fine for the k; would much rather you go for the thing you practice than listen to an attempt at adaptation

conditionality is good; default judge kick

better for presumption than most

tech over truth

voted bout 60/40 in favor of the plan aff vs. the k; bout 50/50 on fw vs. the k aff last year

2. framework/k affs:

been on both sides, so i default to tech. i read k affs in college fwiw. fairness then some clash-based education argument then movements. better for limits bad than state evil. need a role for the negative, so the best counter-interps for me prolly include some degree of policy-style debate to solve negative offense.

good for identity, bad for high theory. examples are very important in these debates to conceptualize what you are trying to produce or things the aff (or the permutation) might agree with. extremely bad for repeating "normative." yes perms in a method debate.

3. theory:

neg: don't.

aff: don't. unless dropped. always a reason to reject the argument not the team, unless condo.

4. disad/cp:

go for it. not a big fan of politics. i also hate ld overviews that explain every mechanic of the disad, especially when most parts are uncontested. very easily persuaded by a nuanced turns the case argument. disads that are specific to the aff are sweet.

5. the k:

don't like: white ppl k's or white ppl reading k's abt black ppl. do like: the death k and most identity-based arguments.

framework debate often decides the debate for the links you are gonna go for, esp in ld. you need a link that k's the plan aff's impact framing or you will lose to case outweighs. in that sense, if you're aff, util better than soft left.

6. case:

not much to say here. not a big fan of framing contentions, but am a big fan of getting to vote neg on presumption.

7. t:

competing interpretations. gotten slightly better, but still not content with my decisions in these debates oftentimes. predictable limits matter more than precision. non-negotiable (ld smh): never an rvi, always drop the team.

8. other things:

prolly should start slower in front of me than others.

don't clip.

very emotive during debates.

generally gives higher points.

Raul Larsen Paradigm

2 rounds

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



(Long Version is for procrastinating non-debate work)




(Pre-round Prep/Deadline Preffing):

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

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

Strategy Notes:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Season Notes:

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

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

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




(good luck, get snacks)



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

Long Version (Procrastinating Other Work/Season Preffing):

Role of the Ballot:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Flow your overview verbatim

Flow your underview verbatim

Flow your tags verbatim


Follow the speech doc for author name spelling

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

Write in multiple colors (for individual speakers and notes)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Good links >>> more links

Good evidence >>>>> more evidence

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I apologize for this paradigm becoming unreasonable in length.



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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I’m friendly.

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

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

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

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

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



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

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

4 years high school LD/Extemp/PF

3 years college policy/parli/public

Coaching/teaching debate since 2009-ish

Writing Arguments by Allegory since 2013

Demarcus Powell Paradigm

3 rounds

Feel free to email me with any questions about my paradigm.

Only send speech docs to for Dallas tournaments national circuit tournament please send speech docs to

ASK FOR POLICY PARADIGM - The paradigm below is designed mostly for LD. Some things change for me when evaluating the different events/styles of debate. Also when you ask please have specific questions. Saying "What's your paradigm?", will most likely result in me laughing at you and/or saying ask me a question.

About Me: I graduated from Crowley High School in 2013, where I debated LD for three years mostly on the TFA/TOC circuit. I ran everything from super stock traditional cases to plans/counterplans to skepticism, so you probably can't go wrong with whatever you want to run.I debated at The University of Texas at Dallas, in college policy debate for 3 years .Running any sort of Morally repugnant argument can hurt you, if you're not sure if your argument will qualify ask me before we begin and I'll let you know.

Speed: I can flow moderately fast speeds (7-8 on a scale of 10), but obviously I'll catch more and understand more if you're clear while spreading. I'll say "clear"/"slow" twice before I stop attempting to flow. If I stop typing and look up, or I'm looking confused, please slow down!! Also just because I can flow speed does not mean I like hearing plan texts and interpretations at full speed, these things should be at conversational speed.

Cross Examination: While in front of me cx is binding anything you say pertaining to intricacies in your case do matter. I don't care about flex prep but I will say that the same rules of regular cx do apply and if you do so your opponent will have the chance to do so. Also be civil to one another, I don't want to hear about your high school drama during cx if this happens you will lose speaker points.

Prep Time: I would prefer that we don't waste prep time or steal it. If you're using technology (i.e. a laptop, tablet, or anything else) I will expect you to use it almost perfectly. These things are not indicative of my decision on the round rather they are pet peeves of mine that I hate to see happen in the round. I hate to see rounds delayed because debaters don't know how to use the tools they have correctly.UPDATE. You need to flow. The excessive asking for new speech docs to be sent has gotten out of hand. If there are only minor changes or one or two marked cards those are things you should catch while flowing. I can understand if there are major changes (3 or more cards being marked or removed) or new cards being read but outside of this you will get no sympathy from me. If you are smart and actually read this just start exempting things. I don't look at the speech doc I flow. If you opponent doesn't catch it so be it. If this happens in rounds I am judging it will impact your speaker points. If you would like a new doc and the changes are not excessive per my definition you are free to use your own prep time, this will not effect your speaker points.

Theory: I don't mind theory debates - I think theory can be used as part of a strategy rather than just as a mechanism for checking abuse. However, this leniency comes with a caveat; I have a very low threshold for RVI's (i.e. they're easier to justify) and I-meet arguments, so starting theory and then throwing it away will be harder provided your opponent makes the RVI/I-meet arguments (if they don't, no problem). While reading your shell, please slow down for the interpretation and use numbering/lettering to distinguish between parts of the shell!

Also theory debates tend to get very messy very quickly, so I prefer that each interpretation be on a different flow. This is how I will flow them unless told to the otherwise. I am not in the business of doing work for the debaters so if you want to cross apply something say it. I wont just assume that because you answered in one place that the answer will cross applied in all necessary places, THAT IS YOUR JOB.

  • Meta-Theory: I think meta-thoery can be very effective in checking back abuses caused by the theory debate. With that being said though the role of the ballot should be very clear and well explained, what that means is just that I will try my hardest not to interject my thoughts into the round so long as you tell me exactly how your arguments function. Although I try not to intervene I will still use my brain in round and think about arguments especially ones like Meta-Theory. I believe there are different styles of theory debates that I may not be aware of or have previously used in the past, this does not mean I will reject them I would just like you to explain to me how these arguments function.

Speaks: I start at a 27 and go up (usually) or down depending on your strategy, clarity, selection of issues, signposting, etc. I very rarely will give a 30 in a round, however receiving a 30 from me is possible but only if 1) your reading, signposting, and roadmaps are perfect 2) if the arguments coming out of your case are fully developed and explained clearly 3) if your rebuttals are perfectly organized and use all of your time wisely 4) you do not run arguments that I believe take away from any of these 3 factors. I normally don't have a problem with "morally questionable" arguments because I think there's a difference between the advocacies debaters have or justify in-round and the ones they actually support. However, this will change if one debater wins that such positions should be rejected (micropol, etc). Lastly, I do not care if you sit or stand while you speak, if your speech is affected by your choice I will not be lenient if you struggle to stand and debate at the same time. UPDATE. If you spend a large chunk of time in your 1AC reading and under-view or spikes just know I do not like this and your speaks may be impacted. This is not a model of debate I want to endorse.

General Preferences: I need a framework for evaluating the round but it doesn't have to be a traditional value-criterion setup. You're not required to read an opposing framework (as the neg) as long as your offense links somewhere. I have no problem with severing out of cases (I think it should be done in the 1AR though). NIBs/pre standards are both fine, but both should be clearly labeled or I might not catch it. If you're going to run a laundry list of spikes please number them. My tolerance of just about any argument (e.g. extinction, NIBS, AFC) can be changed through theory.

