National Debate Coaches Association National Championship

2020 — Bloomington, IN/US

Nirmal Balachundhar Paradigm

6 rounds


I no longer care what you read, as long as it is not oppressive in any matter. I only ask that you explain your arguments and their impacts well.

Add me to email chain:

Also, if you can sit down early in a speech, please do. That way we can all just go home and be happy a little earlier.

***old stuff**

- Speed is fine, please be clear, I'll call it as many times necessary but I will get frustrated and dock speaks
- I won't vote for an argument if I don't understand it, it is your responsibility to explain that
- Prep stops after you have compiled your stuff into one document. If you're flashing- it stops after the flashdrive leaves your computer
- I'm comfortable with most arguments as long as you can explain and weigh them explicitly and clearly
- Disclosure is good norm- if you don't disclose or disclose insufficiently and it's brought up in the round, I will dock your speaks by 1-5 speaker points (based on how I am feeling about this violation) from whatever I would have given you, but I will still evaluate the theory debate and the rest of the round.
- You must make your evidence available
- I enjoy policy debates the most, please weigh
- I also enjoy theory debates that are well executed

Policy-esque arguments:
- Impact comparison and weighing is crucial, otherwise i have no idea where to look first
- Utilize argument diversity
- Framing is very important, if you don't explain implications of winning arguments, then i don't know their use even if you have won them
- please compare evidence
- i personally think that hard work should be rewarded, so well executed strategies will increase your speaks

- I understand the basics of most theories/general responses. If this is what you're good at- feel free to go for it.
- Explanation is crucial, your framework should be organized in a well explained syllogism, and your explanation should follow from that
- A lot of people just don't cut evidence that warrants their philosophical arguments or use big buzzwords when going for philosophical arguments- don't do that
- Be comparitive: reading dumps on their ethic is insufficient, explain why your ethic is better

- Please have good evidence and diversify/nuance your kritik and when you respond to it
- Tech and ethos are both very important on the K debate, make sure that you can do both
- Long dumps and generic responses aren't that great, make them better by tailoring it to the round and explaining the 2NR or 1AR against these very well
- I am pretty convinced by policymaking arguments against these, that being said, be super responsive and err on the side of overexplanation against these
- Not well read in high theory, my understanding will solely depend on your ability to explain it.

- Default to competing interps, no rvi, drop debater- will still be convinced by arguments for other sides
- Frivolous theory: I will listen to it because it is strategic but if it's clear that it's used as argument avoidance and just for strategy rather than actual abuse, I probably won't be too thrilled and that might reflect in your speaks
- Good theory debates are better to watch especially when they are utilized well against tricks and abuse-
- Weighing and framing is important

- Not a fan of- they prioritize gimmicks over hard work which isn't what educational activities should do
- I will still listen to them but they will reflect in your speaks
- Implications need to be clear in the initial speech
- these include: a prioris, triggers, INCOHERENT framework applications, etc.
- If you come up with some very nuanced and interesting applications against various scenarios, then I'll probably be more receptive to it.

Evidence Ethics:
If you are caught clipping, it will result in a Loss 0. That being said, if you accuse someone of an evidence ethics violation and you are proven to be wrong, the same punishment will be given to you. Accidentally skipping 2 words in a card is not clipping.
Clearly miscut evidence or misrepresentation should be brought up by opposing debaters in round as evidence indicts.

Keith Barnstein Paradigm

6 rounds

My background: I'm currently serving as the head coach at Maine East, after many years of serving as an assistant. For much of the past 5 years, I judge an average of 15-20 rounds on the topic. I debated at Maine East HS back in the late 90s & early 00s for four seasons under the tutelage of Wayne Tang. As such, I tend to lean towards a policy making approach that seeks the best policy option. I tend to view topicaliy/theory through a prism of fairness and education. I don't mind listening to debates about what debate should be. I default to viewing the plan as the focus of the debate.

If you are running a K, I like the links to be as specific to the affirmative's advocary as possible. If your alternative doesn't make sense, that means that the affirmative must be worse than the status quo for you to win your K.

I strongly dislike reading your evidence after the round- I expect the debaters to do that work in the round. If I call for a card, it will typically be to verify that it says what you say it says. I will not give you the benefit of warrants you did not explain, however I may give the other team the benefit of the card not saying what you said it did.

Sam Basler Paradigm

3 rounds

Sam Basler (Policy Coach @ Iowa City High/Iowa City West High)

West Des Moines Valley class of ‘15
Gonzaga class of '19 (2x NDT Qualifier)

Coached at Valley - 3 years

I'm currently getting my masters in Sports and Recreation Management from the University of Iowa

2N Then a 2A then a 2N
Last Updated: 9/22/2019

This is a living breathing document

Tl;dr – You do you, and I will vote for the team that wins.

As I judge I have come to realize I agree with my father (David Basler) more and more ... some of this is stolen from his paradigm.

The Basics:
Speed is ok.
T, theory and Ks ok
Be kind to your opponents, your partner and the judge.
I will not be on Facebook during c/x.

I do not follow along with the email chain ... keep that in mind when reading important texts and theory

When you are done with prep you should be ready to speak. Too much stopping prep, thinking about args, and then starting prep again is occurring.

Cites are getting sketchier and sketchier and I don't like it.

Example of a bad cite:


Spanos 11 (

Example of a good cite:


Astley 87 (Rick, Singer/Songwriter, "Never Gonna Give You Up", Whenever You Need Somebody, 1987, RCA,, Accessed 9/22/19)

About Me:

I think this section is necessary because no judge is truly “tabula rasa” Basically everything on here is my personal views on debate and the way I look at it. This is your activity and you make the rules … so you should have the debate you want to have.

I debated for West Des Moines Valley for 5 Years and then I debated at Gonzaga for four years. I have probably seen or heard whatever you could possibly imagine debated at least once.

Specific Arguments:
The Criticism (Don’t worry I put it first so you didn’t have to scroll all the way to the bottom)

Go for it! Good K debate is something that can be really enjoyable to watch and they can be really strategic if done right. You get credit for the arguments you make no more no less. Interpreting f/w debates on the K flow gets kind of tricky because a lot of times it becomes a wash with neither team really making it an offensive reason to vote for them (which is a real shame because chances are if you win framework you will win the debate). Use f/w to … I don’t know… frame the debate! If the 1AC didn’t defend their reps and you think I should vote them down tell me why I should. A well done f/w debate can totally shift the outcome of the K flow. That being said I have a high threshold for excluding all K’s from debate, as I personally believe the 1AC should be able to defend their reps/method. A K has three parts that in order for the neg to win all need to be in the 2NR -- some Ks dont need alts to win -- . (You may have the most kickass link card to heg but that’s irrelevant in a world where you don’t win an impact.)

Perms - the aff gets them (test of competition).

4 min O/V’s are not necessary and !!!! sealed I won’t flow them sealed !!!! … JUST DO IT ON THE LINE BY LINE. (Seriously ... don't test me)

Reading dense philosophical texts at 350 words per minute is not helpful to comprehension. As I try not to intervene as a judge, I am not going to give you the benefit of everything I know about a particular philosopher, theory argument or a particular policy option. You need to explain your arguments.


Topicality debates can be great … if you don’t just read your pre-written blocks. I feel like 90% of topicality debates happen at top speed with the judge arbitrarily deciding whether or not the aff is topical. Read less 2 word definitions and standards and expand your arguments, and you will be surprised at the results.


Condo good/bad at high speed is also not fun for the judge. However, when I do vote on theory, in round abuse is usually why.

Personal opinions:

Condo – one or two is probably fine but I can be convinced otherwise ... the more you read the more abusive it gets

Dispo – probably condo

Severance/Intrinsic Perms – win why its good or bad

Process CP’s – Ehh ... the more specific the better and more legit

PIC’s/PIK’s – YES PLEASE … if and only if they are specific to the aff

Neg Fiat - why do we all just assume the neg gets fiat?

CPs should probably have a solvency advocate


I will vote for aff’s that don’t read plan texts …. I will also vote against them on framework. I view framework debates pretty much identically with how I view T debates.

When it comes to framework, I will listen to arguments in support of any position, but if neither team wins the framework debate I will default to the question on the ballot- "I believe the better debating was done by ..." Framework against K affs is usually just a topicality argument (or what I call "topiKality"). I will vote against a K aff if you win offensive reasons as to why the aff is bad.

If I need a “new sheet for the overview” – chances are I will be angry and you will see your speaks go down … seriously do it on the line by line.

K Aff’s

You should probably talk about the topic … but how you do that Music? Poetry? Anther method? I’m all ears!

Sure. It is your community. I like the idea that you get to write the rules. Dance, sing or drum like there is nobody watching.


The more aff specific the better. Two words really shape the DA flow … IMPACT CALCULUS. If you win the aff is worse that the status quo I will vote negative. Truth > Tech (for the most part) Spin > evidence. Turns case/da analysis should be your best friend.


Pretty self-explanatory ... they need a net benefit. Make sure they are competitive. I won't kick them for you unless you tell me specifically to do that.

See note in theory about solvency advocates.

Case Debate

YES PLEASE! – Case debate is the most underutilized/underappreciated silver bullet in debate. A good case debate is far more valuable than any other argument in debate. I’d rather you read more cards on case than read 7 off.

Heg good. Heg bad. Hackers read your email, so they know how you really feel, but I am cool with whatever.


Clarity> Speed

Funny> dry

Charisma> monotonous reading

Jokes/Puns can really help speaker points (but please make sure they are good)

Good cross-ex can improve speaker points and even end debates.

Bad cross-ex can put me to sleep.

Two of the best tips for anyone who debates:

1) Don’t double breathe

2) Slow down to go faster

Q: Can I use the bathroom? Can I get a drink?

A: Yes




Other things I have stolen from my Dad -

If you are clear, I will be able to flow you. However, though speaking quickly has become a community norm in policy debate, debate is still fundamentally about the quality of your advocacy and communication. I think it is my job as a judge to say who was winning on my flow when time expired. I don't want your speech document and if your delivery is unclear that means I will won't have your argument on my flow. This also means I will rarely call for cards unless there is a disagreement over what the card says or I don't know how else to decide the debate.

"I wanna go fast."- Ricky Bobby, Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby, 2006

I do not require a team to use prep time to flash their speech to the other team. Don't steal prep time while the other team is flashing you their arguments. Also, if you still need to re-order all of your papers when you get up to the podium, you are still prepping.

Even though I believe the sarcastic slow-clap to be an underutilized method of cross-ex, I expect you to be respectful and courteous to your opponents, your partner and to the judge. I can assure you that the best advocates out in the real world (whether they are trial attorneys, lobbyists, politicians, activists, writers, Comedy Central talk show hosts, etc.) understand the difference between vigorous disagreement in a debate forum and mutual respect and even admiration outside of that forum. I believe in a debate round we should all strive to disagree agreeably, and as soon as the round is over the disagreement should end.

"Gretchen, I'm sorry I laughed at you that time you got diarrhea at Barnes & Nobles." - Karen Smith, Mean Girls, 2004

If something is totally counter-intuitive and empirically false, telling me that (you have to speak the words) is probably enough to defeat an argument. However, I also like it when people take counter-intuitive positions and explain why they are true, even if our first instinct is to reject them. But yeah...try not to drop shtuff.

I have nothing but respect for young people who choose to use their free time developing their critical thinking skills and engaging in an academic exercise like debate. It will serve you well in life, whatever you choose to do, and this is why I place such a high value on the activity. I promise you I will do my best to be fair, constructive, encouraging and engaged.

Elizabeth Bennett Paradigm

3 rounds

add me to the email chain-

Currently debate at the University of Iowa. Debated four years at Niles West High School. I coach at Iowa City High.

Top Level

- Tech is most important, and I'll vote on just about anything. I don't really have too strong predispositions about arguments, so go for whatever you want.

- Evidence- I will read evidence during the round to try to understand arguments, though I don't like to draw my own interpretations of what the evidence says. The debaters should explain and debate the evidence, so that way its not left to my own interpretation.

- Don't insert rehighlightings

- Make jokes about Alison Weber, Spencer Roetlin, or Ephraim Bennett for extra points.

DAs- not too many thoughts here. For the question of "does the link determine the direction of the uniqueness or vice versa," it depends on the debate. For an agenda politics DA, the uniqueness probably determines the direction of the link since its a yes/no question as to whether it will pass now but more guess-work as to how people would react to the plan. In a debate in which the link is more of a yes/no question (is that one program key to deter russia, does the plan cost that much), then the link probably determines the direction of the uniqueness. If you disagree, then explain why in the debate- I'm not too ideological about any of this, rather this is simply by default position as of right now.

Impact turns- I enjoy watching impact turn debates. Go for it- democracy bad, disease good, spark, whatever. If you exectute a dumb impact turn well I will probably give higher speaks.


PICs out of specific portions of the plan are good and are key to test the aff.

Go ahead and read international CPs or whatever other cheating thing you are feeling like doing, I don't care. However, I do dislike certain process CPs (think reg neg). I'll vote on anything, but I won't be vibing with you if you go for an annoying process cp with a net benefit of politics.

Ks- tech is the most important thing to me, which means that you should probably refrain from having huge overviews and then answering all of the line by line by saying "it was answered above”

Links should be specific to the aff. This does not mean that they have to be to the fiated implementation of the 1ac. Links to reps, epistemology, or whatever are fine. However, they need to be explained in the context of the aff. A link about arm sales in the abstract is one thing, but tying it to how the aff has constructed itself will make it better. Having an impact to that link makes it great.

Extinction outweighs is one of the more compelling arguments against the K in my opinion. Thus, please don't switch your aff to being soft left if I am judging you, since I think you are loosing your best offense.

K affs/framework-

I am still undecided if fairness is an impact or not. I probably won't ever come to a conclusion one way or the other, and thus it is up to the debaters in the round to grapple with that question.

The only thing I’m particularly ideological about are arguments that claim any sort of out of round spillover/impacts on the debaters. That means I will have a very hard time voting for neg teams that go for advocacy skills or some flavor of “we make you better at understanding the law/engaging institutions.” Likewise, I will have a hard time voting for affs that claim they somehow change debate, subject formation arguments, etc.

Theory- I'll vote either way on condo, I will be aff leaning when there are multiple conditional planks to a CP. I'll be neg leaning for other CP theory (consult, conditions, etc).

T- I generally default to competing interpretations. Ground is the most important negative impact.

Brian Box Paradigm

3 rounds

I am the debate coach at Blue Valley North. I previously coached at the University of Kansas. I was a policy debater at Wichita State University (2012) and Campus High School. I have taught camp at Kansas or Michigan every year since I graduated and typically judge 50-80 policy rounds per year, plus some pfd/ld/speech.

email chain: brianbox4 @ gmail

I care far more about your ability to send an email, speak clearly and respond to arguments than which aff you are reading. I am a "policy judge" in the strictest sense, but that has far more to do with my experience in debate than any desire to hold the line for a certain style of argument. I am too old, too tired and consider the stakes of a given high school debate too low to fight any kind of ideological battle. My most obvious and influential bias is that I am a neg judge.

The aff should be topical. The aff needs an offensive justification for their vision of the topic. Reasonability is meaningless and ultimately begs the question of the impact. I find the arguments for why the aff should be topical to be better than the arguments against it. If you are reading an aff that is not topical, you are much more likely to win my ballot on arguments about why your model of debate is good than you are on random impact turns to T.

Evidence matters a lot. I read lots of evidence and it heavily factors into my decision. Cross-ex is important and the best ones focus on the evidence. Author qualifications, histories, intentions, purpose, funding, etc. matter. Application of author indicts/epistemic arguments about evidence mean more to me than many judges. I find myself more than willing to ignore or discount poorly supported arguments. Kansas debate is particularly bad about filtering quality and I am probably more "interventionist" than what many Kansas debaters have become accustomed to from judges at local tournaments.

Either get good or get good at going for theory. Judge kick is the logical extension of conditionality. I am far more likely to be convinced by a qualitative interpretation than a quantitative one. Have yet to hear a good reason why 4 conditional is worse than 3 is worse than 2. I am more likely to vote aff on an objection to the competition of a counterplan than I am an argument about limiting the scope of negative fiat. Obviously the two are not entirely separable.

I cannot emphasize enough how much clarity matters to me. If you have dramatic tone changes between tag and card, where you can barely be heard when reading the text of evidence, you will get lower points from me and you should stop doing that. If I can't understand the argument, it doesn't count. There is no difference between being incoherent and clipping.

Lose the computer. Probably the single biggest thing that will cause your points to go up or down in front of me is the amount of time you spend reading into your computer screen at a rate that is impossible for me to flow vs. the amount of time you spend using your flow to identify and respond to arguments.

The link usually matters the most. I typically care more about the link than other parts of the argument. Framework or alternative solvency do not reduce the salience of the link. Evidence is important here. When in competition, you should spend more time answering the link than reading impact defense.

Brett Bricker Paradigm

3 rounds

Associate Director of Debate @ KU

Last Updated: Pre-GSU 2016

Quick pre-round notes:

I would prefer speech docs while I judge. Please email them to

The affirmative should read and defend a topical example of the resolution and the negative should negate the affirmative's example.

I reward teams that demonstrate a robust knowledge of the topic and literature concerning the topic.

More info:

1. The word "interpretation" matters more to me than some. You must counterdefine words, or you will likely lose. You must meet your theory interpretation, or you will likely lose.
2. The words "voting issue" matter more to me than some. I am not searching for cheap shots, nor do I especially enjoy theory debates. However, I feel that I would be intervening if I applied "reject the argument not the team" to arguments that debaters did not explicitly apply the impact takeout to. That said, proliferation of empty voting issues will not only hurt your speaker points, but can be grouped and pretty easily disposed of by opponents.
3. "Turns the case" matters more to me than some. Is it offense? Does the link to the advantage/fiat outweigh or prevent turning the case? Does it mean the aff doesn't solve? Questions that should be answered by the 1ar.

I believe that debaters work hard, and I will work hard for them. The more debaters can show they have worked hard: good case debates, specific strategies, etc. the more likely it is I will reward debaters with speaker points and higher effort. In the same vain, debaters who make clear that they don’t work outside of debates won’t receive high speaker points.

Argument issues:

Topicality – It is a voting issue and not a reverse voting issue. I have not yet been persuaded by arguments in favor of reasonability; however, the reason for this usually lies with the fact that affirmatives fail to question the conventional wisdom that limits are good.

Kritiks – It will be difficult to convince me that I should completely disregard my conceptions of rationality, pragmatism and my aversion to unnecessary death. As a general rule, I think of Kritiks like a counterplan with net-benefits. The more aff specific the better.

Counterplans – I am up in the air about textual vs. functional competition – they both have their time and place, and are probably not universal rules. The cross-ex answer “for your DAs but not your counterplans” has always made negative sense to me. I understand that there are MANDATES of the plan and EFFECTS of the plan; I find this distinction more understandable than the usual c-x answer.

Rundown of general thoughts about counterplans:

Conditionality – it's feeling like a little bit much at the moment
PICs – Good, especially if they PIC out of a part of the plan
Consult/Condition – Up in the air and context specific. Solvency advocates, aff stances, etc. can change my feelings.
Delay – Aff leaning, but might be more competitive based on the structure of the affirmative, or a cross-ex answer. For example, if the affirmative has an advantage that takes the position the advantage can only be solved if it happens before "X" date, then the counterplan to do it after that date seems competitive.
Word PICs – Aff leaning
Alternate non-USFG actors – Aff leaning

Demeanor issues:

Be respectful of your opponent, partner and judge. All types of discrimination are prohibited. Don’t clip cards, don’t cut cards out of context, etc. Don't misclose.

Finally, our community relies on host tournaments with classroom space - don't steal, defame or destroy it.

Any questions, ask.

Gabriel Burdeen Paradigm

6 rounds

GBN '19

Indiana University '23 (not debating)



You should strike me if

1. You present an affirmative that does not defend hypothetical USFG action

2. You rely on negative strategies that do not justify a rejection of the affirmative's proposed plan of action

3. You debate in ways that show absolute disregard for decorum, as defined by the American Debate Association

Debaters and judges should treat one another with civility during debates and when debate decisions are revealed and discussed. Debaters and judges should treat one another with generosity, respect and kindness. Participants (debaters, judges, coaches, observers, etc.) may not engage in any nudity, sexually explicit or illegal behavior, or use illegal substances while at the location of the debate rounds or during a debate.

Thoughts about debate

T -- Legal precision determines all other standards, logically, I personally find it hard to believe that your disliking of resolutional wording gives you the right to exclude an affirmative from debate. Topicality asks whether the affirmative is within the scope of the resolution, not whether the resolution makes certain affirmatives harder to debate than others.

Disadvantages -- Must be intrinsic to the affirmative's proposed plan of action, I find most "politics disadvantages" read on the national circuit do not meet the aforementioned standard and thus am very compelled by argumentation that recognizes this. I also feel most negative teams are unprepared for this type of debate as well and affirmatives should exploit this.

Counterplans -- In the absence of a negative resolution, almost all theoretical objections to counterplans are inherently arbitrary and unpredictable, under the condition that the negative wins the premise that negative fiat is legitimate. Objections to counterplans should be filtered through a lens of competition, not theoretical legitimacy.

Critiques -- Are often highly unpersuasive to me, and chances are you're better off not reading one in front of me. I find that most of theses arguments I debated in high school were highly generic and/or borderline immoral.

Debaters should speak comprehensively and intelligibly while giving speeches and engaging in cross-examination. Debaters should refrain from shouting or yelling while speaking. Debaters have the burden to develop clearly all ideas presented and to do so in an oral style that would be appropriate and courteous in an academic forum.

In all cases, with the exceptions of maverick situations, one debater shall give one rebuttal and one constructive, any violations of this will result in me not evaluating/flowing the arguments of the non-designated speaker and extremely punitive speaker point reductions. I don't understand why this is acceptable now.


Michael Casas Paradigm

6 rounds

Hey my name is Michael, email:

Experience; 3 years of High School POLICY debate ( University High School )


Rutgers University - Newark

EXPLAIN what I should vote for you and make it clear. Once you make your point MOVE ON, please don't repeat yourself.

Organize your arguments. Line-Line is nice too.

Spreading is acceptable but be clear. I will call out clear when you are unclear TWICE. After that, I will just stop writing.

i dont like severance affs

I'm pretty liberal so you can any type of argument as long as you can convince me

Critical Affs are cool, explain why we should start with your point and their impacts. (framing preferred with K Aff's)

All Neg Strats are acceptable but please present them clearly so i know when you're starting a new argument.

Theory is beautiful but make it clear to the judge.

Procedural Fairness over all unless you fail to show me it is.

Josh Clark Paradigm

3 rounds

Joshua Clark

Montgomery Bell Academy

University of Michigan - Assistant Coach, Institute Instructor

Past Schools:
Juan Diego Catholic
Notre Dame in Sherman Oaks

Jordan (UT) 96-98
College of Eastern Utah 99
Cal St Fullerton 01-04


Speaker Points
Points will generally stay between 27.5 and 29.9. It generally takes between a 28.6 and 28.7 to clear. I assign points with that in mind. Teams that average 28.65 or higher in a debate means that I thought your points were elimination round-level debates. While it's not an exact science, 28.8-28.9 mean you had a good chance advancing the elimination rounds, 29+ indicates excellence reserved for quarters+. I'm not stingy with these kinds of points and they have nothing to do with past successes. It has everything to do with your performance in THIS debate.

1. Jumping is no longer considered prep.
2. Please do your best to reserve restroom breaks before the opposing team's speeches and not right before your own.
3. Try to treat each other with mutual respect.
4. Cards MUST be marked during the speech. Please say "Mark the card" and please have you OR your partner physically mark the cards in the speech. It is not possible to remember where you've marked your cards after the speech. Saying "mark the card" is the only way to let your judge and competitors know that you are not intending to represent that you've read the entirety of the card. Physically marking the card in the speech is necessary to maintain an accurate account of what you did or didn't read.

My 20 years in the community has led me to have formulated some opinions about how the activity should be run. I'm not sharing these with you because I think this is the way you have to debate, but because you may get some insight about how to win and earn better speaker points in front of me.

1) Conceded claims without warrants - A conceded argument is only given as much weight as the warrant that supports it. You still must have a warrant to support your claim...even if the argument has been conceded. If no warrant has been provided, then it wasn't ever an argument to begin with. For theory arguments to rise to the level of an actual "argument", they have to be properly warranted. If your conditionality argument takes less than 5 seconds to read, it's probably not an argument. "Condo -strat skew, voter....I hope they drop it" very well might be dropped, and not voted on. Politics theory arguments and Permutations fall into this same category. A perm must describe how it resolves the link to the net benefit to be an argument. You can't win on "perm: do the cp" without a reason it resolves the aff and should be theoretically allowed. "Vote NO" and "Fiat solves the link" need to have warrants also. If you are the victim of a theory arg like this, vote no, or intrinsicness, or whatever short thought, do not give up on this argument. You should be honest about not having flowed the argument because of its absurd brevity. You should also make arguments about how the development of those arguments in the 1ar are all new and should be rejected and your new answers be allowed. Affirmatives should make complete theory args in front of me, and negatives shouldn't be afraid to point out that the argument lacked a credible warrant.

2) Voting issues are reasons to reject the argument. (Other than conditionality)

3) Don't make affirmative statements in CX to start your response to a CX question you disagree with. For example, if one is asked "Is your plan a bad idea?' You shouldn't start your response with "sure" or "right", and then go on to disagree with the question. If you need a filler word or phrase, find one that doesn't posit an affirming response.

4) Debate stays in the round -- Debate is a game of testing ideas and their counterparts. Those ideas presented inside of the debate will be the sole factor used in determining the winning team. Things said or done outside of this debate round will not be considered when determining a winning team.

Topicality vs Conventional Affs: I default to competing interpretations on topicality, but can be persuaded by reasonability. Jurisdiction means nothing to me because I see jurisdiction being shaped by the questions of predictability, limits, and fairness. Topicality is a voting issue.

Topicality vs Critical Affs: I generally think that policy debate is a good thing and that a team should both have a plan and defend it. Given that, I have no problem voting for "no plan" advocacies or "fiat-less" plans. I will be looking for you to win that your impact turns to topicality/framework outweigh the loss of education/fairness that would be given in a "fiated" plan debate. I generally think affirmative teams struggle with answering the argument that they could advocate the majority of their aff while defending a topical plan. I also think that teams who stress they are a pre-requisite to topical action have a more difficult time with topical version type arguments, then teams do who impact turn standards. If you win that the state is irredeemable at every level, you are much more likely to get me to vote against FW. The K aff teams who have had success in front of me have been very good at generating a reasonable list of arguments that negative teams could run against them in order to mitigate the fairness impact of the T/FW argument. This makes the impact turns of a stricter limit much more persuasive to me.

I'm also in the fairness camp as a terminal impact, as opposed to an emphasis on portable skills. I think you can win that T comes before substantive issues.

One note to teams that are neg against an aff that lacks stable advocacy: Make sure you adapt your framework arguments to fit the aff. Don't read..." you must have a plan" if they have a plan. If a team has a plan but doesn't defend fiat, and base your ground arguments on that violation.

Counterplans and Disads: The more specific to the aff, the better. There are few things better than a well-researched PIC that just blind sites a team. Objectively, I think counterplans that compete on certainty or immediacy are not legitimate. However, I still coach teams to run these arguments, and I can still evaluate a theory debate about these different counterplans as objectively as possible. Again, the more specific the evidence is to the aff, the more legitimate it will appear.

The K: I was a k debater and a philosophy major in college and you are welcome to run a criticism in front of me. I prefer criticisms that are specific to the resolution. If your K links don't discuss arms sales this year, then it's unlikely to be very persuasive to me. I think that impact comparisons usually become the most important part of a kritik, and the excessive link list becomes the least of a team’s problems heading into the 2nr. You need to win that either a) you turn the case and have an external impact or b) you solve the case and have an external impact. Root cause arguments are good, but rarely address the timeframe issue of case impacts. If you are going to win your magnitude comparisons, then you better do a lot to mitigate the case impacts. I also find most framework arguments associated with a K near pointless. Most of them are impacted by the K proper and therefore depend on you winning the K in order to win the framework argument. Before devoting any more time to framework beyond getting your K evaluated, you should ask yourself and clearly state to me, what happens if you win your theory argument. You should craft your "role of the ballot" argument based on the answer to that question. I am willing to listen to sequencing arguments that EXPLAIN why discourse, epistemology, ontology, ect. come first.

Conclusion: I love debate...good luck if I'm judging you and please feel free to ask any clarifying questions.

In an effort to promote disclosure at the high school level, any team that practices near-universal "open source" will be awarded .2 extra per debater if you bring that to my attention prior to the RFD.

Gabe Cook Paradigm

6 rounds

Debated at Missouri State and graduated in 2004

Executive Director of DEBATE-Kansas City until 2017

Assistant Coach and then Head Coach at Barstow starting in 2018

Yes, I want to be on the chain, and please be as efficient as possible with the emailing. Email:

I am open to almost any argument, but I defer policy. I like a compelling narrative, especially in the link debate. I value both technical skills and argumentative truth, but I defer to what I consider the truer argument when the debate is very close. Clarity and flowability will increase speaker points and chances of winning.

T - I defer to reasonability on T and I do not mind larger topics. That doesn’t mean I won’t vote on T if you win the argument. I find ground loss to be an intuitively important standard. I want both sides to explain the model of debate your interp creates and impact why it’s comparatively better.

Non-T AFF - I don’t mind framework debates and I will vote for who made the best arguments. I have generally preferred for the AFF to find a way to be topical, but I increasingly see reasons why teams choose the non-topical path. I think the best standard for non-T AFFs is that they need to prove it is not possible to ethically support the resolution. I believe you need a topic link and a clear method for the negative engage. I also lean towards believing you do not get a perm in a method vs. method debate.

Case - Here is where I copy and paste from every judge paradigm and say I want more case debate. I dislike AFFs with lousy internal links, and I will reward NEGs that take the time to point out flaws in AFF ev.

K - I find myself voting for the K a fair amount, and against a good number of AFFs, it is the best strategy. You need a specific link, and I appreciate it when debaters use lines from the 1AC to get a link. I am open to voting on presumption/turns case. But you need to explain how the K actually eliminates solvency and/or turns the case, and contextual examples help. I am most familiar with core kritiks like neolib or security. High theory Ks like Baudrillard are my least favorite and I am the least familiar with them. This means you should define key terms from your literature.

By default, I evaluate ontology, epistemology, discourse, and AFF consequences through the lens of link and impact rather than as something resolved or excluded by debate theory.

I generally believe the negative should have the flexibility to run a K and disads. However, a blatant contradiction may provide grounds for a performative contradiction that gives credence to AFF permutations and diminishes the solvency for certain alternatives. You can frame DAs as consequences within the system you are critiquing to help avoid a meaningful performative contradiction.

DA - The starting place is to be on the right side uniqueness. Then I need a compelling link story contextualized to the AFF. Impact comparison is obviously essential. I will vote on effective AFF criticism and/or takeouts of low probability disads.

When I debated I went for politics often, and I still cut a lot of politics cards. For me, the uniqueness research determines the viability of any politics DA. I don’t like forcing a story because of the links or impacts. I also don’t like shady politics DAs. The story should be clear in the 1NC and you shouldn’t win because the 2AC was confused about your argument. If teams run intentionally confusing stories, I will allow the 1AR new answers. I do appreciate nuanced and clever link stories, and I will reward NEG teams that have a compelling link story.

CP - I like core of the topic CPs and smart PICs. I dislike mechanism CPs with little topic literature that really only compete at a textual level. I also dislike consultation CPs. This doesn't mean I refuse to vote for them, but that I am receptive to theoretical objections and solvency arguments.

Condo/Advocacy Theory - I believe that the NEG should get one conditional CP and one conditional K. If the K alt is rejection, then I don’t think it counts as an advocacy. Or I think you can have unlimited dispositional advocacies. I dislike giving the NEG multiple CPs because I think it’s unfair to the 2AC, reduces depth, and gives the NEG too many high reward - no risk arguments. However, the community seems fine with multiple conditional CPs/Ks, and debate theory is a challenging 2NR. When teams run three or more conditional advocacies, by default, I will give the AFF more argumentative leeway in the 1AR and 2AR.


29.6 – 30 – Approaching perfection to perfect.

29.1-29.5 – Excellent

28.5 – 29 – Above average to very good.

28.4 – Average

28.3– 27.7 – Slightly below average to below average

27.6 – 27 – Below average to well below average.

26.9 and below – Bad to potentially offensive.

Abe Corrigan Paradigm

3 rounds

*Updated November 2019*

Hi, I am Abraham Corrigan. I debated for 4 years in high school at HF & GBS, then for 4 years at Gonzaga, then I coached debate for Northwestern, University of Kentucky, Wake Forest & a bunch of different high schools. I took about 3 years off to work as a paralegal at a lawfirm in Chicago that focused on police and prison misconduct. I am back as of 2019-2020 as an assistant coach at GBS.

Pronouns - him/he

Email -

Here are some things to consider when deciding if you want to pref me;

- I will almost never evaluate fairness based affirmative framework arguments. I think probably about 95% of what happens on both sides of the framework debate is meaningless and not helpful for deciding the debate one way or the other.

- Theory arguments are reasons to reject the argument, not the team. The only exception is conditionality. That being said, I usually conclude that conditionality is good and that the affirmative gets to advocate permutations as a reciprocal advantage to the negatives ability to read conditional cps.

- Cross-x is my favorite part of the debate. It's the only time where you can make your opponents to account for the things they say. I flow it.

- I will not read your evidence to help you. If I read your evidence it is either to resolve a factual dispute over what a card says, or to see if it is worth getting the cite/liberating for a team I coach.

- I generally really enjoy judging and attempt to keep up with the literature and commonly read arguments.

- I am working on being less grumpy about people not carefully reading my judging philosophy.

Alyssa Corrigan Paradigm

3 rounds

Note during camp that applies to the season as well:

If you don't a Glenbrook 225 school, please call me Alyssa.

Pronouns are she/her


just some tech stuff - I'll have two monitors up. One monitor will display my flow and your speech docs. The other will display Zoom/your faces.

Think about space - keep your face in the frame, still watch for judging expression.

Go 20 percent slower in these early online debates.

Update 5/2/19:

Yes chain,

I've deleted most of my philosophy because I found this year that the rounds where I was most confused about what on Earth teams were doing were the ones were people were trying to over adapt. Please don't do this. I find I'm much better at adapting to teams than teams are at adapting to me (no offense.) Here are just the absolute most important things.

-Won't judge kick for you automatically. You can make the arg that I should judge kick for you; it just won't be my predisposition to do so automatically.

-Clarity is very important to me. So is pen time.

-I often end up flowing straight down as an inevitable consequence of sloppy line by line. Email me for flows/written feedback if you'd like either.

-Zero risk is a thing. Love me some smart defensive arguments against silly arguments.

-Don't have many aff versus neg predispositions. I might have counted wrong but I believe my voting record was 44-44 aff neg on immigration.

-If you're making new args late in the debate you're likely to have to justify them to me. That doesn't mean don't do it, it just means defend your actions.

-No touching.

-Clipping = zero points and a hot L. Clarity to the point of noncomprehension that causes a clipping challenge constitutes clipping.

-Please stop trying to classify me as a "K person" or a "policy person." This divide is exceptionally harmful for the community. Spoiler alert, you'll be a better debater if you're flex. I grew up in policy land but also debated in college on the left coast so when people try to classify me they're usually wrong. I get bored easily so I enjoy judging a wide range of debates. I like the topic and think taking action in the 1AC is important... I like even more when judges let the debaters do the debating and try to decide the round as objectively as possible. The times when my background and preferences come into play are only when the debaters don't resolve issues for me and I have no choice but to insert my own opinion.

I welcome any questions you might have and really quite enjoy talking about judging practices. Feel free to email me anytime.

Sean Duff Paradigm

3 rounds

Debated 4 years at Dowling HS in Des Moines, Iowa (09-12, Energy, Poverty, Military, Space)
Debated at KU (13-15, Energy, War Powers, Legalization)
Previously Coached: Ast. Coach Shawnee Mission Northwest, Lansing High School.
Currently Coaching: Ast. Coach Washburn Rural High School

Top Level
Do whatever you need to win rounds. I have arguments that I like / don't like, but I'd rather see you do whatever you do best, than do what I like badly. Have fun. I love this activity, and I hope that everyone in it does as well. Don't be unnecessarily rude, I get that some rudeness happens, but you don't want me to not like you. Last top level note. If you lose my ballot, it's your fault as a debater for not convincing me that you won. Both teams walk into the room with an equal chance to win, and if you disagree with my decision, it's because you didn't do enough to take the debate out of my hands.

Carrot and Stick
Carrot - every correctly identified dropped argument will be rewarded with .1 speaks (max .5 boost)
Stick - every incorrectly identified dropped argument will be punished with -.2 speaks (no max, do not do this)

DAs - please. Impact calc/ turns case stuff obviously great, and I've seen plenty of debates (read *bad debates) where that analysis is dropped by the 1ar. Make sure to answer these args if you're aff.

Impact turns - love these debates. I'll even go so far as to reward these debates with an extra .2 speaker points. By impact turns I mean heg bag to answer heg good, not wipeout. Wipeout will not be rewarded. It will make me sad.

CPs - I ran a lot of the CPs that get a bad rep like consult. I see these as strategically beneficial. I also see them as unfair. The aff will not beat a consult/ condition CP without a perm and/or theory. That's not to say that by extending those the aff autowins, but it's likely the only way to win. I lean neg on most questions of CP competition and legitimacy, but that doesn't mean you can't win things like aff doesn't need to be immediate and unconditional, or that something like international actors are illegit.

Theory - Almost always a reason to reject the arg, not the team. Obviously conditionality is the exception to that rule.

T - Default competing interps. Will vote on potential abuse. Topical version of the aff is good and case lists are must haves. "X" o.w. T args are silly to me.

Ks - dropping k tricks will lose you the debate. I'm fine with Ks, do what you want to. Make sure that what you're running is relevant for that round. If you only run security every round, if you hit a structural violence aff, your security K will not compel me. Make sure to challenge the alternative on the aff. Make sure to have a defense of your epistemology/ontology/reps or that these things aren't important, losing this will usually result in you losing the round.

K affs - a fiat'd aff with critical advantages is obviously fine. A plan text you don't defend: less fine, but still viable. Forget the topic affs are a hard sell in front of me. It can happen, but odds are you're going to want someone else higher up on your sheet. I believe debate is good, not perfect, but getting better. I don't think the debate round is the best place to resolve the issues in the community.

Speaker points.
I don't really have a set system. Obviously the carrot and stick above apply. It's mostly based on how well you did technically, with modifications for style and presentation. If you do something that upsets me (you're unnecessarily rude, offensive, do something shady), your points will reflect that.

Chris Eckert Paradigm

4 rounds

Debated at Greenhill, now debating at the University of Kentucky.

Tech > truth

Please put me on the chain:

Tim Ellis Paradigm

3 rounds

Tim Ellis
Head Coach - Washburn Rural High School, Topeka, KS
Debated at Manhattan High School
Updated 7/29/19
Email chain -

First thing is first, if anything in this paradigm isn't clear enough, feel free to ask me before the round, I'd be more than happy to clarify.

Tl;dr - I judge quite a bit, about 100 rounds last year, and am generally pretty familiar with the topic from coaching and working at camps. As a competitor I gravitated toward plan oriented affs and CP/DA strategies on the neg and have coached teams who debate similarly, but I am open to you debating however you would like to. I have literature deficiencies in some areas that make me less knowledgeable of certain strategies. I am also a teacher who believes in debate as an educational activity, so I am generally open to listening to you debate in whatever fashion you're the most comfortable.

If you would like to know more specifics, they are below.

Topicality: I feel like topicality is usually a question of competing interpretations, but just like anything else in debate, you can persuade me otherwise. I tend to think that debaters are not great at explaining the offense that they have on T flows, and particularly, how offensive arguments interact with one another. I have seen a lot of 2ARs recently where the aff doesn't extend a terminal impact to their counter interp. I pretty much always vote neg in these situations. All too often the neg will go for a limits DA and the aff will say precision, but no one will discuss which one has more value in creating a stable model for debate. Reasonability alone is not an argument that makes sense to me, absent an offensive argument. Good is good enough is nonsense - if you are close to beating a DA, I'm still going to vote neg. If you want to utilize a reasonability argument more persuasively, I would suggest that you frame it almost like sufficiency on the counterplan and have an offensive reason that inclusion of the aff is good. As far as spec debates, I usually find them quite dull. I am growing weary of affs that obviously defend a certain agent with their solvency advocate and advantages but will not defend that agent when debating an agent counterplan. Stop this and defend your arguments please.

Framework: I find that framework debates to me are usually an issue of fairness. I find myself generally not super persuaded by the value of topic education vs the value of whatever educational outlet the affirmative has chosen to discuss is. The aff usually has better evidence about the importance of their particular educational outlet anyway, especially given the fact that they know what it is and can adequately prepare for it. Fairness is a bit more contestable from the negative perspective, in my opinion. Central to convincing me to vote for a non-resolutionally based affirmative is their ability to describe to me what the role of the negative would be under their model of debate. K affs can gain a lot of leeway with me by being in the direction of the resolution and defending at least some links in the realm of topic literature. I am not a very good judge for affs that have no resolutional basis. Regardless, I also think that the aff has a better chance by focusing most of their time on impact turning framework and then using the directionality of the aff toward the topic in order to win some defense against the negs framework claims.

Theory: Most theory debates are people reading blocks back and forth and are totally useless. I usually default to rejecting the argument and not the team. Conditionality is a potential exception to that rule, but it has been a long time since I saw a team ready to debate condo very well.

Kritiks: I am not as familiar with the literature base for this style of argumentation. That doesn't mean I don't vote on the K, it simply means that you need a little more explanation for your argument than you otherwise might. I think that good K teams are able to contextualize their argument with the world of the affirmative. Recently I've judged a bunch of K debates where the links all seem to be descriptions of the status quo, but the affirmative is not very good at winning that the aff is in the direction of the alt. If the neg is going to try and go for just framework and a link/ethics argument, I think it is important that they focus a substantial amount of time on the framework debate, and try and have an interpretation of framework that is not completely arbitrary and should try and win that there is a unique link to the aff. If you are able to win framework and a unique link then you're probably good without an alt. If you are going to go for an alternative, it is probably important that you explain to me how the alternative functions and how the alt resolves the links to the K and probably portions of the affirmative, otherwise you will be susceptible to losing on the aff outweighs. Be descriptive of how the alt functions. I have also found myself recently voting for the aff in the vast majority of debates where the 2NR does not have a thorough contestation of the affirmative. You don't explicitly have to go to the case pages, but you should definitely be calling into question the truth of the 1ACs internal link chains or the efficacy of it to solve the problems that it seeks to solve.

Disads/Counterplans/Case: These are the types of debate I am most familiar with. I think the case debate is under utilized, and that the education topic may have been the worst thing in recent memory at teaching people to debate the case. I wish that more teams would focus on the internal links to the aff advantages instead of just reading impact defense and hoping that a DA outweighs. I think delay counterplans are cheating. Conditions and consult counterplans I can easily be convinced are cheating, but having a solvency advocate helps.

Things I like: Rebuttals that paint a clear picture of what an aff/neg ballot means. Evidence comparison. Debaters who don't read off their computer for the whole debate. Debaters who are funny/having fun. Warranted arguments/smart analytics. Well thought out strategies.

Things I dislike: Bluetooth speakers, must define all terms, running arguments you don't really understand, death good, topicality = genocide, general rudeness, stealing prep time, and clipping cards. If you enjoy doing these things, you probably don't want me to judge you.

Disclaimer: I love the activity of debate, and think that it is a place where all types of debate styles/debaters should be welcome. If you are excessively rude to the other team (laughing during speeches, being disrespectful in cross-x, etc) I will let you know. If the behavior continues, there is a strong chance that I will vote against you on principle.

Chris Flowers Paradigm

6 rounds

Paradigm update eNSDA


Chris Flowers

Little Rock Central

You can call me by my first or last name. I use he/him pronouns.

Email -


I flow, pay attention to cx and would like to be on the email chain to read your evidence if necessary.

I want you to keep up with your own prep (unless you’re new at this).

I evaluate dropped arguments like won arguments, but expect you to extend the warrants to the claim and impact the argument out as necessary.

Debaters ought to determine the procedural limits and educational value of each topic by defending their interpretations in the round (See preferences section for more on this).

Affirmative teams should advocate for some departure from the status quo in the context of the topic. The more connected to the topic you are, the less likely I am to evaluate fairness impacts on framework/t.

If I have to read evidence for decision purposes I will evaluate the quality of said evidence even without explicit indicts of the evidence from your opponent. If you are way ahead on technical stuff or even spin, evidence quality matters less.

Debaters should not do any of the following:

Clip cards

Steal prep

Outright disregard basic, logistical and procedural things that keep the tournament running on time, i.e. showing up super late, speaking over the time allotted to their side etc.

Disregard reasonable personal request of their opponents. If you don’t wish to comply with opponent requests, you ought to have a good reason why.

Misgender folks

Say or do racist, sexist, homophobic, transphobic or ableist things.

Read identity arguments that you don't identify as.

Defaults when you forget to make warrants to your arguments

Education > Fairness

Shapes Subjectivities > Just a game

Breadth = Depth ---> both are important please make warrants here

Neg getting the status quo plus conditional advocacies is fair and incentivizes good aff research.

K’s don’t need to win an alt to win.

Perf Con is a reason to vote AFF, RVI’s are probably not.

Voting for theory when there’s substantial or egregious abuse > voting for theory because it was undercovered

reasonable disclosure practices = should be followed.

Analytic > Low quality evidence

Heg = bad.

Cap = bad.

Grumpy things

We don’t need to shake hands.

Calling framework T doesn’t make it not framework. What are you trying to hide!?

Case debate is underutilized.

Analytics are underutilized .

My tolerance for rudeness, sassiness etc. goes up the better you are at debate.

Your speaks go up when you are nice to opponents you are way better than.

Y’all are kids. I’m 35. You can call me by my first or last name, but I’m not here for unnecessary dramatics.

Your coaches and judges give up a lot to be here on the weekends. It’s because deep down they care about you and the activity. It has made a marked difference in their lives and they want you to get the same thing out of it that they did. Make this experience enjoyable and educational for yourself and others. If it’s not fun, maybe consider quiz bowl or model UN.

I'd pref these teams at 1:




PV VG (ride or die)



NoBro MR

Lane Tech CG

Determining Speaks

I evaluate a speech similar to how I would grade a paper.

30 = 100%

I think the 30 is too exalted. But, I do want to be blown away before I hand one out. Do the following for your best chances:

Execute a clear and cohesive argument strategy.

Delivery is dynamic, clear and organized.

Performance between speeches is exemplary (cross-x questions and answers, non-verbal during opponents speeches and a generally likable ethos).

Rebuttal speeches are rich with a combination of argumentation and persuasion (warrants are extended, comparisons are made, round vision is demonstrated through clear strategy but also responsive analytics).

and 29.9 = 99% and so on down the line.

The best way to get a 29 and up from me is focus on the following:

Be yourself, don’t be flippant.

Pre-written speeches should be clear, dynamic and within time.

Rebuttals are a smooth combination of argument extensions, comparisons and in-round analytics.

Strategy is cohesive and cool.

You signpost well and organized. The fewer times I have to move my arguments from the flow the better.

Novices should expect there speaks to be relatively lower. Since speaks are largely arbitrary the most fair way for me to assign speaks is to stick to the criteria above.

Argumentative Preferences

*If I haven't mentioned it here, I don't have any strong thoughts on the matter and am most likely to be a pretty blank slate. Especially on theory. *

t/framework vs. k aff

Planless aff’s are a thing and neg teams are best to attempt to engage case as earnestly as possible. This is especially true if the aff has been around for awhile and/or is steeped in literature that is readily accessible through camp files or previous years topics (read: basically everything).

Affs should be related to the topic. The less contextualized to the affirmative your aff is the more likely I am to vote on fairness/procedural issues. On face, I think education is way more important than fairness. But I will begrudgingly vote for you if you’ve out warranted the other team on this issue.

T vs affs w a plan text that uses the usfg

I default to reasonability because I think it incentivizes innovative research by the aff that expands the limits of the topic in a good way. (all about that education). I also don’t think it creates much more judge intervention that is already inevitable and comparable to evaluating competing interps. But, I will vote for competing interps if you’ve got good stuff to say that will establish a clear brightline as to what makes a definition better.


Neg definitely gets to be conditional. Limited conditionality is the most comfortable theory interp for me, but unlimited conditionality is fine too, unless you cross over the line into perf con.

Perf Con.

I am 1/1 voting on perf con that was in the 2ar.

The threshold for me on perf con is two fold. Either one of these violations happening is enough for me to vote for PC 2AR

a. Arguments made on one flow could be extended to other parts of the flow once the original argument is dropped.

b. Positons are grossly ideologically contradictory. IE, the econ da plus cap.

Counter Plans

If you have a solvency advocate, its legit.

Most PIC’s I’ve heard seem theoretically legit because demonstrable abuse hasn’t been proven. But if you have a clear, thesis story on CP abuse I will vote there. It’s happened before. But violations have to be clear.


I think most politics arguments are false and most econ arguments are false. However, I can detach myself from those beliefs and vote for your disad, even if it's terrible. Please be reading updated uniqueness arguments and be paying attention to what’s happening in the squo. Make your turns case analysis efficient and terminal.


Neg walks in with presumption. If both teams show up and neither team speaks I’d vote neg on a low point win. Neg teams should still make presumption analysis and not just rely on my assumption to vote their. Explain to me the inefficiencies of the aff to resolve the harms in the status quo.

Debate Philosophy

Debate is transformative. It is foremost an educational activity. As a classroom teacher, as well as an active coach and judge I approach nearly everything I do with that element of education in mind. I do think there should be some parameters to the game, but I also believe that part of the beauty of the game is that those parameters are generally underlimiting. I think this isn’t always the best for creativity, but that it definitely encourages students to do in-depth research on a broad range of topics.

Debate is challenging. I like arguments that are hard to beat, but not impossible. As a coach debate allows me to set personal challenges, some that I have accomplished others I may never achieve. There’s beauty in the struggle. As a coach, I want to be down in the trenches as much as possible, cutting cards, maximizing pre-round prep. and doing anything I can to win, even if it means being the waterboy before rounds. As a judge, I hope the debaters I judge will feel the same way. I don’t care how much experience you have, how good or bad at debate you are, I want you to be in it to win it. I also want you to not be afraid to fail.

Debate is exhausting. On my squad, I share responsibilities with two other phenomenal coaches. We all drive to and from tournaments, work tirelessly on hearing redos, facilitating practices, cutting evidence and overall trying to put all of our debaters in the best possible position to win debates. All of this can be excruciating and exhausting. If debaters on my team or at tournaments don’t’ share in this sense of sacrifice or the recognition that we are all a part of something a little bigger, there’s no payoff for me. Don’t be those kids. Being away from home and family so frequently during the school year CAN be a worthy sacrifice, if the students I coach and judge demonstrate excellence or a desire for excellence in competitive and interpersonal ways. Your coaches, myself included, do this for a reason. Most of us really want nothing but the best for you. Winning is important, but not everything. Have a good attitude and embrace the game.

Eric Forslund Paradigm

2 rounds


Copied and Pasted from my judge philosophy wiki page.

Recent Bio:

13 years judging and coaching high school debate. First at Damien High School and most recently at Greenhill. Generally only judge a handful of college rounds a year.

Zero rounds on the current college topic in 2018.

Coached at the University of Wyoming 2004-2005.

I have decided to incentivize reading strategies that involve talking about the specifics of the affirmative case. Too many high school teams find a terrible agent or process cp and use politics as a crutch. Too many high school teams pull out their old, generic, k's and read them regardless of the aff. As an incentive to get away from this practice I will give any 2N that goes for a case-only strategy an extra point. If this means someone who would have earned a 29 ends up with a 30, then so be it. I would rather encourage a proliferation of higher speaker points, then a proliferation of bad, generic arguments. If you have to ask what a case strategy involves, then you probably aren't going to read one. I'm not talking about reading some case defense and going for a disad, or a counterplan that solves most of the aff. I'm talking about making a majority of the debate a case debate -- and that case debate continuing into the 2NR.

You'll notice "specificity good" throughout my philosophy. I will give higher points to those teams that engage in more specific strategies, then those that go for more generic ones. This doesnt mean that I hate the k -- on the contrary, I wouldn't mind hearing a debate on a k, but it needs to be ABOUT THE AFF. The genero security k doesnt apply to the South Korean Prostitutes aff, the Cap k doesnt apply to the South Korea Off-Shore Balancing aff - and you arent likely to convince me otherwise. But if you have an argument ABOUT the affirmative --especially a specific k that has yet to be read, then you will be rewarded if I am judging you.

I have judged high-level college and high school debates for the last 14 years. That should answer a few questions that you are thinking about asking: yes, speed is fine, no, lack of clarity is not. Yes, reading the k is ok, no, reading a bunch of junk that doesn't apply to the topic, and failing to explain why it does is not.

The single most important piece of information I can give you about me as a judge is that I cut a lot of cards -- you should ALWAYS appeal to my interest in the literature and to protect the integrity of that literature. Specific is ALWAYS better than generic, and smart strategies that are well researched should ALWAYS win out over generic, lazy arguments. Even if you dont win debates where you execute specifics, you will be rewarded.

Although my tendencies in general are much more to the right than the rest of the community, I have voted on the k many times since I started judging, and am generally willing to listen to whatever argument the debaters want to make. Having said that, there are a few caveats:

1. I don't read a lot of critical literature; so using a lot of terms or references that only someone who reads a lot of critical literature would understand isn’t going to get you very far. If I don’t understand your arguments, chances are pretty good you aren’t going to win the debate, no matter how persuasive you sound. This goes for the aff too explain your argument, don’t assume I know what you are talking about.

2. You are much better off reading critical arguments on the negative then on the affirmative. I tend to believe that the affirmative has to defend a position that is at least somewhat predictable, and relates to the topic in a way that makes sense. If they don’t, I am very sympathetic to topicality and framework-type arguments. This doesn’t mean you can’t win a debate with a non-traditional affirmative in front of me, but it does mean that it is going to be much harder, and that you are going to have to take topicality and framework arguments seriously. To me, predictability and fairness are more important than stretching the boundaries of debate, and the topic. If your affirmative defends a predictable interpretation of the topic, you are welcome to read any critical arguments you want to defend that interpretation, with the above stipulations.

3. I would much rather watch a disad/counterplan/case debate than some other alternative.

In general, I love a good politics debate - but - specific counterplans and case arguments are THE BEST strategies. I like to hear new innovative disads, but I have read enough of the literature on this year’s topic that I would be able to follow any deep debate on any of the big generic disads as well.

As far as theory goes, I probably defer negative a bit more in theory debates than affirmative. That probably has to do with the fact that I like very well thought-out negative strategies that utilize PICS and specific disads and case arguments. As such, I would much rather see an affirmative team impact turn the net benefits to a counterplan then to go for theory (although I realize this is not always possible). I really believe that the boundaries of the topic are formed in T debates at the beginning of the year, therefore I am much less willing to vote on a topicality argument against one of the mainstream affirmatives later on in the year than I am at the first few tournaments. I’m not going to outline all of the affs that I think are mainstream, but chances are pretty good if there are more than a few teams across the country reading the affirmative, I’m probably going to err aff in a close T debate.

One last thing, if you really want to get high points in front of me, a deep warming debate is the way to go. I would be willing to wager that I have dug further into the warming literature than just about anybody in the country, and I love to hear warming debates. I realize by this point most teams have very specific strategies to most of the affirmatives on the topic, but if you are wondering what advantage to read, or whether or not to delve into the warming debate on the negative, it would be very rewarding to do so in front of me -- at the very least you will get some feedback that will help you in future debates.

Ok, I lied, one more thing. Ultimately I believe that debate is a game. I believe that debaters should have fun while debating. I realize that certain debates get heated, however do your best not to be mean to your partner, and to the other team. There are very few things I hate more than judging a debate where the teams are jerks to each other. Finally, although I understand the strategic value to impact turning the alternative to kritiks and disads (and would encourage it in most instances), there are a few arguments I am unwilling to listen to those include: sexism good, racism good, genocide good, and rape good. If you are considering reading one of those arguments, don’t. You are just going to piss me off.

Lani Frazer Paradigm

3 rounds

Email chain/contact:

About me - I am the DoF at Sonoma Academy. I debated at SVDP in Petaluma, CA under the guidance of Laila McClay and Orion Steele, and briefly at UC Berkeley. I spent some time working in intellectual property law before returning to coach debate.

General - My judging philosophy is pretty simple - you should ultimately do what you do best. I prioritize specificity, contextualization, and evidence quality over your style of debate. Really, I can't stress this enough. I am equally happy judging planless affs, affs with advocacy statements, affs with plans, whatever. I don't judge many policy v. policy debates, but I promise I don't mind them.

Organization is very important. I flow on paper. I am not a fan of huge overviews and card dumps- please do the work for me and tell me where I should flow things. Explaining warrants is crucial. Empirics and examples are great. Impact analysis is critical. Tech should be truth.

Topicality - I will vote on topicality. The negative must win that their interpretation is good, predictable, and resolves their voters. You should be explaining why, as a whole, your vision of the topic is good, and have tangible impacts. Potential abuse isn't super compelling to me, but I'll vote on it if you tell me why I should. Ks of T are often pretty trifling and need to be explained in depth. "Community consensus" on T doesn't mean much to me and should not be taken for granted.

Theory - I have a high threshold for theory debates and find them to be blippy and frivolous most of the time. I default to rejecting the argument and not the team, but if there is a voting issue it must be thoroughly articulated and should have a very strong presence in the 2nr/2ar. Be slow, clear, and do more than read the shell.

Framework - I mostly judge debates wherein affirmatives do not read a traditional plan text. I am fine with this. Should affirmatives at least be in the direction of the topic? Probably, but not necessarily. Framework read against a K/performance aff that does something concrete is typically not a good argument to read in front of me. You should be engaging in what they do and you should do more than say that they shouldn't be allowed to do it. Provide a creative topical version, and explain why fairness or education or whatever comes first (and why this means the aff can't access their own pedagogy). Do more than provide a case list, but explain why those cases are good for debate. I tend to think that fairness is more of an internal link and not a terminal impact, but if you're winning that I will vote for you.

The K - love it. I spend a lot of time reading critical theory and am probably familiar with your lit, but I will not do extra work for you, so the less jargon/more explanation, the better. Be specific and have contextualized links (the link should be to the aff and not the world). You should also answer all of the aff's impacts through turns, defense, etc. Framing is super important. The permutation is underutilized. Impact turns on the aff are cool, but not when it's something you shouldn't say pedagogically.

Disadvantages - I like them. Win your link, turn/outweigh the case, impact calc. Intrinsicness is silly and I'll probably not evaluate it much unless it's seriously mishandled (though it can be compelling against things like riders DAs, which are, in my opinion, a misinterpretation of fiat).

Counterplans - Great. I love a creative advantage CP. You should have a solvency advocate. I definitely lean neg on most theory arguments here, but that doesn't mean I won't vote on them.

Let me know if you have any questions. Shoot me an email before the round if you want me to be aware of access needs, pronouns, etc.

Tim Freehan Paradigm

6 rounds

Yes, email chain.