Kritiks and Micropol: Although I do not run these arguments very often, I do know what good K debate looks like. That being said I often see Kritiks butchered in LD so run them with caution. Both should have an explicit role of the ballot argument (or link to the resolution). For K's that are using postmodern authors or confusing cards, go more slowly than you normally would if you want me to understand it and vote on it.

Extensions and Signposting: Extensions should be clear, and should include the warrant of the card (you don't have to reread that part of the card, just refresh it). I not a fan of "shadow extending," or extending arguments by just talking about them in round - please say "extend"!! Signposting is vital - I'll probably just stare at you with a weird look if I'm lost.

Some of the information above may relate to paper flowing, I've now gone paperless, but many of the same things still apply. If I stop typing for long stretches then I am probably a bit lost as to where you are on the flow.

Nathan Rice Paradigm

6 rounds

Top Level -

I debated at the University of Georgia for four years, and I currently coach at Berkeley.

Throw me on the chain please -

I try to judge debates as technically as possible.

Planless Affs -

I am a good judge for framework.

"No perms in a method debate" doesn't make sense to me.

Theory -

When equally debated: Consult, condition, delay, etc. are all cheating; International fiat is bad; Fifty State fiat is bad; Condo is good.

I will likely judge kick unless there is unanswered instruction not to do so.

Kritiks -

It is going to be hard to convince me that the aff shouldn't get to weigh the plan absent major technical concessions. It is equally hard to convince me to buy overly restrictive aff framework arguments.

Alts that use international/utopian/private actor, etc. fiat are likely theoretically illegitimate, but it is up to the aff to win that. Floating PIKs are bad.

I am very familiar with IR K's on the topic. I have at least a basic understanding of most popular K's.

LD -

My experience is almost exclusively with policy debate. Proliferation of frivolous theory arguments is unlikely to be useful.

Sarah Roberts Paradigm

6 rounds


was denver independent/denverlake independent, 2x qualified to the toc, berkeley '20, work for harker.

my email is – please put me on the email chain.

tdlr: you should not pref me if:

- you intentionally don’t disclose

- your strategies rely heavily on friv theory/tricks

- you are going to be rude and uninterested in the debate

- your strategies rely primarily on personal attacks of other debaters

- you find yourself postrounding judges for egregiously long times after the rfd

tldr: you should pref me if:

- you do not do the above

- you like high theory

- you like going 6 off w tricky cps + disads

- you like well researched politics scenarios

unsortable thoughts:

· IMPORTANT: flex prep means asking questions during prep time - in no world does unused cx time become prep time - what????? you get your 4 (or 5) minutes that's it no more of this nonsense

· larp>>good k debate>>>theory heavy debate>>bad k debate>>tricks and phil

· i flow cx -- that means i’m exhausted of the arg that "cx doesn't check because judges don't flow it", that doesn't mean you don't need to make the arguments you establish in your actual speech.

· i’m not into postrounding. this includes but is not limited to: talking at me for thirty minutes, trying to re-read your 2a/nr at me, sending me excessive emails about why you think my decision is wrong. if you have had me in the back and have postrounded me every time, you should... maybe think about redoing your pref sheet!

· explain what perm do both looks like (!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!)

· if you want/will need me to look at an interp/counterinterp/perm you read, those things must be sent within the speech doc. i will hold you to what is written, or you will risk me just evaluating the words I heard -- that also means no shifty changing in cx!!

· given how clear it is to me that no one can really flow a debate round as it is delivered based on prep time just becoming a spec review, you are fine to toss out a "slow" at your opponents if you can't flow/understand at their top speed. this is better than you asking 1000 clarification questions during your prep time.

· getting the round started before the start time + being efficient: +.2 speaks. why can't anyone start the email chain on time anymore makes me sad :<


speaks --

here are my averages from the fall '19 tournaments i've been at (total average, at present, is a 28.53). things that help speaks: technical competence, getting the round started on time, good articulation of k lit, bataille

· damus: 28.11

· marks: 28.32

· presentation: 28.68

· greenhill: 28.58

· greenhill rr: 28.96

general --

almost everything in the sections below applies to the way i evaluate debates, but here are some specific things that i hold true when judging these rounds. with some small exceptions, (i would like to think) i approach judging relatively similarly to rodrigo paramo (thx for teaching me ld!).

· if the 2nr is split, it will hurt your speaker points

· i will evaluate judge kick arguments

· please slow down on theory

· bracketing is not good, disclosure definitely is. be reasonable here though -- if your opponent literally has never heard of the wiki and you immediately try to crush them on disclosure theory, i will be unhappy :<

· i am not very persuaded by frivolous theory arguments and will hold responses to a lower level of depth than with well developed, pertinent theory args. if you have to ask me if a theory arg is frivolous before the round i think you probably know what the answer is.

· rvis – primarily on topicality – are not persuasive to me

k affs –

things you need to do when you’re reading these sorts of affs

· utilize 1ac ev through the whole debate and contextualize your answers to the theories in your aff

· explain exactly what the aff does/aims to do – are you working towards a paradigmatic shift in how we approach (x) policy or are you criticizing the structure of debate itself? what does voting aff do to resolve those issues?

· understand that teams sometimes just read framework because they don’t know how else to necessarily engage your aff.

· have good background knowledge... i'm so unenthused by people who pull out their ~fire~ baudrillard aff and then make args about creating meaning being good... like what? i will you to a high standard of background knowledge and contextualization/explanation.

i feel more qualified to judge high theory args than i do performances or args centered on individual identity.

fw vs k affs –

my record shows me leaning slightly more neg on framework vs k affs (maybe around 60/40?) presuming you’re not reading fairness impacts (in which case it drops to like 30/70). i think arguments about the specific mobilization/utilization of skills gained uniquely from debate tend to be much more convincing. things i’d like to see in these debates:

· examples of how movements outside of the political sphere have used political knowledge to further their cause

· reasons why knowing about the way legal systems work/interact is good

· a defense of fiat/hypothetical discussions of policies

· contextualized case arguments (which can often answer back for the “they didn’t engage us” claims)

policy affs vs ks –

too many teams pivot to the left when they hear a k in the 1nc. just defend what you did in the 1ac and explain why it’s good. some things that i think are important to do in these debates:

· win framework/win fiat/win why hypothetical discussions of policies are good

· answer the long k overview from the 2nc

· be able to explain/give examples of what the permutation will look like (you definitely get a perm)

· actually debate the k rather than just reading author indicts

· not back down from big stick impacts. you know what ground you get against literally every baudrillard k? heg good.

ks –

you need to have background knowledge of the lit and arguments, i will know if you just pulled a backfile out or haven't engaged with the lit in necessary ways! i only ever went one off in high school so i will expect a high level of articulation from you in regards to explaining your arguments and contextualizing them to the aff specifically. some things i’d like to see in a k debate

· specific quotes being pulled from the 1ac on the 2nc link debate

· technical debating rather than reading a 6 min o/v and saying it answers all the aff arguments

· having a good, in-depth explanation of the theory of your argument/why and how it interacts with the aff in cx when asked about it

· bataille

some authors i have read/continue to read in my free time/am knowledgeable about (bets are off for anyone not listed) ranked from most liked to “ehhhh”:

irigaray (bring her back), bataille, baudrillard, spanos (bring him back), lacan/psychoanalysis, berlant, edelman, deleuze/deleuze and guattari

disads –

i love seeing a well debated disad as much as i love seeing a well debated critique. i think it is really important to have good evidence and good analysis in these debates.

i am less familiar with very specific political processes disads so i may need more explanation of those whether that occurs in a quick 2nc overview or in cx given the opportunity. some things i’d like to see:

· good case engagement along with the disad. this means good impact calc as well as judge instruction

· clear explanation of the political scenario you're reading if it's a politics disad, clear analysis on the link chains if it's not a politics disad

· actual cards after the 1nc

counterplans –

truly a 2n at heart; i’ll grant you a lot of leniency in how shifty your counterplans can be. i think really specific counterplans are one of the greatest things to see in debate.