POLICY DEBATE--updated FEB 2020:

Top Level:

--Old School Policy. University of Michigan Class of 1995. Get off my lawn. (Let's be honest, most of you will stop reading now. Please don't.)

--Co-Founding Member of the Never Spark Society

--Truth>Tech. But silence is concession. Also, see below on my new ASPEC Rule

--Quality of Evidence Counts. Massive disparities warrant intervention on my part.

--Not great with theory debates. Condo is okay. Other than that, see below.

--I love nuanced case debates.

--Prefer arguments that originate from Truth and Research. The more you respect the value of research in your round, the happier I will be.

--I am a better judge if the round is about substance rather than procedure or ethos. Full stop.

The Line by Line...

Advantage vs Disadvantage. I will always give more credence to the team that has a more consistent narrative and better explains causality from A to B to C. I can and will vote against an argument if cards are poor exclusive of counter evidence being read. Coherent and plausible stories with good evidence will always win out in my mind. You not understanding obvious political reality will cast a bit of a shadow over your credibility.

Not a big fan of Pre-Fiat DA's: Spending, Must Pass Legislation, Riders, etc. I will err Aff on theory unless the Neg has some really good evidence as to why not.

Counterplans. Run them. It is perfectly okay for Agents to be a part of the debate and I am not sure why whining about it via theory blips you have in your back files is the best course of action. The Negative having specific solvency will solve theory problems. No International Fiat and Object Fiat please.

PICs-- all good. But will err Aff on Theory when the PIC is just "we solve the Aff and a eensy weensy bit of something else."

Process Counterplans-- I mostly hate them. You had better have a solvency advocate and a good one and you had better prove why your "process" is somehow valuable and/or educational. This is another time I will err aff on CP theory debates.

K-Affs/Kritiks. If you lean on high theory or K Affs, just do yourself a favor and put me low or strike me. If you can't do that...

I am a big enough person to admit that I am not up on the literature and the pantheon of scholars that are presently utilized in Policy Debate. Also, I am not very smart. Nor do I feel that 200+ words per minute is the appropriate manner in which to discuss such high-minded topics. So here it is: I will vote on Kritikal arguments. But know that VERY few in-depth K debates I have seen thus far have been decided by anything more than me reading all of the relevant evidence and drawing many conclusions on my own. Sorry, but it’s the risk you run.

A K debater once told me they thought I got a bad rap against as a K judge. That may be true when you are on the Neg but KAffs are a tougher needle to thread with me. Its game over of you can't beat back a TVA.

Topic relevance is important.

If your goal is to use the K as a means to teach an old white male who engages with both capitalism and the state for a living something valuable, then I am all ears. I love being taught things and you have done the K justice. If your goal is to make blanket statements about why certain people are good or bad or should be excluded from valuable discussions then I am not your judge. We are all flawed.

I do not like “debate is bad” arguments. I don't think that being a "small school" is a reason why K's are good.

Topicality. I look at this argument differently than almost EVERY other judge on the circuit. Because it theoretically serves an external function that affects other rounds, I do give the Aff a fair amount of leeway when the arguments start to wander into a gray area. It has been pointed out to me that the requirement for Offense on the part of the Affirmative is something on which I place little value. Put another way, the Aff need only prove that they are within the predictable confines of research and present a plan that offers enough ground on which to run generic arguments. The Negative must prove that the Affirmative skews research burdens to a point in which the topic is unlimited to a point beyond 20-30 possible cases and/or renders the heart of the topic moot.


Some arguments I hate:

“Spark” (Russia/China/Iran/NoKo strikes good are okay)

"New Affs Bad"

"T-USFG means all 3 branches"

"Death Good"


ConCon CP (unless there is specific literature for Solvency)

A few additional notes:

I have yet to hear a debate about Floating PIKS or Intrinsic Perms that makes me understand them.

If you want to turn debate into games of Mario Kart or slam poetry, strike me. Respect the game.

Debate the evidence. It’s a lost art and, trust me, it’s a great skill to learn.

As I am a judge who likes to reward research, there is an argument that can solve many problems: Literature Checks Abuse. What I mean by this is that if you have a dubiously topical Aff, a seemingly abusive Process Counterplan, etc. I will tend to give a lot more leeway to the defense against theory claims. All you need to do is show me some evidence that your argument has a specific and valuable place in the debate and I am willing to overlook ‘PICS bad’ or other claims of this ilk because having a debate about X issue is educational.

I have romantic notions that well-reasoned assertions are good things. Feel free to think on your feet.


I judge about 1 PF Round for every 25-30 Policy Rounds so bear with me here.

· I have NOT judged the PF national circuit pretty much ever. The good news is that I am not biased against or unwilling to vote on any particular style. Chances are I have heard some version of your meta level of argumentation and know how it interacts with the round. The bad news is if you want to complain about a style of debate in which you are unfamiliar, you had better convince me why with, you know, impacts and stuff. Do not try and cite an unspoken rule about debate in your part of the country.

Because of my background in Policy, I tend to look at things from a cost benefit perspective. Even though the Pro is not advocating a Plan and the Con is not reading Disadvantages, to me the round comes down to whether the Pro has a greater possible benefit than the potential implications it might cause. Both sides should frame the round in terms impact calculus and or feasibility. Impacts need to be tangible.

Evidence quality is very important.

I will vote on what is on the flow (yes, I flow) and keep my personal opinions of arguments in check as much as possible. I may mock you for it, but I won’t vote against you for it. No paraphrasing. Quote the author, date and the exact words. Quals are even better but you don’t have to read them unless pressed. Have the website handy. Research is critical.

Speed? Meh. You cannot possibly go fast enough for me to not be able to follow you. However, that does not mean I want to hear you go fast. You can be quick and very persuasive. You don't need to spread.

Defense is nice but is not enough. You must create offense in order to win. There is no “presumption” on the Con.

While I am not a fan of formal “Kritik” arguments in PF, I do think that Philosophical Debates have a place. Using your Framework as a reason to defend your scholarship is a wise move. Racism and Sexism will not be tolerated. You can attack your opponents scholarship.

I reward debaters who think outside the box.

I do not reward debaters who cry foul when hearing an argument that falls outside traditional parameters of PF Debate. Again, I am not a fan of the Kritik, but if its abusive, tell me why instead of just saying “not fair.”

Statistics are nice, to a point. But I feel that judges/debaters overvalue them sometimes. Often the best impacts involve higher values that cannot be quantified. A good example would be something like Structural Violence.

While Truth outweighs, technical concessions on key arguments can and will be evaluated. Dropping offense means the argument gets 100% weight.

The goal of the Con is to disprove the value of the Resolution. If the Pro cannot defend the whole resolution (agent, totality, etc.) then the Con gets some leeway.

I care about substance and not style. It never fails that I give 1-2 low point wins at a tournament. Just because you tie is nice and you sound pretty, doesn’t mean you win. I vote on argument quality and technical debating. The rest is for lay judging.

Relax. Have fun.

Lincoln Garrett Paradigm

2 rounds

Yes email chain:

AFF on T

NEG on conditionality, but even I have my limit (more than 3, no evidence for a bunch of them, combining them later in the debate, amending and adding 2NC cps). NEGs are less good at defending their egregiousness in my recent experience.

I will kick the CP if I think it is worse than the status quo. A neg team doesn't have to say "judge kick" and the AFF isn't going to convince me I shouldn't do this.

I reject the argument and not the team for most every other theoretical objection to a CP.

Will vote on K's. Will care about if the plan is a good idea even if the AFF can't physially make it happen.

Don't have to read a plan, but merely saying the res is bad and dropping stuff will lead to L's.

I am not in the market to award AFF vagueness or poor explanations of cases until the 2AR

Evidence quality outweighs evidence quantity.

Colton Gilbert Paradigm

6 rounds


I competed in policy for three years in high school at Parkview Arts/Science Magnet High School; I did an additional year at the University of Kentucky. I am now on the coaching staff at Little Rock Central High School. I have a bachelor's and a master's in Communication Studies and a master's in Secondary Education. I said that not to sound pompous but so that you will understand that my lack of exposure to an argument will not preclude me from evaluating it; I know how to analyze argumentation. I have represented Arkansas at the Debate Topic Selection for the past few years (I authored the Middle East paper in 2018 and the Criminal Justice paper in 2019) and that has altered how I view both the topic process and debates, in a good way. I think this makes me a more informed, balanced judge.

Include me on all email chains, please


I find that many teams are rude and obnoxious in round and don’t see the need to treat their opponents with dignity. I find this mode of thinking offensive and disrespectful to the activity as a whole

I consider myself an open slate person but that doesn’t mean that you can pull the most obscure argument from your backfiles and run it in front of me. Debate is an intellectual game. Because of this I find it offensive when debaters run arguments just to be running them, do not run your arguments if you don’t think they can win you the round!

I don’t mind speed and consider myself an exceptional flower. That being said, I think that it helps us judges when debaters slow down on important things like plan/CP texts, perms, theory arguments, and anything else that will require me to get what you said verbatim.

Saying anything remotely racist, ableist, transphobic, etc will get you an auto loss in front of me. If that means you need to strike me then do us both a favor and strike me.

Short Version

My previous paradigm had a thorough explanation of how I evaluate most arguments. For the sake of prefs and pre round prep I have decided to amend it. When I debated I was mostly a T/CP/DA debater. That being said, I am open to just about any form of argumentation you want to make. If it is a high theory argument don’t take for granted that I understand most of the terminology your author’s use.

I will prioritize my ballot around what the 2NR/2AR highlights as the key issues in the debate. I try to start with the last two speeches and work my way back through the debate evaluating the arguments that the debaters are making. I don’t have to personally agree with an argument to vote for it.


I see framework as slightly different from T so I evaluate it differently as well. Too often debaters read a lot of blocks and don’t do enough engaging in these kinds of debates. The “Role of the Ballot” needs to be explicit and there needs to be a discussion of how your ROB is accessible by both teams. If you want to skirt the issue of accessibility then you need to articulate why the impact(s) of the aff outweigh whatever arguments the neg is going for.

These debates, for me, generally come down to an issue of fairness. K affs should be able to articulate what the role of the negative is under their model. If the aff is in the direction of the topic, I tend to give them some leeway in responding to a lot of the neg claims. Central to convincing me to vote for a non-resolutionally based affirmative is their ability to describe to me what the role of the negative would be under their model of debate. The aff should spend time on impact turning framework while simultaneously using their aff to short circuit some of the impact claims advanced by the neg.

Parting Thoughts

Don’t manipulate what you are best at to fit into my paradigm of viewing debate. Do what you do best and I will do what I do best in evaluating the debate.

Sam Grimsley Paradigm

4 rounds

Who Am I?

Greenhill 2018

Trinity 2022




theory = sad face

plan required

make complete arguments

everything below is mostly a list about my preferences in debate that I think are noteworthy or diverge from community norms


I like t debates.

I view these debates in terms of offense/defense. Reasonability will be a hard sell

Winning internal links to predictability or precision is much more important than limits in a vacuum.

I'm more likely to err towards smaller topics than protecting "aff innovation"

plan text in a vacuum is a bad standard


Winning turns case only matters if you win a reasonable risk of the DA.

Politics is great

DA non intrinsic/fiat solves the link/bottom of the docket aren't arguments that I'll ever care about


very neg biased on all counterplan theory.

If the aff makes a theory argument by shotgunning standards without a warrant or coherent argument in 10 seconds or a similar practice, the negative is completely justified by responding by pointing out the incomplete argument and shotgunning standards without warrant in return

Positional competition is good

Counterplans should be functionally and textually competitive

The aff should probably be certain and immediate

I will kick the counterplan for the negative always



read a plan


The aff gets to weigh the case

I'm familiar with cap and security, beyond that, you'll need a lot of explanation

If your overview is longer than 45 seconds I will stop flowing after 45 seconds until you start doing line by line

Other/Random Thoughts

Always a risk --> hard to convince me no risk

You can insert evidence you've re-highlighted

"for your da's, but not your cp's" is a silly standard

tech>truth --> impossible to convince me otherwise as long as the original argument was "complete"

Impact turns done well are a route to high speaks

I have a relatively high standard for the 1ar and don't have any problem writing off incomplete 1ar arguments

If you say the words "new affs bad" or "cooperative learning framework" you will lose speaker points and probably lose if it the 2nr option

Framing contentions make me sad

Sam Gustavson Paradigm

3 rounds

Sam Gustavson
C.E. Byrd HS class of 2014

Debated at Baylor Univeristy 2014-2016, University of Iowa 2017-2019

Currently coaching Glenbrook South (2019)

Have coached: Caddo Magnet HS, Hendrickson HS, Little Rock Central, University of Chicago Lab

email chain - yes -

Random 2019 updates:

Taking two lines from Khalid Shareef's paradigm that I profoundly agree with:

"1.Clarity of thought is paramount. I often find myself voting for teams that can make complex arguments sound like common sense.

2. Good evidence is secondary to what a debater does with it. I really appreciate evidence interrogation in speeches and cross-examination. I don't like reading cards after the debate, please put the important spin and quotations of the card "on the flow."

I don't like reading a lot of evidence after rounds. If there is a dispute about what a piece of evidence says, sure I will read it. But I will not spend a lot of time reading through the docs and reconstructing the debate for you. There is a high chance I don't even open the email chain. I think that the debating should be done by the debaters on the flow and I should not need to read evidence to put together what you said. You should be unpacking that for me and using it to make arguments in the debate.

This is my first year not debating. I care even less about what you read in front of me than I did 5 years ago.

K on K debates when done well are the best debates to watch. When done poorly, easily the worst debates to have to watch. Take that however you will.

Being creative with topical versions of the aff and read-it-On-the-neg arguments on framework will get you a lot further in the debate than saying “you could read your K and defend a plan text”. That requires actually applying these things to the aff.

When answering framework, having a clear counter interpretation will help me filter your offense and defense. Not saying you have to redefine words in the resolution, but having an argument about what debate should look like is important.

No, you will not insert that re-highlighting into the debate. You will read it.

2018 Update (Immigration): Saying an argument is conceded is not the same thing as extending a full argument. Additionally, asserting that arguments have been conceded when that is not the case is not persuasive. It shows that you either aren’t flowing or that you’re just missing arguments that your opponent is making.

Go slower when reading really long counter-plan texts if you want me to get it

2014 Paradigm

I know most of the people who read these aren't looking to learn every thought I have about debate, most of you are reading this quickly before a debate or while doing prefs, so I'll keep this short.

Thesis: Say whatever you want in front of me. I think debate should be about the debaters. Don't debate differently in front of me, just do what you're best at. Of course I have biases that influence the way I evaluate debates, everyone does. But when judging, I will attempt to be objective and evaluate the round based on the arguments presented by both sides. Read a politics DA, an aff without a plan, topicality/framework, a large structural criticism, I don't care. If you debate it well, I will evaluate it as such. If you debate it poorly, I will evaluate it as such.

That said, here are some things I think:

Theory: I think most theoretical objections, with the exception of condo, are a reason to reject the argument not the team. I can be inclined to think differently if you can prove why the mere introduction of an argument into a debate is a reason the other team should lose. That will probably require substantial investment in the argument throughout the debate, and not just a blippy extension.

Clipping: If sufficient proof is presented to me that someone is intentionally clipping in a debate I will promptly vote against the offender and the lowest points the tournament permits.

Speed: it's good unless argued otherwise. Be clear. I would like to hear the warrants in your evidence as they're presented. I'm not saying I need to be able to repeat you word for word, but if all I hear is a tag and cite and can't decipher the internals of a piece of evidence, I'll say clear. I will say clear up to three times to any given debater. If the problem persists I will just simply not be able to understand your arguments, and you will probably lose and not have very good speaker points. This activity is based on persuasion, and it's hard for me to be persuaded if I can't figure out what you're saying.

Kevin Hamrick Paradigm

3 rounds


I've been judging debates for a long time. I prefer listening to debates wherein each team presents and executes a well-researched strategy for winning. The ideological flavor of your arguments matters less to me than how you establish clash with your opponents’ arguments. I am open to most anything, understanding that sometimes “you’ve got to do what you’ve got to do” to win the debate.

At the end of the debate, I vote for the team that defends the superior course of action. My ballot constitutes an endorsement of one course relative to another. To win the debate, the affirmative must prove their course is preferable when compared to the status quo or negative alternatives. That being said, I interpret broadly exactly what constitutes a plan/course of action. An alternative is proven a superior course of action when it is net beneficial compared to the entirety of the plan combined with part or parts of the alternative. Simply solving better than the affirmative is not enough: the alternative must force choice. Likewise, claiming a larger advantage than the affirmative is not enough to prove the alternative competitive. A legitimate permutation is defined as the entirety of the "plan" combined with parts or parts of the alternative. Mere avoidance of potential or "unknown" disadvantages, or a link of omission, is insufficient: the negative must read win a link and impact in order to evaluate the relative merits of the plan and the alternative. The 2AC saying something akin to "Perm - do the plan and all noncompetitive parts of the counterplan/alternative" is merely a template for generating permutation ideas, rather than a permutation in and of itself. It's your job to resolve the link, not mine.

I believe there is an inherent value to the topic/resolution, as the topic serves as the jumping off point for the year's discussion. The words of the topic should be examined as a whole. Ultimately, fairness and ground issues determine how strict an interpretation of the topic that I am willing to endorse. The most limiting interpretation of a topic rarely is the best interpretation of a topic for the purposes of our game. The topic is what it is: merely because the negative wishes the topic to be smaller (or the affirmative wishes it bigger, or worded a different way) does not mean that it should be so. An affirmative has to be at its most topical the first time it is run.

I don’t care about any of your SPEC arguments. The affirmative must use the agent specified in the topic wording; subsets are okay. Neither you nor your partner is the United States federal government. The affirmative is stuck with defending the resolutional statement, however I tend to give the affirmative significant leeway as to how they choose to define/defend it. The affirmative is unlikely to persuade me criticisms of advocacy of USFG action should be dismissed as irrelevant to an evaluation of policy efficacy. I believe that switch-side debating is good.

All theory arguments should be contextualized in terms of the topic and the resultant array of affirmative and negative strategies. Reciprocity is a big deal for me, i.e., more negative flex allows for more aff room to maneuver and vice versa). Conditional, topical, and plan inclusive alternatives are presumptively legitimate. A negative strategy reliant on a process counterplan, consultation counterplan, or a vague alternative produces an environment in which in which I am willing to allow greater maneuverability in terms of what I view as legitimate permutations for the affirmative. I’ve long been skeptical of the efficacy of fifty state uniform fiat. Not acting, i.e., the status quo, always remains an option.

Debate itself is up for interrogation within the confines of the round.

I tend to provide a lot of feedback while judging, verbal and otherwise. If you are not clear, I will not attempt to reconstruct what you said. I tend to privilege the cards identified in the last two rebuttals as establishing the critical nexus points of the debate and will read further for clarification and understanding when I feel it necessary. Reading qualifications for your evidence will be rewarded with more speaker points. Reading longer, more warranted evidence will be rewarded with significantly more consideration in the decision process. Clipping cards is cheating and cardclippers should lose.

I value clash and line-by-line debating. Rarely do I find the massive global last rebuttal overview appealing. Having your opponent's speech document doesn't alleviate the need for you to pay attention to what's actually been said in the debate. Flow and, for god's sake, learn how to efficiently save/jump/email/share your speech document. I generally don't follow the speech doc in real time.

"New affs bad" is dumb; don't waste your time or mine. When debating a new aff, the negative gets maximum flexibility.

I believe that both basic civil rights law as well as basic ethics requires that debaters and judges conduct themselves in rounds in a manner that protects the rights of all participants to an environment free of racial/sexual hostility or harassment.

David Heidt Paradigm

3 rounds

David Heidt

Carrollton School of the Sacred Heart

NDT 2019 notes:

I have no rounds on the topic and have not done topic research, so please keep that in mind.

Some education topic specific thoughts:

1. I'm ambivalent about the states counterplan. I could easily see myself voting against it on theory, but I think there's a debate to be had and I could also easily see myself voting for it as well. I'm a lot more likely to vote against it the further it gets away from topic literature or a respectable solvency advocate, and a lot less likely to vote against it if the evidence defending it is of high quality.

2. I think critiques are decent on this topic largely because I see critiques as competing strategies for social change, and I think there's pretty good education-topic literature that supports criticism from this perspective and *defends alternatives*. If you can't go for a critique without making it a critique of fiat or saying the word Baudrillard, then I'm unlikely to be the judge for you. But if you research critiques of education policy and defend an alternative method, then I'm very likely to be receptive. My view of critiques depends heavily upon evidence quality, and there were several that were turned out at camps this year that I think were pretty good. How specific is your argument to education reform? If it's about the topic and you have an alternative, you're probably good to go. If it's about cybernetics, you're probably not.

3. While I would like to see a good federalism DA, I have yet to hear one that I did not start at 0% risk and I don't think the 2ac even requires evidence to answer it. It seems pretty bad on this topic, despite being one of the core objections to federal education policy. I don't think this DA is even runnable in the 1nc; at least not the versions I've heard.

4. I like the education topic quite a bit - I think the federal education reform literature is outstanding and I think affirmative teams should defend it. I'm aff-leaning towards my view of the topic as a whole - the literature is pretty heavily aff-biased and the quality of negative generics is much lower than in previous years. But that has two pretty important implications.

First, I'm pretty unsympathetic to aff claims along the lines of "this topic is terrible for the aff; we need an expansive topicality interpretation to be creative". Broad topics are the enemy of education. Broad topics mean the neg goes for garbage like consult. That's not what I want my students to get from debate.

Second, if you're reading an aff without solvency evidence or with internal links that you just made up by mistagging evidence - I'm probably going to think that you haven't met your burden of proof and I'm likely discount it entirely. I think that the risk of both advantages and disadvantages can be - and frequently is - zero. I don't think the judging philosophy that says there's always a small risk of something is very well thought out. Presumably, it would mean that if I carded my own judging philosophy, and flagrantly mistagged the cards to represent an education tradeoff DA, someone subscribing to the 'any risk' view would assign the DA some risk and vote neg on it if it was read as a net benefit to a CP that solved the whole case. While this example might seem absurd, it's not more absurd than some of the aff advantages that were broken at Greenhill this year. It's not more absurd than some politics DAs. Mistagged cards from this very paragraph would probably be of higher quality and represent the source material more accurately than some of the things that people have called advantages and disadvantages over the years.

I don't know why judges assume there's a risk of anything - the whole point of the burden of proof is that it's a BURDEN and the judge needs to be convinced that you're right - we don't just give you the benefit of the doubt. If the standard is merely "they presented some words verbally so there's a risk because the neg didn't have offense", then we've all really failed at our jobs. If you're going to win a risk of an advantage or disadvantage, the minimal burden is (1) it has to make sense, and (2) it must be supported with evidence reflects expertise, data or logic, and does not misrepresent the author.


Generally I try to evaluate arguments fairly and based upon the debaters' explanations of arguments, rather than injecting my own opinions. What follows are my opinions regarding several bad practices currently in debate, but just agreeing with me isn't sufficient to win a debate - you actually have to win the arguments relative to what your opponents said. There are some things I'll intervene about - death good, behavior meant to intimidate or harass your opponents, or any other practice that I think is negative for a high school student classroom setting - but just use some common sense.

Thoughts about critical affs and critiques:

Good debates require two prepared teams. Allowing the affirmative team to not advocate the resolution creates bad debates. There's a disconnect in a frighteningly large number of judging philosophies I've read where judges say their favorite debates are when the negative has a specific strategy against an affirmative, and yet they don't think the affirmative has to defend a plan. This does not seem very well thought out, and the consequence is that the quality of debates in the last few years has declined greatly as judges increasingly reward teams for not engaging the topic.

Fairness is the most important impact. Other judging philosophies that say it's just an internal link are poorly reasoned. In a competitive activity involving two teams, assuring fairness is one of the primary roles of the judge. The fundamental expectation is that judges evaluate the debate fairly; asking them to ignore fairness in that evaluation eliminates the condition that makes debate possible. If every debate came down to whoever the judge liked better, there would be no value to participating in this activity. The ballot doesn't do much other than create a win or a loss, but it can definitely remedy the harms of a fairness violation. The vast majority of other impacts in debate are by definition less important because they never depend upon the ballot to remedy the harm.

Fairness is also an internal link - but it's an internal link to establishing every other impact. Saying fairness is an internal link to other values is like saying nuclear war is an internal link to death impacts. A loss of fairness implies a significant, negative impact on the activity and judges that require a more formal elaboration of the impact are being pedantic.

Arguments along the lines of 'but policy debate is valueless' are a complete nonstarter in a voluntary activity, especially given the existence of multiple alternative forms of speech and debate. Policy debate is valuable to some people, even if you don't personally share those values. If your expectation is that you need a platform to talk about whatever personally matters to you rather than the assigned topic, I encourage you to try out a more effective form of speech activity, such as original oratory. Debate is probably not the right activity for you if the condition of your participation is that you need to avoid debating a prepared opponent.

The phrase "fiat double-bind" demonstrates a complete ignorance about the meaning of fiat, which, unfortunately, appears to be shared by some judges. Fiat is merely the statement that the government should do something, not that they would. The affirmative burden of proof in a debate is solely to demonstrate the government should take a topical action at a particular time. That the government would not actually take that action is not relevant to any judge's decision.

Framework arguments typically made by the negative for critiques are clash-avoidance devices, and therefore are counterproductive to education. There is no merit whatsoever in arguing that the affirmative does not get to weigh their plan. Critiques of representations can be relevant, but only in relation to evaluating the desirability of a policy action. Representations cannot be separated from the plan - the plan is also a part of the affirmative's representations. For example, the argument that apocalyptic representations of insecurity are used to justify militaristic solutions is asinine, given the plan includes a representation of a non-militaristic solution. The plan determines the context of representations included to justify it.

Thoughts about topicality:

Limited topics make for better topics. Enormous topics mean that it's much harder to be prepared, and that creates lower quality debates. The best debates are those that involve extensive topic research and preparation from both sides. Large topics undermine preparation and discourage cultivating expertise. Aff creativity and topic innovation are just appeals to avoid genuine debate.

Thoughts about evidence:

Evidence quality matters. A lot of evidence read by teams this year is underlined in such a way that it's out of context, and a lot of evidence is either badly mistagged or very unqualified. On the one hand, I want the other team to say this when it's true. On the other hand, if I'm genuinely shocked at how bad your evidence is, I will probably discount it.

Sohail Jouya Paradigm

6 rounds

Current Director of Debate at Mill Valley (Kansas)

Formerly of:
Director of Debate at Andover Central (Kansas)
Director of Debate at University Academy and Lincoln Prep (DEBATE – Kansas City)
Coach at Kansas City Kansas Community College

Yes, email chain - sohailjouyaATgmailDOTcom


- I appreciate adaptation to my preferences but don’t do anything that would make you uncomfortable. Never feel obligated to compete in a manner that inhibits your ability to be effective. My promise to you will be that I will keep an open mind and assess whatever you chose. In short: do you.

- Truth > Tech. I recognize that debate is not merely a game, but rather a competition that models the world in which we live. This doesn’t mean I believe judges should intervene on the basis of "realistic impacts" or "reasonability" -- what it does mean is that embedded clash band the “nexus question” of the round is of more importance than blippy technical oversights between certain sheets of paper.
Don't fret: if the 1NC drops case on your Cthulu Aff, you'll probably be fine to weigh against whatever stuff they got...

- As a coach of a UDL school where many of my debaters make arguments centred on their identity, diversity is a genuine concern. It may play a factor in how I evaluate a round, particularly in debates regarding what’s “best” for the community/activity.

Do you and I’ll do my best to evaluate it but I’m not a tabula rasa and the dogma of debate has me to believe the following. I have put a lot of time and thought into this while attempting to be parsimonious - if you are serious about winning my ballot a careful read would prove to serve you well:


- All speech acts are performances, consequently debaters should defend their performances including the advocacy, evidence, arguments/positions, interpretations, and representations of said speech acts.

- One of the most annoying questions a judged can be asked: “Are you cool with speed?”
In short: yes. But smart and slow always beats fast and dumb.
I have absolutely no preference on rate of delivery, though I will say it might be smart to slow down a bit on really long tags, advocacy texts, your totally sweet theory/double-bind argument or on overviews that have really nuanced descriptions of the round. My belief is that speed is typically good for debate but please remember that spreading’s true measure is contingent on the number of arguments that are required to be answered by the other team not your WPM.

- Ethos: I used to never really think this mattered at all. To a large degree, it still doesn’t considering I’m unabashedly very flowcentric but I tend to give high speaker points to debaters who performatively express mastery knowledge of the subjects discussed, ability to exercise round vision, assertiveness, and that swank.

- Holistic Approaches: the 2AR/2NR should be largely concerned with two things:
1) provide framing of the round so I can make an evaluation of impacts and the like
2) descriptively instruct me on how to make my decision

Overviews have the potential for great explanatory power, use that time and tactic wisely.

While I put form first, I am of the maxim that “form follows function” – I contend that the reverse would merely produce an aesthetic, a poor formula for argument testing in an intellectually rigorous and competitive activity. In summation: you need to make an argument and defend it.


- The Affirmative ought to be responsive to the topic. This is a pinnacle of my paradigm that is quite broad and includes teams who seek to engage in resistance to the proximate structures that frame the topic. Conversely, this also implicates teams that prioritize social justice - debaters utilizing methodological strategies for best resistance ought to consider their relationship to the topic.
Policy-oriented teams may read that last sentence with glee and K folks may think this is strike-worthy…chill. I do not prescribe to the notion that to be topical is synonymous with being resolutional.

- The Negative’s ground is rooted in the performance of the Affirmative as well as anything based in the resolution. It’s that simple; engage the 1AC if at all possible.

- I view rounds in an offense/defense lens. Many colleagues are contesting the utility of this approach in certain kinds of debate and I’m ruminating about this (see: “Thoughts on Competition”) but I don’t believe this to be a “plan focus” theory and I default to the notion that my decisions require a forced choice between competing performances.