· if you cut your cp evidence from 1ac evidence/authors you’ll get a boost in speaks!

· i also think (specific, not generic word) piks/pics are pretty underutilized -- especially against k affs – i’d love to see more of these.

· i don’t think explanation-less "perm do the counterplan" or "perm do the aff" are legit.

theory –

less qualified to judge these debates imo, but will still listen to them. please slow down and don't spread through blocks -- i'll stop flowing if i can't understand it.

i have no tolerance for frivolous theory. if you are reading arguments related to what your opponents wear or what esoteric word needs to be in the 1ac, i will not enjoy the debate and will most likely not vote for you!

topicality –

a good block/2nr contains a well thought out and developed interpretation of what the topic is/view of how the topic should be explained and debated in regards to specific arguments that can/cannot be justified vis a vis the topic wording.

i really like to see good lists in t debates (untopical affs made topical by the aff’s interp, clearly topical affs that are excluded by the neg’s interp, etc).

nebel is fine to read in front of me because it’s a warranted argument! there is no good world in which somebody can just say ‘nebel bad vote aff’ and win on that! this should not be so controversial!

case debate –

there needs to be more of it in every debate. go for impact turns. i love dedev. recutting aff cards.... amazing. if the negative drops your case or does not spend time on it you can spend less time on it in the 1ar/2ar too!!!!

ethics/rhetoric –

i'm not into rhetoric violations. please ensure that it is not just a singular slip of the tongue -- often times a mention in cx/the speech and a genuine apology from the team who said it suffices and provides more education overall.

if there is egregious/violent language, i will take it upon myself to appropriately intervene and adjudicate on a case-by-case basis.

i'm lenient on ethics violations. if an ethics violation is called, i will stop the round after getting evidence of the violation from the team that called it and make my decision based on the tournament invite, the ndca rules, and the round itself.

Hailey Robertson Paradigm

2 rounds

I did policy for 4 years at Washburn Rural High School (2013-17) in Kansas and I currently debate for the University of Southern California (2021).

Email for docs:

Email only if you're adding me to Zoom:


- I'm probably more "good" for technical DA/CP strategies than high theory K's, but my voting record shows I’ll vote for any style of argument. As a debater, I have always been a 2N which probably shapes how I think about debate to an extent. Throughout my career, I’ve read both policy + critical affs, and on the negative, most often go for politics, framework, Marx, topic DAs/CPs, etc.

- I will immediately vote against arguments that are moral blackmail (and tank your speaks for trying), regardless of how they are answered by your opponent. This applies to “vote for me or else I have to quit” and similar arguments. If you have a concern like this, talk to your opponent/coaches, but do not make me the arbiter of that decision. These debates really weigh on me as a judge and are bad for my (and maybe your opponent’s) mental health, so please don’t put me in this position, you’ve been warned. You will be angry when I immediately vote against you, and I will not care.

**More pet peeve/other things at bottom, but basically, don't be rude, don't cheat, and know that I am a mandatory reporter!

Critical Affs v FW:

These debates can be some of the most engaging or most boring, in my opinion. My biggest qualm is with teams - either side - that don't tailor their positions to answer the specifics of their opponent's argument. In cases that I vote negative, I find that it is often because aff teams don't generate offense beyond "USFG bad." That said, many neg FW arguments seem to be just repetitive cliches or unresponsive blocks that they stole from a college team (and thus can't articulate args beyond the block). I generally think affs should have some relation to the topic, but saying “JuDgE tHeY dIdN’t sAy UsFg” isn’t going to get the job done.

Policy Affs vs T:

T is always a voter and never a reverse voter. I default to competing interpretations, and generally think that I think that limits are the most persuasive standard for evaluating T. That said, I don’t think limits or ground are impacts on their own — it’s simply an internal link to education, fairness, etc.


I generally believe theory is a reason to reject the arg, not the team. Exception is condo/disclosure (maybe?) but that doesn’t mean I want to hear a theory debate. Does anyone? If you must, contextualize your violation to the round + give warranted analysis why something should/should not be theoretically allowed in debate. Please slow down in these debates and give me pen time. Tech over truth, but the args need to be warranted and impacted.


I like politics DAs, love case specific DAs, and Hate "The Spending DA."

I'm not a fan of politics theory args, or DA theory args generally. If the DA's so bad, beat it on substance.

I also will not assign zero (or 100%) risk to an advantage/DA unless there is an explicitly dropped argument.


CPs that are usually good:

- PICs

- Advantage

- Process (though some people have tested me recently lmao)

These CPs are more susceptible to theory but still generally enjoyed:

- International fiat

- States (especially those cheat-y multi plank ones)

- Consult/conditions

Not a fan:

- Word PICs

- Delay

** this is not a comprehensive list, just a few common ones

Not super technical in my knowledge of CP theory, mostly due to a lack of interest.


I believe that fiat and the ability of the aff to weigh their impacts are generally good. I have debated kritiks from both sides, but have not read as much of the literature (especially for high theory arguments), so I will need you to explain your argument very clearly to me. I would prefer if it was obvious to me what your argument is in the 1NC -- if you have a performative argument, it would help if you allocated time in the first speech to establish links, rather than just hoping I can deduce them from the thesis of your K. If you do not articulate your argument until the block, I will be sympathetic to new 1AR/2AR answers. Ultimately, I will not vote on something if I do not know what it means, so don't just read a K in hopes of confusing your opponents -- I will probably be really confused too.

I generally believe that links should be as specific to the aff as possible -- links to the status quo or links of omission are not links -- they're solvency deficits or FYI's about how messed up the world is and will likely lose to a perm. I enjoy block strategies that pick specific lines from evidence/look at author quals and use that to generate offense for the K.

Kritiks that claim death is good will probably never win my ballot, just a heads up. Before you read these type of arguments, you should also ask the other team for triggers. DBAD.

LD Stuff:

Because I judge this a bit now...

1. I don't think RVIs are real args.

2. Framing contentions don't substitute for impact explanations and vise versa. If you say that most DA link chains are highly improbable you have to prove that by contesting the links, not just repeating Nate Cohn's math at me.

3. More likely to vote on theory here than in policy (still would prefer not to), as long as it's not like about font size.

Pet Peeves:

- Asking your opponents for argument clarification and which cards they did/didn't read and pretending it’s not prep

- Asking questions outside of CX and expecting me to listen

- Reading your blocks monotone at 100% speed

- The phrases: “method debate” “logical policy maker could do both” “fiat solves the link”

- Not listening during the RFD

- Being mean, laughing during speeches, etc — I’ll drop your speaks significantly.

- Bad/miscut/misrepresented evidence.

- Not pointing out that someone’s evidence is bad.

I'm still working on developing my speaker point scale and will adjust by tournament/division, but generally:

29.4+ -- Top 5

29-29.3 -- Speaker Award

28.6-28.9 -- Good, hope you clear

28.0-28.5 -- Didn't do anything wrong

27s -- Dropping arguments, ending speeches early, etc.