- I will vote on Framework. That means I will vote for the team running the position based on their interpretation, but it also means I’ll vote on offensive responses to the argument. Vindicating an alternative framework is a necessary skill and one that should be possessed by kritikal teams - justifying your form of knowledge production as beneficial in these settings matter.
Framework appeals effectively consist of a normative claim of how debate ought to function. The interpretation should be prescriptive; if you are not comfortable with what the world of debate would look like if your interpretation were universally applied, then you have a bad interpretation. The impact to your argument ought to be derived from your interpretation (yes, I’ve given RFDs where this needed to be said). Furthermore, Topical Version of the Affirmative must specifically explain how the impacts of the 1AC can be achieved, it might be in your best interest to provide a text or point to a few cases that achieve that end. This is especially true if you want to go for external impacts that the 1AC can’t access – but all of this is contingent on a cogent explanation as to why order precedes/is the internal link to justice.

- I am pretty comfortable judging Clash of Civilization debates.

- Framework is the job of the debaters. Epistemology first? Ontology? Sure, but why? Where does performance come into play – should I prioritize a performative disad above the “substance” of a position? Over all of the sheets of paper in the round? These are questions debaters must grapple with and preferably the earlier in the round the better.

- "Framework is how we frame our work" >>>>> "FrAmEwOrK mAkEs ThE gAmE wOrK"

-Presumption is always an option. In my estimation the 2NR may go for Counterplan OR a Kritik while also giving the judge the option of the status quo. Call it “hypo-testing” or whatever but I believe a rational decision-making paradigm doesn’t doom me to make a single decision between two advocacies, especially when the current status of things is preferable to both. I don't know if I really “judge kick” for you, instead, the 2NR should explain an “even if” route to victory via presumption to allow the 2AR to respond.
“But what about when presumption flips Affirmative?” This is a claim that probably needs to be established prior to the 2NR. While I say that, I've definitely voted in favour of plenty of 2ARs that haven't said that in the 1AR.

- Role of the Ballots ought to invariably allow the 1AC/1NC to be contestable and provide substantial ground to each team. Many teams will make their ROBs self-serving at best, or at worse, tautological. That's because there's a large contingency of teams that think the ROB is an advocacy statement. They are not.
If they fail to equally distribute ground, they are merely impact framing. A good ROB can effectively answer a lot of framework gripes regarding the Affirmative’s pronouncement of an unfalsifiable truth claim.

- Analytics that are logically consistent, well warranted and answer the heart of any argument are weighed in high-esteem. This is especially true if it’s responsive to any combinations of bad argument/evidence.

- My threshold for theory is not particularly high. It’s what you justify, not necessarily what you do. I typically default to competing interpretations, this can be complicated by a team that is able to articulate what reasonability means in the context of the round, otherwise I feel like its interventionist of me to decode what “reasonable” represents. The same is true to a lesser extent with the impacts as well. Rattling off “fairness and education” as loaded concepts that I should just know has a low threshold if the other team can explain the significance of a different voter or a standard that controls the internal link into your impact (also, if you do this: prepared to get impact turned).

I think theory should be strategic and I very much enjoy a good theory debate. Copious amounts of topicality and specification arguments is not strategic, it is desperate.

- I like conditionality probably more so than other judges. As a young’n I got away with a lot of, probably, abusive Negative strategies that relied on conditionality to the maximum (think “multiple worlds and presumption in the 2NR”) mostly because many teams were never particularly good at explaining why this was a problem. If you’re able to do so, great – just don’t expect me to do much of that work for you. I don’t find it particularly difficult for a 2AR to make an objection about how that is bad for debate, thus be warned 2NRs - it's a downhill effort for a 2AR.
Furthermore, I tend to believe the 1NC has the right to test the 1AC from multiple positions.
Thus, Framework along with Cap K or some other kritik is not a functional double turn. The 1NC doesn’t need to be ideologically consistent. However, I have been persuaded in several method debates that there is a performative disadvantage that can be levied against speech acts that are incongruent and self-defeating.

- Probability is the most crucial components of impact calculus with disadvantages. Tradeoffs ought to have a high risk of happening and that question often controls the direction of uniqueness while also accessing the severity of the impact (magnitude).

- Counterplan debates can often get tricky, particularly if they’re PICs. Maybe I’m too simplistic here, but I don’t understand why Affirmatives don’t sit on their solvency deficit claims more. Compartmentalizing why portions of the Affirmative are key can win rounds against CPs. I think this is especially true because I view the Counterplan’s ability to solve the Affirmative to be an opportunity cost with its competitiveness. Take advantage of this “double bind.”

- Case arguments are incredibly underutilized and the dirty little secret here is that I kind of like them. I’m not particularly sentimental for the “good ol’ days” where case debate was the only real option for Negatives (mostly because I was never alive in that era), but I have to admit that debates centred on case are kind of cute and make my chest feel all fuzzy with a nostalgia that I never experienced– kind of like when a frat boy wears a "Reagan/Bush '84" shirt...


I know enough to know that kritiks are not monolithic. I am partial to topic-grounded kritiks and in all reality I find them to be part of a typical decision-making calculus. I tend to be more of a constructivist than a rationalist. Few things frustrate me more than teams who utilize a kritik/answer a kritik in a homogenizing fashion. Not every K requires the ballot as a tool, not every K looks to have an external impact either in the debate community or the world writ larger, not every K criticizes in the same fashion. I suggest teams find out what they are and stick to it, I also think teams should listen and be specifically responsive to the argument they hear rather rely on a base notion of what the genre of argument implies. The best way to conceptualize these arguments is to think of “kritik” as a verb (to criticize) rather than a noun (a static demonstrative position).
It is no secret that I love many kritiks but deep in every K hack’s heart is revered space that admires teams that cut through the noise and simply wave a big stick and impact turn things, unabashedly defending conventional thought. If you do this well there’s a good chance you can win my ballot. If pure agonism is not your preferred tactic, that’s fine but make sure your post-modern offense onto kritiks can be easily extrapolated into a 1AR in a fashion that makes sense.
In many ways, I believe there’s more tension between Identity and Post-Modernism teams then there are with either of them and Policy debaters. That being said, I think the Eurotrash K positions ought to proceed with caution against arguments centred on Identity – it may not be smart to contend that they ought to embrace their suffering or claim that they are responsible for a polemical construction of identity that replicates the violence they experience (don’t victim blame).


There’s a lot of talk about what is or isn’t competition and what competition ought to look like in specific types of debate – thus far I am not of the belief that different methods of debate require a different rubric for evaluation. While much discussion as been given to “Competition by Comparison” I very much subscribe to Competing Methodologies. What I’ve learned in having these conversations is that this convention means different things to different people and can change in different settings in front of different arguments. For me, I try to keep it consistent and compatible with an offense/defense heuristic: competing methodologies requires an Affirmative focus where the Negative requires an independent reason to reject the Affirmative. In this sense, competition necessitates a link. This keeps artificial competition at bay via permutations, an affirmative right regardless of the presence of a plan text.

Permutations are merely tests of mutual exclusivity. They do not solve and they are not a shadowy third advocacy for me to evaluate. I naturally will view permutations more as a contestation of linkage – and thus, are terminal defense to a counterplan or kritik -- than a question of combining texts/advocacies into a solvency mechanism. If you characterize these as solvency mechanisms rather than a litmus test of exclusivity, you ought to anticipate offense to the permutation (and even theory objections to the permutation) to be weighed against your “net-benefits”. This is your warning to not be shocked if I'm extrapolating a much different theoretical understanding of a permutation if you go 5/6 minutes for it in the 2AR.
Even in method debates where a permutation contends both methods can work in tandem, there is no solvency – in these instances net-benefits function to shield you from links (the only true “net benefit” is the Affirmative). A possible exception to this scenario is “Perm do the Affirmative” where the 1AC subsumes the 1NC’s alternative; here there may be an offensive link turn to the K resulting in independent reasons to vote for the 1AC.

Will Katz Paradigm

3 rounds

Yes email chain-- College: and

High School: and

4 years debating and 4 years coaching at Washburn Rural High School, 4 years debating and 1 year coaching at KU

Compile a doc of all relevant cards and all relevant marks for me at the end of the debate.

I have been pretty involved in policy topic research for both the HS Arms sales topic and the College Space topic. I have judged almost 100 debates this year between the two (over 100 if you count camp tournament debates), and feel prepared to keep up with most innovations that occur.

2020 Post-Season Updates

Let your partner talk in their cx, if you don't I'll unapologetically dock your speaker points

Be respectful of everyone's time. In online debates, things will go wrong and take "tech time." That means you have to be more on top of your game than usual with regards to things like setting up the email chain, going to the bathroom, etc.

On arms sales, I have seen a lot of 2ac's really mess up answering circumvention but I've seen very few 2nr's care about that.

Argument non-specific things

Debate off your flow, don't just read scripts

There are some things I care about more than most judges and some things I care about a lot less. I care about everyone being respectful of each other, debates being educational, engaging good arguments and dismissing bad arguments, evidence quality (including highlighting quality), strategic vision, and narrative/argument packaging. I really, really don't care about arguments anybody outside of this debate has made, making judgements about the character or intentions of the debaters as people, how "embarrassing" cross-x was, or the quantity of cards read on a particular issue (I much prefer to hear arguments about quality).

I am not likely to be impressed by your run and gun strategy. I generally think teams are not flippant enough at responding to incomplete, terrible arguments (cp's that are only text, da's with missing uq and internal links, advantages with no solvency evidence, 1 card k's with no link or alt in the 1nc). If a complete argument hasn't been presented, you are not expected to answer a complete argument. My advice? 1. Read complete arguments 2. Be correct about what is and isn't a complete argument. 3. Be bold with your choices

Policy thoughts

I'm probably not the best judge for affs that say they are basically the status quo so there's no da.

Turns case has been relevant in a lot of rfd's I've given

I am really bad for cp's that do not have topic-specific evidence (see: con-con on the space topic) or any evidence in the 1nc

I think I'm more persuadable than most on well explained defensive arguments to a cp like perm shields the link or cp links to the net benefit.

There are two types of soft left affs. Type 1 is "ignore DAs because they are improbable." Type 2 is "we are going to beat DAs on good specific defensive arguments and use our framing page to explain why offense/defense doesn't really make sense." Type 1 is much more common, type 2 is much more persuasive.

Theory is a winnable 2ar. I think I am just as persuadable that the neg should get 0 conditional advocacies as I am that they should get infinite. To me, it is entirely up to the debaters, which these days makes me a good judge for a team going for theory.

"Conditional" means judge kick but I can definitely be convinced to stick the neg with the cp they went for without wholesale rejecting conditionality

"New affs bad" is a waste of breath.

Framework vs K affs

Historically I am very good for the neg in these debates, I suspect more than most people who (semi)frequently judge these debates. I vote neg a lot because usually it is more clear to me how the negative team's model of debate produces a better season of debates. Aff's would be well served investing a lot of time into describing their model of debate as opposed to their own affirmative


Framework is important. I very rarely vote neg if the neg doesn't win framework. It isn't impossible to win without winning framework/consequentialism, but as the neg it makes your job much harder

I usually determine that negs beat the aff's "plan focus good" framework. This isn't for ideological reasons (honestly quite the opposite) but the block usually has several offensive arguments, cards, defense to aff standards, and the 1ar usually just says "moots the aff that's unfair debate is a game" and moves on.

Negs that do impact calculus, change the framework of the debate, and actually challenge core assumptions of the aff are usually in a good spot

Please do impact comparison, don't just list your impacts in the overview.

Kevin Kuswa Paradigm

2 rounds

Updated 2019. Coaching at Berkeley Prep in Tampa. Nothing massive has changed except I give slightly higher points across the board to match inflation. Keep in mind, I am still pleased to hear qualification debates and deep examples win rounds. I know you all work hard so I will too. Any argument preference or style is fine with me: good debate is good debate. Email: kevindkuswa at gmail dot com.

Updated 2017. Currently coaching for Berkeley Prep in Tampa. Been judging a lot on the China topic, enjoying it. Could emphasize just about everything in the comments below, but wanted to especially highlight my thirst for good evidence qualification debates...

_____________________________ (previous paradigm)

Summary: Quality over quantity, be specific, use examples, debate about evidence.

I think debate is an incredibly special and valuable activity despite being deeply flawed and even dangerous in some ways. If you are interested in more conversations about debate or a certain decision (you could also use this to add me to an email chain for the round if there is one), contact me at kevindkuswa at gmail dot com. It is a privilege to be judging you—I know it takes a lot of time, effort, and commitment to participate in debate. At a minimum you are here and devoting your weekend to the activity—you add in travel time, research, practice and all the other aspects of preparation and you really are expressing some dedication.

So, the first issue is filling out your preference sheets. I’m usually more preferred by the kritikal or non-traditional crowd, but I would encourage other teams to think about giving me a try. I work hard to be as fair as possible in every debate, I strive to vote on well-explained arguments as articulated in the round, and my ballots have been quite balanced in close rounds on indicative ideological issues. I’m not affiliated with a particular debate team right now and may be able to judge at the NDT, so give me a try early on and then go from there.

The second issue is at the tournament—you have me as a judge and are looking for some suggestions that might help in the round. In addition to a list of things I’m about to give you, it’s good that you are taking the time to read this statement. We are about to spend over an hour talking to and with each other—you might as well try to get some insight from a document that has been written for this purpose.

1. Have some energy, care about the debate. This goes without saying for most, but enthusiasm is contagious and we’ve all put in some work to get to the debate. Most of you will probably speak as fast as you possibly can and spend a majority of your time reading things from a computer screen (which is fine—that can be done efficiently and even beautifully), but it is also possible to make equally or more compelling arguments in other ways in a five or ten minute speech (

2. Examples win debates. Well-developed examples are necessary to make the abstract concrete, they show an understanding of the issues in the round, and they tend to control our understandings of how particular changes will play out. Good examples take many forms and might include all sorts of elements (paraphrasing, citing, narrating, quantifying, conditioning, countering, embedding, extending, etc.), but the best examples are easily applicable, supported by references and other experiences, and used to frame specific portions of the debate. I’m not sure this will be very helpful because it’s so broad, but at the very least you should be able to answer the question, “What are your examples?” For example, refer to Carville’s commencement speech to Tulane graduates in 2008…he offers the example of Abe Lincoln to make the point that “failure is the oxygen of success”

3. Argument comparison wins debate. Get in there and compare evidence—debate the non-highlighted portion of cards (or the cryptic nature of their highlighting). Debate the warrants and compare them in terms of application, rationale, depth, etc. The trinity of impact, plausibility, and verge analysis doesn’t hurt, especially if those variables are weighed against one another. It’s nice to hear good explanations that follow phrases like “Even if…,” “On balance…,” or “In the context of…” I know that evidence comparison is being done at an extremely high level, but I also fear that one of the effects of paperless debate might be a tilt toward competing speech documents that feature less direct evidence comparison. Prove me wrong.

4. Debates about the relative validity of sources win rounds. Where is the evidence on both sides coming from and why are those sources better or worse? Qualification debates can make a big difference, especially because these arguments are surprisingly rare. It’s also shocking that more evidence is not used to indict other sources and effectively remove an entire card (or even argument) from consideration. The more good qualification arguments you can make, the better. Until this kind of argument is more common, I am thirsty enough for source comparisons (in many ways, this is what debate is about—evidence comparison), that I’ll add a few decimal points when it happens. I do not know exactly where my points are relative to other judges, but I would say I am along a spectrum where 27.4 is pretty good but not far from average, 27.7 is good and really contributing to the debate, 28 is very good and above average, 28.5 is outstanding and belongs in elims, and 29.1 or above is excellent for that division—could contend for one of the best speeches at the tournament.

5. All debates can still be won in 2AR. For all the speakers, that’s a corollary of the “Be gritty” mantra. Persevere, take risks and defend your choices

( The ballot is not based on record at previous tournaments, gpa, school ranking, or number of coaches.

6. Do not be afraid to go for a little more than usual in the 2NR—it might even help you avoid being repetitive. It is certainly possible to be too greedy, leaving a bloated strategy that can’t stand up to a good 2AR, but I usually think this speech leaves too much on the table.

7. Beginning in the 1AR, brand new arguments should only be in reference to new arguments in the previous speech. Admittedly this is a fuzzy line and it is up to the teams to point out brand new arguments as well as the implications. The reason I’ve decided to include a point on this is because in some cases a 2AR has been so new that I have had to serve as the filter. That is rare and involves more than just a new example or a new paraphrasing (and more than a new response to a new argument in the 2NR).

8. Very good arguments can be made without evidence being introduced in card form, but I do like good cards that are as specific and warranted as possible. Use the evidence you do introduce and do as much direct quoting of key words and phrases to enhance your evidence comparison and the validity of your argument overall.

9. CX matters. This probably deserves its own philosophy, but it is worth repeating that CX is a very important time for exposing flaws in arguments, for setting yourself up for the rebuttals, for going over strengths and weaknesses in arguments, and for generating direct clash. I do not have numbers for this or a clear definition of what it means to “win CX,” but I get the sense that the team that “wins” the four questioning periods often wins the debate.

10. I lean toward “reciprocity” arguments over “punish them because…” arguments. This is a very loose observation and there are many exceptions, but my sympathies connect more to arguments about how certain theoretical moves made by your opponent open up more avenues for you (remember to spell out what those avenues look like and how they benefit you). If there are places to make arguments about how you have been disadvantaged or harmed by your opponent’s positions (and there certainly are), those discussions are most compelling when contextualized, linked to larger issues in the debate, and fully justified.

Overall, enjoy yourself—remember to learn things when you can and that competition is usually better as a means than as an ends.

And, finally, the third big issue is post-round. Usually I will not call for many cards—it will help your cause to point out which cards are most significant in the rebuttals (and explain why). I will try to provide a few suggestions for future rounds if there is enough time. Feel free to ask questions as well. In terms of a long-term request, I have two favors to ask. First, give back to the activity when you can. Judging high school debates and helping local programs is the way the community sustains itself and grows—every little bit helps. Whether you realize it or not, you are a very qualified judge for all the debate events at high school tournaments. Second, consider going into teaching. If you enjoy debate at all, then bringing some of the skills of advocacy, the passion of thinking hard about issues, or the ability to apply strategy to argumentation, might make teaching a great calling for you and for your future students ( note: debaters are definitely part of academia, but represent a group than can engage in Emdin’s terms). There are lots of good paths to pursue, but teaching is one where debaters excel and often find fulfilling. Best of luck along the ways.

Jack Lassiter Paradigm

2 rounds

Baylor Debate GA/Berkeley Prep Assistant Coach - 2017-2019


I have an appreciation for framework debates, especially when the internal link work is thorough and done on the top of your kritik/topicality violation before it is applied to pivotal questions on the flow that you resolve through comparative arguments. On framework, I personally gravitate towards arguments concerning the strategic, critical, or pedagogical utility of the activity - I am readily persuaded to vote for an interpretation of the activity's purpose, role, or import in almost any direction [any position I encounter that I find untenable and/or unwinnable will be promptly included in the updates below]

The Kritik

I have almost no rigid expectations with regard to the K. I spent a great deal of my time competing reading Security, Queer Theory, and Psychoanalysis arguments. The bodies of literature that I am most familiar with in terms of critical thought are rhetorical theory (emphasizing materialism) and semiotics. I have studied and debated the work of Jacques Derrida and Gilles Deleuze, to that extent I would say I have an operative understanding and relative familiarity with a number of concepts that both thinkers are concerned with.


I think that by virtue of evaluating a topicality flow I almost have to view interpretations in terms of competition. I can't really explain reasonability to myself in any persuasive way, if that changes there will surely be an update about it - this is also not to say nobody could convince me to vote for reasonability, only that I will not default in that direction without prompt.


Theory debates can be great - I reward strategic decisions that embed an explanation of the argument's contingent and applied importance to the activity when going for a theory argument on a counterplan.

I believe that permutations often prompt crucial methodological and theoretical reflection in debate - structurally competitive arguments are usually generative of the most sound strategic and methodological prescriptions.


Judging for Damien Debate - Berkeley 2016

In judging I am necessarily making comparisons. Making this process easier by developing or controlling the structure of comparisons and distinctions on my flow is the best advice I could give to anyone trying to make me vote for an argument.

I don't feel like it is really possible to fully prevent myself from intervening in a decision if neither team is resolving questions about how I should be evaluating or weighing arguments. I believe this can be decisively important in the following contexts: The impact level of framework debates, The impact level of any debate really, The method debate in a K v K round, The link debate... The list goes on. But, identifying particular points of clash and then seeing how they are resolved is almost always my approach to determining how I will vote, so doing that work explicitly in the round will almost always benefit you.

If you have any questions about my experience, argumentative preferences, or RFD's feel free to ask me at any time in person or via email.

I may on occasion request pieces of evidence, if thats the case it can be sent to my email:

Kristen Lowe Paradigm

6 rounds

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

Put me on your email thread, thanks:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Best of luck.

Anna Lucas Paradigm

6 rounds

Not Submitted

Tim Mahoney Paradigm

6 rounds

St. Mark's School of Texas

CXphilosophy = Years judging: 19 as a hs coach another 10 as a college coach
Rounds on this year’s high school topic: 30+
Rounds on this year’s college topic: 0

yes, please add me to the email chain,

yes, please send out a card document at the conclusion of the debate. please make sure that the card document accurately represents the cards relevant in the debate i.e. make sure cards that were marked are marked in the document and that cards not read in the debate don't appear in it, etc.

Teachers teach, coaches coach, judges judge.1
Clarity is king.2
I view my role as a judge in the frame of least intervention.3

More and more I'm starting to think that it should all revolve around solvency advocates. While I've probably had some tendencies toward that approach for a few years now it's even more prominent now. If a team is willing to read a plan and they have a card that says their plan is EE or DE with China then we should thank our lucky stars that they are willing to talk about the topic and try to give them a good debate. (I know that's from way back on the china topic but it's still a good example) Having said that if they have a solvency advocate for their CP I think the neg should get a tremendous amount of leeway on theoretically legitimate questions. The test is "Is the cp solvency advocate at least as specific as the aff solvency advocate".

New additions:
Framework: I'm over it. The aff gets to weigh their advantages (fiat) and the neg gets their K. The neg can't win fiat is an illusion but they can win it's a waste of time/bad idea to engage the state OR they can say "Our argument is that in the face of the aff Obama/Congress/Supreme Court/usfg should say 'no, we reject the securitization/racism/imperialism/capitalism/insert k lingo' of this idea the world would be better if we FILL IN WITH YOUR ALTERNATIVE". If you don't understand what I mean then feel free to ask questions about this.
If you say you are ready then say "Oh wait, I need another second." I will probably penalize you 15 seconds of prep. Don't say you are ready and ask me to stop prep time until you are ready.

Virtually everything else in this judging philosophy is about ways you can get better speaker points or some of my subjective biases I think you should be aware of. The reality is that most of my subjective preferences rarely matter in debates because the debates aren’t close enough to make it matter.

Respect others.4
Want good speaker points? Impress me with arguments that prove you have done a substantial amount of research on the topic and that you can make smart arguments.5
New aff’s are intellectual terrorism – you ask for it you got it.6
Topicality is for the unresearched.7
Most theory debates are terrible.8
Evidence is a good thing. Read some cards, preferably some with warrants from people with expertise in the relevant area.9
Excessive arrogance is unacceptable.10
Take ownership of your arguments.11
Post round discussions are good.12
Notes on the use of computers in debate.13

Make complete arguments. "perm do both" and "voting issue fairness and education" are not complete arguments.

]1 While this may seem obvious it bears repeating. What I teach my students and what I coach my students, i.e. what I think about debate and how the game should be played, shouldn’t be relevant when I’m judging two teams that I don’t coach or teach.

2 I've decided that a part of my role as a judge is to ensure that all debaters speak clearly. It is unfair that some debaters are virtually incomprehensible forcing the other team to read over their shoulder or look at every card instead of just being able to flow. So I'm adding a deterrent to the unclear debater. I expect debaters to speak clearly at all times. That doesn't just mean the tags on your cards, it means all the words of your evidence, it means everything. When I say "clearer" what I'm saying is "you are so unclear I have virtually no idea what you are saying so please make a SIGNFICANT, MEANINGFUL change in your delivery". I don't mean make a .001 change. If I have to say clearer a second time you are well on the path to having a cranky judge.

3 As a judge I have two jobs 1) pick one winner in each debate 2) enforce time limits as set by the tournament. To some extent intervention may be inevitable, however, it is my job as a judge to pick a winner based on the arguments made in each debate. That includes being cognizant of my subjective biases and doing my best to keep those preferences from influencing my decision.

4 This should be self evident. See also, footnotes 10, 11 and 13.

5 If your strategy relies on your technical proficiency it probably won’t impress me. If your strategy relies on reading a host of confusing cards that you don’t really understand and you hope that the other team won’t understand them either then you probably won’t impress me. A 1ac with several advantages all with poor internal links probably won’t impress me. A 1nc with a clear coherent method of winning the debate based on good evidence probably will impress me. A 1ac with a solvency advocate and well evidenced advantages probably will impress me. I like it when the aff is kritikal and the neg beats them with a smart go farther left strategy.

6 If you really wanted to have an in depth educational debate you would have disclosed your plan and advantages and given the other team a chance to research it. Break a new aff and your chances of losing on T go up and your chances of winning that anything the neg did was an illegitimate voting issue go way down. Will I be really impressed if, in the face of a new aff, the neg provides a well researched coherent strategy? Yes. Will I understand if, in the face of a new aff, the 1NC is three conditaional cp’s and a K? Yes.

7 Limits usually wins topicality debates and that is unfortunate. Smart teams should make arguments not only about limits/ground but about the educational value of the topic envisioned by both sides. A narrow topic that excludes some of the core issues that would generate educational research probably isn’t as good as a broader topic that encourages students to research important issues.

8 I generally find theory debates to be the bastion of the weak. Your amazingly good ASPEC debate usually sounds like a 27 to me. Think of it this way…every time you say something besides topicality is a voting issue count on losing half a speaker point. Again, this will not affect who wins debates only speaker points. However, I can be persuaded that illegitimate counterplans have so skewed the playing field that reject the argument not the team is insufficient and they must be voting issues. There are probably a host of counterplans that fall within this category. Three that leap to mind are consult, delay, and states. Two exceptions to this rule to help the negative: If your counterplan is unconditional it will be pretty hard for the aff to convince me it has unfairly skewed the debate. Second, have a true solvency advocate for your counterplan. Just a hint, a card that says states have acted uniformly and another card that says the states have poverty programs doesn’t cut it. You need a card that is as specific as the aff solvency advocate. Of course, if the aff solvency advocate doesn’t really match up to the plan it will probably be difficult for the aff to convince me that the counterplan should be rejected for lack of an advocate.
It would help make theory/topicality debates better if you SLOW DOWN so I can flow your arguments. It’s not necessarily a clarity issue it’s just that it’s very difficult for judges to flow short analytical arguments as fast as you can spit them out.
“Voting issue – fairness and education” usually gets flowed as VI F@E and I presume that means it’s a voting issue if they go for whatever argument you have identified as a VI. If you expect it to be a voting issue if they don’t go for it then you need to give some type of warrant as to why the debate has been skewed by them merely making the argument.

9 One good card is better than three short bad ones. Qualifications should matter but debaters rarely take the time to explain what constitutes qualified evidence and what doesn’t. In front of me that would be time worth spending.

10 Confidence is good. It’s better when it’s backed up with smart arguments and good evidence. If you disrespect your opponents because of some inflated sense of your own importance be prepared for low speaker points.

11 If it sounds like you read the same argument every debate, your coach wrote all your blocks, and you have no idea how your arguments interact with your opponent’s arguments then your speaker points aren’t going to be very good. My argument preferences are way less important than your ability to explain arguments. When in doubt about what arguments to go for choose arguments you understand, you can answer cx questions about, and arguments you will be able explain in rebuttals.

12 If you have questions about the decision please ask them. Don’t be afraid to ask pointed questions. However, don’t become the debater who always whines about every decision as if they have never lost a debate. Word gets around.

13 I don’t penalize your time to jump/email material to your opponents but I’m a stickler for stolen prep so if I think you are abusing the privilege be prepared to be called out on it. You get ten minutes of “crash” time per debate. If you computer crashes and you need to restart I won’t penalize your prep time. I’ll set a timer for 10 minutes and if you can’t get your computer ready in 10 minutes you are going to have to start anyway. Most other issues related to this are covered under #4.

Kevin McCaffrey Paradigm

3 rounds

Updated 9-26-2013

Kevin McCaffrey

Assistant Debate Coach Glenbrook North 2014-
Assistant Debate Coach Berkeley Preparatory School 2010-2014
Assistant Debate Coach University of Miami 2007-2009
Assistant Debate Coach Gulliver Preparatory School 2005-2010

I feel strongly about both my role as an impartial adjudicator and as an educator – situations where these roles come into conflict are often where I find that I have intervened. I try to restrain myself from intervening in a debate, but I make mistakes, and sometimes find myself presented with two options which seem comparably interventionary in different ways, often due to underarticulated argumentation. This effort represents a systematic effort to identify the conditions under which I am more or less likely to intervene unconsciously. I try to keep a beginner’s mind and approach every debate round as a new learning opportunity, and I do usually learn at least one new thing every round – this is what I like most about the activity, and I’m at my best when I remember this and at my worst when I forget it.

My default paradigm is that of a policy analyst – arguments which assume a different role (vote no, performance) probably require more effort to communicate this role clearly enough for me to understand and feel comfortable voting for you. I don’t really have a very consistent record voting for or against any particular positions, although identity- and psychology-based arguments are probably the genres I have the least experience with and I’m not a good judge for either.