Below that -- you did something offensive


I am a mandatory reporter because I am employed by a high school, so if your position includes disclosure of sexual harassment/violence, I am required by law to stop the round and report. If it is something that you feel unsafe about, I am more than happy to assist you in finding the resources necessary to remedy the problem, but I ask they do not become a central component in the debate. That's not to say your concerns are not welcome or invalid, but I'd rather pursue a solution rather than give you a ballot and move on with my day.

Ben Rosenthal Paradigm

2 rounds


Put me on the chain. – if you ask you’ll just seem unprepared.

I coach at USC and the Marlborough School. I debated/coached for MBA in the past.

Your burden should be to make it make sense. You don't want me doing that for you.

I’m the type of judge who will tinker with this often


This Paradigm---X--------------------------------Paragraphs of me ranting


Consequences-X----------------------------------- No Consequences

Read no cards-------------------X----------------Read all the cards

Longer ev--------X---------------------------------More ev

Clarity-X--------------------------------------------Speed (? Shouldn’t t/o)

Always 1%----------------------------X----------0% Risk a Thing

2020 speaker points------------X-----------------2010 speaker points

Resting grumpy face--------------------------X---Grumpy face is your fault

AT: --X-----------------------------------------------A2:

Insert rehighlighting-X----------------------------I read what you read

I think the judge is a referee, not a norm settler However, I am pretty easily convinced that I should pretend I set norms regardless.

LD Specific

Nebel T-------------------------------------------X--Read a Plan

RVI-------------------------------------------------X-Make Real Args

Tricks/Phil----------------------------------------X--Real Args

Neg Bias------------------------------X-------------Get Over It

Short Policy Debate-X-------------------------------Different Type of Debate

K vs Policy


Feelings----------------------------------X---------Dead inside

Truth Testing=Presumption----------------------X-Lmao Try Again

Flip Neg = No FW-----------------------------X----FW is a Strategy (not necessarily a good one)

Fairness is a thing-----------X-------------------Tautology

Vote to affirm me-----------------------------X--Vote to affirm my argument

Fiat double bind-----------------------------------X--literally any other arg

Not our Baudrillard-------------------------------X Yes your Baudrillard

Generally am gonna default to alt vs plan on the K - epistemology, reps, etc., are important but I don't understand what it means to view that in a vacuum

Generally I enjoy K vs a Policy Aff, but am less excited to judge a framework debate

Policy v Policy

Conditionality good----------X--------------------Conditionality bad

States CP good---------------------------X-------States CP bad

Politics DA is a thing-------------------------X---Politics DA not a thing

Reasonibility---------------------------X-----------Competing interps

Limits------------------X-----------------------------Aff ground

Circumvention--------------X----------------------Durable Fiat

Disclaimer about RFDs:

I don't like telling people they lose in close rounds, and my natural response to anxiety is to be very smile-y. If you see me smiling while deciding or explaining my rfd please don't assume it means I'm going to vote one way or another, or that I was really excited for voting the way I did.

Pet Peeves/Other Stuff

Please do not call me "judge" lmao

Don't put ASPEC or some other dumb theory blip as a standard on T and expect me to drop you a 29.5 when you win on it. I'll lean toward new 1AR args on this (esp if you didn't read ev or ask in cx) and your speaks won't look pretty. Don't makes args that only would be winnable if dropped.

Don't call the roll of the ballot and "are oh bee" or the Counterplan the "cee pee" - u arent edgy

Excessive use of "the debate space" oh my lord pls no – and other debate-isms “uniquely key” “fundamentally important”

cards that are tagged "extinction" and nothing else :(

If your partner says something during your speech, I would prefer you repeat it rather than just assuming I'll flow what they said. The exception is performative aspects of speeches.

Asking what cards were read before prep time if the other team didn't mark any cards. Obviously exceptions to this, but in general I don't think you should get extra prep because you didn't flow. You have a right to ask, but not outside of prep time.

Labeling their flows "their ___" i.e. "go to their t, next on their CP"

"combining speech docs" and saying its not prep is a lie

Chris Theis Paradigm

5 rounds

THIS IS SUPER OLD. HAVE NOT UPDATED SINCE ~2012. Please ask if you have questions.

I'm meaning to update soon...

Affiliation: Apple Valley High School (MN)


Relevant Arguments

I default to viewing the resolution as a normative question, not a question of truth. However, that does not mean that what truth is necessarily irrelevant to normative decision making. With a well-developed justification, I will vote on most truth testing arguments. I prefer that debaters have a clear and specific advocacy. Each side needs to defend a world in order to be able to generate uniqueness for offensive arguments. Thus, both debaters need to be able to articulate a world they are defending in a more coherent way than "not x."

I am also generally opposed to voting on defense. In most rounds, I find that the concept of defense being decisive just doesn't make a whole lot of sense. That means that I will be very reluctant to vote on presumption or permissibility arguments that rely on defense to function. It is probably a waste of your time to read presumption arguments in front of me at all. While I can come up with extreme hypothetical situations in which I might vote on presumption, it has never happened.


I am not opposed to theory debates, I used to enjoy them, but I think the sheer volume of awful theory debates I have judged over the past view years has made my threshold for taking them seriously much higher than it used to be. I will still be happy to vote for a good and well-developed argument.

The following are some of my default assumptions on theory:

I default to evaluating theory as an issue of "competing interpretations".

I default to "dropping the arguments" not "dropping the debater."

I default to not viewing theory as an RVI.

I default to evaluating Topicality before other theory arguments.

I default to thinking that the status of a counterplan or K alt is dispositional unless specified otherwise. That does not mean I presume that conditionality is illegitimate, just that if neither debater makes arguments about the status I will assume it is dispositional because I believe that best models the way most other arguments are treated, you must defend arguments that are turned.

I default to thinking that fairness and education are important and that whether debate is "good" or not matters. This is a bias that you will almost certainly not be able to overcome.

All of these assumptions can be changed by debaters (except probably the last one) who make good arguments against them in round. I prefer that any arguments about my default assumptions be explained in context of the specific arguments that are at issue in the theory debate and not just be about those assumptions generally. For example, do not argue "you need to drop the debater to discourage bad debate practices." Do argue, " "you need to drop the debater because X argument has Y effect which makes dropping them the best solution."

I think that theory debates are messy because debaters are even worse at weighing theory arguments than they are at weighing most other arguments. The reason for that is that while there is a framework debate that determines the relevance of post-fiat arguments, debaters put no effort into developing what it means to be fair or educational in a way that allows for effective weighing later in the round. If you want me to buy your theory argument spend time developing a concrete conception of what it means to be fair or educational in the context of debate and use it to filter and weigh impacts.

I dislike the strategy that involves including an argument that demands debaters run interps by their opponent. It is just an excuse to change your advocacy after the fact because you are not ready to defend it. As long as debaters establish clear links in CX that is enough for me.


I will use the framework that is justified by the debaters in the round. I do not view the value/criterion as necessary. In fact, I think in many cases the value/criterion model actually makes the debate more convoluted and can create irrational decisions. As a result, I am very open to alternative frameworks. As a general rule I do not enjoy rounds in which the majority of the time is spent on framework. Battling Util/Deont dumps are frustrating and boring to judge. I want to hear a debate ABOUT THE TOPIC. Framework should explain why topical arguments are important they should not become the entire debate unless you are looking for terrible speaks.


I think that credible arguments must be supported by evidence. In general, I will prefer arguments supported by evidence to analytic arguments. That is because in most cases I feel that experts writing on the topic are probably more qualified that a 17-year-old high school student. This is especially true of empirical arguments.


I assign speaks based on a combination of stagey and how much I enjoyed or was annoyed by the round. Debates that I enjoy involve debate about the topic, debaters who I can understand, debaters who are smart and engaging, debaters who are pleasant to each other.

30: Amazing. I think you are debating your positions better than anyone else at the tournament could. You could not only win this tournament but would have a chance to win any tournament in which you debated at the level you did in this round.
29: Fantastic. Very few people could do a better job at debating your position. You have a good shot at making it to late outrounds.
28: Good. You did what you had to do and did not have very many large mistakes. You should clear.
27: All right. You did an adequate job. You will be close to clearing but it could go either way.
26: Below Average. You should not clear.
25: Bad: You need major improvements in pretty much every aspect of debate. Your record should be below .500.
<25: Offensive or offensively bad.

Arguments that I will not vote for

An argument that has no normative implications, except in situations where the debater develops and wins an argument that changes my default assumptions.

A strategy that attempts to wash the debate on purpose in order to trigger permissibility/presumption.

A contingent framework/advocacy that is "triggered" in a later speech.

Arguments/Practices I will immediately drop you for

Any argument that concludes that every action is permissible

Any argument that creates a hostile environment for either myself, the other debater, or anyone who is watching the debate.

Any argument that explicitly argues that something that we all agree is awful (genocide, rape, etc) is actually a good thing. This could either be an advocacy or a framework THAT THE DEBATER AGREES says horrible things are ok. If the other debater wins an argument that your framework justifies something horrible, but it is contested, then it may count as a reason to not accept your framework, but I will not drop you for it.

Chris Thiele Paradigm

6 rounds

2018 update: College policy debaters should look to who I judged at my last college judging spree (69th National Debate Tournament in Iowa) to get a feeling of who will and will not pref me. I also like Buntin's new judge philosophy (agree roughly 90%).

It's Fall 2015. I judge all types of debate, from policy-v-policy to non-policy-v-non-policy. I think what separates me as a judge is style, not substance.

I debated for Texas for 5 years (2003-2008), 4 years in Texas during high school (1999-2003). I was twice a top 20 speaker at the NDT. I've coached on and off for highschool and college teams during that time and since. I've ran or coached an extremely wide diversity of arguments. Some favorite memories include "china is evil and that outweighs the security k", to "human extinction is good", to "predictions must specify strong data", to "let's consult the chinese, china is awesome", to "housing discrimination based on race causes school segregation based on race", to "factory farms are biopolitical murder", to “free trade good performance”, to "let's reg. neg. the plan to make businesses confident", to “CO2 fertilization, SO2 Screw, or Ice Age DAs”, to "let the Makah whale", etc. Basically, I've been around.

After it was pointed out that I don't do a great job delineating debatable versus non-debatable preferences, I've decided to style-code bold all parts of my philosophy that are not up for debate. Everything else is merely a preference, and can be debated.

Style/Big Picture:

  • I strongly prefer to let the debaters do the debating, and I'll reward depth (the "author+claim + warrant + data+impact" model) over breadth (the "author+claim + impact" model) any day.

  • When evaluating probabilistic predictions, I start from the assumption everyone begins at 0%, and you persuade me to increase that number (w/ claims + warrants + data). Rarely do teams get me past 5%. A conceeded claim (or even claim + another claim disguised as the warrant) will not start at 100%, but remains at 0%.

  • Combining those first two essential stylistic criteria means, in practice, many times I discount entirely even conceded, well impacted claims because the debaters failed to provide a warrant and/or data to support their claim. It's analogous to failing a basic "laugh" test. I may not be perfect at this rubric yet, but I still think it's better than the alternative (e.g. rebuttals filled with 20+ uses of the word “conceded” and a stack of 60 cards).

  • I'll try to minimize the amount of evidence I read to only evidence that is either (A) up for dispute/interpretation between the teams or (B) required to render a decision (due to lack of clash amongst the debaters). In short: don't let the evidence do the debating for you.

  • Humor is also well rewarded, and it is hard (but not impossible) to offend me.

  • I'd also strongly prefer if teams would slow down 15-20% so that I can hear and understand every word you say (including cards read). While I won't explicitly punish you if you don't, it does go a mile to have me already understand the evidence while you're debating so I don't have to sort through it at the end (especially since I likely won't call for that card anyway).

  • Defense can win a debate (there is such as thing as a 100% no link), but offense helps more times than not.
  • I'm a big believer in open disclosure practices, and would vote on reasoned arguments about poor disclosure practices. In the perfect world, everything would be open-source (including highlighting and analytics, including 2NR/2AR blocks), and all teams would ultimately share one evidence set. You could cut new evidence, but once read, everyone would have it. We're nowhere near that world. Some performance teams think a few half-citations work when it makes up at best 45 seconds of a 9 minute speech. Some policy teams think offering cards without highlighting for only the first constructive works. I don't think either model works, and would be happy to vote to encourage more open disclosure practices. It's hard to be angry that the other side doesn't engage you when, pre-round, you didn't offer them anything to engage.

  • You (or your partner) must physically mark cards if you do not finish them. Orally saying "mark here" (and expecting your opponents or the judge to do it for you) doesn't count. After your speech (and before cross-ex), you should resend a marked copy to the other team. If pointed out by the other team, failure to do means you must mark prior to cross-ex. I will count it as prep time times two to deter sloppy debate.

  • By default, I will not “follow along” and read evidence during a debate. I find that it incentivizes unclear and shallow debates. However, I realize that some people are better visual than auditory learners and I would classify myself as strongly visual. If both teams would prefer and communicate to me that preference before the round, I will “follow along” and read evidence during the debate speeches, cross-exs, and maybe even prep.


  • I like competing interpretations, the more evidence the better, and clearly delineated and impacted/weighed standards on topicality.

  • Abuse makes it all the better, but is not required (doesn't unpredictability inherently abuse?).

  • Treat it like a disad, and go from there. In my opinion, topicality is a dying art, so I'll be sure to reward debaters that show talent.

  • For the aff – think offense/defense and weigh the standards you're winning against what you're losing rather than say "at least we're reasonable". You'll sound way better.


  • The exception to the above is the "framework debate". I find it to be an uphill battle for the neg in these debates (usually because that's the only thing the aff has blocked out for 5 minutes, and they debate it 3 out of 4 aff rounds).

  • If you want to win framework in front of me, spent time delineating your interpretation of debate in a way that doesn't make it seem arbitrary. For example "they're not policy debate" begs the question what exactly policy debate is. I'm not Justice Steward, and this isn't pornography. I don't know when I've seen it. I'm old school in that I conceptualize framework along “predictability”; "topic education", “policymaking education”, and “aff education” (topical version, switch sides, etc) lines.

  • “We're in the direction of the topic” or “we discuss the topic rather than a topical discussion” is a pretty laughable counter-interpretation.

  • For the aff, "we agree with the neg's interp of framework but still get to weigh our case" borders on incomprehensible if the framework is the least bit not arbitrary.

Case Debate

  • Depth in explanation over breadth in coverage. One well explained warrant will do more damage to the 1AR than 5 cards that say the same claim.

  • Well-developed impact calculus must begin no later than the 1AR for the Aff and Negative Block for the Neg.

  • I enjoy large indepth case debates. I was 2A who wrote my own community unique affs usually with only 1 advantage and no external add-ons. These type of debates, if properly researched and executed, can be quite fun for all parties.