Rather, I think you’re most interested in the situations in which I’m likely to intervene – and what you can do to prevent it – this has much less to do with what arguments you’re making than it does with how you’re making them:

Make fewer arguments, and explain their nature and implication more thoroughly:

My unconscious mind carries out the overwhelming majority of the grunt work of my decisions – as I listen to a debate, a mental map forms of the debate round as a cohesive whole, and once I lose that map, I don’t usually get it back. This has two primary implications for you: 1) it’s in your interest for me to understand the nuances of an argument when first presented, so that I can see why arguments would be more or less responsive as or before they are made in response 2) debates with a lot of moving parts and conditional outcomes overload my ability to hold the round in my mind at once, and I lose confidence in my ability to effectively adjudicate, having to move argument by argument through each flow after the debate – this increases the chances that I miss an important connection or get stuck on a particular argument by second-guessing my intuition, increasing the chances that I intervene.

I frequently make decisions very quickly, which signals that you have done an effective job communicating and that I feel I understand all relevant arguments in the debate. I don’t believe in reconstructing debates from evidence, and I try to listen to and evaluate evidence as it's being read, so if I am taking a long time to make a decision, it’s probably because I doubt my ability to command the relevant arguments and feel compelled to second-guess my understanding of arguments or their interactions, a signal that you have not done an effective job communicating, or that you have inadvertently constructed an irresolveable decision calculus through failure to commit to a single path to victory.

In short, I make much better decisions when you reduce the size of the debate at every opportunity, when you take strategic approaches to the debate which are characterized by internally consistent logic and assumptions, and when you take time to explain the reasoning behind the strategic decisions you are making, and the meta-context for your arguments. If your approach to debate strategy depends upon overloading the opponent’s technical capabilities, then you will also likely overload my own, and if your arguments don’t generally “jive” with one another, then I may have difficulty processing them when constructing the big picture. I tend to disproportionately reward gutsy all-in strategic decisions. As a side note, I probably won’t kick a counterplan for you if the other team says just about anything in response, you need to make a decision.

Value proof higher than rejoinder:

I am a sucker for a clearly articulated, nuanced story, supported by thorough discussion of why I should believe it, especially when supported by high-quality evidence, even in the face of a diversity of poorly articulated or weak arguments which are only implicitly answered. Some people will refer to this as truth over tech – but it’s more precisely proof over rejoinder – the distinction being that I don’t as often reward people who say things that I believe, but rather reward fully developed arguments over shallowly developed or incomplete arguments. There have been exceptions – a dropped argument is definitely a true argument – but a claim without data and a warrant is not an argument. Similarly, explicit clash and signposting are merely things which help me prevent myself from intervening, not hard requirements. Arguments which clash still clash whether a debater explains it or not, although I would strongly prefer that you take the time to explain it, as I may not understand that they clash or why they clash in the same way that you do.

My tendency to intervene in this context is magnified when encountering unfamiliar arguments, and also when encountering familiar arguments which are misrepresented, intentionally or unintentionally. As an example, I am far more familiar with positivist studies of international relations than I am with post-positivist theorizing, so debaters who can command the distinctions between various schools of IR thought have an inherent advantage, and I am comparably unlikely to understand the nuances of the distinctions between one ethical philosopher and another. I am interested in learning these distinctions, however, and this only means you should err on the side of explaining too much rather than not enough.

A corollary is that I do believe that various arguments can by their nature provide zero risk of a link (yes/no questions, empirically denied), as well as effectively reduce a unique risk to zero by making the risk equivalent to chance or within the margin of error provided by the warrant. I am a sucker for conjunctive/disjunctive probability analysis, although I think assigning numerical probabilities is almost never warranted.

Incomprehensible value systems:

One special note is that I have a moderate presumption against violence, whether physical or verbal or imaginary – luckily for me, this has yet to seriously present itself in a debate I have judged. But I don’t think I have ever ended up voting for a pro-death advocacy, whether because there are more aliens than humans in the universe, or because a thought experiment about extinction could change the way I feel about life, or because it’s the only path to liberation from oppression. While I’d like to think I can evaluate these arguments objectively, I’m not entirely sure that I really can, and if advocating violence is part of your argument, I am probably a bad judge for you, even though I do believe that if you can’t articulate the good reasons that violence and death are bad, then you haven’t adequately prepared and should probably lose.

Email me:

I like the growing practice of emailing flows and debriefing at the end of a day or after a tournament – feel free to email me: kmmccaffrey at gmail dot com. It sometimes takes me a while to fully process what has happened in a debate round and to understand why I voted the way I did, and particularly in rounds with two very technical, skilled opponents, even when I do have a good grasp of what happened and feel confident in my decision, I do not always do a very good job of communicating my reasoning, not having time to write everything out, and I do a much better job of explaining my thinking after letting my decision sit for a few hours. As such, I am very happy to discuss any decision with anyone in person or by email – I genuinely enjoy being challenged – but I am much more capable and comfortable with written communication than verbal.

Kasi McCartney Paradigm

3 rounds

Current Debate Coach at Caddo Magnet HS

LHSSL Executive Secretary


Please show up on time. Have email chains, stands and other needs set up before the start time of the round.

I generally look to the fastest and easiest way to resolve the debate. In order to win you should make clear impact calculus throughout the debate and provide a specific path for round resolution in the 2NR/2AR. First tell me how you win the round, then tell me why even if I buy into some of the other team's arguments you should still win. This is how you win my ballot.

I default to a policy maker framework. I will vote for non-policy strategies but they MUST present a clean structure for their impacts. I prefer the affirmative to have a plan text. I do not consider myself an activist or that my role is to balance forces within the debate community.

Identity Politics - You should probably not pref me. You MUST have a link to the aff or specific in round actions for me to vote on this. I understand and sympathize with the issues in round, but this is not my preferred argument. It will take a lot of convincing to get me to vote on a strategy that is outside the resolutional bounds. I ultimately believe that traditional forms of debate have value.

Theory – I think theory is definitely a voting issue, but there needs to be some form of in round abuse for me to truly buy that it is a reason alone to reject one team or the other. I do not think that simply kicking a CP in block is a time skew that is truly worth voting against a neg team unless there are other circumstances. I do love tricky CP's (consult CP's, clever agent CP's, process CP's etc.) and it would be hard for me to believe that on this topic they're really that unpredictable.

Case - I must say I have a hard time being persuaded that the negative has enough weight on their side to win with only case defense and a DA. What can I say, I'm a product of the late 90's. I much prefer to have a CP/K in there to give the flexibility, especially with a topic that allows for affirmatives to have heavy military impacts. Please be careful and make sure that if you takea case only route that you attack each advantage with offense and have a very very weighty DA on your side.

Kritiks- Not my bread and butter, although I do understand their strategic benefit, having come from an underfunded public school. It is my preference that K’s have a clear order and structure. I will vote on the K if you win that your impacts outweigh the impacts of the plan and that there is a true need for action, but I would not be the judge to introduce an extremely loose and unstructured argument to. I understand and buy into threat construction and realism claims, but in the end, I much prefer a well executed CP and politics debate to a poorly executed critical strategy. You will need to a have link specific to the plan. Links based off of the SQ will not be enough for me.

Framework - I default to the framework that the aff can weight the impacts of their plan versus the impacts of the neg.

Impacts – I believe that impact analysis is at the heart of a judging decision. You are an advocate for your arguments and as such you should provide insight and analysis as to why your specific impacts are the greatest in the round, how they should be evaluated by the judge and how they change the evaluation of the impacts to the other team’s case. Without this assessment I feel like you leave too much wiggle room for the judge to pick their personal preference of impact.

T - normally I like T, not my favorite on the arms sales topic

Speaker points- Speed can be an advantage in the round and should be encouraged, but always with the intent of being clear first. My ability to clearly understand your arguments is crucial to getting them evaluated at the end of the round. The ability to provide analytics and analysis in the round will get you much further with me. As far as CX is concerned, I simply ask that the person who is supposed to be asking/answering the questions, gets the first shot at speaking. If they ask for help that’s perfectly fine, but don’t overwhelm your partner’s ability to conduct their own cx. Baseline speaks for me is 28.5 and you move up or down from there. I hardly ever give above a 29.5

Max McCarty Paradigm

2 rounds

Max McCarty


KU 22

Put me on the email chain maxwell[dot]mccarty[at]gmail[dot]com

Tech > Truth

Argument specific things

FW v K Aff: I think that affs should defend hypothetical government action. With that being said it is still a debate and I will vote for the team that wins the debate. I do think fairness is an impact in and of itself, I don't think it is a big impact but I don't think it needs to be. For affs to win my ballot you are better off to go for a larger impact turn to framework/T than to go for smaller args shotgunned in the 2ac. I also don't find T/FW to be inherently violent or exclusionary granted like every argument in debate it can be deployed in a violent way, ie the neg explicitly making arguments about x team should leave debate ect. however in a world where that has not been done I am unlikely to find those arguments persuasive. I have also struggled to understand arguments about "structural" fairness in the context of how it is offense for the aff. The most important thing a 2nr/2ar can do in these debates however is do impact calc and if done well you will probably end up with my ballot.

CP: They are great as long as they are competitive. Textual and functional competition both have a time and their place, and same goes for positional competition. I tend to be pretty lenient to accepting 2nc counterplans as long as you can defend it, to me its all just part of the condo debate.

T: It is a voting issue but never a reverse voting issue, competing interps make more sense to me than reasonability, along with limits arguments when your going for T.

DAs: they are fantastic, I’m fine with generic link ev as long as it gets contextualized at some point. Impact calc is great and should be a part of every 2nc/2nr.

Theory- I will have a very high threshold for rejecting the team with the exception of conditionality. with that being said I have an overwhelming bias that conditionality is good as long as it does not force contradictions in the block.

Ks: I think of Ks as a cp with a net benefit, the more specific it is to the aff the more likely I am to vote on it. I’m not well read in lit at all so explanation goes a long way. I think you should have a somewhat specific link to the aff. I do feel like at the end of the debate the aff should get to weigh the 1ac, in what context is up for debate but im very hard to convince otherwise. Link of omissions are nonstarters. My advice is go for what you are most comfortable with and I will do my best as a judge to leave my biases at the door and evaluate the debate.

Other things/pet peeves

-I think there is a fine line between being an ass and being competitive. If done well your speaks will be rewarded but if done wrong you will not be happy with them rule of thumb don’t be an ass, be respectful and have fun.

-physically mark your cards

- you must physically read the rehighlighting of the other teams cards simply saying “I have inserted a rehighlighting here” is not an argument in any sense please read the card. The only exception to this is if it is a small part of a card and you have explained the argument it makes in your speech.

-Clipping will result with a loss with 0 speaks. I do follow along in speech docs so if I see you doing it I won’t hesitate. If you call someone out for it you must have audio evidence of it.

If you have read this far good for you, the thing that matters the most is if you have fun, good luck to everyone.

Tracy McFarland Paradigm

3 rounds

Tracy McFarland

Jesuit College Prep

Updated 9/27/19

Please use for speech docs. I do want to be in the email chain.
However, I don't check that email a lot while not at tournaments - so if you need to reach me not at a tournament, feel free to email me at

Evidence stuff:

Jesuit is not open source - and if you think our cards are good, you should enjoy the experience of reading the good research. While I know that there are many people who disagree with me, I think that reading other people's cards disincentivizes hard work and cultivates unethical academic practices. And, for the record, there's no small school arg here - in fact large schools benefit more from this model (where you read other people's cards without recutting them) because they have more access to more open source docs in debates. I will disregard Jesuit evidence read by another team whether that's an argument made or not. Doesn't mean I will auto-vote against you but not going to vote on cards we cut that you use.

I DO NOT mean that you can't take cites and recut the evidence - in fact getting cites from someone and recutting the evidence is good. BUT, if for example School A debate School B in round 4, then School A uses ev read by B against another B team, that's unethical. TEAM'S SPEECH DOCUMENTS ARE NOT OPEN EVIDENCE FILES. Know the difference. If there is a Jesuit cite you can't access because of a lack of access to resources, please email me and I will provide a full text of the article or book - I pinky swear.


This topic seems T-complicated. Substantially may not be your best bet - especially if it's an arbitrary % that doesn't have a baseline comparison. Topicality is about competing interpretations for me, unless you tell me otherwise. Negatives should explain what allowing the affirmative in the topic would allow— ie what other affirmatives would be allowed and what specific ground or arguments you have lost out on. Affirmatives should, in addition to making counter-interpretations, explain why those counter-interpretations are good for the topic.

Case lists are underutilized in these debates – both about what they exclude and realistically justify on both sides of the topic. Topical version of the aff is an important but not a must have – especially if you are partially trying to say that they are SOOOO bad I shouldn’t want them to be a part of the topic.


Counter plans are good -- but I think that Affs underutilize solvency advocate based arguments. If you are going to have a CP with a ton of different elements, neg should be able to support that with solvency evidence that supports the whole CP not just the elments. If you are neg, you should still do these mutliplank cps if you like but the aff can win a solvency deficit if you don’t have someone to advocate all of it together. Asserting a not accurate way the government works to make a claim about neg CP also should be contested by the aff - and so should dates of the evidence being used to justify the CP. Specific counterplans that reflect you did some work in research the aff = good for the neg. Process counterplans less good b/c they usually show that you didn’t do the research on the aff. Also, I don't know why climate offsets is a CP - it's more like a plan, opposite of the plan debate????


Also enjoy a good disad debate—used to include politics. But alas, Trump has ruined many things for me - including this. I am more persuaded by the args that center on congressional internal links - that are not dependent on pretending like Trump is consistent with pol cap theory in poli sci. 2020 is a thing - but I find myself not really thinking that the link + internal make sense. I do think it is possible to win zero risk of the politics DA. I do think that affs should make a bigger deal about how that zero risk of the DA means that any risk of a solvency deficit on the CP means should vote Aff. But alas, you probably won't, then I will have to default to my engrained any risk of the DA if the CP solves mostly wins a debate. I also am very persuaded the base DA gives into racist logic - and probably should be a reason to vote aff. But alas, you probably won't make that argument with warrants.

For other DAs, much like my previous discussion of topicality and the kritik, explain the link specific to the affirmative – you can and should have multiple link args in the block that help build your story about why the aff triggers the DA. Assess how the impact of the DA relates to the case impact. Overviews should be specific to the aff not a reiteration of magnitude probability and time frame - as this results in awkward comparisons especially on this topic. Offense is a good thing but defensive versus a disad may be enough to win. In other words, any risk of a DA does not mean you win on the Negative (unless perhaps it’s a CP net benefit)—there is room for Affirmatives to make uniqueness, no link, and impact arguments that erode the DA so significantly the Negative doesn’t win much a risk versus the Aff. Good case debates with solvency or impact turns make for appealing and compelling debates. Negatives can win on case turns alone if the impacts are developed in the block.


Contrary to what some of you might think, I really do enjoy a good kritik debate. The difficulty I have with kritiks really lies with Negatives who do not, again, believe that specificity is our friend. I am not of the “if link, then lose” camp: the Negative should, through evidence and link narratives, explain how more ‘generic’ evidence and the K applies to the Aff. For example, explain why the aff’s use of the state is bad; don’t just assert they are the state therefore they must be bad. The other place to be sure to spend some time is explaining the role of the ballot and/or the role of the alternative. Addressing how the alternative solves or address in a better way the harms of the aff (ie by getting to the root of the harms, etc) is a good thing. Affirmatives in some debates I have watched this year concede too much of the link—utilize the strategic nature of your aff versus the kritik link to argue both turns and no link arguments. This will arguably force Negatives to explain how your aff links beyond the fact you use the state. Likewise on this topic it helps Affs with the perm debate. I think that topic specific K much better than your hodgepodge throw some authors together ks. Also not a huge fan of death is inevitable so we should give up now or alternatives that incorporate “suicide” as an alternative. Both sides when initiating framework arguments need to think through what they are getting out of the framework arguments – don’t just blindly go for it if you could get by with simply meeting and conceding their framework, thereby doing their thing better than they do it.

Performance/non-instrumental use of the rez

While I am compelled by arguments about the need to redress exclusion in the debate community, Negatives should challenge, and the Aff should defend, the importance of the ballot in redressing those exclusions. If the neg can explain why the same education and same exploration of privilege can occur without the ballot, I am very persuaded by those arguments. However, in these debates I have judged, I have almost always voted for the team advocating non-instrumental use of the topic because this often goes unchallenged. I think that if you are aff and running an advocacy statement, you should have some reason why that is better than a plan on the ready -- assuming the neg challenges this. Even if the reason is that the plan ties you to the state and that is a problem, you need to be able to explain why you cant accomplish your business with a plan. In these debates it seems that negatives often forget that even if they are only going for framework, they will still need to have a reason why the aff ROB or method is bad. Otherwise, the aff will make some arguments (as they should) that their method is offense against traditional understandings of debate/T/framework. I do think that the performance should be tied to the resolution when you are aff.

Theory – Aff/Neg

If there is a legit reason why what the other team has done has eroded your ability to win by creating a not reciprocal or not level playing field, then initiate the arguments. I understand the strategic value creating a time trade off might get you. However, you should think about whether or not you have some compelling args before going for the arg all out or in the 2nr/2ar. Multiple contradictory framework type args are an underutilized arg when there are k alts and cps in the debate---especially if any or all are conditional. Be concrete about what they are doing and what the justify in order to make “impact” arguments.

New aff theory - I don't have anything else in my philosophy like this (that just say no to an argument) but "new aff disclosure theory" arguments are silly to me. Aff Innovation = good, and incentivizing innovation by giving a strategic leg up to affs by getting to break a new aff = good. I've got more warrants if you want to chat about it - I know some of you feel very strongly about this - but it doesn't make sense to me. You should not probably spend the time to read your shell even if its supershort. Affs should say "competitive innovation = good". And that'd probably be enough.

Certainly, new affs mean that the neg get to make a bunch of args - and that I probably am more sympathetic on issues like no solv advocate, multiple cp, condo, etc - but yeah, no, new affs = good not bad.

Stylistic Issues (Speed, Quantity)

Clarity is important and so are warranted arguments and cards – say what you would like but be clear about it. If you have many argument but you have highlighted down the evidence to 3-5 words, you have also not made a warranted argument. Also, “extinction” is not a tag. Some highlighting practices have become so egregious that I think you're actually highlighting a different argument than the author is actually making.

Speaker Point Scale

Decent debate = 28 + ; more than decent gets more points. You can gain more points by having proper line by line, clash, good evidence with warrants, good impact comparison. You can lose points by not doing those aforementioned things AND if you are snarky, condescending, etc.

Additional Comments:

Productive cross-examinations add to speaker points and help to set up arguments---needlessly answering or asking your partners cx questions subtract from speaker points. Did I mention flowing is a good thing?

The line by line is important as is the evidence you read, explain and reference by name in the debate. Line by line is the only way to clash and avoid “two ships passing in the night” debates. Line by line isn't answer the previous speech in order - it's about grounding the debate in the 2ac on off case, 1nc on case.

I do tend to read evidence on important issues – so the quality of your evidence does matter as does how much you actually read of it. I am persuaded by teams that call out other teams based on their evidence quality, author quals, lack of highlighting (meaning they read little of the evidence). You should flow – you can’t do anything else I’ve outlined without flowing – and like, actually flow, not copy the speech doc..

Dustin Meyers-Levy Paradigm

3 rounds


1. Get off any games, streaming services, music apps, and other non-debate-related internet-using utilities. Check your taskbar/task manager for stuff that's running in the background. Plug into an ethernet cable if possible and politely request that your siblings/parents also avoid using the internet/streaming services/etc.

2. Please be ready for an audio/video test five minutes before the scheduled start time.

3. Turn off your video and audio if you're not giving a speech. I'd prefer if only the debaters assigned to carry out any given cross-x had their mics on during that cross-x, but if the 2A needs to clarify the answer to a vital 1AC cross-x question or whatever, I don't care; just don't talk over each other (see next point).

4. Please, please, please don't talk over or interrupt people. It'll be disastrous. That said, please don't take advantage of that to filibuster in cross-x. I will interrupt if necessary to move a cross-x along.

5. I'm usually pretty lax about when you need to end prep time, but during the digital debate era I'll be enforcing a strict "prep ends when the speech doc is sent" rule.

6. I might dock your points if you delete analytics from your speech doc; I definitely will if you delete headers, don't send tags, etc. This is another thing I normally don't really care about, but flowing is going to be hard enough as it is, and while obviously nobody should be flowing straight off of the speech doc, there's no reason to make it actively harder for anyone.

Misc procedural things:

1. He/him/his; call me DML or Dustin, preferably not "judge;" if you call me Mr. Meyers-Levy I'll assume you think I'm old and I'll give you old-person points

2. Debated at Edina HS from 2008-2012, at the University of Michigan from 2012-2017, and currently coach at Michigan and GBN

3. Please include me on all email and/or jumping chains (but why would you use jump drives if email is accessible?)--my email is dustml94[at]gmail[dot]com. please no pocketbox or speechdrop or whatever the latest one is. Asking if I want to be added might suggest that you didn't take the time to read on. (thanks Kurt)

4. Nothing set in stone debate is up to the debaters go for what you want to blah blah blah argument is a claim and a warrant don't clip cards

5. I lied, this is what is set in stone: there are two teams of two debaters (excluding maverick situations), each debater gives one constructive and one rebuttal according to tournament speech times. I will flow, and I will only flow the words that the first debater who speaks in their assigned speech says (I won't flow prompting until the debater giving the speech says things). you can do whatever else you want during the debate, but I intend to judge a debate and will attempt to flow whatever does occur in the manner that I would a debate, and if one team is attempting to debate while the other one is not, I will unequivocally listen to the team attempting to debate and vote for them when the time allocated for the 2AR ends. if you need some part of this clarified in order to determine your strategy, I'm likely not the judge for you in the first place.

6. I talk in cross-x sometimes, usually it's just to resolve clarification questions, occasionally to check against obnoxiousness

7. Really, really not okay with cards written by current debaters (at the time of authorship). If you read a card that meets this standard, I reserve the right to pause the debate after the speech and give you 1 minute to decide on a new card (of your choosing) that you can retroactively insert into the speech to replace the original card. If I'm on a panel, I won't stop the round, but I will probably give you a really angry look and conspicuously refuse to flow the card, and every time you cite the card in a following speech to support an argument I will cross the argument out on my flow.

8. I will not even begin to consider evidence that is "footnoted" or "inserted into the record" unless it's a picture or chart or something that can't be converted into card format. this applies to rehighlighting of the other team's evidence. you have to read the entirety of a card for it to be considered. I have no idea why people think anything less than that is acceptable practice.

9. Speaks usually range from 28-29.5 (realistically more like 28-29.3 on average); below 28 and there are some serious deficiencies, above 29.5 (again, realistically above 29.3) you're going above and beyond to wow me. I don't really try to compare debaters across different rounds to give speaks; I assign them based on a round-by-round basis.

10. If you would enthusiastically describe your strategy as "memes" or "trolling," you should strike me.


Debate is a game and at the end of the 2 hours we spend together I will be obligated to make a decision as to who won and who lost. This implies a few things that are non-negotiable, mostly implied above, and entirely stolen from Joe:

1. There are rules in debate. Speeches have fixed times. The first partner to speak in a speech is the only one whose words count. This is non-negotiable.

2. I'm going to flow your speech. There is nothing you can possibly do to stop this short of concede. What's worse, I'm even going to decide the debate based on said flow and said flow alone.

--2.1. I'm going to flow your speech straight down on whatever page you've indicated you're going to. If you really think your overview needs a new sheet of paper, or that I should save space on my flow for framework/the perm in the 1NR instead of you just taking each arg in order and figuring out how to split the block more efficiently, then I guess I'll do it, but I've literally never been in a debate that was won because an arg was in an overview on a new sheet that couldn't have been made in a shorter overview/on the line-by-line, and I can't remember a time when saving space on my flow made things simpler and not messier (if only because I misjudge how much space to save basically every time). The more you deviate from the line by line and try to jump around between different parts of the debate (especially in K debates), the less I'm going to care about the order you're trying to give, because I'm just going to flow every argument in a row after you make it.

3. I apply a strict standard of technical refutation and argument framing to the final rebuttals. You will not win if you drop arguments. In practice, this means I vote against kritik teams more than I vote for them. It’s not personal.

Aside from these things, I’m overwhelmingly agnostic about any argument/argumentative style in debate. The only thing I’m concerned about is how certain I can be that one side won and lost. I think I am truth over tech in the sense that if I am uncertain about whether or not an argument is explained enough to merit a ballot, I am unlikely to vote on it even if it's technically dropped by the other side, because I believe arguments have a burden of proof to meet before they require rejoinder. Thus, I often make decisions in terms of relative certainty; that is, how certain (or uncertain) I am about any given argument. This is an arbitrary threshold, but one that's relatively easy to lower/raise based on framing your arguments in these terms ("they've conceded X, which means you can be certain voting aff solves Y but you can't be certain voting neg does, Y outweighs"). This is why well-developed presumption arguments will win many ballots and points from me; presumption is a way of minimizing relative uncertainty and telling me what to do if I'm uncertain about something. Using this framing explicitly in your 2NR/2AR will both make debates far easier for me to resolve and demonstrate that you’re adapting to my philosophy.

Gamers' TOC 2020 updates:

You're probably reading this pre-round, so short and sweet: small amount of topic familiarity, very little knowledge about topic-related current events, actors, conflicts, etc, great judge for T against policy affs and K affs that just impact turn, good judge for K affs that creatively engage the resolutional wording and for specific and unique Ks against policy affs, bad judge for K affs and Ks that don't try to innovate.

I didn't end up judging at any high school tournaments this year, but I led a seven-week juniors lab at Michigan and did a small amount of policy research throughout the season. That said, I also mostly focused on college research this season and a good amount of that was K-focused. What this means for you is that I have a small amount of topic familiarity; for instance, I know what FMS/DCS stand for, I generally understand what different arms do, and I have a pretty decent amount of familiarity with missile defense/nukes as well as drones by virtue of previous college topics, for what that's worth. However, I don't have much familiarity with topic-related conflicts and how they've progressed--for example, I have a passing familiarity with the Saudi conflict and know the names of relevant groups but not as much their motivations, who's winning, etc, I don't really know the specifics of what Russia's up to in Eastern Europe nowadays, no idea when the last arms package we sent to Taiwan was or what was in it, you get the picture. It will be diffficult to persuade me by reading affs about so-called "stealth jets," as you would first need to prove that such jets exist, which is impossible to do given that they can't be seen.

Another important thing that my topic unfamiliarity means is that I don't really care about the community consensus on T. I think people think anything is topical? I don't think that. Being neg sucks, especially at the TOC. New affs need to be topical just like old affs do. This also means you can win on a defensible violation vs an aff that the community has ostensibly agreed is topical; I don't really care about (or even really know) what those affs are. All I ever really care about is which side's definition better facilitates a year of clash about a controversy.

I'm so serious about vague perms. I'm completely willing to discount an under-explained perm or give a lot of leeway to the neg, especially if the neg points it out, and I'd gleefully reject a vague perm purely on theoretical grounds if the neg tells me to. I've judged a decent amount of rounds, some of them elims in which I sat, in which the 2AR extended the perm for under 10 seconds as a tiebreaker and I voted neg despite the perm making intuitive sense because the aff never developed it. "Do both" is not an argument; "do the CP" is a waste of everyone's time. Say more in the 2AC. (Obviously the latter isn't true vs all CPs, but it's on you to explain why that's the case in any given debate.) See below for more explanation.

If you're reading a K aff, my biggest piece of advice is to teach me something I don't know and apply it to the neg's arguments and/or the topic. I'm great for K affs that innovate and adapt within the bounds of the resolution, not so good for affs that try to apply old research to the topic. If you'll defend FMS or DCS be reduced, especially to a particular country or of a particular weapon, you're in a very good spot with me. If you think arms sales are bad but don't care about DAs to particular countries or CPs, you're doing a little worse, but you haven't lost the debate as long as you have solid, interesting offense and a defensible counter-interp. If you just want to impact turn, I'm not a fantastic judge for you, but I'm not ungettable as long as you do something innovative. Like I said, teach me something.

If you're neg and you want to go for the K against a policy aff, my biggest piece of advice for winning in front of me is to generate uniqueness. Explain why the aff makes things worse than the status quo, why they actually make their impacts more likely rather than solve them, etc. Be as specific as you can be. Your evidence will never be as contextual to the aff's proposal as you would like it to be, so don't pretend like it is; think of the evidence/theory as a template and use your speeches to explain how the aff fits within that template.

K/planless aff/T debates:

I emphasize my agnosticism at the top in order to indicate that I’m better for the K/planless affs in the abstract than previous iterations of my philosophy indicated; that said, in practice, I still find myself voting against it a lot. Maybe it’s the neoliberal bastard in me, but in my ten-plus years in debate (and not without trying), I haven’t been able to conceptualize a coherent way of making the determination of how certain I am outside of cost-benefit analysis and evaluating unique opportunity costs. Topical, plan-focused debate appeals to me because it's the only form of comparison that I've encountered in debate thus far which allows me to make that determination as objectively and fairly as possible and which enables both sides to evaluate unique opportunity costs in a relatively equitable manner. While I could be persuaded that other such metrics exist, I think it would take quite a bit of work, and I'm much more persuaded by creative we meet/counter-interpretations (preferably that counter-define the words that the neg defines). For Ks on the neg, this means that more often than not unique links are the most influential factor in my decision calculus. Whichever side more persuasively articulates why things will be uniquely better or uniquely worse than the status quo/aff/whatever usually wins. Framework arguments that attempt to minimize the relevance of unique links are not persuasive to me. Ks that are able to explain why the world is made measurably worse by me voting aff, and have a framework argument that give me a metric by which I can measure how much worse, are very persuasive.

Other things:

1. I’m skeptical of any totalizing theory of how the world/society/politics works. Saying that a counter-example to your theory is an exception that proves the rule or whatever just indicates to me that your theory lacks scholarly rigor. I prefer theories that direct me towards how to act/understand the world when I don’t have complete information about it, or how to determine which side's theory has more explanatory power when there are counter-examples to sort through from both sides.