  • Intrinsic perms are silly. Normal means arguments are less so.

  • From an offense/defense paradigm, conceded uniqueness can control the direction of the link. Conceded links can control the direction of uniqueness. The in round application of "why" is important.

  • A story / spin is usually more important (and harder for the 1AR to deal with) than 5 cards that say the same thing.

Counterplan Competition:

  • I generally prefer functionally competitive counterplans with solvency advocates delineating the counterplan versus the plan (or close) (as opposed to the counterplan versus the topic), but a good case for textual competition can be made with a language K netbenefit.

  • Conditionality (1 CP, SQ, and 1 K) is a fact of life, and anything less is the negative feeling sorry for you (or themselves). However, I do not like 2NR conditionality (i.e., “judge kick”) ever. Make a decision.

  • Perms and theory always remain a test of competition (and not a voter) until proven otherwise by the negative by argument (see above), a near impossible standard for arguments that don't interfere substantially with other parts of the debate (e.g. conditionality).

  • Perm "do the aff" is not a perm. Debatable perms are "do both" and "do cp/alt"(and "do aff and part of the CP" for multi-plank CPs). Others are usually intrinsic.


  • I think of the critique as a (usually linear) disad and the alt as a cp.

  • Be sure to clearly impact your critique in the context of what it means/does to the aff case (does the alt solve it, does the critique turn it, make harms inevitable, does it disprove their solvency). Latch on to an external impact (be it "ethics", or biopower causes super-viruses), and weigh it against case.

  • Use your alternative to either "fiat uniqueness" or create a rubric by which I don't evaluate uniqueness, and to solve case in other ways.

  • I will say upfront the two types of critique routes I find least persuasive are simplistic versions of "economics", "science", and "militarism" bad (mostly because I have an econ degree and am part of an extensive military family). While good critiques exist out there of both, most of what debaters use are not that, so plan accordingly.

  • For the aff, figure out how to solve your case absent fiat (education about aff good?), and weigh it against the alternative, which you should reduce to as close as the status quo as possible. Make uniqueness indicts to control the direction of link, and question the timeframe/inevitability/plausability of their impacts.

  • Perms generally check clearly uncompetitive alternative jive, but don't work too well against "vote neg". A good link turn generally does way more than “perm solves the link”.

  • Aff Framework doesn't ever make the critique disappear, it just changes how I evaluate/weigh the alternative.

  • Role of the Ballot - I vote for the team that did the better debating. What is "better" is based on my stylistic criteria. End of story. Don't let "Role of the Ballot" be used as an excuse to avoid impact calculus.

Performance (the other critique):

  • Empirically, I do judge these debate and end up about 50-50 on them. I neither bandwagon around nor discount the validity of arguments critical of the pedagogy of debate. I'll let you make the case or defense (preferably with data). The team that usually wins my ballot is the team that made an effort to intelligently clash with the other team (whether it's aff or neg) and meet my stylistic criteria. To me, it's just another form of debate.

  • However, I do have some trouble in some of these debates in that I feel most of what is said is usually non-falsifiable, a little too personal for comfort, and devolves 2 out of 3 times into a chest-beating contest with competition limited to some archaic version of "plan-plan". I do recognize that this isn't always the case, but if you find yourselves banking on "the counterplan/critique doesn't solve" because "you did it first", or "it's not genuine", or "their skin is white"; you're already on the path to a loss.

  • If you are debating performance teams, the two main takeaways are that you'll probably lose framework unless you win topical version, and I hate judging "X" identity outweighs "Y" identity debates. I suggest, empirically, a critique of their identity politics coupled with some specific case cards is more likely to get my ballot than a strategy based around "Framework" and the "Rev". Not saying it's the only way, just offering some empirical observations of how I vote.

Aaron Timmons Paradigm

2 rounds

Aaron Timmons

Director of Debate – Greenhill School

Updated – April 2019

Please put me on the email chain –

New for the TOC 2019 – I am the Director of the Global Debate Symposium and for this summer I have hired Spencer Paul and Vishan Chaudhary from Harvard Westlake, and Ishan Bhatt from St. Andrews of the list of competitors that will be in the 2019 TOC competing in Lincoln Douglas.

Lincoln - Douglas Philosophy

I have coached debate, and been a classroom teacher, for a long time. I feel that when done well, with agreed upon “rules of engagement”, there is not a better activity to provide a training ground for young people. That said, at some point, most of the adults have left the building as it relates to national circuit Lincoln Douglas debate. I find many of the things that are now commonplace, are antithetical to the things that I love about debate. In fact, many of these practices are not educational, but also make the activity unsustainable in any meaningful way to sell to administrators, parents, new coaches, or even a new generation of debaters.

I have taken some time to reflect on how I judge debates, and have revised my paradigm. It would behoove you to read it if I have the potential to judge you. If you do not like what you read, strike me.

Debate rounds, and subsequently debate tournaments, are extensions of the classroom. While we all learn from each other, my role is parallel to that of an instructor. I will evaluate your performance. At this stage in my career, I have no interest in being the “most preferred” judge in the pool. In fact, what I see is that many in the Lincoln Douglas community (as opposed to policy debate); make preferences more based on personal relationships, than the relative experience/paradigmatic perspective of the critic. I see my role as to set a fair, but stringent, set of expectations for the students I am judging. At times, this means advancing expectations that I feel are best for the students and, at times, the broader community as well. At this point, I am also not shy to share those thoughts and expectations. I see myself as a critic of argument if I had to pigeonhole myself with a paradigmatic label. Unlike many claim to be, I am not a blank slate. If I see behaviors or practices that create a bad, unfair, or hostile environment for the extension of the classroom that is the debate round, I will intervene. I WILL do my best to be an objective evaluator of your argument but the idea that my social location is not a relevant consideration of how I view/decode arguments is just not true (nor do I personally think it is true for anyone).

Below please find a few thoughts as to how I evaluate debates.

1. Speed is not a problem. In most of the Lincoln Douglas I judge, clarity IS a problem. I judge high level policy debates quite a bit and while they are quiet fast, I don’t see clarity as much of an issue with the top teams. Please understand that unstructured paragraphs that are slurred together does not allow the pen time necessary to write things down in the detail you think it might. I reserve the right to yell “clearer” once or twice. Style and substance are fundamentally inseparable.

2. I feel theory is debated far too much in Lincoln – Douglas, and is debated poorly. I am strongly opposed to that practice. My preference is NOT to hear a bad theory debate. I believe the negative does get some “flex”, that said it can’t be unlimited. The idea of reading a “counter shell” against a theory argument is one of the silliest practices I see in contemporary debate. Before the proliferation of theory in Lincoln Douglas I thought RVI’s were silly. They have a place in contemporary LD. I DO NOT think jettisoning the case and going all in on the RVI should be the A strategy in the 1ar. While I like competing interpretations, in the end, I feel even that view is filtered through my perspective of reason/what is reasonable/the best lens for debate. Some intervention is inevitable as we judge.

3. Evidence is important. In my opinion debates/comparisons about the qualifications of authors on competing issues (particularly empirical ones), in addition to a comparison of competing warrants in the evidence, is important. Do you this and not only will your points improve, I am likely to prefer your argument if the comparison is done well. All students should have full cites for materials.

4. I am not a “blank state”. I also feel my role as a judge is to serve a duel function of rendering a decision, in addition to serving a role as educator as well.

5. Words matter. Arguments that are racist, sexist, homophobic etc will not be tolerated.

6. I am not a fan of random; multiple sentence fragments that claim to “spike” out of all of the other teams arguments. At its foundation, debate should be about argument ENGAGEMENT, not evasion.

7. Answer questions in cross-examination. Cross-ex is binding. I do listen carefully to cross – ex.

8. Although I know you have figured it out, Lincoln Douglas does not have a 2AC in the same way that policy does. 1AR’s that advance lots of offense on many negative positions will be rewarded with high points.

9. Debating with a laptop is a choice, if you are reading from a computer I have three expectations that are nonnegotiable:

A) You must jump the documents read to the opposition in a timely manner (before your speech or at worse IMMEDIATELY after your speech) to allow them to prepare or set up an email chain.

B) If your opponent does not have a laptop you need to have a viewing computer OR surrender your computer to them to allow them to prepare. The oppositions need to prep outweighs your need to prep/preflow in that moment in time.

C) My expectation is that the documents that are shared are done in a format that is the same as read by the debater that initially read the material. In other words, I will not tolerate some of the shenanigan’s that seem to exist, including but not limited to, using a non standard word processing program, all caps, no formatting etc.

10. Many debaters have been instructed, or watched others run, “metaethics” with some success. My experience is that many debaters have a very superficial grasp of what this even means. Make sure to explain, and compare your position against the position of your opponent. A good rule of thumb is to assume you don’t win every argument and frame things in an even /if perspective.

11. I do not like skepticism as an argument. It would be in your best interest to not run it in front of me. While perhaps interesting in a philosophy class in college, training young advocates to feel that “morality doesn’t exist” etc. is educationally irresponsible.

12. I do not disclose speaker points. That seems silly to me.

13. Dropped arguments and the “auto-win” seems silly to me. Just because a debater drops a card doesn’t mean you win the debate. Weighing and embedded clash are a necessary component of debate. Good debaters extend their arguments. GREAT debaters do that in addition to explaining the nexus point of clash between their arguments and that of the opposition and WHY I should prefer their argument.

14. I feel it takes more than a sentence (or in many of the rounds I judge a sentence fragment), to make an argument. If the argument was not clear originally, I will allow the opponent to make new arguments.

15. Choose. No matter the speech or the argument.

Please ask me specific questions if you have one before the debate.

Adam Torson Paradigm

2 rounds

UPDATED: 9/12/2018

1998-2003: Competed at Fargo South HS (ND)

2003-2004: Assistant Debate Coach, Hopkins High School (MN)

2004-2010: Director of Debate, Hopkins High School (MN)

2010-2012: Assistant Debate Coach, Harvard-Westlake Upper School (CA)

2012-Present: Debate Program Head, Marlborough School (CA)


General Preferences and Decision Calculus

I like substantive and interesting debate. I like to see good strategic choices as long as they do not undermine the substantive component of the debate. I strongly dislike the intentional use of bad arguments to secure a strategic advantage; for example making an incomplete argument just to get it on the flow. I tend to be most impressed by debaters who adopt strategies that are positional, advancing a coherent advocacy rather than a scatter-shot of disconnected arguments, and those debaters are rewarded with higher speaker points.

I view debate resolutions as normative. I default to the assumption that the Affirmative has a burden to advocate a topical change in the status quo, and that the Negative has a burden to defend either the status quo or a competitive counter-plan or kritik alternative. I will vote for the debater with the greatest net risk of offense. Offense is a reason to adopt your advocacy; defense is a reason to doubt your opponent's argument. I virtually never vote on presumption or permissibility, because there is virtually always a risk of offense.

Moral Skepticism is not normative (it does not recommend a course of action), and so I will not vote for an entirely skeptical position. Morally skeptical arguments may be relevant in determining the relative weight or significance of an offensive argument compared to other offense in the debate.


I am skeptical of impact exclusion. Debaters have a high bar to prove that I should categorically disregard an impact which an ordinary decision-maker would regard as relevant. I think that normative ethics are more helpfully and authentically deployed as a mode of argument comparison rather than argument exclusion. I will default to the assumption of a wide framework and epistemic modesty. I do not require a debater to provide or prove a comprehensive moral theory to regard impacts as relevant, though such theories may be a powerful form of impact comparison.

Arguments that deny the wrongness of atrocities like rape, genocide, and slavery, or that deny the badness of suffering or oppression more generally, are a steeply uphill climb in front of me. If a moral theory says that something we all agree is bad is not bad, that is evidence against the plausibility of the theory, not evidence that the bad thing is in fact good.


I default to evaluating theory as a matter of competing interpretations.

I am skeptical of RVIs in general and on topicality in particular.

I will apply a higher threshold to random theory interpretations that do not reflect existing community norms and am particularly unlikely to drop the debater on them. Because your opponent could always have been marginally more fair and because debating irrelevant theory questions is not a good model of debate, I am likely to intervene against theoretical arguments which I deem to be frivolous.

Tricks and Triggers

Your goal should be to win by advancing substantive arguments that would decisively persuade a reasonable decision-maker, rather than on surprises or contrived manipulations of debate conventions. I am unlikely to vote on tricks, triggers, or other hidden arguments, and will apply a low threshold for answering them. You will score more highly and earn more sympathy the more your arguments resemble genuine academic work product.

Counterplan Status, Judge Kick, and Floating PIKs

The affirmative has the obligation to ask about the status of a counterplan or kritik alternative in cross-examination. If they do not, the advocacy may be conditional in the NR.

I default to the view that the Negative has to pick an advocacy to go for in the NR. If you do not explicitly kick a conditional counterplan or kritik alternative, then that is your advocacy. If you lose a permutation read against that advocacy, you lose the debate. I will not kick the advocacy for you and default to the status quo unless you win an argument for judge kick in the debate.

I default to the presumption that floating PIKs must be articulated as such in the NC. If it is not apparent that the kritik alternative allows you to also enact the affirmative advocacy, then I will regard this argument as a change of advocacy in the NR and disregard it as a new argument.


To the extent possible I will resolve the debate as though I were a reasonable decision-maker considering only the arguments advanced by the debaters in making my decision. On any issues not adequately resolved in this way, I will make reasonable assumptions about the relative persuasiveness of the arguments presented.


The speed at which you choose to speak will not affect my evaluation of your arguments, save for if that speed impairs your clarity and I cannot understand the argument. I prefer debate at a faster than conversational pace, provided that it is used to develop arguments well and not as a tactic to prevent your opponent from engaging your arguments. There is some speed at which I have a hard time following arguments, but I don't know how to describe it, so I will say "clear," though I prefer not to because the threshold for adequate clarity is very difficult to identify in the middle of a speech and it is hard to apply a standard consistently. For reasons surpassing understanding, most debaters don't respond when I say clear, but I strongly recommend that you do so. Also, when I say clear it means that I didn't understand the last thing you said, so if you want that argument to be evaluated I suggest repeating it. A good benchmark is to feel like you are going at 90% of your top speed; I am likely a significantly better judge at that pace.


My threshold for sufficient extensions will vary based on the circumstances, e.g. if an argument has been conceded a somewhat shorter extension is generally appropriate.


It is primarily the responsibility of debaters to engage in meaningful evidence comparison and analysis and to red flag evidence ethics issues. However, I will review speech documents and evaluate detailed disputes about evidence raised in the debate. I prefer to be included on an email chain or pocket box that includes the speech documents. If I have a substantial suspicion of an ethics violation (i.e. you have badly misrepresented the author, edited the card so as to blatantly change it's meaning, etc.), I will evaluate the full text of the card (not just the portion that was read in the round) to determine whether it was cut in context, etc.