2. Planless affs usually lose in front of me because of a disconnect between their impacts and what they claim to solve/how they claim to solve it. Proactively lowering that threshold as much as possible will go a long way for me. An easy way to do this is by explaining solvency/impact arguments in the context of me making a decision, not just what the 1AC offered.

3. I often vote neg in T debates because the aff fails to explain why debating the aff is valuable. Aff framework arguments that don’t explain the unique value of competition and negation are not persuasive; framework arguments that prioritize a role for competition/negation and the comparison of opportunity costs while attempting to use them in different ways than debate conventionally does are very persuasive to me.

4. This all said, "fairness is an intrinsic good" doesn't really make sense to me. Fairness isn't the intrinsic good of debate; contestation is.

5. I think that others should not suffer, that the cessation of mitosis is bad, and that contingent truth is possible and a better basis for action than nothing. If your K disagrees with any of these fundamental premises, I am a bad judge for it.

6. I don't get Ks of linear time. I get Ks of whitewashing, progress narratives, etc. I get the argument that historical events influence the present. I just don't get how any of those things are mutually exclusive with, and indeed how they don't also rely on, some understanding of linear time/causality. I think this is because I have a very particular understanding of what "linear time" means/refers to, which is to say that it's hard for me to disassociate that phrase with the basic concept of cause/effect and the progression of time in a measurable, linear fashion. This isn't as firm of a belief as #5; I can certainly imagine one of these args clicking with me eventually. This is just to say that the burden of explanation is much higher and you would likely be better served going for more plan-specific link arguments or maybe just using different terminology/including a brief explanation as to why you're not disagreeing with the basic premise that causes have observable effects, even if those effects aren't immediately apparent. If you are disagreeing with that premise, you should probably strike me, as it will require far longer than two hours for me to comprehend your argument, let alone agree with it.

7. Args about what another team did in another debate are not persuasive to me. I wasn’t there, I don’t know what happened, and there’s enough going on in the round at hand that I don’t feel compelled to make it my concern. Similarly, I will not vote for or against a team based on who they are--I vote based on arguments made, not who made them; random ad-homs against a debater or their schools aren't endearing and will probably lose you some speaker points. I really don't like homogenizing schools as all reading one specific type of argument; please don't do that in cross-x or speeches.

8. I'm not persuaded by "debate bad."

9. I do not know what the Iraq War is, nor do I know what the Vietnam War is, I have never heard of either of these events in my life, nor have I ever encountered any evidence of their existence, and in the context of debate they are fundamentally unpersuasive to me as examples, as it would take longer to explain to me what happened in these events than you have time for in a debate round

Policy debates:

I've actually been doing a lot more policy research this year than in past years, though I still do a lot of K/K answer research and almost exclusively coach teams who are having K debate during tournaments. That said, a lot of the policy research I do centers on process CPs and impact turns; this does mean occasionally I’m less on top of the topic in policy debates than I wish I were. I’m good at picking up on the tricks in your argument if I understand the subject matter, but I might need a bit more hand-holding than other judges for your super-specific strats.

Other things:

1. I'm not the best judge for most theory args as a reason to reject the team if the offending position is not in the 2NR (with the exception of conditionality, which is a context in which I fundamentally do not understand how I can reject the argument but not the team). In general, I tend to hold the 2AR to a high threshold for new arguments in theory debates that they usually do not meet, and I think the amount of time that would be required in the 1AR to avoid that threshold is almost universally better spent elsewhere. I'm much more persuaded by theory args about what happened in the debate than setting a model/precedent/whatever.

3. Apparently T against policy affs is no longer in style. Fortunately, I have a terrible sense of style. This resolution is very large, but in general, I think I'm better for the neg for T than (I guess) a lot of the pool; I wouldn't normally put myself in this place, but reading through some judge philosophies I find a lot of people who say they don't like judging T or don't think T debates are good, and I strongly disagree with that claim.

4. I think judge kick makes intuitive sense, but I won't do it unless I'm told to. That said, I also think I have a lower threshold for what constitutes the neg "telling me to" than most. There are some phrases that signify to me that I can default to the status quo by my own choosing; these include, but aren't necessarily limited to, "the status quo is always a logical policy option" and/or "counter-interp: the neg gets X conditional options and the status quo."

5. "Perm do both" is not an argument! Neither is "perm do the counterplan/alt!" I'm very easily persuaded by neg vagueness args against perms like these, and I've started voting neg in situations where I can imagine other judges voting aff because the perm was like 10-15 seconds in every speech starting from the 1AR. I hate giving decisions where I have to decide that because there's a perm, there must be some world in which the aff and counter-advocacy aren't competitive, even if I can't possibly explain what that world is. If the neg gives me reason not to, or the aff explains that world for me, I'll be much happier. This doesn't mean you have to write out full perm texts--and "perm do both" can be okay, as long as you say more than just that--the 2AC should include at least an explanation of what actor does what action when and how it's net beneficial.

6. I would gleefully welcome a nuanced, developed intrinsicness debate with substantive amounts of time invested starting in the 2AC.


A lost art.

Misc judging quirks:

· I don't think memes are funny.


· I usually take until decision time; I like to write out as much of my decisions as I can. Sorry for being thorough.

· I'm usually pretty expressive, especially when I'm not feeling an argument. I'm interested in making debates the best they can be--if you're confused about why I'm shaking my head for some reason during an argument, I think I'd be open to answering if you asked what you're doing wrong during the speech.

· You do you, but I rarely find myself persuaded by excessive posturing. I've always thought the debaters with the most ethos were those who kept above the fray and stayed cool, who had fun and treated their opponents with respect rather than trying to prove how much more they know.

· I have a lot of distaste for canned speeches. I notice this a lot more on the neg than on the aff, but if you're obviously reading pre-written stuff for the majority of your final rebuttal, you won't get very good points. I will subtract a full point for a 2NR/2AR that rereads significant portions of earlier speeches.

· Please don't make a big deal about reading a card that I cut in front of me. It's just kind of uncomfortable both for myself and the other team.

Joshua Michael Paradigm

3 rounds

Updated 2/13/2020

Debated for UWG ’15 – ’17; Coaching Notre Dame – ’19 – Present; Baylor – ’17 – ’19



I prefer K v K rounds, but I generally wind up in FW rounds.

K aff’s – 1) Generally have a high threshold for 1ar/2ar consistency. 2) Stop trying to solve stuff you could reasonably never affect. Often, teams people want the entirety of X structure’s violence weighed yet resolve only a minimal portion of that violence. 3) v K’s, you are rarely always already a criticism of that same thing. Your articulation of the perm/link defense needs to demonstrate true interaction between literature bases. 4) Stop running from stuff. If you didn’t read the line/word in question, okay. But indicts of the author should be answered with more than “not our Baudrillard.”

K’s – 1) rarely win without substantial case debate. 2) ROJ arguments are generally underutilized. 3) I’m generally persuaded by aff answers that demonstrate certain people shouldn’t read certain lit bases, if warranted by that literature. 4) I have a higher threshold for generic “debate is bad, vote neg.” If debate is bad, how do you change those aspects of debate?

Special Note for Settler Colonialism: I simultaneously love these rounds and experience a lot of frustration when judging this argument. Often, debaters haven’t actually read the full text from which they are cutting cards and lack most of the historical knowledge to responsibly go for this argument. List of annoyances: there are 6 settler moves to innocence – you should know the differences/specifics rather than just reading pages 1-3 of Decol not a Metaphor; la paperson’s A Third University is Possible does not say “State reform good”; Reading “give back land” as an alt and then not defending against the impact turn is just lazy. Additionally, claiming “we don’t have to specify how this happens,” is only a viable answer for Indigenous debaters (the literature makes this fairly clear); Making a land acknowledgement in the first 5 seconds of the speech and then never mentioning it again is essentially worthless; Ethic of Incommensurability is not an alt, it’s an ideological frame for future alternative work (fight me JKS).


General: 1) Fairness is either an impact or an internal link 2) the TVA doesn’t have to solve the entirety of the aff. 3) Your Interp + our aff is just bad.

Aff v FW: 1) can win with just impact turns, though the threshold is higher than when winning a CI with viable NB’s. 2) More persuaded by defenses of education/advocacy skills/movement building. 3) Less random DA’s that are basically the same, and more internal links to fully developed DA’s. Most of the time your DA’s to the TVA are the same offense you’ve already read elsewhere.

Reading FW: 1) Respect teams that demonstrate why state engagement is better in terms of movement building. 2) “If we can’t test the aff, presume it’s false” – no 3) Have to answer case at some point (more than the 10 seconds after the timer has already gone off) 4) You almost never have time to fully develop the sabotage tva (UGA RS deserves more respect than that). 5) Impact turns to the CI are generally underutilized. You’ll almost always win the internal link to limits, so spending all your time here is a waste. 6) Should defend the TVA in 1nc cx if asked. You don’t have a right to hide it until the block.

Theory - 1) I generally lean neg on questions of Conditionality/Random CP theory. 2) No one ever explains why dispo solves their interp. 3) Won’t judge kick unless instructed to.

T – 1) I’m not your best judge. 2) Seems like no matter how much debating is done over CI v Reasonability, I still have to evaluate most of the offense based on CI’s.

DA/CP – 1) No special feelings.


All of my thoughts on policy apply, except for theory. More than 2 condo (or CP’s with different plank combinations) is probably abusive, but I can be convinced otherwise on a technical level.

Not voting on an RVI. I don’t care if it’s dropped.

Most LD theory is terrible Ex: Have to spec a ROB or I don’t know what I can read in the 1nc --- dumb argument.

Phil or Tricks (sp?) debating – I’m not your judge.

Christina Phillips Paradigm

3 rounds


Current Affiliation = Notre Dame HS (Sherman Oaks, CA)
Debates Judged on this topic: about 40 Rounds (UMich Debate Institute)
Prior Experience: Debated policy in HS at Notre Dame HS in Sherman Oaks, CA (1992-1995); Debated NDT/CEDA in college at USC (1995-1999); Assistant debate coach at Cal State Northridge 2003-2005; Assistant debate coach at Glenbrook South HS Spring of 2005; Director of Debate at Glenbrook North HS 2005-2009; Director of Debate at Notre Dame HS Fall of 2009-Present.

General Note

My defaults go into effect when left to my own devices. I will go against most of these defaults if a team technically persuades me to do so in any given debate.

Paperless Rules

If you start taking excessive time to flash your document, I will start instituting that "Prep time ends when the speaker's flash drive is removed from her/his computer."

Major Notes

Topic familiarity

I am familiar with the topic (4 weeks of teaching at Michigan at Classic and involved in argument coaching at Notre Dame).


Delivery rate should be governed by your clarity; WARRANTS in the evidence should be clear, not just the tagline.
Clarity is significantly assisted by organization - I flow as technically as possible and try to follow the 1NC structure on-case and 2AC structure off-case through the 1AR. 2NR and the 2AR should have some leeway to restructure the debate in important places to highlight their offense. However, line-by-line should be followed where re-structuring is not necessary.

Ideal 2AR Structure

Offense placed at the top (tell me how I should be framing the debate in the context of what you are winning), then move through the debate in a logical order.

2NR's Make Choices

Good 2NR strategies may be one of the following: (1) Functionally and/or textually competitive counterplan with an internal or external net benefit, (2) K with a good turns case/root cause arguments that are specific to each advantage, (3) Disadvantage with turns case arguments and any necessary case defense, (4) Topicality (make sure to cover any theory arguments that are offense for aff). My least favorite debates to resolve are large impact turn debates, not because I hate impact turns, but because I think that students lose sight of how to resolve and weigh the multiple impact scenarios that get interjected into the debate. Resolving these debates starts with a big picture impact comparison.

Evidence Quality/References

Reference evidence by warrant first and then add "That's [Author]." Warrant and author references are especially important on cards that you want me to read at the end of the debate. Also, evidence should reflect the arguments that you are making in the debate. I understand that resolving a debate requires spin, but that spin should be based in the facts presented in your evidence.

I have been getting copies of speech documents for many debates lately so I can read cards during prep time, etc. However, note that I will pay attention to what is said in the debate as much as possible - I would much rather resolve the debate on what the debaters say, not based on my assessment of the evidence.


Safer to go for offense, and then make an "even if" statement explaining offense as a 100% defensive takeout. I will vote on well-resolved defense against CP, DA's and case. This is especially true against process CP's (e.g., going for a well-resolved permutation doesn't require you to prove a net benefit to the permutation since these CP's are very difficult to get a solvency deficit to) and DA's with contrived internal link scenarios. Winning 100% defense does require clear evidence comparison to resolve.


I like a well-developed topicality debate. This should include cards to resolve important distinctions. Topical version of the aff and reasonable case lists are persuasive. Reasonability is persuasive when the affirmative has a TRUE "we meet" argument; it seems unnecessary to require the affirmative to have a counter-interpretation when they clearly meet the negative interpretation. Also, discussing standards with impacts as DA's to the counter-interpretation is very useful - definition is the uniqueness, violation is the link, standard is an internal link and education or fairness is the impact.


Word PIC's, process, consult, and condition CP's are all ok. I have voted on theory against these CP's in the past because the teams that argued they were illegit were more technically saavy and made good education arguments about the nature of these CP's. The argument that they destroy topic-specific education is persuasive if you can prove why that is true. Separately, the starting point for answers to the permutation are the distinction(s) between the CP and plan. The starting point for answers to a solvency deficit are the similarities between the warrants of the aff advantage internal links and the CP solvency cards. Counterplans do not have to be both functionally and textually competitive, but it is better if you can make an argument as to why it is both.


All parts of the DA are important, meaning neither uniqueness nor links are more important than each other (unless otherwise effectively argued). I will vote on conceded or very well-resolved defense against a DA.


Good K debate should have applied links to the affirmative's or negative's language, assumptions, or methodology. This should include specific references to an opponent's cards. The 2NC/1NR should make sure to address all affirmative impacts through defense and/or turns. I think that making 1-2 carded externally impacted K's in the 2NC/1NR is the business of a good 2NC/1NR on the K. Make sure to capitalize on any of these external impacts in the 2NR if they are dropped in the 1AR. A team can go for the case turn arguments absent the alternative. Affirmative protection against a team going for case turns absent the alternative is to make inevitability (non-unique) claims.

Aff Framework

Framework is applied in many ways now and the aff should think through why they are reading parts of their framework before reading it in the 2AC, i.e., is it an independent theoretical voting issue to reject the Alternative or the team based on fairness or education? or is it a defensive indite of focusing on language, representations, methodology, etc.?. Framework impacts should be framed explicitly in the 1AR and 2AR. I am partial to believing that representations and language inform the outcome of policymaking unless given well-warranted cards to respond to those claims (this assumes that negative is reading good cards to say rep's or language inform policymaking).

Neg Framework

Neg framework is particularly persuasive against an affirmative that has an advocacy statement they don't stick to or an aff that doesn't follow the resolution at all. It is difficult for 2N's to have a coherent strategy against these affirmatives and so I am sympathetic to a framework argument that includes a topicality argument and warranted reasons to reject the team for fairness or education. If a K aff has a topical plan, then I think that framework only makes sense as a defensive indite their methodology; however, I think that putting these cards on-case is more effective than putting them on a framework page. Framework is a somewhat necessary tool given the proliferation of affirmatives that are tangentially related to the topic or not topical at all. I can be persuaded that non-topical affs should not get permutations - a couple primary reasons: (1) reciprocity - if aff doesn't have to be topical, then CP's/K's shouldn't need to be competitive and (2) Lack of predictability makes competition impossible and neg needs to be able to test the methodology of the aff.


I prefer substance, but I do understand the need for theory given I am open to voting on Word PIC's, consult, and condition CP's. If going for theory make sure to impact arguments in an organized manner. There are only two voting issues/impacts: fairness and education. All other arguments are merely internal links to these impacts - please explain how and why you control the best internal links to either of these impacts. If necessary, also explain why fairness outweighs education or vice-versa. If there are a host of defensive arguments that neutralize the fairness or education lost, please highlight these as side constraints on the the violation, then move to your offense.

Classic Battle Defaults

These are attempts to resolve places where I felt like I had to make random decisions in the past and had wished I put something in my judge philosophy to give debaters a fair warning. So here is my fair warning on my defaults and what it takes to overcome those defaults:
(1) Theory v. Topcality - Topcality comes before theory unless the 1AR makes arguments explaining why theory is first and the 2NR doesn't adequately respond and then the 2AR extends and elaborates on why theory is first sufficiently enough to win those arguments.
(2) Do I evaluate the aff v. the squo when the 2NR went for a CP? - No unless EXPLICITLY framed as a possibility in the 2NR. If the 2NR decides to extend the CP as an advocacy (in other words, they are not just extending some part of the CP as a case takeout, etc.), then I evaluate the aff versus the CP. What does this mean? If the aff wins a permutation, then the CP is rejected and the negative loses. I will not use the perm debate as a gateway argument to evaluating the aff vs. the DA. If the 2NR is going for two separate advocacies, then the two separate framings should be EXPLICIT, e.g., possible 2NR framing, "If we win the CP, then you weigh the risk of the net benefit versus the risk of the solvency deficit and, if they win the permutation, you should then just reject the CP and weigh the risk of the DA separately versus the affirmative" (this scenario assumes that the negative declared the CP conditional).
(3) Are Floating PIK's legitimate? No unless the 1AR drops it. If the 1AR drops it, then it is open season on the affirmative. The 2NC/1NR must make the floating PIC explicit with one of the following phrases to give the 1AR a fair chance: "Alternative does not reject the plan," "Plan action doesn't necessitate . Also, 2NC/1NR must distinguish their floating PIK from the permutation; otherwise, affirmatives you should use any floating PIK analysis as a outright concession that the "permutation do both" or "permutation plan plus non-mutually exclusive parts" is TRUE.
(4) Will I vote on theory cheap shots? Yes, but I feel guilty voting for them. HOWEVER, I WILL NEVER VOTE FOR A REVERSE VOTING ISSUE EVEN IF IT WAS DROPPED.

Who is a Good Debater

Anna Dimitrijevic, Alex Pappas, Pablo Gannon, Stephanie Spies, Kathy Bowen, Edmund Zagorin, Matt Fisher, Dan Shalmon, Scott Phillips, Tristan Morales, Michael Klinger, Greta Stahl, George Kouros. There are many others - but this is a good list.


Your Opponents, Your Teammates, Your Coaches, Your Activity.

Extra Notes CP/Perm/Alt Texts

The texts of permutations, counterplans, and alternatives should be clear. I always go back and check the texts of these items if there is a question of a solvency deficit or competition. However, I do feel it is the burden of the opposing team to bring up such an argument for me to vote on it - i.e., unless it is a completely random round, the opposing team needs to make the argument that the text of the CP means there is a significant solvency deficit with the case, or the affirmative is overstating/misconstruing the solvency of a permutation because the text only dictates X, not Y, etc. I will decide that the aff does not get permutations in a debate where the affirmative is not topical.

Technical Focus

I try to follow the flow the best I can - I do double check if 2AR is making arguments that are tied to the 1AR arguments. I think that 2AR's get significant leeway to weigh and frame their impacts once the 2NR has chosen what to go for; however, this does not mean totally new arguments to case arguments, etc. that were presented before the 2NR.

Resolve Arguments

Frame claim in comparison to other team's response, extend important warrants, cite author for evidence, impact argument to ballot - all of these parts are necessary to resolve an argument fully. Since debate is a game of time management, this means going for fewer arguments with more thorough analysis is better than extending myriad of arguments with little analysis.

Disrespect Bad

Complete disrespect toward anyone who is nice; no one ever has enough “credibility” in this community to justify such actions. If there is a disrespectful dynamic in a debate, I ALWAYS applaud (give higher speaker points to) the first person to step down and realize they are being a jerk. Such growth and self-awareness should rewarded.

Fear to Engage Bad

Win or lose, you are ultimately competing to have the best debate possible. Act like it and do not be afraid to engage in the tough debates. You obviously should make strategic choices, but do not runaway from in-depth arguments because you think another team will be better than you on that argument. Work harder and beat them on the argument on which she/he is supposedly an expert. Taking chances to win debates good.

Fun Stuff

And, as Lord Dark Helmet says, “evil will always triumph over good because good is dumb.”


Stephen Pipkin Paradigm

3 rounds

Glenbrook North

The role of my ballot is to vote for the team who does the better debating on whether a topical plan is better than the status quo or a competitive alternative. That means the aff has to defend a topical plan and the neg has to prove the plan is a bad idea or there's no risk the plan is a good idea. I will ignore any other framework or role of the ballot args. I think people don't believe me when I say I'm not voting on a kritik or a k aff but please don't test this. This is a change in how I've judged from the past. This isn't a "he's open to it, we just have to out-tech the other team" situation, this is a "there is no technical victory that's possible because I don't care what the other team says" situation. If the kritik is a necessary part of your neg strategy, you should strike me.

For everything else, flow and respond to what the other team says. Tech over truth, tech over offense.

Slow down and explain more. Voting on what you said requires understanding both the actual words and the substance of the arguments you are making. Do things that make it easier for me to flow. Position yourself so I can hear you. Don't speak into your laptop or stand on the opposite side of the room. Don't read typed-out things like they are the text of a card. Slow down and change the intonation of your voice when you're speaking. Sign-post. Be clear when you are transitioning between cards and sheets. Give me time to switch sheets. Be explicit about what you're answering.

Other things that may differ from what you consider norms:

I'm in charge of timing.

Asking the other team questions counts as cross-x.

I stop flowing when the timer goes off.

You can't take less than 10 seconds of prep. Every time you restart prep, you're taking at least 10 seconds. The constant starting and stopping is getting excessive, get your stuff together.

Everything needs to be in one speech doc. Getting everything together in one speech doc is prep. I stop prep when you've sent the doc.

If you steal prep, I'll take a punitive amount of prep time from you. If you read one or two extra cards, sending it after the speech is fine. If it becomes excessive, I'll also take a punitive amount of prep time from you.

There's no situation in which I'll vote for death is good.

No reinserting highlighting

I don't pay attention to questions after cross-x time is up.

Dana Randall Paradigm

3 rounds

My name is Dana Randall ( and I am the Director of Debate at Carrollton School of the Sacred Heart. I have been an active member of the policy debate community since 1996.

As a competitor and coach of policy teams at regional and national levels I feel comfortable assessing debates that are quick and complex.

I have instructed novice, jv, and varsity teams who've enjoyed tremendous success. I credit that success to the fact that I've had the privilege of working with some of the brightest and most dedicated students in the activity. Witnessing their steadfast commitment inspires me to take my judging responsibilities very seriously. I will strive to keep a meticulous flow and render my decision based on what transpires in the debate round as opposed to my personal predispositions.

I will ask to be included on the speech thread. I do this to prevent teams from debating students that succumb to pressure of competition by representing that they have read words in a speech document which they have not audibly read. Debate is a very difficult activity without compelling students debating to also follow along with every word read by their opponent.

I believe that fairness is a terminal impact – that is why I flow both teams, listen to both teams, enforce reciprocal time limits, have teams affirm or negate the resolution based on the pairing provided by the tournament and I have no idea what an alternative metric for reaching a conclusion as to which team did the better debating.

Dennis Savill Paradigm

6 rounds

Current Coach of Crossings Christian School in Oklahoma since 2011. We have a 6th grade - 12th grade debate program and our varsity team debates on the national TOC circuit. I debated in high school under Martin Glendinning.

Things you need to know for prefs:

Kritiks: Oklahoma is very heavy with kritiks and non-topical affs so I am very familiar with them. I like kritiks and K affs and can vote for them.

Policy: I am familiar with policy debates and can judge those. My squad has a mix of K teams and policy teams so I am good with either.

Speed: I can handle any kind of speed as long as you are clear.

Theory/FW/T: Only if the team is blatantly non-topical will I consider voting neg or if the aff screws up. On FW heavy debates, I am not such a fan so if you are neg and hit a non-topical aff I will entertain FW but that shouldn't be your only offcase. I am a fan of seeing actual abuse in the round so you should run a generic DA to get the "no link" argument. Also, root causing with a K is a good strat for me.

Performance/non-traditional debate: Despite what some would think coming from a Christian school, I actually like these kinds of debates and have voted up many teams including LGBTQ affs and wipeout-type arguments.

I try to be a tab judge but I know I tend to vote on more technical prowess. I believe debate should be a fun and respectful activity and I try to have a good time judging the round. I think debaters are among the smartest students in the nation and I always find it a privilege to judge a round and give feedback.

I would like to be on the email chain:

Lucia Scott Paradigm

6 rounds

She/her or gender neutral pronouns. Yes, I want to be on the email chain: lucia.scott at

Previous debating: K-State (2013-2016), Kapaun Mt. Carmel (2009-2013)

Coaching: Barstow (2018-Present), Baylor (2017-2018), Kapaun Mt. Carmel (2013-2017)

Meta things

I appreciate scrappy debate. Tech over truth with some exceptions as outlined below. However, the less true an argument is, the less tech you need to beat it. Quality over quantity; what constitutes quality is, of course, up for debate. Questions are not arguments. Don't ask what the aff does, explain that it doesn't do anything.

The rest of this paradigm is written in very certain terms to avoid confusion, but all of these are really just my defaults. My preferences won't keep me from voting any particular way.

Procedurals/ Theory

I get really grumpy about arbitrary interps of theoretical arguments (conditionality, ROB's, really anything).

With the exception of conditionality, theoretical objections are reasons to reject the argument or reasons that justify you also doing some theoretically illegit thing. I will vote on conditionality.

As far as topicality, you need impacts. You're saying this team should lose the debate. That's a pretty steep punishment. That means "predictability good" isn't an impact. Explaining why predictability is good is an impact. What aff's are now allowed that you can't prepare for? What arguments do you lose, and why do those arguments matter? I don't think there's such a thing as an "intrinsic good" in a debate.

Reasonability, to me, means that the neg had a reasonable amount of predictable ground, not that the aff is "reasonably topical," whatever that means.

Case Debate

My favorite part of debate. I can be persuaded to vote neg on presumption, but the work done needs to be specific. I'm more likely to assign a low or no risk of the aff if there's a compelling internal link debate than if the 1AR dropped the third impact D card that's non-specific and two lines long.

I also think a well-leveraged aff can do a lot on other sheets of paper, especially when comparative work with the neg's offense is done.


This is where "quality over quantity" and "the less true and argument is, the less tech you need to beat it" become really important. Affs can beat bad disads on defense if affs explain why that defense is more important than everything the neg is saying (same goes for the neg with bad aff advantages). In terms of impact calc, I think probability is generally the most important.


On balance, I think counterplans should be functionally and textually competitive. A 2A who's good at theory can win process counterplans just go away with enough work. I think counterplans should have solvency advocates. Not a fan of word PICs. If your word PIC has critical implications, I generally think you're better off just running it as a kritik. I don't kick the counterplan unless the 2NR tells me to. I am willing to vote aff on zero risk of a net benefit even if the counterplan solves 100% of the aff.


My threshold for a link here seems to be comparatively low. I think this "no reps links" argument people keep making is absolutely ridiculous.

My threshold for the alt is relatively high. Examples are good. I don't necessarily think you need to win the alt to win the k, but it's probably a good idea to have an alt.

Framework arguments that compare world-views (i.e. "extinction outweighs epistemology") are far more compelling than framework arguments about procedural fairness (i.e. "the K is cheating"). I can be persuaded not to weigh the aff, but usually I end up concluding that I should weigh the aff.

For the 2AC, stick to the things that are really important. Don't read things/ make arguments you'll never go for unless they're actually dropped. It's a waste of time you don't have.

K Affs

I think it's reasonable for K affs to say that all they have to do is prove their method is good; if the method is good, I should vote for aff. I am generally not persuaded by "winning is key to our method" arguments. Probably means you've got a bad method. Similarly, not of fan of consciousness-raising arguments. I don't know why that means I should vote for you.

I am more persuaded by T violations that deal with substantive parts of the resolution than framework violations about the fg. Both the aff and the neg should be doing some comparative work about how education and fairness implicate one another.

I conceptualize TVAs as counterplans (an alternate mechanism to solve the same impacts while avoiding the net benefit). That means I hold a TVA to similar standards; I think it should have to solve all or most of the aff and that the TVA should have a solvency advocate. 90% of the TVAs I hear aren't topical; not enough aff teams make this argument.

Other things:

Arguments about micro-aggressions - Fine as long as you explain the implication for this debate/ perhaps the community as a whole. Tell me what you want me to do about it.

Arguments that compare conditionality to structural privilege - Fine as long as you warrant them. Just saying, "This is the logic of..." isn't enough; tell me why.

So clipping. If you have somehow misrepresented what you have read/ if there is not a way to tell from the speech doc what was read, you have clipped. I've had some recent judging experiences that are moving me toward clarity being a clipping issue. If I can't understand any of the words in your cards, and it seems like this is to get in more cards, that's probably clipping. If I catch clipping, I will make sure I'm sure (usually during prep time), and then stop the debate. If a debater accuses someone of clipping, the debate stops right then. If the challenger is correct, they win. If they are not correct, they lose. I don't really know what to do with speaks here, tbh. I will give the person who clipped a 0, but everyone else is probably going to get somewhere between a 28.5 and a 29.5 depending on how much I like you.

Speaker Points

I start at a 28.5 and move up or down from there. If I think you should clear, I'll give you at least a 29. I will doc speaks if you combine the case pages at any point after the 1AC. Do real case debate.

Michael Shelton Paradigm

2 rounds

Email chain:

Who Am I: I debated four years at Field Kindley High School in Coffeyville, KS, did not debate in college, and have been an assistant coach at Lawrence Free State High School in Lawrence, KS since 2013. I have a Master's degree in International Relations.

General Approach: Tell me what I should be voting on and why. If you want me to evaluate the round differently than they do, then you need to win a reason why your framework or paradigm is the one that I should use. If no one does that, then I'll default to a policymaker paradigm. I don't view offense and defense as an either/or proposition, but if you do then I prefer offense.

Standard Operating Procedure: (How I will evaluate the round unless one of the teams wins that I should do something different) The affirmative has a non-severable duty to advocate something resolutional, and that advocacy must be clear and stable. The goal of the negative is to prove that the affirmative's advocacy is undesirable, worse than a competitive alternative, or theoretically invalid. I default to evaluating all non-theory arguments on a single plane, am much more willing to reject an argument than a team, and will almost always treat dropped arguments as true.

Mechanics: (I'm not going to decide the round on these things by themselves, but they undeniably affect my ability to evaluate it)

  • Signposting - Please do this as much as possible. I'm not just talking about giving a roadmap at the start of each speech or which piece of paper you're talking about during the speech, but where on the line-by-line you are and what you're doing (i.e. if you read a turn, call it a turn).
  • Overviews - These are helpful for establishing your story on that argument, but generally tend to go on too long for me and seem to have become a substitute for specific line-by-line work, clash, and warrant extension. I view these other items as more productive/valuable ways to spend your time.
  • Delivery - I care way more about clarity than speed; I have yet to hear anybody who I thought was clear enough and too fast. I'll say "clear" if you ask me to, but ultimately the burden is on you. Slowing down and enunciating for tags and analytics makes it more likely that I'll get everything.
  • Cross Examination - Be polite. Make your point or get an answer, then move on. Don't use cross-ex to make arguments.
  • Prep Time - I don't think prep should stop until the flash drive comes out of your computer or the email is sent, but I won't take it upon myself to police prep as long as both teams are reasonable.

Argumentation: (I'll probably be fine with whatever you want to do, and you shouldn't feel the need to fundamentally change your strategy for me. These are preferences, not rules.)

  • CPs/DAs - I prefer specific solvency and link cards (I'm sure you do, too), but generics are fine provided you do the work.
  • Framework - I prefer that framework gets its own page on the flow, and that it gets substantive development beyond each side reading frontlines at each other/me.
  • Kritiks - I prefer that there is an alternative, and that it has a text. "Reject the Aff." isn't an alternative, it's what I do if I agree with the alternative. I don't get real excited about links of omission, so some narrative work will help you here.
  • Performance - I prefer that you identify the function of the ballot as clearly and as early as possible.
  • Procedurals - I prefer that they be structured and that you identify how the round was affected or altered by what the other team did or didn't do.
  • Theory - I prefer that theory gets its own page on the flow, and that it gets substantive development beyond each side reading frontlines at each other/me.
  • Topicality - I prefer that teams articulate how/why their interpretation is better for debate from a holistic perspective. TVAs and/or case lists are good. My least favorite way to start an RFD is, "So, I think the Aff. is topical, but also you're losing topicality."

Miscellaneous: (These things matter enough that I made a specific section for them, and will definitely be on my mind during the round.)

  • Anybody can read cards, good analysis and strategic decision-making are harder to do and frequently more valuable.
  • Individual pages on the flow do not exist in a vacuum, and what is happening on one almost certainly affects what is happening on another.
  • Comparative impact calculus. Again, comparative impact calculus.
  • You may not actually be winning every argument in the round; acknowledging this in your analysis and telling me why you win anyway is a good thing.
  • Winning an argument is not the same thing as winning the round on an argument. If you want to win the round on an argument you've won or are winning, take the time to win the round on it.
  • The 2NR and 2AR are for making choices, you only have to win the round once.
  • I will read along during speeches and will likely double back to look at cards again, but I don't like being asked to read evidence and decide for myself. If they're reading problematic evidence, yours is substantively better, etc., then do that work in the debate.

Zen: (Just my thoughts, they don't necessarily mean anything except that I thought them.)

  • Debate is a speaking game, where teams must construct logically sound, valid arguments to defend, while challenging the same effort from their opponents.
  • It's better to be more right than the other team than more clever.
  • A round is just a collection of individual decisions. If you make the right decisions more often than not, then you'll win more times than you lose.

I'll be happy to answer any questions.

Sam Shore Paradigm

2 rounds

Edited most recently in March 2018. I debated in high school at Greenhill School (2006) in Texas and debated in college at Michigan State (2010). I have been helping coach Greenhill since my graduation. A fair number of the assumptions that one would draw about me being affiliated with those institutions are probably true. In a given year, I will probably judge 60+ HS policy debates, ~5 HS LD debates, and under 5 college policy debates. There are a couple special notes at the bottom for the latter two groups.

Case Debates – Case debate is underutilized, there are few things that I am more impressed with than beating a team on their own aff. Although, too many teams gloss over the fact that there needs to be uniqueness for neg case turns.

Disads – Defensive arguments are important, and I am willing to assign zero risk of a disad if the affirmative has damning defensive arguments even if the affirmative lacks any offensive arguments. Negatives who rely on there always being a risk of a link will leave me unimpressed. That being said though, I often think that many times a lack of offense does result in a moderate probability of the disad.

CPs – I lean negative on most CP theory issues (more on theory below), although I’m not a fan of the consult cp. I also lean negative on legitimacy of the states CP. This does not mean that affs cannot win theory debates in front of me. Additionally I think some of the arguments that affs make as to why some counterplans are bad, tend to be much better when used as a reason why the permutation is legitimate. Negs should be sure to weigh what happens when there is a solvency deficit to the cp when making their impact calculus arguments. Conversely, affs need to have an impact to their solvency deficits.

Kritiks – Teams must articulate an impact to what happens if they win their framework arguments. I don’t think the negative must have an alternative but I find it hard for the neg to establish uniqueness for their links without one. Affirmatives need to find ways to leverage their aff against the implications of the kritik as well as making sure that they are still able to access their offense if they lose their framework arguments. Negs must also discuss why the aff in particular makes the squo worse. I’m certainly not well versed in much kritik literature so avoiding buzzwords and jargon can help my understanding. If you want me to vote on a kritik, it would benefit you to debate it very much like a CP/DA: turns the case, solves the case, xyz comes first, etc.

Topicality – I tend to view T debates in an offense/defense framework. Its all about competing interpretations, whomever creates the best world for debate should win, issues of abuse are not necessary but can be helpful. That being said, I’m also not a fan of the cult of limits, just going for your interpretation is more limiting will most likely lose to a broader interpretation that is more educational. Also, your K aff's impact turn of T does not amuse me – topicality is a voting issue.

Theory – I lean neg on most theory questions but this is not to be taken to mean that I like to hear your XYZ-Spec argument, your points will go down. Conditionality, or multiple conditional counterplans are both fine. The caveat to this is that I'm not sure if I'm a fan of conditional counterplans with half a dozen planks each independently conditional (ie 2nr could be planks 1-6, or 1-3, or 1&3, etc.). This doesn’t mean I won’t vote aff on theory though, whomever can make their trivial distinctions seem most important will probably win.

Non-traditional affs – I’ve debated at Greenhill and Michigan State, if that doesn’t provide some hint, I’ll break it down some more. The Aff should probably be topical, probably have a plan, and probably also have to defend the effects stemming from the hypothetical enactment of said plan - I've yet to be convinced by a reason as to why any of these things are bad.

General Notes: All of this being said – I will evaluate the arguments made in the round even if they are contrary to my beliefs, this is a guide of what I think and how I will default with a lack of argumentation. Evidence comparisons are important, Impact comparisons as well. There needs to be a decision calculus set up in the final rebuttals – i.e. you can still win the round even after admitting a solvency deficit to your CP. I do like being on the email chain of documents but will NEVER be reading the speech doc during the speech – you need to be clear. I’m only going to flow what the person who should be speaking says, if your partner yells out an argument during your speech, you have not made it.

College debate note: I will judge at one college tournament roughly every four years, this being said, please, please, please, assume I have next to ZERO topic knowledge (careful with acronyms too). I judge a ton of debates, just none on your topic.

Lincoln-Douglas debate notes: Well, you’ve read all of this which means two things: 1. I’m probably judging you. 2. Something has gone terribly awry for both of us. If possible, I’d basically prefer your LD debate to be policy-esque, I can obviously follow whatever but still have no idea what a criterion is. For some reason when I say this, people seem to think theory args are a good idea....most LD theory args seem to be asinine standards that the other team needs to follow…I will not vote on this, and will probably lower your speaker points. Also, if you intend to win due to a theory argument, you need a reason to reject the team – otherwise the obvious remedy is rejecting the argument.

Dhruv Sudesh Paradigm

6 rounds

Monta Vista '18, UC Berkeley '22. -- put me on the chain.

This philosophy reflects my ideological leanings; it is not a set of rules I abide by in every decision. All of them can be easily reversed by out-debating the other team, and I firmly believe tech > truth.

The most important thing for me is argument resolution. In close debates, I generally resolve in favor of rebuttals that have judge instruction, explain the interaction between your arguments and theirs, and efficiently frame the debate in a way that adds up to a ballot. If you don't give me a way to reconcile two competing claims, I'll likely just read evidence to make my own judgment. Some effective examples of this are "even if they win x, we still win because y" and short overviews for individual parts of the line by line (like framing issues for comparing the strength of a link to a link turn).

K Affs and Framework:

K Affs: Develop one or two pieces of central offense that impact turn whatever standard(s) the neg is going for. I tend to vote more frequently for the direct impact turn than the 'CI + link turn neg standards' strategy.

Framework: I don't have a preference for hearing a skills or fairness argument, but I think the latter requires you to win a higher level of defense to aff arguments.


I am well versed in security, cap, and a few other similar K's. Links are best when they prove the plan shouldn't be implemented. I'm skeptical of sweeping claims about the structure of society (provided reasonable pushback by the aff). If equally debated, I am likely to conclude that the affirmative gets to weigh the plan. I tend to vote aff when the aff wins they get to weigh the plan and their impact outweighs the neg's, and I tend to vote neg when the neg wins a framework argument.


Infinite conditionality, agent CPs, PICs, conditional planks, 2NC CPs are all good. CPs that rely on certainty or immediacy or the like for competition and rider DAs are illegitimate. Theory is the one place where I tend to diverge from tech > truth.

CPs/DAs/Impact Turns/Case Debate/T:

Smart, analytical case defense or CPs are fine if completely intuitive or factual, but they hold significantly more weight if tied to a piece of evidence.

As far as T goes, I highly value precision when compared to limits and ground. Winning that your interp makes debates slightly more winnable for the neg is unlikely to defeat a precise interpretation that reflects the literature consensus.

Other Things:

When reading evidence, I will only evaluate warrants that are highlighted.

Dropped arguments don't need to be fully explained until the final rebuttals. However, you must point out that they are dropped and give a quick explanatory sentence.

Kelly Thompson Paradigm

2 rounds

I debated for 3 years @ Washburn Rural
I debated for 4 years @ Emporia State (NDT '08)
I am the Director of Debate at Lawrence Free State HS (3rd year at FS, 11th year as a head coach, 19th year in Policy Debate)

*Please add me to the email chain if one exists. I won't read along but I will read cards that have been contested during the round to make meta-decisions. and


I will do my best to answer any questions that you have before the debate.

-I don't care how fast you talk, but I do care how clear you talk. I won't clear you but it will be obvious if I can't understand you because I won't be flowing and I communicate non-verbally probably more than most other judges.

-I don't care what arguments you read, but I do care whether you are making arguments, responding to opposition arguments, and engaging in impact calculus (your arg v their arg, not just your arg) throughout the debate.

-I don't care what aff you read, if you defend a plan, or if you debate on the margins of the topic, but I do care if you have offensive justifications for your decisions, and if you solve.

-If you're reading generic link arguments or CP solvency cards - it will matter a great deal how well you can contextual that generic evidence to the specific affirmative plan.

-I think teams should be willing to go for theory more.

Some top level thoughts as we enter the Arms Sales topic:

1) "New in the 2" is bad for debate. I always forget to tell people this at the beginning of the year, then I have to watch sloppy/shallow debates until I remember. If you read new arguments in the 2NC (or 1NR) as a "strategy", you are making the debate round worse. If the other team does not further an argument about it (WHAT! Neither team read my philosophy), I'll evaluate you arguments and not intervene despite my bias. But, if the other team makes an argument about it - I will disregard all new positions read in the negative block.

2) This topic is pretty big and I think T ground is pretty bad for the negative. But - there is strategic value to reading T arguments to ensure links to Disads and competition for CPs.

3) Prep Time: Prep stops when the document is saved to your jump drive or the email is sent. It does not stop when you're "ready" and "just flashing". If you stop prep, and then restart it, its evident you've stolen prep in the interim. I get irrationally irritated about this practice and your speaker points will reflect it. Flowing during "flash time" is stealing prep and cheating. Your speaks will be docked accordingly. Finally, putting flows in order is part of prep time. Saying the order is not.

4) I do not enjoy giving long-winded oral criticisms or RFDs. I will default to tournament protocol - but most of my comments will be on Tabroom. If you struggle to access those after the tournament - email me.

5) If you're flowing the speech doc and not the speech itself you deserve to be conned in to answering arguments that were never made in the debate, and to lose to analytic arguments (theory and otherwise) that were made while you were busy staring at your screen.

General thoughts about debate:

-People should assume their opponent's are winning some arguments in the last rebuttals. A decision to assume you're winning everything nearly guarantees that you are incorrect and minimizes the likelihood that you're doing relevant impact calculus. I really think "even-if" statements are valuable for final rebutalists.

-People should deploy extensive impact calculus regardless of the arguments furthered in their final rebuttal. It is incredibly difficult to evaluate education v. fairness absent work done by the debaters, and I'm not comfortable intervening in doing so. I've found myself leaning negative in debates where this fails to happen because the aff has failed to articulate an impact to voting aff (presumption).

-My speaker point scale has tended to be:

29+ - you should receive a speaker award in this division at this tournamnet

28.5+ - you should be in elimination debates at this tournament, and probably win one or more of those rounds

28 - you are competing for a spot to clear but still making errors that may prevent you from doing so. Average for the division/tournament.

27.5 - you are slightly below average for the division/tournament and need to spend some time on the fundamentals. Hopefully, I've outlined in my notes what those are.

27 - there were serious fundamental errors that need to be corrected.

**I've found that the best way to boost your speaks on my ballot is to demonstrate that you understand the nexus points of the debate and/or when the debate has resolved itself through your argumentative prowess. Often, this means strong/specific overviews, and can sometimes mean not utilizing all of your prep/speech time when the flow of the debate indicates it is impossible for your opposition to come back in the round. (EG - if the 1AR drops a topicality argument in its entirety, and you use 4 minutes of prep for the 2NR and give a 5 minute 2NR speech - you have not demonstrated mastery of the flow.

Standard things:

An argument requires a claim, a warrant, and an impact. Saying "extend my link" is not an argument and likely will not warrant evaluation from me.

Topicality- I really enjoy T debates, I think competing interpretations is probably true and find reasonability arguments to be uncompelling almost always. If you're not topical you should have an offensive reason that you're not. If you are topical then you should win why your vision of the resolution is superior to the negatives. I'm equally likely to vote on a critique of topicality as I am a T argument against a blatantly topical affirmative.

Critiques- I'm fascinated by K debates and the literature, but also am just not being as smart as a lot of other coaches/debate people. As such, the two biggest issues for the negative are assuming I know your K and assuming I understand your alt. The 2NC (or 1NR) should be primarily focused on explaining how the alternative functions and either how it solves the aff or how your framework disengages the aff impacts. K debaters tend to spend an extraordinary amount of time on their link arguments, but no time on explaining how the alternative resolves them. The two biggest issues for the affirmative are assuming a permutation is the only viable answer to the link and also assuming that the 2AC can be defensive.

Counterplans - PICs are good, word PICs are typically not. That does not mean I won't vote for them - I just don't like them and find "pic's bad" to make sense in a world of word pic's.Other counterplans should be aff specific - I think generic CP's without specific solvency evidence (XO, States, Consult) are poor choices I've often found myself believing that process CPs are plan plus or normal means in many cases.

Critical affs- I'm fine with K affs and deployed them often as a debater. I find it difficult to evaluate k affs with poorly developed "role of the ballot" args. I find "topical version of the aff" to be compelling regularly, because affs concede this argument. I have been more on the "defend topical action" side of the framework debate in the last two years or so. I'm not sure why, but poorly executed affirmative offense seems to be the primary cause.

Misty Tippets Paradigm

2 rounds

Debated 4 years at Weber State University (2013-2017)

Four time NDT Qualifier, 2017 NDT Octa-Finalist, 2015 CEDA Quater-Finalist

Currently a Graduate Assistant at James Madison University

I believe debate is for the debaters, I am happy to listen to whatever your argument is and will do my best to adapt to you so you don’t have to change the way you debate. I would much rather you do what you are comfortable with than read an argument just because you think it is something I would prefer to hear. I debated for 8 years and have read and coached all different kinds of arguments, so you should feel comfortable doing whatever you want in front of me. Everything else I’m going to say is just my preference about debate arguments and doesn’t mean that my mind can’t be changed. The last thing I'll say here is the most important thing for me in debates is that you defend your arguments. You can read almost anything in front of me as long as you can defend it. I decide the debates based off of what is on my flow, and nothing else.

Critical Affirmatives – I believe affirmatives should have a relation to the resolution, but I think there are many different interpretations as to what that can mean. To get my ballot with a non-traditional affirmative you must justify why your discussion/performance is a better one for us to have than talking about the resolution or why the resolution is bad. I am sympathetic to arguments that the negative needs to be able to engage the affirmative on some level, and I don't think that "they could read the cap K" is good ground. Counter interpretations are important on framework and will help me frame your impact turns. To win your impact turns to any argument I think the affirmative should have some mechanism to be able to solve them. Overall, I think it is important for any affirmative to actually solve for something, having a clear explanation starting from the 1AC of how you do that is important, and that explanation should stay consistent throughout the debate.

Framework – I think negative framework arguments against critical affirmatives are strategic and love to listen to thought out arguments about why the resolution is an important form of education. Fairness and ground are also impacts I will vote on and I perceive them as being important claims to win the theory of your argument. I am easily compelled that the negative loses ground when a non-topical affirmative is read, and having a list of what that ground is and why it is important is helpful when evaluating that debate. Even if you don't have cards about the affirmative it is important that you are framing your arguments and impacts in the context of the affirmative. If your FW 2NC has no mention of the affirmative that will be a problem for you. I view topical versions of the affirmative and switch side arguments as an important aspect to win this debate.

Kritiks – As I reached the end of my debate career this is the form of debate I mostly participated in which means I will have a basic understanding of your arguments. My research was more in structural critiques, especially feminism. I have dappled in many other areas of philosophy, but I wouldn’t assume that I know a lot about your Baudrillard K, so if that is your thing explanation is important. If you have an alternative, it is important for you to explain how the alternative functions and resolves your link arguments. I would prefer links specific to the affirmative over generic links. I am not a huge fan of links of omission. You will do better in front of me if you actually explain these arguments rather than reading your generic blocks full speed at me. In method v method debates I think you need to have a clear explanation of how you would like competition to function, the sentence "no permutations in a method debate" doesn't make sense and I think you need to have more warrants to why the permutation cannot function or wouldn't solve.

For affirmatives answering critiques, I believe that impact turns are highly useful in these debates and are generally underutilized by debaters. I don't think permutations need to have net benefits, but view them as just a test of competition. However just saying extend "perm do both" isn't an acceptable extension in the 1AR and 2AR, you should explain how it can shield the links. As for reading framework on the aff against a critique, it will be very hard for you to convince me that a negative team doesn’t get the critique at all, but you can easily win that you should be able to weigh the impacts of the 1AC.

Counterplans – Please slow down on the text of the CP, especially if it is extremely long. I am fine with anything as long as you can defend it and it has a clear net benefit. If I can't explain in my RFD how the counterplan solves majority of the affirmative or its net benefit then i'm probably not going to vote for it, so start the explanation in the block.

Disadvantages – I enjoy a good disad and case debate with lots of comparison and explanation. I would much rather that you explain your arguments instead of reading a bunch of cards and expecting me to fill in the holes by reading all of that evidence, because I probably won’t.

Topicality - I really don't have a strong opinion about what it is and isn't topical and think it is up to you to explain to me why a particular aff makes the topic worse or better. I tend to have a pretty low standard of what it means to be reasonably topical.

Theory - I generally think conditionality is good. Other than that I really don't care what you do just be able to defend your arguments.

Finally, as I becoming older and more grumpy I am getting increasingly annoyed about stealing prep and random down time in between speeches. That doesn't mean you aren't allowed to use the restroom, just be respectful of my time. I will reward time efficiency between speeches with better speakers points. Especially if you can send the email before prep time is over. These are my preferences

--If a speaker marks the speech document and the other team wants the marked document that should happen after CX during prep time. If the other team cannot wait until after CX then they can take prep time to get the cards

--If a speak reads a cards that were not in the speech document and needs to send them out the speaker will take prep time before CX to send out the necessary evidence.

--CX ends when the timer is over. Finish your sentence quickly or take prep time to continue CX

I would like to be on the email chain –

Rosie Valdez Paradigm

6 rounds

-Director of Debate at Little Rock Central High School
Yes, email chain and sure, questions:


Do what you do and do it well. I will vote for who wins. Over-adaptation is probably not a great idea with me in the back (I can smell your soft-left add-ons a mile away). Be clear, be concise, be economical. I coach primarily K teams, so it is immaterial to me whether or not you read a plan.


I care about quality of evidence. I would much rather hear you read a few well-warranted cards than a wave of under-highlighted evidence. Same goes for redundant evidence; if you need six cards that “prove” your claim with the same words interchanged in the tag, your claim is probably pretty weak. Evidence does not (alone) a (winning) argument make. I like to be on email chains.


Neg teams lose when they don’t demonstrate how their arguments interact with the 1AC. Winning that the affirmative is “flawed” or “problematic” does not guarantee a neg ballot. In my mind, there are two ways to win the k versus a policy aff: either win that the effects of the plan make the world significantly worse OR win framework and go for epistemology/ontology links. Know when framework is important and when it’s not. Give analysis as to how your links implicate the world of the aff. This is where case mitigation and offense on why voting affirmative is undesirable is helpful. These debates are significantly lacking in impact calculus. Also - the alt needs to solve the links, not the aff - but if it does, great! If you win framework, this burden is lessened. Don’t spread through link explanations. I am seeing more debates where teams kick the alt and go for the links as disads to the aff. This is fine, but be wary of this strategy when the alt is what provides uniqueness to the link debate.

Conversely, affs typically lose these debates when there is little press on what the alternative does and little analysis of perm functions. However, some teams focus on the alt too much and leave much to be desired on the link debate (especially important for soft-left affs). Not sure why teams reading HSI are making perms on the cap k. Defend your reps. Your framework shell should also include a robust defense of policymaking, not just procedural fairness. The 1AR should actually answer the block’s framework answers. More impact turning rather than defensive, no-link arguments.

Also, running to the middle will not save you. Some Ks are going to get a link no matter what, and tacking on a structural impact to your otherwise straight policy aff will likely only supercharge the link. So. Read the aff you'd read in front of anybody in front of me. You're probably better at that version anyway.

K Affs vs. FW

For affs: I’m good for these although I do think that oftentimes the method is very poorly explained. Neg teams should really press on this and even consider going for presumption. Side note: I absolutely do not think that critical affs should have to win that the ballot is key for their method. Against framework, I most frequently vote aff when the aff wins impact turns that outweigh the neg’s impacts and have a counter-interp that resolves the majority of their offense. I can still vote for you if you don’t have a counter-interp in the 2AR but only if the impact work is exceptional. I prefer affs that argue that the skills and methods produced under their model inculcate more ethical subjectivities than the negative’s. The best aff teams I’ve seen are good at contextualizing their arguments, framing, and justifying why their model and not their aff is uniquely good. I am most frequently preffed for K v K debates. Judge instruction is extremely important here as these debates can become muddled extremely quickly. I would rather evaluate those rounds based on whose method is most relevant to the debate rather than k tricks.

For neg teams: I like to see framework deployed as debate methodologies that are normatively good versus debate methodologies that are undesirable and should be rejected. Framework debates should center on the impact of certain methodologies on the debate space. “Your argument doesn’t belong in debate” is not the same thing as “your argument is hindered by forum” or “your argument makes it functionally impossible to be negative.” (fun fact: I read a lot of judges' paradigms/preferences..."debate is a game" does not = debate is a good game, and participation in that "game" does not = can't say the game is bad). I prefer more deliberation & skills-based framework arguments rather than procedural fairness, but I will vote on either as long as you have warrants and comparative impact analysis. If going for skills & research impacts, the internal link debate is most important. TVAs are great as defense against the aff’s impact turns. They do not have to solve the aff but should address its central controversy.

I feel similarly about theory debates in that they should focus on good/undesirable pedagogical practices. Arguments that explain the role of the ballot should not be self-serving and completely inaccessible by a particular team.


Topicality is a voting issue and never a reverse voting issue. T debates are won and lost on the standards level. If the affirmative wins that their interpretation solves the impact of topicality, then I see no reason to vote negative. Thorough T debates are about more than fairness. The idea that you have no game on an aff in this era is just not as persuasive as the idea that the aff’s interpretation negatively impacts future debates. For the immigration topic: I agree with the general consensus that topical affs must provide legal permanent residence.


No real issues here. Specific links to case obviously preferred to generic arguments. Give me good impact analysis. As a debater, counterplans weren’t really my jam. As a judge, I can’t say that I get to vote on CPs often because they are typically kicked or are not competitive enough to survive an affirmative team well-versed in permutations. A CP should be something to which I can give thoughtful consideration. Don’t blow through a really complicated (or long) CP text. Likewise, if the permutation(s) is intricate, slow down. Pretty sure you want me to get these arguments down as you read them, not as I reconstruct them in cross. I vote for theory as much as I don’t vote for theory. No real theoretical dispositions.

Arkansas Circuit

1. I’m not going to bump your speaks for thanking me and taking forever to start the round because you’re asking “opponent ready? judge ready? partner ready? observers ready?” for the first 20 minutes.
2. If you do not take notes during my RFD, I will leave.
3. Don’t clip. Why do debaters in Arkansas clip so much? Answer: Because I don’t judge very much in Arkansas.
4. Keep your own time.

Alaina Walberg Paradigm

6 rounds

Updated 10/27/19

4 years in Kansas in high school, 4 years at Baylor University, now a grad student and coach at KU and Barstow.

She/Her or gender neutral pronouns.

Add me to the email chain:

Top Level

Do what you do best, I think it is the burden of the judge to adapt to what the debaters want to do and will do my best to be unbiased when evaluating arguments.

Judge instruction/telling me how to write my ballot is really important, points will be higher and you'll be more likely to win if you put the pieces together in the 2NR/2AR, are actually honest about the parts of the debate you're winning and losing, make even if statements, etc.

I think I have a higher than average expectation of the 1AR. Because of this, it's helpful for me if 1ARs flag where/why the 2AR should get new explanations and if 2ARs justify new args or try to tie new explanations to a specific 1AR argument.

If you prompt your partner please don't both talk at the same time - when both of you are talking at once it's really really hard for me to process and I'll end up getting none of what you're saying.

***Note for high school: if someone reads Red Spread against you, for the love of god just say cap is bad please.


Basically everything but condo is a reason to reject the arg not the team.


Slow down some. Impact it out in the 2NR. Don't forget to explain what winning competing interps or reasonability actually means for you.

DAs and CPs

I don't do a lot of topic research, so it'll be helpful for both of us if you do a little more explanation on topic specific things like link stories/solvency mechanisms/etc.

Good analytics can definitely beat a crappy DA. Floor time links on politics make me sad. I like cheating CPs.


Explain why winning framework matters for you and how you still win the debate even if you lose framework.

I don’t think you need an alt to win but a well-explained one will make it much easier to do so.

2ACs should explicitly answer each of the link arguments even if it's just by explaining that it's a link to the status quo, a block that can impact out a dropped link argument well is likely to get my ballot as long as they are somewhat ahead on the framework or impact framing debate.

K Affs

Good. I do think it is possible to vote neg on presumption, so specific analysis about aff solvency or method is important. I find myself voting overwhelmingly aff in debates where the negative concedes the aff in the 2NR, so I strongly recommend extending your best 1 or 2 case arguments regardless of what else you're going for.


For the neg: 1) You need to answer the case – their theory is wrong, reform is possible, etc. A 2NR that has no way to cut back the aff’s ability to impact turn fairness or topic education is in a rough spot. Presumption can be a good arg. 2) I default to fairness is not an impact but is an internal link to debatability, clash, topic education, etc. This doesn’t mean don’t go for it as an impact, just that you need a warrant. 3) Framework is about the model of debate the aff justifies, it’s not an argument why K affs are bad. If you’re going for framework as a way to exclude entire critical lit bases/structural inequalities/content areas from debate then we are not going to get along.

For the aff: 1) You need a counter interp or counter model of debate, it's really helpful if you can explain what debate looks like under this model. 2) I am not a huge fan of the 2AC strategy of saying as many disads to framework as possible without explaining or warranting any of them out. 3) Leverage your aff as an impact turn to framework. The more effectively voting aff can resolve the impact turn, the easier it will be to get my ballot.

Caitlin Walrath Paradigm

3 rounds

Debate History:

Juan Diego Catholic: 2011-2014 (1N/2A and 1A/2N)

Rowland Hall-St. Marks: 2014-2015 (1A/2N)

University of Michigan: 2015-2019 (1A/2N)

University of Kentucky: Present (Assistant Coach)

*Please put me on the email chain: - NO POCKETBOXES OR WHATEVER PLEASE AND THANK YOU*

TL;DR: You do you, and I'll flow and judge accordingly. Make smart arguments, be yourself, and have fun. Ask questions if you have them post-round / time permits. I would rather you yell at me (with some degree of respect) and give me the chance to explain why you lost so that you can internalize it rather than you walk away pissed/upset without resolution. An argument = claim + warrant. You may not insert rehighlighted evidence into the record - you have to read it, debate is a communicative activity.