Speaker Points

I use speaker points to evaluate your performance in relation to the rest of the field in a given round. At tournaments which have a more difficult pool of debaters, the same performance which may be above average on most weekends may well be average at that tournament. I am strongly disinclined to give debaters a score that they specifically ask for in the debate round, because I utilize points to evaluate debaters in relation to the rest of the field who do not have a voice in the round. I elect not to disclose speaker points, save where cases is doing so is necessary to explain the RFD. My range is approximately as follows:

30: Your performance in the round is likely to beat any debater in the field.

29: Your performance is substantially better than average - likely to beat most debaters in the field and competitive with students in the top tier.

28: Your performance is above average - likely to beat the majority of debaters in the field but unlikely to beat debaters in the top tier.

27.5: Your performance is approximately average - you are likely to have an equal number of wins and losses at the end of the tournament.

26: Your performance is below average - you are likely to beat the bottom 25% of competitors but unlikely to beat the average debater.

25: Your performance is substantially below average - you are competitive among the bottom 25% but likely to lose to other competitors

Below 25: I tend to reserve scores below 25 for penalizing debaters as explained below.

Rude or Unethical Actions

I will severely penalize debaters who are rude, offensive, or otherwise disrespectful during a round. I will severely penalize debaters who distort, miscut, misrepresent, or otherwise utilize evidence unethically.

Card Clipping

A debater has clipped a card when she does not read portions of evidence that are highlighted or bolded in the speech document so as to indicate that they were read, and does not verbally mark the card during the speech. Clipping is an unethical practice because you have misrepresented which arguments you made to both your opponent and to me. If I determine that a debater has clipped cards, then that debater will lose.

To determine that clipping has occurred, the accusation needs to be verified by my own sensory observations to a high degree of certainty, a recording that verifies the clipping, or the debaters admission that s/he has clipped. If you believe that your opponent has clipped, you should raise your concern immediately after the speech in which it was read, and I will proceed to investigate. False accusations of clipping is a serious ethical violation as well. *If you accuse your opponent of clipping and that accusation is disconfirmed by the evidence, you will lose the debate.* You should only make this accusation if you are willing to stake the round on it.


I am happy to answer any questions on preferences or paradigm before the round. After the round I am happy to answer respectfully posed questions to clarify my reason for decision or offer advice on how to improve (subject to the time constraints of the tournament). Within the limits of reason, you may press points you don't understand or with which you disagree (though I will of course not change the ballot after a decision has been made). I am sympathetic to the fact that debaters are emotionally invested in the outcomes of debate rounds, but this does not justify haranguing judges or otherwise being rude. For that reason, failure to maintain the same level of respectfulness after the round that is generally expected during the round will result in severe penalization of speaker points.

Brian Wiora Paradigm

6 rounds

****MUST READ: I do not evaluate fairness as a voter. If you run it in front of me, I will not vote on it. You have been warned.


I am an assistant coach for Harrison High School. I debated for four years in LD at Greenhill from 2009-2013. I was a philosophy major in college and now teach Poetry at Columbia University. I judged semis at the TOC in 2019.


Debate is fun! I enjoy judging good debates full of a lot of nuanced clash and weighing. The best debaters, in my opinion, are clear, well versed on the topic and, above all, persuasive. I think unwarranted arguments, tricks/spikes, and unnecessary/multiple theory shells are bad for debate and an unpersuasive strategy. Above all, I am more likely to drop a claim, no matter how many times it is dropped/extended, than I am add a warrant or impact.

Things I like

-A philosophical framework debate (with standards as opposed to ROB).


-A good topicality debate

Things I don't like and won't vote for

-Fairness as a voting issue. Fairness is not a voter because A) Debate is an inherently unfair activity B) Fairness is not an intrinsic reason why we do debate and C) If fairness were a voter, I would flip a coin to decide the round. If you are interested in running a fairness voter in front of me, I would suggest playing a game of Chutes and Ladders or Tic-Tac-Toe instead.

-Independent voters, as in those arguments that appeal to something outside of an explicit weighing mechanism (value criterion, ROB, or justified voter)

-Unwarranted arguments. Again, I am more likely to drop a claim than add a warrant

-Any argument appealing to the Role of the Ballot/Role of the Judge as an A priori. In general, I do not think any argument in debate is an A priori, but especially not arguments that rely on my status as a judge or educator.

-If a card has been "cut" by a debater (as in, the debater stops reading the card mid way through and then moves on to another card), I will not vote on warrants that were cut.

My Default Assumptions (unless proven otherwise in the round)

-I operate under an offense/defense paradigm.

-The Role of the Ballot is to decide which debater better justified their side of the resolution.

-Debate is good. Philosophy is good for debate. Policymaking is good for debate too.

-Education is a voter, but less persuasive to me than Advocacy Skills, Critical Thinking, etc.

-No RVIs on T.

-Performance debate is fine, but the best performances link back to the topic.

Any other issue should be resolved by the debaters

Raymond Zhang Paradigm

6 rounds



LD: Roseville, MN (3 years)

Policy: University of Minnesota Policy (3 years)

Head LD Coach at Minnetonka High School

zhan1087 at


Updates for Blake

My opinions of debate have not changed please refer to the information below. I have not voted off of a trick in awhile but do consider them in my decision. Also i will evaluate every speech of the debate.

Circuit debaters should adapt accordingly. I will intervene on behave of the traditional debater.

I find myself voting more and more for non topical teams against T, while I try to decrease intervention I find myself just more persuaded by Non-T arguments than framework arguments and letting the evidence stretch a bit than usual.


You can read whatever argument you want in front of me. Debate is a game. Strategy matters. Evidence quality matters. Speaks are given based on your strategy in round.

Circuit debaters should adapt accordingly. I will intervene on behave of the traditional debater.


Debate is a game (unless contested). Evidence quality matters (especially statistical accuracy).

Speaks will be given out based on how strategic I think you are in round. So if you beat your opponent on the flow but your opponent pursued the better strategy you can expect a low point win.

I am obligated to flow your arguments and evaluate them. I will yell clear if necessary and will continue do so remainder of the round. However, if I cant flow you I cant flow you, so be clear. I will also tell you to slow down if it is extremely necessary.

I will read evidence after round if I feel is necessary. (Or if it is contested in round enough) I will either be apart of email chains or not depending on my mood. (LD: I may ask to examine initial shells, or cases).

CX is binding, I haven't decided if I am going to flow this or not but I will most likely pay attention.

All arguments are valid. Creative arguments should be tested in debate if the debater desires and not be punished. I am an okay judge for silly arguments that trick people.

It is better to ask before round what I think about a specific argument. But also realize that what I think of arguments doesn't mean I'll evaluate them that way.


You probably should explain how you resolve your impacts, I have too many debaters skip this step and just explain why their impacts matter without solvency.


Everything is fine. I am not as flow centric as other judges in the pool. Probably more big picture now so adapt accordingly. New theory and norms, I will have no idea how to deal with so explain why those things matter.

Examples of low point wins:

Going for theory when you are clearly winning on the substance.

Reading bad arguments that you know are bad.

Focusing on the part of the debate where both debaters have lots of links instead of going for dropped arguments.

Reading arguments that you cant give a 3 min crystallization on. If you cant go for the argument at the end of the round then why did you read it?

Things I don't think are bad but might give you low speaks for b/c you are bad at debate:


Triggers that are implemented later in round

Some weird K that doesn't really say much. But if you're good at debate and run some weird K and explain it well i'll give you all the speaks. (Meaning 30)