General thoughts: I enjoy debate immensely and I hope to foster that same enjoyment in every debate I judge. With that being said, you should debate how you like to debate and I’ll judge fairly. I will immediately drop a team and give zero speaks if you make this space hostile by making offensive remarks or arguments that make it unsafe for others in the round (to be judged at my discretion). Clipping accusations must have audio or some form of proof. Debaters do not necessarily have to stake the round on an ethics violation. I also believe that debaters need to start listening to each other's arguments more, not just flowing mindlessly - so many debates lose potential nuance and clash because debaters just talk past each other with vague references to the other team's arguments. I can't/won't vote on an argument about something that happened outside the debate. I have no way of falsifying any of this and it's not my role as a judge. This doesn't apply to new affs bad if both teams agree that the aff is new, but if it's a question of misdisclosure, I really wouldn't know what to do (stolen from DML and Goldschlag). *NOTE - if you use sexually explicit language or engage in sexually explicit performances in high school debates, you should strike me. If you think that what you're saying in the debate would not be acceptable to an administrator at a school to hear was said by a high school student to an adult, you should strike me. (stolen from Val)

General K thoughts:

- AT: Do you judge these debates/know what is happening? Yes, its basically all I judge anymore (mostly clash of civs)

- AT: Since you are familiar with our args, do we not have to do any explanation specific to the aff/neg args? No, you obviously need to explain things

- AT: Is it cool if I just read Michigan KM speeches I flowed off youtube? If you are reading typed out copies of someone else's speech, I'm going to want to vote against you and will probably be very grumpy. Debate is a chance for you to show off your skill and talent, not just copy someone's speech you once saw on youtube.

K (Negative) – enjoyable if done well. Make sure the links are specific to the case and cause an impact. Make sure that the alt does something to resolve those impacts and links as well as some aff offense OR have a framework that phases out aff offense and resolves yours. Assume I know nothing about your literature base. Try not to have longer than a 2-minute overview

K (Affirmative) / Framework – probably should have some relation to the resolution otherwise it's easy to be persuaded that by the interp that you need to talk about the resolution. Probably should take some sort of action to resolve whatever the aff is criticizing. I think FW debates are important to have because they force you to question why this space has value and/or what needs to change in said space. Negative teams should prove why the aff destroys fairness and why that is bad. Affirmative teams should have a robust reason why their aff is necessary to resolve certain impacts and why framework is bad. Both teams need a vision of what debate looks like if I sign my ballot aff or neg and why that vision is better than the other side’s. Fairness is an impact and is easily the one I'm most persuaded by, particularly if couched in terms of it being the only impact any individual ballot can solve AND being a question of simply who's model is most debatable (think competing interps).

T is distinct from Framework in these debates in so far as I believe that:

- T is a question of form, not content -- it is fundamentally content neutral because there can be any number of justifications beyond simply just the material consequences of hypothetical enactment for any number of topical affs

- Framework is more a question of why this particular resolution is educationally important to talk about and why the USfg is the essential actor for taking action over these questions

Case – Please, please, please debate the case. I don’t care if you are a K team or a policy team, the case is so important to debate. Most affs are terribly written and you could probably make most advantages have almost zero risk if you spent 15 minutes before round going through aff evidence. Zero risk exists.

CPs – Sure. Negative teams need to prove competition and why they are net beneficial to the aff. Affirmative needs to impact out solvency deficits and/or explain why the perm avoids the net benefit. Affs also must win some form of offense to outweigh a DA (solvency deficits, theory, impact turn to an internal nb/plank of the cp) otherwise I could be persuaded that the risk of neg offense outweighs a risk a da links to the cp, the perm solvency, etc.

DAs – Also love them. Negative teams should tell me the story of the DA through the block and the 2nr. Affirmative teams need to point out logical flaws in the DA and why the aff is a better option. Zero risk exists.

Politics – probably silly, but I’ll vote on it. I could vote on intrinsicness as terminal defense if debated well.

Topicality – You need a counter-interp to win reasonabilty on the aff. I default to competing interpretations if there is no other metric for evaluation.

Theory – the neg has been getting away with murder recently and its incredibly frustrating. Brief thoughts on specific args below:

- cps with a bunch of planks to fiat out of every possible solvency deficit with no solvency advocate = super bad

- 3+ condo with a bunch of conditional planks = bad

- cps that fiat things such as: "Pence and Trump resign peacefully after [x] date to avoid the link to the politics da", "Trump deletes all social media and never says anything bad about the action of the plan ever", "Trump/executive office/other actor decides never to backlash against the plan or attempt to circumvent it" = vomit emoji

- commissions cps = still cheating, but less bad than all the things above

- delay cps = boo

- consult cps = boo (idk if these exist on the immigration topic, but w/e)

- going for theory when you read a new aff = nah fam (with some exceptions)

- 2nr cps (yes this happened recently) = boo

- going for condo when they read 2 or less without conditional planks = boo

- perf con is a reason you get to sever your reps for any perm

- theory probably does not outweigh T unless impacted very early, clearly, and in-depth

Bonus – Speaker Point Outline – I’ll try to follow this very closely (TOC is probably the exception because y'all should be speaking in the 28.5+ category):

(Note: I think this scale reflects general thoughts that are described in more detail in this: - Thanks Regnier)

29.3 < (greater than 29.3) - Did almost everything I could ask for

29-29.3 – Very, very good

28.8 – 29 – Very good, still makes minor mistakes

28.5 – 28.7 – Pretty good speaker, very clear, probably needs some argument execution changes

28.3 – 28.5 – Good speaker, has some easily identifiable problems

28 – 28.3 – Average varsity policy debater

27-27.9 – Below average

27 > (less than 27) - You did something that was offensive / You didn’t make arguments.

Maggie Wells Paradigm

3 rounds

Emory, 2017-Present

Edina HS 2014-2017

Put me on the email chain:

I don't have any strong predispositions about how you should debate and will evaluate whichever arguments you choose present to me. That being said, please tell me how I should evaluate arguments in the final rebuttals so I'm not left to figure things out on my own.

I will reward in-depth research, clash, and evidence comparison. I care about evidence quality and will probably ask you for a card doc after the debate is over.

If you decide to go for a K in front of me, please explain the relationship between your K and the outcome of the plan.


I generally believe that the aff should defend hypothetical USFG action. Debate is a valuable communicative activity and fiat is a good mechanism for generating clash.

I believe that fairness is an impact. If you are aff, please connect the dots between your offense on t and how you solve it via your method or your aff.

I place a high burden on the affirmative proving an internal link to their impacts on case - if you are negative, please make arguments about this, it is so frustrating to watch neg teams just auto grant the aff solvency.


If you’re looking for a sign not to go for T-subs in front of me, this is it.

Please don't subject me to a shallow topicality debate. If you would like to go for this argument, do a lot of impact calculus in the 2NR/2AR. It is essential to compare evidence in topicality debates, if you do not I will be forced to make a decision based on how I interpret the evidence myself.

If you are a 2N trying to go for T, consider where your ev comes from and what it says. Is it an arbitrary defense of whatever word you are suggesting the aff violates? Is your evidence only tangentially related to the topic? Does it provide a good metric for predictable limits? If the answer is no, I most likely will not be persuaded. I will not vote for limits for the sake of limits unless the aff drops T.


Conditionality is probably good, that doesn't mean I cannot be compelled otherwise.

Other CP theory stuff is open for debate, probably only a reason to reject the team.

Have fun...

... but don't be a bad person, I will give you low speaker points and will be persuaded by arguments to vote against you if you are

David Weston Paradigm

6 rounds

Updated: December 2017

*Update = I prioritize line by line debating when evaluating the comparison of arguments. Teams who decide not to debate in a line by line fashion will have a more difficult time winning my ballot. I think that line by line debating is essential for me to remain objective in the debate. Presuming that an argument in one portion of speech automatically responds to an argument that is somewhere else requires me to use my own inferences in applying argumentation. That is something that I should be avoiding as a judge. I find that this mostly happens in large K debates, where the NEG explains the thesis of their K for several minutes, then groups the debate in ways that aren't logically coherent with the 2AC, and expects me to understand why an argument made at the top/in the overview answers the #10 2AC claim without the NEG stating some comparative application.* 

I'm currently a head coach at New Trier Township High School outside of Chicago, IL. 

Here are some insights into the way I tend to evaluate arguments. Obviously these are contingent upon the way that arguments are deployed in round. If you win that one of these notions should not be the standard for the debate, I will evaluate it in terms of your argumentation.

*Offense/Defense - I'm not sure if I'm getting older or if the quality of evidence is getting worse, but I find myself less persuaded by the idea that there's "always a risk" of any argument. Just because a debater says something does not mean it is true. It is up to the other team to prove that. However, if an argument is claimed to be supported by evidence and the cards do not say what the tags claim or the evidence is terrible, I'm willing to vote on no risk to a negative argument.

*I prefer tags that are complete sentences. The proliferation of one word tags makes it difficult for me to understand the connection between arguments.

*Evidence should be highlighted to include warrants for claims. I am more likely to vote on a few cards that have high quality warrants and explained well than I am to vote on several cards that have been highlighted down to the point that an argument cannot be discerned in the evidence.

*Avoid ad hominem attacks. I would prefer that students attack their opponent's arguments as opposed to their opponent. General rudeness will probably cost you speaker points.

*Arguments require claims and warrants. A claim without warrant is unlikely to be persuasive.

*Performance/Non-traditional Affirmative - I would prefer that the debate is connected to the resolution. My ultimate preference would be for the Affirmative to defend a topical plan action that attempts to resolve a problem with the status quo. I think that this provides an opportunity for students to create harms that are tied to traditional internal link chains or critical argumentation. Teams should feel free to read critical advantages, but I would prefer that they access them through a topical plan action. For example, reading an Affirmative that finds a specific example of where structural violence (based on racism, sexism, heteronormativity, classism, etc.) is being perpetuated and seeks to remedy that can easily win my ballot. Debaters could then argue that the way that we make decisions about what should or should not be done should prioritize their impacts over the negative's. This can facilitate kritiks of DA impacts, decision calculus arguments, obligations to reject certain forms of violence, etc.

Teams who choose not to defend a topical plan action should be very clear in explaining what their advocacy is. The negative should be able to isolate a stasis point in the 1AC so that clash can occur in the debate. This advocacy should be germane to the resolution.

I am not wedded traditional forms of evidence. I feel that teams can use non-traditional forms of evidence as warrants explaining why a particular action should be taken. An Affirmative that prefers to use personal narratives, music, etc. to explain a harm occurring in the status quo and then uses that evidence to justify a remedy would be more than welcome. I tend to have a problem with Affirmative's that stop short of answering the question, "what should we do?" How a team plans to access that is entirely up to them.

*Kritik debates - I like kritik debates provided they are relevant to the Affirmative. Kritiks that are divorced from the 1AC have a harder time winning my ballot. While I do not want to box in a negative's kritik options, examples of kritiks that I would feel no qualms voting for might include criticisms of international relations, economics, state action, harms representations, or power relations. I am less persuaded by criticisms that operate on the margins of the Affirmative's advocacy. I would prefer links based off of the Affirmative plan. Kritiks that I find myself voting against most often include Deleuze, Baudrillard, Bataille, etc.

*Theory - Generally theory is a reason to reject the argument not the team. The exception is conditionality. I find myself less persuaded by conditionality bad debates if there are 2 or less advocacies in the round. That is not to say I haven't voted for the AFF in those debates. I am willing to vote on theory if it is well explained and impacted, but that does not happen often, so I end up defaulting negative. Avoid blips and theory blocks read at an incomprehensible rate. 

*CP's CP's that result in the plan (consult, recommendations, etc.) bore me. I would much rather hear an agent CP, PIC, Advantage CP, etc. than a CP that competes off of "certainty" or "immediacy."

*Case - I'd like to see more of it. This goes for negative teams debating against nontraditional Affirmatives as well. You should engage the case as much as possible.

Other things
*If your strategy is extinction good or death good, genocide good, racism good, patriarchy good, etc. please do all of us as favor and strike me. These arguments strike me as being inappropriate for student environments. For example, imagine a world where a debater's relative recently passed away and that student is confronted with "death good" for 8 minutes of the 1AC. Imagine a family who fled slaughter in another part of the world and came to the United States, only to listen to genocide good. These are things I wouldn't allow in my classroom and I would not permit them in a debate round either. Since I can't actually prevent people from reading them, my only recourse is to use my ballot. 

Scott Wheeler Paradigm

6 rounds

1. Offense-defense, but can be persuaded by reasonability in theory debates. I don't believe in "zero risk" or "terminal defense" and don't vote on presumption (though technically i guess I do in debates where the aff goes for "perm do the CP" and wins that it isn't severance, but not in any other instance). 

2. I'll submit the ballot that is most persuasive to me, and will try to think through the story of each ballot before choosing (of course, in good debates, that's what the final rebuttals do). I won't simply point to an argument on my flow and say "I voted on this," nor will my RFD lead with technical advice in lieu of an actual decision. Substantive questions are resolved probabilistically--only theoretical questions (e.g. is the perm severance, does the aff meet the interp) are resolved "yes/no," and will be done so with some unease, forced upon me by the logic of debate. 

3. Dropped arguments are "true," but this just means the warrants for them are true. Their implication can still be contested. The exception to this is when an argument and its implication are explicitly conceded by the other team for strategic reasons (like when kicking out of a disad). Then both are "true."

1. Conditionality bad is an uphill battle. I think it's good, and will be more convinced by the negative's arguments. I also don't think the number of advocacies really matters. Unless it was completely dropped, the winning 2AR on condo in front of me is one that explains why the way the negative's arguments were run together limited the ability of the aff to have offense on any sheet of paper.

2. I think of myself as aff-leaning in a lot of counterplan theory debates, but usually find myself giving the neg the counterplan anyway, generally because the aff fails to make the true arguments of why it was bad.

1. I don't think I evaluate these differently than anyone else, really. Perhaps the one exception is that I don't believe that the affirmative needs to win uniqueness for a link turn to be offense. If uniqueness really shielded a link turn that much, it would also overwhelm the link. In general, I probably give more weight to the link and less weight to uniqueness.

2. On politics, I will probably ignore "intrinsicness" or "fiat solves the link" arguments, unless badly mishandled (like dropped through two speeches).


1. I like kritiks, provided two things are true: 1--there is a link. 2--the thesis of the K indicts the truth of the aff. If the K relies on framework to make the aff irrelevant, I start to like it a lot less (role of the ballot = roll of the eyes). I'm similarly annoyed by aff framework arguments against the K. The K itself answers any argument for why policymaking is all that matters (provided there's a link). I feel negative teams should explain why the affirmative advantages rest upon the assumptions they critique, and that the aff should defend those assumptions.

2. I think I'm less techincal than some judges in evaluating K debates. Something another judge might care about, like dropping "fiat is illusory," probably matters less to me (fiat is illusory specifically matters 0%). I also won't be as technical in evaluating theory on the perm as I would be in a counterplan debate (e.g. perm do both isn't severance just because the alt said "rejection" somewhere--the perm still includes the aff). The perm debate for me is really just the link turn debate. Generally, unless the aff impact turns the K, the link debate is everything.

3. Many of these debates seem to involve one team discussing a nuanced critique and the other side arguing "state bad" or "state good." Not surprisingly, I'm generally going to side with the team doing the former. 

Nontraditional affirmatives:

Versus T:
1. I usually vote neg in these debates, because the aff never has a defensible interp (to be honest, I think the current model might be what they want--these affs require a boogeyman to rail against). Some people seem to view these debates as a plan/counterplan debate where the 1AC is weighed against the "topical version of the aff." I don't subscribe to that view. The affirmative has to defend an interp. If I do vote aff, one of two things has happened. Most often, the aff successfully impact-turned the impacts the negative went for. The other time I vote aff is when the neg doesn't have an external impact--their offense is simply "we're the better version of the discussion you want to have." In those debates, "TVA doesn't solve" does become offense against their interp.

2. I've noticed that some judges tend to dismiss T impacts that I take seriously. I've seen this with not just fairness, which I think is the truest T impact, but others run less often (like "moral hazzard") that were in the 2NR and then not in the RFD at all. I think a lot of things can be impacts to T, so aff teams might want to spend more time on them. 

3. To be honest, I enjoy judging K affs with plans, and wish teams ran them more. With judges voting on nonsense like PIC out of fiat and Schlag, I can see why teams don't. And of course you also still have to answer politics/util and regular T (which you might not be used to debating), but I think those are pretty doable and you'd be in better shape in front of me if you are a team that is at all flexible.

Versus the K:
1. Affs are in much better shape here because, for me, it's not up for debate whether planless affs get to perm. They do. I have yet to hear a convincing argument as to why there is such a thing as a "methods debate" for which theories of debate competition no longer apply. If the negative has a better methodology or starting point, I will vote aff, provided the aff methodology or starting point is good. I wouldn't vote for a counterplan that solves warming better than the aff without a link to a disad, and I don't believe competition theory goes out the window because it's a performance aff. If the aff doesn't get a perm, there's no reason the neg would have to have a link.


Topicality versus plan affs:
1. I used to enjoy these debates. It seems like I'm voting on T less often than I used to, but I also feel like I'm seeing T debated well less often. I enjoy it when the 2NC takes T and it's well-developed and it feels like a solid option out of the block. What I enjoy less is when it isn't but the 2NR goes for it as a hail mary and the whole debate occurs in the last two speeches.

2. Teams overestimate the importance of "reasonability." Winning reasonability shifts the burden to the negative--it doesn't mean that any risk of defense on means the T sheet of paper is thrown away. It generally only changes who wins in a debate where the aff's counter-interp solves for most of the neg offense but doesn't have good offense against the neg's interp.

LD section:
1. I've been judging LD less, but I still have LD students, so my familarity with the topic will be greater than what is reflected in my judging history.

2. Everything in the policy section applies. This includes the part about substantive arguments being resolved probablistically, my dislike of relying on framework to preclude arguments, and not voting on defense or presumption. If this radically affects your ability to read the arguments you like to read, you know what to do.  

3. If I haven't judged you or your debaters in a while, I think I vote on theory less often than I did say three years ago (and I might have already been on that side of the spectrum by LD standards, but I'm not sure). I've still never voted on an RVI so that hasn't changed.

4. The 1AR can skip the part of the speech where they "extend offense" and just start with the actual 1AR.

Vince Woolums Paradigm

Add me to the email chain:

I debated for Iowa City High 1989-1993 on the prisons, space, and homelessness topics then graduated early. I won lots of rounds and speaker awards. I didn't debate in college because life happened otherwise. I hold BA degrees in English and Political Science with a lot of incomplete Master's level work. I work a full time project management job in the aerospace industry, enjoy bicycling and spending time with my six year old son. Since 2009 I've been the Director of Debate at Iowa City High and enjoy coaching both casual and highly competitive teams. I am very familiar with the arms sales topic.

Not using the President's* given name in any form will slightly increase your speaks.


Policymaker by default. I vote on well constructed, true arguments presented in a technically proficient manner. I'm not the best judge for you if you're an advocacy, narrative, performance, or project team.

Before the Round - VCX:
I'm primarily a policymaker, but I also think stock issues are important. It's my deeply held belief that policy debate requires a plan text and that Affirmative teams should employ the USFG through its subsidiary agencies as actors, as directed by the resolution. My preferences are case debate, counterplan/disad debate, solvency mechanism debate, core K debates.

There is a place for every argument and story, but I'm not convinced that the following belong in policy debate: narratives, performance, personal advocacy, and/or projects. I'm open minded, and don't disinclude the aforementioned out of hand, but if it helps assist in your selection of judge strikes then I don't think I'm very well qualified to judge these debates.

I'm fine with core kritiks, including but not limited to cap/neolib, colonialism, gender, and security, but stray into the margins of philosophy, psychology, semiotics, sociology, etc in front of me at your peril.

I demand in-round decorum. Rudeness and ad hominem fallacy will NOT be tolerated. Debaters who militarize their identity to the point of excluding others will not do well in front of me.

I suppose I'm at odds with the community in that I favor of 'truth over tech', as you will need to win the technical side of debates with truthful arguments to gain my ballot. I can't in good faith hang a ballot on evidence that may be several years old and is no longer a factual representation of the status quo, which is particularly important on this years topic.

You should ask me for clarifications of this entire judge philosophy AND ask any other questions before the round. Absent your questions, I will assume that you have read and understood this philosophy. For example, if you have to ask me "do you take prep for flashing speeches" anytime after the start of the 1AC, well, just don't do that. If you ask me during 1AC CX "hey do you allow tag team CX" then expect your points to suffer. Always ask questions before the round begins. Always. This includes specific questions about my voting threshold etc for any particular arguments you wish to deploy that aren't discussed below.

I prefer you ask and answer your own questions. I require politeness during cross ex. Cross-ex isn't Crossfire. I flow CX and consider your answers to be binding in all forms. CX is the most important and underrated speech in policy debate.

K's and Framework:

We are participants in policy debate; hence, policy debate briefs -- similar to those that are written to assist theoretical policymakers in making critical policy decisions for the United States federal government -- provide the stasis point for our arguments, which requires scenario analyses geared toward solving real world problems and not simply rejecting or refusing to engage the topic.

That said, I'm fine with kritik debates as long as you articulate the finer points of your argument -- like alternative solvency -- in a way that makes sense without relying on debate jargon. For example, if you stand up in a 1NC and read an IR Fem shell but can't answer any questions about it in cross-ex, then I will not be impressed. If you are taking a theoretical or philosophical/critical approach to the topic, then I find it more engaging when you explain your position in clear, non-debate terms. It demonstrates a level of understanding about the criticism that extends well beyond the debate space, and I support that as an educational endeavor.

Similarly, with framework debates, highlight the advantages or disadvantages to competing methodologies in a clear concise way (no cloud/overview clash, use actual line-by-line) and it becomes a lot easier to vote on framework and/or separately evaluate aff and neg impacts. I'm better with discourse, ethical scholar, reps, and that kind of framework and less okay with meta, ontological, or psych frameworks, the latter mostly outside my studies.

Regurgitating debate jargon on complex academic topics that are (sometimes merely at best) tangential to substantive policy debates does not demonstrate to me that you grasp the underlying issues; instead, it tells me you primarily want to win debates and have selected an esoteric critical and/or theoretical position that other debaters aren't as familiar with in order to do so.

I've seen some fantastic, well organized T debates, and ones that make my head hurt. Go for T, I will vote on it, but keep the refutation and line-by-line clean. I don't have a clear default to competing interpretations or reasonability, so be persuasive. Explain why you meet, or why you're losing ground and exploding limits. I am not persuaded by arguments that disqualify T as a voter or attempt to impact turn T. It's a STOCK ISSUE and always a voter.

Yes please!, but be invested in them. They need solvency advocates that compete with and test the Aff's solvency mechanism. Perms, likewise, test the competitive structures of the counterplan and are therefore legitimate. I'm not persuaded by severance theory because the Aff doesn't garner offense from the perm. Instead of reading severance, spend time actually addressing the competition between the plan and counterplan. Finally, I don't default to any theoretical objections either aff or neg on counterplans, but cheaty counterplans do exist. For example, is your process counterplan part of normal means? If so, then perm probably solves. Is States counterplan bad? Probably not, because devolution of powers is a thing. Have country x do the plan? Tricky ... there are a lot of countries and likely an unfair burden to the Aff to prepare for all of them. Etc, see below.

On the one hand, I prefer not voting on theory; however, if the abuse is egregious, or the claim particularly compelling, then I will vote on it. I have a high threshold for "abusiveness" claims. On the other hand, I can easily be persuaded that Condo is bad if, for example, a 1NC reads six+ off, of which three are conditional counterplans/kritiks, and then the 2N has the audacity to whine about a 'blippy 2AC'. I have, in fact, voted Aff on Condo! Otherwise, no memorable RFD's on theory. While the Aff carries the burden of winning their case, the Neg has a similar burden to shape the discussion. It's my opinion we learn more by digging deeper into a smaller set of arguments rather than learning very little about many.

Speech and Prep time:
Set up an email chain before the round.

I run a speech and prep timer.

Cross-ex starts when the speech stops, unless either team asks for prep before CX. Prep starts immediately following CX ends unless the next speaker indicates they're ready and a speech has been sent. Otherwise, I stop prep when you have sent the speech.

I'm going to get on a soapbox here. If you use Gmail, then be sure the "Undo Send" feature is off. Then, during the time we're all waiting for the speech to arrive - unless you are the speaker setting up a stand for your laptop, taking a drink of water, etc - everyone in the room should be DOING NOTHING. No looking at your flows/backflowing, no typing on the computer. No separating out your 'card doc' from speech doc. There is a terrible amount of mental prep time stolen between starting CX after getting flows together and waiting for emails, etc.

Further, I support tournaments moving forward with "decision time" because these small minutes of delay really drag a tournament. At any tournament with decision time, I will begin the round promptly at the start time regardless of whether a team is present or not.

Generally, I'm fine with speed. I flow on a laptop and type ~80wpm. I'm okay with most things speech-related provided I can audibly differentiate your tags, cards, cites, and analytic arguments. This is particularly true of overviews and 2NR/2AR (see below), but also of any complex argument like Theory or T. The speech act, for all our outside the round research and preparations, is the purpose of debate. Organizing your speech is vitally important to its persuasiveness.

As other paradigms I've recently read point out: 'cloud clash is not a thing' and 50% or more of your speech spent on an overview is just clumsy and unrefined. Do your work on the line-by-line answering the other team's arguments.

Furthermore, I come from a time in debate when people used numbering systems and "line by line" meant answering all the opponents arguments in order. If you use numbering systems, such as on 1NC case "1. No impact: ...", and the 2AC says "off 1NC 1", then I will be mightily impressed and your speaks will increase dramatically. It's so much easier to flow because the Synergy template auto numbers, which is a beautiful thing.

If I need you to speak more clearly, enunciate, slow down, or emphasize your tags, I will call out for it verbally in-round. You get one call out and after that your partner needs to be watching me to make sure I'm capturing what you want me to capture. It's up to you to crystallize your arguments in a meaningful, rhetorical way.

Lastly, judges aren't AI bots, so don't get mad at us when we don't flow every single word of your gale-force word salad overview. Yeah, I type fast, but if your Rate of Delivery is 300 and I'm at ~80wpm, do the math. Especially true if you aren't slowing down your tags and cites.

The RFD:
Now that you've read this far, in-round experiences account for more than my preconceived notions of debate as stated above, including K's, debate theory, framework, and the topic in general provided you make your case or arguments compelling and don't make me do any of the work on the flow for you.

All things considered, I will render a decision on any well-developed argument.

If you have questions about the RFD, please ask them politely.

29+ speaks:
you should definitely break and probably blew my mind somehow;
you did NOT exaggerate, powertag, under-highlight your evidence, including its warrants;
you made cogent link, internal link, and impact calculus arguments;
you properly refuted the nexus question(s) in the round;
you were really easy to flow, with great intonation, inflection, and cadence;
you focused on speaking coherently instead of technically;
you told a compelling story using well-honed rhetorical devices and true arguments, presented persuasively;
you were polite yet assertive in CX and during your speeches and answered/asked your own questions.

27.5-28.9 speaks:
you did a pretty good job answering all the arguments, but you may have dropped some stuff;
you were too fast or too unintelligible, and didn't adapt to me flowing you;
you didn't do as good a job analyzing arguments as you could have;
you exaggerated your evidence beyond what the author intended, or beyond the warrants you read;
you didn't persuade me, you were snarky or needed your partner's help in CX, etc.

25-27.5 speaks:
you did a poor job refuting arguments, or you dropped whole arguments;
you were unintelligible;
you didn't analyze the arguments or perform a cogent impact calculus;
you used ad hominem arguments or were aggressive either in your speech or CX;
you needed a lot of help answering/asking CX questions.

0-25 speaks
you did something I found egregiously offensive (racism, sexism, other bigotries);
you used fraudulent evidence;
you clipped cards;
you forfeit, or left the debate for any of your own personal reasons.

Pet peeves:
I really don't like when a team interferes with their opponents speech or prep by requesting evidence and/or asking for your flash drive back, or by whispering to your teammate so loudly I can't hear the speaker, or by throwing backpacks, laptop cords around, etc. If these are a problem, then your speaker points will assuredly suffer.

Good luck to all!

Austen Yorko Paradigm

4 rounds

*add me to the email chain:

High School: Wooster High School ~ College: Trinity University ~ Coach: MBA


-A "dropped" theory arg means nothing if the original arg was a 1-line, incomplete thought. If you extend it and give it the Cadillac treatment, I allow new answers.

-Fairness is an impact. Impact turns to T rarely make sense to me. They have to impact out why the process of debating the topic is bad. Not why the topic is bad.

-Kritiks are making me grumpy. How do I quantify the impacts in the context of relative alt solvency? Why are links offensive if they're not about the 1ac?

-Condo is just another argument. Win it or beat it.

-Probability framing is meaningless if you don't indict the disad.

-"Ethics" first is meaningless if I don't know what the ethic is or what it impacts.

-Everything should have an impact (k links, disad overviews, solvency arguments). If this isn't happening, you're wasting time.

-A negative ballot on presumption exists, but not on impact defense.

-If you go for T, read a lot of cards and describe the world under your interp.

-Process counter plans are good if they are grounded in the core topic literature. The neg should be reading ev on the theory debate.

Jared Zuckerman Paradigm

3 rounds

Contact Info-

Current School:
Assistant Coach, Glenbrook North

Past Schools:
Blue Valley Southwest, 10-18, Blue Valley West, 09-10, Blue Valley North, 03-09

The topic:
I believe that debating the topic is pedagogically valuable and find myself unqualified to render decisions that don't center around hypothetical government action.

Random Thoughts:
-Please include me on the email chain.
-Please respect my time.
-Please slow down.